Love, Joleen

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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Friday, May 13, 2016

Link Love

Happy Friday, friends! I hope this week has treated you well. It's been so crazy around here! Benjamin woke up sick on Monday and he's never really sick. Of course he would be sick when my parents had just flown in the day before for a very short trip! *eye roll* Thankfully, it was only bad for two days and he's been recovering since. He's only got the sniffles now but we still canceled our playdates/plans this week to be safe. I'm looking forward to this weekend! I'm finally getting my eyes checked out and I have two special photography sessions lined up. I thought it would be fun to head into this weekend with a little link love. Enjoy!
photo credit: Roxana B Photography via Sandyalamode.com
photo credit: @bettinarlooney
  • I would LOVE a pair of these (or similar) fun Elina Linardaki sandals. Each pair is handcrafted in Greece.
photo credit: The Creativity Exchange
photo credit: Sugar & Cloth
  • Umm, yum!! I'll brb while I go make this Frosted Circus Animal Bark Recipe by Sugar & Cloth because HOW HAVE I LIVED WITHOUT THIS IN MY LIFE?! (Obviously this was made for me since it was originally published on my birthday thankyouverymuch.)
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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Cinderella Baby Shower + Signature Mocktail Recipe with FRE Alcohol-Removed Wine


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MomsSipSmart #CollectiveBias You should consult your physician before consuming Fre if you are pregnant or have any health concerns regarding alcohol. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older.
I recently had the pleasure of co-hosting my friend Julia's baby shower, along with two of her other close friends. Julia is [also] a Disney lover and I knew that she wanted a girly shower, so when I came across this Cinderella theme on Pinterest, I knew it would be perfect. We agreed that her shower should be inspired by this theme but not overly done; classy and pretty. I love mini books and I've used children's books to make them in the past but this was the first time I used a Little Golden Book. I was very inspired by this vintage 1976 Cinderella, which I altered into the shower guest book and added pages to include photos and mementos from the day. 
Julia's bestie, Emily, was in charge of food and ohmygoodness did she nail it! The shower started at 11 a.m. so we agreed on brunch, but she came up with the menu and executed it on her own. I was joking (not joking) that I want to use her for all my events moving forward. She made breakfast cupcakes, spinach and mushroom quiche cups, parfaits, blueberry french toast, mini tea sandwiches, mini fruit pizzas, and fruit salsa with cinnamon crisps. If that doesn't have you salivating, I don't know what will! She even bought all these fun food toppers. Our good friend, Jessica, did the beautiful decor and all the yummy drinks. She served everything from mint and cucumber water and peach sweet tea, to champagne punch. So good!
The favors were these GORGEOUS custom cookies from Yummy Delicious Cookies by Whimsical Originals. Ya'll know how much I love Deb and her beautiful custom cookies. We've used her for every one of Benjamin's birthdays so far. She's just so talented!
What would an event be without a signature cocktail? What would brunch be without champagne? Well, I've got some great news for your mama-to-be guest of honor. She doesn't have to miss out with FRE Alcohol-Removed Wines! FRE Wines offers a variety of selections, including Brut, Chardonnay, Merlot, Red Blend. With less than one half of one percent of alcohol, these provide a great alternative for expectant mothers and anyone who chooses not to consume alcohol.
This mocktail recipe is perfect for toasting the honorary mama-to-be and makes 2 glasses. You can easily double (triple, etc.) it to serve to all your guests. 

Ingredients
FRE Alcohol-Removed Brut Sparkling Wine
2 cups frozen fruit (strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry)
1 cup ice cubes or frozen cubes of yogurt
1 cup juice or water
sugar to rim glasses
Directions
  1. Rim glasses with sugar. Slide a piece of fruit around the rim then dip into a dish of sugar. You can also use a pre-mixed rim sugar as photographed here. Freeze glasses.
  2. Blend frozen fruit, iced cubes or cubes of yogurt, and juice/water until smooth.
  3. Pour smoothie into chilled glasses, careful as to not hit the rim. Fill the glass a little more than 1/2 full. 
  4. Pour chilled FRE Brut Sparking wine over the smoothie and watch it the top fizz. This provides for a simple and beautiful, layered mocktail that tastes fantastic!
Check out this coupon at One Stop Wine Shop where customers can enter promo code FRE at checkout for 30% off. Note: Cannot ship (from site) to Alabama, Kansas or Tennessee. You can also follow FRE Wines on Facebook for more recipes and deals. 
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