I can't tell you what photographs mean to me. Whether printed, canvased or digital, I love photographs of my family, my children, my friends and my world. It's an amazing capture of time, I can look at a photograph from 10 years ago and still remember that moment, those feelings, those people and what they meant to me at that time, even if that has changed now.
I've tried to do an amazing job photographing our family annually or more recently for our blog(s) on a bi-monthly schedule. Since we've moved so much recently it's a wonderful way to share our time, our moments and our happiness with family and friends near and far. Plus, I get to have these amazing images to look back at over the years.
Mother's Day is no exception to this rule, every Mother wants pictures with her family, with her children. Too often Mother's are the ones behind the camera and rarely in front of it. I once took photos for a Mother who literally had no pictures other than a selfie with her daughter, the joy and tears from her after seeing those images was amazing and made me so happy inside to give her that gift.
Give your wife, your mother, your sister, your aunt, even your grandmother that amazing gift this year. I've teamed up with LeighAnne Ables Photography to provide the Mother's in the Chattanooga Area "Mommy & Me" Sessions for $50! You'll receive five (5) digital images from your session and LeighAnne is so easy to work with, it will feel so easy. LeighAnne will be offering these sessions through Mother's Day and we hope they bring joy to the eyes of the mother(s) in your life.
**Mommy & Me Sessions are for MOMS and CHILDREN or MOMS and MOMS. This rate does not apply to family, maternity, birth or other sessions other than Mommy & Me style. Locations may vary.**
Dear Pre-Kid Self:
Shut up! Wow, I’m so annoying. I had no idea when I said things like “I’ll only breast feed” or” I’ll never have a c-section” as a pre-kid mom that those would be some of the easiest decisions I’d have to make against myself. My c-sections saved my kids and so what, I couldn’t breast feed, but the kiddos are perfectly healthy formula babies. Or when I thought “No candy for my kids”, girl! You know you bribe those kiddos with sour patch kids every chance you get, cause it works, right? Right!
Moments when I find my “pre-kid” mind talking to my current mind with things like “Man, why can’t we have our pre-kid body back”? Guess what lady, you had kids, you made a decision to forever birth children from your uterus. There’s no going back to your pre-kid body, it doesn’t exist anymore (either does your gall bladder for that sake!), but still, give yourself a break. You did a miracle! You’re going to have stretch marks, you might have a bigger belly but either work it off or go get a tummy tuck. Yeah, I’m an adult, you’re an adult and we can do those things if we want.
Trust me, my pre-kid self wasn’t as cool as the post-kid(s) self. Sure, I might be a little more tired but I take solace in knowing that in about 6-8 years I can start jumping on their beds at 4 AM to wake them up for school. Or, even cooler, my girls will be old enough to do manicure/pedicures with me and actually hold a conversation. We give our pre-kid self-such this idealistic fantasy that we want to go back to it. I don’t. I remember what pre-kid was like! No husband, a job I didn’t love, I felt alone and like I didn’t have a place, and don’t get me started on dating. Seriously, yeah, maybe there were some good nights but not half as good or even as close to good as they are now. Snuggling, watching a movie with my kids and husband or having an amazing family day of travel is about as good as it will ever get in my book.
So to my pre-kid self, shut up! Seriously, you’ve got no idea what’s in store for you and it’s AMAZING!
Planning time! My OCD self is so excited to dig into a new planner for 2018! I'm also a huge fan of Target, (what mom isn't) so when I saw this planner in the stationary aisle, I thought it was the perfect size with just enough spice for me. Monthly, weekly and daily breakdowns. This pretty planner even has a note section for each month and cute little quotes on each month's cover like "Goal Digger". You can snag a similar one here.
I know that when my family and I are on the same page with our schedules, EVERYTHING seems to work better and run smoother. Life is busy, am I right? Some days it feels like the world is spinning 100 miles an hour around you, HOWEVER…. if you are on the same page with your schedules, what is happening when, where the kids needs to be and when your next date night is, then you will find that things run more smoothly!
Set aside a time each week that you and your family can sit down together and review what the week ahead looks like. For the most part I have everything in my planner plus everything in my phone. My husband is more of a digital guy so when I create the appointment or whatever task on my iPhone I email it to him, he accepts the invite and BOOM it's right there to remind him of what's going on.
What tips work best for your family and planning? Do you have a favorite planner? If so, share it below or any additional comments!
This time last year, my life was a little more out of control. We had just moved to San Francisco, it rained (endlessly) and I was stuck in the house a lot. I wasn't doing the same routines I had in Virginia to keep my life on a good balance and things unraveled a bit. Anxiety went up and my self-control was fading one cupcake at a time.
I decided then that I needed monthly goals (resolutions, if you will) to guide me, keep me on track and reward positive behavior not just physically but mentally. designed my own year-long experiment where each month consisted of a different willpower challenge. Last year this implemented well into our lives, until about June when everything got crazy again. Our family was planning another move (back East) and changing jobs, structure was just out the window so my hope is that now we are settled in Tennessee to get back on track with monthly resolutions that positively effect my life and my family.
So I thought I'd share January's monthly resolutions with you and hopefully this amazing blogosphere will hold me a little more accountable.
1. LEAVE MY HAIR ALONE (haha) I know this seems like a crazy one but I'm always dying or cutting my hair. It needs a break. I've noticed it's gotten a little thinner and I think the chemicals have taken their toll. I'm planning on leaving my hair alone until February for the month of "self-love" (I'll go into more on that later).
2. Create a vision board. This one can seem cheesy but I think it works. If it works for Tony Robbins, why not me? But instead of creating a solo one for myself, I want us to create a family one. I'd like to see big goals, small goals and just some variety for what our family wants for this amazing year ahead of us.
3. Slowly crawl out of debt. This is another topic I'll probably post about as well later but it's a huge goal for my family to get out of the bit of debt we do have. We want to build a home in Tennessee and to do that we need to knock out a couple things prior. For January, I'd like to pay off ONE credit card. It's a small step but one in a super positive direction for our family.
Do you prefer to make one huge list of goals for the year to accomplish or does it sound better to take it month by month? I'd love to hear what some of your resolutions are and how you hope to achieve them!
It the NEW YEAR! The is the time when we splurge on planners, have fresh clean calendars, search for productive podcasts, and create a plan for the new year. When we look over what we've done in the last year and enjoy creating a plan for what we'd like to accomplish this upcoming year. So today I’m sharing some questions about planning, how to do it and how to do it the best possible way. So grab your planners, calendars or smart phones and let's get to work!
WHAT WORKED LAST YEAR AND WHY?
What made you feel great? When did you feel the most on top of your game? Routines are everything in planning, you have to have a game plan to succeed. Was it beneficial to plan date nights a month in advance? Did adding the kids activities to your smart phone keep you on top of everything, if so, keep all those things going. They worked and continue to work. Some folks aren't planner people, they are smart phone people. Me, I prefer both. I like having back ups of back ups and plans for plans, that's just who I am. I thrive on a planner and my iPhone, I couldn't function with only one but I know plenty of people who prefer paper and pen to the digital style of planning. So for this year, I've got a planner and my iPhone calendar all geared up and ready to go!
In the blogging world, I found that drafting my blogs, social media posts and photographs on Instagram worked the best for me. I'll be honest, there are days the information is flowing through me. Other days, not so much. So I learned to take advantage of that time and plan it well. I like having 5-6 blogs on draft just in case I'm out and about, I just hit "PUBLISH" and there you go, same with Facebook and Instagram, I save my draft posts and hit publish and it's done. I can move on and it took me five minutes rather than hours of pulling content out of my brain.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK AND WHY?
What made you feel less on top of things? Did you plan or fail or fail or plan? My biggest downfall in the planning is procrastination. But that's where what did work came into play. I wasn't successful of just pulling a blog post out of my head, so I planned that when I had a rush of ideas to jot them down, type them out, draft them and then I had a catalog of available content at my finger tips.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH THIS YEAR?
Do you have goals you want to break? Resolutions that you want to keep? Planning helps with all that and more.
It was the end of December when Chattanooga Housewives came into my life so I have a strong goal this year to get involved in this community, with it's ladies and explore every bit of it as I get to know my new city. I want this brand to thrive so I know to do that I need a lot of work, blog posts, social media posts and more. One goal for the Chattanooga HITC brand for me is getting a photographer. Sure, I'm a photographer but I procrastinate on taking my own photos, there's always time to do it. So if I plan a session with a photographer I knock everything out in one fail swoop, BOOM! I planned and I succeeded!
Also, if you have resolutions (or a slew of them like me) I like breaking my resolutions down into monthly goals/resolutions. This makes this big list seem not so big and I feel super accomplished checking off each on as I go month by month.
Once big goals are broken into manageable tasks and find a spot in your calendar, they are far more likely to get done, which means you’re far more likely to hit that goal. Make a promise to yourself this year to not just make a plan but to put it into action.
What else would you like to see in a planner guide? How do you plan and what is your preferred method. I'd love to know in the comments below and if you have any tips, please share!
I’ve collected 10 KID-FRIENDLY NYE PARTY IDEAS: countdowns, food, crafts, games, and more. If you’re looking for fun things to do with your family on New Year’s Eve, you’ve come to the right place. Cheers!
1. Count down the hours until midnight with balloons that get popped each hour. For extra fun, write the activity you’ll do that hour on a piece of paper and roll it up and tuck it in the balloon before filling.
2. Fill bags with treats or activity ideas and label them with the hours until midnight.
3. Make countdown clocks using paper plates.
4. Put together a year-in-review slideshow using favorite pictures from the year. Cuddle up in pajamas to watch it together.
5. Play New Year’s Eve bingo! Free printables from Capturing Joy.
6. Do a NYE photo booth. Target has a lot of NYE glasses, head bands and photo booth props you can be as silly as you like with.
7. Use pipe cleaners to write out the new year, then twist them onto headbands or cheap sunglasses with the lenses popped out (you can find both at the dollar store). Tip: twist two pipe cleaners together to make them sturdier before forming numbers.
8. Hold family story time. Have everyone bring their favorite book, then read them aloud together.
9. Do a balloon drop at midnight (or maybe earlier if you have younger ones).
10. Sip milk out of champagne flutes (get the cheap ones from the Dollar Store) and eat cookies.
Have fun planning a fantastic New Year’s Eve! Have any great ideas I missed? Leave them in the comments – thanks!
Happy Holidays in Chattanooga and Surrounding Areas! The following are some holiday attractions happening in Chattanooga for the 2017 holiday season!
Chattanooga’s New Holiday Trail of Lights
Dates: Begins November 17
Time: Various times at the different locations Have you heard the news? Something new is coming to Chattanooga this holiday season. Chattanooga’s Holiday Trail of Lights will ensure families are able to capture the holiday spirit of our area. View the site for the “official” Holiday Trail of Lights Guide, which you will be able view and print online.
Chattanooga Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”
Dates: December 9 and 10
Time: December 9 has two showings: 2pm and 7:30pm; December 10 showing is at 2pm.This classic holiday ballet is one you won’t want to miss, and the show can make for a wonderful date night or even an evening with family.
Chattanooga Zoo’s Holiday Lights
Dates: December 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17
Time: 5:30-8pmThis celebration is for the ultimate animal lover, because what could be better than a combination of holiday lights and zoo animals? Pro Tip: if you have a library pass, most give you a free pass ( usually 2 adults and 2 kids) good for 7 days, so just make sure you stop by your local library before heading to the zoo!
Ice on the Landing
Dates: November 17-December 19 and January 8-21
Time: Monday-Wednesday (2-9pm); Thursday-Friday (2-11pm); Saturday (10am-11pm); Sunday (noon-9pm)Located in the historic Glenn Miller Outdoor Gardens at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, Ice on the Landing allows family and friends to get together and ice skate as through you were in our very own Central Park! Be sure to check out the website for any special “theme” nights, as well as possible Santa sightings.
MainStreet Cleveland’s Annual Christmas Parade
Dates: December 2
Time: 6pmFrom businesses to local schools, there is sure to be someone you know in Cleveland’s Christmas Parade this year! Be sure to grab a seat early, and bring a bag with you, as you just might catch some holiday candy during the parade.
PJs and Polar Express
Dates: December 16 and 17
Time: 9:30-11:45amWho is ready to hop aboard the Polar Express? And best part, you can come in your pjs! In fact, it is highly recommended that you dress leisurely to enjoy a 3D showing of the “Polar Express” at the IMAX. However, the showing isn’t the only fun part. Come early and you can meet the Conductor while enjoying hot cocoa and fresh pastries!
Rock City Gardens’ Enchanted Garden of Lights
Dates: November 17-January 6th
Time: Nightly from 6-9pmIf lights are what you are looking for, the lights are what you are going to get! The 23rd annual light extravaganza at Rocky City will not disappoint, as not only can your family partake in the hundreds of thousands of holiday lights, but pictures with Santa and decorating gingerbread cookies while sipping hot cocoa are also available at this event, which is sure to make it a magical night for all!
Ruby Falls’ Christmas Underground
Dates: December 1-23 (days vary)
Time: noon-8pmExplore a different side of Christmas by taking a tour of a secret, underground ice cave that could lead directly to Santa’s home at the North Pole! Sometimes a little mystery and fun around finding Santa can bring the entire family together and make for some great memories.
With all the local holiday events going on this year in our wonderful community, it is going to be hard to be a “Scrooge” this Christmas — there surely seems to be something for everyone! What are you looking forward to participating in most this holiday season?
I am a Virginia Native, who has recently moved to the Chattanooga Area with my handsome husband and 3 gorgeous children. I am a movie lover, a motherhood advocate, an absolute introvert…but if you get the chance to know me well, I am an absolute nutcase. I am slightly OCD and love organization to the fullest extent. My planner is almost as important as my family.
I have been a self-taught Photographer and Makeup Artist for 5 years and I specialize in Lifestyle & Maternal Photography. The Blogging Industry is flooded with information, but through my site, I hope to inspire beauty, encourage easy routines, give tips and tricks that anyone can use them and share all the things I love.