The Week of Photoshoots!

collage5

I only blogged once last week because it was THE WEEK OF PHOTOSHOOTS! It was pretty rad but (as an introvert) I’m excited for a pretty chill week this week! Up above you can see some behind the scene looks from the shoots:

  • 12-hour photo and video shoot for Ecco Domani on Tuesday. I project managed and planned the entire day! We hired a mixologist to create 9 original winetails (cocktails with a wine focus), we filmed how-to videos for 7 of the winetails and photographed the complete list of 15! It was pretty amazing. Two of the clients flew out to Columbus from LA and we finally got to meet in person. It was so fun.
  • Fit Food shoot for their new fall menu on Friday. Think deep colors, moody vibes and comfort food. Plus how amazing is the new container they might use for salads?
  • Then on Saturday I shot a wedding in Hocking Hills! It was muggy, humid but BEAUTIFUL. It didn’t rain so it was fine by me. Excited to show more photos from the day later…
  • + not pictured…gearing up for September 2nd’s Death to Stock pack drop!

 

Food Prep on the Weekends

FoodPrep1

Food prep Sundays are a big thing in the blogging/online health world. I actually tend to prep food all weekend long. I don’t like to spend most of my Sunday in the kitchen so I try to spread it out a bit. I thought I’d give you a quick breakdown of how I plan meals + prepare meals for a busy week. I eat gluten-free and usually grain free/sugar free.

First, I go to the farmers’ market

I usually go to the farmers’ market or the nearby indoor market first. I like to get the produce that’s in season and looks the most appetizing. This past weekend I stopped by the neighborhood farmers’ market on Saturday and picked up:

  • Lots of tomatoes
  • A quart of sweet onions
  • Green beans
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • Beets to juice
  • Garlic
  • Flowers

I figured I’d make a bit batch of tomato basil soup for lunches and know that I always crave sweet potatoes and green beans. I’m a bit sick of zucchini and I regret not getting some white potatoes.

Then I list out what we’ll eat for breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the upcoming week!

I find a scrap piece of paper and a list out Saturday through the following Thursday. I know that by Friday nights, neither of us wants to cook so we usually get takeout. I look at our schedule and decide which nights I’ll have time to spend in the kitchen and the other nights where I might be a bit rushed due to social events or meetings. I also lump in breakfasts and lunches and try to only eat 1-2 varying meals. This week looked like this:

Once my list is complete, I round out what else I need from the grocery

This past weekend I had to grab basil, canned plum tomatoes and bananas. I already had meat + everything else! I try to get all my protein from Whole Foods or the local market/local butcher and then I go to Kroger for almost everything else!

Time to prep!

I try to keep my prep to a minimum. I like fresh food and I don’t like to snack a lot. On Saturday I peeled and shredded two large sweet potatoes and made the tomato basil soup!

O14A4987

I love that I can just grab a container of shredded sweet potatoes and create a quick hash. I love to top with goat cheese, ricotta or bacon. While I did that, I was roasting my tomatoes. The soup takes a bit of time but it’s so delicious.

O14A4985

On Sunday, I made a huge batch of bacon in the oven and made a cup of quinoa in the rice cooker. While it was cooking, I also made about 8-10 crepes/tortillas. I don’t know what to call this but it’s originally a Paleo naan recipe. I always have a frozen batch on hand. I just heat it on a skillet and top with cream cheese/smoked salmon, peanut butter and bananas or straight cheese! I love these because they don’t taste coconut-y at all. Very neutral and delicious. Excuse my poor photo quality on day! Ha! 10pm and on my iPhone.

FoodPrep

So that’s how I prepare for a busy week! It prevents us from eating crappy food and spending a ton of money. I leave dinners to be a bit more complex but at any time I can eat a crepe/tortilla, whip up some eggs to go with my bacon, make a sweet potato hash or add quinoa to a salad! Also, that soup is deeeelish.

How to you prepare for the week? Do you tend to make everything day-by-day? Or do you get some of this stuff out of the way before the week starts? Also, link to any great recipes!

 

 

Early Mornings

34620003

Last week I wrote about how I’ve been handling my schedule and my friend Kathyrn left a comment about how Jessica Hische recently posted about her schedule as well! I really loved Jessica’s post and decided to implement a little more structure to my own self-care and personal life. She outlined her mornings, how she handles her lunch breaks and exercise. I need to prioritize my own self-care just as much as my meetings and productivity.

THEN I read Jeff Finley’s post about how he’s maintained a morning routine for over a year. I loved how he wakes up to do anything and everything he loves. Want to watch a tv show? Do it. Love working out? Yep that too. Breakfast, reading and yoga? OK! A lot of times we’re constantly told that we need to wake up, meditate without falling asleep and then BECOME PRODUCTIVE ASAP!

For those of you who know me at all, you know that I’m a night owl. For about a decade I’ve been staying up until 2-3am and then allowing myself a semi/decent night’s sleep. If you’re at all living in the professional world, you know that waking up at 10 or 11am doesn’t really cut it. By then, the entire world has been chugging along for quite some time. You wake up to an ungodly amount of emails, you feel behind and you begin your day feeling rushed.

Last week, I decided to change my life pretty radically. For an entire week, I woke up at 7am and stopped working by 6:30pm and I’m pretty sure I’ll never go back. Heck, I might wake up even earlier! 

But here’s the truth: I don’t like waking up early. I do love having two hours to myself before I start my day. I was able to sit outside when it was still cool, eat breakfast, drink coffee and do my makeup. Those are four things that I hardly ever do. I’m a nicer person when I have done those four things. As an introvert, I’m a nicer person when I’ve had time to myself. I get a jump start on my emails and then I can dive into being creative and productive. This week a woke up a bit later mostly because we had family staying with us so I was limited to staying upstairs so I didn’t wake anyone up! Without coffee, loud music and breakfast, I end up just hitting my snooze. What does your morning schedule look like? Do you have a routine? Do you allow yourself to do the things you enjoy or do you jump straight into tasks?

 

PS: In case you missed it, you can sign up for a sneak peek of my new book Charge Up! Learn to build a business and manage your energy as an introvert.

Why I Blog

DeathtoStock_Desk3 copy

I help bloggers on a weekly basis via The Wonder Jam. Sometimes I’m redesigning their blogs (like this one, or this one, or most recently this one!), sometimes I’m consulting and other times I’m teaching them how to take photos! I’m constantly helping bloggers grow their audience, increase revenue + improve their content.

Sometimes it feels weird because I don’t usually have the same goals. I don’t blog to make money, I don’t display ads and heck…I don’t even post that often! So why do I blog? To be terribly real. 

quote_beupdoing

I love this quote from The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. With the recent news of Robin Williams (and so many other hurting individuals), I remember how much I hate to think of people feeling lonely. Since I was a kid, I would reach out to the kids who had no friends. I would have the girl over who had pet snakes (but everyone teased) or the kid who lived with his grandma (that everyone ignored). It never really made me popular either but I couldn’t bear to think of someone sitting alone or feeling rejected. As an adult, I experience anxiety and know that certain times can feel really dark. I can’t imagine what it’s like for those struggling with depression.

My goals for blogging have changed over the last 5 years but I now know why I continue to post: I love connecting with you all without bias. I come to this place with the desire to hear what you think, how you feel and who you really are (without all the superficial shit like how much money you make, what you look like or if you were homecoming queen 15 years ago). I hope that’s why you continue to visit and please know that if you ever need to talk or find yourself in pain, you can reach out to me.

I’ve met so many wonderful people ALL OVER THE WORLD because of this blog and that makes me smile. I promise to continue to bring honesty, authenticity and my true self to this space for however long it lasts.

*Photo of me bent over laughing…by Meghan Newsom

Unadulterated Beauty : Lip balms + Mascara

O14A4867

I’ve become quite obsessed with makeup since my last post (almost a year ago). I don’t wear that much day-to-day but I’ve acquired A LOT during the past year. It’s my go-to type of purchase. I only have one purse (this one) and keep my shoes to a bare minimum. I really don’t even own a lot of clothes. But dang…Sephora and Ulta get a lot of my money.

My love of makeup might stem back to being a fine artist. When I’m applying foundation or contouring with brushes, I get pretty pumped about blending and keeping it as natural as possible. Plus, the packaging is always so amazingly beautiful. It’s a designer’s dream.

Besides my slight addiction to make up, I also love watching beauty bloggers’ YouTube channels until I realize most of them are being paid to promote most of the products (hey, it’s awesome that they can make a living on it all) but I always crave the real unbiased opinion. Since I have a blog, I figured I’d contribute to the conversation with a little honesty!

O14A4856

The best lip products for those who hate lipstick and lipgloss

Despite my love for makeup, I just CANNOT love lipstick or lipgloss. Lipstick cakes onto my lips (even the creamiest) and makes them feel so dry. Randomly my lips will get REALLY dry and swell. It’s…lovely. Lipgloss, on the other hand, makes my lips 200x as big. I already have large lips so I don’t need them reflecting light. The alternative is a great colored lip balm. Here are my current three favorites:

1. Dior Addict Lip Glow ($32): This stuff looks relatively clear going on but it soon turns a nice, natural pink! (pictured above) It’s honestly the only beauty product that I’ve run out of more than three times. I just got my fourth balm in the mail yesterday! Definitely a pricier option but it’s perfect for me since I don’t have a nice pink color to my lips, naturally.

O14A4850

2. Revlon Color Stay Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Rendezvous ($10): This color is the perfect coral and so hydrating! I found it at Kroger and love how accessible it is (pictured above)

O14A4845

3. Revlon Color Stay Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Cherish ($10): Barbie pink at its finest! This one felt a bit more matte but still hydrating and never dried out my lips. I made an online order at Ulta and will be trying out their Matte Balm in Elusive soon!

Also, shooting selfies of myself on my Canon 5D Mark III is bizarre because I think I can see the hairs on my face…

The best mascara for those who hardly have any eyelashes

Before

These are my light, shorter eyelashes taken with my front facing camera on my iPhone before I did my makeup. Since I epically fail at putting on falsies (plus it bugs the heck out of me when I wear them), I got pretty curious when my lovely friend Annie started selling Younique mascara last month. She kept posting about it on Facebook and showing these ladies’ before and after photos. They were KILLER but I knew that they already had long lashes to begin with. I had to get some, try it for myself and then tell everyone how it works on us short lashed gals.

O14A4862

The mascara comes in two different tubes. One is literally small fibers that you swipe on your lashes just like mascara. You swipe a few times and then seal it with the other mascara (which is much more like regular mascara). I swiped a few times with each tube and was SUPER impressed. Obviously this photo looks way better than my “before” photo since I took it on my Canon but you can see the length AND they’re nice and dark! Hurray!

O14A4859

If you’re wanting to try it out – you can order them on my friend Annie’s site! She receives free products/commission but I do not! Also, they wipe off easily with soapy water or makeup remover.

______

If you enjoyed the unadulterated beauty review – leave a comment or suggest a product review! Since I dabble in a slight makeup addiction anyways, I figured I should share some of my honest thoughts!

PS: I’m cutting my hair on Friday and fading out that brassy ombre! Pretty pumped! Send me hair inspo pics on Twitter!

Charge Up!

Quote

I am SO excited to announce something that I’ve been working on since April! I have co-written a book with the lovely Claire Deane and it’s all about owning a successful business as an introvert! The official title is:

Charge Up: Build a Business and Manage Your Energy with your Introversion Superpowers

ChargeUpBook copy

We’ve launched our site and if you sign up for our newsletter, you’ll receive an excerpt from the book! The chapter outlines 10 ways to defend the things that give you energy.

Claire and I both own our own businesses and as we started collaborating on multiple projects, we realized we were encountering the same issues as introverts. We are both assertive, competent and talented women (oh also, we’re both 5 feet tall) but we get way too exhausted by a lot of the small business stuff (ie: networking, small talk, endless meetings and co-working). We put our heads together and decided we needed to share all of the tips, tricks and hacks that we’ve discovered over the past 15 years combined.

We’ll be launching and selling the book by the end of September and just can’t wait! In the meantime, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We hope to share a lot of resources, tips + inspiration throughout the process.

Again – get a free excerpt from the book by signing up on our site! Designed by yours truly.

Structuring Your Day

I don’t have a normal job and so usually my days always look different. For the first year of working for myself, I would take long lunch breaks or be out and about in Columbus during the afternoons. When Adam and I joined forces and created The Wonder Jam, we experienced the bliss that is seeing your spouse all day! We would also take long lunch breaks and traveled a lot.

Within the last 6-8 months, I’ve seen work take over my day (and nights) in a really aggressive way. From the moment I’d wake to the moment I’d sleep…I’d find myself working. Evening would hit and I’d say, “What did I DO today?” I realized I had to take control and actually plan my days down to the minute. It’s been life changing (while simultaneously taking away any spontaneity in my day-to-day life).

Every Sunday night, I generally plan my week based on tasks/projects. This past Sunday, my calendar already looked like this:

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 12.39.13 AM

By Monday night (when I wrote this post), I really only had 2-hour pockets on Wednesday and Friday for anything that popped up. This means that when a client needs something urgent or something goes over 15-60 minutes, things get tight. I’m not able to schedule a meeting the day of or even the day before. (However…the opposite is also true in that if I work fast, I’m rewarded with more time!) And yes, I sometimes have to schedule showering.

Intentionally planning my day has allowed me to understand that I can’t do 15 things in a day’s time. It made me realize that my daily to-do lists were too unrealistic.

Despite the success, it still isn’t perfect. For the next three months, I’m going to try to attain a better balance. I want to be planning my day intentionally but leaving pockets for the fun, impromptu things. Sometimes that will mean leaving a window of two hours open during an afternoon or loading all my work into Monday-Thursday so I can take Friday off.

Small little steps have allowed me to bring about work/life balance:

  • Trying to stop working between 5:30-7pm and help my clients learn this new schedule (as they’re used to me working into the wee hours of the morning).
  • If I do need to catch up on emails at night, I schedule them to go out the following AM
  • I can’t not check my email in the morning. More power to you if you can resist. I browse through emails, delete ones that aren’t important and check to make sure there’s nothing urgent. I’m able to relax much more in the earlier part of my day if I know there’s nothing pressing.
  • (obviously) I block out time to work on project. I schedule them in 1-4 hour blocks depending on the complexity. I have to treat my client work just like an important meeting.
  • Working out has been a great reason to stop working, move and spend time by myself. As an introvert, owning a business can be exhausting. Working out is something I can do alone and no one really challenges it.
  • Keeping track of my workload so saying “yes” or “no” isn’t a moral/heart dilemma. It should be obvious if you’re too busy or have time.

How do you schedule out your day? Whether you’re self-employed or working for someone else, is there structure? Is it easy for you to stop working at 5 or 6? 

 

ps: I blogged last week about bartering and trading services/products over at The Wonder Jam

Recent Photo Work

O14A2533

O14A7314

Do Something Composite FP

O14A2124

O14A0405

O14A9292

O14A1455

I’ve been shooting a lot lately and thought I’d share some of my most recent projects!

From top to bottom: Pluma Jewelry, House of Earnest, Danielle Evans of Food Typography for The Guardian, Death to the Stock Photo, Simi Botic, Alex White and Pluma Jewelry again!

PS: If you’re in the Columbus area, I’m hosting 2 back-to-back workshops on taking better photos for your blog + business on August 9th and 10th! Comment below or email me at allie(at)thewonderjam(dot)com if you’re interested!

 

Stuff That Makes Me Smile

edit62

In no particular order:

  1. Olaf from Frozen. I watched the movie three times in three days
  2. Wireless bras from Journelle. More comfort and I don’t need them any perkier.
  3. Working out. Especially yoga via YogaGlo.
  4. Chrissy Teigan, in general.
  5. Sam Smith’s new album, In the Lonely Hour
  6. No plans to travel much in the near future. I’ve enjoyed being home.
  7. The book I’m co-writing. More on that next week!
  8. Nude nail polish.

What’s been making you smile lately?

 

A Favor. Because I Love Columbus and Good Food.

O14A3495

Five years ago (June 5th is my anniversary), I moved to Columbus after getting married and slowly began to explore this city. I wasn’t gluten-free back in 2009 and we lived in the ‘burbs. That meant a lot of Olive Garden, Applebees, Little Caesar’s and Chipotle. Ehhhh. As we made our way south, towards downtown, we realized what a good-food-loving-city Columbus really is.

collage

Instagram allowed me to document this journey while I fell in love with Columbus’ taste in good food. Food trucks, small diners, farm to table, reallllly good alcohol. All local. It totally blew me away. Even as I became gluten-free and began to refine my diet, the Columbus restaurant scene still delivered.

So here’s my favor. For what you would spend on a really sugary drink at Starbucks, you could help me and my city. We are getting an amazing gift called The Commissary. It’s going to be a flexible space for pop-ups, meetings, and classes where food makers and farmers can experiment, create, collaborate, and share. I’m excited to be on the board for their non-profit section and am going to be able to teach food makers how to take better photos for their websites.

Okay I got distracted…so for $6, you can help back it and help them meet their goal. You’ll get a sticker. You’ll make me smile. And if you ever come to Columbus, we’ll hang out and eat all this amazing food.

If you find it in your heart to support this awesome thing that I’m involved in, comment below and I’ll send you a little thank you in the mail! Plus, who doesn’t love pen pals?