A ROUND-UP OF OUR FAVORITE COSTUMES

I can’t believe Halloween is in just a couple of days! It’s one of my favorite holidays (second to Christmas and Thanksgiving is a close third). See below for some of my most favorite Halloween costumes for my girls over the past few years.

Eloise as a Peacock

One of my dear friends and co-teachers at the time, owned peacocks and was so kind to share some of his feathers with me. I used them to create Eloise’s costume. The ruffled leotard came from Etsy. This is still one of my most favorite costumes to date!

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Eloise as Eloise at the Plaza

From the time she was born, I knew Eloise would one day be “Eloise” for Halloween. Thanks to Etsy, I was able to find this precious costume. This, too, is one of my favorite Halloween costumes!

Eloise and Charlotte Cate as Vintage Clowns 

Ok, so these may be my favorite costumes to date … really! I found vintage patterns on Etsy and had my seamstress create these precious costumes! I knew I wanted a fun pink and orange fabric with a pop of turquoise. I couldn’t be happier with how these turned out! It was also the perfect sibling set! These costumes have already been “saved” for future generations!

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Eloise as a Catholic High Bruinette and Charlotte Cate as Madeline

This was the girls’ first year to dress up differently. As you already know, we live for Catholic High basketball games and love to see our Bruinettes dance. Eloise was excited to have a “real” Bruinette uniform and couldn’t wait to wear it for Halloween (she also wore it all Basketball season to the games). Charlotte Cate’s favorite book at that time was Madeline. Her favorite line was, “To the tigers in the zoo, Madeline just said, “pooh, pooh.” These costumes were so fitting for the girls!

Eloise as a Rainbow Unicorn and Charlotte Cate as Batman

Again, the girls dressed up differently this year. However, I found a way to make them coordinate. We used simple long-sleeved leotards and tights for the start to their costumes. Eloise’s mask and tail was by Opposite of Far. Charlotte Cate’s Batman accessories were from Etsy. The girls both wore Converse sneakers. Their treat bags were from Pottery Barn Kids. Their bows were, of course, by Two Sisters Bows (our favorites)!

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This year, the girls are matching. I’ll give you a clue, we’re bringing back the nineties movies. Post to come soon!

SPOTLIGHT: LE PAPIER STUDIO

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I have been a long-time fan of Le Papier Studio. Founder, Vana Chupp, takes the craft of silhouettes and constructs the most beautiful keepsake jewelry you’ve ever seen. A couple years ago Mark had a custom tiny silhouette charm necklace created for my birthday; it’s become a piece of jewelry that I wear daily and hardly take off. I am so excited to add the family tree bar bracelet to my collection – with updated silhouettes of the girls, of course!

Le Papier Studio works with your favorite photographs to create Custom Silhouettes of the people, pets, and special moments in your life. From those treasured pictures, Le Papier Studio creates one-of-a-kind heirloom pieces: silhouette portraits and exquisite jewelry, and perfectly personal accessories. All custom silhouettes created by Le Papier Studio are kept on file for any future uses you may have.

To personalize any of Le Papier Studio’s products with a custom silhouette from your photographs, start by selecting the desired product. Each custom silhouette they create is subject to a one-time-fee ($10.00). Please note that each person, pet, makes for one custom silhouette – a family of four (dad, mom, two kids) will require four silhouettes. Use this as a guideline when selecting the quantity of Custom Silhouettes for your order.

Once you have selected your desired product, and the “create custom silhouette from my photos” option, you can upload your photo/s right on the order form. You can do this by clicking the “Upload photos” button. You will see the uploaded photos when you add the product to the cart.

Here’s an example of our latest before and afters. Notice that Vana can create something pretty amazing from a simple iPhone photograph:

 

Tips for perfect silhouettes

  •  Place subject in front of a well-lit background, facing either left or right.
  • Only one side of the face must show on the photo and entire head should be in the photo.
  • A relaxed face helps to show the features (eyelashes, nose, lips) more realistically although  smiling faces are cute too. It’s up to you how you want to photograph them.
  • If photographing more than one person, take individual pictures.
  • Remember to take the picture straight at eye level, standing about 4-6 feet away.
  • If person has long hair (past the shoulder line) put it up. Ponytails, braids, messy buns really do make for cute silhouettes and add character to the piece of art.
  • For full body silhouettes, take a picture of the people standing, walking away or towards the camera.
  • When photographing babies, try taking the picture when they are asleep. Hold the camera directly above their face, with only one side of the face showing.

About Le Papier Studio

Le Papier Studio is a boutique lifestyle brand that manifests the sensibilities and personal style of its Founder and Creative Director, Vana Chupp. The brand inspires women to keep memories close and cherish the magic of special moments forever. They utilize client’s favorite photographs to illustrate the people, pets, and special moments in their life. From those treasured pictures, we create one-of-a-kind heirloom pieces: silhouette portraits and exquisite jewelry, and perfectly personal accessories.

Le Papier Studio was established in 2008 in an effort to satisfy Vana’s creative passions while fulfilling an even higher calling, being a mom. Vana continues to be the safe keeper of a family’s memory and works with clients personally on each order to help evoke the magic of that moment forever.

Le Papier Studio has created a special code for all Mama etc. readers! Use code LPS20 for 20% off your purchase on all silhouette prints and jewelry at www.lepapierstudio.com through Friday, September 8. 

WHAT DOES BACK TO SCHOOL MEAN TO YOU?

IMG_3356It means a lot to me …

As a mama, back-to-school means back to routine. It means structure over spontaneity. It means early bedtime, better meal-planning, baths every night. It means homework. It means breakfast and dinner as a family. It means reconnecting with old friends and making new friends. It means anxiousness of new teachers and new classmates. It means new shoes and new backpacks. It means crisp new uniforms. It means yearbook pictures. It means soccer practice and soccer games. It means birthday parties. It means busier weekends. It means an appreciation of just being together. It means another year older.

As a preschool teacher, back-to-school means loving new students who are apprehensive about big school and new friends. It means playing. It means getting messy. It’s about making connections. It means practicing rules and routines. It means building a community. It means instilling the joy of learning into the hearts of little people. It means teaching little ones what walking in a line really looks like. It means planning in the midst of living. It means having fun and being exhausted. It means knowing how the parents of these little ones feel leaving them at school for the first time.

Back-to-school means a lot of things to me. It’s a season of change from the spontaneity of summer. It’s a season of newness. It’s a season of growth. It’s a season of trust. It’s a season I love. What does back to school mean to you?

A LOOK INTO RED BEANS CLOTHING

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Well it’s late July and pushing 90+ degrees outside, and I’m planning my girls fall and winter wardrobe. I told y’all I do this. A season in advance. I know it’s crazy, but trunk shows are my weakness. Trunk shows allow you to be the designer in creating totally custom pieces you wouldn’t find in any boutique. Everything from the pattern to the fabric and trim is completely customizable.

One of my favorite lines is Red Beans. It’s a trunk show company based out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and run by two of the sweetest sisters you’ve ever met – Mollie and Glynes. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Mollie and Glynes now have 6 children all under the age of 13 – talk about a busy life! Their children are the ultimate source of inspiration for Red Beans clothing. They are a little mix of everything, from fun and funky to playful and curious.

Mollie and Glynes design pieces with their children in mind, creating outfits that can go from play to special occasion with unique styles and durable fabrics made to stand up to the test of childhood. They love colorful, fun fabrics mixed with more traditional patterns for classic style with a funky twist. Wait until you see their latest collection of fabrics and styles – I think you’ll agree that Red Beans is a creative recipe in children’s clothing!

Each of Red Beans‘ pieces can be created in any fabric from the current season’s collection. This is your opportunity to have fun creating personalized outfits, made just for your little ones! What I love about this company is that you can create perfectly coordinating pieces for your littles without being too “matchy matchy.” Red Beans does such a nice job of creating age-appropriate pieces for all of your children.

There are many new Red Beans patterns this season, too. You may recognize some of these patterns as they are classic Alice Kathleen & Company patterns that Red Beans now offers as a part of the Red Beans collection. It is so much fun to see how you create beautiful pieces using the 60 available fabrics Red Beans offers!

As a trunk show company, Red Beans is made up of a network of Hostesses and customers who are just like Mollie and Glynes with lots of heart, and tons of determination. This season, I’m excited to be hosting a show with a couple of friends and would love to help you with your order. We will have the Red Beans and Alice Kathleen & Company trunks in Baton Rouge August 3-5. Our children are of all ages (newborn to age 7), and we have been customers of both brands for years. We are familiar with both trunks and cannot wait to help you customize your little one’s closet. We are excited to finally host and hope you can make our show! In addition to our show, we will be placing phone and email orders. 

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MAMA TALK MONDAY: PARENTING TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT CHILDREN

As my girls grow older and older, their distinctive personalities (and distinctive differences) become more and more evident. When I was pregnant with Charlotte Cate, I remember thinking my girls would be different, but not this different. I mean they are from the same gene pool.

Eloise is seven going on seventeen. She’s sweet, incredibly focused, tough, reserved, independent, particular, intuitive, smart, confident, and yet somewhat sassy. She’s mature beyond her years. She’s trying to find her way in the world. She wants to make decisions for herself. She believes she’s an adult and therefore wants to discipline her sister. She’s learning how to handle things when things don’t go as planned … all with grace and poise.

Charlotte Cate is our fun-loving, free-spirited, rough-play-loving four-year-old. She loves playing superheroes and wrestling and beauty-shop and Barbies. Snuggling is her favorite. She wants to be bigger than she is. She’s super determined and doesn’t give up easily. She believes she can ask for anything until she gets what she wants (and this sometimes works). Yet, she’s sensitive and hates being “in trouble” when she’s disciplined for something.

My girls are delightful in so many different ways. We cherish their differences. But their differences, sometimes, make playing together a bit of a challenge (especially on long, hot, summer days). My husband, the youngest of four children, reminds me that siblings disagree. That this is normal. My co-worker often laughs telling me about growing up with an older sister. But the only-child in me still worries a little that their differences will make it difficult for them to be friends in the future.

I have to remember that my girls need different things from me as their mama. My parenting must adjust to their individual personalities. As simple as this sounds, it’s incredibly difficult in the moment. Patience is something I must practice. While the days are long, the years are short. My hope is that our two girls know the love we have for them and the love they have for each other despite their differences.

Photography by Stefanie Cascio Photography.

 

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHING MY GIRLS

PHOTOGRAPHING MY GIRLS

Many of you have asked, “How do you get such great photos of your kids?” Trial and Error. I’ve always loved photography, but learning a DSLR takes lots of time and lots of practice. Especially with moving objects such as young children.

What camera do I shoot with?

I have a Canon T6i. I’m obsessed with its ease of use, and the wifi capability is a game-changer! Using the Canon app, I’m able to upload photos directly to my iPhone. This feature is especially helpful on vacations or special events when I need that instant gratification and the ability to share with others quickly.

Previously, I had a Canon XTi, which I loved, but wanted some updated features and capabilities that the T6i offered.

While I do think the camera is important, the lens is equally, if not more, important. I do not shoot with the included kit lens; they just don’t give me the photos my heart desires. Good lenses are investments. But keep in mind that your lenses can be used with future cameras. I suggest investing in a lens that stays open at 2.8 when zoomed in. It’s pricey, but that’s what it takes to achieve the results you want.  Continue reading “PHOTOGRAPHING MY GIRLS”

SPOTLIGHT: MACK + RO ILLUSTRATIONS

SPOTLIGHT: MACK + RO ILLUSTRATIONS

Mother’s Day seems like the most appropriate day to introduce all you mamas to Mack + Ro Illustrations. As a mama, precious artwork that reminds me of my girls gives me all the feels! Thanks to Instagram, I stumbled upon her artwork, and it was love at first sight! She is super talented, y’all.

Artist Jen is mother to two boys – Macklin and Ronan. She says, “Creativity has always been my life source. It motivates me, gives me energy, and fills my heart and soul. My hope is that these illustrations bring you as much joy as they brought me while painting them!”

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How does it work?

Before placing your order, you’ll need to pick out a photo of “your people”.

Some tips when it comes to your photo:

  • It is helpful to have a “full length” photo where everyone’s whole body is included (head to toe).
  • The picture should have people dressed in the clothes you want painted.
  • Don’t worry about the setting – it will not be included in the painting.
  • If you’d like to send Jen your photo before placing your order to make sure it works, please send to: mackandroshop@gmail.com. She is able to complete everything over email, which is super helpful for busy mamas!

All paintings are on professional watercolor paper sized 5.5 x 8.5″.

Jen has created a special code for all Mama etc. readers! Use code MAMAETC for 10% off your purchase. 

I absolutely adore the two portraits she did of my girls (You may recognize their suits from my sister, sister post). Thank you so much, Jen! And Happy Mother’s Day!