7BLOGGERDAYS: JAN11 Favorite Moment

One of my most favorite moments is when I decided to start my own business!

I was hesitant to do so in such a trying economic time…but one day, while on a brief medical leave from my job, I formulated my plan! I also recall being selected for jury duty, and thinking to myself “there is a chance that I will NOT get called; let me take my notebook and write out some ideas”…and that’s exactly what I did! I did not get called that day for duty, so I spent a FULL 6 or so hours writing out my vision for my company.

Well, I’m coming up on a ONE YEAR of being an entrepreneur, and it feels great! I woke up this morning to an email from someone soliciting me for their brands, plus emails from clients updating me on things that they need…that instantly made me smile. I LOVE what I do, and I am grateful that I did not let the financial hardships of the world cut into my dreams! Once I got over my initially hesitancy, I discovered that everything needed to “Just Do It” was on the inside!!

I am a better woman for staying focused on my goals! I challenge you to do the same!

 

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12.12.12 My WebSite Launch! (32)

I am elated today because we are now at the official launch of my company website! (click the photo to be directed to the site!)

MY LOGO

I am thankful for my own diligence w my company, even in a time where people suggested that I “wait”. For what? Starting a business takes money in the beginning, but fulfilling a dream is priceless…and this is a dream! My late Mother would be so very proud of me!

I want to thank everyone who genuinely believes in me, those who have entrusted their business/brand w my company, the love of my life for his support, Freddie Taylor of Nimble Websites for their hard work and dedication, and a special thank you to myself…for staying the course, making room for my gifts, remaining FOCUSED, and making a route for me to leave the job that is holding me back.  I am GRATEFUL today for the things that God is adding to me!  If you learn ANYTHING from me, please learn this:

It’s ok to have a dream and to work towards making that dream your reality! Write YOUR vision and make it plain; your first belief MUST be in yourself and your own abilities.  Once this is your focus, there will be nothing…AND I DO MEAN NOTHING…that will be able to stop that train!!!

PHOTO FOR BIZ CARD1

Elle

Someone You Should Know (30)

I had the extreme pleasure of interviewing Keith Luellen, a photographer w an amazing eye for capturing the most intimate and beautiful moments!

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He is extremely passionate about his desire to thrive in this industry, and this young man is well on his way! Let’s take a look!

ELLE: What were you doing/where were you in life (i.e. job/school) when you decided that you enjoy taking pictures and wanted to pursue this as a career?

KL: “I’ve always had a passion for photography, but once I knew that I was going to be a father, I had no choice but to get started. Picking up a DSLR (camera) was no option. I wanted to capture each moment of fatherhood; and I wanted to capture it correctly. At the time, I was working full time for UIC Medical Center (currently still employed there). I began practicing before and after work.”

ELLE: Where is your hometown?

KL: “I was born in Hawaii and lived in California for a bit, but I’ve been in Chicago since 93′ so I am a Chicagoan for sure.”

ELLE: Any photographers/artists in your family?

KL: “My father was an “unofficial” photographer. But his work was amazing.”

ELLE: Who are some of your major influences?

KL: “Trey Ratliff has really inspired me. He is a great photographer! He was born blind in one eye which helped aid in his interests in photography. His works are some of the best I’ve ever seen.”

ELLE: Tell us about your first photography job…were you nervous? What kind of shoot was this? How long did the shoot take?

KL: “Wow…Good question…It was a shoot that I did for a makeup artist, stylist, and beautician. I took pictures of models and I believe that it lasted about 4 hours. I’m sure that I was extremely nervous. I can remember just having to keep taking pictures and saying to myself that one of these 3,000 pictures HAS to be great.”

ELLE: Do you have a ritual that gets you prepared for a shoot? If so, what is it?

KL: “Yes, I do have somewhat of a ritual. It’s funny mentioning it out loud, but I take a picture of myself and jokingly say to the models, “well the camera still works”. That tends to help relax the models and lighten the mood.”

ELLE: Name two of your favorite photography gigs.

KL: “I really don’t have a favorite, but the type of shoots that I enjoy most are the outdoor/family ones. Now that I think about it, I did an event with J’marcus Webb that I thought was really cool. I was his personal photographer for a night. It was at the 2012 Common Ground Gala, which is a pretty big fundraiser sponsored by the widely acclaimed musician Common Sense.”

ELLE: Who are your biggest supporters?

KL: “I have so many people in my family that support, that I can’t distinguish who supports more than the other. However, I can say that I greatly appreciate it.”

ELLE: Where can people find samples of your work?

KL: “My work can be found in a few places. The most common place is my personal website which is http://www.SYGUP.com. However, I also have pictures on the following websites as well.”

http://www.facebook.com/SYGUP

http://sygup.smugmug.com/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sygup/

It was my absolute pleasure to interview Keith, and please be on the lookout for his work! For booking, please visit his website http://www.sygup.com. Also, on Friday November 23, 2012, he will be featured via “The Platform” at http://www.urbanfetes.com, as an up and coming artist in photography! Check him out and make sure to support his business!!

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ELLE

Enough For Everyone! (27)

One thing I’ve noticed in my adult years, is that kids aren’t the only ones who don’t particularly like to “share”. Big ole grown men and women have a difficult time either sharing the spotlight, acknowledging a milestone in the life of another, or are just down right all about self.

I know I’m not the only one who has experienced some form of “hatred” or pettiness directed at them. In every single situation, everyone has that “thing” which sets them apart from the next person. And that’s ABSOLUTELY the way it should be. For example, I am a singer. God gave me that very sweet gift, and I use it #wisely. However, God also gave Faith Evans, Brandy, Dorinda Clark-Cole, and August NightinGale those very same sweet gifts. My sound is not like theirs; and because I appreciate my own gift over anything, I can celebrate the impact that THEIR gifts have had, and continue to have, on my musical ear. To attempt to chip away at them as artists, downplay their success, or to completely try to copy their styles, means that my focus has shifted away from my own gift. There’s nothing wrong w my gift…and I can celebrate them as well as celebrate my own. Those women mentioned above can straight up and down SING. Period. They have a gift that they work on continuously…and so do I! If there’s enough room for all of those vocal beasts to walk around and ALL be amazing, there’s also room for me to be just as awesome in my own way!

As a community of “people”–not focusing on any specific race (because every race “hates” on another)–we need to do better in learning what our own personal value is FIRST. I said this yesterday in response to a post that I was reading…”so much would NOT take place when a person is secure in themselves; and so much WILL take place when a person is NOT secure in themselves”. Just think: if you are confident in your own abilities, another person’s gifts/talents won’t sideswipe or impact yours at all. Your belief in self HAS to be first priority. No one will be able to do anything in the fashion that YOU do things; focus on that! You are a brand…yes #you…and there is enough room for you to “make it”! The next person is also a brand. If you are lucky enough to experience your neighbor’s blessing/breakthrough, praise God for it; because that means He’s in your neighborhood (My Daddy says this OFTEN…and it’s so true; I’m living this now)! I have met some people in such a short period of time, who have received tremendous blessings in their personal and professional endeavors, and I’m thankful to be able to SEE it!

I MUST thank all of my #true supporters in my business ventures, and the ones close enough to see what I’ve been blessed w in my personal life; I love you and I thank God for all of you. God made enough room for EVERYBODY to get it! Celebrate and be grateful for the space provided to you, and you’ll be able to easily celebrate someone else’s!

Elle

Feel What You Feel, But Your Attitude Determines Altitude (14)

Lately, I have been feeling all KINDS of things that aren’t of my normal character. No, I do not want to cause any physical harm to anyone nor do I want to take my life–nothing ridiculous or ratchet like that–I’ve just been “in my feelings” about ANY AND EVERYTHING.

And so what; I’m just being Lauran; speaks nothing to my gender.

It speaks to everything about being a brat. Let my Aunt Terri tell it…I’m STILL spoiled right now today LOL. I’m no baby; I certainly hold my own…but sometimes I think way more than I probably should about what isn’t here yet.

Foooooooor example, I do indeed desire another place of employment, and my search is ongoing. I feel that I am totally wasting precious brain juice here, that I am not challenged, and that this just isn’t “it”. I’m not happy in this job AT all. In the midst of my displeasure, I started my own business…a PR Firm. Yes, in a ROTTEN economic period, I’ve decided to become an entrepreneur. Doing all things related to my new venture has actually brought about peace to my spirit. I happen to be having a conversation w someone about my “job”, and I was told that I needed to stop reflecting on the negative (not wanting to be in said job) and focus on the positive (how I’ve started my business). I was told that not only is negative thinking not going to help, but it will KEEP me in my current position. Lord KNOWS I do not want to remain in that spot, so w more prayer (glad God doesn’t get tired of me) and a positive attitude, I will eventually be free and in a position that better uses my gifts. I’ve claimed a better life and it must start w a better attitude!

If you’re honest w yourself, you’ve had your moments. The KEY, though, is not to STAY in those moments. Every now and then, I am in a frustrated place because I’ve allowed my feelings or thoughts to overshadow what “is”. I start to feel like who I am is “not enough”, and I find myself upset at what I’ve built up in my mind (key phrase here?: “what I built up in my mind”, not what actually “is”). I wasn’t like this in my 20s. Honey PUHLEEEEEEEZE…in my 20s, I didn’t care about much; I felt like I had so much “time” to do WHATEVER. But I’m in my mid-30s now–I’m 34 to be exact–and at this stage in my life, I’m more emotional than I’ve ever been. I don’t pretend that a thing doesn’t bother me when it actually does. I’m TOTALLY in tune w my emotional side, and I don’t apologize for it. And since I was created by perfection, He understands where I am/who I am/what I need. Just knowing all of that–that I am truly taken care of–makes it alright. It makes me feel as though I can make it through a work day. I feel like I have the patience to wait for those things that will eventually make it to my doorstep. Thinking about how good life actually is for me almost instantly improves my attitude. My “inner” forecast? Sunny, a high of 82 degrees w no chance of rain. I can bounce anything of a negative source off of me, because I choose not to let it get to my spirit. It’s not easy, and I have my moments even in knowing Whose I am, but I CAN do it. You have no idea the number of times I have to take a breather, pray, and snap back just to get through a work day at my “job”. AND I GET THROUGH IT. I recognize that I have every right to feel how I feel, but I have to determine exactly where I want to go…my finger points up. Few things that will constantly keep me in tact:

1. When I feel myself out of sorts, I pray harder. I pray every day, sometime multiple TIMES a day; I don’t have a problem leaving from where I am, going to my car/stepping outside to say a quick prayer that will snap me back to a happy place.
2. I will look for a scripture or a quote that speaks to my situation. Self explanatory…
3. I try my best to determine where the source of my frustration is coming from. Then I simply ask God to give me peace.
4. I think about how bad things actually COULD be, and then I look at where I am. So I’m pitchin’ a lil fit/havin’ a “brat attack”; Lauran, get over it…I mean really…HOWEVER, the things that I have experienced in my life are a big deal to me–may not be of concern to anyone else, but my life’s timeline is mine, which makes it important. I don’t downplay what I’ve been through, or “dumb down” my stuff to make someone else feel better; it is what it is. So I am SO VERY PROUD of how far I have come and the “bullets I dodged” along the way…

God has a desire to see me do great things; I don’t ever want to disappoint Him by thinking that I am less than what He has created me to be. I am MORE than enough…I am equipped, I am able, I am resilient and I am unique. I have nothing to worry about because, in the words of the illustrious Michael Franks, it was here all along “on the inside” (Song Title “On The Inside” by Michael Franks). I’ve taken the liberty of attaching the lyrics:

I’ve wasted a lifetime
Pursuing an image that did not exist
Except in my own mind
Except in my own dream.
My life has convinced me
That happines never can really be found
Until you remember
The voice of your own heart.

It’s all on the inside
To say you can find it elsewhere
Would be wrong.
It’s all on the inside
Each soul has its song.
It was here all along
On the inside.

It cannot be captured
On canvas it cannot be
Carved into stone.
No art can sustain it
Believe me I’ve tried.
It always eludes you
No matter what strategem
You may devise.
It’s no destination
A compass can find.

There’s only love on the inside
No counterfeit no need for it.
A perfect place for your heart to hide
No danger near nothing to fear.
Life’s hurricane can’t reach within
–>P.S.-That particular Michael Franks’ song is a #favorite of my late Mother. It is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL song…<–

*smoochface*

Elle

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