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!

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

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.

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

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

Thirsty Thursday


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.

Elleword - My gifted sweater from New York & Company paired with a thrifted vintage denim skirt and Bean Pole bag. I love these gold coach shoes!
This skirt is so comfy!

 

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.

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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!

The pulled chicken sandwiches we had for lunch at XO Coffee in Plano, TX

That’s all for today,

Have courage,
Elle | Elleword  | Tweets  |  InstaElle

So Here’s What You Missed

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Aside from reaching the big five year milestone in our marriage, Brandon and I have had so many things happening back to back. I thought I’d share what we’ve been up to in a blog post; here we go.

On The Home Front

 

We moved into our dream apartment complex a few weeks ago! Eventually we’ll be able to land our dream floor plan, but for now, we’ve settled into a cozy space on the fourth floor. Justice (woof) has adjusted pretty well to our new space. He loves his new bed that we bought for him and tends to eat snacks and store his toys there. It’s actually pretty cute to see him snuggled in there. Our complex is a great place for people who enjoy being social to flourish. There is a happy hour held every Wednesday where residents can mingle of snacks in our 24 hour clubhouse. I’ve met so many fun and interesting people who I think could become our friends in the future.

Brandon and I tend to camp out at night in the clubhouse while working or surfing the web. We could purchase an internet package but it’s nice to get out of our apartment for awhile. One of our favorite things to do is watch DVDs over dinner in our small home theater. To keep the carpet safe and our food fur free, Justice isn’t allowed in there. We’ve also walked way more than we used to now that there is a park across the street. We even took a 5 mile bike ride up the street and around the corner on a few bike trails. Hopefully, we’ll get a good fitness routine going where we can use the 24 hour gym at the complex as well. One step at a time 🙂

As Far as Work Goes

Brandon just spent most of the last two weeks out of town for work conferences and meetings. He’s been working harder than ever trying to make the project that he and his team are working on a success. There’s a possibility that he could get a raise soon but for now, we’re in the ‘waiting’ stage. It’s been frustrating for him to not know what they will decide since he’s doing his best, but we try to focus on enjoying ourselves together when he gets off work. That seems to really be helping him to relax. I hope he gets the raise but in the meantime, I’m working hard to help him with our finances by budgeting and working on finding clients.

I’ve shot two weddings this month and I have one on the 12th of November. Business is starting to get rolling for Gernelle Nelson! I hosted a photo booth at our apartment’s halloween party and landed some perspective clients, one wedding included. I even met the editor of a local magazine who asked me if I’d like to take images for them sometime. Um,… Yes!! I’m praying for guidance on how to be social, and how I can help others while building my company. Just gotta stay consistent!

That’s enough of the updating, I’ve written quite a lot for the night and don’t want to bore you! Have a good night readers.

Have courage,
Elle | Elleword  | Tweets  |  InstaElle

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

Getting in Sync with your Spouse takes time, Don’t Give Up


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Brandon told me that he was having a stressful time at work so I treated him to dinner and a movie. As the night went on, he told me that spending time with me made him feel relieved, relaxed and calm during tough situations. Hearing him say that means so much to me. Things were quite different earlier in our relationship. Continue reading “Getting in Sync with your Spouse takes time, Don’t Give Up”