Maternity Style: Hamptons Stripes and Florals

On September 2nd, my husband and I celebrated our one year anniversary! I can’t believe an entire year has gone by since our wedding, but time flies when you’re having fun! Since I can’t do very much right now (8.5 months pregnant and a fractured toe!) I told John I wanted to take a short driving trip somewhere and explore a new town. He picked Montauk and the Hamptons. I’ve never been, so I was so excited to go! Plus it was a fun excuse to dress up a bit. Since I’m basically trapped at home with the fractured toe, I don’t really get to dress up much. An “adventure” for me is going to a store to run a few errands once in a while. It was nice to get out and go for a walk, explore, and hang out together!

*This post contains affiliate links

Stripes & Downy-029.jpg

 I had bought this adorable summer dress (non-maternity!) and couldn’t wait for an opportunity to wear it somewhere. The Happens seemed perfect and although I showed off a little bit of underboob (whoops!) it was super comfy and lightweight. I got super excited and paired it with a bunch of my favorite accessories, like the bracelet I wore on my wedding day, my new heart-shaped sunglasses, and the lipstick from my wedding day.

To re-create the look, I've rounded up a few great options for each fashion piece!

Hat  1   2 

Sunglasses  1   2   3   4

Earrings  1   2   3   4

Dress  1   2   3   4   5   6

Pink Bangles  1   2   3   4

Pink Quartz  1   2  

Pearl Bracelet  1   2 

Makeup  1   2   3  

I loved wearing this outfit, despite the fact that sometimes I had some underboss popping out. Whoops. Here's some fun cell pics from the day:

ACS_0092.JPG

As for our adventures? We visited the Montauk lighthouse, took a stroll around Gosman’s Dock in Montauk, had some lunch at Gosman’s Inlet Cafe and Sushi Bar, then headed back home. But don’t worry, we stopped at Bridgehampton Candy Kitchen for ice cream! I had pistachio and my husband had chocolate, and we took a short stroll around talking about what we’d do if we won the lotto (hint: NOT buy a house in the Hamptons!).

ACS_0094.JPG

It was really fun to celebrate our wedding anniversary and have a fun day together before baby came. We’re just about 2 weeks away from our due date at this point! I can’t wait to go back again, this time with baby girl in tow! Have you ever been to the Hamptons/Montauk? What were your must-visit places? Let me know in the comments below!

Gift Guide: Balloon Animals

Not sure if it's just me, but I have a slight obsession with balloon animals. As I had mentioned, I am looking to reduce my waste when it comes to parties so I'm going to abstain from using real balloons. However, these cute balloon animal items are meant to be re-used, reworn, and displayed for years to come! If you're got a soft spot for balloon animals, check out my gift guide on all the best items to get! We've got jewelry, clothing, statues, piggy banks and more!

*This post contains affiliate links

Balloon Animals.png

1. Rose Gold Necklace 2. Happy Girls Sweatshirt 3. Purple Unicorn Piggy Bank 4. White T-Shirt 5. Pink Dog Earrings 6. Blue Elephant Piggy Bank 6. Teal Dog Statue 7. Balloon Animal PJ’s 8. Let’s Get Twisting T-Shirt 9. Blush Dog Phone Holder 10. Pink Dog Pin

Am I alone in this obsession with balloon animals? I just love them! What do you think about balloon animals? Love em? Hate em? Let me know in the comments below!

FREE Webinar: Picture Perfect Photos in Just 3 Days!

I’m stepping outside my comfort zone to drop a little knowledge on you guys- I’m teaching a LIVE one-hour webinar next week!

As you probably know, I struggled with my photography for years, trying to take professional quality photos and falling just short- or miles away- from the intended result. I did a whole lot of trial and error until finally I developed a system that worked for me- and it can work for you too!

Before perfecting my system, I was spending hours trying to get my photos to look good. First, I'd have to struggle with the lighting and battle my lamps. Then came uploading the photos and sorting them manually with either a notepad where I'd write the names of the best photos (IMG-346) or a system of "yes, no, maybe" folders where I'd sort the photos into the appropriate place, going back and forth trying to find the best ones. And then there was the editing process, where I would spend tons of time getting my photos "just right" but then have to go back and edit them again and again to make them all match. It wasn't a fun process, and I hated how long it took- and the fact that even when all of this was said and done, my photos STILL were not good enough. I was getting rejected from craft sites due to "grainy texture" and "awkward shadows" that I just didn't know how to fix.

 Looking to save time AND improve your photos? Sign up for my FREE webinar to learn my secrets to create a photo editing system that works for you!

At the end of 2016, I'd had enough. I could continue to wish that my photos would be better, and wait for enough success to hire a photographer... or I could do it myself. After all, tons of people took their own photos every day. I could too, right? I dug deep and found the easiest solutions to improve my photography. Taking photos was now quick, easy and FUN. It's been over a year since I developed this system, and it still works magically for me. So, I decided to share this knowledge! Starting with my free photography e-course, #PHDphotowkend and followed by this free webinar.

So, save yourself the time and hassle of trying to hack together a system that works, and give my proven system a try :) 

What you’ll learn:

This webinar will cover the very basics you need to learn to improve your photography. Things like...

  • Photography Equipment and Editing Tools
  • Finding Your Style (& Why It's Important)
  • Depth of Field, Sharpness, and White Balance Basics
  • Lighting Basics & Composition
  • Editing Techniques & Basics That Take Your Photos from Meh to WOW
  • How to Save Time on your Photography–and STILL Have Better Photos!

The main takeaway for this webinar will be how (and why!) creating a system for your blog/biz photography is THE way to go. Honestly, the amount of time you'll save and the improvement of your photos will truly be life changing! Imagine what you could do with more time AND better photos?!

Who it’s for:

Although this webinar will teach anyone the very basics they need to know to improve their photography, the content will be geared towards bloggers, Etsy shop owners and small business owners. However, if you’re looking to step up your Instagram game, this webinar will be helpful for you too! 

Although the webinar has a particular audience in mind, I think the skills are transferable for anyone who would like to improve their photos. Plus, it's totally free!

So, sign up for this webinar and you too can have better photos in a fraction of the time! Any questions? Pop them in the comments below or contact me and I'll answer as soon as I can! 

Maternity Style: Movie Date Night

When you're pregnant in the summer, few things are as fun and refreshing as going to see a movie in an ice cold theater! It's got all our favorite things- entertainment that you get sitting down, a comfy recliner, and snacks. A few weeks ago, my husband and I went to see a movie and I  decided to try something a little different with my outfit. You see, baby HATES pants/shorts, and I get cold in the theaters but it's hella hot outside. So, I wore a maxi skirt up high so that it was nice and breezy before I got to the theater, but could be pulled down to my hip area for extra warmth when I got inside. It was also a fun alternative to wearing one of my same 7 dresses yet again!

*This post contains affiliate links

Movie Stripes.jpg

If you want to re-create the look, I've rounded up a few great options for each fashion piece! I've also linked a few scarves that you could add on for some extra warmth in the theater.

White Tanks  1  2  3 

Maxi Skirts  1  2  3  4

Bangles  1  2  3  

Shoes  1  2  3  

Clutch  1  2  3  4

Earrings  1  2  

Necklace  1  2  3  4

Belt  1  2  3 

Keychain  1  2  3 

Scarf  1  2  3  

Movie Stripes1.jpg

It's such an easy, comfy, effortless way to look stylish.

What do you wear to the movies? Do you get cold, or is the temperature just right? Let me know in the comments below!

How I Improved My Photos (And You Can Too!)

Since I started blogging over 2 years ago, I have put a lot of effort into improving my brand's photography. It's been a series of trial and error, some frustration, and even a little cursing. But I can honestly say, without a doubt, that I am so proud of the achievements I have made in my brand's photography! Blogging has been one of the most amazing challenges I have ever put myself through. There's been good times (like landing my first paid guest posting spot!) and bad times (like, my shop failing) but honestly I would not go back and change the decision to start- despite all the efforts and time it has taken that I didn't even account for. And so much of my success can be attributed to the images I put forth on my blog.

Today, I want to take a trip down memory lane and show you a few before and afters to show you how my photography improved over the years. And, I want to show you some real-time before and afters- aka, how bad weather or editing can drastically change the quality of a photo! So, strap on your seatbelt. It's gonna be a bumpy ride.

Camera 3.jpg

Humble Beginnings: Donuts

For the first stop on our journey, I'm taking you way back to April of 2016. I did my first ever (and  one of the most popular!) DIY's- a Donut Party Platter. Overall, the photos were ok. But, they were kinda shadowy, small, and a little out of focus. It was really difficult to get the lighting to be even- you can see that the left side is brighter than the right! I can't remember how exactly I did this, but I know that back then I was working with white poster board, 2-3 desk lamps with regular incandescent bulbs (yikes!) and whatever sun I could find. I recently re-took the photos of the donut platter so I'd have a new pinnable image on Pinterest. You can definitely see the improvement in the photography! The photo is crisper and cleaner, and definitely matches my aesthetic better. Plus, now I don't rely on text to get people to stop and see what my pin is about. The images speak for themselves, and the details are in the captions. This makes my Pinterest boards look much cleaner than they were before!

donuts.jpg

Fake it 'til you make it.

I'm going to let you in on a blogging secret- most party posts are staged! And there's a good reason for that- it's pretty much impossible to get a real party set up with enough time to photograph it and get yourself ready. Plus, parties are based on what time is best for your guests NOT for photography! Well, back in my early days of blogging I didn't know this. So, I had a Sugar Sweet Birthday Party and tried to take photos... at night... without external lighting. And well, you can see the results for yourself. Also, the party table was set up in my kitchen, and just a few feet away from the party table was my kitchen island, which nearly blocked every effort to take a good photo! More recently, I had an Ice Cream Party and I used my improved photo skills. You can see the photos are less grainy, and there is a clear focus on specific items rather than the whole table randomly!

party.jpg

If at first you don't succeed, try try again.

Ok guys, now I am taking you on an exclusive, behind the scenes tour of a failed blog post that has never been shown before. In 2016, I had a genius idea to make some cute Christmas stirrers. I literally did an entire photoshoot for these. The whole post was DONE. But when I sat down to edit, I was appalled by my photos. I straight up could not get them to edit properly, and couldn't bring myself to post such hideousness on my blog. I didn't have time to re-do the whole post (#TisTheSeason) so I decided that it would have to wait, because these photos were too dang horrible to put forth into the world. Fast forward to 2017 and I re-did the whole shoot, start to finish. And I LOVED the results! The photos were bright and clean with a special holiday spirit. And I was SO glad I had waited.

Christmas Spirit.jpg

Honestly, holiday posts are some of my favorites and I knew I couldn't put forth work I wasn't proud of.  One of the reasons why this post was so awful was because I was playing around with backdrops, trying to infuse some color into my photos instead of having the backdrop always be white. And while I applaud myself for trying, this was a massive fail. The color of the backdrop wasn't even on brand, but I don't regret it. This was a big risk for me, photo-wise, and it helped me to create a new look for my blog. Now I LOVE my angled wrapping paper look, because it has that pop of color I was looking for while still being really clean. Don't be afraid to try new things, like backdrops. They may be a fail the first time, but you eventually can find a look you love- and that, my friends, is SO worth it.

The art of the flatlay.

A popular photo setup sweeping the nation is the flatlay. I don't remember them being quite so popular when I was younger but hey, I was an oblivious kid. Nonetheless, a killer flaylay is a surefire way to get noticed. But, they can be kinda hard to get right. First off, you have to arrange things nicely. Then, you have to light them up nicely. And lastly, you have to shoot them from overhead at a straight angle. YEA... good luck with that! I actually broke my toe trying to shoot a flat lay. Did you know that? I was standing on a chair to get just the right angle (hint: it wasn't) and just the right lighting (another hint: it wasn't) and as I was stepping off the chair, the whole thing freakin flipped and I landed on the chair, scraped my back the whole way down, and landed with a loud THUD. I was pissed at myself (as we all are when we fall!) and got myself up. And I thought, huh... I fell on my back but my toe feels funny. A nice long trip to the ER later, I discovered that I fractured my toe and had to wear a boot for 2 months. So believe you me when I say that flatlays are HARD to get right, and it's really important to protect yourself from their evilness! Anyway...

The first trick I learned was to have consistent lighting for my flatlay (using these lights!) so that there aren't any weird shadows. The second trick was investing in a horizontal camera mount so that the photos could be nice and straight! There's obviously more to it than just that, but those were two HUGE improvements for me when it came to flatlays. And the proof is in the pudding.

before & after-5.png

If you're looking to improve your photos further, I'm creating a FREE photography e-course to help you do just that! Be sure to sign up and get your workbook by clicking the photo below!