Black Basics

bodycon dress (or if you prefer a lose fitting dress) / hat / shoes / watch / tote

Summer is obviously on my mind even though it snowed today. Yes, it was 65 degrees 
last week and today, snow. Welcome to Utah. Anyway, we have a couple vacations 
planned in the coming months to warmer climates so I've got shorts, dresses and sandals
on the mind. 

I love bodycon dresses but let's be real, when you're 5'8" or taller, it's so 
hard to find one that is long enough to cover your cheeks when you bend over so I 
was beyond ecstatic when I found this one and it was only $16! It's comes about 2 
inches up past my knees and is so stinkin cute for summer vacations. I have been 
wearing it around the house lately because it's that comfy. I'm also loving cognac and 
black together and of course, a hat is the cutest accessory for such a basic outfit. 

Anyone else totally craving 90 degree weather right about now?? 

Hello Copeland Photography Tips

I get a lot of questions about how I edit my photos, what kind of lens I use and what kind of camera I have so I figured it would be a great post for anyone else who is interested! I am by no means AT ALL a professional photographer. I'm completely self taught and just do it as a hobby. So let's get into it and start with my camera and lens and then move through to editing.

I use a Canon Rebel T2i. I've had it for about 4 years now and I'm definitely wanting to upgrade but cameras are $$$ so this camera has been great so far and will be until I can save enough for a new one. The Canon Rebel T2i is a great beginners camera!

50mm f/1.8. This is my main lens that I shoot with. For around $100 it's a great starting lens. It has worked well for what I need and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for sharper portrait images.

24mm f/2.8. I recently purchased the 24mm f/2.8 mainly for indoor photography of Copeland and to take on vacations because its a wide angle lens and very sharp as well! Plus it's what is called a pancake lens. It's very lightweight and small which is great for hauling around on vacations :)

Camera settings are still kinda tricky for me but I'm kinda getting the hang of it. I always used to shoot in manual mode/no flash because it was comfortable and  I never ever EVER use a flash. Ever. I just edit the lighting in Photoshop later. I really don't like the look of flashes used in photos. I highly recommend using natural light whenever possible. The best times to shoot are early in the morning or right before sunset in the evenings. Our bedroom also has pretty good light throughout the day, so if you have an area of your home that has a big window and lots of natural light you shouldn't have a problem shooting at anytime during the day. I usually will shoot in with M or AV mode.

So just a little basics on settings. 

Shutter Speed: Again I'm not a professional so what I'm about to say I'm sure professional photographers will be like... just no. Haha but this is what I've learned from googling and trial and error. When I'm outside in harsh sunlight I set my shutter speed to a high number like 1/1600 and then will adjust my f/stop. When I'm shooting inside I like my shutter speed at about 1/80 and my ISO at 400. But honestly it all depends on the lighting in the room at the time.

So here is a little collage of the different shutter speeds and ISO. The f/stop stayed at 2.8. These are photos taken straight out of the camera, meaning no post editing has been done to them. I personally like the first two the best because I can then lighten them a bit in Photoshop. If I didn't want to do any editing, I like the last one with the shutter speed at 1/160 and an ISO of 800. The other 3 photos are very blown out and over exposed in my opinion. (Photos taken with my 24mm lens)

F/Stop (aperture): A low f/stop will have less in focus. A high f/stop will have more in focus. So if you lower the f/stop number you will have less of the image in focus like in the first photo. The main focus is the cute little hand sanitizer while the background is nice and blurry. When you raise the f/stop, more of the image will be in focus like in the second picture. Everything is pretty much focused in. (Photos taken with my 24mm lens)

Photoshop Elements 7. My husband bought me Photoshop years ago when we first got married. It took me a while to learn but it was totally worth it! The only editing I do in Photoshop is lighting and contrast. Just to make the pictures brighter and more clear. I never alter my body or anything crazy like that. I will however remove certain things from images. Let's say there is a big ugly light pole right in middle of the shot, I will go ahead and remove the light pole to make a cleaner looking picture using the clone stamp.

For example, this picture I took from last summer. I would never remove something so dramatic but to just show what can be done in Photoshop (obviously I'm not very good and it's far from perfect, but even at entry level you can do quite a bit of editing if you wanted to take the time). You can remove unwanted people and objects from your photos to get it just right! 

With these two examples you can see where shutter speed, ISO and f/stop have a lot to do with how much editing takes place. In the first example it is very dark so more editing had to happen in order for me to get a brighter picture. In the second example, I didn't need to make many changes because I had the right settings for the lighting. 

iPhone Photography
I just have an old iphone that we bought on eBay, so I'll let you guess just how good of shape its in haha. We are finally upgrading this summer! But When i do use my phone for photography, which let's face it, is like 90% of the time I like to edit the pictures to make them bright and sharp and clear! I love looking at happy and bright photos on my feed so I just assume other people also like to see bright and cheerful pictures :) 

So after I take a picture I will edit the photo in PSexpress. It's the Adobe Photoshop app and it's AMAZING you guys. Seriously the best and the only editing app I use. It make everything bright, clear and sharp just by adjusting the simple settings.

I also will occasionally use the VSCO app. I like to call it the moody app because the settings make a picture very moody.

It's fun to play around and try different edits so have fun with them! Anyway, that's all! I hope these little tips helped :) 

-Shop my Camera-

A Little Spring in my Step

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 /

I wanted to share a few of my spring favorites with you
because its been so warm here in Utah these past couple weeks. 
It has been giving me Spring Fever! 

Oh and before we get into it, I wanted to let you guys know that I will start 
reviewing the comments left on my blog. I feel like there are comments that go unseen 
by me because I don't get updates when you comment. So now I will get an email and 
be able to respond quickly! I appreciate everyone who takes the time to comment and I don't want it to go unnoticed anymore :)

1. Distressed Jeans or Shorts. A good pair of distressed jeans are my go-to during 
the spring and summer. They go great with a pair of pumps or some flat sandals. 

2. White Boyfriend Tee. I'm completely obsessed with my washed black boyfriend tee 
from Lulu's so I have to get the white one. It's so dang soft and comfy!

3. Nude Pump. I've been looking for a great pair of nude pumps that don't require 
me selling my organs for. I loved these Steve Maddens but a lot of reviews said they 
were pretty uncomfortable so I opted for these Charles by Charles David ones and love them!

4. Neutral Tote. A neutral colored bag is always a great piece to have and when it's a tote?! 
Even better, especially for woman with a lot to carry or in my case, a mom with a lot of 
things to carry for my toddler :)

5. Watch. I love watches. I just think they are cute and a great accessory to any outfit. 
I love my cheap Forever 21 watch!

6. Lightweight Trench. I'm seeing spring trenches everywhere and I love them! I'm always 
cold even when it's 70 degrees out so if I can throw on a lightweight trench and still look put 
together I'm all about it! 

-shop my spring favorites-
-shop spring trenches-

The Modern Kin

I am beyond excited to finally announce that my best friend XoMrsMeasom and I
have teamed up to create the coolest mama product blog, The Modern Kin.
This blog is all about the best of the best products for mamas and babes!
It can be confusing to know which product to choose when there are so many out there.
Well over at The Modern Kin, we've got you covered! We'll be reviewing products and
giving you detailed information of our tried and true favorites!

We are so excited for this new venture that is coming soon and can't wait for all you
mamas to check it out! This is just a little sneak peek of what you'll find over at The Modern Kin. 

Make sure to follow us on Bloglovin to get updates of new product review videos,
new blog posts and some amazing giveaways coming soon

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 

Our pregnancy days remind us of feeling huge, hungry, and tired! It is something we look back at and laugh. For both of us it was full of a lot of morning sickness, and even more weight gain, so we focused in on the good times of those days, and came up with some of our pregnancy must haves. These favorites didn't just get us through a very hard part of mommahood, but they also made our pregnancies feel a little more like a luxury. Hope ya'll like 'em!

1. A comfy and cute bra. As soon as your body knows you're pregnant your hormones start shouting "boobs, focus on the boobs!" At least, thats how we felt. They grow so fast, and are so sore that a soft bra is heaven, and knowing it looks cute is a self-esteem booster too. 

2. I don't think either of us thought about makeup during all the morning sickness, but some days all we needed was a little tinted lip balm to make us feel somewhat done up.

3. Staying hydrated is key during pregnancy. To help us keep track of our water intake we used a reusable bottles, and filled them up all day long.

4. A cute pair of trainers will help make your outings a lot more comfortable. Gotta love New Balance.

5. Boyfriend jeans during pregnancy are a smart way to go. They leave space for you to grow into 'em, and if you're anything like us, trust me need some growing room.

6. A book about motherhood is always a smart decision during pregnancy. It helps to prepare and enlighten you, while also helping keep your mind active and focused. We are all about keeping that pregnancy brain at bay. We love this book, it is hands down one of our favorites!

7. We were always rubbing our bellies, and watching them grow, so we loved the idea of giving our beaming tums a rub down with a nice luxurious lotion. Mama Bee's is where it is at!

8. A big bag to throw everything in is a great momma-to-be must have because you can carry all your snacks and things, and transition it into a diaper bag.

9. There is nothing better than satisfying a pregnancy craving, and one of us loved these ice cream sandwiches so much she ate two of them the day she went into labor.. #yeahthathappened 

Hope this helps!

Love Lulu's

Okay, how is it already February 17th? With it coming up in just a few short weeks, I've got spring break on mind. Bad. Every year Josh's mom takes all the kids south for spring break. It's seriously the funnest ever having everyone together for game nights and the kids love being with their cousins all day. Even though this is Josh's last semester, it still has been pretty sucky having him away studying every night. So not only are we excited about some warm sunshine but we can't wait to have a weekend away with nothing to do except be with our family and play.  Josh, Copeland and I will be heading down there early and since we will be in Vegas I've been dying to go to the Neon Museum! Has anyone ever been? I've heard such great reviews. It's the one thing that we actually have planned. But we really can't wait to just eat a lot, swim a lot and eat some more ;)

This little sundress and cardigan from Lulu's will definitely be in my spring break travel bag. I love that the casualness of this dress. So perfect for hot summer days at the softball field or picnics at the park. 

Check out Lulu's HERE and follow them on Instagram HERE.

Hidden Crown Extensions

Hi ladies! Today I'm sharing my love of hidden Crown extensions with you. As many of you know I've been using the 20 inch Crown extensions for almost a year now and love them. Today I'm showing you the different lengths they offer and I'll also be uploading a stacking video which is a tutorial video showing you how to stack two different wefts for a fuller look, perfect for my girls with thick hair! Enjoy! And and just ignore my long sob story about how we were all sick this past week haha! Sorry!

To purchase your set of extensions Click Here
I'm wearing color #60/8P

Petunia Layette

I've got some major baby fever going on while I wrap up this adorable organic cotton snuggle gift set by Petunia. I have so many friends that are pregnant or had just had a baby and my go-to for baby shower gifts is definitely Petunia Pickle Bottom. Their boxed gift sets make it so easy to chose the perfect gift and what mom (and baby) wouldn't love all these sweet little goodies?! The prints are to die for cute and it makes me so sad that Copeland no longer fits into his PPB layette. I guess that just means time for another ;)

I have to say the greatest item I purchased and something I highly recommend for new moms and babes is the PPB swaddle blanket that comes in this gift set. I bought it while I was pregnant with Copeland and it's a blanket that we still use to this day! It is so soft and dreamy. I will be purchasing another when the time comes because I don't think there's anyway Copeland will share his blankie. 

If you looking for one amazing shower gift you can shop the Petunia Layette Collection here

-shop this post-

Casual Mama

This past weekend was pretty perfect over here. The weather has been beyond incredible. Upper 60's, sunny and we have been soaking up every ounce of the vitamin D. Friday Josh had a couple classes so we dropped Copeland off at my mother-in-laws and I headed up to Salt Lake with Josh. While he went to his classes I explored downtown Salt Lake. We met up for a little more wondering around and a late lunch date. Saturday and Sunday we had the some fun in the sun with Copeland going to the park to hit some softballs and play on the playground. Sunday we ended up playing a round of Golf with my in laws. Summer is right around the corner and I'm dying for the 90 degree heat.

This tee and layered necklace from Lulu's have been my go-to lately, even paired with some distressed skinnies. It's a staple for any wardrobe in my opinion. This top is so dang soft and comfy you guys. I've been searching for the perfect boyfriend tee and have finally found it! Now I need to get the white one.

Check out Lulu's HERE and follow them on Instagram HERE.

-shop this look-

Setting Goals and Crushing Them

Setting goals is a huge deal when starting your weight loss journey. It's what will help keep you going and keep you motivated to push yourself harder.

It's important to not set goals you know are unattainable. For example "I'm going to lose 20 lbs. by next week." Setting huge goals like this will only set yourself up for disappointment and you will become discouraged when next week comes and you've only lost 2 lbs. when you had your mind set that you were going to be 20 lbs. lighter. 

Setting small goals are much easier to accomplish, obviously. And when you do accomplish them you feel proud, excited and it pushes you to work harder on your next small goal. Eventually all of these small goals start adding up to this huge change! I'm not saying it's bad to have a big goal in mind but give yourself time to accomplish it. I had an overall goal of getting into better shape postpartum by 1 year pp and I made small goals to eventually get that big one.

When I started losing weight the first thing I told myself and had to keep reminding myself of is that the weight would not fall off over night. It wouldn't come off in a week or a month. This was going to take time. I had to be patient. I had to trust in the process. At first I would set really really small goals like 'get through one day of eating every scheduled meal' or at the time I rarely ate breakfast so a goal was to 'eat breakfast everyday for a week'. After the week passed I'd look back and feel proud that I was able to accomplish that small goal and then I'd create a new goal for the next week. 

As I continued on my journey my goals changed. They went from eating right to losing this much weight by this deadline (ie., 5 lbs in one month) to fitting into my old jeans by X date. Even to this day I set goals for myself. My current goal is to feel comfortable in a crop top (although I'd never have the guts to wear a crop top out in public, I just want my body to be at a place that I'd feel comfortable in one. Does that make sense? Haha) 

A great way to help you reach your goals is to create a goal board and hang it where you will see it everyday like on the fridge, on your vanity mirror, etc.. Just anywhere you can look at it daily. Put a picture of a reachable goal on the board. If your goal is to run a marathon, put a picture up of a girl running or a picture of the marathon you want to run in. If your goal is to eat healthy put a picture up of healthy food choices. When your mind sees that picture you will be reminded daily of what your overall goal is and you will make smarter choices throughout the day. Honestly this is such a mental thing. Think mind over matter.

Another thing I would do to help motivate me was I bought a skirt I had been drooling over. It was little and sparkly and I loved it! I bought it in a size small and I gave myself about 3-4 months to be able to fit into it. I felt so proud when I was able to put that skirt on. Some people don't recommend buying things in a different size than you currently are, but for me it was a huge motivator to accomplish and stick to my goals. 

You can do this! Give yourself time, keep a journal and kick butt!

If you're looking for the cutest gym accessory you have to check out Noxx. These headbands are amazing and so great for the gym and it's fun to add to a little color to a basic workout outfit. They also have the most adorable baby headbands and beanies like Copeland wore HERE

If you're looking for motivation you can follow my Fit Tumblr page HERE

-shop my favorite fitness gear-

Family 2015

My look: dress / necklace  | Josh's look: top / pants / (old) similar shoes  
 Copeland's look: (old) similar top / pants / shoes c/o

A couple weeks ago, Kali, invited us to her studio to get some family pictures taken.
I was so ecstatic about it because it's been a while since we had family photos and
heaven knows none of us wanted to be outside in January for pictures,
so this was perfect!

Her studio is absolutely stunning with sliding barn doors, a beautiful white bed and massive
windows and beautiful hardwood floors.

Copeland was a little grumpy since he hadn't yet napped, but Kali was so great with him!
She got him to smile and laugh and he loved just running around and exploring.

If you are located in Utah and are looking for a photographer check out Kali Pouslen HERE

We all loved how easy and effortless it was to have her photograph us. Thank you Kali!
I can't wait to get these printed and hung up!