She is Not Me.
"Confessions here…. the kind if you’re an entrepreneur or a business owner - the uncomfortable kind that you often second guess sharing. Well, I’m sharing anyway because I wanted to share the encouragement I found from the lesson I learned." | Winston-Salem Photographer | Quotes for the Female Entrepreneur | She is Not Me | Inspirational Quotes | Life Lessons for the working woman | Dealing with Comparison in the Workplace |

"Confessions here…. the kind if you’re an entrepreneur or a business owner - the uncomfortable kind that you often second guess sharing. Well, I’m sharing anyway because I wanted to share the encouragement I found from the lesson I learned." | Winston-Salem Photographer | Quotes for the Female Entrepreneur | She is Not Me | Inspirational Quotes | Life Lessons for the working woman | Dealing with Comparison in the Workplace |

Entrepreneurial confessions here…. You know the kind if you’re an entrepreneur or a business owner - the uncomfortable kind that you often second guess sharing. Well, I’m sharing anyway because I wanted to share the encouragement I found from the lesson I learned.

You see, recently I found myself discouraged because another local photographer- who I just so happen to admire and support - started working with a brand I'd been aiming to work with. This realization was followed with some harsh criticisms for myself and then a significant mood drop - and zero celebration for the other photographer. I'm not proud to say it but, I was having a pity party for myself - and it's embarrassing to admit that I was struggling with being supportive.

After some course-correcting from a friend (who you surround yourself with is important!!) I started to think further outside of my initial microscopic perspective. Then, again, when another friend shared about a lost friendship and how we all make our own decisions and dream our own dreams, the puzzle pieces fell a little further into place.

SHE IS NOT ME.

This realization shifted my internal perspective and I found healing. Fundamentally, I know we are all different, I know we all are created uniquely, however, I often hear harsh whispers in my brain showing me I fell short. So when "she is not me" hit my heart and not just my head, there was peace.

And that's what I want to encourage you all with today. I hope each of you who struggle with the competitiveness of being an entrepreneur or aiming to keep your position or going for a promotion - THEY ARE NOT YOU. Yes, what you have to offer is phenomenal. What they have to offer is phenomenal also. Sometimes someone else will be a better fit and that narrows down your path just a little bit more to the people, the person, the brand, the better timing, the position that is the better fit for you. I want to remind you today, like I've been having to remind myself, SHE IS NOT ME.

Yawn, Stretch, Creak | My Morning Routine
Mornings, I've both hated them and loved them. I've had to ease myself into a good morning routine. Here's a list of my fails and wins, because wisdom is learning from someone else's mistakes |

Mornings, I’ve both hated them and loved them. Even in this wishy-washy journey, or perhaps because of this wishy-washy state, I’ve grown to see the value of morning routines. While I’ve worked on figuring out my own, it seems there are books upon books about how to start your day. I’ve read some articles, had some great one on one discussions with my network of women. This is what I’ve found.

Back in my teens, mornings were one of my greatest enemies. I could have slept all day. Then, in college, I began to enjoy the peace of the morning. Watching the sunrise from my dorm window or the hood of my car looking over the mountain range was my solace and refuge. Now that I am a small business owner with the flexibility to control my schedule, I’ve flip flopped around in what works best for me. This whole routine thing can be a bit rough but, I think I’m finally figuring it out.

I had to ease my way into this morning routine. I’m used to waking up between 8am and 9am, spending time cuddling my puppies and getting ready for the day. After struggling with some depression that wants to hang around, I knew I needed to do more than just cuddle my pups to start the day off on a good note. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my puppy cuddles. They just don’t aide my motivation to get out of my comfy bed and start the day.

For now, I’ve found that waking up and starting with breathing exercises and stretches between 5:30am and 6am is a peaceful awakening to the day. After that, I do a small yoga workout - with the small exception on the days of early morning portrait sessions. Then, I make sure to hydrate with water and enjoy a form of lemon water or tea, and on special occasions lavender honey and milk while I journal and cuddle my pups - a great boost for the rest of the day!

In all of this exploration, I’ve learned a fair amount of lessons. My top take aways are :
1. Listen to your body. It was created to tell us when something is working or not working.
2. Activity in the morning boosts your mental capacity to focus and keep motivated.
3. Sticking with a routine is good for your health - mental and physical.
4. Adapting your routine is okay!
5. Do things that fit your lifestyle but don’t let lifestyle be an excuse.

What I’ve tried…

Works For Me
- Journaling
- Yoga (This stays here because I think I can work this into the schedule in a more efficient way)
- Milk & Honey
- Devotions
- Bed Stretches
- Puppy Cuddles
- Goal/Intention Setting

Not My Cup of Tea
- Walks (Not in the Winter… no, nope, negative)
- Apple Cider Vinegar Shot (No…. just… no)
- Meditation (I swear this is just a way to sneak in an extra hour of sleep)
- Hot Tea

You are a blessing | Celebrating 3 years
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I. AM. STOKED!!


We are celebrating going into year 3 at Jasper & Fern. It has been such an amazing journey so far - because of you!


We've had the opportunity to serve and celebrate 276 people with portraits and headshot sessions; we've worked with 98 small businesses and corporations to highlight and empower their message and we've connected with countless other amazing people in our community.

I am so thankful for each and every one of you!

I'm sitting here kind of astonished and teary-eyed because I've never really counted the number of people we've gotten to know. It's sinking in just how amazing it is to know so many of you on a relationship level - to have shared joys and triumphs with you, to have heard your "why"s and shared space together. I'm so grateful to know you, to have spent time with you and to call many of you my friends.

You are a blessing.

Alyson LawtonComment
Be Authentic
Honesty is good for the soul - and not just to be a good person. If you practice honesty, you establish value in yourself, build your confidence, cultivate valuable relationships, establish healthy boundaries, avoid long term stress and aid your physical health.  | Self Care Quotes | Tips for Self Care | Self Value | Inspirational Quotes for Women | Be Authentic | Authenticity | Living a better life | Honesty | Self Care for Christian Women |  Nature Quotes | Fern | Winston Salem Photographer | Outdoor quotes | Jasper & Fern

Whew, this one…. this self care lesson, it’s direct. I feel like so many times when we’re discussing self care with you all, we’re also discussing life lessons. Truly, it’s because self care - how we treat ourselves and allow others to treat us - is intertwined into our every action. So, let’s talk authenticity and how being in-authentic can cause damage.

Have you ever paid attention to how you feel (body, mind, heart) after interacting with certain people? Do you notice yourself feel energized, motivated and happy sometimes and, at others, ready to sleep, cynical and overall blah? Have you ever examined WHY you walk away like that? Typically, those feelings boil down to one foundation : honest (aka - authenticity)

Honesty is good for the soul - not just to be a good person. If you practice honesty, you establish value in yourself, build your confidence, cultivate valuable relationships, establish healthy boundaries, avoid long term stress and aid your physical health. It’s the Super Pill of self care!

Maybe you feel like I’m giving honesty too much credit. I promise, I’m really not. AND I have several different scenarios to illustrate what I mean! (Remember in all of your authenticity to also practice discernment and tact. These complementary skills will go a long way in the way you care for others and yourself.)

Scenario 1 : Establishing Value in Yourself
Consider a time where someone asked you to participate in something you didn’t agree with and you went along with it. It felt gross, right? It felt gross because you denied your belief system or your core values. When you deny your values to go along with someone else, you’re essentially saying their values are more important that yours. Repeating this behavior can be detrimental! Slowly, the value you had in your beliefs and why you believed them - an ESSENTIAL part of who you are - deteriorates. You’re slowly chipping away at what you think of yourself. (Take it from a people pleaser who has had to fight her way back into valuing herself and valuing her values)

Scenario 2 : Build Your Confidence
This goes hand in hand with scenario 1. When someone asks you what you think or asks you to be involved in something you don’t agree with or want to participate in, saying “no” feels good! Sure, it may feel awkward at the time on occasion but, in the end you’re going to be thankful for your boldness and bravery to stand firm. The more you do this, the more defined who you are becomes - to everyone around you and to YOU, yourself! This is what builds your self confidence!

Scenario 3 : Cultivate Valuable Relationships
Thinking back at scenarios 1 and 2, if you focus on establishing your values and building your confidence you’re naturally going to weed the detrimental people out of your life. People gravitate to what’s similar to them. By being honest about who you are and what you believe, people who don’t align with you will eventually fall away.

Scenario 4 : Establish Healthy Boundaries
Boundaries aren’t just meant to keep negative people and experiences away from you. Boundaries also help the good people in your life know how to treat you. We show people how we want to be treated. Acting inauthentically will cause confusion when people interact with you. For instance, say that you believe in not gossiping and tearing other people down. If you’re in a group of people and they’re ripping someone apart and you either a) don’t say anything or b) go against your nature and go along with them, that group is going to think you’re right in it with them - that you share this similar love for gossip. As such, they’ll continue to gossip and tear people down in front of you, constantly confronting you with a draining and stressful experience. If you’re upfront with them, though, they’ll either realize they don’t want to be around you and fall away or, they’ll respect you and refrain from doing those activities around you.

Scenario 5 : Avoid Long Term Stress
I’m sure you’ve probably been picturing exact situations as we’ve walked through each of these scenarios. Do you remember how uncomfortable, draining and stressful those situations are or have been?? Yeah, it’s no bueno. By being honest and up front, you can eliminate that stress. Now, I’m not promising it isn’t going to be uncomfortable in the moment and that some people aren’t going to try to make your life difficult but, I am saying that being honest will help eliminate that long term stress. The further you get from that immediate awkwardness, you’ll be able to sit confidently in your decision and you won’t be stressed about ways you could have done things different.

Scenario 6 : Aid Your Physical Health
It goes without saying that minimizing stress and anxiety has a profound affect on your mind as well as your physical body. When you’re stressed, you FEEL it. Your chest is heavy and tight; it’s hard to breathe; there’s pressure in your head and nausea in your stomach; your energy runs low and your limbs get heavy. Medical research even proves how stress has a measurable effect on your physical body affecting your blood pressure and your heart, even showing up in the form of diabetes. (Check out this Mayo Clinic article to learn more)

I know I jokingly called authenticity a super pill and, really, it’s a great way to be healthy yourself and overall be a better person. Being authentic is incredibly important to our health. The better boundaries we establish, the more confidence and self value we build, the healthier our relationships become, and the healthier our bodies get when we practice honesty.