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”

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”

Changing Lanes: I’m not that kind of artist


I’ve been doing a lot of contemplation about my career lately. I know what I went to school for, but is that really what I want to do for the next 30 or so years? I’ve known that I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was five years old, that much hasn’t changed. But the type of art that I’m choosing to pursue has. I spent 5 years of college and 3 years afterwards working towards becoming a graphic designer. I thought, how cool is that, you can create art with a computer for other people’s businesses and such. But the more experience I gained in the field, the more I began to wonder if it was the right option for me.

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Graphic designers have to make things solely based on what someone else wants. I could come up with a great design for someone but it doesn’t stay that way because the person wants to add a bunch of text and images that take it from visually pleasing to something that looks like the spam postcards you get in the mail. You can try to convince the client that the extras are bad for business, but most of them don’t understand or care. They think it’s Burger King so they should be able to get whatever they want. This frustrates me because my name ends up being associated with that crap. I want more control over my work. This is the top reason that ultimately inspired me to go for fine arts.

Fine artist have more freedom and influence on the finished product. People value their work as it stands. I think the projects are more inspiring and entertaining as well. I would love to illustrate children’s books, movies and graphic novels. Of course that would mean making sure the client likes what I make, but I’d still be able to be true to my personal style. Most of my illustrations will be done in Adobe software. Besides that, I plan to keep photographing people. I’m starting a Youtube channel and Patreon page as a means to bring in more funds as well. I feel really excited about taking this leap of faith and that it’s going to yield great results. I can’t wait to get on here and say “I quit my day job!”.

Have courage,
Elle

Starting from the bottom. . . Again


You know that moment when you think you have pretty decent skills in one area, only to be shown that you aren’t as skilled as you thought? Well friends, that is where I found myself last night.

As mentioned in a previous post, I’m working with my brother to update my design portfolio. It has been a few years since I held a graphic design staff position so I suppose it is normal for me to be rusty. The sucky part is that I’ve gotten weaker in the area of composition and how to prioritize information. Jr asked me to do a couple of mock designs and a mood board as my first project. After reviewing my work over the phone, out of my three concepts, he said that one had a bit of promise but it still lacked in major areas. My mood board tanked too. Sheesh, I’m starting from the bottom again!

He sent me some articles to look over and asked me to re-create the mood board. My mind feels shocked and fried all at the same time. To think that my skills have sunk this far. . . That proves that if you don’t make it a point to keep up with design trends over time, you’ll get left in the dust. Two years is like 14 in the creative sector. I’ve been working wherever I can just to bring home a paycheck since 2012. Sadly, none of those jobs involved Photoshop. My brother mentioned that I should have tried honing in on my skills while I didn’t have an industry job. I know he’s right but I still got irked. It’s hard to create something without an actual design brief or someone to give you feedback on the work. When you have a day job serving coffee to snobs and borderline depressed about your life, it’s a-whole-nother ballgame.

After college, I couldn’t understand how I could do so well in school and not find work anywhere in my field. Because of my degree, it was also difficult to find minimum wage work because I was overqualified. I was unemployed for six months before finally finding a few retail/fast food/stipend jobs. The longer I worked at these places and dealt with the clientele that comes along with them, them more hopeless I felt. One night during a conversation about work with my husband I went from laughing to crying uncontrollably. I felt like a failure. The little checks that I brought home couldn’t pay any bills. People talked to me like I was an idiot all day and I was doomed to spend my 30 minute lunch breaks in a cramped inventory space. I couldn’t take it any longer. I prayed a lot during this time and my husband agreed to move us elsewhere so I could have better opportunities in the Dallas metroplex.

Being in Texas gave me courage. It took nine more months of being a barista before I landed the interview for the company that I currently work for but it was worth it. I wasn’t able to get the design job I applied for but they hired me on as a support team member. Now that I’m back in the field, I really want to get back to making art. My current position is not about creating, its about maintaining and managing. I manage the content, apply design treatments to content based on what’s already there, delete it, but I don’t create anything.

As all artists, I’ve grown restless of not creating for hire. Once I get my skills back up to par, I plan to apply for as many design spots as I can. Aside from designing again, I also want to make more income. I’m a married woman and two years away from 30 (though I look 16 most days). Needless to say, I have some goals and loans that require funds, more than I currently make. I won’t reveal my salary, but let’s just say, I can’t live on it and pay all of my bills without my husband’s income. I still feel like I haven’t reached the goal of feeling like I have much to give our family financially. However I’m grateful that one of my paychecks can now cover our rent and not just a week’s worth of groceries.

It would have been easy to get bent out of shape after having my work evaluated but the truth is that I have been much worse situations. I may not have the needed skills now, but one skill that I never let get dull is my ability to learn. I am going to put time aside to work on whatever my brother sends me, read the articles, takes notes, and fail again and again. If you stick with something long enough and work hard, progress is only a matter of time. If there is something you want to do or become in life. always remember that we all begin at the starting line, not three feet away from the finish line tape. You’re not going to be as good as you want to be in the beginning so don’t even trip. Don’t look around to see who is ahead of you. You are running in a one-woman (or man) race so focus on putting one foot in front of the other. It’s ok to fall, to feel bad or angry. It’s not ok to quit. You don’t always have to know where you are going. You just need to have the courage to take the next step.

Have courage,
Elle

Fasting and Furniture


Whenever a new year starts, Brandon (the hubster) and I tend to participate in a spiritual activity to help us reboot and re-focus. This year, it’s the 21 day Daniel fast. Aside from avoiding certain foods, we are writing in journals daily, praying and getting in some personal worship time with God. This is day two and I am feeling very positive about it so far. At first, avoiding sugar, fried food, meat and dairy seemed difficult but we’ve found some good solutions. I didn’t realize how many products contained added sugars, bleached wheat or chemicals (like tortillas, salad dressing and even some canned fruits). It’s no wonder people have so many health issues these days. There are so many junk foods out there disguised as healthy choices that it’s ridiculous. Continue reading “Fasting and Furniture”

Hello 2015 and Affirmations


Praise the Lord, we lived to see another year on Earth. Some of us may not be in the best of situations or moods, but we are all here. That’s something to be thankful for.

I’ve attempted to make resolutions in the past but for lack of planning/execution or setting the bar too high, it’s been tough for me to keep them all. This year, to save me some tears, I’ve decided to make a few affirmations instead. Affirmations are motivational sayings that you use to motivate and encourage yourself each day. Over time, they can boost your confidence which can positively affect your actions. There are plenty of areas in my life that I want to improve in but I don’t want to have to quote paragraphs all day. So I decided to come up with a three that can be used in several situations.

A1: Get to work
I’ve been a high achiever since kindergarten, but there are some areas where I’ve started falling short in (or have yet to excel). Take fitness for example. I’m in pretty good shape physically, but I’m nowhere as toned or fit as I used to be. Looking good is useless if you can’t even do 10 push-ups. I’ve become more mindful of this now that I work seated all day. I also have the bad habit of not putting things back where they go, yet feeling stressed if the apartment isn’t clean. The cluttered insanity stops here.

Lastly, I want to get noticed and promoted at work. I’m going to learn new skills in my free time (which is usually about an hour or so during my work day). For those of you who don’t know, I’m a support specialist at a marketing firm. I make changes to client websites and manage our email system. I’ve already impressed my boss by learning the basics of HTML and CSS while using my design skills for requested changes on client websites. He told me that if I want to work on a certain thing more often (and not have to work with email or clients as much), I should learn as much as I can and show that I can do the work. Meanwhile, he’s going to talk to the owner about getting me a raise!

A2: Preserve the sexy (don’t laugh!)
This one focuses on my appearance and avoiding unhealthy choices in food/drinks. I’m notorious for wearing what feels good, but not necessarily what looks good. I can wear just about whatever I want at work so that just enables me more. I’m not going to run out and replace my wardrobe; the one I have is great. I’ve just got to come up with some good combinations along with easy hair styles and BAM… instant charm.

I’m changing my meal choices based on the Mediterranean diet. That means lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, olive, nuts and beans with some yogurt on the side. I can still have eggs, cheese and meat, just in smaller servings. The great thing about this is that I already love to eat those things so it wont be a crisis when I start to decrease the amounts of other foods until I only eat the healthy stuff (with cake and ice cream on occasion!). I want my insides to look as great as the outside, or better!

A3: Everything is going to be alright. God’s got it.
It is easy for me to become stressed or overwhelmed at times. Add ‘not planning or keeping track of things’ to the mix and you’ve got a breakdown in the making. It seems like I have so much to do until I write it all down. But if I see an unchecked item in my planner, I literally feel tense. Then there’s those random things that just happen that you can’t plan for. In times like these, or worse, I have to remind myself that my help comes from God. That since He has already planned and purposed my life, I can relax and just trust HIM. Easier said than done, I know, but I get closer to inner peace everyday. I want my first reflex at the sight of trouble to be prayer, not panic. After all, He has already given us the power to get wealth and to get through obstacles.

Happy New Year.
Have courage, take a step.
Elle