5 Ways to Practice Self-Love (Part 2) | Redefining Self-Love Series | Boone, NC Photographer

I can't tell you how big of a hypocrite I feel like writing about self-love. I'm only a few posts into it and I already want to abandon this project altogether because I don't know what the hell I'm doing! That's the fear talking. Those are the doubts that are creeping through the backdoor of my brain trying to shut me down, and I can't say that I haven't been close to allowing that to happen.

5 Ways To Practice Self-Love by Wayfaring Wanderer Boone, NC Photographer

Who cares whether or not I know what I'm doing?! This personal experiment has been fun, albeit trying at times as I attempt to turn this practice into a daily habit. While some steps have been a lot harder to handle emotionally and mentally than others, this journey to redefine self-love is something that I will continue. For now, I'll keep sharing my experience with you here on the blog because...

Self-love is something that a lot of us need more of as I have learned by observing other peoples behavior along with my own.

My thoughts are that if I feel like I need more support, encouragement, and inspiration in my life that I need to be that for other people, so this is why I am sticking to this mission, not just for myself but also for others who could use more self-love in their lives, too!

The "Redefining Self-Love Series" is still in full effect and I have been doing what I can to continue practicing self-love for myself on a daily basis. A couple weeks ago I shared Part 1 of "5 Ways To Practice Self-Love" and I've been implementing the steps which I will share about next week if you’re interested (let me know in the comments, if so); however, this part 2 offers 5 (More) Ways To Practice Self-Love that I've been using along with the other tips that I shared in my previous post. Below is a recap as an infographic I put together so that you can quickly scan what we've already touched on so far.

5 Ways To Practice Self-Love Infographic by Wayfaring Wanderer Boone, NC Photographer

All of the items I've highlighted in Part 1 & 2 aren't something you DO and then you're DONE, these are all meant to be practiced repeatedly! Taking action using any one of these ten easy tips is the first step to breaking crooked patterns we can unknowingly become comfortable with. It's time to REDEFINE SELF-LOVE! Who's with me?!

Below are 5 Ways To Practice Self-Love:

TRY NEW THINGS

Do something that you haven't done before, something that you think would be fun, something that you think might be interesting, or something that you think will help you learn or grow. Find an event or class that intrigues you, maybe you've wanted to try it for a while but have just made excuses not to. Finally take the time to give it a try this month. Make a plan, pick out a class/workshop/etc., find a sitter if you have kiddos, and commit to doing it! Trying new things is what helps us expand beyond our current routines so that we open ourselves up to new and exciting experiences that we might not have otherwise.

Bonus Points if you do this alone. Yep, don't ask your BFF to join you. This is another way to really hone your self-love skills so that you're pushing yourself outside your comfort zone even further. 

5 Ways To Practice Self-Love Quote by Wayfaring Wanderer Boone, NC Photographer


STOP NEGATIVE SELF-TALK

I am guilty of toxic thoughts. I have to constantly flip ugly inner dialog into something more positive and uplifting. Once I realize it's happening, I can snap myself out of it fairly quickly by questioning my harsh, inner-critic. "Wait a second! Is this really true?" It would also help to think about it in terms of how you talk to friends or family, if you wouldn't say those things to someone else why would you say/think them to yourself? You deserve just as much kindness as you show others!

Bonus Points if you write it out in your journal. Writing is therapeutic, especially when used to have a conversation with your sabotage goblin. Seriously, question yourself…in writing!

Related Article: "When I started to think about food as love, then I automatically began eating a healthier diet and in turn, kicked some pretty bad habits and lost over 40 lbs." [...] 5 Ways To Love Yourself With Food from Leah (Certified Health Coach) owner of Deep Rooted Wellness. L I N K » http://bit.ly/1mifA4v

MOVE TO THE MUSIC

I don't spend enough time listening to music nearly enough during the week. Most of the time I'm listening to music if I am cooking dinner or taking a shower; however, I don't typically listen to music while I'm working at my computer because it doesn't help me to focus like other methods I use. This is why I want to implement mini dance parties on a daily basis. Set an alarm for any time once a day, pick out your favorite song, and shake dat booty! I guarantee that you will be laughing and smiling by the end of your three-minute dance break!



Bonus Points if you are brave enough to make a goofy video of you dancing like a crazy person and share it with me on the Wayfaring Wanderer Facebook Page!

BE AFRAID BUT DO IT ANYWAY

There are lots of things that I hesitate doing because I'm scared. Really. What's the worst that could happen? Even though the idea of doing something—whatever it is—terrifies you, just do it anyway! As long as it's not hazardous to your health, of course. Unless that's how you get your kicks then it's perfectly fine with me whatever you choose to do as long as you're being safe while doing it!

Bonus Points if this is something you've put off doing for longer than a year. Aren't you ready to get this off your plate or put the project in motion?! Start today! Just one step a day will make all the difference.

5 Ways To Practice Self-Love Quote by Wayfaring Wanderer Boone, NC Photographer


SAY I LOVE YOU (TO YOURSELF)

Now this will definitely feel a little weird when you start doing it. I know I felt kind of odd when I uttered these words to my reflection. But I started this a couple months ago and I've been doing it ever since. So, every time I see my reflection whether it's in the mirror or the side of a tea kettle, I always stop and look myself in the eye, take a deep breath, smile, and say I LOVE YOU! Like I said, it seems silly and you will probably feel as such, but it's a wonderful practice to put into place to be more present and practice self-love at the same time.

Bonus Points if you take a picture of yourself (from whenever) and put it in a place where you can see it everyday so that you can do the same self-love practice even if you don't happen to see your reflection!

This concludes Part 2 of "5 Ways To Practice Self-Love." I hope that some of these tips may prove useful in your quest to embody more self-love. I'll be sharing a behind the scenes look into my mentally challenging journey of redefining self-love and the first-hand experience I've had with practicing these tips next week, so stay tuned! To be notified when new Redefining Self-Love posts are available, sign-up for updates from Wayfaring Wanderer HERE and “LIKE” the Wayfaring Wanderer Facebook page to get connected!

Have you tried any of the tips from the Redefining Self-Love Series yet?! Is there one you'd like to try?! Join the conversation in the comment section and let me know! I'd love to hear from you! 


Hi! My name is Jessica a.k.a. Wayfaring Wanderer and I reside in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains here in Boone, NC. I'm a free-spirited wedding, engagement, and lifestyle photographer who loves working with couples, families, and individuals who are committed to travel, adventure, and laid-back lifestyles. If you think we might be kindreds, I invite you to join the WW tribe by signing up [ HERE ] for somewhat weekly updates & get connected to the [ WW Facebook page ] to join the conversation! | Website www.wayfaringwanderer.com

{ RELATED LINKS }

» 5 Ways To Practice Self-Love (Part 1)

» Food As Love: 5 Ways to Love Yourself w/ Food

» Redefining Self-Love w/ Celebrate You Sessions

Logen & Nick's "First Date" Session in Downtown West Jefferson | Boone, NC LGBT Friendly Engagement Photographer

Our loud whispers could be heard throughout the quiet library. The three of us did our best to keep it down to a murmur but the giggles could not be contained. I had so much fun with Logen and Nick while photographing their engagement session. We had a phenomenal time gallivanting around West Jefferson, NC to re-create their first date!

Boone, NC Gay Engagement Photographer | Boone Engagement Photography

The photography session began at the Ashe County Public Library where they hung out for a while and scanned the selection of comic books they had on hand. They both softly cheered upon finding a stash of “Attack on Titan” graphic novels because it's one of Nick's favorite series!

Boone, NC Gay Engagement Photographer | Boone Engagement Photography
We even ventured upstairs to catch a quick glimpse at the reference materials because Nick also has a penchant for airplanes and the pilot Amelia Earhart. After spending some time goofing off at the local library, we decided to take a stroll in the historic section of downtown West Jefferson.

Boone, NC Gay Engagement Photographer | Boone Engagement Photography

It was such a gorgeous day. The sun was shining and a light breeze was gently blowing, so a slow saunter around this small town was rather pleasant on this particular evening.

Boone, NC Gay Engagement Photographer | Boone Engagement Photography

We walked up and down the main strip, perusing a few different storefronts—and the movie theater since these two are major film fans—along the way before ending up at Good Ole Days Ice Cream Shop. This is another special place where their budding romance began because they stopped in here for some refreshment and a reprieve from the summer heat during their first date.

Boone, NC Gay Engagement Photographer | Boone Engagement Photography

"Krazy Kolors" was their flavor of choice to share, which I thought was pretty funny because it turns your mouth and teeth bright blue! I jokingly warned them that I wouldn't be photoshopping the color of their kissers later because it's not my fault they picked out that Smurf-colored sweet treat! hahaha

Back in the day when I ate this same creamy concoction it was called Superman and was one of my favorite flavors (along with Bubble Gum that had actual pieces of rainbow-colored bubble gum in it)! The fact that it turned my whole mouth blue was one of the reasons why I loved it as a kid! After the engagement session was over, I went back to the ice cream shop so that I could decompress with a scrumptious scoop of my own. It was too tempting to resist, even if I did have to deal with the aftermath of a blue tongue, teeth, and lips!

Boone, NC Gay Engagement Photographer | Boone Engagement Photography

Once the two lovebirds were done spoon-feeding one another ice cream, we headed back up to the library so we could visit the nearby park to play for the last bit of time we had together.

I coaxed them into sliding down the super-tall aluminum slide together at the same time, not once but twice! And afterward, Logen happily pushed Nick in the swing for a while. This is where the laughter really let loose!

Boone, NC Gay Engagement Photographer | Boone Engagement Photography

I loved how playful these two were with one another, it's apparent that they both laugh a lot and have fun together because we did just that during their engagement session! Thank you for checking out this preview of Logen & Nick's engagement session. I hope you enjoyed this re-creation of their fun first date!

What type of adventure did you go on with your sweetheart for your first date?! Share your story in the comment section; I'd love to hear from you!


Hi! My name is Jessica a.k.a. Wayfaring Wanderer and I reside in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains here in Boone, NC. I'm a free-spirited wedding, engagement, and lifestyle photographer who loves working with couples, families, and individuals who are committed to travel, adventure, and laid-back lifestyles. If you think we might be kindreds, I invite you to join the WW tribe by signing up [ HERE ] for somewhat weekly updates & get connected to the [ WW Facebook page ] to join the conversation! | Website www.wayfaringwanderer.com

Redefining Self-Love Series | 5 Ways to Love Yourself with Food | Guest Post from Leah @ Deep Rooted Wellness

My passion for food stems from my own 10-year battle with an eating disorder. As many high school girls and young women experience (and men as well, eating disorders aren't unique to the female gender), food became a major source of anxiety, discomfort, regret, failure, and sickness. And it’s unlike any other addiction in that you can’t just quit cold turkey – you have to learn to manage your addiction. I spent years learning to do just that, but it wasn't until I started to think about food in a more loving way that my attitude and perspective about diet shifted.


Redefining Self-Love with Food | 5 Ways to Love Yourself with Food
Detox Veggies | Photo by Deep Rooted Wellness
In the past, I created strict boundaries surrounding my food choices (i.e. NONE of this and certainly NONE of that – you can fill in the blank with your own restriction). No matter how tightly I tried to hold the reins, I would fail. If Ben & Jerry’s ice cream was on the ‘No List,’ I’d adhere to the rule for a few days, maybe even a week or two and then I’d binge on, yes, an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. And you know how that made me feel? Like a failure. Like a completely incompetent glutton. Like a big fat pig that had zero self-control. Doesn't sound very loving, does it?

So what changed? First and foremost, I started to view food as a way to love and nourish my body, rather than something that needed to be restricted. When I started to think about food as love, then I automatically began eating a healthier diet and in turn, kicked some pretty bad habits and lost over 40 lbs.

I found there to be a couple of extremely important principles in my “food as love” journey that I thought were worth passing on:

1. Before you eat something, ask “Is this the most loving choice for my body?”

We have a way of feeling like we “earned” that huge piece of cheesecake (or whatever your vice may be), but the reality is that we’re “rewarding” ourselves with something that doesn't provide our body with the nourishment that it needs. When we’re not nourished, we don’t feel our best. A better approach is to reward ourselves with foods that make us feel whole and nourished. So next time you sit down to overindulge in an unhealthy food, first ask yourself “is this the most loving choice for my body?” And if it’s not, find something that is.


Redefining Self-Love with Food | 5 Ways to Love Yourself with Food
Gluten Free Donuts | Photo by Deep Rooted Wellness

2. If you just can’t resist the urge to eat junk food, “upgrade” your food choice.

Let’s say that you know your cheesecake isn't going to be the most loving choice for your body, but you just can’t resist. Nothing can stop you from eating it… and that’s okay, but first ask yourself, “is there a better choice that would suffice?” I have this problem with ice cream all the time, so I've started upgrading to a mixture of frozen fruit, avocado, almond milk and maple syrup. I throw everything into a good food processor or blender and I promise, this is SO close to ice cream! It totally fulfills the need for ice cream without that side of guilt and regret - I “upgraded” my choice. Part of the challenge with this one is determining the food characteristics that attract you in the first place – is it the saltiness, creaminess, sweetness, etc.? Figure out which characteristics are driving your desire and then fill that desire with a healthier choice that still has those same characteristics.

Redefining Self-Love with Food | 5 Ways to Love Yourself with Food
Photos courtesy of Deep Rooted Wellness

3. Forgive overindulgences. And hell, you can even enjoy them!


There’s much to be said about the role of stress in digestion. When we’re stressed, we release cortisol that inhibits our bodies from maximizing digestion and nutrient assimilation. So if you’re eating your cheesecake and all you keep thinking is “why I am doing this? I’m not supposed to be eating this,” your cortisol levels are rising and your cheesecake is doing even more damage than had you eaten the damn piece of cake and enjoyed it. So forgive yourself, and move on from the cheesecake incident. It’s not worth fretting over because what's done is done.

4. Make a weekly meal plan.

I can’t stress this enough. Yes, it takes time to put a meal plan together, but once you get in the habit of planning your meals, you’ll save a ton of time and money. Besides, if you have a plan in place, it’s much harder to make poor choices surrounding food. Let’s say it’s Thursday night, you feel like grabbing a cheesy burrito on your way home from work, but you’ve planned your week and you’ve already bought groceries. If you eat out, your groceries will just go bad. So home you go, to prepare a loving, nourishing dinner for you and your family.


Redefining Self-Love with Food | 5 Ways to Love Yourself with Food
Massaged Kale, Lentil & Goat Cheese Salad | Photo by Deep Rooted Wellness | Click image for recipe
5. Eat more whole foods.

Think of your body as a machine that needs good food as fuel. When we eat packaged, processed foods (even many of the all natural, organic ones), we’re putting chemicals in our bodies that don’t provide our “machine” with the right “fuel.” Our cells depend on the chemical breakdown of those “fuels” to build hormones, neurotransmitters and tissues. If you eat the wrong thing, then your body isn't able to manufacture the right product, which can leave us feeling imbalanced, moody, emotional, fatigued, grumpy, or a whole slew of other issues. Not to mention disease and undesirable health outcomes. A healthy whole foods diet includes grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and moderate amounts of animal proteins. The more of these foods you incorporate into your diet, the better you’ll feel!


Want to learn more about how to love yourself with food? Sign up for Leah’s 10-Day Detox Teleworkshop starting on April 28th! Leah will guide you through a 17-day program in which you’ll learn first hand how to make loving choices surrounding diet. You can learn more here: http://www.deeprootedwellness.com/events/2014/4/28/spring-detox-teleworkshop

Redefining Self-Love with Food | 5 Ways to Love Yourself with Food

Leah Webb, MPH (Master of Public Health), is a Vermont-based Certified Health Coach, who specializes in helping people feel more energized by making loving food choices, lose weight, balance emotions, and relieve chronic inflammation and pain. "Like" Deep Rooted Wellness on Facebook and sign-up for FREE whole foods recipes and other updates so you can connect w/ Leah!

Redefining Self-Love with Food | 5 Ways to Love Yourself with Food

To be notified when new Redefining Self-Love posts are available, sign-up for updates from Wayfaring Wanderer HERE and “LIKE” the Wayfaring Wanderer Facebook page to get connected!


Behind-the-Scenes: Interview w/ Desi's Floral & Design Studio | Boone, NC Wedding Vendor

While most of the weddings I photograph happen off the mountain around North Carolina and beyond, it was a real treat to have the opportunity to work with local wedding vendors here in Boone, NC for our Alice in Wonderland styled shoot. Once Desi came on board she ended up being an integral part of the planning process and her contribution to the photoshoot was more than I could include in one blog post, so I interviewed her for more behind-the-scenes details.  


What was your contribution to the styled shoot?
Floral Design & Styling // Costume & Props: Mini Top Hat Fascinator, Bow Tie, Flower Girl Costume, Wands, Heart Garland, Mushrooms, Living Book, Birdcage, (Red Velvet) Cupcakes // Casting: Models // Hair for Alice
Alice in Wonderland Wedding Inspiration | by Wayfaring Wanderer Boone, NC Photographer
Why did you decide to participate?
With my degree and background in Theatre and Film, I find myself gravitating more and more towards projects and events that fall into the category of "a production." While I have focused mainly on floral and styling of weddings for the past 4 years, I was dying to do something that reminded me of my days working with set design and costume departments in Wilmington and early on the Foothills of NC.  

I had already planned to mentor Caitlin (Alice) with the focus on 2014 design trends and modeling, and when Andi asked me to come on board, I knew right away this was something I wanted my hands in! Timing was perfect! I dove into the project, oohing and ah-hing over all kinds of pinterest post, and even watching both of the well known productions of Alice in Wonderland. I wanted to pull off something not seen, unique to us vendors. 

I found myself wanting to contribute more, as it is in my nature to coordinate and produce, so through suggestion and delegation we ended up with more vendors than I expected. I was thrilled that so many local vendors were able to participate in such a creative project, and to top it off be an advocate for mentoring.


Alice in Wonderland Wedding Inspiration | by Wayfaring Wanderer Boone, NC Photographer
Did you have any hesitations?
None at all! I was all in from the beginning!

What was your favorite part of the whole process?
Ok, this is really hard, from the beer fueled meeting, to the hands-on development, to the sneak preview, I loved every minute of it! I guess if I had to choose, when I saw Caitlin arrive on set, I was like omg, this is freakin' awesome, she looked so good, and so like Alice! It felt good to know that we were able to give this student an opportunity that may in fact fuel her modeling career! I really am all about opportunities for kids, a former high school dropout, who went back to school to double major, work on film sets, work for non profits, all that good stuff on my resume, I know how hard it is to try to survive your teens, and I know what it takes to encourage productive citizenship and creative entrepreneurship! Mentoring is a valuable tool that we all can do once in our lives, and you don't have to have a production set to do it, but if you want one, we can make it happen!


Alice in Wonderland Wedding Inspiration | by Wayfaring Wanderer Boone, NC Photographer
What inspired you the most?
My own fuel for creativity, to make the project about a group of co-workers, friends, members, students and family to come together to produce something unique!


What was your least favorite part of the process?
Cold weather

Related Article ] If you'd like to see more images from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland click here » http://bit.ly/1mVA4Ql «


Would you have done anything differently?
Put Ruby's hair up :)


What was your biggest challenge in preparing for the shoot?
Weather


Alice in Wonderland Wedding Inspiration | by Wayfaring Wanderer Boone, NC Photographer

What was the most surprising thing you gained from the experience?
Friendship and networking opportunities.


Alice in Wonderland Wedding Inspiration | by Wayfaring Wanderer Boone, NC Photographer
What advice/tips would you give someone planning or participating in their own styled shoot?
Stay open minded and work together as a team. Be prepared for the weather or other incidents that may arrive. Have a catchy theme with ideas that really captures the audience. Just bring it props blankets, stuff that might fit, if ever you wonder if you can use it or not, just bring it, if you don't use it, then no harm done. You can do all the planning in the world, but it really comes down to creative design and the elements you have to work with on the scene.


On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely are you to participate in another styled shoot?
10


Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yes, but I have to go pick up Stella and go take my monsters to dance and swimming. Thanks for all your hard work, I am so thrilled to have been a part of this!


If you'd like to read more details about this Alice in Wonderland styled shoot, here is a BEHIND-THE-SCENES look with more images and information that wasn't shared here » http://bit.ly/1otIWxy « 


[ V E N D O R S ]
Vintage Rentals: Miss Match Rentals
Teacakes & Mini-Cupcakes: Gamekeeper Restaurant
Hair: Desi Parker of Desi's Floral & Design Studio
Bridal Hair Piece & Groom's Bow Tie: Desi Parker
Wedding Attire: Did Someone Say Party?
Barnwood Tables: Upper Barn
Models/Couple: Caitlin & Zach
Photography: Wayfaring Wanderer
Photography Assistant: Raejan Dunn

[ C O M I N G S O O N ! ] An interview with Andi of Miss Match Rentals, so be on the lookout for her behind-the-scenes insights! Also, we'll be sharing a post with TIPS ON PLANNING A STYLED SHOOT because we learned quite a bit during this experience that we want to share with others! To be notified when new posts are available, sign-up for weekly updates HERE and “LIKE” the Wayfaring Wanderer Facebook page to get connected!

Redefining Self-Love Series: 5 Ways To Practice Self-Love (Part 1) | Boone, NC Photographer


I feel like I've been on a looping roller coaster of emotion these past few weeks as I have delved more deeply into this self-imposed journey of redefining self-love. The whole idea of “loving myself more” makes me feel slightly squeamish because, let's face it, I don't know what the heck I'm doing or how I’m supposed to be doing it, but I'm willing to give it a try for longer than a mere trial period. What’s the worst that could happen?!

Redefining Self-Love Series: 5 Ways To Practice Self-Love

I'm starting to realize that it's not a matter of whether or not I have lost love for myself, the truth is that everything I need is already a part of my inner being. Yup, that sounds cheesy as hell but it's true!

While nothing in our external world can help us to reclaim self-love since it can't, technically, be lost, there are some sneaky and unexpected ways to bring those warm and fuzzy feelings into your everyday life more frequently.

Below are “5 Ways To Practice Self-Love This Spring.” It was 25 ways but I had to dwindle my list down so the blog post wasn't too long-winded! I’ll share the other suggestions I was planning to elaborate on in a Part 2 & 3 of the Redefining Self-Love Series.

5 Ways To Practice Self-Love This Spring by Wayfaring Wanderer
Aster from my archives taken 2009

1 » LEARN TO SEE BEAUTY EVERYWHERE
When you make an effort to witness beauty in all things, you will, undoubtedly, see bounteous beauty in yourself. Seeing our own beauty might be downright difficult at times, but once you raise your awareness to notice the everyday beauty that already surrounds you in your life, it will inevitably spill over onto YOU in the process!

BONUS POINTS if you keep track of the beauty you witnessed throughout the day/week whether you do so with words in a gratitude journal or capture it using whatever photographic device you have handy.

Redefining Self-Love Series: 5 Ways To Practice Self-Love
Valentines's Day Daisies from my archives taken 2009

2 » SCRUTINIZE YOUR INSECURITIES
A lack of confidence can severely stall our ability to take action. I know firsthand what self-doubt can do to deter you from moving in a meaningful direction. It’s paralyzing at times! Those seemingly inconsequential setbacks can be detrimental to your drive and determination. Next time, try sitting with and questioning those insecurities as they emerge instead of trying to suppress those ornery thoughts. It's a great way to banish the control those limiting beliefs have over you almost instantly!

BONUS POINTS if you talk it out with an understanding friend. Reaching out to someone and asking for help might cause you to feel vulnerable, but that’s what friends are for, right?!

3 » DO SOMETHING GOOD FOR SOMEONE ELSE
Speaking of friends...It may seem counter intuitive to practice self-love by being a good samaritan, but I can assure you that the kindness displayed will work wonders for your innermost self even though it’s for someone else. Once you are in a more loving and giving state this will open you up to receiving love. Not just from others but from yourself, too!

BONUS POINTS if this happens to be a random act of kindness. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, something small but meaningful will do. I left a handwritten note with no signature on a strangers car that said, “Just in case no one has told you lately, YOU’RE AWESOMAZING!” What you do for someone else doesn’t always need to be known or recognized. Secretly brightening someone else’s day will do nothing but create heartwarming feelings all around!

Redefining Self-Love Series: 5 Ways To Practice Self-Love
[RELATED ARTICLE] Redefining Self-Love With Celebrate You Sessions. Click Here To Read Article » http://bit.ly/lfKPpNW «

4 » WRITE A LOVE LETTER TO YOURSELF
Don't wait to receive one from someone else, write your own love letter! It can be as complex or simple as you would like. One of the most impactful notes I possess is from 2009, and it's a simple postcard I sent back home for myself while I was on a solo, birthday trip to Hawaii. To this day, I can still read what I wrote and feel instant love and compassion for myself and the journey I'm on—that trip changed the course of my life and I'm so grateful to have that priceless memento!

BONUS POINTS if you put pen to paper and pop it in the mail! No, really, mail it to yourself. It’s fun!

5 » NOURISH YOUR BODY
Something that can largely go unnoticed during turbulent times is our overall well-being. Are you moving your body by exercising, eating wholesome foods, and hydrating properly?! It sounds simple enough but it can easily be overlooked during moments when we are experiencing a lack of self-love. When I am not faithfully sticking to my daily yoga & meditation practice, slip-ups occur and my sanity goes berserk! Same goes for not creating & sticking to a weekly meal plan. When I'm not cooking meals in the evenings using healthful ingredients, we tend to rely on the quick and greasy tidbits found at a fast food drive-thru. It's enjoyable at the time but you feel dreadful later. Practice self-love by being sensible about what you're putting into and how you’re treating your body, it really is that straightforward!

Redefining Self-Love Series: 5 Ways To Practice Self-Love
Valentines's Day Daisies from my archives taken 2009

These observations are coming from what I believe to be common themes that can oftentimes hinder our ability to experience an abundance of self-love. I'm feeling inspired to embody a state of being that consistently and intentionally exudes self-love so that I may be a positive influence on those that come in contact with me.

I'm hoping that all 5 ways to practice self-love listed here will encourage you to take action in the name of self-love today. Not a week from now. Not later this year. TODAY! Take small steps if you need to and choose one or two things to focus on in the next week so that you can make self-love a priority along with me!

If you'd like to read more details about what inspired me to make REDEFINING SELF-LOVE my mission, read this post » http://bit.ly.lfKPpNW «

Follow along with this series by subscribing to my weekly updates HERE, “like” the Wayfaring Wanderer Facebook page to get connected, and be on the lookout for the Redefining Self- Love Series Event on FB to be notified when new missions are posted! Redefining Self-Love starts within but having support really helps! Who’s with me?!

I’d love to know how you’re planning to practice self-love this week even if you don't plan to use any of these tips! Please share what steps you’re taking in the comment section! I’d love to hear from you! Coming next week: 5 (More) Ways To Practice Self-Love (Part 2) and a CELEBRATE YOU SESSION GIVEAWAY!


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland | Wedding Styled Shoot | Boone, NC Photographer


I reach a certain point in the depths of winter when I find myself feeling a little despondent. There's not as much going on because folks are hibernating. The gaps between my weddings and photoshoots feels unusually elongated which causes my creativity to take a hit. That's why I was thrilled when Andi and I decided to collaborate and create a wedding styled shoot before the busy season really begins!

This Alice in Wonderland Wedding Inspiration Shoot was the extra oomph I needed to get my foggy brain back into photographer mode where I wanted it to be! Having the opportunity to create for the joy of creating was something that I relished, especially with such a crazy cluster of characters like these Boone, NC wedding vendors!


Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com

This enchanted and eclectic shoot that took place in the backwoods at Camp Sky Ranch was inspired by a mash-up of Disney's Alice in Wonderland and Tim Burton's take on the beloved tale, and the wedding photos that were captured was an attempt to take the stimulus in those movies and manufacture something that sparked our collective creativity through the use of unique and colorful accouterments.

Here's what the other organizers had to say about participating in this wedding inspiration shoot.

Andi Gelsthorpe, said, “ I love making a vision come to life and thought that I had a lot to add to the visual aspect of this shoot with our inventory from Miss Match Rental. I also thought it sounded like a good challenge and the product would be really visually intriguing to me.”


Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com

Desi Parker, said, “With my degree and background in Theatre and Film, I find myself gravitating more toward projects and events that fall into the category of “a production.” While I have focused mainly on floral and styling of weddings for the past 4 years, I was dying to do something that reminded me of my days working with set design and costume departments. When Andi asked me to come on-board, I knew right away this was something I wanted my hands in! [...]”

Closely working with these two talented laydehs to produce this styled wedding shoot was such a blast and I'm thankful to have been the photographer to document it all!

The shoot started with some adorableness supplied by Hank and Ruby, our ring bearer and flower girl! Hank is Andi's little man and Ruby is Desi's pretty princess. Aren't they precious?! Hank thought it was so hilarious to turn his back toward me as I was shooting and poke his butt out while shouting, “TOOT! TOOT!” hahaha It was pretty comical but Ruby wasn't nearly as amused as the adults were.

Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com
'Did Someone Say Party' provided the perfect attire for "Alice" and Zach both. Caitlin looked adorable in this dainty dress. I loved the lacy, flower detail and the fluffy tulle! The wrap she is wearing on the left was supplied by Andi. It didn't do much for keeping her warm but it did tie the whole ensemble together nicely. 

Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com
Many thanks to our cute couple, Caitlin and Zach, for being such troopers! It was freezing (35 degrees or so) on the day of our shoot but they endured and modeled for us like champs!


Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com

Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com

Andi & Desi did such an amazing job designing the 24-foot long table using pieces from Miss Match Rentals' massive collection of vintage treasures along with floral and plant arrangements and an assortment of items too long to list from Desi's private stock.

Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com
The beautiful barn wood tables were graciously supplied by Upper Barn here in Boone, NC.

Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com
Succulents are some of my favorite plants, so I was delighted to shoot the stunning wedding bouquet and other floral/plant decor that Desi's Floral and Design Studio concocted. Isn't this succulent centerpiece / "living book" magnificent?!

Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com


I also loved working with Marion Edwards from Beautiful Bride On Location because she made Caitlin look amazing! Marion knows how to bring the glamorous out of every bride, such a talented laydeh!


Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com

Desi created many of the costume pieces and props herself. The Mini Top Hat Fascinator Caitlin wore was adorable! She also made The Mad Hatter's Bow Tie with her remarkable crafting skills. You can see Zach wearing it in a photo if you scroll back up! 

Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com
If you'd like to read more details about this shoot, check out this BEHIND-THE-SCENES look with lots of information that I didn't share in this post. CLICK HERE »http://bit.ly/1otIWxy«

Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com


I think that I was most excited about the food photography! Wendy, from the Gamekeeper Restaurant & Catering, contributed tea cakes & mini cupcakes that looked so delicious and gorgeous. It took every ounce of restraint I had to not sneak a sweet treat after I saw her putting the finishing touches on these tidbits.


Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com
Desi was responsible for making the red velvet cupcakes & Andi made the hand-pressed mints (pictured toward the end of this post).

Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com
I immediately started shooting the table d├ęcor once our models were done for the day. There was little time to work with before the sun started to set so I had to get shots of all the fascinating details as quickly as I could before we began losing light!


Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com


While I loved everything about the table & secretary set-up, my favorite vignette had to be the birdcage in the center of our table that was bursting with blossoms and succulents.


Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com


I also loved the moss-lined runner and handmade ceramic mushrooms that Desi cleverly crafted...


Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com


Andi also did a stellar job with the selection of dinnerware, vintage books, goblets, tea cups, etc.!


Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com

The secretary (or hutch) Andi furnished for the dessert station was such an awesome addition. 


Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com

Every nook and cranny was brimming with knickknacks and other curiosities outfitted by Desi & Andi! 


Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com
Alice in Wonderland Wedding Styled Shoot by Wayfaring Wanderer | www.wayfaringwanderer.com

Many thanks to the magnificent team who helped to make this happen! I hope you enjoyed this first look at our styled wedding shoot collaboration! Let us know what you think in the comments below!


Vintage Rentals: Miss Match Rentals
Teacakes & Mini-Cupcakes: Gamekeeper Restaurant
Hair: Desi Parker of Desi's Floral & Design Studio
Bridal Hair Piece & Groom's Bow Tie: Desi Parker
Wedding Attire: Did Someone Say Party?
Barnwood Tables: Upper Barn
Models/Couple: Caitlin & Zach
Photography: Wayfaring Wanderer
Photography Assistant: Raejan Dunn


If you'd like to read more details about this shoot, here is a BEHIND-THE-SCENES look with lots of information that I didn't share in this post. CLICK HERE »http://bit.ly/1otIWxy«

COMING SOON! Interviews with Desi & Andi, so be on the lookout for their behind-the-scenes insights! Also, next week I'll be sharing a post with TIPS ON PLANNING A STYLED SHOOT because we learned quite a bit during this experience that we want to share with others! To be notified when new posts are available, sign-up for weekly updates HERE and “LIKE” the Wayfaring Wanderer Facebook page to get connected!