Ahhhh the holiday season is upon us! If you are anything like me, you send out Christmas cards every year. I personally like to have them done super early, so I contacted my photographer friend back in late August or early September to set up our family shoot for October. And of course, the minute I set up the shoot, I started brainstorming outfit ideas. After location, I feel like the outfits are what will set the tone for the rest of the shoot. Today is the day, and I spent a good amount of time deciding on what we would wear.
I'm not going to share our outfits with you - you'll have to check back for the photos to see that! But I am going to share six tips with you on choosing outfits for your family photos.
At the end of the day, if you have a good photographer, your family's beauty will show, regardless of what you are wearing. And while I know we all want to look our best, don't worry about being "perfect". Your photographer's job is to make you look your best!
But MOST important, remember that "you're never fully dressed without a smile." Don't stress over what happened five minutes before you arrived. Smile, and enjoy the time with your family. That is what you want those photos to convey - not how long you spent putting together the perfect outfit or scouting for the perfect location.
I hadn't done one of these in a little bit, and I wanted to share a few things I'm loving this week!
1. This Alley & Rae t-shirt! Caleb has given me a hard time in the sleep department this week, and it's nice to be able to throw on this shirt and not have to explain the bags under my eyes or why I'm only half-awake most of the day. Praise Jesus, last night went way better, but I've got some catching up to do in the sleep department! But seriously, Alley & Rae has some of the cutest shirts, and they are so soft. And if you order before November 30, use the discount code topknot for 15% off your order!
2. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water - it removes makeup without any harsh chemicals, doesn't leave an oily residue, and doesn't need to be rinsed off. It's also really gentle on my skin.
3. The Super Mom Myth by Becky Kopitzke - I read this book a while back, and after a couple of rough weeks, I decided to flip through it again this week. It's a biblically based look at some of the "villains" we encounter in motherhood, and how we can become this not-so-wonderful version of ourselves. I know reading is hard when you have little kids running around, but this book is definitely a must-read. If you seriously don't have time, just pick the chapters that you think you need the most help with and focus on those at first. Get to the rest when you can.
4. These Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps from Trader Joe's are the definition of fall yumminess. They are crispy and savory and sweet. They are delicious with cheeses and on their own. Caleb loves them too!
5. DoTerra Clove and Cinnamon Bark oils - let's get real, in South Florida we get excited when the temperature dips below 70 degrees (TODAY IS ONE OF THOSE DAYS, GUYS!). "Fall" as the rest of the U.S. knows it is basically nonexistent here. So I make sure my house smells like fall inside, and these two oils, diffused, make my house smell like I've been baking up fall goodies all day.
6. Little Roseberry Hair Gel - I've posted about this on Instagram before, but Caleb is due for a haircut right now and I've been slathering this stuff on (hehe). It has a decent enough hold but it doesn't make his hair stay stiff all day. I like that it's made with Aloe and not tons of harsh chemicals.
There you go!
Have a spectacular Friday, lovelies!
October is Hispanic Heritage Month. Until recently, I kind of scoffed at these "heritage months," but I have come to appreciate them and their meaning. A little family background here: All four of my grandparents were born in Cuba. My paternal grandparents emigrated in their early twenties, and they met here, were married, and had my dad and uncle here. My maternal grandparents were married in Cuba and lived there until their forties. My aunt was born in Cuba and came to the US in her teens, and my grandparents came to the US when my grandmother was pregnant with my mom. That makes me second generation American.
My father-in-law was born in the Dominican Republic, and my mother-in-law was born in Cuba. Her family left Cuba when she was a little girl. After a brief stint in Spain, they settled in the Dominican Republic. My in-laws met and were married in the Dominican Republic and my husband and brother-in-law were born there. They came to the US right around the time my husband was entering first grade.
That makes Caleb first generation American on his dad's side, and third generation on mine.
As a second generation American, I know what it's like to feel a deep-rooted love for your culture without ever having experienced firsthand some of the things that your family talks about. Spanish was my first language - I didn't learn English until I started school. I love Cuban food over most other kinds of food. Living in Miami makes it a little easier to keep those roots intact (who am I kidding, it makes it impossible not to). With that being said, I feel like for myself, as for so many of my peers, there is a kind of disconnect between our identity and our experience of that heritage.
I consider myself American first. I have friends who have a hard time considering themselves fully American, like they never really belonged to one or the other, and I honestly cannot relate to them. I have always felt so strongly tied to the United States and to the great nation that it is. After all, my family and my husband's family came here for a reason, right? My pride for America is one that is not bound to who is in office, or what is happening in the world of politics. My pride for America stems from the fact that my grandparents, like so many others, came here, with nothing, and built homes, careers, and families for themselves. They sacrificed and washed dishes, drove trucks, and worked in factories. They learned a new language. They acclimated to a culture so inherently different from their own. And they became something. And their children became something.
But I also have pride for that place from which my family came. A pride for the music, the food, the traditions, the coffee (oh the coffee!), and the language. A pride for the island I love without ever having stepped foot on it. A pride for the sacrifices our family made for us, in the hopes that each generation would do a little better than the last.
I always promised myself that even if it was tough, I would make sure Caleb spoke Spanish. It's been harder than I anticipated, but I am keeping that promise. Sure, my kid speaks a funny version of Spanglish and asks me to put on his "shorts" and "zapatos". But that's okay - one day it won't be lost on him how important it is to have that connection with his heritage.
So will Caleb learn to love his Cuban and Dominican roots? Absolutely. He will dance salsa and merengue and drink cafe con leche and guarapo. He will celebrate Noche Buena and eat lechon and arroz y frijoles and flan. He will have mangu, queso frito, y longanizas for breakfast.
But he will also sing the words to The Star-Spangled Banner, and feel the patriotism in his veins on the Fourth of July. He will eat apple pie and drink - I don't know - an Arnold Palmer? He will celebrate Thanksgiving the American way - with turkey, stuffing, corn, and mashed potatoes. He will visit cities like Washington, D.C., and New York and know that there are no cities just like them anywhere in the world.
And he will know that he is lucky to have roots to be proud of and a home country he can love, too. So to all my mommas with foreign blood in their veins, next time a heritage month rolls around, don't just brush it off. Reconnect with your roots, show your kids what it means to be able to celebrate freely the best of both worlds, and teach them that while it may not be perfect, America really can be pretty amazing.
This post is sponsored by pediped.
Earlier this year, my parents came over all excited because they had found these great shoes for Caleb. They were adorable little sandals from pediped. Honestly, my biggest draw was that they were machine washable. When you have a toddler who loves to get dirty and be outdoors, machine washable is definitely a win. But the more I discovered about the shoes, and the more Caleb used them, the happier I was that my parents had decided to purchase a pair for him!