Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Favorites - Family Photos

Happy Friday!  December is here and I have already attended my first holiday social at work.   Tonight we will head to our favorite annual Christmas party where we get to catch up with so many people we do not have the chance to see regularly.  As if that is not enough, on Saturday we will be heading to Fort Worth for Keith's company party. We are so looking forward to a night away!  

A HUGE shout out today to the ladies over at The Blended Blog, especially the coordinator Katie, for inviting me as the Friday feature today.  Hop over and read my interview!  If you haven't been a Blended Blog reader you totally should be.  This group of contributors are fashionable, inspirational and fun!  

I shared a sneak peek of our family pictures a few weeks back as I shared my thoughts on using Minted for card design.  Today I'm sharing the card I settled on and thought I would also share my tips for a successful family photo shoot!  

I loved the simplicity of this design.  The photo I wanted to use was a little tricky in several layouts but I loved how the green in love helped pull the green from Jordan's outfit into the picture.  
I love including individual pictures of the kids as well and this ended up being the back of our card. I just love these people so much!! 

So how do we survive our annual picture and still have smiles on our faces?  

Pick a date as far in advance as possible.  If you are booking a photographer this is really important as the closer the holidays get the busier they will be.  Honestly, in Texas we would have much better luck with spring or early summer photos to ensure ourselves the weather would not be an issue but that just doesn't work for our schedules.  We are so fortunate to have a photographer who comes from a big family and is use to some of the crazy that comes with shooting this crew.  

Location, location, location!  We are typically limited to the general vicinity where we live but there are some amazing backdrops for pictures in our own backyard.  Places that work really well and are often found in most towns, both big and small, include downtown areas, museums, local parks (especially if there are some neat water features or cool bridges), college campuses or even a simple country road can be the best.  Have a vacation planned for the coming year?  One of the best things I ever did was book a photographer the year we traveled to Destin for summer vacation.  It is really not hard to find someone in most towns you visit and as your children get older a family vacation may be one of the only opportunities you have.  

Begin planning for outfits at least a month in advance.  This is always the hardest for our family for some reason.  Choose a general color scheme and begin pulling together pieces to compliment each family member.  Encourage your family to pick items they are comfortable in.  Layers and patterns are your friend!  In early years I was afraid to mix patterns and definitely worried layers would add bulk.  Layers and patterns help the picture to look less one dimensional and everyone ends up looking pulled together.  I typically try to snap a picture of a few of the pieces laid out together and send it to my photographer to give her a better sense of how what we are wearing will work with the location of the photoshoot.  


Do not be afraid to bribe your family!  Talk the pictures up and reinforce over and over how important they are to you.  I am definitely the queen of guilting my family into this.  They all know this is the only gift I want every year and they all complain just a tad but once we get there they all smile pretty.  Set the expectations as to the types of pictures that will be taken and how much time you will need.  Typically we end by having dinner together which is kind of a reward for us but I'm not saying cash wouldn't work just as well.  Ha! 

Have a little fun!  If one of your family members has a suggestion for a pose, try to make it happen. This year Riley suggested an Abbey Road picture and our photographer, Sarah, was all over making that wish come true!  I honestly had to google it when I got home because I was not on top of the Beatles reference.  How fun is this having them in line oldest to youngest? 
Keep your cool.  My boys (including Keith) are the first to begin getting irritated if we move our location too many times.  Making sure they are not hungry by bringing a few snacks along is always a good idea.  Remaining calm when my boys start to picking and complaining is not necessarily my natural reaction but on picture day I seriously use every single ounce of patience I have and respond to everything with smiles and kind words.  Conditions will not always end up perfect but if you stay calm you can still end up with some great pictures.  
Whether you hire a photographer or snap a family photo yourself, just do it!  Capturing your family over the years as everyone grows and changes is just so special to look back on.  I've used a tripod some years and captured our photo with a remote and that was so easy.  Grab a good friend or family member and have your picture taken in front of your tree.
I for one end up loving the pictures, of me at least, much better when they are taken by a professional and I've been lucky enough to schedule every other year since 2010.   I love looking back at how much the kids have grown and try to make sure we have some similar shots each time.  
Hope you all have a productive weekend planned...only 3 more until Christmas!  Yikes!  Have a great one.
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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Winter Jewel

This time of year there are so many holiday parties and get togethers to dress for.  I love finding a few Christmas casual outfits for the more laidback affairs.  After falling in love with the sleeveless Socialite dress earlier this season, I decided to give this one a look.  The jewel color is so perfect for a casual holiday gathering.  
Fall Style
Adding another jewel tone with the Kendra Scott necklace makes this a little more festive don't you think?
Fall Style
Fall Style
Of course the over the knee boots and the leopard clutch definitely make this feel a tad sassy!  
Fall Style
Fall Style
The dress is ribbed and a great swing which makes it very forgiving. Perfect for those holiday gatherings with the great appetizer spread right?  
Fall Style
Fall Style
Best part is this dress will not break the bank!  
Fall Style
I had so much fun heading out to our downtown area and letting my husband take these photos for me. 



The links in this post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on the link(s) and purchase an item (at no additional cost to you), I may earn a small commission.  Thank you for helping to support me and The Queen in Between blog
Click the image for all my faves!  
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fave Holiday Movies - Spiel the Beans Linkup

Welcome to Spiel the Beans!  Is there any time of  year better for curling up with some cocoa and a cozy blanket to sit in front of tree and watch movies?  For me this time of the year is a definitely favorite and this week Katy and I are sharing our favorite holiday movies.  We hope you will join the fun and share yours.   

Elf is probably my number one movie to watch with the family.  We all love it and it is grown up enough for the littles but still has enough crazy humor for the bigs and the parentals.  I was a little late to the party on this one but ever since I downloaded two years ago it definitely rose to the top of the list.  

The Holiday is next on my list.  Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, JUDE LAW!! This sweet little love story gets me every single time.  It totally makes me want to hop a plane and head off to some country cottage.  
It's a little tricky because it is so not family friendly but I will find a night to stay up late and watch Love Actually at some point over the holidays.  I just love all the relationship twists in this movie.  It makes me laugh and cry and fall in love and want to punch someone but mostly I live for the scene when Hugh Grant dances.  :) 
Give me Rudolph every single year.  I seriously remember my little brother crying every single year when we watched this movie.  I bet he would still get a little teary eyed today.  Being more of the underdog kind of girl, I was always feeling sorry for the abominable snowman.  Haha!  
Despite the fact that I've seen it 1000 times, this movie still makes me laugh so hard.  My dad was not easily amused but y'all, he loved this movie.  I can almost hear him laughing when I watch it and it so reminds me of his presence at Christmas.  

We can't wait to hear what your favorites are!  Be sure to mark your calendar for December 13th and come back to share a favorite Christmas or holiday memory!  
Please place a link back to this link-up in either your post or on your party page so that others can link up too.  It's a party, try to visit at least 2 other posts and show them some love!  This is the fun part! Be inspired, inspire someone else - don't just link and run!  

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday Picks

My fave Black Friday purchase was grabbing the Amazon deal on the Instant Pot which was so on my Christmas Want, Need, Wear, Read list! I thought I would give you a run down of some favorites gift ideas but also some items to get your house ready for the holidays! 

Today the Cyber Deals are pretty great at Amazon too.  I'm especially loving the Kindle deals for books and maybe I'll make my reading goal before the end of the year after all. I snagged Before the Fall,Truly Madly Guilty and while I didn't grab it The Magnolia Story was also only $4.99 to download.

And today the Instant Pot 5Qt is under $50! The 6-Quart is a Cyber Deal at Walmart for $69.  I'm really hoping this baby lives up to the hype and saves me some time with meal planning in 2017! 


Nordstrom has quite a few items an extra 20% off and I noticed they are also price matching the Hunter Rainboots!  My mom snagged mine two years ago as part of Cyber Monday and I wondered if I would wear them and oh my goodness I have worn mine every chance I can.



Target has some adorable Christmas items to choose from and they are not only on sale but there is an extra discount for home items if you hit a dollar threshold + today an extra 15% off at checkout. If you have a Red Card you also get your 5% off that as well.  I am all over these throw pillows and it was time for some new fun sheets to add some Christmas spirit around our house.   

Pier 1 Import 30% off + Free shipping (or in store pickup) and I love the Li Bien ornaments.  They make great gifts and I collect at least one each year as they include the year.  

J. Crew has 40% off + free shipping and I'm drooling over this plaid vest.  I invested in a J. Crew vest last season and the quality was worth it.  I also have this field jacket in wine color but it is so adorable and I never wear it without someone commenting.  J. Crew Factory has 60% off and it may just be time for me to bite the bullet and grab this buffalo plaid popover.  
Pottery barn also has 20% off + free shipping for ornaments so it would be a great time to send a surprise to a friend!  The cyber sale reaches across all of the brands.  West Elm has totally made me a linen junky and I'm so loving this set of sheets!  
Need a personalized ornament?  Head over to Farmgirls Paints today for 20% with the code Cyber 20.  

I've already told you how much I love this book!  Proverbs 31 Ministries also has a Cyber Sale and if you think you might want to lead a bible study the leader bundle is on sale today!  

Hope you find something you love!  

The links in this post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on the link(s) and purchase an item (at no additional cost to you), I may earn a small commission.  Thank you for helping to support me and The Queen in Between blog
Click the image for all my faves!  
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