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!
Today, after a couple of meetings and networking at the Plano Chamber of Commerce, I spent some time with my good friend Damarys. We ate lunch, walked around the shops and ate fudge brownie bars in the sun. It was the perfect way to spend a Friday afternoon. She took this pic of me at Legacy Hall for my 365 project. It was so great lounging around and chatting about whatever came to our minds. No social media, no obligations, just two women enjoying the city. Here’s a few more pics from our time together, including Berrynaked the ice-cream bar shop.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
That’s all for today,
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
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
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
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
Many 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.
This past week, I got together with my friends from the Thrift It Clique to cover our monthly OOTD meetup. This month’s theme was centered around Rose Quartz and Serenity, this year’s official Pantone colors. If you look around any store or outlet mall, these colors are all over the place. This year is unique because there are two chosen colors instead of the usual one. Pantone’s selection of it’s yearly hue impacts the entire fashion and product industry! I’m especially happy because Rose Quartz falls perfectly in line with my signature style color scheme.
Any who, I met up with the ladies at the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden to take some pics in our threads before the sun got too high in the sky. As usual, we all were in good spirits as we strolled through path after path of gorgeous flowers and displays. By the time we wrapped things up, we had plenty of pics taken and went our separate ways. Here is what I wore. This multi-toned dress was a clearance item at Charming Charlie’s. It is very comfortable and and chic at the same time. I plan to experiment with this dress and other items in my wardrobe to figure out how many unique looks I can come up with. The shoes were bought from Target a year ago but they are a regular staple on the shelves.
Before I go, I want to invite any Dallas locals reading this to my Spring Fling Meet and Eat on May 21st. This will be two hours of networking, snacking and learning a thing or two about getting better photographs of yourself. Be sure to bring a picnic brunch, blanket and business cards. I’ll be giving away a few prizes as well. There is no fee to participate. You only need to pay admission into the arboretum.
This past weekend, my friend Addie and I hosted our own Fashion Revolution event. I showed up around 2pm to help set up the backdrop and go over our itinerary. Addie pulled out a cute tray of cookies and sustainable glass jugs reminiscent of the ones used for milk in the 40’s. After our two guests arrived, we got down to business.
Addie explained the meaning behind Fashion Revolution. To sum things up, it’s a movement dedicated to exposing dangerous working conditions and the large amount of waste produced in the fashion industry. On April 24th, 2013, the Rana Plaza complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This left 1134 dead and 2500 others wounded. This sparked the start of Fashion Revolution. People wanted to challenge clothing distributors to take an active part in facilitating better care of the individuals who make the clothes that we wear everyday. People flipped their clothes inside out, tagged the maker of the garment, and posted the image with the hashtag #whomademyclothes. The impact of this year’s participation was phenomenal but we still have a ways to go.
After Addie’s presentation, I explained the basics of a capsule wardrobe and how one can start taking the steps to consolidate their closet. Most people have tons of clothes that they never wear. These clothes were bought on impulse or kept long after they were relevant. I encouraged our guests to define their signature style and then do a purge of the items that don’t fit the bill. After that, we started our frock swap! A frock swap is when a group gets together and brings gently worn items that they no longer wear. Everyone in the group gets an opportunity to swap their items with those of someone else in the group and goes home with new clothes for their closet. The cool thing about frock swaps is that they don’t require money, they are environmentally friendly and are a great way to make friends. I came to the swap with four items and left with 5 (couldn’t resist a bag!).
After the swap, we had some fun in front of our thrifty photo booth before chatting with each other. It was a great first run. I’m looking forward to facilitating more frock swaps in the future!
Brandon comes back home tomorrow night! I’ve enjoyed these couple of days on my own but I will be really glad to see him. My work day was pretty dull but the time went by at a pretty good pace. After work, I went across the street for pizza with a friend. Here is what I wore today. The skirt is from the Salvation Army. My sweater is from New York & Company. Let me know what you think. I changed up my hair today, got a lot of compliments from co-workers.