First day of second grade…

First Day of Second GradeSometimes you just can’t take life too seriously! And, I mean how can you if you’re an elementary level educator?

When my children were younger I took the usual “first day of school” photos. You know the ones, with fresh little haircuts, new clothes, shiny kicks and brand new backpacks.

Fast forward (completely too fast), and now my children are older and I don’t get those photo-ops too often.

Last year around this time, I popped on Facebook one morning and was flooded with all the “first day” photos of my friends’ children, grandchildren, family members, etc.; at that moment, my daughter was on her way out the door for her last semester of college. She was student teaching and it was her first day of first grade. So, I quickly printed off a little sign for her to hold (“First Day of First Grade,” not to be out done by all those new moms.) and grabbed my camera… You know I had to right!? My friends in Facebook-World loved it.

How quickly time does fly… As we now have found ourselves in August of the following year, this year and my daughter is an official brand new, fresh out of college, bonafide 2nd Grade Teacher!

The first day of school started hectic, so I guess some things never change and I was out the door that morning before she even started getting ready. I pleaded with her before I left, “Take a first day selfie and text it to me.” She agreed. Next thing I knew it was nearing 11 am and still no selfie. I text her, “I know it’s your first day and things are probably crazy, but you only get one first day… So, don’t forget to take a quick selfie.” This was a little extra important today as she had already planned to take one with her entire class (Would that still be a “selfie”? IDK).  Anyway, she had her selfie-stick and had printed off 27 little signs that read, “First Day of 2nd Grade” for her whole class to hold.

Next thing I knew, the day was practically gone. The suspense was making me nuts; then about 3:30 pm, I finally, get a reply. She had taken a group photo that morning and was just now sending it to me. The day had been so busy she didn’t even get to eat her lunch, she explained. She had another hour to wrap things up and then she was headed home. I didn’t have the heart to ask her, if she ever got a selfie of just her-selfie. But, I had a plan… [insert evil grin].

I figured by the end of the day, her fresh face and curled locks would end up haggard and pony-ed up, and sure enough, she walked in drained and ready for a nap. I looked at her as I stood in the kitchen cooking dinner and said, “I have an idea.” I got the-look. Then, I went on to say, “You don’t have to fix your hair or makeup or anything…”

You see, the thought had crossed my mind during the day, instead of a perfect back to school photo, let’s do something a little not-so-perfect, with maybe an over-the-top touch of silliness. My new little teacher was worn out, hair flat, clothes disheveled, tired and hadn’t eaten; that’s a little more realistic look from a teacher’s first day, I think. It didn’t take much explaining for her to see the funny in it all. We ran back to her classroom and props were laying everywhere begging to be in the photo, new supplies by the dozens, books, hand-sanitizers, etc. It was all there for the using and all too perfect! The rest is history, so they say.

We hope you enjoy her “First Day of Second Grade” photo. Not typically what we see shared on social media, but so perfectly typical of the first day of school. Okay, maybe not this silly, but you get the idea!


It was a smashing good time…


I personally feel like this is a brilliant idea. I mean, why not? Every adult should have their very own “smash cake” photo shoot! Why should they be for just the littles?

A friend shared this idea with me a week ago and I was instantly excited. I had never seen this done before, not with an adult. Sure, I’ve seen it done with first birthdays time and time again. I’ve even taken some of these themed photos for my clients, but NEVER, not once, for an adult.

I instantly went to Pinterest. You know the place you go to find out a million other people thought of your idea first, lol?! Well, to my surprise, very little popped up. I knew it, I knew it seemed like an amazingly unique idea.

I was chomping at the bit to do this photo shoot, but my daughter, the one that get’s rooked into most of my trial ideas had just had her birthday in January. Not long ago, but long enough that I couldn’t pull off a shoot and say the photos were from her birthday; if I planned to share them on social media, that is. But, wait a minute, my son’s birthday was just days away, and not just any birthday, but a somewhat milestone… His 25th!

I eased him into the conversation, showed him some samples, explained the concept and my ideas. He gave me that, “Mom really?” look, I promised to keep it short and painless. A few little whiny “Oh, come-ons.” later and he said, “Okay.” I mean, he’s nothing if not fun. Further more, because even though I had found a few via Pinterest, the numbers representing “the guys” were pretty much non-existent and by that I mean, I found like one. So, it was game on!

I say, “DO IT!” Bribe your teens, con your 20-somethings, throw a bottle of wine at your 30-somethings, bring back some memories for your 40-somethings, and so on and so on. Whatever it takes, this is a must do photo shoot for family and friends of all ages.

We all should take those moments to feel like a kid again and what better way to do that than with an everything old is new again idea… The “smash cake!” It will be a smashing good time, I guarantee! And, there’s no better timing or more perfect excuse for an impromptu cake fight.

A few tips: To make it all seem like a real “smash cake,” you have to think 1st birthday props (e.g. chalkboards, balloons, party hats, birthday clothes, a real cake, etc.), but don’t forget the fun twists for adults (e.g. a glass of wine, a bottle of beer, your not-so-small birthday numbers, etc.). And, plan on getting messy; that’s part of the fun.

Happy smashing!


“It was a smashing good time…”

Santa, please don’t wake the baby…

Santa, please don't wake the baby...

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but one of my favorite things to do with “junk” is to create funky photo-shoot settings. I like to take things with a vintage feel or something out of the ordinary and throw it together in some mismatched fashion, just for the fun of it. It follows one of my “Golden Rules” always reuse, repurpose, recycle!

For this photo-shoot we took a vintage bed frame to a field (used an air mattress to save on some of the heavy lifting) and used layers of creams, tans and shades of white bedding and pillows. We added an aged toy baby bed, since this was a newborn session and added a Christmas wreath, milk and cookies, and a note to Santa, also subtlety announcing the holiday season.

The Sullivan’s are always awesome to work with, they just show up and let me do my thing. This quote from “Alice in Wonderland” always makes me think if this is what my clients think of my ideas… The Mad Hatter: “Have I (has she) gone mad?” Alice: “I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But, I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” Hopefully, they get me, lol!

Wishing you a very vintage Christmas!

Candy, candy corns, caramel apples & baby bums; nothing sweeter…

Candy, candy corns, caramel apples & baby bums; nothing sweeter...

Christmas is my favorite time of year, but fall is definitely my favorite season. Hayrides and changing leaves and pumpkins, OH MY!

It’s also my favorite photo season. We just can’t pay for the kind of beautiful backdrops that nature gives us in October and November. I just can’t get enough.

This is one of my favs from this season. Baby Tatum, she’s 5 months old and there is just something absolutely perfect about her lil’ nakey baby bum lined up on her family’s little bridge amongst her pumpkins and gourds… Too cute!

Likewise, the other is my fav from last season with 6 month old, Sami. Her grandma was oh-so kind and hand-crocheted me some fall baby hats, love them.

PHOTO TIPS: It doesn’t take much to recreate this photo; a few pumpkins and a baby, lol. The fall hats are the icing on the cake, and I would say the photo is best done with a baby 5-6 month old; babies that are just sitting up good enough to safely step aside for photos, but not a baby on the move, that won’t sit long enough for photos. Just keep shooting, if your baby is anything like Miss Tatum, her head was moving everywhere watching nature and listening to the leaves rustling in the wind.

Now go take some pics before the season changes!

Candy, candy corns, caramel apples & baby bums; nothing sweeter...

Sending up messages to Heaven…

Sending up messages to Heaven... Sending up messages to Heaven... A few days ago we released balloons to celebrate our parents anniversary; it was the first one that’s come and passed since our step-dad left us oh, too soon.

If you knew my parents you would think they were celebrating their anniversary every day. I’ve never known an actual true-life fairy-tale couple. For all the years they’ve been together they would still hold hands in the truck, still tickle-fight and laugh often… Very much in love and honored each other til death they did part.

The release was both sad and happy, but it was a way for just one little moment to bring Heaven and Earth together to celebrate.

We attached to each balloon a message “We are sending up messages to our family angel in Heaven today because he left us way too soon. If an Earth angel intercepts this message, please say a prayer for our family and know that someone out there is thinking of you! And, sending to you and yours, prayers for peace, love and happiness!” On the back of each message we wrote personal messages from several family members and friends. We also included our city and state… Who knows where they may fly…

Love like there is no tomorrow!

Shared with permission from our mom! She wants everyone to know their love and know that our step-dad was a man that wasn’t ever afraid to show his love, to hug, kiss or show affection to anyone. One heck of a guy! He’ll truly be missed.

Even Cinderella had to do a lil’ laundry before she went to the ball…


princesslaundryI know, I know the “Princess Laundry” photos have been done. I myself have recreated the photo with a few of my nieces a time or two, but I had to remember when my children were younger the over-done studio shots were new to me and I wanted one of every thing with my precious little ones too.

This time around; however, I had a client asking and we gave the popular laundry photo our own little spin (no pun intended, lol).

Lucky for me I remembered our old small town laundromat was still equipped with vintage washing machines in the most awesomeness shades of blue-green. The rusty old exposed air ducts, chippy dingy wall paint, metal clothing rods and wire roller carts were just icing on the cake to this vintage inspired laundry shoot.

You can do it…

It’s all in the details Baby! – Clothes pins, clothes line, distressed chair, old basket, holey socks, vintage scarf, fabulous grown-up heels, a whole lot of princess dresses and a bunny!

Edited in Photoshop with “Little Luskers” actions.

Even Cinderella had to do a lil' laundry before she went to the ball...

A family that camps together…


Combining vintage finds and photography is always one of my favorite things.

Lucky for me, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are always up for whatever I throw at them, lol.

My SIL contacted me about doing their family photos and we set the shoot up for this past Tuesday; however, due to the constantly changing Oklahoma weather we were quickly rained out which worked out perfect… You see, I’ve been obsessed with the “Vintage Market Days” advertising photo every since I had seen it. I’ve even been day dreaming about recreating the photo with friends and family just for fun. You know all those that find junk just as fascinating as myself.

Well, the night the photo-shoot got rained out it clicked; “How about doing a camping inspired version of the VMD photo.” It fit this family perfectly, as they are always packing up and heading to the lake.

By the next day the weather was better and I was able to gather all the items needed for this late change of ideas.  I’m somewhat ashamed (not really) to admit, that I had almost everything you see in this picture stashed somewhere between my attic and garage and only had to pick up a few random pieces at the farm.

I’m so excited about the way it turned out and somewhat jealous that I didn’t get my brood together for this awesome photo opportunity. I love it!

So, go on get your camera, grab all your junk, gather your friends and/or family, and get to shooting; options are endless, use what fits your lifestyle, and just think no hairdo or makeup required.

Finishing Touches:
A few “Greater than Gatsby” Photoshop actions were used for the finished look.