Working From Home Aspirations

I was thinking of ideas for items that I could offer during the times when photography sessions have slowed down. As I was listing ideas and reserving library books on the topic, I suddenly felt excited at the idea of working for myself full-time as a graphic designer and photographer. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to be a working stay at home wife (SAHW)? I’m not planning on doing this in preparation to become a stay at home mom. While stay at home mothers have my respect, my husband and I have so much going on in our lives and taking care of our dog Justice is enough responsibility.

I’m talking about working as an artist on my own terms. Of course, I can’t just up and quit my job, we have debts to pay off; I don’t want to put that kind of pressure and stress on our marriage. We’ve already started coming up with a plan to make this transition happen in the next four years. In the meantime, I’ve started making a list of benefits that could come from making this transition.

1) More time to dedicate to writing and learning new design techniques.
When you work full-time on a day job, it’s hard (if possible at times) to improve your craft because you still have to make dinner, edit 200 images, workout, clean up, and hopefully spend some time with your spouse. Being able to do this during the day will free up my nights for fun and relaxation. When Brandon and I get off from work, I want us to be able to enjoy our time together without cutting that time short because I have to get back on my iMac for three hours.

2) No more weekend errands.
We have to turn down a lot of invites on weekends because we usually have to use that time to catch up on tasks we couldn’t do during the week because of schedule conflicts. I’m looking forward to is being able to handle errands like grocery shopping, taking Justice to the vet, and laundry during the week. With these things out of the way, when the weekend hits, we will have more time to do things we actually enjoy like reading, shopping, and spending time together with friends. We could take more romantic weekend day trips!

3) Enhanced quality time with my family and husband.
I look forward to being able to spend our evenings doing something fun or relaxing together without house work or Photoshop competing for our attention. Justice (woof) spends most of the day by himself in our apartment. While he is safe there, that’s a long time to have to hold your bowels without relief. Working at home means he’d have less accidents indoors and get more exercise and socialization. When our family comes to visit, I want to be able to spend time with them, not leave them to entertain themselves while both Brandon and I are at work for 8 or 9 hours. I’d love to be able to show them around town, arrange a fun activity, or just catch up on how everyone is doing. This may sound ‘domestic’ coming from me, but the idea of making my visiting family members breakfast makes me smile.

4) Open availability to travel.
I can’t tell you how many graduations, reunions and family milestones we have missed because of me not being able to take off from work. We have yet to meet two of our nieces in person since they were born. It’s a lot easier to coordinate time off for Brandon’s job because he has a large number of paid time off days at his disposal. I have 5 days, one of them being reserved for moving into our new apartment next month. There’s no way we can go home for Christmas and Thanksgiving without making them stressful turnaround trips. You know the type. You drive 12 hours to get there, spend one day in town and then drive 12 hours back. At this rate, we can just forget about taking a vacation.

As you can see, both of us will be working to support our household financially. But we’d rather do that while having more energy and time to enjoy our lives and marriage at the same time.

— Elle

Summer Capsule Wardrobe

topsOk, as promised, I have photographed and sorted out 50 or fewer items to wear this summer. The theme behind my selections was bright feminine colors, texture and patterns. The goal is to stray away from too many dark or neutral colors. I still need a pair of wedges and nice black dress shoes, but I will add those later. I plan to stick to this wardrobe from June 15th until the end of August. The only exception will be when I am working out, lounging around the house or doing something that requires getting dirty. I’ve got a few items in my closet to wear for those occasions but I am forbidding myself (lol) from wearing anything outside of my capsule wardrobe to work, church, dates, or photo gigs.  If you too have been guilty of wearing sweats to the grocery store, bad ensemble combinations to work or dingy colored everything, I challenge you to create your own summer wardrobe. Take a look at the rest of my threads below! Your encouragement is greatly appreciated! Elle bottoms dresses

Capsule Wardrobe Plans


In order to improve my fashion sense, I’ve decided to get rid of all of the items in my wardrobe that make me look under 21 (although sometimes, this can’t be helped, I’ve got a real baby face). I tossed out so many things, some that I really love, but in the long run they don’t add to my ideal appearance. What look am I going for? I want to look stylish, professional, and of legal age, lol. I’m often mistaken for a teenager but I’m turning 27 this year. With my career goals, I need to be taken seriously by potential clients and employers. With that in mind, I’m creating capsule wardrobes with summer.

I want each capsule to contain 50 items total; shoes, tops, bottoms and dresses. Now that doesn’t include accessories, camisoles, or lounge wear for around the house and working out. It’s going to be challenging. I’ve got to put more thought into my look ahead of time and really get creative with the combination of items to wear. In order to help myself do this, I photographed all of my wardrobe items in order to plan my looks in advance and avoid too many repeats. I will post them on here for your input as well as images of me in them. I have to stick with each capsule for three months so once they are set, no adding! Right now, I’m at 48 items. I just need to add a pair of black dress shoes and wedges to make my wardrobe complete! Then the cataloging can begin!

May Update

Last time I wrote, I talked about my first collaborative photo shoot fail. Well, since then I have bounced back and been coordinating a second attempt shoot. It’s happening this Saturday! I’m working with plus size models, and two accessory designers. I must admit, I’m still a bit nervous. Last time I was cancelled on at the last minute but the people I’m coordinating with are very good about updating me. The best part is that my husband is going to be assisting me on the shoot.

I’ve been revising my company brand and some great things are happening as a result. We are taking the next 12 months to totally redefine the company and set things in motion for a reboot! Yes, it’s going to be a lot of work. Yes, there will be some times when things don’t go to plan. Yes, we are still going through with it! We are not going to let this dream go to waste, we are not giving up.

I just finished creating a big topic list for my YouTube channel. With better organization and planning, I’m going to start posting videos on the regular basis. How regular? Well, I want to start by posting twice a month and build from there. I’ve learned from experience that it’s best to start some things simply and then add on as time passes.

Meanwhile, I have been sticking with my 365 Artistic Days and 52 Weeks  photography projects for 2014. I missed two days so far but this has been a great ride so far! I’ve learned something new each time I set my camera up. It’s been a real challenge because I don’t want all of my images to look the same. It’s also been theraputic, since every image comes with a written entry about my day or thoughts. It’s like a photo diary. You guys should try it, if not for a year, try it for a month, a week, three days. You may find that you like it!

Don’t give up!

What’s Worth Keeping

So I’ve been evaluating my social networks connected to my business and creative account, I haven’t quite gotten my routine together as far as planning posts ahead of time, but I’ve been paying attention to the networks that have gotten replies or views. I might ditch one of them, it doesn’t seem to get any action and may not be worth keeping. But that’s ok. Sometimes you gotta let go of the things that aren’t working and find out what works.

The same goes for people. Over time, as you start to grow into that person you are meant to be, you may start to notice that some of your friends, family or the members of groups that you are in may not be willing to add their faith to yours when you purposely decide to go for your dreams. Don’t let this stop or deter you. If you keep walking in faith, believing in that dream, sure, the people in your life may not support you but keep on going. If you walk long enough, you’ll run into people who will walk beside you. Work hard enough, and you may hear the sound of someone tracing your footsteps.

Someone is going to step out on faith because of your willingness to run towards your vision for your life. Someone is going to come out of their shell. Someone is going to try something new. Someone’s going to move out of state, start a business, make a friend or fall in love. So if you lose some friends or supporters, let them go and keep moving forward. Your dreams are worth keeping. And the ones who will stick by you, encourage you and add value to your life know you are worth keeping.


We Are Here!!

It’s been several months in the making but Brandon and I have moved to Texas (cue the Tim McGraw music). We are so flipping excited to be here. Brandon has already started working in the Dallas office and learning the ins and outs of drafting at headquarters. I’m on a job hunt and a search for artistic activities or individuals to touch base with. My first course of action for the business is to seek out and make an alliance with some photographers in the area. If I can get two of them to let me second shoot with them or at least give me some advice, that would mean a great deal! Eventually, I will be going full time as a business owner, especially since my twin sis and her husband are going to be joining us in August! They will be visiting for a few days, starting tomorrow, to take a look at the area. This is really exciting.

So far, my view of the area is a positive one. Most people here are friendly, much like Mississippi and there are a lot of spanish and chinese speakers in the area. We’ve got to get our spanish skills up, that alone would qualify us for more opportunities. Brandon loves the fact that there is a sports bar up the street that has a ping pong table in it. We plan to take up playing table tennis together soon. We both now have bicycles and gave them a test run the other night. It was a good workout and a gas saver. There is a discount grocery store, a dollar movie theater, and  several other places right across the street from our apartment. We plan on utilizing the public transit system soon, just to see where it can take us and how we can integrate that into our weekly routine. In the long run, it would save us up to 3 months worth of gas money if we get yearly passes. Oh yea, did I mention the World Asian Market? It’s full of asian merchant shops, a grocery and a crepe shop! I had never had a crepe prepared like the ones on all those anime I watch but this one is the real deal. Soooo good. (And yes, I watch anime, no shame in my game!!)

Okay, I could talk your ear off about more but I don’t want to give it all away in one go. Have a great day, I know we are!!

The Artistic Chic

New Start, New State

We are almost three years in since my Life After Undergrad journey began. There’s been many challenges since then, including having to put my laborador/boxer mix, Laila Ali, up for adoption. But in one week, everything is about to change. That’s right, Brandon and I are hitting the road for a new start in a new state.

We’ve been saving money for a new start since October while living the ‘grid life’ but originally, that new start was simply a new local apartment. But after several conversations, prayers and research, we realized that we had the chance to do something bigger than we thought. We both agreed that we needed to be in a place where the both of us would prosper in our careers. Entertainment options are very important to us, I mean, come on. We’re a childless couple in our 20’s for goodness sake.

Of course we realize that every city has its own pros and cons that are more ideal for some people rather than others. After all, Dallas is known for its traffic jams and high theft areas in certain parts of town. Like any city, there are places that you shouldn’t go at night or during the day for that matter. The weather, terrain and wildlife are more factors to consider when you are moving to a new place. Neither Brandon or I have lived in Texas, let alone Dallas so this is going to be quite the adventure. We are going to have to start from scratch as far as making friends and networking. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

When you move to a new place, you have the advantage of the unknown. Noone knows anything about your accomplishments, failures or embarrassing moments. With every encounter, you get to re-invent yourself into anything you want to be without preconceptions getting in your way. If you were overly involved in organizations or social groups before, moving allows you to push everything off of your obligation list and re-discover yourself. Take some time to remember what its like to be a face in the crowd instead of behind the curtain. The things you had to sacrifice before (time with your family, taking care of your health, re-modeling your personal style or simply being able to do nothing at all after work hours) become yours for the taking. And before you jump into a busy routine again, contemplate why you were a part of so many things; was it because you genuinely enjoyed it or something else?  Time is the most precious thing we have and it should be spent on things that take you in the direction you want to go. You are allowed to say no when it comes to your life.

Perhaps like me, you’ve developed the habit of putting out Grade A work but only getting Grade F compensation. Sure, you might have thought this strategy was a good way to get your name out but think again. Your name will be out there but all of your new and potential clients are going to expect to get the same thing; executive results for minimum wage. Yes, I said executive. You are the champion of your business and deserve to be compensated accordingly.In a new place you can re-evaluate your worth and rebrand your business. It’s ok if the bargain hunter crowd passes on hiring you, your product is NOT a bargain item. It’s valuable, you are valuable and can choose the type of person you want to work with, not for, WITH.  This is not a ‘I need you more than you need me’ setup. You have something they want and vice versa. Remember, diamonds aren’t cheap, yet, everybody wants one.


TheArtistic Chic

Self Evaluation: Am I who I think I am?

For the past few weeks, Brandon and I have been meditating on the word of God and really trying to hear from him. We have also been praying for certain things to fall into place and working on trusting God to take care of any problems we are facing. In the midst of this, I believe that HE has started to reveal things to us that we may not have realized or paid attention to in the past. And now that HE has, I think it’s time that I did a critical self evaluation. Everyone has this idea of what kind of person they are but does that idea truly reflect their true identities? I admit that person I thought up in my head is not the true me.

The ‘head me‘ is a hard worker who keeps her word and is optimistic. She has confidence. She loves God and loves to help people. She is original, creative and doesn’t let negativity get in her way. She is open minded about people and prides herself in being kind to everyone and forgiving. But the ‘true me’ just about forgets the needs of others if there is a hardship going on in her life. She loves God but is slacking in the area of serving HIM. She has plenty of goals but hardly works on the majority of them. She worries. She is strongly opinionated and defensive. She can be kinda bossy too.

When I re-read the two descriptions above, its clear that both of those identities are in my heart. Some might say Im being hard on myself but I think I am being honest with myself. Without honesty, one cannot expect to make true progress or change. You must first know the truth before you can be set free. Now that God has shown me who I am, what am I going to do about it? The obvious answer would be to change.

But change is not something most people do well. We’d rather assume our way of thinking/doing things is the best way and that other people need to change. We’d rather see our selfish priorities as more important than what anybody else including God needs us to do. We don’t want to change because that would mean giving up the worthless hobbies that we hold dear. We’d have to put pride aside and do what needs to be done, even when we don’t want/feel/care to do it. Because we would be forced to see the truth behind our ‘ideal selves’ and work on our character flaws. Heck, we’d have to agree with the notion that we have flaws! With all that in mind, who would ever want to change?

I do, because, In the end, not changing will keep me from progress. I don’t want to stop others from getting the blessings that God put in me to give. I don’t want pointless grudges to mess up my relationships. Lord knows I can’t risk becoming more egotistical than I am already. I refuse to relinquish the greatness God has for me because of laziness, pride, fear or greed. From this day forward, I am changing because my life, and the lives of others, depends on it. I dare you to do the same.

The Artistic Chic