Peace, Gratitude (and maybe fluffy cupcakes)
"I never used to be one for journaling - hah, just kidding.  When that lead hits the paper, a doorway opens that" ... Self Care tips for Women | Gratitude Journal | Journaling | Self Value | Positive Mindset | Restoration | Rest | Love of books | All things journal | Gratitude Lists | Joy | Self Care Practice | Self Care Quotes | Nature Quotes | Fern Picture Quotes | Winston Salem Photographer | Jasper & Fern

I never used to be one for journaling - hah, just kidding. I've always had a pencil in a book scribbling away my thoughts and feelings. When that lead hits the paper, a doorway opens that helps me process. It's rather wonderful. My mind gets to be cleared and all that tension inside my head and chest dissipates as I work through my thoughts. While journaling was never a foreign concept, the first time I heard about Gratitude Journaling, I was a bit puzzled. My initial thought was that it must be just listing out everything you're grateful for in a book and, honestly, that sounded kind of disengaging. I've since learned that it's nothing like that and, now, gratitude journaling has become one of my favorite self care practices.

Karen Perry, a vibrant woman with a curious gaze and warm heart that overflows into her joy-filled nature, was the wonderful woman who introduced me to the concept of gratitude journaling. I had the opportunity to get to know her through a monthly meeting she hosted for women where we met to speak joy into eachothers’ lives. This is where she shared her concept of gratitude journaling with me and I got hooked. Through her time as a life coach, she crafted a simple gratitude journal that provided the opportunity for you to allow yourself to go as deep or as uncomplicated as you needed while also helping you grow and appreciate your life. She calls it the Peace Pages. 

Now, you may be wondering why we're talking about something that doesn't seem like a "self care" practice. Our take on self care is slightly different. We fully believe that self care goes beyond your standard "refreshing" practices. We believe that self care also helps you be restored. A grateful mindset spreads joy, relieves stress and helps you build stronger, healthier relationships.

Whenever I stop practicing my Peace Pages, I inevitably notice a drop in my mood and motivation after a few days. And, because I'm true to pattern, my brain always asks "What changed?" Many times, I can link the slow decline to my neglect of gratitude - because, transparently, I'm not a grateful person by nature. This is exactly why I love adding the Peace Pages to my self care though. They help me keep my perspective where it needs to be - aiding in the restoration of my heart and mindset. 

Now, remember that self care is personal. What works for me, might not work for you. If journaling isn't your cup of tea, that's okay. Find another way more suitable to you to fit more gratitude into your life, something that can get your heart and head in the right place. Find your equivalent to lead hitting the paper.

Now, go LOVE HARD!

P.S. If you come up with an awesome idea of how to do incorporate gratitude in your life, we'd love for you to share that with us!!

Celebrating the Ladies of Lancome

The door was ajar and a chorus of laughter greeted me even before I knocked on at my clients’ suite at the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina. Upon my knock, Lauren, the team liaison, ushered me into the bustling room. Hairspray clouds burst in the air as lipstick colors were mixed and cut across mirrored pallets. Against the wall, a team of stylists was hurriedly at work on the hair and makeup of several women.

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As frenetic as the room was, if you stepped back to take it in, a symphony of beige, browns, blacks and dusty reds blurred together to create a cohesive, grounded color palette. It was a minor detail but somehow displayed just how well all 13 of these women formed together. This was the eastern division of Lancome. All these powerful, type-A women in one room working together like a well oiled machine. It was hard to not observe and admire.

The group of us briefly chatted. I’d been brought in to photograph their team headshots and team portrait. As I’d only had contact with the team liaison thus far, it was important to me that I gather as much about each person and how they interacted with each other as quickly as possible as well as dictate what could be expected from their time with me.

I worked with each woman one-on-one, focusing on their individual personalities. Then, we also did team portraits, feeding off of each others interactions. There was hair flipping and top-model smizing going on by the end, finishing out the session with just as much laughter as there was to start the day.

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I can’t not mention these ladies below either! We had some extra time in our session. So, I made a point to photograph the style team who made the ladies above look awesome!

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Celebrating Sophia

The air was thick with anticipation. I kept sweeping the studio floorboards to keep my mind and body focused. The soft rhythmic rustling of the stiff straw strands of my broom against the floor’s grooves has always soothed my thoughts. I’d never met my client or her daughter - the one being photographed - in person before. We’d talked over the phone and through emails but we’d be meeting face to face for the first time. It’s always exciting to meet someone new for the first time. A streak of light flashed across the floor where I was sweeping. I looked up, out through the sheer curtains to see a car pulling up.

April entered first, Sophia slightly behind her. Their soft presence was lined with their own anticipation. As we sat to talk, Sophia’s meekness became apparent. She was quieter than a mouse - not even figuratively. In fact, I barely heard her speak two sentences the whole time I spent together. Her intent, listening eyes were left to tell her story. April was great about asking Sophia questions, relaying information and reassuring her. I considered the best ways to bring a level of comfort to Sophia’s nerves.

We walked through her leotards and decided on the best one to start with first. Sophia chose a simple black leotard to wear and went to change. April suggested she stay out of sight while Sophia danced and I agreed that if she wanted, she could make herself comfortable in our salon. Then Sophia came out, ready to start.

Within seconds, Sophia’s reserved, meek disposition melted away and the bold, strong girl she is revealed herself. The moment she began to dance, she was a thriving, lively spirit. She threw herself into every dip and twirl with grace and strength. It was mesmerizing. A few times I just took in the movement of her dance to truly appreciate the heart with which she danced and watch to capture it the next round we did. Her strength, boldness and confidence shown in every move. It was beautiful to see such riveting contrast in one human - spectacular in all forms.

By the end of her session, Sophia returned to her meek demeanor, though the confidence she’d connected with could be clearly seen. She stood shoulders squared, intently watching. As they left, not an inkling of anxiety was left, nor a need to be soothed. I did, however, return to sweeping the floor - because great sessions always create messes!

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Celebrating Robyn

A familiar face came back to our studio recently. For those of you who may not know who Robyn is, she came to us last year for a Glamour Experience. (Click Here to see her experience) This time, she needed two new headshots.

She had two separate needs - a casual look and a professional look. Her most important consideration was to appear trustworthy in her portraits. Below are the final two portraits she selected.

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