Fall Festivities

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

A.Fogarty Photography

A.Fogarty Photography

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 😉

Fall Festivities

But the real costume artist is our co-author designer friend Danielle, stay tuned for her Halloween post that will blow my Unicorn away 🙂



This Balance Beam Called Life

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.



A.Fogarty Photography


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.

x Danielle

Louise Hay


Danielle Laporte 




Gabrielle Bernstein


Marie Forleo 


Family Photos – Why They Matter

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

A.Fogarty PhotographySeptember? 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.

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.

A.Fogarty Photography

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.

A.Fogarty Photography

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.

A.Fogarty Photography

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.

A.Fogarty Photography

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 addmeraki@gmail.com or visit A.Fogarty Photography’s website.

To Shop This Post click on links below:

Mom~   Denim Tunic        Bikini         Straw Fedora    Beaded Cuff    Stone Beads

Big Boys~    Linen Shorts

Baby~       Diaper Cover

Boys Back To School

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!




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Monday: Jean Shirt   Twill Pants    Sneakers

Tuesday:  Sweater   Cargo Pants   Camo Sneakers

Wednesday:  Shirt  Jeans   Loafers

Thursday:  Sweater   Camo Pants   Hiking Sneaker

Friday:  Shirt   Joggers   Sneakers



Safari First Birthday

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.




Hibiscus Flower Iced Tea

Pineapple Mojitos

Rosemary Split Chicken Breast

Spicy BBQ Steak Kabobs

Slow Cooked Baby Back Ribs

Classic Potato Salad with Reye’s Maine European Mustard

Simple Balsamic Melon Salad: The First Mess

Fresh Farm Tomato Pesto Caprese Salad

Summer Corn 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.


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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 addmeraki@gmail.com


How to Plan for Senior Portraits from A.Fogarty Photography

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.

A.Fogarty Photography

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.

A.Fogarty Photography

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!



NY State of Mind

Monday, July 20th, 2015

I am currently still swooning over a beautiful NYC weekend with my family. Sometimes the best vacations are last minute, spontaneous decisions where you throw together essentials and hope for an adventure. This last weekend was one of those. We have coined them “runaways” and our children think they are just the best. They might be short stays but the memories made will  be engrained forever.
New York City is such a fun city at any season. There are endless things to do and see for any and all ages. The energy of this city is unparalleled by any other in our country, you simply cannot help but leave feeling energized. We typically take this trip a few times a year, as a designer I love the constant source of inspiration and sourcing I can find, as a mother I love the experiences it allows my children. We have experienced lots of different places and still have a long list of things to do for our next time. I highly recommend a “runaway” vacation to NYC for any family.

The New York Palace located along Madison in Midtown Manhattan offers one of the finest accommodations that the city has to offer.  The spectacular room views of the famous St.Patricks Cathedral are magnificent to awake to. Our go to for hotel bookings is hotwire.com last minute specials offer 5 star accommodations at amazing savings.

Centrally located in the heart of the city this location is short walks to Fifth, Times Square, and Central Park. Our favorite way to travel to Central Park is by the adorable red bicycles that the hotel offers as first come, first serve to their guests. Citi bikes are available throughout the city as well, I highly recommend it!

Central Park, the plushest landscape in the city is always on our list for a place for the kids to get out all that beautiful pent up energy they have after the long ride. After a road trip, several hours of running through the park will get them prepared for any lines or waiting at our next destination. Central Park is bustling with joggers, bicycles, and canoes this time of year. You cant help but feel good when you are surrounded by such activity.

My second favorite form of transportation in the city is Uber. This genius platform enables you to have clean, cost effective transportation to all five boroughs. When you sign up you receive a $20 credit and you get credits for all of your friends that download the app as well. Lyft.com also offers you three free rides and additional credits for sharing. We spent the entire weekends travel on credits. Pretty Darn Savvy!


The best way to fully grasp the depth of NYC is from the top of the Empire State Building. My children loved the simulated journey through its history and the “fast pass” trek to the top. Short wait times= Happy Parents & Children. The investment in this pass this well worth it.

My children are avid sports fans & Yankees Stadium breaths their language. Each trip to NYC is not complete without catching a home game (we actually only go when we know they are playing). An hour and a half before game time they arrive to run through the bleachers, watch players at batting practice, and hope to snag an autograph from one of their idols. Our go to ticket agent is vivid seats. Often times players sell their seats through the use of the agents here. You can get incredible seats at great price points.


Summer Trips to the city can get hot really quick. The place to be when the temperatures rise is at the Piers. Located on The Hudson River the piers offer food, outdoor water play, air & space museum and boat trips to the landmarks. The best eat at the Piers is at North River Lobster Co. on P
ier 86. This boat restaurant is sightseeing, sun, & seafood all wrapped into one. The quality of the food is great and there is no additional fee for the boat ride.



Ending a vacation is never fun. My kids just hate when they know it is time to start the trek for home. We have found a way to perfect our NYC trip endings. Serendipity 3is the ultimate luxury in desserts. World Renowned for their chocolate perfection they hold the Guiness Book of World Records for the most expensive sundae in the world. Its eclectic decor, fun wait staff, and incomparable treats make this place the perfect sweet cherry on top of our NYC “runaways”. 



Every memory deserves to be documented, my boys have a tradition that I love. During the ride or flight home from vacations they write about their travels. I hope when they get older they will have these pages that hold our memories created.

X Danielle



Fourth of July Dessert

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

We are prepping for our fourth of july festivities. Packing our picnic basket for our lobster bake at the oceanside. I love to create dishes that compliment the holiday or theme. This year I wanted to find a unique presentation for dessert. I made these adorable personalized shortcake treats. They were so easy to make and really are most convenient for packing up. I think the kids will love having their own special treat.




If you would like to try these for yourself you will need:

1. Mini Mason Jars

2. Fruits of choice (I chose raspberries, blueberries, snd strawberries)

3. Whipped Cream (I used fresh whipped cream topping)

4. Vanilla Cake (I used a gluten free version)

5. Sparklers (I found these adorabl
e star sparklers at Little in the Old Port) 

6. Name Tags

7. Red or Festive ribbon



1. Make your cake.

I made my vanilla cake using my tried and true ATK Gluten Free Cookbook. Its a tedious recipe but when done right it is second to none. (Note. It did take me two tries tonight)

After the cake has cooled, cut into bite sized squares.

2. Fill the jar

Fill Mason jars with your combination of cream, cake, and fruit, Layering each item until you have filled the jar completely.

3. Decorate your jars. Get Creative! Ribbon, Tassels, Name tags…endless ideas!

4. Enjoy! Thats it’s! Sweet. Simple. Fun. Love.



Fourth of July Boys Sale Style Guide

Sunday, June 28th, 2015





Boys 4th of July



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.

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Shop The Fourth of July Boys Sale Style Shop Guide:

(Click the titles of each item featured to be redirected to product for purchase)

Look 1. Voyages du Monde Tee,   Stripe Jogger Short,  Navy Sneaker

Look 2. Compass Pullover,  Firework Short,  Oxford Shoe

Look 3. Distressed Stripe Sweater,  Star Shorts,  Deck Shoe

Look 4. Chambray Pullover, Red Star Shorts, Nautical Boat Shoe

I would love to see how you decide to festively dress your littles. Share their style with us on the 4th! #addmeraki

Enjoy! xDanielle




Natural Bug Repellent

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Most every aspect of summer excites me, especially after the long and dreadful winter we just had. We are anxious for long BBQ dinners alfresco, after dinner trips for ice cream cones, and late night marshmallow roasting over bonfires.


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The one thing that Im dreading are the annoying insects that the warm weather draws. Mosquitoes, Fleas, and those nasty ticks can make an evening out miserable and ruined.  Today I’m sharing my recipe for natural bug repellent. It is safe and effective. It does not have the dangerous ingrediants that many store bought products contain. I use two variations, one is a cream and one is a spray. There are a number of essentials oils that are successful at deterring these bugs. 

MOSQUITOES- citronella, lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon, catnip, basil, clove, lemongrass, lavender, geranium, and thyme.

TICKS-rose geranium, juniper, oregano, thyme, grapefruit, and rosewood

Feel free to develop your own combination of these blends. There are very distinct scents to each oil combination, here is the blend I prefer.




Coconut Oil

Lavender EO

Thyme EO

Cedar EO

Peppermint EO


In a small jar the size of baby food combine coconut oil to 3/4 full

add 40 drops of each essential oil and stir to blend

for use dab on wrists, inside arms, behind knees, and around ankles




Witch hazel or Rubbing Alcohol

8 oz Glass Spray bottle- I get mine at the natural food store but Amazon has great offerings. 2-1oz_clear_tr_1__58115.1407264070.300.300

Lavender EO

Cedar EO

Thyme EO

Peppermint EO


Combine 4 oz. Witch Hazel or Rubbing Alcohol

4 oz of filtered water

40-50 drops of each essential oil

Spray over clothing before needed




I would love to hear your feedback. Please comment if you like this post, or share with us your favorite essential oil blends and uses.

As always thank you for stopping by….xDanielle


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