39/365 Glow in the Dark


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39/365 Glow in the Dark

Sometimes you just gotta keep going, keep working, keep trying, even when the sun goes down. The more productive I become, the more proactive I realize I need to become. Next year, I want to put myself in front of hundreds of couples and women via pictures and videos. Anyone whose had to make videos alone knows that it’s a time consuming pain in the butt. But (hahah) people love to watch videos because they make us feel like we are getting to know the person on the screen. Hence, I just have to woman up, record, edit and post my work consistently.

38/365 Anniversary Hotel Session


 

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38/365 Anniversary Hotel Session

To celebrate their first year of marriage, my clients booked a photoshoot together. The weather has been rainy and cold lately so I asked my good friend Brandi of B Grand Events for help. She helped us set up a session at the Downtown Dallas Westin Hotel. She also took this picture of me in action! Both myself and my clients were grateful to have such a lovely spot to work in.

35/365 Laundry Serenade


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35/365 Laundry Serenade

Today I had a lot of energy so I put all I had into attacking the clutter in my apartment. It’s a good thing too, since I had a mountain of clothes to wash. Midway through, I started singing along to Spotify and thought, hey, get this on camera. I even used my DSLR! I still need to put away about 40% of the now clean clothes but at least I have more wardrobe options again! Aside from laundry, I’ve been doing a lot of correspondence with clients and edits for commissioned work. This month has been pretty good for business!

28/365 Chamber Work Day


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28/365 Chamber Work Day – I look so happy, LOL

I needed to get back to business so I posted up at my local chamber of commerce and did some admin work. Guess the vacation is officially over! Now I’ve gotta re-train my brain to focus after having so many days off in Saint Louis. I’m falling back into my morning routine pretty well though. Not so much can be said of my evening routine yet.

7/365 A Productive Tuesday


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7/365 A Productive Tuesday

Today I got up at 5:30am feeling fully awake. It’s probably because of the daylight savings time shift. Anyways, I took advantage of the my time and started my morning routine early. I got a great cardio workout in and headed to the library to get some work done. I was done with everything by 12:30! It was nice finishing my work so soon but I admit, I was bored after a little while, LOL. In the evening I went to a Young Professionals of Plano Pizza Party to celebrate the fact that we all voted. Every new person I met was a financial advisor, strange. Well everyone except this lady who works in the libraries. She showed me how to get my work exhibited in the library for free! This made the trip worth it! Tomorrow is technically my off day but I can’t just lay around!

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Glistening after my cardio in the gym
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I made myself this bento from the food I bulk prepped. The teriyaki nuggets are soy! This meal is all plants!
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A close up of the shirt I wore today. Perfect shirt for a pizza party.
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Just scrolling through the books at the library.

Have courage,
Elle | besweetgirl.com
gernellenelson.com

Came Back from Cuba Feeling Anxious


How is it that I feel energetic enough to make it through a Taebo workout, yet unable to get off the couch at the same time? (Gets up, walks down 5 flights of stairs, checks mail, jogs back up 5 flights of stairs and resumes typing) Sigh, it all started two months ago….(Proceeds to waste 20 minutes scrolling on FB while eating grapes… I have a problem!!)

This past June, Brandon and I took our first trip abroad. Since I was hired to capture a group vacation as the official trip photographer for Vron’s World, Brandon decided to book the trip too. When I tell you we had a blast, that doesn’t even come close to describing it. We experienced Havana, Cuba to the fullest. We danced the night away salsa dancers, saw a shipwreck while snorkeling (also a first!), took an AfroCuban tour ate dinner beside the sea and much more! All my years of Spanish class came in handy. Being able to speak with locals revitalized my desire to learn new languages. It was incredible and we can’t wait to take another trip across the globe with Vron someday.

 

Once we came back, Cuba felt like a distant memory. This is when the trouble began.

At this time, I was heavily considering what to do with my life after struggling to build my photography businesses. It’s fun, challenging and hard as heck to build your business from scratch when you only have a few hundred in the bank. There have been plenty of times when I felt like a failure but my heart kept telling me that this is what I was supposed to be doing. Looking over my life, my attention was heavily divided. During the week, I was spending 6 – 8 hours a day babysitting my niece and the rest of my time recovering, LOL. Weekends were split between errands, church, dance ministry and spending time with Brandon. Needless to say, I hardly had any mental or physical energy left for working on my brands. Something had to give!

I quickly realized that part of my anxiety of attempting to work in a cluttered apartment. We had stuff overflowing from our bookshelves, dishes taking over the countertops, books, bags and other random items invading my desk. It was no wonder I couldn’t get anything done. So I started discarding the junk from the life. Anything that didn’t get discarded got assigned a new ‘home’. Then I started clearing my schedule so that I’d have time to give my best efforts to work during the week and on weekends. Now I’m no longer babysitting and in a few weeks, I’ll be on hiatus from dance ministry. You’d think that would open up my mind to progress right?

Well I guess my mind has become weak from a lack of stimulation for two months and now I have to build it back up if I want to do anything productive. I’ve been eating primarily fruits, grains and veggies but my sleep quality has really sucked the last couple of days. When I’m up, I have to convince myself to try to work, or at least move my body until I feel an inertia to keep going forward. I guess this is the ‘withdrawal’ stage of my former routine. Dang it karma! Despite that, I have managed to book a few shoots, network and spend time reading for pleasure. You know how long it’s been since I read or listened to an audiobook just for fun? Months! Maybe a year or so!

And now, here I type at my almost cleared desk, staring at my to do list that hasn’t yet been finished. And yet, I feel hopeful. Hopeful, because I now have put time back into my hands. Relived because I was able to let go of some things and obligations that were stressing me out more than anything else. Thankful because I’m blessed enough to have these issues without a day job. Yes, I’m feeling antsy and tired (WTH) but I’m free to figure things out again. I can’t wait to see what happens when I create a new daily routine for my life.

Have courage,
Elle ^___–

Making Moves…Literally

Elleword - just lounging around the house in gifted jeans, thrifted top and my husband's sweater. Like the afro?

Lately I’ve been making moves.

I’ve been focusing more on relationship building and collaborating with other vendors on projects while I build my company resources and systems. Business hasn’t skyrocketed but I’m starting to notice more inquiries and opportunities start coming down the pipe. I’ve got a bunch of things to type up, design and prepare (plus it’s really boring work!) but once they are done, it’s just about repeating the process with each client. Till then I need some personal projects or hobbies to keep me inspired.

Elleword - A prom photo I took of a beautiful high school girl at the Westin Hotel Downtown Dallas location
These are images I took during a prom event that I was asked to co-sponsor. I’m in love with her whole look, I was NOT this stylish in high school!

So I’m getting back to vlogging, blogging and focusing on my photo skills via a 365 project. I haven’t chosen a start day or a subject, though I’m considering photographing myself each day. I just want to do something fun and creative for the sake of creating ya know? Speaking of that, I’m currently converting a long skirt into a swim suit. I have one but it’s magenta and kinda boring lol. I’ve been wanting to pull out my sewing machine for so long and make or tailor something from the thrift store. I’m so excited!! Once I get my sewing skills back into shape, I want to try my hand at tailoring some pants and a skirt from three name brand thrift store suits. When I start those, I’ll make a separate post and video.

Elleword - just lounging around the house in gifted jeans, thrifted top and my husband's sweater. Like the afro?
I’ve been seriously slacking on my style goals, wearing yoga pants and tees most days but that ends now!!! I’m going to put on real clothes every day from here on out.

Aside from that, we moved into another apartment this past Friday. It’s a long story but I’ll try to sum it up for ya!

When we first moved to DFW (5 years ago), we lived in a quaint apartment complex within walking distance of a bunch of places. We loved it so we stayed there almost 4 years before moving up the street. We loved the new place but it didn’t quite feel like home so after our lease was up we went back to the old place.

BIG MISTAKE!

Our experience this time around sucked! We had bug problem after bug problem. Issues with the heat not turning off. The AC blowing out air that smelled like a sewer and water leaking into our living room. We couldn’t take it any longer so last week, after only 6 months of being back, we packed up our stuff and came back to the new place. After that experience, the new place definitely feels like home! Our internet was installed last night so hopefully I’ll keep up with writing on here. Even if no one reads it, I like looking back at my days and seeing all the things I’ve done over the years. Otherwise I’ll forget!

That’s all I have for now. Thanks for stopping by.
Have courage, Elle

The Last Six Days


The last six days have been a roller coaster of events and emotions.

On Saturday, my husband and I moved from our fourth story studio to a cozy bungalow up the street. While we were really happy about the new space, we ran into a few issues up front. The place hadn’t been cleaned, there were dead bugs in the closet and an unidentified splatter of some brown liquid in the kitchen. I was able to help get everything inside of our place before running off to shoot a wedding. I was exhausted leaving the reception at 11:30 and had to call Brandon up so he could keep me company on the way home; and keep me awake.

The next day we went to church and celebrated our 6th anniversary with my twin sister and her husband at Red Lobster. This was really special for us because Red Lobster is where we had our rehearsal dinner two days before our wedding day. We came home to discover that our box of books had been chewed open and our books were spread across the floor. I vowed to get a kennel ASAP! That evening, surrounded by boxes and slightly peeved at the dirtiness of our place, Brandon and I cuddled up on the couch as he munched on Tortilla chips before going to bed.

On Monday morning, I heard Brandon exclaim “Ants!” in the other room. Apparently at some point in the early morning hours, the ants came marching two by two through a small opening at the base of our living room wall to feast on the bag of Tortilla chips Brandon had munched on the night before. Brandon called in PTO day for work as we scrambled to move our things out of the critter’s path and resolved to move out if the front office didn’t agree to do something about our place. It was bad enough that it was dirty but this was too much to take. Thankfully, the manager was very compassionate and helpful.

She sent in the property managers to clean and reseal the windowsills and clean up the sloppy job that had been done to the flooring in the bathroom. A few hours later, pest control came in and sprayed down our carpet and couch. I pulled back the edge of the carpet while he sprayed the base of the wall down. We could see the opening where the ants were coming in and I made a mental note to seal it up with hot glue later. We then spent the night at our sisters’ house chatting while I uploaded two weddings to my contractors.

The next day, Brandon and I returned home and found an ant free bungalow waiting for us. Brandon went to work and I headed off to shoot a mid week wedding an hour away. The bride and groom were so kind and you could see how much they loved each other. The food was amazing and the bride invited me to dance with her and her family so I danced and sang along to ‘Living on a Prayer’ and taught them how to do ‘the wobble’ dance. At the end of the night, her mother blessed me with a $100 tip and thanked me for my help. It really was my pleasure. The next morning, my friend Isidora drove me to the oral surgeon to get a tooth extracted and prepped for a dental implant. The procedure was fast and I was asleep the whole time.

When I woke up, my friend Isi took me to pick up the three medications and medicated mouth rinse from CVS before dropping me off at home. I ate soup and a smoothie before resting a few more hours. We still hadn’t really unpacked but I felt so comfortable and at home. This place feels so much more homey than our other place! Speaking of, Brandon and I went back there to clean things up but he forgot to grab the broom so we’ll have to finish up tonight once I come back from covering an elopement in Fort Worth.

That’s my update, in case you were wondering where I’ve been! Thanks for checking in with me. If you like my blog, please subscribe. I’ll be rebooting the OOTD posts once we are settled in.

Have courage,
Elle

P.S. We borrowed a kennel from my sis and Justice (woof) is slowly adjusting to life behind bars when we are gone, lol. Our belongings are once again safe from his reign of terror!

My Vision Board is Complete!

this is my mini vision board! It covers my career and personal goals in a minimal, chic layout with a great color scheme.

To keep things simple, I made small vision board centered around my professional and personal goals. I wanted to keep things pleasant to look at so I used minimal images, colors and spacing to make sure everything was nice and neat. I’m really happy with how it turned out! Here’s an explanation of what each part of my board means.

elleword-my-vision-board.jpgThe cityscape panel is all about my career goals. I want to work remotely as a photographer. When wedding season is slow, I plan on picking up web development jobs that I can fulfill on my laptop. That way, I can travel and make a paycheck at the same time, no matter what’s going on with my work load. This pic made me feel energized and excited. I could see myself finishing up a task and then chilling in this pool with my husband. If I focus on learning new skills daily, it won’t be long before this is my life.

The bikini and shades represents my sense of style. Aside from working, I want to use every opportunity to look my best. This includes staying fit so I can wear a bikini proudly. I’ve got some work to do in this area but I’m confident that I can get back to bikini shape in no time.

The teepee image stands for my travel aspirations. I want to see so many parts of the world, talk to locals and share my adventures via vlogs on my Youtube channel. My goal is to take three or four adventure trips a year at least! Huge goal, so I’ve got to hold up my end of the bargain in the business arena if I want this to become a reality.

The bowl of food is centered around feeding myself the right things. Not only literal food, but studying the bible, listening to positive messages and saying them daily. Good things in = good things out.

Babe is pretty obvious – to me at least, lol. I want to get my life together and keeping my life on steady rotation in these areas will make me a babe! I’m in my 30s now so there’s nothing to it but to do it. I’ve stumbled though my 20s, now it’s time to thrive and arrive!

Have courage,
Elle

Thirsty Thursday


In case you were wondering, I’m thirsty for more out of life haha. My phone died midday so I hardly captured any moments from the day, sorry. But I did manage to get a few before the battery bit the dust. First, here’s my OOTD.

Elleword - My gifted sweater from New York & Company paired with a thrifted vintage denim skirt and Bean Pole bag. I love these gold coach shoes!
This skirt is so comfy!

 

To get the day started, I hit the library and the library in search of some language books to help me study up on my Japanese and French. Yea, I’m learning a few languages all at once, trying to jump start my brain, hahah. I feel it’s working. I’ve linked up with some language exchange partners who will help me practice what I’ve learned on Skype and FaceTime. Until I get a decent grasp on the languages, I’m mostly helping them with English right now hahah.

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I also scored an intern recently! Her name is Sakura. She’s a friend of mine and talented makeup artist trying to find out what direction she wants to take with her career. I’m hoping that spending time with me will help her learn a few things and find the inspiration she needs. We went out and captured a mixed use space to help the owners start a photography residency program. It’s so open and bright and empty. Perfect for a photographer or videographer who needs a simple spot to work a few hours a week without paying an arm and a leg in studio fees. Once we finished working, we grabbed some food. These sandwiches were delicious!

The pulled chicken sandwiches we had for lunch at XO Coffee in Plano, TX

That’s all for today,

Have courage,
Elle | Elleword  | Tweets  |  InstaElle