Thursday, June 29, 2017

One Month with Lightroom

I've only been using Lightroom for one month now, but I am so so happy I finally took the plunge.  I've been wanting to learn an editing software for over a year now, but I also hate change.  And learning new things.  So I kept putting it off.  But I recently had the opportunity to shoot another collection for Kickee Pants, so I decided it was time to put on my big girl panties, call myself a professional, and do things right!

I spent a good week trying to find a preset that fit my style.  It was hard.  There were a few I liked, but many photographers I know all use that same preset.  I wanted to be different, so I searched & searched.  I finally settled on the Embrace Collection, and so far I've loved it!  I truly think it fits me.  I mostly use feminine or embrace within the collection.  I also purchased this set of brushes that I'm still learning how to use.  Well really, I'm still learning how to use it all!

The first night I downloaded Lightroom I was so stressed.  In a panic.  Mad that I didn't know how to do a darn thing!  Thank goodness for photographer friends!  Laura literally sent me videos at 11pm to try and help me along.  I had questions for everyone else I knew.  The next day I even ran over to my neighbor's house for a quick lesson on how she does things.  I wanted to know everything!  And then of course there was my good friend youtube!  In just a matter of days I started to become comfortable with the software.  Learning a bit more each evening when I sat down to edit.  A month later, I feel like I can navigate it well.  I'm certain that I am barely skimming the surface of all there is to learn, but I'm in a good spot.  I'll continue to play around with things, and go to youtube for tutorials on specific things.  But I'm pretty happy with what I have accomplished in such a short amount of time.

Many of you have asked to see some before & after shots.  I'm actually really nervous to share these, which is super silly since I share photos daily.  But something about sharing the SOOC (straight out of camera) alongside the edited makes me feel vulnerable...

(Edited vs. SOOC)





 I'm definitely not in any position to be offering tips or tricks at this point.  But if you have any questions, ask away!  Or if you'd like to see more before & afters, let me know.  I'm here to please! And if you're considering taking the Lightroom plunge, just do it!  Preferably with wine!  And with friends who will answer all your questions even during the wee hours of the night!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

5 Nursing Friendly Dress under $65

I'm already thinking about that 4th trimester wardrobe, getting slightly excited to be out of maternity wear.  I find dresses to be the most comfortable (and forgiving) after baby.  Plus one item is far easier to throw on then trying to coordinate tops & bottoms.  For me, everything needs to be breastfeeding friendly.  So here are 5 of my favorite nursing friendly dresses at completely reasonable prices, that I think will transition perfectly from late summer to early fall:

MOM Easy Dress (Roolee)
I shared this in my last Friday post.  I'm completely intrigued by the side zippers!  And while I love this dress in the blush color, I thought the navy would be better for Fall.  Already added this to my wardrobe!

Cyrus Linen Midi (Roolee)
Love the buttons for easy access!  The linen has me a little concerned about wrinkles... but the length is perfect for still chasing little ones!  Already snagged up this dress too!

Jenny Detail Dress  (Roolee)
Could this leaf print be any more perfect for fall?!  And those sleeves have me swooning too!  Yep, I also purchased this little lady for my closet.  I really can't resist Roolee's prices!

B&W Stripe Dolman Sleeve (Plain Jane)
This dress just has a super stretchy neckline to make nursing easy.  No button fiddling here!  I think this needs to be my next purchase...

Classic Caftan (Dwell + Slumber)
I have this dress (in a different print), and it is a dream!  I get complimented on it constantly, so I think I need another.  It will probably be the first thing I put on after baby arrives.  I also think one of these dresses would be the perfect gift for any mom-to-be or new mom!

Can't believe I'm going to have another nursling again soon!  
And this time, I'm ready to be extra stylish!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

30 & 31 Weeks (Bump #3)

Another post where you get pictures from 30 weeks and some fun info from 31 weeks!

Total Weight Gain:  26 lbs.... not feeling great about this.  Hoping that I'm just retaining a ton of water in all this heat!

Symptoms:  My biggest complaint right now is just being irritable due to the heat.  It's affecting me far more than I ever would have thought.  Our temps have been holding steady in the 90-100 range, and it's been rough.  I've also been extra light headed which I'm sure is due to the heat as well as my continued low blood pressure.  

Movement & Position:  Baby is transverse just as I anticipated; my midwife confirmed this.  Kudos to me for knowing my body I suppose.  It's quite uncomfortable to have baby in this position, and I keep hoping he will move any day.  My midwife isn't concerned yet, in fact she was rather positive with her "transverse is half way to head down!"  I go see her again in 3 weeks, and if baby is still not head down by then I will go see a chiropractor and start practicing some spinning babies positions.  I know this still isn't a huge deal yet, but it's on my mind often.

Cries This Week:  Bringing this category back because wow did I have an emotional week.  Nothing major happened, just a big hormonal swing I suppose.  I was extra weepy about the littlest things, but extra lovey too.  My boys tolerate me well.

Nursery Progress:  Even though I'm not going to be decorating until we are in the new house, I am still shopping around.  I'm currently obsessed with the wallpaper & vinyl from B Darling.  I would love to do one wall in the nursery, with perhaps this or this print!  Follow them on Instagram for inspiration, but know that you will feel the urge to wallpaper your entire house.  Hello 1990!

Baby Finds: Primary is having a big sale right now, so I snagged some new snap footies in my favorite colors.  If you're having a baby girl, there are even more options; the dresses are adorable!

Birth Affirmations:  After I sent along some of my favorite birth affirmations to Courtney, she sent me a photo with some that she used during her last birth.  I wrote some down that I loved and wanted to share since affirmations were such a huge part of my natural birth experience.  The new favorites:

I feel confident.  I feel safe.  I feel secure.  I feel focused.  I feel love.

Good strong contractions help my baby come into the world.

Inhale peace.  Exhale tension.

Breathe slow.  Breathe deep.  Breathe low.

My body opens.  My mind quiets.  My baby descends.
Liam's Thoughts:  Lots & lots of questions lately.  Most often related to the birth or the baby nursing.  He's obviously seen me nursing Finn plenty over the last 2 years, but now he's curious to know how exactly it all works.  I love how inquisitive & interested he is.  Makes for the best morning conversations before we even get out of bed.  We've also been spending those minutes lately trying to feel for where the baby's arms, legs, & butt are!

Finn's Thoughts:  When I climbed up on the table at the midwife's office to listen to the heartbeat, Finn leaned down and gave me the sweetest spontaneous kiss.  We have bonded exponentially lately. I can tell he deeply cares for me & the baby, and he loves showing us!  I continue to be most excited to see this little guy become a big brother!

Send some happy baby turning thoughts my way!  I want to head down & to engage soon so that I can just relax the rest of this pregnancy!

Friday, June 23, 2017


It's been far too long since I had a good, random Friday post.  So, heeeeeey!  The temperature continue to be ridiculously hot here, and the 90s aren't going anywhere.  I anticipate many an hour logged at the waterpark and a trip up the mountains for the first concert of the summer at Snowbird.  We also have tons of decluttering to do around the house, since we are having photos taken of our house next Friday.  We don't plan on listing anytime soon, but it will be nice to have the photos for when we are ready and before baby things start popping up all over.  Here we go:

This is quite possibly the cutest dress I have ever seen!  Rocket Pops are hot right now!  And the back, gah!  I need a baby girl to buy this for!

A vendor at our farmer's market has had fresh morel mushrooms the last two weeks, so we are eating all the mushroom things!  Conor found two awesome recipes, a Morel Mushroom Cream Sauce with Pasta & a Chicken Breasts with Morel Mushroom Pan Sauce.  Both are so so delicious!

Finn's current favorite book (and mine) is Explorers of the Wild.  The illustrations are so so beautiful as are the words.  It would be the perfect addition to any collection or such a sweet gift!

The Handmaid's Tale.  I know this is considered to be super trendy right now, but it's actually one of my all time favorite books (which is currently free on kindle & audio book).  I read it for an English class in college and have adored Margaret Atwood (the author) ever since!  So all this to say, first read the book!  Then go watch the series on Hulu.  The whole first season has been released, so you can binge watch it.  And if you've never had Hulu before, the first month is free.  So bam; go watch & read for free!

I'm already starting look past all the maternity clothes and getting excited for a new fall wardrobe.  However, it needs to be nursing friendly which can sometimes be a challenge.  I'm totally intrigued by the side zippers on this Roolee Boutique dress.  I may need to add one to my closet.  Or maybe a couple if I love the concept!  I'm thinking about doing a little roundup of nursing friendly dresses for fall...  We'll see if I get to that!

TGIF friends!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

My Every Day Oils

First, this post is not sponsored.  It's doesn't contain any affiliate links.  I don't even sell oils; I just purchase them through friends.  So this post is really just to genuinely share how I use essential oils daily in our home.  I've slowly been purchasing more & more and trying them out over the last 2.5 years, and now I can't really remember what I ever used before them!  So here's a little list of our favorites and how I use them.  I have all Doterra Oils, but have also dabbled with some of the Young Living ones as well.

Frankincense  (skin care)
I use a drop of this along with my face lotion ever morning & night.  I am always amazed at the effect it has on my skin!  Helps keep it healthy and clear.  I seriously feel like I'm glowing (even when I'm not pregnant) as soon as I put it on.  It makes me feel far more confident about having no make-up days.  This oil is quite a pricey one, but so worth it.  By far, the best thing I ever added to my simple skin care routine!

Lemongrass & Oregano (wart removal)
Last summer, Liam got water warts on the back of his knees from all of our time spent at the pool (so gross, I know).  And they are contagious when sharing towels, baths, etc.; so yep, Finn got them too (double gross).  We saw a dermatologist along with a variety of other doctors.  Our only options were steroid creams (no thank you) or freezing them off (the boys would freak), so I was feeling rather helpless.  Then our amazing pediatrician recommended oregano oil.  I did my own research and also discovered that lemongrass was another good option.  Both of these are "hot oils" so you have to dilute!  I do two drops of lemongrass in their bath each night, and then I take a roller ball of coconut oil & oregano (only 2 drops of oregano oil for my 10mL bottle) to their water warts once they are out & dried off.  It was has worked like magic!  I was honestly shocked.

This is a "grounding" blend.  But mostly, I just love the scent!  It's my favorite!  I diffuse this frequently (and if it happens to help keep the boys more balanced then yay).  I also put a drop of this on my lava essentials necklace when I wear it.

On Guard (sickness prevention)
I'll diffuse this if someone in the house is sick, but I mostly use my rollerball.  I put it on the boys feet if we're going to some super crowded public places (especially in winter) or before we fly on an airplane.  I also apply it to them if they are sick just to help with any further illness; it can't hurt!

Breathe & Eucalyptus (stuffiness)
I use both of these in the diffuser at night if someone is particularly stuffed up.  I will also use them in a rollerball and apply around our sinuses and under our nose to help with breathing.

Digestzen (tummy aches)
I rub this on our bellies whenever someone has a tummy ache.  I use a drop along with some coconut oil.  I've also used lemongrass for this same reason and had good results.

I seriously use this for everything.  Occasionally I'll diffuse it for nighttime, but mostly I just have a rollerball of it.  We use it for burns & bug bites most frequently.  It's just a great oil to have on hand.

I diffuse this in our kitchen if it's stinky (after cooking fish or something like that), although I know that Purify can be a better option for that.  I also have a rollerball of it that I use on my face if I feel a zit coming on.

Peppermint (headaches)
I have a rollerball of this on hand for any headaches.  I find that it works best if I use it as soon as I'm getting a headache.  If it's already really bad, the peppermint doesn't do much, and then I still need a painkiller.  Sometimes I use both together.

Wild Orange, Grapefruit, Etc.  (fruits scents)
I like to have a couple of these on hand.  Sometimes just to throw in the diffuser for a pick me up.  Sometimes I like to put a few drops on my wool dryer balls or in my dishwasher.  The opportunities are endless.

Now I would love to hear from you!  What do you use oils for?!  Share all your secrets.  I'm especially interested in oils used during & after labor for mama & baby.  Hope this was helpful!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Father's Day Camping Trip 2017

This past weekend we traveled way up into the mountains to our favorite camping spot at Smith & Morehouse Reservoir.  I think Conor & I like it so much, because it's as close as we can get to that Pacific Northwest feel while still in Utah.  Tons of trees, lots of water, & the fishing is superb!  I was a little nervous about the nighttime temps (hello 40 degrees), but we managed to stay warm.  A little trick: throw some really big rocks in your campfire at night.  Then place them in a corner of your tent (on something heat proof) to help keep it toasty all night long.  It seriously works and is probably the only way we survived the chilly nights.  Well that and that massive amount of blankets I brought.  And the middle of the night snuggles!

In anticipation of this trip, we bought the boys their own fishing poles!  I knew this would help with their patience if they each had a rod to be responsible for and play with.  Finn mostly wanted to reel his line in nonstop, while Liam waited ever so carefully.  Both boys love choosing a worm, and I baited my first hooks in oh, 20+ years.  Still a pro at it!  The stream (river?) was absolutely rushing, since we had a big winter here.  Lots of snow melt still happening.  It was hard to find calm spots to fish, and we often had to cross fallen trees to get to get to them.  My balance is little off these days, but I managed not to ever fall in... can't say the same for Conor.  Over the weekend we caught 4 arctic grayling, 2 cutthroat trout, & 1 brook trout.  A huge success!  While I anticipated that we would do more hiking, the fishing kept everyone occupied.

It was by far one of the more relaxing weekends I've had.  No schedule.  No other families to coordinate with.  Just us.  We slept in.  We had long slow meals.  We hammocked.  We picked wildflowers.  We got crazy dirty, muddy being in & out of the stream.  We spotted a deer and listened to the noisiest squirrels ever.  And each night, we fell asleep to the loud roar of the stream behind our tent.  We were completely unplugged.  I love that.  I notice more.  More smiles, more laughter.  More little in between moments that can get lost in a busy day.  Good conversations all around.  Neither Conor nor I grew up camping, so it's somewhat strange that it has become one of our family's favorite pastimes.  It's a big part of us, and I cannot imagine spending our summers any other way.

Each night we stayed up super late making s'mores only by campfire light (and headlamps, there is a big headlamp obsession) & watching all the stars appear.  Jupiter is still incredibly bright and often the first "star" we spot.  Mornings are for sleeping in & the lingering in the tent for snuggles & tickles and shenanigans until someone is brave enough to hit the cold air and start a fire (not me).  Often I had no idea what time it was, and it didn't even matter.  I'm usually a crazy big planner, but somehow I was able to let that go and just see where the day and the boys took us.

It's quite an effort to get us all packed up for a two night trip.  The food alone sometimes feels outrageous for a family of four.  And we fill our car to the brim!  I have no idea how we will manage next summer with an extra carseat in the mix.  But it's always worth all the hardwork as soon as camp is set up.  We've actually enjoyed our last two trips so much, that we're thinking our next one should be three nights.  Just to get more out of all the packing & preparing.  If only we didn't have to rush back home on Sundays to prepare for the week ahead.

I will say that it's getting slightly more & more uncomfortable to camp.  Getting in & out of the tent, maneuvering an air mattress, getting dressed in a tent...  all those things are just a tad bit harder.  I didn't plan on slowing down, but I may need to just a little bit.  We're planning another trip around Liam's birthday when I'll be 35 weeks pregnant, and I'm hoping to squeeze one in during August too. But for that last trip we'll probably go somewhere with cell service just to be safe!  I want to create these summer memories with just my two older boys, before we have that family shift to newborn life again.

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