alright ladies (and gentleman? maybe just my husband?). . . i feel like one of the things i get asked about the most is about photography. i know I’ve posted about it before here. and it was a good big basic overview.

but what i want to talk about now is editing.

a lot of the pictures i take end up on social media (namely instagram). and as much as i love myself a good #latergram i prefer to quickly edit and post as soon as i catch a spare moment. It feels more authentic for some reason. . .(it probably also means i post too many times a day).

but. back to editing.

i have a few basic apps i use for every picture.

VSCO, Facetune, TouchRetouch, and PicTapGo. They’re easy to use, and once you get a feel for your editing style it becomes second nature and using FOUR apps seems less daunting. it also helps your pictures look more uniform. and who doesn’t strive for a cohesive instagram feed?!

i took this  a few weeks ago at the farmers market. i seriously LOVE the colors. There was a good natural reflector coming off the sidewalk lighting the girls faces, i always shoot farther away and crop in. I love this picture but the original one just fell flat.



1. VSCO: I always start with VSCO. i LOVE the c3 preset. but i strongly urge you to find the one that works for your style. so i uploaded the picture. from there i used the c3 filter (i hardly ever bump it up more than half). from there in the tools (the little wrench) i lightened it up +1. and saved to my camera roll. the best part of VSCO is that you can copy and paste your editing steps into multiple pictures. so batch them up if you have multiple pictures from the same shoot.

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2. FACETUNE & PIC TAP GO- next up is facetune. the hands down best app for lightening up pictures. the $3.99 pricetag seems really steep but i use this app on EVERY SINGLE PICTURE. so its worth it times a million.

once you open your photo. swipe the bottom toolbar to filters. from there click on lighting. i love “lighter” and “gamma”. i always start with lighter- you can adjust how much or little of each filter by swiping right and left.

facetune also has a few other awesome features. if you have a close up picture that needs just a smidge more sharpening (think in the eyes) the details feature is perfect. and the smooth feature can smooth skin. . . i sometimes use this on pictures on k napping when all you see are her legs.

once i save the picture i crop in pictapgo. i seriously use pictapgo for nothing else anymore. but for some reason their cropping and straightening tool is something i just cant quit. crooked pictures drive me absolutely crazy. you can even straighten pictures directly IN instagram. so really friends dont let friends have crooked pictures.

here’s the final image i posted to instagram.

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3. TOUCH RETOUCH- this little gem of an app is my secret to removing things like storm drains and other pesky things. like the statue at my in-laws house. the statue is amazing and gorgeous in person. but it can be a distraction in pictures.

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open your photo from gallery. use the brush tool (the little paint brush) and lightly brush it over whatever you want to remove. hit the start button (the little square) and watch it disappear. its not always perfect, and takes some practice. but after a little facetune and touch retouch here’s what got posted:

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maybe next time i’ll post about how i get the girls to at least look like they cooperate.

any questions? concerns? apps out there i need in my life right now or i might die?!


  • OMG I didn’t know about TOUCH RETOUCH. Life changing! xoxo.

  • Meghan

    I think I may need to rethink my editing game. Right now I only use pictapgo!

  • Laura Keenan

    It still cracks me up that you can’t quit pictapgo! VSCO has the best straightening, even having horizontal & vertical perspective. Another app I use occasionally is lens distortions. But only, only, if I already have sunflare present, but I didn’t nail the shot!

  • Kristen

    Love this post!!! Thank you so much for sharing your tips. You always capture your girls so beautifully.

  • Mayumi Shimose Poe

    “how i get the girls to at least look like they cooperate”

    Is that a special filter? Or a separate app? 🙂


  • Oh this is awesome – I downloaded Color Story and LOVE it – so many options and it’s gorgeous!

  • Tawnya

    Oh my goodness, I need to get touch retouch like yesterday. I edit that shit out in photoshop and this could save me SO MUCH TIME! haha!! Thanks!

  • Anytime you talk photos and editing I am all ears. Your photos are amazeballs!! I had never heard of touch retouch, but you can bet it’s downloading right now! I love the afterlight app for cropping, straightening and brightening a photo.

  • These are awesome! I’m off to check them out now!

  • Desiree

    I have the best idea when it comes to photos and apps and edits… Can you just take my photos for me? Because I heart all of yours.

  • Great tips! Definitely trying out the TOUCH RETOUCH app!! Sounds so perfect, even if it needs a little practice.

  • Friends don’t let friends have crooked pictures….bahahahaha. Totally agree!! I can’t wait to try touch retouch. Also, your in-laws seem to have the worst view. The worst 😉

  • love these tips. I need to get touch retouch ASAP! this sounds simply wonderful and life changing!!

  • Some how I missed this! How? I need this post in my life!
    PS you better believe I saved those videos you sent me to my phone. I need some time to refer back to them and mess around.
    Also, I’m thinking, maybe one day over the summer, I can come over, bring Mason, Lex can dress him in princess dresses (he’s pretty cooperative) and you can teach me a thing or two? Or twelve?

  • oooh love this little post! And yes, please share how you get them to cooperate!

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so k is finally walking! she just barely made the 15 month cut off… but she made it! Procrastinatior in training my friends. 

We’ve been celebrating with things like beach trips. And disney days. Because it truly is cause for celebration. I moaned and complained to the doctor about my little toe walker about 6 weeks ago. And scored k a PT EVAL. Which confirmed that girlfriend needed a little help. Well- she starts her PT today. And will be waltzing in there (literally) with a huge smile plastered on her face probably chanting “na-na-na-na-na” in her head. BUT here’s the thing. My BFF is an OT. She’s my biggest sounding board on all things milestones (and the horribleness of things like walkers and w-sitting). And I truly think there’s truly no shame in any baby’s game if they need a little one on one help. 

So! Disneyland! One of my favorite parts about having disney passes is that everyone loves a good disney visit. Especially bloggers I love who let me crash their family vacation so we can meet in person! 

Which is exactly what happened yesterday! We got to meet marisa! And Sloan! And Phayre! And let’s not forget Eric 😉 

So. Disneyland sucks the life out of my phone. And sucks it out quick. Enter the apple charging case. GET ONE. It it possibly my favorite thing about Apple since the iPhone. I’m about to get a little techy- but! It uses the same charger! No extra headphone adapter needed! It’s worth it’s weight in gold. 

And now. 

I LOVE social media. I love following accounts that give me inspiration and make me want to be a better photographer. 

But there’s a downside. Like when you try to recreate a picture you’ve seen other people post but it’s not YOUR style. And it ends up a big flop. 

I saw someone post this seriously fantastic picture of their girls playing on the pier with the giant Mickey in the background. It was perfection. 

Mine however is not. It’s not ME. It’s not my style and I shot it horribly. 

So. Draw inspiration from people. Don’t copy them. Figure out what works for YOU and run with it. Obviously always push yourself and get better. But be genuine about it. And just DO YOU (which I’m sure are some famous words by some famous teenage pop star). 

cheers to Friday.. And standing sister pictures! 

  • i love that you can just go to disney whenever you want. thats amazing. You can totally crash our disney vacation! 🙂

  • HOORAY for standing sister pictures. I can’t get R+A to stand still long enough for pictures unless there is snacks involved.

  • Laura Keenan

    The W sitting! Finn does it occasionally and I have a heart attack every time! Also, Disney! Conor has never ever been…. So yeah we need to plan a trip!

  • I know you’d kill me but i kind of want to push K down and not let her back up because she looks way way way too old now. Wahhhh!!!!

  • Is it bad that the thing I took away most from this is that I NEED to get Disneyland passes because WHERE ARE ALL THE PEOPLE???? Was it not crowded at all? Dude I’ve been missing out on so much… Don’t tell Seth, but if he doesn’t want a Disney pass, that’s fine, but Mason and I will be getting one anyway 😉

  • Desiree

    So. When are we doing a Disney day together?
    Also. I thought your pier shot was pretty awesome. Just saying.

  • I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS POST… but I mostly love that KK is walking and owning it. *finally* <— just for you. Girlfriend was cute with her bear crawl…

  • Meghan

    So I shouldn’t try to copy your amazing wall backgrounds lol!?!? Seriously though, if I could find them I would!!!

  • Love watching K walk, it’s the cutest ever! I think my favorite milestone is walking, it’s just so cute and I love how they toddle around and there definitely is NO shame in taking her to PT if she needs a little extra help!

    Girl you are speaking my heart when you talk about being inspired by others and not trying to copy… I’ve actually been thinking about writing a post about this. I’ve been trying to find my style for SO long and I got in this super huge creative rut and it was because I was trying to have the bright insta feed that’s so popular but it’s just NOT ME! I like moody and sometimes dark… since I’ve stopped shooting for what I think others want to see and started just shooting for me it’s been a complete game changer!!

  • So awesome that you have passes to Disneyland! Jealous! And go K go! So awesome that she is walking, but she looks so dang big now. I thought your pier shot was great!

  • Disneyland really is the best meet up spot! Looks so fun!

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Talking about how much (or little!) sleep you get as a parent is  almost as cool as talking about potty training and bowel movements. People complain, brag, cry, compare, and rejoice over the slumber of their children. 

So here’s the rub.

Lex got sleep trained at 3 months. I refused to deal with any sleep shenanigans and she loves rules and boundaries and it was successful and happy and sunshine and unicorns. She has developed some fancy quirks (like being afraid of the dark). But remains a consistent 7:30-630 sleeper. 

K as a second child hasn’t been sleep trained. She’s been a go-with-the-flow kinda of a sleeper. Plus she’s not exactly a “cry-it-out” kid- she could probably work herself up to the point of vomit before crying herself to sleep. She’s been a good napper and fairly consistent at night. 

Until she wasn’t. 

K loves to cuddle. She loves nothing more than to cuddle up and sleep next to me in bed. But my friends, I suck at co-sleeping and have zero patience at 4AM when she wants to wake up and play. We got stuck in a rut where she would sense mike and I were falling asleep and cry her brains out until she was securely in bed with us. 

No one slept well. 

After a few weeks of shenanigans. And on a very sleepless vacation in mammoth I stumbled across the doc-a-tot on a trusty thing I like to call “Instagram”. 

We ordered one immediately. 

Basically it’s a pregnancy pillow for babies. They feel secure, and hugged- but it’s totally breathable. We’ve had it for a week now (so I’m a TOTAL expert). And k has yet to wake up at night for as much as a pat on the back AND her naps have been stellar.

She begs to go in her crib. She looks so loungy in it. And it’s proved itself to be worth every. single. penny. And I don’t say that lightly because it was a lot of pennies. 

And I’m really hoping if we travel with it she won’t skip and beat and actually sleep on vacation . 

And most importantly I wouldn’t be at all sad if they made them in my size. 

So there you have it. My love affair with the doc-a-tot

Behold the overwhelming evidence about how much it rocks! 









  • Meghan

    Noah is a huge fan of cosleeping and thankfully I don’t mind. But that thing looks amazing! You think it would be big enough for a large 3 year old???

  • ashley

    Love this! Avalon has been our great sleeper but is slowly starting to wake a bit more and I’ve been eyeing the dockatot! Thanks for your EXPERT advice! 😉

    And sleeping baby pics are my fave!

  • well that just looks like the coziest ever! I think Reid would love that. We tried taking his crib bumper out for a few terrible nights- he likes a soft little cushion for his head so right back in it went. i’ll def tell friends about this after your stellar review!

  • Wow! That’s awesome. I am awful at co-sleeping with my children too. More power to parents who can do it, but it’s not for me. I love snuggling, but actually sleeping I want my space. That pillow sounds awesome. I hope it continues to work for her.

  • Sleeping baby pictures just melt me. Glad you found something that works.. because a sleep deprived mama is NEVER fun. Rae was a w f u l at sleeping and thankfully Aubrey’s been our easy peasy girl. Hopefully it remains that way on vacations…

  • Okay, that thing looks and sounds awesome. These are the best pictures! Love them. Something so sweet about a sleeping baby!

  • I would look at pictures of K sleeping all day long. That thing looks amazing, and yes I want one. I always have a hard time letting my pregnancy pillow go…

  • Filing this gem of advice away for the future…..

  • Desiree

    So basically I need two of these. One for Julia, because homegirl would sleep in my arms all the time if I let her. And one for me. Because that thing looms unbelievably comfy. Also. People who complain about sleep…. Ugh.

  • I love this and I want one for myself! Also, how in the world do you get sleeping photos of your kid? I’m TERRIFIED of waking Mim up (even though she’s a very good sleeper) because I know as soon as she sees me, it’s OVER.

  • Oh gosh if the paci is on the nose and not in the mouth you know she is in dreamland! I see people talking about this all over Instagram (also where I find all my reliable information). I’ll have to keep it in mind if I ever find myself crazy enough to think having another Parker is a good idea!

  • Holy goodness. I want one of those for me. But only if it will make my husband not snore. Because THAT is what keeps me up at night. But I’m mean and just kick him to get him to quiet down sooooo… that officially makes me the jerk.
    That being said, I LOVE these sweet sleeping pictures of k! She looks so comfy and cozy. Best purchase ever!

  • My co-worker swears by hers! L was a cry-until-she-puked sleep trainee, too, so that sucks. LUCKILY, she’s kind of started sleeping better, but it’s so different from Cam who’s been the same as Lex – a teenage sleeper!

  • just found your blog and so happy to follow along. my first little one is a sleep champion, but i’m keeping this tucked away for the future! just incase!

  • that sounds amazing. Aria was a great sleeper until she stopped. She’d probably dig this. Now to convince my husband that over 200 is worth it lol.

  • this sounds like us….palmer was an expert sleeper from day 1. i can count on one hand the amount of times in her 3 years that she has kept us up at night. Charlie though, is another story. girlfriend is still waking several ties in the night, naps are something to be desired. i gotta check out this dock a tot. it sounds simply wonderful.

  • those pictures are perfection and can they please make those in adult sizes! I want one!

  • Those are the SWEETEST pictures. I so need one of those in my size! Everyone in my house sleeps but me!

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we had an exceptionally boring weekend.
But that’s never stopped me from telling you lovely people about my life before. So hold onto your hats because you’re in for a real (not) wild ride.

Saturday i escaped to the gym for a double day and by the time I got home lex had packed a suitcase and was yammering on and on about going to Hawaii with her bestest friends. She packed one swimsuit, one nightgown, and 8 Barbies. She was so deep down her Hawaii rabbit hole she got herself into her car seat, clipped in and begged me to take her to the airport.

Instead we went to Costco.

But! We made a stop at the small airport on our way home. She got out, marched over to a bench with her suitcase and waited for her friends.

There were real life tears when we had to break the news that she wasn’t in fact allowed to romp off to Hawaii with her friends unsupervised. And none of said friends were showing up to get on her plane.

And then mike took her out to ice cream and to run around the beach to soften the blow.

Sunday was more of the same. Nothingness. We went to the mall– and since it opens practically at NIGHTIME (noon) we window shopped before hitting the food court where the child who skipped her nap proceeded to cry to go home and the one who doesn’t nap decided it was THE DAY to attempt chopsticks and pick up her rice morsel by measly morsel.

We finished the day with more ice cream and laundry, and pizza as homemade as it’s going to get for a few more months (on pitas, cooked in the toaster oven).

And now? Bring on season 2 of the Unbreakable kimmy Schmidt!


  • I love love love that you actually took her to an airport! The devastation for poor Lex! Good thing icecream and the beach are the perfect cure for everything. Also, costco on a saturday here is even more ridiculous, since the Mormon’s don’t go on Sundays. So yeah, I wouldn’t wish a visit to costco on Saturday for even my worst enemy!

  • I was seriously SO curious how she was going to handle leaving the airport by your snaps…. lol. Because Rae, Rae would’ve damn near lost her marbles. I can’t even mention an airport or airplanes without her thinking were on our way to Florida.

  • I LOVE that you actually took Lex to an airport. Poor girl though, I’d be crying if I thought I was going to Hawaii too! And you are one brave mama, tackling Costco on Saturday!!! Go you.

  • HA! Lex going to Hawaii had me laughing out loud, what a funny girl. And the chopsticks… isn’t that how it always happens. Kids can be so annoying, but we love them anyway! XO

  • When Lex said Hawaii, she really meant that you are supposed to be on your way to Italy with me. Where the really homemade pizza is.

  • Meghan

    Even your airport is prettier than ours! I just can’t imagine doing this at Newark lol!!! And it’s so sweet and heartbreaking that she really thought she was off to Hawaii with her friends. I absolutely love this age for their imagination, but oh the heartbreak to deal with, it’s enough to make you crazy!

  • Shut the front door!! This is the best story I’ve ever heard! I’m sorry it involved tears, but she DID get to go to the beach AND get ice cream, so…I’m going to do the same thing to Chad this weekend until I get the same result. 🙂

  • Love that lex wanted to go to the airport! And love it even more that you took her…kinda!

  • OMG SEASON TWO! I can’t wait!! And what is that black and white wall?! I’m dying over that picture!

  • Desiree

    Lex’s imagination is amazing. But to realize you’re really not going to Hawaii? What a crushing blow. Thanks mom and dad. I also love her packing priorities: suit, sleepwear, Babies. Sounds about right.
    And that last pic. Yep. Easily my fav (for now).

  • I die! Lex sitting on that bench with her suitcase waiting for her friends so she can go to Hawaii. So sweet and cute and yet so sad when you had to break the news.

  • Dying over Lex’ trip to Hawaii! That is the cutest thing ever. I love that you took her to the airport. Her sitting on that bench with her suitcase is too precious! Ice Cream and the beach make up for anything!

  • Do you think Lex would let me tag along on her girls weekend in Hawaii? I so need a trip like that…

  • Sleeping babes are so adorable! I wish I had known about this product when Maddy was a baby because sleep for us was, and still is, challenging. Pass the coffee!

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I must confess that. . .

i really wanted to do a confessions post but have too many pictures to post so you’ll get that instead.

k took her FIRST STEPS last Wednesday. Her walking (non-walking) has been a source of anxiety and frustration for me. I’m worried she’s behind, and its impossible being on social media to not feel really bad when it feels like every other child is upright. It’s weird. it goes deeper than “she’s behind”. You see these two ladies? they’re what i do all day. I don’t have a job where i can get promoted  or do a good job and get to be proud. Instead the girls are a direct reflection of me- they’re my “promotion”. so of course i want them to 1. be perfectly stylish and 2. be perfectly happy and 3. hit their damn milestones on time.

so ya. i’m taking k not walking personally.

her frist steps were a huge step in the right direction. she can get to standing from a squat in the middle of the floor now! and looks like a sumo-wrestler in the process! and takes a few steps here and there! but “walking” she is not!

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SO! our house. on cabinet delivery day, the day i swore would be the best day of my life, we realized that the flooring needed to go down first. because we got all fancy and the cabinets look like furniture and blah blah lots of contractor speak. and now the whole schedule has to be re-worked and now the cabinets are stacked in a corner of the room while the floor is getting installed. And they’re glorious. and not even painted yet.

but for now. look at those beams!

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it turns out that heading to the mountains was just what we needed. lex went skiing, i stayed home and watched a veronica mars marathon, and k happily slept in our bed and refused to sleep anywhere else.

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Tuesday after all the cabinet drama we hit the beach to turn the day around. i swear the best beach days are the ones that are totally unplanned. where i dont bring a change of clothes or a towel or any sand toys. And where k only manages to eat one handful of sand instead of her usual 8-10.

And how dreamy is that fog rolling in?

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and finally! these are my favorite pictures of the ladies. And the cover of their girl band album.

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  • Love every last pic and can’t wait to see the reno reveal! And of course HOORAY K! Get to steppin girl!

  • You always take the most beautiful pictures girl. I love them. And I need you to do a tutorial for girl’s hair. I need tips. 🙂 Yay for a fun time in the mountains. Looks like so much fun.

  • Jena

    Your babes are too cute. I can’t over K in those light wash jeans… little kids in jeans are just the best!:)

    P.s. Those beams in your house look amazing! I can’t wait too see the finished result.

  • Your girls are adorable! I’m not sure how old K is, I just started following your blog about a week ago. But my daughter didn’t take her first steps until she was 14 almost 15 months old. It was hard watching our friends little girls that were born around the same time start walking at 9 to 12 months, and Fin was showing no interest in it at all. She then decided to take her first the day before we left for the beach. That made for a very active vacation!

  • Meghan

    Your girls are just too cute! And please please please don’t look at K being a late walker as a reflection on you, at least not in a negative way. Noah was a late walker and while it was easy to constantly compare to other kids, try not to. In a few months, she’ll get it and it won’t matter if she walked at 11 months or 16 months. Enjoy her crazy and hilarious method of crawling 🙂

  • You really just nailed the job description of a stay at home mom, love! And that fog was amazing! Gah, now I’m itching for a beach trip!

  • Girl I would promote you solely on your children’s fashion choices. Bravo!! Any day spent at the beach is a good one to me!

  • I say you’re hitting all three of your self imposed Mama missions 🙂 Abigail didn’t walk until 15 months and I was all THANKS FOR MAKING MY LIFE EASIER, CHICA. And now we’ve got the Mabes who still isn’t even crawling. So…..lazy is as lazy does over in this casa.

  • i just LOVE that picture of Lex in the green blanket!!! And all your photos, as usual! I’m jealous that you are close to mountains AND beach! Perfect!!! And, I love seeing your house! Those beams are amazing!

  • Your pictures make going to the beach look good! I swear we never took Mason to the beach for fear that there would be sand in so many places where sand shouldn’t be. BUT we took him for the first time (#horribleparents) and he had a blast, so it looks like more beach trips will be in our future!

  • I cannot wait to see the kitchen reveal! I’m amazed that you can go skiing and then to the beach back to back, you live in paradise!

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