Kids are honest...

Friday Truth Time

Every Friday tune in on Facebook or Instagram for bits of my story 💗

Kids are honest. We all know this. If you want to know how things REALLY are.... ask a toddler. 🤣 The other day I had a realization...

My 3 year old was at church and someone said... "Wow... you look so beautiful in that dress. And look at that pretty curly hair!" 💗 Her response: "I know [with the biggest grin on her face]." 

I'll be honest, at first I totally laughed to myself. Clearly she just doesn't have manners. 😜 Doesn't she know that when somebody compliments us we are supposed to respond with a really awkward "thank you" and stutter around stating aloud some self-deprecating, humble comment. 

Person: "Wow you've lost so much weight." 
Us: "Thank you, I still have so far to go. Ugh..." 

Person: "Your hair looks amazing today." 
Us: "Really? Thanks. I hate it. I wish my hair was _________." 

And then it hit me. Maybe she's not wrong. Maybe I am. We have gotten into this habit of not knowing how to admire ourselves. We are quick to say something negative about ourselves in response. I don't believe this is because we are seeking attention, I believe its because we are insecure. Compliments embarrass us. We don't know how to handle them.

But ya'll, we are all worthy of being admired. We live in a culture where we are not allowed to admire ourselves, especially not publicly or outloud. If we do, we are at a risk of being considered vain or prideful. Why? Shouldn't we learn to unconditionally accept, approve, appreciate, forgive, trust and love ourselves? 

I mean... your not perfect... and neither am I. But I am good at some things. That's not selfish. It's honest. And yet, we are so reluctant to name and claim our own good qualities. But the more we practice speaking kindly to ourselves and about ourselves, the more powerful we become. When we speak out-loud the things we are good at, we give ourselves the freedom to live up to our full potential. We stop trying to imitate others and start living the life WE were meant to live. 

It's time. It's time to love yourself. Respect yourself. Admire yourself. Forgive yourself. Accept yourself. Trust yourself. Love Yourself. Nurture Yourself. TODAY IS THAT DAY. 

Let's start now... I want each of you to channel your inner 3 year old and name 3 things you admire about yourself. 

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Illinois Photographer, Central Illinois Photographer, Lincoln Illinois Photographer, Bloomington Illinois Photographer, Decatur Illinois Photographer, Normal Illinois Photographer, Peoria Illinois Photographer, Springfield Illinois Photographer, Photos by Ariel

How my last child got her name...

A couple of weeks ago, I announced that I would be revealing bits and pieces about me and my story over this coming year because that is what I have my clients share with me. <3 If you want to be one of the first to read these, head over to my Facebook or Instagram and stayed tuned every Friday morning!

I have three beautiful daughters. They all have unique names. 

My oldest daughter is Elise (means consecrated to God) Annalea (combo of her two grandma's middle names).

My middle daughter is Annistyn (it means resurrection) Nicole (my middle name)

This is my third, and last beautiful daughter is Audrey Chase. I didn't want her to be my last. I come from a big family and wanted a big family. But I have truly terrible pregnancies. I struggle from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (as well as a number of other ailments 🤣) and it gets worse and worse each time. I've had 5 pregnancies and 3 births. 2 babies were lost, something I know many of you have suffered also. Knowing that Audrey Chase would be my last... we decided to name her after my dad Audie --> except the feminine version obviously 🥰 and then Chase (my husbands name). My dad was named after his dad who died of a massive heart attack while his mom was pregnant with him. My dad grew up fatherless but that didn't make him any less fit to be a father to us. In fact, it was just the opposite. Because of his upbringing, he was the best dad EVER. And the PERFECT person for my last little girl to be named after. <3

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What to post on Instagram in February

It’s February!

And that means its time to plan your month’s social media posts. I’ve included some fresh post ideas and hashtags below!

What to post:

  1. Super Bowl (Feb. 3)- #superbowl #superbowl53 #kickoff #football #touchdown

  2. Valentine’s Day (Feb .14)- #love #valentinesday #date #bemine #myvalentine

  3. Pastel Color Palletes- #pastels #pink #yellow #multicolor #colorworld #instacolor

  4. Winter Themes- #cold #snow #brrr #wintertime #winter #instawinter #snowflakes

Tip of the month

The first images a person see’s on your profile are the most recent nine images you’ve posted. Make sure your 9-grid tells a good story! Read my blog on what your first 9 should include at all times HERE!

Take action

Most Instagrammers can only link away from Instagram in their bio. Because this is such precious real estate, it’s important to really think about what link should go in there. Just be sure to use a trackable link so you can tell how many clicks you’re actually receiving from Instagram to your site.

Cheering for you friends!

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Website vs. Social Media- Guidelines on What to Post

A website should consist of only branded images while a social media page should include a combination of both branding images AND behind the scene images. If you skip out on branded images, your missing an important element. One of knowledge, professionalism, and a level of expertise in your brand that will make you stand out among the rest. Your clients will take comfort when they see these branded images, knowing that you didn't just purchase some stock image and they don't really know what they are going to get by hiring/investing in you. Instead, it establishes trust. A solid foundation that cannot easily be broken. When you set yourself out as an expert in your field by regularly posting branding/styled images, You will FOR SURE stand out. 

Plus, as more people invest in you because they trust you. Supply and Demand will raise which means prices will raise which means more money for you! 

An amazing place to use behind-the-scene images is in the "Stories" feature of instagram and facebook. Behind the scenes pics really add value to the "personal aspect of branding." Never be afraid to include yourself/your family/your kids in behind the scenes images as people LOVE to invest in people! They love the stories behind the business! <3

Check out Guest House's page over the next few weeks to see more images.

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5 things that should be in your first 9 on Instagram....

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When selecting a social media platform for your business, make sure you perfect one before adding others. I have facebook perfecting so I spent the last 2 years on Instagram. Here is what I’ve learned to have in your first 9 photos on Instagram…

  1. A selfie

    I know, I know. It’s as if I can hear your groans already. Haha! But For the last two years when I get my top 9 photos from the entire year. Nearly ALL of them are selfies of me, or the ones I post of me and my family. Its may seems Crazy but its totally not!

    here’s why.

    We, as humans, are naturally curious. We want to see the person behind the business we are investing in. People are MUCH more likely to invest in a business when they have seen the people who run it! With so many competitors out there, make sure to give your sales platform a face. Introduce yourself (or your team) to the world! It is a great way to build trust and let them hear your voice!

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2.) Lifestyle Image

Give the audience a peek in to your life. Make sure you do this in a way that still matches your brand. Don’t make one picture a dark, blurry cell phone image and the next look awesome. Incorporate some lifestyle images into your branding session. So maybe you like running or painting, or reading? Get professional pictures of you doing those things. Get professional images that are more laid back in natural but are still consistent with your brand because these images spark conversation among existing clients and establish connecting points with potential clientele. For example: if I was really into running (which i’m totally not, but lets pretend, haha!) and I was looking for a hairdresser, and I was checking out multiple ones on Instagram per my friends recommendations and I saw one of them that had a pic of her running…. instant connecting point and it instantly makes me choose her over the rest.

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3.) Product Image or Service Image

Whatever you sell or whatever service you provide. You need to have professional images of this. No more excuses. If your a hairdresser make sure you have some special hairdos, a florist, make sure you have wedding bouquets, coffee shop should have coffee images, etc. Sometimes we get SO carried away in posting behind the scenes images that we forget to post products! Post what you are trying to sell!

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4.) Behind the Scenes Images

This doesn’t just have to be behind the scenes during a photoshoot or behind the counter at a coffee shop or etc. Show behind the scenes of how some things are made, done, or little tricks. Humans love the inner workings of knowing how something happened. Showing behind the scenes images can appear in your feed as long as you edit them to match you brand, which I will talk about later… OR… you can use them in your Insta Stories

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5.) Something that your Target Market Enjoys

Find something that your target market (who you’re specifically trying to sell to) enjoys. For example, as a photographer, my clientele for newborns is young mommas, who come from 2 income households (typically), they aren’t afraid to invest money as long as its deemed to be worthy, etc. Things they enjoy include: blog posts about how hard it is to be a working mom, really funny meme’s about motherhood and marriage, sharing other peoples articles about how having family pictures hung in your home establishes self-esteem, a live video of me picking out outfits for a photo session from things that were already in my closet, interview with a pediatrician about how to keep our kids healthy in winter…. LITERALLY THE IDEAS ARE ENDLESS!

Need some help? Just ask. Ask your current followers what they want to know and I guarantee you they will respond with some questions to get your wheels turning!

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Hope these tips will help you and your business! I cannot wait to work together in the future to capture images that communicate who you are to all the eyes that are watching.