Tuesday, December 10, 2019

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN PLANNING FOR YOUR NEXT FAMILY PHOTOSHOOT...





Me: TOP // SKIRT // SHOES // Tommy: TOP // BOTTOMS // SHOES // JACKET // Liam: TOP // BOTTOMS // SHOES // Easton: TOP // BOTTOMS // SHOES // Chloe: DRESS // SHOES // HAIR TIE

We've had our fair share of family photoshoots and to be 100% honest, majority of them have been extremely stressful and not enjoyable. The irony is pretty funny. We want and probably have that perfect happy family photo when in reality, it was probably mom yelling at the kids to smile when all they wanted was to play, and hubby COMPLETELY over it. Our last few family photoshoots have gone extremely well so I thought it was fit to finally share my tips and notes on how to plan your next family photoshoot. Here are 3 easy steps with tips! 

STEP 1: Figure out what everyone is wearing!

Ask yourself these questions; Do you want casual or dressy outfits? Do you want to do a holiday pj shoot? Do you want neutral colors so you can hang the pictures around your home all year round or do you purposely want them to look like a Christmas photoshoot? What is the color scheme? 

For us, we love Christmas photos and wanted to share holiday outfit ideas with y'all so Christmas theme it was. We found all of our pieces at JCPenney (head to toe) for under $400 total. Yes, every single thing, including shoes. While we were shopping, it started out with casual outfits but somehow became a mix of dressy and casual. I knew that if the boys and Tommy wore patterns, Chloe and I had to get solid colored pieces to balance everything out. Our main color for our shoot was red. 

STEP 2: Find a photographer and a location!

How to find a photographer: When I'm shooting outside of Houston, I always go on instagram and look at bloggers from that city and see what photographer is tagged in their photos. For example, these pictures were taken by Divina who is based in Austin. I had seen her work from Austin bloggers that I follow and loved her work. This was actually our first time shooting and I absolutely LOVE the pictures she captured.  Sometimes, I also look up hashtags that are relevant. For example, #austinphotographer #houstonphotographer #dallasphotographer, ect. It's always nice to reach out to multiple photographers to compare rates and turnaround time. 

Finding the right location! Majority of the time, the photographer will you give recommendations. 9 times out of 10, I look up "Instagram spots" or "where to take pictures in (enters city location) on Pinterest. 

STEPS 3: Tips on getting that perfect family picture! 

Plan for a short photoshoot! I'd say that 30 minutes should be the max. Especially when majority of your family members don't want to be there in the first place, lol. An hour long photoshoot is asking for a lot and to be honest the second half always ends up being a wreck with everyone being tired and wanting to leave. Before your shoot, show your photographer any inspiration of family poses or certain picture ideas. That way she/he doesn't miss it. 

Bribe! Not all parents may need to do this or agree with it, but it has definitely worked for my children. If I'm going to put my children through the excruciating pain of taking family pictures, I feel it would be right to reward them. With Chloe, she doesn't take much bribing. For the boys, I may have little bit size candies in my bag and hand them one for every solid smile, lol. 

Get some natural shots! Personally, I love having real life moments captured on camera. The laughing   ones are my favorite because I get the real smiles out of my children. It's also okay to fake a "natural" photo. In reality, when we're playing with our kids, their faces are turned away from the camera and everyone is far away from each other. I like to position everyone together and then Tommy and I will make a silly knock knock joke to tell the boys. 

Taking pictures with multiple children! If you have more than 1 child, always position the oldest children first. They're more likely to listen and smile. Once everyone is in position, then have the last children get ready for a quick 1-5 second shot. 

Don't Stress! I can't express how important this tip is. Moms, because we were the ones who most likely organized everything, we're running the show. If we're stressed out and yelling, everyone will be too. Make the photoshoot a fun thing to do, not something everyone wants to get over with. 
 There is one photoshoot that Tommy, Liam, and I had in Colorado and it wasn't great. I was angry at Tommy for not doing something the way I wanted him to do it, Liam wasn't in a good mood the entire time, and I was desperately wanting everything to go smoothly when in reality, it didn't. We did end up getting a couple of perfect shots but when I look back at those photos, all I remember was how stressful and painful that shoot was. That isn't something I want to think of when I look at those pictures. 

I hope these tips help y'all achieve that perfect family picture! Thank you so much for reading! 

xo,
Annie 

*Pictures by Divina Stennfeld 


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

WHAT I PACKED FOR COLORADO...



We’re SO excited to be back in Colorado! We haven’t all been back in about 2 years. It’s crazy to think that Tommy, Liam, and I lived there the first 3 years of our lives. Colorado is beautiful but home will forever be in Houston. We’re going to Vail for some skiing, snow tubing, and to let the kids enjoy the snow. This is also Easton’s first flight EVER! There’s only so much we can learn from books. I believe that one of the best gifts I can give my children is being able to show them the world. 

I received a lot of questions about what to pack for a snow trip so I organized it all based on Adults, Children, and others. 

WHAT I PACKED FOR THE KIDS:

WATERPROOF JACKET:I got these coats for the boys here. They’re going to be using them for skiing and during the nights

REGULAR COAT: I got these coats for under $50 and there super warm and thick

SKI SUIT: I ordered these off of Amazon and they’re really thick

WATERPROOF GLOVES: I ordered these waterproof/snow proof gloves off Amazon. We tried them out yesterday and they boys were able play in the snow for about 2 hours before their hands got a bit cold. 

WATERPROOF SHOES: We aren’t going skiing again for the rest of the season so I didn’t want to spend over $100 on shoes. These have been amazing on the boys so far and have great reviews! 

THICK SOCKS: Normal ankle socks do not cut it in Colorado. We already had a few socks but I ordered more. These are thick and stay on their feet.

THERMAL TOP AND PANTS:I honestly grabbed some thermals and skinny joggers from Old Navy/Gap for the kids to wear underneath their pants. here and here

BEANIE:All of the kids beanies are from Gap. Liam and Easton are skiing so we got some that would cover their ears. here and here.

SWEATERS:Liam is wearing sweaters from last year and Easton got a couple from Gap

JEANS: We’re bringing jeans that they already own and are putting the skinny joggers under for warmth

JOGGERS: These joggers are AMAZING! The entire inside is lined with the faux sherling material. So it’ll keep them so warm

BABY:

BUNTING: If you’re bringing a baby, I highly suggest getting a bunting. Ours isn’t waterproof but we also got Chloe a snow suit from my cousin and a waterproof jacket from Zara. 

SHOES: We’re confident that Chloe isn’t going to want to dive into the snow so we got her baby UGGS. They make this waterproof/snow resistant spray and it works so well! The baby ones aren’t waterproof, so you do need to buy the spray. It’s only $10.

Here's this snowsuit that I found online. 

MISCINELLIOUS:

HAND AND FOOT WARMERSWe bought a couple packs of these because your hands and ears freeze!!!

IBRUPROFEN & ADVIL:For emergencies

LOTION:The air is extremely dry in Colorado so we packed some lotion 

CHAPSTICK:Chapstick is a MUST!! Your lips will literally crack because it easily dries up. 


WHAT I PACKED FOR MYSELF

I’m personally not skiing because I’d much rather go tubing, cozy up in the hotel, and go ice skating. My sister is going skiing and she is using things from friends or Colombia that she got years ago. If you’re looking to see what to pack for yourself if you’re going skiing, it’s everything listed in the kids section + ski pants. 





I hope this helps when you're packing for your next winter adventure! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

MOM AND ME HOLIDAY JUMPSUIT...






This is by far my favorite twinning outfit with Chloe. I’ve had my eyes on these for a while but when they released the emerald green color, I submitted an order immediately. These jumpsuits are so versatile. We can wear them for holiday parties or every day. The material is really soft and has a good amount of stretch to it. I’ve ordered a couple of things from Ivy City Co and it has all been darling.

I haven’t done one of these in a while, so I thought I’d share a couple of random facts about Chloe and I. So here we go.

1) Chloe’s name was originally going to be Olivia, but because Liam’s name is super popular, we didn’t want her to also have a very common name. Chloe’s full name is Chloe Olivia Mescall.

2) Chloe started walking at 11 months and even though she’s in the 50% for her height and weight. We still get tons of people asking if she’s under 1. Chloe is 15 months today.

3) She super sassy, dramatic, and 100% a momma girl. She’s so attached to me, as yall might know.

4) Chloe is a huge homebody. She doesn’t prefer to leave the house like Liam, Easton, and I.

5) Chloe is with me 90% of the time. She’s not in school but she does see my parents 1-3x a week.

6) We’re 99% sure that Chloe will be our last baby and it makes me sad, but I know that 4 is more than I can handle…. ever!

7) Chloe speaks 95% Vietnamese and 5% English. Because Liam wasn’t around my family his first 3 years, Liam only knows some standard/basic Vietnamese words. He can understand most of it but isn’t able to speak it so well. Liam is going to be enrolled in Vietnamese school next year. 

8) Chloe is my girl. 

Friday, November 29, 2019

BLACK FRIDAY GUIDE 2019...


Y'all, Black Friday is here! It's like Christmas. There are so many great sales this year and I've rounded up everything from Clothes, Home decor, to Children. Happy Shopping!

CLOTHES/SHOES

Abercrombie and Fitch: 50% off everything + free shipping

Aerie: 40% the collection

American Eagle: 40% off everything

Anthropologie: 30% off everything

Banana Republic: 50% off everything

Express: 50% off everything

Gap: 50% off everything

Goodnight Macaroon: 30% off everything, 40% off orders $250+ and 50% off orders $500

H&M: 30% off everything

J Crew: 50% off everything

JCPenney: Black Friday deals + free shipping

Kendra Scott: 25% off everything

Loft: 50% everything

Macy's: Deals + 20% off

Madewell: 30% off everything

Nordstrom: Cyber sale of select items

Old Navy: 50% off entire store

Pink Lily: 35% off everyt

Revolve: up to 65% off select styles

Sole Society: 30% off shoes and handbags

Red Dress: 25% off entire store

Stage: 50% off

Tory Burch: 30% off sitewide

VICI: 30% off site wide

Vince Camuto: 40% off site wide

Zara: 50% off select items


HOME

Arhaus: 40% holiday decor, 40% off faux fur, & up to 60% off select styles

At Home: Daily Deals

Boll & Branch: 25% off orders of $150+

Container Store: 25% off one item

Lorena & Canal: up to 70% or 10% off sidewise

Pier One: 25% off site wide

Pottery Barn Kids: 25% off site wide

Target: 20% off $50+


KIDS

Boden: 30% off select items

Children's Place: 50%-80% off everything

Hanna Anderson: 40% off everything // $25 Kids PJs

Janie and Jack: 30% off everything

OshKosh: 60% off site wide

Rockets of Awesome: Select items $10



Wednesday, November 27, 2019

ABERCROMBIE & FITCH 50% OFF BLACK FRIDAY WISH LIST...

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 

Y'all, I'm loving all the early Black Friday sales. It beats running to the mall at 8am on a Friday. I honestly haven't stepped into a Abercrombie and Fitch store since I was in high school but I've been seeing so many adorable pieces on my friends and other bloggers that I love. The entire store is 50% off so I thought I'd give the store a try. I went in for this adorable white beanie but ended up getting number the black knit skirt, white leopard print cami, holiday scarf, tan oversize sweater, and the silk body suit. They carry a huge variety of pretty winter staples that I know I'll get a lot of wear out of. 

What retailers are y'all looking at this Black Friday season! Let me know and I can definitely work on a guide! 

Happy Shopping! 

xo,
Annie 


 

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