Miss Blake Annebelle

In the early days of this blog, I spent the majority of my time documenting my pregnancy with my first daughter, Aubrey.  Its like life was in hyper drive during the newborn stage and then we jumped into a home renovation and moved out of our house – all the while I fell off the blogging schedule. So much has happened in the last two and a half years including another baby! Our little Blake is ONE and I am just in disbelief. The days and nights may have sometimes felt like they’d never end but the weeks just flew by! Since so much was dedicated to Aubrey, I wanted to post a bit about Blake too!

We announced to our family on Christmas Eve 2015 that Aubrey would be a BIG SISTER (she was 10 months old)!

 

Being pregnant with a young baby was so much different than the first go around! With Aubrey, I worked at an office and spent most of my days sitting. This pregnancy required so much more energy that I didn’t have.  I was still getting up at night with Aubrey and rarely spent time just sitting.  It didn’t seem ideal at the time, but I was so grateful to be living at my mother in laws.  It was amazing to have an extra set of hands when dealing with that crazy little girl! I was grateful to have had a healthy pregnancy again, and a busy one! Aubrey turned ONE in February, we moved back into our newly renovated home in March, and spent the last weeks getting our house in order (as much as possible anyway – does this process ever end?!). I was due July 24, and three days later (just like her sissy) Blake was born on July 27, 2016 at 3:15PM. There has never been a more overwhelming yet joyful moment than when Aubrey (who was 17 months) came to meet her little sister the next morning!

 

In one year, our family has grown so much! Blake is the perfect addition to our lives and we couldn’t be more thankful for two healthy, smart, and beautiful girls!

Happy Birthday to our sweet, yet tough and determined little girl. We love you so so much!

| all of our photos were taken by Alex of Alexandra Kayy Photography |

I cannot wait to share all about her birthday celebrations!

xoxo

Whitney

How to Plan: Family Photo Outfits

I love to take family photos.  Something about documenting a certain stage in life with beautiful photos brings me joy! Although I can't always predict how it will go with two kids – (I leave it up to our amazing photographer to capture the magic that she does), I can make sure we look put together! I may spend a bit more time than some on deciding our outfits, but I've got a good system down and I love having something to shop for-whether its in a store or our closets!  Here's some tips on choosing outfits for your family's photo session:

one. Decide on a time frame/special occasion for your photos. Are you taking pictures for Christmas cards or a special birthday? Will you be taking them in the spring or the fall? Obviously if you're taking photos in the summer you don't want to be wearing sweaters and jeans and if its fall photos you're doing, you may want the overall look to be more cozy!

 

You can also add to this with accessories. Here in Southern California, there was really no need to a blanket scarf in the fall, but it looked super cute on our Christmas Cards! For Aubrey's first birthday photos, I added a party hat and a fun accessory to bring in her party theme just for a few photos.

two. Choose a location.  Your photographer may be able to help you with this – but once you have a time frame, location is a big factor in deciding our look.  Typically if I mention the beach or something rustic, our photographer Alex will have a few options up her sleeve for us.  I love light and bright colors on the beach. Keep in mind if you're going somewhere that has specific colors or decor, you don't want to clash or blend in. I've noticed browns and olive greens may not work in a more rustic location with lots of trees and long grass.

 

three. Once you know when and where your session is taking place, the coordinating begins! Choose your starting outfit. For me, it's typically mine (mama's gotta look good, haha). I know my girls look cute in anything and it's easy to find a shirt for my husband to go with anything. Sometimes my outfit is neutral, and sometimes it has a pattern or makes a statement. Once I've found something for me that goes with the overall feel I'm going for, I move on to the girls, and then my husband.

 

burgundy dress is LuLaRoe | floral and green ombre were both LC by Lauren Conrad at Kohls | white dress is Knox Rose at Target | sequin dress was from Rent the Runway

four. The kids. As cute as matching outfits are for two sisters, I like them to be different so they don't just look like one blob. Since my girls are young, we tend to hold them often so I like some contrast. I usually do one in a pattern and one in a solid. Or two solids with different textures. Just some difference to make it interesting! Depending on your preference, you can choose a color from the pallet of your starting outfit, or an opposite yet complimenting color. One way I like to keep a bold look more simple is to keep something consistent like denim pants.

 

The girls' white outfit details are in a recent post.

five. My husband. For men, and especially those who don't like to play dress up, simple is key. Family photos are not his idea of a great day, so I try to make his outfit as painless as possible! His go to look: pants and a button up. If I want a more dressed up look I find a long sleeve and he wears nicer shoes. If I want a more relaxed look, I go for a short sleeve and boots. I want to be sure we all look cohesive in this way.  If I have on a floor length dress, it only seems fitting that his shirt is a bit dressier and on the contrary, if the girls look more relaxed, I want us to also feel casual! His shirt is usually simple (unless our overall look needs a pattern or something) and compliments my outfit alone and the girls clothes. I always like to sneak in a photo of just us, so I want the two of us to look complimentary on our own.

 

The last tip is find a photographer whose style you love and would want to see in your home. I found Alex from Alexandra Kayy Photography while I was pregnant with Aubrey and she has been capturing the special moments in our lives ever since! I love knowing that our memories are in good hands! She's been at the hospital the day after my babies were born and documented our girls as they've grown. I cannot thank her enough for the gifts she has given us through photographs!

Check her out here: Facebook | Instagram | Website

I hope you enjoy coordinating your family's outfits for your next family photo session! Do you have any tried and true tips for good family photos? I'd love to hear!


Here's a quick version of these tips:

one. Time frame/Season/Occasion

two. Location

three. Inspiration Outfit

four. Compliment with texture, pattern, solid, colors

five. Cohesive as a whole – bring in elements for consistency (i.e. denim)

Love your photographer!


xoxo

Whitney

 

Five on Friday

The weekend is fast approaching, yet again! I love rounding up the week with 5 things we liked/did/ate! Follow the links at the end to linkup with April, Christina, and Natasha!

one | A sweet friend of mine came over to take some photos for me so I can have clearer profile and introduction photos. Let me say, attempting to take solo photos was one of the weirdest experiences! What did we discover? The more awkward you feel, the better the picture is going to be! Haha…anyone else feel like that? Looking at all those fashion bloggers and everything they make it look so easy to look cute. Not the case. Definitely could use some more practice (maybe when we don’t have 4 toddlers under the age of 3 running around!) but it was a fun first attempt!

two | I got this Nuby popsicle mold two years ago to make breastmilk popsicles for Aubrey during her first summer. Now, I love that the molds are small and perfect for a toddler treat! We’ve been making them using yogurt and its the perfect treat for a hot summer afternoon! And its small enough that I don’t mind if she has it before dinner and she can finish it before it gets too melty!

three | I’m sure you’ve seen it, heard it shouted from the rooftops 850 times, but…the Nordstrom Sale is happening! And its open to everyone now! Have you purchased any amazing deals? I’ve shopped and put like a million things in my cart, but haven’t made any purchases yet.  I find it hard to shop for fall things when its like 100 degrees outside! But here’s a few things I’m loving:

booties | black long sleeve | peep toe bootie | cardigan

four | For Christmas my parents got me a 50mm lens for my Canon and I absolutely LOVE it! But I’ve been looking into a wider angle lens to be able to easier photograph a larger area, like a room or other areas in my house.  After reading a little bit, I think I’m leaning towards a 35mm. These are definitely a bit more of an investment though! I’d love to know if you have one and if you love it enough to be worth the investment? I’m clearly not a professional, but I love learning about photography and experimenting to get better!

five | Next week my baby turns ONE! How has this year gone by so fast?! I cannot wait to celebrate her and have a fiesta with our friends and family! I’ve started a party planning post that I’m excited to share!

Hope you guys have a happy friYAY and a wonderful weekend!

Be sure to catch April, Christina, and Natasha!

The Day of Family Photos

A few months ago, I was thinking about my youngest daughters first birthday approaching and how time was moving so fast. This would be a perfect reason to take some family photos! Documenting the milestone of “1” while also getting some Christmas card shots in sounds like a win/win. Right?

Then the day gets closer. It’s a week before, I’m scrambling to pick an outfit scheme. Thankfully the Gap (tank) and Old Navy (dress) come to my rescue to find outfits for the girls that coordinate with a dress I liked at target weeks ago. (unfortunately I cannot find my dress online anymore! But I love almost everything Knox Rose makes!) Then the husband. Always my challenge. He is such a trooper and I’m thankful he humors me and tags along for all of these “photographic moments” but he can be picky. And I tend to procrastinate! So naturally, the morning of after two trips to Kohl’s, he has a new shirt and new pair of pants.

 

Phew. We all have clothes. Now to plan the entire rest of our day around “the golden hour”. Don’t get me wrong, I live for the golden hour and our photographer always has perfect timing and gets us in the best light. But 6pm is just so hard with an almost 1 and 2 year old! At some point between lunch,  naps, go back in to put back down for naps, playing, snacks, packing for what seems to be a whole weekend but it’s just a 2 hour photo shoot…I get ready. This is something that rarely ever happens for this exact reason. Who has time for this?! Shaving, shampooing, drying, makeup, curling…all in the same day? Normally I’m lucky to get 10 minutes to just get clean.

We did it. I’m ready and dressed, packed up the girls’ outfits, car is loaded with snacks, possible distractions and entertainment and we are on our way.  Surely the baby will get in a power nap and be happy when we get there. Nope. Surely Aubrey will eat on the way so she is full and happy. Nope. And so the chaos begins. We get there and load up this awesome wagon with all of our junk to pull around with us and find the perfect spot on a bridge to stop for the first photo opportunity.  There goes Aubrey…running away straight for the pile of horse poop – thank goodness she missed it! We catch her and wrangle her and got a glimpse of the shenanigans she was going to pull for the entire session. An hour and a half of bouncing and tickling Blake to get her to smile. Chasing after Aubrey and offering bribe after bribe to get her to stay still for 5 seconds, maybe even a smile?!

Somehow we make it through, make it home, and get the kids to bed…late, but oh well! And somehow, Alex gets amazing shots and I fall in love with the sneak peeks and (im)patiently wait to see the rest!

website | facebook | instagram

Alexandra Kayy Photography has captured so many of the most important milestones in our lives and we couldn’t be more grateful! Stay tuned for more photos from our session and photography related posts!

Hope your Monday was short and the rest of your week is fabulous!

Whitney

Five on Friday

On Monday it seems as though the week will never end and by Friday I always wonder where it went! How can that be? I love rounding up the week with 5 things we liked/did/ate! Follow the links at the end to linkup with April, Christina, and Natasha!

one | now that we’ve landscaped and finally have some greenery in our backyard I’ve noticed so much more wildlife! Bugs, birds, butterfly’s…and Aubrey has noticed too! I just knew she would be excited to get a hummingbird feeder and I was right! Over the weekend we got one at Lowes and she helped me make sugar water to pour in. (4 parts water to 1 part sugar) It took about 4 days to see our first hummingbirds but even before then every time we went outside or even look out the slider she reminded me about pouring the sugar in the boiling water and giving it to the birds. So cute! We’ve already seen one this morning and she wants to “go out there to say HI!”

two | I told you about our trip to Costco last weekend, and we not only got salmon but halibut too! I made a delicious baked recipe that I found on Pinterest. I highly recommend it!  It may not be the healthiest version, but it’s nice to change it up now and again from just plain seasoning! We all loved it…girls included (with some ketchup for Aubrey, obviously) The original recipe is by Port and Fin and she took some beautiful photos…unlike these!

three | I have to admit that I am awful when it comes to putting my outfits together! Unfortunately I’d rather get an extra 15 minutes of sleep than worry about my wardrobe. But this needs to change! I notice I feel so much better when I feel like I make an effort and I’ve started collecting some basics that will help me feel polished but still be comfortable! Thanks to Kate from the Small Things Blog I found a couple pairs of sandals and some tennies from DSW that will do just that! (I love watching her InstaStories!)  I’ve never shopped there but really liked the shop online and pick up in person option! More convenient than strolling the endless aisles of shoes with 2 kids!

beige sneaker | black sandals | blush sandals | sneakers

four | Aubrey had her first swim lesson this week and it went fairly well! She spent a lot of time negotiating with the teacher and telling her the rules in Grandma’s pool, but she also did really well blowing bubbles and learning to “monkey crawl” her hands along the edge of the wall! I’m super excited for her to have some more awareness in the water and to learn some water safety! I posed some pics on my Instagram too!

five | Lastly is something we definitely aren’t loving…Anyone have any tips for getting mushrooms out of their grass? We just recently laid sod and we’ve been told the combination of the stuff they put in the soil plus this weird hot and humid weather we are getting can cause them to grow. Literally, EVERYWHERE! And we have to hand pick them before we mow or they’ll spread. The worst!

Hope you guys have a happy friYAY and a wonderful weekend!

Be sure to catch April, Christina, and Natasha!

Over the Weekend

In this season of life, our weekends don’t get too crazy. Since I don’t have a typical “work day” outside the home, the weekends look pretty similar to the week for me. Kids still need 3 meals plus 37 snacks, naps, and to be to bed at a reasonable hour. So with my husband (usually) home we just try to fit in things together or use the time to do some things around our house. Our home has been a work in progress over the last couple years! From a full renovation to recent landscape and now just the finishing touches. I’m not sure how but I feel like my husband was able to build an entire addition in the same amount of time it’s taken me to find a solution for the extra toilet paper in the powder room. Maybe it’s running errands with 2 young children, maybe it’s my indecisive nature…but the finishing touches take time.

This past weekend I was able to sneak away for an hour to get my nails done (thanks to my mother in law), my hard working husband thoroughly cleaned the back patio (after being dirt and concrete for over a year this was a huge feat!), we organized patio toys, ran some errands with the rest of the world on Sunday morning, and tried to spend some time relaxing together.


I love the new storage solution for the patio! This big box has three sections so we found a home for mega block logos, all the balls, and all of the tools/water toys/ gardening toys. And it’s so nice to look at! Before we had all of the toys piled in the pool and it always just looked so messy! My friend Kelli can give you so many storage/bag solutions!


So glad I cleaned the slider…not! Aubrey had fun “helping” daddy pressure wash and Blake was their little cheerleader inside!


I’m not sure what possessed us to hit up Costco at 10:15 on a Sunday. But I could only compare it to lines at Disneyland or Black Friday shopping! Fun part: Blake got to sit in the big girl seat for the first time! I usually bring her in the Beco carrier but she was getting restless in the line so I put her in the cart with sissy!


In the summer – and most of the year actually – we love using the barbecue. We planned to use this skillet on the barbecue but we were cooking meat for the week so we ran out of room. But cast iron is a delicious way to cook veggies! Side note: Costco currently has Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, which is one of our favorites! When it’s in stock, we buy multiple packages and cut the filets into meal size portions to freeze using our food saver. It really is the best way to store food in the freezer and makes it convenient that we can make our own portions (because who wants leftover fish?! I can’t stand the smell when I have to reheat it!) Our dinner Sunday night was chicken, sweet potatoes, and the veggies above. We left a package of salmon in the fridge for dinner in the week.

How do you spend your summer weekends? Trips? Errands? Activities? Lounging? I’d love to hear in the comments!

A couple of gals, Shay and Erika host a monthly link up – Workin’ it Wednesday. My friend Sharon from Mama Chit Chat and I participated this week! Go check it out to read about their weekends and see how to link up next month!

Happy Hump Day!

Whitney

Summer Essentials

Summer in So Cal brings longer days and so much sunshine! It used to mean spending weekends floating on a raft with a cocktail in hand, BBQing with friends and family every week, and staying up late to enjoy the warm summer nights. Fast forward a couple of years and adding 2 young kids to the mix, and our ideas of a summer day and night have changed a bit! We spend more time figuring out how to avoid the direct sun as we used to preparing cocktails and even though its still light out, our bedtime routine must stay consistent because tired kids are cranky kids!

Here’s a few things that are getting us through the summer!

Summer Essentials

pool float | after sun spray | kid’s sun hat | striped bag | water table | water shoes | tumbler |

Going to Grandma’s pool has been a favorite activity this summer! Pool time tip: wait until the afternoon! We’ve been going after nap time to help us get through those last couple of hours before dad gets home, and also to avoid that prime time sun! Even so, I love that the float we have has a shade and we also use UV protecting bucket hats for the girls.  They don’t always keep them on, but we try! Aubrey LOVES to get out and go to the side to jump to us! But the 100 degree heat gets any type of floor way hot! Having on these non slip water shoes makes it so easy to transition from concrete to pool without worrying about burnt toes! They’re great at the splash pad or in our own yard when playing with the water table too! Speaking of – the water table is a genius idea! Small enough for it not to be such an ordeal to set up, but fun enough to provide hours of entertainment! We keep ours under the patio by a drain because this just screams “splash in me!” and “scoop it up and dump it out!” to our toddler apparently. But we love it! So easy to add sand toys, cups, rubber ducks, paint brushes (to “paint” the concrete with water) and the girls both have so much fun.

The last few items make my life so much easier! That striped bag is from Initials, Inc and literally can hold EVERYTHING you could possibly need on a summer day! Changes of clothes, towels, snacks, diapers & wipes, camera…you name it! I had mine personalized with WM because I also am using it when I travel with my essential oils set up, but they have all sorts of fun graphics or fonts to make it a perfect summer bag – and personalization is FREE! Packing up, making sure kids stay safe from the sun and in the water, and fed can be exhausting for this mom and you know what I usually forget? All of those things for myself! A large stainless steel cup is perfect because it will stay cold for so long and I love to add some combo of citrus essential oils, so I avoid plastic.  The other savior this summer has been my Young Living after sun spray! I’ve unfortunately passed on my sensitive skin to my girls and even when taking precautions, the sun and chlorine are not so nice to us! I feel good using this spray on myself and the kids because its so clean and it brings a cool and refreshing relief whether we just feel hot or if the sun kissed us a little too hard! This is a brand new product this year and we are obsessed! (If you have no idea what I’m talking about with my citrus essential oils or Young Living, you can read up here or scroll around on my Instagram!)

Do you have any Summer Essentials that you can’t live without? I’d love for you to share!

Have a wonderful Summer!

Whitney