Embracing the leap out of the comfort zone | How I'm working on getting out of a general life rut

 

You have to possess an '...obsessive, non-stop, improving, evolving character' in order to achieve success

-Ben Gorham of Byredo

Kinfolk Entrepreneur

 

It's hard to admit to yourself that you're stuck.

 

To admit when you've stopped developing, stopped challenging yourself, stopped chasing and stopped growing.

 

In the past few years, I got myself to a point where I was letting my anxiety and my fear get the better of me and stop me from moving out of my comfort zone. Honestly it's been like that for most of my life and I've been fooling myself into thinking that fighting for comfortable in all aspects of life was the goal.

 

739F9D09-C7DC-48CA-8D06-3CD83222EF38.JPG

 

You know that saying that nothing will get better if you stay in your comfort zone? It was a saying that I stubbornly spent years not wanting to believe. I was so anxious and unhappy that I spent all of my time trying to fight for a comfortable happy place in life. I ended up being scared of pushing myself to do things that were new. It frightened me beyond belief rushing into the unknown, pushing myself away from what I thought made me happy, and as a result, I kind of clammed up and stopped trying new things. I hated trying new things.

 

I stopped enjoying life properly because of it.

 

I wasn't happy.

 

I was stuck in my work, stuck in my personal life, and not really evolving as a human being. It's miserable being scared and trying to cling to your comfort zone all the time. Demoralising seeing people around you doing all this cool stuff. Heartbreaking not being brave enough to go after the things that will bring your dream life closer to you.

 

I turned 24 last month and I realised I was done. I wasn't about to be 25 and be in the same place I was several years ago. I was over being stuck and unhappy. I decided that 24 was the year I was going to change shit.

 

And I did.

 

I started properly working out again for the first time in a long time, saying fuck it to my back issues and trying to do the stuff I loved doing that I was too scared to do for fear of throwing my back out. You know what happened? My muscles started getting stronger, I was generally happier and my back was getting stretched out properly. I might have pushed it too far every once in a while, but I'm learning what too far is and how to avoid it. I'm soooo much happier knowing my body can do these things again instead of feeling trapped in an endless cycle inside a broken body that wouldn't stop hurting. And gaining weight because of it, further destroying my self confidence.

 

I went out of the country for the first time. Yes, I'm serious.

My family never travelled overseas while I was growing up. Mum didn't like travelling and Dad did so much for work he didn't really want to push her on it. I started going on planes to Wellington for work a year ago but didn't leave the country until recently. And I was so nervous. But it was awesome. I love flying, and was upset when it was over. I loved exploring somewhere new, eating at aaaaaalllll the restaurants, seeing things you've only ever heard about online. I grew a little bit on that trip, learning how to deal with customs and border securtiy, that the Australian Border Force, (note the FORCE, not security, it's all in the name), are dicks, and what happens when a flight is cancelled. I'm ready to travel more and the idea doesn't scare me as much as it used to. BECAUSE I PUSHED MYSELF TO DO IT and the first time I did it MY FLIGHT HOME WAS CANCELLED. And I got through it fine. Growth.

 

And then my dating life, or lack thereof, needed to be dealt with. I haven't really dated anyone in a while, and never had a proper relationship. I wanted to work on my self-confidence and who I was before bringing someone else into that equation, which is still true and very valid. Being single for so long I've learnt watching others that you can't find validation in who you are from other people, you have to love who you are in order to fully let others in and love them back. But in all of this, I found myself actually not dating because the older I got and the longer I didn't, the more scared and anxious I got about the prospect of opening up to new people and being vulnerable. To get myself out of that, I finally relented and let my friends set up Tinder for me and in the span of a few weeks or so I've learnt a lot. At the very least it's opened me up to meeting new people, and that alone was a hurdle and a fucking half.

 

Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander (5 of 1).jpg

And work! The biggest thing I've been stuck in and the most frustrating from a self worth point of view is my work. I set out to grow a business with Samand it wasn't growing because I wasn’t. I've been too scared to create interactions with people saying 'hey i'm bomb, work with me'. Not confident enough in myself or my work to support it. And fuck me I'm done with it. I know I have a lot to learn, and I know that where I will be skills wise in just a year for now is unfathomable to me right now, but I am going to fight for how good I am now and work on creating the empire I dream of. Because I am good enough and I believe in what Sam and I can do together, and what we can create for other people and this is what I'm meant to be doing right now. Things just falls too perfectly into place every time for it not to be.

 

In line with not thinking i'm worthy, i've been too scared to learn new things and learn the skills I need to get better. I hate being bad at things, and I hate even more showing other people the bad versions of what i'm trying to get good at. I decided in the past few months I was going to embrace being bad at stuff, to embrace the beginners mindset, AND ITS FUCKING CRINGE STILL BUT SO LIBERATING. So I've made it my mission to grow as a creative, to learn everything I can as fast as I can to make me better, to make my business better, to make it so I can help Sam with his work better, to make me a better photographer, videographer and to push my career in the direction I know it can go.

 

I started vlogging finally to help me learn video editing. And the cherry on top of learning a valuable skill is that I'm going to be a youtuber. After years of dreaming about it I am going to upload youtube videos and contribute to a community that has literally helped me out of some of the darkest and saddest moments in my life. I've spent 10 years wanting to be part of that community and even if I never get any subscribers other than the people I know I will be happy knowing that i'm contributing to the platform I've always loved. Plus it's going to help me grow as an editor and a videographer, which is fucking dope. I just need to start editing and uploading.

 

At its essence, I'm just stopping myself from holding back. Trying so hard to not let that little voice in my head tell me i'm not good enough, pretty enough or talented enough. I have been so closed off trying to protect myself from criticism that will further fuel that voice, but I'm so done letting it win and done waiting for other people to negate those thoughts in my head for me. And I know this is one of the most cliche ideas out right now, but it's so on point with what this time of my life is about for me. Doing right by me and actually working and fighting for the life that I want for myself. Fighting for my happiness, embracing the scary stuff and shaking things up. Because i'm going nowhere if I don't.

 

 

But this growth, and me working on growing my business, was always the whole premise of this blog and I want my youtube channel to be. I always wanted my online presence as a human to be sharing that journey in the hopes that someone else would be able to relate and take something from that. That we could all help each other grow and support each other. That I can leave behind a trail for people that clearly outlines my journey as it happens so in 5 years time, 10 years time, the accounts of my growing as a brand are there for people to see instead of me recounting them from the slightly jaded perspective in the future having achieved what I hope to.

 

Someone said at In Focus last year 'don't compare your back end to someone else's front end'. Sam and I might joke about how it’s pretty dirty with the wrong mindset, but the premise of it stuck with me. I want my back end, for lack of a better word, to be here for people to find so that they can know that it existed. There is something open and honest about that and I think that's part of the legacy I want to leave.

 

What's Inspiring Me | March 2018

Another month, another round of awesome things I've been loving or inspired by.

 

I made a conscious effort to note things down if I really enjoyed them or got some inpsiration out of them this month so I could be a bit more specific content wise with what I shared with you. Hopefully you love them as much as I do!

 

Shot from the street - tips on productivity

 

 

And of course we have content from Lizzy Hadfield again. When is she ever not inspiration for me.

 

This month it was this blog post in particular - her tips on productivity. I love the mentality she has towards it all, very similar to mine, and made me feel a bit better about not being like everyone else on the internet with overly pretty bullet journals and seemingly perfect routines. She focuses on simplicity and self-care to keep herself productive which I value in itself because you don't end up wasting too much time on things to 'make you productive' at everything else. 

 

Well worth a read for creatives, bloggers or anyone who works from home.

 

Jessica Kobeissi - 'Photographers shoot the same model' series

I know that this series has been around for a while and that many people will know about Jessica Kobeissi but a friend of mine put me onto these videos recently and have seen them and never really watched them, I gave it a go.

I am now obsessed and DYING to do more personal projects.

It is also inspiring me to do some youtube stuff alongside the blog, so that might happen sometime soon... 😜

 

Monica Church - Millennial Life Crisis

Monica, along with her sister Shelby, have been part of the youtube scene for a hell of a long time. I've personally seen bits and pieces of their content over the years but never really watched too much, until I recently watched one of Monica's Millennial Life Crisis vlogs and instantly was hooked. 

I am really enjoying watching her content as a millennial trying to build something in the online and creative industry. The vlogs are filmed so well. Inspiring me, yet again, to start vlogging.

 

@therichardkelly on instagram

 

Not much to say other than the fact that I have really been enjoying his instagram stories the past few weeks! I find myself watching every second of it when it pop's up duing my scrolling, which if i'm honest I don't always do for people. He makes an effort to keep it entertaining.

 

Also helps that his work is gorgeous. Such an awesome feed to have a scroll down. Well worth checking out.

 Image from  @therichardkelly  on Instagram

Image from @therichardkelly on Instagram

 

That's all I've got for you this month! Let me know if you've come across any of the people above and what you think of them. 

 

I was off sick for a week this month, so I had a lot of time browsing the internet and clicking on random videos on youtube. Managed to find some new stuff to watch and it's making me really excited about trying some new stuff. Also about learning video editing. Working on that one haha.

 

Charlotte x

My Life on 35mm #2 | December 2017

This might be the last of these posts for a little while. My film camera is currently in need of a little repair. Something in the rewind mechanism jammed up resulting in a completely ruined roll of film when I tried to open up the back (all the photos gone forever and the shots were some of the best I had taken in a while).

 

So while that is being repaired, I am film camera-less and missing it. For now though, enjoy the last roll of film I shot that didn't get ruined. First time shooting Ilford HP5, the cult classic black and white film. I'm looking forward to shooting again soon - I think the next roll will be colour again because I was really excited to give that a go and then gutted when it got ruined by my own stupidity and an old camera. 

 

Finger crossed we manage to get back into it soon, but in the meantime here is the highlights from the last roll I shot!

 
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-32.jpg
 
 
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-20.jpg
 
 
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-19.jpg
 
 
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-23.jpg
 
 
 
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-22.jpg
 
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-21.jpg
 
 
 
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-25.jpg
 
 
 
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-33.jpg
 
 
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-30.jpg
 
 
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-28.jpg
 
 
 
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-26.jpg
 
 
I re-edited some of my old photos, and this is what happened...

I've talked about this before in a post I did about the technical growth I have had with my work over the past year or two (click here to read that post). A LOT can change in that time. Writing that previous post comparing all techincal aspects of my old and new work (composition, general skill, editing etc), I decided I really wanted to try re-editing some of my old work. 

 

I look back at some of those photos now and cringe at the editing. I wasn't very brave with it, not wanting to push myself and it probably stemmed from a lack of understanding when it came to knowing what everything did. I would still only call myself a solid intermediate level with Lightroom, there is so much to it and I'm learning more and more every day, but oh wow I'm a lot better than I used to be.

 

I also didn't really have a style and wasn't sure what I liked. I've learnt a lot by analysing other peoples work when I find something I loved, stalking others lightroom presets to see what they did to achieve the looks they got, and just generally playing around and tweaking things everytime I would do a new set of photos. Taking shots for the blog has really allowed me to do this on my own time too. I know this will probably develop even further over the next year, and hopefully settle down a bit eventually, but right now it is getting closer and closer to what I love every time I open Lightroom. 

 

I just have a far better understanding of how everything works, what the different sliders do for photos, what you should and shouldn't push and I'm trying to be more creative with my work, and this understanding has allowed me to experiment and learn more about what I love.

 

And if you need proof of what I'm talking about, you're about to see it in all it's slightly embarrassing glory. Buckle up.

The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-2.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-1.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-4.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-3.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-6.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-5.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-8.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-7.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-10.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-9.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-14.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-13.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-16.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-15.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-18.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-17.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-20.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-19.jpg

These are just a handful of Rushmare shots again since she is the one I have consistently done similar shoots for over the past 2 years, but I'm planning on doing a few more of these kinds of posts over the next year including some more commercial work and some couple shoots I have done. 

 

I'd love to hear from you though! If you do creative work, how often do you go back and look at what you used to do? Does it just make you cringe so you ignore it or do you actually feel some sort of empowerment from it like I do?

 

If you haven't tried it, I recommend it. It has an amazing impact. Sometimes you can't see how much you have improved and developed over time, and it takes actually looking back at your old work to fully appreciate it. It might be the best thing you do all day.

 

Hope you have had or are having an inspired and productive work day!

Charlotte

February Favourites: Creative to Lifestyle

Another month gone. Can anyone believe that it is March already? This month is going to be a busy one, but i'm looking forward to being busy to be honest. I like it. 

 

But I thought, since it has been a few months since the last one of these, that it would be the perfect time to have a chat about some of my favorite things right now. From creative bits and pieces, to all the lifestyle ones, this is basically anything and everything I have been enjoying throughout February.

 

 

Creative Favourites

 

Favourite Shot: Rushmare Street Style

I always enjoy the photos I get out my shoots with Anna of rushmare.com, as you probably well know (I've shared them before, and I share them a lot). This one, whilst not with my sharpest lens, is one I really loved out of this shoot around Newmarket this month. I've also been playing around with editing this month, and this is a little bit different for me.

Graphite Imaging x Rushmare-6.jpg
 

My Peak Designs Camera Strap

Seriously, if you are a photographer you need one of these straps. The design is so well thought out, and the quality is superb, so you don't have to worry about anything happening to your camera while running around on a shoot. It is seriously an incredibly well thought out piece of equipment and well worth the money. 

F6C0C7AB-C7E2-4BE2-A470-5238D4AAB0F0.JPG
 

Trello

Basically the only thing i'm using to keep myself organised for content creation and all website edits. It's easy, it's FREE and it works. 

The main thing i've been using it for this month is this blog right here! It's my editorial calendar, it's my briandump of ideas, it's where I transfer all my brainstorms, it's my project planner for broader things I want to do. 

Again, this is something I will probably do a blog post on sometime, basically how you can use the program in a broad sense (I don't utilise everything they offert well enough to talk about it more specofically than that) but it is an amazing piece of software. 

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 3.58.18 PM.png
 

My Bullet Journal

The place I put down all the shit that needs to get done day to day. 

And I've been loving it. 

I talked about how I use my bullet journal and how much I love it in a blog post a few weeks ago, so click HERE to check it out in more detail, but suffice it to say, I've been loving it and it's been life-changing for my organisational system.

Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-16.jpg
 

Online Favourites

The RAPID FIRE section where I just give you my favourite places on the internet right now.

 

Instagram account: @thegreylayers

Whom everyone will know, but with her wedding in Bali happening recently, I have been living for the updates <3

Blogger: shotfromthestreet.com

You will have seen me talk about her a lot, but I have been re-obsessed with her this month.

Youtuber: Shane Dawson

I know, I know, literally one of the OG youtubers, but the most recewnt videos he has been doing have been amazing and after several years of not watching him, I am re-obsessed.

Podcast: The Goal Digger Podcast with Jenna Kutcher

I'm constantly impressed by Jenna, her work ethic and her openness about her business, and her podcast is just a huge reflection of that. Well worth a listen for creative hustlers.

 

 

lifestyle Favourites

 

Yoga By Adrienne - Specifically 'yoga for back pain'

So I have RSI, and I have been struggling with that chronically for almost 2 years. I will do another post on this in more detail sometime. What happens when my RSI is acting up is my back ends up tightening to compensate for my weak arm and shoulder. Yoga helps to keep it stretched out and strengthen it gently and with control. This video in particular really helps to massage and support your back if you're already in pain, and it so calming and theraputic. I do this one at least once a week and have done for months.

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 12.55.59 PM.png
 

My 'Swell' Water Bottle

For a very long time, I have been on the hunt for a drink bottle that doesn't leak, and with the rise of metal, insulated water bottles the perfect solution was being delivered to me on a platter. And I still took forever to get one. 

They are amazing though - your water stays cold for a very long time, which in this Auckland weather has been a blessing. It doesn't leak, which when you are carrying water around near camera gear and laptops all day is also a blessing. They aren't the most conservative in size, but do I care? Not that much haha. 

 

Flight Coffee - Bomber Blend

The classic Fight Coffee blend, and a forevere favourite, but I thought I should probably share this. 

I don't have coffee at home very often. I am always on the run, and Sam and I typically get coffee to kill time between shoots, but I have actually gone thorugh a bag of this in just over a month, which is actually impressive for me.

 

The netflix 'Queer Eye' Reboot

I think thew whole world is excited about this right now, and I really am one of them. I binge watched thew whole season in 24 hours and it made me so happy. 

If you've not seen it ever (I never saw the original, I was too young) 5 gay men go into the homes and lives of straight men to help revamp their lives. It's sweet and thoughful and heartwarming, and if you want a gorgeous feel good show, go binge it now.

 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck - Mark Manson

Philosophy in it's finest form - approachable and accessable to the masses. This book is awesome for those people with anxiety who just want to get out of their own way and fucking kill it. 

I've not finished it yet, and I will do a full post on it when I have, but I think this is already well worth the purchase and even just reading the first chapter made me feel a bit more empowered, happy and in control. 

Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-16-2.jpg

So that's been my month! Let me know if you've tried and loved any of the stuff mentioned here. Would love to hear especially if you have any recommendations for me!

 

Charlotte x

My Life on 35mm #1

About 6 months ago I realised that I wasn't picking my camera up unless I was working.

After a while of building up my photography business and doing work shoots I was conditioned to associate my camera with work. As a result, I had stopped picking it up for the sake of shooting, where as I used to all the time. So it would just sit there until shoot days, and I didn't actually do my hobby anymore. It was something that upset me quite a bit once I realised, because up until that point poicking up a camera for the sake of taking photos had always made me really happy. And while I still loved taking photos (wouldn't be making a career out of it if I didn't) the excitement of taking photos in my spare time wasn't there.

 

I talked to Sam about it, because he has been doing this a lot longer than I have. He has a Leica as a play around camera to battle this exact issue. He reminded me that my Dad has a film set up that I could pick up as something a bit different. 

Honestly, I'm mad I didn't consider it sooner. I shot film in high school and had loved the process, and this kind of shooting was exactly what I needed. No instant gratification looking at the back, having to think about the shots I was taking, and the reward of picking up the film from the developers was an amazing process. I went and pulled all Dad's film kit out immediatly and asked him to show me how to use it (it has been years since I had shot film), went and bought some film and started shooting.

 

I really wanted to be able to do something with the shots other than just keeping them on my computer though. I weas inspired by Lizzy from 'Shot From the Street' (when am I ever not inspired by soemthing she is doing) and decided to start doing posts like this every once in a while.  

 

I don't shoot it all the time, and I currently am having it repaired so there may not be another of these for a little bit. I have been wanting to do one for a long while though, so I thought I should start with what i've got. 

 

Keep in mind, this was me re-learning how to shoot manual with a slightly inaccurate lightmeter (I learned it was inaccurate about 2 rolls into shooting)

 

Long story short, I think as creatives we need some way to keep us personally passionate about the work we do, so that when we come to doing work for clients we stay as imaginative and excited as we did when we did it as a hobby. Shooting film has made me excited to wander around with a camera again, and i'm even happier now I have a platform to share them.

Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-8.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-5.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-20.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-14.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-16.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-11.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-18.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-21.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-17.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-1.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-2.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-3.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-6.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-7.jpg
What's Inspiring Me Right Now | February 2018 Edition

It's that time of year again. 

 

We're almost 2 months into 2018. Your wide-eyed enthusiasm for your new year new me goals is wearing thin and you're in desperate need of a boost of inspiration to keep you going. I feel ya. I'm constantly weaving in and out of it.

 

So when I was flicking through my list of posts to do, I thought it was the perfect time to share some of the things that have really inspired me this month in hopes of inspiring some of you.

 

Kinfolk Entrepreneur

Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-2.jpg

I know, I know. 

 

I go on about Kinfolk A LOT, and everyone in my life knows how much enojyment I get out of everything they release. I basically don't need to mention it at all anymore, except for the fact that I do. Because this book is awesome. 

 

This book is a compilation of interviews with entrpreneurs from all over the world, amazing humans who have worked their way to success and have all the advice in the world to give.

 

Seriously it is a must read, for creatives, for entrepreneurs, or for anyone who enjoys a real life good story with some beutiful photography and design work along side. Seriously buy it. It's worth the money.

 

Lizzy Hadfield 'Shot from the Street' - 'what it's like living alone' video

More and more I have been thinking about whether I would be happy living on my own. 

 

In theory I adore the idea of having a little apartment that is just mine, but endlessly worry that with my anxiety I would end up miserable and depressed. This video seriously resonated with me so much. 

 

I love Lizzy and all her content, from videos to blog posts, but this one in particualr was so relateable and made me feel like living on my own would be an adveture in self realisation more than anything. 

 

Now I want that little apartment real bad. 

 

But I live in Auckland, a city that is in the top 5 most expensive in the world that is also in the middle of a housing crisis. So we'll see.

 Image sourced from  shotfromthestreet.com &nbsp;

Image sourced from shotfromthestreet.com 

 

The twenties club

 Screenshot of  thetwentiesclub.co.nz

Screenshot of thetwentiesclub.co.nz

If you're not from NZ you may not have come across The Twenties Club before.

 

Run by Madeleine Walker, The Twenties Club is literally a haven for twenty-somethings everywhere. Covering topics from the thoughts of twenty-somethings regarding the election, to things she would buy if rent money wasn't a thing, this is literally the mind of an Auckland (or any) twenty-something human. 

 

 I always come away feeling inspired and happy. It's so engaging you can't not read too much of it in one sitting. #sorrynotsorry

 


That's it from me! I hope something from this collection inspires you as much as they inspired me this week.

Let me know if there is something you think I should check out, i'm always keen to find something different (which means something other than kinfolk, though I love it dearly).

Charlotte x

 

 

Discovering the Perfect Planner for Creatives: The Bullet Journal Journey Part 1
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-11.jpg

I was veeerrrrryyyyy late to the bullet journal trend.

 

Like later than late kind of late. And it's funny, because it's exactly the kind of system I spent years looking for. 

 

I spent all of uni wishing I had a way of keeping track of things that I could customise to what I actually needed. Everything was half what I wanted and half not. And then when I left uni and started working as a photographer, I found myself struggling with the same issues. I needed room for to-do lists, schedules and tasks due, and a space to just dump all the random things I needed to remember to do. Room to track my workouts and food so I didn't have to have a completely different notebook for it. Room to tweak things to have enough room for what I needed and code it how I needed it to be, and for it to be flexible and changeable (becuase I would grow sick of things very quickly). 

 

And then bullet journals happened... and 3 years or so after that became a thing, they happened for me.

 

About 6 months ago I got into the idea, and then spent 2 months trying to find a bloody dot grid notebook.

When I finally had my hands on the thing, I didn't know where to start. I just looked at these blank pages and said to myself 'I don't even know what I want out of this'. 

So I browsed pinterest and Instagram for ideas and quickly realised what I didn't want, which was a lot of complicated decoration or lists for the sake of lists. I put my 'movies to watch' and Bucket List things in notes on my computer so I have them everywhere I go (like when you actually need the 'books to read' list because you're at a bookstore unsure what to buy). I didn't want that stuff to clutter this notebook, it was meant to be a day to day book to get. shit. done.

 

Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-13.jpg

 

No, what I needed was clean and functional, with a layout that was aesthetically pleasing and I enjoyed using from both a practical and visual stand point. It took me months to even get near that point, and anyone who is starting a bullet journal will probably find the same thing. 

 

I spent a long time playing around with things and am finally now starting to get my bearings. I learnt very quickly that the best way to figure out what works for you is to try stuff and tweak it week by week to make it better. Let it grow with you, and let you learn week by week what you like and what you don't. To be honest, my first week was incredibly rough and the second not much better, but only through starting did I realise what I wanted/needed (and through a lot of research still - sometimes you have to let others do the hard work). 

 

So let me walk you through where I started, where I am now, and why I am doing things the way I am. 

 

 

Monthly Layouts

Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-2.jpg

 

I started out knowing I wanted to have some monthly goals to make sure I hit some important targets and have somewhere to write down the big picture aims I have. I also wanted to have a rough calendar with some of my more major events throughout the month - birthdays, friend events, physio appointments, etc.

 

Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-14.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-15.jpg

 

This evolved slowly. It still inlcudes a monthly goals section as well as a calendar, just a bit more spread out and more thoughtfully placed. I also have a monthly habit tracker for a few things, inlcuding personal things like drinking enough water and having my vitamins in the morning, and more work related ones like posting on instagram. You can see i've not been off to a good start this month...

 

 

Weekly Layouts

Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-3.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-5.jpg

 

For weeklies, I wanted a workout tracker, instagram tracker and water tracker, as they were the main things I thought I wanted to keep tabs on. I also had a brain dump page broken down into the 4 main areas of my life for things that needed to be done during the week sometime, and would then be put into my daily pages where appropriate. I can't remember but I think this idea came from Coley (@bonjourcoley on instagram) who bascially helped walk me through develiping my bullet journal in general. I never realised I needed a dedicated space so something like this, but it has been one of the best additions. 

This layout stays pretty similar throughout, except I narrow it down to just a brain dump page, workout tracker and meal tracker. I also tidied up the layout week by week and now pretty much have it mastered. This section may get some updating over time but right now it works really well for me. 

The workout tracker, as you will notice, now has a lot more room to write what i've been doing, but also has a mood tracker on the side. This is the mood tracker for my back rather than a mental health tracker (either would work for me though tbh). I've spent the last 18 months dealing with RSI, as well as some nasty back issues and as a result have not really been able to work out much. Coley suggested having a tracker so I can help keep note of what workouts might be too much for my current state. It's actually really been helping and i'm slowly getting more aware whilst actually improving my fitness. Before I wouold push myself too much and then have to stop for a week.

 

Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-16.jpg

 

 

Daily Layouts

Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-4.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-8.jpg

 

Now for the day to day spreads! To begin with I adamantly didn't want time slots because I did not want to use it for appointment planning - it was meant to be a goals and get shit done kind of planner. I've never used the time slots in planners, it's one of the reasons traditional planners bug me so much. As a photographer working for yourself, or any creative with clients, its pretty silly to not use a digital calendar to keep track of meetings and work. You need to set up reminders to ensure you keep on top of everything. I don't forget anything important because of this, and I can also check my schedule wherever I am. 

 

Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-18.jpg

 

Eventually I do actually add in a time tracker (to my own surprise), but not to keep track of when my shoots are. This is basically to just track how much time each day I'm spending working on different things so I can get a better sense of what days during the week will be good 'get the to-do list done' days.

The other thing I started out doing and changed is using only a double spread for the whole week. It just wasn't enough room most days. I changed to a vertical layout with 2 days per page and a dashboard on the left at the beginning of the week. This meant more room for to do lists, the lists were all in a line, and the whole thing looked a lot more tidy in general. 

The dashboard also gave me the space to write down the shoots that needed to be edited that week so I could be sure to get them done, and have a separated list to cross off. 


So there you have it! My awkward beginnings with my bullet journal through to where I am now (which is a pretty content place).

 

Have you given the bullet journal trend a try? If you have, let me know the one feature you can't live without! Mine is probably the brain dump sections- life changing!

 

The Power of Progress: Recognising and Appreciating How You've Grown

Sometimes it's hard to see how much you change, grow and develop in any part of your life. Most life changes happen so gradually that they barely feel like changes. But every once in a while you'll do something or see something from your past and you say 'was that me?' 

 

Yea well, I realised this month that creative work is exactly the same. 

 

Rushmare x Graphite Imaging -3.jpg
Rushmare x Graphite Imaging -5.jpg
Rushmare x Graphite Imaging -1.jpg

 

I know it is generally agreed that there is some value in looking back at your past work and appreciating how far you have come. We all get stuck in this vicious cycle of being overly critical of our work and striving for perfection that we fail to see how much we have improved and that we are doing just fine. 

 

Don't worry though, i'm not writing at you from a point of pure blissful self realisation expecting you to never be critical of your own work. Hell no. I will never be perfect, i'm overly critical and sometimes just don't have the most confidence in my work if i'm honest, but i'm slowly beginning to get better at giving myself some credit where it's due. 

 

And this is the shoot that changed my mindset for the better.

 

 December 15th 2016 in Ponsonby

December 15th 2016 in Ponsonby

 December 15th 2017 in Ponsonby

December 15th 2017 in Ponsonby

 

If you follow my Instagram (@charlottesoniaturner) you may have seen me posting about this shoot I did with Anna of rushmare.com, like I typically do all my shoots with her. She is a stylist and blogger based here in Auckland, as well as being one of my very good friends, and once or twice a month for well over a year now we have gone out shooting to get content for her blog. It was an awesome thing for me because I got to play around with portraiture and fashion photography a bit and develop my skills with someone who I love and who honestly grew with me as a model too.

 

This shoot we did in December we managed to do two variations of two outfits in an hour (4 total, 15 mins each), which was record time for us and was something to be proud of in itself. Yay for some badass time efficiency. I was also playing around with a new editing style, and the shots turned out to be some of my favourites from our time working together. At this point, I decided I wanted to go back and look at some of our earlier work to torture myself a little and realised that it was exactly a year earlier (to the day) we had done an outfit shoot in the exact same location. For the first time I had as direct a comparision between my work a year earlier vs. today as I could ever get, and man was it fascinating. 

 

Rushmare x Graphite Imaging old-2.jpg
Rushmare x Graphite Imaging -12.jpg
Rushmare x Graphite Imaging old-5.jpg
Rushmare x Graphite Imaging -2.jpg
Rushmare x Graphite Imaging old-6.jpg
Rushmare x Graphite Imaging old-7.jpg
Rushmare x Graphite Imaging -14.jpg

 

Don't get me wrong, i've never been terrible with a camera, one thing i've naturally always been okay at is composition. But the shots from 2016 were not great. Though I loved them at the time because they were a huge improvement upon what I had been doing even earlier that year, looking back at them now things have changed a lot. 

 

Rushmare x Graphite Imaging old-3.jpg
Rushmare x Graphite Imaging -10.jpg
Rushmare x Graphite Imaging old-4.jpg
Rushmare x Graphite Imaging -13.jpg

 

It's so easy to feel like you're not moving or know you've improved a bit but feel like it's not that much, and it's not until you really step back and look at what you were doing even just a year earlier that you can truly see the changes. The same can be said for anything in your life, and it's something I'm learning to appreciate and embrace.

 

But looking back at this I actually felt proud of myself, even though I also knew there was more improvement to be had. I'm never good at picking something up and continuing if I'm bad at it, and getting to this point was actually something I'm pretty happy with. Seeing the development over the past year, and knowing I have a lot more time to devote to learning and shooting this year, I'm excited to see where I am at the same time in 2018. Expect another of these posts in December.

 

So I don't really know what the true message of this is other than to go and look at where you were a year ago and fully appreciate the changes, be they as a creative, an entrepreneur, or just a badass killing life in general. Admire yourself for what you've done, and try not to be so hard on yourself day to day in the present, though I'm going to have to force myself to practice what I preach on that one. 

How I Chose to Handle the 'New Year, New You' Vibes for 2018

Don't you love resolutions? The unattainability, the impracticality, the notion that January 1st means everything will change?

January first is just another day, and resolutions are too loaded with expectation and pressure to be reasonable.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good new year fresh start vibe as much as the next person, and I would be lying if I said that I don't put some new things in motion, but this year I decided to do things a little differently in hopes of actually making a significant and long lasting change to my life.

The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-1.jpg

Like everyone else, I have fallen victim to the New Years Resolution failure 1 month in. I decided, especially for me, that the way in which we structure and present resolutions to ourselves makes them wholly unattainable. "I want to lose weight this year" is a common one for most people, and it is one I have thrown at myself many times, only to get overwhelmed and give up. The attitude, the intention and the goal itself all set it up to be unsuccessful from the start.

I mean, lets be honest, being better with my health is definitely a goal for the year, but on Jan 1st was eating pizza, chicken nuggets and candy whilst nursing my hangover and my soul. And I let myself do it happily and guilt free because of the way I decided to tackle the 'New Year, New Me' desire we all have. 

 

I didn't just decide 'This is something I don't like about myself' this year.

I chose to ask the question 'What parts of my life an I not happy with, and where do I want to be in 12 months'.

And this is a huge mentality shift from where I have been past years on December 31st for a number of reasons (a mental breakdown and starting therapy being one, but that is a story for another day).

 

I gave myself a vision to work to, a version of myself that I wanted to be in 12 months, a person I would be happy being and a list of things behind me that make me proud of myself for accomplishing. 

I didn't want to look back and say 'I wish I had done that in 2018', I wanted to say 'I did that in 2018'. 

 

And I started making a list. 

 

  • I want to be smarter with my money, and alongside that start saving for a Melbourne Girls Weekend for my 24th birthday and a May 2019 trip to Europe for my 25th.
  • I want to work on my physical health so that I am not hindered on shoots by my RSI or my bad back. I don't want my back to be an excuse for not being able to do things. 
  • I want to start more regularly working out and eating better to benefit my mental health so my anxiety and depression are no longer problems and cannot hinder me anymore. 
  • I want to learn how to be braver and not let my fear of change or the unknown stop me from chasing after my goals and my dreams.
  • I want to start further building up Graphite (my photography business) so that it could become my solitary income as well as have its own healthy account.
  • I want to start properly blogging. Like properly instead of starting and stopping a few weeks later for some reason or other. I've wanted to for years, I love it, and I want to build that into part of my career.
  • I want to try and be kinder to myself, have faith in myself, and have more confidence in myself.

 

I want to be happy, and not let all these hopes and dreams just live inside my head all year.

 

The Charlotte Alexander x Graphite Imaging-3.jpg

 

My resolutions this year are me actioning the kind of person I want to be in life by the end of 2018 and beyond, as much as I know at my young age of 23,  rather than picking on one thing I hate about myself and changing it. I focused on self care and life goals.

And beyond just writing the list, I wrote down plans (and am still writing them down, 2 weeks into January), to outline what I want to do and how I want to do it. I didn't put the pressure on Jan 1st, in fact I very specifically told myself that one of my self care priorities was to give myself 2 full weeks of no work to rest my mind and body after a very long time of not doing so. 

 

And whats more important is I'm baby stepping everything and trying to be as kind to myself as possible. I so intently wanted to make some changes to become happier in myself and in my life, and putting brutal pressure on myself to change was not the way to do it.

You can make the decision to change your life in a split second, but you cannot expect to actually change that quickly. It's something I've learnt the hard way. That is what resolutions feel like to me. They hold an expectation that you will be able to change your way of life drastically in some way on January first. And I have done everything in my power to get the feeling of a new year fresh start without throwing any unrealistic expectations on myself that will ultimately fail, or I'm trying my very hardest to do so anyway. 

 

Be nicer to yourself, be realistic, and don't lay on the pressure too thick. You are not a failure if you ate a slice of pizza (or a whole pizza and some Maltesers) on January 1st. 


QUESTION: What goals do you have for the year? Be they career or personal I'd love to hear what you want to achieve in 2018.

Charlotte

Approaching the new year differently to ensure success and happiness in your resolutions

 

 

 

 

<------------------------

PIN IT !      

What's Inspiring Me Right Now #1

We all get stuck sometimes as creative humans. Uninspired to shoot for ourselves, stumped as to what the next blog post will be, baffled as to how you can change up a logo design even further for a client, overwhelmed by the prospect of designing a website that is different from all the rest. Working as a creative it can be incredibly hard to stay inspired and motivated all the time, we're constantly having to come up with something new. It's a mentally exhausting and challenging career path we've put ourselves on. But it is also one of the best because of this constant ability to create. So when it gets hard and I’m struggling to figure out what I'm doing next I go in search of some inspo to try and bring myself out of my slump, and I thought I would share some of those places with you guys!

I love reading these kinds of posts when others do them, so I will likely carry them on over time, sharing new inspo spots as I find them in hopes that all of you will find them as inspiring as I do. 


 @thisrenegadelove on Instagram (linked below)

@thisrenegadelove on Instagram (linked below)

This Renegade Love

Girlbosses, listen up! You're going to love Lauren McPhillips if you haven't heard of her before. Lauren is a blogger based out of Toronto and her blog content is exactly what you want it to be - both real and inspiring, covering career and personal for both well being and success. It's relatable content, especially so for someone in my position in my 20s going after a blogging and photographer dream. Really her blog is great if you are looking for either career or life inspo and she is well worth checking out. You will find yourself getting lost reading all her past posts, I promise you.

Website: thisrenegadelove.com   |   Instagram: @thisrenegadelove

 @shotfromthestreet on Instagram (linked below)

@shotfromthestreet on Instagram (linked below)

Shot from the Street

My forever inspo, Lizzy from Shot from the Street. I love her style, I love her work ethic, I love the kind of content she releases both on youtube and on her blog, and she keeps me motivated. From inspo for fashion shoots, to blog post writing in general, I'll go for a little scroll if I'm feeling stuck and I always feel excited by something she has posted, be it clothes or content related.

Website: shotfromthestreet.com   |   Instagram: @shotfromthestreet

 

 @kinfolk on Instagram (linked below)

@kinfolk on Instagram (linked below)

Kinfolk and my other Magazines

By now you would probably know about my obsession with print magazines. There is something therapeutic about sitting down with a physical item you can read from, giving your mind a break from the constant high paced bombardment of technology. Magazines have been my short form reading love for a long time, including titles like Kinfolk, Cereal Mag, Suitcase, Remix, Darling, The Gentlewoman and Philosophy Now (because I'm a philosophy major and therefore a total nerd for it). These artfully curated works are essentially quarterly coffee table books and are so beautifully executed that they are almost as nice to just look at as they are to reads through. Even better, they aren't so strictly date specific. You can read them months after their release and they are still great. 

 

I buy all mine from Magnation in Ponsonby (except Darling) and all are wonderful sources of inspiration in their own ways. Kinfolk especially, which is why it is my favourite and why I willingly spend almost $40 on it every 3 months. I've talked about my love for Kinfolk and Remix before (check it out HERE) but I am planning on talking about them more in the future.

Where I buy: magnation.co.nz   |   Kinfolk Instagram: @kinfolk

 

 @workovereasy on Instagram (linked below)

@workovereasy on Instagram (linked below)

Work Over Easy

If you want to see and adorable and well executed illustrative feed, check this out. The Insta feed is amazing, plus every blog post this girl does is just fantastic. I find myself being drawn in by pretty much every title. 

If you haven't checked her out before, Natalie is an illustrator out of the UK and her entire Instagram feed is hand drawn. I thought it was such a gorgeous idea that she got an instant follow from me, and then I discovered her blog content. I have been a fan ever since.

Website (blog): workovereasy.com  |   Instagram: @workovereasy

 @whatshepictures on Instagram (linked below)

@whatshepictures on Instagram (linked below)

What She Pictures

Connie Chan is the queen of flatlays, and has been getting me seriously inspired recently to get some staging bits and try it out for myself. What I really need to do in the next week or so rather than spending more money right away is go through all my stuff and find what will work for staging a flatly and what won't, and then play around with it. Why I love her account so much is that she has been posting stories where she will take you step by step through her setting up her shot, showing you why she adds each detail and why she changes things around when she does. Seriously worth a follow.

Website: whatshepictures.com   |   Instagram: @whatshepictures


If you check any of these wonderful humans out, let me know in the comments or by getting in touch via my Instagram! I hope you love them as much as I do. 

 

New In Beauty & My Minimal Routine

I'm a sucker for beautiful makeup. I can't help it. I've been watching beauty you tubers for 10 years, watching the community develop into what it is today, and all the while falling in love with too many influencers. You instantly want to buy what they talk about and spend way too much money on all these beautiful things. My wallet always had other plans for me though.

 

I was a student for most of this time and while I would buy crazy makeup bits, it wasn't very often. By the time I got to an age where I could afford to splurge on makeup I was realising that wearing a lot of makeup daily was not really my thing. My morning routine, always as low maintenance as I can make it, didn't leave room for a full face of makeup on a daily basis. Most mornings of the week I don't even wear any at all but when I do it's pretty minimal. Powder foundation/tinted moisturiser, concealer, mascara, brows and a nude lip is more or less it. Sometimes liner, bronzer and contour if I'm feeling up to it. My routine instead started taking a skincare focus rather than a cover it all up focus to make the canvas I'm working on as great as possible so all I needed was a little bit of makeup. 

Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-3.jpg

Which is why when I go shopping for beauty products, rarely will I buy all the shiny bright fun stuff, instead splurging on skincare products and practical day to day makeup. This is basically why I wanted to share it though. There are enough people my age out there posting all these amazing beauty hauls that aren't hugely realistic for most women my age. I go for good quality skin care and beauty products, practical stuff that works for me every single day and that is really good for my oily skin. I thought there would be some value in sharing what I feel to be quite realistic beauty habits for busy women out there chasing their dreams. 

 

I'm not 100% sure what kind of posts this will manifest into yet, part of the fun I suppose, but for right now I thought I would share some bits I got in recently because they sit in line with the above intentions in mind rather than my party makeup routine!

 

EF829C89-895F-45AE-827B-25A7EEE74E8F.JPG

 

Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint

This is the perfect piece in the minimal makeup routine. I've heard so many bloggers who, like me, don't go crazy intense full coverage on their makeup all the time and they have been loving this. I got a sample from the girls at Mecca Cosmetica in Newmarket and I so enjoyed using it that I knew it would be a summer staple for me. It's lightweight and makes your skin look healthy, plus you see a bit of your natural skin texture shine through from underneath. I don't have very noticeable freckles, but I like them and I like when they show through. I want to get a translucent powder to set this down because my MAC Studio Fix Powder is a bit heavy for it I'm finding, so I might go have a chat to the girls about what they would recommend. 

Get it HERE - $71 NZD from Mecca Beauty

 

Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer

I've been using this for a while now, and can never justify the money on the big bottle of it so I've been buying the mini ones for months now. I really enjoy this, I think it works really well on my skin, but I'm considering asking for a sample of the Stila One Step Correct or the Bare Minerals Prime Time because I want something that will help correct redness in my skin. I used this years ago but my skin has changed a bit since I used it last, so it might not work for me. It would be ideal though, because it would mean the Nars Velvet Matte would look even better on my skin.

Get it HERE - Mini Version is $29 NZD from Mecca Beauty

 

Mecca Cosmetica 'Lip De Luscious' in Peach Shimmer

Now these gorgeous things were given away to Beauty Loop members as part of the Mecca 20th anniversary boxes. Every level got some Mecca full sized, yes full sized, products as a thank you for supporting them. I'm only on level 1 right now because I've been buying less stuff recently (I was so close to level 3 at one point) but getting a full sized SPF lip balm that actually works pretty well for nothing other than buying my skincare is pretty great. 

The one comment I have on this, and it's neither good nor bad really, is that it smells like lip balms from my childhood. Like that artificial sweet scent. I thought it might be artificial cherry, which I loathe, but I think it is maybe meant to be peachy since its the peach shimmer? I don't hate it but I don't love it. 

Get in HERE - $33 NZD from Mecca Beauty and comes in 6 shades


That's it from me today - let me know in the comments what your holy grail daily beauty product is, whether it's skincare or makeup related. Always keen to give something new a try!

The Print Lust List #1 - Prints I'm Loving Right Now

By now you will have realised that I have a real problem when it comes to buying art. Paintings, limited edition prints, photography, cute open edition prints. Working in the art world for as long as I have, it's a bit of an occupational hazard. But frankly I'm running out of wall space so I shouldn't be buying anything else until I have more room. So here I am, sharing my current print loves so that if you are looking for something new to buy you can get some ideas. This might be a regular thing. Buckle up. 

 

Blacklist Store

My forever lust list print shop. I am always wanting something from here, it's a constant issue. This newest love is one of their recent photographic prints. I'm a sucker for well done flower prints, but I'm super picky about them. I have high standards. Only one has ever really made it onto my walls before (this one from Simply Creative) but this one I'm so close to buying whether I have the space for it or not. I'm about to put up a photography cluster, so maybe it can be part of that? 😂

 Photo credit to blackliststore.com.au

Photo credit to blackliststore.com.au

MoodFlower-Detail.jpg

 

House of Dior - National Gallery of Victoria

I wanted to go to Melbourne and see this exhibit quite badly, but haven't really had the funds for a Melbourne trip recently with the camera purchase and a bunch of other things. I saw this print sat the framing shop when I customer bought it in and fell in love with it. The other one I would have loved is actually sold out, but this one is just as stunning. It's just the shipping from Australia that's making me think twice about it (its basically the same price as the print itself).

 Credit: House of Dior via the National Gallery of Victoria https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au

Credit: House of Dior via the National Gallery of Victoria https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au

NGV_Dior_Pt2_34_1256x838.jpg

 

Sentinel by Sampford Cathie

Okay, this one is kind of cheating because I know I'm getting this one, but also it's by my business partner so it's gifted too. I've been in love with this print of his for ages, it's probably the artistic image of his I love the most (though I love a lot of them). Because my parents own a little print gallery, he has been selling it there for the past 2 years or so and it very quickly became a best seller of theirs. That whole time I've been wanting to take one home but haven't been able to for various reasons. Finally, FINALLY I get to bring one home this week and I'm so excited about it.

And for those of you who might say 'but you just said you have no wall space', I hear you and I know it seems nuts. I have a piece of wall that has been intentionally left empty for this print. The fact I knew this would be coming eventually dictated where a lot of my prints currently hang, that's how long it's been a plan of mine to have one. It is the exception to my self imposed no buying rule.

 Image credit: Sampford Cathie sampfordcathie.com

Image credit: Sampford Cathie sampfordcathie.com

 

Rocket Man by Ross Jones (Portfolio Print Edition)

I've loved Ross Jones' prints for the longest time, and the rest of Auckland seems to be just as enamoured by him. He is another artist that has been stocked at the print gallery store for years and has solidly been the best selling artist there. I've never really had enough wall space for his prints though, they are pretty large and I have a big collection. He recently started releasing his collection of prints in a smaller size with larger edition numbers as part of his new Portfolio collection. They're little and finally I will be able to get one for my wall. I think Dad mentioned that he would give it to me for Christmas if I wanted, so I'll be waiting a couple of months but this one will be in the collection very soon.

 Photos taken by me, Prints by Ross Jones&nbsp;

Photos taken by me, Prints by Ross Jones 

Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander - Print Lust List-2.jpg
October Highlights

I'm laughing at myself a little for doing a post like this, because I feel every blogger out there does monthly roundup posts. I wanted to start dong these as a way to share some random loves, as well as chat about some cool projects and business milestones from the month.

 

Creative Favourites:

The new camera <3

I did it guys! I've upgraded myself from my D600 to a D750 and I'm LOVING it. 

Every time I borrowed Sam's one to shoot on I loved it, so I knew it would be the upgrade eventually. The image game has just levelled up instantly and I can't wait to play with it even more than I have so far. The Palazzo Pant mini series was shot on it (mentioned below), so you can see some of the stuff I've done with it so far on rushmare.com, or in the Rushmare client feature on the Graphite site. 

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 8.46.25 PM.png

The Graphite Website is finally done! 

After months of working on it, the new logo and website are finally complete! Fresh new content for a fresh new approach to Graphite. It's been a few months since we decided to ditch wedding photography for something more in line with what we were passionate about shooting and part of that big overhaul included a clean sweep with the content on the site. Prop's to Sampford for taking control of the overhaul because I will probably break the back end of the site if I tried to. My access to the Graphite site is limited to blog post upload haha.

And we have some new Graphite business cards!

And to go alongside that, new business cards with our new logo! Logo designed by our website designer, but the cards themselves designed, again, by Sam as he is better at graphic design than me. Pretty happy with how they turned out.

 

Shoot Favourite: rushmare.com - The Palazzo Pant Mini Series

Anna has really been on the mini series vibes recently, so when we go out to shoot it's typically 3 outfits with one major piece in common. This series was the Palazzo pant, and the images look awesome. If you want to go check out the shoot and hear her tips for styling such a statement piece, then go to rushmare.com

Graphite Imaging -31.jpg
Graphite Imaging -25.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander (5 of 5).jpg

 

Foodie Favourite: Chuffed, High Street

I have been meaning to properly try Chuffed for ages. Anna took me there for a coffee break mid shoot once and I've been dying to head back and grab some brunch. So I dragged the bestie into town with me one Sunday morning to check it out. We both loved it. If you haven't been, fix this immediately. I waited waaaayyyyy too long. 

IMG_3044.JPG
IMG_3047.JPG

 

Fashion Favourite: Tracey flats from Merchant 1948

My new loves giving me some serious spring vibes. These studded backless slides have been my go to the last few weeks as the temperature gets higher. I can't really run around in knee high boots anymore, as practical as they are for everything I do. 

These are pretty much sold out nation wide right now, I got the last in my size in the country (sorry!) but my sources tell me they will be coming back.

Man, sources makes it sound so sneaky. Zara. My source is Zara. She allocates their stock and keeps me in the loop. She is also my best friend, so much more than just a source into the wonderful world of pretty shoes.

I've been taking a lot of photos of my feet this month because of them haha.

IMG_2772.JPG
IMG_3045.JPG

 

Beauty Favourite: Elie Saab 'Le Parfum'

I have never been the kind of person who like floral scented things. Candles, perfume, whatever it is, the scent is way too overwhelming to me. This perfume is the one exception to the rule I have found. This sophisticated woody floral scented perfume has been a favourite for ages, but is even more so right now because I finally got another bottle after not replacing it for months. The instant I smelt it for the first time I was hooked, having previously been a fan of sweeter scents like Viktor & Rolf's 'Bonbon'. 

I'm not the kind of person to have heaps of different perfumes on the go all the time, instead having one or two I wear all the time. It gets to the point where people associate specific scent's with me. This is definitely been on of those for me. A friend of mine had a mini bottle of it given to her, I tried it and fell in love. She hated it so gave me the bottle, but funnily enough she says she actually likes how it smells on me more than how it had smelt on her. I have her and her distaste for it to thank for it being my go to for the past few years. 

Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-5.jpg

 

Instagram Favourites: @shotfromthestreet and @bonjourcoley

Basically one of my forever favourites on both Instagram and youtube, Lizzy from Shot from the Street is just style and content goals to me. She has been part of inspiring me to shoot film again, part of inspiring me to really start up this blog, part of the influence behind buying shoes like the above. I just adore her taste in clothes, art, everything. I've been following her for a while now but she remains one of the bigger Instagram (and blog) influences in my life. 

I'm also going to mention @bonjourcoley, because whilst she has been an instagram/youtube favourite for the longest time, and her Instagram content is beautiful, she has become a real life friend favourite who I taunt with photos of burgers, pugs and feijoas. Go check her out and give her a follow, 1. because her content is awesome, but 2. because half our relationship is crying over being victimised by the Instagram algorithm and we both need some love.

 @shotfromthestreet on Instagram

@shotfromthestreet on Instagram

 @bonojurcoley on Instagram

@bonojurcoley on Instagram

 

Workout favourite: Yoga

Oh you don't have to tell me, I know I sound like a typical white girl preaching about how amazing yoga is, but I've only just recently figured it out.

I don't know whether its the fact that I don't feel guilty about downtime now I'm not at uni, or whether there is some maturity thing happening, or maybe just me really valuing mental health and down time, but yoga is my new favourite thing and it has been doing wonders for my RSI/back issues.

Guided youtube videos are the way to not be bored by 30 minute routines. I needed the talking to tune in and focus on in order to get anything out of it. 

 

Decor Favourite: The Monochrome Gallery Wall

So I have been planning on doing a good gallery wall for the longest time, but I was waiting for a whole pile of things before I did. I try to not stick to a certain kind of artwork too much, just buying things I emotionally connect with, but I have enough clean monochrome prints that I was finally able to collate them and create a themed gallery wall. Mixing prints and photos, as well as black, white and mirrored frames (yes, I said mirrored) it is an interesting yet neutral and clean looking gallery wall and I love it.

Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-1.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-2.jpg
Graphite Imaging x The Charlotte Alexander-4.jpg

 

TV Favourite: Chef's Table on Netflix

Guys, this series is magical. If you are a foodie in anyway, into documentaries, or even just learning about interesting people, this series is amazingly done. Each episode features a chef from one of the worlds best restaurants. It talks about their journey, the work they have done to make the restaurant as incredible as it is and the food that they serve. I live for the food montage near the end of the show. My uncle has been to a lot of the restaurants mentioned because he and my aunt travel the world in part to try all of these kinds of places, and I can 100% understand why now. It's a once in a lifetime to experience something so spectacular first hand and I'm inspired to check some of these places out one day. When I can afford to. Obviously.


So that was the October highlights of the month! Traditionally, my Octobers are pretty average with some awful stuff happening around this time every year. This year was better, with some good highlights, but I'm looking forward to November.

Charlotte

Why I've started printing my photographs and you should be too!

Whether you are a photographer or not, it is a rare thing to actually print out your photos anymore. Images live their lives indefinitely inside our phones or computer, never to see the light of day, never to be fully enjoyed. At least the beauty of the film days is you were kind of forced into having prints to admire your work or memories. 

But the best part of today is that printing you photos is so easy. Whether you do them in singles at the photo shop, or as a collection of instax shots, there is something new to do. Print them all and make a gallery wall of photo frames, print them large format and have them as a piece of art, or do what I've done this time round and actually tile them up in one big layout to fit into a standard frame, in this case an A1 box frame. There something inherently satisfying about seeing your images printed out. For memories, you smile whenever you walk past them. For photographers, it allows you to full appreciate the best of your work and value the skill you have built up. There are so many different ways I could recommend you print and frame them, and I will talk on that one day because working in picture framing for 7 years has given me the skills for sure, but today I'm talking about what I did this week. 

So I've been wanting to do a frame or two like this for almost a year, but haven't ever got round to getting it done. In the new plan of my room, part of the process of mapping out frame placement involved figuring out what would go above my bed. I figured out that two A1 frames would fit perfectly spaced above my queen bed, so I decided to just do what I had been planning on doing for ages. They also had to be white frames, because majority of the ones I have already are black and I'm trying to diversify a little. The white also happens to look awesome on my grey walls!

FullSizeRender 8.jpg

I mapped out the layout in InDesign, placed all the images I wanted, and adjusted them behind their individual windows until I was happy with the crop. One frame has a selection of my own photos, some Instagram and some work ones. The other is a selection of images from some of my favourite bloggers as inspiration for fashion as well as for photography. The prints were done an Epson large format printer and are archival, so they shouldn't fade (though I imagine I will switch them out semi regularly, which for me will be every year or two). They are then fitted to two white A1 frames from Artefact Frames/El Framo in Auckland because I know the frames will last really well.

 

IMG_2016.JPG
The Charlotte Alexander-1.jpg
The Charlotte Alexander-4.jpg

I'm actually insanely happy with how they turned out, and I think once we have an office for Graphite one day I will be doing this will our work in them. Of course we will have big frames with individual shots in them as well, we already have a collection of them ready and waiting, but this will be a cool way of putting a few more up and making an awesome looking gallery wall. 

Charlotte x

Discovering your inner #girlboss: Wishing I was one and how I'm making it happen
IMG_2035.JPG

You know all those posts around the internet where young female business owners talk about their habits and routines and you think 'damn she has her shit together, what a badass'? This, unfortunately, is not one of those posts; I don't quite have my life as sorted as these women, but I definitely want to work towards being there. This post is all honesty. It is an outline of how my life is, how I want to change it, and how I am going to do it. This is my journey towards becoming a #girlboss.  

 

These women seemingly kill it when it comes to their business, have their mental and physical health on lockdown, have healthy habits, as well as effective business ones, and all over just seem to be owning the game. In contrast, I dream of being as good all round as these women who kill their everyday life. Now don't get me wrong, I have my shit together a little bit, but there are a lot of aspects of my life that I strive to be more on top of but manage to somehow not do it. I read all the articles, I know what I want to do, so this is where I start doing it and let you know how I get on. 

 

Part of my experience at InFocus 2017 (read more here) was listening to Mark Rosetto, a photography business life coach from Australia and he talked about the vision for your success. He referred to the 8 different aspects of your life, and how your goal is to be balanced, and ideally a 10 out of 10, in all of them. If you aren't then something needs to be worked on to move it in that direction. It was, in part, meant to show you where your business sits in your life and how it may be impacting the other aspects in a way that is too detrimental to be completely sustainable. Overall it was meant to highlight what you need to focus on improving in your life in general, be it personal or professional. 

 

Long story short, my life is not balanced. Like at all. I think finding that balance between all aspects of life is hard for anyone, but I know I could be doing better. I haven't focused enough time on it, instead throwing myself semi-aimlessly into my work. I want to spend the next 6 months working on myself and improving my overall well-being, from my business to my personal life, and I want to share that journey in hopes of inspiring some other people and be that imperfect but enthusiastic voice that I think a lot of us have. I think it is an important thing that all millennials, be they creatives or not, could work on. It is okay to take time off for yourself, but equally not too much time so as to be a detriment to your career. Your mental and physical health is incredibly important, as well as your relationships with others and with yourself. Especially in such a technologically saturated world, there is a lot to be said for stepping back and focusing on your life in reality, away from your life on the screen.  

 

IMG_8028.jpg

For starters, I made some big steps forward when I was at Uni. In the middle of struggling through my degree with pretty severe anxiety and, looking back on it, probably mild depression, I learnt the value of treating myself in order to keep me as sane and content as I possibly could. It took me a while to figure out, and after too much time struggling to get through the semesters and being incredibly unhappy, I knew something had to give. I began working out of a cafe once a day, and would get myself a nice barista made coffee without feeling guilty about spending $4.50 on it every single day. I would buy myself lunch once or twice a week and I wouldn't be mad at myself for it. I would get myself Wok n Noodle once a week (my obsession with this place is pretty insane and to this day it is an almost weekly treat). Mini treat things like that, as well as buying myself a new lipstick every once in a while, were the little happy things that kept my mental health a little bit more under control in a situation where I struggled quite a bit. 

 

To make my life sustainable though I have tried to build on this intention since leaving Uni, but I haven't quite taken it far enough. To be fair to myself, there are a few things I do well. I am pretty organised in general because the opposite drives me crazy, and I my enjoy work. I am constantly trying to learn and improve, even though I still struggle at being openly bad at things. I am good at valuing looking after myself and treating myself. Having said that, I work too hard, and I don't work in a smart way a lot of the time. I push myself a lot and my health suffers, especially my mental health. I have a lot of things I want to be doing with my life that I haven't, and I am pretty hard on myself.

 

I've read those articles where people talk about how to have a handle on your personal and professional lives, I'm reading a few books about it too (I will talk about that in another post very soon). Having done the leg work, I now know what I want to be doing. 

Goodness Gracious x Graphite Imaging-46.jpg

I've decided want to be a morning person, because I am so much more productive in the morning (Sampford and I joked about doing one super early morning a week and getting heaps done, because we both love morning productivity but struggle to get out of bed for it haha). I want to get a workout in before I get ready for the day so I don't have to do one when I get home and can save that time for friends, family or playing The Sims in front of the TV (little indulgences). I want to start running again, and start doing yoga to help both my physical and mental health. I want to kick my RSI back to the point where I can actually do those workouts, because I physically can't right now. 

 

I want to have my work day stick closer to a 9-5 to give myself some me time. I want to have my organisation on point - its pretty good but it could always be better. I want to have a proper plan of attack for my businesses so that we have goals to work for, and an effective to do list every day. I want to have my finances under control - its been a year since I left Uni and I still haven't properly sorted my shit there. I want to treat myself more, but do it in a way that is completely beneficial to me and actually improves something in my life, and without spending all the money I make as I tend to do now. 

 

So this is my goal and I genuinely understand the value in working towards it. I want desperately, for my own sake and for the sake of my business's success, to get my life properly under control so I can be a happier, more effective human with a lifestyle that is as sustainable for me as possible. I believe so wholeheartedly in the importance of ensuring you are the best version of you that you can possibly be that I wanted to be straight up about it and hopefully help other people to start valuing it more too. I hear so many stories of people my age especially just burning themselves out before they are 30. I hear horror stories of photographers hating their lives and careers after 5 years because of burnout and quitting, of creatives drowning in work and working harder rather than smarter to the point of giving up. I want to be happy, and I want to build my life and career in such a way that I love every aspect, I want it to be sustainable so I can do it for as long as it makes me happy, and hopefully, maybe, inspire some other people to come along on this ride as well.

 

I will be updating on how I'm getting on, and I'm going to sit down and plan it all out so I have little goals to hit in order to make this actually happen, and I'm actually excited to get this underway!

 

Charlotte

NZFW 2017: The magic, the fashion and my favourite moments.

If you live in Auckland, you will have known it was Fashion Week last week. There is no missing it. From Instagram stories filled with glamourous insight into the trends of A/W 2018, to news coverage of the madness, to the fashion world flooding downtown Auckland with the luxe street style and designer glam. There is absolutely no hiding from it (especially with Anna Kate of Rushmare sending me snaps of all the shows she is at).

 

But honestly, I've always loved fashion week. Exploring what the talented humans of New Zealand have been up to, getting insight into all the gorgeous items that will be keeping all of us cute and warm during A/W 2018, and just watching the whole thing go down on social media. I swear 60% of the Instagram stories I'm watching right now are industry professionals and influencers all busily working and sharing fashion week. Some effortlessly cool, as is the kiwi way when it comes to fashion, and some not so effortless looking but for sure making a statement.

 

But the main point of this post, other than to talk about all the exciting gossip, is to really highlight the magic and fantasy that is fashion week. I fall all over myself to look at the photos coming off the runway, not only to see what the NZ fashion scene is in for next year, but to also get a snapshot into the artistic side of fashion. The whole thing is whimsical and exciting in its own way, no matter whether its the weddings show or Stolen Girlfriends Club (I watched the live stream and LOVED it). It is the one week in NZ where the fashion world all comes together into this festival of appreciation for wearable artistry and I love every second of watching from the sidelines.

21122622_10155653739429520_1968461238502269347_o.jpg

Speaking of magical wearable artistry though, the Trish Peng dress at the New Zealand Weddings Magazine show was to die for. This being the show stopping floral number that the whole of the fashion world in NZ is currently talking about. The one that is 4k worth of fresh flowers that were sewed on yesterday and chilled over night for todays walk. I mean, come on, it's perfection. There wasn't a person in the room without their phones out at that moment I bet you. I saw it from so many different angles on Insta stories, and studied it on the NZ Fashion Week Facebook page. Honestly, it's just magical. Dramatic and magical. Such an epic moment.

 

In my scouring of the pages though, I've been saving all my favourite shots. I'm so excited about all of these moments, both theatrical and fashion, and it is a good selection of some stuff I would actually buy and some stuff that I'm just in awe of in general. Buckle up, its a long one. All images (excluding the singular SGC image, which was from the NZFW site) sourced from the official NZ Fashion Week Facebook page, which you can find HERE.

 

All images sourced from the New Zealand Fashion Week Facebook Page, as they are doing such an epic job of coverage. Check it out HERE for more shots of the week.
Get some art on those walls: 5 cool online print stores (that also ship to NZ)

For the past 7 years I have been working in the art world, and by art world I don't mean galleries I mean picture framing. In picture framing, you see a little bit of everything. From Kimono's and Dan Carter's underwear (framed for a charity auction I swear) to classic prints and paintings. In 7 years of helping people frame their precious memories and artwork I have seen my fair share of prints from many different print stores. It can be hard living at the bottom of the world and trying to find beautiful art for the walls, and thats where I want to help! All these stores ship to NZ, some of them even for free on occasion. Three of them are even based right here at home so you can support the locals.

Being part of this millennial generation, I understand how stressful finding cool, affordable art can be (let alone framing it!). The price stacks up really quickly, and as much as we would like to decorate the walls, with rent being as high as it is we can't afford to (or you have a flatmate who will almost certainly fuck anything of value up). All of these stores have more affordable to more expensive, so there are options for everyone. 

For all my international babes reading, a lot, if not all, of these places ship elsewhere in the world too so you won't be missing out. You can also get your hands on some solid Kiwiana prints too if you want to have a bit of NZ in your living room. 

 

Not sure where to start?

Even better than telling you about these stores though, I spent some time creating a board on my Pinterest account that has my picks from these and many other print stores. Since I'm always browsing, you'll see more and more of them get added over time as well, so give me a follow! 

Check out the Pinterest Board 'TCA Print Picks'


1. Endemic World

Endemic has very quickly becomes one of those cool Ponsonby spots that has blown up in popularity. Their studio space in Ponsonby houses a gallery, print showroom and printers. Hosting many of New Zealand's best print artists, they are a great place to get some really cool, and affordable, art. 

Shop 'Endemic World'


Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 4.45.52 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 4.44.04 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 4.44.38 PM.png

2. Pop Motif

Pop Motif is another NZ based print store that has grown in popularity over the past few years. with a mix of international and local work, they are a great place to find some cult favs, and something you might not have seen before! 

Shop 'Pop Motif'


3. Society 6

I'm sure most people will have heard about Society 6; They are such. huge force in the affordable art world. Based out of the states, they are one of the biggest internationally known print stores. What I love about them is they provide a platform for artists to get their work seen by thousands of people, allowing anyone to create a career or side hustle out of being a print artist and gain international reach from the beginning. Aside from this of course, there is a huge and very cool range of prints on their site, the prints themselves are affordable, the shipping is decently quick to NZ and is often free when they do promotions. They are kind of like the Briscoes of the print world, there is always a promo of some sort happening! There is something for everyone on this site.

Shop 'Society 6'


4. Blacklist Store

This is the only independent artist store on this list, and it's because they have so many options and they are all so great. The blacklist site is based out of Australia, so you are still (kind of) supporting local with this one as a Kiwi. Blacklist has a mix of photographic and art prints, and they are all super moody and dreamy. I still don't own one of these, and I have only seen a handful of them in person, but I want almost everything on their website. 

shop 'Blacklist Store'


5. The Market NZ

Whilst The Market is not solely a print store, their focus is on providing a platform to artists and crafty humans all across New Zealand to have their work discovered. I came across this only the other day actually, as I was looking for places to buy plates from Claybird Ceramics. With a solid range of NZ print artists all in one place, they are another group trying to help the little guy. This one is really the epitome of supporting local. The prints are shipped by the individual artists, kind of like Etsy, so shipping times will vary, but I was told 5-7 days for mine and it arrived in 2 so I can't complain. 

Shop 'The Market NZ'


 

Disclaimer: ALL photographs have been taken from the Instagram or website of these brands, and a quick click on any of the images will take you straight to the source!