Goal Setting

2018 Book Roundup! | #EAPREADS

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It has been way too long since I shared a rundown of my recent favorite books! Let’s do a 2018 roundup. My hope is you’ll glean a couple of suggestions and find a new book bestie.


You can check out more details on some of my Winter and Spring 2018 reads below:

WINTER

SPRING

One thing I do to keep reading a priority is sign up for the GoodReads annual Reading Challenge. Every year I choose a goal to reach towards and track my books in the GoodReads app. Last year I read 33 from my goal of 30 books! Woohoo! 

This year, my goal is to read 50 books - eek! I almost reached this back in 2017, so I’m willing to give it a try again. The idea is that even if I don’t reach it, I’ll be motivated to always have good books in rotation.


Wondering what to read? Never underestimate the power of asking friends on social media or checking out those ‘what other customers bought’ sections on Amazon. Choose a book you already love and google similar books as a place to start!

I tried to categorize the best I could, but some books seem to cover several genres:

Non-Fiction

What To Do When It’s Your Turn by Seth Godin

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss

Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker

Everybody, Always by Bob Goff

The Memoir Project by Marion Roach Smith

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst

The Wondering Years by Knox McCoy

A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman

Preach to Yourself by Haley Morgan

Stretched Too Thin by Jessica N. Turner

Personal Growth

Rising Strong by Brene Brown

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin

Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life by Susan David

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Fierce Faith by All Worthington

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Fiction

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Superfudge by Judy Blume

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Memoir

The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide by Jenna Fischer

Educated by Tara Westover

Becoming by Michelle Obama


Home/Simple Living

The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify by Francine Jay

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith

The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith

Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living by Linnea Dunne

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking

A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living by Emily Ley

Overall, I’m happy with the variety I reached in 2018. But my big goal is to read more Fiction in 2019! 

Do you keep reading goals? I’d love to know what’s on your literal or digital bookshelf!

Comment on this thread with your 2018 favorite or tag me on IG :) The hashtag #EAPreads also has lots of my favorites!

Best,

Erin

Come Hang Out on Instagram!

My Word of the Year + Social Media Break(thru)

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Happy 2019, friends! I hope you had a restful and joy-filled holiday. I know the other parents out there are probably relieved the kids are back to school, but also sad because holiday break is officially over. I’m definitely in that bittersweet camp. I’m ready for our routine to return, but I so loved our pajamas-till-noon-Christmas-movie-marathon week of cookies and snuggles. My soul needed it!

There’s lots of chatter around the start of January about choosing a word for the year. One word that acts as an anchor for your intentions in the coming seasons. I have been doing this for several years now and find it really helps me prepare for the months ahead.

In the past few years, my words have been:

2016 - Brave

2017 - Intentional

2018 - Patient

I thought my word for 2019 was going to be clarity. But, as I mined through my powersheets, the word ‘keep’ came to the front of my mind. Keep is a small, seemingly inconsequential word. What could it possibly do for me? It didn’t feel weighty or important enough.

But that word just wouldn’t leave me alone. I considered all the different uses and meanings. There’s a lot for such a little word! And many of them apply to where my heart is right now.

as in:

…keep going

…keep pursuing

…keep the faith

…keep it up

…keep staying open

…keep showing up


Once I dove into
thesarus.com and began to unpack ALL the meanings and sub-meanings around this word, I was blown away.

Synonyms: carry, enjoy, manage, preserve, save, direct, grasp, retain

In many ways, all these synonyms feel like behaviors that would bring me more clarity. In this keeping, I’ll unlock certainty in different areas of my life. I’m ready to ‘keep’ 2019.

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Since November, I’d been planning on taking a more extended social media sabbatical. When you run a business, Facebook and Instagram are (like it or not) necessary tools to grow and reach an audience. It had been on my heart though that it was time to put the phone down over Christmas break and be present with the people I love best.

Even though my decision felt resolute, I was worried that the temptation to check my notifications would still be there. Would the habit be too strong to shake? 

Welp, it’s been over 10 days and I’m so proud of myself for keeping the commitment. If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of taking a longer break, do it!

Here are a few takeaways from my social media sabbatical:

  • Feeling more even-keeled and less quick to anger over small frustrations.

  • I can leave my phone behind sometimes. I did forget it on a quick grocery store run, and embraced how free it felt.

  • Taking pictures for the joy of my family and not just to share online.

  • Less FOMO (fear-of-missing-out) and feeling truly content.

  • I slowed down and made room to just do nothing.

My best breakthrough? It was way easier and painless than I had anticipated. I’d envisioned it being so much harder, but truthfully…I was ready for the break.

The week between Christmas and New Year feels like a sort of time warp. It goes quickly but seems to stretch and linger. Can you relate?

I hope you got a chance to breath and reset for the new year. If you have a word for 2019, drop it in the comments below - I’d love to hear!

Best,

Erin

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Permission to Dream | #MomLife

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Whatever you’re dreaming about, big or small, it all counts.

Sometimes I still feel like I’m a ten-year-old dressed up as an adult, trying to fool everyone. Trying to prove that I’m a for-real-grown-up person. As if it’s a sham and at any moment, a REAL adult is going to ask for my ID to prove that I’m who I say. But instead of an ID, I'll just present them with a handful of pocket fuzz, paper clips and stale M&Ms.

Do you ever feel like there’s something you want to do, but you’re waiting for permission? Maybe you analyze this desire from every angle. Maybe you talk with your friends and your sister and seek everyone else’s opinion. 

Maybe this dream you have is so vast and consuming, it feels impossibly selfish. It feels indulgent and extra. You know you’ll never get permission, but it still pulls at you. 

Moms, why do we keep waiting for permission?

If there is something stirring in your heart, nobody is going to give you permission to pursue it except yourself. I believe that stirring is a direct calling from your maker, but if you believe differently… it’s still a feeling we should follow. 

Maybe you dream of…

  • being Room Mom for your kids this year

  • starting a side hustle by selling crafts on Etsy

  • traveling to another country with your family

  • learning how to play the violin

  • taking a watercolor class

  • launching a blog

  • learning to cook the perfect veggie lasagna

Whatever you’re dreaming about, big or small, it all counts.

We sometimes wait, squash down our own wants and decide this is just “not our season”. I must have said this at least a dozen times in my lifetime. And maybe that’s true. Maybe you have a new baby and your main goal right now is sleep. I get it. Your health and life commitments must sometimes take precedent. But this season won't last forever. 

Can I challenge you not to shelf your dream forever? Can I encourage you to write it down? Say it aloud. Let it sit for awhile in your heart. Because there is no other person who will give you permission to seek out your dream. It has to be cultivated within you and then released to the world. 

What’s holding you back? Friend, consider this your signed permission slip. You're a grown up and you get to decide about your wildest (or tamest) dreams.

I can't wait to see what you do next.

Best,

Erin


If you're searching for more encouragement, join the Limitless Motherhood! You'll get two short and sweet emails a month filled with inspiration and resources on living our most fulfilling lives as Mothers. Chat soon!

My Spring Book List! | #EAPReads | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

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With Summer right around the corner, I am so excited to start working on my Summer Reading List! I keep a digital bookshelf on my GoodReads app of what I want to read, so whenever I have a moment, I put a title on hold at the library or drop it in my Amazon cart. This really helps me manage what I'm reading next and there is -always- something in the lineup!

I made real progress towards my goal of 30 Books in 2018 this Spring! I'm just finishing book 20 this week. #happydance 

Here's what I read:

  • The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware - A fun, who-dunnit mystery. I'm not a fan of any real horror writing, and this was certainly more my speed.
  • Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight out of this Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker - I devour everything this lady writes. She's such an uplifting voice! I was either giggling or sobbing throughout the chapters of the book - so you know it hits right in the feels. ;)
  • Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living by Linnea Dunne - This was a quick, light read that affirmed much of what I think in regards to living a simple life. Also, when can we all move to Sweden and wear matching sweaters and drink all. the. coffee.?!
  • Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin - This book was less research and more personal narrative than I expected, but I still gleaned lots of helpful insight into why certain habits don't work for me. And why others stick like glue! 
  • Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life by Susan David - I had listened to Susan speak on Lewis Howe's podcast, The School of Greatness, and I knew I had to read her book. Lots of depth in this book, but plenty of actionable tips and insights into why we get stuck in our feelings. 
  • Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis - This book has been everywhere lately and for good reason! After about four friends said, " You MUST read this Erin, it's so YOU!" I quickly added it to my library holds list. But when I discovered I was still #14 on the list, I snagged it on Amazon instead, haha! #soimpatient I'm glad I have my own copy to keep though, because I need a second reading to highlight and absorb more of Rachel's teachings. Loved it!
  • Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff - I haven't read "Love Does" yet (his prequel to this book in a way) but I can see why Bob Goff is such a prolific storyteller. He shares so many different stories, with each one pointing back to loving like Jesus. So inspiring and soul-filling!

Your turn! Leave a comment and let me know what you're reading. I think I'll aim to add a few more fiction reads to my list this Summer since those are always perfect for beach days. 

 

Need more recommendations? Check out my February post with my list of Winter Reads!

 

Are we connected on IG? I share over there almost daily and would love to 'meet' you!

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Happy Reading,

friends!

 

~ Erin

Winter 2018 Reads! | #EAPReads | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

One good thing about the weather during the colder months? 

More time to READ! :)

If you know me, you know about my annual reading goals. If you're new around here, check out this blog post: 2018 Reading Goals!

Literally me at the library...

For 2018, I've given myself the goal of reading thirty books. So far, I'm making great progress and I'm working on book twelve right now. Here's what I've read so far this year! 

What To Do When It's Your Turn by Seth Godin - A fun, quick and inspirational read if you've got dreams and feel like you need a permission slip to pursue them!

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek - I did cruise through this book quickly, I might need to revisit it.

The Actor's Life: A Survival Guide by Jenna Fischer - Any Office fans out there?! Let's just say, my love for Jenna Fischer is real and I loved reading about her experiences as a young actress in LA.

A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living by Emily Ley - A great overview on how to simplify your life, especially for Moms.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng - Total page turner!!

Everything I never Told You by Celeste Ng - I loved the last book so much, I went on a quest to read everything written by this author. 

Superfudge by Judy Blume - My husband gifted me Judy Blume's Masterclass on writing for Christmas with a signed copy of this book! Obviously, I cried. :)

The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify by Francine Jay - Really useful book for starting and maintaining a minimal home life. The second half had lots of great tips on how to keep your house running smoothly. I need ALL the help I can get in this area!

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking - This book made me want to cocoon in a blanket, drink hot tea....and move to Denmark, haha! I kid you not, it was the perfect Winter read.

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig - This was such a fun read, I didn't want it to end!

Rising Strong by Brene Brown - I had this checked out from the library, so I need to buy my own copy to mark up and highlight for a second reading. It's certainly one of those books that will stay with you and can change how you see yourself and others. Highly recommend!

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What have you been reading?! I'm always adding to my "must read" list, so leave a comment and let me know! I love books about self-improvement, business, faith, realistic and historical fiction, YA fiction, etc. Happy Reading, friends!

Connect on IG with me! Search the hashtag #EAPReads :)

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2018 Reading Goals! | #MomLife | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

If you've known or followed me for any extent of time - you may know about my love for reading. It brings me so much joy and honestly, I think it makes me a better person. I read for entertainment, education and inspiration. I love reading books that feed my soul! 

In 2016, I set the lofty goal to read 50 books. This was a HUGE leap for me. At the time, I was working from home and had a preschooler and Kindergartner. My free time was seriously limited and I made a real conscious effort to prioritize reading over television or mindless internet scrolling. You can read more about my books and experience HERE!

Last year, I decided to pull back some and read 25 books. I cut that previous goal in half, and it really let me enjoy and linger over certain books. I even surpassed my goal, devouring several books right towards the end of the year. 

I haven't blogged about reading since last Summer (oops!) but you can read it HERE if you're interested in my 2017 reads!

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This year, I'm going to stay pretty similar to 2017's goals. I have the goal to read 30 books in 2018! I am giving myself permission to tweak this number up or down, depending on how my schedule changes. These are the first reads of the year pictured above - and with all this snowy weather I've actually gotten off to a great start!

Reading forces you to be quiet in a world that no longer makes place for that.
— John Green
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I will continue to use my hashtag on Instagram, #EAPreads - so follow along to keep up with the latest! If you are on GoodReads, come find me. I love using that app as a way to track what I've read and what I want to read. Their reading challenge is so motivating! I love to see that progress bar bump up with every book I finish. :) #nerd

I'd love to know what you're reading. Are you strictly non-fiction or do you love a good drama?

Happy Reading, friends! 

xoxo

Erin

My Word for 2018 | #MomLife | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

This will be my third year choosing a word for the year. Which is a reminder to me that focusing (and refocusing) on just one word is so empowering and helpful! 

In 2016, I chose Brave. For 2017,  I chose Intentional.

You can read more about them HERE

I'm seeing many of my goals from 2017 have shown up again for 2018. I think this is because many of them were big ideas, and ones that really need to be continually cultivated in my life. Like being present and intentional with my family time. That's something I will always put focus on - it's not something I can just put a pretty check mark beside. 

For 2018, I do have more specific goals. Ones that are measurable and trackable. I think that's where I've felt frustrated in the past. This year, I am jumping on the Powersheets bandwagon and I am SO excited! If you've never heard of Lara Casey, I would strongly suggest giving her a follow. I have been a fan since 2015, right after reading her book, Make It Happen. But for some reason or other, I hadn't jumped in with her goal setting program yet.

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Welp, after completing all my homework and getting my January tending list started - I am ready to rock my goals in 2018. I love the simplicity of the planner and how trackable and specific it allows you to get. AND the concept of slow progress - that we can change our goals with the seasons....gah, that is soooo me. I believe her one-year planners are sold out - but there are 6 month options still available.  I'm not getting paid for this, haha - I just really love it! :)

SO, now for my word...

For 2018, my word is Patient.

Patient: (adjective) able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

Patient with myself and my slow progress.

Patient with other people. Especially those who might not think like me.

Patient with my family. They deserve my best and not the leftovers.

Patient with my health and self-care goals. Just keep doing the next right thing.

Patient in growing and managing this business of mine.

Patient in listening for God's voice amongst all the noise.

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Have you chosen a word for 2018? I'd love to hear it! Come find me on Instagram or Facebook and share. Putting it out into the universe is a powerful step. :)

 

 

Behind the Scenes! | Hampton Roads Photography Class

There is something to be said about putting your dreams into writing or speaking them aloud. When we start to really focus on where are loves and passions lie - life falls more naturally into place.

 There are so many BIG dreams I have for this business. How to serve my families well, grow as an entrepreneur, and balance my home and work life. But I often find I get overwhelmed with all my big goals and tend to stall out before I even start. Can you relate?

When I started teaching Only Little Once, I was nervous, excited and worried about still being too "new" in the industry. Could I serve other Moms and hobbyists well? Would I be able to stretch those old teacher muscles with a room full of adults?

A lot of photographers go into education for different reasons. I wanted to be sure my heart and my purpose were clear. I have a passion for photography and a heart for teaching and sharing with others. It brings me so much joy to see a lightbulb or "aha!" moment go off for someone.

I love that so many moms have beautiful and candid images of their children framed on the wall.

I love that they can teach their husband how to shoot in manual, so  that they can be in the picture too!

I love to see them post their gorgeous pictures on Facebook and read all the praise from their friends and family.

I am so, so proud of all my 'grads'. They inspire me every single day!

Just a couple of fun behind the scenes shots from last Saturday's 101 Workshop :) We had an amazing group!

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Since the first workshop, I have been asked about offering a 102 version. A place to dive deeper and work on common problems. Maybe dabble with editing and learn the basics of Lightroom. Again, I felt these nerves come up again! Fear is a bully, for real.

Well, it's a new year, and photography education is an even bigger goal for me in 2017. I am SO excited to launch Only Little Once 102! The seats are already filling with 101 grads, but I have 2 more spots to share with you all :)

This class is for students comfortable shooting in manual mode. We'll talk about nailing focus, composition, white balance and much more! I'll also walk you through a start to finish clean edit in Lightroom. This is a great way to dive deeper in your photography journey!

Sign Up Here

Seats are very limited, please contact me with any questions! I can't wait to see your growth :)

Best,

Erin

My Word for 2017 | #MomLife

I love this time of year! New year, new goals, new hopes. I'm less about the resolutions (which tend to fade in February) and more about the goal setting. Getting more specific each year with an attainable, trackable and reachable goal makes it possible for me!

I've found that some of these goals turn from goals into just... life. For example, meal planning has become such a habit that rarely does a week go by where I don't know what we're having for dinner. And after two rounds of Whole30, most of those dinners are clean foods or tweaked Whole30 recipes. I'm not perfect at all (hello post-Christmas-pants situation) but it's a goal that became a habit.

I love the concept of choosing one word for the year. Last year, I chose the word brave. Now, I didn't go leaping out of any planes in 2016, but I did make several brave-for-me choices. I ran my longest distance yet, the Shamrock 8K. I grew deeper in my faith and stepped out of my comfort zone. I'm now serving in the children's ministry monthly at our church, and I love it! I committed to monthly date nights with my husband, and we've stuck to that mostly. These new and brave goals have become habits - it's just what I do now. I stumble at times, but ultimately I get back on track with my goals. And that getting back on track part is the difference maker in my eyes.

I've chose the word, Intentional, for 2017. I want to be more intentional with all aspects of my life. Intentional with limiting my social media time. Intentional with reading scripture. Intentional with making time for friendships. Intentional with my family and being 'tuned in' when we're together. Life is distracting and I struggle so much with all of these areas. Putting it out there in the Universe, because I need the accountability! How this will, I'll work out over the next couple of weeks. But I'm already planning some aspects of where I can easily adjust and become more intentional.

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What about you? Have you chosen a word for 2017? I'd love to hear it and why you chose it!

Best,

Erin

Reading Goals Update | Hampton Roads Photographer

Dearest Internets,

I need you to stay accountable on some of my 2016 goals. Nothing keeps you honest like sharing it with the cyber world - right?!  Don't fail me now!

One of my biggest goals for this year is to read 50 books. That's right. FIFTY. I don't think I've read that many books ever. And I am the kid who was under the covers late at night with my industrial flashlight (thanks, Dad!) begging, "I just need to finish this chapter!!". Then, after I was married, I devoured the Harry Potter series in a pretty similar format (sorry, husband... not sorry). But, after the busyness and pressure of Adulting (um, hello motherhood and life and holy moly I am tired and can't keep my eyes open after 8 pm) I was missing my books.

I've adapted the manner in which I read and it is helping TONS. I go back and forth between reading on a device and holding a paper book. I have types of books that I prefer to read in each of these formats. For example, casual non-fiction or very light fiction is totally fine on my Kindle app. In fact, I fly through books this way! When I'm out for a run, I pop on the Audible app and listen for a bit. But if there's a really juicy fiction or 'heavier' self-improvement book I know I want to make notes in, linger over, and just hold.. I need a paper copy. Whether I buy it or check it out from the local library, I usually know which titles are of the I-must-hold-it variety. Is that weird?! Tell me I'm not the only strange hybrid person out there...

#somanychoices #gimmeallthebooks

So, how am I fitting in all this extra reading?

Here are some ways I've been sneaking it in my day:

  • Pickup lane at school - Sometimes I show up 10-15 minutes early just to sit in the parking lot and read on my Kindle app.
  • Homework time - This is a great way to model reading for pleasure to my kids too. If they are coloring, working quietly, doing play-doh - I tend to read a paper book during this time.
  • Appointments - Doctors' or dentist appointments... don't call me back too soon, I'm working on this chapter, Doc.
  • Morning coffee time - If we're having a lazy morning with cartoons, I'm usually reading instead of watching Elmo. I mean, there's only so much PBS I can take - okay?
  • Less TV time - Parents, those couple of hours of freedom in the evenings after the kids are in bed is so, so sacred. Am I right? We have our shows and Netflix nights, but more often we are just leaving it off and enjoying reading time.
  • Bath time - kids are splashing away and I can read a few more pages sometimes.

All those little chunks add up! I usually read before bed as well, but I find that hard to do if it's been a long day and I'm exhausted. Reading is important and a goal, so I've adjusted life to make time for it. This may mean I don't mop the floor... or the laundry beast is out of control. But, you know what? I'm alright with it. I've taken time to pour into something that brings me joy. It fills me up so I can then pour that joy into my family and people around me.

Just another way to teach self-care and self-love to my girls!

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Current Favorites:

The Nightingale - SO good! WWII era drama.. probably my favorite fiction piece in years.

Breaking Busy: How to find Peace and Purpose in a World Of Crazy - Powerful book that spoke to my heart. Can you really ever find a "balance" and what are we truly chasing?

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris - Such a fun and light read! It totally made me want to wear Chanel perfume, get regular facials, and embrace my femininity more.

Moms, what are you reading right now?? I need more for my list, haha!

Share in the comments, I'd love to hear :)

Best,

Erin