28/365 Chamber Work Day


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28/365 Chamber Work Day – I look so happy, LOL

I needed to get back to business so I posted up at my local chamber of commerce and did some admin work. Guess the vacation is officially over! Now I’ve gotta re-train my brain to focus after having so many days off in Saint Louis. I’m falling back into my morning routine pretty well though. Not so much can be said of my evening routine yet.

13/365 Glued to the Screen


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13/365 Glued to the screen and trapped on the sofa

The wind and rain rattled my windows for most of the day like a sound machine set on repeat. It was relaxing, a little too relaxing. I spent most of the day staring at my laptop, sitting on the sofa. Outside of the gym, I didn’t leave my apartment the entire day. It was kinda nice and kinda stressful. Whenever I sit around for a few hours, I end up thinking about how I’m not getting anything productive done. Then I get a little anxious but my body seems to forget to move. I call it the couch trap. You know, when you can look around and see the work that needs to be done but your body seems glued to the couch cushions. You won this round couch, but tomorrow’s another day!!

9/365 Slow Morning


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I experimented with a slow shutter after sunset to get this shot. The blue glow is the light from my AC unit 🙂 This morning I got up at a good time but my routine got slowed down a bit. Brandon didn’t have to go to work until a little later than usual so we spent some quality time together.

7/365 A Productive Tuesday


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7/365 A Productive Tuesday

Today I got up at 5:30am feeling fully awake. It’s probably because of the daylight savings time shift. Anyways, I took advantage of the my time and started my morning routine early. I got a great cardio workout in and headed to the library to get some work done. I was done with everything by 12:30! It was nice finishing my work so soon but I admit, I was bored after a little while, LOL. In the evening I went to a Young Professionals of Plano Pizza Party to celebrate the fact that we all voted. Every new person I met was a financial advisor, strange. Well everyone except this lady who works in the libraries. She showed me how to get my work exhibited in the library for free! This made the trip worth it! Tomorrow is technically my off day but I can’t just lay around!

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Glistening after my cardio in the gym
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I made myself this bento from the food I bulk prepped. The teriyaki nuggets are soy! This meal is all plants!
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A close up of the shirt I wore today. Perfect shirt for a pizza party.
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Just scrolling through the books at the library.

Have courage,
Elle | besweetgirl.com
gernellenelson.com

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

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.

1/365 – Rainy Day Off (Life With a View)


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1/365 – A Rainy Day Off (Life With a View) Today marks the first day of my 365 project!

I’m finally starting up a 365 photo project. The first time I bought a DSLR camera I attempted a few projects like this one. I didn’t take a photo every day but I learned a lot about my camera, had fun being creative and archived a lot of my year. This time, I’m going to try and do this every day. My theme is ‘Life with a View’ because I want all of the photos to show my surroundings. I don’t want to focus on my face but instead, the world around me. Expect to see me in different settings, though they may not change every day, such is real life right?

What do you think of my first shot? Are you working on any personal projects? Let me know in the comments!

She’s not a ‘Tomboy’, She’s Strong!


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We need to retire the word Tomboy. She’s strong!

As a women & girls photographer, (I took this pic^^^) this topic is close to my heart. Little girls come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. Some love dolls, others love dirt. Some prefer dresses, others prefer soccer cleats. Every girl is beautifully wonderfully made but too often, the girls who are athletic and inquisitive are called masculine.

People use phrases like ‘tomboy’ or ‘rough around the edges’ to describe girls who would rather play video games and wrestle than to paint their nails or wear pink. Even worse, boys taunt each other in sports by saying ‘you hit like a girl’ as if all girls are weak and horrible at physical tasks.

This is wrong and needs to stop! Let’s start encouraging our girls by retiring the word ‘tomboy’ from now on. She’s not a ‘tomboy’, she’s strong!

Growing up, I wasn’t considered a ‘girly girl’. I was outgoing, loved climbing trees, exploring nature, using my imagination and playing in the dirt. I distinctly remember people telling me I was a tomboy which translated in my mind as ‘you act like a boy’. This really bothered me. I just wanted to have fun but hearing the phrases over and over again made me feel like I wasn’t feminine enough. This carried on into puberty since I was a late bloomer and deeply effected my self esteem.

I don’t want any of our girls to feel that way about themselves. I want to encourage all  girls and women to be physical, adventurous and imaginative. Instead of calling girls ‘tomboy’ let’s call them ‘strong’ because that’s the truth. Here are some more positive words we can use instead:

  • lively
  • agile
  • limber
  • brave
  • vigorous
  • sharp
  • vivacious
  • spirited
  • athletic
  • sporty
  • tough
  • energetic

These are all awesome words that truly reflect our talents and strengths. Strength is not a trait reserved for men and boys. The fact that we are girls means everything we do is girly. We are awesome! We are brave! We are strong! Remove ‘tomboy’ from your vocabulary and strive to uplift girls and women, whether they love barbies, high heels or football.

I’m in the ‘Before’ Fitness Stage


One of the things I’ve been doing to improve myself is focusing on my fitness and food/water intake. I know, some of you are thinking ‘what the heck do you have to worry about? You’re skinny!’. Well feast your eyes on these pics I took the other day and see for yourself! I’m in that ‘before’ fitness stage where you can see what I ‘looked’ like before I started my fitness routine.

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My biggest goal is to get rid of the fat on my back. Seeing that weight has snuck up behind me, I was pretty shocked. At the same time, it was the jolt I needed to be realistic about my physical state. I’m not as in shape as I used to be but that doesn’t have to be permanent! Secondly, I want to tone up my thighs. I didn’t show my bare legs but the other day I discovered cellulite on my thighs. Talk about adding insult to injury! WTH man!

Lastly, I want to flatten my stomach and shrink my overall waistline so I can get a more curvy silhouette. I’ve never had a curvy figure but I figure with toning up and adding some weights into the picture, I can build my dream body, one I can put into a bikini without having flesh hanging over the straps! I’ve seen lots of ladies online showing off their well deserved figures and I want to be one of them. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not obsessed with building a bigger butt via squat mania. But if my gluten end up getting built up I won’t complain, LOL.

As apart of my fitness plan, yesterday I started tracking my water intake, my meals and how I felt before and after eating to keep myself motivated. Part of my problem is eating/drinking too much sugar. So my first initiative is to find replacements for all the sugary things I’ve been drinking and eating so I can still feel satisfied without jeopardizing my fitness routine. It may sound kinda weird, but writing about how I felt emotionally and physically before eating really helps me understand my meal decisions. You guys should try it sometime.

Anyone out there working on some fitness goals? How are you planning to build your ideal body? Got any before/after photos I can look at? Leave me a comment or question below.

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