Friday, October 9th, 2015
Fall is upon us and we are sure you will all agree that it’s a hustle. Back to school routines, homework demands, fall sports seasons, busy work loads, and getting the abode ready for cold weather. The days are getting shorter and we are grasping onto every minute we are able to spend outside.
We, like many of you, are struggling with trying to find time to get to all of our demands. If there only was one more day in the week! With school, homes, kids, businesses there is little time left for hobbies these days.
Add Meraki is a passion hobby for both of us. We love sharing beautiful images, yummy recipes and ways you can add a little creativity in your life. But right now, we are struggling to find time to share that with you because we are so over our head with our own responsibilities. When we began Add Meraki we agreed that this would be an outlet to express our creativity and passion, connect with similar souls and most importantly an outlet to have fun and enjoy our posts. Much to our dismay, there just hasn’t been enough hours in the day lately to share with you the quality of posts we want to produce.
We want to sincerely apologize and hope you will understand. We want to explain to you why we have been MIA lately and we hope that many of you can relate. We also want to ask for your help. As we wait for this crazy season of fall to slow down, we are eager to give Add Meraki more structure so we can share more of what we (and you) love. We’re asking for your help through sharing some topics that you would like to read/see more of. Do you like photo shoot inspiration? Design? Family/Lifestyle? Share with us your thoughts so we know you are out there! We promise to be sharing a lot more goodness with you in the future, so stay tuned!
Amanda & Danielle
Wednesday, September 16th, 2015
Although you would never believe it with this 80 degree weather, Fall is slowly approaching and I’m SO excited. The cool breeze and snuggly scarves, apple picking and pumpkin flavored everything… what’s not to love? There is just something about the fall that makes my heart so happy. For me it means that wedding season begins to slow down and I get to spend some quality time with my man. That’s another great thing about the fall, there are so many fun activities to do with your beau or your family & friends. But the season comes and goes in the blink of an eye so we’re here to help you squeeze some fall festivities into your calendar now before you’re booked up.
Apple Picking – Obviously the number one Fall favorite activity. Live in Maine? Find an orchard near you here.
Attitash Mountain Resort – Zip tour, alpine slide, mountain coasters, slacklines, airbag jump and so much more – all with a beautiful view. Feeling adventurous this Fall? This one’s for you. Check it out here.
Pumpkin Carving – Want to show off your artsy carving skills to all your friends? Take pumpkin carving to the next level by having a pumpkin carving party! Enjoy the company of lovely friends while splurging into your favorite fall sweets (maybe some Octoberfest?) Need some inspiration? See this Pinterest board here.
Friday Night Football – Nothing says fall is in the air like cuddling up on the bleachers to watch your favorite team, check out University of Maine’s schedule here or head on over to your local high school to support the kids.
DIY Halloween Costumes – My most favorite fall festivity ever! I love making homemade costumes that really show off my creativity, Pinterest makes this easy to get you started, find my board here or just check out my awesome costume creations below 😉
But the real costume artist is our co-author designer friend Danielle, stay tuned for her Halloween post that will blow my Unicorn away 🙂
Wednesday, September 9th, 2015
I never truly know what I am going to blog about. I try to stick to the schedule that my meticulously organized partner and I have created. I really want to do so but then I get inspired….my inspiration is usually off course but so strong that I can’t turn back. I think that this piece of myself is really why I decided to blog in the first place. Its the piece that I felt the urge to share with others~ the real stuff, the heartfelt, my truth.
Truth is life can be overwhelming. It can be really hard, really messy, and really chaotic. You see, its 10:15 pm and Im in the middle of tackling a sink full of dishes that have been waiting for me since dinner. Dinnertime has been squeezed into a small window of opportunity after football practice and bedtime. Football players require scrubbing, teething babies require consoling, and clients require return emails. Im determined to have the house completely tidy before I go to bed when I feel this sudden urge to write.
As summer slowly fades into fall, life is suddenly traveling at a much faster pace. Sometimes I feel like I am living on an amusement ride. Spinning, and spinning until all my surroundings have fuzzy edges, and are seemingly unfamiliar. If I had a dollar for every time I have spoken or heard another mother speak the words, “Im trying to find the balance” I would be so very wealthy!
The balance can be between self care and caring for others. The balance could be running your own business and running a household. It can be between a a successful partnership and successful roles in parenthood. It might be finding balance between an organized plan and spontaneity. The balance could simply be between what feels like work, and the joy of play.
As I navigate through the many roles that I want to do so well and perfect I am endlessly searching out strategies and tools to get to a place of satisfaction. This ultimate goal of satisfaction being a state of happiness, content, and accomplishment united. It is to take all of my scattered puzzle pieces and find a way to fit them together one by one until they make a beautiful picture.
Life should be messy, but it should be so very beautiful too. It should be challenging, but not so that your weak and tired. When you start to spin so fast that you no longer recognize the details of your surroundings is when you stop the ride. Ground your feet, breathe deep, gather your bearings, center your heart, and decide which direction to start to fearlessly walk straight towards.
There are so many woman who work this balance beam of life so very well, I look to these powerful woman for endless inspiration and use them as my mentors on this course. I share with you links to these wonderful resources and hope you all find their work as powerful and life altering as I do. Please share in the comments some of the resources that help you to find balance in your life.
Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
September? Where did you come from. It feels like just yesterday we had the whole summer ahead of us with bucket lists, endless vacation days and sunshine for months to come. Slowly but surely (it always does) September crept up on us. School’s starting, fall is coming and we all are wishing for a pause button to put our life on hold. Unfortunately, there is no pause button in life and we have to cherish and capture memories before they slip away. With that being said, today we are sharing a sweet end of summer photo session with Co-Editor Danielle and her boys captured by me, our other Co-Editor, A.Fogarty Photography.
Have you ever heard the saying that “you’re never going to be younger than you are right now.” I know it’s a silly concept to think about but it couldn’t be more true. As I get older I realize how fast time really goes. I no longer have moments of boredom – only moments of rushing to meet deadlines and cramming in activities that I know I won’t have time for later. Sometimes we get so busy living that we forget to create a life.
As a photographer I’m partial to this idea that photographs are one of the only ways to stop time and relive memories. Sure we have our typical newborn session, senior photos and then maybe the next time you encounter a photographer is on your wedding day. Ya, maybe you’re getting all the “big” moments captured, but what about all the little ones in between? Those are the ones that really capture the best memories.
So take time out of your busy life and schedule a photo shoot with your family. Capture your personalities, your growth, your love and the essence of being together. Because before you know it, your baby is going off to college then right after that – they’re going to have a family of their own. You are never younger than you are right now. Capture it. Relive it. Embrace it. And have it to look back on for years to come.
And a little advice: The best photos are not the ones where you are all yelling “cheese” at me with fake smiles on your face or the posed portrait of you all in jeans and a white t-shirt matching like one big happy family. The best photos are the candid ones. The spontaneous ones. The uncontrollable laughter. The tenderness of a big brother helping his little one. The ones where you get in the water in your clothes, even though your mother told you not to. The ones where your clothing represents your style which in turn represents your personality. Your family photography session should not be like pulling teeth. It should be fun, one that you look back on and remember and love the experience just as much as you cherish the photos themselves. Make the investment in your family photos. You will be thankful that you did.
Want more help? Maybe you’re just not the creative type but want photos that really tell the story of your family. Want help with outfit coordination? Set-style? Hire us as a team. Amanda from A.Fogarty photography will team up with Danielle from Daniella, Inc. to help you create the most epic family session that will capture the true essence of your bond. Contact us directly through email@example.com or visit A.Fogarty Photography’s website.
To Shop This Post click on links below:
Big Boys~ Linen Shorts
Baby~ Diaper Cover
Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
I just couldn’t leave the girls out of my back to school shopping guide! If I had one she would be styled head to toe, but since I don’t….can I style yours? I had so much fun creating this style guide. I truly hope you adore each piece as much as I do.
I have created all of these outfits in this collection as a full season wardrobe. Meaning each outfit can easily transition into fall & winter with the right accessories and additions. Below the shop links I have noted what additions I would add for fall/winter trends. I wish all of you sweet little ladies a wonderful school year filled with lots of giggles, lots of kind notes, and lots of beautiful new memories. Here’s to 2015-2016!
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015
It’s always amazing to me how incredibly fast summer can come and go…My dear New England friends waited so incredibly long for this heavenly weather, it just doesn’t seem fair that it is coming to an end. My boys are still in full summer mode, they have every intention of avoiding the topic “school” altogether. I’m thinking of all the things we still want to do and see, packing it all onto a list with hopes we get to cross off a few more before the bus drives off.
Of course the only piece of the end of summer that I actually enjoy is back to school shopping. This fall trends are very laid back, bohemian, and sporty. I have curated a great shopping list with first week outfits for Monday to Friday. Each outfit title links directly to shop. Online shopping is truly the easiest, most efficient way to shop. No lines, access to coupons, hassle free returns…these are a few of my favorite things!
So let’s hear it for the boys this fall! Here’s to lots of 123s and ABCs!! Im loving all of my selections and I hope that my handsome dudes do too! Many, if not all of these items have been selected for the budget conscious shopper. Feel free to layer with tees for the first few warm weeks of school. The State Backpack featured is available for retail in several locations. The reason I selected this for my children is because for every backpack purchased a backpack loaded with school supplies is donated to a child in need. We chose to support this beautiful initiative. I hope you are inspired to as well.
Just because I don’t have girls doesn’t mean I forgot about them. Girls shop guide will be released in a few days. If you would like a personal shopper for your children’s back to school gear please feel free to send us an email with specifics. We would be happy to try and accommodate your needs.
Happy Shopping All! First day of school make sure to tag your boys in their new duds with #addmeraki for a chance to win a back to school surprise!
Wednesday, August 19th, 2015
Anyone that knows me knows that I live a crazy busy lifestyle. I’m always on the go have and have an overflowing to-do list at all times – needless to say, I always have something I should be doing. Lately with time being scarce, I’ve put working out on the back burner. Something I always said I wouldn’t do – but here I am, little time to spare and it’s an easy thing let go. But I’m back! I’ve come to the realization that 20-30 minutes of physical activity is better than not at all and I could probably use a 20 minute break from behind my computer screen.
The past two weeks I’ve been at Drew’s Lake in Linnenus, Maine. A small town right outside my hometown. I rented a sweet little lake house where I’ve been enjoying a “working” vacation. With three weddings and countless seniors and engagement sessions I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy. But if you are anything like me, where you travel a lot or are always on the go it makes it really hard to make time to workout. But this week I have put in a conscious effort and I’ve been feeling great. So today I’m sharing with you my 25 minute on vacation, at home, no equipment, full body (whatever you want to call it) workout. It works all your major muscles, gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat – best of all, you’re done in under 30 minutes! So grab your sneaks, a good pandora playlist and head outside for an easy to follow Add Meraki workout.
1. Stairs, Hills or Just run in Place (two steps at a time x 5)
2. Jumping Jacks (10 reps x 5)
3. Planks into Pushup (10 times x 5)
4. Crunches (10 times x 5)
6. Tricep Dips (10 times x 5)
7. Squats (10 times x 5) not pictured
I like to do one set of everything then repeat 5 times through (like a circuit)
but it’s completely up to you!
Do it in any order you like and as many sets or reps to fit your pace.
Other alternative workouts I’ve been enjoying while out at camp have been kayaking, yoga and 3 mile runs.
What’s your favorite at home workout?
Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
This past weekend we celebrated Baby Michael’s first birthday. I hadn’t planned on having a party but as the day was approaching the party itch started getting stronger. I started scheming and the images and ideas just wouldn’t stop flowing. With one week to go I developed a theme, menu, and concept, send out the invites and put it all into motion.
My theme was “Party Safari”. Baby Michael aka “Mink” has always evoked the energy of animals. When I was expecting I was drawn to elephants, giraffes, and zebras. I had never been particularly fond of these animals but it was like a switch turned on and I couldn’t walk out of any boutique without adding to our collection. So intuitively it felt natural to incorporate this into his first birthday celebration.
With one week and counting I had limited time to pull together the decorative elements that would create my vision. Many items were simply not available to me so I was forced to find alternatives that would work as a second option. Since I am innately drawn to fashion and design the word “Party Safari” immediately brought to mind wide fringe, animal prints, with organic textures and natural elements.
For paper goods I utilized natural leaf plates with disposable wood serving pieces displayed in simple small silver buckets. Zebra paper straws dressed up drinks served in clear plastic tumblers. The main buffet table was outfitted in a burlap table cloth that I fringed with simple cuts around the perimeter.
For the children’s table (which was a childs height banquet table-just adorable!) I utilized a roll of natural paper with a zebra print embossed in black ink as my table cloth. I covered the blue child size chairs with a burlap bag and tied a safari hat around the back of the chair for our cinched “bow” effect. I found really cute pineapple sip cups with green fringe detail on the covers. An animal parade dressed up with miniature party hats created the centerpiece display.
For additional decor I scattered Michaels collection of safari animals around the tables each adorned with a custom party hat! These party hats were inspired by the ultimate party DIY blogger Oh Happy Day!
Originally I had planned on using three extra large 36″ round balloons for the back drop of my buffet table. While setting up two of the balloons popped due to the heat adjustment from inside to out. We were left with one, which honestly worked out rather perfectly. I used it to embellish the birthday boys highchair.
I made my own balloon fringe using tissue paper. You can find a great tutorial here at Tom Kat Studio. I scattered tropical house plants around the yard for some additional Jungle flavor! I sent these home with adult guests as party favors, because every room could use the addition of a lovely green plant.
When I was designing Michaels nursery I found the Animal Print Shop, the work of Sharon Montrose. She is an artist/photographer with focus on baby animals. We took a family poll and selected her “Baby Giraffe” as our feature art above Michaels crib. I made an art print of this piece for the party and hung it from handmade table cloth fringe garland.
PARTY SAFARI MENU
Rosemary Split Chicken Breast
Spicy BBQ Steak Kabobs
Slow Cooked Baby Back Ribs
Classic Potato Salad with Reye’s Maine European Mustard
Fresh Farm Tomato Pesto Caprese Salad
Fresh Blueberry Pie: Helens in Machias, Maine (voted americas best in national geographic and life magazine, and featured by Rachel Ray)
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream: Martels
Simply Chocolate Gluten Free Birthday Cake: Pure Elegance Bakery Michelle Arnold, owner has been making my cakes for 4 years now. She’s incredibly talented, and is always challenging herself with new methods and techniques. If you have not seen her work, well you must! Its cake as an art form!
While we were letting Michael do his first birthday cake smash, some little people were getting impatient looking at the cake waiting for them….they took a chance at taking a test without anyone noticing.
So one down with many, many more to come! I hope you enjoyed this peek into our Party Safari & celebrating one year with our baby Mink. We feel so blessed to have this special boy in our lives, our very own little baby animal to snuggle and love every day!
If you are interested in a custom theme party for your next birthday event please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, August 5th, 2015
Believe it or not the end of summer is near which means the beginning of school is right around the corner. For some of you that may mean your senior year is approaching – for other’s it may mean that your child’s senior year is approaching. One of the senior “firsts” is getting your senior photos taken – and as a photographer and co-writer of Add Meraki I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share with you how to plan and prepare for senior portraits.
The first step would be to find your photographer (insert shameless self promoting) A.Fogarty Photography only has a few more spots left open so contact as soon as possible to reserve your date! But seriously, most photographers are filling up their summer/fall schedules so if you haven’t already find a photographer that you/your child will feel comfortable being themselves around – do so now! Read their Bio on their website, chat with them before booking, and most importantly take a look at their previous work to see if it represents your/their style.
Second, after choosing a date that works with you and your photographer – together find a location that represents your style and personality. If you are more of an outdoorsy/adventure type then maybe look at some local fields/parks. If you love the ocean – there are plenty of beaches near by that each have their own quirks. Or maybe it’s your own backyard or your grandmother’s garden – find a location that not only are you comfortable in but that represents your own personal style. Your photographer might have a few suggestions.
Next, depending on your photographer’s limitations you should choose between 2-3 outfits for your session. I’ve never been the type of photographer to recommend only solids – or advise against patterns. I really think it’s all about what is flattering on my client and compliments their looks. I do recommend however to think about looking back on these photos years from now – although trendy outfit options are tempting – make sure when you look back that you are pleased with the outfits you chose. Best bet is to choose one trendy & one timeless that way you won’t be disappointed.
Now that you’ve determined your photographer, the location and your outfits search about Pinterest or other forms of inspiration to find some creative ideas to add that final touch to your photos. Maybe you want to add a prop in such as a floral headband, basketball or your family dog. Or maybe you just want to see a few pose ideas before meeting with your photographer. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with senior sessions before shooting.
*click on the photo to view my Pinterest inspiration page
But the most important thing to remember when planning and taking your senior portraits is to be yourself – smile, laugh, and have fun! It’s the beginning of many first and lasts of high school. It should be an enjoyable experience – so use these steps to make sure you make the most of it!
Sunday, August 2nd, 2015
Brunch is not only one of the coolest words invented, it is also one of the coolest things to do on Sundays! Sundays in summer are made for sleeping a little longer and lingering with your loves before heading out for an excellent Breakfast/Lunch. Here is a little low down of some of our favorite brunch spots in Maine. These lovely restaurants feature many locally sourced ingredients that are sure to not disappoint!
1. The Palace Diner: This trendy little red dining car caboose located in Biddeford, Maine has been generating a lot of buzz with local foodies. Voted by Bon Appetite Magazine as one of the Americas best new restaurants in 2014, The Palace features unique and delectable spins on traditional Brunch options. Our favorite menu choices are the Flap Jack Pancakes with fresh Maine Maine Syrup & Brown Butter Banana Bread.
photo via Palace Diner
Located in the uber swanky and eclectic West End of Portland, The Front Room features American comfort food at its finest. The Front Room is just the first of the Chef Harding Lee Smiths creations, this restauranteur has created many of our go to favorite spots in Portland . Our children adore being able to watch as the chefs work as they personally craft their individual selections. Our favorite menu options are the Sweet Potato Hash & The Homemade Corn Beef Hash.
Photos Via The Front Room
When you have children you are often drawn to the boisterous, energetic environments where you feel comfortable. Silly’s is just the place! The waitstaff, board games, and specialty gluten free and vegan concoctions one us over from hello. Priding themselves on the support of local businesses this restaurant has Brunch offerings that are unique, fresh, and well silly!
Our favorite menu offerings are “The Full Monte 12” -Silly’s potato bread done “French toast style” stacked with smoky sliced ham & melted Swiss & mozzarella cheese topped with candied maple bacon served with home fries & maple syrup and “What The Shell Is That!” 10 -Char-grilled bread stacked with purple cream cheese, maple sausage, over easy eggs, American cheese, caramelized onions, pickles & mayo. Photos via The Trip Advisor
This adorable little hand painted house is home to creative, local, and delicious Brunch options. For 15 years this restaurant has been serving only the finest and freshest ingrediants that the state has to offer. Our favorites are usually the daily specials, like todays Cinnamon Hazelnut Belgiann Waffle, these offerings are colorful, interesting, and aromatic and always start with a hot chocolate with extra whipped topping!
Heres to hoping you make beautiful Brunch memories in Maine!