Thursday, November 29, 2018

Family Picture Tips & Tricks

If you're anything like us, you tend to take a lot of pictures this time of year. Once our little family started growing I realized it would take a bit more prep than in years past. I like our outfits to be coordinating, but more than that, I like when my kids aren't screaming. So I've rounded up all my favorite family picture tips and tricks to share with you all today. Let's dive in!

1. Dress Mama first. Yep, that's right, BE selfish and pick out your outfit first! If you're trying to find everyone's outfits at the same time that will get incredibly overwhelming. So start with you, find something you feel really good in and plan out the rest of your family's colors around yours. Or, if this is a special photo shoot for one of your kids, then find their special outfit first and plan accordingly. 

2. Layout everyone's outfits the night before on your bed. This is seriously the only way to make sure you're going to like how everything works together. Lay Dad's and Mom's clothes next to each other and the kid's clothes over the bottom half of Mom & Dad's (the level they would be in an actual picture) to make sure everything flows. You can have the perfect color combo but realize that some tops and bottoms shouldn't be right next to each other, so maybe Dad avoids holding that child if that's the case, or you change a top or bottom. This leads perfectly into our next tip which is:

3. Don't pick all the same color tops or all the same color bottoms. For example, Dad is wearing a burgundy sweater and black pants. That means brother should NOT be wearing a burgundy top and black pants. BUT, brother could wear a black top with burgundy pants. That way if Dad is holding brother, their colors don't run into each other and you can still tell who is who in the photo. Also, don't be afraid to mix patterns and fabrics, you SHOULD. This helps each individual to stand out and is more pleasing to the eye.  In our pictures Della's dress ties us all together. She has a bit of red like me, a bit of green like Everett's shirt and Aaron's tie, and black for the rest of our outfits.

4. Bring a toy. Depending on your child's age it might be super helpful to bring a bright colored toy to help get their attention. This is something you should clear with your photographer first, but most of them will be just fine with it if it will help your child look at the camera and smile! This is totally age dependent. For example, this might work great for a 10 month old, but my 2 year old might possibly lose her might if we brought her favorite toy and didn't let her actually hold it. SO, you know your kids, if you think there's any chance this will cause a meltdown then it's best to skip it.

5. Prep your kiddos. As a rookie at family photos I just thought "I'll get everyone dressed, we'll smile, take a bunch of pictures and be done!" Yeah, that didn't work out so well. My 4 year old doesn't love pictures, so each year as he's realized what we're about to go do, he needs a little more incentive than just "SAY CHEESE!" This is completely dependent on your family and your style of parenting. For my kids, I might tell them we'll get ice cream afterwards or pick out one toy at the dollar store. Something simple, but it works like a charm. If we're all exhausted but need just one more picture, it comes in really handy to remind them of their reward afterward. But mainly, the most helpful part of this I think, is sitting them down beforehand and explaining the process and that you need their help to get the pictures taken as quickly as possibly. An explanation of why we take family pictures in the first place might also be helpful depending on your child's age. You're 3 month old probably won't understand or care, hah.

6. Time of day totally matters. Your photographer is probably already all over this because they have to worry about light and all that fun stuff. But, you need to be aware that you know your kids and when their "happier" times of the day are. If your child takes awhile to wake up, then morning pictures probably aren't your best bet. On the contrary, my kids wake up super happy but after naps they are almost always cranky, so that's a time I definitely avoid if possible. 

7. Try to have fun! At the end of the day you might not get the "perfect" shot, but the real reason behind taking family photos should be having priceless memories of your family in each stage of life. Enjoy the process! For instance, my favorite shot is below. I wanted to try to create the classic Beatles photo (much too ambitious for kids, but live and learn, right?) and we got some hilarious photos out of it! This photo shows perfectly our silly family, and my husband and I shared some really good laughs looking at them. I mean, how cute is Della trying SO hard?! I'm so glad we have them!

I hope these tips were helpful & that your next family photo session is easy breezy and stress free!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

White Shirt = Endless Options

We all probably have a white shirt in our closet, but how often do we honestly wear it? It can be easy to get caught up with buying a new shirt for every occasion, but really you already own the most versatile piece, so why not save some dough and pull that white shirt out? A white tee can be dressed up (or down) so many different ways. Let's dive in!

Option 1:
The easiest way to dress up a white tee is with a statement necklace and a front tuck. This look is simple and clean, but it still looks put together and styled.

Option 2:
Keep that front tuck and add a scarf! The awesome thing about a white tee is that you can pick any type of scarf with any pattern because your plain white tee won't be competing for attention. I choose the biggest warmest sweater I have to give this look a cozy feel.

Option 3:
For the last look I paired our white tee with a simple knitted cardigan. What really sets off this look is making sure you pull the white sleeves through so they peek out under the cardigan. This adds more dimension to the outfit and looks a bit tidier.

I hope this post inspired you to liberate that white t-shirt out from the back of your closet and get creative!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Thanksgiving Outfits

I remember turning 12(ish) and wondering why my family would get all dressed up each year for Thanksgiving. My Mom usually hosted for our extended family and friends, but as a 12-year-old watching my older sisters and Mom get ready, I finally had enough knowledge about Thanksgiving to question it. Don't we just eat all day? Don't we just lay around and watch football & Christmas movies after? My 12-year-old self may not have understood, but today I certainly do. People take PICTURES during the holidays, man! You gotta be ready for that or suffer the consequences of posterity wondering what the heck was wrong with Great Aunt Misha that year?! Anyway, all jokes aside, when family gathers it feels good to look your best, right? Which is why I've compiled a few outfit ideas for you this year. All of these options are incredibly affordable because that's how I roll.

Option 1:

Option 2: 

Option 3:

Jeans (same as above)
Necklace (same as above)
Option 4:

Jeans (I distressed them myself, LMK if you'd like to see a blog post on this!)

I hope you enjoyed this post! I'd love to hear your feedback. Come visit me on instagram @mainly.misha & let me know what you'll be wearing for Thanksgiving! 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bargain Shopping

I gotta say, when I think about my top 10 favorite stores (yeah, 10 is excessive, but it is what it is) to shop for clothes, Walmart definitely isn't on the list. But when I think about where I normally do shop for clothes, Walmart makes the top 5. Because, you see, I live in the Midwest, and as much as I hate to admit it - we go to Walmart - a lot. Between diapers and food and toiletries it seems like we're making a trip about once a week, sometimes more. I'll blame it on my kids, because I don't remember basically living at Walmart before we had them. Calm down, they're totally worth it ;)

Walmart kind of gets a bad rap & I'm not exactly sure why, but because of this I think a lot of bloggers stay away. Since our move to Kansas I've found myself exploring their clothing section a lot more. Especially since my favorite stores are a couple hours away. While most of Walmart's selection is probably what you'd expect, from time to time I find some awesome pieces, and I'm excited to share those with you today!

FYI, this post isn't sponsored by Walmart. Just little old me trying to find cheap, cute clothes. I dig a good challenge, and for some reason I feel like I'm discovering hidden treasure when I find something cute at Walmart!

Recently, hats have become part of my momiform. I put this hat on to take these pictures and Everett said: "Mommy, are we going to the park? Let me get my shoes!" Apparently I wear hats every time we go to the park these days, haha. I found a goldmine of hats at good old Wally World the other day. They had so many great colors, and the best part? They were only 3 bucks a pop, so obviously I got a few... I sifted through a bunch of crap online, but I couldn't find the exact hats. I bought mine in store, and there were a bunch of solid colors to choose from for $2.97 a piece.

This dress. I saw this dress at Walmart and had to stop and ask myself where I was. If I saw someone else wearing this dress my first guess as to where they got it would be a cute online boutique, and then maybe Target after that. I have a recurring dream that my closet is full of brand new shoes and it feels so realistic that I have to check my closet when I wake up only to find that all the shoes are gone. Well, I got this same feeling when I bought this dress, I was pretty sure it was going to disappear at some point when I woke up. How much would you pay for this dress? I've seen similar for $30+. I snagged this one for $14. YUP.

And in the very same section I found this beauty-of-a shirt too! I really hit the jackpot that day, I must have had some good karma stored up. They had a few different colors, and while I almost got white, I'm a sucker for a good jean shirt. And, let's get real, white with kiddos can be just a tad difficult. I paid $14 for this baby & it's on clearance now for $12.

I genuinely love these outfits, and the fact that they were so cheap makes me love them even more. Thanks, Wally, for sometimes making some amazingly cute clothes. You da best.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Makeup Tour & Favorite Products

Hi friends! I'm so excited to give you a tour of my makeup area/vanity/setup today. I really love sitting on my butt to do my makeup, so I don't for one minute regret purchasing this setup. I'll open up each drawer for you and then I'll share some of my can't-live-without products! And since this post has a gillion pictures, let's dive right in!
 The basic set up in all it's Ikea glory.
A peak into each drawer. I guess this would be a good place to say that if makeup doesn't really interest you that much, this can seem pretty excessive. Heck, it can seem excessive even if you do like makeup. But I consider this my hobby. Now, don't confuse me, I don't consider being vain my hobby, though I do enjoy wearing a full face of makeup, haha. But I love having the ability to create, and makeup provides that outlet for me. So, yeah, I have quite a bit of product, but I don't craft or have a craft area, so I consider this my "crafting".

 In the bottom drawer are my curling irons and one of my blow dryers (the other one is downstairs because I insist on taking over both bathrooms). When I actually have time to blow dry my hair I like this one from Revlon because I don't have to use a separate brush, If you frequently blow your hair out this dryer would be totally worth it. Next up is my hair product drawer...and, honestly my junk drawer. Because we all have to have one. Also, give me all the Not Your Mother's products!
 My lips & eyes drawer.
 Powder drawer: setting powder, bronzer, blush, and individual eye shadows.
And on the very top are my primers, foundations, concealers, and palettes (eye shadow and contour).

Let's get into my favorite products!
 Up top is Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder. This scent is just summertime to me. It's coconut and vanilla-y and all things wonderful. It's one of those scents that I put on if I'm feeling down because it totally brightens my mood. I used to just have the body oil spray (on the right) and totally went through that so I splurged for the actual perfume recently. I wear it almost daily.
Under that is a perfume from Anthropology. It's a vanilla scent. I used to be able to wear whatever kind of perfume I wanted but as I've gotten older certain perfumes give me headaches and make me physically sick. I can't do anything from Bath & Body anymore (so sad). I love these perfumes because they're fresh and don't make me nauseous, so win-win, haha!
I remember the first time I smelled Moroccan Oil and how my life changed forever. It’s a scent I’ve seriously never smelled before, and it reminds me of nothing else. It’s just totally unique. But I want to drizzle it all over a big stack of pancakes, and I mean, what else could be better every time you get a whiff of your own hair?? Besides that, it has been a lifesaver for my hair. About once I week I’ll deep condition before I wash it and after every wash I’ll apply it to damp hair. It brings health back to my damaged hair. This texturzing spray is the best I’ve found. Though I’m still looking for a really great drugstore product, (because I’m cheap guys, and proud of it) this tiny bottle was about $11 bucks, so it was doable. I’ll buy anything from the Moroccan line simply for the smell, but it’s an awesome bonus that they actually do what they say as well!

Let’s move onto makeup products. These are the things that come with me whenever I travel. I’m still looking for a good Mary Poppin’s bag so I can just stuff in my whole vanity, but until then these are the products I can’t do without.
Primer: On the left is the Pixi primer. It’s luminous and lovely. I use it a bunch in the summertime, but sometimes I get crazy and mix some into my foundation as well as wearing it under my skin. And on days when I just want a little extra glow I mix some into some sunscreen. The Botanics product on the right is technically a moisturizer, which is probably why I hated it so much when I first bought it. It was way too tacky and sticky to be a moisturizer so I back-drawered it. But, on the hunt for a good primer a few months later I found it again and remembered its strange consistency, which is totally perfect for a primer. I tried it and sure enough my foundation stuck right to it. Now I use it on the daily. Even makeup deserves a second chance, guys.
L’oreal foundation can’t be beat at the drugstore. There’s not much to say here because these products actually do what they’re named for. The Pro-Matte is full-coverage and matte, and the Lumi gives your skin a healthy, medium coverage finish.
Mac Pro Longwear Concealer changed my makeup game. It was the first concealer to actually cover my dark circles, because of this, I will always be a big fan. This Maybelline concealer is actually a nice drugstore dupe to the Mac, but I love its yellow undertones for the summertime when I’m a little less pasty.
Can I be super honest? I think I could use just about any contour palette and get the results I want. There’s so many out there now-a-days that it’s really not a big deal which one you get. But I do love It Cosmetics and I love the tones in this palette, they’re the perfect mix between brown and gray tones.
Okay, but eye shadow palettes? That’s a different story. Ever since I bought this Tartelette palette I haven’t been interested in other eye shadow palettes, which is a big deal for me. I’ll look them over and swatch them, but I just don’t find myself getting invested because I know I have everything I need in my sweet, little Tartelette at home. (This applies to my husband as well, but I promise I don't swatch other men). I can do pretty much any eye shadow look with this palette and it’s very rare for me to pick up anything else.
I always set my under eye concealer because I definitely already have the fine lines from being a mom to two infants who at different times liked to stay up and cry all through the night so I cried all through the night too and those salty tears sunk deep into my skin and soul and made me old my sweet, sweet babies. Anyway. Best at the drugstore is this Fit Me powder in Translucent. It’s brightening and it doesn’t budge.
This Physicians Formula bronzer is amaze. I could tell you about how the color is just perfect and natural and how it beautifully glides on the skin, BUT all you need to know is it smells like coconut and all things tropical. I’m starting to sense a pattern here, someone could try to sell me the worst product ever, but if it smells like coconut I’m totally down.
I honestly bought this Lorac blush palette because it was on sale and was convenient to travel with. But these blushes are beautiful. I have to use a very light hand, but that’s good because it means these blushes will last forever.
I’m not really wearing mascara right now because I’ve been doing my own lash extensions *big high five*. But these have been my favorites for years. I’ve been using the Lash Blast since I first started doing my makeup. And it’s not because I haven’t tried to find something else, I have, I think I’ve tried almost every drugstore mascara and nothing else has stood the test of time. If your lashes grow straight out like mine to then curling them is essential. Lash Blast (waterproof) is the only one that doesn’t weigh my lashes right back down to their un-curled position. The Telescopic mascara is the best for the lower lashes, the brush is tiny and perfect.
I unintentionally collect eyelash curlers. I actually have 2 more throughout our house. What can I say that will make me sound less crazy? I don’t know, they just all curl so differently, and when you have wonky lashes like mine, you need all the help you can get.
I’ve heard a lot of people say they don’t like the smell of L’Oreal lipsticks, which surprises me because it’s never bothered me, and I of all people am usually bothered by scents. But these two shades are both the perfect pink and perfect nude for my skin tone. I have a ton of crazy Maybelline colors in my purse that I also love, but these L’Oreal shades are what I use on the daily.
Before you ask, no, I haven’t tried Lipsense. I hear it’s amazing and made from unicorn tears and fairy blood (was that too far?), but no, I haven’t tried it. No particular reason, other than my husband’s in school, we have 2 kids and my makeup budget is now the diaper budget. BUT I have been using liquid lipstick for a while now and have tried quite a few different formulas. These are my favorite. The Milani is amazing (and drugstore which makes it even more amazing) and I dream of owning every shade. And now that we’re potty training Everett, maybe I can with extra funds in the diaper budget *laugh cry*. Jeffree Star’s formula is also amazing, a little pricier, but definitely worth it.

I know, guys. I know you’re so done reading this. It’s been a journey, but rest assured, it’s almost over.
Brushes: I found these for a steal on Amazon. I ordered them twice and the first time I got amazing brushes! The second time, not as much. The bristles were falling out a bit and the handles would come off. But even so, I’m happy with them. However, I am pretty handy with super glue so if you’re not as talented you may want to reconsider. That was sarcasm. Listen, if you wanna test your luck and buy these brushes twice, it’s still cheaper than buying a more expensive set.
If you don’t want to roll the dice on some (sometimes) crappy brushes, then the Real Techniques brushes at Wal-Mart are a great alternative. They’re fantastic brushes for a very reasonable price.
I have a lot of eye shadow brushes. This is the best one I own though, and it was $1. ONE DOLLAR! Do yourself a favor and just get this elf shadow brush and spend the money you save on a cruise. Yeah, I swear all of those other brushes add up to a Disney cruise. Don’t tell my husband.
This brush. GUYS. THIS BRUSH! I cannot, cannot, CANNOT do my makeup without this brush. Because…this is the brush my son plays with while I put my makeup on. He gives it rave reviews. Too bad I can’t remember where I got it.

Can I just finish by saying you guys are the best? Seriously. Because this is the second time I’ve written this post (long, awful story) and while I love makeup, I don’t love it that much. But I love sharing with you guys. Especially you true friends who stuck with me to the end of this unnecessarily long post (I love rambling, it’s what I get out of bed for in the morning…that and my kids of course). So thank you. I hope this was at least a fun read and that you have a wonderful weekend!