32/65 Christmas Partay


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32/65 Christmas Partay

We spent the evening at the home of a really kind couple (they are on the far left). A lot of Brandon’s co-workers were there so we took this pic before the end of the night. We went for the first time last year and had a blast so I was happy they invited us again. We made sure to leave gift bottle of Bellini. Turns out, its our hostesses’ favorite! Afterwards, we made our way back to our side of town and I paid the rent for my shared studio space. Gotta order some new checks pronto!

4/365 Thrift Shopping Saturday


Today I tried on almost 15 items and only managed to find one thing at the thrift store. However, it was a sweet find! When Brandon and I walked into the store, I saw this love lounge chair right away. So we took advantage and got a shot of me in the chair for today’s pic. What do you think of my casual OOTD? I distressed the jeans myself, though you can’t really see them up close, lol. 4:365-2018-Elleword-thrift-shopping-saturday.jpg

Youtube Reboot


I’m getting back into Youtube, first by posting footage I’ve been holding onto. While it’s a lot of work, it’s also a lot of fun capturing everything and looking back at all of the great times I’ve had with my family and friends. It’s like I get to relive the moments over and over. Here’s my intro video.

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

Summer Vibes in July


I’ve been doing lots of thinking around ways to make passive income so I can enjoy all that summer has to offer. Aside from posting our vacation in Vegas video and talking about why I shave my head on my Youtube channel, I’ve decided to work on new videos everyday to build my audience and start making money from ads.

Our truck bit the dust last month and I’ve once again embraced the commuter lifestyle. To get to church, we take two buses and then ride our bikes the rest of the way. While waiting on our second bus, we found this little donut shop and decided to step in for breakfast. After church let out, we hitched a ride with my mom back to our place.

The next day was the fourth. Instead of jumping into an event or barbecue, we took a long walk with Justice (woof) and relaxed at home. The next day was my birthday! Brandon had to work but surprised me with lunch at Ojedas, my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant. I ate the Carmel special and had two celebratory frozen margaritas. So good! Brandon had to head back to work but Nae (my twin sis) and my brother-in-love Danio joined me for round two.

More summer fun is on the way and I can’t wait to indulge! I’ll keep you updated via blogs and vlogs to keep you in the loop.

Have courage,

Elle | Elleword  | Tweets  |  InstaElle

Thrift It Clique: Summer Style + Chilling at Nae’s House

Elleword - I made these yummy wheat pancakes myself :) Love the heart shaped strawberries!

The Thrift It Clique has come together once again for a collaborative style post, this time on summer style. I thought it over for awhile and decided to wear something that reflected my new lifestyle as full-time creative entrepreneur. Since I work from home, I like to be comfortable unless I’m going out. Plus, it’s like 500 degrees outside. I’ll be wearing light colored fabric, as usual, and showing a bit more leg this season.

In other news, Brandon went out of town for five days for work so I decided to take a trip to Nae’s house. Justice (woof) and I packed up our gear and hopped into her car to hit the road. It was nice to work away from the apartment and spend time with my sister and nephew and brother-in-love. Seems like we’ve all been pretty busy lately. Justy and I went home the next day and I got to work on this week’s busy work for my company.

For this OOTD I decided to wear a tan cami underneath a thrifted loose graphic tee that reminds me of lineart from a sketchbook. To finish things off I added my polka dotted beige shorts, also thrifted, originally from J Crew. You can’t see my shoes because I’m not actually wearing shoes, hahah. It’s summer time and I guess I feel much freer without shoes and socks on my feet. Though I wouldn’t suggest walking outside barefoot. The ground is hotter than the air! Speaking of, don’t forget to protect your dog’s feet from being scorched by the ground. Keep them in the grass and dirt or else they could get injured.

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Chef Trainee Gerry Roland presents at the Cordon Bleu

Elleword - My nephew Gerry is studying the culinary arts at the Cordon Bleu in Dallas, TX

My nephew, Gerry, is studying to become a chef.

A year or so ago, my nephew moved in with my twin sister and her husband to pursue the next step in his formal education. Thus far, the Cordon Bleu has exposed him to several regional dishes, sauces and desserts. Gerry sometimes brings these meals home for my sister and brother-in-love to try but he’s usually tied up with his job at a restaurant near their townhouse. Every semester, Gerry and his fellow chefs in training put on a sample show where they share the dishes they’ve been working on with the public. I wasn’t able to attend one of these demonstrations in the past (day job woes). Gerry invited me to come and enjoy some yummy foods that he and other budding cuisiniers had prepared a few weeks after I left the corporate world. Naturally I accepted!

Aside from the fact that there’d be free food, I wanted to take a look around. I hadn’t been to a culinary school before and after watching Julie & Julia 100 times, I was excited to see a real chef’s kitchen. When the day came, I got wrapped up in a writing assignment. Thankfully my sister (Gerry’s mom) Youlanda checked in with me via text to find out if I was still coming. Realizing that I didn’t have adequate time to put on a decent outfit, I settled for a pair of jeans, the neon pink t-shirt I was already wearing and my thrifted purple Nike zip up jacket. I crossed my fingers, hoping that I wouldn’t be the only casually dressed attendee as I kissed Brandon and ran out the door.

Eating at the Cordon Bleu School in Dallas

After driving (and sweating since our AC is out) for half an hour, I came upon a retail complex. The three suites on the end housed the Cordon Bleu of Dallas. I dabbed my face and neck and started towards the door. Youlanda came out to meet me. She was this brightly colored aztec print dress that we’d found on our latest shopping trip at Thrift City. Mom was waiting inside, also decked out in bright spring attire. Now I really felt underdressed! The lobby area was packed with guests of all ages. Though there was no food in sight, the aromas from the other room wafted in and made my stomach growl. An older gentleman dressed in a white culinary uniform came out to greet the group. The chef, who turned out to be one of the instructors, informed us that the students had all been working very hard on these dishes and were challenged to create their own recipes. Then he lead us around the corner into a modest dining hall full of eager student chefs stationed at covered dishes along the walls.

The instructor sat the guests at round tables covered by white and royal blue table clothes. In the center of the table were flowers, a bread basket, fancy butter and Mother’s Day themed menus. The three of us sat near the beverage area next to a friendly man whom we later learned supplied fresh produce to businesses and was married to one of the chefs in training. Feeling like one of those moms at elementary school plays, I hopped up and took a picture of Gerry at his food station. He looked so pristine in his uniform! Shortly after, everyone got up and started loading their plates with food. The students served us, sharing the details of their chosen dish and how to best enjoy it. There were savory foods like turkey pot pie, pot stickers, ceviche, milk bread, mussels and roast duck (Gerry’s main course). I had never eaten duck before so that was the first thing I tried. It was so delicious that I got seconds! For dessert we had poached pears. Once everyone was served, Gerry came to join us at our table. Gerry informed us that he’d planned on serving mochi dessert but it hadn’t turned out the way he planned and was left in the freezer. We raved at how good everything tasted and that we were sure he’d be able to succeed the next time he tried making the Japanese dessert.

After lunch, Gerry gave us a tour of the facility. After turning several corners and passing a group of large preparation areas, we walked into the large kitchen where Gerry and his classmates learned how to make traditional foods while experimenting with their own dishes. I’d never seen so many pots and utensils in one room. Just beneath one of the counters stood four large containers of flour, each a different kind, used for specific purposes. The shelves on the wall held enough seasonings to last a few years if stored in my cabinets at home. All of the appliances and table tops were stainless steel and brimming with cooking supplies.

There is a display case in the hallway honoring the late Chef Jean Lafont. Having been born in France and later moving to the U.S., Chef Lafont was known for his great ability to teach aspiring chefs and help them find employment after graduation. People called him the Diamond of Dallas Fine Dining.

Elleword - We had a great time at the Cordon Bleu in Dallas, TX!

Overall, we had an awesome time. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with for his next presentation. I’ve been inspired to cook a bit more creatively at home and add some variety to our menu. I’ll let you know what I come up with! When was the last time you cooked and what was the occasion? Let me know in the comments.

Have courage,

Elle | Elleword  | Tweets  |  InstaElle

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

Found Fashion Friday’s at the Grove


This weekend, I went the to Grove for the Dallasites101 anniversary party. I didn’t get to meet Lily and Kara, the co-founders, but I did manage to run into Becca from Beckley Co.  Once I arrived, I called up Gernae (twin sis) and found my way to her table. My brother in love was also there, decked out in KC Royals t-shirts. Both of them looked like they were in good spirits. Maybe it was because of the music DJ Blake was playing. He did an awesome job of mixing 90’s rap with today’s pop music. After a short while, I walked over to the Vita Coco stand with Nae and asked them about the benefits of coconut water.

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Love this jacket! Both items are thrift finds
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Nah and Danio 🙂
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Our coconut water drinks
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The Coco Vita stand
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DJ Blake
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Jazmine from Poopouri
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Jazmine’s Texas bracelets from the Haute Wheels mobile boutique

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A group of stylish friends

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Here’s my ootd!

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The ladies told us that it was 3x as hydrating as water and naturally enriched with vitamins and electrolytes. We’re always looking for reasons to try something new so we grabbed one of each flavor: lemonade, pineapple and cafe latte. I didn’t get to try the pineapple but between the latte and lemonade flavors, I like the latte best. The flavor was a little strange at first but after shaking it up and giving it another try, I started to like it more. It was almost chocolatey. I wonder what coconut water tastes like by itself.

A volleyball game was underway as I walked around getting footage for my vlog. I wanted to lounge in a hammock but they were all occupied so I started searching the crowd for great outfits. It didn’t take long. 🙂 The first person I talked to was Jazmine, SEO manager for Poopourri. She was really kind and even invited me to a Bible study on Tuesday nights. We exchanged information and business cards and she let me take a picture of her for my blog. Poopourri traps odor under the surface of toilet water. In other words, you won’t stink up the place when you take a restroom break. I’ve got to give some of that a try.

We wrapped things up by taking some pics on the Photo Bus and then headed our separate ways. I’m looking forward to seeing what other events I can get into this spring. Speaking of that, I’m throwing an event! It’s called the Spring Fling Meet and Eat. I’ll be meeting up with ladies to network, snack on picnic brunch and give out some photo/pose tips. Hope to see ya there!

Have courage,
Elle

 

So much to be Grateful for


Hi Queens and Kings.

My Friend Elle on Thanksgiving with her family

This past week I spent a much needed week away from work at our family house in Grand Prairie. While it was a little tough adjusting to the periodic yells from my nieces, I got in some much needed relaxation, quality time with family and even some exercise. The only downside was not being able to spend that time with my husband. He spent the week with his family out of state this year but we kept in touch through text and video chats until his return on Saturday. Continue reading “So much to be Grateful for”