There was something about the sky that afternoon; it looked as tumultuous as the sea. There were only a handful of people on the shore - most of them surfers, wrapping up their day. It was windy, but not unpleasant. We sat quietly for a while, staring at the waves as they broke and tumbled and reformed, again and again and again. The colors of the scene didn't dare mix together, and there was a sort of symmetry in the mess. I felt peaceful and still, unbound by time and one with my deepest thoughts, as I always do when facing the sea.
From my heart to yours.
More in the 'Made Me Look' series:
I am one of those odd freaks of nature who thoroughly enjoys organizing and cleaning. So much so, that I do it habitually, before tasks accumulate to a daunting level. That being said, there are some tasks that I only do once or twice a year, usually with the change in seasons (we all know Montreal has only two main seasons: winter and not-winter).
There is something wonderfully liberating and uplifting about putting some order to your world.
If you absolutely dread it, here are 6 straightforward strategies to focus on this spring. They may be simple, but they will have a positive impact on your space and your own energy.
1. Do a thorough dusting and vacuum
Follow your normal dusting and vacuum routine but spend more time being extra meticulous. Get to baseboards, inside cupboards, tops of furniture, door frames, ceiling fans, window sills, under appliances, inside frequently used drawers.
2. Tackle the wardrobe
To gear up for a new season (and new fashion trends), force yourself to mercilessly throw or give away old shoes, boots and clothes. Be extra strict with that elusive "clothes-I-might-wear-someday-once-I-get-through-wearing-all-the-other-things-I-like-better-and-all-the-new-things-I’ll-inevitably-buy-or-maybe-I-should-keep-this-just-for-painting" category. You’ll feel hugely liberated when that is done
(Confession: it’s the task I personally find most daunting).
3. Clean the windows to let more natural light in
Cleaning the windows and window-tracks is one of the things I am most eager to do once the snow finally melts. Wait for a cloudy day so that the glass cleaner doesn’t evaporate and leave streaks on your windows. It’s incredible how the light in your place changes once this is done.
4. Sort through the area that serves as your dumping ground
Everyone, even the most organized folks, have a spot that is notoriously known for being their temporary dumping ground. Dedicating some time to decluttering that space provides great relief.
5. Pick one room and practice leaving no trace
As someone who is sensitive and highly responsive to how my space feels, I try to practice this on a daily basis. The idea is to leave a room in a state where it doesn’t look like you’ve been there (and shoving everything into the cupboards or under the bed doesn’t count!). It adds effort to your daily routine but the advantage is that it doesn’t feel as much like a massive “spring cleaning” if you do it little by little. It may even turn into a happy habit!
6. Add a new piece of decor
To celebrate the beginning of spring and summer, adding something fresh to your decor serves as a wonderful pick-me-up. Whether it’s a new rug or pillow, coffee table or art on furniture or on your walls, your eyes will be drawn to your new addition and it will make you feel good.
As a general tip, start with the smallest task and give yourself 20 minutes to get into it. It takes the pressure off of having to devote a whole day to spring cleaning.
Have a crucial tip to add? I’d LOVE to hear it! Leave a comment below.
From my heart to yours.
For as long as I can remember, I have adored the sea and all things maritime. From the volatile moods of the tides and the skies hovering above them, to the rustic details of boats, anchors and rope - not only do their colors and patterns unfailingly catch my eye, but these are also scenes that have stories to tell.
This Monday's theme is therefore an ode to all those maritime elements I love.
Have a wonderful week!
From my heart to yours.
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The winter blues are a real thing. Many people experience a slump in their mood over the long winter season, and feel themselves breathe deeply with relief when spring finally arrives at our door. Spring intrinsically brings a sense of renewal -- new energy, a clean slate and budding opportunities. The sunlight has a different quality, the days are longer and, once the rain washes away the drab and dirt of winter, colors are saturated and the air is crisp.
It sometimes takes me a bit to truly get into the rhythm of spring, to feel lighter both in terms of my wardrobe and my mood, and to prepare myself for all that will inevitably blossom over the next months.
This spring, I am trying to exercise a “good vibes only” mindset, which can sometimes – due to our reactions to extenuating circumstances – be challenging to maintain.
I have been consciously trying to hold onto certain mantras that keep me focused on the good, while pushing out anything that - however momentarily - might bring me down.
Here are 8 'mantras' I have been prioritizing to maintain a positive mindset this spring.
1. "Do what you love"
We hear this a lot, and yet it is such a luxury to practice this when we are caught up in our busy, stressful, fast-paced routines. I feel so much better when I drop some tasks to just do something I love, like sit in the park, write, swim, sing, go for an ice cream or work on my business. Stressors tend to dissipate when you are emotionally equipped to deal with them, and emotions tend to respond well to a change of pace and environment that allows you to just be you.
2. "This doesn't work for me"
I have had the fortune of discovering and practicing this mindset over the last 10 months or so. It stems from a solid understanding of what matters to you at your core, and what only brings you anxiety because it clashes with those very values and goals. If you have an idea in mind of what you want your day or week or season to be, feel free to distance yourself from whatever (or whoever) does not fit with that feeling you want to create for yourself. As you do this more and more, you’ll soon be surrounded ONLY by the opportunities, people and tasks that you truly want for yourself. As a result, you’ll find yourself complaining a lot less about peripheral things that you have eliminated.
3. “I am destined for great things”.
I have this written on a post-it note on my desk. It helps stay optimistic but also serves as a reminder for a person to know his/her worth. When one thing doesn’t come to you, trust that something else soon will, because you deserve it.
4. "Think of what makes you smile"
This is a trick my Mom trained me on. It’s essentially a total distraction / consolation strategy, but it works in elevating your vibes to a higher level, so that good things come back to you rather than the negativity you may be putting out. It’s a fun exercise to take your bad mood and to feed it all the things you love about your life, all the faces you cherish, all your favorite places and memories, all those flattering things people have told you that have uplifted you at a moment in time. Let your mind cycle through this collection of vignettes at light-speed, and be attentive to how your face softens around the eyes and mouth!
5. "Don't judge the path"
This was an epiphany I had thanks to Alex Beadon, when we were talking about sudden and unexpected shifts in passions, careers and brands, and the feelings of guilt and pressure that are often associated with making such changes. Alex made me realize that everything we do, study, work on and create leads us somewhere, even if we can’t always draw a straight line from point A to point B. If, with the skills we acquire and the people we meet along the way, we realize that our mission has shifted, we should not judge the path that led us there, nor should we ever think something is a waste or a detour. Often, life events culminate in our current reality in messy (but beautiful) ways, and we don’t have to judge ourselves or feel affected by the judgments of others for those beautifully curving roads along the way.
6. "Use your immunity shield"
This is SO HARD if you are like me and setbacks or irritations stick to your skin for longer than you’d wish. Going back to #2, think: “Is this essential in any way?” and, if it’s not, try to keep it at bay. It helps me to visualize a sort of impenetrable white beacon around me, with me safely going on with my life with all the crap deflecting off the shield. This is eventually how you learn to float above hurdles and annoyances (admittedly, I am not there yet).
7. "Bloom at your own pace"
I recently read a quote that made me blatantly realize that nothing in nature blooms year-round, so why should we expect ourselves to be in a constant state of bloom? Comparison and competition (with others or oneself) is such a plaguing habit. It’s healthy in some ways, but so detrimental in that it can rob us of joy and mindfulness. These days, I try to appreciate everything I do, no matters its speed, reminding myself that life is not meant to be a race, and it is much more valuable when it is enjoyed. For ambitious folks (like me), this mindset feels impossible to maintain, but practicing it at least a little helps to alleviate some of the crippling pressure.
8. "I'm happy".
No matter what is going on in our lives, there are small pockets of momentary bliss where we feel okay - whether it’s a moment bracketed by laughter during an evening with friends, or the tranquility brought on by a sip of wine, or sunshine on your face, or gratitude for a bus you happened to catch. In those micromoments of happiness, however fleeting, I consciously tell my brain, “I’m happy”. It sounds silly, but relief, optimism and gratitude follow – all of which are feelings that attract more good things.
Tell me: Can you relate to any of these?
Leave a comment to connect – I would love to hear from you.
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One of my favorite aspects about Veni Etiam Photography is that there is SO much to choose from in the collection. My mission is to offer something for everyone - every style, mood, memory or dream. Whether you've been to a place and miss it, or whether it's a dream you're holding onto, I love it when these snapshots of places speak to you in a certain way.
Recently, a customer asked me whether I had more Portugal images than the ones already in my collection. I promised to send her some more options upon my return. This led to a fun exercise of sifting through photographs of Portugal that I had initially overlooked.
I love rediscoveries as much as I love custom requests! They always surprise me and make me nostalgic of places and moments I have loved.
These Portugal scenes have now been added to my international fine-art collection, and are available both in my shop and on Etsy.
From my heart to yours!
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This spring in Montreal, you can find me at 3 exciting events, all free admission!
On the weekend of April 22-23, the Etsy Montreal market promises to be another huge event. This is our biggest event yet, with over a hundred local creators under one roof. For event details and to RSVP, please check out the Facebook page.
On April 29th, I'll be exhibiting my collection at the gorgeous West Elm store in Montreal for the first time. I'm super excited because I adore the store and I'm eager to see whether the loyal West Elm clientele will feel inspired by my work. Let me know you're coming to support me!
On the weekend of May 13-14, I'll be participating in a wonderful agricultural initiative organized by On Sème (literally, "we sow" but phonologically also "we love each other"), where you'll find everything you need for your garden this year, along with a bunch of local artists to make your Mother's day weekend joyful and memorable. My food photography and floral prints and magnets will be making their debut for the event (perfect for your kitchen or garden decor!) but I'll also have some of your favorites from my Canadian and International collections. More info can be found on the event Facebook page.
If you're not in/around Montreal, you can still always keep in touch with me by subscribing to my VIP list, and by shopping online or on Etsy. I ship worldwide, and always with love!
A new week is upon us, and spring is (finally) in the air! Since I didn't share my weekly photo-inspiration with you last Monday, you're in for double the photos today.
This week's theme: Open and shut.
Doors and windows often catch my eye, not only for their colors and textures, but also the position of their shutters. The photographs below follow a similar color palette, even though they were taken in different cities, over a long period of time.
Have a wonderful week!
From my heart to yours.
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Thanks for stopping by! #OnTheBlog are the stories behind my prints, posts about my travels, glimpses into my daily life, news about my shop, events in the Montreal community and tips on travel, home and photography.
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