Love, Joleen

Thursday, June 9, 2016

WeLoveATL and Atlanta History Center Scavenger Hunt Instameet

Every year Instagram "hosts" a worldwide meetup, where people come together in their own [major] city and go on a photo adventure. This year WeLoveATL teamed up with the Atlanta History Center to create a unique scavenger hunt for Atlanta's Insta meetup. Ben and I were thrilled to enjoy a rare-ish date night day out and attend. We took MARTA Downtown from Perimeter and caught up with everyone at the Five Points station. The event was free and each participant received a packet containing directions and photos taken throughout Atlanta's history. 
From that very spot we compared the old photographs to the current city view and then took a walking tour with our photographs. It was such a fun concept and a great way to learn about and explore this city that Ben and I have adopted as our own. There is a great article about WeLoveATL and Living Walls (another Atlanta favorite) on the Bitter Southerner. Also, be sure to check out more from my Atlanta City Guide.

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Monday, June 6, 2016

My System To Staying On Track With Goals Year Around

It's the same every year, right? You set resolutions or goals for the new year with the best of intentions but by March you've already quit. I've totally been there. For the last 10 years I've been creatively writing and sharing my goals online. To some extent, that practice has helped to hold me a little bit more accountable than I would be on my own.
A video posted by Joleen Pete (@lovejoleen) on
If you're a list-maker slash goal-setter like me, you're probably familiar with the term "S.M.A.R.T goals" - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. It's with these criterion in mind that I've been setting monthly goals [in addition to my yearly ones] for myself, for most of the last year or two. Having monthly goals is a great way to check in with your yearly goals and set the tone for a new month ahead. Last month, I added the "daily tracker" to my system to break these goals down even further. Keeping a daily tracker is a fantastic way to manage a consistent to-do list with the added visual of seeing your results. I find myself checking this list multiple times a day and filling in boxes. This is both motivating and satisfying.
As mentioned in my previous blog post, Self Love, I've had a shift in perspective regarding healthy living. Being a highly visual person, one of the ways I stay motivated is to see the process. As I started using this new planner system in May, I've set it up a little differently than my last planner. I've decided to use the monthly view as a fitness tracker. Here, I will write down any exercise or notes, as well as my daily steps (I started using a FitBit) and inspiration. Tracking this information is encouraging to me but also part of the bigger "health and wellness" goals that I have for the year.
My advice to anyone who wants to keep track of their goals and to stay motivated with them all year around, is to find a system that works for you. I personally prefer physically writing things down, although I do keep additional records, lists, etc. on my computer and phone as well. The memory keeper in me likes these things to be pretty as well as functional because that inspires me and I love the "records", but this isn't my priority. Functionality is definitely key, and so you'll find that I keep a lot of random lists. I first write all of my goals and plans on notepads before transferring the information. Breaking larger goals down from the big yearly goals to actionable monthly, weekly, and daily goals makes them manageable. Using this planner system track my actions is crucial to meeting my goals.
This is my Kate Spade Academic Agenda, which I used July 2015 - April 2016.
This is my Simple Stories Carpe Diem Planner, which I started using in May 2016.
How do you manage your goals for the year? Do you have a different system for tracking your progress? I'd love to hear about it!
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Friday, May 20, 2016

Self Love

So, I don't usually blog personal journal entries but I've decided that this is something I want to be vulnerable with. I think it will help me to keep perspective and hold me accountable. So, here goes: 

"My plan was to nap with Benjamin today because I am finally headed back to the gym tonight. I just have way too much on my mind and since I spent the time painting all these beautiful backgrounds I thought I might actually try journaling! 

Sigh. So, here's the thing. I've been in a funk. I don't even think I realized that I was in a funk. Last year I managed my goal of becoming "my fittest self ever". I got down to around 150 lbs. and a size 6/8 (sometimes even a 4!). And then I don't know what happened. I got lazy. I got discouraged. It was the holidays. And then, and then. I packed on the pounds - 20 and then 30. 

I finally got back to the gym when I had the miscarriage [the end of February] and then nothing. I ate, drank, and stopped all activity. I even stopped going outside [for a while]. I said I was fine. I was fine! This was fine! All God's Plan! Going to work out! 

Meanwhile, I stopped taking care of myself; of our home. I gained another 10 lbs. in the last month. 40 lbs. now. I weighed 194 lbs. this morning and I just broke down and bought a pair of size 14 jeans at Target. I'm uncomfortable. I don't even wear my wedding ring most days because my finger is too fat. 

I love "self love"... 
but I don't practice SELF LOVE!

To me self love and self acceptance means that you treat yourself - your body, mind, heart, and soul - with kindness. You fuel these things with positivity and nourishment. It's not the other extreme either. It's a gentleness you have with yourself and above all - grace.

In a social, technology-driven world, it is so very easy to find yourself comparing your life and your self to others and can be make it really hard to maintain perspective. Just this morning I had to get off Instagram because I was getting emotional after seeing one too many "perfect" feeds. That isn't healthy. The only perfect life I need to look to is Jesus Christ's. As my relationship with him grows, I see more and more how he sees me and what he wants from me. He doesn't expect "perfection" but he does expect me to take care of myself. 

This body and this life he has given me is a gift and one I intend to show gratitude for moving forward."
Because my new glasses obvi make me a unicorn. And bc I'm obsessed with Snapchat. @ love_joleen
I think it's easy to get caught up in striving to be "my best self" and I want to celebrate myself and my efforts regularly. I was inspired to create the following journal prompt in my travelers journal this afternoon: "things I love about myself", and I plan to fill this page up! I thought would share in case this blog post resonates with you and you would like to try this exercise too.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

SURPRISE Anniversary Session at Piedmont Park | Atlanta, Georgia

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of this gorgeous couple! Jordan initially contacted me to photograph her courthouse wedding to her [then] fiance, Jason. Ya'll know I love a courthouse wedding. Ben and I were married at DeKalb County Courthouse in 2013 and I've since photographed two private weddings at the same location (see here and here). So fun! I love Decatur and have actually photographed several weddings at unique venues throughout the city. When this couple changed their location to Wahoo Grill Decatur I was thrilled to see what it would be like! It was beautiful - Jason and Jordan added so many of their own special and unique touches and that's what truly makes this type of day so special. Plus, did I mention they're totally gorg?? Here are some of my favorites from that day.
About a month ago, I received an email from Jason who wanted to SURPRISE Jordan on their first anniversary with a special photo session. How fun and thoughtful is that?! It was a first for me and I loved being included in another special milestone for them! I was waiting for them when they parked at Piedmont Park and the day could not have been a more beautiful spring day for being outdoors! It's so awesome when you truly vibe with clients and they become your friends. I feel really blessed when this happens and so appreciative that I'm able to pursue this passion of mine. I had a great time chatting and laughing with them as we walked around the park a bit together. Then Jason surprised her with a private cabana at Park Tavern for drinks and yummy eats. After their food arrived I left them to it. Here are a few of my faves from Sunday.
Wishing the happiest of anniversaries to you Jason and Jordan! Cheers to a lifetime of blessings and memories! 

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