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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Holiday Gift Ideas

After prepping large amounts of food for days, cooking for hours in the kitchen to get a dozen dishes on the table for Thanksgiving dinner at our home, then playing games with the kids in our was time to switch gears to Christmas! I shopped for a few hours alone (mom's know how exciting this can be!) taking advantage of Black Friday deals....on Saturday evening, ha! Then we spent the rest of the weekend unpacking boxes of Christmas decorations and placing touches of red, green, silver and gold to every nook and cranny of our home.
Mikayla's framed photo above is the back of her first birthday party invitation. See more about it below! I received compensation in exchange for this post, but opinions and adorable baby are 100% mine.

Gold can be found all over the decor and design world lately, and Minted has some of the best foil stamped designs out there! Here are my top holiday gift ideas...

For all the holiday parties you'll be attending in the coming weeks, any hostess would appreciate customized stationery. These are my top four picks: dots | stripes | bars | hello

Grandparents would love this photo artwork...
For your kids, this watercolor artwork would be a beautiful addition to their bedrooms.

For the home, I can't wait to get these watercolor zodiac sign prints for the bedroom my girls share.
And either the IL or US map prints to add to the gallery wall in my family room.

If you are still in need of a holiday card, you know I love Minted's card stock quality and unique stationery designs! I customized a wedding invitation to use for Mikayla's gold, navy and pink first birthday party, and couldn't be more giddy with the thick card stock, scalloped edges, shimmery foil details and quality photo printing on the back. And the beautifully designed recipient address printing on the envelope is icing on the cake!

Don't delay and purchase your Minted holiday cards soon! Through Monday you can get 15% off, free shipping and free recipient addressing with code MERRY. Happy Holidays everyone! I will anxiously be checking the mail everyday to see your beautiful cards!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Birth Announcements...10 months later.

Last year around this time, I posted my 31 on 31 post, where I was 31 weeks pregnant on my 31st birthday. Well, here I am one year later, having just celebrated my 32nd birthday...and I have yet to post anything about Mikayla, who's almost 11 months old now! When Minted approached me to share their products with my readers, I figured it's about time I introduce my second baby girl...10.5 months later! I received compensation in exchange for this review, but opinions and adorable baby are 100% mine.

I narrowed it down and was debating between these birth announcements...
And I finally decided on this one because I love full bleed images on cards where beautiful script stands out against negative space and the color matched perfectly.

As a newborn photographer for Misha Media, I make sure to capture a variety of options with blank space in case parents want newborn birth announcements like these, where the focus is solely on their precious baby and a beautifully designed message.

I love how when designing cards on Minted, you have beautiful fonts to choose from and can drag the different design elements around. I also love how nice and thick their card stock is and the options to write a long message with images. And the icing on the cake is free recipient addressing...also in beautiful fonts! No handwriting of 40+ addresses here! 

Which birth announcement do you like best? What is your go to site/designer for stationery? I have newborns on the mind as I've been photographing quite a few lately! But I better switch gears and pick up the pace on planning Mikayla's first birthday party. It's less than two months away, I can't believe it! Look how big she is now! 
Oh these two, melt our hearts every single day...
 And this little registered for kindergarten!?!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

{Fiona} - 6 months

Since I last posted, I had a baby, took time off, went back to work and photographed Baby Fiona as she turned 6 months old. Fi is still tall and beautiful just like her 3 month and newborn photo sessions!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Little Man/Bow Tie Themed 1st Birthday Party

In addition to photographing Baby Corby as he got SO big throughout the year, I put together a party plan with ideas for his Little Man/Bow Tie/Newspaper themed 1st birthday party. I loved how his mama pulled it all together!
Invitations always set the tone for an event and these custom newspaper invitations could not be more perfect!

Speaking of custom, how amazing are these custom party favor cookies!? The caricature is spot on from Corby's 9 month photo session!

If there's any time to display pictures of your baby, their first birthday party is the time to do it! Corby's mom used her fireplace and mantle to the fullest to display photos of Corby throughout his first year.

A craft punch was super helpful in creating a bazillion bow ties and mustaches to use throughout the party.
Corby's mama had newspapers on display from the day Corby was born. And she came up with fun games like "Scatter-Corby's".
Awesome job mama! For more little man/bow tie/newspaper themed birthday party ideas, you can follow my pinterest board here.

Party Plan & Photography - a {day} with lil mama – me!
Invitation – Lily Red Studio
Custom Cookies - Parker's Crazy Cookies

Thursday, April 10, 2014

31 on 31

You might've noticed that this lil blog of mine has been slow with new posts since last fall. But for good reason, since I've been resting for baby girl #2! Just a few weeks ago I was 31 weeks pregnant on my 31st birthday.

Despite my slow waddle and everyone saying how much bigger I look this time around, I feel great and wanted to capture this time in my life. I always encourage mamas to have maternity photos made because parents need to get in pictures! These moments are once in a lifetime! Kids should have pictures to look at to remember the times/memories/moments we all had together (not just a picture of them alone doing what they're doing). When they grow up they're not going to want to see a bazillion pictures of themselves. They're going to want to see the moments they shared with family and friends. The very people who make them who they are today. And to see how beautiful their parents were before they came along.

At a maternity session, the focus is not just on you nor do you do it for yourself. It's for your family. The focus is on that little life you've been harboring. If it's the second time around, it's about the older child embracing your belly and learning about what's in there. The last time as a family of three. The last time the focus is on that first child. The focus is on your love and family growing. It's about looking back and remembering exactly how you felt, being pregnant at this moment and time in your life. Not just how you looked. You won't ever feel this way again. You don't get to go back and redo it, should you regret your decision. So just do it! *end spiel* Even if you don't hire someone to do it, just do it! All these pictures were made on a tripod with a cheap remote I bought 2 days prior, in our alley, in 30 minutes. And I am so glad we did it.
Although Mia was a little disappointed to find out she wasn't spending the entire day with me on my birthday, I couldn't be happier that she understands that birthdays are for celebrating with family and friends. While last year I hosted a party to celebrate the year my friends and I turned the big 3-0, this year I was spoiled by those nearest and dearest to me. 
I started the day by finally trying Bongo Room's brunch....super sweet and delicious white chocolate and caramel pretzel pancakes and chocolate banana french toast (the waiter let me mix and match since I couldn't decide!) and a melt in your mouth savory lobster roll benedict. 

Thanks to Doug, I had some time alone to shop and was treated to a pre-natal massage at Urban Oasis. Mamas - they have a hole in the table for your belly for the first half and being on your back with various wedges for the second half was sooo relaxing. I totally agree with all the Yelpers who said the complimentary rain shower is THE best! Like I was in a shampoo commercial. And never wanted to get out.

Then after a quick nap I was off to my friend's place who threw me a combo birthday party/baby sprinkle (a smaller shower since it's my second child). I am so grateful to have family and friends who made time to spend the day with me. I truly felt special and loved, as everyone should on their birthdays. My friends bought new books for baby #2 and rather than presents for my second girl (who already has plenty of hand me downs!) everyone brought such thoughtful gifts for me! Between the comfy clothes, luxurious soaps and lotions, Michael's gift card, makeup, massage, wine (I can't wait!!) and wonderful friends certainly didn't forget that mamas need to be taken care of too! Thank you so much ladies!

When picking out a nail polish for the mani/pedi part of my sprinkle/birthday party, I grabbed a light pink, which I never do. It happened to be called "It's a Girl!" so naturally, I couldn't pass it up.

Mia could not be more ready for her little sister. Ever since we told Mia the news around 12 weeks, without our telling her to, she includes baby in all her family drawings, tells us what she/we will share/teach/do with baby, and gives my belly kisses every single day. I hope this trend continues even after baby gets here!
Only 7 more weeks to go! It's going to fly by!!