Category Archives: photography

DIY Fabric Banner


You can all now call me Dr. Prasil.

Or Professor Prasil.

Or Professor.

Or just Ruthie, I don’t care, but I prefer Dr. Prasil.

What I’m saying is that I’m teaching a blogging class at our local college all about blogging and one thing we did was a DIY post. Enjoy!


Here’s what you need:

Photo Apr 14, 6 27 54 PM


Cut the fabric into 1″ strips.Photo Apr 14, 6 34 18 PM


Oh, hello, lovely class.Photo Apr 14, 6 34 54 PM

Fold the strips in half…like so.Photo Apr 14, 6 39 10 PM


At the end of the strip with the fold, fold it down again only about 1″ down.Photo Apr 14, 6 39 24 PM


Cut a slit about 1/2″ long on that fold (so that when you unfold it, it’s an inch long, Einstein)Photo Apr 14, 6 39 36 PM

There’s your slit.Photo Apr 14, 6 39 47 PMPhoto Apr 14, 6 39 59 PM

Lay it on top of the jute cord like this:Photo Apr 14, 6 46 26 PM


Pull the ‘free ends’ around the back side of the jute cord and through the slit.Photo Apr 14, 6 46 43 PM


Tighten that baby up.Photo Apr 14, 6 47 00 PM


Now, go create a petition and present it to your dean of nursing, proposing a change in carpet pattern.


You’re done!


Photo Prep: 101 Pulling it all Together (and some amazing discounts!)

We’ve made it to our final installment of:

rock the shoot.

Elle (of Life Styled by Elle) and I have been working so hard over the past few weeks to help make your next family photo session Uh-Maze-Ing.  Amazing, you guys.  Do you want to know how to find a photographer?  Click here.  Need to dress baby girls?  Right here.  We have also done posts on big girls, little boys, moms and dads and every member of your family!  Go and take a look!

But today we’re pulling it all together with a completed family look.  This will be different than the other graphics I’ve made for you because I’m not giving your prices or links — I’m simply showing you how different colors, patterns and textures can look together!

Let’s review first:

(1) for the love of all that is holy, do NOT do the matchy-matchy game.  Please.  Everyone does not need to wear a button up white shirt and blue jeans.

(2) don’t be afraid of bright colors and accent pieces.  Match them to your family’s personality!

(3) stay in the same color-hue family.  You’ll see what I mean when you check out the graphic below.

(4) make sure you are comfortable!

Now, take a look at a look for a family of 5 (mom, dad, baby brother, little sister, big sister).


Now you need to book your portraits!  If you live in the LC Valley or any of the surrounding areas, you’re in luck.  SO MUCH LUCK!  Several amazing photographers have offered our readers exclusive discounts!  Check it:


GPphoto lbphotography stellarstyles

kjphotography Tamidiscount

And now, for our huge announcement….Tami Rene is doing a crazy-awesome giveaway in addition to her discount!!

<a href="http://a Rafflecopter giveaway “>click!Click the link to enter to win this:



The giveaway will last 1 week — so you better run!  And check out any of these fabulous photographers in the valley for photos that you can be proud to hang on your walls.

Did you like our collaboration?  Would you like to see more in the future?  Drop us a note to let us know what you want to see!

Photo Prep 101: Dressing Yourself

Welcome back to the awesome collaboration between Elle and myself:

rock the shoot.

We’ve given you advice and tips on how to choose a photographer.  We’ve let you in on ways to plan location and how to go about posing.  And, the most fun part of the collaboration, we’ve given you examples of how to dress for your photos!  Click back through my posts to see how to dress baby girls, little girls and big boys and check out Elle’s blog for baby boys, little boys and big girls.  There’s something for each price point!

And today?  It’s all about you:  the mom and dad!

We are so concerned with making our kids look adorable and cute that sometimes we just rummage through our closets to find something that will just work with what the kids have.  Wrong.  You should plan your outfit just as carefully as you plan your kids!

Here are some tips for planning your own photo wardrobe:

(1) don’t be afraid of color and patterns.  Just like your children, you want some simple pieces and some bold pieces.  It’s so boring to dress in all white/khakis am I right?  You look washed out and boring.  It’s true.  Bright colors are fun and interesting and can show your personality!  Only you know what colors you love on yourself, so go off of that!

(2) don’t go crazy with patterns on both the top and the bottom.  If you are heavier on one side of the equator than the other, position the patterns accordingly.

(3) don’t go crazy with accessories, but add a few in!  I know, if you have no idea where to start, that wasn’t much help.  Huge rings, big earrings, crazy headbands and gaudy necklaces all in one look is too much.  For real.  Stick to a couple perfect pieces and leave it at that.

(4) no offense, guys, but your wardrobe probably won’t be as jazzy as hers.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t add fun colors and maybe an accessory or 2 (think bow tie/necklace).  I like fun shoes and jeans.  Solid sweatshirts and fun shirts peeking out.

(5) make sure you’re comfortable!  If you are always afraid that your muffin top is bulging out and all eyes are on that delicious apple pie you ate last night, maybe you should go with a different top that makes you less self conscious.  You won’t hold yourself well and it will show!

So check out what I have for you:


For the Mom:

Color by Amber bracelet | Umba earrings | J Crew top | Inspired by Tess skirt | Zappos shoes

For the Dad: 

American Eagle Outfitters shirt | Gap sweatshirt | J Crew jeans | Zara shoes

Mom’s shoes are fun and bright — they don’t match the skirt exactly, but that’s okay.  They are fun enough without being skanky (yup, totally said skanky).  The skirt?  SO FUN!  But not crazy.  (and let me add that Inspired by Tess makes the most comfortable skirts ever. They are so soft and they hit at exactly the right spot.  Super flattering.).  Paired with a plain shirt and plain(er) accessories, it’s perfect.

Dad, your outfit is a bit more muted, but looks great with Mom!  The pink shirt will peek out of your sweatshirt and will compliment the reds/pinks in Mom’s skirt and top perfectly.  The shoes are comfortable but put together and the dark wash denims are a dressier version of the laid back style you love.

Hey, you guys….Inspired by Tess loves you.  Use code “FAIRYWINGS15”  to receive 15% off your order for the next couple of days!!

Do you feel comfortable buying for your next photo shoot?  Tune in on Thursday to see it allllll pulled together:  kids and parents.  AND you get a huge surprise.

(Check out what Elle did with MOM and DAD styles!)

Photo Prep 101 — Dressing Your Big Boy

Welcome to the next segment of my collaboration with Elle from Life Styled by Elle:

rock the shoot.

We are helping you plan every part of your next family photo session:  hiring the photographer, deciding what location, what time of year, and how to choose clothing.  And we’ve moved on to the really fun stuff! Showing you exact outfits you can by for 3 different budgets.

Least expensive (popsicle budget)

Mid-range (ice cream sundae budget)

Splurge (french macaron budget)

To see how Elle styled baby boys and little boys, click here and here.

To see how I styled baby girls and little girls, click here and here.

Elle and I have swapped roles and now I’m moving on to boys!  Check out the next 3 looks and click the links to take you to the actual item to purchase.

bigboypopsicle bigboytotal1

Old Navy Sweatshirt | Old Navy shirt | Target jeans | Shopko shoes

I’m so proud of myself for coming up with this under-$50-totally-cool look.  It’s preppy but laid back and something you can pull apart so easily and wear each element each season.

bigkidssundae total2

Lemons and Lace bow tie | Zara shirt | Peek Kids pants and belt | Zappos shoes

It’s a bit harder to find accessories that pop for boys.  Basically, you have hats, bow ties and belts.  Sometimes shoes.  So I added the adorable bow tie and the fun belt.  If this is still way over budget, swap out the Peek pants for the pair of Target ones above.  Maybe leave out the bow tie if that’s not your style.

bigboysFM total3Jcrew hat | Peek Kids shirt | Jcrew vest | 7 for all Mankind jeans | Jcrew bracelet | Florsheim shoes

Can’t you see this in an editorial shoot?  I LOVE mixing casual and formal and this vest with the tee is exactly that.  It’s hipster and preppy and the oxfords might be my favorite item in this whole series.  I’m in love.  The bracelet softens it up a lot and adds another pop of blue.  Don’t like the hat?  Leave it out.  Can’t imagine spending $79 on boys jeans (even though, I promise, you will love them), then go to Old Navy and snag a pair of skinnies for less than $25.


Head over to see how Elle styled her big girl. And don’t forget to tune in on Sunday to see how we both dressed mom and dad.  Don’t worry, you’ll look smashing.

Photo Prep 101: Dressing Little Girls

Oh, hey there good lookin’!  Today in part 5 of my collaboration with Elle:

rock the shoot.

I’m giving you options for family photos for your little girls!  Like I explained in my earlier posts, these looks are perfect for spring, summer, or early fall photo sessions.  You can look at your child in these photos and not be able to pin point exactly what month or season it is based on the clothing and for me, that’s a plus!  You’ll feel good about looking at this in both the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter.

Popsicle Budget:  your least expensive option.  It’s not dirt cheap, but for pictures AND a solid outfit, it’s affordable.  It’s also easy to swap out elements from this style with things you have in your own closets at home.

Ice Cream Sundae Budget: this price point is always a little higher than I wish…but the look just isn’t ‘the look’ without a couple of those spendier items!  Again, swap things out, find something cheaper, at least you have an idea for what you are going for.

French Macaron Budget: okay, now this is a definite splurge!!  This isn’t a “spend this kind of money on every day outfits” look, that’s for sure!  But let me tell you something:  each piece from this look can be worn with something you already own, I promise!  So yes, overall the price is pretty extreme, but it’s a look that you can wear over and over in so many new and different ways.  C’mon…splurge a little bit.

LittleKidsPopsicle totalbigkids1

Walmart shirt || Little Bow and Arrow skirt || Cienta Shoes

Confession:  I buy almost all my kids’ plain tee shirts at Walmart.  I know, I know.  But I just can’t bear to watch a really nice shirt get ruined with greasy fingers and rabbit poop.  At less than $4, you can’t pass it up!  This skirt is a steal, too.  It swings and is comfortable and the print is bright and fun without being obnoxious.  The shoes are just basics.  To make this look fall under $50, ditch the new shoes and find some sneakers or sandals (or go barefoot)!

littlekids2 total2

Olive Juice top || ChildHoods bow || Gap skinnies || See Kai Run shoes

This is quite a jump, I know, from the popsicle look as far as price, but if your little girl isn’t into hair accessories, you can ditch it.  I’m a sucker for cute collared shirts, but if $27 is just too much for what you see as a plain shirt, it’s okay to find something different.  Oh, and I’m not afraid to mix it up with color a bit.  If the yellows don’t match exactly, it doesn’t ruffle my feathers  (the shoes and the pants aren’t the exact same color yellow — but they look great).

littlekid3 total3

A Tiny Arrow headband || Go Gently Baby sweatshirt || Bobo Choses pants || Joyfolie shoes

I am in love with this look.  I don’t know why I love mixing up elements of different styles, but I do.  The baggy pants with the boyish sweatshirt are complimented by the sparkly shoes and the magical feather headband.  This is definitely a ‘fun’ look and not for the family going for a very traditional and/or preppy look.  Need to scale back a bit, but love the look?  American Apparel has some plain sweatshirts and harem pants are super easy to make yourself!

Do you guys need a pick me up before starting a whole new work week?

Well, you’re in luck!  These AMAZING vendors are giving you guys a discount on your orders!

Joyfolie:   Later this week, our readers get a discount of 25% off styles not marked “new”. I’ll post the code on FB!

A Tiny Arrow: 10% off anything in the shop with code SPRING10

childHOODS:  10% off anything in the shop with code DINOSAUR10

Support these shops from now until your kittens are grown!  The customer service you get from small businesses is worth every extra penny you might spend over big box (boring) stores.

Photo Prep 101: Dressing Baby Girls

Hello again from Elle and myself, bringing you part 4 of our collaboration:

rock the shoot.

While Elle will be giving you some advice and examples of how to dress your baby boy, I’ll be sharing with you some adorable baby girl options for every price range.  Under the photos, you’ll see links to each piece of the outfit so you can a) buy the entire outfit from top to bottom, b) pick and choose from different budgets or c) fill in what your little’s closet is lacking!

Before I show you pictures, I’ll just run through a few basics.  I’m always very conscious of dressing too ‘seasonally’ for family photos.  I find it really hard to hang up pictures of us in bulky sweaters and mittens when it’s 90 degrees outside.  This is why I try to schedule my family’s photo sessions in the early Fall or in Spring.  Why?  Jeans or another pant/trouser is always appropriate and you won’t be sweltering hot or freezing cold during sessions.  You can wear a cardigan or a short sleeved top and it won’t be painful to look at in the heat of the summer or the cold of the winter.

That is my very personal opinion and I understand those of you who love the magic of snow pictures.  That’s completely okay!  But for these examples, I’ll be sticking to clothing that would be appropriate for a Spring or Fall session.

Popsicle Budget:


The romper is from Old Navy and is $16.94

The sweater is from Target and is $11.90

Try this headband from Sprinkles for Sprouts at just $11.99 to add a little ‘fun.’

Total spent on this outfit: $40.83.  If that’s still over budget, consider leaving out the headband all together.  Maybe you have a sweater that will work just as well?  It’s ok to not buy anything new at all!

Ice Cream Sundae Budget:


We were able to add a few things to the Ice Cream Sundae Budget.  Sprinkles, if you will.  (I’m so clever)

The dress is from Zara and costs $35.90

The shoes are from Zappos and are $36.00

The cardigan is from Boden and is $32

The headband is from Lemons and Lace and is $9.99

(EEEEK!  You guys!  Lemons and Lace is giving you guys a discount on her headbands!  Use code FAIRYWINGS10 to receive 10% off your purchase!  L&L is the best)

The total for this look is: $113.89

The French Macaron Budget


The tunic is Nili Lotan New Generation from Jcrew  and is $84

The leggings are Tea Collection and are $22.50

And the moccasins are, of course, Freshly Picked and are $60.

Add a couple of Little Hipsqueak headbands in to complete the look at $33

The total for this little fashionista is:  $199.50

Each look is adorable without going overboard.  It’s subtly perfect.  Pick and choose elements from each look to create your own!  Check out these brands and maybe you’ll find a similar print or product that you like even better.  Now….go shop!

And if you have baby boys instead of baby girls, go look at what Elle has done with baby  boy style!

Photo Prep 101: Part III

It’s time for the 3rd installation of my collaboration with Elle from Life Styled by Elle from our series:

rock the shoot.

From now through April 3rd, Elle and I will be giving you advice on how to prep for your family’s photo session — everything from how to pick a photographer to what kind of headband your 7 year old should wear.  Really, we’ve thought of it all!

On today’s agenda?


Props.  Either you’re totally into them or you’re not.  Here’s my (personal) view on props: they date photos, they are distracting, and they make the photos look cheap.

However, there are a couple exceptions.

(1) the prop you are using has incredible sentimental value to you.  A grandma’s quilt.  A brother’s baseball mitt.  A daddy’s dog tags.  That kind of thing.  In these cases, what you’re showcasing is not only the subject (your baby, your family, etc.) but also this special item.  I get that 100%.  But I think you should be really careful in how you present this prop.  1 prop at a time.  Maybe use grandma’s quilt as part of the location – lay it down while you’re all sitting on top of it.

(2) the prop you are using gives us a little more insight into the subject.  We had photos taken this fall and Maria brought her violin.  The photos were magical.  And…they tell a little about Maria.  But she was the only child who brought a prop along.  I didn’t want to bring a random stuffed animal for Charlotte to hold just because the colors match.

If props really, truly add to your photos, then make sure the props you use are personal and meaningful.


Number one — TRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER.  You have already decided you like his/her style enough to pay big bucks to capture your family.  Rest assured he/she will come into the session with a really good idea as to how to place all of you.  Chances are, they’ve seen what has worked and what doesn’t.  Posing a family of 3 is much different than a family of 7.  If you’re a big family, but you really like the way your cousin’ photos were and they’re a family of 3….you might have to adjust your vision for the session.

It’s okay to come with your own ideas.  LOTS of times I’ve said, “I saw this picture that was amazing….they were all standing blah blah blah blah” and once I knew my photographer got the jist of what I was saying, I let her just take it and run with it.  Ideas are great.  But don’t try and run the show.  If that’s what you want to do, set a camera up with a timer and shoot your own photos.

Colors and clothing.  I’d love to do a poll on photographers and ask: “How many times do clients ask what they should wear?”  I think the number would be ridiculous.  There are lots of things to consider when you’re choosing your clothing for photo sessions:

1) Your own personal style.     Don’t be afraid to be who you are!  You want to be able to recognize your family when you look at your photos, right?  You may have looked at photos online and loved what you saw — but knew that dressing up in vintage 50’s garb just wouldn’t be your thing.  You can still like those photos, but when it comes to styling your own, be you.  Don’t put on jeans and heels if you’d never be caught dead in that combo.  Don’t make your husband wear a bow tie if he took a look at it and thought it was for your 5 year old daughter.  You will regret it, I promise!

2) The location.  This is a hard one to navigate I think.  I always try to consider where photos will be taken before choosing clothing…but I also think it can be different and fun to, for example, dress up in formal wear for pictures on the beach.  The juxtaposition can be really interesting and different. But….that will only work if that’s your style!  Also, if your backdrop is going to be rather plain, a pop of color and/or patterns can look pretty great.  If there’s a ton going on, though (maybe if you’re at a carnival or some place busy), patterns can be distracting. Always ask your photographer if you have any qualms about what you’re wearing and how it might look at the location.

3. Your body type. This can be a sensitive topic for some, but I think we’re all very aware of what looks good on us and what doesn’t.  Let’s be honest — when we look at our pictures, we want to see ourselves looking amazing, right?!  (confession:  if I could have every photo of me professionally photo shopped to get rid of my muffin top, my fat chin and blemishes, I’d do it in a heartbeat). The truth is, we are who we are.  Duh, right?  But it’s true!  Right now in my life, I have too much around my midsection.  Why?  Because I just had my 5th baby a year ago.  This is where I am in my life and this is how I look.  AND I can make this body look really, really great! If you have larger legs that aren’t your favorite, don’t wear big printed leggings and a white shirt.  But maybe they’re your favorite feature — show those puppies off!!  As far as the fit of clothing and how it looks on you, only you are the one who can decide what you want to show off and what you want to hide.  I think the majority of us aren’t sure what pieces do this for us and that’s when you can hire someone to come and help you!  Look here.  But it’s really important that you feel comfortable in what you wear.  If you are uncomfortable or self conscious, it will show in your images.

4) Trends   I recommend staying away from really trendy styles.  A while ago, every single beach picture you saw had the subjects in khakis with white shirts.  Dude.  Let’s step away from that.  Think outside the box.  Wear something you might actually wear out together to dinner.  Would you all walk into a restaurant in matching white button ups and khakis?  Probably not.  Now, I know that you don’t coordinate when you go out to dinner, so find that middle ground.  Don’t match, but look nice together.

If you’re on pinterest, I’m sure you’ve seen the color palettes that look like this:

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 11.51.12 AM

I love these!  At first glance, you wouldn’t necessarily think that a green like that would look great with coral plus a little brown and grey thrown in.  But it does.  It looks fantastic.  You don’t all need to wear jeans.  You don’t all need to wear khakis.  Mix it up, but bring it all together with something like this.  (oh, and even if a polka dot shirt and a plaid shirt each have some of these colors in it…say no).

In our last family picture, Jamie wore mustard pants and a plaid bow tie with a sweatshirt, I wore a grey dress, Charlotte wore a grey dress with mustard shoes, Maria wore a purple plaid dress, Danny wore khakis and a plain blue top, Olive wore a dark burgundy plain dress, Alice had a purplish dress.  Think of all those colors together.  Would you think they’d look good?  They looked amazing.  Lay everything out before you decide.  X might look so great with Y, but clashes horribly with Z.  It takes time and a little bit of patience to find the right palette and pattern combo for your photos, but it’s worth it!

5) Accessories.  I’m all for accessories as long as they don’t slide into the ‘prop’ category.  If you’re wearing a plain top, it’s so fun to spice it up with a cute and bright scarf, necklace, or earrings.  For little boys, bow ties, hats.  For little girls, headbands, scarves, and shoes.  Moms and dads:  jewelry, hats, shoes.  Again, it all goes back to your own style.  If you don’t ever wear earrings, don’t put on huge hoops for your session.  Common sense can take you a long way.

(Oh, and stay tuned — at the end of our series, we’re announcing a REALLY fun and exciting opportunity for you all to get help in choosing clothes and accessories!)

Our Thursday post will cover little kids and give you 3 options for clothing:  cheap budget, mid-range, and splurge.  We will give you an example of an outfit we might choose for our littles for each category with links to the stores.  I will be doing baby girls, Elle will be doing baby boys.  The fun stuff is coming up, so stay with us!