Archive | Inspiration RSS feed for this section

Toronto Wins!

2 May

Raptors win, Raptors win!ChawqHOXEAAPhTM

The joy that Torontonians felt last night, after the Raptors beat the Pacers in Game 7, cannot be put into words. Rather, screams, cheers, and even tears, can help paint a more accurate picture of what took place in my living room, Jurassic Park, and the Air Canada Centre.

It was a great week to be a Torontonian: Drake released his highly anticipated album, Views (which was well worth the wait), the Maple Leafs won the 1st overall pick in the NHL draft lottery (I’m not a hockey fan, but this is a win), and the Jays beat the Rays.

To say that the vibe in Toronto was epic is an understatement. There’s something to be said about when a city comes together in the name of sport. My dad always told me, sport mirrors life, and I couldn’t agree more! The camaraderie and friendships that form between fans is so much fun. I can tell you, I have a little  Raptors Twitter family who I engage with during games, and while we might not be at the ACC, we are certainly enjoying the game through a different perspective.

Toronto pride!

Merzybean

Hello from the other side

15 Apr

Hello, blogosphere!

It has, once again, been a while. I just wanted to post a little something to let you all know that I am still here. Here are a few disjointed thoughts that I want to get off my chest, and out of my head! Let’s call it a little bit of Friday inspiration.

  • We are not defined by that which challenges us, rather by how we surpass said challenges.
  • Pain is relative; my bad day does not have to measure up to someone else’s (and vice versa).
  • There is something so beautiful in human kindness. Truly.
  • You do you.
  • The human experience is a dynamic journey.

That’s if for now. Hopefully it won’t be so long until the next Merzybean post pops up!

Xo,

Merzybean

Where has Merzybean been?

30 Oct

I feel like I have written a few justification blogs, explaining my lack of presence in the blogosphere. I guess I don’t really owe anyone an explanation, but how can I expect to have a loyal readership if I have been MIA.

Truthfully, there isn’t one particular reason as to why Merzybean hasn’t been buzzing. Is “I’m tired” not good enough? Well, that’s the truth. I have not felt inspired to sit down and blog because there has always been something that takes priority over writing and once I have cleared my to-do list, I have no energy to write.

However, I want to get back to writing and putting my thoughts out into the universe. Not that what I have to say is all that important, but I just love to share my passions with others.

Hopefully this is the first of many posts to come in the near future. I have some ideas brewing, so stay tuned!

Thanks for all of the people who have been visiting Merzybean all along the way, even during my “blogging hiatus”. It makes me happy to see and it inspires me to keep on plugging!

Until next time,

Merzybean

Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou

28 May

Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

I was devastated to hear the news of Maya Angelou’s passing, this morning. Angelou’s words resonated not only within me, but around the world and across generations. The prolific author, poet and civil rights activist managed to string words together in such a way that one couldn’t help but be both intrigued and inspired.

quote maya angelou

Angelou’s highly acclaimed poetry truly inspired me in high school and throughout university, as both a student of literature, and as a woman striving to be intelligent, courageous, and loving. Angelou’s words spoke to me in such a way that no other did.

I thank Maya Angelou for being brave enough to bare her soul through written word.

f92c2bf40b4f29ac3ce6fc23ad685cf4

May you rest in peace, Maya Angelou. Your words will live on!

Untitled2

Fitch, Please- Ellen Weighs In

17 May

No pun intended, Ellen DeGeneres weighs in on the outlandish comments made by Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries. Jeffries is finding himself in a lot of hot water, as he makes horribly judgemental comments such as,  “We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

I think that Jeffries has blurred the line between exclusionary and downright narrow minded. Ideally, one would expect Jeffries to either back track or apologize for such close-minded thinking. On the contrary, he takes pride in his company’s lack of empathy and understanding of the human body.

The fact that we live in a world where we are going backwards instead of progressing forwards, essentially teaching children not to be accepting of everyone, is shocking to me. A company whose brand relies on such exclusionary marketing has a lot to be ashamed of. This is not the message that children should be faced with, nor is this type of branding that teaches children anything positive about body image.

I would add more to this but I think that Ellen says it best:

 

Until next time,

Merzybean.

Merzybean Just Checked In At The Gym

14 May

Why bother checking in once I have arrived at the gym? Why bother posting pictures of my workout successes after leaving the gym?

gym-exercise-friend-phone-confession-ecards-someecards

I never used to be one of those people, and it’s a crying shame. I have been going to the gym five days a week for the last month and have “checked in” on Facebook every single time I arrive at the gym. I used to think that this was unnecessary when I would see other people’s gym check-ins appear on my Facebook Newsfeed. Boy, was I wrong! There is nothing useless about doing this. In fact, the exact opposite effect is achieved.

This idea of checking in at the gym and having people know when I was working out didn’t really mean much to me until I started to see other people do it and I began to feel motivated by them. On Instagram I started to follow people who were posting inspiring pictures of weight loss successes, their workouts, and healthy meals. A friend of mine started to share pictures of her post-workout success by taking a picture of her Polar exercise watch after each workout (workout time and calories burned were captured).

Everyday I would see these healthy lifestyle pictures and eventually I got inspired to the point at which I decided enough was enough. I was no longer going to take a backseat to this healthy lifestyle, I wanted to be the person to check into the gym everyday, to post how many miles I ran and how many calories I burned at the gym, and to be that person to inspire others.

When people say that it is obnoxious or unnecessary to share with the world every time you go to the gym, I beg to differ. The influx of text messages, Facebook messages/likes, Instagram comments/likes, Tweets and face-to-face conversations I have had with friends who feel motivated by seeing my daily check-ins are a true testament to the power of social media. Social media can directly influence and inspire people to make a change in their lives. I was inspired by others and am honoured to be able to inspire my own friends and family. The amount of positive reception that I have received has overwhelmed me. On days that I feel lazy or do not have energy to drag myself to the gym, I remember the people who have inspired me and those who I have inspired.

regret the workout you dont do

The only workouts I regret are the ones I don’t do. I’m not posting about working out on my social media to brag or show off, believe me when I say this- I am far from being able to brag! However, if my harmless check-in can keep me motivated and inspire someone else to get off the couch and go for a run, I must be doing something right!

Keep moving,

Merzybean.

Celebrating All Women

8 Mar

20130308-093527.jpg

Today is International Women’s Day. This is a day to remember that, as a woman, I have a lot to be proud of. There have been incredible triumphs and successes for women all over the world, stemming from the early 1900s. We must take the time to  remember that the battle for equality and the right to things that some people take for granted are still struggles for women in Third World Countries.

The International Women’s Day website articulates this point very well, saying that “the unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.” While women’s rights have come so far, there are still women around the world who do not have the same opportunities as women in First World Countries because of the oppressive conditions in which they live. Let us not give up on our fallen sisters who are still fighting for the right to education, health and an end to violence.

62091_10101196060866720_443673308_n

I decided to use the powerful words of others to commemorate the strength and beauty of all women:

Eleanor Roosevelt
Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.

Charles Malik
The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.

Simone de Beauvoir
One is not born a woman, one becomes one.

Virginia Woolf
As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.

Ellen DeGeneres
I really don’t think I need buns of steel. I’d be happy with buns of cinnamon.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.

Oprah Winfrey
Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.

20130308-093628.jpg

Let us celebrate all of the beautiful women in our lives today. I dedicate this post to the most beautiful woman in my life, my mother!

Xoxo,

Merzybean

Let’s Talk with Bell

12 Feb

bell_lavie

Let’s Talk is a charitable initiative that Bell launched in 2010 to help promote the awareness and support of mental health in Canada. According to Bell, “this multi-million dollar initiative will support a wide range of programs that will enhance awareness, understanding and treatment of mental illness and promote access to care and research across the country.”

Screen shot 2013-02-12 at 12.14.15 AM

The work that Bell has done for mental health is incredible, helping to eliminate the negative stigma that mental health is often surrounded by.

With the constant rise in social media, Bell has cleverly campaigned the Let’s Talk Day to help spread the world and help end the stigma associated with mental health.

How, you might ask? Today, on February 12th, for every Bell text message, tweet, Bell long-distance call, and Facebook share, Bell will donate 5₵ to help the millions of Canadians suffering from mental health concerns. Remember to Tweet using the hashtag, #BellLetsTalk.

Let’s do our part and let’s talk. We spend countless hours on our phones and social media, so today we must make it worthwhile and help bring awareness to the cause. We must remember that awareness and removing the stigma that surrounds mental health is just the beginning. I believe that great things can come from talking, so let’s get the conversation going.

Let’s talk,

Merzybean

Interview: Smart Girl World

29 Jan

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 11.31.36 PM

I have an exciting interview for you today, as I spoke with Dominica Valentina who created the inspirational business and website for girls all around the world. I stumbled upon Dominica’s website via a YouTube video and once I finished perusing the website and blog, I was on board with the Smart Girl World Movement. I think that it is incredibly important for girls to bond together, rather than bringing each other down. As a girl who has been through many highs and lows in my own life, I value what Dominica is doing and think that it is valuable for girls to have a community in which they can unite and celebrate each other’s differences and similarities. Without further ado, let’s see what Dominica had to say about the Smart Girl World.

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 11.50.39 PM

MB: How and when did the Smart Girl World develop?

DV: I was 15 years old when my mom told me I could be or do anything I wanted in life as long as I believed in myself. She gave me a ring and told me it was my “Smart Girl” ring. She wasn’t telling me what to do, she was trusting that I would always make the best decisions for myself in life and follow my dreams. It wasn’t until I was 19 when I decided to take this idea and expand it into a business for other girls to share and be apart of.

MB: How has your mother positively influenced you to be a smart girl yourself?

DV: My mom is the one person I can go to and talk about anything with. She listens to me when I have boy drama and is always there to give me the confidence boost when I need it. I think the most important way she influences me to be a Smart Girl is by teaching me to always follow my heart. We go through so much in life as girls, we make mistakes and none of us are perfect, but when we choose to think for ourselves, and always learn lessons in life, we grow and become stronger. My mother’s main goal for me in life is to teach me to have confidence in myself, believe in myself and love myself. When you do that, you will create whatever your heart desires in life.

MB: What do you hope to achieve with the Smart Girl movement?

DV: My main goal with the Smart Girl Movement is to show other girls that none of us are perfect. If one girl has been through something, there has to be thousands of other girls who feel the same way. I wish to bring girls together to support each other and encourage each other to achieve any desire they want in life. It’s cool to see other girls comment and really give another girl helpful encouragement and support!

MB: What have you learned about yourself as well as other girls since starting Smart Girl World?

DV: Each blog post I do is about something I am going through in life, or about something my girl friends are going through. It’s crazy because once I post something about how I’m feeling, I get so many girls emailing me saying they feel the same way! Or girls thank me for kind of opening up their minds about certain situations I blog about. When I first started this I didn’t think that many girls were going to relate to me, It turns out we all kind of feel the same way! I have definitely learned that by being real, people will relate to each other, and I think I have taught other girls to “not judge a book by its cover.”

MB: A large part of the Smart Girl World is setting and dreaming up goals. How do you achieve your goals?

DV: I love writing down my goals and putting them up all over my room and bathroom where I can see them everyday! I feel I have accomplished something when I can cross it off of my list! Sometimes I set goals that are too big for myself and get discouraged when I don’t achieve them quickly, so I’ve learned to set little goals for myself that eventually get me to the goal I desire 🙂

MB: What advice do you have for young girls struggling through personal issues?

DV: Just know that you are not alone, you could look at the most beautiful girl in the world and if you ask her if there is something about herself that she doesn’t like, I guarantee you she will tell you a list of things she wishes were different about herself. My main goal with helping girls struggling through personal issues is to love yourself. Constantly tell yourself that you are pretty and perfect just the way you are. Once you love yourself it will show and you will radiate confidence! It’s a struggle and it’s easier said than done, but that is my main goal with helping girls get through personal issues.

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 11.58.15 PM

My proverbial hat goes off to Dominica, keep the Smart Girl World spinning and continue to inspire young girls. You can connect with Dominica and the Smart Girl World on Twitter, Facebook, and of course the Smart Girl World Website itself!

The power that girls have when coming together is so much stronger than when girls turn on one another. The perfect thing about girls is that we are not perfect, and the Smart Girl World is a refreshing reminder of this.

From one Smart Girl to another,

Merzybean.

Missoni X Holt Renfrew

12 Dec

Screen shot 2012-12-11 at 11.43.15 PM

Missoni is an Italian fashion house that is famously known for its intricate and colourful knitwear designs. Best known for its iconic zigzag pattern, Missoni and Holt Renfrew partnered up to create limited edition teddy bear and elephant stuffed animals that would raise money for OrphanAid Africa.

OrphanAid Africa is a non-profit organization based in Ghana that strives to help orphans and vulnerable children, as well as their families. The organization’s mission states, “Our goal is to ensure that children grow up in safe and permanent family settings with appropriate care and protection. OA is an implementing partner in the Government of Ghana National Plan of Action for Orphans and Vulnerable Children.”

The fundraising goal of the Holt Renfrew and Missoni partnership is to reach $100,000 for children and families through OrphanAid Africa. I hope that the collaborative duo exceeds their goal, as this is an incredible organization and cause that they are supporting!

My friend Steve attended the Marilyn Denis show last Friday and all audience members received several gifts as part of her Christmas giveaway special. One of the gifts was one of the stuffed animals for the Missoni X Holt Renfrew Collection. Steve was incredibly generous and gave me the teddy bear that he received. It means so much to me because I am such a firm supporter of the work that OrphanAid does.

Maybe it’s my African roots, but these types of efforts always hit very close to home for me. I thank you Steve for paying it forward to me and I thank everyone who goes out and purchases one of the limited edition pieces! What better gift for the holidays than the gift of paying it forward and making a contribution towards an amazing cause. Fashion and charity always make such a great team.

Screen shot 2012-12-12 at 12.05.18 AM

Much love,

Merzybean.