DIY Bath Salts to Unwind

These bath salts are amazing - and there's no harmful ingredients because it's made of purse essential oils. You can find my favorite oils here.  These oils go through a 65 step process which is the gold standard in the industry and are the purest of the purse - it's important to use quality oils, which cannot be found in stores.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups of Epsom salt
  • 12 drops of Epoch Lemon Essential Oil
  • 8 drops of Epoch Lavender Essential Oil

 

You could easily multiply the recipe, put in mini mason jars, and give as gifts this holiday season: teachers, house keepers, babysitters... Who doesn't love to relax? If you're interested in essential oils and not quite sure where to start (I know it can be daunting at first!) reach out! I'd be happy to share my experience and even recommend the best oil for you to start with based on your wants and needs. You can connect with me in the comments, by email (linked at the bottom of my site), or in my Facebook group

Cameras Deserve to Be Used to Make Photographs

Cameras are not made to collect. They were not designed to sit on a shelf for decoration never to have the shutter released. They were designed to collect images. Take in the sights. Preserve memories.

So when I bought my Kodak Hawkeye Brownie (1949-1961 era) I bought it to do just that. I had it out for decor because it looked really cool and never ran a roll through it. Then we moved and it sat in a box for years. I was going to sell it, finally. Because it broke my heart that I was just letting it sit there. I dug it out of a box and looked at it. I did a little research and saw that people do still shoot with it. So I decided to give it a try. And I am SO glad that I did. 

 

I watched this video on YouTube on how to load 120 mm film into it (it's a 620 mm camera). It was very helpful and easy to do. 

What I love about these old cameras is their history. Was this used to photograph a wedding? Did it take a stroll through the park and capture children running around and playing? Birthdays? Christmases? What memories were preserved with this camera in the past 70 years? It's pretty cool to think about. 

I must say - it's a dream to shoot with. And I will definitely be putting more film in it soon. Sorry, no longer for sale. 

The City of Fountains

WOW, Kansas City! I'll admit, I didn't really have any expectations visiting. I don't know many people who have been, so really didn't know what to expect. But it is such a cool city. I think it's up there with Pittsburgh when it comes to underrated cities in the states. It's got a cool understated hipster vibe. And beer? I think they invited the craft brew. Although I can't have gluten...I still enjoyed the Boulevard Brewery.  

 

We went for a baseball game...checking off the ballparks one by one. Kaufman Stadium is gorgeous (which is obvious from tv). But in person it's just so pretty. The fountains are so cool. We definitely want to go back and spend more than 24 hours there one day! 

The Safe to Kiss Your Kiddos Lip Color!

The title says it all...the safe-to-kiss-your-kiddos-lip-color is finally here! And don't worry...it's not a stain and contains no alcohol. 

 
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Powerlips pre-launched earlier this summer. I was actually in Spain, at a museum ordering some. I got my colors and have been wearing them ever since. I have to admit, I love lipstick, but didn't wear it much before Powerlips because I didn't want to get lipstick kisses all over my daughter before I left for work, and by the time I got to work, I forgot. 

Above colors from left to right: Reign, Roar, Persistence, Determined

Powerlips has changed all that. I put one coat on in the morning, kiss my kiddo goodbye for the day, and boom. I'm set. 

And the ingredients are actually good for you. Say what?! Filled with avocado oil, vitamin e, and kaolin clay the color lasts a LONG time and doesn't dry out your lips. 

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And the best part? They are launching 8 more colors on Cyber Monday! If you want to snag a color or two, let me know. They have an unlimited supply on November 27 - but after that day, they won't be selling more until January. So if you want these for the holidays, NOW is the time! Shoot me an email and I'll get you on my pre-order list! 

 
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The Windy City

We love Chicago - I mean, who doesn't?! We made another trip out to Chicago this summer for a baseball game. We aren't necessarily Cubs fans, but we don't hate them either. We've been to Wrigley so many times that we've kinda adopted them as our third favorite team. Who doesn't love a day game out at Wrigley? If you don't...then you probably just don't like baseball. While we were there, we visted the Field Museum to visit Sue. If you didn't know, our daughter is obssessed with dinosaurs...OBSESSED! So needless to say, she was in awe of Sue. 

Every time we are out, we say we'll do an architecture boat tour, but never do. Well, we finally did! Definitely do this - it's such a fun way to get a different view of the city! 

Putting the Pause Button on Life

They say that time gets faster as you get older. Well. You know what's also true? Time gets faster as your kids get older. I find myself asking for the pause button on life all too often. My newborn didn't stay a squishy newborn for long. Then she was a baby. Then somehow turned into a kid. One day I woke up and I had a kid who communicates what she wants (and doesn't want), puts her shoes on by herself, and refuses to let us pick out her clothes. Here are a few things that work for me when I feel like time is going by just way too quickly.

 

Be present
This might seem like an obvious one. But it's a hard one for me. As a photographer, I want to photograph everything. Every little moment forever and ever. Sometimes I get wrapped up in it and I forget to really be present. Yes. Photography will always have it's place, but it's important to remember to just be.

Disconnect
Oddly, this is easier than I thought...when I remember. Put the phone down! Shut the laptop off. Unplug. The email will be there in an hour. You don't need to respond to that text right away. I started thinking about what my daughter sees. Does she see a momma who engages with her? Or does she see my face buried in my phone? Turn it off, even if you can only commit to doing it for an hour a night, disconnect and be present (ah em...above point).

Focus on people
In 15 years, I can promise you, no one is going to say, "Man, I wish I worked more." We're probably all going to say, "I wish I had more time with my kids." Well guess what? You DO have the time with your kids. Whether you're a parent who stays home with their kiddos full time or a parent who works 10 hours a day outside the home or somewhere in between, you have the time. It's how you use it that matters. Use the time you do have and spend it with the people who matter most. Do you want to build a fort before you watch Frozen with your 6 year old for the 17th time today? Do you practice walking with your 14 month old before dinner? Do you play hoops or play catch with your 12 year old after dinner? You get the picture. Focus on the people. They matter the most.

Find pleasure in the little things
My little brother is so insanely good at this. Almost to the point that it's annoying. I am so insanely bad at this. It wasn't until I became a mom that I really, truly tried to embrace this. It doesn't come naturally for me. But I work at it. Every day. Oddly enough, it's the little things that I end up enjoying the most. It's in the everyday...the little things...that real life is lived. And ultimately, isn't that what matters most? 

Breathe
When all else fails...breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Do it slowly. And for as long as you need. Take a deep breath and just be. 

 

 

What are some of your tips for putting the pause button on life?

 

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Oh the Places You'll Go: Our European Roadtrip

What an amazing trip it was! Our travels are unique, in that we rarely stay in one place. We also love to road trip...so that's what we did! We started in London and ended in Barcelona. 

London

We landed in London, stayed for a few days, flew to Madrid, then road tripped our way from Madrid to Barcelona. 

I've only been to London twice, but I just love this city. Obviously. I think most everyone who has ever been, does. I love how even the non-iconic buildings in London are beautiful. That's the biggest difference in European architecture verses the US. 

In London we did the Imperial War Museum, Westminster, Victoria Tower Gardens, Natural History Museum, and the Diana Memorial Playground. We were only there for two full days, but tried to fit everything in. 

We flew to Madrid, took the train to Malaga, then drove to Nerja, Granada, Alicante, Valencia, and finally Barcelona. What. A. Trip! 

Madrid

We didn't get to spend a lot of time here. We've been before. And I definitely want to come back. But we enjoyed what little time we did have. 

Nerja

We randomly stopped here for lunch on our way to Granada. Again, another town I could easily spend more time in. 

Granada

Granada was unbelievable. That's where my family is from. So seeing the streets and sights that my great grandpa saw when he was a boy was simply unbelievable. Granada has been a bucket list place for me and I'm so excited we visited. 

We did the tour of Alhambra - AMAZING. I highly recommend you do this. Obviously. It was gorgeous. 

Alicante

I cute little beach town that we arrived to way too late. The beaches were already full by the time we arrived, so we hung out at the pool. Then walked around that night. Had delicious Paella and let homegirl run amok at the little festival on the street. 

Valencia

When we woke up that day, we were not expected to visit an aquarium and see a dolphin show. But we did. And it was awesome. That's the beauty of these road trips. While you have hotel rooms to be at that night, everything else is up in the air and you can just see where the day takes you. Homegirl got a kick out of all the animals and loved seeing the mommy and baby beluga whales!

Barcelona

Oh, Barcelona. We love you. We arrived just a few days after the terrorist attack on La Rambla. We weren't quite sure what to expect. But the outpouring of love was overwhelming. La Rambla was filled with notes of peace and love. It was amazing to witness. 

While we were there, we visited Sagrada Familia which is more awe inspiring than I even imagined. It can't be described. It's a presence that moves you in your core. The ornate beauty and detail is unlike anything I've seen. 

We also toured FC Barcelona stadium - which was pretty cool. 

The Trip Home

And then...on the way home, Hurricane Harvey hit. We don't live in Houston, but Austin is about 2.5 hours outside of Houston and getting flights back home were next to impossible. We landed in DC the Saturday after the storm hit. We were devastated, watching what was going on in our home state. And we couldn't get out of DC. Cancelled flight after cancelled flight. We met kind locals who bought our daughter diapers (because the airline told us to leave out luggage at the airport). And we had an impromptu trip to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center National Air and Space Museum at the airport and got to see the ACTUAL Discovery Space Shuttle. So that was really cool. We finally made it back home 2 days late and thankfully our home didn't get any damage from the storm. I swear...it's never a dull moment with us. 

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