Year in Review

Want to know how to review your year?

Did you stick to those New Year resolutions? Achieve any big goals? Little goals? Did you accomplish any ‘bucket-list’ items? Live out any life-long dreams? How about, did you ever fail? Make any big mistakes? More importantly, did you learn a valuable lesson from those mistakes?

With 2017 coming to an end, and 2018 nearing upon us, reviewing the prior year can not only be beneficial but be deemed necessary to establish a confident and successful start to the new year. Reviewing the previous year allows you to recognize what you have accomplished – helping you realize your personal ambitions and setting your goals for the year to come.

Accomplishments –
Make lists of what you have accomplished in the year. Whether it is big, life changing accomplishments, or small completed goals, both severely attribute to your life. Visually seeing your accomplishments awards you the satisfaction of feeling productive and motivated for the upcoming year, while allowing you to realize what you want to further accomplish.

Recognize Dramatic Events –
Whether, they may be positive or negative, recognizing the substantial events that have happened in the past year permits you to analyze the benefits and disadvantages of the circumstances, while also evaluating why the event happened and how to either encourage it in the future or attempt to prevent it from repeating.

People –
Write down everyone in your life that has made an impact in some way. Whether it’s your mom because she does your laundry, your best friend because she listens to all your boy problems, or the kid who helps you in your math class, the people who make an impact and continue to do so throughout the year deserve recognition. Writing down people also includes the people who have made a negative impact in your life. Visibly, acknowledging and distinguishing the difference between the negative and positive impacts of people will encourage a healthy social lifestyle in hopes of surrounding yourself will positively impactful people.

Self Reflection –
Analyzing yourself and the personal qualities and characteristics that you inhibit gives you an idea of how you want to improve yourself. Critiquing the habits you occupy can help you realize how to achieve more, tough, satisfying goals in the upcoming year.

How do you recap your year?

The Perfect Bundle: Winter Coats

“A classic coat never goes out of style”

Bulky coat season is upon us and can make it difficult to plan our outfits. Coats are a blessing and perfect for staying warm during the winter however can be so bulky that it may ruin your outfit or not allow you to dress your outfit up. Styling isn’t the only problem when talking about winter coats, but also locating the perfect one and where to shop. These situations can be easily fixed with the help of the information below.

Wool Coats:
If your outfit is more on the dressier side and you want to add a coat I suggest purchasing a wool coat. Wool coats have entered the fashion world for a quite a while now and are perfect for a more mature and dressier look. Wool coats can be pretty pricey; however stores such as Forever 21, H&M, and Urban Outfitters carry a wide variety of wool coats for affordable prices.

Trench Coats:
Looking for a coat to protect you from rain or snow, trench coats are the way to go. Trench coats are normally long and waterproof and are perfect if your outfit is full of layers due to the thin layer of fabric most trench coats have. Many websites and stores carry a wide variety of trench coats such as Nordstrom, North Face and more. Trench coats are very universal and are perfect for dressing up or dressing down.

Fur Coats:
How can I forget the most popular trend around? Fur coats have become a huge hit in the fashion industry. Not only are they super durable and keep you warmer than ever, but are extremely fun to wear. Fur coats range from different patterns, lengths and colors. Most stores such as Nasty Gal, Tiger Mist and thrift stores carry tons of fur coats. Depending on where you purchase yours, they can be pretty pricey, however last a lifetime and worth all the fun.

That’s just three of the most popular coats trending in the fashion industry at this moment. You have been provided the genre of three coats, how to style them and wear to find them. These tips will make It easier for you to bundle up fashionably for the winter.

Ipsy’s Glam Bag Review

Ipsy– Yay or nay?

*“ipsy was founded with a singular mission: to inspire individuals around the world to express their unique beauty” -ipsy founders
*Ipsy was founded only six years ago in 2011
*How to find amazing beauty products for $10 a month.


Ipsy’s name comes from the Latin word ipse, which means “self”. This is the perfect name for this company who’s mission is to bring you individualized new beauty products every month. It’s perfect for makeup enthusiasts and those who tend to stick to the same products all the time. This bag helps you find new cult favorite beauty products you might not have tried without it. This bag is brilliant and the October 2017 edition was no exception.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream- Skin Care is an important but often overlooked aspect of not your health but your beauty routine too. Having a fresh, moisturized face makes your makeup glide on smoothly and last all day. This repair cream is the perfect consistency as both a first step in your makeup routine and a daily moisturizer. You don’t need to use a lot of product at a time so the 1 oz. travel size gives you enough to test it out for yourself. This product is a must have for skin care addicts and makeups lovers alike.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara– This mascara will change your lash game. This is a product the everyday person probably wouldn’t purchase as the full sized version will set you back $23. However, if you are someone that loves having long and voluminous lashes, this mascara is for you. This mascara uniquely offers four benefits at once- length, volume, curl, and condition. Most mascaras offer one to two of these benefits but Tarte surpasses all others by giving you everything you could want in just one mascara.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil (Perversion)- The consistency and pigment of this eyeliner is unlike any other. The color is a beautiful rich black that works perfectly for the waterline. Most pencil eyeliners wear away quickly and can be hard to work with but this one stays on the waterline all day and blends easily. It’s a staple eye pencil everyone should have in their kit, as its versatility gives you the opportunity to create a variety of looks.

Dirty Little Secret Eye Shadow (Bronzed)- This deep brown gold color can be a little intimidating at first due to the dark shade but after working with it, you will come to realize just how beautiful and flattering this eye shadow really is. Ipsy gives you the full sized product which will last you a very long time! It feels like butter, like any good eye shadow should and the gold undertones will make any eye color pop. It’s perfect for the lid as the focal point of the eye look.

Go take the personalized quiz and get your Ipsy bag today!

Quick Dress Steps to Becoming a Diva

“Dress like you’re already famous”

Holiday food and activities are here; Setting up the Christmas tree and adding Michael Buble to your playlist are right around the corner. However, one of the most stressful tasks is choosing that perfect dress that matches all the Holiday party requirements. Some dresses are too short, not short enough, too much sparkles or in need of more. Thankfully, I’ve already experienced that stress too many times until I’ve became a pro at looking for dresses, these tips are simple and easy. Not only will they save you time but they’ll have you looking like you’re on your way to the Met Gala.

In order to find the perfect dress, you need to find the perfect place to look:

Most websites carry a few dresses, however there is websites specifically for those looking for the cutest dresses available for affordable prices.

Nasty Gal
Fashion Nova
Miss Guided
Public Desire
Prom Girl

Figure out what type of dress you’re looking for:

It’s 2017, there are plenty of genres of dresses, crazy right? There’s still the simple long and short length however there’s bodycon dresses, cocktail, sequins dresses and more. Understanding the difference between each and knowing what you’re looking for will speed up your process of finding the perfect dress.

     -BodyCon: Bodycon dresses are very tight fitting, and highlight your curves. Great if you’re wanting to show off your body more.

     -Cocktail: Cocktail dresses are more glamorous and showy (most contain sparkles or brighter colors). Perfect if you’re looking for a more glammy look, also cute to add a fur coat.

     -Sequins: Sequined dresses are glamorous and super easy to wear since you don’t need to go all out on shoes and/or accessories

     -Two Piece Dress: Two pieces dresses are either crop tops with a pencil skirt or separated bottoms. Perfect for summer and spring time with heeled sandals.

Adding accessories and footwear:

The final and last step is choosing footwear and accessories. Once you found a website that carries what you’re looking for, you always count on the accessories and footwear to dress it up. Stated before if purchasing a sequins dress, solid colored shoes and minimal accessories works best. Cocktail and Bodycon dresses can go with any accessory depending on the patterns and materials.

Dress shopping isn’t something to be overwhelmed with stress about. If you follow these steps, you can easily start finding items to add into your cart.

Holiday Gift Guide for Teens

Are you stressing about your Christmas shopping list?

Here is the perfect gift for every person in your life.

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Everyone seems to be just a little bit jollier. However, Christmas can also be one of the most stressful times of the year. As a teen, it can be even harder because you probably don’t have the budget you would like to buy the gifts your friends and family deserve. As easy as it is to get stressed about gifts, it’s important to think less about the money and more about the people. Homemade gifts are much more meaningful and special than ones from the store. Here are some tips and tricks to creating the perfect gift for every person in your life.

“Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little more.” -Dr. Seuss The Grinch 

Mom- How do you show your love and appreciation for the person who does everything for you? Who gave birth to you? Anything you find doesn’t seem good enough. But the truth is, you are her favorite gift. Anything involving photos or words is perfect for the mother figure in your life. Some ideas could be a mother-daughter photoshoot, a nice framed photo of your family, or any meaningful DIY.

Dad- This one can be tricky because most dads “don’t want anything”. Every father is different but most are usually not as emotional as mom. Try to include his hobbies and interests into your gift. Some good basics for any dad are watches, hats, sweatshirts, and wallets. The trick to gifts for dads is practicality. Their gifts should be something they will actually use.

Grandparents- Grandparents love their grandkids so anything personalized and meaningful is exactly what they want. Christmas ornaments are perfect for your grandparents because they usually love Christmas and will think of you whenever they see the ornament.

Siblings- These gift will depend on the gender and age of your siblings. Stay away from delicate and meaningful gifts for younger siblings as they could be broken and probably not loved as much. Stick to simple things like candy and toys. For older siblings, things like jewelry, makeup, candles, and sporting goods are perfect for them.

Boyfriend/Girlfriend- Depending on how long you’ve been dating, you may feel comfortable spending more money on your significant other. Make sure you set a price limit so no one feels bad for spending less. These gifts should be personal. Things like name-plate jewelry, promise rings, and photo albums will make your sweetheart think of you every time they see it.

Friends- You should know what kinds of things you’re friends like so tailor it to each individual friend and make a basket full of little things they would love. Items like makeup, jewelry, candy, fuzzy socks, photos,etc would go perfectly in a friend basket

Distant Friends/Family- Everyone finds themselves in a situation where you have to get a gift for someone you aren’t that close to. Whether it’s for secret santa or a party, it can be really hard to figure out what they want. For these people, gift cards are perfect. Everyone loves food so, gift cards to coffee carts and yummy restaurants are something they will appreciate and actually use.

“It’s not what’s under the tree that matters. It’s who’s gathered around it.” -Charlie Brown 

While Americans spend an average of $786 on holiday shopping, the holidays are about so much more. This time is all about spending quality time with family and friends. Have a Merry Christmas!

Family Traditions To Try This Holiday Season

How Do I Spark Holiday Cheer This Holiday Season?

Baby It’s cold outside and this year we are going to stay warm with family and traditions. Whether you already have your own traditions or you have none it all. Try something new, begin a new tradition or start one with your loved ones. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years you can incorporate a family tradition to any of these holidays.

For Thanksgiving a great family tradition to try this year is having a big family potluck. Come together bring countless food entrees, desserts, and appetizers to share with your loved ones or spend some quality family time and have your family cook together, or create a family recipe. If your family is into Black Friday, eat up and go shopping. The options are endless.

When Christmas is around the corner your family can go pick out a tree and decorate it together. It’s the perfect time to get into the Christmas spirit! Also, when you set up your tree you can dedicate the day to decorate for Christmas… set up your stockings, put up the Christmas lights, and get the decorations up. As Christmas gets closer, you can make sugar cookies and pass them out to loved ones or friends. Finally, when Christmas arrives at last, create a tradition of opening presents on Christmas eve at midnight or maybe just one if that is what you choose. Secret Santas, stockings, and movie nights can all be a part of your Christmas tradition.

New Year’s marks a new beginning. Personally, my family always gets together for a big feast and a night of fun. My family likes to play music and dance, sit around and watch movies, and play darts. When the clock finally strikes 12:00, we all toast the new year. Another way to spend your New Year’s Eve is to go out with friends and reminisce over the year. Dress up, go out, and enjoy the night with your loved ones.

Lastly traditions are what you make of them. They represent your family heritage and it is a way to connect with your loved ones. Traditions spark an excitement and anticipation for the holidays. It’s never too late to begin a tradition. Try something new this holiday season.

Jolly Makeup

Holiday makeup allows you to go all out and experiment with different looks. This year do something different, if you do not usually wear red lipstick, give it a try this year. There are many different looks you can try, and I will be sharing a look for you to consider and give ideas for your own holiday makeup look.

Starting of with the eyes make the holiday bright with a glimmer shadow. You can use a glitter shadow, eyeshadow glitter, or a cream eye shadow to get the glimmer look. You want to make sure to use a very pigmented product to produce that glam look. Use the glitter on your lid and smoke out the outer crease with a darker color. I like to use a dark maroon color and add darker colors as I blend. Make sure to use colors that go well together.

For your face makeup you will want to sculpt your face by contouring. When you contour make sure to bake, blend, and highlight. Contour to the shape of your face. Enhance your facial features to make your makeup stand out.

Lips will complete your makeup look. Choose a color that goes with your outfit. It will have you killing your holiday look. Reds, maroons, and other bold colors are recommended when you are going for a holiday glam look.

Lashes will make your eyes stand out and have you looking better than ever. It will enhance your eye shape and give you an extra pop. I highly recommended lashes that you are comfortable with, you will have to wear them for the rest of your night.

Lastly make sure your makeup will last you all night. Use a primer and a setting spray to set your makeup in place. A glam holiday makeup look will be looking fresh all day.

Answered | Common Senior Portrait Questions

Can I just have the digitals? Absolutely! The prices for my digital files are included in both the Create-A-Collection and the al-a-carte lists. I really want you to enjoy your images and see them displayed throughout your home, office and future dorm room! Oftentimes, I see clients purchase the digitals, and then never print them! Which is why I offer heirloom prints as my specialty! You won’t enjoy your images as much set aside in a drawer.

I don’t want to spend very much on senior pictures. I totally understand! Budgeting is so hard! I understand just what you want can be a strain on your finances. We will work together to see if we are a good fit.  What kind of budget are you working within? Would your budget allow for a payment plan if one was offered?

Can I see all the pictures you took? I’m so glad you’re excited to see your pictures. One thing that I’m really great at is that curating a gallery of images that from a session to just the very best. It takes a lot of stress and overwhelm out of the selection process to have so, so pictures taken out ahead of time. Don’t worry… I love outtakes too! I’ll leave a few of the best ones in as part of your memory of the day. Was there a particular image that you were thinking of?

Why are the digitals so expensive? I realize that custom portraits are an investment. I love being a boutique photographer who offers a custom curated experience for my clients. The digital negatives are an heirloom to cherish for generations to come. I take time to tailor each session to you, and you’re paying for the best!

Can I order online?   I want my clients to get the ultimate in customer service, so I work with you at the outset to make sure your choices are perfect for your needs. After your viewing and initial order, you are more than welcome to place additional reorders online. I will upload your gallery and you’ll have one week to place your order. If you need more time, there is a fee associated for accessing that gallery past the one-week period. In addition, the online gallery will be set to retail pricing, which is higher than the premier pricing that is available at your initial order session.

Can I order at a later date? I understand this is a very big, important (and often overwhelming) decision. I am here every step of the way to help guide your decision, and find what is best for you and your family. However, I only offer the initial, premiere pricing for one night. If finances are a large concern for you, we can discuss the payment plan options that may be available for you. If you require a second in-studio appointment there is a fee associated with the second appointment, as well as, a minimum order.

I can’t afford your packages. Custom portraiture can be a large investment. Please make sure we are a good fit before booking with me, by asking about our payment plans and our pricing. You are getting what you pay for, with quality service and custom boutique portraiture.

I’m paying for my own session (not parents) and I can’t afford it –  Wow! What a responsible action you are taking. Good for you! Have you asked friends and family to consider photography gift cards for gifts this year? Sometimes grandparents like to help in this way. Let’s chat to see if we are a good fit for each other. What is your budget?

I didn’t realize how expensive you were. Custom portraits are a true investment. I really want my clients to feel that they are receiving the very best from me. Each session is unique, and thus requires my time my vision and my creativity to make it a one-of-a-kind experience. A lot goes into creating a portrait experience, and I know I’m not for everyone. If our services are too high for you, I hope you can find a great photographer to meet your needs!

Uncle Bob (or my friend) has the nicest camera! That’s great! It takes a lot of training to be able to make that camera work to its fullest. When you purchase a boutique photography, you are getting much more than a few snapshots from a nice camera. You are getting the time, experience, and years of education from a skilled photographic artist! Do you want to leave your once-in-a-lifetime photoshoot in the hands of an amateur who is just beginning their study?

Can’t you just tell me the locations you use? I have spent several years honing my craft, and I have several unique locations that bring out your personality! Water ways to wooded paths and urban environs, I have something for everyone. These locations are exclusively known to my clients who have already booked with me. I am more than happy to discuss these with you after your booking!

Am I going to have to wait a long time to get these back?  My current turnaround rate is 2-3 weeks, but I’m so glad you’re excited to see your images! A lot goes into preparing the gallery for you to see. I take my time and hand-edit each image at the pixel level to make sure it’s the very best and shows your personality and beauty.

Can you do a “mini” session? I don’t need a full session, just a few snapshots. I currently don’t offer a mini session. I realize you only need a few snapshots, but my clients are here for the full experience. It often takes clients 10-15 minutes to relax in to the process, so the best images don’t happen quick. I think you’ll love having a variety of images instead of just a few! A full session is the best way for me to ensure a quality shoot that captures all the facets of your personality.

Wait, your retainer doesn’t include any prints or digitals?! The session fee is used to reserve your date, your consultation, and viewing and sales appointment. I understand it might be easier for you to see a flat fee, but that wouldn’t help me customize each offering to your individual needs. We utilize the Create-A-Collection program so that you can customize the products to meet your needs.

I just don’t know what I’d do with all those pictures.  It may seem like a lot of images, but please know there are lots of options for your gorgeous photos. Plus, your gallery tells a story, your story. You can turn your gallery into an album to showcase them all at once, you can display a collage of them on your walls, and you can create custom photo prints and products for your loved ones.

Why do I have to pay you for my daughter to model for you?  My senior rep program is not just a modeling program. It is a unique way for young women to meet each other, come together in our community, and form lasting, authentic friendships and gain work experience. It is not just about modeling, it is about providing the exclusive senior experience and developing note worthy line items for her resume.

It’s hard to justify your prices when I know 2 photographers that only charge $250 for a digital session. Customized portraiture is a large investment, but you’re also receiving my time, expertise, and educational background. This is my livelihood. I’m full-time and fully committed to my craft. Remember, if someone is charging much less, there is always a reason why. Each year people around the country give cameras for Christmas. That doesn’t mean the person receiving the camera is ready for business, but it happens all the time. If someone is charging less, the likelihood is they aren’t fully committed to photography or don’t have a lot of experience, the quality is likely not as good as well. Every photographer is different, but when you book with me, you’re truly paying for the best!

I want a huge picture for over the couch! How much for an 8×10?  I’m so excited that you want to hang a huge portrait over your couch, I bet it will look awesome. An 8×10 is what we call a gift print, which would be appropriate for friends and family, but would be quite small over a couch, more like a postage stamp. If you want your portrait to make a statement, I can show you more options when we meet! I have several sizes I can recommend for that kind of space, as well as, groupings that work well too!

Can you hold a date for me, I can pay the retainer next week? Yay! I’m so excited to work with you. However, the session fee is an important piece used to reserve the date when processed. I have many people asking for dates around that time, and it would be unfair to hold a time without guaranteeing the spot. Can I process your session fee on a credit card instead?

What is required to book a session?  A retainer is required to book your session with me. The retainer is$125 amount. I can accept cash, check, and credit cards at this time.

Are you willing to travel and if so, how far?  Yes, I love to travel. What did you have in mind? I typically charge a travel fee to offset the expense of travel and extra time.

Do you offer payment plans? Yes, I do offer payment plans. Each payment plan is different. I require a deposit and the remaining balance is spread over the remaining weeks or months. I do have a $50 handling fee to set up a payment plan. Print items are sent to print, and digitals are released after the final payment.

Can I have a refund? I currently do not offer refunds because of the unique nature and custom artwork of my services.

I am scared my photos will look the same as So and So’s senior photos! This is a common concern, but I plan every senior shoot individually to ensure that each one is unique. Because every client is different, I try to incorporate their personality and desires, which means none of them look identical!

Clue’s for Cardigans

Want to know how to wear cardigans?

A cardigan is not only a want, but, a necessity in every girl’s fall wardrobe. Cardigans are a versatile fashion staple. They are able to be worn a dozen different ways, creating a new style and outfit within minutes. Here are a few ways that give you the best fall style:

Belts –
Pairing a longer, non form fitting cardigan with a chunky belt placed at your waist can add form and curves to your body.

Lightweight cardigan –
Pairing a lightweight cardigan over top of other sweaters and shirts adds style while layers creating more depth in your outfit.

Long cardigan with summer dress –
A long cardigan over a shorter dress can make a summer go-to, a now, winter go-to within seconds.

Cardigan with scarf –
Matching a cardigan with a scarf can create a cute, cozy and comfortable fall/winter outfit while also staying stylish

Budget Your Money Right

Want to learn how to start a good spending plan?

The teenage years often involve a first job. Whether it’s babysitting, mowing lawns or working at a grocery store, they are all a source of income that requires responsible handling. A budget can ensure that your money is being spent in the most valuable way. Creating a budget and abiding to it, is not as easy as it looks , so here is some tips to help you nail that spending plan:

Establish a goal –
Setting a goal to reach either monthly, quarterly or yearly helps. Create a purpose for that goal (college, laptop, trip etc.). Don’t stop there, write it down too. Put the goal in a place that you can visually see it (like a goal setting thermometer.

Put some away –
Put away a percentage of each paycheck away in savings, putting it towards a big purchase or for future use. This is where the term “save for a raining day” comes into play. Having peace of mind that you are covered if need be.

Use cash –
Studies have shown that individuals consider their purchases more thoroughly when spending physical cash, compared to swiping a plastic card, meanwhile also preventing credit card debt.

Use a list –
Keeping a list allows you to visualize what you are spending your money on, while allowing you to analyze it and recognize if your money is being spent wisely.

Use money tracking APPs –
There are many different financial apps out there. Don’t be afraid to try one out. Budgeting and analyzing your cash flow can easily be done on your smart-phone.

Talk to an adult –
Don’t be afraid to talk financial matters with someone you trust. Getting tips and even some help can get you off on the right foot.

Avoid impulse spending –
Creating a budget allows minimal room for your money to be spent on unnecessary products. Having a reason for each dollar curbs the impulse spending.

Reward yourself –
It’s okay to reward yourself once in awhile when you’ve reached a financial goal. Just be mindful. Don’t go back to square one and do the above, impulse spending.

A budget is a framework for anticipated earnings and spendings, while recording cash flow and establishing financial goals, in result, allowing you to make sound financial decisions.