Sprinkle Room! A Little Girls Dream Bedroom.

I am not going to lie, designing this room for Caroline enabled me to live vicariously through her and create the ultimate fun, bright colored, and coolest sprinkle room ever! When I first discovered sprinkle wall decals on Pinterest, I knew I had to incorporate sprinkles into our oldest daughters room design.

IW5A8178.JPG

IW5A8143

When we lived in Gainesville, Fla. our home had three bedrooms, so when we found out we were pregnant with our youngest daughter we decided the girls would share a room in order to preserve the guest bedroom. The room was large, but we wanted to find a bed with extra storage or a loft to create more space for the girl’s. We looked all over and eventually settled on the IKEA KURA White, Pine Reversible bed.

 

 

We picked this bed for a few reasons: One, if she ended up scared of sleeping in a loft bed it was reversible and could be easily changed to a normal bed. Two, it was under $300.

Since it was new and we wanted the transition to be exciting for Caroline, we made the bed extra cool by adding a pink tent!

The search for the right dresser was also a challenge because of the raw wood on the loft bed but we settled with an IKEA dresser with the plan of maybe painting it or changing out the knobs but once we got it in the room it was a perfect fit as is. We used two IKEA mirrors as a vanity over her dresser. They were originally in our room but ended up being perfect for Caroline’s new room. Next, to her dresser, we created a gallery wall with all kinds of fun things!

IW5A8175

Of course, she needed a unicorn for her wall, we found the cutest one at Hobby Lobby and used a few pieces that were in her old room. I ordered a watercolor donut print to tie in with the sprinkle theme. A few years back I made her a holder for her bows and other hair accessories with yarn and an old rocking chair spool.

 

 

The room would not be the Sprinkle Room without the sprinkle wall! We found the decals on Amazon and they were a great deal ($12.73). My husband installed them and it was way easier than we anticipated. We painted all the other walls a soft pink per Caroline’s request and left the sprinkle wall white. On the sprinkle wall sits a fun little reading nook and bookcase.  This can also be found on Amazon for just $79.33!

IW5A8150IW5A8190

To finish off her room we wanted to create space where she could play in her bedroom but not take up too much real estate. We found an awesome wall mounted dollhouse from Ikea and got an adorable cloud light to mount above it. We ordered furniture for it off Amazon that matched her room and she LOVES it.

The light makes a great night light for her as well as looks cool over the house.

IW5A8163

The Sprinkle Room was the talk of the neighborhood amongst all the little girls when we first moved in and if you asked Caroline what she like most about her new house she would always answer by saying “My Sprinkle Room!” Having little girls is so fun and I love decorating their rooms by bringing imaginative colors and decor. I can’t wait to share Ella Jaye’s room next!

IW5A8132

IW5A8198

IW5A8134Sprink Bedroom Little Girls Dream room.jpg

7 Black Friday Shopping​ Tips

Black Friday is here, but are you ready for it? Here are seven shopping tips to help you get the most out of Black Friday 2018.

  1. Use Ebates: This is a no-brainer, but I know many people shopping online without it. Make sure to create an Ebates account, if you do not already have one. This will save you even more on top of the regular Black Friday sales. Last year, I saved over $100 on my holiday shopping by using Ebates and continue to use it all year-round.
  2. Shop online: Skip the busy stores and shop online this Friday, as most of the deals will be online and with Ebates you can save even more. You will also skip the hassle of the crowds and most retailers offer free shipping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  3. Do your research! If you must go out, make sure you know what you are looking for. Do your research so you can get in and out without wandering around. The best deals will be gone first so hustle, hustle, hustle!
  4. Use a rewards card: This goes for all shopping but consider using your credit card with the best rewards so you can rack up the points and get even more bang for your buck!
  5. Amazon Prime: Shopping on Amazon is so easy and they categorize their black Friday deals so you can sift through it all easily. Being a Prime member is awesome year-round so don’t forget about Amazon this week when shopping.
  6. Window shop beforehand: If you have time or even on the day of you can window shop and make lists of what you want and what sizes etc. Then just go home and order them online using coupons and Ebates to save more.
  7. Arrive caffeinated: Okay, so this should be #1 but DO NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT YOUR COFFEE or you will get stuck in 30+ min long line for Starbucks.

Happy shopping everyone!7 Black Friday Shopping Tips.jpg

Shopping for the Photographer in Your life

Early Black Friday 2018 – Amazon Deals

Unique Gifts for Mom That Will Put You On Her Nice List!

Some links provided are affiliate links.

Gift Ideas For Your Kids that are NOT Toys.

As Mom, I try to instill a sense of appreciation and great fullness into my daughters. When they are preschool aged that can be hard. They don’t grasp the concept of their fortune and at times struggle to show appreciation for what they have.  My husband and I have given this lots of thought over the past few months and decided no more “toys” in-between birthdays and holidays and when we do gift them toys we are going to put more thought behind what we select and start providing them with more experiences, but more on that later.

In my efforts to find more practical gifts for my girls this 2018 Christmas season, I have compiled a list of some fun gift ideas that I want to share with you all!

The Nugget: This is the perfect addition to a playroom, bedroom or family room! If you have young children who love to climb, build forts and can be a tad rough on your typical couch The Nugget should be on the top of Santa’s list!

Nugget.jpg

$229

https://nuggetcomfort.com/products/the-nugget

Family Vacation: This one can be hard to decide on last min but maybe this will encourage you to consider this next year. Give your entire family the gift of travel! This can be a small weekend trip to Disney or a big family trip to Hawaii. You can get creative with how you deliver the gift depending on where you are going. I plan on getting my daughter a pink suitcase and making “plane tickets” for the family so she has something to open on Christmas morning. We will also get some travel toys for the journey as her stocking stuffers.

IW5A3847.jpg

We even convinced our 4 year old to ask Santa for our trip this year, so she better be good!

Monthly Subscription Box: There are lots of fun options for subscriptions such as the Bluum Box, Kiwico Box, Little Passports and may more. Find on that fits your kids age and personality. Make sure to order it before the holiday so they can unwrap their first box that day. Kids love getting mail and depending on how long of a subscription you get they will have something fun to open every month! Disclaimer, there might be toys in the box but we still think this is a fun alternative to Barbie or Nurf Guns.

IW5A4657

Music or Language Lessons: My 4 year old is always asking for piano, guitar and violin lessons, don’t ask me why she picked those…I would love for her to start learning so what better idea then to gift her the lessons for Christmas. She also has curiosity for language so what better way to expand on that then getting her Spanish lessons. If having one on one classes seems to costly consider buying a program to learn music or language or betty get both!

Memberships: Depending on where you live this can be a great alternative to toys. Being in Atlanta we have tons of options and when we lived in Florida we got annual passes to theme parks. However, if Disney or Sea World are not nearby you can get a membership to your Local Zoo, Museum or Aquarium.

Movie Tickets: This is a great idea of kids 4 and up, they will love using “their tickets” to go see a movie or two of their choice. It also give you something for them to look forward to doing on a rainy day or random school teacher work day in the near future.

Bird Feeder of Garden: This one seems silly but how much do you want to bet if your kid unwraps a cool bird feeder they won’t be super excited to run out back and set it up. Just make sure you have a spot for it in the yard that they can observe it year-round from the window. You can also get an indoor garden for them to learn about growing plants. Warning if you are like me and kill everything stick with the bird feeder so there is less disappointment.

A fish: Okay, yes this will be some work like the garden but you can get a simple Goldfish or Beta fish that they can keep in their room. Make sure they are responsible enough for a pet before buying this one. We obviously do not want any fish harmed…

As you can see there are all kinds of great gift ideas out there that are not Toys. This list can go on and on, but these are some of our favorite non-toy gift ideas. It is important that we teach our children the value of toys and all the wonderful things they are gifted and blessed to have. It is also important they experience life away from technology every now and then so mixing up the Christmas list a bit this year might just help them do that a little more.

Non Toy Gift Ideas for kids.jpg

5 Tips for Photographing Holiday Moments

With Thanksgiving tomorrow and the winter holidays around the corner we wanted to share some tips for capturing your holiday moments in order to preserve the memories for years to come.

1. Hire a professional:

If you are lucky enough to have the entire extended family under one roof why not hire a professional photographer to come take some family photos! This can be a simple group session or give each individual family the opportunity to have the entire group and then do separate photos of their household clan. This is a great time and money saving alternative for your yearly family photos.

2. Upload to the Cloud:

Almost everyone in the family these days has an iPhone or smartphone. While you are all together AirDrop your images, or save them to a share cloud so you can all access each other’s photos. This is fun for us Mom’s and photographers because we are offer the one behind the camera but having access to everyone’s photos you might end up with some special images of yourself interacting with family.

3. Don’t forget to take a Group shot:

This one is hard because children and adults alike can be hard to wrangle, but having a group shot at the Thanksgiving Table or around the Christmas tree is something you will admire for years to come.  Weather you set a timer and all cram on a couch or use a trip pod, make it happen!

4. Document throughout the day:

Make sure you are snapping photos all day long so you can tell the story of the day with your images. Cousins embracing upon arrival, mom or dad cooking in the kitchen and the waves goodbye at the end of Grandma and Grandpa’s stay.

5. Don’t forget the details:

Make sure to grab some close ups of the turkey and pie or the gifts piled up around the tree before the kids come down stairs to ravish them! It can be fun to use these as before and after comparison as the day progresses.

Hopefully these tips will help preserve the great memories you make with your family this year! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Happy holidays in the weeks and months to come.

More Photography Related Posts:

6 Tips for Making the Most of Your Holiday Family Photos in 2018

7 Ways to Ruin Your Family Photos in 2018

Tips for photographing the holidays.jpg

 

Things to Do in New York City with Toddlers

I love New York, New York! Ever since my first visit there when I was in middle school until now, NYC has been and will always be my favorite city to visit. Since Caroline was born, I have been there three times (she is now four), so about once a year since she was a baby. My favorite time to visit NYC is late fall because of the fall colors and the magic of the holiday season popping up everywhere.

Traveling to a big city with children no matter their age can be stressful, but to my surprise, New York City is very kid friendly. Read my post on tips for traveling to big cities with small children.

There is so much to do in NYC but no everything is manageable with small children. Here is a list of things I recommend doing when you visit the Big Apple with your little apple.

Central Park: This is a no-brainer. A huge park in the big city — what toddler or kid would not enjoy that. Central Park is very kid friendly. You can take a nice stroll and enjoy the city views, ride the carousel, watch people, play with remote controlled boats, or enjoy one of the many playgrounds.

Central Park Zoo: If you plan on visiting Central Park I recommend making a day of it and visiting the Zoo. It is small so you won’t need a full day there but when you finish you can explore more of Central Park. When at the Zoo, don’t forget to visit the Children’s Zoo where you can pet and feed goats.

Manhattan Children’s Museum: I was surprised at how small this museum is but thought it was very well done. They have a few stories of interactive things to do with young children. There also is a section with an indoor playground and a mock Oval Office. It’s a great spot for a photo op. The museum is set in a more residential area but has lots of places to eat and even a cute children’s shoe store around the corner worth checking out.

Bryant Park: This is a fun place to visit and have lunch, but if you are there during the holiday season they have an awesome Christmas Market with great food trucks, a candy store and of course, Christmas lights set up.

9/11 Memorial Park: I would not recommend bringing toddlers or preschoolers to the museum. It is just not the right place for rambunctious kids but the 9/11 Memorial is beautiful and the surrounding area is perfect for walking (or running) around. We visited the Memorial then walked around the financial district on the waterfront path and it was beautiful.

IMG_3636

Battery Park and Lady Liberty: We recommend visiting this park. It is historic but sometimes crowded and touristy. We have done it both ways: once taking Caroline to see Lady Liberty and one time just enjoying the view and waterfront park. If you do want to go to Lady Liberty arrive early to beat the crowds. There is not much to do on the boat or island other than taking pictures so keep that in mind when visiting with children.

Rockefeller Center: If you are looking for traditional NYC adventures take your kiddos to Rockefeller Center and let them peek into the windows of all the nicely decorated shops, and pop in the Lego shop for a visit. If they are old enough they can ice skate. I also love the view from the top of the Rock, but if you know your children can’t wait in line for long just skip it and come back the next time you have an adults-only getaway to the city. If you want you can walk over to Times Square but to be honest there is not much to do there for young children and the crowds are maddening, so unless you absolutely have to see it skip Times Square with toddlers.

Children’s History Museum: We had a blast here and would recommend it to anyone with kids 2.5 and up. There are lots of things to do for preschool aged kids and big kids alike. Caroline loved it but did not understand all the interactive things they had since it is for all ages. It is also located in a very pretty part of town. If you are visiting now through Jan. 27, you can see the special Harry Potter Exhibit!

IW5A0103

New York Transit Museum: Kids love this place! They can play in an old Subway Car and for some reason, transit-themed museums are always a hit with preschoolers.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum: If you want to experience the Brooklyn Bridge, make a day of it. Visit the Bridge, but be cautious with little ones because it is a working bridge so lots of walkers, cyclists, and runners around. Then stop off at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum for some interactive learning fun!

Coney Island: If you are visiting in the summer months enjoy a New York classic! There is so much to do and see here for all ages. It is quite the experience for adults and children alike.

High Line: If you the weather’s good and you want a place your toddler can toddle more freely, check out this beautiful urban walkway! It is a must see one-of-a-kind place and isn’t quite as busy as most outdoor spaces in NYC, so a great place to take a stroll with your kiddos.

Children’s Museum of Art: Another great interactive experience for children in NYC. This is a great spot for fun photos of your kiddos. So, if you are looking for another great indoor activity this place is worth checking out.

This list could go on and on because there is just so much to do in a big city like New York City, with lots of museums and parks, great food and entertainment. However, these are some of our favorites and are a good start, especially for your first visit to the Big Apple with your kids.

Things to do in NYC with Toddlers.jpg

Shopping for the Photographer in Your life

As a photographer, it is hard to go through this season without scoping out my favorite items of the trade on the market. There are so many amazing cameras and accessories out there for photographers of every skill level. If you have a photographer in your life or an aspiring one here are some great gift ideas for making their Christmas morning, feel like they are a kid again!

The On-The-Go

Even professional photographers love to have a good point-and-shoot camera on hand. If you are looking for something small that still gets the job done (better than your iPhone), consider gifting a point-and-shoot camera.

Canon PowerShot:I have been using one of these since college. It’s very reliable, takes amazing photos, and is a great alternative to a big clunky SLR camera. They work well in low light and also in sports settings, and are perfect for travel and snapping photos of your kids.

The Beginner

Canon Rebel Package Deal: If you have someone on your list looking to take photography to the next level, you can’t go wrong with Canon Rebel. I have more than one of these and still shoot with them regularly. It’s smaller than a full-format SLR, the price is great, and the technology now is so amazing it takes just as high-quality images as a 60D or any other full-format SLR on the market. You will not only get the camera but a zoom lens and SD card to get your budding photo enthusiast started on the journey to becoming a photographer.

The Sports Lover

The Canon Rebel: I can’t say enough great things about Rebels. It is the backbone to how I got my start as a photojournalist. People sometimes confuse the camera with the “quality” of images and yes that often is a factor. But you don’t need a big fancy camera to capture amazing images if you have a good eye for composition. Rebels also are VERY durable. I have tossed mine around and traveled the world with it and it still is going strong! But the lightweight body and the camera speed are what make the Rebel a good sports camera.

Battery Grip: Having a battery grip not only adds to the length of battery time you have, it also makes the camera larger and easier to switch from horizontal to vertical shots. It makes shooting on larger lenses for sports easier. Since the Rebel is a smaller SLR, having a large telephoto or zoom makes it feel off balance. So make sure to grab one of these for the aspiring sports photographer on your list.

Zoom Lenses or Prime Telephoto Lenses: If the desire is for taking amazing sports photos, will a zoom or telephoto lens is needed. Depending on your budget there are a few good options for them.

75-300mm is a good budget friendly zoom option

400 mm prime is great but not a budget friendly buy!

The Semipro

Canon EOS 6D: Having a full-format camera and the appropriate lenses are what takes photography to the next level. Making sure you stay in a budget can be hard because once you start buying full-frame the price goes up for the camera body and the lenses. There is no turning back from here in your investment but it will be well worth the bump.

I have not personally used this camera but have read great things about it. It is full frame but does not coast as much as the 5D, so I would recommend this to anyone not looking to be a professional photographer but that wants to start shopping more like a professional.

Off Camera Flash: once you get into this grade of camera there is no longer built-in flash so make sure you add an off-camera flash to your photographer’s wish list. There are a few great options based on your budget.

50 MM 1.4: This lens is a must for someone wanting to take great portraits. It is a great lifestyle every day lenses. The price is manageable and won’t break the bank.

24 MM EFS 2.8: Is a great pocket lens that won’t break the bank but will utilize the full frame and take some great wider primeshots.

The Professional

Canon Mark 5D:  Any pro would love a new camera body but once you hit this level of photography the investment in a camera is significant.  I shoot with a 5D and love it. I have had it for about five years and it is going strong. They are sturdy and take beautiful, very high-resolution images. When you have a camera like this you need to make sure to upgrade your glass to follow suit!

Canon EF 24-70: Is a go-to lens for me. I have the Samsung version because it is more cost efficient but the Canon EF series is my dream lens. This is great for everyday lifestyle shooting.

Canon EF 85 MM: This is if you are looking for a more affordable portrait lens. It takes beautiful images and is great for lifestyle portraits.

Canon EF 70-200mm: This is almost a rite-of-passage lens for professional photographers. Once you have the EF 70-200 2.8 you have reached professional level. It was something I saved up for over a year before buying and it has been used for countless wedding and events.

Canon EF 100mm 2.8: This is an epic lens for detail shots! It is not necessary but worth having in your camera bag, especially if you do lots of nature or wedding photography. I love mine and even use it for portraits sometimes when I’m looking for a change of pace.

The Traveler

Go Pro: There are lots of travel recs, but if you’re looking for the perfect gift for a traveling photographer get a Go Pro! They likely already have an SLR and lenses, so up their game with the Go Pro. 

Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II: A great gear bag is essential for traveling photographers. This backpack is a great bag for photographers on the road.

Budget-Friendly Gifts

SD Cards: San Disc Ultra Disc 32 GB or bigger. You can never have enough memory cards and after time they need to be swapped out, so you don’t lose images due to a corrupt card. These come in all sizes and price ranges but are affordable. Be sure to get one with a fast record speed.

Lowepro Passport Sling III: After years of going through bag after bag, this has always been my go to and fallback. It’s so easy to use and holds exactly what I need when shooting a wedding, traveling, or just enjoying some camera hobby time. The price point also is great for the quality!

 Small Tripod: There are lots of options for this so depending on your photographer’s needs pick one you think will be used the most. I have several and use the one I can use with MY SLR and iPhone the most.

Some but not all product links provided are Amazon Affiliate links*

Shopping for the Photographer in Your life

Early Black Friday 2018 – Amazon Deals

Here are some 2018 Black Friday Amazon deals you can start shopping now. First, make sure you are shopping via Ebates to save even more on this black Friday! Then start your online shopping!

This set of Adorable Girls Hair Clips (50Psc) for $7.64! What a great deal!

This Diapper Bag Back Pack for only $20.96

Ezpz Mini Mat on sale for on $15.99

Nuk Trasitional Sippy cup! These are the ones we use and they are onsale now for just $5.21

Ummm this nursing cover is only $6.39!!

This awsome trasitional High Chair is onsale for only $89.99 buy it today and it will last over the years.

Going somewhere for the holidays? Grab this check bag carseat cover for only $8.93

A set of silicone bibs $14 or less!

Make sure to check back for more Black Friday deals!

2018 Amazon Prime Deals.jpg

Links provided are Amazon Affiliate links.