Monday, January 26, 2015

Oil Pulling

I decided to give oil pulling a try. I have been using coconut oil to remove makeup and clean makeup brushes for quite some time and wanted to explore other ways to use it. It's also a huge fad right now and I wanted to see what the rage is all about.

What is oil pulling? 
Using oil to remove toxins from your mouth and to whiten your teeth. 

How do you do it?
Take a small amount of coconut oil (about a spoonful) and swish between your teeth in the morning for 20 minutes. You don't have to swish vigorously. Spit out in a trash can, not the sink as the oil can harden and block drains.  

Is it effective?
Obviously, it does not replace brushing your teeth, whitening tooth paste and flossing. It's not as effective as using whitening strips or professional teeth whitening. 

Given all of that, I did notice a difference in the whiteness of my teeth by day two. Not a drastic difference, but a noticeable difference which was surprising.

There's many online articles that list extensive health benefits from oil pulling, but research doesn't back up many of those claims. I say it's worth a try to see how much it does or doesn't do for you. 

Will I continue oil pulling and do I recommend it? 
I think it's a great supplement to routine dental and whitening teeth care. White teeth are important to me. The number one tip I give before photo sessions is whitening teeth. 

You can only use Crest White Strips or professional whitening systems every six months to one year (I personally think no more than once a year because of how harsh they are to enamel). This is a good natural way to whiten teeth between using professional methods. I also think it moisturized and improved my gums. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cleaning/Reusing Old Candle Jars

Today I'm going to share how Bath and Body Works or Yankee candle jars can be reused!

Step 1: Get an old candle that can no longer be lit
Step 2: Pour boiling water into the jar and wait for all wax to melt and rise to the top of the jar 
Step 3: Peel off the candle label
Step 4: After the wax cools, remove the harden wax with a disposable knife and remove wicks 
Step 6: Clean jar throughly with soap and water and place it in the dishwasher for a second cleaning
The jars are perfect for storing supplies, makeup or filling for decoration!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Christmas 2014

It felt like the Christmas season went by so quickly this year. I think because this was the first year we had school events on top of commitments to family and friends.

We hosted Andrew's birthday party, ran holiday mini-sessions, I was the second shooter for a last minute wedding, enjoyed a neighborhood cocktail party, coordinated two holiday parties for Christopher's classroom, visited Santa for a Chik-fil-a event, went to a local farm to select a tree, wrote letters to Santa and drove around local towns to look at lights. 

I was looking forward to Christopher's winter break, so that we could go to Longwood Gardens and bake cookies. Unfortunately, I caught a stomach bug the day before Christmas Eve and those plans never happened. I am grateful I was better by the next day, so that we could attend Mass with my family and exchange presents with my parents. 

We got home earlier on Christmas Eve so that the kids could sprinkle reindeer food outside, read a Christmas story, and put out cookies and milk for Santa. 

I had all these grand photo and videos ideas for Christmas morning. You can imagine my disappointment when we woke up that day and it was extremely overcast. My camera functions very well in low light. There was no light. We thought maybe we could wait a few hours and it would clear up, but according to the forecast on our phones that wasn't expected till 3pm. 
I was left with no choice, but to use flash. I avoid flash like the plague. I joked with Chris I should hashtag all the photos #photographerschristmasnightmare

The kids each got 2-3 toys and a special present from the Elf on the Shelf (purchased by Gran).
I made a fancy breaksfast at home and then we headed to visit Chris' mom's for Christmas dinner.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Andrew's 5th Birthday

We had Andrew's 5th birthday at home this year right before Christmas. We did a brunch again because it's easy and we attended lots of December parties and wanted something different from the normal food served.

I ordered gourmet cupcakes from the local Cake Boutique.
We had hot chocolate, orange juice and tea for drinks.

We did a quick craft making jingle bell ornaments like those from the movie Polar Express.
He had a great day and got some new art supplies, a warm blanket and a Razor scooter.
Here's all about his unexpected December arrival if you'd like a trip down memory lane. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Cozy Day Must-Haves

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Ikea Vinter Throw | I don't own this, but plan to purchase it. It's classic, simple and soft.

Bath & Body Works Fireside Marshmallow Candle | There's something about candles that set the mood of coziness. This is the perfect mix of musk and sweetness. Ski Lodge is another favorite. 

Onepiece Onesie | I wish I owned one of these for lounging around the house! They are the original Norweigian jumpsuit and pure comfort.

Target Slim Jogger Pants | I've seen everyone on Instagram with these pants. They coordinate with nearly everything and are cute and comfy.

Target Cable Knit Hat | I have this in cream and navy blue. Perfect to disguise my hair when I don't have time to style it.

Old Navy Fuzzy Socks | These are the softest socks! I purchased a pair in cream, zebra print and of course leopard for $2 per pair.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Goals for 2015

-Complete our kitchen by installing a backsplash, cabinet knobs and curtains

-Purchase a coffee table for our family room 

-Lanscape our front yard

-Teach Christopher and Andrew basic chores

-Get Andrew on a kindergarten reading level 

-Post monthly videos on my YouTube channel 

-Learn to use a modifer with off camera flash 

-One devotional a month with Chris

-Post at least one session a month on my photography blog 

-Update photos on my photography website

-Go through kid clothing in the basement and reduce at least 1/3 of it 

-Attend a photography workshop or conference

-Post once a week on this blog

Friday, December 19, 2014

Evangeline is Three!

I didn't get a chance to get many photos at her birthday in September, but I knew I wanted some photos of her in her new room this year. Thanksgiving came and I finally got the opportunity!
This is her first year in ballet, so she's wearing her ballet slippers and this gorgeous dress from Etsy.
I'm so happy I have these images of her and I'm loving every minute of her being three.