60 years of marriage!

Family is #1 + 60 years of marriage

60 years of marriage!

60 years of marriage!

Family is and always will be number one to me. There are no exceptions and there is no other way I would have it. I think we all learn this at one point or another in our lives!

Recently, my grandparents celebrated their 60th anniversary… 60.. can you believe it? Better yet, can you imagine being married to your special someone for 60 years? I hope so. Marriage is about love, understanding and communication, but it’s not just that. It’s about building a community, a family and a bond with the others you bring into your life. It’s also HARD work. I think too many people bail on marriage too easily. They think it should be easy and should feel those sparks still flying 2, 3, 4, 5 years later but that’s just not realistic. You might lose the sparks, but what you gain is the comfort, security and ease of being yourself and knowing what you are coming home to.

I don’t consider myself the marrying type but if I was, I would look to my grandparents for inspiration. It has NOT always been easy for them. They have went through times of severe poverty, heart-ache, loss and tragedy. Throughout it all they have stuck together, stood by each other and came out on top. Now, even in the last 10 years I have seen their love for each other change! It used to be complacent, it used to be of responsibility and respect. It is still all of these things, but I now see a deeper bond that has developed between them in the last few years. They still have humor. They crack really corny jokes and share intimate moments. They understand each other more than anyone in the world and they can sense when the other is not feeling well or needs a nap. (To be fair I think that everyone needs a nap. In fact.. I should be taking one right now!). The point is, they have most definitely had struggles that could have torn some couples apart, but they persevered and now I believe they are happier than ever!

It seemed only natural that Grandpa’s guitar should come along. He has shared his gift and love for guitar with our family since as long as I can remember. It’s one of my favorite memories growing up. Not only that but he legitimately sings my Grandma songs with his guitar and that’s exactly what I asked him to do on the day of the shoot (which was the day of their 60th anniversary). Now that I think of it, I should have got Grandma to bring some buns and borscht and feed Grandpa because feeding people delicious food is most definitely her thing. I loved this whole shoot from start to finish and getting to see them in a whole new light with each other was refreshing. Their relationship and their testimony to marriage is constantly evolving and leaving the other marriages in my family a lot to live up to.

Love you Grandpa & Grandma!

60 years of marriage!

60 years of marriage!

60 years of marriage!

60 years of marriage!

60 years of marriage!

60 years of marriage!

60 years of marriage!

60 years of marriage!

60 years of marriage!

60 years of marriage!

60 years of marriage!

60 years of marriage!

60 years of marriage!

60 years of marriage!

60 years of marriage!

60 years of marriage!

How I really feel about Jamaica.. a personal post :-)

We are outside and the heat is thick.. my hands are literally swollen to the size of small balloons (just a fun perk of being me right now). I am wiping the sweat off my brow and chatting with friends or yelling in their ears over the loud music. Despite my trying to stay still, I just can’t. I find myself involuntarily moving in my seat and wanting to get up and grind my whole body to the vibrant and sexually explosive Jamaican music. I am the only white girl in the place and my red hair and fair skin stick out like a sore thumb, attracting all sorts of wanted and unwanted attention. At times, it can be a little tiresome and all I want to do is fit in. I cover my hotel band with my bracelet and try to look casual, like being thrust into such a foreign way of life is normal for me. I run into some people I met last time I was there.. I can hardly believe I know people here already and it’s a great feeling. I want locals to consider me another local, not some tourist who’s rolling in American money.

I take a cab back home in the darkness. I am crammed in a small car that sounds like it might explode if it moves too fast with a tall dark Jamaican man on my right and a cheerful voluptuous looking woman on my left. They chatter with each other sometimes in Patois (the Jamaican language) and I struggle to understand… if only I had bought some books before I left! They start to chatter with me and within 5 minutes we are exchanging numbers and Facebook info, hoping to connect if I should ever be back in Montego Bay. The general vibe is they just want to show me a good time here in Jamaica and they are always so interested to hear about the weather where I am from. It’s nearing the end of my ride and I hand the cabby $200 Jamaican dollars, which comes to around $2 American or Canadian. No doubt I would be paying an upwards of $30 or $40 American if I had taken the “safer” and registered taxi’s that come straight to the front of my hotel. Again, I don’t want to be some rich bitch perceived by the Jamaican’s, I just want to be treated like everyone else even though my face is white as the moon.

The security guys at the gates of my hotel are by now used to my comings and goings. When I left the first night I was there with friends, they were sure to document my room number, name, the name of the person who was picking me up and the location of where we were headed. By the third day, they just smiled and waved me off as I ran off across the street. One of the security guys later told me him and the other guys were concerned about me, but after watching how I waved away certain cabs and chose specific ones they knew that I knew what I was doing. I was really flattered by this and it made me feel happy to know they no longer just thought of me as some “tourist” – confined to the prison walls of a resort. Don’t get me wrong, my way of travel isn’t for the faint hearted or just anyone, but I question the people who fly all the way across the country just to listen to American music and eat American food at resort buffets, and stay trapped in a bubble of at-home luxury without ever experiencing anything real. I ask myself, what’s the point?

I found myself often moving to Jamaican beats in my head, even when there was no music playing. I felt vibrant, alive, energetic! My skin was also literally starting to glow.. my pimples were disappearing and I felt less self conscious about being a bit bigger than I would like to be at this time. The Jamaican men were quite forward about letting me know how they felt about my appearance. It was always positive and I was flattered at most times. It was a self esteem boost but could also easily get tiring. My nose had cleared up.. I slept like a baby, the best I have slept in so long because I could finally breath. Back home my nose is constantly stuffed up and I often wake up not being able to breath. The only downfall was the sweat… ohhh the sweat. I don’t mind sweating during a workout I’m killing, but to sweat all the time every day for no other reason then just because you are hot and uncomfortable is unattractive to say the LEAST.

My friends are gems.. I made some real connections I feel so good about. There were other people I met and the general over all consensus from a lot of people was that a friendship could be bought and paid for. After all I am from Canada and I MUST be loaded with cash and have plenty to give away at leisure. I am not. My money is worth just as much as theirs is back home and it’s not cheap to live here in Canada. Not cheap at all. I may make more, but I sure spend a hell of a lot more on the necessities of life. There were times I felt taken advantage of and merely used for the hopes of receiving my money. It didn’t feel good and it didn’t feel right. That was the one biggest negative that I have about being in Jamaica. All the more reason fitting in as a local was so important to me. Now let’s be fair… not ALL Jamaican’s are like this. On the opposite end of the spectrum I was treated the best I have been treated by anyone in a long time by my friends, who are all amazing and wonderful people.

The last night in Jamaica my friends took me to a street party… Yes, a real street party in Jamaica. The type of party that would not have been legal anywhere here and totally shut down immediately. Honestly, sometimes I had to take a step back to realize that I was actually there and it was real and this was happening. The sweet smell of pot wafted around and drinks were flowing. The music was sick. I had begun to pick out my favorite songs and move my body freely when they came on. Kartel, and I Octane, Mavado and Lady Saw… have all become household names for me now. Suddenly at some point, the party went from seeing space between people to crammed and jammed up against one another.. in a sea of dark faces I was the only white girl at the party yet again and the guys walking around with video cameras seemed to be attacking me with bright lights. Being there was amazing though, and the feeling was humbling and surreal. I never wanted it to end.  I was feeling good but the last couple of days had exhausted me. By the next morning I was feeling emotional and heavy with regret at the thought of leaving this beautiful tropical paradise. I felt like perhaps I had let myself feel too fast and too much for some of the connections I made and didn’t want it to end.

Yes, I do believe I made real connections and also a couple friends for life. The number one question I am being asked by all is did I find love in Jamaica? Well the answer to that is simple. No. But I believe I could. It would be easy and effortless and it scares me to death. There are some things a girl doesn’t need to share with the world either. What I really need to do now is fall in love with myself.

What are the things I brought back with me that are the most treasured? First and foremost, the memories and the friendships. After that, I would have to say the mixed CD’s of music I bought from random guys selling burnt discs from their cars and on the streets. I still feel like dancing and it has me motivated to start dancing once again. Overall I brought back a sense of myself.. a longing for change and self appreciation. Yes Jamaica will change you and affect you in many ways if you are willing and open to let it in.

Will I be back to Jamaica? I have no plans as of right now to be returning to the beautiful country, but sometimes fate has a way of intervening and whatever is meant to be will be. For now I am studying up on learning some Patois and dancing around the house in my underwear to these ripped Jamaican beats , feeling more free and irie than I have in my life.

*Stay tuned for a mega blog post on the AHHMAZING Wedding I shot in Jamaica and all the fun details behind it and other shoots I did while there!*

Good friends and good vibes

Good friends and good vibes

Get Results From Your New Years Resolutions! +Free daily planner & monthly resolution planner!

It's time to change your life!

It’s time to change your life!

Can you believe it is already 2014!?

I can’t. Seriously. 2013 flew by and I feel like I didn’t get the most out of it at times! I definitely do not want to feel that way about 2014. Are you with me?

Firstly, I hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas and a super awesome fantabulous New Year! I spent my holidays with my family and nothing could be better. Instead of a ton of Christmas presents (that would eventually end up all over my floor, and broken), my boys and I decided to start a new tradition this year! We took ourselves to Las Vegas for an early holiday vacation and it was AHHHHMAZING. So amazing in fact, that it is a tradition we are carrying on in 2014 and bringing extra family with us! It will be exciting for us to plan a trip somewhere new and inspiring each year and at the same time that we are getting in our “family time” we will be exploring the world and making MEMORIES, which are MUCH more important than any gifts in my opinion. I have always been a traveler and my kids have always loved our EPIC family road-trips so this just feels like the perfect fit for us!

2013 was wonderful, don’t get me wrong. I had some real highs, some real business successes, some real love, some real life changes and some real revelations! I also had some real lows, some real disappointments in people and things, some real failures as a person and in my business, some real heartache in my personal life, some real self confidence SMACK DOWNS. Through it all, my goal for staying positive kept me above the water and I believe my positivity is what gets me through MOST of my real lows.

Guess what? I want MORE out of 2014! I want MORE successes, more maintenance of a fantastic self confidence, more learning AND teaching moments, more LOVE, more closeness with the people around me, better bonds with my children, better relationships with my clients, better organization in my life and my business, and above all a BETTER quality of life! I think this is what everyone wants … and needs!

I have always been a little on the crazy side when it comes to my organization and books full of inspiring information, client forms, details, wedding forms, wedding clients, taxes, receipts, etc, etc. What my life has been missing is LIFE organization though. So in the past few weeks, I have been implementing an organizational challenge for myself. It includes sitting down and WRITING down all of tomorrows tasks, schedule and mini-goals.

EVERY YEAR I sit down and write out some hair-brained scheme New Years Resolutions and every year that piece of paper never resonates with me and it gets lost in the shuffle of life… possibly being thrown away and never to be read again. This year I propose NO MORE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!!! Yes, I said it… NO MORE NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS! Instead, I am writing NEW MONTH RESOLUTIONS. Just like when you develop a dream board, you need to be looking and dreaming over that board on a regular basis, I think it is JUST as important to re-visit your resolutions and goals as often as possible! So I thought, why not once a month. Here are the rules and measures you need to take in order to be MORE successful with your monthly resolutions!

1. WRITE IT DOWN!

Writing down your goals and dreams will dramatically increase your chances of achieving your goals, and subconsciously work their way into your brain. It helps your brain memorize and that can’t possibly be a bad thing, can it?

2. BE SPECIFIC & WILL not WANT!

It is not enough to just jot down something like “Lose weight”. WHY? Why do you want to lose weight? How will that make you feel? How will it change your life? Be as specific as possible. ALWAYS write it as a WILL not a WANT, because you know the saying; “Where there’s a WILL there’s a way!” It can be anything from “I will make a healthy home cooked meal at least 3 times a week” to “I will take a 10 minute walk outdoors every morning” to “I will drink 8 cups a water of day and cut out sugary drinks like pop and juice.” OR you can give a more generalized goal that you want to achieve but make sure you say WHY. ” I WILL lose weight because I want to feel healthy, have more energy, fit back into my skinny jeans, and I want to play with my children without getting so tired!”

3. MEDITATE ON IT!

Meditation has factually proven to have so so many health benefits, including lowering your heart rate. It is also what I believe to be one of the most important steps in making your goals and dreams a reality. REALLY visualize yourself achieving your goals and dreams and what it would look and FEEL like. Keep that feeling going and really focus on that feeling for as long as you can. Do this as often as possible, once a day is ideal!

4. RE-READ IT, OUT LOUD!

Re-read your resolutions often (every couple of days!) before bed, or when you first wake up in the morning. Keep your resolutions beside your bed, or posted on the fridge, or somewhere for easy access. Read it. Read it OUT LOUD. There is some sort of crazy power in reading your own words. I read one time in a magazine that when you place an object somewhere (like your keys for example), tell yourself out loud “Keys on the coffee table” and it will greatly increase your chances of remembering where you put that object. Seriously, I am forgetful when it comes to certain things and I can not tell you how much this little trick helped me! SO, read your resolutions out LOUD!

5. PLAN OF ACTION!

Make a plan of action. This may BE even MORE important than the actual goal itself. Once you make your goal you need to make a plan of action! What is the first small step you need to make? This is something you can write down on your DAILY memo until you have gotten that action down and then you can move on to the next. This is seriously, seriously important. I can not stress how important. Remember that BIG results are achieved by making little changes and you will have more success with small steps, than large leaps. Large leaps can often cause falling, failure and disappointments. Small steps build self confidence, break habits and lead to ultimate success. (Unless you need to take a big leap in your business or because of a health related issue – these are times when big leaps are necessary to make these changes FAST!)

6. STAY POSITIVE!

Positivity is KEY. You must believe you can achieve anything you want to in life… because it’s TRUE. People have dug themselves out of terrible illnesses, cured themselves of depression, gotten themselves out of dire situations and mended things in their lives with the power of positivity! I can not express enough how I believe in the power of positivity and the ability to view things in a positive NOT a negative light. In fact I don’t even like saying the other word! Stay positive about your goals and always always believe in yourself. YOU CAN DO THIS!

7. REWARD YOURSELF!

Always reward all of your goals achieved! Big or small, making changes in your life is not always easy and you deserve the rewards of your hard work! Your reward may simply be fitting back into those skinny jeans, or making another person smile, or a new dress, or dinner out with your spouse… the list could go on! Sometimes the reward will automatically come with the win, and it’s important for you to also write down how you will reward yourself, or the personal rewards you will FEEL and experience.

8. DOWNLOAD MY FREE MONTHLY DREAM/ASPIRATION/RESOLUTION PRINT OUT PLANNER!!! It’s 100% FREE!

FREE MONTHLY RESOLUTION PLANNER TO PRINT by Martine Sansoucy

So if you skimmed past all of these important steps and got to this point, I highly recommend that you read them! I have made my own monthly resolution sheet that I have already filled out for myself and keep in my “inspiration binder”. I go through my inspiration binder at least once every couple of days so I know I will be checking out my list on a regular basis!

I have started by listing 5 goals that I would like to start working towards THIS MONTH! Remember to be specific and replace the word WANT with WILL!

Next I have made a plan of action for each one of my goals, enabling me to take the right steps to achieving my goal! Remember that small steps achieve great things!

I have then listed all of the ways that I will be emotionally, physically, materially or spiritually rewarded when I achieve my goals!

I believe your learning is NEVER done! I am a fan of bettering yourself as much as possible in every way you can! Choose one thing you can go out and learn this month, whether it is learning to have more patience, or learning 100 words in Spanish, or learning to care for a plant. Go out and educate yourself and GROW!

Lastly, I have listed one DREAM that I will make reality this year! This is my chance to get wild and crazy with my dream, put it into my subconscious and meditate on it!

Repeat this and fill this out EVERY month!!! It’s so en-lighting and inspiring, I hope that you will want to get out of bed in the morning and start working towards and achieving your goals! If you don’t meet a goal one month, REPEAT it… REPEAT your yearly goal or change it. Remember that repetition and writing things down are important tools in working these goals into your subconscious to get them going!

Free goals and dreams print out!

Free goals and dreams print out!

Click on the link below to download your FREE printable dream & goal planner!

 FREE MONTHLY RESOLUTION FORM TO PRINT

And JUST FOR KICKS, I have downloaded my own personal DAILY PLANNER!

Remember to plan your day out for the next day every night and wake up feeling in control of your day!

FREE DAILY PLANNER!

FREE DAILY PLANNER!

To download my own personal FREE DAILY PLANNER Click on the link below!

FREE DAILY PLANNER TO PRINT

Remember to PIN this good stuff on Pinterest people and FOLLOW me at

http://www.pinterest.com/martinesansoucy/

Well everyone, I really hope this helps you all out! I want you all to have a happy, healthy, prosperous and successful year in 2014! Embrace your true self and let go of any negatives you have lingering. Take small steps to achieve great things and always look up and ahead!

As always you can LIKE me on FACEBOOK

FOLLOW me on TWITTER

FOLLOW me on PINTEREST

CHECK out my WEBSITE

FOLLOW me on INSTAGRAM

I would LOVE to hear from you! Let me know if you have had success with your resolutions and what you did to achieve them! Also if you are using these planners, let me know if and how they have helped you to organize your days and your dreams! PLEASE COMMENT BELOW!

xoxo – M

To new beginnings!! Starting off 2013 with Inspiration, Motivation and Determination!

Searching for you in a sea of faces..

Searching for you in a sea of faces..

Good morning lovelies!

So I wanted to start the new year off by starting a new blog! Why you ask? It’s true I have at least three blogs started, updated and sadly… abandoned and unfinished. The reason I believe is because my focus for the blogs I have done in the past is BUSINESS. Pure and simple uploading photos and pumping out general business information. This time I want to start fresh, and I want to make this blog more PERSONAL. I don’t want to look at it as just another chore to do on my work list. I want to feel excited about posting personal stories, information, tutorials and above all letting my fans and people get to know the REAL me. I think it just may work out!

So some things I plan to change in the New Year…

For those of you who know me, know that I have been struggling with health and weight issues for awhile and while I am generally a pretty up beat, positive vibe person,  when it comes to body image issues I am nothing but a negative Nancy. Which is silly because I love promoting body beauty awareness through my photos and I can honestly say some of the most beautiful people I have photographed are NOT skinny minnies or have your stereotypical model-type bodies. I see beauty in all shapes and sizes and I wish I could feel the same about myself! So I have made a vow to myself that I will bring my A game to get in shape this year.. not necessarily by dropping a few pant sizes (although let’s face it, that would be AWESOME), but just to get healthy, feel healthy and start living the way I should! I hope too that by sharing my journey with you in bits and pieces on this blog it will hold me a little bit more accountable to make these changes. One of my favorite things to do is dance around my house in my shorts and sports bra to some outrageously awesome music. I plan to do this every day until I work up a sweat, and I have also joined a boot camp to get my butt in gear. I am ready to make this year the best yet… after all I AM turning the big 3.0 this year!!! Aaaahhh!

Something else quite big coming up this year… In May it will be FIVE whole years since I started in photography, and honestly I am stunned, shocked, in awe, loving it, emotional, etc when I think about how far I have come and how much I LOVE what I do. I am truly so fortunate to be doing something that I love. I NEED to make this a memorable year but stepping up my game in photography, learning more, always expanding and trying new and different techniques. I am also dying to do something epic. I don’t know what yet… but I know I want it, and I have plans to make it happen!

Family time! I need more of it. My boys are my whole world and I want to spend more and better quality time with them. If this means re-organizing priorities sometimes (like taking on a little less work) than so be it! I want to grow with them, travel with them, and perhaps even teach them a thing or two about photography. I am excited for some adventures we have planned this year and also excited to share these adventures with all of you. I also want to take more photos of my family. I look through all of the photos I have done and often realize I have more photos of other peoples children then of my own! I guess that’s the way it usually goes in any profession, but photos are not something I want to be lacking of with my boys. In this digital age, I also find most of my photos are always online but never in print. There is still something about being able to HOLD a photograph in your hands and I want to make this a priority as well. To get more of my family photos printed and put into albums or hung on the wall 🙂

I’m not going to lie, I am a FACEBOOK ADDICT! This needs to change! I have come up with a nice little schedule for myself to become effective immediately. It allows me two 1/2 hour slots during the day to check up on Facebook, respond to comments, e-mails, update photos, etc. Other than that I am going to try my very hardest to stay away from Facebook. I find it eats up wasted time on basically NOTHING!

So with that being said those are just a few of the things that I am aching to get my change-on with this year!

I just arrived home from Jamaica a few days ago.. and I have to say, it has changed my life. I can’t wait to tell you why, but you will have to hang on until my next post!

Thanks so much for visiting my blog.. I hope you come again soon and I also want to say I welcome any photography related questions to agasteche@yahoo.ca or through my Facebook

Peace & love – Martine