5 favorite non-toxic skincare products boosting my wellness +fertility

Non-toxic + clean skincare products I’m using to boost my wellness & support my infertility journey

Over the last 3 months, I’ve done a complete overhaul of my life to create a toxic-free space in hopes of bettering our chances at conceiving our double rainbow baby and just living a life that promotes health and vitality, instead of taking away from it. I've changed what's on my plate, and I’m eating about 90% plant based, so I knew it was time to change what I was putting on my skin, the most absorbent organ in my body.

Most recently, I cleaned out my bathroom and I was so surprised to learn how many things I was using that was not only hurting my chances of getting pregnant but that was just plain filled with bad things in general. Some of the biggest culprits were my lotions, my cleaner [isn’t that supposed to remove the bad stuff] and my candles! I’ve always been a sucker for clean packaging and I realized that’s not the best way to choose what products you put into your skin.

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After going to the infertility doctor and having him basically tell me I'm too old to have children without the help of IVF, I started researching all the things. I was determined to prove him wrong, because even though I'm about to be 40, I don't feel like there is something wrong with me, I feel healthy. I know from once going Vegan, I can heal with the power of food, and I was ready to change whatever i needed to in order to get this body ready for our rainbow baby. I started making adjusts to my whole life to get what I want. Said goodbye to pizza [dairy + carbs], eliminated all the caffeine and bad-for-me drinks, and started saying 'no' more often, and embarked on an oils journey in an effort to ease my stress. While all of this was effective at calming my mind and body internally, what was I doing externally to support this infertility journey I am on?

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I started reading all the books about fertility and my thyroid condition and quickly learned, many people have successfully had children after the age of 40, and after having many miscarriages. I also learned that there is very little regulation for the skincare and beauty industries and companies are allowed to use carcinogens, hormone disruptors, neurotoxins in many of the products I was putting on my body through my skin. I realized that many of these toxic products I was using every day to "look younger" may have just been negatively affecting my ability to get pregnant and to carry a baby past 12weeks. For those of you new around here, Jason and I, have two angel babies up in heaven and we have been working on getting pregnant with our double rainbow baby for almost 14 months now.

I knew after reading the book, It starts with the Egg, which had an entire chapter on facts as to how these things can harm your eggs, that my skincare routine was having a direct effect on my reproductive system. And I learned that most of the products I was using had these in them.

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I have so much to share that I have learned, and I want to tell you all about what's working for me now after I basically did a full toxic overhaul in my home and with my body. I'm talking all about my skincare routine now, and what products have really made a difference.

These are 5 of my favorite non-toxic, all natural skin care brands I'm using to support my infertility journey and to live a more toxic life.

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The first thing I needed to think about was how I was washing and preparing my face in the morning and at night. I was using a cleanser at night, a toner, and a nightly face lotion. In the morning, I was washing it with the same cleanser, using an exfoliator pad [with all the chemicals], and then applying a serum, then a skin cream, an eye serum, eye wrinkle cream, a toner, a lotion, and I think that's it. I think back about my old routine now and can't help but think about all the chemicals I was applying daily with the products that were supposed to be cleansing my skin all before I even applied any of the harmful makeup I was so used to using my whole life.

I knew that as I made these non-toxic changes, I wanted to find brands to really understood my aging and toxic filled skin. I wanted products that had ZERO sulfates, SLES, SLS, parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates, mineral oils, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclosan, and triclocarban in it. But I also wanted a product that worked and that also HAD things in it that would help fix my skin issues. Basically, I wanted a product that gave me results for my skin issues but didn't give me all the harsh side effects of most of the products I was using.

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Priori : Naturally clean Adaptive Skincare

When I found priori, the first thing I looked for was to make sure that it didn’t have any of those harmful ingredients I was trying to avoid but I also wanted to know that it wasn’t going to take 85 different products to fix my sun spots, fine lines and imperfections. Priori is an adaptive line that uses science and the right ingredients to create something that responds to your individual environment, nutrition and genetic needs. The new TTC line that I have been using, has shown me results. They feature a highly potent compound of 3 kinds of colorless turmeric root, plus green tea, grape seed and licorice to create a product that helps with brightening, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

I’ve been using the cleanser and nothing I have ever used has left my skin feeling so soft. It doesn’t dry out the skin, and leaves it feeling hydrated. At morning and night I apply the skin restore creme, which is going to work on my fine lines and inflammation. And then every other night I apply the Illumination treatment before bed. This is designed specifically to reduce the appearance of uneven skin tones, and adapts to my specific skin type to brighten and illuminate my discolored skin areas.

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Primally Pure: Non-toxic deodorant and skin care

One of the first things I changed about my beauty routine was my deodorant. It’s one of the most used products in my bathroom because I may forget to wash my face or apply lotion on some days, but I never forget my deodorant. I read so many stories about all the scientific theories about how deodorants are related to breast cancer and it scared me. But, honestly, I couldn’t find a natural deodorant that worked! Until Primally Pure. Seriously obsessed with this company and love all their products. I now use their dry shampoo (smells heavenly and works amazingly!) and their geranium complexion face spray for my afternoon refresh. Dying to get in on their body butters and flower bath salts next!

Click here and use code HEIDI10 for 10% off your purchase and don’t tell anyone because it’s not out yet but starting black friday thru Thanksgiving weekend, you get 15% off ! [shhh, secret}.

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Young Living Essential Oils

I recently had a friend reach out to me and tell me that she thinks I should use essential oils. I, like most of you reading this, thought nope, not gonna be part of that pyramid scheme. I politely declined and then she mentioned that maybe I should just try this one drink, that was known to aid in infertility. Clearly, that consumed me and I caved, I bought the starter kit one month ago and I haven't looked back.

We use the oils everyday, from wellness + immunity roller blends to get us over this cold and flu season, to a few drops of lemon on our dryer balls, to diffusers to make the house smell like the holidays instead of toxic candles burning all day.

I'm working on a blog post called, "my first month as a crazy oil lady," that will include all the ways I used my oils and grew to appreciate the way they contribute to our fertility journey and healthy non-toxic home but for now, I'll just put my favorite radiating face serum blend right here for you: It's a game changer.

M A M A G L O W F A C E S E R U M:

using oils from the starter kit ONLY, combine in 2oz amber bottle and fill with jojoba oil

  • 15 drops frankincense [promotes healthy growing skin, good for breakouts]

  • 15 drops copaiba [driver oil which increases other oils when combined]

  • 10 drops lavender [improves mood and decreases feelings of sadness]

    [for an extra punch of goodness, add this-not in starter kit but you need it]

  • 20 drops blue tansy

I just add a drop to my Priori illumination creme and it's heaven in a drop.

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Herbivore Botanicals: Body essentials for self care

One of the main things everyone talks about when infertility comes up is stress. The pressure that comes along with infertility, miscarriages and trying to conceive is, immense, to say the least. It is so hard to turn the brain off. I try my best to find some alone time that I allow myself to think about the process, the good and the bad of it. I find that if I carve out specific moments to cry, dream, hope, or just be sad about the fact that we can't get pregnant it helps me to sleep better or to move on with my day. I take at least 5 minutes a day, ALONE, to think about my journey. Sometimes it's in bed, sometimes I sit in the car alone after Jason and Finn have gone inside, but one of my favorite ways to reflect and accept what's happening is a long quiet bath filled with herbivore botanicals goodness.

This coconut milk bath soak is moisturizing and softens my skin plus it smells delicious.

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Dr.Bronners Toothpaste

Much like my deodorant, toothpaste is something I literally wanted to change immediately. I have tried SOOO many toothpaste brands and when I finally stumbled on the fact that Dr.Bronners had toothpaste, not just soap, I was in. It doesn't leave that gritty feel after you brush and it has natural ingredients that really do leave you with fresh breath! I love Dr. Bronners toothpaste but I love their mission even more; We’re fighting for a marketplace where consumers are not misled and where organic standards are applied to body care just as they are to food. YES!

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Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” —Maya Angelou.

I leave you with this quote by women goddess Maya Angelou and I challenge you to make some changes in your home and take out some of the toxic things that may be harmful to you, your family and your children. If you're struggling with fertility, it can be a lonely place and I understand. I love this community I have found through social media, and I will continue to share my journey with all of you in hopes that someone reads this and feels a little less alone. Please feel free to reach out if you want to discuss anything further with me, I'm here and I'm an open book!

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Meet the Blogger - 20 Questions about yours truly

Meet the Blogger - 20 questions about me

Last year, I actually worked with a brand to be a guest on their blog and it happened to be right during our pumpkin patch outing at the same time! It's so fun to look back each year and read about what season I was in, in my life, so why not make this an annual thing and do the hard thing, like talk about myself once a year.

If you wanna read last years, it's called, It's All About Me.

Why keep you in suspense, here we go!

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Do you have any nicknames?

My name is Heidi and my middle name is Jo, but most people who know me, call me Heidi Jo. Jo Jo has always been a name i've been called and when I was really little my aunt used to call me Josephine, just to tease me, because she knew I hated it.

Where did you grow up and what kind of activities did you do in high school?

This just made me lol because the first thought that came to mind was the time we all almost got arrested for the senior prank, but then I remembered, I was also my class president, so I swear I was a good kid.

When you were little what did you wanna be when you grew up?

I was 100% certain I was going to be a psychologist. I loved talking to people and hearing their issues always made me feel better about mine.

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what is your worst habit?

DO I have to say? I bite my nails. It's the worst, I wish my mom would of put some sort of cream of something on my hands when I was little that tasted terrible because it's a horrible, gross habit IMO.

What age did you start working and what was your first job?

I can't remember if it was Blockbuster Video or if it was one of those lotion carts at the mall. I was 16 and I had no car, but somehow I got to work on time every day after school. Ps, millennials, there was no such things as uber back then. Do you guys even know what Blockbuster video is [crap, I'm old].

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5 things you are currently crushing on right now.

  1. Zara, for all the kids clothes, like all of them.

  2. Below Deck- guilty late night pleasure

  3. Essential Oils- I just got on the Young Living train and I can't even sleep because I'm so excited about how I'm going to be healthy AF real soon.

  4. Southern California weather + sunsets- cause I mean come on people, it's Nov 2 and the sun is shining and it's 81 degrees outside!

  5. Vegan Meals- I know, everyone isn't a fan but I'm working my tooshie off trying to make that rainbow baby, and I know my body is thanking me every time I pick up that kale salad.

What's the biggest project on your to-do list right now?

PERSONALLY:

Making that rainbow baby- acupuncture once a week, gave up caffeine and carbs, and I'm adding in essential oils to create a non-toxic, healthy space for myself and hopefully a growing baby soon.

BUSINESS:

I really really really want to try and update my blog, I want to organize it and really get it dialed in but I'm a self-taught blogger and it takes me forever to research how to do the tiniest thing. If any of you reading this know about square space and wanna help a sista out, send me smoke signal, please!

What's something you wish you could do one more time?

I don't know if I can type this without loosing it. But, I just want to hear my best friends voice again. I lost her 3 months ago yesterday, and every single day without her gets harder and harder. If you want to know more about that, visit mydailymoments.

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Have you traveled out of the country and if so, to where?

Oh boy, yes. I want to say lots, but there are still so many other places I want to go visit so; after college, I went on a trip to London, Rome, Paris and Amsterdam. [little-known fact]: My boyfriend at the time was Jim, who is now the owner of Cleobella [IG acct full of travel heaven], and he was an avid surfer who traveled all the time. I had never been out of the country and he basically forced me to go and explore the world. Even though I couldn't pay my rent when I got home, it was probably the single best decision of my life. [so, thanks Jim!] . Then when I was working in the fashion biz, I worked with a brand from Barcelona and Jason and I ended up taking a little work/pleasure trip to Barcelona, Prague and Berlin.

Are you a light packer or take everything you own kinda gal?

bahaha, definitely lean towards the everything I own kinda gal, but, if I'm going somewhere like Palm Springs or Hawaii, it's easy because I just bring bathing suits and cover-ups.

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Who are your favorite Instagram accounts?

Well, after 3 years I have created quite the community of beautiful women to surround myself with. These are just a few of them.

@simpleandseason

@jenhawkins

@almostmakesperfect

@mikobowen

@freshexchange

@thelovedesignedlife

@chrissyjpowers

@steph.pollock

@senaenelson

@hellojessiemartin

And I also love a few bigger "business-y" accounts like,

@em_henderson

@plantphilosophy

@wellandgoodeats

@goop

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tanaka farms pumpkin patch.JPG
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tanaka farms pumpkin patch.JPG

Name 3 things you eat every day + 3 you'll never be caught eating.

Celery [juice it every morning], French fries [totally Finn's fault], and onions. I think Onions are pretty much the answer to any good meal.

AND, peas, no way will you ever catch me eating a pea, I don't eat red meat and I haven't in the last 7 years, and sadly, I have to answer cheese [wah wah wah] trying to cut that our for my fertility diet.

What type of music do you listen to and what's your fav song to play on repeat?

I used to listen to everything, with the exception of country [only when my friends play it around me] and now I pretty much live on either alternative radio or Disney movie soundtracks. Animal by Miike Snow is my favorite song I never get tired of.

What's your favorite saying that people hear you repeat over and over?

Come on, bro. The other day we were driving and this car cut us off, out of the backseat, clear as day...Finn yells, "COME ON, BRO!" Dead.

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tanaka farms pumpkin patch.JPG

Thanks for following along! It’s not easy to talk about yourself, I get it, but now it’s your turn!

If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged.  Answer one question below and the rest on your website, if you’re a blogger!  If you aren’t a blogger, answer away in the comments!  I love to learn more about you.

This website contains some affiliate links to products that we use and love. A very small percentage of purchases made through these links goes to help support our family in a small way. Thank you for following along.

How I create a consistent aesthetic in my photos

If you haven’t already read my basic photography tips to create a curated style, it’s best to start here.

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How I edit my photos and the apps I use to create a consistent aesthetic in my Instagram feed

Favorite Apps

I usually end up using between 1-4 apps from start to finish when editing my photos before posting on the gram. I feel like I have tried them ALL, and finally found the ones that work the best and are quick and easy! Some of my favorites are Lightroom [free], snapseed [free], retouch [free] and unfold [for my stories] and VSCO [free].

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VSCO

After using VSCO forever, which totally worked to start with, I switched to Lightroom and I don’t think i’m ever looking back. VSCO has some really great one click filters you can apply and it’s a great place to start for beginners! Favorite filters are A6, M5, and I used G6 for a long time. You have the ability to copy and paste the same filter to multiple images at the same time, so this always helped plan a consistent style and easily edit blog posts that had multiple images. I still adjusted all the things even after I applied a filter so, you can use the same tips I’m sharing below from lightroom, in VSCO. Start by adjusting the strength of the filter and then focus in on the exposure, white balance [temperature], and HSL [color saturation and hue].

BEFORE

BEFORE

EDITED WITH VSCO A6 FILTER

EDITED WITH VSCO A6 FILTER

EDITED WITH MANDI NELSON PRESET IN LIGHTROOM

EDITED WITH MANDI NELSON PRESET IN LIGHTROOM

Even though VSCO’s filters are basically free [some you pay for] and presets can sometimes get pricey [anywhere from $30-$120 for bundles] I switched to Lightroom because I liked the professional preset options better, as it adjusted more things for me ahead of time. With VSCO I would spend so much time perfecting the tweaks because their filters just didn’t work on all my photos and sometimes a I just couldn’t find the right adjustments to make it consistent with my feed. Lightroom has presets made by professional photographers and I found they made more changes built into the preset that made it really easy to get a consistent and professional look to all my images no matter where or when they were taken. One thing I do like better about VSCO is you can edit the strength of the filter as a whole, vs in Lightroom you can’t adjust the intensity of the preset.

BEFORE

BEFORE

EDITED WITH VSCO A6 FILTER

EDITED WITH VSCO A6 FILTER

EDITED WITH MANDI NELSON PRESET IN LIGHTROOM

EDITED WITH MANDI NELSON PRESET IN LIGHTROOM

LIGHTROOM + PRESETS:

After 3 years and countless apps and filters, I found the easiest way to get a consistent style from all my images is to apply a preset in the Lightroom photo editing app. They have a mobile version or a desktop. I have both, but to be honest, I find myself using the mobile version 90% of the time, and it’s free!

I went through so many Instagram accounts to find the presets that worked best for me. I like a natural look with crisp, cooler feel with a hint of orange, less yellow and muted greens. If that makes no sense to you, don't worry, just find someone you like and try it out. You can give any preset your own stamp by adjusting things like the exposure, tint, temperature and color hues and saturation [skin tone]. It took me about two months to really start to understand what changes when I adjust what, but now I really think I’ve got it down!

BEFORE

BEFORE

EDITED WITH VSCO A6 FILTER

EDITED WITH VSCO A6 FILTER

EDITED WITH MANDI NELSON PRESET IN LIGHTROOM

EDITED WITH MANDI NELSON PRESET IN LIGHTROOM

Current Preset:

Mandi Nelson

I love how crisp and cool her's are-but I adjust the oranges and yellows quite a bit. [I'll show you how I use hers in a later in this post]. You should also go to her story highlights on her IG there’s a crazy amount of good tips on there and she reviews tons of FAQ’s about lightroom + how to use presets. Here’s just one example of how you can really have your own style, even when using a preset. Mandi’s feed vs my feed using the same lightroom preset still look very different because of our photography style and editing.

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Previous preset:

Jessica Janae

These are what I used for my first 3 or 4 installments of #thedailymoments and about 3 weeks on my Instagram feed.

Steph Pollock suggested her and uses her presets beautifully. You can see below the difference between my style and Stephs. It just shows you how diverse a preset can be and that by using a preset someone else uses, doesn’t always mean your images will look exactly like theirs. It’s all in how you shoot, the lighting, editing angles and how you adjust the presets.

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Other Presets I love:

Jenna Kutcher

Jenna is a beautiful soul, excellent photographer and someone I adore! Her presets are perfect for the beginner because she gives you a ton of easy one click options that don’t need a lot of adjustments.

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EDITED WITH JENNA KUTCHER PRESETS

EDITED WITH JENNA KUTCHER PRESETS

Bethany M Poteet

Her presets make me feel like i’m sitting on a white sandy beach. Such a pretty and calm vibe.

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BEFORE

BEFORE

EDITED WITH BETHANY POTEET PRESET

EDITED WITH BETHANY POTEET PRESET

EmmyLowe x BurtsBriPlease

I mean, don’t you just want your whole house to look this crisp, clean and happy?

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Sophia Elrae

If you want a moody or warmer fall vibes, love this mamas presets.

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BEFORE EDITS

BEFORE EDITS

EDITED WITH SOPHIA ELRAE PRESETS - COOLSAGE

EDITED WITH SOPHIA ELRAE PRESETS - COOLSAGE

Adjustments to presets [lightroom] or filters [vsco]:

The first thing I do to my photos is apply my preset and then I adjust from there. I focus on 3 things, exposure [brightness], temperature [warm or cooler] and color saturation [skin color and landscape vibrancy]. I also adjust the sharpness or grain if the image needs it but not always, this is already done in my preset, so it’s one less step to edit.

First edit, add preset

First edit, add preset

Then adjust exposure + shadows +highlights

Then adjust exposure + shadows +highlights

Go into Color tab, and top right is the MIX where you can change each color individually.

Go into Color tab, and top right is the MIX where you can change each color individually.

I typically change the yellow to get rid of artifical light and then orange to adjust skin tones.

I typically change the yellow to get rid of artifical light and then orange to adjust skin tones.

Exposure

I almost always [ok, always] adjust the exposure. I try and take all my photos underexposed or not in direct sunlight so that I can adjust the brightness myself once it’s in the app. I adjust exposure right after I apply the preset and then also after I do ALL my other edits to the preset. I sometimes need to go back and lower it if it’s too bright and lost some contrast or brighten it if it is still too dark.

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Temperature

This can help take a blan photo to a whole new level, adds yellows and oranges [warmer] or blues and greens for a cooler feel. I don’t adjust this much anymore, I use the Color Mix to really change each color. But, it’s a good place to start before you get crazy learning the adjustments to specific colors.

Color Hue + Saturation [skin tone]

Thanks to @hellojessiemartin [she’s the best account to follow for really good photo editing tips] I learned all about this part of Lightroom and it’s really upped my photo editing game.

3 colors I focus on adjusting in my photos are the yellows, oranges and greens. Start with the color MIX tab.

yellow: Taking the yellow saturation down, gets rid of that horrible artificial light in most homes and restaurants and makes your images more white + natural [like they should be]. Practice this one with a bathroom shot. It’s amazing what taking the yellow saturation can do to your photo! If you take the luminance up, it makes them even more white and bright.

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orange: this adjusts skin tones, this one you have to play with because it everyone has such different skin, it’s really up to you to see what works best for you. Use the color mix tab and adjust the saturation first, then hue to adjust the yellow, orange and red undertones in your skin. Mandi’s preset already takes down the oranges, so I usually bring them up a bit from where she has them.

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green: this is mainly for my outdoor shots or images at home that have my plant babies in them. I take the greens down a little so that it doesn’t stand out in my photos. Grassy parks or front yards can get a warm touch to them if you take the green out of the photo a bit.

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How I edit in lightroom mobile [step by step]

Here’s an example of an edit from start to finish. I snapped a quick photo of Finn on my iPhone X on a cloudy day. The lights weren’t on in the house and the front door was giving off some light behind him. Let me walk you through my steps in Lightroom.

IPHONE SNAP ON CLOUDY DAY -BEFORE EDITS

IPHONE SNAP ON CLOUDY DAY -BEFORE EDITS

EDITED WITH MANDI NELSON - MINIMAL PRESET + ADJUSTMENTS

EDITED WITH MANDI NELSON - MINIMAL PRESET + ADJUSTMENTS

STEP BY STEP

Import photo into Lightroom mobile

  1. Scroll the bottom all the way to the right - add PRESET [I click through each of my options to preview as some pictures look better with different presets to start with, but usually end up with EVERYDAY by MANDI NELSON].

    *Depending on what preset you use these next steps may not apply to you. My preset already ups the shadows and takes down some colors, so you can use my screenshots as reference where they are.

    [use the 3rd slide as an example- I took the oranges up to +24].

  2. Scroll to the LIGHT tab - up the exposure quite a bit, Don’t worry if the skin tones look white here, you will adjust the colors MIX tab later and this will help fix that washed out look on the skin. Sometimes I take down the shadows too.

  3. Scroll to the COLOR tab - on the top right, you’ll see MIX, that takes you into the colors so you can adjust individually. ORANGES - fix skin tone. Start with the SATURATION and then go to the hue until you find the tone you like.

  4. Still in the MIX tab - click YELLOW. Adjust the saturation until you get the walls or whites in your photo the way you like them.

  5. EFFECTS tab- personal preference but I like less grain in my photos, so I take that down a bit on MANDI’s preset.

  6. To finish - go back to LIGHT tab, and adjust your EXPOSURE again to make sure you don’t loose contrast when brightening too much.

THAT’s IT!

That’s how I edit my photos in lightroom using the MANDI NELSON preset, EVERYDAY.

ADD TO LIGHTROOM, CHOOSE PRESET TO APPLY

ADD TO LIGHTROOM, CHOOSE PRESET TO APPLY

EDIT LIGHT - UP EXPOSURE +  TAKE DOWN SHADOWS [IF NEEDED]

EDIT LIGHT - UP EXPOSURE +

TAKE DOWN SHADOWS [IF NEEDED]

COLOR TAB - MIX [TOP RIGHT CORNER] ADJUST ORANGES [SKINTONES]

COLOR TAB - MIX [TOP RIGHT CORNER] ADJUST ORANGES [SKINTONES]

ADJUST YELLOWS - TAKE THE SATURATION WAY DOWN TO FIX ARTIFICIAL LIGHT

ADJUST YELLOWS - TAKE THE SATURATION WAY DOWN TO FIX ARTIFICIAL LIGHT

ADJUST THE GRAIN. THIS IS TOTALLY A PERSONAL PREFERENCE BUT I LIKE LESS GRAIN.

ADJUST THE GRAIN. THIS IS TOTALLY A PERSONAL PREFERENCE BUT I LIKE LESS GRAIN.

GO BACK AND ADJUST EXPOSURE AGAIN IF NEEDED

GO BACK AND ADJUST EXPOSURE AGAIN IF NEEDED

OTHER PHOTO APPS I LOVE

SNAPSEED -

Oh how do I love this app so much!

Snapseed not only can adjust the colors of your photos, but it can adjust parts of your photos, it can auto correct your perspective and it can even EXPAND your image if you didn’t take those two steps back before snapping like I suggested. I’ll work on a tutorial of how I use them next because I actually use this one a lit to change the angle, and perspective of my pictures.

RETOUCH -

The best healing app out there. When I say healing, I mean get rid of that lady on the beach standing behind the perfect capture of your little one, removing the tv wires from a photo or the telephone wires from a super cute shot of the family. This app is super easy and makes it easy to get rid of all the little things you don’t want in a picture.

UNFOLD -

Unfold is the app that takes your IG stories to a whole new level. Picture collages never looked so good! You can add fonts, background frames and even upload videos and images on the same slide.

I hope this helps! I have so much more I’ve learned over the last two years, so maybe I’ll make this photography tips thing a more regular occurrence. If you have a specific question you want answered, feel free to comment below! Can’t wait to hear if this was helpful or not.

photography tips i've learned to create a curated style

the best photography tips i've learned for capturing your family perfectly, even on your iPhone.

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If you're a mom trying to just get great photos of your family that you can frame, or if your an aspiring blogger who wants a curated and personal aesthetic consistently throughout your feed, these are some simple tips I've learned over the last few years that helped me do just that.

If you’re looking for step by step examples of how I edit my actual photos right now. Head over to this post. I walk you through everything step by step and show you how I use all my favorite apps.

Three things I focus on to keep my Instagram feed cohesive:

1. shooting [lighting + angles]

2. editing [presets, touch ups, and angles]

3. posting [9 grid]

90% of my photos I take on my iPhone X, and 50% of the time I use the portrait mode, it needs bright natural light to be crisp, so sometimes I can't use it to get the best shot. If I am using an actual camera, I'm usually using a Canon t3 that Jason bought for me 8 years ago. But truthfully, in my opinion, it's usually not the camera that makes the picture look good, it's the person taking it. It took me almost 3 years to finally feel like I kinda know what I'm doing at these are a few things I've learned that have helped me.

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1. When shooting anything; people, food, scenery, selfies, be aware of your surroundings and don’t be afraid to take a few steps back and get more of the location in the picture. [you can always crop later]. A good rule of thumb I use when directing Jason to take a photo is to make sure you get our feet and our heads. It’s human nature to always want to take the image close to someone’s face but I like it when you get the whole picture of what’s happening in the image when you take it from farther away.

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2. I almost always try and take my photos with natural light. If I’m outside, whoever is taking the picture [usually me] have them [or you] stand with your back to the sun. And try and avoid standing in the sunlight. Use a shaded area that still gets a good amount of natural light from the sun.

3. If you are shooting indoors, or with artificial lighting, you can get rid of the yellow tints by adjusting the yellow hues and the temperature of the image. [Lightroom does this best]. This is my favorite things I've learned so far. But when shooting, try and keep the lights off as much as possible and avoid using the flash. It’s easier to brighten the photo because it’s dark vs get rid of the yellow light or reflections from the glare of lights.

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4. When you edit, keep your photos straight and centered. Use the crop/straighten tools and the perspective to adjust the angle vertically or horizontally. I will show you how to do this in SNAPSEED in this post, but you can use any app or just adjust them in your photo gallery in your phone. This helps with the rule of 3’s, by keeping your lines straight.

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5. Use the rule of 3's in photography to align the photo. This is so simple but makes the biggest impact. The rule of thirds is applied by aligning a subject with the guidelines. The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts and creating a horizon so that your eye easily moves from square to square.

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6. Set your scene first and make sure you’re taking the snap straight if you can. If you have time take a couple practice shots so you can see if a weird outlet or random thing stands out in the image. Try and take photos straight on so when you align your subject, don’t shoot from the side of it, shoot straight at it. Don’t be afraid to move around! Taking images from all angles you wouldn't normally think would be good, sometimes get you the best shot! If you end up with something in the image you want to edit, I use RETOUCH. Like this picture below actually had a vacuum leaning on the sliding glass door. I edited it out with two clicks.

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7. Use your favorite preset or filter to keep all your photos consistent. Lightroom mobile is free and it is a professional photo editing app that usually you can editing in one click using purchased presets. Below are 6 images shot in very different settings and light but edited with the same filter. I’ll put some of my favorite presets in my post, How I create a consistent aesthetic in my photos. [other apps I use and love, snapseed, color story, and retouch].

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8. This one is more for influencers or bloggers, but I use a planning app for my posts. I use planoly, it’s not a free one... but I’ve used it forever and I love it. I usually only post once a day but sometimes I get multiple images that day that I want to post so I save them in there. I store my hashtags and write and edit my captions ahead of time. This helps me see if a photo's colors or how I edited to fit into my aesthetic or if I need to adjust the exposure or temperature to fit the rest of the images before I actually post it.

9. This is a personal preference but I use the grid method [maybe it’s called something different] but I staged my photos to have one light and one darker photo each time. Which creates a grid that is easy on the eye.

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10. Try, try and try again. The more you shoot, the better you will get. Same with editing. As you start to edit your photos, it will become second nature and then you'll learn another trick to making your photos the exact style and feel you are looking for.

#thedailymoments || week 7

My life seems pretty boring lately, but sometimes that's just what I need.  Slow moments just spent at home, no plans and without a schedule. 

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These days most of us are living busy over-scheduled lives.  It's easy to lose track of the moments that really matter, which can often be the most ordinary parts of our days.   In the midst of all the responsibilities of our day, we need to remember to check in with ourselves so that we don't lose sight of who we really are and what is really important to us.   This series, #TheDailyMoments was started by my good friend @steph.pollock and as soon as I saw her first post, and when she said, 

It's these small moments that make up a lifetime of beautiful ones,

I knew this was something I needed to join in on.

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If I haven't told you enough yet, I am not a morning person.  If I had it my way I would lay in bed until 9, drink my coffee, listen to morning acoustic radio on Spotify and scroll the gram or pin all the things.  But as any parent knows, once you have kids, you say goodbye to all things slow in the morning. 

Finn has been waking up about 6am without fail these days, and he is READY to go.  He rolls out of bed, stands on his bed and opens his blinds (the half almost breaking them way) to see if the sun is up, which obvi it is [insert eye roll emoji].  Then he grabs all his favorite stuffed animals, turns off his sound machine, walks to his door and as he exits turns on his light, the hall light and everything else in between before barging into our room asking, "Mom, where's dad?"  

But this morning was different. [you should know we potty trained him almost 6 weeks ago, but it isn't perfect yet].  This morning, I heard the blinds, I heard his door open and then as I waited for our door to open, I heard his little run down the hallway instead.  I waited a few minutes to see if I heard him playing in the playroom, or getting a yogurt from the fridge [which generally comes after the "mom, where's dad part"] and I didn't hear any of that.  I laid there wishing that maybe, just maybe he went back to bed, but then, I get worried with the silence, and finally jumped out of bed.  Just as I walked down the hall, I heard him say, "Mom stay out!"  He was in the bathroom, undressed mind you, and had his diaper halfway off about to use the potty ALL BY HIMSELF!!  Say what?!  You heard me.  He got out of bed, went to the bathroom, took off his diaper and pooped on the toilet, without my help!!  Hallelujah! 

I promptly demanded a cookie at 6:03am and stormed off saying, "I don't need pants!" So please excuse the fact that all of the following images are mostly either in his underwear or naked.  That's life and I didn't feel like fighting him today. Xx Oo little man, you win.

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Typical Day at the Wells casa includes Paw Patrol, Booba on Netflix or a Disney movie;  Bolt + Chicken Little are currently on repeat.  While Finn eats his breakfast, I either drink my tea, do the dishes or follow up on emails.  Sometimes I edit photos or plan my future Instagram posts for the week.  [Yes, not all of my posts are spontaneous, most of them are planned days in advance and I adjust the captions for my mood that day].  Today, after we built forts and then tore them down, we headed to the playroom and I shopped for Finn's new playroom makeover while he basically tore everything apart and hid all his toys in his wall storage thingy.

I cant wait for the new space because most of the stuff that's currently in there is from his first nursery almost 3 years ago!  The new room is going to have all the Bohemian Oasis feels with lots of natural colors and organic textiles.  I already ordered this awesome green velvet futon and this storage ottoman that will double as seating and toy wrangling.  I can already picture him having playdates with his friends and finding them building forts and falling asleep in there.  I'm working on an inspiration board blog post for the space and when it's done, I'll insert it here. ;-) . But for now, here's a sneak peek.

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side note: If you haven't looked at H&M home, you're missing out.  But be warned, check the sizing!  I order things thinking they are life size, and almost every time they come looking like they belong in a dollhouse.  But, we've gotten tons of great things from there!  Ordering this cute cutting board for Finn's Ikea Kitchen makeover hack cause I know it will be the perfect "small" size!  

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When all my chores are done and I'm done working for a bit, I usually try and get Finn outside before naptime.  We go back and forth from the front yard to the back, from paying soccer, jumping on the trampoline and playing in the "pool."  [Husband refuses to get a small pool because he is afraid of the mold].  I know, I know...

Today, Finn asked to take our 13 years old girl, Daisy for a walk.  And so we did.

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These ceramic mushrooms came from a little artsy fair in Laguna Beach called, Sawdust.  Have you guys ever been??  When I met my husband, he was living in Laguna Beach and I was in Manhattan Beach so every year when I came to visit we would go to this art fair.  The lady who makes these has been making them and  selling them at the fair for years.  The first couple of years we went, we would say to each other, who buys those?  This year, the year we bought our first home in southern California together, we went back and we both said, let's get those!  We decided to get one for every year we visit the fair from now on and I can't wait to fill our new home with a bunch of these little mushrooms!

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I've said it before but i'll say it again, Daddy is the fun one!  He jumps on the trampoline with him, he runs around the house with him and he even let's him use the hose.  I tried to be the fun one today and let Finn help me fill up the pool and then I turned around and found myself the target.  Drenched to my knees in water, it was finally nap time!

The first thing he does when he wakes up from nap time is ask where Daddy is, and runs outside to see if he's home.  He usually helps him take off his shoes and changes his clothes and before I know it they are back in the backyard playing the pool again!

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Some days I want to keep him up all night and play and other nights I can't wait to get through bath time and get him to bed to I can have a cocktail and a real dinner that he wouldn't even think of touching.  Tonight we had caprese salad my way, and my favorite homeade margarita with fresh lemons and limes and a splash of squirt.  So good.  And that's how we do it over here at #thewellscasa. Goodnight.

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Just as Steph did, I am inviting you to do the same, join us in this movement of letting life be more enjoyable just by letting it be exactly what it is.  Tag your photos with #thedailymoments so we can all share in the joy of the simple moments that make up a lifetime of happiness.

The Daily Moments || Week 1

The Daily Moments || Week 2

The Daily Moments || Week 3

The Daily Moments || Week 4

The Daily Moments || Week 6

 

#thedailymoments || Week 6

#thedailymoments || Week 6

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These days most of us are living busy over-scheduled lives.  It's easy to lose track of the moments that really matter, which can often be the most ordinary parts of our days.   In the midst of all the responsibilities of our day, we need to remember to check in with ourselves so that we don't lose sight of who we really are and what is really important to us.   This series, #TheDailyMoments was started by my good friend @steph.pollock and as soon as I saw her first post, and when she said, 

It's these small moments that make up a lifetime of beautiful ones,

I knew this was something I needed to join in on.

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This weeks recap might sound a little scrambled because that's exactly how my brain feels currently.  Today was a day to just go slowly, breathe and do only what I was capable of doing at the moment.

I took these pictures on Wednesday.  We had our first fertility appt the day before and my best friend, Debi's funeral is on Saturday.   Needless to say, my brain has been working overtime.  I know i've been stressed to say the least but yesterday at the doctor, my blood pressure was higher than it's ever been, even when I was in labor with Finn.  It was 165/101.  That's ridiculously not normal.

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I tried to not stress by having a super slow morning, just Finn and I.  Daddy wakes up at 4:30 to head to Orange Theory, and he comes home to shower around 6am.  Right about that time Finn wakes up ready to go, and I am positive [no matter what Jason claims is "quiet"] that he is woken up by the loudness that my husband is when he gets home.   You see, I am N O T a morning person.  Maybe it's because I never drank coffee, but I do not roll out of bed ready to go, so this 6am wake-up call usually doesn't work for me.

So basically, Finn runs into the kitchen demanding I get up and get him some "lunch."  I cuddle on the couch and hope he comes to cuddle me too.  Sometimes I win, and sometimes I find myself in the playroom at 7am.

We turn on music, we dance, we play outside and I usually get to make myself some tea and breakfast around 10am.  Today, we spent most of the morning outside, played in our "pool" and looked up at the sky as my ray of sunshine Debi shined down upon us until about 11:30 am when it was time for a mommy break [screen time].  

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Today I was tired.  Mentally exhausted from my visit to the fertility clinic and the anxiousness about what is to come this weekend. I wanted to spend my nap time actually taking a nap, but Finn had other ideas.  He usually goes down at 1pm and today, he took one full hour to calm down and get to sleep.   

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It was beautiful outside, the first day that I felt a little breeze and not like I was going to melt.  So, I went into the backyard, plopped my feet up and closed my eyes while soaking in all that vitamin D.  Just as I felt myself nod off, my phone rang.  It was my other best friend, Cara and we ended up talking for almost 2hrs. As much as I thought I needed sleep, I needed this girl talk more.  Feeling refreshed and motivated, I started the dishes just as Finn walked out from his nap, "hi mommy!"

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Daddy called and asked us on a dinner date to Nordstrom because his alterations were ready to be picked up.  I scrambled to finish cleaning the kitchen and quickly showered [of course, not alone] and we were on our way only 15 minutes late.

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We came home and I think we both needed a moment as a family to smile and play so we kept Finn up past his bedtime, drank wine, listened to music and enjoyed these last few warm moments of summer nights.

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It's been almost two weeks since I lost my dearest Debi.  Since then, I have dedicated this weekly series to her.  Even though she isn't here with me, I can write these journals in her honor and hope that she's up there reading them with her signature eye roll and a smile.

Dear Debi, "I don't know when I will be able to function on a normal level again, I'm sure I will spend many more days looking up at the sky and talking to you and wishing you were here. But, I can promise you this, not a moment will be wasted on loving this oh so beautiful life in honor of the joy and happiness you brought into my life and to Finn's life.  We will honor you by truly loving every breath we take; the good, the bad and everything in between."

These are small moments of our day, exactly 2 weeks since you left us. I miss you and I love you. 

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Just as Steph did, I am inviting you to do the same, join us in this movement of letting life be more enjoyable just by letting it be exactly what it is.  Tag your photos with #thedailymoments so we can all share in the joy of the simple moments that make up a lifetime of happiness.

The Daily Moments || Week 1

The Daily Moments || Week 2

The Daily Moments || Week 3

The Daily Moments || Week 4

#thedailymoments || Week 3

#thedailymoments || Week 3

If you want to start from the beginning of this series, start here Week 1.  Then here Week 2

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These days most of us are living busy over-scheduled lives.  It's easy to lose track of the moments that really matter, which can often be the most ordinary parts of our days.   In the midst of all the responsibilities of our day, we need to remember to check in with ourselves so that we don't lose sight of who we really are and what is really important to us.   This series, #TheDailyMoments was started by my good friend @steph.pollock and as soon as I saw her first post, and when she said, 

It's these small moments that make up a lifetime of beautiful ones,

I knew this was something I needed to join in on.

Last week I added some short captions, and this week I had a little more time so I'm using this as more of a journal.  So when I look back a year, two years, or even 5 years from now, I can relive the season I was in currently, and either be thankful I'm out of it, or grateful for the new season i'm currently experiencing.

Potty Training a naked toddler in my dream kitchen

Potty Training a naked toddler in my dream kitchen

Finn crawled into our bed at 4am, he told me, "mommy my tummy."  I'm pretty sure he was telling me that he wanted to potty because when he actually crawled out of bed at 5:45, he told daddy..."I want to use the potty!"  We're on day 4 of potty training today and we haven't left the house since last Friday morning.  I'm working on a full potty training post and will link it here soon, but it seems to be going well with only 2 accidents in 4 days.  So this morning we went to Target to get a BIG SURPRISE for Finn to celebrate goodbye to diapers.

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I assured Jason Target opens at 7, but he wanted to go by his normal Starbucks first.  We sat as a family and chatted about our days all before 8am and it was such a nice change compared to Jason waking up at 4:30 to go to the gym and us just saying goodbye as he left for work most mornings.  I spotted an elderly man reading the Wall Street Journal and even though he numerous other tables were open, he decided to squeeze into the table next to us unfazed by the crazy toddler trying to tear the blinds off the window.  I don't know why but I love watched elderly people.  He was writing a to-do list to himself on a small piece of paper and it made me smile because no days everyone is glued to their phones.
 

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Jason left to put Finn in the car while I cleaned up the table and as I was leaving this young business sitting alone across the room stopped me... he said, "That's so awesome!  Do you guys have breakfast together every morning?"  I wanted to answer yes but it kinda made me sad that we actually don't ever do that.  I told him in an almost embarrassed way, "no, my husband is actually going out of town tomorrow so he wanted to spend some extra time with us before work today."  He applauded us for it again and we both smiled and went on our way.

Daddy does the Target run with us

Daddy does the Target run with us

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I don't know, the last few days have been challenging for me.  Potty training is no joke and I just needed a break.  My patience level is at an all-time low and I can't stay calm and be present with my actions.  This toy we bought him as a celebration of joy, I almost threw it out the window, it was so hard trying to build while he was so excited and wanted to play with it.  I took a break and just breathed and then it turned out perfectly.

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This part is very hard to share but, I know when I look back at these images of this day.  I will only be able to think back about how hard it was for me.  My best friend has been in the ICU for the past couple of weeks, and can't get it off my mind.  I find anytime I can to go see her and today after I put Finn down for his nap, I had a sitter come over and I rushed to her bedside for only 30 min, until it was time to head back home and put my mom hat back on.

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I tried so hard to push my sadness aside today and to just be present with him.  We played outside in the sunshine until daddy came home. I then retreated to the guest bedroom for a little mental break alone while my two boys did push ups and yoga in the playroom.  I heard them on the other side of the wall and really felt so thankful in that moment.  

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I cooked a comfort food dinner, the kind my bestie would love.  It was still 80 degrees outside, as we are in the middle of another heat wave so, we sat outside as a family and talked for a bit and then daddy took over.  I crawled into bed at 8:30pm.  He did bath time, bedtime and even did the dishes and laundry for me.  I need that today.

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Just as Steph did, I am inviting you to do the same, join us in this movement of letting life be more enjoyable just by letting it be exactly what it is.  Tag your photos with #thedailymoments so we can all share in the joy of the simple moments that make up a lifetime of happiness.

The Daily Moments || Week 1

The Daily Moments || Week 2

The Daily Moments || Week 3

The Daily Moments || Week 4

This website contains some affiliate links to products that we use and love. A very small percentage of purchases made through these links goes to help support our family in a small way. Thank you for following along.

#thedailymoments || Week 2

#thedailymoments || Week 2

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These days most of us are living busy over-scheduled lives.  It's easy to lose track of the moments that really matter, which can often be the most ordinary parts of our days.   In the midst of all the responsibilities of our day, we need to remember to check in with ourselves so that we don't lose sight of who we really are and what is really important to us.   This series, #TheDailyMoments was started by my good friend @steph.pollock and as soon as I saw her first post, and when she said, 

It's these small moments that make up a lifetime of beautiful ones,

I knew this was something I needed to join in on.

Last week I let the pictures speak for themselves, but this week I had a little more time so I added a few captions so you can get to know us a little better. 

every single morning without fail, he wakes up and immediately asks for a yogurt.  He eats at least 3 of these a day.

every single morning without fail, he wakes up and immediately asks for a yogurt.  He eats at least 3 of these a day.

we often have piles of clean laundry all over the house.  I wonder why?

we often have piles of clean laundry all over the house.  I wonder why?

 1 of 45 times today I told him not to pick his nose

 1 of 45 times today I told him not to pick his nose

some days we spend no time in his room, and others days we can't get enough.  Today was one of those days.  Trains, drawing (while Finn erases), reading books, and wrestling

some days we spend no time in his room, and others days we can't get enough.  Today was one of those days.  Trains, drawing (while Finn erases), reading books, and wrestling

then he told me he wanted to go to school. 

then he told me he wanted to go to school. 

I usually get to drink my morning coffee around 10 or 11am

I usually get to drink my morning coffee around 10 or 11am

human jungle gym for hours today

human jungle gym for hours today

he would tell me, mom you draw this...and then immediately after I would draw a perfect stick figure that looked just like him, he would promptly erase it

he would tell me, mom you draw this...and then immediately after I would draw a perfect stick figure that looked just like him, he would promptly erase it

dodgie lost his tags today and he now has a huge hole in his rear end... how long with this lovie last?

dodgie lost his tags today and he now has a huge hole in his rear end... how long with this lovie last?

beach park days are the best

beach park days are the best

except for when you have to drop everything because your toddler who isn't water ready, heads straight for the water.

except for when you have to drop everything because your toddler who isn't water ready, heads straight for the water.

i try so hard to look natural for the self timer, maybe by week 10...i'll look kinda normal

i try so hard to look natural for the self timer, maybe by week 10...i'll look kinda normal

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let's bury mommy

let's bury mommy

this dude could love on beans + brocilli (which is what he calls guacamole)

this dude could love on beans + brocilli (which is what he calls guacamole)

i got to shower today.   truth be told, i have zero idea how to use essential oils but after every shower i sprinkle a few drops of geranium and eucalyptus and it smells just like i'm at the spa

i got to shower today.   truth be told, i have zero idea how to use essential oils but after every shower i sprinkle a few drops of geranium and eucalyptus and it smells just like i'm at the spa

"momma sit on my lap" - i love a good cuddle sessh before naptime

"momma sit on my lap" - i love a good cuddle sessh before naptime

my first child always needs to be really up in the mix.  Right before this she sat on his lap

my first child always needs to be really up in the mix.  Right before this she sat on his lap

when you're supposed to be napping but your playing hide and seek instead

when you're supposed to be napping but your playing hide and seek instead

Finn's really enjoying these new counter stools

Finn's really enjoying these new counter stools

one pot fajita pasta tonight

one pot fajita pasta tonight

daddy's working late, so off to start that dinner time hustle

daddy's working late, so off to start that dinner time hustle

Just as Steph did, I am inviting you to do the same, join us in this movement of letting life be more enjoyable just by letting it be exactly what it is.  Tag your photos with #thedailymoments so we can all share in the joy of the simple moments that make up a lifetime of happiness.

The Daily Moments || Week 1

The Daily Moments || Week 2

The Daily Moments || Week 3

The Daily Moments || Week 4

 

This website contains some affiliate links to products that we use and love. A very small percentage of purchases made through these links goes to help support our family in a small way. Thank you for following along.

#TheDailyMoments

#TheDailyMoments

selfieparty.jpg

These days most of us are living busy over-scheduled lives.  It's easy to lose track of the moments that really matter, which can often be the most ordinary parts of our days.   In the midst of all the responsibilities of our day, we need to remember to check in with ourselves so that we don't lose sight of who we really are and what is really important to us.   This series, #TheDailyMoments was started by my good friend @steph.pollock and as soon as I saw her first post, and when she said, 

It's these small moments that make up a lifetime of beautiful ones,

I knew this is exactly what I needed to bring some joy and simplicity back into my daily life.  This is my first day of just keeping my iPhone handy and letting the moments speak for themselves vs finding the perfect white wall to stand in front of, or rearranging all the pillows on the couch before taking that perfect shot and it truly is bringing life back into my daily routine.  This series is helping me to not only grow and learn as an Instagram influencer but as a wife, mom, friend, and an individual.  Today is Tue, July 10th and these are my Daily Moments.  

 

Just as Steph did, I am inviting you to do the same, join us in this movement of letting life be more enjoyable just by letting it be exactly what it is.  Tag your photos with #thedailymoments so we can all share in the joy of the simple moments that make up a lifetime of happiness.

If you wanna see all the inspo from Stephanie herself, click here.

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1. snuggles   2. laugh   3. focus   4. toesis   5. puzzled   6. create   7. destroy   8. hide   9. peek   10. brusha brusha   11. ride or die   12. pretend   13. yourturn   14. flex it   15. cruise   16. smile   17. teatime   18. meltdown   19. naptime   20. end of the line  21. cocktail time  22. daddys home  23. explore 24. goodnight 

I had the best time working on this today and not worrying about the images I was capturing.  I feel like this series is going to be so eye opening for our whole family and I can't wait to see how it evolves and changes from week to week!  Tell me, are you going to join me??

For Week 2, click here.

For Week 3, click here.

Beach Day Essentials for the Stylish Mom

If you've been following for awhile, you know my happy place is near the Ocean.  Sandy toes is my middle name. I've spent most my life growing up near or on the beach but, for the last 3 years we lived in Nor Cal not near the beauty of the beach. 

I finally convinced the husband to move back down to southern California and it was time to update my beach bag!  We just bought our first home in Costa Mesa (no, not on the beach) but we had 6 weeks between the time we moved from Nor Cal to So Cal until our actual move in date, so we rented an airbnb in Laguna, ON the beach!  Every morning and every evening we spend an hour or so playing in the sand and enjoying the waves + sunshine.   

I've rounded up my top 10 favorite summertime essentials for an epic beach day below.  

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Target Beach Toys |  I mean you can get beach toys anywhere, but I thought this kit by Antsy Pantsy for $9.99 was perfection. Diggers, shovels, buckets, and sand sifters, it comes with it all.

Gathre Leather Mat | This is not sponsored, but @gathre is legit my all time favorite product evah.  Waterproof, stain-resistant, sand shakes right off, and gorgeous; need I say more.  I have too many to count in my house, but our favorite size is the midi.  Although, I do love the Maxi round for those playdates at the beach kinda days.  Guys, they just started selling these at Anthro!  Say what?

Swell Water Bottle | Keeps drinks cold, even when the sun is hot.  The large one fits a whole bottle of rose ...just sayin. 

Grom Squad Trucker Hats for kids | Listen, friends don't let friends, put those silly floppy Gilligans Island sun-blocking hats on their kids.  Want your kid to be protected and look good?  Grom Squad has you covered!  The girl ones are so cute too!

Boon snug Snack cups with spill safe lids | um, duh.  snacks are mandatory at the beach and these little cups are the perfect size for goldfish, chips or other snacks.  And the silicon lid is super snug to prevent spills.  We use them everywhere, not just at the beach.

Slow Tide Round Beach Towel | Seriously obsessed with all the vintage rugs filling my social media these days and when I saw this towel, I had to have it.  To be honest, I bought it for the look, but man it is BEYOND soft and the perfect size.  

Baby Powder - Sand.  I know there are people out there who don't like the beach simply because "the sand gets everywhere."  You know those people right?  Well, here's a little trick I learned a while ago when I lived at the beach, if you sprinkle baby powder over those sand-filled feet, it magically just wipes right off.  No water necessary. Seriously.   If you don't know this trick already, be prepared to have your mind blown.  This is life changing.

Bose Soundlink waterproof Speaker | Music makes everything better. I know we all have iPhones and can play our music on there, but this little speaker is lightweight but sounds so good.  The quality is insane and better than most speakers I've listened to.  It's waterproof, wireless bluetooth (no cords or wifi needed) and it keeps a super long charge for all-day beach fun!  Again, not sponsored, just one of the best purchases I've ever made.

Coolest kids swimwear by @tea_collection |  Tired of trying to find cute clothes for kids or showing up in the same Target suit as everyone else?  Go shop Tea Collection.  The quality is dreamy and the prints are always on trend.  We love Tea in this house (pun intended, if you know me...he he).  They also sell summer essentials like vans, native kids + havaianas too!  One stop shopping.

Straw bag to carry it all | I love, love my @cacoandkai bag but sadly it's sold out.  I found one like it, here.  But, you should still check out their etsy shop cause those mud-cloth pillows they source are to die for!

Now, I'm off to go pack my bag up and hit the beach! xoxo

 

 

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6 photography tips to create the perfect Holiday Cards

6 photography tips to create the perfect holiday cards

A huge thank you to Snapfish for sponsoring this post.  I received a credit towards my holiday card order in exchange for this review.  As always, I only share products I truly am obsessed with and all images and opinions are my own. 

Use code HEIDI40 at checkout for 40% off

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The moment you go to your mailbox on Nov 30 and receive your first-holiday card, a state of panic comes over you.  How can I be so late? I don’t even have my pictures taken yet!?  Here in California is stays warm through those fall months and we don’t get snow so it’s easy to not get that holiday spirit early on.  

I do have to admit, even though a whole new level of envy and anxiety sets in when that over-achieving Mom sends me her cards that early, it does get me excited about the holidays.

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I rarely check my mailbox, until December rolls around.  It’s true, nothing good comes from that metal tin until Christmas cards begin to arrive.  There’s nothing like receiving a picture filled card from friends and family during the holidays.  Am I right?  

So you start to think? What picture will I use? What will we all wear? What location has the perfect landscape? How can I make this year's card perfect?  All good questions but the truth is, you don’t need perfect, you just need to be you. 

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Holiday cards are a way to celebrate all the good things this year has brought as you get ready for the new year. Sending seasons greetings to the ones you love, having that personal connection with a picture of you in their mailbox, let’s you share this year's joys with your friends and family.  Whatever goodness came this year, whether it is a new marriage, new home, job promotion or even just celebrating a good year, Christmas cards are something everyone looks forward too.  Luckily, you still have time to get that memorable Holiday card out that snags the front space on everyone’s fridge this year. 

Here are 6 photography tips to create the perfect holiday cards this year:

1. First things first.  Hire a professional to do the job.  Yes, iPhone photos are amazing these days and print beautifully and if you happen to have one of those right place, right time amazingly candid photos in your camera roll to use, USE IT!  Totally acceptable.  However, many of us, including yours truly, take 27 candids all of that perfectly curated shot only to scroll through and delete them all.  If that’s you, here’s why you need that professional. These cards may be keepsakes for grandma and grandpa or Mom and dad of their little ones each year, so you want these images to stand out.  If you're like me, we only do one family photos session a year, and this it, so hiring someone who knows what they are doing really is necessary.

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2. Don’t wait for a snowstorm or the perfect sunset to take those images.  Little known fact, I believe the best lighting is a cloudy day.  It brings this whole soft and ethereal feel to the photos if you ask me.  Bright sunny days, are hard to shoot in.  They cause shadows and nobody wants to be overshadowed by a shadow, right? [hahah]. Truth be told even though I love a cloudy day shoot, I dream of one day taking my photos in the rain,  you know, all The Notebook circa 2004 style.  All I’m saying is the pictures aren’t made by the perfect weather, they are made by you, the perfect people. 

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3. Find simple and beautiful backdrops in your neighborhood. You don’t have to drive an hour away to stand in a winter wonderland or get all sandy at the beach [although I love a good beach scene] to get the perfect holiday image. Go the minimalist route and find a white wall to stand in front of or stop by that empty field you drive by on your way to work, or that brick wall down at your local mall, that’s the best one! Just find a blank canvas, grab your family and shoot.  Then you can choose from about 1000 designs on Snapfish to make your card pop. 

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4. Use the same color palette but don’t be matchy-matchy. Nothing says Sears family Christmas cards like a family all dressed in white shirts and jeans, so, don’t do that.  Here are a few tips on styling your outfits: Pick 3-4 colors [no more than 5] and stick with those. Start with one person's outfit, probably your own because that’s easiest. Try and add in one print to bring it all together.  Add some texture with a scarf or vest.  And most importantly, be comfortable.  The last thing you want is to be fidgeting with your sleeves or pulling down your shirt throughout the whole shoot.  Nothing ruins a photo like you tugging your dress down in every photo. 

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5. Embrace perfectly imperfect. We’ve all been that person.  The one who spends hours on Pinterest looking for the right outfits, the right backdrop, and the right poses for our family photos. Oh wait, that’s probably how you ended up here.  He he.  Well ok, so maybe your that person who’s more concerned with telling all your family members to look at the camera, or smile, or "look happy everyone."  And then all your images end up with your mouth open or your finger pointed covering your kid's face. Well here’s my number one tip, skip the perfectly posed, and go for the I’m having the best day of my life look.  Some of my most beloved images are ones where no one is looking at the camera.  It’s those candid, heartfelt moments and emotions that are snapped in between takes that are my favorite and those can’t be planned. 

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6.  Don’t skimp on the quality of your cards.  I’ve tried several companies over the years and abandoned some once I saw the flimsy paper or poor image resolution.  This year I used Snapfish and I was super impressed by so many levels. I’m not super good at sending photos to family members with updates, so my holiday cards are the only keepsake they’ll have.  We didn’t even send a birth announcement for our first child because I just never found the time.  [It still bugs me I missed that] so, ever since then I’ve been determined to do one photo shoot a year and it’s for Holiday cards.  Needless to say, since this card is the only thing I send all year, the quality needs to be good.  Photos printed on good paper, don’t have to be expensive or take forever to get.  Snapfish has tons of designs, and cardstock options and they get the job done in a couple of days. 

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Lastly, don't take this process too seriously.  These photos should show your playful and happy side and if you make this a stressful event, it will show through in the photos.  Have fun, play around, have a tickle fight, throw your little one in the air and laugh, and you'll end up front and center in everyone's fridge this year.  

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With Snapfish you have so many great layout options including these gold foil cards I chose.  They offer fast shipping for your procrastinators like me too.  And to save even more time, you can have you return address printed for free.  I won't be using any other company besides <