6 Tips For Taking Family Photos With Toddlers & Babies

Fact: Most of those adorably posed, perfect looking family photos hide a secret most people will never know. The day was most likely a total mess. We’ll ours was anyway.

Our good friend and celeb photog extraordinaire Jensen Sutta came to our house the other day to photograph our family. They were our first formal pics as a foursome and I didn’t really know what to expect. As it turns out I over-planned on some things (poses!) and under planned on others (pretty much everything else.) I have some tips below so you can learn from my mistakes. Some of it is toddler-centric but most of it will help with kids of all ages.

Ditch the over planning:

Pinterest does have a lot of ideas but let them be just that- ideas. You can’t overplay a series of shots that your kids may not be agreeable to. It’s about capturing the moment, joyful play, and real smiles. Pick the clothes (casual or more dressed), and the setting (park, backyard, studio), and let your photographer lead the rest. The pic I like best was on marshy grass (with my heels sinking in) on a little tiny hill right by our fence. Not a sweeping, movie-worthy setting and certainly nothing I would think to choose but he make it look really cool.

Plan it around nap times and meals:

You want rested, fed, happy kids so stack the deck in your favor going in.

20140417-125326.jpg

Bring along snacks:

Harper is so enchanted with crackers right now. I think they would’ve gone a long way to bribe her into sitting still, smiling, not running, or whatever else we needed that she didn’t do.

Pack a little kit:

If you’ll be outside walking around it pays to grab a little bag and throw in zippy cups, sunscreen, snacks, safety pins for clothing fixes, and even toys. Anything to keep them happy since you’re basically asking them to be in a play environment (like outside or a park) but not necessarily play.

20140417-125313.jpg

Practice:

We didn’t prep our toddler enough. A little role play taking photos (because we usually take candids) would’ve gone a long way so she understood what was expected and what was happening. Make it a game and reward for standing still, kissing daddy on the cheek, or good smiles. We only have a few photos of Harper looking at the camera and giving a real smile. I wish there were more.

Make sure the clothes fit:

When we first tried Harper’s skirt on just days before the shoot it was a little big but nothing major, but once she was running and moving around it was literally on the ground. A quick try on doesn’t tell you how the clothes will function in real life. I should’ve let her wear it around for a while so I wasn’t running home for pins mid-shoot.

20140417-125306.jpg

Ultimately though we got some beautiful pictures that we’re thrilled about. Next time, I’ll be better prepared.

tarte Maracuja Bronzing Serum

This serum is flat out amazing. Revolutionary. A must-have gradual self tanner to achieve the most convincing  tanned look for your face. Below is me before and after just one application. I used a few drops before bed in place of my usual skincare and I woke up with subtle but noticeable color. Maracuja Bronzing Serum is a light oil that absorbs right away and leaves no scent behind,  it’s also streak-free (and has been every time I’ve used it since) and didn’t leave any color behind on my white pillowcase. It’s a self-tanning serum disguised as skincare that’s so gentle you can use it nightly. It didn’t break out my sensitive skin and the color becomes more rich with each application but not overly bronzed or unnatural. It really is amazing stuff.

20140406-045839.jpg

I will of course review other self-tanning products for the face in the future, but this is the one I will continue to buy and tell all my friends to do the same.

20140409-214716.jpg

How to Get A No-Chip Manicure At Home Using CND VINYLUX

Do I love Shellac- the breakthrough polish applied by pros that stays shiny and chip-free for 2 weeks? Of course, doesn’t everyone? Do I have time to go to the salon for a Shellac manicure? Let me give you a hint: absolutely not.

My sister Stacy works for CND and travels all over the world preaching the gospel of nails so when she promised I wouldn’t be disappointed with their new no-chip at home polishes I couldn’t wait to try them out.

VINYLUX boasts a week long chip-free mani but I’ve found it to last much longer and be just as enduring as Shellac. You don’t need a base coat but using their special top coat is key and you use acetone to remove it. Its as easy as applying any other polish but it dries completely in just minutes without using a curing lamp. It’s pretty amazing stuff.

20140407-221252.jpg
From their On the Road Collection: Sun Bleached, Powder My Nose, Mint Convertible, Clay Canyon

20140407-221257.jpg
Powder My Nose. I used it on my toes too but I’ll spare you that pic because feet in general are gross.

20140407-221306.jpg

I’m on day 4 of my mani and my polish looks day 1 fresh and I got 3 weeks out of my last VINYLUX pedi. I’m so glad to finally have a long-wering DIY option for my typically beat up looking nails.

Supergoop! Gradual Self-Tanning Sunscreen Mousse

Supergoop! has been a mainstay in our house since I first reviewed it 5 years ago. Since then we’ve bought countless bottles, it’s the only sunscreen Mike will wear because it doesn’t burn his eyes when he runs and it’s hard for me to find a safe SPF that gives broad spectrum protection. It’s really as close to a perfect sunscreen perfect as it gets.

Their SPF 20 Gradual Self-Tanning Sunscreen Mousse combines their signature SPF formula with a gradual self-tanner to use daily which I have been ever since I noticed how crazy pale I looked in barre class compared to everyone else. Being tan hasn’t been a priority of mine for about 10 years now, but a healthy glow always looks good. If I’m using a moisturizer and an SPF every morning anyway, it might as well bronze me up too. Not only is the color seamless (even around knees and ankles) but it has zero scent and is so natural looking that I’ve recommended it to my fair friends when they can’t find a tanner that looks natural. Just an FYI though, it won’t get you super dark so those with fair skin wanting some casual color will love it best.

supergoop tanner

Dove: Crème Mousse Body Wash, Pistachio Cream, and the Best Macaroons Ever

I’ve been a fan of Dove’s positive messaging for women since they started their Campaign For Real Beauty 10 years ago showing women with everyday body types posing happily in their underwear. That became a launchpad for a bigger conversation about women and self-esteem which they still continue today. Although we always used their white bar soap growing up, I haven’t used much from the line outside of their deodorant (I just bought THIS scent and I love it) so it was basically like Christmas morning when I got a package from them last week which was essentially a spa in a box.

First I opened this amazingly fluffy Sferra robe which I want to wear every single day all day long which was inside a little foot soaking tub with a sweet smelling candle. Then I opened a completely amazing grooming kit filled with things I need and never replace, and then I saw the Ladurée pistachio macaroons!! At this point I was sitting on the floor in my new robe eating these iconic macaroons that I’ve always read about and never thought I’d try (I’m pretty serious about my sugar..) while my daughter was running around the house with a mint green mouth yelling ‘more macaroons!’ a word she didn’t know 5 minutes prior with her finger knuckle-deep in the candle.  Honestly they could’ve snuck a Black Mamba in the bottom of the box and I wouldn’t have cared.

But they didn’t.

Luckily they sent along their 3 new Créme Mousse Body Washes and a Purely Pampering Pistacio Cream Body Wash and Beauty Bars. The packaging, the scents, the creamy foamy amazingness that I knew was inside these bottles was so over the top intoxicating that as soon as the girls were down for the night I brought each bottle into the shower to try em’ out.

My shower routine has become pretty boring recently. I used to have candy colored bottles lined up all along my tub filled with soaps, scrubs, and treatments that I’d rub on depending on what I thought needed a boost. Now just my hair care and a bar of soap remains of my overly-simplified routine. I know I don’t have the time for a body mud spa treatment or whatever, but I’ve been ignoring my consistently dry skin and razor burn that returned after I had Everly since a strange side effect when I’m pregnant is really smooth, moisturized skin along with a lack of body hair so I only needed to shave my legs once every few weeks or so. These two things for me were the true miracles of pregnancy that I missed immediately after giving birth both times. Now that my skin is back to normal, I need something foamy to cushion the razor from tearing up my legs while also adding some much needed hydration. All of these washes have huge suds and clean scents that make showering just a little nicer. My two faves are the Pistachio Cream Body Wash because the sweet smell has me hooked- it’s something I’ll buy again when it’s out. I’ve also been using the Exfoliating wash with the loofa because I’m testing a few self tanning lotions every day. I know that this helps with an even application and an even fade, two important factors for the self tanner to look natural.

Even though you’ll find that these washes are sold without macaroons (something they really need to reconsider), you should give them a shot anyway and make a little spa out of your ho-hum shower.

20140403-214732.jpg
Here’s my robe, foot soaking tub, and new shower besties.

20140403-214813.jpg
There were more macaroons that came in this box. I didn’t have the will power to hold off on eating them long enough to snap a photo of a much prettier looking and fuller box. Notice also the divit in the candle made by a tiny finger.

What I Ate: Asian, Mexican, Italian, & Brunch

I’m a month or so into this gluten free thing and I must say it has made a big difference in how I feel. I don’t have celiac but I could tell when I overdid it with the bread because I’d get this crazy stomach ache right after eating. I’ll maybe have something on the weekend that’s bread-ish but doing without so far has been really easy. Here’s a glimpse of a few things I’ve eaten in the past few weeks.

Tater Tot Fiesta: our creation when friends came to visit last Thursday. Tots covered in Mike’s homemade green and red chili, guac, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. Everything tastes better on tots.

Omelette Cups: Mike makes breakfast every morning even though he doesn’t eat it himself. He traded off making a scramble for Harper by pouring eggs, tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach into muffin tins and baking them. The bottoms get all crispy and the centers are fluffy, such a cute way to present something so ordinary.

Brown Rice Pasta & Salad: Mike actually threw this together for my lunch the other day because apparently he thinks I’m a lumberjack. He heated cooked pasta in a pan with olive oil, artichokes, olives, and cheese. Easy and delicious.

Green Curry with Tempeh, Zucchini, and Red Peppers Over Rice: Green curry is amazing and so easy to make. Grab a jar of the paste (most supermarkets have it) and heat a teaspoon or two with a can of coconut milk, then toss in veggies or whatever to simmer in the sauce. Green curry has such a rich, somewhat spicy flavor that tastes great with everything. Use it with anything you’d typically stir-fry. If you like Asian food, you’ll love curry.

Veggie Sushi: This was from our Valentine’s date night (which was really just a quick happy hour and we had Everly with us), but it was fun all the same. We crave these rolls that we once ordered so many of the sushi chef dubbed them Michael rolls after my hubs. Avocado, cucumber, jalapeño, and cream cheese. Even our die-hard sushi loving friends go nuts over how good they are.

20140329-225709.jpg