5 Rules to Follow to Make Sure You LOVE Your Fall Family Pictures


Photography by: LentillePhotography // Hair & Makeup by: bespokenbeauty //
Outfits borrowed from studio wardrobe

Family photos are something that have always meant EVERYTHING to me, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized how important it is to INVEST in your family photos, that way you will love them now, and for years and years to come.
When Kyle and I got engaged I was ALL about going the cheap route…even when it came to photos.
And I can’t even begin to tell you how much I regret that now.
I look back at our wedding photos and I’m so unhappy with how they turned out and that’s 100% MY FAULT for not doing my research and for just choosing the cheapest option and thinking “well, they have an expensive camera surely they’ll turn out good!” But its not just about the camera equipment y’all…it’s about the photographer and connecting with them and feeling comfortable. If there’s one thing I URGE you to do…it’s to really INVEST in your family photos, because they will be around forever & you want to be proud of them…
So today I’m going over 5 different rules that I think are total game changers, if you follow these simple rules I promise that you really will end up L O V I N G your Fall family pictures!

#1. Finding the right photographer – INVESTING in the right photographer
This is HUGE. I know you probably have a family member that is starting a photography business that will do your photos for free…and I know you found this awesome photographer that’s CRAZY expensive and you’re going to book a 10 minute mini session because that’s all you can afford and SURELY if the photographer is that great you’ll get a shot.. Y’all, DO NOT do either of these things! I’m telling you, the most important thing to ensure you LOVE your family photos is to INVEST in a great photographer. Not just any photographer, but a photographer that will take their time, make you feel comfortable in front of the camera, a photographer that will make it easy for your family to just be silly and be themselves so that you get natural, unposed, REAL, beautiful shots. Oh and trust me, I’ve done mini sessions and they are STRESSFUL and dang near impossible with more than 1 person involved. Don’t add more stress to the situation by giving yourself a strict time limit.

#2. Hire someone to do your hair & makeup…
I don’t care if you yourself are a professional hair & makeup artist…the last thing you want to be doing is trying to get yourself ready and then wrangling up all your kids, only to have your baby yank your hair and mess it up before you get to your location and get applesauce spattered all over your outfit…I can’t tell you how RELAXING it was to be able to show up to Allison and Bridgettes studio looking like a train wreck, and then getting to sit and have my hair and makeup done professionally right before the shoot. Bridgette (bespokenbeauty) is hands down the best hair & makeup artist in Houston. I would travel hours and hours for her work. The two times she’s done my hair and makeup I have felt SO beautiful and confident (which is SO important when you’re about to take photos) Kyle prefers me with minimal makeup and Bridgette just has this amazing way of doing a full face of makeup on you but making you look SO natural. It says A LOT when your husband prefers you with no makeup and even he compliments your hair and makeup after it’s been done professionally. I just have to show y’all this pony Bridgette created…that is ALL my real hair!!! Trust me, it is no where near as thick as it looks…Bridgette is a magician and will make you feel like a million bucks, I’m going to share the two looks she’s done for me below so y’all can see how talented she is!!

Bridgette and Allison share a studio together but Bridgette does hair and makeup for all kinds of events!
Wedding/Bridal/Special events/Photography…you name it.
Also, I was being dead serious when I said I would travel hours and hours for her, if you’re getting married soon or have any event where you want to look your best OR are currently planning your family photos – I HIGHLY recommend Bridgette!
You can head straight to here Instagram to see her work {HERE} Or send her an email at bespokenbeautyinfo@gmail.com

Alright, onto rule #3…


#3 Stick With Neutrals/Muted colors
Yes, you may be a fashionista who is up to date on all of the latest trends and everyone is always asking where your outfits are from, BUT a family photoshoot is not the place to make a fashion statement or try out a new trend (in my opinion). No matter what season it is, neutrals are ALWAYS best. One of my favorite things about booking with Allison (LentillePhotography) is that she provides wardrobe for all of her clients (like REALLY cute clothes y’all), all 3 of our outfits are from her studio wardrobe…I had so many gorgeous options to choose from but ended up going with this beautiful Free People maxi because I completely fell in love with the color. Not only did I not have to worry/think/stress/come up with outfits for all 3 of us but I also didn’t have to pay for new outfits for all three of us! Y’all know how quickly outfits & accessories for a family can add up!

#4 Find a photographer that understands the importance of PRINTS &
offers high end products and not just a USB

There’s something so special about receiving actual prints of your photos after your session and having beautiful high quality images to frame around your home! Allison has carefully curated a line of heirloom products, and all of her clients choose digitals plus an album, or framed fine art prints. Seriously y’all, HOW MANY TIMES have you wanted “just the digitals”, with full intention of printing them, but never did? Family pictures should live on your walls, and not on a USB.

And lastly, Rule #5 Bribe your husband & children if necessary
I know y’all are probably laughing at this BUT men & children do not love photos as much as we do…if I give my husband a good pep talk & explain how important these photos mean to me before the photoshoots {& also promise him something he loves if he smiles and cooperates} he tends to be a much better sport! As far as kiddos, Hayes isn’t old enough to be bribed but we did bring a few of his fav toys and had my mom hold them up right behind our photographer! There was also a lot of peek a boo action going on behind the scenes lol

I’ve been dying to share the rest of these photos with y’all! I have never been SO happy with a photoshoot in my entire life.  I typically pick and pull myself apart in every photo – but thanks to Bridgette I felt SO confident and comfortable in front of the camera and Allison always makes the photoshoots so fun & easy!! If you’re in Houston or even the surrounding areas make sure you check out these two babes if you’re in the market for some family photos or just on the hunt for a good hair & makeup artist!





Allison is completely booked for 2018 but is taking on clients for 2019, She specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, and family photography in the Houston area and is the sweetest human alive!!
Let me know if you end up booking with Allison or Bridgette and be sure to tell them I sent you!

Cute Sweater + Skirt Combos PLUS the last day to shop my fav OTK boots for 40% off

A cold front FINALLY came through Houston and I’m so excited to finally be able to wear all of my cozy sweaters! Kyle and I had a couples shower to attend this Saturday and unfortunately it was still super hot out, BUT it’s October…so I still wanted to wear something more “Fall” but I didn’t want to sweat my butt off. I’ve actually had this little floral dress in my closet for 4 years now and I just can’t seem to get rid of it! It’s this flowy long sleeve floral shift dress that has the cutest fit ever. I ended up throwing a belt on to cinch the waist a bit and so I could do a “faux front tuck” with this sweater!
I LOVE the high waisted skirt with a tucked in sweater trend but I didn’t have a skirt to wear so I made this dress work as a skirt! Unfortunately both the dress and my sweater are no longer available BUT I’m going to link some similar items as well as a few different dress/skirt/sweater outfit options for y’all! My booties ARE available and my absolute favs so I’ll link them below this pic!

Sweater: (Similar)// Dress: (Similar) // Booties: (Exact) /(Cheaper option)




Even though the exact items I’m wearing aren’t available I wanted to give y’all some super cute similar looks to shop!!
I put a few different looks together that I think y’all will love! Just click the arrow to see the full look, I’ve linked the Top/Sweater first and then the Skirt/Dress and then some shoes that I think will complete the look perfectly! Let me know which one is your fav!!

Look #1
I would do a front tuck with this sweater so you can see the cute button details on the skirt! Seriously so in love with that camel color!

Look #2
I LOVE this look so much! You could tie the sweater in a knot in the front, leave the sweater loose for a comfy & more casual look, or throw a belt on the dress and do the faux front tuck like I did with my original outfit!

Look #3
Another front tuck look! Love the ruffle layer on this sweater & the bare shoulders, would be SUCH a cute date night look! PS these are my FAV over the knee boots and this is the last day to get them on sale for only $88!!!

Look #4
This look speaks for itself, it’s a little edgier than the others and I love that about it!

Look#5
I would throw a belt on this little dress and do the faux front tuck! HOW COMFY does this Free People sweater look?! I need it in every color!!

If you’ve been on the hunt for some OTK boots for this Fall & Winter I URGE you to run and order THESE while they’re on sale!! The sale ends tonight and I pinky promise you will not regret this purchase! I own the cognac and the grey and I cannot say enough good things about them! SO comfy, perfect heel height, stretchy but DO NOT fall down at all.
and on M A J O R   S A L E today only!!!
(code is COZY40)

Okay that’s all for today, hope you babes are having an awesome Monday!!

Cure for your Monday blues – Last day to shop these S A L E S !

There’s nothing like a few good sales to make your Monday a little brighter!

Some of my favorite stores are having sales right now so I’m sharing my top picks with y’all in case you want to do a little shopping on your lunch break, while your stuck in traffic, at your desk, or while your baby naps!
Whatever the case, these sales were too good for me to not share!

American Eagle is having 30-60% off of everything including jeans! 
Click {HERE} to go directly to the sale, or shop my favs below!

Goodnight Macaroon is having 40% off their entire site with code “COZY40”
This is where I buy my fav OTK boots, just ordered them in grey last week!
I’m going to try and hop on stories later today and show you the boots + 2 of those cozy cardigans that are linked below that I own and LOVE!

Abercrombie is having 50% off some of their jeans and a sale on selected items! 
I own these satin pjs and they are AWESOME, Also own those olive jeans and they fit so well!

Urban Outfitters is having 50% off select Fall styles!

Ahhhhhh I got distracted and totally forgot to post this earlier this afternoon!!
HURRY and get your shop on before these sales end y’all!!!

The baby book of my dreams

Happy Friday Friends,
I’ve been a little quieter on Instagram stories this week because Hayes and I had our first {bad} cold and
BOY was it rough…
Not only did I feel like absolute crap but seeing Hayes be so uncomfortable was freaking heartbreaking.
BUT we are almost back to feeling ourselves and I can’t thank all of you enough for your prayers and sweet messages!!

I’m talking all about Hayes’s new baby book today and I’ve got a DISCOUNT CODE for y’all!!
Use code “MONICA99” to get this baby book for $99 (originally $120), code is valid through October 12th!
______________________________________________

I remember before Hayes was born, finding “the perfect” baby book was extremely important to me. I absolutely love going through my old baby book and old photos anytime I’m back home at my parents house, and I wanted to make sure Hayes’s baby book was something I was proud of, something that he’d love to look through one day, and something that was unique. I purchased a baby book before Hayes was born but for some reason I just wasn’t in love with it like I was hoping to be. When I’d go to fill in the blanks or add photos I kept finding myself stressed or disappointed because it just wasn’t looking how I wanted it too.

 Well, Recently I came across this baby book called “The Story of You” by Artifact Uprising and I pretty much fell in love as soon as I saw the name of it. It was a more modern take on a baby book and the more I researched it the more I knew I NEEDED it.

As soon as the book arrived in the mail I was SO excited, it even comes with a rose gold pen and some adhesives for your prints!
OH, and the best part?! You can order print sets straight from the Artifact uprising site and they come in a variety of different sizes. You can also choose to have a border (like mine) or no border. I wasn’t aware of this before I ordered my prints but they’re actually not regular prints, they’re this awesome textured card stock paper and the pictures are such good quality!!
Kyle was SO impressed when he saw them and loved the uniqueness and quality of the pictures.

This baby book is typically $120 (worth every penny) but they’re offering all of my followers a special discount code through October 12th and you seriously DO NOT want to miss this deal! I wish I could go through and show you every page BUT I didn’t have time to take that many photos haha BUT I just might hop on instagram stories today and do a little flip through so y’all can see the book in more detail!

Some of the pages have the sweetest quotes that literally bring tears to my eyes, this book is so incredibly well made and is definitely not your “average baby book”. But it still has all the best things that a baby book should have!
Each month has the same three prompts + two unique prompts or questions!
Each month you’ll get to write about the following
“You spent most of this month…”,
“You surprised us when you…”,
“This month we learned…”

I LOVE that this book gives you prompts and it’s not just a list of things you check off.
You can write as much or as little as you want and make it as personal and detailed as you want it to be!


I can’t wait to fill these pages with the sweetest memories – thank you Artifact Uprising for creating just what this mama had always pictured but couldn’t find.

Make sure y’all head over to my Instagram to see a more in depth look at the book!
And if you decide to order don’t forget to use my code.
Love y’all, hope you have the best weekend ever!!

Flying with a baby – What I learned + Tips & Tricks

We’re back from our Hawaii vacation and I’m happy to say that the flights went SO MUCH better than I had anticipated!!
We also happened to get incredibly lucky and got our own row for every single flight there and back.
I remember SO many of you telling me to pay for Hayes to have his own seat because it would be SO worth it,
but Kyle and I didn’t want to spend that much extra cash…BUT we both agreed that for future flights we will definitely pay extra for Hayes to have his own seat because it was a TOTAL game changer and I honestly don’t know what we would have done if we were squished between a stranger and Hayes didn’t have room to spread out and play.

So my #1 tip, if you’re able too…PAY for an extra seat so you get an entire row to yourselves!
Hayes loved sitting in the middle seat and playing with his toys, it also made it so much easier and less stressful to nurse him!
I was able to just whip my boob out and not worry about a stranger next to me seeing my boob or making them uncomfortable, or Hayes’s head or feet being on them!
Also, when booking your seats choose seats towards the back of the plane! Most people like being near the front of the plane so it’s more likely that there will be open seats towards the back that you can snag and it’s easier to stand up and walk around in the back if you need too and also close to the bathroom for diaper changes etc! ALSO, if you don’t book a seat for your babe, head to the counter before boarding (make sure you’re holding your baby lol) and ask if the plane is fully booked/if they think you can get a row to yourselves! Some were rude when I asked and some were super friendly and went out of their way – but we managed to get an entire row for all 4 flights – so it doesn’t hurt to ask!!!

Tip #2, Pack a few gallon sized baggies with diaper changing essentials. This was a life saver. Instead of trying to haul the diaper bag into a tiny airplane bathroom I was able to just grab a baggie and go. I packed 5 of them in our carry on and they didn’t take up much space at all! Each baggy had 2 diapers, wipes and an extra onesie just in case! Once we were on the airplane I put the baggy in the pocket in the seat in front of me for easy access! So they say pack a diaper for every hour that you’re on the plane, so I packed 10! We definitely didn’t need or use them all but better safe than sorry!

Tip #3, I packed a ton of new toys for Hayes to introduce to him on the plane and I think I only ended up getting out 2 of them for both flights. He was so amused by the all of the people around him and honestly, he played/chewed on his diaper changing baggy the majority of the time haha BUT I would still pack some new toys to be safe — I had more than we needed but I liked it that way! But again, better safe than sorry! I’ll link some of the toys we brought below that were his favs!

Tip #4, bring all the things to keep your routine as normal as possible, we brought Hayes’s sleep suit (he wears it for naps and bedtime) as well as some gripe water, essential oils,  and Tylenol for emergencies. Our flight to Hawaii was during the day so he didn’t sleep a ton but we tried to do his typical nap time routine on the plane and he took 2 decent naps!

Tip #5, Nurse/bottle/paci during takeoff and landing! I got super lucky and Hayes’s ears didn’t seem to bother him at all but there were other babes on the plane that did cry during takeoff and landing!
So I actually packed my pump and then brought two full bottles in a little lunchbox w/ an ice pack onto the plane (will link ice chest below) I wanted to have the bottles on the plane in case of emergencies, also when I’m stressed sometimes my let down takes forever and Hayes gets super frustrated. They had to check the bottles but it literally took less than 5 minutes. I asked them to change their gloves before handling the bottles and then they asked me to open each one and they just waved a little test trip over it and then that was it! Hayes ended up not taking the bottles, he’s high maintenance and will only drink if they’re freshly steamed so I ended up just nursing him our entire trip and never needed the bottles or my pump!

Tip #6, it’s OKAY if your baby cries/fusses/is loud…they’re a baby! There will be rude and insensitive people on the plane that may give you dirty looks but there will also be kind and understanding people who have been there or just get that babies cry and it is what it is! Take deep breaths, baby can feel your stress…I’m typically a stress ball but I mentally prepared myself to just laugh everything off that happened on the plane, there’s really nothing you can do so you might as well laugh instead of get super upset!

Tip #7, bring lots of blankets // comfy things for YOU & BABY. We put Hayes in a footed sleeper so he’d be warm and cozy and I brought one of his “big” blankets, a smaller blanky and a muslin swaddle blanket – we used ALL of them & honestly couldve used more. Planes are not comfy so if you’re able to pack some stuff to make the flight more bearable then DO IT. I didn’t bring the boppy pillow but if I would’ve known we were going to have our own row I definitely would’ve brought it or some type of small pillow!

Tip #8, bring an iPad & lots of snacks for mom, dad and baby! Hayes is only 7 months but we were still able to keep him occupied with Mickey Mouse for a little while on the plane, Kyle also used the iPad to watch shows/movies on the flight when Hayes napped. Snacks are a MUST, if your baby is obsessed with food like mine is then make sure you bring snacks that take a while to eat!!

Tip #9, if you’re breastfeeding wear a good easy access nursing bra (preferably one with no clips, one that you can just pull down) & a good loose v neck on the flight! You want your boobs to be easily accessible and don’t want to be fighting with clothing while you’re already stressed and trying to get your baby to latch!
I wore this nursing bra with one of these tees and it was PERFECT, I actually ended up wearing an oversized hoodie on top which worked out great too because I was able to pull down my bra and top and use the hoodie as a cover. Linking exactly what Hayes and I wore on the flight for y’all below!!

Tip # 10, If you’re able too I would honestly just rent baby gear once you get to your destination! We had planned on bringing both Hayes’s car seat and stroller but decided against the stroller last minute. We checked on our luggage as well as the car seat, all at the gate! We ended up renting a crib while we were there which was PERFECT, I just googled “baby rentals in Kauai” and a sweet couple brought and set up the crib for us. I also brought Hayes’s fitted crib sheet so it would smell like home and he’d be more comfortable!

Everyone told me it would go way smoother and be easier than we thought it would and good news, they were right!! Of course we had some stressful moments in the airport and on the plane and moments where we were all just freaking exhausted and DONE but overall, Hayes did SO well and we are so proud of him for being such a trooper! I’m going to go ahead and link some of our “life saving” items below!

Saying big prayers for all of you about to travel with your babes!! YOU GOT THIS MAMA!!
A lot of you asked about sharing what we packed in Hayes’s carry on so I’m going to go back and add those stories to my Instagram highlights so check there!!