Getting all dressed up for a great cause…

 One of my best friends is the CEO of Alpha Supported Living Services.  It’s an amazing nonprofit agency providing supported living and group home services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in homes in King County.

To say I admire all that he does would be an extreme understatement.

One of the fun ways to support him and the agency is their annual benefit dinner.  It’s always a beautiful moving evening that leaves you not only thankful that your children are healthy (as selfish as that sounds), but also so relieved to know that there is an amazing place that will truly care for them if they need it in some special way.  Also, having been to other events involving their clients, it makes you realize just how special each and every one of these individuals is.  That even if they are lacking in certain developmental ways, they make up for it in others.  And don’t get me started on the parents.  Wow, is all I have to say.  Wow.  I find myself complaining about daily parental struggles, but the love that all these parents have in their heart and the patience they’ve had to develop.  Admirable to say the least!

It’s so hard to pick and choose who you donate your money and time to.  Every story that you hear tugs at your heart!  I think we all chose things that have meaning to us in some way.  I’ve always donated to things that involve children (young and old).  Even when having them was not even close to being on my radar.  I could go on and on, but in case you want to know more about Alpha, you can do so here.

SO…in a rare occurrence on this blog, I’m in a dress, I actually have make up on, AND my hair is not in a bun SIMULTANEOUSLY!  All that happened literally 15 minutes before we were supposed to leave, so there was no time to set up the tripod and do my usual self timer shots.  My parents came over to hang with the kids, and my mom was nice enough to run out and take these pictures really quick :)Blog Karen Zambos Dress Nine West Heels-1 Blog Karen Zambos Dress Nine West Heels-2 Patiently watching…Blog HM Faux Leather Jacket Gap Gray Flamenco Dress Xhiliration Moto Boots-1Ok, in reality, she was just running up and down my neighbors hill in front and in back of me haha ;)Blog Karen Zambos Dress Nine West Heels-3 Blog Karen Zambos Dress Nine West Heels-4 Blog Karen Zambos Dress Nine West Heels-5 Blog Karen Zambos Dress Nine West Heels-6My new favorite picture of me and Maya! Blog Karen Zambos Dress Nine West Heels-7 Blog Karen Zambos Dress Nine West Heels-8 Blog Karen Zambos Dress Nine West Heels-9Then at the 5 minute mark, the Huz came outside.  I asked if he would take a few pictures, and almost fainted on the spot when he agreed! Blog Karen Zambos Dress Nine West Heels-10LOVE!!! Blog Karen Zambos Dress Nine West Heels-11 Blog Karen Zambos Dress Nine West Heels-12Now, sadly one of the boys was working and the other was playing video games.  Guess that means we get to do another real family shoot for our holiday card!! :)

And then of course, I had to get a few more of just the Peanut.Blog HM Faux Leather Jacket Gap Gray Flamenco Dress Xhiliration Moto Boots-2Blog HM Faux Leather Jacket Gap Gray Flamenco Dress Xhiliration Moto Boots-3Blog HM Faux Leather Jacket Gap Gray Flamenco Dress Xhiliration Moto Boots-4Blog HM Faux Leather Jacket Gap Gray Flamenco Dress Xhiliration Moto Boots-5Blog HM Faux Leather Jacket Gap Gray Flamenco Dress Xhiliration Moto Boots-6On me…

Dress- Karen Zambos (ebay, loving this high neck similar style ONE SALE if you’re a P here)
Shoes- Nine West (thrifted, similar here)
On Maya…
Jacket- H&M (thrifted, but similar here)
Dress- Gap (thrifted, it’s actually a size 5/6, but I love how long it is :) couldn’t find similar style)
Boots- Xhiliration (thrifted, but similar here)
Keeping it Real…
There are a lot of reasons I take a majority of our posts myself with the self timer and tripod.  I’ve talked about my control issues before a few times ;).  One of the nice things, is that I know when the picture is being taken.  Although, one of the funniest things about when someone else takes the pictures, is the outtakes!  The look on my face on the left??  And, on the right, I was trying to figure out how to show off the cool sleeves.  THAT was not the correct way haha!Blog Karen Zambos Outtake
(all pictures taken by my mom, except ones of Maya at the end :))

dit-elle-Lauren

Salmon with Dill Cream

One of our weekly staples is baked salmon as the kids still like and eat it (yay! :)). Salmon and dill are a Scandinavian specialty (think Lox and dill), and the flavors work very well together. Here’s a quick and easy salmon dressing!

Blog dill cream salmon

Ingredients

  • 1/4-1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 2-3 Tbsp Fresh lemon juice or till you reach desired consistency
  • 1-2 lb slab of salmon

Directions

  • Whisk together dressing ingredients
  • Lather on slab of salmon
  • Bake for 25-28 minutes
  • Garnish with fresh dill and lemon wedges

dit-elle-Esther

Pops of color…

 Truth be told, I would be happy to wear denim, white, black, and gray all day every day.  At one point in my life, I made a conscious decision to try and work color into my wardrobe.  I’m still not a big pattern fan, but every once in while I’ll try and do that too :)  Part of the reason is that I like to hoard hold on to my clothes FOREVER, and people remember patterns year over year.  A well made basic black sweater??  I’ve got some that I’ve had for 15+ years and STILL wear them!

There’s something about this coral color, though.  I think it works for just about every season, don’t you??  Please say yes haha.

We went over to a friends house for dinner while the Huz was out of town, and literally took these in 10 minutes before hopping in the car.  So…not much variety  :)Blog Sanctuary Boho Top Vince Destroyed Skinny Jeans Frye Lisa Short Stitch Booties-1 Blog Sanctuary Boho Top Vince Destroyed Skinny Jeans Frye Lisa Short Stitch Booties-2Maya’s Gigi (the Huz’s mom)  lives on a ranch in Oklahoma with horses.  She STILL competes and places Nationally in Horse cutting.  I won’t say her age, but let’s be honest…at 40, I would consider myself lucky to be competing in anything!  All that said, she sent Maya these beautiful cowboy boots for her birthday!  Blog Sanctuary Boho Top Vince Destroyed Skinny Jeans Frye Lisa Short Stitch Booties-3You will be seeing these a lot in the next few months :)Blog Hanna Andersson Black Velour Twirl Dress Corral Teal Cowboy Boots- Blog Sanctuary Boho Top Vince Destroyed Skinny Jeans Frye Lisa Short Stitch Booties-4Some boots were made for walking…and some dresses were made for twirling :)Blog Hanna Andersson Black Velour Twirl Dress Corral Teal Cowboy Boots-1 Blog Hanna Andersson Black Velour Twirl Dress Corral Teal Cowboy Boots-2 Blog Hanna Andersson Black Velour Twirl Dress Corral Teal Cowboy Boots-3 Blog Hanna Andersson Black Velour Twirl Dress Corral Teal Cowboy Boots-4On me…

Top- Sanctuary “Jacinda” (Nordstrom Rack a few years ago-Sold out)
Jeans- Vince Destroyed Stretch Skinny (thrifted, similar here)
Boots- Frye “Lisa Short Stitch” (eBay, sold out but similar here and here and less expensive here)
On Maya…
Dress- Hanna Andersson (thrifted, but similar here)
Keeping it Real…
We went over to a friends house for dinner while the Huz was out of town.  I literally took these in 10 minutes before hopping in the car.  So…for those that wonder if taking pics has to take a long time or if you have to go searching for a fancy location…you don’t.  At least not all the time :)  Find a nondescript wall or a bush/ivy lined wall, set up your self timer, and snap away. :)
(all pictures taken with a self timer and tripod, except ones of Maya :))

dit-elle-Lauren

Apples & Toffee Caramel Dip

It’s fall, it’s football season, it’s Honeycrisp apple season! What’s better than a crisp juicy Honeycrisp? Honeycrisp + Caramel Dip!

Blog apples caramel dip

Ingredients

  • 1 brick cream cheese
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. white sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 bag toffee chips (like Heath toffee bits)

Mix first four ingredients well and fold in chips. Let chill for at least an hour. This makes very well a day in advance.

Honeycrisp apples are amazing with this dip!

dit-elle-Esther

Zulily Blow Out Sale

I’ve mentioned before that most of both Maya and my clothes are thrifted.  I’d say for Maya it’s close to 90%.  A) I love the thrill of the hunt.  Getting something totally adorable for $2 that retailed for $30-$50?  LOVE IT!!  B) Then I’m not so worried about her playing, dirty, or spilling things on herself. C) I love that she’s not wearing exactly what everyone else is wearing.  It’s usually still what’s currently in style (sometimes not haha), but it’s not what’s currently in stores/aka different :)

Well…the one time I always seem to break down, is when Zulily has their blow out sales.  Especially on the shoes.  They have so many ADORABLE SHOES!!!  Marketing geniuses that they are, they put “HURRY!!  Only 4 left!”  Or heaven forbid “ONE LEFT!!”  Well, I may have gone a little crazy this morning.  Normally, I hem and haw over things in my basket.  “Do I really need this??”  Well, truth be told the answer to that is usually no, but I’ve been working really hard lately, and I figured what the heck!!

SO…. Here’s a few of my scores.  Go check out the sale (if you dare ;))Zulily Blow Out 2OMG, DYING over the top left.  DYING!   Zulily Blow Out IGdit-elle-Lauren

Transitioning to fall…Knits + Leather Shorts + Booties

First of all, I want to say Happy Birthday to my mom!!  I am so lucky to have you so close, and look forward to spending today with you!! :) xoxox

Now, I’ll be honest.  I was worried that a 40 year old mom had no business wearing leather shorts with booties.  That is one of the things that I’ve loved about doing this blog.  Stepping out of my comfort zone… Sometimes when I see the pictures, I think “what was I thinking??”, and then other times, I think…”Hey, that actually worked!”  I kind of think this worked!  It helps that the shorts kind of look like just plain khaki shorts, but that if you get close you notice that they are leather :)Blog HM Cream Sweater Current Elliott Boyfriend Leather Shorts SixtySeven Blake Bootie-1 Blog HM Cream Sweater Current Elliott Boyfriend Leather Shorts SixtySeven Blake Bootie-2 Blog HM Cream Sweater Current Elliott Boyfriend Leather Shorts SixtySeven Blake Bootie-3 Blog HM Cream Sweater Current Elliott Boyfriend Leather Shorts SixtySeven Blake Bootie-4 Blog HM Cream Sweater Current Elliott Boyfriend Leather Shorts SixtySeven Blake Bootie-5 Blog HM Cream Sweater Current Elliott Boyfriend Leather Shorts SixtySeven Blake Bootie-6 Blog HM Cream Sweater Current Elliott Boyfriend Leather Shorts SixtySeven Blake Bootie-7 Blog HM Cream Sweater Current Elliott Boyfriend Leather Shorts SixtySeven Blake Bootie-8On me…

Sweater- H&M (last fall, but similar here)
Belt- Old
Boots- SixtySeven “Blake” Bootie (Nordstom Rack)
On Maya…
Skirts- Xhiliration (thrifted)
Shoes- Vans (thrifted, but similar here)
Keeping it Real…
The Huz was out of town, so I had all these hopes of taking some pictures as the sun was setting, with the golden light.  Well…the sun sets at 6:30 now!! UGH!  I made Maya dinner to go, we raced out of the house at 6:15, then drove to the place I had in mind.  The sun was already too far set for my original location, so I drove down to the beach.  The sun was literally at the horizon, so I knew by the time I unloaded both of us and set up the tripod it would be gone.  Plus, there were a ton of people sitting around watching the sun go down.  So… we just pulled over and went to a park instead haha.  The moon was literally out when we took these.  Best laid plains…oh well.
(all pictures taken with a self timer and tripod, except ones of Maya :))

dit-elle-Lauren

Maya is THREE!!

I’ve been so back logged with work that I haven’t gotten a chance to work on these images from Maya’s 3 year Birthday pictures last weekend besides the sneak peek I did on Instagram!  All that said…these aren’t really my favorite images haha.  Kind of a great problem to have, no??!!  I found out early on in my photography career that props, fancy set ups and “grand intentions” were NOT for me.  I’m way more about capturing the emotion on the fly and LOVING moments in between.  That said…I give MAD PROPS to all the photographers that do all the complex set ups.  It takes time and not to mention pressure on everyone to make it work!!!  I obviously can’t handle all that pressure!! :)

Can we also just acknowledge that my shirt was completely wrinkle free when I left the house. And by wrinkle free, I mean I spray bottled it 15 minutes prior to leaving while I ran around getting Maya ready.  It’s my favorite time saving tip, because WHO HAS TIME TO IRON??!!  Yet, sadly…you’d never know… :{Blog See by Chloe Peasant Top COH destroyed High Waisted Skinny Sam Edelman Booties-1 Blog See by Chloe Peasant Top COH destroyed High Waisted Skinny Sam Edelman Booties-2 Blog See by Chloe Peasant Top COH destroyed High Waisted Skinny Sam Edelman Booties-3 Blog See by Chloe Peasant Top COH destroyed High Waisted Skinny Sam Edelman Booties-4 Blog See by Chloe Peasant Top COH destroyed High Waisted Skinny Sam Edelman Booties-5Every year since I took Maya’s newborn pictures, I’ve used pumpkins.  What OCD Professional Photog Mama wouldn’t take her own newborn pictures a week after having a C-section??   Here is her one week old pics.  I was still new to newborn photograpy, and have lots of regrets/wish I would have known this or that, but…all that said, so happy I was able to capture my own images, as flawed as they might be.  I mean, how could I not??  And then…her ONE YEAR SHOOT!!  Gah, I die… That chubby little nugget!!  SO CUTE, I can hardly stand it!!  And THEN…her two year shoot that I lazily did in the alley up the street from our house.  Soooo, the tradition had to continue.  This time at a park close to our house.Blog Baby Gap Yellow Dress Osh Kosh Leopard Booties-2Blog Baby Gap Yellow Dress Osh Kosh Leopard Booties-3Blog Baby Gap Yellow Dress Osh Kosh Leopard Booties-4OMG, there’s just something about this next one that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!Blog Baby Gap Yellow Dress Osh Kosh Leopard Booties-5And then, the typical…see ya, Mom!Blog Baby Gap Yellow Dress Osh Kosh Leopard Booties-61 FB Maya 3 year IG previewBlog Baby Gap Yellow Dress Osh Kosh Leopard Booties-7On me…

Top- See by Chloe (eBay)
Boots- Sam Edelman “Petty Suede Boots” (thrifted for $8.40!!!)
On Maya…
Dresss- Gap (thrifted, but similar here)
Boots- Osh Kosh from Zulily
Keeping it Real…
Hahaha.  This image is SOOOOO Maya!!!  I LOVE IT!!!  Yet, I probably wouldn’t post it normally, because…well, duh.  But, it’s so her.  Screaming randomly about NOTHING.  It’s not a fit, nor a tantrum, just….a scream :}  To which, I always say “Shhhh, “their sleeping”.  I kid you not.  She’s repeated it to me so many times.  “Their sleeping”.  Yes, that means, be quiet ;)
Blog Baby Gap Yellow Dress Osh Kosh Leopard Booties-outtake
(all pictures taken with a self timer and tripod, except ones of Maya :))

dit-elle-Lauren