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Saturday, October 20, 2018

Preschool Boy Back-to-School Capsule Wardrobe

Capsule wardrobes.  The phenomenon that has hijacked my Pinterest feed.  If you are unfamiliar with the concept, a capsule wardrobe is a wardrobe that has fewer elements, however they all are interchangeable, and therefore offer just as many - and often more - outfit options than the average wardrobe.  Capsule wardrobes take more planning, and purposeful purchasing.  They are also seasonal.  Back-to-school is a great time to start a capsule wardrobe, as many parents buy their children a larger amount of clothes, and you want them to last as long as possible and keep the outfits as interesting as possible.  Another characteristic of capsule wardrobes is that there aren't many "trendy" pieces, or pieces with motifs.  With kids and their interests, that can be a little harder, but I think it's doable.  With kids growing as fast as they are, I think capsule wardrobes are a great way to go for people who want their kids to get the most out of their clothes, without spending a fortune.

Here are some basic tips when choosing pieces:
- Stick with only a handful of colors.  Neutrals and blues go with an array of colors.  So for Aidan's wardrobe we went with gray, blue, white, black, dark red/burgundy and mustard yellow.  
- For non-neutral colors, choose ones that go with the season - we chose the dark red/burgundy and yellow mainly because they also work for Thanksgiving and the Christmas season.  
- For accent colors, if you like the "color of the season" (this year it's totally yellow, other years it's been purple, guava, etc.), go with that one, because it's easier to find complimenting colors in different stores.
- If your family tends to dress in certain colors, choose colors that go with what you already have.  We wear a lot of grays and blues, so most things we choose naturally fall into that category.
- I don't love graphic tees, or clothes with cartoon characters on them.  However, I also understand how much kids LOVE these.  So, I try to find pieces that are either subtle, or maybe look a little vintage.  Hence the hoodie with dinosaurs on it, and the admittedly very cool Batman shirt.
- Layers.  Layers offer more options, and they're perfect for Fall/Winter.

Here are the main pieces of Aidan's capsule wardrobe:

Basic pieces:
- 3 pairs of trousers/jeans (a dark denim, a light denim, and a seasonal color.  We went with mustard yellow.)
- 2 pairs of sweatpants (dark blue and gray)
- 2 dress shirts
- 3-4 long-sleeve T-shirts
- 3 sweatshirts
- 1-2 sweaters (I suggest one light weight and a thicker one)
- 5-6 T-shirts (don't go crazy on patterns)
not pictured:
- 2 pairs of long-johns
- 2 pairs of shoes (maybe one more dress pair, depending on your needs.  But honestly nice, clean chucks can be great for dressing up - they're kids, after all.)

Now, I'm not gonna lie, we do have a few "outlying" shirts, and a couple more pairs of pants, but honestly, this is what Aidan wears week after week.  The long-johns not only are of course great for keeping warm; since we've had Jocelyn (5 weeks), we've been having Aidan change out of his school clothes, and into a pair of (super soft and comfy) long-johns, and a cotton T-shirt.  Score!

Here are a couple of pictures showing how you can mix and match the clothes shown above:

There are many many more options, but that's just to give you an idea.  

Reasons I love Aidan's capsule wardrobe:
- I don't have to think too hard about what to put him in - it all pretty much goes.
- It's nice for anytime we take a picture, because he always looks pulled-together.
- Even when I ask Aidan to get his own clothes, there's a pretty good chance it'll look nice, lol!
- It's really easy to see if he needs anything, and then whenever I buy him something new, I'm not just buying stuff to buy stuff.  I have a pretty clear picture of what to get.

Here are the stores we bought Aidan's clothes at:
H&M - it's my go-to for the basics (t-shirts, underwear, long-johns - oftentimes in awesome packs).  The quality can be lacking, but you can't beat the price.
Okaidi - is a new store I found this year, it's where I got the mustard pants and dress shirts.  I really like the quality, and they have good sales.
Gap - I like Gap's version of graphic tees, and it's where we found the Batman shirt.
Name It - This brand is a little more expensive, but there's a store here that has good sales on it, and we really love the sweatshirt and sweatpants set we bought.  Really comfy and well-made!

Capsule wardrobes can be a great way to organize, even downsize and stay minimalistic.  I hope this helps.  Happy shopping!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

5 Tips For Outdoor Newborn Photo Shoot

Hello, world!  About 4 weeks ago we welcomed the newest member of our family!  We had our newborn pictures scheduled for two weeks after that, and here are my tips for surviving an outdoor newborn photo shoot!

1. Be Flexible
Our peanut came a week late.  This put a bit of a damper on things, as the weather was getting colder, especially the week we ended up taking pictures.  I had originally planned warmer-weather outfits, or on changing mid-way, and then I realized that was kind of crazy with a newborn and 4-year-old in a public park...
So, we decided to stick with one outfit, and I'm SO thankful that we did!  Here's a bonus tip - if you do want a slightly different look, you can layer, and remove one layer for some photos - like I did with my sweater. :) 

2. Moderate Props
In the age of Pinterest and elaborate, 3-hour-long newborn shoots, it's easy to get caught up in all the props.  Those are a very specific type of photo shoot, and if it's what you want, you should absolutely go for it! However if you're doing a more simple look, or more overall family photos like we did, props can make the pictures too "busy", and take away from the beauty of your sweet baby's features.  Also, in our case, the more props, the more things we would've had to carry through the park.  The props we decided to use was a wooden children's rocking chair - mainly so we could get pictures of our son holding his sister, a basket - so we could get some pictures of her alone, an embroidery hoop with her name on it, and a couple blankets.

3. Try To Take It Easy
With a newborn (who needed a nursing break) and a rambunctious 4-year-old boy, I had to remind myself to take it easy, and go with the flow.  Now, I'm not gonna lie, I did get onto my son to smile nicely, and not be so goofy, but some of the cutest pictures are of him doing exactly that.  Being a 4-year-old.  And I realized when looking at them, that he's only gonna be this goofy adorable age once, and why not have photographic evidence of it? (Also, the superhero pose one is one of my favorites!  Such a boy thing!)

4. Getting "That" Shot
There were a few pictures I knew I wanted.  Aidan has been hands-down the sweetest and most caring big brother, so I knew I wanted a few of just the two of them.  The "Secret Garden"-y one is just gorgeous.  It's even more beautiful than I could've planned!
I also knew I wanted one of me with both of them, and I love the one we got!  I wanted a "Daddy's Girl" one (it's breathtaking), I wanted a 3-generations one with my mom, and I wanted a traditional one that we've been doing with Aidan every year, of him standing between us.  If there are specific things you want, make sure you communicate them with your photographer - their aim is to make you happy, and they will do whatever they can to make it happen!

5. If You Can, Get Some Help
We are very lucky to have had my mom come and help us when Jocelyn was born.  I understand that isn't always an option.  But if you can, it's really helpful to have an extra pair of adult hands to either hold the baby, so you can get those special one-on-one pictures with the older sibling, and someone to entertain the older kiddo (by climbing a tree, in our case) so you can get those precious newborn-with-parents pictures.

And there are my 5 tips for an outdoor newborn photo shoot! Here are a couple extra, quick bonus tips:
- Pick somewhere quiet - less distractions for little one.
- Pick a pretty blanket/swaddle to wrap baby in, since newborns can get "swallowed" by clothes (do make sure whatever they're wearing underneath goes with the pictures, because the blanket will shift).
- Bring a pacifier, let fussy baby suck on it, have the photographer tell you right before they're gonna take the picture, pop the paci out, and hide it in the blanket you brought! :)
- No matter the type of pictures, I suggest taking a blanket to sit on, because realistically no one wants to get their bottoms dirty.

Also, our AMAZING photographers were Andraž and Neža with Happy Moments Photography.  If you ever find yourself in Slovenia, and in need of photos, they are definitely who you want!
I found the adorable headband at Lilies London on Etsy, and the blanket at Molly and Averie, also on Etsy.

Let me know if you have any extra tips you'd share!  I'd love to hear from you!