Be Friends with Positivity

By looking at a photo, a few things can be communicated right away, no words required. For example, even if hands are not in the picture, it’s easy to tell if someone’s hands are clenched. Friendships are similar. It is easy to tell when people click and are on the same page.


Friends were made pretty easily as kids. It was like, are you in my class? Do you like the color blue? Cool. Friendship acquired. As adults, it can feel pretty daunting managing relationships because they are far more complicated than when we were children. Friends can either enrich our lives, give us someone to talk to and enjoy life with or they can bring out negative traits we probably shouldn’t exhibit in adulthood. As we grow, our friendships do too—whether that is together or apart. Here are a few things to ask yourself about the people you surround yourself with.

1.     Is this person destructive to themselves, yourself, or any of your relationships?

2.     Do you enjoy your time together?

3.     When you disagree, are you able to communicate effectively?

4.     Are you on a similar path in life?

5.     Does this person talk about you behind your back or do you talk about them behind theirs?

Your answers to those questions might give you some insight into the type of relationship you currently have with your friends. Of course there will always be ups and downs in any relationship, but toxic relationships can make every other part of our life more stressful. Having friends that are positive influences can help us grow and be healthy. Friendships motivate us to be the best we can be, as long as the relationship has a healthy give and take. That does not mean that you should drop all of your friends like hot potatoes, but if your friendship is not growing in positivity, it might be time to have a heart to heart about your friendship and where you want it to go. We all have to keep growing, changing, and learning. Make friends that inspire you, make you want to be better, and friends that are in a place in life you would like to be.

Stop Comparing Yourself To Everyone


Are you still waiting on that defining moment in which you will figure out everything and decide what to do with your life? So are the rest of us. You might never have a moment that will define the rest of your life, but you will have moments that make you feel inspired, excited, or even passionate about what steps you want to take in your life. 

Comparing ourselves to others is natural. It's something we did as babies to learn, to grow. Going on facebook or instagram to check out your friend's vacation pictures or those facebook statuses about how Sam just LOVES the new job can make us feel like maybe we are doing something wrong if we aren't living the life our friends are posting so happily about. People don't post online about their worst days, their embarrassing pictures, or why they are so discontented with their life. Typically, people post about the things they are happy about, which makes everyone get the false impression that everything in their life is perfect.

When your friends are talking about what exciting things are happening in their lives, instead of comparing your life to the life your friends talk about, think about the things that you are doing well. If you are having a difficult time in your life, whether personally or in your career, think about the progress you've made in the past five years, the lessons you have learned, and the goals that you have. Find excitement in what you want to change or do with your time. Don't waste time feeling down, just plan. If you don't like your job, start thinking about where you would love to work. Do you need to change up your resume? Learn something new online? Have a practice interview with a friend? Whatever it takes. Work toward getting that dream job. If your dream job requires more learning, start planning how much time a week you can dedicate to learning those new skills. Don't just watch a bunch of training videos, read instructions and use guides. Do some hands-on assignments yourself to get some practice in. You'll find you have some exciting things to talk about now, because you are working toward a new and exciting goal. 

Are You Ready For A Next Level Video?

How can you take your video marketing to the next level? Well before you just hire the first videographer you see, here's a list of questions to ask yourself. 

1) What do you want your audience to gain from this video?

Before you can even solidify what your video will be about, you need to know what your audience will get from watching it. Are you trying allow people to get to know you & your personal brand, educate them on a specific topic, show them what sets your business apart, make a big announcement, or give a tutorial? Narrowing this down will help you decide what to make your video about. 

2) Who do you work with?

Sure you could probably phone your friend Jeff with a video camera and ask him to film it for you, but if you're wanting a next level video that will set you apart and increase your marketable value, you should choose a little more carefully. When looking for either a free lancer or a production company, there's a few things to look for to make sure they're the right fit for your needs. 

- Are they corporate or creative? There's a difference. A creative can give you the added value of storytelling in a way that keeps your video on task, while a corporate video might be a little more plain & and straight to the point without those "wow" factors. 

- Do they specialize in a certain type of videography that aligns with your needs? Just like you wouldn't hire a family physician to perform your open heart surgery, you want to make sure your videographer specializes in the type of video you're looking for. 

- Are they easy to work with? I know sometimes you don't find this out until it's too late and the invoice is paid, but when it comes to videography there are some indications to look out for. What is their process like? Does the process look drawn out, overwhelming, and does it feel like it has too many necessary parts? Although it does depend on the size of the project, if the process looks never ending it might be difficult to keep up with. 

3) How do you prepare? 

If you're speaking in your video, script out your thoughts beforehand. You don't need a word for word script, just outline your main points, and you can even time yourself saying what you want to say beforehand to ensure it's within the time of your video. You can also sit down with your videographer and have them work with you to give you a clear idea of what the video will look like after production is over (Storyboarding, essentially). Pick out clothes that are not distracting or too bright, solids and staying away from white is usually best (Unless patterns are your thing or you're showcasing a wedding dress)! 

Be picky. You want your next level video to be one that you're proud to share and one that people will want to share. You know the power of videos, and getting a video made that is powerful and well produced will take you and your business, to the next level. 


If you'd like to take the step up into your next level videos, you can sign up & download the video strategy guide here.


The Struggle to Stay Motivated

So we made it through two of the most difficult months of the year, January and February.  I say that because so many of us have a difficult time staying motivated when the weather turns cold and the days get shorter, I know I do.   We still have a little ways to go before the official first day of spring which is March 20th, but just knowing it's around the corner, already lifts my spirits!

"SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a serious problem for some people, but any type of depression can be made worse by short days, dreary weather, or stressful holidays," says Robert Rowney, DO, a psychiatrist and mood disorder expert and director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Mood Disorders Treatment and Research at Lutheran Hospital. "The big difference between SAD and major depression is that SAD starts in the fall or winter and ends in the spring.


According to Arnold Lieber, MD The reduction in sunlight in winter can throw your biological clock out of whack and reduce levels of serotonin (a brain chemical that regulates your mood) and melatonin (a chemical which regulates sleep and mood).  If our mood dips down, we have a tendency to not follow through on our goals and resolutions we made.  

"I'm not telling you it's going to be easy - I'm telling you it's going to be worth it."   

Art Williams

There are some things we can do to help us over the bump in the road when we feel like quitting.  

Re-evaluate your January Goals - Sometimes we need to do an "update" on the original plan.  Just like we need to do updates on our phone and software to keep things running smoothly the same goes for our goals.  It's ok to make the changes necessary so that "we" are refreshed and recharged to keep going with a new and better plan.

Don't Do it Alone - This one might make you feel uncomfortable but we need to develop a support network to help us achieve our personal and professional goals.  Start with your closest family, friends, teachers, etc and write down the strengths they have which can help you.  Come up with a plan on how often you will talk or meet together so it's not easily forgotten.  


* Rewards are Good - Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson says that we need to "take the time to sit back and relive our achievements, applaud our efforts, and allow the warm glow of a job well done to trickle down into the deep recesses of our neural structure."

Everyone is different when it comes to what motivates them to keep going.  Whatever you do, don't give up when you are facing a bump in the road.  Keep track of your accomplishments and rewards along the way, you might be surprised by how many successes you have had!

How Scents Affect Our Mood and Work Performance


Have you ever walked into wonderfully scented room and it put you in a good mood right away?  Or maybe the complete opposite has happened with a smell that you just wanted to get away from.  There is no denying that certain scents do affect our mood.

“Our sense of smell is the most powerful of our senses, in terms of emotion, how we connect with experiences and how we remember things,” said Ed Burke, VP of Customer Strategy and Communications at ScentAir in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Not all smells will illicit a positive emotion so as a business, we have to be careful how we use it.  One person might love the smell of a certain fragrance and someone else might develop a variety of physical symptoms from it such as headaches, dizziness, nausea to name a few.  

Other than the physical symptoms, there may be negative emotional responses from a certain scent.  It all depends on how or what that person associates the scent with.  If it's not positive, then it will trigger a negative emotion in them.

Despite the possibility of negative reactions, in 1993, researchers found that scent marketing campaigns were powerful enough to increase brand loyalty and sales.

One of the most well-known studies in the industry was conducted by Alan Hirsch, a Chicago-based neurologist who founded the Smell and Taste Research Foundation. For the study, scientists placed two identical pairs of Nike running shoes into rooms that were exactly alike, except for one difference. One room had a floral scent, while the other one was unscented. 

After the study, Hirsch and his team concluded that consumers were 84 percent more likely to buy the Nike running shoes in the scented room.

Many businesses have caught on to the benefits of incorporating scents into their marketing tactics.   Some hotels have a certain aroma in their lobby for guests to enjoy, retailers have been known to use scents in their store so customers stay longer and make purchases.  

If you want to experiment with how scents can help improve job performance and even possible health benefits, you can begin by placing an electric diffuser in your room or office.  Add a few drops of essential oils to the diffuser filled with distilled water.  There are 6 scents Beverley Hawkins, owner of the Vancouver-based West Coast Institute of Aromatherapy recommends for boosting your productivity and mood at work.

1.  Lemon - Promotes concentration, calming affects

2. Lavender - Calming, emotional stress, tension

3. Jasmine - Calming, revitalized energy

4. Rosemary - Memory retention, exhaustion, fatigue

5. Cinnamon - Mental fatigue, concentration, focus.

6. Peppermint - Energy booster, concentration, thinking

 Aroma 36, a scent marketing and branding company in Florida with clients such as Ritz Carlton, Paradise Island Bahamas and Ferrari of Ft. Lauderdale, find that customers stay as much as 44% longer in a business “surrounded by an attractive scent.” 

With such a high percentage like that, it just may be worth giving scent marketing a try!



Client of the Month

We had the amazing opportunity to work with Laura Evans Manatos, and it is our pleasure to feature her as our March Client of the Month.


Tell us about yourself?: After 25+ years working as local TV news anchor, I grew tired of talking about the bad news happening in our world everyday. I decided it was time to focus on the good and help give a voice to those organizations and individuals working to lift us up and make our communities better, us healthier, our world kinder. I want to highlight those who are part of the solution rather than those who are part of the problem.

What did you do before your current career?: I was a reporter and anchor at Fox 5 DC for nearly 20 years. Prior to that I worked as an anchor and reporter at the ABC affiliate in Santa Barbara, CA and the NBC affiliate in Eureka, CA.

And how do you feel you will use your talents to help create change?: I am using my years of experience in news to help create engaging and compelling stories and also leveraging my many relationships in the media to get those stories told.

What's the one thing that's pretty interesting about you that not too many people know?: I've raced in more than 20 triathlons.

What's one thing you think everyone should do at least once in their life?: Start a meditation practice.


What are you looking forward to in the new few months?: Going to Greece with family and friends to celebrate big birthdays.

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?: Slowing down to soak in small moments a little more.

If you had to describe yourself to someone based on your values, traits and personality, how would you do so?: I am a driven, passionate motivator. When I believe in something, I make it happen.

How can others connect with you?:



Want To Jump On The Video Marketing Bandwagon?

Have you thought about adding videos to your marketing strategy? Its a good thought, and it can definitely be an overwhelming one, too. Where do you start? What do you talk about? How do you put it together? Where do you post them? Pause for a second, and breathe. Let's talk about where to start. 


Start with something manageable. 

Let me just say, starting in itself is the most important part. Don't record a bunch of stuff then never put it out there because you're not sure it's 100% perfect, you need to just get out there! You'll build an audience who enjoys seeing you, and then by the time you post something that might be highly produced and perfectly perfect, you'll have eyes on it. 

Start with Facebook Live. Going live is a great way to get your viewers engaged with you and it's easy to keep up with if you're trying to push out a lot of valuable content. Facebook lives (or even Instagram live!), are awesome for posting "rants" on something you care about, making a big announcement, doing a weekly show, demonstrating how you do something / teaching something, etc. Facebook makes it really easy to record them then have the live posted to your timeline after the fact, so people can still tune in after you aren't live. ( Tip: Before you go live, ask a few friends to get on and engage, it will help you feel more comfortable on air.) 

Use the video production crew in your pocket. 

If you can't hire a professional video production crew just yet, just wipe that sweat off your brow and take a look at that smartphone in your pocket. Smartphones have revolutionized the way we go about a lot of things in our lives, and they can be a fantastic tool in video marketing. If you're trying to get into vlogs or even just wanting to put together quick videos that are a little more produced, your phone will work just fine. Nowadays the cameras on smartphones are pretty high quality, and there are a lot of free editing softwares that are easy to use. If you have an iPhone, try out iMovie, which is automatically loaded on your phone. For android users, you can download Movie Maker Filmmaker for free from Google Play. If you're not into editing videos on your small phone screen, you can also import your videos to your computer and use Animoto, which is an awesome and free editing site that makes it really easy to create visually appealing videos perfect for social media. 

Have fun!

Putting yourself out there and getting in front of the camera can be stressful, so it's important to have fun with it, and be YOU! Let your personality shine through, your audience will feel more connected to you which will make them more excited to work with you; they'll feel like they're meeting a celebrity! 

If you'd like more info on how you can narrow down on your video marketing, you can sign up & download our video strategy guide here. 

"I Have Confidence in Me!"

       Sound of Music

      Sound of Music

What will this day be like? 
I wonder.
What will my future be?
I wonder.
It could be so exciting,
To be out in the world,
to be free!
My heart should be wildly rejoicing.
Oh, what's the matter with me?
I've always longed for adventure,
to do the things I've never dared.
Now here I'm facing adventure
then why am I so scared?

How many of you started singing to the words of Julie Andrews in the 1965 film, The Sound of Music when you read the title and the song lyrics?  

While we may not have memorized all the lyrics, we are familiar with that one line in the song.  But can we honestly say with 100% assurance, 


Do you face challenges with your head held high and a positive attitude like Julie Andrews did at first, but then arrive at the gate completely paralyzed by fear?  Well, I can confidently say, "You're not alone."

Bestselling author Joe Rubino  says that a whopping 85% suffer from low self-esteem.  He says it is the #1 cause for not living your dream life.   I came across a website that offers a list of probing questions you may want to look over.  It might help to see if you fall into the category of one who suffers with low confidence.  

It is disheartening to hear that such a large percentage are not living their dream life.  But low self-confidence and low self-esteem can also have a negative effect on your family and business goals.  If you are a business owner or entrepreneur, your clients come to you because they trust you and believe in the services you provide.  If you were looking to purchase a new home, you would want a realtor that appeared to be confident and knowledgeable in their profession and if they weren't, more than likely you would not choose them to work for you.


So how do we gain confidence?  Confidence comes from doing the very thing that we are afraid to do, and experiencing positive results along the way. It's about making that decision to "do it" no matter how difficult it is or how scared you may feel.

When your thoughts go in a negative direction, try to catch yourself, and immediately turn it around and say something positive.  Build a new habit that changes the old negativity into a new and positive one.

Be patient with yourself.  Becoming a more self-confident person takes time.  We don't like to get out of our comfort zone because it's where we feel safe, but if we just stay in that safe place we will never grow.  

Since we are a photography studio, it is important for us to make you feel confident in your photos.  The majority of our clients come to us for business headshots,  so we are going to deliver a result that you are proud of.  Regardless of how you feel when you come into the studio , you will walk out loving your images and be confident to share and use them in all your advertising.

There are endless amounts of books, classes, and support groups out there that will help you work towards being a self-confident person.  You won't change just by telling yourself to be more confident, you have to actually do the very thing you don't want to do,  and then you will see change!

Do whatever you can to overcome what is holding you back from living your dream.  There is no better time to start than now.


Don't Wait for Perfection

All of us, at some point in our life have an idea that excites us!  We think about it daily, make plans in our head and spend countless hours figuring out how we are going to make it a reality.  

Unfortunately many people are stuck in the "wishing stage" because they don't think they have everything they need to get started.  They wish they could move forward on their idea but they need more money, experience, or even more time to work on it so they end up doing nothing at all. 

Their idea just sits in their imagination and lives there as only a dream.

There are people for example, who love photography.  They hesitate turning their dream into a reality because they don't have the best lighting, or the variety of backdrops, or the fancy equipment so many other photographers have.  So they tell themselves, "As soon as I have a studio and purchase everything that I need, THEN I'll start shooting professionally.  But you don't have to wait for that perfect time to make it happen.  

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."     

Theodore Roosevelt

Look at this gorgeous photo of Emily.  It looks like it was shot in a studio or some beautiful location with lots of yummy lighting but in reality we were at a local craft store in town with the ugly store lighting.  The lighting I used was a small handheld LED light that we paid under fifty dollars for and we used just one camera lens.  This is just a visual reminder that you CAN take the steps necessary to move toward your goal.  Even if it's little by little, even if you don't have everything you need right away.  

The best thing you can do right now is to get out and just DO.  Don't wait for the perfect moment.  Don't keep reading books and making lists.  Even if it's not the "Perfect" way of doing it, just do something to get the ball moving.  Most of the time the things that occupy our time of reading and making lists aren't actually helping us, but stopping us from doing.  We are doing busy work making us feel like we are actually accomplishing something.

If you wait for the PERFECT TIME, you will discover that there is no such thing as the perfect time.  

You will hold yourself back needlessly and procrastinate on that amazing idea you have.  Don't wait.  Don't hesitate or doubt what you can start today.  And above all, don't keep yourself in that "Wishing Stage" because you will look back and wish with regret that you would have taken those first steps. 



Example of me "doing". Had an idea with limited resources and time.  Reached out to Emily to see if she would let me "try" something.  Challenged myself with a little LED light I had bought off amazon for less than $50 and went into one of the worst lighting locations I could think of, a retail store. Challenged myself to get at least 3 shots I loved within 20 minutes AND not get kicked out.  

To be honest, I almost called Emily to cancel because it was freezing rain outside and I thought I'd look into how I would do it beforehand.  Instead, I said, I am going to show up and just figure it out.  

And sure enough I did.

Don't be afraid to set small challenges to prove to yourself you are capable.

Pernicious People Pleasing

Have you ever heard people say, "I am such a people pleaser.  I just don't like when anyone is upset." Or have you thought of yourself as being a people pleaser and believed it was a positive characteristic?  I have to admit, for the majority of my life, I believed it was a good thing.  After all, what is so bad about helping others, being a team player and making other people happy?  Those are good things, right?


Those are all good things, but being a people-pleaser can create a debilitating pattern of behavior which will cause stress and ruin the productive pursuit of your own goals.

If you are comfortable setting boundaries, and saying no when your plate is already full, then you probably don't fit into the category of being a people pleaser.  Although you enjoy being there for others, you know how to set your priorities in a way so that it doesn't interfere with your personal life or cause resentment. If you find yourself doing so much for other people but it's causing you emotional stress, then it has definitely become a problem.  

A people pleaser says yes when they really wanted to say no.  

Oftentimes after you have done that very nice thing for someone else, you are left feeling resentful.  Next, it leads you down a spiral of thoughts;  "I should have said no, but if I did I'm afraid they would think negatively about me,"  "I would not get that promotion,"  or "I could lose their friendship."  The constant worry about what other people might be thinking can lead to mental fatigue.  Instead of having the attitude of knowing that you can't please everyone, you spend much of your time agonizing over your lack of ability to say no.

The inability to be honest and tell someone no, can cause a lot of stress in a relationship.

 It is not healthy in a marriage and it does not teach your children how to have healthy boundaries in their lives.  Parents will often say yes to their own children because they want to be their friend. They want to be liked by them, or be  viewed by them as the "cool parent."  

 In his book, Boundaries in Marriage, Henry Cloud said, “You get what you tolerate.”  It is easy to blame the other person and direct our frustration and anger towards them, but we are the ones who are tolerating the behavior.  The people that do the asking, know that you will say yes, which is why they go to you time after time.

So how do you get out of the rut you're in?  Realize that when you say no to something you can't or don't want to do, you are saying yes to something else.  That something can be as simple and enjoyable as a coffee date with a friend, or time to sit home and read a good book. You don't have to have a good enough reason to say's ok to just say no.

Take time to think about why you have a hard time saying no. What are you afraid of?  What might be the result of you pulling back more often and not agreeing to things all the time?  Are those really going to affect your life negatively?  Are the people in your circle positive and enriching to your life? Will the people in your life continue to value your friendship, even if you said no?  

You have to really know the answers to those questions so you will be armed with confidence and assurance. It is important that other people know you have boundaries and limits; the important people in your life will respect you more if you are honest with them.  

Maybe this is the year to say, "I will stop being a people pleaser!" 

Singer Ed Sheeran said, "I can't tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone."



Client of the Month


We'd like to introduce you to our wonderful client, Karen Daily who we had the pleasure to work with.

Tell us about yourself?: I love helping people achieve their dream of owning a home.

What did you do before your current career?: I was a litigation attorney defending people who were sued.

And how do you feel you will use your talents to help create change?: I am outgoing and very personable. I can relate to people from all different walks of life due to my life experiences.

What's the one thing that's pretty interesting about you that not too many people know?: I play the piano and love music. I have a Bachelor of Music degree.

What's one thing you think everyone should do at least once in their life?: Travel to another country.

What are you looking forward to in the new few months?: I am working on developing business at a brand new office and am hoping that the marketing efforts I've been doing will start to pay off.


If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?: I really can't think of one thing because all of life's experiences, whether fun or hard, help shape the person that I am today.

If you had to describe yourself to someone based on your values, traits and personality, how would you do so?: Outgoing, integrity, personable, kind, caring, funny.


How can others connect with you?: Facebook business page - Karen Daily Ekofo
LinkedIn - Karen Daily
Instagram - Karen Ekofo


Are You a Hustler?

You many not want to answer that question unless we're talking about the more positive aspects of the word, right?  Be honest, when you saw the title what went through your mind?  It's okay, because I thought the same thing when I wrote it!  

Lets talk about the one definition out of five from that says, "an enterprising person determined to succeed; go-getter." Now if I asked you the same question, I bet all the hands would go up in the room because that is what most of us aspire to be; a go-getter, determined, ambitious and aspiring.  


Let me ask you another question.  Do you have a Side Hustle?  A side hustle is a way to make some extra cash that allows you flexibility to pursue what you're most interested in. It can also be your true passion.

So many people are working at jobs 40+  hours a week that they don't even enjoy.  They don't know if they will ever be able to fulfill their dream and do what they really want to do in life.  Or maybe they/you don't want to rely on your current job as your only source of income and that is understandable.  Most jobs today are not guaranteed to be there for us tomorrow, so financial security is uncertain.

Nick Loper has a fantastic website called Side Hustle Nation.  On his site he has listed 108 side hustle jobs that you can do, with a great description next to each one.  I believe that everyone has the talent and/or ability to do at least one of the things on his list.  Again, it takes determination and ambition but it is definitely attainable.


Another benefit to launching your own Side-Hustle is personal growth.  Whether you decide to start your own Airbnb or make wedding cakes at home, you are utilizing your talents and skills to pursue another opportunity in your life.  New doors of opportunity will begin to open up for you and as a result you will gain motivation, confidence and fulfillment.

A Side-Hustle does not have to be a huge financial investment but you will have to put yourself out there.  Advertising on social media is one of the quickest ways to spread the word about your services.  Invest in getting a professional headshot because the first impression you leave on your marketing materials will be lasting, and you want it to be positive.  Don't put it off because you can't do it full time, find ways you can incorporate it into your life now.  

Anaia Nin who was born in 1903 wrote, "Good things happen to those who HUSTLE."  Anais Nin

"We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained."  Marie Curie