Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Stone Harbor, NJ 2014

Earlier this month we took our annual vacation to Stone Harbor, NJ.
We go with Chris' side of the family (his mom, sister, my niece and nephew). This year Chris had to work, but he was able to join us for the weekend and on Friday. It was forecasted to be a dreary week, but the weather held up most of the time allowing us to enjoy the beach, pool, mini golf, ice cream and my favorite shopping downtown.
I kept things simple at the beach since I was alone by just bringing a towel and letting the kids each take a few toys they could carry back. 

SallyKate Photography was kind enough to recommend these boots for the beach. If you have a toddler that wants you to carry them through the hot sand on the beach, try rubber boots!

We enjoyed dinner out a few nights... well as ice cream at Springers. 

I love how pretty the shop streets are. 
I picked up a few vintage pieces downtown for my Mom's birthday and hooded sweaters for the kids. 
It was a relaxing week and we are grateful to my mother-in-law for providing us with a place to stay! 
When/where did you vacation this year? 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

July 4, 2014

This was the first time I've ever used sparklers. EVER. They aren't sold here in NJ, so our relatives brought us some from PA for Independence Day.
We spent the holiday at my parent's beach house in Bethany Beach, DE which has become a tradition over the last few years.

Mini golf, the beach, some outlet shopping and rides at Rehobeth Beach made for a fun time despite the rain. I missed my firework photos, due to the rain but the sparklers were a good change up.

How did you spend the 4th of July? What are your traditions? 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Worldwide Photo Walk!

Enjoy photography? Join the annual photo walk on Saturday, October 11th! It's FREE. Just put in your location to find a walk in your area. It's a way to connect and be inspired. I decided to participate in the Princeton University walk. I was considering the Philadelphia Love Park walk too, but I wanted to travel to a new location to hopefully be inspired. If you're in the Princeton area and want to join me, I'd love to meet up! You can find locations and info here.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Yes, We're Catholic and Our Kids are Going to Public School!

It's coming up on that time of year again. I just received the paperwork for my first child to enter kindergarten. Isn't that crazy?! During back to school shopping, meetings, and filing paper work, I found myself doing something else: Defending my choice to use our local public elementary school. 

We're practicing Catholics that attend church weekly, pray as a family, and raise our children based on our morals and values. Our families and friends are largely faith based as well. I've been challenged as to why I'm choosing public school vs. Catholic or Homeschooling. First, I'm an NJ and PA certified teacher, so I know a little of what I'm doing ;)

I've been asked if I'm afraid my children will turn away from our faith if they attend public school. I don't think schooling methods has a lot to do with that. I think parenting does. My husband attended public school his whole life and wasn't brought up in the faith, but I married him because of his strong faith. I know many that attended public school and are strong Catholics. I know many that were strictly homeschooled and have turned away from their faith.

I was homeschooled and attended a private Catholic college and you know what? My faith was most tested in college! That's right. I went to a Catholic college and there met the most challenge to my beliefs from both other students and professors. If my children are questioned on their faith in elementary school, I hope and expect them to defend their faith (on their level) the same way they will in high school, college and the world one day.

We live in a very good school district. That has weighed heavily in our decision. We pay almost $9,000 a year in taxes. That's a great deal of taxes and I plan to enjoy the benefits for a few years. We have already talked and decided that we may have our kids attend private middle/high schools. We're not sure about it yet, it will depend on the quality of education offered at that time. At this present moment, our kids will attend our local public elementary school which goes to sixth grade.

I go for orientation later this month and school starts September 4th. I'll be sure to post honest updates evaluating our kid's education our through the years. Right now, I'm excited and can't wait to be involved in the school community in our area.

What type of education do you use/plan to use for your child(ren) or future children? What educational experiences have you had that you would like to share?  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Jo Totes Camera Bag

I still can't believe my good luck that I won this Jo Totes camera bag through Grace's giveaway! I had been saying for months that I needed to purchase a camera bag for personal use. My professional bag is too large and cumbersome.
Jo Totes has lots of cute options and colors to select. Good quality leather and adjustable inside compartments. It came with a second style of strap too. I love that it looks like a stylish purse and not a camera bag. I selected their Gracie bag in mint
How much does it hold? I'll be up front and say it's not meant to replace your professional bag. It's meant for quick trips when you want to grab your camera and a lens or two. I have a Nikon D800 and it holds my camera body and two lenses comfortably. I also tucked my GoPro and the Grenade Grip in the front pockets. It's a perfect size for a day out or family get together which is exactly what I needed. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Evie's First Ride

Here is a short video of Evangeline who finally learned how to pedal her bike! Be sure to watch in HD by clicking the gear symbol at the bottom right and selecting 1080p. 

I've been working hard on learning how to shoot and edit video. This was filmed with my GoPro. I've been struggling the most with learning how to edit in iMovie and finding good quality, free music. Any tips/suggestions? I plan to purchase Final Cut Pro once I master iMovie and save up the cost.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Eve Pearl Salmon Concealer

*This is NOT a sponsored post

Eve Pearl Salmon Concealer, the "Holy Grail" of concealers and with a hefty price tag of almost $40 I had high expectations. I should put a disclaimer first that I have mild under eye circles. I've tried MAC and L'Oreal concealers in the past and was very disappointed.

This concealer works differently from most, in that you apply in two steps. The lighter color brightens under eye areas. The second step works by applying a darker salmon color to reduce bluish/purplish under eye circles. The salmon color is worth it's weight in gold. It looks much more natural than the stark white of most concealers on the market.

•No parabens, water free, fragrance free
•High quality packaging with mirror compact
•Works in TWO steps unlike most concealers
•Natural looking when applied
Astaxanthin treatment included

•Expensive (I waited for a sale and got it for $12)
•Long shipping time
•Worked best out of concealers I've tried, but still not amazing

Overall, I'm open to trying other concealers. This didn't feel like "the one" for me and I'm not exactly sure why. It was good, but not great. I may just try the medium salmon concealer in the future. The astaxanthin treatment made a big difference in reducing dark circles and improving the under eye area. I saw a noticeable difference after about two uses.

What concealers have you tried? What has worked the best for you? 


I just wanted to share a few photos of Christopher from his first season of t-ball this spring.
I really wish I didn't wait till the last game to take photos. My angles were limited. It's hard to get the motivation to take personal photos, when I do it professionally.
T-ball is certainly a test of patience for kids and adults. It takes so long for each child on the team to hit and it's hard to keep the kid's attention on the field while waiting. Christopher did a lot of playing in the sand. It was his first year, so I tried to remember that.
He'll be in coach pitch and Andrew will be in t-ball next year.

Monday, June 23, 2014

5 Favorite Mary Kay Products

1. Cleansing Brush this is the #1 product from Mary Kay. I've blogged it's praises before, and six months later it's still going strong. It's just a great value at $50 with batteries and two cleansing heads. It's waterproof and has two speeds. Better value than the Clarisonic.

2. Au Natural Lipgloss I hosted a MK party and the beauty consultant was wearing this shade. I loved it and purchased. The photo color isn't accurate. It's a neutral biege, perfect for summer. It applies like a MAC lipgloss.

3. Oil Free Make Up Remover I got this product for free for hosting a party. It has a waterlike consistency, doesn't feel oily or sticky, odorless and doesn't burn. It worked as well as the Estée Lauder fomula I've used in the past.

4. Satin Hands Kit this is a product I have not purchased. I tried a sample at my party and was so impressed. I have very dry hands and this made them look and feel great. I'll be purchasing this in the fall/winter.

5. Travel Roll Up Bag this is another product I don't own, but I've seen two consultants with it. The quality impressed me. The bags are removable/washable and it comes with a metal hook for hanging when traveling. It rolls compact.

*My sister and fellow blogger Perpetua came to my MK party and loved their products so much that she became a consultant! All the links above connect through her to purchase. I was NOT sponsored for this post. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What I've Been Meaning to Blog...

I wanted to blog about my health and some of the things I have been going through the last six months. I don't know exactly when it started, but after I had Evie I had hair loss. Everyone told me that was totally normal for postpartum and it is. The difference was the hair loss never stopped. I kept losing hair six, nine, twelve, twenty-four months later. I could literally pull out clumps of hair.

I was pretty forgetful too. I began forgetting dentist appointments, sessions and to-do lists. I didn't think much of that, I mean I am a mom of three kids under five years old. 

My hands were dry too. Of course I figured I wasn't drinking enough water (do we ever?) and it was winter. 

Last I was having occasional night sweats. Again I thought it wasn't unusual. I was always cold and would pile on blankets at night. It was probably all the layers. 

I went to my regular doctor visit in January and mentioned my hair loss. That was my biggest problem. I thought it was genetic. My doctor figured routine blood work would be good. It had been three years since I had blood work done. 

What were the results? Not what I expected. I had Underactive Thyroid caused from Hashimoto Thyrioditis. What does that mean? My immune system was attacking my thyroid and my thyroid was being suppressed by it. My body was trying to over stimulate my thyroid to work, so that's why my symthoms were so gradual that I brushed them off. It was most likely triggered by my pregnancy with Evie. Immune system disruptions like pregnancy and postpartum can reek havoc on your body. My blood levels were a mess. However, I wasn't feeling bad other than the annoying hair loss. How could I be so sick, when I felt so well?

I've been having blood work every six weeks, doctor/specialist visits and trying to get on the right dose of medication. 

At first the diagnosis was devastating to me. While it's fully/easily treatable, I've always been anti-medication. I don't take over the counter medications or have medicated births. I think medication causes many of the health problems in our country. Yet here I was faced with daily medication as my only effective option. I researched natural methods, but they were hardly effective. I still use many natural remedies like natural supplements, salt baths, thyroid massage, eat healthy, avoid foods that block thyroid function and changed many of the products in our home to natural

I will say for anyone out there scared with this diagnosis, I feel exactly the same on medication. I don't have any side effects and my symthoms have subsided. 

Why am I blogging about all of this? I'm hoping to raise awareness and encourage people to get routine blood work! You might feel fine, but getting bloodwork every two-three years is essential. Also I'd like to put it out there and hear from people who also have this.