iPhone Friday: The Magic of Natural Light for Your Photos!

I’m proud to introduce a new feature:  iPhone Fridays!  As a devoted fangirl, I’m passionate about getting the best use of this magical device.  Hope you enjoy!

The shadows turn a quick shot of the fruit on my table into a dramatic still life.

Though I daydream at the results I could get with the possession of a digital SLR, at this point in my life, the iPhone 4 is my primary and only camera.  Especially now as I’m blogging more frequently, I struggle to get the most professional results possible using only a phone.    Recently, I’ve made a commitment to myself to use ONLY natural light whenever possible.  It’s such a simple trick but it makes A HUGE DIFFERENCE! I’m blessed with great windows in my home, and even if it’s a little dark, there’s just no way to get pure colors like the sun can provide, no matter what camera you’re using!

Even though I’m prone to think of my camera situation as a limitation, when there are little ones involved, being able to capture the moment in a beautiful way from your phone should be a skill we’re all working to develop!  Moments like the one above would probably be lost forever if I were scrambling to find the “real” camera.

Would a tungsten lamp so perfectly capture the sweet pink of these baby lips?

Sometimes you have to use household lighting, like the following shot of me in my bathroom mirror showing off my new bangs:

...and it was all yellow...

When this happens, I try to save the shot by either a) going black and white, or b) making it seem purposely unnatural looking with a crazy filter.  (Like on the Instagram app.)

This looks intentional, if not outright artsy.

ESPECIALLY if you have kids, set yourself up for success by keeping all your windows open and bright during the day!  Try to take the shot as close to a window as possible but make sure you’re not standing in a way that casts a shadow on the subject.  Especially if your subject is standing still, turn off the overhead lights and lamps, because they can make your natural light turn blue with iPhone’s auto white balance.

Above all, take more photos!

Much love,


FINALLY! The Secrets of Being a Mom Revealed!

This is my friend Stephanie.  She has five kids, all under five years old.  Wonder how she does it?  So do I, and after months and months of my nagging, she finally revealed her secrets over on our collaborative effort, 4SmartyPants.

Here’s what impresses me about Stephanie: She’s not some jean skirt type that basks in the land of runny noses and tantrums while the rest of us pine for the days we could use the bathroom uninterrupted.   She’s a real gal like you and me.  I knew her before she had children, and she’s managed to stay the same cute, interesting gal she always was–the kind that loves a good meme, raps out loud with the radio, and can’t just ignore the TV if a good FRIENDS rerun is playing.  She’s got to be way more sleep deprived than I am, but she always finds the fun in life.

I never want to become the kind of parent that constantly whines or grows to resent the life they gave up to have children.  I think my pal has some great actionable tips for keeping the right attitude.  Go check them out, HERE.

A Simple, Happy Birthday!

My two year old became a three year old today!

There’s something so happy and simple about a plump, wispy bundle of birthday balloons!  They were definitely my son’s favorite part of the day!

We kept the celebration pretty simple, even for such a landmark birthday–no big party for my sensitive little sweetie.  Just grandparents and cupcakes!  Keeping things low key helped us ALL enjoy the event a little more fully.

We’re quickly learning that with so many adoring family members, my husband and I can gift our children pretty simply.  (And really SHOULD gift minimally if we want to have room to walk in our apartment!  LOL)  This year we gave him a lot of clothes, and just a few toys and books.  He was just as excited about the practical gifts!  What a kid!

3 years old.  Wow!  Our oldest baby is turning into a full fledged kiddo!

Little Packets of Formula


These little packets came in the mail today, and even though I’m nursing my baby, these are totally going in my diaper bag, along with an empty bottle! You never know…

Full disclosure: I hate almost everything about breastfeeding but the price tag and, of course, the health benefits. This is the second child I’ve nursed. I have no judgement at all on moms that formula feed!

Why do I hate it? Every lactation consultant will tell you it’s not supposed to hurt, but it just does, at least at first. Then it gets a little better for a while. Then you face the perilous biting stage…

And, yes, it’s every woman’s right to feed their infant wherever and whenever they choose, but I don’t like making people feel uncomfortable. Not to mention, my chest is at that size where it’s just awkward to nurse a squirmer without a cozy chair and a Boppy pillow.

Then there’s pumping. Few things feel more dehumanizing to me than hooking myself up like an industrial milk cow!

But, as much as I hate breastfeeding, I adore the pudgy little punkin’ that’s sleeping in the next room. It would break my heart to see him suffer any sort of ailment that may have been prevented through nature’s nourishment. Like generations and generations of moms before me, I’ll endure the inconvenience for these first twelve months.

And, if all else fails, I’ll just try to stay close to my comfy rocking chair and my Boppy as much as possible.

Make a gorgeous scrapbook in one evening!


Okay, let me put in a little rant:  As women, we overcomplicate EVERYTHING!  For example, making handmade cards has become this huge industry, and by the time we’re done… it looks store bought!  (For an alternative, see the simple cards I posted a couple days ago, HERE.)

That’s what tickles and delights me about the latest from A Beautiful Mess.  She offers us a simple scrapbook template that will be elegant for ANYONE to assemble in just an evening!  She used hers to make lovely gifts for her family, and once again… the washi tape shows up!  WHY have I not purchased any of this stuff yet?  I seriously need to start shopping on the internet more often!