Motherhood

Fall Favorites! | #MomLife

1. Powersheets - If you’ve not heard of Lara Casey, please let me introduce you here! She is the creator of the highly successful and inspiring Powersheets line of planners. These are planners that help you achieve your daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals.

She preaches progress over perfection and I can certainly relate to that! I love the Tending Lists so I can see all my September goals at a glance. It sits with my daily planner on my desk and I can check in when I’m feeling a bit scattered. Even me, a B-Type personality who resists structure, THRIVES with this planner. She’ll be launching the 2019 line soon - so check it out!

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2. The Enneagram - You guys, when I discover something this amazing - I.go.deep. I’m not sure where I heard about the Enneagram first, but I’ve always been a fan of personality assessments and profiles. There are 9 personality profiles and everyone falls into one number or ‘wings’ with other numbers. It’s fascinating! I am all about knowing myself better AND knowing more about the people in my life. The more we understand, the better and more purposely we can love others well.

Clearly, I’m super enthusiast about this topic. With that hint, can you guess my number?;) Curious? This is the link to the quiz I took: Explore Your Type.

3. Chili Recipes - We’re not big sports fans in my house, but we do love an excuse for warm and cozy food. I love trying a new chili recipe each Fall and tweaking favorites to make them even tastier. If you’ve been making the same recipe for years, consider adding different beans, spices, peppers, pumpkin or sweet potato. The options are endless and super yummy. If you have a go-to recipe, share it in the comments below!

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4. Real Pumpkins - I know this one sounds strange, but after taking The Nester’s Fall course I am a changed woman. Instead of using all plastic or fabric pumpkins in our Fall decor, I’m on the lookout for real pumpkins instead. I’m looking for quirky, unique, statement pumpkins. If you’re out and see a good local spot with several - holler at me!

5. Cardigans - Honestly, these are a year round fav and I don’t even own many pullover sweaters. Cardigans are perfect for layering and I crave a variety this time of year. Even with my capsule wardrobe, these act as ‘extras’ so I’ll snag one or two new ones each Fall. Not sure what a capsule wardrobe is? I shared my experience about it on the blog, HERE!

What are you loving this Fall?! I’d love to know! Chat soon, friends.

Best,

Erin

Finding Imperfect Balance this Fall | Limitless Motherhood

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In July, I launched the Limitless Motherhood Newsletter. Twice a month, readers get a short and sweet note straight to their inboxes. These emails offer encouragement for Moms who want more from their lives.

It's my hope these emails will inspire, motivate and help other women feel a little less alone. Even in a world with so many social media platforms... we still crave real connection with others. The Limitless Motherhood is my answer to all the noise. If you haven't yet, I hope you'll join us!

A fresh newsletter is coming tomorrow where we'll chat about how September feels like the new January. If you've been feeling conflicted over this new season, or even if you're ready for aaaall the pumpkin treats - it's okay to own that. I'll also be sharing a list of my current favorite books, podcasts, movies, and products if you're on the lookout for some inspiration this Fall! 

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When you sign up for the newsletter, you'll also receive Finding Imperfect Balance: A Guide to Getting Unstuck, no Matter your Season for free! This is a 5-page printable that helps you emotionally and physically prep for Fall. With a handful of purposeful questions and space to brainstorm, it's my hope this will help Moms feel more equipped this season! 

Take a moment before this busy season starts and consider what really matter right now. Not what's important to someone else or what's on Pinterest. It's not about finding perfect balance, because I'm not convinced that really exists. It's more about purposely choosing to hold on to just a few things instead of everything. 

If you're already signed up, your guide will be delivered in tomorrow's newsletter. Be sure to use our hashtag, #limitlessmotherhood so we can connect on Instagram!

I can't wait to get to know you better! Thanks for being here. xo

 

Best,

Erin

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Permission to Dream | #MomLife

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Whatever you’re dreaming about, big or small, it all counts.

Sometimes I still feel like I’m a ten-year-old dressed up as an adult, trying to fool everyone. Trying to prove that I’m a for-real-grown-up person. As if it’s a sham and at any moment, a REAL adult is going to ask for my ID to prove that I’m who I say. But instead of an ID, I'll just present them with a handful of pocket fuzz, paper clips and stale M&Ms.

Do you ever feel like there’s something you want to do, but you’re waiting for permission? Maybe you analyze this desire from every angle. Maybe you talk with your friends and your sister and seek everyone else’s opinion. 

Maybe this dream you have is so vast and consuming, it feels impossibly selfish. It feels indulgent and extra. You know you’ll never get permission, but it still pulls at you. 

Moms, why do we keep waiting for permission?

If there is something stirring in your heart, nobody is going to give you permission to pursue it except yourself. I believe that stirring is a direct calling from your maker, but if you believe differently… it’s still a feeling we should follow. 

Maybe you dream of…

  • being Room Mom for your kids this year

  • starting a side hustle by selling crafts on Etsy

  • traveling to another country with your family

  • learning how to play the violin

  • taking a watercolor class

  • launching a blog

  • learning to cook the perfect veggie lasagna

Whatever you’re dreaming about, big or small, it all counts.

We sometimes wait, squash down our own wants and decide this is just “not our season”. I must have said this at least a dozen times in my lifetime. And maybe that’s true. Maybe you have a new baby and your main goal right now is sleep. I get it. Your health and life commitments must sometimes take precedent. But this season won't last forever. 

Can I challenge you not to shelf your dream forever? Can I encourage you to write it down? Say it aloud. Let it sit for awhile in your heart. Because there is no other person who will give you permission to seek out your dream. It has to be cultivated within you and then released to the world. 

What’s holding you back? Friend, consider this your signed permission slip. You're a grown up and you get to decide about your wildest (or tamest) dreams.

I can't wait to see what you do next.

Best,

Erin


If you're searching for more encouragement, join the Limitless Motherhood! You'll get two short and sweet emails a month filled with inspiration and resources on living our most fulfilling lives as Mothers. Chat soon!

'Limitless Motherhood' Newsletter! | Free Guide: Finding Imperfect Balance

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I’ve always considered myself a multi passionate person. The things I loved as an 8-years-old, are mostly what I still hold dear. Thankfully though, I no longer collect those smelly Strawberry Shortcake dolls. #sostinky

I was the kid reading with a flashlight under the covers at night. As a moody teen, I was scribbling poems and singing along to show tunes on my Discman. I became an English major, and then a middle school teacher. 

Lately, I feel a deep calling to communicate and encourage.  I want to come alongside other Mothers on their journeys. Offer notes of encouragement and maybe a helpful tip or two I've gleaned over the years. 

Although nothing will change with the portrait side of my business, I DO have a way you can follow along on this writing journey with me.

I’ll be sending out two short newsletters a month where I share resources, encouragement and gentle insight for Moms who are feeling stuck or overwhelmed. It’s my hope these emails will be a light in your busy day as you try to do the next right thing. We’ll chat about balance, getting unstuck and thriving in our day-to-day lives. The newsletter is called Limitless Motherhood, because that is exactly what I want for us! 

lim·it·less

adjective

without end, limit, or boundary.

When you sign up, you’ll immediately get access to a special free gift I made just for you. It’s called, Finding Imperfect Balance: A Guide to Getting Unstuck, no Matter your Season. In this printable pdf, you’ll find a roadmap for getting unstuck this Summer. Whether you’re feeling lost in many areas of your life right now or just need a quick reboot, I hope this guide will help direct your next right step. 

We still have at least eight weeks of Summer to go. Whether you’re a stay-at-home Mom, running your side hustle or working a 9-5 schedule this Summer, there is still LOTS of time to thrive right where you are!

Moms, I hope you’ll grab the guide and join the conversation.

Let’s grow stronger together! 

- xo Erin

Summer Favorites! | #MomLife

Summer Favorites for Moms

Happy 4th of July, friends!

Today, I thought it would be fitting to share a short list of what I'm loving this Summer. :)

Maybe your list looks the same or you could add to it?

Here's what's making me smile lately: 

1. Sparkling Water - You guys, I'm becoming quite the sparkling water connoisseur. I've tried several different brands and here are my current favorites in no particular order:

  • La Croix - orange and tangerine are amaaaazing.
  • Bubbly - current fav!
  •  Polar - so yummy...
  • Trader Joe's - love the raspberry lime cans!

2. Coola Sunscreen - I've been using this brand of sunscreen on my face for a couple of years now. I love that the daily facial moisturizer has an SPF of 30 and smells like cucumbers. :)

3. Picnic Dinners - Not sure what to do for dinner tonight and loathe turning on the stove in the Summer? Picnic dinners are giving me LIFE right now. Pull out all the bite size foods from the fridge and make a hodgepodge on the table. Lunchmeat, cheese slices, olives, chopped nuts, veggie slices, dried fruit, hummus, pita chips and plenty of fresh fruits are just a few options. My kids LOVE this. They get to pick their favorites and I don't overthink it. 

4. Podcast marathons - While the kids are busy, I love to pop my earbuds in and listen to my favorite podcasts. Folding laundry is a great time to do this or during an early morning walk. My current favorites:

  • RISE podcast by Rachel Hollis
  • The Simple Show
  • The Alli Worthington Show
  • The Lazy Genius
  • The Next Right Thing with Emily P. Freeman

5. Netflix - Remember when we had to watch commercials? The WORST. Send me your favorite Netflix suggestions, I need some new binge worthy choices. :)

6. Quiet Mornings - Working at home and balancing the kids is always a season of change for me. Every Summer I get a little bit better...a little more grace-filled...and a little more intentional with my planning. Five years in and I'm thriving by waking early most days to work before our day starts. It fills my soul and keeps me caught up on edits and all things EAP. 

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7. Gratitude Lists - During some of these early mornings, I write down everything I'm feeling grateful for. It sets my mindset for the day and fills my emotional cup. I can remember that list when I'm feeling irritable or generally ungrateful. A few items on the top of my gratitude list:

  • Coffee with almond milk
  • The friendship my daughters share
  • My latest fiction read
  • Charcoal face masks (hello, oily Summer skin...)
  • Air Conditioning (praise...)
  • My husband's flexible schedule this Summer 
  • Colored pens and highlighters #nerdstatus

What are you loving this Summer?

What is currently blessing you in this season?

Drop me a note and lemme know! I always love hearing from you, friend. :)

xo Erin

My Spring Book List! | #EAPReads | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

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With Summer right around the corner, I am so excited to start working on my Summer Reading List! I keep a digital bookshelf on my GoodReads app of what I want to read, so whenever I have a moment, I put a title on hold at the library or drop it in my Amazon cart. This really helps me manage what I'm reading next and there is -always- something in the lineup!

I made real progress towards my goal of 30 Books in 2018 this Spring! I'm just finishing book 20 this week. #happydance 

Here's what I read:

  • The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware - A fun, who-dunnit mystery. I'm not a fan of any real horror writing, and this was certainly more my speed.
  • Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight out of this Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker - I devour everything this lady writes. She's such an uplifting voice! I was either giggling or sobbing throughout the chapters of the book - so you know it hits right in the feels. ;)
  • Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living by Linnea Dunne - This was a quick, light read that affirmed much of what I think in regards to living a simple life. Also, when can we all move to Sweden and wear matching sweaters and drink all. the. coffee.?!
  • Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin - This book was less research and more personal narrative than I expected, but I still gleaned lots of helpful insight into why certain habits don't work for me. And why others stick like glue! 
  • Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life by Susan David - I had listened to Susan speak on Lewis Howe's podcast, The School of Greatness, and I knew I had to read her book. Lots of depth in this book, but plenty of actionable tips and insights into why we get stuck in our feelings. 
  • Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis - This book has been everywhere lately and for good reason! After about four friends said, " You MUST read this Erin, it's so YOU!" I quickly added it to my library holds list. But when I discovered I was still #14 on the list, I snagged it on Amazon instead, haha! #soimpatient I'm glad I have my own copy to keep though, because I need a second reading to highlight and absorb more of Rachel's teachings. Loved it!
  • Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff - I haven't read "Love Does" yet (his prequel to this book in a way) but I can see why Bob Goff is such a prolific storyteller. He shares so many different stories, with each one pointing back to loving like Jesus. So inspiring and soul-filling!

Your turn! Leave a comment and let me know what you're reading. I think I'll aim to add a few more fiction reads to my list this Summer since those are always perfect for beach days. 

 

Need more recommendations? Check out my February post with my list of Winter Reads!

 

Are we connected on IG? I share over there almost daily and would love to 'meet' you!

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Happy Reading,

friends!

 

~ Erin

September Reset | #MomLife | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

There's something about September. Something that makes it feel like a fresh start. It doesn't have the same kind of January-New Year vibe, but it always feels like a new chapter starting.

The kids are back to school and I'm finding some breathing room. How about you? Any new goals or plans for this month? 

I saw this quote online and thought - YES! This is September. 

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Check out my cuties on the first day of school this week! I'm so proud of them both. :)

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Even though it still feels like Summer most days and the weather is unpredictable (looking at you, Irma) there's a gradual shift. Pretty soon Pumpkin Spice will be eeeeverywhere (no complaints) and we'll be discussing Halloween costume choices. The last chunk of the year zips right along. I'm looking ahead and mapping out our family calendar and trying to leave plenty of breathing room. That's why September is my reset month this year. 

Looking at the last few months of 2017 and evaluating what goals I've accomplished and what's still out of reach. I used to never evaluate like this. I was so forward thinking, I just kept plucking right along. I never stopped to really evaluate what was working and what wasn't. Am I the only one like this?! #daydreamerproblems 

Things I'm Resetting this Month:

  • Morning routines with school carpool, work, and fitness thrown in somewhere
  • Business workflows and monthly must-do's
  • Prioritizing personal and work goals for the end of the year
  • Holiday planning and bucket-list-writing (I want to take the girls to the see The Nutcracker!)
  • Utilizing my Trello boards to keep it all straight

...that feels like a lot, but I'm going to take it in weekly chunks. 

I'd love to know how you reset! Do you do it in one feel swoop in January or gradually throughout the year? Comment below and let me know. Have a great September, friends!

xoxo

Erin

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2017 Summer Reads! | #MomLife | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

If you're new here, you might not yet know what a HUGE bookworm I am. Until my oldest daughter was born, I was a 6th grade English teacher for VB Schools. I loved my job and the angst of 11-year-olds. My favorite part was unlocking meaning and connection from stories. If I could have done that all day, it would have been soul-fulfilling on a deeper level. But, alas, that is not how the life of a teacher really looks.

I'm looking at you SOL's...

This love of books and stories runs deep in my nerdy little soul. My current favorite app (okay, besides Instagram) is GoodReads. Whenever I see a title that catches my eye, I add it to my 'want-to-read' list. Then, when I'm browsing Amazon or the library catalogue, I have all those titles stored. Super helpful! You can read more about the 99 books I read in 2016 HERE!

So far this year, I've been reading a mix of great books! I'll share some favorites:

Everything, Everything - I love the occasional YA romance! As a girl who married her high school sweetheart, it always gets me straight in the feels. #socheesy #butIloveit

Dark Matter - Not one to usually pick up sci-fi, but this was SUCH a page-turner. I could not finish it fast enough. It's long-ish, but totally worth the read!

I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time - Wow, this book was super inspiring and motivating! It's full of the daily schedules from Moms who are rocking it at life! If you're struggling with work/life balance, this is a must read, Momma. 

My Not So Perfect Life - A fun, rompy book for the beach! Very British, so of course I loved it, ha!

James and the Giant Peach - If you're looking for a read-aloud with younger kids, we really enjoyed this one! I managed to find the old claymation movie to watch after too. The girls are obsessed with all the Dahl classics!

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Currently, I am reading Longing for Paris: One Woman's Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure - Right Where She Is and really enjoying it. It's about how God wants us to use our gifts and desires to live our fullest life - even in the middle of daily monotony.

Plus, it's making me crave croissants! ;) 

Do you have a pile of books on your nightstand?? I can't be alone here. I'd love to hear what you're reading this Summer and loving. Comment here or send me a message! 

Happy Reading! xoxo

5 Awesome Things about Turning 35 | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

5 years from 40.

Mid-thirties.

Officially a grown-up now?

Naaaaaah.

Recently, the hubby and I bought a new refrigerator for the kitchen. After 11+ years of marriage, this was our first time fridge shopping! After it was installed, we marveled at our matching appliances. We felt adult-ish, haha! It's hard not to feel like we're playing at this grown-up thing. But then you get excited about appliances and window treatments and you realize.... yep, I'm there. Can you relate?

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To mark my 35th year around the sun, I created a list of 5 awesome things I love about this age. My thirties have been some of my sweetest years yet and I'm excited for what's around the corner. #bringit 

  1. I care about the good stuff more. I worry over petty things a LOT less than I did at 25. I used to get caught up in the details, but I view life with a more 'big picture' perspective now. It's waaaaay less stressful.
  2. I'm okay being alone. As an ENFP, I'm one of the most introverted of the extroverts. I LOVE people and that is still where I get most of my energy. And power... like a gremlin in water, ha! But, at 35, I crave my alone time even more than before. Maybe becoming a Mom and being constantly surrounded by little, talky girls has shaped me this way even more!
  3. I'm unapologetic about my self care. I used to feel guilty about leaving my family to travel alone or indulging in something just for myself. But now, I know that those self care rituals and treats are SO important. It's easy to sink into the martyr mentality as a mother of young kids, but it's not a healthy place to be. If I need to roam Target alone, get a pedicure, or read a book alone at the pool... it is MORE than okay for me to do that. I'm a better mother, wife and friend when I take care of myself.
  4. I dream bigger than ever before. Like I mentioned in #1, I have a big-picture mentality now. I can see past my current situation and dream things for myself and my family... I never could have imagined at 25 years old. There are no limits and I'm done getting in my own way. Bring it on, universe.
  5. Finding time to nurture relationships. Life is busy in this season (is there ever an un-busy season?) and that's no surprise. I think that's why making time for the important people in my life feels all the more special and sacred. Brunch with my Mom, coffee with a friend, neighborhood walks with my bestie, mommy-daughter dates with my girls....it all adds up. It's easy to say, "I can't, I'm too busy" but when I prioritize who and what is important to me, it fills my emotional cup to the brim.
I’m a better mother, wife and friend when I take care of myself...

What do you love about your current stage in life? I really believe that there is sweetness at every step and recognizing it is the gift of aging with grace and wisdom.

Okay. Now I'm off to pick up some anti-aging moisturizer. ;)

Moms Who Matter | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

With Mother's Day coming up this weekend, I couldn't resist looking through some favorite mother and child images from the past. These moments are certainly one of my favorite things to capture. Especially since Moms are usually the family photographer! When you hire a pro, you get to be in-front-of-the-camera, at last.

Enjoying your children. Living in the moment with them.

Soaking up this beautiful gift we call, Motherhood.

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If you missed my recent blog, I talked about how my girls are getting too big for me to carry. I think this is why I'm so drawn to images of Mothers holding their babies. If you can still physically lift your child, I will ask you to so during a session. Or, to hold one another and get super close. The connection of mother and child is beautiful to witness. I can't get enough!!

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The connection of mother and child is beautiful to witness.
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hampton roads newborn photographer
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Woo...these all just get me right in the feels! Do you have a favorite picture with your mother? If the answer is no... friend, let me just encourage you to make that happen. If your Mother is on this side of Heaven, have a session with her. If you need updated ones with your own children... schedule it. And then PRINT those images. For your kids and for your daughters who will be on this same journey one day. And they'll witness all that love you had and still have for them. What a gift!

Happy Mother's Day to all the sweet Mommas out there. You are the life force and heart of the family. May you be loved and blessed every day... not just on a Sunday in May.

xoxo