virginia beach lifestyle photographer

5 Year Biz Anniversary + A Treat! | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

I blinked and it's August. How does this keep happening?!

You guys, it's one of my faaaavorite weeks!

TWO exciting reasons: 

1. It's my birthday week, yay! 

2. It's my business anniversary!

That's right, it's officially been five years since I launched EAP and I'm pretty stinkin' excited, humbled and honestly.. kinda shocked. If you had told me ten years ago this is what my career would look like, I would NOT have believed you.

Do you ever wish you had a time machine so you could pop back to the beginning and tell/teach/lecture your younger self? This is certainly how my brain works and I have frequent conversations with future Erin too. #soundscrazyIknow

If you are an EAP Family, be sure to check your email this week! I'll be sending out a special 'thank you' treat and if you know me well... it has to do with caffeinated beverages. #basic

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If you are NOT on the EAP Newsletter - then let's fix that! You'll get seasonal updates from me about mini sessions, availability and special offers. So, maybe like 3 or 4 emails a year? Nothing spammy, promise. ;)

Sign up here!

 

On another note, can I get sappy for a moment? 

Truthfully, I am phenomenally humbled by the families I serve. Your trust in me and the grace you extend is WHY I have been doing this for five years. The flexibility and blessings this offers my family are endless.

Thank you for being here. I'll never take your trust for granted, friends. Big hugs! 

xo

Erin

Golden Hour at the Beach! | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

Meeting new families gives me so much joy! My little extrovert self is so uplifted by hearing their stories. This adorable family have only been in Virginia Beach a short time, but are loving it already!

We had a blast chasing the sunset and their sweet little one-year-old at the Virginia Beach oceanfront last weekend. He was probably the happiest baby I have every photographed! True, I say this often, LOL! But seriously, he was nothing but smiles and so excited to explore/eat/dig the sand with Mom and Dad. ;) 

Gah, SO excited for all the beach sessions on my calendar!!

To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude.
— Jeanne Moreau

If you've been dreaming of updated beach pictures this Summer - let's make it happen! :)

AND, there are just TWO Beach Mini-Session slots left for 2018. Snag one before they sell out!

Saturday, May 26th @ 7:45 pm or 8:00 pm

See you at the beach!!

xoxo

Erin

Half-Homemade | #MomLife | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

Last week was Spring Break with my kiddos and it was such a good, soul-filling time. My oldest turned eight - which feels SO grown up! #sobfest

 It's been a couple of years since she's had a proper party, so we had a Harry Potter themed celebration with some of her pals. If you know me (like, at all) you know my love for all things Harry Potter. Yes, I was already an adult when I read the books - but my love is REAL, ya'll. 

Also, I'm Team Hufflepuff if you wanted to know. 

Take the quiz here and let me know what house you are! 

Sorting Quiz!

I had so much fun planning the little details of the party, without going tooo overboard. Pinterest is full of so many free printable downloads - highly recommend! We had a platform 9 3/4..

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Ollivander's wand shop...

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...and Amelia requested a cake similar to the one Hagrid makes Harry in book one. 

This was the BEST request for a cake yet. I love making the girls' birthday cakes myself, so this was a no brainer since I'm not particularly skilled in this area. Me and my good friend, Betty Crocker, whipped up a chocolate cake and then I made my specialty - homemade, make-your-teeth-ache buttercream frosting.

As I was attempting to ice the cake a la Hagrid, I had a funny realization pop in my head.

I'm a 'half-homemade' kind of Mom. 

I don't make myself crazy trying to make every detail perfect for my kids. There are many things I say no to. But for certain things, I go ALL in. Sure, it was cake from the box - but it had some added love and Mom pizazz attached to it.

Also, my far more skilled husband piped on the lettering:

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Mothering in 2018 can feel like a race to impress. If I'm not careful, I can easily slip into the mindset of believing I'm not doing enough for my kids. By embracing this 'half-homemade' approach, I feel a weight lifted from my shoulders.

I'm all about that messy imperfection in life, so choosing to focus on doing a few things really well... reminds me I can't do everything. I just can't. And that is more than okay. 

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Can you relate? What are some examples from your mothering that are 'half-homemade'? Leave a comment - I'd love to know. :)

xoxo

Erin

P.S. And because the internet has a wealth of hysterical content, this GIF is for all the Harry Potter fans! You're welcome.

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Bringing Home a Baby Girl! | Virginia Beach Newborn Photographer

There's nothing quite like visiting new parents in their own space and telling their story.

I always love hearing about their experience, how much they're sleeping and how siblings or fur siblings are adjusting to the newest addition. Maybe it's the Mom in me, but I love to meet them where they are (with a Starbucks treat in hand!) and just let them talk for a bit. I learn SO much about them as a couple and their unique experience of bringing life into the world. What a gift! So thankful for this work and the families who open their door and trust me.

I loved spending the morning with Kasey and Jeff. They are so laid back and seem perfectly matched. This is one blessed baby girl...

I want to document the brief period where our daughter will be so small. They grow up so fast!
— Kasey

I love a wakeful and contemplative newborn. Watching them take everything in makes me stop and notice too. Because - ceiling fans ARE amazing, right!? LOL! ;) 

"Can we keep her, Mom?" #fursibling :) 

March is a full month of maternity sessions and newborn due dates! So excited to meet some new Mommas and visit with others. If you're due this Spring/Summer - drop me a message (please include your due date) and let's plan your session!

I can't wait to tell your story next ;) 

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5 Reasons to Love a Capsule Wardrobe | #MomLife | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

Okay, I know what you're thinking...

But before you roll your eyes at the term 'capsule wardrobe' - keep reading! ;)

I first learned about a capsule wardrobe in 2016 when I watched a TED talk by author, Jennifer Scott. If you haven't seen it, she discusses her process and what a capsule is. You can watch it HERE! As I often do, I stumbled down the rabbit hole of the internets and began reading whatever I could find about capsule wardrobes. 

capsule wardrobe - noun. a collection of clothes and accessories that includes only items considered essential

At the time, I had been working at home for several years and my 'nice teacher clothes' were still collecting dust in the closet. I had all those awkward in-between sized clothing from after pregnancies (Moms - you can relate, right?). I only wore about 10% of what I actually owned! Mount Washmore was growing higher and I was tired of digging through it to find that ONE t-shirt I wanted to wear. 

It was time for a change.

After several seasons of working and reworking my capsule wardrobe, I am so thankful I committed to it. I don't have a specific number of items I keep, but I do have only my favorites hanging in the closet. Off season items are packed away so I don't have to see them until the weather changes. It's like seeing old friends when I take out my Spring scarves after a long Winter of jeans and boots!

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Here are 5 reasons to love a capsule wardrobe!

1. Cleaner closet and streamlined drawers. - If you're wanting to declutter, your closet is a great place to start! Connect with your inner Marie Kondo and find the joy. 

2. Always wearing favorites. - I don't have many days where I don't really love what I'm wearing. There's no filler outfits, so I feel confident in what I'm in! 

3. Way less laundry! - I mean, isn't this reason enough!? 

4. Investing in choice pieces. - Since I'm shopping less, I can save up and invest on better quality pieces. I find Winter pieces to be more of an investment, like heavy coats, wool sweaters and boots. It's my hope to purchase these items once and not have to replace them for several years. 

5. Saving time. - Imagine how much time you'll reclaim by not trying on five different outfits before your next date night! Moms struggle with decision fatigue already - make this part of your day simple.


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I wear mostly blues, greys and stripes - I'm not the most exciting or a fashionista by any means. But, I'm okay with that.  :)

I'd love to know if you utilize a capsule wardrobe! Share your experience or tips in the comments.

Chat soon!

Best,

Erin

In-Home Lifestyle Family Session | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

Sometimes, in the middle of big life changes, it's easy to lose sight. To see the stress and difficulties instead of the blessings. I'm so guilty of this at times! Although I try to keep an optimistic look on life, I can become distracted by all the little setbacks and complications.

This is one reason why I love photography. Forgive the pun, but it allows me to see the big picture. What really matters in this life? Our connections and relationships to one another.

Nothing brings that to the surface more than in-home family sessions! The Baker family contacted me this Fall, during a busy season of life. They were about to move and are expecting their second child. Talk about big transitions! I loved that they chose to focus on what matters and document a morning at home as a family of three (soon to be four!). 

They finished breakfast, played, created, read books and made music together. We documented all of their son's favorite activities and his first bedroom. It was such a sweet morning! 

For in-home sessions, it's a great idea to have a short list of activities to do. Whatever your kids love, let's do it! They tend to forget my camera and enjoy making memories with you. Those are my favorite types of images to capture!

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
— Maya Angelou

Are you in a sweet season of life or about to go through a transition? In-home sessions are a great way to document your family just as you are. No perfectly polished or styled home required! I mean, I'm no Joanna Gaines - so I don't expect you to be either! Let's capture what really matters.

I have very limited weekend availability February-March. Drop me a note to get on the calendar! :)

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2018 Reading Goals! | #MomLife | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

If you've known or followed me for any extent of time - you may know about my love for reading. It brings me so much joy and honestly, I think it makes me a better person. I read for entertainment, education and inspiration. I love reading books that feed my soul! 

In 2016, I set the lofty goal to read 50 books. This was a HUGE leap for me. At the time, I was working from home and had a preschooler and Kindergartner. My free time was seriously limited and I made a real conscious effort to prioritize reading over television or mindless internet scrolling. You can read more about my books and experience HERE!

Last year, I decided to pull back some and read 25 books. I cut that previous goal in half, and it really let me enjoy and linger over certain books. I even surpassed my goal, devouring several books right towards the end of the year. 

I haven't blogged about reading since last Summer (oops!) but you can read it HERE if you're interested in my 2017 reads!

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This year, I'm going to stay pretty similar to 2017's goals. I have the goal to read 30 books in 2018! I am giving myself permission to tweak this number up or down, depending on how my schedule changes. These are the first reads of the year pictured above - and with all this snowy weather I've actually gotten off to a great start!

Reading forces you to be quiet in a world that no longer makes place for that.
— John Green
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I will continue to use my hashtag on Instagram, #EAPreads - so follow along to keep up with the latest! If you are on GoodReads, come find me. I love using that app as a way to track what I've read and what I want to read. Their reading challenge is so motivating! I love to see that progress bar bump up with every book I finish. :) #nerd

I'd love to know what you're reading. Are you strictly non-fiction or do you love a good drama?

Happy Reading, friends! 

xoxo

Erin

New Baby, New Year! | Virginia Beach Newborn Photographer

This sweet girl was born just ONE day after Christmas. I mean - how lucky can you get?! I kept laughing with new parents, Dustin and Liz, about how Zoie is going to always have an epic birthday week.

Starting off with Christmas morning, then her birthday and New Year's! Gifts and family time and a full week of celebrating. It made me smile to think about what a blessing she already is and how every year will be even more sparkly and magical.  Christmas and Birthday magic combined to make a pretty epic week! 

As I waited to hear the word about her birth, I remembered VA weather can be pretty unpredictable. I am so glad I was able to meet her family before this epic snowstorm arrived! Her puppy sister greeted me at the door and was ready to cuddle and show off the new baby. :) I love me some fur siblings!! 

Sharing a few favorites of our morning together. Welcome to the world, Zoie! 

A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.
— anonymous

Talk about nursery goals! I could tell they enjoyed putting this room together - every detail was so personal and thought out. 

I secretly love a wakeful and alert newborn. They are so soulful and precious. 

Even when watching a ceiling fan, haha! ;)

Are you expecting in 2018? I would love to capture this time for your growing family! Drop me a note below with your due date and let's chat. :)

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3 Outfit Tips for Cooler Days | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

Don't worry, I haven't decided to become a fashion blogger, haha! BUT, I do know the temps are dropping and families (okay, mainly Moms because #realtalk) often ask me for advice on how to dress their families for a session.

Luckily, we still have mild and even some warm days ahead here in Hampton Roads. November and December outdoor sessions are certainly cooler, so be sure to plan accordingly! Because nobody likes to be cold - especially the kiddos. Here are some tips on how you can dress to keep everyone cozy and toasty! 

1. Layer it up. Dress littles in several, warm layers underneath their 'fancier' clothes. Thermal long johns, leggings and thick socks will keep the wind from cutting right through their top layers. Opt for a cute puffer vest, tailored jacket or fleece-lined pants. Remember, fit matters in photos so avoid anything too big or bulky. I usually buy winter coats a size larger so my girls will use them for two Winters, but they are not the best choice for pictures. Save your receipts and watch the forecast! Shop ahead and return anything you don't end up needing. #MomHack

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2. Accessorize smartly. Hats, beanies, mittens, gloves, scarves, earmuffs, capes - the options are endless for everyone in the family. In my experience, kids often complain of cold wind on their hands and ears. Keeping those two covered during a chilly session will be well worth it. Plus, there is SO much cute stuff out there! Hit up Target or Old Navy and grab some color coordinated options juuuust in case. 

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3. Include a cozy blanket and/or use your surroundings. Have a favorite family blanket or quilt? Bring it along! Some of my favorite images are ones where everyone is snuggled up together. :) Also, position yourself in a location with tall trees or buildings. This will cut down on the cold wind whipping through and leaving everyone exposed in the open. 

Try your best to keep everyone comfy and then get some hot cocoa/tea after! Starbucks stop on the way home? Totally been there :)

Stay cozy, friends! xoxo

Festive Family Session | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

You guys - full confession mode here. I am totally -that- person who is ready for Christmas right after Halloween. Totally guilty. And after having kids, I'm even worse!

I just love the joy and warmth of the season, so I can't wait. We're not particularly crazy about Halloween in our house either. Dressing up is great, but scary masks and haunted houses are not our jam. SO, this is why I found my daughter writing a letter to Santa at 6am on November 1st. I'm so proud - bahahaha! #sorrynotsorry

Anywho, I can't wait to share this gorgeous session with you! I met this family of five over at Stumpy Lake last week for a fun sunset session. Mom went back and forth about clothing options, but ultimately she ROCKED it ya'll. The red, black and plaid is giving me all the holiday feels. So, order yourself a peppermint mocha (or just roll your eyes at me, it's fine LOL) and enjoy all this cuteness. :)

These kids - OMG! The cutest. 

Those toddler kisses when they eat your face, LOL!

Hey friends - are signed up the EAP Newsletter? Stay up to date and hear first about 2018 mini sessions, specials and helpful tips. No spam, just inbox love. :)