Making Changes | Why It Is Important

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Wow, its been nearly two weeks since I have posted. SO sorry about that! See, lots of things have been happening! Things that are very relevant to a topic I have really been dying to write a post about. Another aspect of health that I think is sometimes neglected, is mental & emotional health. I don’t know about you, but for me, my mental and emotional state plays a pivotal role in my ability to be healthy on the rest of the spectrum. If I am feeling stressed, depressed, angry or emotional it can really impact my healthy eating and my healthy mindset.

Something I want to share which has just developed recently is a big change we have made. A change that really effected how we live. Well many changes have naturally occurred since the birth of our son, but we have made certain adjustments as well. Since Augustus was born, we have fallen into this kind of routine, Daddy works all day every day, we miss him, mommy works from home and when daddy gets home she runs out and takes photos and comes home and continues to work. This looked promising in the beginning. Daddy was making good money at his job, although it was not the work he saw himself doing for a lifetime it was a good temporary income source. Mommy has her photography business which she has been working on growing and cultivating for years and is finally starting to gain some recognition. This was our life, our dynamic.

However, there was more than met the eye with this scenario. Mommy was up all night with baby by herself because daddy had to do lots of physical labor at work and needed his sleep. Then she still had lots of editing and computer work to do during the day while juggling baby. When daddy returned home in the evening he was exhausted and was not in the mood to go out or do any activities, work was draining him. Mommy craved a few moments of personal time but felt bad because many days were very difficult for daddy. It was really hard. The last thing mommy wanted was to stay in the house all evening when she had already been there all day and the last thing daddy wanted to do was go out when he had a hard day at work in the elements. Clearly we noticed before long that this was not working.

We would sit together in the evening after dinner, while settling the baby down to sleep and discuss why this was so difficult. We wanted to bask in the joy of our new family, our son, we wanted to be happy. We felt so lucky in so many ways but we also felt like all happiness and joy was missing from our lives many times. We had this beautiful new baby boy and instead of enjoying him we were stressed and arguing because we just missed each other and felt like we didn’t recognize ourselves anymore. So it wasn’t long before we were searching for a change. The first change we made, lowered our expenses and moved, this was in preparation to shop for our first home. We decided if we were going to bust our butts paying for a home it might as well be our own. That helped. Then after an arduous and stressful move we decided to search out other changes. Daddy made a job change that provided him more income, this seemed great at first but the job was miserable and he didn’t find he was surrounded with anyone like minded during his work day and that really brought him down.

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We struggled with surrounding ourselves with positive encouraging people that would help propel us forward so that we could in turn do the same for them. All that we heard were comments like “get used to it” or “this is life” we could not imagine this was all our life would be for the years to come. We watched documentaries about successful people and listened to podcasts about bettering ourselves and doing what we love. We knew there was a way we just needed a better system.

So we ended up deciding, in one of our many discussions about our future, that my photography skills had to be worth more than I was getting from them presently. I had studied for years with Photoshop and mentored with other photographers, updating my equipment and learning more and more each year. We thought, there must be a way for me to make more money and not be chained to my desk all day and night. So I began searching online. Scrolling through freelance photography opportunities and graphic design job listings.

Finally I came upon a job listing for a real estate photographer looking to have more full time work in the field. That was a field that I had experience in, and found relatively simple and enjoyable. So I applied. I called them every day, I learned as much as I could about the company and realized very quickly this was my dream job. I would imagine some must have thought me insane for a few reasons. One, I have always been an advocate for my own business and why I would never accept just a “job” and two because I was applying for a job in the middle of a bustling end to summer and a hectic start to fall. I didn’t want to get my hopes up but I was excited. So after phone interview and a grueling photo test that made me question everything I knew about photography, I got the job. I was offered a position as an official professional real estate photographer for VHT Studios.

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Many of you might be asking things like… “after running your own business why on earth would you want a job?” or “I can imagine you get paid way less per job than if you were independent, why would you want that.” Well if you wondered those things, you are not wrong. However to me, not having to search for work, not having to scavenge for my jobs was attractive and more consistent work was great too! Also I would not be required to do any editing, which was a huge plus, that meant more time with my family rather than on my computer. This was something totally unexpected that if I was approached with two years ago I would have turned down instantly. However, I have learned life is full of surprises and you have to take things one step at a time, right now it could not be more perfect for me, for our family.

So we started discussing how this was going to work, how could I take on this job. I won’t go into the boring details of how and what we discussed but in the end we decided Augustus was NOT going to daycare. That was something we both agreed we were NOT comfortable with. So we figured out how we both could make it work. Its a risk we are taking, me starting a position like this one. It is a large change in our usual routine. However from our extensive search for keys to success and happiness, it seems to me that no one who got where they wanted to go, ever did so without taking some risks. This feels so right, we feel like we are on the verge of some great new things. We see light at the end and we breathe air with new possibility.

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For the first time in so long, I don’t spend most of my time in my lounge clothes juggling a baby and my work. I get to dress up more often in the nice clothes I used to wear before I was a mommy, and I get to chat with clients, go on lunch meetings, enjoy being a working woman. I get to see GORGEOUS homes with impeccable decor and style!! I get to see amazing design inspiration and talk to amazing people. However I get to do this knowing my baby is safe, with his daddy, happy. Not to mention his daddy is happy to be with him getting to spend more time with him, not killing himself every day working a job he dislikes. On the days where I am at home with my boy and daddy is working I enjoy it, I love being in my yoga pants and playing blocks with my baby.

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However the best part of all this change, is some days, we are all together. We have breakfast together, we stay in our jammies and watch a Disney movie together. We finally have some balance and believe me we are looking forward to more of it. It is amazing when you actively search for how you WANT to live and make the necessary changes to get there. We almost though it was impossible to do this being new parents with a small baby, we were having so much difficulty taking any risk because of fear that we wouldn’t be able to provide for our son. Little did we know that we would be able to not only provide for him but enjoy him and be present if we just tweaked our life a little bit.We are discovering that we do not have to accept what is handed to us all the time. We do not have to work jobs that we hate because we are afraid, we do not have to stay stagnant because we fear risk. We can create our own destiny and our own lifestyle and love it. We want to set a healthy example for our son in all aspects of health, including how we life our life. We want to show him that he can do whatever he wants and he can also have goals that are attainable.

We recently celebrated our son’s baptism, it was a beautiful occasion. We both got to be a part of the planning and we both, along with friends and family, were able to make it a joyous day. It felt like we were being blessed in so many ways, more than just our son’s beginning to his own spiritual journey. We are looking forward to more joyous occasions and celebrating as we end our 2016 year and begin 2017. We are looking forward to celebrating our son’s first birthday, a beautiful holiday season, shopping for and purchasing our first family home, and much more.

Oh… and to anyone concerned about the future of Alexa Johnson Photography, and Artistically Organic, do not worry. I am still going to be doing portraits and weddings in my time aside from my new job and I will be sharing my healthy living ideas and thoughts here regularly. Thank you for following and being a part of this amazing life.

How do you make changes in your life to live the way you want? Are there some changes that you have considered making but are afraid to? How do you make sure you are staying in a healthy emotional and mental state? I would love to know what your story is! Message me directly or comment below!

 

 

Avocado, Spinach, Tomato, Pita Wrap!

This wrap was delicious and easy!!

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First I started with pita bread, I sliced avocados and put them in the pita pockets. I spread some hummus on the inside of the pita bread also. Once I filled it with avocados, spinach and tomatoes I also added some peach salsa. It was so delicious!!

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You can customize this recipe with other things you like. You can use different veggies or hummus. Or even substitute the salsa for hot sauce or something else you like. I hope you like this quick recipe!

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Healthy snack tips when cravings hit!!

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It happens to all of us right? After lunch, late at night, it can happen often! We get a craving for a snack.  If we are out and about it’s easy to grab something quick but not always a healthy choice.  I’m going to go over some tips to avoid grabbing those not so healthy craving snacks and to keep you on a healthy track!

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1.)   Don’t buy it: DO NOT BUY JUNK!! This is the number one way to avoid eating junk foods and sugary snacks that have us craving more. Instead buy a bag of apples, oranges, a bunch of bananas. Reach for those things when you are hungry.

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2.) Don’t limit yourself:  If your hungry and you would really like some bananas don’t trick yourself into thinking that you can only have one banana a day, have a few, slice them up and put them in a bowl with some  almond butter or peanut butter.  When I say don’t limit I mean produce, I don’t mean processed foods. Bananas are one of those fruits that are very inexpensive and great for your body so if that’s going to fill your craving then have as much as you need! If you want to  eat an entire carton of raspberries then do that! Many people would say “that’s way too expensive you shouldn’t do that” but if we think about it a coffee and a pastry can run more than $5 at some places where as a carton of berries can be anywhere from $3-$5.  The cost is relatively the same but the benefits are incomparable.

3.) Have healthy snacks on hand: Maybe my pregnancy taught this but I’ve learned that it’s much easier to stay healthy when you have snacks on hand all the time.  I like to have a lunchbox with me in my car full of bananas apples oranges figs and even trail mix.  This way if your hungry it’s easier to grab some healthy snacks from your car or lunch box then run through that drive-through and get that coffee and donut.

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4.) Be creative, try something new: Try a smoothie, there are SO MANY recipes and healthy snack ideas!! Create your own snack using healthy ingredients you love! I love to experiment with different snack ideas and find something I love!!

5.) Don’t be fooled: Many companies make processed foods claiming to be “healthy” and “natural.” Don’t fall for this nonsense. Many dieting companies make snack bars claiming to be under a certain amount of calories, but they are filled with preservatives and chemicals. Even if these snacks are lower in calories than produce that you love, it’s still not healthier. You are much better off snacking on a piece of fruit. These fake “healthy alternatives” actually make you crave sugary processed foods more, so they are the opposite of what you want.

6.) Prepare Food Ahead of Time: Take a little time in the kitchen maybe when youre making another meal and prepare some snacks for another time. Slice some fruit for layer, maybe a pineapple, watermelon. Cut up some vegetables to eat with some hummus. The more preparation you do, the more likely you are to make good choices.

I hope these tips help! Below are some of my favorite snack ideas!!

Assorted fruits and veggies

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Multi grain toast with almond butter and a side of fruit

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Avocado slices with red pepper hummus

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Fruit

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Sliced bananas with raspberries and dates

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Banans almond butter and dates

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Fresh fruit and veggie juice

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fresh homemade avocado tomato salsa

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What kind of healthy snacks do you like? Share your ideas I would love to hear them!!

 

Health & Beauty | How they go hand in hand

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Beauty. For many of us it requires lots of work and sometimes time we don’t have. I know so many women who wish their hair was healthier, thicker,longer, and wish for a clear complexion. This post does not exclude men either, I know many men who wish for thicker hair, clearer skin etc…

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My appearance is something I have struggled with since I was young. Looking back now it’s so sad how young girls have a negative image of themselves. I hated my long curly hair so much as a young girl, I couldn’t tame it, I just wanted it to be straight and style it like all the other girls. I was always trying to change my hair. What I never realized is that in order to be my most beautiful self I had to accept and honor my hair the way it was.

I don’t think I learned to love my hair and my self until just recently in the last few years actually. I’m sure we all know the feeling, searching for anything to make our beauty routines easier. What I never would have guessed is that healthy eating and healthy lifestyle was the most important step I needed to take for myself and my body.

When I was a teen, I used to straighten my hair as much as I could. I would spend hours on end taming my long locks to look like the other girls at school. This was really damaging to my hair but luckily then I didn’t have as much time to do it constantly. Once I became about 18-20 I experimented with my hair and my looks a lot more. I dyed my hair, straightened, curled, and much more. This is when my hair really started to suffer.

From all the chemicals, hot tools and abuse my hair started to break. To make things worse I wasn’t even sleeping properly or eating right. I was always breaking out with blemishes and trying to cover those with more makeup. I had no clue how to make this situation better, I was so embarrassed of my skin and my hair. Never had I ever had such a problem with my skin and hair. I struggled to hide my flaws and keep up my makeup and hair routine.

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It wasn’t till my hair was literally breaking off in chunks I decided to do something different. My mother in law gave me some advice, to use a more natural olive oil curl treatment. It never occurred to me to use something more natural in my hair. But it wasn’t really until I started eating right, sleeping, and taking flax seed oil that I really noticed an improvement in my hair and skin.

My curls came back and they were healthier than ever. From then on I vowed to use only natural products on my hair and take better care of myself. I learned a valuable lesson about my beauty routines. I needed to give my hair and skin respect. I couldn’t pile on makeup every day it wasn’t great for my complexion. I learned to not wear makeup as much and in turn my skin got so much healthier. Now I rarely get a breakout and when I do it can be easily remedied. I make sure to keep hydrated, that helps with my skin and hair, I eat lots of healthy foods that help also.

Of course during my pregnancy my hair and nails were especially beautiful. I was eating very healthy, sleeping and taking prenatal vitamins. Now I still take meticulous care of my skin, hair nails and just myself in general. Here are some tips if you are struggling with keeping clear skin or want healthier hair.

1.) Keep Hydrated: Drinking enough water is so important to keep your skil lively and healthy. Make sure you are drinking a few glasses a day, carry a water bottle with you to encourage hydration.

2.) Limit Hot Tools: Accept your hair for what it is! Give it a break and try styling it in non envasive ways without heat. Try some braids if you have unruly hair try some natural leave in conditioner or gels.

3.) Eat Healthy: Eating the proper fruits and vegetables can seriously aid in helping your beauty routine. Many foods are proven to clear skin and give hair beautiful shine. How much easier will it be to not have to cover those blemishes with concealer or try to get shine back with hair products.

4.) Respect Your Skin: Give your skin a break as much as you can, I know many of us can’t go without makeup for our professional jobs, but take it off when you get home. Try going without concealer or makeup when outdoors, expose your skin to sun, it’s good for it.

5.) Use Healthy Products: It’s best to read everything you use on your body. I always make sure I am making my best effort to only use natural safe products in my hair and skin. There are so many products out there that can do harm to your body. When you’re using natural products you will find clear skin and healthy hair are a lot easier to obtain.

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I hope these tips help you. I hope you can make your own connection with healthy lifestyle and beauty. Let’s face it, we all would love to have a shorter beauty routine, so if being healthier can help why not right? Just another excuse to make some better healthy living habits. What do you do to stay healthy and beautiful? I would love to know!

Six Healthy Lunch Ideas

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Sometimes in the middle of a busy day getting a good lunch together can be a challenge. Since becoming a mother I have learned the especially challenging task of juggling a baby and taking care of myself. Some days I struggle to make a simple healthy meal, instead reaching for easy snacks sometimes not always healthy. I have noticed that if I create healthy meals that I crave, then I am much more likely to make time to make those meals then grab quick snacks.

1.) spiralized zucchini and tomato sauce with vegetables

This meal is so simple! I have an amazing spiralizer which takes only a moment to turn a zucchini into a delicious bowl of noodles! I often top it with some delicious tomato sauce and some of my favorite raw veggies. I usually leave the zucchini noodles raw and warm the sauce then the temperature is perfect to eat! This takes no time at all for a delicious healthy lunch!

2.) spiralized summer squash and pesto or tomato sauce 

Just like I said above this easy spiralized meal is so delicious! The spiralized can be used with many vegetable, my favorites are definitely zucchini and summer squash. I often pair this with a dish of fruits and vegetables and it makes a delicious and healthy meal.

3.) fresh raw salad 

Another delicious and quick lunch is a fresh raw salad! I love to mix it up with different greens, arugula, spinach, then adding my favorite toppings, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, almonds, sunflower seeds etc… This is a refreshing and delicious meal that makes me feel like I am staying true to the healthy lifestyle I live to lead.

4.) sautéed veggies and tofu on a bed of greens

Sometimes I need a little something more filling when I know I will be tackling a long day. I love to sautéed some veggies with some tofu and put that atop a bed of my favorite greens. This satisfies my savory taste craving and is healthy and delicious.

5.) fresh veggie salsa with chips or pita bread

Is there anything better than fresh salsa? I love to chop tomatoes, onion, peppers and sometimes add cilantro or beans to a delicious home made salsa. I also add some sriracha sauce to this amazing meal. I often use some organic quinoa or flax seed chips to enjoy this delicious lunch!

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6.) sautéed veggies and sweet potatoes

Sometimes if I have a little more time on my hands then I enjoy some sweet potatoes. I chop them very small so they will cook quicker. I slice beets and sautéed them as well. This makes a delicious mid day meal. I often pair this with some raw veggies on the side and on a bed of greens. This is a fantastic healthy choice!

I hope some of these meal ideas will work for you too! I will write another article on tips to staying healthy for busy mommies. What are some easy healthy meals that you make for a mid day lunch? I would love to know!!