♡ My purpose in life is to honor stories through photos so that couples have a return ticket to the way things used to be ♡

It’s crazy how much having purpose in life can improve your happiness. Two years ago I finally discovered WHY I do what I do. It has helped create so much clarity in my life.

Ask yourself. What’s your purpose in this life? WHY do you feel a pull towards it? It will definitely take some digging, but it’ll be soooo worth it. This I promise you! Go after it!! Push fear + procrastination out of the way and just do it!!

Here are some TED X talks that may help you find your purpose! >> TED X Talks

ty @katiedonnelly_ for this photo!!

IMG_20160608_113907

Follow me on Instagram for bonus posts! –> @saramonikaphoto

Follow me on Snapchat for a behind the scenes peek into my personal + work life! > saramonikaphoto

Toronto Documentary Wedding + Portrait Photographer for Free-Spirited, Bohemian & Adventurous Couples – GTA, Algonquin, Muskoka, Toronto, Vancouver, Paris, Alberta, Guelph, Cambridge, Worldwide, International, Destination

SHARE TO:

comments

I randomly had the thought of donating $10 to a charity of my choice. But then I paused and thought, there is more power in numbers, in community. So I decided to write this short blog post to hopefully inspire some others to do the same today. How cool of a chain reaction would it be if everyone who read this blog post donated $10 to a charity of their choice and then shared this with just 1 friend + they donated too! Surely we would make some kind of positive impact on the world today!

Today I donated $10 to Women for Women International. It is an organization that helped nearly 429,000 marginalized women in countries affected by war and conflict. They directly work with women in 8 countries offering support, tools, and access to life-changing skills to move from crisis and poverty to stability and economic self-sufficiency.

I’m passionate about this topic because I cant even imagine the challenges these women are facing when they are affected by war & conflict. I feel SO blessed with the life I have. I get to make a living doing what I love, I live in a safe community, have a spacious home to live in, and I even have the opportunity to CHOOSE what I eat. Partially why I’m working so hard at a young age to create a successful business is so that I can grow it to a point where I’m able to use 10% of my annual income to help the world in some way. I strongly feel it will be something along the lines of helping empower women who have a low quality of life or are dealing with feeling like they are a slave to something or someone.

If you’re not quite sure which charity you would like to donate to, I asked my Facebook friends “What charity are you passionate about?” and I got a bunch of great recommendations that are close to the hearts of friends and even some of my clients! Click on one below that speaks to you and take 5 minutes out of your day to make a positive impact on the world by donating $5:

Don’t forget to comment on the blog post below to share who you chose to donate to! <3

A21 – We are a non-profit organization who believes that together, we can end human trafficking.

Sick Kids – As innovators in child health, SickKids improves the health of children by integrating care, research and teaching.

Earthsave Canada – Earthsave Canada is a non-profit educational organization promoting awareness of the environmental, ethical and health consequences of our food choices. We advocate moving towards a plant-based diet for environmental sustainability.

The p.i.n.e. Project , “Be more. Need less”  –  The p.i.n.e. project’s mission is to build healthy communities deeply connected to the natural environment.

ALS Double Play (On behalf of Christopher Chiu)- Our mission is to be a connection for people living with ALS. Through their stories, we raise awareness, connecting communities to support the search for a cure.

The Kelly Shire Breast Cancer Foundation – The Snow Run for Fun Trust was established to help women who have been recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer. There are many unforeseen expenses you may face, and which your health insurance program may not cover. We provide assistance to women in these situations in order to make their fight with cancer a little less challenging.

Heart & Stroke Foundation – Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. Together we will make it happen.

Aga Khan Foundation Canada – For more than 30 years, AKFC has worked with Canada and Canadians to sustainably improve the quality of life of poor, marginalized communities in Asia and Africa.

Great charities to donate to

Follow me on Instagram for bonus posts! –> @saramonikaphoto

Toronto Documentary Wedding Photographer for Free-Spirited, Bohemian & Adventurous Couples – GTA, Algonquin, Muskoka, Toronto, Vancouver, Alberta, Worldwide, International, Destination

Don’t forget to comment on the blog post below to share who you chose to donate to! <3

SHARE TO:

comments

I believe that the things you own end up owning you. We live in a society that is run by consumerism. We constantly want more stuff, just cuz we do. We were programmed that way.

I used to be more out of control with my spending habits, but I’ve learned how to stay more (still not fully cured) in control by realizing that the things I want, won’t actually bring me happiness in the long run. They will only give me a temporary high.

I love the fact that my family + I have stopped exchanging gifts for Christmas 3 years ago. It’s such a relief to avoid all the shopping malls. We can actually relax during the holidays, have more time for ourselves + spend it with each other. After all, we do pay for all these things with our time…not really our money. Less money = less time for the things that really matter = living a stressed, money driven, unfulfilled life. The only gifts I was wrapping this year {with a lot of love + excitement} were client orders + a practical gift for Rory!

So instead of getting swept up in purchasing material goods, lets fast from the endless consumerism of our society + readjust our focus towards caring about people rather than things.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Follow me on Instagram for bonus posts! –> @saramonikaphoto

Toronto Documentary Wedding Photographer for Free-Spirited, Bohemian & Adventurous Couples – GTA, Toronto, Guelph, Vancouver, Alberta, Worldwide, International, Destination

SHARE TO:

comments

Life. It can get crazy. Hectic. Feels busy, but yet unproductive. Wondering where the day has gone, and why nothing was done. Recently I started to notice that I felt like I never had time to do the things I wanted AND the things that had to get done. It ended up being one or the other. I thought to myself, “surely there is a way to be more organized and therefore have more balance in my life!”.

I started to research planners online. Looking for the best option. I realized that I wanted to something tailored+ specific, but couldn’t find it anywhere. So I ended up YouToubing DIY planners. + got inspired. Once I got inspired, I Pinterested the shit out of Pinterest lol. Scouring Pinterest for free planner printables for different topics such as weekly planning, monthly calendar printouts, yearly goals, monthly goals, habit tracker, password printable, weekly meal planner, blog post planner printable and more. I felt overwhelmed at first to try and figure out which ones would suit me best + how I would even organize my binder, but just like any task, once you get it started, you figure things out along the way!

I’m so excited to share with you what I ended up with thus far. Even though I’m only using 6 printables, OMG MY LIFE HAS BECOME SO MUCH MORE CLEAR AND BALANCED! I’m actually achieving the goals I want to achieve + my mind feels less cloudy since I have everything written down now in an organized fashion. My brain can be free! 🙂

free 2016 calendar printables

I love starting off my planner binder with my month at a glance. It helps me visualize all the major dates I need to remember. And each month has a colourful cute design to energize me!

You can find this FREE 2016 Calendar printable here.

free 2016 calendar printables

Processed with VSCO

THIS. I’m obsessed with this Weekly Planner Printable! This is the only one that wasn’t free, but after A TON of research, I decided that this one was perfect for my needs!! I love that I can draw a line straight through the days of the week. The left side is strictly for my business + the right for my personal life. Also, having a spot to fill in the Top 5 Goals for the week is HUGE! It helps me focus on them and achieve them, because you know…..not being able to put a check mark down by a goal isn’t the greatest feeling. The last fave thing about this print out is the habits section! I can write down 5 habits I want to focus on that week ( I like to write Eat Healthy – 5 days, Yoga/Weights – 5 days, Read 30 mins/day, Cook – 2 days, and Floss – 4 days…yes I hate flossing and have to force myself to do it). Then I have spaces where I can check mark the days I did end up going through with the good habit I want to form! This has helped me sooo much to stay on track with the lifestyle I want.

You can find this printable on Etsy for just about $8 CAD HERE

Processed with VSCO

Processed with VSCOBreaking down my goals is super important to me. I have overall monthly goals that I focus on, and then I break them down into tasks weekly. The planner printable on the left is great for an overview of your month to come but with room to write in more detail.

You can find the free Monthly Planner Printables here (just click on each one and you have to download them separately)

The printable on the right helps me stay on track with my night routine before bed, and my morning routine so that I stay balanced + well rested. Sometimes it’s easy to just stay up watching TV late, or start your day off doing the easiest things 1st. I find doing the hardest thing 1st when I start my day gets rid of my procrastination and everything I want to get done gets done that day. It’s great to have this sheet to refer to as a reminder. I just have everything written out and use it for each month. I don’t checkmark things. Just use it as a reminder and to stay on track 🙂

You can find the free Morning Routine Printable here

Processed with VSCO

Life is less stressful when you have a designated area to write down all your passwords so you don’t forget!

Get your free Passwords Printable here.

Processed with VSCO

Oh meal planning..I’m just starting this journey of becoming more of a woman + starting to cook. At first it was so overwhelming. Such a noob.. lol But every time I tried to cook a new recipe, I realized I was just creating drama in my head, because it wasn’t all that hard! I realized what would help me be successful with making sure I cooked and ate from home (to save money + eat healthy) was being organized and planning what I was going to cook ahead of time. This printable is so simply laid out I love it! An even better idea…Print it out, stick it in a picture frame, hang it in the kitchen, use a dry erase marker and BAM. It’s always out in the open reminding you + motivating you that you want to cook from home so you can save money + eat healthy. I haven’t hung mine up yet since we are renovating but I’m sooo excited to do so. It looks so cute + it comes in a couple different colours!

To get your free Weekly Meal Planner Printable click here

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Follow me on Instagram for bonus posts! –> @saramonikaphoto

Toronto Documentary Wedding Photographer for Free-Spirited, Bohemian & Adventurous Couples – GTA, Toronto, Guelph, Vancouver, Alberta, Worldwide, International, Destination

This past September I took a trip to Newfoundland with my good friends Kristen + Siya of Hopscotch the Globe! I have to say, Newfoundland definitely surprised me! I definitely expected the charming colourful homes in St.John’s (since I’ve experienced them in Halifax before), but I did not expect how mountainous it could be! For some reason I thought it would be more flat inland. Just as expected, the people (the Newfoundlanders) were sooo down to earth and friendly. Definitely my type of crowd! Wanna know what you can do when/if you travel to Newfoundland? Read below for the Top 5 Things to do in Newfoundland (in my opinion). Plus when you scroll down you can see all the travel pics!

P.S. When you are done looking through the photos, scroll back up and view this AMAZING video Kristen + Siya put together of our trip! Newfoundland Roadtrip Video + a Behind the Scenes Video

1. Twine Loft Restaurant & Inn in Trinity

  • the quaint town of Trinity has a population of 39. YUP! 39!! lol It was sooo adorable! They even had their own little theater, chocolate shop.
  • stayed in a house overlooking the Bay. I felt like I was living in a storybook. In the photo above is the back porch of this home we stayed in!
  • the mother + daughter innkeepers were one of the most generous and kindhearted people I have met (Tineke+ Marieke)
  • the restaurant served dishes made with the freshest ingredients (cod from the ocean caught that day and blueberries picked from the hilltop around the corner)

Twine-Loft-Trinity-Newfoundland

 

2. Picking berries off the side of the road!

  • Newfoundland is filled with random berry bushes everywhere that anyone could pick from (they arn’t anyone’s property)!
  • I felt like such a forager eating straight from the land. What a great way to connect with mother nature while snacking on something healthy!
  • We mainly picked blueberries and partridge berries and OMG they tasted so fresh. We even got to make a pie with them + eat it at Twine Loft Restaurant in Trinity.

Berry-Picking-Newfoundland

3. Hike the Skerwink Trail

  • A 5km hike along the coast of Trinity Harbour.
  • Along the way there were beautiful changes of landscapes. We went past ponds, forests with moss hanging off the trees, reached cliff edges, ate some berries on the way, and even came upon a beach that was part of Trinity Harbour! I could easily say, it was one my my favorite hikes I’ve ever done!
  • You can get more info about the Skerwink Trail HERE

Sherwink-Trail-Newfoundland

 

4. Visit the Fjords – Bon Tours

  • We took a boat tour to see the beautiful Fjords. Again, I was shocked. I did not expect this of Newfoundland! The picture can speak for itself 🙂
  • When we parked to get to the tour, we actually had to hike about 30-45 minutes to get there through a beautiful landscape. What a great way to start off a day!

Fjords-Newfoundland

5. Rugged Beauty Boat Tour

  • The amazing story teller Captain Bruce Miller took us out for a 2 hour boat ride visiting the resettled communities of Kerley’s Harbour, Ireland’s Eye & British Harbour.
  • His stories were so impactful because they were of his family history and how his parents and grandparents were forced to move away from the place they new as home.
  • During the tour, he would get close to a new area along the coast, tell us a story about the area, and show us old photos of how people used to live there. How it was bursting with homes and life. Then when we looked up, it was just barren land. Everything gone.
  • I really loved this tour since I’m a sentimental girl at heart and it was thought provoking which I really enjoy.
  • It made me think about how beautiful the simple life was for those people, and I wondered, were they happy after they were forced to move to the city or did they miss their homeland? Hmm, can something be learned from this? Take the time to live a simpler life maybe? (These were just thoughts that were running through my mind).Rugged-Beauty-Boat-Tours-1Rugged-Beauty-Boat-Tours-2

BONUS – 6. Roadtrip around 

  • Don’t forget to take the time to stop and appreciate the ever-changing unique landscapes
  • We must have said “WOW” a bagillion times lol
  • The photo below is just from pulling over on the Trans Canada Hwy

Newfoundland-019

Now enjoy some more photos from our antics on the trip below!

St.John's-Newfoundland-006

The colourful houses in St.John’s Newfoundland <3

St.John's-Newfoundland-005

Cape-Spear-Newfoundland

The most eastern point in North America! Cape Spear!Cape-Spear-Newfoundland-1Newfoundland-022

Kristen + Siya, which are a husband + wife travel vlogger team doing their thang! Follow them HERE. One of the most free-spirited, energetic couples I know! They are so inspiring and I’m so thankful I have them in my life <3

Newfoundland-015Newfoundland-018Trinity-BayRugged-Boat-ToursNewfoundland-030

About to go on the Rugged Beauty Boat TourRugged-Boat-Tours-2Rugged-Boat-Tours-03Rugged-Boat-Tours-04Newfoundland-099Newfoundland-100Newfoundland-101Newfoundland-103Skerwink-Trail-01Skerwink-Trail-NewfoundlandSkerwink-Trail-06Skerwink-Trail-04Newfoundland-210Newfoundland-RoadtripNewfoundland-201

D ‘awwww <3Newfoundland-205

Gotta have some Screech when in Newfoundland. Oh, and we got screeched in! =)Newfoundland-214Newfoundland-247

Off to see the Fjords! (This was the hike to the Bon Tour)Newfoundland-254Newfoundland-255Newfoundland-250Fjords-Newfoundland-224Fjords-Newfoundland-225Newfoundland-279Newfoundland-271

 

Follow me on Instagram for bonus posts! –> @saramonikaphoto

Toronto Documentary Wedding Photographer for Free-Spirited, Bohemian & Adventurous Couples – GTA, Toronto, Guelph, Vancouver, Alberta, Worldwide, International, Destination

SHARE TO:

comments

@saramonikaphoto

FOLLOW ALONG ON INSTAGRAM