Calida // Blogger Photography

It's always a good day when I get to shoot with someone who loves colorful murals as much as I do! Calida is from Arizona but had a long layover at DFW, just enough time for some photos! It was a HOT day, but she was such a rockstar that you can't even tell in the photos. I'm so glad she reached out to me for her few hours in Dallas!






How I Choose to Opt for Optimism

*This post is sponsored by Frost Bank. You can be assured that I only accept paid collaborations if it’s a partnership that I 100% support and is right in line with my personal values.*

Would you consider yourself an optimist? Often optimism can be negatively labeled as naïve or in denial of reality, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. I love how Frost Bank defines optimism; “It’s a mindset of determination in the face of adversity and the belief that a positive solution is possible with the right approach.”

While optimism doesn’t necessarily mean life is easy and smooth sailing, studies have actually shown that optimism does produce positive results in your life, particularly with financial health. Frost’s Opt For Optimism website is packed full of statistics showing the benefits of optimism, stories from inspirational optimists, and even a quiz to find out what kind of optimist you are (I’m an Evolving Optimist).

So what does an optimistic life look like practically? For me, I always want my social media presence and photography to represent the uplifting and joyful attitude that I strive towards. Another practical and powerful way to live an optimistic life is to give back to your community by using the gifts (or financial assets) that you have been blessed with. 

In partnership with Frost and CultureMap, I recently spent a day volunteering with the Humane Society of North Texas (HSNT), a nonprofit that is near and dear to my heart. Not only have I volunteered with them in the past, this is where my family has adopted 2 pets, including my adorable pup, Pepper. 

The HSNT is the oldest animal welfare organization in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and provides services such as pet adoptions, low-cost spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations, returning lost pets to their owners, cruelty investigations and free humane euthanasia. To learn more about their specific volunteer needs, be sure to visit their website. I also really want to encourage you to adopt your next family pet instead of using a breeder or going to a local pet shop, there are so many amazing animals at the HSNT that need a loving and caring home.

So how did I volunteer with the HSNT? As a huge advocate of using your specific skills and gifts when giving back to your community, I got to borrow 4 dogs for the day (with the help of my wonderful husband, Noah) and take some beautiful photography of them around Fort Worth. The goal is that these images can be used by the HSNT in their marketing efforts to help these dogs find their forever home. I’m sharing some of my favorite photos at the end of this blog post!

Ready to get involved in your community?! First things first, the CultureMap Charity Guide is a great place to start exploring nonprofits in your community. They even break down the nonprofits into categories that will help you find exactly what you’re looking for, whether you’re passionate about serving children, animals, or veterans.

If you haven’t volunteered much, here are a few tips that I have found to be helpful as I’ve volunteered in my own community:

UTILIZE YOUR UNIQUE SKILL SET

While sometimes organizations need extremely simple tasks to be done like stuffing envelopes or hanging flyers, be sure to express specific skills you can use when discussing volunteer opportunities with the volunteer coordinator. Great at organizing? See if you can organize the food pantry. Great at marketing? Offer some consultation time to help them make the most of their small marketing budget. Get creative!

CHECK YOUR MOTIVES

I think it is extremely important to go into any volunteer opportunity with a humble attitude. If you’re serving for selfish reasons, it can be more apparent than you’d like to think.

HAVE AN OPEN MIND AND BE FLEXIBLE

When you’re volunteering, anything and everything can happen. Go with the flow and remember the reason you are there, even when things aren’t going as planned. Volunteering is also an awesome way to meet new people so be ready to form new relationships.

BRING YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY ALONG

Volunteering is even more fun (and impactful) when you do it with the people you love. I’m so thankful for the people in my life who have invited me to volunteer opportunities that have become long-term partnerships.

PRIORITIZE GIVING BACK

It’s easy to only give your “leftovers” back. I know I’ve been tempted to give those hours of my week where I’m just exhausted and don’t have a great attitude or the money I happen to have to spare each month. Include your financial giving in your monthly budget and schedule your volunteer hours when you are able to give your best work.

I’m always amazed by the way that other people get creative when volunteering. I’d love to hear your own stories about how optimism plays a role in your life and how you show generosity! 

Now for more pup pictures, what we are all here for, right?!



Museum of Memories

My friend Molly on the Move and I got to visit the Museum of Memories and WHAT A BLAST. This 5,000 square foot art installation is located in Dallas, Texas and is packed full of all the 90s kids nostalgia.

Here are just a few photos from my visit, be sure to go all the way to the end for my video tour!

 


Austin Day Trip: June 2019

If I ever left Fort Worth (no plans anytime soon), Austin would definitely be my go-to city in Texas. While it makes for a long day, I'm glad that Austin is an option for a day trip to get my fix every now and then. My sister was helping out with a concert so we decided to make a sister trip out of it, which was much needed and a blast.











Noah + Jessica 3rd Anniversary

Wow wow wow! I can't believe that Noah and I have been married for THREE YEARS. Here's a photo of us on our wedding day, on May 20th, 2016. (Wedding photos by Sarah Delanie)

So far during our marriage, we try to have nice portraits done on our anniversary. This year my friend Mollie Hardy took our photos at the Fort Worth Lumen Room and I'm so thankful to have these photos of us! Check out Mollie's Instagram, give her a follow, and check out the beautiful photos she took below!









Las Vegas Highlights

This week Noah and I went to Las Vegas for the NAB Show but we fit some sightseeing into the trip! Due to our time constraints, we didn't get to do everything I would have liked to (I'm looking at you, Neon Museum and Seven Magic Mountains) but I'm very happy with some of the spots we did get to see.

I think it goes without saying that the classic Vegas sights (aka the strip + casinos) are not my scene, so we mostly hung out in downtown, Fremont, and the Arts District.

Food and Drinks

Sights

 








AJ Norris // Blogger Photography

Any shoot in the Lumen Room is always a good one! AJ is getting ready to kick off her own (first ever!) blog and we got some fun and vibrant headshots for her to use in on her website and social content.

I'm always a fan of making a photoshoot feel like a party, which is a vibe that confetti and balloons ALWAYS bring!


Monicasmixx // Blogger Photography

I've been doing a lot of blogger sessions lately and they are always a joy to shoot! I love to help other fellow creatives + bloggers build their brand through the images we create. Monica is one of the bloggers I started working with last fall and we work great together because we both have a love for those vibrant colors. Be sure to follow her on Instagram here!





BBN // Branding Photography

One of the highlights of being a small business owner is getting to collaborate and work with other small business owners. I've been fortunate enough to know Nicole of BBN for a few years now and it has been a joy to see her pursue her dream, watch her business thrive, and get to work with her. If any of my Fort Worth friends are ever looking for graphic design, branding, or a website, Nicole is always my first recommendation.

This branding session has provided Nicole with images for her website refresh, social content, and more. We had a blast shooting in the Lumen Room where some of her very own clients joined us to capture the quality relationships she builds during projects.

I'm also blessed with the opportunity of working with Nicole on a monthly basis as she is one of my retainer clients! Here are just a few of the shots I get during her monthly retainer shoots...


Embracing Art Outside of Your Niche

I think most people assume that just because my style is so niche that I don’t branch outside of it at all. That couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, the majority of my friends (IRL) create art that is very different from my own personal style.

There are a lot of reasons that I (and other creatives) diversify the art that they consume everyday, but here’s just a few…

 

IT MAKES YOU A BETTER ARTISTS

No one likes the person that only likes one specific music genre and is completely closed off to any music outside of it. I think this concept applies to all art mediums. Limiting yourself to a specific genre or style of work will prevent you from growth and get you stuck in a rut. PLUS, it will make you much more engaging in conversations.

(P.S. - Speaking of music, follow me on Spotify!)

 

IT HELPS PREVENT YOU FROM COPYING SOMEONE ELSE’S WORK

Intentional or not, it’s easy to consume art and replicate aspects of it in your own work. This is especially easy to do when you are only surrounding yourself with a certain style. We all know the classic fashion blogger poses or coffee + book flatlay on white bed sheets. While recreating popular looks within your niche might temporary get you more likes, it will fail to set you apart from the crowd and stunt long term growth.

 

IT SHOWS SUPPORT FOR ALL ARTISTS

Every artist needs all the support they can get. Even if you wouldn’t buy someone’s art or hire them for a project, you can still appreciate the time and skills that were put into their work. While artists need paid projects to pay the bills we also desperately need encouragement, affirmation, and support.

 

IT’S HELPFUL TO BRANCH OUT FROM YOUR DIRECT COMPETITION

While I don’t think you should view similar artists as competition (there is room for everyone out there), there is something to say about consuming and collaborating with artist who have a completely different market than you do.   

 

SOMETIMES YOU JUST GOTTA MIX IT UP

While I absolutely love my style and it comes naturally to me, it is sometimes helpful to just take a completely different approach to your work. Whenever I’ve been a creative rut I have found it helpful to edit in completely new ways and explore new artists.

 

SEPARATION OF BUSINESS AND PERSONAL CONSUMPTION

There are a lot of business and artist that I follow because we would be a good partnership professionally. But just because someone wouldn’t collaborate or work with you, doesn’t mean you can’t personally enjoy their work. Some people like to have completely separate accounts for business and personal consumption, which I think can be very helpful.

 

YOU WON’T KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE UNTIL YOU EXPLORE IT

When it comes to art, the opportunities are endless. You will never know what type of work you will love and embrace until you give it a chance.  When I asked my followers why they follow accounts that are different than them, one of the responses I got was “If you don’t choose to follow people different than yourself, you’re missing out on BEAUTY!” and I couldn’t agree more.

 

IT GIVES YOU A NEW PERSPECTIVE

One of the many bittersweet aspects of the internet is our ability to curate and filter what content we receive. When we only consume people who think like us, look like us, and create like us, we are setting us up for some major blind spots.

 

Convinced you need to diversify your creative consumption? I love a good challenge to put a concept into action in your own life!

Take some time to…

  • Grab coffee with a local artist who works with the same media that you do but in a very different way.
  • Follow someone online who looks different than you do.
  • Listen to an artist or playlist with a music genre that you don’t typically listen to.
  • Follow someone online who thinks and talks differently than you do.  
  • Follow someone who has a different aesthetic than you do.
  • Go to an art exhibit that you otherwise wouldn’t normally attend.
  • Collaborate with a creative who is different than you and exchange services (take portraits of each other, paint for each other, etc.)