Family Photos with a Toddler

Family Photos with a Toddler

HELLO! We’re planning family photos and I could not be more excited. We did two shoots in 2018 and haven’t done anything as a family since, so it’s time! We’ll be able to get a picture for our Christmas card – I am determined to send them out this year! Scheduling a shoot like this can be super stressful. There are tons of questions going through my head as we book it.

Is my child going to cooperate? Will they be cranky? Tired? Is it going to rain? Will our outfits look okay?

My favorite photographer, Kate Lemmon, inspired me to write this post. She recently did a series on Instagram Stories following her and her work for seven days. It’s really incredible to see all of the energy that photographers put into their work. Kate shot our family twice last year and we were SOO happy with the outcome. The shoots were an investment, but well worth it and the prints are hanging all over our house. Here’s a blog post she wrote about Everly’s first birthday shoot.

We are working with a new photographer on our upcoming shoot, so I’m excited to see how she will capture us!

LOCATION

The first thing that I think about when I book a family photo shoot is LOCATION. Our date is booked and now we need a great spot to get the pictures. There are so many awesome places to shoot in and around Boston. My maternity photos were taken at the Arnold Arborteum in Jamaica Plain — GORGEOUS in the springtime and perfect for families or maternity. We did our first family shoot in Seaport on the Boston Waterfront. You get the water and the city skyline in the background. There is a lot of green space over there – something we didn’t realize before this! Our last shoot for Everly’s 1st birthday was in the Boston Public Garden. If you live in Boston – you have to do one family session there. It’s always a recommended place from photographers. Our next shoot will be at Castle Island! This is special to us because it’s in our neighborhood – we take Everly here to play at the beach/park all the time. We can get shots on the beach, over looking the water, and in the grass.

OUTFITS

Outfit planning for photos can be really stressful. I can get sucked down a rabbit hole on Pinterest and Google searching and searching for the perfect outfits. The best tip I have is to start with one outfit and plan everything around it. Do you have an idea for your kids or yourself? Start there with one. I found a Free People dress I was obsessed with – perfect for fall with a pair of booties – and I knew I wanted to plan everything around that. I then picked a solid dress for Everly and a solid sweater for Jake. I didn’t want to mix too many prints/colors and my dress is going to make a big statement.

My favorite stores to shop at for family outfits are Nordstrom, OldNavy, and JCrew.

TIME

When scheduling a shoot with kids it’s important to think about nap times, bedtimes, and sunrise/sunset. The best shoots are done in the golden hours (earlier morning and right before sunset). We have always done shoots later in the day before sunset, but I think the best time would be in the morning. You have fresh kiddos that aren’t spent from a day of activities, etc. I’ve also noticed that pricing on the weekends can be higher than during the week – if you have a day you can take off mid-week I’d recommend doing it! Locations will also be less busy mid-week so you won’t have to worry about people in the background of your photos.

TIPS

Don’t shoot for too long. Everly has been a champ at our last shoots. We plan to shoot for only 30-45 minutes, so that she doesn’t get too cranky. Planning this out with the photographer ahead of time has been so helpful. She won’t last longer than 45 minutes, so any walking, setting up time has to be accounted for.

Don’t force it. Kids are silly and want to laugh and run around. Don’t force them to stay still for too long. It’s important to let them run around and get the sillies out. This is why it’s key to have an awesome, hands on photographer that can get it in a few shots.

Reward. I’m all for bribing my child! We like to plan ice cream after a shoot as a reward. By the time we’re done and can go get ice cream, Everly has usually forgotten about it, but you can bring toys or coloring books to keep your kiddos happy too.

Have a backup. On the day of our first photo shoot it was expected to be very rainy and windy. Jake and I were very nervous and talked with our photographer about rescheduling. We had a great plan in place in case we had to reschedule, but everything ended up working out. The rain kept people away from the Seaport and we had the Harborwalk to ourselves. It was windy, but never actually rained.

It’s amazing to look back at shoots and see how little Everly was. I love having these memories. Don’t stress too much and get it booked! You won’t regret it!

I’ll leave you with a few of my favorites – so tough to choose!

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xo,

Jacci

New Hair Products

New Hair Products

*This post contains affiliate links*

Hello! It’s been a LONG time since I’ve posted anything on the blog. Feels good to be back!

I have a few new hair products that I’ve been loving lately and thought I would share! I’m in the weird in-between stage of wanting to grow my hair/wanting to cut it. I see all of the new blunt bob cuts and am in love, but I know the grass is always greener and I’ll want my long hair back ASAP.

Purple Shampoo: Redken Color Extend Blondage

I have the hardest time keeping the brassiness of out of my blonde. I’m not sure why, but I can never keep the silky, white blonde that I leave the hair salon with. This purple shampoo has been amazing! One of my friends recommended applying it while my hair is dry and leaving on for 5 minutes. It has been making the biggest difference to my color and I love it. I use it 2-3 times per week. After trying all of the purple shampoos under the sun I’m so excited I’ve found this one.

Hair “Mask”: Olaplex Hair Perfector

I’m calling this a mask because thats how I apply it but it’s technically a “hair perfector”. I don’t exactly understand the science behind it, but this product is able to strengthen hair and reduce breakage. Olaplex has a cult following and I can finally see why. I apply this 1-2 times per week as soon as I get in the shower and dampen my hair. The key is to apply it before you shampoo and leave on for 10 minutes.

Heat Protectant: Olaplex Bond Smoother

The Olaplex Bond Smoother is a game changer for your hair! I have been using more heat on my hair and needing a strong protectant before I blow dry or curl. This is the best smelling and protects my hair. I apply a small amount to the mid shaft and ends while my hair is damp. Then I blow dry and style my hair as normal.

Blow Dryer: Redken One Step Hair Dryer

It’s no secret that this is my favorite styling tool. I can fully blow dry and style my hair in 10 minutes or less. It leaves my hair so soft and silky. The key is to use it when your hair has been air dried/towel dried for a bit. I like to use the low setting to really perfect the style, but on high you can get it completely dry so quick. This has been a hot item on Amazon recently and is usually on sale!

Texture Spray: Davines This is a Dry Texturizer

Does anyone still use hair spray? I’ve found that I get an even better hold with a dry texture spray — especially this one! Every time I get my hair colored at Love and Mercy they finish it off with this magical spray. The smell alone will get you to buy it. It’s been a game changer for the hold in my curls and volume at the crown of my head.

Those are a few new things I’ve been loving! Is there anything you’ve tried lately that you love?

xo,

Jacci

Five Favorite Beautycounter Products

Beautycounter kicked off their Labor Day sale today! When you spend $150 you get a free Citrus Mimosa Body Butter ($39 value). This is a great product to share as a gift or hold onto for winter when skin is super dry and cracked! The scent is amazing – it’s also the scent in the body wash that I love! It was announced this week that the Counter+ line has an upgrade! The packaging has been changed for these products and looks more like the Countertime line. I narrowed down a list of my five favorite products right now. This is VERY difficult for me to do considering I have almost every product. I use 8-10 on a regular basis daily haha!

Counter+ Overnight Resurfacing Peel

This peel is a GAME changer for all skin types. The word peel can be confusing and throw some people off – is my skin going to peel? Does it burn? What does it do? Well, it’s only going to do good! I haven’t met anyone that doesn’t love this product. The peel should be applied after you remove makeup and wash for your face before bedtime. It’s ideal for dull, tired skin and will give a glow first thing in the morning.

Countercontrol Matte Effect Gel Cream

This has quickly become one of my favorite products! It’s technically for people with oily and blemish prone skin, but it’s a great primer. It’s oil free and applies SO smooth under make up. It contains a tiny amount of salicylic acid which helps blackheads and clogged pores. I keep it in my makeup bag and apply under my dew skin or tint skin.

Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer

Do the Dew! The dew skin moisturizers are a top seller for Beautycounter. It has just the right amount of coverage with a dewy finish to leave your skin glowing. There’s also an SPF 20 so you don’t have to layer up with an extra product. I wear this moisturizer daily in the number 2. It’s great for moms or people on the go that only have a few minutes to apply makeup in the morning. You can also purchase the dew skin as a part of the Flawless in FiveΒ – six steps for a full face of makeup in less than five minutes. There’s also a 20% discount when you purchase this collection.

Counter+ No1 Brightening Facial Oil

I get so many questions on a Vitamin C serum and this is it! This serum gives a boost of radiance and can be worn alone or under your day or night cream. It’s ideal for drier skin and gives an extra layer of moisture. This was a product I swore by for months and once Countertime came out I stopped using it. I just reordered a new bottle and am excited to keep using it through winter when my skin gets dull.

Sheer Lipstick

These lipsticks are BY far my favorite. They have a subtle tint of color and come in eleven shades. They apply similar to a chap stick but have a nice vanilla smell. My go to color for day to day is Twig, but I’ve been wearing Lily and Rose a lot for summer. If you’re looking for something without a color – check out the new Pearl option.

When you spend $150+ you get a free product! This sale runs through Labor day weekend. The other ongoing promotion is our Band of Beauty program. When you sign up for $29 and spend more than $50 you get a free Hydrating Body Lotion. Other perks of Band of Beauty are: 10% credit on all orders and free shipping on orders over $100.

I am also sending a mini lip gloss to you for any friend you refer that spends over $50. If you’re interested in samples be sure to fill out my request form and I’ll drop them in the mail!

xo,

Jacci

 

Everly’s Potty Training Accessories

Phew! We survived day one of potty training. I’m planning to do a full write up of our experience in the next few weeks, but I wanted to post a few of the accessories we have and the book I read ahead of time.

We are following the Oh Crap Method – the book was really easy to read. There’s a few things I’m doing differently (we’ll see how they work), but the principles of the book are my main guidelines.

A few friends of mine recommended accessories to have on hand before potty training. I purchased MONTHS ago when I thought I was ready haha! Here’s what we have:

Little Potty for Home

We chose this potty because of it’s simple look and easy to clean design. This is the potty that has been living in our kitchen while we potty train. She can easily run over and sit on it by herself and hasn’t been afraid of it at all!

Travel Potty

This potty has bags that attach for toilet trips on the go. I can see us using this ALL of the time at the park because ours doesn’t have a restroom. Planning to keep it in the stroller and car when we take trips. It also folds and works on top of a regular toilet seat. This one comes with super absorbent liners for the bags, so you’re not just carrying around a bag of pee.

Waterproof Bags for wet/dirty clothes

I’m keeping one bag in the diaper bag and one bag in the car in case of emergencies. I’m also keeping towels, extra clothing, wipes, and little trash bags in the car.

Books

Everly has been interested in potty training for a couple months. We bought her a couple books including an Elmo one to familiarize her with potty training. Now that she’s on the potty a lot of the day we have been reading a ton! Keep a stack of books close by.

A New Cup

One of the things mentioned in the Oh Crap book was filling your kid up with water/juice, etc to get them to go potty. It’s not exactly a part of the method, but I can see why parents do it. Everly got a new tumbler cup that she’s been excited about and loves drinking out of. I added a splash of lemonade and she’s gone about 7-8 times today!

Flushable Wipes

She hasn’t pooped on the potty yet, but I have these on hand incase she does! I would also recommend antibacterial and sanitizing wipes!

Towels

Keep plenty of towels/puppy pads on hand. I ordered these bed pads to have on my new rug and couch. You can never be too prepared!

Is there anything I’m missing?! Let me know in the comments πŸ™‚

xo,

Jacci

*This post contains affiliate links – I’ll make a small commission if you shop through one of my links!

Countertime Review

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Ok!! LONG awaited Countertime review coming at ya! I have the full Countertime Collection and have been using the products off and on for about six weeks. It’s also worth noting that I have had botox before in between my eyes and over the fine lines on my forehead. I get about 30 units from Boston Plastic Surgery every 4 months or so. That’s a totally different conversation and I’m happy to answer any questions about my experience with it.

Countertime is Beautycounter’s newest line directed at people with mature skin or dry skin. I fall into the dry skin category, but of course, I am interested in a line that can help with my fine lines, age spots, etc. Who wouldn’t be! The active ingredient in Countertime is Bakuchiol – pronounced Ba-cu-CHEE-Yall. It’s a part of the Retinatural complex that Beautycounter has created and has results comparable to Retinol. Retinol is an ingredient that has been on Beautycounter’s Never List. The line is safe for pregnant or nursing women, but always consult with your doctor before starting a new regimen!

Countertime Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil

I always thought that a cleanser needed to foam and lather well to remove makeup, but boy was I wrong! This cleanser is an oil that is applied to dry skin. It removes makeup and impurities without stripping the skin of natural oils. I can already tell that this is going to be a great product in the colder months because my skin feels super moisturized! My recommendation for oilier skin is to use the charcoal bar immediately after to remove any of the leftover oils.

Countertime Mineral Boost Hydrating EssenceΒ 

Essence? What’s that? I like to compare it to a toner, but with more benefits. It’s necessary step to prep the skin for treatment. I like to pour a small amount into the palm of my hand then press directly on to my face and neck area. If you’re skeptical about an essence, I’d say this could be the step you’d skip, but going from cleansing directly into treatment is a shock for your skin – the essence step helps bridge that gap.

Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum

Time to treat! This is the secret weapon in the Countertime collection. If you’ve been a fan of the Overnight Resurfacing Peel this is going to be one to add to your routine! This serum was created to improve fine lines and wrinkles, improve radiance and firmness. I’ve seen great results from this serum. When I’m feeling lazy before bedtime I ALWAYS make sure to apply this before my night cream.

Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream

There is nothing better than slathering on a thick night cream before bed… in my opinion πŸ™‚ This night cream is definitely at the top of my list on the Beautycounter site. It is going to be a game changer during winter when my skin begins to crack and wither away. This cream can also be worn during the day if you need an extra layer of moisture. The only word that I can use to describe this one is luxurious. For an $89 night cream it delivers 100%. I’ve switched from using the Recovery Sleeping Cream to using this on a nightly basis. If your skin is oily I’d recommend skipping this one!

Countertime Ultra Renewal Eye Cream

I hate to say it, but this one gets a thumbs down from me. The first time I put it on my under eyes got red and puffy. My eyes are more sensitive than most, but this one was too much for me. I also am not able to use the Rejuvenating Eye Cream, so I’m still in the market for a good one! I definitely don’t recommend this one if you have sensitive skin or eyes, but there is a 60 day return policy if you want to give it a try for yourself.

Countertime Antioxidant Soft Cream

It was very tough for me to try a new day cream, especially because I love the Countermatch one, but I was pleasantly surprised. This moisturizer is for day use and is not greasy plus works great under makeup. I use 1-2 pumps on my face and neck area and have been loving the results. I’ve had no breakouts from this one which is a major bonus!

When starting a new collection I usually recommend starting slow. Switch your day or night cream or add in the Tripeptide Radiance Serum. Switching everything all at once could be a shock for your skin for a couple of weeks resulting in breakouts.

Overall, I have been very impressed with this new line. It looks amazing on my bathroom counter as well! For traveling I recommend getting a padded makeup bag because the products are all glass. The travel size/sample size portions should be released in the next few months.

If you have any questions on the Countertime line or any other Beautycounter products, let me know!

xo,

Jacci

April Adventures with Everly

This month marked 21 full months with our little Everly. She is talking in sentences, getting into trouble, and melting my heart daily. She’s the sweetest, most curious little girl. BUT she also has her stubborn side. I post a lot of our daily activities in my Instagram stories, but thought I’d recap the month of April on here.

Everly’s Toys

We got a few new toys/activities this month including Kinetic Sand, our favorite Crayola Color Wonder Coloring Pads, a bubble gun, and even a harmonica (from her Pa Pa). She could walk around playing it all day… but I’m not tryin’ to go deaf by 35.

Moving Update

Yes, we’re moving, so most of Everly’s toys are packed up a little storage unit. We’ve been trying to sell our house — heyyy! Someone come buy it, please! Between open houses and showings it’s been pretty stressful to get Everly and the cats out and keep the house clean. The new house is in the same neighborhood, just a few streets over, but it has more square feet and PARKING! Woooo!

Easter

We headed to Cape Cod to visit with family for Easter. It was the first event of the year at the country club with a special visit from the Easter bunny. (BTW Everly is scared to death of it). There was a small egg hunt and sooo much food including raw bar, omelet station, beef tenderloin, etc. I’m still full from that dang buffet… ha not really though.

Baby Showers

I was lucky enough to co-host a baby shower for my best friend in Florida early in the month. We took a trip to South Florida to enjoy the festivities. Everly did great on the flight down, but ended up with a horrible case of separation anxiety/teething while we were there. The shower went off without a hitch – highly recommend ordering everything baby related on Etsy. It was so simple! And of course, now my baby fever is at an all time high because my best friend is due in June!

 

Franklin Zoo

We took a day trip to the Franklin Zoo with Everly. I’m not usually a fan of zoo’s, but this one has tons of green space and an enormous playground that Everly loves. We saw all kinds of animal and even went into the feeding area. It was really fun to see Everly’s face when she recognized an animal in real life from a book or movie. The gorillas and the petting area were the highlights!

Everly’s Meals

Between months 6 and 18 I put a lot of unnecessary effort into making Everly’s meals. I would make Jake and I dinner and then always make something else for Everly and I got completely burnt out. In the last few months we have started giving Everly the same thing that we eat for dinner almost every night and she’s actually been eating it! I could probably do a full blog post on this, but my best recommendation for new moms is to give your children the same food as you from day 1! There is no need to make a separate mac and cheese, chicken nuggets and steamed broccoli when your child could be perfectly fine eating the same thing as you. I learned this the hard way and had to re-train her, but lately it’s been great! For lunches I will make her some of her favorite staples: homemade chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, cheese quesadillas, etc.

Her favorite foods right now are steak, roasted sweet potatoes, pickles, smoothies, and cottage cheese! BASICALLY all of my favorites too πŸ™‚

Jake and I have been making Green Chef meals for almost two years and we love them. We have the Omnivore box and get three meals weekly for each of us. Here’s a coupon code if you’d like to try it out!

That’s a wrap on April – we’re ready for May! AND warmer temps πŸ™‚

xo,

Jacci

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is right around the corner on May 12th this year. The key to giving the mom in your life the best day is breakfast in bed and a great gift! I’ve put together five gift ideas from Beautycounter to make the day extra special for the lady in your life.

Transforming Lip Duo

 

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Transforming Lip Duo

This was a HIT during the Holiday season and was quick to sell out. It’s been offered in a beautiful pink box for the Mom’s this time around.

Our universally flattering Transforming Lip Tint instantly delivers the perfect shade of sheer, customized pink color for her unique complexion. Layer it with Crystal Lip Gloss to give her lips gorgeous shine and a flawless finish.

Sugar Body Scrub in Lemongrass

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This body scrub screams luxury! It’s great for exfoliating after a workout or pool day and has a light lemongrass scent. It pairs really well with the Body Butter and leaves your skin feeling rejuvenated.

Attain a healthy-looking glow and silky-smooth feel with this polishing, perfecting scrub. While brown sugar buffs away dull skin, hydrating sweet almond, apricot kernel, and sunflower oils and mineral-rich evening primrose leave skin looking supple and smooth. Lastly, a blend of pure citrus and lemongrass oils leaves a fresh and invigorating scent.

Overnight Resurfacing Peel

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Why not turn the clock back a few years with the overnight resurfacing peel. It is a one step face refresher — You will wake up with a glow, a more even skintone, and reduction of fine lines and pores.

Goodnight, dullness. Good morning, glow. Formulated with 15 botanically-derived acids, this leave-on AHA/BHA peel improves skin texture and minimizes the appearance of pores, fine lines, and dark spots without irritation or over-drying. Glycolic, lactic, and malic acids clear away dull surface skin cells, while hyaluronic acid and essential fatty acids soothe and nourish to reveal a brighter, more youthful-looking complexion.

Flawless in Five

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Six steps to effortless beauty with five products. You get to choose your shades based on the experts recommendations. This is the best set to switch your beauty products over to safer! Moms barely have 10 minutes in the morning to get ready and this kit helps cut down time without sacrificing quality!

INCLUDES SIX SAFER, HIGH-PERFORMING PRODUCTS:
  • Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation
  • Touchup Skin Concealer Pen
  • Color Define Brow Pencil or Brilliant Brow Gel
  • Lengthening or Volumizing Mascara
  • Satin Powder Blush
  • Lip Gloss

Best of Beautycounter Set

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Another best selling set for the mom’s interested in skincare. You get four of the top travel sized products that Beautycounter has to offer in a beautiful gift box.

The set includes the #1 selling cleansing balm, No. 1 Brightening Facial Oil, Countermatch Adaptive Moisturizer, and No. 3 Balancing Face Mask.