Sunday, August 4, 2013

Family Adventure: Schmidts take over Wilmington!

I hope everyone is having an amazing weekend. 
I without a doubt am! Our Saturday was spent on a mission to have the best family day to date! Mission accomplished! We woke up early & headed out to The Airlie Gardens, located in Wilmington North Carolina. We have made a billion trips into Wilmington but always end up doing the same ol' things, never exploring the unknown. So that's what our yesterday was all about. The Airlie Gardens was one of the most beautiful, serene places I have ever been too & had a little bit of everything for all of us. Long walk, fresh air for Bennett, a ton of history for Jim, & breathtaking scenery for the photog (me) Sunflowers that towered over our heads, white swans swimming in the calm water, gigantic old Trees from the 1500's, Butterflies on almost every flower, the ocean, we watched the boats take to the sea from docks surrounded by blue shallow water,that was so clear,
you could see the oysters clustered on the bottom of the ocean floor, & the most beautiful ornate driftwood. We spent 2 hours just walking around the gardens.
I could go on and on...
Instead here are a few pictures of some pretty things & wittle Butterflies, which my hubs continued to chase calling  'little Butters'. hahaha

We followed up our Gardens adventure with a little One Tree Hill tour. For those of you who were/are fans of the show, you probably know that OTH was filmed in Wilmington, NC. I have driven this tour from house to house, Peytons, Lucas's, Brookes, Nathans.. etc.. before, but my husband was very excited being that he is a recent addict to the show! (Yes we are nerds x10.) 

Next stop on the family day, an old school toy store &  late lunch at The local Brewery, we always end up here because the food is amazing! & the locally brewed Scottish Ale is to die for, for those of you who are beer lovers! 

Lastly,we took a drive to the Battleship down on the River & took a stroll on the Riverwalk!
Came home tucked our boy into bed and snuggled up with some popcorn & a movie. 

I am always the one behind the lens so I asked Mister S to switch it up a bit to take a photo of me & my little B on our adventure! Although I had to arrange all the camera settings for him, he did pretty good. Maybe Photography will become a family business ;) 

Well that was our adventure for more pics & updates, check out my instagram!<<<< Link on blog to the right ! 

Off to set up the baby pool & head to a friends for the first day of the Football season!! Here we go!

Happy Sunday! 


Friday, August 2, 2013

Clean vs. Matte

Now, unless you are a photog, interested in photog, or just love pretty pictures, some of my posts may begin to seem a bit dull, & or pointless.. I am going to begin incorporating my photog side more & more into my posting, this being because that is my ultimate goal, Photography. I am a photographer in training & the only way to get better is practice practice practice. Sometimes when I get my words/ photos out on this lovely blog of mine, it helps me to find some clarity on where I am, where I am going & where I would ultimately like to be.
So what may seem like gibberish to you could be some form of inspiration or an AH HA moment to me. Make sense? ;)

While I am not fully ready to launch my photography into a full blown business quite yet..  I am constantly trying to find myself in the big wide world of photography. 
Searching to find my specific style, so when someone sees my work they can pinpoint it to being just that,, my work & without seeing an artist name tag, they just know "hey, Amanda definitely took that photo!" That doesn't mean I won't switch it up once in a while or my 'style' won't change as I progress in my work.

This brings me to what I am tackling today,
Clean vs. Matte
The photo example below was taken on a rainy gloomy day, outside my house. By no means is this photo meant to be insanely interesting, no extreme editing or facial touch ups have been applied, & is rather just a quick snap shot of my hunnies in everyday life. 
 The first colored photo, pictured on the left was SOOC (Straight out of camera) photo, it has a Clean Crisp feel to it where the colored photo to the right, I applied a more Matte feel.

 The difference may be very subtle but applied to a shoot in it's entirety can give a completely new vibe.
This is the same for the B&W set of photographs below. 

Told you it was subtle.. 
Still I am torn.. I kind of love the endless possibilities with both..
While Matte seems to be the more popular edit between photographers at the moment , how can you go wrong with a crisp clean look? 

Gahhh what are your thoughts on clean vs. matte? 

I thought this post would help to give me some clarity, instead I am still in the air. I guess I shall just keep testing them both out on different photos until something clicks! ;) 

To be continued I suppose... 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Photog: Daddy & Bennett 9 months Session.

School.. Here's a little update on how I am doing. I have been at it for about 2 months now. For the first few weeks I was really dragging, between having company drive in & our trip to Long Island, I began to push school off day after day. Now, things have settled down a bit & I have really forced myself into an everyday routine. I am more of a hands on learner so, I read a little bit, while taking notes, & try to go out to take photos a little bit each day. It's really the only way that things register & make sense to me. Anyways, I really feel as though I am getting more skillful at photography, meanwhile, becoming a tad more confident in my work. 
I know.. I am my own worst critic, & a bit of a perfectionist. Which can discourage you sometimes.. to say the least. But I am picking myself up & moving on. Can't get better if you quit right?! 

This week we ventured off & snapped some photos of the two men in my life! A mixture of a Daddy & me session with some 9 month snap shots! 9 months old is a big accomplishment ya know! So of course we had to document the occasion! 

Besides they are the cutest subjects & my biggest muses :)

So I won't post them all because I don't want to overwhelm you with cuteness.. (haha.. but really!) but I  do believe I have come a long way in just a few short months and hopefully will continue to do so. Here is Bennett's 6 month photo.. compared to his now.. 9 month, below.

Left- 6 months, Right- 9 months.

He's always adorable but as you can see in the photos, my style is adapting as well as the quality photography. The colors & contrast aren't so harsh & I am using less filtering or photoshop actions. 
Not as much of a need for them :D
I am far from where I would like to be, but I am right on track for where I want to go! 
What do you think of my photos? Are you a photographer or like to take photos? I would love to hear from you! 

I hope you are having a splendid week! We sure will!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

DIY Planked Shelf.

This past week was the fourth of July, I hope everyone had a safe, fun filled time! We sure did! 
Me, my boys, and some family friends ventured down to Wilmington North Carolina to enjoy a day of walking around their cute quaint little downtown area, enjoy some lunch at the local Brewery & watch the fireworks over the Cape Fear River. It was Bennett's first time ever seeing fireworks & being that it was way past his normal bed time & we had been out in the hot sun all day I was worried by the time the fireworks actually began, he was going to be a crank butt, or passed out cold. Luckily he was a trooper & smiled through the whole show, snuggling up to Daddy the entire time. :D He liked the big booms the most! 

Heres a picture of our patriotic boy, waving his flag in the back of our SUV hatch before the sun went down.
Yep the cutest EVER! Can you believe he was 9 months yesterday? I can't! 

After all the fourth festivities slowed down, I kicked it into gear & got crackin' on a few projects! 

So...  Being that we do not own our house and we live on a military base, their are rules on how much you can do to your home. If you paint, it has to be certain colors or , If you chose to paint you have to prime everything back to white when you move out... blah blah blah. Sounds like a lot of work. So my goal while living in this house is to try to find inexpensive ways to keep my house feeling homey & unique to us, but with things that can come with us when we're done here. 
Up until now, I have yet to share anything about my bedroom progress on the blog. I have had a love hate relationship with my bedroom. For the longest time the walls have remained bare. 

Recently while my husband was on a 2 week field op I picked up a paint roller at 7 pm and decided to just go for it. An accent wall.. I have never been keen on accent walls but one wall is better than no walls right? A new comforter and sheets,  new lamp, a DIY shelf & some thrifted wall art later, the room is really starting to transform into something worthy of us to sleep in!  I cant wait to share with you the full Master bedroom reveal, but For now lets take our first peak into my room with my DIY Planked Shelf.

The awesome hardware was found at Hobby Lobby! I took 3 planks of wood purchased at Lowes, stained each individually & gave a clear coat. Then 2 smaller planks (also stained & clear coated) and adhered them with wood glue, to the what side I wanted to be the underneath of my shelf. This is to hold the 3 planks in place, and provide a more sturdy shelf that won't bend in the middle. After allowing them to fully dry for almost a full day, I screwed the brackets into place & my shelf was ready to be hung!

Might I suggest.. Have someone help you hang this shelf! I did this on my own.. & while it turned out great, The first try was a fail & I walked away with a few bumps and bruises. The shelf was too heavy to hold in place so high on my own & I dropped it. Please don't make my mistake! You've been warned! ;D

This shelf looks perfect above my bed, & could go in any room, or any house we ever move to. With a little paint & DIY project I have easily given my bedroom a mini facelift.

Well? What do you think of my DIY Planked Shelf?


Monday, July 1, 2013

Down on the Blueberry Farm.

 It's blueberry season! You know what that means... a blueberry pickin' we will go!... Or I should say, went! 
 We had never been before, & being I home make most of my baby boys baby food, I thought what a great opportunity to spend some quality family time in the sun, and collect some fresh berries for my hunnie! [ & some tasty treats for myself of course]
Fresh is best! ;)

Which brings me to today's main event!!! 

These smoothies take the cake for the BEST smoothies I have ever tasted, they are healthy & easy peasy to make! Great as a breakfast replacement or an on the go pick me up! 
Here is what you will need!

Blueberry - Banana Smoothie Ingredients- 
- 1c. Blueberries 
- 1/2 c. Yogurt- I use Vanilla Greek Yogurt. But whatever your preference is will work!
-1 Frozen chopped Banana
-1/2 tbsp honey
-lemon wedge (optional) Just to make it pretty!
- 1/2 c. of ice (Also optional, I like my smoothies to be more of a slushy)
Combine ingredients in a blender. 
& indulge! 
But wait... You don't have time to sit & enjoy in the comforts of your home? I got something to help you with that as well!! 
DIY : Mason Jar to go cup

-Mason Jar & lid.
-Drill bit large enough to fit a straw. I believe I used 1/2 inch bit.
-Washer big enough to fit straw through
-Super Glue 

Drill a hole into the lid of your Mason Jar. This hold does not have to be centered you choose the placement, Take super glue and glue washer to go around the drilled hole, this is for safety reasons... When you drill the hole you will see there will be little prongs of metal that will stick out. The washer is meant to cover these. Hand wash thoroughly. Stick straw in & Go!  You now have a fully functional, not to mention adorable to go cup!

These are dishwasher safe. I prefer to use a disposable straw, because I never feel like straws get fully sanitized in the dish washer but that's just me & is totally up to you! 

Here's a few candids from our Berry Pickin' Adventure!

 As you can see B was 'Berry' excited! ;) 



Such a perfect day! We will be going back real soon!! 
Hope you had a beautiful weekend!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Woman: Summer Photo Shoot Fashion Inspiration

As some of you may know I am in Photography school, while I have been freelancing for a few years now I have finally decided to take the plunge & invest in myself by furthering my Photography & business education. While I have slowed down on the freelancing while working on my certification I have not fully given it up & have been itching to get back into snapping some beautiful photos.
I love photographing people, however, I do wish at times I could take each of my clients, shopping for the perfect shoot outfits prior to the shoot itself. No I am far from a fashion expert. However, I do have a back ground in Fashion Design and merchandising (I attended a few semesters at Villa Maria College in Buffalo, New York), so I am pretty fashion savvy and can usually throw something together fairly easily. I usually can recognize pretty well when a specific fabric, pattern, color etc, will photograph well & when it will not photograph as easy.
So in honor of my mini come back into the world of freelance photography I have put together a little inspiration board for the woman's photo fashion. 

The point of this post is not to say you should go out and replicate these exact outfits. I am well aware that everyone has their own style, and taste. Rather, I hope these general ideas, give you something to think about when picking out your summer shoot apparel! 

Dress- American Eagle, Bracelets- Forever 21, Sandals- Steve Madden, Belt- American Eagle

1. Neutrals With Color Pop- Neutrals are always a safe way to go no matter what the season! But why not throw a pop of season friendly color in the mix to give your look that extra WOW factor! This outfit is just the beginning of the many directions you could go in.

Blazer- Urban Outfitters, Tank/Camisole-Forever 21, Polka Dot Jeans- Michael Kors

2. Layers- Ok I know what you are probably thinking... It's summer... Layers really?
But hear me out. Layers, while can cause a bit of warmth are so worth the hassle. Layers while making your over all outfit look awesome, also allow for multiple different looks in one. Take the example above, some photos with the blazer on, some with the blazer off.. Add a scarf or head band in there for a few shots, roll the pants. You can layer with just about any article of clothing during any season. Wearing shorts? Throw some vibrant tights underneath! Just remember the end result is some kick ass photos!

Dress- H&M, Lower Shorts- H&M, Upper Shorts- Urban Outfitters, Shoes- Jeffery Campbell, Scarf- H&M

3. Prints & Patterns- A good print/pattern is always a great way to make your outfit a unique look. Spice up your outfit with a bold pattern & compliment the look with some dainty, simple accessories.

Shoes- Steve Madden, Skirt & Summer knit- J Crew, Lace top- Forever 21

4. Textures- Textures! Textures! Textures! Example- Lace, knits, patches. This is one of my favorites when going back through & editing photos! They tend to pphotograph really well, & can easily change the whole style of your shoot. Knits, comfy, cozy, homey.. Lace, elegant, graceful, classy etc.
Upper Necklace- J Crew, Earrings- Forever 21, Lower Necklace- Express, Clutch- Express

5. Details & Accessories- This is the fun part! Why not take a simple outfit with some big bold eclectic accessories! Head Scarves, Neck Scarves, Gaudy costume jewelry, pull your hair back & wear some funky earrings! If you're wearing a more outgoing outfit tone the accessories down to a bare minimum but maybe incorporate that one piece of jewelry that in all its simplicity is still fabulous! 

What you wear for photos doesn't have to be what you wear on a day to day basis, but instead maybe choose to step out of your comfort zone. Mix it up a bit. Wear something that can be a topic of conversation, but most importantly you feel comfortable wearing & feel good in!

Are you having photos done this summer? Have you picked out what you're wearing?
I hope this has been somewhat helpful! I plan on putting together a few family shoot inspiration boards soon so stay tuned!! 

Y'all come back now ya hear?! ;)


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

DIY: Moss Topiaries

I have been looking for something to fill the bare space on top of my kitchen cabinets. Something different, other than plates or picture frames. While that looks awesome too, I have plates already on the wall in the dining room & frames all through out my house. So I felt the need to mix it up a bit. 
The space is still not quite finished but here is a peak at the DIY: Moss Topiaries I chose to begin with! 

What you will need:

1. Faux Moss.- Comes in different shades & Textures at Michaels, Hobby Lobby or a Local craft store! 
2. Styrofoam balls or Pre-made topiary. If you buy the pre made -you will not need #3.
3. Wooden Dowel & Styrofoam base.
4. Planter Pot
4. Hot Glue gun & Lots of glue sticks!
Don't forget to use your coupons that can be found for most craft stores in your local ads & smart phone apps!

*** The faux moss comes in big sheets, I cut into small squares and glued on, overlapping in some sections to create a more natural look, Decorate your pot if you would like. ***

Well? I have seen Moss topiaries like this at the store that run for $30+... I say Hellzzzzz no! 
This DIY was less expensive than pre made store bought topiaries, Simple & gave me inspiration on what direction I am going in with my kitchen! 
Do you have a space above your cabinets? What do you have up there?

I would love to hear what you think of my Moss Topiaries?

Happy Hump Day! 


P.S. Baby B started crawling today!! I'm one proud Momma... time to put the baby gates up!