it's a beautiful thing

lately i find myself in awe of the way God created us. pure, loving, non judgemental, kind... 
this isn't new information to me, but i feel like my heart has grown + that i've learned so much about this in the 6 months that i've had TWO children. 
your first child rocks your world in the very best way possible, your entire life expands in ways you never knew it could + you learn a whole new kind of love. having two children opens your heart in a different way, because not only are you loving another little life, but you get the opportunity to watch your children love each other, + it's a beautiful thing. 
since the day we brought lucy home, abel has been so sweet with her. even in her early days with us when he didn't show a ton of interest, when he did, it was so sweet + careful. he touched all of her toes + pet her hair, and he knew, without us telling him, that she was fragile and important to us. by the time lucy started smiling it was always for him, her first giggle was at him, and her face lights up any time he does nearly anything. he's there to greet her the moment he hears her wake + gives her love and kisses on the reg without any prompting. it's incredible. from early on, it's been like they already knew who they were to each other, and it's amazing to me to watch their love bloom on a daily basis. a pure + free love, the way God intended it to be. they don't think about loving one another, they just do. my wish is that we could all be this way.

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." -Matthew 19:14

i think we could learn SO much from watching children interact. i get to see it on a daily basis + sometimes i really do feel like they are teaching me more than i'm teaching them + it blows me away. i'm so thankful to get the opportunity to see the world from their perspective, to see the wonder, to see love in it's purest form. thank you jesus.

Enhance your mobile photography!

It's been said that "the best camera is the one you have with you" and I say, "amen!" This has never been more true than today.

How lucky are we to live in a time where our phones are not only capable of taking photos, but on top of that, have apps on apps on apps available to go right along with all that picture taking?! Jackpot.

I get comments at least twice a week on my Instagram feed asking what kind of camera I use, and the answer is 95% of the time, my iPhone 5s. As much as I love taking pictures on my Canon, chasing babies all day doesn't always leave a free hand for a big camera, so my iPhone is SO handy for catching all those little moments that I'd miss otherwise. 
Today I wanted to share a few quick + easy photography tips with you that I've learned along the way! Get ready to change your mobile photography forever... 

First up! Lighting:
My personal preference for photos is light + bright. 
I love love love crisp whites + pops of color. Within my home decor, clothing choices, IG feeds that I follow, pinterest boards, you name it... so naturally this carries over into my photography as well. The best way to get a beautiful + bright looking photo is to lose the flash + shoot in natural lighting instead. Outside (not in direct sunlight, as this can cast harsh shadows) or near a big window is the best. Shooting in natural light will make your subjects look as close to what they truly are when seen with the naked eye. 

There are definitely circumstances in which you need a flash or there is no natural light available to you, I mean... photo worthy stuff does happen at night + indoors too! In this case, I do use my flash if necessary + then turn my photos black + white in editing. This neutralizes the photo + rids it of any poor lighting, face shine, yellow tones, etc. Check out the difference in the photo below! Same photo, but the original photo just didn't pop. Simply turning it black + white, and playing with a little contrasting made this photo a lot more eye catching.

Next, composition.
I love photos that create a feeling; photos that capture a whole scene, and also like most... photos of people + things that I love. When getting ready to take a photo I like to think about why I’m taking it. If I know the feeling behind taking the photo, it's easier to portray that same feeling to viewers too!
---Don’t be afraid to take a step back. Leave the room and capture the doorway looking into the room that your child is playing in, or a baby sleeping on a king size bed, showing just how little they really are. There is something so special about looking into a scene from the outside, and showing more of the scene, gives a photo more context. Don’t crop out the fun wall or cityscape behind your subject; sometimes it's just as interesting as your subject itself!

--Don’t be afraid to get close up. So this feels contradictory, but it's really just another technique that is equally impactful. Zoom in on what it is that made you want to snap a photo. Was it your child's baby blues? Crop in so that it is clear what your focus is, detail shots are JUST as special.


--Try not centering your subject. Instead, let your focus point be just off center to the right or left, same goes for top or bottom. For example, when posting to Instagram, I often times will place my subject ON one of the grid lines, as opposed to IN one of the grid squares. 

--Look at your surroundings. Is there a trashcan behind your focus point? An unruly pile of unfolded laundry (hand raising emoji here), a lady picking a wedgie? (Again, guilty) no really... these are things that often go unnoticed until AFTER the fact, oops. Take a look around + check your scene!
--Use your surroundings! A colored wall, texture, lines… anything that adds a different element to your photo.
--Set yourself up at different angles. Instead of always taking a photo straight on, get on a chair, lay on the floor, see the shot from different views + create a fun perspective!

I use only one editing app on my phone, but the mobile editing app world is your oyster. Typically I will just edit my photo in the Instagram editor before posting, but it can't always get my photo just right, and in that case I use Photoshop Express. 
Exposure. Highlights. Contrast. Saturation. 
The end.
As mentioned, you can adjust most of these straight from IG, but PS Express is my best friend when it comes to grainy/pixelated photos (this happens a lot if you use your front camera, which I try to avoid). Adjust "reduce noise" and it will smooth out your picture.

Print, print, print!
If technology failed us tomorrow (which it probably won't) but IF it did... would you lose all of your precious, captured moments? If I’m being 100% honest with you, before making it a priority this past year, I would've lost too many of mine! It's so easy to blog photos or post them to IG or Facebook + then never see them again. THIS HAS TO STOP! Print out those pictures people! There are SO many different ways to display + share photos in a tangible way. I've got framed pictures, photo walls + books, I've even ordered prints from Shutterfly that are just sitting in a wire basket on our coffee table... people LOVE thumbing through all of the pictures in there and I love that. Get those gorgeous images off of your devices and into your hands friends, you'll thank yourself later!

Well, that's a wrap! I hope one or more of these little tips made you say "Oh! Good one!" or "I'm going to try that." At the very least, I hope you got a laugh from the wedgie picker example... this REALLY is in the back of one of my Instagram photos... I'll let you go and find it though :)
Now, get out there + capture the moments that are special to YOU, because what really makes them special is that they are little snippets of your very special life! Have a wonderful day, XOXO!

Come try out your new photo techniques!

DIY vs b.u.y.

recently, i tried my hand a little homemade finger paint experiment. i'm not toooo crafty, so this was slightly out of character for me, but it was probably snowing + i didn't want to get out with the littles, or maybe i had seen too many episodes of bubble guppies that day, who knows! point being, i pinterested homemade paints + came across a recipe that was completely safe/edible, washes out easily + only a few ingredients to make. (hand raising emoji here) i'm in. welllll i'm not gonna count this necessarily as a fail, because my boy had some fun for sure + i consider that winning... BUT i will say some things are just worth buying vs. doing it yourself. too much or too little of whatever ingredient, my finger paints came out more like finger paint gel + his artwork dried crunchy, womp womp. we got the real deal + since made valentines, had all sorts of fun, + our fridge is covered in precious paintings from our guy, sweet arrow + even little lucy. maybe next time i'm feeling super adventurous i'll give homemade another shot, but for now crayola is rocking it + i'm all right with that.
xoxo which i paparazzi'd abel while he drank his hot chocolate from a mug

...but i mean, look at him.
h e a r t  e y e s  f o r e v e r
+ infinity more
abel is quite the ham, so chatty these days, playful little limit pusher, smarty pants mcgee... HOW IS HE SO SMART?! pumpkin love is still going strong, now pronounced "puh- ooon"... however, hearing him say "sunshine" still takes the cake as far as melt worth toddler speak. he's got me laughing 'til it hurts, cheers-ing every drink, bite or otherwise, still snuggly as ever + the child has no fear... this gives me lots of them. his new favorite past time is climbing onto whatever is near by + free falling onto something below... his mini trampoline (accident waiting to happen), the couch (same story), or auntie's floor (this ended in tears). 
i could not love him anymore, my body seriously feels sometimes like it could burst with the amount of love i have for him. he's funny, adorable, sweet, frustrating, willful, + so much more. he has me more than on my toes lately + some days questioning if i'm doing anything right as a mother. does anyone else with a two year old feel this way?
i love you abel! i'll shout it from the rooftops!
+ now for that ethereal blonde hair, those chubby toddler hands wrapped around your big boy mug, piercing blue eyes, china doll skin, + hot chocolate mustache... the stuff life is made of.

^^^i mean, he laughs out loud at original mickey cartoons, swoooon

february has consisted mostly of....

j a m m i e s .
i could seriously leave it at that. there's been snuggling too, pretty sunsets, & color showing itself and getting us excited for spring. stomach bugs, bath time, sweet valentines from chris, 5 ingredient muffins & snow. but mostly, jammies.

Chosen by The Honest Company


A couple months ago I was contacted by the Honest Company about using this sweet photo of a tiny Lucy in a special upcoming project. My first thought was, SOMEONE PINCH ME... & I still mostly feel that way! If you haven't heard of the Honest Company you can read more about them HERE. It's a brand of effective, unquestionably safe, eco-friendly, beautiful, convenient, and affordable products for babies + families. We LOVE their products, mostly their adorable diapers like the one in this photo. 

Later this year, The Honest Company will be sponsoring the renovation of the UCLA Hospital Santa Monica Birthing Center waiting and lactation rooms. As part of the new design, their Founders (Jessica Alba (squeal! overly excited emoji x1000 here) and Christopher Gavigan) have decided to include photos of real Honest family members, and have chosen this photo as one of those that will be framed featured in the new space! 

I'm normally pretty private about these sorts of things because I never in a million years want to seem like I'm boasting, but I am seriously just beyond flattered that they chose our photo + love representing such a wonderful company. As soon as the project is finished I'll share photos here! Again, pinch me... so exciting :) 

As a sidenote... is anyone else crying over how much lucy has grown + changed over the past 3 months? ...oh just me? time slowww downnn! Happy Monday! xoxo

5 months of my sunshine girl.

lucy, today you are 5 months old.
i don't know how i allowed another child to grow this fast on me...
you are my little bundle of sunshine. always happy, always smiling, always shouting from the rooftops, "life is fun!"... especially at 7 in the morning. i can tell that you have a big personality + i love it already. i love YOU. last night you mastered sitting up all by yourself + we are fairly certain that you'll be graduating from a gummer grin to a couple little teeth in the coming weeks. your cheeks? i told your brother + i'll say it again... butter + syrup worthy, and your thighs? two little hammies, also squishy enough for snacking. you are the sweetest little thing, darling as pie i tell you! i always tell you that when i grow up i want to look like you :) but maybe you'll grow up to look like me, and i guess that isn't so bad either. whatever the case, i hope that you always love yourself + see yourself + your heart the way i see you + the way God does. you're a light, a true beauty, + the world sometimes likes to convince women that they aren't. i pray for you my dear, that you won't buy into it. if you get my booty, own it, if you get dad's eyebrows... well haven't you heard that "power brows" are in? you're on track for both & i have to tell you that they are two of my favorite features! i mean, the way your dark, heavy brows frame your breathtakingly blue eyes? melt me. and no one works a polka dot swimmie as cute as you do sister. it's my job to mold + shape you, and teach you what's truly beautiful in God's eyes, and i am committed 10,000 percent to doing just that. thank you for being a sweet angel baby, for being the easiest sleeper, for loving your post on my hip the way you do, and for making me a mama a second time, and to a daughter. i dreamt of you, and you are all that and so much more. 5 months! hip hooray, i'm so proud of you :)
love, mama