Sunday, September 9, 2018

Keeping My Identity in Motherhood - Sunshine & Limes

The online world is such a crazy one. I have made some of the best friends here, and Stevie is no exception. It has been so great to connect with her, and when she asked if I would share my heart on finding my identity in motherhood, there was no hesitation. I am so honored to post as a guest on her lovely blog and to be included with a such an amazing lineup of mamas. Head over to Sunshine & Limes now to read my post, and check out the others from this series.

"I have struggled a great deal off and on with finding my place. Even before Henry was born, I worked part-time at a “meh” job, and I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do when I grew up. Then along came this sweet, precious baby. Henry was all that mattered. The first few months of motherhood I am pretty sure I just sat on my couch in sweatpants..." [Read more]

Thanks so much for reading...and I promise I will blow the dust off this space and get a new post up soon! 


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Bitsy Boxes | A Sponsored Post

Have y'all ever received a subscription box? I hadn't until recently, and it is so fun! While I was in Arkansas last week my husband told me that our Bitsy Box had arrived, and it basically felt like I had a Christmas gift sitting there just waiting to be opened. As soon as we got home we dug right in to see what kind of goodies were inside.

In case you haven't heard of Bitsy Boxes, it is a subscription service for a box full of fun goodies tailored to your child's age as well as a thing or two for mama. Score! It is a fun way to try new products and treat yourself and your little. Who doesn't love a surprise package?! You can choose how often you want to receive them, and they would make such a fun gift for an expecting or new mama.

Our box was a 'Little Chef' theme so we received a plush shortcake toy, a can of the cutest stuffed ravioli, Neat Cheeks flavored wipes, and my personal favorite, a set of 3 reusable snack bags by Dr. Brown's. We used Dr. Brown's bottles exclusively with Henry, and I am excited to try these DISHWASHER SAFE snack bags! For mama, there was a Glow Organics foot soak and a Maria Shareen hair tie bracelet. You can bet I tried out that foot soak the first night!

If you have been on the fence about trying something like this, it definitely makes for a fun mail day. And just imagine if you forgot it was coming (like me), and then you come home one day to find a box of goodies for you and your babe. Does it get any more fun?! If you order now you can get 50% off your 1st monthly subscription box + FREE SHIPPING with the code BITSY50, so it is the perfect time to give it a try. Let me know if you do!


*This is a sponsored post, however, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Every Mom's Must Have Camera Accessory | Janie Lane Studio

I recently shared the three reasons every mom needs a DSLR. It is probably pretty clear by now that I am super passionate about getting quality photos of your kiddos now instead of waiting to realize during their senior year of high school that every photo you have of them was taken with your busted old cell phone with a smudge on the lens. As I have stated don't have to spend thousands of dollars on a camera, and you don't have to have professional experience or a degree to learn how to take great shots of your family. There are tons of free resources out there, and with a lot practice, shooting in manual can become second nature!

There are so many options and price ranges when it comes to DSLRs and their accessories. My newest and favorite accessory is my camera strap from Janie Lane Studios. When I was shooting sessions for other families I got away from using a camera strap. As a mama, I need my hands free to keep Henry from jumping off things and eating gross stuff, so this is so perfect. My favorite feature is that it can be worn comfortably as a cross body. I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW PERFECT THIS IS. Instead of leaving my good camera behind because it is a bit really bulky, I can use this strap, toss the camera behind me when needed, and still have quick access so I don't miss the shot. The cross body feature prevents my heavy 5D from falling forward and conking my kid in the head when I bend over, and it has the perfect contour around the neck so you don't have a lot of uncomfortable fabric bunching up on your neck. It's perfect, I tell you.

Okay, so I lied. Can I have two favorite features? Of course I can, this is my blog. My other favorite is the storage. There are little pockets that hold my backup battery and memory card right on the strap. The one for my battery has an elastic opening, and the one for my card has a snap closure. I don't have to worry about things falling out, and I can leave my heavy camera bag in the car without worrying about space or battery power. Genius.  

A few other things I love about these straps are the number of fabric options, various designs to suit your needs, and that the maker is just too sweet. Dana is a real life mama making real-life, gorgeous and perfectly functional pieces of art. Go check her out on Insta where she shares all of her awesome key fobs and clutches in addition to the straps, and definitely head over to her shop to look around. Dana is offering 15% off all camera straps (good through September 15th) to my awesome readers with the code GOODANDLOVELY15. So go ahead and pick out your favorite fabric and which style suits you best. You will NOT regret it.


*This is a sponsored post, however, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Three reasons every mom needs a DSLR

Around ten years ago I had a small photography business. I was inexperienced but passionate and trying to learn all I could while in college, working, getting married, and then moving 6 hours from home. It eventually turned into something that was taking up too much of my weekends and family time, so I decided to call it quits. I am so thankful for the knowledge I gained during that time, but I feel so strongly that you don't have to have professional level equipment and a fine art degree to take great shots of your family. That is why I like sharing things I have learned with you all.

One thing I do STRONGLY recommend is investing in a DSLR, or a digital single lens reflex camera. Some people think there is nothing a DSLR can do that their phone camera can't do, but this assumption is just not true. Others think you are going to have to spend thousands of dollars for a DSLR, and you can, but you definitely don't have to. There are plenty of entry level DSLR cameras out there, and there are plenty of reasons to take the leap and get yourself one.

1. Clarity

Have you ever taken a photo on your phone that looked great on the small mobile screen, but when enlarged on a computer or print it just doesn't look that great? A DSLR will give you sharper images with more contrast straight out of camera. The image sensors in a DSLR will allow you to capture sharp, detailed images, even in lower lighting. Also, unless you choose a prime lens, you will be able to zoom without compromising clarity like with the digital zoom on your phone. This can be a game changer.

2. Speed

A DSLR is much faster. You can take one shot after another without having to recharge like a point and shoot or wait for your phone camera to catch up (especially if it is always bogged down and nearly full of casual snaps of your kid like mine is). Another way they are faster is the shutter speed. You should be able to capture motion much better with a DSLR than with your phone camera. Keep in mind this is dependent on the level of DSLR you purchase, but overall I would say you should see a noticeable difference even in automatic mode when shooting in less than ideal lighting situations.

3. Control

You have so much more control over things like lighting and depth of field with a DSLR. You can really use your camera as a creative tool once you decide to dive into manually controlling these features! You can learn to overcome backlit photos (like below). You can learn back button focus and get amazing action shots. You can get close and really focus on your subject with a shallow depth of field. So many options open up, and the fun really begins when you start learning how to manipulate your camera's manual settings.

Don't get me wrong. I use my phone camera ALL THE TIME, but when I want really great shots, I always reach for my "good camera". It doesn't matter if you choose Nikon or Canon. Either will have the capabilities and features necessary to take your photos to the next level and capture some really precious memories of your people.

One thing you must realize before purchasing is that having a "good camera" will not automatically mean you will get good photos. A DSLR is not a magic fix for your photos, and you will not get professional level photos if you stay in automatic mode. However, starting in automatic mode to get comfortable with your camera and then easing into aperture mode and eventually manual mode makes perfect sense. Practice is key. It will take a little research and education before you figure it out, but it is totally doable. You will feel so great when you are no longer missing the shot because of less than perfect shooting conditions.

If you want to learn a few tips you can use with both your phone and your DSLR, be sure to subscribe to have my Top 10 Photo Tips delivered to your inbox! 

If you are wanting a DSLR and don't know where to start, the first thing to consider is what you need it to do both now and after you have gained some experience. Some newer models offer crazy advanced features that you may never use, so there is no reason to pay for them. DSLRs are not like cell phones. An older model can serve you just as well as a brand new one, so don't be tricked into spending more than necessary. Things to compare when shopping are image quality, available features (ISO, apertures, focus points), and design. Be aware that some listings will be for the camera body only, and some will come with a kit lens that you can upgrade once you learn more about the features. It can be overwhelming, but there are lots of resources, and it is totally worth it.

What about you? Do you have a DSLR? What is your favorite thing about it?


Keeping My Identity in Motherhood - Sunshine & Limes

The online world is such a crazy one. I have made some of the best friends here, and Stevie is no exception. It has been so great to connec...