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

I Almost Gave Up


Sitting on the floor in my cluttered living room, challenges swirling around my mind like fallen leaves, I almost threw in the towel. What was I thinking trying to manage two photography brands? I was barely making a living from the first one! What made me think I could manage two Facebook pages, two Instagram profiles, two Twitter profiles, and two business blogs (plus this one!!)? I almost gave up. I was overwhelmed. I sucked at juggling all this stuff. Maybe I was in over my head.

Or maybe I had the wrong mindset.

After taking a long walk, stoping all attempts to do anything work related for a day and a prayer said aloud (my husband Brandon was cracking up at my candor), I got an epiphany. The fog didn’t clear in my mind, but that didn’t negate the fact that my dreams and goals were still there waiting to be activated. I heard God telling me that I had been much busier than this in the past. During those times, I was thriving on all sides. The problem wasn’t that I had too much to do. The problem was that I wasn’t holding up my side of the deal.

Whenever you want to do something you’ve never done, you gotta do what you’ve never done to get there. My mind was blown!

I chatted with my brother on FaceTime as he commuted from the airport to his hotel in New Zealand and thought ‘how can I do what he’s doing?’. He’s traveling the world, creating art (music) and making a living from it. I started thinking about his journey and how he was always, always, always posting about his work or shows. Then I was reminded that he’d been doing these things for years. It wasn’t an overnight miracle.

I started scrolling on Youtube and watching those ‘back then life sucked but look at me now’ type videos and discovered similar results. These people worked their butts off, took chances and believed in themselves enough to bet their time, money and reputation to make their dreams known to others. That’s when I started to get pumped.

Is the photography industry heavily saturated? Yup, but so is just about every single industry out there. There are literally millions of people picking up cameras and taking photos of stuff or people or places and trying to make a living from it. But you know what? None of those people are me.

Now, instead of freaking out and focusing on what I don’t have, I’m looking at what’s at my fingertips. I’ve got two cameras, Adobe CC, free modes of promotion on social media, a phone and a voice. I’m a member of a bunch of communities online full of people who love giving help to those who are humble enough to ask for it. I’ve got a library card which grants me access to thousands of resources that will help me learn the skills needed to be successful for FREE!! And best of all, I serve the Lord of all creation.

Seems like Jesus eased up beside me and said ‘My word says that we’ve been given the power to get wealth. Time to plug into that power and watch as I light up your life.’

After storming the library catalogs for inspiration, (there a 10 or more books on my desk!) I’ve began reading daily. While I read, I write down the parts that I can apply to my life and start implementing whatever I can the same day. I don’t get down on myself when I miss a day or make a mistake. I just keep going, keep reading, keep learning and keep applying what I learned.

Today, my domain mapping for this blog was set to expire and I contemplated letting it go. I thought I was too busy to continue some passion project that I started in college (I originally blogged about life after undergrad!). Instead of giving up, I renewed the mapping so elleword.com would still take people to my blog, despite the fact that it hadn’t been updated in months. Then I finished reading one of my library books about blogging and made a list of the kinds I want to blog (and vlog about) in 2018. Then I waited until I couldn’t stand not expressing myself in writing, opened my laptop and let the words flow from my mind through my fingertips to this post.

I’m not going to give up. I hope you don’t either.

Have courage!
Elle

The Last Six Days


The last six days have been a roller coaster of events and emotions.

On Saturday, my husband and I moved from our fourth story studio to a cozy bungalow up the street. While we were really happy about the new space, we ran into a few issues up front. The place hadn’t been cleaned, there were dead bugs in the closet and an unidentified splatter of some brown liquid in the kitchen. I was able to help get everything inside of our place before running off to shoot a wedding. I was exhausted leaving the reception at 11:30 and had to call Brandon up so he could keep me company on the way home; and keep me awake.

The next day we went to church and celebrated our 6th anniversary with my twin sister and her husband at Red Lobster. This was really special for us because Red Lobster is where we had our rehearsal dinner two days before our wedding day. We came home to discover that our box of books had been chewed open and our books were spread across the floor. I vowed to get a kennel ASAP! That evening, surrounded by boxes and slightly peeved at the dirtiness of our place, Brandon and I cuddled up on the couch as he munched on Tortilla chips before going to bed.

On Monday morning, I heard Brandon exclaim “Ants!” in the other room. Apparently at some point in the early morning hours, the ants came marching two by two through a small opening at the base of our living room wall to feast on the bag of Tortilla chips Brandon had munched on the night before. Brandon called in PTO day for work as we scrambled to move our things out of the critter’s path and resolved to move out if the front office didn’t agree to do something about our place. It was bad enough that it was dirty but this was too much to take. Thankfully, the manager was very compassionate and helpful.

She sent in the property managers to clean and reseal the windowsills and clean up the sloppy job that had been done to the flooring in the bathroom. A few hours later, pest control came in and sprayed down our carpet and couch. I pulled back the edge of the carpet while he sprayed the base of the wall down. We could see the opening where the ants were coming in and I made a mental note to seal it up with hot glue later. We then spent the night at our sisters’ house chatting while I uploaded two weddings to my contractors.

The next day, Brandon and I returned home and found an ant free bungalow waiting for us. Brandon went to work and I headed off to shoot a mid week wedding an hour away. The bride and groom were so kind and you could see how much they loved each other. The food was amazing and the bride invited me to dance with her and her family so I danced and sang along to ‘Living on a Prayer’ and taught them how to do ‘the wobble’ dance. At the end of the night, her mother blessed me with a $100 tip and thanked me for my help. It really was my pleasure. The next morning, my friend Isidora drove me to the oral surgeon to get a tooth extracted and prepped for a dental implant. The procedure was fast and I was asleep the whole time.

When I woke up, my friend Isi took me to pick up the three medications and medicated mouth rinse from CVS before dropping me off at home. I ate soup and a smoothie before resting a few more hours. We still hadn’t really unpacked but I felt so comfortable and at home. This place feels so much more homey than our other place! Speaking of, Brandon and I went back there to clean things up but he forgot to grab the broom so we’ll have to finish up tonight once I come back from covering an elopement in Fort Worth.

That’s my update, in case you were wondering where I’ve been! Thanks for checking in with me. If you like my blog, please subscribe. I’ll be rebooting the OOTD posts once we are settled in.

Have courage,
Elle

P.S. We borrowed a kennel from my sis and Justice (woof) is slowly adjusting to life behind bars when we are gone, lol. Our belongings are once again safe from his reign of terror!

My Vision Board is Complete!

this is my mini vision board! It covers my career and personal goals in a minimal, chic layout with a great color scheme.

To keep things simple, I made small vision board centered around my professional and personal goals. I wanted to keep things pleasant to look at so I used minimal images, colors and spacing to make sure everything was nice and neat. I’m really happy with how it turned out! Here’s an explanation of what each part of my board means.

elleword-my-vision-board.jpgThe cityscape panel is all about my career goals. I want to work remotely as a photographer. When wedding season is slow, I plan on picking up web development jobs that I can fulfill on my laptop. That way, I can travel and make a paycheck at the same time, no matter what’s going on with my work load. This pic made me feel energized and excited. I could see myself finishing up a task and then chilling in this pool with my husband. If I focus on learning new skills daily, it won’t be long before this is my life.

The bikini and shades represents my sense of style. Aside from working, I want to use every opportunity to look my best. This includes staying fit so I can wear a bikini proudly. I’ve got some work to do in this area but I’m confident that I can get back to bikini shape in no time.

The teepee image stands for my travel aspirations. I want to see so many parts of the world, talk to locals and share my adventures via vlogs on my Youtube channel. My goal is to take three or four adventure trips a year at least! Huge goal, so I’ve got to hold up my end of the bargain in the business arena if I want this to become a reality.

The bowl of food is centered around feeding myself the right things. Not only literal food, but studying the bible, listening to positive messages and saying them daily. Good things in = good things out.

Babe is pretty obvious – to me at least, lol. I want to get my life together and keeping my life on steady rotation in these areas will make me a babe! I’m in my 30s now so there’s nothing to it but to do it. I’ve stumbled though my 20s, now it’s time to thrive and arrive!

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.

elleword-march2-pics-of-the-day4elleword-march2-pics-of-the-day1elleword-march2-pics-of-the-day2

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

Elleword is Transforming

I went to XO Coffee in Downtown Plano, TX. There was a live band there :D

I’m currently juggling three huge projects and they are taking up all of my time and energy to produce. I haven’t blogged on here in so long, my apologies. Hence, I’m making some changes. I want to turn Elleword into a photo diary. Life and Style will still be the main theme but I’m doing it for the love of sharing and tracking my days as I live life courageously. Let me know what you think of the new direction. Here are my pics from today. Sorry, some of them are not as great because I took them with my phone (I really need to upgrade!!).

I’m getting back to OOTDs so I can force myself to dress well every day. I can’t be walking around looking crazy if I expect to reach out to potential clients on a moment’s notice. After I got dressed, I headed across the street to a new coffee shop that opened up recently. It is so cute! I found a great spot to do some business planning for Gernelle Nelson LLC and two top secret projects that I can’t yet share but am stoked about! Here are some pics from the coffee shop.

I went to XO Coffee in Downtown Plano, TX. There was a live band there :DThis is a pretty drink that my new friend ordered XO Coffee in Downtown Plano, TX.A sweet college kid gave me some of her cookies at XO Coffee in Downtown Plano, TX.I met some fellow Spanish learners at XO Coffee in Downtown Plano, TX.

And now for my OOTD. I wore way more neutrals than usual for this look, including my husband’s sweater from Express. I call it my tomboy style, haha.

Elleword: My neutral tomboy OOTD for March 1, 2017

That’s all for now. I’m off to cook dinner!

Have courage,
Elle | Elleword  | Tweets  |  InstaElle

Moving Forward in 2017


2017 started with a romantic road trip to New Orleans with my husband Brandon and learning that one of my weddings had be published in a magazine! I wanted to just revel in the moment but time waits for no woman. It’s January 19th already. Time is moving on, I should too. I have some goals for myself that require more work and energy than I’ve needed in the past. I’ve already failed a few times to keep my new routine but I’m not giving up. It takes time to establish a new habit so I won’t give up, slack off or be too hard on myself. Just gotta take it day by day and improve.

My Daily Goals

  • workout 30 minutes
  • drink water and avoid junk food
  • prayer and read the bible
  • hand out a business card and work on something for my company
  • look at my bank account and budget
  • make $50

 

My Company Goals

  • Find a way to network with people one on one each week
  • book a new client each week
  • blog weekly
  • keep $1000 in the bank
  • partner with venues as a preferred photographer

Youtube Reboot


I’m getting back into Youtube, first by posting footage I’ve been holding onto. While it’s a lot of work, it’s also a lot of fun capturing everything and looking back at all of the great times I’ve had with my family and friends. It’s like I get to relive the moments over and over. Here’s my intro video.

So Here’s What You Missed

Elleword - Brandon and I unpacking our new apartment

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

Reading Inspired Writing

Elleword - the storefront at my local Half Price Books store

Aside from improving my photography and client relation skills, I’ve been working towards becoming a more descriptive writer. The goal is to improve my writing style and blog posts so I can start racking up paid writing assignments and spread my reach across the internet. Starting to write proactively after a long drought can be pretty intimidating. That’s why I’ve decided to go back to the basics and read books on a daily basis until I’ve equipped my mind with enough diction to improve my writing skills. I call this technique reading inspired writing. The more I read entertaining and colorful stories, the better I’ll be able to write colorful and entertaining content.

I’ve just begun this journey of falling back in love with reading now that I’ve left the corporate world. I’m starting slowly and then building up my mental stamina and capacity to learn again. I can already tell that this strategy is working because I found myself inspired to write after a few minutes of watching a small family through my patio window. I’m also incorporating foreign language studies, primarily Spanish, to keep my mind challenged. Alright, enough of the technicalities. Here’s what I’m reading to get my brain rebooted.

 

Elleword - Elle is reading 'My Life in France' by Julia Child to improve her righting skills.

My Life in France by Julia Child, with Alex Prud’homme

For those who may not know, Julia Child was a tall sassy chef with a thirst for adventure. She’s been coined as the woman who brought french cooking to America. If you ever watch her cooking show ‘The French Chef’, she just makes you feel wonderful about yourself. When she speaks, it’s like she is singing. This book speaks of her adventures in France with her husband Paul, a government worker and fine artist, and her love of delicious foods. The beauty of this book is that it is filled with historical images taken by Paul himself, of France in the late 1940s after World War II. Though Julia passed away just before the book was published, I feel as if I am getting to know her through her words and stories.

She was a woman of courage, living life in a way that filled her (and her husband’s) life with joy. Paul loved her intensely and always supported and encouraged her to go for her dreams, despite the limitations imposed on women at that time in history. She had this amazing spirit of perseverance and encouraged her readers to keep moving forward, even when they made mistakes. Paul and Julia’s relationship and zest for life inspires me to make an adventure of life and run towards my dreams. Be forewarned, you might want to eat before reading this book. Her descriptions of French food will make you start salivating.

The Wait by Devon Franklin and Meagan Good with Tim Vandehey

I have not yet started reading this book but I’m itching to get started. It’s a book about approaching relationships with a different perspective than that prescribed in magazines. Devon and Meagan share their personal stories of how taking your time and not rushing into things – sex and marriage – can change your life. Although I’m in a happy marriage already, I’m looking forward to absorbing as much information from this book as possible. I believe there is still much that I can learn and apply to my own marriage as well as sharing it with friends. I love talking about relationships, especially with single people because I have a new perspective that I didn’t have years ago. In hindsight, I can see some of the dumb things I jumped into and strive to remind my friends of their own self worth. When you know how valuable you are, you won’t just let any old person come into your life. I’ll give a full book review once I’ve read the book in case anyone wants the inside scoop.

Elleword - Whenever I want to read something interesting or get book/magazine pages for projects, I buy books from the Haggard Library in Plano.

Aside from reading, I’ve also started writing more frequently to stay in motion, so to speak. (This reading inspired writing thing is really working!) Currently, I’m writing up multiple blog entries for three blogs including Fun City Stuff DFW. They have been gracious enough to offer me compensation per post, especially ones with pictures included. I’m so excited because Fun City gets quite a lot of monthly traffic. Posting content regularly on their site is only going to benefit the rate of traffic on my websites. It’s also a way to show people what I can do photographically without consciously trying to sell them on my work. I love working with Fun City because they occasionally send me to events (they sponsor admission for me and a plus one!) to write up cover stories with plenty of pictures. I’ve been to two events thus far, the first being the Savor Dallas Garden Party. The second event was the Taste of Addison this past week. I am always ecstatic and grateful when Andi, their editor, asks me to cover an event. I hope another one comes down the line soon!

I’m only in the second month of my new entrepreneurial routine and having the time of my life. I’m learning how to find work, overcome shyness, gain confidence and rediscovering things about myself that I thought had been lost in corporate seas. I hope my blogging improves. I want you – all five lol – to enjoy reading it and hopefully take positive points away with you. I want my story to encourage and inspire others to live a life of courage. Inspiring stories must be told with inspiring words.

Are you interested in trying “reading inspired writing” techniques? What are you reading right now? When was the last time you read something for pleasure? Share your thoughts in the comment won’t you?

Have courage,

Elle | Elleword  | Tweets  |  InstaElle