Category Archives: Inspiration

Choices, Regrets & What If’s


I often wonder to myself how the decisions I make each day affect my future.

I also often wonder how the decisions my friends & family make affect me- yesterday, today, tomorrow, and every day that follows.

Sometimes, I see the way my life is playing out and I try to rewind and figure out which past moment has led to the present one I am facing. If I had decided to go straight to University after College, would I have pursued a degree that I didn’t believe in? Or would I have eventually found my way and be currently nearing my graduation? Had I not taken two years off, I could be free from classes and homework, free to follow a career path and to stop wondering how to live my life around my priorities.


If I hadn’t taken two years off school, would I be the me of today? Maybe, although I still don’t quite see it, I discovered a part of me in that time off that allowed me to become the person writing this post. It was in my time off school that I learned independence; I traveled without family for the first time, I overcame my terrible nervousness around strangers & began writing for a magazine, interviewing musicians from around the world. Maybe these opportunities would have passed me by, had I stayed in school. I’ll never know.

That’s the thing about regrets. Having them means believing that choosing the different path would have led you down the better road. Is that really the truth, though? From time to time, I begin to regret certain decisions I have made (like taking time off school, which I now pay for, or sillier things like not giving certain guys a chance instead of just flat out saying no). I hate the idea of regrets, but I’m human and I have them. I know that my choices in life define the person I become, but why is it that this current person that I am regrets decisions that led to arriving to this place? Shouldn’t all parts of me agree with my choices?

I believe that to a certain extent, I am a product of my environment. And yet every day I find that I am fighting my surroundings in order to discover my true self. I don’t want to follow trends, do something with my life because it SEEMS right, or say yes to someone because society dictates that I’m supposed to. I want to continue making decisions that feel intuitively right in that moment and I want to continue looking back and learning from the choices that didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. Or maybe they did. I’ll never know.

So today, I’m taking a step back from my choices, my regrets and my what if’s.

I want to take a breath, and accept that the decisions of my past will stick with me until I’m no longer here, and regardless of whether I am okay or not with that, it is the truth. So I want to BE okay with them. I may not understand why I don’t agree with some of my past choices, but I truly, sincerely, and honestly believe that I made them in that moment for the benefit of me today, tomorrow, and every other day that comes after.

This applies to every part of my life; whether it’s taking too long to forgive someone, not saying the right words to a loved one when the time was right, choosing my freedom for a little while over a more responsible choice, or even saying no when later I wish I’d meant yes.

I am okay about having what if’s in my life. It might mean that I have more opportunity to regret, but it means I have more space to learn and to grow as a person. And tomorrow when I wake up, I WILL be better for it.



Inspiration from around the world


Last week I wrote a post called “If you don’t succeed, try & try again” because I was feeling kind of hopeless about figuring out what I’m supposed to be doing in my life. The great thing about blogging stories about my successes and my failures is that I am always sincerely amazed at the responses I get. I say this all the time, but I do try more than anything to write for ME; I am just so grateful when YOU take the time to write a comment of understanding.

Because in the end, we’re all endlessly looking for the THING we are meant to do. 

As much as I am happy with my life right now, I am always yearning for something more. On the day that I wrote that post, I had worried myself into believing that wanting more meant I was unhappy. I was reminded thirteen times that wasn’t the case.

I love all the comments I receive. I really do. But sometimes, I’ll receive a particular one that really sticks with me. I often try to reply to comments on my blog, but every once in a while I like to send out e-mail responses. It’s more than just letting new readers know that I love having them around; I love sending out those e-mails because it means making a longer lasting connection with someone who took the time to reach out to me when I was doubting myself.

Today, I want to share a comment that I received on that post that turned into a series of e-mails and, I think, a new (long distance) friendship.


Here’s the comment: 

Hey Melissa,

I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now and even if it’s not that much and that we only read and learn about what you agree to share with us, I can tell this one thing, you’re worth it. Otherwise, why would people come and visit your page again and again? I can tell I’m inspired by your life goals, the life lessons you sometimes talk about here and I also can feel how passionate about some topics you are.

I don’t blame you for doubting, I’m a 23 years old girl dreading the same things as you do, sharing the same dreams and obsessions as you do (Harry Potter forever^^). I’ll just tell you this, you go girl, the world is waiting for you.

(Sorry if there are any English mistakes… I’m French)

Yep, even in Paris you’re famous ;)


Here is part of the e-mail I sent her soon after receiving the above comment: 

I don’t always send out e-mails to people who comment on my posts, but I just HAD to after reading yours today. I had literally just had (another) bad morning even though I was trying so hard to have a really great day, and I was really beginning to get frustrated with the whole world. And literally as soon as I’m about to call it a day and just give up until tomorrow, I get your comment. I’m not even sure I can explain to you how much I smiled! I’m so glad you’ve been reading and following along on my blog, especially all the way from Paris- how cool!! 

I’ve always said that I write just for myself, but sometimes I get comments like yours that just make it all worthwhile on the days that feel extra crappy. So I just wanted to send you a quick e-mail to say THANK YOU for totally making me smile today! I really needed it 🙂

I wasn’t even expecting a reply back to my e-mail. I just wanted to let her know that I sincerely appreciated her taking a second to leave me a comment. Instead, I received a response detailing the reasons she loves reading my blog.

And to top it all off? In her own words, “a photo of Paris taken two days ago, to give you a little inspiration back“.

I love the photo. It’s a picture that one of her friends spontaneously captured. It’s no secret around here that I love to travel and I love seeing pieces of the world. There is no way that I would keep such a pretty picture all to myself; I want to share her friend’s image in the hopes of sending everyone else a little inspiration from another part of the world.

You can check out Alice’s gorgeous work on her website Alice’s Wonderland, too!

It may have only been a couple e-mails and a photo from across the ocean, but Iwas definitely re-inspired, not to mention reminded that the world isn’t as terrible and hopeless as it sometimes seems. There’s a reason I’m always dreaming of bigger and better things!

Have you ever received a comment, e-mail or even a photo from someone that inspired you or made you smile?

If you don’t succeed, try & try again.


I think one of the reasons I’m constantly doubting myself is because I feel like I’m always trying too hard. Some people have the ability to be amazing at anything they set their mind to, and yet when I pour my heart & soul into something I don’t often get the results I’d hoped for.

And so, I’m constantly doubting myself. 

I’ve applied for so many internship positions over the last couple years; so many writing gigs, promotions internships, and other various random little things that I’ve found. I’ve so rarely gotten the jobs I set my sights on, it often makes me wonder if my talent is all in my head. How do you convey to someone that you KNOW you’re right for the job, even though you don’t have all the experience of someone who’s 10 years older?

I’m a very passionate person. 

Sometimes, I wonder if this is my biggest downfall. When I decide that there is something I want to do, I put so MUCH into trying to achieve it. So why do I so rarely succeed?

These are the kinds of things I worry about for the future. When I’m done school, will anyone be willing to take a chance on me? The jobs that I have in mind aren’t the most ridiculous, high-end, or high-paying jobs out there. But they still require skill and ability. I know I can do it, but what if no one else believes in me? What if they believe in someone else more?

I often feel like everything I’m doing is for nothing. 

I’m putting all this time, money, effort and attention into school and into jobs that don’t pay, but what if that just isn’t enough? Is there something else I need to be doing? The future is so uncertain, and that’s scary. I want to have opportunities. I want to make enough money to be financially stable; to move out, travel, be independent from family & to be able to start my OWN family.

One day, I hope I find at least SOME thing that makes my uncertainties less uncertain. I hope someone takes a chance on me. Even if it’s in a place that’s not *exactly* what I want- if I can even start getting closer towards one of my goals, I’ll feel like I’ve got a fighting chance in the world.

I’m not done trying yet, though. 

I’ve learned that I love getting out of my comfort zone. I try and try again, because I still feel like somewhere down the line, it will mean success. Someone WILL notice that I’m right for what I want to do. The things I’m working on today that I don’t necessarily love? They’ll pay off later on and I’ll be able to wake up every single morning happy.

I still have hope, and because of it, I’ll keep trying to be who I want to be. 

The Art of Scrapbooking


It seems like I’m rarely writing about all the goals I have to complete this year, and yet my 101 in 1,001 and 23 Before 23 are patiently waiting to have numbers crossed off. Today’s post is about #13 on the 23 Before 23 and #17 on the 101 in 1,001! 2 in 1, woo hoo!

While I was in Greece in August (yes, I am bringing up this vacation again!) I had the idea that I wanted to teach myself to scrapbook. I realize *teach* is a bit of a strong word, but I am seriously crafty-handicapped. I’ve never been great at it, but the idea of having a place where I could store photos & memorabilia that I collected along the way sounded enchanting.

The week I got home, I was at the craft store buying supplies. I found my scrapbook and a bunch of cute things to put in it all on the same day- we’re talking like early September. And then I proceeded to basically completely forget about my project. Well actually, that’s not really true. I needed to get my pictures printed, and with almost 1,500 photos to sort through I needed to find the time to do it. This is what I ended up printing:

Yes, that is two BOXES full. Pretty sure I printed about 500 photos! 

Finally, about two weeks ago, I decided to sit myself down and try to start my scrapbook. It’s been about 6 months that I’m home & I was already home from ANOTHER vacation after that one so I wasn’t really in the mood to do it… But you guys? I ended up LOVING it. I’d like to think my scrapbook turned out relatively well- it’s not done yet, I still have 4 pages to complete, but other than that? I sat down over the course of one weekend and I was un-stoppable!

I’m so proud of my new-found craftiness, I really wanted to share my handiwork. So without further ado, the scrapbook of a non-crafty person (not so bad, right?!)

… Sorry about the image quality, my iPhone wasn’t quite up to the task, it seems! 

I tried as much as possible not to ruin the beauty of the photos by cutting out too much of the view in the background, because that is such a big part of Greece. I think I did a decent job of preserving the beauty in the photos, and the ones that I didn’t was simply because I wanted the picture in there for fun. I added in a few little fun things I collected on the different islands I visited, which I thought gave it a sweet personal touch.

All in all, I’m really happy I gave scrapbooking a shot & I can’t wait to finish it up once I’m out of finals! It was such a lovely way to bring back tons of happy memories and become nostalgic once again for a time in my life that I absolutely adored. I still have a MILLION pictures leftover and I can’t wait to organize them and set them up in a photo album to look at any time I want to visit the vacation of my dreams!

Have you ever taken on a hobby that you didn’t think you’d enjoy? What kind of crafty things do you like to do?

Currently… [& A Self Portrait Challenge]


I’ve done the “currently” post a couple times before, but today it’s going to be a little bit different! I’m linking up with The Paper Mama for her Self Photo Challenge, and you can too 🙂

The idea behind this post before anything, is to feature a self-portrait and *take a stand* if you will against those negative comments that sometimes pop up on our blogs or other various social media outlets. I find it completely ridiculous that people spend their time leaving rude comments on peoples’ photos, and I love this challenge because it allows bloggers to put in their two cents on the subject.

I’ve been lucky enough to never get a really awful comment before, but it still really upsets me when I hear of other people who do. The internet *is* a free space, but that doesn’t mean you should go out of your way to be cruel towards others because of it. Plus, I am still a twenty-something girl learning how to be confident in myself. I know it’s just the internet, but I imagine my feelings would be hurt, even if I tried really hard not to let them be.

My self portrait:


Obsessing over: Vegetarian meals, getting into shape, my Kindle, planning for vacations, writing, Sex and the City re-runs

Working on: Well I’m *trying* to work on studying for my upcoming midterms! I have so much reading to do, but I have yet to get started. Right after I finish this, I swear!

Thinking about: What a great big procrastinator I am, also how I need to finish my application for Stratejoy so that I have time to review it, review it again, and review it one last time!

Anticipating: My trip to Florida- I leave in like 10 DAYS!

Listening to: Turn Me On by David Guetta (featuring Nicki Minaj)… This song is crazy addictive!

Eating: Strangely, nothing… Although I’m getting really hungry & craving some comfort food and an episode of Sex and the City. I know SATC has nothing to do with eating, I just really wanted to share.

Wishing: That I had just a little bit more money to get by and finish paying my bills! That’s enough debt, already. It’s just an extra stress in my life that I really wish I didn’t have to deal with.

What are you up to today? What’s your take on the negative-comments situation? Did you link up with Paper Mama? I wanna see! 

Lessons From a Newbie Vegetarian


Two weeks ago I wrote about my experience as a vegetarian for one week and said that I had a post about the lessons I learned on the way. Well, it’s a little bit late- but better late than never, right?!

As of today, I’ve cut meat out of my diet drastically. It was never part of my plan, to be honest, but right now I’m much happier this way! I eat fish once or twice a week & I’ve had chicken twice since January 15th. I tried beef last week and that didn’t go so well with my stomach, so for right now I’m not including it in my eating habits.

In my three weeks of vegetarianism and semi-vegetarianism I’ve learned a TON of things that I thought I’d share for people who are thinking about trying it out but aren’t sure if it’s their thing. I’d like to just say that I didn’t think it would be my thing, either (AT ALL) but I’m all about trying new lifestyles and habits, and I surprise myself all the time with what I do end up loving!

Lesson Number One

Via the web

Since going vegetarian, I’ve tried to order all-vegetarian meals when I go out for dinner or when I’m out and want to grab a bite to eat. I had NO idea how difficult this part would be until I was in my week of no meat whatsoever. I went to a restaurant with some friends that is famous for their ribs (I mean, I realize as a vegetarian this isn’t the best choice, but vegetarians have meat-eating friends who like going to nice restaurants, right?) I couldn’t believe when I opened my menu that I had only TWO choices.

My first choice was a pasta dish, and I wasn’t even in the mood for pasta. My second was a vegetable sandwich but it was pre-dressed in balsamic vinegar, which is basically my least favorite thing to eat on this entire planet. Obviously I ate the pasta but I don’t think I’ve disliked a plate of food more when I went out to eat. Had I been eating like all of my friends, it would have been the LAST thing on the menu I would have chosen. 

I’ve run into this problem many times since that first occasion. I went to a Tim Horton’s last week for a quick bite to eat while I waited in line for a concert and was surprised to see that I had no options whatsoever. I was stuck in line in a tiny cramped room and didn’t want to order egg salad. I realize that Tim Horton’s isn’t a place that’s known for having a wide selection of meals, but imagine if they offered even ONE extra vegetarian option, they’d be offering an entire category of people something worth stopping in for. I ended up ordering a chicken wrap hoping it would be loaded with tomato and salad and whatnot, but it was literally about 8 strips of chicken and one thin strip of lettuce. My satisfaction was WAY BELOW average, and this is coming from someone who goes to Tim Horton’s about 4 times a week for various other items on their menu.

Vegetarians, have you ever run into this problem while you’re at a restaurant with friends? I think that whether the place you’re at is better known for a meat dish or not, they should still offer a few non-meat selections. Just because I’m a vegetarian does NOT mean all my friends are too!

Lesson Number Two

Fresh salad made by me & my sister-in-law

Since I’m still completely new at this, I have no idea how to go about telling all my friends and family that I don’t really eat meat anymore- especially red meat. At the end of my very first week of full vegetarianism, I went to a family function and only realized the DAY OF (since I was a newbie and all) that I probably wouldn’t be able to eat anything they were going to be serving. I’m not very close to these particular people and I didn’t want to call them up hours before heading over to let them know that a) I probably couldn’t eat their food or b) offend them and bring my own… So I just sucked it up and ate a small piece of chicken and made up for it by not eating meat for a few days after that.

All this to say, it is REALLY difficult as a vegetarian to feel like you’re not inconveniencing someone. I mean, who wants to be the person who goes to a friends’ house and tells them they can’t eat most of what they made for you? It’s kind of awkward and embarrassing, or maybe that’s just me. I mean, I don’t see why I should compromise my personal eating habits just to make someone else happy, but then again I don’t want to be that person who’s heating my own personal food in a friends’ microwave. 

I’m an incredibly introverted person when it comes to speaking my mind about things like this. If it was a really good friend I’m sure they’d understand, and I know that if someone came to my house and told ME they couldn’t eat my food I wouldn’t be offended- but is that just because I understand their point of view?

How do you go out in public with an entirely different eating habit from everyone else with offending anyone? I still haven’t grasped what is considered *polite* in the vegetarian world to tell people when you can’t eat what they’ve made for you. Any tips or tricks out there?

Lesson Number Three

Vegetarian Chili, made by me & my SIL! (and still cooking in a crock pot) 

Ever since becoming a more goal oriented person, I’ve never been very vocal about them to friends and family. I mean, I write about them all the time but it always felt weirder to talk about it in real life. This year I really wanted to change that, so I’m making a conscious effort to BE VOCAL about my goals.

I think this was one of the most important things for becoming a vegetarian, but I’m obviously still learning from this one. Most of my close family and friends know that I’m a vegetarian & my Project 365 on Facebook has allowed anyone who looks at the pictures to know about it too. I feel like this has helped me keep up my new lifestyle a LOT- I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people who ask me how it’s going, how I feel, how long I’ve been doing it, and basically just encouraging me along the way. 

I love feeling like I’m not in it alone and I can get tips from people around me. My sister-in-law has helped me enormously by cooking with me and my friends have been really supportive about it too. If I was doing this thing alone I’m not sure I would have necessarily kept going- it’s nice to know that your efforts don’t go unnoticed! 

Lesson Number Four

As the days go by, I’ve realized how important it is to do this type of thing for ME- no one else. I’ve had so many people ask me if I’m dating someone or question the motives I have behind going vegetarian and eating healthier… The answer is quite simple. I’m doing it for myself. I want to feel better, eat better and not feel guilty when I go to sleep about the kinds of food I eat. I’m not doing it because of a number on the scale or because I don’t like the way I look. 

I’m growing up and realizing that I just want to do things for myself to be happy. I want to be happy for ME, not because I’m dating someone or because I’m necessarily looking to. If those things come along because I’m taking better care of myself? Great! But the more I cut things out of my diet, the more I realize it’s important to continue to make myself happy. 

That’s also why if I’m craving something in particular (like chicken soup, for example) then I eat it. I’m not going to deny myself something for no reason at all, I just don’t want to overdo it. I’m learning to eat for my own personal happiness, and right now that includes a diet with a LOT less meat. 


I was never expecting to learn things from becoming a vegetarian, but I think that with any lifestyle change these things just naturally happen. I’m by NO means a pro at cutting something out of my diet, it’s still something I’m working to improve in my OWN life. But honestly? I 100% recommend that you give it a try. If you don’t want to try cutting meat out of your diet, try something else! But don’t forget that you make your own rules and you create your own happiness in the situation. Do it for YOU and see if you notice any changes in yourself along the way! 

If you’re a vegetarian, what are important lessons you’ve learned along the way? If you’re not, have you ever cut something big out of your diet? Why? 


Sunday Inspiration & Links v.7


I’ve been debating whether I wanted to keep this weekly feature or not for a few weeks now. Since my Post A Day 2011 challenge is over, I can freely take weekends off my blogging schedule (yay!) but I think every once in a while I may bring this back and share some of my internet favorites.


– In 2011 I signed up to do the Global Reading Challenge and almost completed it. I was just missing ONE book I think, but got so carried away with life that I totally forgot to actually read it (it’s on my shelf!)

I was so happy to see that the challenge came back this year because I had a ton of fun discovering books from around the world in 2011.

So I will of course be giving it another shot and trying to complete it this year. Not just for the sake of crossing it off my 101 (because I said I’d complete it and did not) but because it’s a LOT of fun to do. I’m still going to stick with the Easy Challenge because it was hard enough for me to do the first time around.

You can also sign up HERE. Let me know if you do! 🙂

The Urban Jungle Workout. Love this, and totally do-able from home!

The Traveling Red Dress. Such a great (old) blog post by The Bloggess. Just started following her, and she is seriously awesome.

– Are you following the 12 Changes official blog yet? You should be!

– I’m still using my Tumblr really often, are we following each other?

– Am I the only one who finds this picture REALLY cute?!

– Speaking of pictures, this might be one of the most original ones I’ve ever seen. This is the source, if you want to see more from that picture project!

– I am in love with this song, and the video for it is AWESOME:

Happy Sunday!