Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Red Bull Sound Select Dallas: Dustin Cavazos, Larry g(EE), The Cannabinoids, and Erykah Badu (Prophet Bar)

Hello Bianca, do you wanna go to a free concert?

Duh! I love music, and any chance I get to go to a concert (especially for free!!), I will jump on it. Red Bull Sound Select celebrates local music and the people that push it forward. I signed up on their site and included my social media promotions about music for a chance to win tickets. You can imagine the grin on my face when I received the email letting me know I was one of the chosen!

Let me be honest…I wasn’t a die hard fan of any of the artists. I’d never heard of Dustin Cavazos, Larry g(EE), or the Cannabinoids. I’d known a few of Erykah Badu’s songs, but mostly radio play. Even more honesty, I appreciated her not so much for her artistry, but as a mother. I knew she was a very natural mom, birthing two of her children at home. That’s the side of her that appealed to me. Plus, as a mother, she’s balancing her work with her family. My beloved knew even less.

And so we dressed ourselves and went off to Deep Ellum for our concert. Both of us exhausted from the day because we’d been dealing with car issues. (We were actually researching new cars and went for a test drive.) Oh, and we’d just gotten back from vacation in San Diego (post forthcoming). Oh, and I had this tickle in my throat that was nagging at me. Nevermind all of that, we were happy to have a date and go on a new musical journey, surrounded by many people who would be as passionate about music as we are.

Warming up the night, as people trickled in was DJ Sheka Booker. This girl had me dancing and grooving. I didn’t care if people were staring. They should’ve been dancing!

Next up was Dustin Cavazos. Here’s the thing, I’ve been a fan of Tupac for I don’t know how long. His music, were stories from the heart. Real stories, from real experiences. He was a preacher and maybe I didn’t always agree with everything he said, his words spoke to me unlike any other rapper…until July 26th.  I realized I’d stopped listening to anything new. I played my old stand-bys, only venturing out when someone I trusted would give a solid recommendation. I lamented the loss of ‘Pac, and had since stopped looking for someone to fill the void. Because of that absence, I was wrong to stop my search of poets. I just needed to put my ear to the ground towards the local scene. Then again, isn’t that the purpose of what Sound Select is trying to achieve? His lyrics are fresh, they are real, and his passion is evident when he performs. Check out his videos here.

I popped outside and indulged in a Simply Dosa Paneer Masala Dosa and water because holy moly was it hot!! So humid! That tickle in my throat persisted and I just prayed that I could make it through the night. I parked myself in the center close to where the air flowed. My Beloved to the front grabbing all of the stills in this post.

Next up was Larry g(EE). If Bruno Mars and Michael Fitzpatrick (the Fitz from Fitz and the Tantrums) had a love child, they’d have Larry. He’s so full of soul and that voice paired with the horns, how could I not feel happy and sassy and want to dance. Note to self, must acquire a bowtie for my Beloved, because he makes it fun and classy! Check out his music. It makes you want to dance. It makes you want to grab the person closest to you and just start swaying together. (I’m Your Fool is my favorite!)

After he and his band heated up the place, there was a bit of an intermission as the Cannabinoids set up. All of their Mac computers with the wires, strewn on the stage, I was particularly excited to see what was going to happen. I knew it was going to be something special! Something special did happen! While the Cannabinoids were doing their thing, Dallas based rapper and creative genius –topic and the Team from Nowhere (TFN) jumped up on stage and gave us quite a show. –topic reminded me of Common. He oozed creativity. I’d seen him outside before the show as I stood there smiling and caught the eye of Joonbug, part of TFN. He had this delicate smile, soft voice, and bright eyes. He told me that he’d designed the shirts for the show and I was completely honored to have met him! In that moment, I wished I would’ve been able to have had a coffee with him and sat for hours. One of those moments where you wish you were in school again and this was the kind of person you hoped would sit next to you all year.

tangent, much?

Anyway, they were performing a song called “Chips on a Plate” while throwing out chips to the crowd. Yeah, I caught some Cheetos. It was the final pack of chips that were thrown into the crowd. I haven’t opened them. The energy in that room was palpable. Everyone was on their feet, dancing, moving, sweating, smiling. It was like being at a rowdy house party filled with beautiful people. I loved it! Love, love, love, loved it!

An hour passed before Ms. Badu graced us with her presence. My throat was all kinds of angry at me. The various smokes in the room were irritating me and I was praying I could make it through the show to see her perform at least one song. The vibe in the room had gone from electric to a dimmed hum. Everyone was standing around, eyes glued to the stage, necks craning to catch a glimpse. During that time, we were treated by DJ mix beats that had me in a bit of a trance. By this time the entire room was packed, barely enough room to sway side to side. Glimpses of LED lights flashing faces as people texted, tweeted, posted instagram pics of the night. After all, they were all noticed to be there through social media. It was only fitting that our smart phones were present members as well.

At 12:45 her band started playing and after several minutes there she was.

I haven’t the words. Everyone seemed star struck for just a moment, the murmur of the crowd quieted, cellphones in the air attempting photos to preserve the moment and to immediately brag to their friends. I snapped one image, stood there and let her voice soothe my sore throat. I felt alive. I felt sensual. I felt womanly. And when she sang On and On (my favorite of hers), it took me back to the summer of ‘97. The crowd swayed like dancing jellyfish tentacles in the sea. We were all connected and feelin’ the music. She continued to turn it up even higher, the crowd falling deeper and deeper in love with her and that moment. It was well after 2 before she would finish, but I expired much earlier than that. I was already at home gargling hot water with lemon in my jammies. Smiling at the gift I’d been given that evening. Grinning at the conversations I’d had, the ones I’d overheard, and just watching everything and everyone.

Yes, the music was a real treat in and of itself, but it was those moments in between that acted as the thread to weave the music and the people. I’ve discovered that often when you suck it up, the reward is that much greater and on this particular evening, it certainly was.

**I was awarded two free tickets to the show and a media pass to capture the images. Thanks to my husband for capturing these images.**

Friday, July 26, 2013

Review: Court Yard Hounds Amelita

Hello, hello, hello friends!

I have so much to share with you, but first, I need to write about a new album: Amelita by the Court Yard Hounds.

Emily Robison and Martie Maguire are the two sisters from Dixie Chicks. After a few years away from the limelight and the Dixie Chicks, the two sisters were ready to get back into the studio with the creation of Court Yard Hounds. Amelita, out now, marks the Court Yard Hounds' second album.

The first couple of years of my college life soundtrack were filled with sounds from the Dixie Chicks. I always loved the instrumentals, so you can imagine how excited I was to listen to the Court Yard Hounds. I had no idea that the two sisters had a whole entire band of their own. 
“We’re a band, not a side project. We like our sound, and we’re going to continue to do this, and share something new this time around.” Emily Robison couldn't be more clear about the game plan for the Court Yard Hounds, the group she and sister Martie Maguire head up, as they get ready to release their second album, Amelita.
Containing 11 new tracks, Robison and Maguire took a different approach with Amelita than their debut album in 2010. This album contains a new perspective, which is due in part to time passed since Robison’s divorce. “I’ve been freed of all of those time-heals-everything kind of things,” says Robison. “Now, I’ve opened up to other ideas and ways of looking at life and the world. I think it’s not only a more hopeful album, but it’s more… well fun."

The Court Yard Hounds’ new album is a clear statement of who the girls are as artists, defining their sound as a band, with soaring songs that are personal, yet familiar and widely relatable. This is so very true on so many levels. Listening to this music, I want to pop in an old fashioned CD, and take a long road trip with my windows down, the hot Texas sun beating down on my skin as I loudly sing along. "The World Smiles" and "Aimless Upward" are a prime examples of the kinds of song I would sing along to. I like the harmony and the lyrics. I can see my bestie in the seat next to me as we harmonize together.

I know some of you may not "be in to Country music," but you should give these gals a chance! Make yourself a glass of sweet tea, sit in a rocking chair, and give the album a listen. You can find them at: Twitter & on Facebook. Or you can buy their album at: iTunes & Amazon


I participated in this campaign for One2One Network. I received a free copy of the CD to facilitate my review. By posting, I am eligible for incentives. All opinions stated are my own.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Review: Pouf Dallas Blow Dry Salon

Happy Hump Day friends!

Today, I will be reviewing Pouf Dallas Blow Dry Salon. If you know me, you know my love/hate relationship with my hair. I LOVE my hair! Love, love, love my hair. I LOATHE fixing it. Even though I’ve lost some of the thickness since having my girls, it is still quite thick, coarse, and unruly. Any opportunity I get to have someone else blow out my hair, I jump on it! My go-to place has always been the original Drybar (featured on my 2012 Holiday Gift Guide), but I’m always on the hunt for other places, especially for convenience!

On that particular day, I knew I had to run an errand at Mockingbird Station. Fortunately for me, I called up earlier in the day to schedule an appointment. First off, here’s what you need to know about blow-dry salons.

  1. Your hair will get washed and conditioned.
  2. You will get a scalp massage. (the length of the scalp massage varies depending on where you go. some places will offer extra time for an additional cost)
  3. They will use a specific specialty product line on your hair. This is not limited to shampoos and conditioners, but hairsprays, shine serums, and more.
  4. Your hair will be blow-dried to what ever style you prefer. (Some places have a menu available for different styles.)
  5. Depending on your style, other styling tools will be used (Some salons will charge extra for use of these tools, some as much as $10.)
  6. These salons may also offer updos, braids, buns, and other hair styles.

At Pouf, immediately upon walking in, you will feel a sense of nostalgia. The checkered floors and vintage furniture add to the appeal. Also, there isn’t loud and obnoxious fancy music playing. They are playing music, but it is at a comfortable decibel level. You are offered a beverage upon check-in, limited to water, tea, soda, and sparkling lemonade. There is an assortment of magazines to read while you have your hair done, or you can pass the time by chatting with the stylist or play with your smart phone. I didn’t see a sample menu of styles to choose from, so it took me a moment to decide upon a style. Initially, I wanted a straight look, but later switched it up at the shampoo station when I became inspired. I wanted a Jackie-O, voluminous blow-out with the ends tucked under. Not outta control Texas volume, just slightly Texas volume.

pouf

I have to admit, when I walked in, I was feeling a little skeptical. I wasn’t bombarded with the familiar hairspray fumes or haze that I’d related to other blow-dry salons. There wasn’t a television playing a girly flick, nor was there a white wine spritzer or mimosa for me (I didn’t ask for an alcoholic beverage, I was just surprised one wasn’t immediately included in the offering). For me, when I go to these places, I’m not immediately looking to connect to anyone, I just want to sit, zone out, relax, and come out of it with spectacular hair. Not to mention, the chill down time and scalp massage really help keep my clustereff happy.

However, when I sat with Janna, I actually talked with her. I got to know her and she got to know me. She had a tender hand when working with my hair and scalp, which was still quite relaxing. Normally I like a more firm scalp massage, but this was nice! The same went when she was blow-drying my hair. The other thing that impressed me was she only took right at 45 minutes total to do my hair (including the shampoo and conditioner)! That’s SUPER fast for me, especially because it normally takes about 45 minutes just to blow dry! They use Kevin Murphy products for the hair and it is wonderful. It smells so good and is sulfate and paraben free. I actually considered purchasing something to use full time. In spite of spraying my hair, it didn’t feel loaded down at all. The product stayed true to its word and was, in fact, weightless!! I wish they had a price listing for the products. Janna was darling and I will DEFINITELY recommend her as a stylist. She managed to find a way to tame my crazy hair, including my little fringe in the front!

My blow-out successfully lasted 3 days before washing. It may have been able to go longer, but I did a 6 mile run in 1000% humidity, and in spite of that run, it wasn’t a complete frizz-ball mess of hair. I just needed to wash it because yeah, that wouldn’t have been very hygienic.

Pouf also offers hair services like different braids or their signature bun. Hair extensions and hair chalk can also be added on. Not just hair services, but they offer make-up services, too! They use GloMinerals make-up for their product line. During this trip, I did not have any make-up done, but I loved that they had an eyes and lips option. Likewise, they offer make-up classes, this week’s class will show you how to do the perfect Cat-eye. Finally, they have a small section full of hair accessories, like shower caps, hair bows, hair clips, as well as the Kevin Murphy line of products.

All in all, I will highly recommend Pouf Dallas Blow Dry Bar in that area. I live in the Northern suburbs of Dallas, so if I’m having a weekend blow-out, I will stick to Drybar for convenience. But during the week, since I work in Dallas, I totally plan on making a special visit to Mockingbird Station to get blown out.

Hours: SUN-WED 10-7  |  TH-FR 10-8  |  SAT 9-8 

Cost: Basic blow-out starting $35

Right now, Pouf is running a Groupon! One blowout is $17 ($35 value) or buy 3 for $50 ($105 value). You can bet your bottom dollar that I jumped on this deal! Also, for a limited time, if you book an appointment Monday – Friday, it is only $25!! Please note, you should always tip your stylist. I typically tip $10.

Hello Bianca!…I’ve never done Groupon, please help! Ok, click this link, enter your email to get started, and go from there! (If you click that link and purchase a Groupon, I will get a $10 credit. That’s only good for you first-timers.)

So put on your sassy pants, make an appointment, and go get your glam on! Feel sexy with your fabulous hair!

 

**I was not compensated in any way for my review of Pouf. I am not opposed to receiving perks, I just thought Pouf is rather nifty and deserved a review. The opinions expressed are my own.**

Monday, July 15, 2013

Concert Outing: Fitz & the Tantrums (and Ivy Levan) at the House of Blues Dallas

Hello, hello, hello!

So I like music. A whole lot! I’m always on the lookout for new tunes, while simultaneously revisiting my old tried and true songs. Isn’t amazing how listening to a song will magically take you back to a time and place?
Last Friday, Captain America and I headed out on a date! I even had my hair blown out for the occasion! (review of Pouf to come)  We went out for drinks beforehand, then did a quick change from our day-time clothes to concert wear. (Confession: I actually had on a maxi dress to wear to the concert, but then I quickly remembered that I was probably going to be doing a whole heck of a lot of dancing and I needed something a bit more dance appropriate, where I wouldn’t be tripping over myself.)

(Him: V-neck from Urban Outfitters, suspenders & hat from Nordstrom Rack, pants from Macy’s Me: Smiley half shirt from Urban outfitters, striped under tank from Banana Republic, Jeans by David Kahn)


When we arrived, we picked up our tickets and our photo pass* and were on our merry way.


Lucky for us, Ivy Levan was just starting her set! Captain America quickly went to the barricade and was greeted by Big Rod. This guy right here was responsible for keeping the peace at the barricade, protecting the artists, the concert-goers, and the photo/videographers in front of the barricade. Big props to him for what he does and for doing it well, and quite professional, might I add. Thank you, Big Rod!


Captain America settled in and prepped Baby (what we call our big camera) for the lighting conditions. First off, let me tell you about this chick Ivy Levan. Holy wow! If you threw in one part of Christina Aguilera’s character from Burlesque with a dash of Gaga and a whole lot of rocking badass, you’d get Ivy Levan. She has such a presence on stage and it isn’t just because her dress was sparkly and her hair amazing. I loved, loved, loved dancing to her. I couldn’t help but get my hips shaking. Also, her music pulled out my inner sassiness, that I very nearly told off a gal who’d stood in front of me. Like seriously, I turned into quite a snarly/snarky person and was like, “Whoa, who’s voice is this saying these things??” I put myself in check and went and bought the gal a drink for her trouble for having to deal with all of that. Anyway, just so you know, you have the warning that the music will unleash your don’t-mess-with-me attitude, which isn’t entirely a bad thing. Check out The Dame, now on iTunes and here are some shots he captured of her:



She was such a delight and a wonderful warm-up for Fitz. After her set, I ran out to get a signed copy of her CD. I probably made a certifiable ass out of myself on film when her videographer asked me some questions. I was so amped up on the music and meeting her! And she was a doll! I discovered later that she was performing that evening at the Ruby Room. I wondered how many others saw her perform that night, too.

Between sets, Saints of Valory performed. They had quite a stage presence, but I have to admit, that I wasn’t in the mood to hear that type of music. It put me to another place. Unfortunately, we didn’t grab any photos of their performance. What did happen? Well, their music was the perfect backdrop for making new friends. You see, we spotted a small person dancing towards the back of the hall and we struck up a conversation with her parents. Christian, Megan, and Neva shared their time with us during that set. They told us their remarkable tale of how fate had brought them together. How their stories were intertwined before they even knew it, and how things happen all at that right time. They shared of their love of cycling, that this was Neva’s 3rd Fitz concert (she’s only 3!!), and how they will be married soon. I absolutely love stories like theirs! [New friends, if you are reading this and want to meet up, drop a line (bianca at hellobianca), we’d love it if our daughters met!] Yes, that is a tiny top hat on Neva’s head! How cute are they??


And then it was time for the show. I kissed my beloved good-bye for a bit, strapped on the equipment backpack so he wouldn't have to carry all of the gear, and said a photographer’s prayer for amazing light. I love it when he finds me:


Everyone was really excited. The energy filled the space. My heart was beating, my feet already dancing, everyone around me smiling and talking. The tools of their trade patiently waiting to erupt into a violent flame of happy.


But I must back up for a second. Remember that trip I talked about a few days ago? The one where I jumped out of a plane? Well, that was a girls only trip. My routine when I fly, I get to the airport and buy a coffee and stop by the newsstand and pick up a copy of Esquire, GQ, or Men’s Health. Sometimes all 3, sometimes just one.  That month, Esquire featured them in their Music and Style edition. Yes, I was connected to the wi-fi on the plane. Yes, I fired them up on Spotify and I was completely sold the first few notes of “Moneygrabber.” I would fire up some of their stuff while we were driving around and even on my morning run. Immediately, their music was synonymous with my happy.

When I returned home, I was able to listen to “More Than Just a Dream” in its entirety, I was in love. I knew they were going to be at Edgefest, but I was unable to attend since it was the very next weekend after my trip. Instead, the Universe heard my quiet plea and tickets went on sale for them to perform in July! To make the deal sweeter, my Beloved was every bit as stoked to see them, so this was going to be a magical date for us! The House of Blues is becoming a favorite place in our hearts for such dates. (Thank you House of Blues staff! If you’ve never been to a show there, I highly recommend it!)


Fitz & the Tantrums

The lights dimmed slightly and they began:




The crowd jubilant and dancing:



Noelle’s voice rang out with that tambourine:


And Fitz, with those red sneakers…


I danced and danced and danced. I hadn’t danced that much and shouted along the lyrics in a long while. Maybe I twerked a little bit too. And maybe I convinced some others to twerk with me. I was completely hoarse at the end of the night. Amazing night with loads of new friends (hello Amy, I’m talking to you!). What an incredible night of fun!



Um…Hello Bianca, this sounds like an amazing night, but I have no idea who they are, but based on your excitement I want to check them out! Where can I learn more? Here is their wikipedia. Here is their site. They are on youtube. Or just listen on iTunes, Pandora, or Spotify. They are good times!

Oh, and thanks babe for a wonderfully incredible night out!

*While we were given a photo pass, we were not at all compensated for this post. I just think their music is nifty and I wanted to share it with the world. We paid for our own tickets and merchandise while there.

WINNER!! WINNER!!

Hello friends!

Happy Monday. I hope each one of you had a fabulous weekend. Even if it wasn’t fabulous the entire time, I hope it was great for most of it. Me, I spent all of Saturday laid out in bed. Seriously, I got up at 8, and felt like I was gonna fall down, even though I was on my back on the floor. Talk about major vertigo! I was too afraid to take my vertigo pills (choice of Anitvert or Valium, both of with would have me in a coma-like state for at least 18 hours), so I spent all day in bed. After the nausea subsided, I had a low-grade fever. Needless to say, I spent nearly 20 hours sleeping. I didn’t have anything planned for the day, so it was ok. I allowed myself to not feel overwhelming guilt for sleeping the day away. Plus, it was so nice to hear tiny voices calling my name, crawling in bed with me, giving me snuggles and Sana-Sana. At one point, I had a large flower on my head b/c the Sugarbean claimed it would help with my balance issues. (smile)

All that to say, thank you so very much for your patience! Announcing the winner of the Cuppow giveaway! Thank you everyone who entered!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fall Out of a Plane and Live (Check): 14 Tips for First-Time Skydivers

So this happened on my girls trip to California…
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Yeah, right? Out of my mind, some of you may be thinking. The other half of you are like, “cool, I’ve done that! so rad.”

It was definitely an experience, let me tell you. First off, let it be known that this was NEVER, EVER, NOPE, NOT EVER on my bucket list of things to do before I died. BUT, then why did I do it? Well, just because it was never on the list didn’t mean that it couldn’t be a source for me to conquer my fear of heights. And just the day before, I did this…

I hiked up (and down, which was more treacherous than going up!) Cowles Mountain and crawled out to the ledge, stood up high on that rock, and jumped in the air. Moments after, I bawled like a baby. Why? Because I overcame my fear. I was shaking nervously, grateful to have my BFF with me so we could talk, and keep me distracted from the increased elevation. When we made it to the top, I knew I had to crawl out to the ledge to snap that photo. I just had to!

Which takes us back to the skydiving adventure.

Here are my own personal Skydiving tips that I think you would find helpful if you’ve wanted to do this or are considering skydiving. I am not a professional, these are some things that came to mind immediately:
  1. Wear something comfortable like running tights/capris…think workout clothes.
  2. It will only be cold for moments.
  3. You will spend a long amount of time filling out the necessary paperwork. Don’t bitch about it, you’re totally going to be falling out of a plane, duh. You need that legal stuff.
  4. Don’t only have coffee right before. A light meal would be nice.
  5. Having something light to have on hand immediately afterwards would be good.
  6. If you don’t like those g-force spins on roller coasters, you won’t like the spins you will make once the chute is deployed.
  7. If you have that, then odds are, you will suffer from motion sickness. If you have vertigo, you will be laid out for at least a week.
  8. Embrace the motion sickness. You totally fell out of a plane and lived!
  9. If you puke, that’s ok. It’s why the tandem guys wear helmets. For the record, I didn’t get sick.
  10. If you are only going to do it once, then splurge for the photos and video (money well spent).
  11. Keep your eyes open and see the beauty of God.
  12. Amazing perspective from that high in the sky.
  13. I felt like I was Ironman flying in the sky to save the world. I wasn’t falling, I was flying!
  14. Arch your back, everything else will be fine.
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And here's my video of it all.
Bianca Skydives Over San Diego from Bianca Sias on Vimeo.

A very special thank you to my dear Danika who hosted us, drove us out there, and cheered us on (and nursed me back to health, too!), as well as my BFF Lindsey, who came up with the idea, and kept me committed to my One Little Word: COURAGE.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Giveaway: Cuppow BNTO

BNTO giveaway
One of my favorite innovative companies, Cuppow, had launched a new product called the BNTO.
BNTO (ben-toh) is our new canning jar adapter - it's for bringing great food on the go!

Canning jars are designed to store food safely and make awesome lunch boxes: they are easy to clean, cheap, and you can microwave them! The only problem is that sometimes the foods that taste the best together don’t travel well together. We took inspiration from Japanese "bento boxes" and created a conveniently shaped insert that separates a canning jar into two compartments so you can mix or dip like a champ. BNTO should provide the perfect companion for all sorts of food adventures!
Obviously, you will have to own a wide-mouth mason jar to use this nifty gadget, but if you have one, there are loads of uses. I will be giving away 1 BNTO to one of you! Yes, I’m talking about you, gorgeous! You deserve this! Have you wanted to try that Pinterest salad in a jar, but are afraid of soggy lettuce by the time lunch rolls around? Then you need a BNTO. Want a healthy celery and and peanut butter snack? BNTO has you covered. How about hummus and pita chips….oooh or spicy salsa and chips?? BNTO is your pal. Maybe you want some cookies and milk, yep, BNTO is your buddy. Lots of uses!

You can leave a comment here to enter. For a bonus entry, tweet this or share it on any number of social media avenues and let me know. Good luck! Contest ends Saturday, July 13.
   
**This is a giveaway of my own doing. Cuppow in no way has provided me with a BNTO, heck, they might not even know I’m giving one away. I just think this product is so awesome and it needed to be shared!**
BNTO by Cuppow! from Paper Fortress on Vimeo.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Family Photos: 4 Tips for a Great Session

I know many people may stress at the last minute when they get together to take a professional family photo. Even though I’m a photographer, I  also stress before a session. I thought I’d share some things that are helpful for me when we take family photos. (A very special thanks goes to Terah Pliley Photography & Chera25 Photography for the images in this post!)

one…
Make it a point to actually take a family portrait at least once a year! Even if you set your phone’s timer function to snap an image, then do it. Go use a coupon for a cheap portrait studio if you must. But sincerely TRY to find a local photographer to take your photos. Take advantage of their mini sessions. Usually, they are a fraction of the cost (usually less than $100) and you will end up with at least 1 really great image that will be more than worth that investment. This image…I’ve dreamed of this image since before I had my girls. I can’t tell you what it means to me to have it. It may not be other people’s preference, but this single moment is intimate to me. It is special. It is my girls and I, them sharing their vulnerability, and she captured a rare tender moment. I still get choked up with I see it.
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two…
For us, I’ve discovered that our girls don’t do well in a studio. Something about confined places just makes them want to go bananas. Outdoor shots yield fabulous lighting and allows for them to run off their energy. This also helps them to relax and really let out their little personalities. Clearly, mine are used to being in front of the camera, even the Sugarbaby has the hand on the hip pose working. The Sugarbean already knows about shifting weight to the back leg, too.
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three…
Plan your wardrobe. You don’t have to be all matchy-match, but it is nice to have colors that will POP with the venue. Since we frequently do outdoor images, I try to consider the climate and what will be around us. Recently, we did photos in the sunflower field. I drew out the color wheel and totally came up with blue as the complementary color. Let me tell you, I jump at the opportunity to wear blue because it makes my husband’s eyes pop, plus the colors look great on my daughters skin! The other session in this post’s example, I went with a floral theme. Yes, there were stripes and polka dots, in my girls’ dresses, but we all had a type of flower. I went neutral with a black and white dress, and giving color to them.  I wanted them to be the central focus in my images and our photographer captured it exactly.  Also, let your children help plan what they will wear. I may pick out the clothes, but often I will say wear a dress and together they will come back to me with their ideas. This happened when I said blue dress. They each chose to wear their matching blue dresses given to them by their aunt. My eldest always chooses her hair style and accessories. I let them choose their own shoes, too. Again, it goes back to comfort of the child.
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four…
Relax. It is easy  for me to say this. But here’s the thing. I’ve been using Chera25 photography now for nearly 3 years. We are comfortable with her. My girls know her, and they aren’t at all uncomfortable in front of a camera. You know what else? I’M not uncomfortable with them capturing me. Terah and I have been friends for a few years. I met her through her mother. I’ve always admired her eye and images. I chose her to do our mommy/daughter session because I knew I could trust her. Other photographers would’ve captured a photo for me, but I don’t think our personalities would’ve come out quite like I wanted. And you know what? That’s a big thing for me. It is an investment in money, yes, but also in time. I see all time as precious and wrangling our littles together takes time. Doing my hair, doing their hair, ironing clothes, soothing the girls, planning out around naps, checking teeth…all that, takes time. Likewise, it takes time for the photographer. Both of the photographers we use are mothers of daughters. They understand this about us and are so very understanding during our sessions. Having a personal relationship with them allows for us to relax and show our best face. It also helps me to not have absolutely ANY hesitation when booking them! You know what else helps with relaxing…knowing these intimate moments are captured, too. They remind me of so long ago when I first fell in love with him.
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So don’t delay any longer! Get your family together and book a photographer that you have long admired and trust that the images will capture a point in time that you will never see again.

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