Five on Friday

Five on Friday is a fun link up I’ve been following and participating in for years with AprilChristina, and Natasha. I love rounding up the week with 5 things I did/loved/wore/etc. What’s on your mind before this weekend starts?

one | The progress of my office organization project is moving along! Last weekend I ventured into The Container Store for the first time and my mind was blown! (If you follow me on Instagram you experienced my overwhelm in my stories!) This color coding, organizing, paper loving mama was in heaven! Did I mention I got to go solo?! I’m so close to feeling “done” – but are we ever actually done? I don’t think so! Here’s a little peek at the before, during, and after!

 

 

two | We had a mega play date at a friends house on Wednesday and it really brought my attention how high strung I am. What if Aubrey forgets to use the potty? OMG Blake is eating chalk. Did Aubrey just hit someone?! She’s going to get sand everywhere. Did she just dump sand on him?! Making sure my child behaves at home is a full time job. Bringing my circus to someone else’s house opens a whole other can of worms! What have I learned? Kids will be kids, wherever you are. All I can do is prep her (“Remember when you’re playing with your friends to use your words and you can always ask an adult for help.”), and try to relax! Play dates are for moms too, right?! It was so nice to see our school friends and it got me excited for our fall schedule! What’s your favorite part of a play date? Mine is the mimosas 😉

 

 

three | August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month and its bittersweet over here. I’ve been either pregnant or breastfeeding (or both!) for the last 3 years and this special season in our lives is coming to a close. Our journey has been a roller coaster but full of memories I’ll always treasure! Weaning Blake from nursing is both necessary for my sanity but difficult. Cheers to all the mama’s out there doing their best for their babes!

four | Is there anything cuter than matching jammies on babies?! I couldn’t resist capturing the 3 minutes of sweetness this morning before the day gets crazy! These cute footies are Carters.

 

five | I went to Marshalls yesterday and definitely got the urge for all things fall! Falling leaves, cozy sweaters, and…oh wait. I live in Southern California. Unfortunately plaid pillows and leaf wreaths will be where it’s at. I’m on the hunt for one more navy pillow, but burlap, navy and orange are going to be my home inspiration for fall!

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

Be sure to catch April, Christina, and Natasha!

Five on Friday

The weekend has arrived! Back again with AprilChristina, and Natasha for some Friday fun.

one | Something super exciting for my friend Sharon and I…we are hosting a new monthly Link Up! Our first edition was yesterday, and we hope you’ll join us! (you can catch them here —> | the Whitney Michaels blog | Mama Chit Chat) Who isn’t inspired by the colors around us? Each month we are highlighting a different color(s) and linking up to support one another! The link up will be open for the week!

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two |I started putting both girls into the shopping cart now when I do the grocery shopping! I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. Is it convenient that I don’t have to use the stroller or carrier – yes! I do also fear the close proximity to each other though!  Hopefully the convenience will outweigh the snack stealing, and pushing!

 

three | Along with the grocery shopping idea – I just placed an order on Vons.com to be delivered tomorrow! I’m trying a couple of different grocery delivery options so there is a post in the works about my thoughts!

four | Old Navy always surprises me! They have the perfect staple items and although I always have to try things on there because some stuff doesn’t fit me properly – the kids section is always a WIN! Blake wore the cutest romper the other day and got so many compliments! I just cannot stand her cuteness! (of course I cannot find it online, but here is a one shoulder romper in the same print – also adorable!)

 

five |Speaking of Blake – we have a walker! She’s not necessarily the most coordinated or stable girl yet, but she’s definitely practicing! Her favorite thing is to stand up on her own and clap for herself, lol!

 

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

Be sure to catch April, Christina, and Natasha!

Taco Bout Fun…

…Blake turned ONE!

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This weekend we hosted a party to celebrate Blake’s first year and what a fun time it was! Of course I cannot believe my baby is already one and growing and learning so much everyday! At her well baby appointment today she was 29.5″ tall and 19 pounds! She’s crawling like crazy, pulling herself up on everything and everything, walking with the assistance of a toy or chair and even taking some steps on her own…which usually ends in her falling to us! I’ve been introducing milk for a couple of weeks and still trying to figure out how the process of weaning from breastfeeding will go. She loves to eat – especially if it’s cake and is starting to have a more regular sleep schedule and only waking up once in the night – YAY!

We had a fiesta in her honor and I had such a fun time planning it! I’m pretty sure I started a Pinterest board when she was 3 months old, haha!

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I tried to prep as much as possible beforehand, but it always seems chaotic the day of no matter what! We hired a Taco Man and that was the BEST IDEA EVER! Not having to worry about feeding such a large group of people took so much stress away from me! I just put out some appetizers – chips with salsa, guacamole and queso dip and drinks – water, margaritas, and beer. Oh, and of course desserts – which had the approval of all of the toddlers! To serve a large group, I made a big batch of margaritas! I was trying to follow a recipe but couldn’t find frozen limeade concentrate anywere – so per usual, I improvised! I made 3 servings throughout the party! (I wish I had taken the time to make my lime salt! It would have been the perfect addition!)

1 bottle of Simply Limeade

1 cup Silver Tequila

1/2 cup Grand Marnier

salt and limes for garnishing

UNO balloons | cactus balloon | colorful wall curtain from Party City | flowers and vases from Pavillions – I put them together | cake plates are old from Home Goods but they always have them! I just add ribbon to coordinate with my parties

Although most of the party was out in the backyard, I set up the dessert table inside so I didn’t have to worry about the heat! It was a sunny 92 here in southern CA, so we set up a water table for the kiddos and kept the drinks cold for the adults! I made it super easy and ordered Blake’s smash cake, cupcakes and the “round churros” (snickerdoodles) from our neighborhood Pavillions. It’s the easiest thing to do an ice run and dessert pick up at the same time that day – thanks Dad! I ordered the dipped marshmallows and concha cake pops from a local mama and they did not disappoint! Cindy of Ms. V’s Poppin’ Bowtique was so easy to communicate with and delivered to us the cutest desserts for our display the day of the party! Thank goodness for Amazon – I ordered the majority of the decor throughout the month before the party! There was so many options for fiesta and cactus themed parties!

cactus banner | tissue garland

round party fans | chalkboard | chalk markers | cactus party light | mini pinata

I used my Cricut to cut the letters for the banners, cupcake toppers, and numbers for the photo banner as well as the tags for the favors. I used this inflatable cactus to hold the favors, but forgot to take a photo!

maracas | cymbals | pinata from Party City

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We are so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family in our life to celebrate these special moments! Our kids have the best little squad!

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A fiesta was such a fun theme to play with when planning Blake’s party! Did you have a big party for your kids? What was your theme…I love hearing your ideas!

xoxo

Whitney

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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

 

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

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