There were a lot of first happening this past weekend. Our sweet Charlee turned 1 on Saturday and she started walking! Can you believe it because I’m still in shock that I’ve been momming for 1 year and to put the icing on the cake Charlee is officially walking now! She’s been taking small steps here and there for the past month, but started full blown walking at her birthday celebration. These milestones never get old. My little mom heart is completely full at this point. I don’t think I have room for anymore, LOL 😂.
We threw a big colorful Color Me Charlee birthday bash for her first birthday on Saturday as well, Keep scrolling for a few pics, I’m lying, keep scrolling for 5,000 pics of the big day.
Big shoutout to Kelly Jean Photography for the lovely images. You can find her and all her lovely work on Instagram: @kellyjeanphotographyllc or check her website out at: kellyjeanphotographyllc.com
Stay tuned for some fun upcoming blogpost! Talking about some of my fave Vera Bradley finds and summer to fall transition style tips this September. 😊
Hi all! I know it’s been a hot minute. I’ve been focused on work. I got a new job and it’s a bit time consuming, so I haven’t had much time to post anything on the blog lately, but I’m happy to be back and sharing a few of my tips and tricks for finding shoot locations and making the best of any location. One of my favorite things about creating content is finding the beauty in my city and making it come to life on camera. For those following along on Instagram, you may have seen my IG reel of my favorite shoot locations for 2021. All the locations I’ve highlighted are right here in my city and all are so unique. So I’m dishing all the deets on how I find the most colorful places in my city and how you can make the most of the locations available to you.
THINK ABOUT YOUR AESTHETIC
The most important thing to remember when seeking out shoot locations is your aesthetic. Believe or not, I’m often drawn to these amazing neutral Instagram feeds I come across. The whites and tans of these influencers pages draws me in on another level, I appreciate the look and feel of a muted or neutral page yet as you all know, color is my jam, so when I’m on the hunt for a shoot location, I’m always looking for color. It can be a colorful wall or colorful car or door, no matter what, there is color at almost all of my shoot locations because simply put, that is my aesthetic. I occasionally, veer from color for some posts, but there is beauty in consistnecy and what’s constant for me is some form of color in all that I do, also, I think your audience will appreciate knowing what to expect when they visit your social media pages.
DRIVE AROUND A BIT
I’m always out and about and I’m always looking for dope locations to shoot, which is why my husband does most of the driving when we go out, he knows I’m scanning for new shoot locations. Grab a friend or a family member and just ride around your city. This is how I get my inspiration. For me, this is most effective when I just drive and I’m not looking for anything specific. Just drive around and wait to see something that moves you. If it’s a place you can shoot, aligns with your aesthetic and if you’re an influencer or seeking a location for a brand shoot and it aligns with what the brand is asking for, I say go for it. Some days, I find absolutely nothing, others days, I find the perfect location. Pro tip: when you’ve spotted a location you love, take a pic and if you can jot down the street address or get a landmark do so! This is helpful if you’ve found multiple shoot locations during your outing or if you just have horrible memory, LOL. The photo below was a lumber yard my photography friends and I spotted on the way to shoot a wedding a few years back. I snapped a pic of the location and kept it in case we had time to stop and get some content for our separate photography pages.
GO FOR THE UNEXPECTED
If you’ve seen my most recent IG reel, then you know most of the locations I shoot at aren’t so pretty and that’s okay. I love that challenge of taking the not so pretty locations and showing people how you can really transform this location into something worth looking at. All that said, when scoping out new locations, be open minded, envision yourself shooting in that location and ask yourself, are there ways I can shoot this to make it pretty. That may be holding the camera at a different angle or taking a little extra time during editing to retouch the trash or parking lot lines out of the shot. That could also mean wearing outfits that help the location look better or outfits that compliment the shoot location so it looks very intentional. Whatever the case may be, don’t be so quick to overlook a location. Really take some time to see how you can make a location work in your favor. Case in point, the photo displayed below which was taken at an abandoned brewery just down the street from my house. The location was blah, but I had on a funky striped outfit to really balance it out. Pro tip: Shoot your photos vertical to block out any unwanted objects or subjects you don’t want in your shot. Also, play with angles, have your photographer shoot the wall your posing up against at an angle or position yourself far up or down for uniques perspectives. Sometimes, how it’s shot makes more of a difference than where it’s shot.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ABANDONED LOCATIONS
For my camera shy bloggers/influencers, abandoned locations are just the ticket for you. My city is going through a major revitalization process right now, not to mention, some locations are still closed because of the pandemic, so I’ve taken advantage of this by shooting in locations I’ve always wanted to shoot at that I couldn’t pre-pandemic because it was always crowded. Case in point, the local movie theater in the image below. I also love capturing images at abandoned buildings. Case in point, the orange trash can door of an abandoned Burger King turned Hube Bowl now Gym Tacos joint.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE WEEKENDS
I create most of my content on the weekends, mostly because I work during the week, but also because that’s when most businesses are closed and I can use their location for content shoots. Block off some time during the weekends and scope out some areas in your city that only operate on weekdays or find locations that operate on just a few weekdays and head out there for a shoot on their off days. When I had my baby, I had to get real creative with timing and when I could shoot and since she goes on shoots with me, I had to make sure parking was okay or it has to be somewhere where I can park my car, shoot and still watch her from a short distance. Lately, I’ve been shooting at auto body garages and food joints that only operate on the weekdays. The image below is a cute little law office in downtown that has pretty easy parking and is closed on the weekends. I can watch Charlee from my car while I get a few content shots, so I shoot here regularly. Think about your needs and things that may limit you, this will help you choose your locations wisely and it’s a great way to plan ahead.
CONSIDER A PARKING DECK
I love a good parking deck shoot, especially shooting content on the top part of the deck. Most of the time you can find open space to shoot content and it’s a fresh perspective on content. My favorite thing about parking deck shoots is that you can shoot in different parts of a parking deck that all look so different. You can shoot on the inside, at the very top or on the sides of walls or on the outside parts of the parking deck. This is great for shooting bulk content where you want to make it look like you’re in a different location for every shoot.
PROPS ARE A GAME-CHANGER
Sometimes the only thing missing to make the location feel like it’s the appropriate place for you to shoot is props that spruce up the photo and tie your concept together. I often use props at locations to really help drive the point home about what I’m trying to say. If your location isn’t speaking loud enough to get the point across about the vibe and mood you’re going for, then props are a great way to help out in that respect. I’m a firm believer that your images should speak before your captions do and an easy way to do that is with a little help from some handy dandy props. Props make a photo fun, engaging and are a way to accent your location and communicate the message you’re trying to convey.
CHECK OUT YOUR LOCAL PARKS
People know me for my colorful content and my ability to find a colorful wall, but I also love my local parks, parks are full of natures color and bring a nice earthy vibe to my feed when I get bored with colorful walls. If you’re wanting to keep it colorful, you can still do a park and dress in very colorful clothing to maintain that colorful aesthetic.
LOOK FOR MURALS OR LOCAL ART
Murals and local art are great backdrops to really spruce up your IG feed and no one mural is the same. My city has an ongoing partnership with local artists to highlight their work in various areas painted around the city, its a great way to promote local artists and capture some dope shots. Check your local city website and see how they are supporting local artists in the area or go to your local art museum and see what type of art backdrops they have available for you to take pictures with or near.
USE CLIP ART
Sometimes the locations you have available to you in your city have absolutely no redeemable qualities. When that happens, I usually just find a very plain Jane backdrop (i.e. a solid colored, a brick wall or a garage door) and add some clip art to spruce it up. I’m currently using the PicsArt app for all of my art images. Peep the pics below to see how I spruce up a blank or not so pretty wall.
I hope these tips and tricks on shoot locations were helpful to you. Remember, location is everything, but it’s all in what you make it. Get creative, don’t be afraid to shoot in not so pretty locations and always remember your niche and aesthetic and you’ll never go wrong.
Last week was fitness week on my Instagram page, and as promised on a few of my feed post, I’m sharing what’s happening with my postpartum fitness journey and the changes I’ve been making for my own personal health and wellness.
The journey to a healthy, happier me is has been long and I feel like after having a baby, that journey has shifted and changed exponentially. One big reality I’ve had to deal with over the past 8 months has been that I cannot spend as much time as I use to on workouts, additionally, meal prep includes meal prepping for 3 people now that Charlee is eating solids pretty regularly. Lastly, with COVID, I’ve really been making an effort to prioritize mental health above all else. So below is detailed list of things I’m doing that have been slowly transforming my health and wellness journey postpartum also, some truth that I’m still just trying to figure things out.
Current 2021 Postpartum Plan
I try to workout a minimum of 3 days a week. Workouts are usually 30 minutes long and consists of high intensity interval training (HIIT) and if time allows, 30-40 minutes of high intensity cardio (Running, Biking, Power Walking, Kickboxing, Thai Kickboxing). I alternate between these cardio activities so I don’t get bored.
On days where I have no time to workout, I just make sure to move a lot throughout the day, alternating between sitting and standing at home. Since I work from home, I’ve made an effort to leave my computer every hour on the hour to walk on my home treadmill for 15 minutes and sometimes, I schedule virtual walking meetings. My motto these days is just to keep moving.
I’ve always been pretty conscious about what I eat. I’ve been on a pescatarian lifestyle for over a decade, only reverting back to poultry for the latter part of my pregnancy and transitioning back to a pescatarian lifestyle at around 3 months postpartum. For the most part, my diet consists of lots of leafy greens, fish or shellfish 2-3 times a week, low carb intake, coffee and water (mostly water because coffee drys you out) and small portions of fruit. I’m working on incorporating more protein and fiber into my diet and have increased my intake of beans, legumes and lentils and want to add a bit more variety to my vegetables during the week. So far, this has worked for me, but with a few minor adjustments and more consistency, I think I will start seeing more results on the outside, but on the inside, my digestive health has been amazing and my skin is not drying out as fast like it use to. I don’t really do restrictions, I eat what I want when I want, but have a conscious attitude about what I’m eating. All that said, if I want a cookie, I eat a cookie, if I want fast food, I eat fast food. I don’t calorie count or worry about gaining weight. I want to maintain a healthy relationship with food, and the best way I know to do that is to lay off the restrictions and eat certain foods in moderation. This approach has worked for me and my mental health. I just want to feel good and not have to worry about food and weight gain, that’s really it.
I’ve been shopping for a therapists. There are a lot things that I have spent a lifetime avoiding, trauma from childhood, behaviors that stem from that and unhealthy coping mechanisms that I’m not to proud to say I’ve picked up over my lifetime and it’s time I start taking responsibility for my actions and begin the healing process. I don’t want to just do this for myself, I owe it to my daughter to heal. I think motherhood has allowed me to see areas where I personally need to heal and improve, and if I want to be the best mom I can be, I need to begin to address issues that I’ve put band aids on for so long.
On the flip side of things, I’ve been taking short breaks throughout the day practicing my breathing. Mindfulness is critical to health and well being. Taking these mini breaks has helped me to collect my thoughts, rest my mind and reboot. I’ve realized I’m not a machine and I need recharging and my brain needs consistent breaks throughout the day to function at full capacity so these shorts breaks have been so helpful and have changed the way I approach work and even blogging.
So one thing I need to work on is sleep. My sleep has always been pretty poor. I have insomnia and it’s been like this since college. To be honest, I don’t really have a plan on how to fix this as of yet, but I’m dancing around with the idea of sleep medication. I will try a few things before I consider medication as an option. So far I’ve set a bedtime for myself, I keep the lights dim when it’s time for bed, and have eliminated television and audiobooks after a certain time. I think the last thing I’ll more than likely begin implementing is making my last meal before 7:30PM. Lastly, I’ve been pretty good about having no caffeine past 2PM. Not sure what will come of this plan as all of this is forever evolving to be conducive with my current lifestyle, but I’m trying things until something works. This is really how I’ve always approached a lot of things in life and while it may not be ideal for most, it’s been working for me and I’m doing my best, so there you have it.
So happy to have finally shared this update with you.
I hope you’ve found it helpful. I’m sure everything health and wellness wise will change 10 months or even 1 year postpartum, but for now, this is where I’m at. There is most certainly room for improvement and growth, but the journey to a healthy, happier me is so rewarding.