6/365 Making New Habits


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I took today’s pic with my phone and a remote but I’ll be using my DSLR again soon. All my life I’ve had trouble waking up early due to not sleeping through the night. Now I’m trying to create some consistency via a new morning and evening routine. The idea is to give me plenty of physical activity, devotional time, time dedicated to working and winding down. I’ve been following this new routine for a few days now and I’ve already noticed improvements. Right now, I’m waking up at 5:50am to get the day rolling but my goal is to get up an hour earlier eventually. But first, I’ll master this routine so I can get used to doing things in a certain order. Then I’ll bump the time a little earlier by 15 minute increments until I’m rising and grinding by 5am!

I think these new routines have been helping me mentally as well. I used to find myself getting pretty anxious and overwhelmed during the day. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough, didn’t know what to do next despite the many to do lists I’d written. I also felt depressed some days, spending most of my time alone without a plan or solid routine. Now that I have a regimen to follow in the morning and evening, both including exercise and prayer, things are a lot more balanced. I can focus again, I can see logical paths to follow as I work each day and I’ve stopped trying to do everything all at once. I realize it’s ok to take things step by step, a few things a day. It’s ok to have fun, to take breaks, in fact, it’s necessary.

The next time you feel anxiety, ask yourself if you have a solid morning and evening routine. The way you start and end the day can really help you get through difficult times. Are you getting physical? Are you meditating? Praying? Are you taking breaks and doing things for fun? Getting enough sleep and eating right? Take care of yourself friends. Everything else can wait, and the people who love you will understand. If they don’t, find new people.

Have courage,
Elle

Making Connections


If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. — African Proverb

I’ve been challenging myself to take myself more seriously when it comes to telling others about my lifestyle photography brands and finding new clients. So far, I’ve gone to a few networking events, reached out to lots of people online and conducted a styled shoot at my studio in preparation for a new marketing initiative. I’m on fire! It feels invigorating to be taking action towards the kind of life I want for myself. If you haven’t seen them yet, check out my photography brands: Sweet Girl Photos and Gernelle Nelson.

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It’s also been a little draining. I managed to catch a bug from one of my social escapades and have been fighting it off for about four days now. Sunday I was stuck in bed, the worst of the virus had caught up to me but now I’m at that ‘coughing but not contagious’ stage. You know, the part where you sip large amounts of hot fluids and feel antsy because your energy has started to come back.

Anyways, back to these connections. One of my friends is working on building her makeup artistry business. She moved here from Puerto Rico after the hurricane with her husband and only two suit cases of her belongings. Leaving everything behind, she’s hoping to start fresh by finding opportunities to work with new clients. I recently collaborated with her on my styled shoot. She did an amazing job on our model and has agreed to be my preferred MUA whenever I have a studio session. Check out her work below and follow Damarys on Instagram.

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Another friend has opened her own venue space and has agreed to partner with me on a monthly event to get lots of ladies and little girls in front of my camera. I’m hoping it brings lots of eyes to our brands and adds on retainer clients in the process. When you get a chance, check out all the Lemonade Lounge has to offer, especially if you want to host a part or workshop soon.

I’m going to join my local chamber of commerce soon and find ways to create more partnerships with local business owners in my neighborhood. The other day I attended a chamber meeting and was pleasantly surprised to find a room packed with excited people ready to talk about their businesses and support others. People were giving their 30 second commercials, thanking those who had sent them referrals and sharing events they had coming up. As I listened, I started coming up with ways I could parter with these brands to reach more of my target audience and it was pretty much a done deal from there. I’ll be getting social with the chamber very soon.

Have courage, Elle
gernellenelson.com
besweetgirl.com

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

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.

xoxo
Elle

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.

xoxo,

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.

xoxo
The Artistic Chic