05 March 2010

A new home!

Project: Joie de Vivre has a new home! :)

Please visit the blog at http://www.projectjoiedevivre.com!

Be sure to update your feed as well, just CLICK HERE to update your subscription!

Merci a tous!

03 March 2010

Getting Clear on Your Purpose

Have you ever had one of those days where you don't know what you're doing or why you're doing it?

Or you feel discouraged about pursuing your dream and you haven't any idea of how you're doing to make it happen?

That was me today.

Some of my appointments were moved around and I felt like I was losing momentum. What started out as a busy week felt like it came to a screeching halt with nothing to do. Well, of course there are things to do, but nothing that made me change out of my pajamas and take on the outside world.

And it's probably because I was cooped up all day. Alone in the house. One of the minuses of working from home, and working alone, there's no one to bounce ideas off of at any given moment. I have to make appointments with my colleagues to hang out. Sometimes, entrepreneurship can be a lonely road.

Oh man, I'm sorry to sound like such a downer today, but it's just one of those days.

So this got me to thinking about my purpose. My purpose behind my business. It's not to make a ton of money. It's not just to take pictures. It's a lot bigger than that. It's a lot heavier than that.

I attended a Business Planning workshop a few weeks ago where we had to write our mission statement. Before the workshop, my only recollection of a mission statement was the one from my high school. For some reason that was the first one I could think of.

And so we went through the mission statement writing process. It's not an overnight process. It's a constant work in progress. But this was a totally intriguing exercise because it really got all of us to think and consider what it is we do, why we do it, and for whom.

I loved hearing some of the mission statements of huge companies such as Starbucks and Disney. Starbucks' is " Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time." Disney's is "To make people happy." I really enjoyed learning how everything in our business should revolve around and reflect our mission statements.

So my mission statement is still a work in progress, but since I'm talking about purpose, I wanted to share it here. To encourage those of you who do read this blog to come up with your own personal mission statement. I don't think you have to have a business to have a mission statement. Your mission statement should reflect you and who you are and why you do what you do. Whatever that may be.

Your joie de vivre may be your mission. Your mission may be your joie de vivre.

So what I came up with to reflect myself as well as my business is "To inspire others to live their passion." I didn't want to keep it narrowed just to photography, but broad enough to span to my other project, including this blog.

Have you thought about your purpose?

Have you ever written a mission statement?

Have you ever just had one of those days?

If you have, I'd love for you to share it in the comments!

Merci a tous,

01 March 2010

Sometimes, You Have to Just Do It

I'm a cautious person when it comes to spending money. I learned to be frugal and thrifty from a young age from my dad. And I'm thankful because it helped me be a vigilant saver and never blow my budget. It's how I socked away cash for retirement (its' never too soon to start!) and it's how I was able to save a nice sum of cash for our wedding.

However, it also makes it harder for me to spend money on myself. Especially the big ticket items. Even if it's for business.

But sometimes you just have to do it.

For the longest time (about a year), I've been wanting and needing a new camera body. But I was able to come up with excuse after excuse.

"We're saving for the wedding."

"I have a camera body that's still good."

"I don't have the money."

I like to think that I'm a natural saver. Pinching pennies and keeping my piggy bank happy. (Okay, I don't actually have a piggy bank, but my bank account thanks me.) And when it comes to spending big money, I start to get agitated and nervous. Running all the reasons why it's a bad idea through my head.

I know, it's a little crazy.

But today, I made it happen. I had to. If I want to further my dreams, I had to invest in myself.

And I'd like to liken this to pursuing any dream or ambition.

How easy is it for you to talk yourself out of something?

Do you find it easy to think of all the reasons why it won't work, why it can't happen, everything that could go wrong, or how it would be impossible?

I know, I do too.

That's fear talking. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the unfamiliar. Fear of possibility.

What steps do you need to take to further your dreams?

Is it calling a contact?
Is it writing a proposal?
Is it meeting with potential investors or clients?
Is it spending a big chunk of change?

Today, when I was about to purchase my new camera body, I started to feel the nerves well up. I wondered what would happen if I just walked out and decided to not buy it. My eyes grew large when I saw the price that I would be owing, but then I thought about what this investment would bring.

Better image quality.
Better output.
Trust with colleagues.
Trust with clients.

Bottom line, this purchase would push my business forward.

So imagine what kind of obstacle is facing you.

What do you need to "just do"?
What are you afraid of?
What would it be like if you "just did it"?

Would you advance in your pursuit of your joie de vivre?

If so, get going!

I know, it's scary. But if you have considered all your options and all your outcomes, and your gut is still telling you to move forward with the "scary" path, it's a sign.

Sometimes, you just have to do it.

Feel the fear. Do it anyway.

Merci a tous,

27 February 2010

Friday Night Reflections: Saturday Edition

What opportunities do you have?

What could you be doing?

What do you wish you were doing?

I had a recent comment from someone who wanted to start writing again. To that I say, start writing. In a journal. On a blog. In a notebook or pieces of scrap paper. But just make sure you are writing. Everyday. Even for a few minutes, but practice your craft.

The same thing goes for photography. If you have a camera, learn how to use it. Practice. Practice. Practice. Share photos with others.

Or for music or singing. Do it. And do some more.

I think sometimes the hardest part is doing it. Doing whatever it is that we want to do. For fear of criticism. For fear of being questioned. For fear of not being supported in your endeavors.

Trust me, I know there's nothing scarier than speaking your dreams out loud. It's almost as if saying it out loud makes it real. But it's true. And I think that the more you make it known (even if it's only to your inner circle) what you want to do or be doing, it will make it easier to get there.

So, what's your opportunity to do what you want to be doing?

Bon week-end!

24 February 2010

Be Open to Opportunity

Does the thought, "I could never do that" ever cross your mind?

Or,  "Am I good enough?"

Or perhaps, "Why me?"

This has often crossed my mind. I got into the mindset of thinking that I couldn't before I even tried. In high school, I was often timid about trying things - trying out for basketball, trying out for a part in the musical (as dance ensemble), or running for student government. Often, my mind what wrapped around these questions.

"Why would anyone pick me?"

It held me back in so many ways. I actually closed myself off from these opportunities, and now that I think back, I'm wondering what life would be like if I was more open to opportunity. If I had had more confidence in myself back then.

But confidence is half the battle.

And even though I had a strong support system at home, with a family of personal cheerleaders, it was my personal confidence that was shaky.

I think it was when I embarked on my own in a foreign country that I figured out that I had to suck it up and just do it. If I was ever going to do anything, I just had to do it. Be open to opportunity.

It was slow going at first. Some friends planned a trip to the Czech Republic and the little voices in my head somehow held me back. I gave myself reasons why I shouldn't go. I gave myself excuses. And instead of going to Prague (granted it was a coooold winter), I stayed in town and explored two smaller cities alone. I kind of wish that I had gone.

But as the year went on, I learned to be more open to opportunity. I took some karate lessons and quickly learned that I felt totally ridiculous doing karate. In other words, I learned that it was not my forte.

I took a trip with friends to Vienna. We decided since we were already in Vienna (after a 21-hour bus trip!) we should go see Budapest. So we did. And we found a family that rented out rooms as a mini hostel and on top of that, we sneaked into the orchestra pit of the Budapest National Opera House. I'm not even kidding. Part of me was paranoid that the guards were going to get us (they had big guns, and by guns I mean things that shoot bullets), but I followed my fearless friend Elana, and we looked out into the Opera House. It was an amazing ten seconds.

And all this was possible because I became more open to opportunity.

So what if you turned those earlier questions upside down and said, "Why not me?"

I could.

I can.

Why not try?

Since moving to Dallas, I've let this become my motto. I've had to build an entirely new base of friends and colleagues from scratch. Without knowing a soul. And it wouldn't be possible if I wasn't open to new opportunities. Open to meeting people. Open to chances.

I'm not saying jump blindly into opportunities. But I am saying to consider them. Think about it. Will it cause any harm? Or will it add good to your life?

You never know what opportunity may change your life.

Help you find your joie de vivre.

Be bold. Be brave.

Try new things.

Meet new people.

Be open.

Merci a tous,

22 February 2010

Joyeux Anniversaire!

Tomorrow is my birthday.

I'm not one of those people who necessarily dreads their birthday. I actually enjoy celebrating. However, I do kind of cringe at the idea of getting older.

Not because it's scary.

Or because I haven't accomplished everything that I wanted to by this time.

Or because I'm afraid of aging.

But simply because I can't believe that hitting the age that I only ever imagined being.

I can still remember my favorite birthday celebration. It was my twenty first birthday that was celebrated in Lyon, France while I was studying abroad. My wonderful posse of friends planned an amazing surprise scavenger hunt that involved bar hopping. And when you turn twenty-one in a country with a drinking age of eighteen, and grew up in a country with a drinking age of twenty-one, it was a treat to ring in the milestone birthday!

And it wasn't because I got to drink all night. Because quite frankly, that night I spent hugging la toilette.

It was the thought and the care put into the evening. It was all the careful and meticulous planning by my friends. It was the amazing surprise and that everyone was able to keep secret. It was spending a wonderful evening with wonderful people, eating yummy food and getting adventurous with different kinds of drinks. It was about having fun with people I loved being with. It was the celebration. The jubilation. The feeling.

For the longest time, I had always dreamed of having a surprise birthday party. And for my milestone birthday, I received my wish!

I hope that I can bring that kind of celebration to my loved ones for years to come. Make it special. Make it memorable. Make it fun. It's part of my joie de vivre. Celebrating and expressing love to everyone who is meaningful in my life.

And tomorrow is my birthday.

I can't believe that epic anniversaire in France was six years ago. Sometimes I can remember it like it was just weeks ago.

And now I'm an adult. With a husband. And a house. And a fledgling small business. And a passion for helping others live the life they were meant to live. Little by little, inspiring others to discover what they love, and how they can make it happen.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Joie de vivre. The joy of living.

This is my joy.

Merci a tous,

19 February 2010

Friday Night Reflections: Step 5

Yay, this blog is just over a month old! And it's been a fun journey so far.

So for today's Friday Night Reflection, I'm piggybacking off of yesterday's post on "Pursue Happiness" and thinking about what makes me happy.

What makes you happy? What/who do you love?

I love simple things.

My husband.

My family.

My friends.



Red Velvet Cake.

Beignets from Cafe du Monde.



La vie francaise. The French life.

Salade Lyonnaise. Specialty salad with bacon, poached egg, and vinaigrette from Lyon, France. My favorite salad on earth!

Crepes. Crepes with Nutella and bananas. Mmmm.

The metro. Or the subway in New York.


Photography. Photographing people.


Deep conversations.


What do you love?

Write it down. Let stream of consciousness flow. You might be surprised what you come up with. And maybe a step closer to your joie de vivre.

Bon week-end!