She’s not a ‘Tomboy’, She’s Strong!


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We need to retire the word Tomboy. She’s strong!

As a women & girls photographer, (I took this pic^^^) this topic is close to my heart. Little girls come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. Some love dolls, others love dirt. Some prefer dresses, others prefer soccer cleats. Every girl is beautifully wonderfully made but too often, the girls who are athletic and inquisitive are called masculine.

People use phrases like ‘tomboy’ or ‘rough around the edges’ to describe girls who would rather play video games and wrestle than to paint their nails or wear pink. Even worse, boys taunt each other in sports by saying ‘you hit like a girl’ as if all girls are weak and horrible at physical tasks.

This is wrong and needs to stop! Let’s start encouraging our girls by retiring the word ‘tomboy’ from now on. She’s not a ‘tomboy’, she’s strong!

Growing up, I wasn’t considered a ‘girly girl’. I was outgoing, loved climbing trees, exploring nature, using my imagination and playing in the dirt. I distinctly remember people telling me I was a tomboy which translated in my mind as ‘you act like a boy’. This really bothered me. I just wanted to have fun but hearing the phrases over and over again made me feel like I wasn’t feminine enough. This carried on into puberty since I was a late bloomer and deeply effected my self esteem.

I don’t want any of our girls to feel that way about themselves. I want to encourage all  girls and women to be physical, adventurous and imaginative. Instead of calling girls ‘tomboy’ let’s call them ‘strong’ because that’s the truth. Here are some more positive words we can use instead:

  • lively
  • agile
  • limber
  • brave
  • vigorous
  • sharp
  • vivacious
  • spirited
  • athletic
  • sporty
  • tough
  • energetic

These are all awesome words that truly reflect our talents and strengths. Strength is not a trait reserved for men and boys. The fact that we are girls means everything we do is girly. We are awesome! We are brave! We are strong! Remove ‘tomboy’ from your vocabulary and strive to uplift girls and women, whether they love barbies, high heels or football.

Marriage, Wine and a Good Book


Brandon and I have both been reading a lot more lately. I’ve personally devoured three books in the last two weeks and am working on book number four as I learn more about SEO, networking online, productivity and blogging. I guess it’s only natural that reading has rolled into our time spent together. We started our own evening tradition of sitting together on the couch, sipping wine and reading a chapter from a book. Currently, we’re on chapter six of ‘Boundaries in Marriage’ by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. I highly recommend it!

Elleword: Some of the most wonderful moments are the simplest. Looking over and seeing my husband reading by the glow of string lights in our cozy apartment.
He’s not sleeping, lol.

If you’re interested in self help books, I also recommend reading or listening to ‘The Productivity Project‘ by Chris Bailey. I’ve been listening to it on my own and have already picked up some great pointers on what I’ve been doing wrong when it comes to getting work done. For one, I’m spending too much time working! When I work in short spans of time, two hours usually, I get so much more done! I’m also working on fighting the urge to put on a video, look at social media or check my phone while I’m working. Today I not to actively use my phone until 9am. At first it was a little hard.

Waking up around 6:15am, I opened the windows, turned off the lights and let the apartment slowly fill with sunlight naturally. I imagined that I was in staying in a cabin deep in the mountains. I told myself that it wasn’t morning traffic that I was hearing but the gentle sounds of a nearby stream. Not wanting to disrupt my fantasy, I decided against playing music or any other types of media. Instead, I went about my morning routine in quiet serenity. Whenever I heard an alarm chime from my cell, I’d switch from one morning task to another one. Outside of that, I did my best to put all of my focus on the tasks ahead without searching for the nearest clock to see how much time had passed. I failed a few times but as time slowly went by, I began to realize just how much time I really had at my disposal to do each activity.

Brandon reads to me as we relax on the couch after a long day of working. Don't mind my oversized sweat pants! Elleword Blog
Marriage, wine and a good book are all we needed for a great evening.

The more I focused on reading, straightening up the apartment and my yoga positions, the sooner I finished ahead of time. So I guess my key to success lies in cutting out as many electronic distractions as possible (unless the work involves a computer). I’m going to give this a go again tomorrow and see how well it works out. In the meantime, since I’m still feeling lively, I’m going to put in a few more retouches in on a recent project. Have a great night guys! Thanks for reading. If you have solutions or struggles with time management, leave your thoughts in the comments.

Have courage,
Elle

Five Years After I Do


Brandon and I have seen our share of great times and hard times. One thing that I’m most grateful for is that we’ve been able to maintain our friendship and grow closer over time. A lot happens in the first five years of marriage. You move in together, argue a lot about money, learn about each other’s not so great habits, and truly start to learn more about each other on a new level. Here are five lessons that my marriage has taught me. May they be a blessing in your romantic endeavors as well.

PDA is good for happy and tough times

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Yes, we are one of those hopelessly in love, always smiling couples. We hold hands because we like to. I kiss him, hug him and lean on him anywhere, yes, even in church. I believe that God wants others to see that kind of love between people in His house. But we have our tough days too. Sometimes we don’t get along or say things that unknowingly hurt the other person. But something as simple as reaching for his hand says ‘I’m mad at you but I still love you.’ When he reaches back, its like hearing ‘I love you too’. An embrace is a powerful thing. We’ve both had times when one of us has hugged the other after a heated moment and looks up to find one or both of us has begun to cry tears of relief.

What God has brought together will stay together if you keep him at the center

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I knew Christ since childhood but had fallen out of pace with His plan for my life. I knew Brandon was the man for me, the one, when I realized that he cared about my soul. He invited me to church, an FCA retreat and plenty of bible studies early on in our relationship. His love for Jesus inspired me deeply. During our wedding ceremony, we had a three strand cord ceremony to remind ourselves to keep God intertwined in everything we do together as husband and wife. Sometimes that means being a spiritual rock when he is feeling overwhelmed. Praying together is a powerful thing, it’s hard to stay mad at someone who stands in agreement on your heart’s deepest desires.

When you don’t feel like lovers, you can always lean on your friendship

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One of the most valuable things that we have is a strong friendship. When we first got married, Brandon had a good job and a large social network. He was often invited places, going out on his own and planting himself on the couch after work. I, on the other hand, struggled to find a job. All of my friends had graduated and left the state and I felt lonely many days of the week. One night, while joking around with Brandon about our living situation, I suddenly burst into tears. Even though we were married, I felt as if we were living different lives and that he was oblivious to my pain. That night, he and I talked and he started to take purposed steps towards being more available emotionally. Once we moved to Texas, just a few months after our 2nd anniversary, our friendship blossomed. We didn’t know anyone in Texas so we leaned on each other for love, support and good times. Brandon now makes an effort to spend time with me each day because he knows that quality time is my strongest love language. I’ve built my own social circle and projects so he can have some alone time to recharge.

We don’t have to compromise all the time

elleword-five-years-of-marriage7Many people think that marriage is all about compromise, give and take, win some, lose some. For us, we try to make as many decisions as possible that allows us both to get what we want. Brandon doesn’t like to cook but I don’t mind, so I cook. One of my least favorite chores is laundry so he takes care of that for us. He takes out the trash, I keep an eye on Justice (our dog). Sure, there are times when one of us doesn’t get everything we want but not compromising on the everyday life stuff makes up for those times. Part of our success is thanks to us not asking each other to sign up for things we don’t want to do whenever possible.

Loving each other for who we are and blazing our own path together just might be the secret to marital bliss

We’ve been married for five years and have received lots of expectations from others who feel we should be doing things differently. The two biggest things we hear about is the fact that we don’t have kids or live in a house. Here’s the thing, we are happy without those things. No kids means a lifestyle of dating within marriage. Clothing is optional around the house and if we want to just lay around together during our down time, we can do that. Living in a resident community means never having to fix what’s broken around the apartment, never having to mow the lawn, free coffee and sweets in the lobby and a host of happy hours where we can hang out with our neighbors. While others feel like marriage isn’t complete without a house and kids, we are living proof that marriage is complete as long as there’s two people in love and God at the center of it all.

So cheers to five years of marriage and a lifetime of more stories to tell. Brandon, you are a blessing from God, irreplaceable. Forever’s a mighty long time and I really want to spend it with you. I shine when you shine, there’s really no substitute. Forever more my love, forever more.

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Have courage,
Elle | Elleword  | Tweets  |  InstaElle

Adventures in Marriage: The Case of the Missing Glass

Elleword - Brandon and I enjoying the view at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Vegas

Have you ever had the feeling that something has gone MIA? Let’s say it’s not a cherished electronic or puppy but something of the practical nature. Well that my friends is what this adventure is all about.

Some of the things we use everyday were wedding gifts from our family. Included in this list are plenty of dishes and glasses. My favorite glasses were a set of short squarish drinking glasses that looked reminiscent of those you see distinguished gentlemen filling with Brandy in old movies. Of course, instead of whiskey, I usually filled my glasses with a mix of lemon and cranberry juice. As part of our agreed chore schedule, I take care of the meals and my benevolent husband takes care of the dishes. A few years later, that’s when the mystery began.

I would go to grab one of my favorite glasses and notice that there were less of them in the cabinet than usual. After only seeing three, I started looking around the kitchen – the sink, beneath the counter, my husband’s desk – but those sweet little treasures were nowhere to be found. It wasn’t until a few months ago when I heard the last glass shattering in the sink that I realized where my beloved chalices had disappeared to. While Brandon was keeping up his side of our chore wheel, he was having trouble keeping a good grip on some of our dishes. Drinking glasses gave him the most grief and, one by one, my goblets bit the dust.

Elleword - My replacement glasses from the thrift store

 

 

Of course, there was no need to be upset, it’s just a little glass in the scope of our matrimonial journey together. But let’s be honest, I missed my little cups. So I did what any thoughtful wife would do in this situation. I bought replacements! The new glasses have spiral designs at the base and best of all, they only cost me $1 each (thank you Salvation Army!). I wouldn’t be the thrift loving gal you all know me to be without adding a a pair of taller glasses with a geometrical design similar to the kind you see in crystal drink ware. They were $3 total. Do I expect these new editions to our pantry to last forever? Not unless I buy a friction grip for Brandon or vow to handle all glass sanitation from now on.

Case closed.

Have courage,

Elle | Elleword  | Tweets  |  InstaElle

Questions from Nancy


I’ve been following a blog by Nancy Wang and commenting with her back and forth. This could be the start of new blogging friendship! Recently she nominated me for the “Real Neat Blog Award” and I just had to participate!

Her blog is called Nancy Wang Co. and it covers a mixture of fashion, food and insightful posts that really motivate me to continue blogging and exploring my personal style. Speaking of style, hers is amazingly flexible. She has a great eye for fashion and can change her look at will! She’s got a great husband ( I say this because he helps her take the pretty pictures of her OOTDs so he must be great) and two furry kids. What I like most about her, aside from her creative abilities, is that you can tell that she enjoys what she does and wants to connect with others in the same boat. Check out her “Nancy and Her Blog” post and be inspired.

If you were nominated, here is how it works :

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  1. Put the award logo on your blog
  2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you
  3. Thank the person who nominated you, linking to their blog
  4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blog
  5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

Questions from Nancy & My Answers

1.Use 5 words to describe yourself!
Resourceful, minimalistic, curious, quirky, courageous


  1. Coffee or Tea?
    Tea (though coffee is sooo good) because it comes in so many fruity, herbal, fragrant varieties


  2. What’s your favorite piece in your wardrobe?
    Awe man, do I have to pick just one? LOL. Ok, if that’s the case, I would say my wedding dress because when I tried it on, I didn’t have the money to buy it but my husband (then fiancé) surprised me on our anniversary by purchasing it himself! I wear it once a year on our wedding anniversary (he wears a suit) to bring back the newness and excitement of marriage. This year we may visit a museum or even the state fair before heading to dinner!


  3. If you can choose any place on earth to live, where will that be?
    Honestly, right where I am at this point. We’ve been having a great time exploring the DFW metroplex and success at work. Once we are debt free (should happen by the time we are 30 and 31), we’ll be free to go wherever we want! One thing that I’ve come to realize is that you are never stuck in a situation unless you give up. Everything has a season and you gotta be ready to make moves when you feel the winds of change. I hope that we’ll live near a beach at some point, in a small town, on a big piece of land, and smack dab in the middle of downtown. I want to experience it all.


  4. What’s the most important lesson you learned from blogging?
    As life happens, your style of writing will evolve. When I first started blogging, it was all about where my life was taking me as I transitioned from college to life after undergrad. That time in my life was pretty difficult and my frustration was reflected in my posts. After a year and a half, I archived those posts and decided to re-focus my blog on life, love and style in order to document my journey from a new perspective and hopefully encourage and inspire others by sharing my story. There have been a few people who’ve told me that the things I’ve done inspired them to take action in their lives. I was pretty moved and honored by this. It lets me know that I’m doing this right.


  5. If you can have ONE superpower, what will that be?
    Being able to speak/write/read any language. I could make so many more friends that way and traveling the world would be so much easier. I’m currently learning Japanese and Spanish on my own.


  6. Name one or few movies that you love!
    The Best Man
    Deliver Us from Eva
    The Vow
    My Name is Khan
    Julie and Julia
    Hitch
    The Lion King
    The Holiday
    Ponyo
    Morning Glory
    Jurassic Park
    Fifel Goes West
    The Parent Trap
    Winning London


I now nominate these bloggers for the award:

If you’ve been nominated, please answer these questions.

1. Tell me about something courageous that you did and how it impacted your life.
2. Do you prefer thrift shopping or retail stores?
3. What are your hobbies or personal projects outside of blogging?
4. Ever thought about becoming a housewife? Why or why not?
5. Everybody has a physical trait that they love about themselves, what’s yours?
6. Describe your personal style in 5 words.
7. Share a romantic tale, preferably one that happened to you.

Have courage,
Elle

One Tasty Date in Addison, TX


This Saturday, my husband and I went to the Taste of Addison event. One of my awesome writing clients hooked me up with two free tickets in exchange for images and a blog post! Naturally I jumped on the chance and asked Brandon to come along for some fun in the park. Before we left the apartment, he seemed a little doubtful that we’d have much fun but I think the promise of food was enough to get him rolling. I’m glad because as soon as we got there, the smells of food made our mouths water!

After we hopped from booth to booth, snacking and chatting away, he started to really enjoy himself. He even got some footage for Periscope! We are both going to need to get in a few extra workouts to make up for all the calories we consumed! After spending three hours in the park, we jumped on the ferris wheel to get a view of the carnival that takes up a large part of the park. It was a little scary up there, but mostly romantic. By the end of the night, Brandon and I were all smiles. A chill started to settle in the air on our walk back to the truck. My feet were hurting from standing most of the day so Brandon carried me on his back for most of the walk back as I cheered him on.

Elleword - Elle and Brandon hanging out at the Taste of AddisonTime for a shameless plug: if you want someone to cover a local event in the Dallas metroplex, feel free to contact me! I love new experiences and strive to take lots of pics whenever I go out and about. I’ll write up a post to go along with the images and have it back to you within a few days. Contact me today to with your ideas.

Have courage,

Elle | Elleword  | Tweets  |  InstaElle

Valentine’s Day Surprise for my Husband


1I’ve been married for four years and have a pretty good idea about what my husband likes to do for fun. He loves movies, food, golf, getting active and, as of late, Tori Kelly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard him playing her music, humming along or gushing over something she did or said on Youtube. Seeing him get so excited about something made me want to do something special, surprise him in a big way. Continue reading “Valentine’s Day Surprise for my Husband”

Getting in Sync with your Spouse takes time, Don’t Give Up


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Brandon told me that he was having a stressful time at work so I treated him to dinner and a movie. As the night went on, he told me that spending time with me made him feel relieved, relaxed and calm during tough situations. Hearing him say that means so much to me. Things were quite different earlier in our relationship. Continue reading “Getting in Sync with your Spouse takes time, Don’t Give Up”

What Letting your Husband Take the Lead Means to Me


I was reading a blog about wives submitting to their husbands and was struck by a comment that said something to the fact of falling in line behind your husband when he takes the lead or control. I was inspired to write this post and expound on the comment that I left on their blog. I hope it sparks new ideas and positive views. Continue reading “What Letting your Husband Take the Lead Means to Me”

Sometimes I Forget my Compassion: Working on being an Encouraging Wife


My husband and I have been married for almost four years now. Lately, when things haven’t gone the way I had hoped, I’ve been getting frustrated and saying how I feel. I am very good about being direct, about staying focused and taking care of business. I’m not so good at looking at things from other’s people’s perspectives or filling up love banks when things aren’t on track. Brandon pointed this out to me the other day as I was questioning him about something that happened between us. He felt like I was blaming him, like he was failing and should just apologize over and over.

Before he said that, I didn’t know how he felt, and I hadn’t asked. Continue reading “Sometimes I Forget my Compassion: Working on being an Encouraging Wife”