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Grown Up Shopping List

It’s a part of growing up…suddenly realizing you need those things that you didn’t think about till you were preparing to head off to college: pricy necessities that you realize that mom or dad provided for you up until this point. But how do you know what to buy? And when to buy it? And where to find a good price? That’s what you’ll learn in today’s blog: how to make a grown up shopping list for those certain items you’ll need when you’re living on your own:

Source: pexels.com

Source: pexels.com

Luggage: While many of you can still borrow this from your parents or friends, it’s really nice to have your own pieces that you can take on short trips (especially if you plan to come back and forth on the weekends). We love a weekender bag like the one from Sole Society, that’s very chic but also roomy enough for a 2-3 day trip. It’s under $100 and you can find it HERE. If you need your own rolling suitcase, consider investing in a nice one from Nordstrom or Macy’s, where they often have coupons and online sales. We like this one from Macy’s, that is more of an investment, but it’s high quality

Iron: You can definitely get by in college without an iron of your own (we recommend having a mini or portable steamer), but having a good one is truly an investment you’ll use for years to come. Especially with the many occasions that come up in college or life on your own to wear professional clothes, such as scholarship interviews, job interviews, or work in a professional environment, you definitely want the chance to have clean and pressed clothing. This one from Black and Decker is awesome

Sheets: You can go A LOT of years with sheets with low thread count, but we bet that when you try some higher end ones, you will never go back! You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get ones with higher thread count and organic or Egyptian cotton, and you’ll be much more cozy than the $10 ones from Walmart. We really love the Hemstitch collection from Target, and they start at just $70 for a full size set. Most dorm beds are twin sized but if you’re lucky enough to have an apartment with a full, they are your best value. If you have an XL Twin in a standard dorm room, you can also try these awesome sheets from Bed, Bath and Beyond for under $30

Cooler: Another thing that you may not realize you need, but that’s super useful and something you will reach for often! You will be able to take a cooler camping, on trips, and even for days at the lake, for years to come. A smaller version will be just fine until you have a family of your own, and you want one that can easily fit in the trunk. Of course, the Yeti brand coolers are the very best, but they’ll set you back about $150 for a personal sized one. The Igloo brand is just as durable, although it won’t keep your food cold for days and days, and it is just under $30 at Dick’s Sporting Goods. 

A lock box or safe: A mini or portable box is a great idea, even just to have a fire-safe place for valuables. As you enter adulthood, you will start to have important papers accumulate, like licenses, passports, applications, etc, that you will need a place to store. Look for a fireproof box or safe, with a lock or electronic code. It is best to have one that attaches directly to the floor in a closet or under a bed, so no one can run off with it, but that is tricky in a dorm room. If you can, see if you can store your most valuable possessions at a family member’s home, and keep other replaceable valuables in your personal safe or lock box. 

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Maycie | Senior Photography in Texas

Control. It’s a big part of our lives, and something most of us struggle with (yes, even me! Ha!). Learning that we can’t control everything in our lives is a major struggle, but something that is so valuable. It’s a lesson you really learn in your high school years, amid the stress of senior year and the excitement of heading to college. Often, many of my junior and senior clients face obstacles as they finish up their high school careers, and I always admire seeing how they handle them with grace and determination. For Maycie, one of my recent senior clients, one of these obstacles was that their family home flooded during the huge hurricane last year. It was a very difficult time, but they relied on their faith and each other, and made it through. Maycie explained that the experience really showed her that God is in control, and that she isn’t in charge of anything in her life…a very meaningful although difficult lesson. The Needville High School seniors also credits her mom with teaching her many valuable lessons, adding, “My mom is an amazing women, and I look up to her…she started having adult responsibilities at a very young age, and she is strong because of that. I love her, and would never trade her for another mom!” 

Besides the obvious growing and learning she did in high school, this bright young lady also was part of many clubs and activities at Needville. She was in the National Honor Society, and also held a part time job at a local coffee shop, which kept her very busy. During the last few years, she has gained a real passion for the medical field, and the help it provides to those who need it. She plans to attend college to become a physician’s assistant, and I know she will be amazing! She has a really giving spirit. When Maycie and her parents were looking for senior photographers, they settled on my work and I am sure glad they did. We did this entire session at a place very close to her heart: her home! Yes, every image except the ones with the truck, were done at their family’s yard, and the tree she’s sitting in is one where she loves to hunt. 

Maycie, I am grateful to be a small part of your senior year, and hope these photos always remind you of your hard work and how far you’ve come. You have so much to be proud of!

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Abby's Senior Session | Texas Senior Photographer

“Find out who you are, and do it on purpose”. -Dolly Parton

I hear a common misconception among the seniors who come to me for senior portraits. Many of them think that the must choose just one “look” during the shoot, and that it must be bohemian, urban, or modern. I really want every client to know that we can do multiple looks during the photo session, and that it doesn’t make you less authentic. I believe every senior can put their own spin on any outfit or location, and make it “them”. For Abby’s session (below), we showed off her love for softball, her love for high fashion, and her adorable everyday style! With each outfit change, we also chose an appropriate location, and I am head over heels for the way the ones with the granite steps came out. All of these images represent Abby and her journey in high school, and just because they are all different, doesn’t make her session less impactful. If you are struggling with coming up with your theme or style, I am always here to help, and enjoy guiding clients to find what will make them feel most confident. We really get to know our clients on a personal level, and find out their passions and interests, in order to capture them in their best light.

Abby is graduating from Needville High School, and will be attending A&M Commerce to play softball when he graduates. She is incredibly bright, fun and interesting, and a joy to talk to. Right now, she is currently on a special trip to Amsterdam (lucky girl!), and I cannot wait to hear about her adventures when she gets home. Congratulations, Abby!

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How to create an amazing resume

Making a resume: it’s not something that may be on the top of your to-do list for the summer, but it should be. No matter if you’re in the middle of freshman year or packing for college, learning how to make a resume is a life skill that everyone should know. Of course, there are plenty of resources like LinkedIn, where you can have a digital record of your employment and references, but many jobs require a paper or PDF copy that you will need to design, update, and store. Here are our very best tips on how you can create a resume that totally wows (and hopefully lands you the job of your dreams):

Source: Pexels

Source: Pexels

-Start with a list of your volunteer and employment histories: A simple legal pad or notebook paper will work for this step. Identify any things you’ve been involved in, such as volunteering at the Humane Society, working a part-time job (even if it’s nannying or babysitting), and anything that you can provide viable references for. You do not need to include your grade point average, or miscellaneous awards, unless they directly correlate with the job you’re applying for. Have a parent or other trusted adult check your list for relevant information, and to help you narrow down what is truly pertinent.

-Nail down your references and timelines: You don’t need to go back to your kindergarten years (please don’t!) to find relevant work history. It’s better to have less information than to try to scrounge around and fill it with things that have nothing to do with your reliability as an employee or intern. When you have narrowed down your specifics, make sure you contact anyone you worked under or for/with that would be a viable reference for you. You must ask their permission in writing, in order to include them on your resume as a personal or employer reference. Double check email addresses and phone numbers on anything you provide. If you’re unsure of when you started or stopped a job, make sure you ask the employer. 

-Always be honest: It is never okay to lie or include misinformation on your resume. As we mentioned, it is better to have a sparce, emptier resume that is truthful, than one padded with falsehoods. It will always be found out when you lie on one, and it sets you up for both legal trouble, and failing at a job. Only include experience you actually have, and only add names of people you truly know. Employers can see right through exaggerated lies, and you will always be on your toes, wondering if they will “find out” you stretched the truth…it’s best to always be honest! If you were fired or let go from a job and are embarrassed about it, be prepared with a truthful but concise statement because employers will likely ask you about a gap in work history.

-Design and save/print: There are so many awesome resources out there for resume building. You can google free templates from Microsoft Word if you want to keep things very simple and clean without much effort, but our favorite program is Canva for truly showstopping graphics and designs. They are free for almost all graphic elements, and only $1 for the fancier photos and fonts. It makes it a cinch to drag and drop your information into a beautiful and professional looking resume. Save a copy in Canva, where you can edit it as you add or take away work experience, and save a PDF and printed copy for your own files. 

Now, that you have a gorgeous resume, you are ready to go get your internship or dream job! We can’t wait to hear about it! Stay tuned here on the blog for more advice and tips as you prepare for college!

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Incorporating Props into Your Senior Session

When it comes to props, many seniors have one or two items that they want to bring, but they may not consider them as “props”. Something as simple as your favorite coffee or drink can be considered a prop, believe it or not. Anything that shows off your personality can be included, and can really add a special dimension to your images. We wanted to share some ideas of things you may not have considered for your upcoming shoot:

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Source: pexels.com

-Musical instruments: it might be a bit unwieldy to bring your cello to your shoot, but we love bringing pieces of our life into your session. For many seniors, that includes their love of music. You can bring things like sheet music, a microphone, or your actual instrument to convey this particular passion. If you play a large instrument like a piano, consider bringing your favorite books about the subject, or bringing a smaller option, like a keyboard. 

-Art and creative pursuits: Yes, you can even bring painting supplies, or a sketchbook. Are you writing a book? Bring along the manuscript. There is no limit to the way we can incorporate things like books, writing utensils, calligraphy supplies, or even your laptop if you are a graphic designer. If it says something about YOU, then we want it to be part of the shoot. 

-Favorite food: If you are an aspiring chef, bring along one of your creations! Your favorite cake? Your lucky apron? If you don’t cook or bake beautiful cakes or cupcakes, think of your favorite drink or food, and bring that along. It might sound silly, but some seniors even do a few of their ‘favorite things’ (shopping bags, coffee cups, snacks, or souvenirs like Mickey ears) as some of their props. 

-Your costumes/uniforms: Many seniors use their varsity jacket, which is always a nice touch. But, you can also add something like your cheer uniform, your pom poms, your gymnastics leotard, your ice skates, or even something like a polo with the emblem for debate team or another school activity. If you work a part-time job that you love, you can even bring your uniform for that (check with your boss first, as some companies have policies on being photographed in your uniform). 

I am always open to hearing your bright ideas about things you want to include, even if it’s your best friend or your beloved pet! We can make it happen. I love being creative and figuring out how to add in an unconventional item, and nothing makes me happier than being able to give you a senior session that’s truly about YOU. 

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Jackson's Senior Session

There’s something about a great, simple, outdoor session. It feels All-American, and a big nostalgic. There wasn’t a better fit than Jackson for a session like this: he’s a no-nonsense, kind, and interesting young man, and he loves the outdoors. I really enjoyed meeting his older sister a few years ago, and doing her senior photos as well. Hunting and fishing are two of his favorite past-times, and he also enjoys anything that has to do with Jeeps or old cars. He started his own mobile detailing company this year, and it’s going very well (what an entrepreneur!). In his spare time, he enjoys being with his friends, and training his dog Goose (who is pictured) to be a hunting dog. Lastly, he spends time volunteering in the PALS program, which matches older students with younger ones in order to be mentors and role models.

We chose an outdoor location with pretty trees and a small body of water, and we were blessed with blue skies when we met up. I wanted him to be able to have plenty of room to include his beloved dog, and to also show off his truck. Jackson is heading for more exciting adventures after graduation, and I hope to be front and center to watch his endeavors. 

Some people really love the outdoors, but others prefer an urban, downtown look for their personal style, or to show off a hobby or idea. I love showing off whatever you have in mind, and planning your shoot accordingly. 

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Twenties-Inspired Session

“They were smart and sophisticated, with an air of independence
about them, and so casual about their looks and clothes and manners as to be almost
slapdash. I don't know if I realized as soon as I began seeing them that they represented
the wave of the future, but I do know I was drawn to them.
I shared their restlessness, understood their determination to free themselves
of the Victorian shackles of the pre-World War I era and find out for themselves what
life was all about.”  ― 
Colleen Moore

There is nothing more glamorous and exciting than the roaring twenties!  That’s what made it such a perfect choice for Abby and Jamie’s styled shoot. Abby chose the decade, and we really went to town with their outfits and accessories to achieve an authentic look. We chose long strings of pearls and beaded headpieces, and the girls had gorgeous beaded and fringed gowns. Their makeup was extremely polished and classic, and was done by Kaitlyn, whose talents are simply unmatched. I loved the defined brows and elegant lipstick. 

Did you know that a decade is a great theme for a senior shoot? You can help dream up how to achieve the look you want, whether it’s nineties grunge or eighties awesome. I love incorporating a special era into your shoot, and enjoy the challenge of bringing it to life. If you aren’t a senior, but have an idea for a fashion shoot, you can always reach out to us to book a stylized session. 

Don’t forget to come find us on Facebook. Our followers earn first dibs on special events, behind the scenes looks, and more. We also post sneak peeks and session images from our amazing clients. 

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4 Practical Ways for Finding Joy

Image source: pexels.com

Image source: pexels.com

Finding joy is like finding buried treasure. It will take work, and you’ll go on quite a journey getting there, but you need to know where you can find it before you can set off. Thankfully, there are many maps to finding joy, and if you’re willing to put in a bit of work getting there, you’ll realize that it’s not that hard to find. Happiness and joy are different, in that happiness is fleeting and often brought about by things that happen around you, while joy is consistent, and comes from inside. In other words, other things can make us happy, but we can make ourselves joyful. Here are some practical ways for finding joy!

Treat everyday like thanksgiving - No, I don’t mean what you think I mean. I’m not talking about the food (although I can definitely whip up some joy with a bit of chocolate), what I’m talking about is giving thanks. When you make a habit out of being thankful for the things in your life, you’re automatically shifting your mind into a positive mindset, and slowly changing the way that you think about things. Do this for long enough, and you won’t be able to recognize yourself from before, because you’ll be so much more joyful.

Image source: pexels.com

Image source: pexels.com

Challenge yourself with something and commit to it - Here’s where that hard work comes in. The feeling of accomplishment is made up of joyful feelings, and is a very practical way to cultivate joy. Think of that project that you’ve been wanting to do for a long time - maybe you’ve been wanting to learn another language, write more short stories, beat the record on track team - and commit yourself to doing it. You’ll have to be more organized, and set reachable goals, but in the end, the effort will be so worth it, and the journey to accomplishing what you set out to will give you a big dose of joy.

Do something you love - This one only is hard when it comes time to stop. Think about the things that give you joy - whether it’s going out with friends, shopping, exercise, painting, etc. - and do that thing. It’s a surefire way to get a good grasp of joy, but you have to be make sure that the thing you love to do doesn’t become a crutch. You’ve probably heard the adage, “Too much of a good thing.” If you do something you love in excess, then that thing won’t give you much joy anymore. Do what you love in moderation, and you’ll be one joyful person!

Image source: pixabay.com

Image source: pixabay.com

Make time for laughter - Anyone’s who laughed knows that it makes them feel better. There’s no wonder that some of the most joyful people you know love to laugh! Think about the last time you genuinely laughed: how did you feel? As you grow older, you’ll have less opportunity to laugh, so while you’re young you should make it a habit. Maybe you have a group of friends that always make you laugh, or you love to watch comedies - you know what makes you laugh. Make time for these things, and you’ll find a whole lot of joy.

Finding joy isn’t as hard as it first seems, no matter where you’re coming from. The hardest part is putting one foot in front of the other, and making the effort to build up that joy. Give yourself time, and you’re sure to find that joy and hold onto it for years to come. If you’re a senior, then you have a unique opportunity to build that joy through a senior session with me. Contact me here to book your session!

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Jaycee's Senior Session

Self-care is a bit of a buzzword these days. It seems everywhere we turn, we hear about how we need to put ourselves first, and to preserve our feelings and hearts. This is one lesson that Jaycee, this beautiful senior, has learned in the last few years: the put herself first. “I have really learned that I cannot hold on to the things that have hurt me in the past. It is something to live by; to move on and find something better. ‘Forget what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you’ is my favorite quote”. I love her strength and kindness, and really enjoyed getting together to capture her senior year. Jaycee will graduate from Lake Travis High School in 2019, and she also enjoys her part-time job at Hill Country Indoor. She enjoys working with children, and also has run track in the past. When it comes to people who are influential in her life, Jaycee cites her aunt and her mom, who are both strong women who have fought for what they want in life! 

When I planned out her session, I chose the Spicewood area near Austin, and a local vineyard, Stone House Vineyard. The vineyard is seriously so elegant and stunning, and pairs the best architecture with beautiful landscaping; it is the perfect spot for an unique senior shoot. Jaycee says her personal style would best be described as “casual, cute and fun”, and that her everyday style usually includes sneakers, t-shirt, and shorts. She looks up to celebrities with a cool-casual style like Selena Gomez, and really loves shopping at Buckle. As far as her future, college is definitely in her sights, and she plans to pursue nursing, with minors in sociology and psychology. Jaycee is passionate about finding justice for rape and assault victims, and helping end human trafficking in the United States. Eventually, she plans to become a counselor or a therapist. I know her huge heart and passion about her goals in life will take her very far! Congratulations, sweet girl!

Contact me today to schedule your senior shoot!

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Halloween Themed Session

As spirits roam the neighborhoods at night,
Let loose upon the Earth till it be light…
~Nicholas Gordon

Something you need to know about me is that I absolutely love dreaming up themed sessions. I feel like it’s a bit of a creative high for me, and it always makes me feel super inspired when I can come up with something new. I’ve always loved Halloween, and the subtly creepy themes that were just waiting for me to come up with something cool! I love basically everything about the holiday, but especially the theatrics, the dressing-up, and the the little bit of campy, over the top drama!

One of these girls, Abby, is part of my senior team, and we brought in her friend Sarah for this themed shoot. Sarah was kind enough to be our super-scary vampire! I loved that they were both willing to go to great lengths to make this happen, even as far as wearing creepy colored contacts! I didn’t want sweet halloween photos; I wanted a little bit of scariness, and these ladies brought it! The makeup was a huge part of the overall look, and I love the all-out creepy result that we ended up with. We added some really dramatic outfits to round out the looks, and it came out even better than I imagined when I first started putting ideas to paper.

Thank you Sarah and Abby for helping my vision come to life. I couldn’t do what I do without my fellow dreamers and creatives, including the senior clients I work with!

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