These are a few of my favorite things…

I love love love to spend hours on Etsy, pinterest, and Instagram looking for different prop ideas.  I have my usual search terms (which I also get from different trends I see floating around) like wooden toys, macramé, bonnets, knit toys, yarn wall hangings, knit blankets, organic toys, wooden teethers, etc.  I always find something different and unique.  Today I have rounded up a few of my favorites.

First up, an amazing company that make the most amazing hammocks and swings…Hang A Hammock.  These hammocks are hand woven and made to order with care in Nicaragua using natural cotton threads.  They are environmentally friendly using recycled paper and for their spreader bar only use wood not at risk for extinction.  Also 10% of their proceeds go back into their community to help with different improvement projects.
I have never opened a package and been in such awe of its beauty.  This bassinet crib, which is way bigger than a bassinet and could last for quite a while for your baby, it’s breathtaking.  It is so simple and delicate with its natural color yet amazingly complicated with its intricate woven design.  I literally wish I could climb in and fall asleep with the girls.  For these pictures we hung it outside near our pond but since it is soon to be 100+ degrees outside we are going to move it inside somewhere.  This is a piece I want to keep and treasure myself for as long as possible and will then pass on to my sisters and any babies they may have.  They also make beautiful traditional hammocks ( of which I just ordered yesterday) and the most adorable baby swing…see below.

While scouring the internet for baby products when I was pregnant I came across Sprout San Francisco.  I was searching for anything pretty much that you wouldn’t find at Babies R Us.  Since this was definitely going to be my last baby (babies…lol) I wanted to go all out.  I wanted pieces that where useful and safe for babies and me but also looked good if they were just sitting out.  Sprout San Francisco has it all from clothing to baby gear to cribs and toys. Ironically my friend from high school and college Katina Kontos works there as one of their buyers.  The clothing lines and products that they carry are not only stylish but are also organicly made with natural materials.  It can’t have any toxic chemicals (that includes the big ones you’ve heard about—BPA, phthalates, toxic dyes and perfumes, pesticides, PVC and formaldehyde—and many you haven’t heard of yet).  The girls are wearing identical stripe bubble rompers in papaya by Noch they are 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and made in NYC, USA.  They are also sweetly snuggling up to the softest cashmere blanket by White and Warren and fighting the terrible teething stage with safe and simple maple teethers.  To order any products or to find out if they have something you are looking for call the Sprout San Francisco Brooklyn location at (718) 488-8200.

If you have looked at my Instagram account for even a minute you will see that I have an obsession with bonnets.  It wasn’t until I had the girls that I realized there are many different style and types of bonnets.  Some styles look amazing on Emma and some look amazing on Mila.  I love Briar Handmade bonnets for Emma…they are perfection in everyway.  Designer Rachel Goode, began creating her signature bonnets in a sewing nook of her home.  She was on the hunt for a bonnet that tied but also fit her style, in the end she made her won.  Once her daughter started wearing them, Rachel couldn’t believe the response: Grandmas praised her for “covering her daughters ears” but even more, mamas praised her daughter’s style.  That was the beginning of Briar Handmade.  I can’t even express how happy I am that Ranchel started her bonnet mission.   Emmas ivory bonnet is 100% Hemp Linen, Medium weight, lined with 100% Pima cotton and perfect for all seasons.

I was introduced to another bonnet via Instagram and soon discovered it had Mila name written all over it.  The cut is a little different and when I put it on her it was as if it was made for her.  Laupers Kids designs and produce stylish clothing for babies and children. All of their products are exclusively Made in Spain.  This bonnet has a beautiful knit design and has a little less coverage than other bonnets which is perfect for Mila’s tiny face.  They also design the most beautiful clothing pieces I have ever seen. As I was typing up this blog post it took everything not to stop, shop and buy all of the beautifully handmade clothing pieces.

 

 

A Few Outtakes…

Challenging Myself….

I really wanted to challenge myself this time. Sometimes I look at my Instagram feed and I am a little bit bored…I will admit. All I see are close up head shots and a lot of laying down shots. Don’t get me wrong, I love them but I am craving more. I love looking at other people’s feeds on Instagram and love how a lot of the shots aren’t so much about the people in them, but the whole scene. From the pictures hung on the wall to the toys spilled on the floor…I love the scene that is captured in these shots. I love how the shots are about interactions and not posed (maybe there are posed, but they are fooling me at least). Okay and I kind of like all the white mid-century modern kitchens, dark wood floors, flowers, and baskets that make each photo that more appealing. I honestly think that is one reason I have shied away from stepping back and capturing more of the scene. My house is nice but the finishes are dark and the lighting is horrible. I could have floor to ceiling windows on every wall and still the light would trickle in.
 

Well my house is going to stay the way it is…for a while anyway so I had to find another location that was full of light and full of style. So what did I do? I researched hotels in the area that were considered modern. See what I was doing here?  I was getting the job done but also treating myself…I mean family to a luxurious night away from home..bahaha! For what seemed like hours, I scoured the internet for pictures that met the look I was going for, but honestly…hotel room photos lie!!! Some were a million dollars for one night, some weren’t available, and some were definitely not kid friendly. I finally came up with one that was moderately priced, the pictures were convincing, and was available. So on Saturday we packed up the kids for a staycation photoshoot.

When we arrived at the room I opened the door slowly, afraid that I was duped once again by the magic camera skills of most hotel photographers. To my surprise however, the room was perfect. It wasn’t white by any means but it had the coolest mid-century lounge feel. I wished we could have stayed longer than one night. The kids had a blast lounging and watching movies together on the couch, swimming, and ordering room service. I knew they needed this afternoon and night time to themselves because tomorrow I was going to bombard them with picture taking galore.

This time I let them do what they wanted instead of telling them how to sit and where to look. I stood back to capture more of my surroundings and tried to refrain from zooming in my lens. The hardest part was not telling them what to do. When you pose a shot you feel like you are getting just what you want. You see it, like it and push the button. It was definitely different and I was really worried that I would have nothing once I downloaded them to my computer. In the end though, once all of the photos were downloaded, I was happy with the results. I was able to get some natural shots as well as stay true to my style, and get some posed portraits.

These photos would not have been complete without the help of Shan and Toad.  Just a bit of history about them and their brand…Shana Laub had always been passionate about fashion.Then she had 3 little girls and shopping for children’s clothes became quite the hobby which prompted her to open a children’s boutique…Shan and Toad.

This amazing shop is definitely the go-to for the fashion forward . There is no other shop that carries such a wide range of beautiful crafted and unique pieces.The clothes we used for this shoot were pure perfection.Kaitlin is wearing amazing pieces from Paade.  Charles is wearing a super stylish line called Cavalier.  Finn is looking super cute in MSGM Kids.  And the twins…mainly Emma becasue Mila was a little under the weather is wearing beautiful designs by Popecha.   Head over to shop now and get 15% off your order with coupon code: overourwall15.

Location Location Location…

I thought all week about where I wanted to shoot this blog post.  I have a lot of places that I love to go, but they aren’t always exactly kid friendly….not that that has ever stopped me.  However, nowadays I have the twins and it’s just a little bit harder to pack ’em up, drive, and then frantically try to take a bunch of pictures before I am asked to leave or asked what in the world I am doing there.  That stressful situation usually just makes me scream at the kids and then they protest the entire shoot.  Thankfully on Saturday night my husband and I were forced to take a detour on the freeway.  It directed us to an area of town I had never been, yet was fairly close to our house.  I decided to go back the next day and ask if the property owner would mind if I took a few pictures in front of their house.  I have done this before and although it may seem crazy, I am always received well – if I say it’s pictures of kids!  I think most of the time they like the thought that they have a spot that is appealing to others.  When I got out of the car, where my husband and kids were patiently waiting, I was greeted by a huge pitbull.  Honestly, I was super freaked out and just stood there yelling, “hello?”  Luckily the owner heard me and came out.  He seemed confused, but after I nervously got my question out, you could tell he thought the fact that I wanted to take pictures in front of his house and chicken coupe was kind of cute.  This long explanation is to tell you not to limit yourself.  When you are driving to work, to the grocery store, keep your eyes peeled for spots that capture your attention.  You can always ask permission to take pictures pretty much anywhere.  Okay, so now that I told you all of that…we got to the location and only spent about 5 minutes there before we packed up headed to one of my “go-to” spots.  The yard was filled with crab grass, thorns, and ants.  If you haven’t noticed, I like to do shoeless laydown shots, so this wasn’t exactly the spot to take two little babies and a 6 year old.  But that’s not to say I didn’t get a few shots before Finn ever took his shoes off.

and the babies weren't out of the car before he had his first melt down and wanted to go home...I may have promised ice cream cones, packs of gum, toys, endless game downloads..okay you get the point. and the babies weren’t out of the car before he had his first melt down and wanted to go home…I may have promised ice cream cones, packs of gum, toys, endless game downloads..okay you get the point.

So we were off to a place that I knew well which was super close to home; the cool brick walls of the nearby auto repair shop.  It was Sunday, so nobody was going to ask me what I was doing right?  Nope, a lady actually pulled into the parking lot and drove around to the back where we were and asked if I need help because Mila was crying….to say I wanted to die and felt like a horrible mother is an understatement….But she left and I carried on.   I’m glad I did because in the end I got some great shots in the most amazing little outfits on earth.

This shoot was beautifully styled by Wee MondineWee Mondine brings you a lovely, international selection of cool, comfortable clothes for your kids.  Their online atelier could be a shop in New York or Paris, filled with gorgeous, fun clothes and they deliver that experience right to your door.

The owner behind this sweet shop is Elizabeth Crosby.  While expecting her first child, she began to scour West Village baby boutiques to find the best in clothes and products for her new addition.  Interested in soft, organic clothes she found that her choices were limited.  She wanted clothes that were fun, beautiful and would last through several kids could be past down to future generations.  Over time, she learned a lot and fell in love with some amazing brands.  A month before her daughter was born, her family moved from Manhattan to Connecticut.   She found herself forced to buy all of her favorite brands from on-line retailers.  She needed a website where she could find all of her favorite brands in one place…Hello Wee Mondine!!!!!

All of the clothing pieces and stuffed dolls can be found in her shop right now…so go check it out.  Finn is wearing Nico Nico and Emma and Mila are wearing Oeuf Layette.  The cute bunny is Hazel Village which can also be purchased at Wee Mondine.  She is also offering our readers 15% off their entire purchase.  Use CODE: OVERTHEWALL15 Happy Shopping!!

OUTTAKES

This weeks best dressed

The weekly best dressed is my weekly favorites and must haves…and this week…

There is nothing better than hand knit baby anything, but pair it with organic fabrics and well, I am a complete puddle of baby love mush. Kokoro Kotne is organic knit perfection. Each piece is handmade from their hands in Spain to yours wherever you call home. The knits are so soft and buttery I melted.  You can also find them on Instagram

Like I said I am completely obsessed with knits right now. These blankets from Repose-ams are a must for any baby blanket collection. The colors are so rich and on trend. But the cool thing is…they don’t have to be just for babies add them as a throw to any room in the house for a classic look.

Repose was founded in 2014 and is an Amsterdam based company.  Repose means peace, tranquillty, calm and silence and that fits their philosophy perfectly.  They design sophisticated products made out of the best qualities.

Don’t forget they make for great photo backdrops as well 😉

 

ALL FIVE!!

I’m going to start off by saying this shoot would not look half as cute as it does if it weren’t for Egg by Susan Lazar.  This line is contemporary yet classic.  And they offer clothes for the youngest to the oldest littles in your life.  The story behind beautiful company: At Egg we love-love.  All eggs look the same on the outside-its on the inside that counts-pure potential.  Egg hatched in 2003, when designer Susan Lazar decided to start a lifestyle brand with a soul, focusing on the love that exists between parents and their kids…At Egg we celebrate that bond and connection in all families…Egg is designed around the needs of stylish mothers and children with natural fabrics and clean modern designs at an affordable luxury price point.  The result is fashionable, yet timeless, baby and kids clothes of the highest quality.

 

 

Alright so I have to say…..OHMYGOSH.  This really was the first time I had photographed all the kids at one time where they all had to be dressed and ready…don’t forget that includes two teething twins.  Getting everyone ready was easy enough.  I got each kid dressed and my husband cared for the babies…the screaming babies.  The panic was starting to set in, how in the world am I ever going to get all of these kids to cooperate for oh lets say…2 hours worth of photos?  Well the key is my husband.  I shoot and he  jumps and makes crazy noises behind me for the babies and cracks funny jokes for the big kids.  Oh and the other key…a trip to Target to buy Pokémon cards and candy for Kaitlin.

For the location I chose this great farm that lets you rent it for the whole day for $50.  There are so many different backdrops and setting that it’s really was a one stop shop photo shoot.  I brought so much stuff as far as props and blankets (best and most needed prop ever), water and food,  but when we got there we couldn’t bring our car back to the main area…like we had in the past.  We had to park about a mile away from where I really wanted to shoot.  So just imagine my husband carrying two babies in car seats, me a bin of props, my camera equipment, food, drinks (baby weight) and three other little people running about, petting animals and finding little BB pellets all over the place, which Charles insisted on collecting and would spill out of his pocket during every shot.

For me  the easiest thing to do is start by taking individual shots of each child then just a few kids together and then the group shots.  Also know that I use my camera and my iPhone.  Sometimes I honestly get a better shot with that little thing than my big professional camera.  I usually start with  Finn, he is easy, you say chin down, smile, and shoot.  Finn doesn’t love having his picture taken hence the pouty look he always give (little does he know I LOVE IT) He told me that he wasn’t going to do the shoot today because he had his own money and he would just buy his Pokémon cards with that when I took the other kids to the store…haha doesn’t work that way, part of the reward is being driven there too 😉  Kaitlin is a great help and likes to plan shots out for me.  “Hey mom try this or wouldn’t this be a great shot” and they usually are.  Charles is probably the hardest to photograph but the easiest at the same time.  Charles will do whatever I say but for the life of him can’t seem to keep his eyes open because of the sun.  If you have blue eyed kids you know what I am talking about.  So I have them close their eyes, I count to three and then shoot about 20 pictures in a matter of five seconds.  Finn likes to pull the “I cant open my eyes” stuff too oven at 6:30 when there is no sun.

After all of the pictures have been taken and the kids have been told what to do for two hours…I let them do what they wanted and I snapped away.  They explored, they held chickens, they got splinters, they laid in not so clean grass, they chased ducks, and they walked away saying wow that was kind of fun.  Finn looked up at me and said, “mommy I don’t like the picture part but I like the all together part, can we do it again next week but forget to bring your camera.”

Gosh I love them…

Helpful hint:

Plan the shoot out…look on Pinterest for posing ideas and props

Have food and drinks on hand…even if you are just in your front yard

Plan out the shoot, singles first and then group shots

Always say chin down….kids faces high up in the air drive me nuts

See if the kids have an ideas for pictures…this always gets my kids.

Let them have free time to do what they want to do….but keep taking pictures

Have a helper and stay calm

just a little iPhone love…