There was this one time where I bought my husband a vacuum for Christmas. A vacuum. Now if I explain the backstory behind it, it would make total sense (at least it did for me! He still brings it up in jest. Often.). Before we had kids and had lots of spare time on our hands, Marcus was really into cleaning his car. He would spend hours every weekend meticulously cleaning his car, inside and out. So newly married little me on a teeny little budget thought that getting him a hand vacuum was brilliant. Imagine my surprise when he couldn’t control his laughter on our second Christmas as a married couple! Needless to say that I am a little leery when giving him gifts…
Let’s talk Valentines Day. While I am a huge fan of love and love to celebrate it, there is a part of me that gets anxious about buying a gift for my husband (I mean, you can imagine why…). He has everything he wants, and if he does actually need something, he buys it for himself. Consider this girl stumped. Until. UNTIL. This watch. My man doesn’t collect things, but he does have a nice little collection of watches. So I figured I would add to his collection, this time with wooden watches, which is totally different than anything he has!
Jord contacted me at the perfect time before my Valentine’s Day gift-giving slump hit. Have you seen their watches? They are superior quality wooden watches and some of the coolest designs I’ve seen, and for a great price! They are unique and personal, most of which you can have engraved with your husband’s initials or name, or even a little love note (perfect Valentine’s Day gift, amiright?!). Marcus loves the watch! It is so unique and very light, so a much different feel than any other watch he has. I would say I (finally) got a slam dunk for gift giving this holiday!
Marcus is wearing the Frankie Zebrawood with the Navy face. Sexy, right? If you are interested in this watch you can check it out here!
You can check out their entire collection for men here. They also have a collection for women too! Check it out here. I’m a little sad I don’t have one myself now… Also, side note darling husband if you are reading this: I just noticed they sell an apple watch band. But I suppose I need an apple watch first… 😉
Who wants to win a gift card towards a JORD WATCH?! Obviously that was rhetorical. Anyways, Jord was generous enough to offer up a $100 gift card to one lucky winner! There will be one lucky winner, but all entries will receive a 10% off discount code once the giveaway is over. You can enter by clicking here. It will just take a second, promise! Easy! Contest ends 2/11/18.
Now that Christmas is only a WEEK away (how did that happen?!) I am starting to think about what I am going to wear for Christmas Eve to church and my Christmas outfit. What a better excuse to wear a little sparkle than at Christmastime! Pairing this sequined shirt with a pleated skirt makes for the perfect Christmas outfit. It is such a cute ensemble, plus everything can be remixed into other outfits. Can you tell I like items that have a lot of bang for their buck?! (Remember how I wore this pleated skirt here in the summer?). The silhouette is so flattering and the extra bling for winter is perfect.
My skirt and shirt are old, but I found some really similar options below.
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Here in New England, we are in that weird time of year where we will have a super hot 80-degree day, and the next is 55 and cold. Even on those hot days, the mornings are chilly and it is hard to dress appropriately. I also don’t like to spend a ton of money on my wardrobe. I mean, of course I like to shop, but due to the whole budget thing (see husband, I do try and be frugal!), I also try and maximize what I already have. Going from summer to fall makes it easy to borrow clothes from one season to the next!
how to do double duty
When transitioning into the next season, make your clothes do double duty! A simple way I make my clothes work for me is by layering on top of my summer tops. By adding the extra layer, it helps ward off the chills on those cool mornings. And then I have a layer I can remove in the afternoon (because chasing little kids around= immediately overheating). This basic tank is my go-to in the summer, and I don’t think I will stop wearing it any time soon! Just switch out your shorts for some jeans, add some cute booties and a statement necklace and you have a simple yet stylish outfit.
I need to mention these jeans specifically too- they are all I’ve worn lately! They are so comfortable and fit great. They look more expensive than they really are. Go try them on; you’ll thank me! I have them in the distressed version too. (Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom for direct links to these items or similar ones!).
If you ever wonder who I am laughing at in my pictures, usually it is my friend Jenn at From the Family with Love. I am not totally comfortable being in front of the camera, and she helps me not take myself too seriously 😉 Here she is!
Before our Friendsgiving, my awesome friend suggested she take some outfit pictures for me. I am not at all comfortable in front of the camera, but having a friend taking the pictures made me feel slightly less awkward. For our Friendsgiving I wanted a look that was simple but practical, because we still had our kids to take care of (oh, and food to make!).
Neutrals are always a great option! Simple pieces put together to make a really cute outfit.
These booties are everything. I will wear them until my toes freeze!
Ripped jeans kept the look from getting too formal.
Family pictures. It makes me sweat just thinking about it. Between picking out outfits (sorry to all my friends and family for the incessant outfit approvals…), picking the right time of day, making sure everyone is fed and not tired and happy…ugh. It can be overwhelming! I am not great about getting good quality non-phone pictures of my family, so our yearly family pictures have become very important to me. I have learned what NOT to do the hard way, so I figured I would share to hopefully help you out in the future!
Don’t have your family pictures done in the heat of summer, if you can help it. For whatever reason, last year I thought it would be a great idea to have our pictures done in July. JULY. Granted we live in Connecticut so summer is mild compared to other states, but still. It was one of those days where you could not escape the heat and my makeup was melting off, nevermind my hair was flat by the end. So learn from my mistake. Choose a mild temperature month.
We just had our pictures done in October, and everyone was so much happier across the board. The sun wasn’t intense, we could layer a bit (which looks nicer in pictures anyway!) and the kids could run around and play without having heat stroke. Win.
Time of Day
We chose to have our pictures done at 10. Usually, this is a great time for us. The children would be well rested, but be awake enough to not have the morning crankies. The morning of, I checked the weather. It was 47 degrees at 10. Crap. That is really cold! I mean, I had a four month old (at the time). Thankfully our photographer is awesome and was flexible, and we agreed to change the pictures to 11. It was only 5 degrees warmer at that point, but I would say it was worth it! I was a little nervous moving it later in the morning, fearing we may have entered hungry/tired/crazy mode. But I took the chance. And we survived! Mainly due to the next point…
Overfeed Your Children
We try and feed our kids balanced meals and teach moderation. But on picture day, anything goes. You want an extra side of cheese in addition to your cheesy eggs? Sure. Quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for some munchkins? You got it. Because a kid with a full belly is 100% happier than a hungry kid. And we all know a hungry kid is a disaster to work with.
Now listen. I am firmly in the do-not-bribe-your-child camp. However, rules do not apply on family day. I purchased that box of munchkins with not an ounce of shame and would kindly remind my child that if they smiled for the camera, a nice sugary treat may await them. You can bet my kids smiled their faces off!
Short and Sweet
You know your kids, and every kid, no matter how well behaved, will have their limit. They are like little bombs, just waiting to explode. Don’t twaddle (did you know it was spelled that way? I had no idea. Ha!)- take those pictures like you mean it. Get everyone into their position as fast as you can, and then move to the next spot. I am no photographer, but I know I need to be as efficient as possible for the best success. Plus, you will keep your kids on their toes. It sounds silly, but if they are moving around and being stimulated, they may not have time to think about whining.
Kids have lots of energy. Keep that in mind when choosing a location. If at all possible, choose a place where they can run and get some energy out. They will be so much happier and pleasant! If they are contained inside, it will only cause them to get stir crazy. And on the plus side, candid shots are amazing. Get some of them running and having a good time. The smile on their face will be so much more genuine!
Plan and Prepare Outfits in Advance
Think simple, comfortable, and coordinated. Please, oh please, don’t have everyone in jeans and a white top. You are capturing a glimpse into your life at this time, so wear something that you might normally wear, just a little more polished. I know there are tons of resources out there to assist in pattern mixing and what not, but if you are stuck, just don’t overcomplicate it.
And now, onto our pictures!
OK I know that was a lot, sorry (not sorry). I am so glad we had the opportunity to take pictures this year and am beyond ecstatic with how they turned out! (Shout out to Greg for the great pictures and managing to get the kids to all look/smile! Make sure you check him out if you are in Connecticut and tell him I sent you!)
I hope you can learn from mistakes of what not to do, and hopefully you can have a successful family photo session. I know how important it is to document these times! As we all know, time is fleeting with these kids at this age, and I want to remember every moment.
Did you have family photos done this year? How did it go? While ours was 99% successful this year, some little boy (not naming names, but it wasn’t Marcus) had quite the blowout at the end. I’m talking out of the pants and shirt. Everything. Safe to say that our session ended then… Do you have a story that can top that? Let me hear it!