Gallery Walls

When we moved into our house a few years ago, I quickly realized we didn't own enough art to make the bare walls look complete. Our home didn't feel "lived in," so to speak, for a long time. It really bugged me. We needed to warm things up and make our home feel a little more…homey. I think I once read in Southern Living that a living room will instantly gain a cozy aesthetic when you add 4 things to it: lamps, a (real) plant, family pictures, and a throw blanket. I'm still learning and trying to figure out my family's style, but I did bite the bullet on incorporating family pictures in the avenue of a gallery wall.

What I found is that gallery walls are an affordable way to add art and personality to a home. I like them for 2 main reasons: 

1. They can be as small or large as you prefer, depending on your space. If you have an awkward, long, blank wall, for example, you don't have to search for just the right size or shape art to fit the  space.

2. They enable you to use what you already have. You can hang a hodge podge of things that spark joy to you and BOOM a gallery wall is born.  

I'm not by any means an interior decorator, so I'm hesitant to include a picture of my own gallery wall. It's not perfect. But catching a glimpse of a picture of my kids or husband---God's good gifts to me---as I climb the stairs brings me mucho joy. 

Last year, the professional printing lab I use had a Black Friday sale on prints and canvases. Half price! So, to add different dimensions, I ordered a few 16x20 canvases and several 11x14 and 5x7 prints to frame. 

I like the flexibility of a gallery wall, too. You can hang random pictures you took in the backyard or quotes that are special to you or old baby pictures from the attic. 

I love to see my clients enjoying their family pictures. If you need help deciding how and what to print, I'm happy to help! 

Spring Wardrobe Guide

Good morning! I hope your weekend was a good one. I opened the back door Saturday morning, and my kids flew out like caged birds. A weekend of spring weather was just what we needed! And speaking of spring...

My favorite wardrobe selections for pictures has definitely evolved over the past 5 years. This is a highly subjective topic, so I'm calling it a guide, not a must. :) I have slowly come to favor more neutral, airy, light colors and patterns for spring pictures.

Creams, pastels, subtle checks and ginghams, scalloped edges, lace in small doses, and detailed necklines/collars are my favorite springy looks. 

Be careful with matchy-matchy. We want everyone to coordinate, but not necessarily match. 

No all white/khaki. We do want some color.

No short dresses or skirts, and no low-cut tops. We want you to feel totally comfortable playing with your children, sitting on the ground, etc.  

When someone looks at your family pictures, we want them to see exactly that: your sweet family. We don't want distracting patterns or uncomfortable layers or crazy color schemes to take away from the emotion of the picture. Does that make sense? :)

For my clients, I will send you a more detailed guide to help you navigate through your closet before our session. I hope this post is a good starting point. As always, feel free to email me any questions. I like talking wardrobe. It can make or break a picture. 

Meal Planning

I recently told a friend that meal planning is what keeps me sane. Seriously. It has taken me years to figure out what works best for our family. I've finally settled upon a flexible daily menu. We can swap days, but it's nice to know I have ingredients in my pantry for these certain meals each week. Without this little piece of paper, my grocery envelope dwindles and I have nothing to show for it. 

Also, we are paying private school tuition this year. That really helps me stay on track.

I typically don't cook on the weekends. We eat leftovers and sandwiches. Weekends are unpredictable---we may take a sporadic date night, or, like today, eat a quick lunch at Costco after shopping. I try to allow a little wiggle room in my weekly budget for the weekends.

I've been curious lately how much the average mom spends on feeding her family for a month. I challenged myself in January to see if I could spend only $600, and it was HARD! The $600 was for everything: nightly dinners, lunches, school lunches, snacks, bottled waters, coffee, and dinner for friends who just had babies.     

Any meal planning tips you'd like to share? I'll take them.

Cookies

Tomorrow I'm overseeing a luncheon at Sam's school for History Day, and I needed an effortless dessert for 40ish folks. A while back, Publix had boxes of cake mix BOGO, and I bought a few to have on hand---funfetti, strawberry, and lemon. I'm glad I did, because these cake batter cookies (which only require 3 ingredients) were easy peasy! And they go a long way. 

(I love to listen to something while I bake. It's relaxing to me and helps pass the time quickly. I clicked over to listen to Matt Foreman's album Ekklesia Hymn, Vol. 1 and thought it was worth mentioning! iTunes has it to download. Good stuff.)   

Christmas 2015

How was your Christmas 2015?

Ours was lovely. This is the first Christmas in a long time that I didn't stress over the little things. We decided to try a minimalist approach with decor and gifts, and it suited our family well! In the past, I've way overspent my budget, so creating a plan helped me stay sane this year. I'll never go back.

December 2015 EDITED-001.jpg

I'm hoping this minimalist approach will spill over into the new year. Tackling my closet seems like the best next step, and I've recently been inspired to create a wardrobe capsule. Have you heard about those? I'm intrigued! 

Thanks for stopping by the new site. I hope to update my blog regularly with personal pictures and ramblings. Happy Monday!