Ikea DIY Play Kitchen Makeover!

Ikea DIY Play Kitchen Makeover! I am extremely excited to be sharing this DIY with all of you! I worked so hard on it, and I’m a very proud mama. Indie had a play kitchen that I accidentally broke. (Surprisingly not her… me!) So I decided to invest in the $89 Ikea Duktig kitchen as a replacement, giving it a complete overhaul to make it special, functional, and eye-catching in our house. Read on for a list of supplies, a written how-to guide, and of course detail shots of the finished product! Continue reading “Ikea DIY Play Kitchen Makeover!”

New Jersey Beach Staycation!

New Jersey Beach Staycation!

These are crazy times we’re living in, and I think I can say with confidence that life during a global pandemic has taken its toll somehow on each and every one of us. Since you’re here reading this blog post, you likely want to hear my two cents – so without further adieu… after 5 full months of anxiety, lockdown, uncertainty and paranoia, I’m here to advocate for living your life as normally as possible while still complying with the rules and regulations in your state. Our physical health is important but so is that of our mind and spirit. If you haven’t loosened the restrictive reigns yet, I urge you to let that weight lift off of your weary shoulders as you allow yourself to see glimpses of normalcy and let the fear of the unknown drift off to the back (or even middle) burner of your brain. This doesn’t mean you can be reckless or disrespectful of the rules – but the rules are in place for a reason, and I’m here to say that we all have permission to take them at face value and not overboard.

Here in New Jersey, we’re in a decent patch where our numbers remain trending low even after outdoor dining, indoor shopping and larger outdoor gatherings have reopened. Our “Stay At Home Order” has long been lifted, without significant spikes and with a death rate that continues to drop (even though new daily positive cases remain). We can have indoor gatherings of 25 people or less, and outdoor gatherings are capped at 250 which actually opens a lot of metaphorical doors for us Jersey locals! Masks are required indoors, and outdoors they are only required if you cannot remain socially distant. Things can change real quick if we’re not all respectful of each other’s space, but with this in mind and the confidence in the facts reported daily by our Governor, my family and I decided to take a “staycation” to a home right on the shoreline of New Jersey’s southernmost region – the seven mile island of Avalon and Stone Harbor. While the warm weather is still sticking around, if you live here in NJ – now is your chance for a mini getaway and below you’ll find some inspiration on places to go and things to do all varying by your current comfort level!

Continue reading “New Jersey Beach Staycation!”

DIY At-Home Milkbath Shoot!

DIY At-Home Milkbath Shoot!

So excited to be writing a “real” blog post right now! Lately it’s been a whole lot of milestones and just about nothing else…. but with this lockdown lasting so much longer than I think all of us really expected, we’ve had to get creative with how we’re spending our time at home. 90% of it is ultimate procrastination, laziness and boredom… but when the urge sparks to do something crazy, I answer the call! Last week I put Indie into our very own sink/milkbath photoshoot! On my weekly trip to the grocery store (mask and gloves included) I made sure to pick up a grapefruit, a navel orange, a half-quart of whole milk, and a very simple bouquet of flowers. All from your average grocery store. The supplies were about $12 total, and the photos turned out so fabulous! So I’m going to list out some DIY steps for all you mamas out there looking to get creative at home!

  1. Envision your scene! I decided to work with citrus and flowers, but really anything goes. An instagram friend of mine @stacymaeandco recently did an incredible sinkbath (sans milk) that was Easter egg themed! Get creative!
  2. Clear the entire area around your sink, because you will inevitably get clutter in the background. I pulled nearly everything off of my counter, and arranged all of my windowsill plants around one corner of the sink for aesthetic.
  3. CLEAN your sink!!! I gave it a real good scrub down before putting Indie’s naked little tushy anywhere near where we keep our dirty dishes!
  4. Prepare EVERYTHING before getting your child involved. I pre-sliced the citrus and cut all the flowers off their stems and kept them at the side of the sink. Then I filled the sink about half way with water, and “topped it off” with the 1/2 Quart of whole milk. Believe it or not – for a milkbath shoot, it’s mostly water! That ratio will cloud the water just enough!
  5. Microwave your milk for 30 seconds! It won’t do much but it’ll take the edge off so that the bath is room temp or warmer for your little one.
  6. If possible, swing your faucet away from the shot.
  7. Have a step stool handy and position it so that your subject is facing the nearest light source. For me, it was the window directly above the sink as well as the door that was behind where I stood.
  8. Have an assistant handy too! Things get messy real quick. I would absolutely try this with a significant other or even an older child who can be there with a towel or using something shiny to capture your subject’s attention!
  9. Once you place baby in the bath, quickly set your props. For this bath, I scattered the citrus first and filled in the space with the flower heads.
  10. Keep in mind, this is a FAST shoot and you will have to stop once or twice to rearrange your bath props. As baby moves and splashes, so will your set. So be ready to snap! I stood on the top rung of my stool and then Stephen (my trusty assistant) helped me onto the counter for a few pictures. I took most of these on my Sony A6000 camera but a few were on my iPhone at the last minute – if you can, try to snap some with both! The iPhone (for me) naturally has a wider lens and was able to get more of the surroundings… it was nice to have that diversity of perspective in my final batch of photos.
  11. The last tip (and probably the most important) is to relax and let whatever happens unfold! This is something I’ve been practicing a lot in general lately. I find these pictures to be active, sweet, and a real representation of one-year-old Indie. It’s not all about getting the perfect pose or the toothy smile.

I hope this has inspired some of you to try this at home! After we finished Indie went straight into a real hose-down, so you might want to do this just before your kiddo’s regular bath time (as long as there’s ample natural daylight). Don’t be discouraged by your kitchen. I resisted this project for the longest time because I don’t have a white farmhouse sink and butcherblock countertops (goals!!!) but now that I see these photos, the bath itself is so prominent and everything looked perfectly in-place!

If you’ve been itching to be a better hobby-photographer (even if you shoot on your phone!) there’s no better time than now to take the plunge and try something super cool. The last thing I can recommend is to download Photoshop Lightroom for your cell phone and choose a pack of presets that speak to you to make editing a breeze! Personally, I’ve been using both of Lindsey Badenhop’s packs and I’ve been thrilled with them!

That’s all folks! Currently taking suggestions for the next fun and crazy at-home photoshoot ideas to help pass the time! What would you put inside a milkbath? Is this something you think you’d attempt? We had so much fun! More happening over on instagram so be sure to follow along!

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Indie’s First Fiesta!

Indie’s First Fiesta!

the day came and went so fast i feel like i blinked – but our girl is officially ONE YEAR OLD!!! i planned an epic “first fiesta” at edel haus alpaca farm in wall, nj and collaborated with some pretty incredible vendors! they also happen to be many women-owned small businesses, so in honor of today being international women’s day, i’m sharing the details of our amazing event in honor of my most favorite tiny one-year-old little woman! any female-owned-and-operated business featured in this post will be in bold. click through to read about my dream first birthday bash and (of course) to view all the detail shots! Continue reading “Indie’s First Fiesta!”

indie’s cake smash photos by little nest portraits of westfield!

indie’s cake smash photos by little nest portraits of westfield!

we are kicking off indie’s big birthday weekend with her CAKE SMASH studio session by little nest portraits of westfield!!!! click through to see all of our favorites and to read about why this fun photoshoot was so special to us. Continue reading “indie’s cake smash photos by little nest portraits of westfield!”

ho ho ho! our 2019 christmas photos are here!

ho ho ho! our 2019 christmas photos are here!

it’s our first christmas as a family of THREE and you know that an epic holiday session was a must. we collaborated with little nest portraits of westfield who hosted a beautiful day of family photography at hidden pond tree farm in mendham, nj… with a special appearance from the betty booth bus, which was just the touch of cool-factor we needed to ‘spruce’ up our cards! (see what i did there? spruce? ok i’m done with the puns, i promise.) read on to hear about our heirloom photo membership and to scroll through our entire batch…. it was so hard to pick our favorites! Continue reading “ho ho ho! our 2019 christmas photos are here!”

into the fox’s den: there’s beauty in baby’s first halloween

into the fox’s den: there’s beauty in baby’s first halloween

my life as a new mom has been nothing short of a whirlwind, leaving me little brain space (or energy) to think bigger than a single instagram post at a time… but today i finished editing our halloween photoshoot (shot by the brilliant @laurenanzevino) and i was so taken aback by how gorgeous these pictures are that i had to share them all ASAP. not only are they beautiful to look at, but they got my wheels turning about baby’s first halloween and what it means to me as a creative, and as a mother. as it’s quickly approaching, read on for some last-minute halloween inspiration. this isn’t a “DIY costume” post or a “how i did my makeup” tutorial…. this is a blog post on making an everlasting memory with your “first timer” that goes beyond the traditional. Continue reading “into the fox’s den: there’s beauty in baby’s first halloween”

indie’s 6 month portraits!

indie’s 6 month portraits!

when you’re pregnant, everyone says time is going to fly… but at what point do you really look back and think “what the heck happened to my newborn?!” – for me, indie’s 6 month milestone was the “what the heck” moment i had anticipated and more. i cried twice the week before her half-birthday… i looked back at photos and videos from her first few weeks… and of course i planned an epic portrait session with melissa batista photography, who took my maternity photos back in january. we took the nostalgia up a notch and had indie wear the same flower crown that i wore in some of my own photos! click through to see the absolutely gorgeous photography, and to read a summary of my first six months as a mom. Continue reading “indie’s 6 month portraits!”

percy’s board & train with canine connection!

percy’s board & train with canine connection!

i keep my actual blog posts few and far between these days, mostly because i can say everything that i need to in IG captions, stories, etc…. but when i have something really exciting to elaborate on, it calls for a “big girl post” and today i’m bringing my 1 year old frenchie percy into the picture as we discuss ‘board & train’ programs, pet training stigmas, and the time he spent at canine connection – a mom & pop home-based training facility that took him under their paw for THREE whole weeks. read on to hear about our experience, how he’s doing now, and to get all the details on these amazing people and this amazing service! Continue reading “percy’s board & train with canine connection!”

catching zzz’s: my consultation with jennifer gilman, child sleep consultant!

catching zzz’s: my consultation with jennifer gilman, child sleep consultant!

stranger: “awww your baby is adorable!” you: “thank you!” stranger: “is she a good sleeper?” … i’ve always heard that there would be a whole slew of comments and questions i’d get the minute i became a mother but this is easily the most common and typical conversation that i’ve had with nearly everyone who has met my daughter. what does “is she a good sleeper” mean, anyway? at 14 weeks, an infant’s schedule is completely unpredictable. does she sleep a billion hours a day? YES…are those hours the same every day? NO… does she give a hoot if she wakes me at 4am? the bags under my eyes say absolutely NOT. in reality – we were blessed with a “good sleeper” by society’s standards. she’s easy to put down, she adjusted quickly to her crib, and once she’s aware that it’s bedtime she (usually) stays in her crib for 7 hours straight give or take. but even with this current reality – i’m well aware that at only 3 months old, all of this could change on a dime – and FAST. so i called in the “big guns” and met with jennifer gilman, new jersey’s certified child sleep expert with good night sleep site. read on to hear about our consultation, and for some of my favorite tips & tricks that i learned during our time together! Continue reading “catching zzz’s: my consultation with jennifer gilman, child sleep consultant!”