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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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

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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 🙂

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Dress: Carters via Carters Store, Headband: Nordstrom. I figured since I did an OOTD post for both myself and Lyla, I had to do one for Sophie. Today, she picked out her own clothes. Some days I have an exact idea of what I want her to wear and others, I have no idea. On those days, I’ll hold her in front of her closet and let her pick (i.e. whatever she lunges for first) her own outfit. It’s great that she helps me out with these big decisions. She must have been in a dress mood today. This one is super cute. Its navy blue, cotton and a size six months (she is eight and it still fits, score!). What a doll!

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Kindergarten picture day.

Today is picture day! Although I’m not too fond of the standard school picture (hello 80’s backgrounds!), I still get excited for picture day. This isn’t Lyla’s first experience with this since she went to preschool and pre-K but this is her first picture day in elementary school so it seemed a little more special.

We had an outfit all picked out and ready to go last night only to realize this morning that the headband that went with the outfit was left in my parents car (we went out of town with them for Labor Day), omg! Cue last minute outfit change! I’ve really been trying to be a stickler and not let Lyla change her clothes in the morning. We pick out an outfit the night before and I let her know that she cannot change her mind in the morning. She MUST wear what she picked out. This may sound harsh but I know my daughter and I know if I start to give in and let her change, we will be changing outfits all morning long and we’ll never make it to school on time. Anyways, I let it slide this morning because none of her other headbands worked with the outfit we had picked out and we both actually ended up liking the new outfit a lot better.

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This is her new pose. She got it from a Barbie movie. Barbie and the Mermaid Tale 2. I love it.

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I think she looked perfect for picture day. My beautiful, sweet baby girl!! I can’t wait to see how the pictures turn out, 80’s background and all.

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#tbt 4th of July

I love holidays, I just love them, each and every single one. And the 4th is no exception. I love to decorate with stars and stripes and of course, dress up in cute 4th of July outfits. I love to hang out with family, drink wine and eat good food and that is exactly what you do on the 4th. AND my stepsister’s birthday is on the 4th, how cool is that?

This year we got to celebrate in our new hometown. That week, someone in the neighborhood left a flyer on our door for a street party. It said to bring your grills and chairs out front, and of course your fireworks! After living in San Jose for so long where fireworks are banned (except for those used in the big fireworks shows), this was a big deal. Growing up, we always celebrated the 4th on the street in front of our house, setting off fireworks. I was so excited for my girls to experience a bit of a small town 4th of July celebration and I myself absolutely adore little neighborhood celebrations. I love a sense of community. We invited my parents to come up and join us for some good, old fashioned family fun.

One of the best parts of being a girl mom is dressing up my two little angels. Each holiday, I get so excited to find great outfits for them wear. Both girls took a nap this day (its a pretty amazing feat when both girls sleep at the same time) and Sophie woke up first. I couldn’t wait to get her in her star spangled dress. She is such a doll! 

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Lyla woke up not much later and I quickly got her ready. I just loved this outfit on her. It’s one of my favorite 4th of July outfits by far. Typically, I forgo matching outfits for coordinating ones. And these two outfits looked great together. And you’d think I would have gotten a picture of the two of them together, right?? Well I was too busy running around trying to get everything ready for the day and forgot #momfail.

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In the past, when we were still a family of three, I would have one of us wear red, one white and one blue on the 4th (my hubby is usually a very good sport and will whatever I pick for him). This makes for such cute pictures. Since we are now a family of four the whole, red, white and blue idea doesn’t really work so this year I got to play with prints and patterns for the girls. I was too tired and overwhelmed from moving to try and get my hubby to play along so I flew solo on the 4th of July coordination. I wanted something simple yet cute and comfortable for myself. I got the best pair of Joe’s jean shorts earlier this Summer and knew that is what I wanted to wear on the 4th. I picked up the blue tank that week at the mall and paired it with my red star headband. This headband was a complete impulse purchase but it has worked perfectly for other 4th of July outfits years past. I completed the look with a sock bun, my white Kate Spade knock-off studs (thank you Nordstrom Rack!) and my Lyla & Sophie nameplate necklace. Simple, cute, comfortable.

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Since we just moved in the last weekend and had a BIG issue getting all of our stuff (I’ll have to dedicate a post to our move, it was the hardest by far), our house was pretty sparse in terms of furniture, etc. But that didn’t stop us from having fun. We bought a blow-up pool at Walmart that week and Lyla was just dying to use it. We had a blast hanging out, watching her play in the water. Sophie enjoyed it as well.

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I’m bummed we didn’t take more pictures of family this day (I’m usually snapping away all day – I love to take pics!) but again, I was so tired from moving just a week earlier that I let it go. I enjoyed the day with my girls, my parents and my hubby. We met our lovely neighbors from across the street and you’ll never believe where they used to live, Orlando! What a small world. That is right near where I grew up and went to college, crazy!! It was a great, great 4th complete with FIREWORKS! Although, Lyla Rae is scared of loud noises and hates fireworks so when they really started to go off, she couldn’t deal and had to stay inside, #storyofmylife.

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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 😉