40/365 Lean Into It


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40/365 Lean Into It

I’m at the point in this 365 project where taking a pic each day is a little bothersome but I’m going to keep going. I’ve realized that I’m most happy with the project when I use my DSLR instead of my phone. It takes a lot of mental effort some days since I have to set my camera up on a tripod, prep the remote trigger and try to figure out what to do in the pic. Not to mention, my tripod is literally falling apart! woo sahhhhhh.

It’s time like these when I try to shake things up with lighting and location. I’ve been shooting in my apartment most of the time but as the weather changes, I will make it a point to get outside for more colorful shots with plenty of background details.

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!!

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

Came Back from Cuba Feeling Anxious


How is it that I feel energetic enough to make it through a Taebo workout, yet unable to get off the couch at the same time? (Gets up, walks down 5 flights of stairs, checks mail, jogs back up 5 flights of stairs and resumes typing) Sigh, it all started two months ago….(Proceeds to waste 20 minutes scrolling on FB while eating grapes… I have a problem!!)

This past June, Brandon and I took our first trip abroad. Since I was hired to capture a group vacation as the official trip photographer for Vron’s World, Brandon decided to book the trip too. When I tell you we had a blast, that doesn’t even come close to describing it. We experienced Havana, Cuba to the fullest. We danced the night away salsa dancers, saw a shipwreck while snorkeling (also a first!), took an AfroCuban tour ate dinner beside the sea and much more! All my years of Spanish class came in handy. Being able to speak with locals revitalized my desire to learn new languages. It was incredible and we can’t wait to take another trip across the globe with Vron someday.

 

Once we came back, Cuba felt like a distant memory. This is when the trouble began.

At this time, I was heavily considering what to do with my life after struggling to build my photography businesses. It’s fun, challenging and hard as heck to build your business from scratch when you only have a few hundred in the bank. There have been plenty of times when I felt like a failure but my heart kept telling me that this is what I was supposed to be doing. Looking over my life, my attention was heavily divided. During the week, I was spending 6 – 8 hours a day babysitting my niece and the rest of my time recovering, LOL. Weekends were split between errands, church, dance ministry and spending time with Brandon. Needless to say, I hardly had any mental or physical energy left for working on my brands. Something had to give!

I quickly realized that part of my anxiety of attempting to work in a cluttered apartment. We had stuff overflowing from our bookshelves, dishes taking over the countertops, books, bags and other random items invading my desk. It was no wonder I couldn’t get anything done. So I started discarding the junk from the life. Anything that didn’t get discarded got assigned a new ‘home’. Then I started clearing my schedule so that I’d have time to give my best efforts to work during the week and on weekends. Now I’m no longer babysitting and in a few weeks, I’ll be on hiatus from dance ministry. You’d think that would open up my mind to progress right?

Well I guess my mind has become weak from a lack of stimulation for two months and now I have to build it back up if I want to do anything productive. I’ve been eating primarily fruits, grains and veggies but my sleep quality has really sucked the last couple of days. When I’m up, I have to convince myself to try to work, or at least move my body until I feel an inertia to keep going forward. I guess this is the ‘withdrawal’ stage of my former routine. Dang it karma! Despite that, I have managed to book a few shoots, network and spend time reading for pleasure. You know how long it’s been since I read or listened to an audiobook just for fun? Months! Maybe a year or so!

And now, here I type at my almost cleared desk, staring at my to do list that hasn’t yet been finished. And yet, I feel hopeful. Hopeful, because I now have put time back into my hands. Relived because I was able to let go of some things and obligations that were stressing me out more than anything else. Thankful because I’m blessed enough to have these issues without a day job. Yes, I’m feeling antsy and tired (WTH) but I’m free to figure things out again. I can’t wait to see what happens when I create a new daily routine for my life.

Have courage,
Elle ^___–

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

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

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

Birthday Video: My YouTube Channel is UP

My Friend Ell and Nae celebrated their birthday by making a video for YouTube, check it out!

I’m so excited to say that my YouTube Channel is up and running. I have a few videos up but the most recent is one that my sister and I made to celebrate our birthday (yup, we are twins). I hope to start putting my fashion journey on my channel soon, showing people some of my ideas for weekly wardrobes and more. Please check out my video and subscribe to my channel! I’d love to hear your thoughts on how it came out! Just click the image below!

My Friend Ell and Nae celebrated their birthday by making a video for YouTube, check it out!

Have courage,
Elle