Ten Tips for Transformation Tuesday!!

If you follow along with me on Instagram Stories you have seen my workout vids and hopefully you have seen PROGRESS too!!! While I was pregnant with Rocco I decided the year I turned 35 was going to be the year I got in the best shape of my life!! I changed my lifestyle with little changes here and there and they have added up to BIG RESULTS!! I want to share just a few things that I changed to add up to 44 pounds DOWN!

#1. Drink plenty of WATER! I work really hard to stay hydrated. I fill up my big 32 ounce Feti (faux Yeti!) cup and make it my goal to down four of those a day! I even set a timer in my phone to go off every hour reminding me to DRINK WATER! I know - totally dork - BUT it works!!

#2. I start my day with one cup of warm water and a freshly squeezed lemon. The health benefits are tremendous for just how simple this little cup is! Google it!

#3. I stopped eating anything that contained gluten! This started when my husband found out he had a gluten intolerance. It wasn’t as hard as I thought!!! If you want more info about gluten intolerance go visit celiac.org SOOO much info and if you have a food in question you can search that food on their website and it will list gluten containing ingredients!

#4. Shortly after my husband found out he had a gluten intolerance I did a juice cleanse. After completing the cleanse and totally detoxing I found out I have a DAIRY intolerance! Ugh, I was kinda disappointed because, well, PIZZA!! But there again, once I decided to stop eating dairy my body felt INCREDIBLE!! I know this isn’t for everyone! I do highly recommend giving it a try for just a week. . .or heck, what about three days?! Small goals people!!

#5. FRESH EVERYTHING! At least that is always my goal!!! Fresh veggies, fruits and meats instead of precessed, packaged foods!

#6. Workout at least three times a week! It was SO hard getting started but once I got back into this amazing routine my mind, body and soul became at ONE! I felt rejuvenated and alive again!!! Moving my body, stretching it and breathing fully all became a drug (A HEALTHY ONE!!).

#7. ACCOUNTABILITY! I realized pretty quickly that I needed an accountability partner for each of my goals! I have a friend that wakes up with my at 5:30am every morning. We text each other as soon as we wake up with “Good Morning” cheers about how awesome the day will be. I have my trainer that holds me accountable at the gym and my husband holds me accountable for cooking healthy meals before the sun sets! I have a cookbook to create and he makes sure things are in place and helps set the table for photos!

#8. MEAL PLAN! I plan out my meals for the week and then create a grocery list at the same time! Time saver! Killing two birds with one stone!!! Just being amazingly productive!!!
P.S. I will be giving away SEVEN dinner recipes AND a grocery list from my cookbook very soon!!! All you have to do is sign up for my newsletter and BAM! - seven nights you don't have to think about what's for dinner!!! ;)

Here is the sign up for those FREEBIES!! 

#9. Gratitude Journal! I had to change my thought process! My depression took over my thoughts and everything I wanted to do in life! Simple things like going to the grocery store turned into something I couldn’t do without feeling an anxiety attack in my chest! I start my day or end my night with writing out ALL the positives that happened that day NOT focusing on anything negative. In the beginning I had to DIG DEEP because I was turning everything into a negative! Now it’s much easier to see ALL the good in life!

#10. I stopped weighing myself! Instead of weighing in I started paying attention to the way my clothes fit. When you start working out you start gaining muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat. In a lot of cases you start gaining weight! This can be extremely heart breaking when you are giving it your all at the gym and it’s NOT showing up on the scale. Don’t let that get to you!!! You didn’t gain 50 lbs overnight so losing 50 lbs AIN’T gonna happen overnight either!! 

I took these photos on March 12, 2018. I weighed 163lbs.

This morning, July 17, 2018, I woke up feeling lean, healthy and full of energy! Which is a HUGE difference from how I felt just four months ago! I now weigh 152 lbs.

Be patient with yourself, give yourself grace and focus on the small changes you want to make in your life! You can do it!!


What is your God Given Talent???

My sweet boy, we have come so far. My depression cost us a lot of bonding time but the good news is we have now until forever. . .I love you.

My sweet boy, we have come so far. My depression cost us a lot of bonding time but the good news is we have now until forever. . .I love you.

It's been on my heart to ask you this,

“Have you ever prayed that God would reveal your “God Given Talents”?”

I know that's super random and you're probably like, "Holly, what does that have to do with photography or learning how to shoot better?" That question and that same prayer is how I found out I was supposed to be a photographer! 

Way back when I was about 16 weeks pregnant with our first baby, RyAnne, I joined a ladies Bible study group. Stacey, our group leader, asked us if we all knew what our God Given Talent was. I was sitting in a group of ladies ranging in age from about 24-50 and they ALL knew exactly what their God Given Talents were! Me on the other hand. . .UHHHHH, nope! Notta clue!!! It saddened me that I didn't have one single idea! So, I started praying and asking God to reveal it to me. Several months later and after I gave birth to RyAnne, I became very depressed. Postpartum depression crept into my mind, body and soul and took over my every being. It was one of the hardest times in my life. 

In December, when RyAnne was about eight months old, I was still suffering through my depression. Two weeks before Christmas my husband surprised me with an early gift, my very first DSLR camera! I had no initial intention of starting a business at that time. Heck, I didn't even know how to turn on my new camera or even know where to put the battery!!! BUT two months after receiving that gift, God made it very clear to me that I was to open a business and become a professional photographer! Without hesitation, I DID IT! It's been the most incredible journey too!! I've been blessed with serving some of the most incredible couples and families over my SEVEN years as a photographer and I hope there will be many, MANY more years to come! 

If you follow along with me on social media, Instagram and/or Facebook, you will know I have tried to be open about my PPD journey after having our son Rocco last June 2017. When he was about three and a half months old, it all came flooding back. This time even worse. It's been one of the hardest things to overcome, but I am finally seeing the light at the end of this dark tunnel! I started back working in the office this January. Although I have done some great things over the past few months for my family and work life, I have felt as though I was just meandering along. Doing but not really knowing the "WHY" I was doing it! So, I found myself praying again. . .

“Lord, what is my purpose? What are you preparing me for?” 

In March, my sweet neighbor Brittany, randomly sent me a text asking me if I wanted to join her that evening for a new workout class that had just started up. I was ALLLLL about it!! For one, any excuse to hang out with Brittany was a YES and two, getting to workout - YES and YES! The class was like non-other I have ever been a part of. Chelsea, our instructor, started off the class asking for prayer requests. I remember thinking, "Hmmmmm, that's different but I like it!" As the weeks passed and we all started getting closer and closer as a group of STRONG ladies, I asked the ladies to pray that God would give me guidance and make my path clear! They prayed for me several times this same prayer for guidance. 

It's been on my heart to find a charity that I have a passion for. So, I started praying, asking that God would lead me to the charity that he knew I would be able to contribute to and also be passionate about. This past Saturday, while folding laundry, it hit me like a ton of bricks! God made it SO CLEAR to me. . .I need to find a charity that contributes to the research of Postpartum Depression!!! NEXT, I stopped what I was doing, grabbed my very empty journal and starting writing!! Chapters and excerpts and a layout for a book started flooding my mind!!! And there is was. . .I am to write a book about my postpartum depression journey and donate 10% of the proceeds to a charity that will help the research towards PPD!!! WHOA!!! 

I wanted to just let it marinate and settle in before I announced to my husband that I am going to be writing a book! The next day, Sunday, I was ready to tell him. . .but for some reason I couldn't! I literally started sweating every time I went to tell him! I am not ashamed, just nervous that he thought I was crazy! EEK! AND, it was my first time actually speaking this to anyone. Several failed attempts and several chocolate bars later (YES, I was eating my emotions!!!), finally, Rocco was asleep, the girls were riding their bikes, Trey and I had just stepped into my office and I asked him to have a seat. Yep, he looked at me like, "Uh oh! What is it???" 

I went into my story and he sat and listened. I cried and talked and talked and talked. . .Mostly out of nerves and excitement. Once I finally stopped talking, he said, "Holly, I don't care what you do. I support you no matter what!" 

Have you ever prayed this prayer and asked God what your talents are? 

I am very excited about this journey and where it will take me AND others too. I'm so thankful for all of your prayers!! This feels like such a huge responsibility, writing about something that is so dark and deep. My prayer. . .

Lord, Please guide me through this journey of writing out my story. Allow positivity and hope to shine through all of the darkness that I will be discussing. Please allow my story to bring hope to many women who are suffering this battle!

I hope my story inspires you to ask God. . .

Happy Tuesday!


Rocco's First Easter + PPD Update!

I hope everyone is had a wonderful Easter with their friends and family! This year is Rocco's very first Easter celebration! Look at how adorable he looks in his little bow tie!!!! Trey didn't want him to wear that cute little bow tie. . .Deanna and I snuck it on him for photos though!!! Oh my goodness!! I'm so in love!

This year we went super non-traditional with our menu and served Tacos! My mother-in-law picked up some of El Charro's famous cheese dip and it was OH-so-good!!! And of course my sister-in-law, who is also an amazing baker, made some yummy desserts! We ate so good and then I had everyone go outside for photos! haha, Maybe that was bad timing! Eating MEXICAN and then photographs! Suck it in folks!

I know this is on the more serious side. . .but now that I’m getting back out there, lots of you have been asking me how I’ve been and I really appreciate you guys thinking of me! When Rocco was four months old, in (October 2017) I was hit really hard with postpartum depression. We were actually on vacation with our brand new family of five when it all started. I cried the entire trip - all SIX days! I felt SO guilty for crying every day and that guilt made it all feel so much worse!!! I felt like such a burden to my family, steeling their joy at one of our FAVE places - the beach! I was a mess and I pretty much stayed that way until the end of February 2018. 

That’s when I started focusing more on work and that really helped me! I also stopped nursing as much (we are down to only once a day now). This made me sad and happy all at the same time. Rocco never nursed very well. Heck, he hardly drinks a bottle well! He just seems so unhappy and frustrated with drinking anything. It’s taken a lot of pressure off of me but put pressure on me as well! I nursed both my girls until they were over a year old. I wanted to nurse Rocco that long and I've felt guilty for not nursing him as much. I just wanted to experience the same closeness I did when I nursed my girls but with Rocco too. I started feeling like a failure AND a burden. . .I wanted to end my life. I thought about it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! I just felt like if I wasn’t around then my family would be happier.

During that time a lot of changes were happening. My gym of over four years stopped offering childcare. That meant I couldn’t workout because I didn't have anyone there to watch Olivia and Rocco. I lost my “gym family” and my routine! Although, I hadn’t been going super regular due to Rocco waking about three times in the middle of the night ( I was too exhausted) in my mind it was the routine I would return to when he did start sleeping! The thought of losing ALL the things that seemed normal totally rocked my world!

I started praying that God would bless me with a NEW normal AND QUICKLY!!! Shortly after praying for this, I decided to do The Juice in the Raw Cleanse. I wanted to do something totally for myself! I felt amazing after the cleanse! The very next week my sweet neighbor Brittany invited me to workout with her in a new group that had just formed! And then two weekends after that my girlfriends and I went on a girls trip to Helen, Ga.! God was so good to me!! I needed ALL of those events to happen! I seriously feel like a HUGE weight has been lifted off of me!!! I feel like me again!

This has been one of the hardest PPD journey's for me! I have been so incredibly frustrated with myself! Although I've experienced PPD before and I knew this wouldn't last forever, I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel! I doubted everything about myself and my confidence dropped off the face of the Earth! It wasn't until I started praying for healing AND was open to it, that my life started to have light again!

I just wanted to thank everyone for their continued prayers, support and love they have shown me over these really difficult months! You guys are SO incredible and I love every single one of you!