If you’re anything like me, Black Friday is simply a day you wear black (it’s most slimming to conceal your Thanksgiving meal sins!), sit in front of the TV/iPad and totally veg out with little to no interaction with the “outside.”
Fighting aggressive crowds in overheated stores and packed parking lots is not exactly my idea of fun. But that’s just me… Personally, I prefer spending a few quality hours in front of my laptop with a coffee in hand on Cyber Monday and totally rocking my holiday shopping list.
I’ll be honest, I couldn’t handle the election result anxiety and fell asleep around 10:30am, only to wake up at 2 am to the news of a new President Elect.
With the 2016 Election results official, (for better-or-worse) this country is headed for major change. Based on the voter turnout and the months-long hostility brewing between constituents, clearly people felt moved enough about the current state of the country to make their voices heard and exercise their right as citizens.
So with new leadership being positioned to take over in 2017, now is the ideal time for us all to consider what all this change means for us and the things we want to see happen for ourselves, our friends and family and our country in 2017. Change is a complicated thing — before anything changes, we need to ultimately figure out exactly what we want.
As promised, I’m back with the second installment of 20 Questions!
I was so thrilled to hear that you enjoyed this little exercise LAST TIME AROUND! This week, I’m digging in and answering a few of the tougher questions I’ve had sent over. Although I post 5x a week, I still have a hard time sharing personal details about myself, so this has been a great opportunity to open up a bit more so that you guys can get to know me a little better. So much happens behind the scenes of THD and my life in general — it’s nice to finally share those details with you!
I remember always being surprised by people’s unexpected answers. As silly as it sounds, that game was one of the best ways of really getting to know someone and their intricacies. I thought it could be interesting to share and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about me, about THD and about life in general… maybe not 20, though? That could be overkill.
Instead, let’s start this exercise with 5 really good ones…
Isn’t it amazing what talented photographers can capture with a few clicks? No bickering, no meltdowns (adult AND child), no insecurities — just pure joy and love come through their lenses. After recently borrowing some camera equipment from my friend and photographer extraordinaire, SHANNON AHLSTRAND, I came to the realization that:
1) Photography is physically hard work, y’all!
2) Shannon is a magician with the camera.
When giving back her equipment, I made sure to tell her as much and made her pinky swear that she would never leave me!!! She made me promise that I would help her put together a handy guide about coordinating complimentary color schemes and family photo wardrobes, which is apparently a HUGE source of anxiety/stress among her clients… even more so than getting everyone to smile pretty!
So here we are… and here YOU are:
6 RULES FOR NAILING FAMILY PHOTO FASHION
1) Location, Location, Location…
Prior to picking any color scheme or specific outfits, it’s important to know your location. In this case, location has two components:
a. Where are you planning to use these photographs?
When booking your photographer, make sure you let them know exactly what you’re considering using your images for. Now, think about that specific space – a hallway, an office, a bedroom… wherever. Those spaces all have different color schemes in place and you want your beautiful family portrait to compliment them rather than stick out like a sore thumb.
b. Where are you planning to stage your photo-shoot?
Are you headed downtown for an urban backdrop, a beach-y Lake Erie shore, or a grassy field? Is this going to be a shoot surrounded by the calming shades of blue waters, or a photo opportunity engulfed by intense fall foliage? Your destination and season should be the starting point for selecting complimentary colors — so let’s move on to Rule #2!
2) Select Complimentary Colors
Now that you have a location confirmed, it becomes much easier to hone in on the colors! A summer beach photo-shoot practically begs for more muted, neutral colors, while a lush park setting mid-Fall is the ideal backdrop for richer, bolder tones. It’s important to think outside of the black and white fashion box, because as we can all attest, that’s a sure sign of some great 1980 + 90’s era photography! I swear,every family has at least one portrait shot in matching black or white turtlenecks.
Obviously, the photo below came from awkwardfamilyphotos.com + the caption reads: ‘the family that caters together stays together.’
Need I say more?!
3) Start Neutral
Regardless of where your photo is being captured, each color scheme should be grounded with a neutral to keep it from skewing too circus-like or haphazard. Tans, browns, olives, greys are ideal for this task- and let’s not forget about denim. Yes, denim is a neutral!
4) Play With Color Pairings
So a neutral base has been established, now the fun starts! Let’s consider the beach background… obviously a blue would be a seamless compliment to your surroundings, but blue on it’s own will just fade away into the background. Instead, pair shades of blue with a contrasting pop of color to complete your palette — like a soft coral! Coral is on the opposite side of the color wheel, which is why it works.
Another approach to building a color palette is to complement a color with a color next to iton the color wheel. Continuing with the blue example, a purple or lavender would be a great match!
5) Layers Of Fun
So now you have the color thing sort of figured out, it’s time to make it look like it was all effortless. Easier said than done, right?
Actually, the easiest way to make outfits look natural and unstaged is through creative layering and the use of textures. Don’t be afraid of patterns, textures and layers! Think patterns under a solid jacket, or a plaid shirt open to reveal a solid color tee for men. Women, you’ve got lots of choices: a cardigan over a patterned dress, wrapped with a neutral belt, or a patterned scarf layered over a striped shirt, etc. Get creative, because this is where your personalities can shine through! The layers and textures also give your end photos tons of visual interest which keeps everything from looking too flat (a.k.a. BORING!).
This rule is critical and may be the most important of all: find clothes that fit and flatter. Don’t wear something that’s not perfectly suited to you because it works with everyone else’s looks. Find something that makes you feel confident and fabulous – trust me, it shows in the final product!
Pro tip: A little bit of structure and shape (i.e. button downs, stitching & shaping) also has a way of making us look extra lean on camera!
Also, especially when kids are involved, don’t select anything to precious or fussy. Kids will be kids and therefore by universal law, get dirty. It’s all part of the fun. A good photographer will capture those special moments as they’re jumping in that mud puddle or picking up that disgusting worm, and those will be your favorite shots of the session. I promise.
So, what do you think? Think you’ve got this one?
In case you need a little more help in the visualization department, I’ve put together a few additional color schemes for a family of four.
Make sure to PINTEREST pin + bookmark for your next family shoot!
It’s pretty obvious that New York has made it lifelong imprint on me — the way I dress, the way I carry myself, my political and social opinions, as well as my general personality.
The longer I’m out of my hometown city, the more I recognize the differences between my views and attitudes vs. others. More specifically, my occasionally sarcastic, borderline-pessimistic, neurotic and anxiety-fueled, New-Yorker way of thinking and relating to the world around me. For better, or worse, I can totally relate to the characters of Seinfeld… minus the Elaine Benes dancing part.
Sounds like a hoot, right?
I wish I could change all of that to become this lighthearted and easy-going, go-with-the-flow type of individual, but ultimately the whole “I-am-what-I-am” thing comes into play. At this point in my life, I have enough self-awareness to recognize when I’m falling down the rabbit hole of frustration, annoyance and melancholy and I don’t like it.
In my current role as a wife, parent and business owner, these day-to-day struggles can quickly put a damper on mood, not to mention productivity and creative inspiration. I’ve been thinking a lot about techniques and strategies to maintain positivity and creative gusto and thought that we all could use a positive push in the right direction at times, starting with this list of tips:
STEPS TO POSITIVITY + INSPIRATION
(Even When You DON’T Feel Particularly Positive OR Inspired!)
1. Create a comforting environment for yourself
What does that mean exactly? Well, for me it’s all about structure, order and surrounding myself with aesthetically beautiful things. A clean house, office and desk is a good start. My world can be a hot mess but as long as my bed is made, I feel infinitely better… but that’s me.
2. Find inspiration in the everyday
Whether it’s by looking outside and noticing the changing landscape, browsing a magazine, or even getting lost in the virtual pages of PINTEREST and INSTAGRAM, it’s important that we think outside our own box and allow others to inspire us.
3. Keep a journal
I am guilty of not following my own advice here, but I really think putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) allows you to an opportunity to document all of the things we have to be grateful for. With so much going on in our over-scheduled lives, it’s easy to overlook all of our blessings. Your journal should serve as your constant reminder.
4. Unplug + Disconnect
Between our obsessions with our phones, iPads and high-speed internet connections, unplugging is critical to just allowing our minds to rest, reflect and recover. Whether through meditation, prayer, exercise, or just watching mindless and entertaining television (Hello, ANCIENT ALIENS!) it gives us a chance to bring the focus inward.
5. Change the Conversation
Frustrated at work? Annoyed with the kids? Upset with yourself? Rather than dwell on what is fueling these negative feelings, take action. Insanity is officially defined as a repetition of an action or behavior with the expectation of a different result. Unless you make a change, you can’t expect the world around you to.
Some of these ideas are not exactly groundbreaking, but hey, they work!
What are some of the things that you do when you’re struggling to stay positive and inspired?
Birds are chirping, bees are buzzing and women everywhere are cursing the spring-cleaning struggle, especially when it comes to learning how to clean your closet! As a stylist, the months of March-June are probably some of my busiest as clients are dreaming of crisp new wardrobes and a reclaimed sense of organization after the long winter months.
There is really nothing better than a well-edited wardrobe and an organized closet when it comes to helping you get dressed each morning (this SPRING DRESS COLLECTION can help too)! It’s a game-changer. As part of my mission to leave women loving their style (and closets) again, I’ve come to adapt a 3-category system to make closet purging and organization a much easier task.
Remember these categories: keep, consign + donate.
Let’s start with the very basics. Pull everything out of your closet. There. Now you have a gigantic mess. I swear it always looks worse before it starts to look better. Pick up each item piece-by-piece and ask yourself:
1) Does it fit and flatter?
1a) If YES, proceed to #2.
1b) If NO, is it stain free, in good condition and still on-trend?
i) If YES, consign.
ii) If NO, donate.
2) Would I still be happy wearing this (fill in the blank) for the next 3-6 months?
2a) If YES, place back on hanger and insert in closet. (i.e. keep)
2b) If NO, see #1b.
Easy enough, right?
The whole process takes about 2 hours, but in the end you’ll be left with only the things that bring you joy and that make you look and feel great. You’ll also be left with 2 rather large piles of clothes to consign and/or donate.
Don’t worry I’m not going to leave you here without a plan of action to get rid of those piles and potentially make a few extra bucks, too! If you aren’t familiar with consignment, it’s a great system to earn some cash back on those lightly worn, mint-condition clothes that you’re willing to part with. After years of doing these sort of closet clean outs, I’ve tried all forms of consignment shops both brick and mortar and online. I can say with confidence that none have been as easy or as rewarding (cash rules!) than thredUP.
Here’s HOW IT WORKS: You go to the thredUP website, you create an account and ORDER A BAG. Within a few days you get a plastic, postage-ready bag for you to fill with all of your consignment items. Drop the clothes in, seal up the bag and hand it over to your USPS office, local FedEx store or mail delivery person. Once received and processed, the consignment elves at thredUP will send you a notice with the proposed up-front value for your accepted items. Items that don’t make the thredUP cut can be donated, or returned to you (for a small fee).
The cash value gets credited into your thredUP account and you can choose to use the money to shop away on thredUP’s SITE, or wire the funds into a linked Pay Pal account to cash out.
For the sake of 100% transparency and disclosure– nope, this is definitely not a sponsored post by any means! I just discovered thredUP, ORDERED MYSELF A BAG and was really happy with the process and end result so I wanted to share with you all. For the past few months I’ve been telling my styling clients about thredUP and I’ve only heard great feedback as well. Hey, what can I say?! I’m passionate about products and services that I like!
So, let’s get down to business:
Who is going to be cleaning out their closet this week? More importantly, who is going to be giving thredUP a try? Please drop me a line if you do! I’d love to hear all about it!