“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”    
                                 -Eleanor Roosevelt-

Even thought we are two weeks into 2017, I still want to say Happy New Years to you all beautiful people!! For some a new year means a clean slate to start over, to let go of hurts, disappointments, and failures. For others it may mean starting of 2017 without a loved one and finding strength to get through the rest of your day. For many this year will bring many joys and celebrations.

I know for me 2017 will bring many positive and life changing decisions.

Couple weeks ago I saw a hummingbird flying around a blooming flower tree near my patio. And I stood their and watched for about ten seconds before it flew away. That little ten second moment got me to thinking about the past year. As I look back to 2016, I see most of it as a blur. Just as a mockingbird flies at incredibly fast speeds, and doesn’t stay in one place for a merely but what feel like seconds, that’s how I remember 2016 and frankly most of my life.

Most people say the older you get the faster life seems to pass you by. And up to that moment that was my life. When will it stop??! I want to be happy and enjoy living EVERY moment. Is this what the rest of my life is going to feel like? Busy, bustling, stressful days that turn into years and IF I hit retirement age that’s when I will start living and appreciating life? Am I the only one feeling like this? I’m twenty six, and I feel burned out and exhausted. And I’m tired of feeling this way. I don’t want life to just pass me by.

Not one of us is promised to be alive the next minute, hour, or day. That is what 2016 clearly showed me and others. Many will say “Ahhh, that’s the continuing circle of  life, we live we die”. But what about the moments in between?

This is where I’ve told myself ENOUGH. I will hit the slow down button. I choose for myself to slow down , be calm, relish the moments of everyday. That means when I’m drinking a cup of coffee, or brushing my teeth, or cooking dinner, I will be present in that moment. This is hard to do in the living in one of the world’s most busiest and crowded metropolitan cities. Especially when you are dealing with insane amounts of traffic on a daily basis, the  feeling of not having enough time in the day to do anything, and not your brain set in the the constant hurry, hurry, hurry mode.

That is why I’m saying this year will bring life changing decisions for me. Because I will start enjoying my work and career, I will be positive and happy about the traffic I have to endure and conquer on my way back from work. I will be enjoying studying, writing papers, and test taking days for a Bachelor’s Degree. And I will be enjoying EVERY moment I have with my husband.

This may be the most used and cliche phrase out there, but really I wish for not only this year but the rest of your life “stop and smell the roses”. Live in the present. Whether you are experiencing tragedy, new life, regrets, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, or happiness, every aspect of life is beautiful.

As I wrap up this post, I’m excited to announce a new series I will be bringing to the the blog called “Moments in Between” celebrating and sharing times in life from a new perspective not only from my life but my readers lives:) . I hope you will join me.

I want to leave you with one of my most favorite quotes written by a poet, spiritual leader and peace activist

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”- Thich Nhat Hanh-

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Hi everyone and happy holidays!!!

I hope your Thanksgiving Holiday was tasty and enjoyable. For Hubby and I, Thanksgiving was wonderful and soooo yummy. I roasted a duck and Brussel sprouts for the first time:) Apart from cooking that day, I started working on a post and finally getting around to publishing it today.

Lately, or should I say the past half year, my creativity reserve has been slowly hitting rock bottom. Maybe it’s stress from work, anxiety, or depression or all combined, I don’t know. I do know this, I’ve missed writing and creating. I perused back to my first post on this blog and read it over and over. What the heck am I missing??!

I’m lacking emotion, inspiration, and the love for writing and sharing I had when my blog first went live. What has been an inspiration to me and has helped get my creative juices flowing is reading others blogs. These are the blogs I keep coming back to read every day, and the ones I look to for a spark of creativity, lifestyle advice, a bit of fashion, and a most of all their writing.  I’ve dubbed, what in my opinion seem to be the 9 inspirational and most beautiful lifestyle blogs of 2016. Each writer/blog has it’s unique voice/voices, styles, and delivers oodles amount of inspiration and beauty through their writing and photography.

 

Belong Magazine Blog

Belong Magazine IS a physical, hard copy blogger, media influencer, entrpreneurship magazine and their site/blog feels like community. They have contributors such as bloggers, diyers, photographers, writers, designers and many more creative people they contribute to the quarterly magazine issues. Each printed, and published hard copy of the magazine is gorgeous. It’s not only the visual aesthetics of this magazine and blog that make you keep coming back for more, but also the many beautifully written articles and pearls of wisdom each writer shares. Their blog and site are are full of ideas, inspiration, recipes, encouragement, business and social media advice and much more. I got the chance to meet the founder and editor, Brooke Saxon-Spencer, of Belong Mag at at blogging conference back in May of year, and let me tell you… Brooke puts her sweat, tears, all her love and energy into her work.

Reading My Tea Leaves 

Reading My Tea Leaves …that one blog I wish I had known about YEARS ago. It’s been around for a while. Erin lives a a simple lifestyle. That is what her blog is based on”a practical and purposeful approach to a simple sustainable lifestyle”-Erin Boyle. I enjoy reading her series My Week in Objects. She finds joy and pleasure in life’s little things. She and her family life a a NY 500sq ft apartment!! Talk about wow!! Her blog and writing has this calm, uncluttered, homey feel to it that makes you coming back for more.

 

Blare June

Blare June is beauty, empowerment, style, positivity, and epitome of success all wrapped into one. She is a full-time psychiatrist doctor in training and there are not many healthcare professional lifestyle bloggers out there. That was one of the reasons I started following her beginning of this year and also because of her pretty  pretty photos:) And after I looked around the site a bit and read a few posts, I was hooked. She focuses a good part of her blog to mental health, but also mixes in a bit of fashion and lifestyle in between.

 

the Freckled Fox Blog

The Freckled Fox

Emily Meyers of the Freckled Fox… I cannot begin to tell you how much her life story has not only affected me but also many others around the entire globe. I check her blog daily for her life updates and wait in anticipation for the next chapters of her and her family’s life. Every post she writes … raw, emotional, and beautiful heart tugging life moments and struggles she goes though. Her story is simply beautiful. She is an inspiration and a pillar of positivity to many women out in the world. To hear more of her story visit Marvelous Moms to listen to a podcast by Emily Meyers on Faith Hope and Freckles.

 

Inspirational Indulgence

Chelsea!!!! Gahhhh!! I love this girl… She writes with passion, and her blog Inspirational Indulgence is full of SO MUCH encouragement, inspiring articles and really cute outfits. She motivates and inspires you to live better. She puts so much hard work into her blog and on top of it all she is about to finish up her masters degree in counseling. AND she’s working on a book.  I’ve been following Chelsea’s blog since the first couple of posts. She writes with confidence, power and fearlessness.

Zoe London Blog

Zoe London

Zoe is a blogger from London. I began reading her blog for a couple of years ago. What really intrigued me about her blog was the beautiful photography and all the traveling she did!!! Oh and if you plan on going to London one day, definitely check out her many posts and recommendations of places to eat and visit. But I keep coming back for more because of her writing. My favorite post she wrote was God Knows I Triedin regards too how blogging is slowly fading away and how blogging has changed. Zoe talks about life in London, and the struggle it is to make it asa full-time blogger. I hope to meet her in the near future as she travels again to Los Angeles:)

 

Me and Orla blog

Me & Orla

Me & Orla is a blog based out of London. It’s about the adventures of a mother journeying her way through motherhood and recording those special moments. Sara also devotes a major part of her blog to sharing tips about Instagram, all sorts of hashtag challenges, and tons of photography knowledge. I cannot get enough of her photos!! Her blog carries this sense of the London country-side charm and enchantment you see in movies and photos.

a pair and a spare blog

A Pair & A Spare

This is my go to DIY blog. Geneva creates some beautiful projects along with really pretty photos and step by step instructions. It is thanks to her I decorated my apartment with lots of green plants. Her blog is full of all sorts of ideas/decor for the home and office. Plus she has a youtube channel that entails many of her projects and creations. Geneva is also the creator of the one and only The Simple Sandal, cute, and simple leather sandals that would go with any outfit. In between her DIY projects she also blogs about her home, food, travel and beauty.

the skinny confidential blog

The Skinny Confidential

Lauryn Evarts has been my favorite blogger since I’ve dived into the world of social media and blogging. She built and created The Skinny Confidential Brand from the ground up. Her brand has now expanded in a book, podcasts, and SO MUCH content on healthy eating, exercise, fashion, home decor, beauty and wellness. She talks real life. No sugar coating on her writing. I often listen to her and her hubby’s live podcasts. Lauryn also designed her whole website. Her blog screams chic, fabulous, and confidence. Lauryn also gives many tips on blogging full-time, and how she got to where she is today.

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rileysapple-2Tis the season of apple picking!!! It’s not officially Fall season unless you initiate it with apples galore, pumpkin spice lattes, boots and scarfs. I welcome you to take a peek into the blazing hot, sunny, charming, and fun day the Grace Belle team and the ladies had at Riley’s Apple Orchard.

To start off, this was my first outing with the Grace Belle team. First outing anywhere in California with a group of girls I didn’t know. I met Lorina, the founder of Grace Belle, a few weeks before when I interviewed for a position to be in her team. I wanted to see what these people and the overall community was all about. I had seen their post for this apple picking event and decided to tag along.

That entire day, long drive, and sun scorching hot weather was well worth the trip. I met some pretty incredible creative, beautiful, and talented ladies. I had found my place amongst THIS group.

Everyone had cameras: phones, digital, films etc… Nature, pumpkins, apples, and greenery all around. Photoshoots, and props, left, right and all around. So, yes I felt right at home:) And the work of picking apples and biting into the delicious crisp freshly grown apples? A mouthwatering delight!! I don’t think I can go back to eating store bought apples again.

Not to self: don’t wear boots in the 85 degree sweltering California heat. And bring a hat.

Grace Belle has organized some fantastic trips. Check out their site to see who they are, what they stand for, where they’ve traveled and what their next event will be. They are truly an inspiration. I am glad to be joining their extended team as a photographer, getting to know everyone and look forward to see their team expand and their vision grow.

 

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Living the Minimal Life
I choose to live the minimal life. I feel like I really discovered minimalism when I met my husband. Once I got married, I then learned from my husband what living like a minimalist really is and my life has changed A LOT and for the better. Choosing to live this way has taught me to enjoy life per se, independently of the value or the amount of stuff that I have. This is also why Danny and I decided to simplify and update our home.

“Less is more”

My first time ever moving out of my parents home was three years ago after our wedding. I could not wait to move out and get my first apartment, and decorate it to my liking. During our engagement period, which was five months, I spent that time gathering all sorts of home decor and styles online,in magazines, and stores, . They ranged from Urban Modern, to Farmhouse Rustic to Neutral Minimalist. My mind was all over the place. I liked this and that, but what if modern got boring, and I love the comforting feel of rustic decor, but I loathe clutter. Ahhh!!! So much to think about. So when it came time to purchase furniture, I didn’t have a a style picked out. And we ended buying pieces of furniture that was a little bit of everything.

Fast forward three years later, and we are living in Los Angeles, inside of 700 sq ft apartment and much more space to play around with. This past week, I had five wonderful, glorious days off from work. During that free time, Danny and I hunkered down and really dove into searching for a home style that worked for us both.

Now to give you a little insight on the type of people my husband and I are: we cannot and will not live in clutter, that goes for house decor, tons of unnecessary amounts of clothing, and just to much furniture. Also, he will start his medical residency soon and will rarely be home. I’m working three-four days per week at the hospital. And the days I’m home, you’ll find me in front of my computer or nestled in the corner chair reading a book.

Functionality was also major factor into choosing the design that we both wanted.

Minimalist Scandanavian Interior Design is what really caught our eyes.We both loved the feel of the whole concept! A little bit of European feel to it, very much minimalist, neutral tones, simple, and oh so functional.

Once you see the photos, you’ll  probably say but how is THAT functional?? Tiny table, no couches, nothing on the walls, and nowhere to sit. Yes, that’s the answer I got from my family. That’s why we love this design!! We rarely have people over, both of our families are back East, and we don’t plan on having kids just yet. Yet it works perfectly for us!

I also need to mention there’s an IKEA store 15 min from our town. That is where we purchased our kitchen table, chairs, and a bit of decor. We traveled around Los Angeles to multiple Goodwill stores to find little adornments for the living room ladder and spent next to nothing on them.  What really added that oomph and color accent to the whole apartment were the green various sized potted plants: Trader Joe’s and Lowes.

Danny and I are very excited about this new style, it’s easy to maintain, and will be less of a hassle when it will come time again change apartments. We’re thinking maybe a smaller studio next:D We are still working on the bedroom, and have yet to move out our old stuff.

Living the Minimal Life

Living the Minimal Life

I look forward waking up early in the mornings, reading blogs while taking that first sip freshly brewed coffee and in the background I listen to the waking hum and noise of the city. I love this fresh, new and clean feel of our home.

Not everyone can live this way. That’s totally fine! Whatever floats your boat and makes YOU happy. What make me happy and satisfied is to live with less stuff. It feels freeing. It has helped me to breath easier in a sense. I encourage you to read the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Although it’s not a book about minimalism, it is a starting point about decluttering and having less.

Hope you all have an amazing weekend!! Stay cool as these last few hot weeks of summer are winding down. It’s triple digits here in Southern California this weekend:D

Living the Minimal LifeLiving the Minimal Life Living the Minimal Life|Home UpdatesLiving the Minimal Life

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I am so excited to present to you the second mompreneur of this series. I  cannot wait for you all to read her inspiring story and see her gorgeous photography. We grew up together, spent celebrating multiple childhood birthdays together, and last time I saw her was when we parted ways at her going away party many years ago for Bible School. Viktoriya has always had that creative spark in her. I remember our tween years when we would have sleepovers and tear apart magazines for scrapbooking. Hers ALWAYS looked like a put together professional magazine 🙂 Fast forward YEARS later, and thousands of miles apart, I am thrilled to have had the chance to catch up and interview this beautiful woman.


Hello, My name is Viktoriya Chuprov – I am a mother, wife and a destination wedding photographer.

Everyone knows me for being creative, in pretty much anything. I have always admired art and photos that portrayed emotion. I could never figure out how someone could capture when looking at photos in a magazine. The raw, real laughter and twinkle in the eye – to the moody and emotion look.

Viktoriya Chuprov|Mompreneur:This is My Story

Throw back to high school, I accidentally got put into a photography class, after sitting through the whole class I got up and went straight to the office and told them I wanted out!

I do sometimes wonder if I had just taken that class, if I would have become a photographer much sooner! My creatively infused brain just did not seam to see the creative side of photography, instead I took an art class – I could not draw anything decent at all! With every assignment I created something with photos from magazines-photos that showed captured emotion and that portrayed a certain deep feeling.

Everything in my life from that point included me working with photos somehow – in Bible school I had the ability to make monthly slideshows from photos of our time there, and while on missions I seamed to be easily attracted to the camera and capturing our adventures. It was like God was hinting to me the whole time of what I desired deep within, and was still not aware…the captured motion, smile, laugh or even tears – a glimpse into a beautiful soul – is what fascinated me the most.

In the end of 2011, my best friend asked me to do a maternity shoot for her…with her iPhone. I started taking the photos and did not want to stop, I had a tool in my hands that fueled my soul. If the sun did not set we probably would have been there all day. I was inspired by light and a realization of how creative this photo taking can be, yes, even with an iPhone. It opened a whole new door for me, in a way where I saw myself behind the camera capturing what and how I wanted to capture it.

The feeling was oh so strong, however it was very fast put out by the feeling of needing to work and pay bills which over powered the need and want of what everyone thought could just be a hobby. So on I went to work in the medical field, endless hours of work and tiring of my soul.

Skipping along life to 2013, I found myself sitting behind a desk checking in patients and wanting to be doing something that’s NOT THIS. My co workers seamed content with their job, seamed passionate enough about it. Me, on the other hand, not so much. My creativity was jammed in to a box and I was going to explode if I didn’t do something, anything! On one Sunday service I heard a sermon about talents that God gives to people, and some people go through their whole life without ever discovering them. That simple sermon changed my life – it was the moment I started praying and seeking for God to show me what it is that He wanted me to do. I was taught to just live and serve but the thought of living my whole life without discovering treasure within me put there by God, frustrated me more then anything else.

It wasn’t until end of 2014, when in a financially rough place – no job and my six month old baby girl by my side, (My husband was making enough to cover the bills) I decided to fully put my faith in God and try out this photography thing to bring in some “necessary money”. It was a huge risk, and I did not want to do it if it was not God’s will. It was a prayer filled investment as I went into thousands of dollars of debt (something my husband is not for, but he let me just this time -he believed in me) – I had to buy a camera, lenses and learn everything about photography, and prayed that people would hire me. I never planned it to be anything major or big, I never planned to shoot weddings, I never imagined it to be everything I have ever wanted and yearned for…I had shamefully underestimated my God. HE can do so much in our lives if we only take that leap of faith and trust him.

Viktoriya Chuprov|Mompreneur:This is My StoryViktoriya Chuprov|Mompreneur:This is My Story

It wasn’t a random idea to go and become a photographer – I had finally dug up that treasure God had wanted me to discover since I was a teenager. I am forever thankful that He has put me on this journey and has never left my side, not for a moment! (There are so many testimonies I can share).

I am a fan of bold colors, the clean and simple, and when it came time to decide how I wanted to edit my photos I chose to go with just that – The classic look that will withstand time and trends.

I also adore black and white photos. I used to look through my parents and grandparent’s old photos back in the day (which, most where black and white) and it inspired me to use my imagination and create timeless images like that for my clients, but with a bit of modern flare ;).

My workday, haha. I laugh because I can work 24/7 with a few breaks to eat and play with my child. Honestly, being a photographer is like being an accountant, office manager, creator, editor & scheduler all jammed into one. I don’t mind working random hours and days, when you love your job it just feels like living and not a hassle. However, its not to say that I don’t love organization – At the moment I am still working on all these task into hours of the day. I am taking this summer to prioritize, organize and hopefully by Fall have a decent office schedule and some balance.

Running your own business can be very stressful at times, and after a year of doing it I finally came to a crossroads of “branding” my business and that ultimately gave me a lot of guidance of what exactly I wanted to do. Yes, I was a photographer – but what kind? It came a point when I had to decide if I wanted to be doing anything and everything or just a specific thing. It was hard to balance family portrait sessions and weddings, as both are very different, I loved doing both, but I felt like I was not giving MY 100% to both. I knew that If I decide to pursue one or the other I will have a specialty and thus give my 100% to do just that, and relieving some of the stress of having to do everything. I chose to focus on weddings and couples and even through it was a hard step to take, it was the best decision I ever made! My work load got lighter and the business became more organized and not so scattered, as well as I now get a lot of more free time to enjoy with my little family.

Viktoriya Chuprov|Mompreneur:This is My Story

The goal for me right now is to provide the best service I can to my couples and clients, I am so thankful for word of mouth from clients, which in turn gives me more clients and couples to work with! In the next two years if I am right where I am at now, I will be content. I am hoping to keep booking weddings in destination locations. I never got to travel much when I was younger and neither did my husband, so weddings give us that opportunity to do it together. We enjoy the interaction with the couple and I just love having my husband assisting me, he is also very good with the camera and has an eye for photography, but still needs some convincing ;). Our daughter stays with my mom when we travel, and she is our biggest support and blessing! The goal for the next year or two – we will just have to wait and see, because anything I can come up with now will not compare to what God has in store.

Go live your life and pursue your dreams, whether its to be a photographer, blogger, missionary, lawyer or doctor. You only live once, go live! What ever is in you, is usually what you are ment to do. Be an inspiration to others and find others to inspire you. I believe life is a journey, it will be filled with ups and downs – so don’t forget to do what makes you smile and heart flutter.

Viktoriya Chuprov|Mompreneur:This is My StoryViktoriya Chuprov|Mompreneur:This is My Story

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Welcome to my blog! I'm Lena-a nurse by day, lover of nature, yoga pants, tea and coffee in between. This is a place where I document life's moments, along with adventures/travel and little bits and pieces of practical simple living. I'm Thank you for stopping by <3

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