The baby registry. oh my goodness, it can be so overwhelming. It is so difficult to make decisions of what you need and what you don't. It is hard to know what to spend big on and what doesn't matter at all. When I was pregnant with Hudson, I had great help from friends and family to make decisions about what to register for. I have also learned so much from experience this past year or two. I hope that this is a great resource for you to help put your registery together!
One thing to look at if the crib is convertible. This can be helpful when your little one grows out of their crib and you need a small bed for them. This is one of my favorites
Bassinet/Moses Basket- Tadpoles Twisted Basket and Bedding Set
When Hudson was a newborn, we had no clue what we were doing. He cried all the time and we tried everything. We started out with the Moses Basket, then tried the Rock 'n Play, then tried the 4MOMS Rockaroo. We had the best luck with the rockaroo (swing). Every baby is different! Some of my friends' babies slept like champions in a moses basket. They are visually more pleasing. We had all the options, so we tried them all. I don't think they are all necessary, but you just won't know what works for your baby.
My sweet brother actually built me a rocking chair for Hudson's room, but I would recommend making an investment in a great chair. This chair will get covered in spit-up and milk, so be sure that it has fabric that is easy to clean. The gliding and swivel aspects are awesome when you are reaching for something and holding the baby or trying to put the baby to sleep.
Storage space is necessary and helpful. Hudson's changing table serves the purpose more as a dresser, because he is too wiggly to sit on the top (so we use the floor). This is an aesthetic purchase in my opinion. We found one on Craigslist that we liked!
Crib mattress Safety 1sth Heavenly Dreams White Crib Mattress
I don't think it matters very much what type of crib mattress you have. Maybe Amazon Prime one to your house so you don't have to load it up and transfer it from a store!
Night light- Starry Globe Nightlight-Pillowfort
I would highly recommend a night light. In the first few months, you are awake all the time and need light to find the pacifier or to feed the baby. This night light is really cute and gave out a good amount of light that didn't keep Hudson awake.
Blankets-Luxe sherpa stroller blanket
At our showers, I think we received a total of about 30 blankets. It is nice to have a few for the stroller and the crib. I don't think it matters too much. Hudson loves soft, furry blankets (and stuffed animals). This RH baby stroller blankets is so cute and snuggly, it is my favorite.
This hamper (pictured above) is cute and durable. I lug around blankets and toys in it too.
Hangers- Pillowfort Gray Kids' Hangers
I only bought a few hangers, most of his clothes go in the drawers.
There are lots of cute mobiles out there. Chose one that matches the theme of the nursery. Land of Nod's mobiles are super cute too!
Sound machine- HOMEMEDICS SOUND SPA
Sound machines are serious business. You definitely want loud. I have bought three, and this one is my favorite.
Changing pad - Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad
There isn't much to these, just make such it is waterproof.
Changing pad covers
Whatever look you want, waterproof is helpful, but not plastic. If it is plastic, it might be too cold for the babies to lay on. I would have 2-3 on hand.
Swaddles and wearable blankets- HALO SleepSack Swaddle
Swaddles with velcro are the best. It doesn't really matter what brand, but having velcro to tuck their arms in is so helpful. I think it is impossible to swaddle them in a way that they can't get out of.
There are all sorts of cute, sweet swaddle blanket, Aiden and Anaias makes really soft bamboo swaddles.
I would buy at least 3 fitted sheets in case they wet the bed a lot or have the stomach bug.
Hudson hasn't leaked through his sheets, except once, but I am glad that we have a waterproof cover to protect the mattress.
Infant car seat- Chicco Key Fit 30 Infant Car Seat
I honestly did not do too much research on car seats, but I appreciate how easy it is to take out the liner and shoulder pads and wash them on this car seat. It snaps in and out of the base easily.
Car seat base- Chicco Key Fit 30 Infant Car Seat Base
So I didn't realize until recently that you don't actually need a car seat base. You can buckle the car seat into the car using the adult seat belt. Who knew? Anyways we bought three of these- one for my car, Michael's and my moms. If you are looking to save money, you could definitely get away with just one for mom's car.
Stroller - Baby Jogger City Select Double Stroller
We bought the double stroller thinking ahead. I love this stroller. It is pretty big (which is a downside), but it folds up very flatly. It has an adjustable seat so you can lean it all the way back so they can sleep in the stroller (or when they are little it is more like a bassinet). It has roomy storage underneath. The seats also click in and out of the stroller really easily.
Jogging stroller - BOB Revolution PRO Stroller
The BOB is great. It definitely can handle rocks, etc. on the trail very gracefully. It folds up flatly. We use ours everyday and it has been a great stroller. I honestly wish we would have thought more seriously about buying a double BOB from the beginning too. If your kids are just a couple years (or less) apart, it seems to make sense to go ahead and buy the double, even though you might look goofy at first.
Bouncer - Baby Bjorn Balance Soft Cotton Bouncer
Hudson loved this bouncy chair. There isn't much to it, but we could never sit him down when he was little without him screaming. For some reason, he liked this chair and it provided us a little bit of relief. I would put him in it on the floor while I cooked dinner or worked at the computer.
Some moms love the Rock 'n Play, but we never used it. Hudson never let us sit him it without crying. I am glad that I have it as an option for other kids down the line, though. (They are all so different!!)
Swing- 4moms rockaRoo Infant Swing
This swing was a lifesaver when Hudson was an infant. We tried the moses basket and the Rock N' Play first, but the swing was the only way we could get him to sleep at all at night. One downside is that you can't swaddle them, because you have to buckle them in. (We did, but I am not going to recommend that haha). This swing was great too, it is pretty simple and you can play your music through the speakers? It is true.
My friend Bailey recommended this play mat to me, I didn't really understand the purpose when I registered for it, but I would highly recommend it as well. It is nice to have a bigger, padded blanket to lay your baby on when they are learning to roll over and sit up. It is also nice to be able to lay it on hardwood floors, or a carpeted area, that you aren't quite sure what is inside the carpet..ew.
High chair- IKEA ANTILOP with PYTIG support pillow and cover
This high chair is $20, with a $5 pillow to add support until your baby is a little bigger and sturdier. It is a little difficult to put the try on and take it off to clean. We broke ours in the first week trying to force it. This high chair is small and simple, which is nice so as to not crowd your kitchen. There are much more high quality and higher functioning high chairs out there, it just depends on what you are looking for.
people have a lot of opinions about which is best. We have two- one Solly baby wrap
Convertible car seat
Ours is a little different from this model, but this is what I would recommend. Call your insurance and typically they will send you one for free! Ours came in less than a week, but call early, I have heard it can take awhile.
These are great when you are pumping on the go and don't have access to soap and water. Stick them in your bag, so you don't get in a bind.
Breast milk storage- Lansinoh Milk Storage Bag 100 Count
These don't spill easily and they get the job done.
Nursing cover- Covered Goods Nursing Cover
You can order these online. They cover the front and back which is helpful when you have a kicking, flip/floppy nursing infant. They come in cute colors and designs that you can choose from.
Nipple cream- LANSInoh lanolin
I would recommend buying the cream and starting to use it in the first few days of nursing. You may have problems with chaffing and blisters and you may not, but you might as well get on top of it from the beginning.
Nipple pillow - Boppy Slipcovered Nursing Pillow
I returned my nursing pillow, because I never used it. Some people use them all the time, but for some reason, I never felt like I needed something.
Bra pads- Bamboobies Nusing Bra Pads
If you are the leaky type, which is common especially at the beginning, these are super helpful to keep your shirts dry!
Gel pads- Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads
Don't ask, just buy.
This bag is perfect. I put pump equipment, no hands bra, milk storage bags, permanent marker (for labeling bags) and pump cleaning wipes in here and always had everything in one spot, ready to go!
We don't have one, but I want to get one for the next baby. I think it is helpful to watch them, especially when they start eating, sometimes I am wondering if he is choking.
Shopping cart cover- Covered Goods Nursing Cover
The Covered Goods nursing cover doubles as a shopping cart cover. It doesn't work very well actually in the shopping cart. I would bring Hudson into the grocery store in his car seat and put him in the basket when he was an infant. By the time he was big enough the sit in the shopping cart, you aren't as worried about germs. I would just wipe it down before he got in. We only used the cover a few times.
Diaper bag- Humble Hilo Large Bag
I really wanted a diaper bag that didn't look like a diaper bag. I found this bag and I love it. It is the perfect size, comes in all different colors and patterns, and you get to support a good cause. when you purchase a bag you chose between one of three projects- Infant and Child Nutrition, Education, and Microfinance for Women and a portion of your purchase will go to support one of these projects and will affect the future of someone in need.
This diaper bag is getting worn out after a year of use, so we might have to order another one with the next baby.
I am working on a list of diaper bags I recommend that I will post another time.
Leather protector- Car Seat Protector Eddie Bauer
The car seat is heavy and puts little dents in your seat. This has helped the leather under the car seat be preserved.
Bottle brushes-OXO tot bottle brush
I like this brush, because it has a stand, so there is a sanitary place for it to sit. Bottle brushes are pretty necessary to get the nooks and crannies of the bottles.
Bottle drying rack- munchkin high capacity bottle drying rack
Whether you are nursing/pumping or formula feeding, you wash a lot of bottles and it is really nice to have a sanitary place to put them while they dry.
Burp cloths-burts bees burp cloths
These are so cute. It really doesn't matter very much, but I would recommend having about 10 of these. You will use them.
Bibs-Tommy tippee roll up bibs
These are great, they are plastic, so you can wash them really easily. They also have a catch-all feature, so less food falls to the ground, it works surprisingly well. All of our cloth/cotton bibs stained really quickly from food.
Bowls-munchkin stay put bowls
I like these, because you can stick them to their high chair tray and they stay suctioned really well. I also have some cheap small bowls that I bought in bulk with lids, because you always have cut up leftovers from their meals to store.
Sippy cup-nuby cup click it handle
I would buy three of four kinds originally and let your child try them. They seem to all have different preferences. Our favorite right now is linked above.
Utensils-Munchkin White Hot Spoons
I would recommend having 5-10 spoons for when you start introducing baby food. We haven't ever used baby forks or knives with him, he just uses adult utensils now.
Formula- kirklands infant formula
So Hudson was allergic to dairy and soy, so I had to use really expensive non-dairy formula with him. Around ten months or so, we were able to switch him to this formula that we bought in bulk from Costco. There are so many different kinds of formula, it is a little overwhelming. If your baby has an allergy, feel free to ask me more about what we did.
Health and Safety
Baby monitor- Motorola MBP33XL 3.5'' Video Baby Monitor
I have loved this baby monitor. It has a great screen that you can get a good view of the baby through. You can talk to your baby (not sure why you would do that?) You can see the temperature of his or her room. It is really easy to see them through the camera even when it is really dark in their room.
Pacifier- Philips Avent Soothie
I think most babies use the "soothie" pacifier for the first few months. All babies are different on pacifiers. Maybe buy a few different brands/sizes and let your baby try them out. Some like them all, some are picky. Once you find what your baby likes, buy a million and hide them everywhere.
Pacifier clips are awesome! Especially at the beginning when you are paranoid about germs, these help with your sanity. My advice is find one an extra strong clip, because most babies will try to pull them off their clothes.
Humidifier- ultrasonic pure mist humidifier
These are helpful to have on hand. During the first year, babies come down with lots of colds and a humidifier can help with stuffy noses.
Thermometer- iProven thermometer
Not positive, but from what I have learned, the best way to get an infants temperature is an anal reading, exciting! Buy the thermometer covers to keep your thermometer sterile.
We don't have stairs in our house, but this is something to think about registering for if there is an area of your house that you want to block off.
You will definitely want plug covers, cabinet locks, and maybe toilet locks.
This is helpful to have on hand. When your baby gets a fever or is teething, it is the last time that ou are going to want to get in the car and go to the store. Your pediatrician will give you more information about dosage allotments at every wellness visit.
this was our secret weapon for the first six months. Hudson had dairy and soy allergies and I am not sure if the gas relief elements were actually helping him or if it was the sweetness of the medicine. The instructions say infants can have something like 10 doses a day. We would dip Hudson's pacifier in the bottle and stick it in his mouth when he was crying. I can't tell you how many hundreds of times he calmed down or went to sleep, because of Mylicon. So yes, a must buy.
This is really helpful when your baby is teething. I put a dot of oracle on a kids toothbrush and Hudson would chew on it and stop crying immediately from the pain. Toothbrushes in general are helpful to give teething babies.
Bath tub or seat- Boon SOAK 3-Stage Bathtub
We have a Puj Tub, which is awesome, because it folds up to basically nothing. However, Hudson outgrew this tub so quickly. It worked out fine to go straight to the bath tub, but I think I would recommend getting more of a stable, plastic tub to supplement until your baby is big enough to handle the tub. (like the one above)
Anything works, even a cup and spoon. You don't need much.
I have become a little more hippy with having a baby and thinking about what I kind of products I am using on my baby. I don't mind splurging a little bit more for some of the more natural soaps.
Hooded bath towel Restoration Hardware Hooded Bath Towel
Oh my goodness, animal towels are the cutest. Obviously, it does not matter what kind of towel you have for your babies, but the ones above are too cute!
I honestly never use these, haha, I am just realizing this. Maybe you will?
Diaper pail- Playtex Genie Essentials Diaper Pail
It is simple and pretty much hides the smell. I hate changing the bag of diapers and almost throw up every time, but this pail is really easy to use.
Diaper pail liners- Playtex Genie Essentials Diaper Pail Liners
Diaper rash cream
We have tried two diaper rash creams- Boudreaux's Butt Paste and Honest Diaper Rash Cream. Hudson never had diaper rash until around ten months, it looked like oozing sores. For a couple months, he had a prescription from the doctor and we alternated between the two creams and we saw temporary victories, until it came back again. My friend Katherine gave me a mixture of coconut oil and tea tree oil and I think that has helped at times too.
Diapers- Pampers Swaddlers
They are a little bit more expensive than other brands, but every time I put Hudson in a different diaper, he always had a blow out. Now that he is older, I have bought the Costco Kirkland brand and I am going to try those.
Wipes- Pamper Swaddlers wipes
I don't think it matters very much. We use the Pampers Swaddlers wipe refills..
Photography: Elle Boone Photography | Floral Design: Moss Floral | Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas |Cake: Lauren William | Ceremony Venue: Christ Chapel | Reception Venue: Stonegate Mansion | Videographer: Tennison Visuals | DJ- Everlasting Sounds| Donut Wall: Funky Town Donuts | HMUA: Rebekah Robertson of J.B. Leigh | Catering: Magdalena's
Goodness little boys are the best especially how they love their moms. Throw in a beautiful pregnant belly and you have the cutest session ever. I may have mentioned chocolate chip cookies a little bit too early to sweet Wyatt, but he held on and showed his momma some love for the sweetest Fort Worth spring session. We are so excited for the newest member of the Campbell clan to make her debut! Congratulations friends!
My sister and I over Easter weekend went out to my grandparents farm in Waxahachie, TX to spend time with them. They live on a many acres in a beautiful big white barn-style home with a wrap around porch. My grandparents grow much of their own foods, raise chickens, bees, and actually have an official status of wildlife conservation on their property.
I have always loved visiting their house, eating truly farm to table meals (the morning we came we had fresh eggs, and mushrooms and asparagus from the garden). It is not uncommon to see a bobcat or deer from the big floor to ceiling windows that look out in every direction from their house.
Every morning, my grandfather goes for a two mile walk and comes home to read the Wall Street Journal in the morning and the Dallas Morning News at lunch. Their beautiful, simple life is so peaceful and it is always a special and magical time when we have the privilege of visiting.
In this age of Instagram, Facebook, and selfies, there is a proliferation of photos. Everyone can take a photo and it doesn't cost anything to do it. Therefore, we have so many photos! It has become a less natural and somewhat more cumbersome process of having photos printed. Instead of developing your camera's film and receiving double prints of all your photos, you now have to go out of your way and intentionally load, process, and order prints. Are prints still worth it? Here are a few reasons why we see that prints have great value.
to make someone's day
In college did you have something like “TOPS” (take our picture)? At U.T., they would send a photographer to the sorority and fraternity events, then you would yell at the guy “TOPS” and he would take your picture! Then, the next week after class you would go sit on the floor in their studio and look through albums until you found photos of you and your friends. All that to say, sometimes a friend would buy your “tops” photo of the two of you and leave it on your bed. Daymaker! Any time someone gives me a physical print to remind me of some special day we shared or a special moment, it means so much! I love getting prints. Print your photos and send them to your mom or grandma or anyone in your life who you want to make their day.
as a reminder
We have a selfie that we took on the beach on our honeymoon framed in our kitchen (see above). I can’t tell you how many times I look at it and smile and I am reminded of how excited, nervous, hopeful, so many things we were feeling then. It is good for my soul and my marriage to be reminded. I have photos framed of us and Hudson from his first Christmas in our house. I know that as soon as we have another kid, those photos are going to be priceless. I love looking at them and being reminded of how special of a treasure he is to us.
make you smile
Always worth it! We have a photo of Hudson that faces the door where you walk into our home. Every time, I see it, it makes me smile. What a great gift!
to save for your kids
In some ways it is more difficult to scroll through old digital photos. They are unorganized, they are in different folders, there are too many, they haven’t been sorted through well and the bad ones haven’t been discarded. Choose your favorites photos, make a file, and order prints!
I love photo albums! There is something special and necessary about seeing yourself as a child or seeing your parents when they were young and married or in their elementary years. Invest in prints and albums so that you can preserve the history of your family down the road, for your kids, and your grandkids.
Prints are an affordable and timeless gift to give for birthdays, anniversary, Father or Mother's Day or Christmas. It is takes time and effort to go through the selection and ordering process and then finding a frame that works. This is a great way to gift someone
Printed photos are a great way to fill the walls of your home. It creates a warm, loving space when there is photos of your family around your home!
All of us want to have prints hung on our walls, filed in albums. We need to be reminded why prints are important. So, why you are thinking about printing- make it happen. Pick out your favorite photos and order them now. If you are a client of mine, send me an email, I will reopen your gallery and you can have access to the print store for the next week!
Prints make a statement. they say this event was important to me. This time really mattered, I value it and I want to be reminded of it.
The first birthday party
I did not think that I would be one of the crazy ones who was planning my child's first birthday for months, but the first birthday is so much more than it seems. It is a celebration and re-living of their birth story, your labor, how you waited and anticipated the coming of your child. It is a celebration of your family's survival of the first year, through sleepless nights and your whole life being turned upside-down, with much less margin and much more neediness. It is a celebration of the tribe of family and friends who have brought us meals, helped us hold our crying child, rallied around us through sickness, a hospital stay, encouraged us, and loved on us through so much change. The best part is it is a celebration of this life that has brought us a joy that we never knew was possible as we have watched this personality God thought of and breathed life into before time and has allowed us to take care of, delight in, and love on everyday. We have laughed more than ever this year at this sweet boy, his curiosity, his strength, his persistence, and playfulness. We enjoyed celebrating so much with friends and family last weekend.
This coffee shop will be located on 400 Bryan Ave in Fort Worth. They are taking on a complete building renovation. Part will house Roots Coffeehouse and the other part (including upstairs) will house Criterion CoWorking (a co-working concept that we’re also working on).
Since they are still in the design phase, they aren’t sure about an exact opening date. Their goal is late 2017/early 2018.
Their decision to expand to Fort Worth was pretty easy - Fort Worth is home for them. In early 2016, they moved to the Fairmount neighborhood and fell in love with the area. They’ve had their eye on the South Main area, so when their building popped on the market, they saw it as their chance to try out their new co-working concept and provide the South Main area a community coffeeshop at the same time. They are so excited to be a part of this community!
The hope for Roots Fort Worth is to be a true community coffeeshop - a place for sharing & gathering. As with our flagship store in North Richland Hills, this shop will feature incredible craft coffee & tons of local ingredients. They love partnering with other local businesses in the community.
Their “specialty” is their accessibility. They really want to be a place that all feel welcome and accepted. They have always had a great team of baristas who are friendly to both specialty-coffee-newcomers, as well as seasoned coffee drinkers. They also feature some incredible signature drinks - the Local Honey Vanilla Latte has been a crowd favorite since their NRH shop opened in 2009. The other thing that sets them apart is their commitment to local ingredients. They source as much as we can from local suppliers - Holy Kombucha, Dude Sweet Chocolate, Main Street Bakery, Novel Coffee Roasters, local honey, local craft beer, and many more!
Follow them on insta for more updates on the new location: @rootscoffeehouse / @criterioncoworking
Ampersand FW decided to create the concept just out of pure spontaneity. They grew up and went to school around the area & saw that the market needed something new and different. Although the company is operating under one entity, they are a collaboration of two businesses. The partners both have a coffee shop (Cuppa Espresso Bar) and a bar (Citizen/Stirr) in the Dallas/Irving area. Nevertheless, they are trying to remain as transparent as possible.
Overall, their hope for Ampersand is that it creates a little subculture of its own. They really take pride in being involved with the community as much as we possibly can. They are offering free coffee to not only police officers, but have now extended the offer the local firefighters, EMT"s, and active duty service members as well. Ultimately, they want to create a concept that is not only edgy, but is able to maintain the principles that really reflects the City of Fort Worth.
They like to think of themselves as a one stop shop for their customers. They're striving to create an environment in which you can not only sit down & relax in the daytime, but also have a drink or two with their friends at night. They roast their own beans on a day to day basis, so everything is fresh. In addition to this, they partnered up with a local bakery (soon to be revealed) to provide them with the best quality products that play with their concept. There's plenty more that they would like to reveal, but are going to make the public wait a little bit.
As young entrepreneurs, they created this concept to reflect their own taste and interests. As mentioned earlier, they not only wanted something edgy and fun, but at the same time welcoming and comfortable. Coffee shops are a dime a dozen nowadays, they wanted to craft a concise menu that has a little bit of everything for everyone.
There are so many reasons they are excited to be in Fort Worth. They see the city is currently in an exponential period of growth and development, & are just glad to be a part of it. Being millennials themselves, they are excited to bring something new to the area that ourselves would appreciate and love. As they say, "feels good to be home."
Follow along on instagram @ampersandftw.
Craftwork Coffee decided to open a new location on Magnolia, because they saw the professional community in the Near Southside often working in isolation in a home office and holding meetings in noisy coffee shops, so we wanted to provide a better option. Craftwork provides a balance of professional space and a community-oriented coffee shop.
Their hope is to create an environment of ease and inspiration. They want each & every person to walk into Craftwork and immediately recognize that this is a place where they belong
Their care and attentiveness set them apart as a coffee shop. They treat customers with genuine care not because its a rule, but because they deserve it. Care extends out into paying attention to the details. By striving for perfection with the small things, they achieve it with the big things.
Craftwork views Fort Worth as home and find it easy to work tirelessly for a city that they love.
Follow along on Instagram @craftworkcoffeeco.
Located in East Fort Worth, this coffee trailer opened a few weeks ago.
This coffee shop is meeting a need in a neighborhood that is really lacking in commercial development and especially coffee shops. One of the local residents I met told me that he has been visiting the shop everyday they have been open to make sure they don't close.
At this point, they don't have any dreams to open a brick and mortar. Their desire is to see the area come back to life, as a preservation "thing," to see more places that people enjoy.
The owner Brian Middleton enjoys the design aspect, he built the trailer and landscaped the incredible patio area. He as his wife run the trailer at this point, in between schooling and raising their two girls.
Go check out this awesome east side coffee trailer, open on Friday and Saturdays, and pick out a treat from their delicious selection of Empire Baked Goods from Dallas.
Follow them on Facebook at Coffee Folk and on Instagram @coffeefolkcafe.
Planned to open in WestBend (near HGSPLY CO) in a couple years!
I cannot believe that this boy is one year old! It has been such a great joy to watch him grow every month and to see his personality develop. He is so silly, we laugh so much of the day at our house. He is obsessed with all things soft and furry (especially dogs) and basically pants and rubs his face on everything soft. He loves to go to sleep at night and lays there, allowing you to kiss him 100 times while he just giggles, but doesn't move. He has been walking for a month or two and is getting scary fast. He has his own "drawer" of food/cups and now he takes everything in the house-shoes, keys, phones, pacifiers, cups, toys and hides them in his drawer, which is making it harder to keep track of all my stuff, haha.
When we went in for the twenty week sonogram and they told us we were having a boy, Michael and I both knew that his name would be Hudson. When we were dating, we had both read the biography of Hudson Taylor, who was one of the first missionaries to China. Unlike other missionaries of the time, he "became like" the indigenous Chinese, dressing in their cultural wear and growing his hair long. He worked with all his might relentlessly as a doctor committed to taking the good news of Jesus to the inland Chinese. He refused to ask for anything, but instead relied on God's miraculous provision day to day. (If you haven't read this book, you have to!)
It is our and hope and prayer that Hudson would know how worthy Jesus is of his life and that he would wholly lay his life down in obedience to God's love.
We are so thankful for the community in Fort Worth of friends and family who have blessed us beyond measure this year, helping us along the way at every step- meeting practical, emotional and spiritual needs. It really does take a village to raise a child.
Here are a few pictures of him last week I took at our mommy and me session.
Spring has sprung in Fort Worth!! I can't get enough of the wildflowers, they add so much life to nature. Cora is six month!! We love these neighbors and love watching our sweet little friend grow.
Austin is the perfect little getaway from Fort Worth. If you time it right (avoiding traffic), it is only a three hour drive down to the hipster haven. After living in Austin for seven years, it is hard to know what parts to visit and which of my favorite places I should go to when I am there. Inspired by a recent successfully restful and fun trip with my mom, here are some recommendations of how to spend a weekend in Austin.
6:00 pm Walked from South Congress Hotel (where we stayed) to Rainey Street. (2 miles- walk down South Congress through the activity of South Congress, the bridge (home of the bats) and through downtown)
7:00 pm Dinner at Emmer and Rye, claims itself as a "seasonally inspired farm to table restaurant serving American cuisine in a Dim Sum Style." It was recently named one of Bon Appetite's Top 50 New Restaurants. It may have been the best food I have ever tried.
Order 3-5 dishes to share between two. I would highly recommend the White Sonoran Tamarin and the White Sonoran Cascarelli, (both pastas) and the Corn and White Sonoran Johnny Cakes were out of this world.
9:00 pm Stop by Little Lucy's Mini Donuts Food Truck on Rainey Street on your walk home. Make sure to pay the extra dollar for sauce, you will thank me later.
9:00 am Coffee and read in the Mañana Coffee Shop in the South Congress Hotel. Try the lemon and blueberry tea bread for a morning snack.
11:00 am Brunch at Cafe No Se in the South Congress Hotel. We ordered the ricotta hotcakes, with bananas, pecan butter, and maple syrup and the avocado toast, with a soft boiled egg, créme fraîche, upland cress, and aleppo carrots. Their coffee is top notch and be sure to order a glass of orange juice as well it taste like the nectar of the gods.
1:00 pm Walk and shop in East Austin. Check out East Austin Succulents, Take Heart gift shop, and Friends and Neighbors resale shop. Walk down Cesar Chavez and E seventh to see so much creativity and artistry everywhere you look.
3:00 pm Take and afternoon yoga stretch and relaxation at the beautiful Wanderlust Yoga studio downtown.
4:30 pm Head to the pool at South Congress Hotel on the second floor. Order the hummus and pita bread and a glass of Rose under the shaded vertigo or in the water.
7:00 pm Head to Bufalina on the East side for wood-fired Neapolitan pies. Plan on eating early or late, because there is always a wait at this gem of a spot. Try "today's mozzarella" which is made every afternoon fresh through quite an extravagant process and you can't lose with the fresca pizza with prosciutto piccante, arugula, meyer lemon, and mozzarella.
9:00 pm Late night dessert at Lick Ice Cream. Oh my goodness, give all the flavors- dark chocolate, olive oil & sea salt; brown butter brown sugar pecan, texas sheet cake...yum!
9:00 am Run/walk around Town Lake. Park under the bridge at Austin High School and run either to Lamar bridge and loop back around for 3 miles or to the Congress bridge loop for 4 miles.
11:00 am Brunch at Eberly. The vibe of this place is really impressive- featuring a glass covered patio, mahogany bar, and an old school dining room. You have to see this place. Not to mention the fried chicken and waffles and the crab 'n grits are not bad.
Other Favorite Spots
-The Grove in Westlake
Outside of Town (if you want to see the hillcountry)
Where are your favorite Austin spots?
(spin off of New York Times 36 Hours series)
Cotton bows. Purple Delphinium. Sweet Eloise.
Oh my goodness what a dream. This newborn session was sweet and beautiful with the morning light streaming into the entryway and through the bedroom windows. Mom and dad could not have been happier that their precious gift had finally arrived-their little girl Eloise.
This week we are featuring Alaina Hamlett of Alaina Benn Ceramics...
how it all began..
Alaina is a senior at TCU and has some crazy talent when it comes to ceramics. She has always had a love for art, but never imagined that it would be something that she could actually pursue in such a tangible way. Alaina began her work with ceramics during her sophomore year at TCU when she enrolled in a ceramics course. She said that at first, it was a little tough to get the hang of and she often felt discouraged by it, however it wasn’t long before she fell absolutely in love with the concept of creating something with her hands. As her skills began to grow, Alaina decided to try and see if anyone would be interested in purchasing her art. The first item she sold was her hand-crafted pour-overs. She posted an image of one on Instagram to see if anyone would want to buy one and her expectations were completely blown away. She was very encouraged by how many people wanted to purchase a pour over that she began steadily working to perfect them even more.
Alaina has several goals for the future of her business. Some of her short term goals include finishing a website, creating a dinnerware set, and saving up to purchase her own wheel. Some of her long-term goals and dreams include eventually opening up a coffee shop/ ceramics studio with a barista friend of hers. The idea would be to have a coffee shop with a full functioning ceramics studio attached. The coffee shop would use all of the products from the ceramics studio to serve the coffee in, as well as sell the products. The studio would also function as a collaborative workspace for other artists.
In addition to being a talented ceramics artist, Alaina is also a Young Life leader in Fort Worth. Young Life is another huge passion of hers and she has been able to tie these two passions together. This past year Alaina sold pour overs to help raise money to send a kid to Young Life Camp. Her dream is to continue to do this with hopes that she will continue to raise more and more funds to send even more kids to camp to hear about Jesus. When Alaina was describing why she loves pottery so much, she cited a certain passage from the Bible where God is referred to as the Potter and we are His clay. Alaina said that remembering this passage when she is sitting at the wheel and molding clay, she is able to more fully understand this verse and to grasp its depth. She is able to understand more clearly the intricacy with which God handcrafted each of us and that brings her to awe of His glory.
I’m so excited to watch Alaina continue on this journey of starting her ceramics business. She is so talented and so passionate that I know success is sure to follow her. If you are interested in checking out some of her work follow her on Instagram at @alainabennceramics!
copy is written by Hannah Distasio
What a fun night!! We started out with a little happy hour wine and cheese time while all the guests mingled. It was great to make connections and to see new friendships form. We shared some secret talents, including one attendee who gave us her best rooster impersonation. We learned the fundamentals of shooting in manual, put our skills into action, and learned some new lighting "nuggets." It was a blast. I am so thankful to everyone who came and look forward to another workshop soon!!
Booking a wedding photographer can be a little bit overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for. Some brides know exactly what they are looking for when it comes to the style of photography they are looking for, while others don’t know the difference between high quality and mediocre quality. Some brides prioritize choosing and budgeting for a photographer above all else, while others don’t see it as a priority at all. In a sea of so many different styles, prices, packages, personalities and pretty photos, how on earth do you find a photographer that’s the right fit for you? When it comes to booking a wedding photographer there are certain steps that can be followed to ensure you are making the best decision and to save you some stress as well.
Questions to ask yourself:
How important is photography to you?
If you answered this question with a VERY important then you will need to take careful consideration of all of the steps to follow. If the wedding photography is a top priority to you, odds are you know what kind of style you like (even if you don’t know what that style is called) and you probably have loads of beautiful images pinned to your wedding inspiration board. If this is you, then you will probably be more selective in your search for that perfect photographer who is just the right fit and you will need to carefully consider and decide what style you want, what you can realistically afford and do your research.
However, if you answered this question with an “ehhh, I mean it’s not the most important thing in the world to me,” then you will primarily need to focus on your budget and what you are willing to pay for your wedding photographer and go from there. The following questions will be beneficial in your search as well, but you will not need to analyze them as closely.
What percent of your overall budget do you want to allot to photography?
This is a decision you need to make BEFORE you start your search for that perfect photographer. It is important to know what you can afford/what you are willing to pay before you find a photographer you really like and begin steps to hire them, only to find out you can’t actually afford them. If photography is more important to you, then you will want to allot a larger portion of your budget to your photographer- I mean, the photos are the only thing besides your memories that will last from that day. If the photography isn’t as important to you, budget for those high priority items first, and then see what you have left over to spend on a photographer.
What Photography style do you like? (Documentary, Portraiture, Fine Art, Edgy/ Dark, Bright& Airy, etc.)
This is probably the most important question you need to answer. You need to know what style you like in a photographer to know what to even look for when you are doing your research. If you are drawn to those quirky, un-posed and candid photos, then you like a documentary style more. If you liked the elegantly posed and more traditional photos most, then you are looking for a photographer who showcases a lot of these on their social media accounts and website. In addition, if you adore those bright, colorful and vibrant images that are just splashed with natural light and an airy feel, then you need to find a photographer whose photos all have this effect. On the other hand, if you find yourself admiring more dark, moody, high contrasted photos with a lot of shadowy depth, then you need to look for photographers whose style replicates this look. No matter the experience level of a photographer, most lean toward one or the other of these looks and you need to decide what you like on that spectrum and then find a photographer whose work is in line with that.
Things to look for in a photographer:
Check out their website
Don’t just look at a potential photographer’s Instagram highlight reel, find the blog section of their website, or wherever they have full wedding albums and look at how well they capture the emotions and moments happening. Did they get of those big moments? Is there diversity from photo to photo, or were they all shot in the same location/ posed in the same way? Doing your research by scouring a potential photographer’s website will help you to determine if you like their storytelling ability and also help you get a feel for their personality. Speaking of personality, this leads us to the next thing to look for.
Do you like their personality?
Do you mesh well? Most photographers have (or at least they should) an “About Me” section on their websites. It is important to read over this and get a feel for who they are as a person and what their personality is like. Is this someone you would get along with or hang out with? You can also meet with them in person or on Skype before hiring them to see if you guys would be a good fit together. This is very important because you will be spending a lot of time with them on your wedding day and you want the photographer to be someone who takes control, but also has a calming presence. Odds are the photographer will be in charge of a lot and they will help the day flow well, so its more fun to have someone who you like and trust and want by your side through out the day.
What all is included?
Don’t forget to find out what all they include in their price. You don’t want to spend your entire photography budget on a photographer only to find out later that that price only included their time spent taking photos and not the actual photos themselves. Find out how many photos are included in that price before you commit. If it is none, or only a few, you will want to budget for being able to actually purchase your images as well. Is a second shooter included in the price (recommended for weddings with 100+ people)? Is a wedding album included in the price, or any prints? These are some questions you should ask before you choose a photographer just so that you make sure you know what all you are getting. A photographer’s packages should be clear and concise so that you know exactly what you are getting.
Other things to consider:
You have a small budget but Photography is important to you
If photography is a priority for you but you are working on a very small budget, have no fear you can still stay within your budget while getting some high quality photos. Finding a less experienced photographer who has a style that you really like is the way to go! This is a win win for you and for the photographer. Typically, a less experienced photographer will be willing to take your wedding photos for very cheap because they want the experience and to build there portfolio. This allows you to spend what you can afford but still get the kind of photos you like. Find someone who takes high quality photos, who has enough of a portfolio (even if there aren’t wedding photos in it) to showcase their talent and style and who is confident in themselves and there ability. Make sure that their photos are all clear and crisp, that there is consistency in their editing and that they have second or third shot for another photographer before.
You don’t have to stay local
Can’t find a photographer in your area whose style you like and who is in your price range? Don’t be afraid to outsource your research to other areas. Denver, Utah, Portland, Dallas and LA are all huge hubs for very talented photographers. If your budget allows it, you could totally afford to pay for some travel expenses (usually it isn’t too much) to get that dream photographer you have been searching for. This goes for those on a small budget as well!
Can they work well in various lighting settings?
Anyone (or almost anyone) can take a beautiful photo in that perfect golden hour lighting. However, sad as it is, golden hour only lasts for about 15-20 minutes and the rest of the wedding photos are taken during the other 6 or so hours of the day. Be sure to check a potential photographer’s portfolio to see how they handle low light, indoor and harsh lit settings. Make sure that the indoor and low-lit photos aren’t blurry or orange and make sure that photos in the sunlight are still soft and clear. If a photographer doesn’t have any photos showcasing their work in these types of settings ask them to show you some.
Choosing a wedding photographer doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming. You just have to do your research and decide on what is most important to you. I hope that these steps help to guide you along in a smooth process of finding that dream photographer you’ve been looking for!
copy by Hannah Distasio
Window light. Fresh eucalyptus. Newborn baby boy. A great morning!
KC and I met last summer through the wedding industry. It has been so fun to know her through her new pregnancy and now through Harrison's birth. It was so special to watch her and her husband tend to sweet little Harrison, who is only 5 pounds, so gracefully. I am excited to do motherhood with this momma and watch her sweet boy grow. What a blessing!