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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit A.Fogarty Photography’s website.
To Shop This Post click on links below:
Big Boys~ Linen Shorts
Baby~ Diaper Cover
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 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 email@example.com
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, July 26th, 2015
The word lifestyle has many different meanings. It could mean the things you choose to do with your free time, your hobbies and activities you enjoy. It could also mean the way you interact with people, or raise your children. It could be the way you keep your home and your decorating styles. For me the definition of lifestyle is the way that you edit your life. How do you translate fashion and edit your daily appearance into a style you want to represent you? How do you prepare your meals and present your daily food intake? In what ways do you bring creativity and individuality to your daily activities? Its important that we personalize and add intent to each and every thing we do throughout the day. It makes everyday perhaps monotonous routines feel special and unique. It’s a shift in perception that will bring joy, happiness and more soulful experiences. I’ts a presence in each and every minute of your day. It’s blessing your soul, mind, and body.
I edit my life to reflect the beauty that I want to surround me. I prepare a variety of fun and colorful food presentations for my family. Pouring a pinch of soul, a dash of art, and a dusting of love allows your food to be blessed and nourish your body better. When I get dressed each day I allow my clothing decisions to reflect the mood that I want to surround me. Do I want to feel energized? Or be wrapped in comfort? Do I want to feel powerful? Or do I want have more peace? If you mindfully select items that honor your current mindset you will be amazed at what a powerful effect it can have on the productivity of your day.
The power of the mind is the most amazing power that we have as human beings. We can literally shift our entire lives through our perceptions alone. Try this, It’s easy and life altering. When you get up tomorrow take a few moments before you get dressed. Whether you are in the shower or still lying in bed, ask yourself what you want or need out of the day? Do you need to be super productive and meet a deadline at work? Or perhaps do you need a sense of belonging within your community? Do you want to beat a personal record at the gym? Or get the confidence to say hello to a love interest? Once you have determined what your personal needs are try and think about what colors, patterns, textures, or metals are brought to mind when you think of the behavior you have chosen.
For example, red is an energetic and powerful color. When coupled with a lively pattern and smooth tactile texture it can be have a dominating effect. The color family of blue and neutrals provide us with a feeling of peaceful serenity. When paired with a soft surface of cashmere, or a high end cotton it can provide a feeling of comfort, or belonging. A statement necklace in a silver metal can provide a woman with a feeling of empowerment. An old pair of worn in jeans and a button down can provide a sense of belonging.
Edit your morning tomorrow with clothing and accessories that reflect you on a soulful level and share with me how it transforms your day. I would love to hear it! If you need some guidance comment below and I will style your week for you!
Here are 5 rocking styled outfits, hand selected and curated by Moi with a little love, a pinch of passion, and an ounce of intent! Get these items all under $50.00 while they are available. There are so many great quality staple pieces that will work with many of your mindful, lifestyle decisions! Links below outfits for direct shopping.
Wishing you all a beautiful week!
Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
If you have been keeping up with us on social media or following my personal Instagram (@afogartyphoto) you’ve probably seen my styled session with Mackenzie Lamoureux Photography called “Breakfast in Bed” – if not, you can check it out here. You wouldn’t believe all the comments I got about our “part one” which involved a lazy Sunday morning of me and my boyfriend hanging around in our Calvins and cooking some yummy omelets with a coffee in hand. But most of the comments ended with them asking, “when do I get to see part two!?” Well ladies and gents, here it is. The highly anticipated – part two of our Breakfast in Bed Series where my boyfriend, Cole, and I enjoy sweet mimosas and a delicious crepes (my favorite!) – consider it breakfast dessert or the after party after breakfast in bed!
Crepes have always been my favorite breakfast indulgence – but lately I’ve been switching up the recipe to make myself feel a tad-bit less guilty. I’ve been using whole wheat flour and almond milk which you can find right at your local grocery. But I can’t resist the perfect combination of nutella & raspberries. In reality, you can add anything you want! My mom loves brown sugar and butter – where some just like a little syrup! If you find a combination you really love, share it with us on social media by tagging us in your post or using #addmeraki.
So we hope you enjoy our styled Breakfast in Bed Series, Part Two – keep scrolling for gorgeous images captured by my talented best friend, Mackenzie Lamoureux Photography, and a complete style guide and recipe!
*click the name/number of the item to redirect you to the product site for purchase
1.5 cups milk (we used almond milk)
1 cup flour (we used whole-wheat)
1 tablespoon of cooking oil
In a bowl combine milk, flour, eggs & oil. Beat until well mixed. Heat a lightly greased skillet. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the batter; evenly spread throughout the pan. Brown one side only – flip other side to lightly cook. Repeat with remaining batter. Makes 18.
Add fresh fruit, brown sugar, nutella or whatever you fancy for a nice breakfast treat!
Note: I always screw up the first one I make. It takes a little practice to learn how to evenly spread the batter. It should be thinner than a pancake so you can roll it up.
Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
Looking for a natural-effortless beach look? Or maybe just a few good reads for those few moments you get to spend relaxing with your feet in the sand and the sun upon your face. Today we have you covered with a few of our favorite beach essentials for ladies on a budget to keep you protected from UV Rays, entertained, and looking great. These are a few of our favorites, but we want to hear from you. What are your favorite beach essentials? Share in the comments below or tag us with #addmeraki on social media. Click the name of each product to be re-directed to purchase.
Garnier BB Cream – The perfect light and natural coverage with SPF.
Neutrogena Beach Defense SPF 30 – Perfect for beach or pool days so you can always keep your skin protected and feeling fresh.
Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray – The ultimate texturizing spray to give you those natural beach waves.
Bali Mango Body Spray – Looking for a light spritz to give you a fresh scent for summer? Look no further than Bath and Body Work’s Bali Bangor Body Spray.
Ray-Ban Sunglasses – Timeless Sunglasses that are perfect for every outside occasion.
The Opposite of Loneliness | Not That Kind of Girl | Rich Bitch – A few of our most recent favorite reads from lady-power to learning how to handle your finances. Great summer reads to keep you entertained and educated.
Wednesday, July 8th, 2015
Today we are featuring an awesome local vendor, Paca Naturals, an alpaca apparel brand that is as soft as cashmere and made from natural farms! Even better – the yarns used are commercially spun in Maine and given to local knitters, crocheters, and weavers to create unique artisan clothing (we love Maine-made products!) Today ‘s post includes a lifestyle session collaboration with A.Fogarty Photography and Paca Naturals featuring their Limited Edition Maine Alpaca Couch Throw. But keep in mind, this Portland based business has more to offer, from scarves to handmade gifts. You can find them on 23 Temple Street – Portland, ME or visit their website here.
We also want to thank Leah from K & L Social for helping promote this feature.
If you are a local business owner or entrepreneur interested in being featured on our blog or getting new lifestyle product shots. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, June 28th, 2015
The Fourth of July has always been such a fun day for our family. Its a day that really carries simple traditions, and family values. We feel quite blessed to live in the beautiful state of Maine during this holiday. Our day usually consists of a lobster bake with heaping piles of steaming fresh seafood, farm stand corn on the cob, and fresh strawberry shortcake for dessert. We end our day by walking down to the beach to watch the several fire displays that are twinkling down the shoreline, while the kids spell their names in the sky with their sparklers. I hope you have created traditions within your families that you look forward to this year. If you have not already it is never to late to create one. Share your 4th of July traditions or recipes with us on Instagram at @addmeraki. We will randomly choose one winner to receive a pair of these stylish children’s festive aviators.
Shop The Fourth of July Boys Sale Style Shop Guide:
(Click the titles of each item featured to be redirected to product for purchase)
I would love to see how you decide to festively dress your littles. Share their style with us on the 4th! #addmeraki
Sunday, June 21st, 2015
I have just finally completed my yearly closet purge. I do promise to share some closet makeover tips in the near future. I removed and donated all of my “no longer loved” pieces. Last summer I was expecting so I didn’t invest in many summer pieces. I was just so excited to fill in the new gaps with some new fresh summer pieces. This summer I am channeling boho vibes. I’m loving breezy, lightweight pieces that can easily transition from day to night. I have curated a lovely list of sale pieces that fit this style. I love a sale (who doesn’t love a sale). The guilt is always lifted when I’m sale shopping! So here is your guilt free summer shop guide. I’ve included staple accessories that can be worn with any and all outfits. There are lots of incredible pieces at incredible pricing! This curated shop guide must be shopped quick as many of these items are final sale with limited quantities remaining. To shop directly CLICK on PRODUCT TITLES BELOW, and you will be redirected to items!
1. Boho Embroidered Off The Shoulder Tunic This piece embodies a classic color, style, and print. It can be worn as beach cover and flats or dressed up with a wedge or heel.
2. Patterned Black Tie Dye Swing Dress I love the contrast and pattern of this tie dye dress.
3. Japanese Raffia Top J.Crew Collection has really made perfection in this top. This multi-seasonal piece will look as lovely with a pair of distressed shorts as it will with tailored suit pants and a blazer!
4. Sleeveless Eyelet Top This is a wardrobe staple. Gap always seems to hit the mark with perfectly tailored classic pieces.
5. Henley Tribal Tank Dress This dress is reminiscent of all the lovely tribal ethnic inspired fabrics that have entered my design studio lately.
6. Perforated Wedge Sandal The tried and true espadrille wedge with the modern perforation! Thank you Nordstrom!
7. Studded Fringe Cross Body I just love this bag. The stud pattern detail, the fringe, the ombre fading of the leather. Its so fun.
8. JBrand Low Rise Crop Jean These jeans are on a price match at Nordstroms. If you don’t own a pair of J Brands you must make the investment. They are my absolute favorite.
9. Tie Waist Drape Shorts I’ve always been a lover of drapey shorts, add the military khaki look and you have a winner!
10. Tassel Fringe Sandals I bought these last week and they went on sale this week! Hate it when that happens…get them while they last.
11. Round Alabaster Sunnies The Shape. The Color. The Material. The Price. Done….oh and check out all the other colors too!
12. Mixed Media Statement Necklace This is a closet must have. There are so many materials in this piece that it will compliment and get compliments with any given outfit.
If you liked this shop guide, let us know. We would love to hear your feedback and learn how we can help you live an inspired lifestyle.