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 10.19.18

Happy Friday! I can’t believe I missed the last week! I had every intention of getting on here to post but there is good reason I didn’t, I was exhausted. My older daughter had a late acting class Wednesday night then we had to be up early for her field trip to the Mission San Juan Bautista Thursday morning, which immediately after, she had rehearsal for her school play! It was a long couple of days. But I’m back with lots to share. I hope you enjoy today’s Friday Love!

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Mission San Juan Bautista

I was lucky enough to be able to chaperone my daughter’s field trip to the Mission San Juan Bautista last Thursday. We started with an early morning charter bus ride and the kids thought this was the coolest thing ever. We arrived at the mission almost two hours later but the long ride was worth it. The town itself was absolutely charming and I had the best time hanging with Lyla and her friends, and a couple of my mom friends. Neither Lyla or I had ever been to this mission and it was so fun to explore a town and place new to us. It was a great day with my big girl!

Art & Craft of Acting

For her birthday this year, my hubby and I gifted Lyla acting classes at our local theatre instead of a big gift. She has been wanting to take acting class for the longest time now but was not old enough to enroll (the age to start was nine). Well, since she turned nine this year we thought, why not? We love our local theatre and have taken a myriad of classes there since we moved to Tracy in 2014. I really cannot say enough wonderful things about the Grand or the classes/programs they offer. Lyla took the Art & Craft of Acting class for five weeks and her finale performance was on Wednesday. Now, these young kids didn’t learn a Disney play or anything like that. They tackled a murder mystery play, Blood on the Dining Room Floor, written by Gertrude Stein. This was tough stuff! The had to memorize some pretty long monologues but it was such a joy to watch them perform. The icing on the cake was that Lyla’s best friend also took the class. They had such a great time together.

Livermore Wine Trolley

Dates for my husband and I are very rare these days so I really cherish when we do get to have some one-on-one time. My in-laws gave us tickets to the Livermore Wine Trolley for Christmas last year and we finally got around to using them last weekend. We live about 20-30 minutes from Livermore and visit the wineries pretty often but we had never gone on the wine trolley. We booked ourselves on the 11:15 trolley this past Sunday and had a blast visiting three different wineries. I had never been to any of the three while my hubby had been to just one so it was nice to visit some new places.

Our day started early, dropping our kids off with their auntie then getting to downtown Livermore about 10:45. We were a bit early since we didn’t have to be there until 11am. Once we were settled in the trolley, we were off to our first winery, Wente Vineyards. Now, I have been to Wente’s smaller property many times but never to this one. It was breathtaking. I loved everything about the place and can’t wait to go back. From there we went to Tenuta Vineyards where our catered lunch was waiting. We enjoyed our lunch and tastings out on the beautiful patio. Our final stop was Tesla Vintners, which housed three separate wineries in the same outdoor location. We had a great day doing one of our favorite things, wine tasting!

 

Halloween Town

We took our girls to their first Halloween event this past weekend. We decided to check out the Halloween Town event that took place on Friday and Saturday at the old outlets in town. My kids love this time of year and love any excuse to dress up in their costumes. For me, it was really fun to see them in their costumes for the first time, and play with hair and makeup. They got some candy, some slime and got to ride the train. It was a great start to the big event!