Thursday, October 9, 2014

I went to the 2013 I Heart Faces Photo conference { Part 2 }

The last day of the conference was the Photo Walk day.  I could have had two days of photos walks or at least a full day broken in half. I got so much out of it. But like any good candy bar.... I wanted more.

That morning Michelle and I went back into the little town by the hotel and went to the  little Mexican restaurant (I know, right?) for breakfast to meet her nephew and his boyfriend. We then walked around and took a ton of photos.  Everything was kinda  dark and damp but beautiful and fall.

We went back to the hotel to start our photo walk day.  There were five different stations and we were  broken up into smaller groups  to get to each one quickly.

See the lady in brown above.... that's Michelle.  And Julie Rivera behind her.

This was  Melissa Hutchinson and her beautiful daughter. Geez, it shouldn't be legal to both be that pretty and talented.

The beautiful brunette above is Angie Arthur's daughter(co-founder of I heart faces)  Had this been in my hometown, I would have totally volunteered my family. They would have had no choice. :)

And this cute couple below,  so awesome to photograph. I can definitely see the difference between kids and adults during a session..LOL.

The last  vignette  was this cute sister pair. I think we were their last group of photographers. They were SO done. Their mom and Dana were doing everything they could to get some smiles or at least cooperation  out of them. They reminded me so much of my girls.

I had a fantastic time.  I hope I get to go to another regular workshop through I Heart Faces again.  I won't  be able to make it this year. Sniff Sniff.  You should all go next time. I'll see you there.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I went to the 2013 I Heart Faces Photo conference {Part 1}

Exactly one year ago, I got to go to my very first photography conference/workshop. More importantly , I got go somewhere without my kids for three days and I was ok with it.  BUT THAT'S GOING TO BE A WHOLE OTHER blog post.

Being a photographer  is important to me and I'm always looking for ways to improve my abilities any chance I get. Two years ago, I came across I heart faces and saw that they have a conference /workshop but it was down in Dallas and at the time, I didn't have the resources to get me there. Fast forward to 2013 and  my friend Michelle over at Callia's Corner  and Michelle Montero Photography asked if I was going and that it was in Ohio.  It was half way between the both of us. I looked it up and the airfare to Ohio was totally affordable.  I told her yes and since she already had booked a room, we would be roomies.  I don't know why I was more excited, that I had kid free time for three whole days, I would meet an awesome bloggy friend that I had made in person or that I got to be in a hotel with hundred or so women who loved photography as much as I did. I was soooooo excited.

I have to say that I didn't' take a many photos as others that attended the conference.  I was so busy taking in everything that some of the time I barely even took notes.  I was just soaking it all in and trying to learn as much as I could.

We got there early on Friday and had some time to explore cute little Granville, OH.  Cute little town with a college, bars, deli, a some shops and restaurants. It was almost the most perfect little town I had ever seen. Gorgeous old houses and a quaint main street.

Friday night was the mixer/ meet and greet.  So we got on our best pair of jeans :) and went down to meet some other photographers. They had a great bar and snacks around the room.  Also , two different photo booths were set up to take some silly pictures with your new friends.  Let's not forget the DJ. It was just like a regular wedding reception, all women on the dance floor having a good time.

Saturday morning we got started with a great breakfast and then on to our many sessions that we could choose from. Some we needed reservations for and some we didn't.  There were six class sessions that you could attend.

The first session I chose was  "Using Reflectors & Diffusers in Your Photography" with  the rep from Wescott.  She went over how a 5 in 1 reflector can really enhance your images and your session. They can get rid of harsh shadows and help your clients to not squint as much. They really looked like a good idea but I'm still trying to get my images straight out of camera as awesome as they can be and right now I don't need to worry about  where to put the reflector.

 My second  session was  "Simple tips to Improve your Photography Today  with Angie Arthur , co-founder of I Heart Faces.  Ok, let me start by saying that she is just as nice as she looks and as someone else at the conference said...she has the most amazing mermaid hair.  I hope that K's hair looks like hers some day. She talked about 12 Simple Tips that we could do to improve our photography hence the title of the session(duh)  Things like turning off your flash and  take the time to find the good light. Some were basic and some maybe you just didn't take the time to think about.

The third session was one of the RSVPs "Finding the Light with Julie Rivera".  She was so funny and really showed us how to find the light no matter what time of day and what the weather was like.  I even was snapping pictures of her as she described how to find the light. And she caught me a couple of times.  Hey, I was practicing.

After she was done talking, we split up into pairs and tried to practice what she was preaching.

 I got to pair up with none other than Jessica Paige  from One Willow Presets. Of course at the time, I didn't know who she was, but when she knew a lot  about my camera and the way the light was working under the trees.... I figured it out real quick that she was a professional.  She was so patient and kind with me. 

Finding the light is something that I am still struggling  to be  able to do consistently.

Session number 4 was  "Using elements of composition to Create a stronger Image with Dana Suggs"
Ok, Dana  is a total hoot.  I could sit and listen to her talk all day , or go shopping, or have a drink as she imparted her wisdom.  During her session, if she asked a question and you got it right, she threw you a candy bar. We were all trying to be really smart that  hour :) Just to give you an idea of my first impression of her, Friday night there was a "dream big "chalkboard that we were supposed to write our big dreams on. I saw one that read " I want to pee alone."  I laughed and said "Now, there's a lofty goal."   to which she replied" Hey, now."

Her session talked about things like:
- The rule of thirds ( no horizon lines in the middle of image)
-Rule of Odds ( odds are always better in photography)
-Leading Lines ( put your subject on a line to draw our eyes in)
- the Rule of Space ( give the eye something to go to)

Session 5 was "Capturing Children's Natural Smiles with Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman" . This class was so eye opening to me. She told us to really engage the kids. Don't' stop moving. Don't be afraid to be and act crazy.  Say things that will make them laugh and do things that will make them relax with you. Kids are more natural when they have something to do and react to.  I was so busy running after her that the only picture I took was of her taking pictures.  I really hope I can have the connection  that she has with her clients  but with mine own clients someday.

Session 6 was "How to Use Pinterest & Instagram to market  Your Business and Blog with Amy Locurto".  This session had a lot of info and I'm not even sure I can do it justice in a few short words.  So maybe bullet points would be easier:

-use keywords
-put a Pinterest description in Photo alt tag
-Pin your own work
-Use vertical photos
-Use a watermark or put your url in the description
-Edit old blog posts or photos for Pinterest
-Put your popular pins on the sidebar of your blog

-try to be consistent with your brand ( not just pictures of your food unless your a food photographer)
- use hashtags
-comment and share others photos

Finally, our keynote speaker was Tamara Lackey.  She spoke for a few hours about how it IS about the Money.  Maybe I'm not as far along in my business to get all of what she she said because alot of it went over my head. It could have been that I was flipping starving by now or tired but the gist of what she said was...Don't think of money as a bad thing.  If you don't welcome it in, it won't come visit you at all. You are being a creative being and you deserve to make money from your creativity.  You should get paid for time away from your family and for your efforts.

I know she said alot more than that but that's what I got from her talk.

All I know is after that Michelle and I ran to the nearest bar/restaurant in town and  some food and some beer. We.....were....starving.

Stay tuned  for part 2 with some more gorgeous photos.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Frozen Party Ideas {with Invitation Printable}

Unless you live under a rock, with or without kids, you have heard about the Disney movie "Frozen".  Even before the movie came out my girls and myself were waiting for the awesomeness. And for my birthday, we went to see it.  I was in love. My girls were in love. I've read all the articles about the meanings and the money....blah blah blah.  We love it for the great songs and how I see it the story of love between two sisters.

Fast forward two months after the movie came out and one soundtrack  later and it's almost all we listen to in the car and you know what?  I don't mind. I love signing them too. They are kinda catchy. I know I WILL get sick of them but I'm not there yet. We got the movie in the mail yesterday and they have already watched it twice. Not too bad considering.

It was no big shocker when K asked for a "Frozen" themed party for her 6th birthday.  I was thinking ok, no big deal.  I'll go get a few themed things from the party store and then do some homemade/Pinterest things to round it out. Well, holy moly, there was nothing at 7 different stores by my house and even online, things were limited or out of stock for a long time.

Now the invite....again non to be found at any store and even online, very hard to find and kinda blah when i did. So me being me and my pension for homemade cards. I went to work. Disney's main website had some great high res clipart/wallpaper that I used to create the invite.

She loved it and printing it out  was super cheap.  Here's the link so you can use it yourself for PERSONAL use.  I  hope it helps you out for your party planning. The font  I used was  GEronto  Bis regular.

Next it was on to the goody bags...

I wanted to find snowflake bags but because it was already the end of February, I was outta luck. The next choice was  to get plain white craft  bags and  stamp some blue stamps on them. The girls were happy to help with that. I couldn't find any  single snowflake stamps but this one was on clearance for .56 cents so it worked for me.

I found glittery pencils at Michaels  in the dollar section in the perfect colors.

 I wanted to make some crowns for the girls and I saw THIS on Pinterest for making  a foam Elsa crown. I bought the stuff and tried to make it work but K said it kept slipping on her forehead. The glitter foam has a paper backing because it is sticky. Big bummer.  I tried to find it without being sticky and had no luck.

Then I saw THIS other pin with an store bought crown but the link didn't go to a place where I could find out more about it. Big Bummer! Until I went to JoAnn's fabric store to look for elastic for the foam crowns. And look what I found for a $1 a piece. Woo Hoo!! They had them in every color but most importantly the teal blue and pink for Anna and Elsa.

I did borrow the idea for the snowflake on the foam crown and added it to this crown. I bought the snowflakes at Micheals as well. They were over by the foam sticker section, hanging up in a baggy. It comes with two different size snowflakes. I used the larger.

 K got a pink crown so she could be Anna (you can see it at the top of the photo below) since she was the birthday girl.  S who like blue anyway was happy to be Elsa.

I was at Target in the dollar section and found this 5x7" notepads for $1 too. Score!

I really wanted to include some actual Frozen stuff in the bags so I went to Birthday Direct and bought  cupcake rings and Olaf stickers.  I couldn't find anything in the stores by me like I said before. And they were even out of stock for a few weeks, it was a  question if I would even get the stuff in time. I also got the balloons, napkins, and plates through them. 

I threw foam princess stickers in for fun and something extra. I found them in a giant container at Hobby Lobby. My girls are constantly crafting and making art . What little girl isn't really? Everyone got a pretty large handful.

And then I was thinking about general party/wall decor..., for the pottery party we took her friends to  there wasn't a whole lot we needed or wanted to do. I thought about posters because then they could be used after the party as well.  I got the big cast poster  from Amazon for $10 and the poster of Anna and Elsa at Walmart , of all places,  who would have thought?  The giant foam snowflakes were my mom's from a zillion years ago and they worked really well.

The final thing I wanted to make were these adorable hair clips that a friend had on her Facebook page. She sent me the link and away I went. They really were easy to cut just took some time.  All the felt was bought at Micheals as well even the  glitter felt that was more sturdy. The  little gems were at Micheals too. Gotta love Micheals!!

I hope this helps you plan your Frozen party and makes it easier. And remember if it all doesn't turn out like you thought......let it go!!!!  ;)

What is the Gunny Sack -Making the world Cuter -DIY Show Off
-I should be mopping the Floor


 My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia -The Kurtz Corner
Sugar Bee - Romance On A Dime -The Winthrop Chronicles

 Someday Crafts - Sew Much Ado


Beyond the Picket Fence - Somewhat Simple - Live Laugh Rowe
- The Shabby Cottage The Taylor House- House of Hepworths  Bloom Designs

Naptime Crafters - Young and CraftyMy Turn(ForUs)
Delicate Construction
Serenity Now


Six Sister's Stuff

Cheerios and Lattes

Monday, January 27, 2014

How we will NOT spend $100 everytime we go to Target

Ok.... so when you all go to Target you walk out with around $100 worth of stuff too , right?  I know I can't be the only one. Right? And only 1 out of every 10 times did we  actually intend on spending that much money. 

Their store designers/ marketing/ shelf putter-uppers are geniuses.

To quote the movie,  "Twilight"..."Everything about us invites you in...our look, our smell, the way we stock our shelves".  Ok, well maybe that last part wasn't from the movie but that's how it feels to me.  I'm powerless to stop it.

If we do walk out of there under $100, my husband and I almost give each other a high five. I know I'm all kinds of giddy on the inside.

I started thinking the other day... what I can do to stop the madness? Only get what we NEED, then get out and....wait for it.....only go once a month!!! What??!!!  That's crazy talk.

We are in Target every week.  I'm not kidding. We are always forgetting that we are out of something and then going back which means there goes another hundred dollars. Bye bye.

All I can think is spreadsheet here we come. I know I'm not the first blogger to make a spreadsheet to go shopping but I haven't seen one about Target yet.   I'm going to make a list of things we regularly buy at Target and then we have to stick to the list.  We will be able to put some specialty items on the list when before we go that are regular items  but  again. I know this isn't rocket science but it actually took some thought to come up with this list and I want to share it with you.

 If it ain't on the list,  me no buy.  ( I love to let go of the English language every once and a while) I'll give you an update soon and let you know how it's going.

Here is the list. I did one in Excel and a blank one as a PDF that way you can change all of the items in the list to what you and your family need if you would like. If you want to make your own and like the font, I used a free font called Wisdom Script. To download the font, you have to type in 0 for the cost and just hit download.

And the tiny red boxes are the font Wingdings, the  upper case letter Q.

( It doesn't seem that either version I uploaded  kept the fonts visually. I'll keep trying to figure that out. Until, then you can download the font above or substitute any old font you like.)

The List (Google Excel Version)

The List (PDF Blank version)

What is the Gunny Sack -Making the world Cuter -DIY Show Off
-I should be mopping the Floor


 My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia -The Kurtz Corner
Sugar Bee - Romance On A Dime -The Winthrop Chronicles

 Someday Crafts - Sew Much Ado


Beyond the Picket Fence - Somewhat Simple - Live Laugh Rowe
- The Shabby Cottage The Taylor House- House of Hepworths  Bloom Designs

Naptime Crafters - Young and CraftyMy Turn(ForUs)
Delicate Construction
Serenity Now


Six Sister's Stuff

Cheerios and Lattes

Sunday, December 22, 2013

11 years of our Family Christmas Cards

Every year since 2003, I've been creating our own Christmas cards.  I used to buy cute and funny ones at the store but then I started thinking that I loved to take pictures,  why don't I use that for my cards to showcase my family and my art?

Of course my beloved Charlie was my baby back then, and I wasn't too keen on being in pictures (really, who is?) that made him and his brother, Louie, become the focus of our cards.

All of the images  that just look like photos were actually inserted into photo cards. I just took them out because the cards were nothing to write home about. It was all about the photos.


It snowed outside and we had some Christmas hats so...... ( this was with my first point and shoot camera)


It's like the baby thing but with doggies!


 We got engaged  a little over  a month before this photo was taken so we figured we should  be in this years card. Problem is, after I sent the card, where's my engagement ring hand?.....That's right, behind J........ Doh!

This year's card was a little over two months since we had been married and I wanted to include a wedding picture but the boys were still part of our family...with the power of Photoshop, there they were! And Santa hats too!

Pregnant with K and feeling huge, I wasn't going to be in this photo. It was also the first Christmas at our new house with a fireplace. I just had to use it. This was another Photoshop marvel. Trust me, they never would have done this on their own.


With our beautiful baby daughter here, I had to include her with the boys this year. Did I mention that I love Photoshop? It was a hit . They all did a great job. I just blended them together.

I was pregnant with S this year and again, did not want to be in any photos. I tried to think of something funny that would still show our photos.

 I saw something like this online and made one of my own.


 We had lost my baby Charlie this year but I still wanted a photo to show how big my girls were getting and just because Charlie was no longer with us didn't mean that Louie couldn't be featured.

 This was the first year we had professional family pictures taken.  I had done the previous years with a tripod. The pictures turned out good so that was our card. The dogs didn't make this year.  Sorry boys!

 We had another professional photo shoot this year and again it turned out great. But this year we included some more shots on the back of these fabulous cards I got for attending a photo conference from ACI  photo lab. The layout was a free card from MCP Actions that I modified to my layout and tastes but it really helps to start with a good base.

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year !

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