35/365 Laundry Serenade


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35/365 Laundry Serenade

Today I had a lot of energy so I put all I had into attacking the clutter in my apartment. It’s a good thing too, since I had a mountain of clothes to wash. Midway through, I started singing along to Spotify and thought, hey, get this on camera. I even used my DSLR! I still need to put away about 40% of the now clean clothes but at least I have more wardrobe options again! Aside from laundry, I’ve been doing a lot of correspondence with clients and edits for commissioned work. This month has been pretty good for business!

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!

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

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

3/365 Lounging at Legacy Hall


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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.

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Me and Damarys chilling on patio chairs.
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Go check this place out if you like popsicles!
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They all looked so good! We both decided to get chocolate fudge brownie bars (with real brownie inside!)
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We had lunch at Zoes Kitchen
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One of the guys saw me taking pics of myself and wanted to join me hahah.

2/365 A Walk in the Park


Day two is here and so far, so good!

It’s coooooooool outside. I stepped outside in a sweater to meet up with my photography mentee and had to run back inside and grab a jacket! That’s fall in Dallas for ya, one day it’s rainy, the next sunny and chilly, the next hot and muggy. Who knows how to dress for this weather!? I digress. Before the mentoring session started, I set my camera and tripod up and started walking up and down the paths. The trees weren’t quite as orange as they look in these pics but the wind had the fallen leaves flying all over the place.

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A walk in the park turned into a pretty great pic! FYI, Dallas does not look like this in the fall without some photoshop magic, LOL. Almost everything was green!

The last time I did a 365, I often stood closer to the camera. I’m still getting used to being a distance away and using the timer or remote. The nice part about not being close to the camera is not having to worry with retouching or trying 8 or 9 times to get the right facial expressions. I think it took me about 5 minutes to get a winning shot today! What do you think? Should I have tried something more daring? Let me know in the comments. If you’re working on a photo project, send me a link so I can check out your work too! I’m always looking for inspiration.

Have courage,
Elle | gernellenelson.com

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
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Making Moves…Literally

Elleword - just lounging around the house in gifted jeans, thrifted top and my husband's sweater. Like the afro?

Lately I’ve been making moves.

I’ve been focusing more on relationship building and collaborating with other vendors on projects while I build my company resources and systems. Business hasn’t skyrocketed but I’m starting to notice more inquiries and opportunities start coming down the pipe. I’ve got a bunch of things to type up, design and prepare (plus it’s really boring work!) but once they are done, it’s just about repeating the process with each client. Till then I need some personal projects or hobbies to keep me inspired.

Elleword - A prom photo I took of a beautiful high school girl at the Westin Hotel Downtown Dallas location
These are images I took during a prom event that I was asked to co-sponsor. I’m in love with her whole look, I was NOT this stylish in high school!

So I’m getting back to vlogging, blogging and focusing on my photo skills via a 365 project. I haven’t chosen a start day or a subject, though I’m considering photographing myself each day. I just want to do something fun and creative for the sake of creating ya know? Speaking of that, I’m currently converting a long skirt into a swim suit. I have one but it’s magenta and kinda boring lol. I’ve been wanting to pull out my sewing machine for so long and make or tailor something from the thrift store. I’m so excited!! Once I get my sewing skills back into shape, I want to try my hand at tailoring some pants and a skirt from three name brand thrift store suits. When I start those, I’ll make a separate post and video.

Elleword - just lounging around the house in gifted jeans, thrifted top and my husband's sweater. Like the afro?
I’ve been seriously slacking on my style goals, wearing yoga pants and tees most days but that ends now!!! I’m going to put on real clothes every day from here on out.

Aside from that, we moved into another apartment this past Friday. It’s a long story but I’ll try to sum it up for ya!

When we first moved to DFW (5 years ago), we lived in a quaint apartment complex within walking distance of a bunch of places. We loved it so we stayed there almost 4 years before moving up the street. We loved the new place but it didn’t quite feel like home so after our lease was up we went back to the old place.

BIG MISTAKE!

Our experience this time around sucked! We had bug problem after bug problem. Issues with the heat not turning off. The AC blowing out air that smelled like a sewer and water leaking into our living room. We couldn’t take it any longer so last week, after only 6 months of being back, we packed up our stuff and came back to the new place. After that experience, the new place definitely feels like home! Our internet was installed last night so hopefully I’ll keep up with writing on here. Even if no one reads it, I like looking back at my days and seeing all the things I’ve done over the years. Otherwise I’ll forget!

That’s all I have for now. Thanks for stopping by.
Have courage, Elle

Marriage, Wine and a Good Book


Brandon and I have both been reading a lot more lately. I’ve personally devoured three books in the last two weeks and am working on book number four as I learn more about SEO, networking online, productivity and blogging. I guess it’s only natural that reading has rolled into our time spent together. We started our own evening tradition of sitting together on the couch, sipping wine and reading a chapter from a book. Currently, we’re on chapter six of ‘Boundaries in Marriage’ by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. I highly recommend it!

Elleword: Some of the most wonderful moments are the simplest. Looking over and seeing my husband reading by the glow of string lights in our cozy apartment.
He’s not sleeping, lol.

If you’re interested in self help books, I also recommend reading or listening to ‘The Productivity Project‘ by Chris Bailey. I’ve been listening to it on my own and have already picked up some great pointers on what I’ve been doing wrong when it comes to getting work done. For one, I’m spending too much time working! When I work in short spans of time, two hours usually, I get so much more done! I’m also working on fighting the urge to put on a video, look at social media or check my phone while I’m working. Today I not to actively use my phone until 9am. At first it was a little hard.

Waking up around 6:15am, I opened the windows, turned off the lights and let the apartment slowly fill with sunlight naturally. I imagined that I was in staying in a cabin deep in the mountains. I told myself that it wasn’t morning traffic that I was hearing but the gentle sounds of a nearby stream. Not wanting to disrupt my fantasy, I decided against playing music or any other types of media. Instead, I went about my morning routine in quiet serenity. Whenever I heard an alarm chime from my cell, I’d switch from one morning task to another one. Outside of that, I did my best to put all of my focus on the tasks ahead without searching for the nearest clock to see how much time had passed. I failed a few times but as time slowly went by, I began to realize just how much time I really had at my disposal to do each activity.

Brandon reads to me as we relax on the couch after a long day of working. Don't mind my oversized sweat pants! Elleword Blog
Marriage, wine and a good book are all we needed for a great evening.

The more I focused on reading, straightening up the apartment and my yoga positions, the sooner I finished ahead of time. So I guess my key to success lies in cutting out as many electronic distractions as possible (unless the work involves a computer). I’m going to give this a go again tomorrow and see how well it works out. In the meantime, since I’m still feeling lively, I’m going to put in a few more retouches in on a recent project. Have a great night guys! Thanks for reading. If you have solutions or struggles with time management, leave your thoughts in the comments.

Have courage,
Elle

I suck at Juggling


It’s hard to keep consistent with one thing, let alone 3 or 4, yet here I am trying to balance two brands, a personal blog, and a Youtube channel. As you can see from the date of my last post on here, I suck at juggling. hahahaha. It’s ok though, because I’ve got some help coming in the form of interns! Seriously, I’m getting some interns for my company to help me take care of some things so I can focus on growth and finances.

Ok, enough of that. Here are some photos to update ya on my life lately. I’m slowly and surely getting my life in the health department. I’ve been eating more fruits, especially mango via  smoothies, and taking my dog on longer walks in the morning. I don’t have a real fitness routine as of yet, but I can feel myself getting more energetic. I’m hoping to incorporate biking, hiking, walking and yoga into my weekly routine. By my next birthday, July 5th in case ya want to get me a present hahah, I want to have mastered a fitness regimen. I’m also hoping to have ditched this bra budge and have a flatter stomach.

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Chilling like a villain by the pool in the middle of the day. Winning!
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Super cheesy shot of us together, but we like cheesy, haha.
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All snuggled up on the couch at Nae’s house.
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Hitting the road to get Brandon to work on time.
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Making a mango blueberry smoothie!
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Justice seems to love sleeping on his back the most.
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Another shot from the botanical garden.

One thing I have started to be more consistent at is making videos for our (my husband and I) Youtube Channel. I didn’t expect him to get into the vlogging spirit but he has started to enjoy the ride and record on his own! Can’t wait to post the next one featuring him getting physical training from our friend David. In the meantime, here’s our most recent vlog below. If you had fun watching, tell us with a comment, thumbs up and hit the subscribe button.

It’s been a little over a year since I left the corporate world and I must say, I don’t miss it at all! Cue the Beyonce “I ain’t sorry, I ain’t sorry…”. Today my stomach was cramping so I took Justice (woof) for a walk before planting myself by the pool. Sitting there in the shade there was no annoying boss giving me a pile of non departmental tasks to do, no irritable clients calling about their websites…. It was just me and the soft sounds of the wind and water. I will work my butt off everyday if it means never having to go back to that kind of day to day stress! Now I can focus on what matters most to me.

Just in case you guys didn’t know, I’d love to hear from you. Leave comments and questions here or hit me up on Instagram some time. Let’s get social.

Have courage,
Elle