Styling Fall family photos

While the calendar may say its Fall, the weather around here surely doesn’t feel like it. But with cooler temps on the horizon, I’m starting to pull out those booties, sweaters, puffer vests and think of our annual family photos. We take these special pictures every year, in October or November. I use these photos in our Christmas cards, to display around our home and also as a way to see how we all change and grow from year to year.

Now the actual picture-taking part can be very stressful and not all that fun – think yelling at two children to hold still, not run away and strike the perfect pose – but one part I truly enjoy is styling our family’s outfits. Admittedly it does stress me out because I will get a certain idea in my head and the perfectionist in me goes crazy but I love the process, and then admiring the outcome.

Over the years, I have found that I always start with one thing that gives me inspiration, whether that be a dress, a pair of shoes or boots, a specific color or a trend I know I want to incorporate. I stay focused on that one thing and then build each person’s outfit around that. I try to stick with a family of colors and tones or certain fabrics, again all relating back to that first piece. I don’t like matching but rather coordinating and mixing prints, patterns and accessories to get the perfect shot. Here’s a look back at my family photos from the past few years and the inspiration behind the styling.

November 2017 – velvet & polka dots

Lyla saw this gold velvet dress at Target and fell in love. I saw it and knew this was the piece I would frame everything around for our 2017 pictures. I kept the velvet theme going in each of our outfits – Sophie’s bow and shoes, both maroon velvet, Lyla’s black velvet stacked-heel booties (an absolutely adorable find at Marshalls, they are Cynthia Rowley), and also my brown velvet over-the-knee boots. I used my plaid peplum style shirt (another great Marshalls find), and Sophie’s patterned skirt (Target!) to weave in the gold tones from Lyla’s dress. Finally both girls wore polka dots, Lyla on her tights and Sophie on her knee-high socks. The polka dots added a fun touch and also mixed patterns when paired with the plaid. I had to keep my husband’s shirt pretty simple since us girls had a lot going on. The rich gold, and warm brown, plus the pops of maroon tones blended in with the fall foliage at one of our favorite wineries.

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November 2016 – fringe & fur

The source of inspiration this year was a pair of Minnetonka boots. I got these boots for Lyla and have been dying to put them on Sophie since she was born. This is the year the boots finally fit her so our outfits revolved around this beloved pair of suede, fringe boots. The next piece was Lyla’s dress (funny, that happened the next year too!). And it was another amazing find from Target! The maroon lace and high/low hem made this dress just adorable. I actually had this off-white lace dress in my closet already however I knew I didn’t want Sophie to be in lace as well. I really don’t like us all to match so I found her plain maroon dress at Old Navy. I loved that it had a tulle skirt to mix in another dimension of fabric. Lyla picked out her headband (of course from Target) and while initially, I did not think it would work, once her entire outfit was on, I loved it. We finished her look with brown booties from, where else, Target! My dress felt a little plain on its own so I added a fur vest because, you can’t go wrong with faux fur!

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December 2015 – miss December

My sweet little Sophie was born on December 23rd, she is our Christmas baby! I saw this dress on Instagram and it became the inspiration. We had never done a Christmas-themed shoot before so I thought it would be a fun change. There is a great tree set-up in our downtown area, it was the perfect backdrop.

Since Sophie’s dress was black and red, that immediately became the color scheme. Lyla’s dress was actually a consignment store find, can you believe that? I will bring the girls old clothes to our local store from time to time and always browse when I am there. Sometimes I will find brand new clothes, from top name brands, WITH the tags still attached! It’s a great store and if you take the time to look, you can find some amazing stuff.

The girls bows had gold polka dots that coordinated with the gold bows on Sophie’s tights, they are hard to see but there, and my earrings. I kept my outfit more simple with a plain, white blouse and black pants. I had the great idea to wrap presents and have the girls hold them but I wasn’t 100% pleased with how they looked in the photos. We tried to get Sophie to put the gift down for some of the pictures but wouldn’t let go!

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November 2014 – leather & denim with pops of red

This year I knew I wanted to incorporate leather and denim. I already had the denim shirts for myself and Lyla so I got Sophie a tunic length one that she wore as a dress. I found the faux-leather skirt at Nordstrom Rack. I added in pops of red via Sophie’s headband and my lips. I loved the mixing of patterns and fabrics this year. My polka dot sweater and Sophie’s polka dot tights, suede fringe Minnetonka’s (I do love those shoes!), my hubby’s plaid shirt, Lyla’s fur vest and jeweled headband, I could go on and on. I really, really loved the outfits from this year. Photos taken again at Concannon Vineyards!

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Now I know this post is a little lengthy but this is a topic I really do love, dressing my family for photos! We are in the process of choosing a location for this year’s photos (we may do something different than in the past) but you can bet I’m already dreaming of a theme and looking around for inspiration. We may go more casual than in the past or change it up and do it a bit more dressy. I’ll make sure to share the finished product when we figure it out 🙂

 

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Friday Love 9.27.18

The last Friday of September! I am looking forward to saying good bye to this month and hello to October and hopefully some cooler temps. We hit 90 the past three days and I am just so over the heat.

I have to admit I don’t have much for today’s post. I actually just forgot to really document what I loved this week so I’ll be doing this on the fly… happy Friday!

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South Bay Travels

We spent the day in San Jose on Saturday and it was so fun. This is where we lived, and where my hubby was born and raised, before we moved to Tracy. We go pretty often since we have many friends and family that still live there but Lyla had specifically requested we go and visit our old favorite mall. She was four when we moved but still remembers going there with me, yes we went a lot. It’s a great mall! We had breakfast at Starbucks and perused the awesome Disney Store. We also hit up the area of town where we lived and played for many years, and where Lyla was brought home as a newborn. It was a great Saturday.

 

Bike Riding with Sophie

Sophie learned to ride her bike over the summer and now she really loves to ride. I jog along next to her and we have the best time. Simple pleasures!

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Halloween Jammies & Soap

This girl loves her some Bath & Body Works! Now where does she get that from ?? We were laughing for hours the other night when Sophie was putting on a Bath & Body Works commercial, selling their latest Halloween soap.

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Recused Pets Mural

During one of the ArtWalks over the summer, an artist was taking names of rescued pets for a mural she was painting. My first dog Crumpet was a rescue dog and I gave her name. It’s so fun to see the mural and my first dog’s name whenever we go downtown.

 

Friday Love 9.21.18

Here we are again! I feel like this week just flew by.  It was another busy one for us full of play rehearsals, acting classes, pottery classes, doctor appointments, and just life in general! I’m back again for another edition of …

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School Pictures

There is nothing I love more than a sweet school picture! My big girl Lyla is in 4th grade this year and I got her school pictures back this week. She is the so sweet, so smart and so loving and growing up way too fast for my liking! We are both very happy with how her picture turned out this year.

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Honey Garlic Shrimp

We’ve been in a dinner rut lately and after perusing Pinterest, I decided to make honey garlic shrimp on Tuesday. The marinade was super simple to put together, it cooked in about 5 minutes and it was so, so good. Both my girls loved it. I followed this recipe to a T except my hubby added some fish sauce. I served it with rice and broccolini. I will definitely be making this again.

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Groupon

It’s been a while since I bought anything from Groupon (like years) but this week, I made three purchases… in just a week! The deals were too good to pass up. I got an email at the beginning of the week with a 50% off code. I used it for a month of unlimited gymnastics classes for my younger daughter. I ended up paying only $14! Then, a day later they sent me a thank you email with a code for $10 off. I used that for four passes to a local museum and it was only $1.50!!! I also grabbed the Starbucks $5 for $10. I can never pass up a good deal and these were pretty good, thank you Groupon!!

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Edible Arrangements Smoothies

An Edible Arrangements store just opened up in our town. I’ve never thought of them as anything more than a delivery service of beautiful fresh fruit bouquets. Well I was wrong! We got a coupon for a buy one get on free smoothie, and again, because I can’t pass up a coupon or good deal, I took my girls there yesterday to get a smoothie. I totally forgot to take a picture of the smoothies but the they were good. You could choose off a small menu of flavors or create your own. My girls both opted to create their own and got strawberry banana and orange pineapple. Two smoothies for $5, score!

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Friday Love 9.14.18

We’ve had a pretty crazy week around here so I’m looking forward to some major relaxation this evening with the hubs and our girls. The temps didn’t get above 80 here the past couple of days and that has really put me in the mood for all things Fall! One of the things I love most about Northern California is the presence of actual seasons. I did not have that growing up in Florida, it was pretty much just hot all the time. Now, it won’t get really cold here until end of October/November but this little sneak peek of lower temps has me feelin’ pretty good, happy Friday!

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FALL DECOR

A couple of years ago, I decorated my house for Fall in September, took it down in October and put up Halloween, then took that down and put up Fall/Thanksgiving in November, and of course Christmas in December! It was quite a bit of work and so I didn’t do it last year but I found myself missing my decorations. Sophie and I got our Fall stuff out this week and it makes me so happy to see it, it’s Fall Y’all!

 

FALL COFFEE MUG

I’ve been on the search for a Fall mug. I have a Halloween mug and a Christmas mug but not one for Fall. Now my sensible husband couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t just get a regular mug that could last all year long… now what fun would that be? With a plethora of Fall mugs available at Target, Marshalls and Michaels, it took me a while to look around but I finally found it. This little cup makes me so, so happy. And the price (only $4 at Marshalls) made me even happier!

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CLASSES AT THE GRAND

We’ve been taking music classes at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts since we moved to Tracy back in 2014. I cannot say enough good things about their art education program.  My girls just started two new classes there, well new to us. Lyla has wanted to take acting class for a few years now but was never old enough (age to start is 9). We gifted her with acting classes for her birthday this year and so far, she really loves it. Sophie started a pottery for preschoolers class and had her first session yesterday. I think it’s going be just like everything else they offer, great!

 

NEW MAKEUP FROM ULTA

I’ve used the Bare Minerals foundation powder for longer than I can remember. I really love that product but I’ve wanted to try something different for a while now. I feel like my skin has changed a lot and what I’m using now isn’t the right product for my face anymore. I worked for Clinique while I was in college and was pretty knowledgeable about makeup back then. Fast forward many years, and I feel like I know nothing at all! I headed into Ulta this week and after a great consultation, I left with three new products. I absolutely love them all! I decided to try a tinted moisturizer type of foundation and it’s working out wonderfully for me. I rely heavily on concealer and used to use a Bare Minerals one but the Ulta brand full coverage liquid concealer is awesome. I also picked up a hydrating face primer. This has been a game changer for me. It has helped my makeup and skin look so fresh. My budget for makeup is not what it used to be, nor would I want to spend a fortune on product these days anyways so the Ulta brand is perfect. They are high-quality products with an amazing price point. I’ve been loving putting on my makeup in the morning!

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HOMEMADE TUNA HELPER

I’ve always loved Tuna Helper. It’s a nostalgia thing – my stepdad would make it whenever my mom was out of town for work. I wanted to make a homemade version since we try not to eat many processed foods so I went searching online. This recipe was a hit with my family. I was worried how my kids would feel about it but my four year old even asked to eat it the next morning at 9am! I followed the recipe exactly but used whole milk instead of cream. It was so good.

 

 

 

 

Friday Love 9.7.18

Happy Friday!

We had such a great and relaxing Labor Day weekend, which made going back to school and our regular routine on Tuesday pretty rough. We are so happy it’s Friday again!

I thought it would be fun to start a series of sorts, or rather a recurring blog post. Every Friday, I’ll share a some “Friday Love” and talk about things I really loved over the past week and the weekend prior. This will help hold me accountable to my goal of publishing one to two blog posts each week, as well as sharing some fun stuff! So let’s dive right in, my first Friday Love!

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One of my favorite online brands, Little Choco Pink, held a search for new brand reps on Instagram and I entered both of my girls. I literally couldn’t believe it when they were chosen to represent the brand. We’ve never done anything like this before. My girls love fashion as much as I do and we are so excited to see what’s it’s like to be a brand rep. I will definitely share our experience here on the blog. Make sure the check out their site and follow them on Instagram. Their pieces are really unique and many have a vintage, boho-flair, while others are modern and edgy. Perfect for those who want something a little different than what’s offered at the mall. Use code JILL for 10% off your order!!

Grayson Threads is one of my favorite Target brands. We have been in the low 90s this entire week and these lightweight tanks are the perfect attire for an Indian Summer Friday. It’s hard to see in the photo but mine says weekend. And don’t we all feel that “It’s All Good” on a Friday??

  • ROCK PAINTING

A rock painting craze has taken our town by storm! We first discovered this fun hobby at the Downtown Artwalk. People paint and then hide rocks for others to find, posting pictures and clues on Facebook group. My girls just ate this up. They loved searching for and finding the rocks, competitively of course. We finally painted and hid our first rocks this past weekend and oh man, we are hooked! I don’t know what it is but we had the best time paining rocks all weekend long. We went to Michaels for new paint and brushes, and Home Depot for sealant (to keep the rocks weather-proof), and sat by the pool and painted. We listened to music, chatted and ate, it was such great quality time.

  • FAMILY BIKE RIDE

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We went on our first family bike ride on Monday and it was so much fun! We didn’t go very far but just being together was really special. I see many more of these in our future!

  • HALLOWEEN EXCITEMENT

I took down the bin of my girls Fall/Halloween clothes and pajamas on Friday. This prompted Sophie to wear some sort of Halloween attire all weekend long. She also requested to watch Nightmare Before Christmas, listen to a Halloween station on Pandora and visit the costume store. I have to say, her excitement for holidays is absolutely contagious! I love the holiday season and it looks like I have passed that on to my girls. Now Lyla was telling her all weekend long, it was too early but Sophie finally got her in the spirit on Monday night.

 

WHAT’S UP WEDNESDAY: AUGUST 2018

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I’ve been reading Mix Match Mama, The Larson Lingo and Sheaffer Told Me To for quite a few years now. These are blogs I’ve really grown to love and I especially love the What’s Up Wednesday posts. I have always wanted to link up to one but have never done it. Right now, I’m trying very hard to be more mindful of my goals and blogging more is one of them so today, I’m finally going link up! Enjoy!

What We’re Eating this week…

Monday – Pigs-in-a-Blanket, baked beans, corn (a comfort food meal I grew up on!)

Tuesday – Homemade meatballs (my hubby’s recipe) and spinach salad

Wednesday – Breakfast for Dinner – now I am not the biggest fan but we have a lot of breakfast stuff in the fridge right now and the kids got so excited when I mentioned the idea so breakfast for dinner it is!

Thursday – Teriyaki Salmon, white rice, broccolini

Friday – Homemade pizza night! Friday night pizza night is our family tradition although, and I hate to say this but, my hubby and I are actually getting a little tired of pizza every single Friday. Now don’t get me wrong, he makes the most delicious homemade pizza but the consistency gets a little old and we find ourselves craving something different. He will still make a small cheese for the girls because they love tradition but we’ve found ourselves ordering in a lot of Thai or Salvadorian food on a Friday. It’s nice because I still don’t have to cook and we get to eat something we love but the girls won’t touch.

Saturday – No clue! My hubby takes over the cooking on the weekend and we tend to go a little more gourmet since it’s not the usual weeknight rush.

What I’m Reminiscing about…

My girls! Watching them grow up as been pretty tough lately. Lyla turned nine on August 10th and Sophie will be five December 23rd. I feel like their baby years just flew by and I find myself thinking about those days all.the.time. They are turning into amazing young ladies, smart, kind, funny, beautiful but man do I miss the baby days!!

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What I’m loving…

New skincare products. When we were in FL in July, my mom gave me two Neutrogena products and I’ve been loving them. I use their day time facial moisturizer but these two were new to me. I really love the rapid tone repair moisturizer. It almost feels like a serum.

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What We’ve been up to…

August is a always a busy month for our family. The first day of school and my older daughter Lyla’s birthday are usually within a couple days of each other so that makes August CRAZY for me. Lyla’s birthday this year was a Unicorn pool party and her first big sleepover with nine kids! It was so much fun. My hubby and I really enjoyed listening and watching her and her friends, so sweet and so funny.

 

What I’m dreading…

Some very personal stuff but other than that, I’m focused on being positive and being grateful for the good things I do have in my life.

What I’m working on…

Everything and nothing all at once… kidding! Between my part-time job with Orangetheory and all that comes with having two kids and being a stay-at-home mom, I feel like I’m constantly working on something, cleaning something or rushing to something BUT I love this stage of life! I really do 🙂

What I’m excited about…

Many things! Lyla tried out for the school play and got three roles. She was in the play last year and it was such a fun experience. I’m looking forward to all that comes with this production. Lyla starts acting classes next week at our local theatre. She’s wanted to take acting classes for a long time now but you  had to be nine years old to do so. I’m also excited for Fall, Halloween and Christmas! We’ve been discussing Halloween costumes, thinking about decorating for Fall and talking about all our fun traditions and outings we like to do during the holiday season, lots to look forward to.

What I’m watching…

House Hunters. To say I have an obsession with this show is an understatement! I literally can’t get enough. Both my girls now ask to watch it with me. We love nothing more than House Hunters!!

What I’m reading…

Over the summer my mom gave me her Kindle Paperwhite! I was so pumped because my Kindle just stopped working a couple of years ago and I never replaced it. My hubby has a major issue with lights being on when we go to sleep and I love reading before bed so the Kindle was our middle ground. I felt I stopped reading as much as I used to because I didn’t have a Kindle so I’m very excited to start reading more.

I just downloaded Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. I started it last night and so far, so good. I went to college in Silicon Valley (San Jose State) and worked for three different tech companies, one a start-up, right after college so the title immediately peaked my interest.

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What I’m wearing…

Workout clothes! I live in yoga pants, leggings, workout tops, sweatshirts, etc during the school year. I try to run/do a home workout about three times a week and love to do it first thing in the morning. Getting in the right clothes is half the battle!

I did wear regular clothes for the Lyla’s 9th birthday. Her party was a unicorn theme and I wanted to fit the theme as the Mamacorn 🙂 My girls just love this shirt. I also got an adorable C&C California top from Marshalls recently for only $8! I felt that deserved a share because it was such a great deal. It’s a simple top but so comfy and made me feel put together yet still casual.

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What I’m doing this weekend…

I don’t know! We’ve been pretty busy so we may just take it easy and do our favorite thing – spend the day by the pool! We love nothing more than pool days in our own backyard, lounging on our floats, grilling out and going in the hot tub. We have to enjoy it now before it gets too cold!

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What I’m looking forward to next month…

Lots of fun stuff! We are helping paint sets for Lyla’s school play, our city is having another downtown Artwalk (my girls love this), acting classes start, and we are attending our (well my) first quinceanera!

What else is new…

My younger daughter Sophie starts Kindergarten next year and I have started to homeschool her. We had to take her out of her Pre-K program (I’m hoping she can go back in January). I really didn’t want her to fall behind so I’ve been using every internet resource I can to keep her on track. This is very new for me but she loves being home with mom (she has since birth) and has been the best little student.

Bonus question this month:  WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BACK TO SCHOOL TRADITION?

The first day of school picture! We make a big deal out of it and get one of the girls by themselves, together, one with mom, and one with dad. I love looking back at these pictures every year to see how much the girls have changed and to look at their outfits – haha! Girl mom! We love fashion around here.

4th grade/Pre-K

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3rd grade/Preschool 3’s

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2nd grade

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1st grade

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Kindergarten

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Wow, so that’s my first What’s Up Wednesday! I’m really excited to link up and share this post. Now I have to sign-off and get back into mom mode, its time for school!

xo JRS

Fall fashion

The temps have finally cooled down and we are more than ready to break out our scarves, sweaters, booties and beanies over here. Here’s a taste of our style this season.

Flowy tops, patterned leggings and suede booties.

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Rainy boots and Patagonia vests for dance.

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Swooning over these Sam Edelman booties.

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Cozy headbands and Ugg boots.

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Headband: Target, Sweater: BabyGap (little side note about this sweater – this is a size 0-3 months and Sophie is now 10 months. It is actually a dress but now it makes a perfect three-quarter sleeve length sweater for Fall – score! I’m so happy I kept this), Jeans: Joe’s Jeans via Nordstrom Rack, Shoes: Freshly Picked Moccasins, color platinum via Nordstrom.

I have to say I absolutely adore this outfit. I am a leopard fanatic, I mean its a neutral right? She looks cozy, stylish and ready for Fall 🙂

The headband that made us scream.

Lyla’s favorite color used to be green. And boy was it her favorite. She loved green so of course, everything we bought her was green. I thought it was so cool since most little girls love pink but since she was old enough to talk, green has been her favorite color. This summer, she retired green as her favorite color. Ever other color except green was her new favorite but I’m happy to report that she has finally settled on purple. Purple is now her new favorite color so when we were shopping for new headbands on a couple weeks ago, I found a really cute purple one. We didn’t try it on in the store so we didn’t really know just how cute it was until we got home. Lyla put it on and we looked at each other and screamed, yes screamed. It was just so cute that it elicited pure joy from both of us. Of course we put it on Sophie and screamed again. It is a darling headband and I love that Lyla loves it so much.

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Pink courdoroy skirt: GapKids, Peach die tank: GapKids, Denim fitted shirt: Tucker + Tate (via Nordstrom), headband: Gymboree, pink booties: BOC Born O Concept Kids (via Marshalls).

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I had to get a close-up of her headband. This picture does not do it justice. It is so pretty! We picked it up from Gymboree yesterday for $1.92! It was already on clearance and with the additional mark downs it brought it down to just under two dollars. That made it that  much cuter, I just love a good deal.

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Her booties are another favorite of mine. I love the pink color and flower detail, plus they are made by Born so they are super comfortable. Lyla loves to wear them year round and because they are booties, she can even when its pretty warm outside. I love them!

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Once we got out the door, Lyla took off the denim shirt and changed her headband (she put the other one in her backpack to take to school just in case she wanted to change back – she is SO my child). Lately, its been pretty cool for our morning walk to school but today it was already warming up.

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I have to apologize for the poor quality pictures. We have a brand new, super nice Sony camera that I just need to get into the habit of using. I rely on my phone and while it does an okay job, the camera would be so much better. I hope to post a lot of these OOTD’s because there I love nothing more than putting my girls in adorable clothes! Although, I don’t have much say in Lyla’s outfits anymore 😉