I can’t remember exactly where I read about this gift giving rule for kids but it’s pure holiday gold.  Not only does it keep the cost of the holiday gifts down to a smaller budget but it prepares the kids to actually be able to enjoy the holiday and not focus on all the ‘I wants” that usually come with it. So here are The Christmas Four:

Something they WANT

I really like this one, because with three different sets of grandparents it’s a whole lot easier to browse the aisles of Targets for toys this way.  I tell the kids they each get to pick three toys they would want to Christmas, then I take a photo with my iPhone and we “text” them to Santa (aka the grandparents).  This way Santa knows not only what toy the kids would enjoy but exactly how much it costs.  This helps the grandparents get the kids something they WANT but keeps everyone’s budget a lot easier by buying three toys (one per kid) vs multiple toys for all the kids.  And once we go through all three sets of grandparents plus mom and dad, the kids have more than what they could ever WANT for the holidays.

Something they NEED

This works the exact same way as the WANT category.  I usually have something I NEED for each kid every holiday season, whether that be a heavy coat, a family board game or anything that maybe they have a need for but it just makes sense for “Santa” to bring it. This is a great category that we’ve tossed annual passes to Kings Dominion or the Park Service so that we can go on as many trips as we’d like.

Something to WEAR

Pretty self evident, but grandparents love buying clothes and most of the time it sits in the back of the closet or I put it away for the appropriate season and it never gets used.  This helps trim back how much clothing they are getting and they will actually get use out of it during the year!

Something to READ

You can do this electronically (Kindles) or actual hard books.  Hannah loves to read so we got a ton of books at the thrift stores for her and I think it’s going to make her blossoming mind so happy!  This isn’t just limited to books, it could be comics, educational work books, as long as it jogs the mind and keeps the educational engine running.

I really do love these “rules”.  It’s helped us keep Christmas small and more about what it should be, time with family, togetherness, giving to others and the joy of the season.  Do you have any gift giving rules for the holidays? I’d love to hear them in the comments!




Happy Holidays in Chattanooga and Surrounding Areas

The following are some holiday attractions happening in Chattanooga for the 2017 holiday season!

Chattanooga’s New Holiday Trail of Lights
Dates: Begins November 17
Time: Various times at the different locations 

Have you heard the news? Something new is coming to Chattanooga this holiday season. Chattanooga’s Holiday Trail of Lights will ensure families are able to capture the holiday spirit of our area. View the site for the “official” Holiday Trail of Lights Guide, which you will be able view and print online.

Chattanooga Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”
Dates: December 9 and 10
Time: December 9 has two showings: 2pm and 7:30pm; December 10 showing is at 2pm.

This classic holiday ballet is one you won’t want to miss, and the show can make for a wonderful date night or even an evening with family.

Chattanooga Zoo’s Holiday Lights
Dates: December 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17
Time: 5:30-8pm

This celebration is for the ultimate animal lover, because what could be better than a combination of holiday lights and zoo animals?  Pro Tip: if you have a library pass, most give you a free pass ( usually 2 adults and 2 kids) good for 7 days, so just make sure you stop by your local library before heading to the zoo!

Ice on the Landing
Dates: November 17-December 19 and January 8-21
Time: Monday-Wednesday (2-9pm); Thursday-Friday (2-11pm); Saturday (10am-11pm); Sunday (noon-9pm)

Located in the historic Glenn Miller Outdoor Gardens at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, Ice on the Landing allows family and friends to get together and ice skate as through you were in our very own Central Park! Be sure to check out the website for any special “theme” nights, as well as possible Santa sightings.

MainStreet Cleveland’s Annual Christmas Parade
Dates: December 2
Time: 6pm

From businesses to local schools, there is sure to be someone you know in Cleveland’s Christmas Parade this year! Be sure to grab a seat early, and bring a bag with you, as you just might catch some holiday candy during the parade.

PJs and Polar Express
Dates: December 16 and 17
Time: 9:30-11:45am

Who is ready to hop aboard the Polar Express? And best part, you can come in your pjs! In fact, it is highly recommended that you dress leisurely to enjoy a 3D showing of the “Polar Express” at the IMAX. However, the showing isn’t the only fun part. Come early and you can meet the Conductor while enjoying hot cocoa and fresh pastries!

Rock City Gardens’ Enchanted Garden of Lights
Dates: November 17-January 6th
Time: Nightly from 6-9pm

If lights are what you are looking for, the lights are what you are going to get! The 23rd annual light extravaganza at Rocky City will not disappoint, as not only can your family partake in the hundreds of thousands of holiday lights, but pictures with Santa and decorating gingerbread cookies while sipping hot cocoa are also available at this event, which is sure to make it a magical night for all!

Ruby Falls’ Christmas Underground
Dates: December 1-23 (days vary)
Time: noon-8pm

Explore a different side of Christmas by taking a tour of a secret, underground ice cave that could lead directly to Santa’s home at the North Pole! Sometimes a little mystery and fun around finding Santa can bring the entire family together and make for some great memories.

With all the local holiday events going on this year in our wonderful community, it is going to be hard to be a “Scrooge” this Christmas — there surely seems to be something for everyone! What are you looking forward to participating in most this holiday season?





Meet Ms. R, her mom Heather got in touch with me as I was moving our of California to do one final unicorn session; how can I say no?  We also got her brother in for a couple images.  One thing I’ll definitely miss about California is Cupcake the Unicorn, he’s brought me so many smiles this season but I’m sure I can find one on the east coast as well 🙂 I hope you enjoy!




Even though we are moving from the West Coast to the East Coast I will still be offering Holiday Minis in the Chattanooga to Knoxville, TN area.


Session Includes:
30 minute session for up to 4 people*
Locations in Chattanooga & Knoxville, TN (exact location TBA)
10 digital high-resolution images
Print Release
Online Gallery
*$25 for each additional person

Holiday Mini-Sessions are offered at $125.

You’ll receive all your images by November 26th. Just in-time to create your holiday cards. 🙂

Please contact me for more information: or

Life Lately…in Pictures

The last couple months have been hectic and we’ve been on the road a lot and a lot of our lives are changing (again) but we’ve explored so much and are so thankful to have seen the country!  The end of August we took another cross country trip.  At the end of that trip we decided that our hearts are still back east, so shortly I’ll have a post up on our decision to move and where.

We loved showing the kids, Las Vegas and The Grand Canyon and can’t wait to take them back again!



I’ve been waiting to meet Rayleigh for some time now and there wasn’t a better moment than for her newborn session.  Newborn sessions are always so unique to each baby and Rayleigh was no different, I enjoyed every moment with her and getting in all my newborn snuggles (they keep away the baby fever).  Congratulations to my friend Ashley and her family on their newest addition, she’s perfect!




Recently I have been focusing on using more products that have a strong focus on being more natural based, as well as vegan and cruelty free.  This month I  was given the opportunity to try an amazing brand that makes the best face cream to moisturize your skin. I have been using the Puristy Seaberry Moisturizer for a few weeks and have been really impressed by the way that it keeps my skin hydrated.

This moisturizer is made with a concentrated with seaberry fruit which contains 50+ nourishing phytonutrients that help to increase the vitality, health and radiance of your complexion. Puristry focuses on the chemistry of natural ingredients like Seaberry. Susie Wang (founder of 100% Pure and creator of Puristry with Anthropologie) creates and chooses ingredients extremely carefully.  It’s about deeply knowing each ingredient–what it works well with, what it doesn’t–and how to best deliver that targeted nutrition into the skin.


Puristry is the chemistry of pure ingredients. Formulated with wild botanicals, hydrating oils and antioxidant-rich berries, each elixir is crafted to deliver a gentle, concentrated burst of a single, scientifically curated ingredient, ensuring your skin gets the targeted nourishment it needs and the natural remedies it deserves. Key ingredients include aloe water, shea butter, coconut oil, honeysuckle extract, locust gum, grape seed oil, seaberry oil, seaberry extract, bergamot oil, cedarwood bark oil, vetiver root oil, sage oil, lavender oil.  Oh, and it’s made in the good old U.S.A. so if that’s not a reason to help you purchase this luscious skincare, I’m not sure what is.  If you would like to try Puristy’s Seaberry Moisturizer for yourself, click the link HERE to purchase, you won’t be disappointed.