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!

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!!

Kissing the last days of Summer goodbye

Thank you JaM Cellars for sponsoring this post. Looking for JaM Cabernet and Butter Chardonnay near you? Check out their easy-to-use Store Locator! Just pop in your zip code and the wines will be waiting!

Well y’all, Fall is officially here! My little fam spent the last week of Summer vacationing in Hawaii and it was SO nice getting away. It was really important to me to spend the last few days of Summer soaking up the sun, soaking in some beautiful scenery and relaxing with some GOOD wine (and my 2 best dudes of course). This past week we stayed at a cute little condo in Kauai that actually sat on a cliff which made for some pretty awesome views, and some really relaxing evenings!

Now, If y’all know me, you KNOW that I’m a huge fan of wine – red, white, rose…you name it, I love it all. Having a picnic in Hawaii near the ocean & on top of a cliff was all my heart wanted and I’m happy to say WE MADE IT HAPPEN. We ordered a pizza from a local pizza place and had the cutest little picnic outside of our condo, and I mean, is a picnic even a picnic without wine?! NOPE. We enjoyed some JaM & Butter from JaM Cellars, which may just be my new “go to” weekly wine order.

JaM Cabernet and Butter Chardonnay both made an appearance at our date night picnic, because sometimes ya just can’t choose between white or red so you gotta go with BOTH. We did a little exploring, a whole lot of sipping and listened to the waves crash into the rocks – talk about #SummerBucketList goals…

All my wine loving ladies LISTEN UP,  I’m obviously no wine connoisseur BUT I do know what I like and what I don’t like and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when I took my first sip of JaM Cabernet. It was ridiculously smooth and so delicious, the flavor has just the right amount of fruitiness and if I’m being honest I could totally drink the entire bottle in one sitting…Okay, okay I totally did drink the entire bottle in one sitting because Lord have mercy it was GOOD and mama needed some wine!! Don’t worry I did share some with Kyle, the JaM Cab was both mine and Kyle’s favorite – I typically get sick of the taste of red wine after one or two glasses but JaM Cab is definitely an exception. I’m placing an order for more this evening because Kyle and I are completely obsessed. The Butter Chardonnay was really tasty as well, and SO refreshing, we actually took it to the beach with us one day – it kind of just melts in your mouth which is actually fitting seeing as it’s called “Butter”…and I mean, let’s be real, everything’s better with butter!

Oh, and the best part?! JaM Cellars products are extremely affordable. so If you go through wine QUICKLY, like me, these are perfect for you! Let me know if you end up getting some for yourself, these would also make such a great gift!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

5 Tips on surviving at home with a newborn once your husband goes back to work!

Happy Wednesday Y’all!
I’ve received tons of messages recently asking for tips on how to get through those first few weeks after having a baby especially once your husband goes back to work! I think I may have actually done a post like this when Hayes was a newborn but I figured I’d put another post together for y’all because, well, you can never have enough encouragement as a new mom!

I remember the day Kyle went back to work like it was yesterday…
Before I had Hayes I was SO scared of when that day would come.
Would I be able to handle him by myself? Would I cry all day and beg Kyle to come home? Would I be a good mom? What the heck were we going to do all day?!

Hayes was born on a Sunday morning (3:35AM) and Kyle stayed home with us for that first week, he had planned on taking two weeks off but ended up staying home the week before Hayes was born because our doctor had told us that he could come any minute..and being first time parents we took that VERY seriously and I didn’t want Kyle to leave my side in case I went into labor.

After Hayes was born we had visitors NONSTOP, like for real, it felt like every hour of every day someone new was coming over! Which was honestly, SO awesome… but also really overwhelming and totally exhausting.
I remember being a little excited to have Hayes all to myself and finally see what it would be like, BUT of course also very nervous about it. That Monday morning came quickly and I remember waking up and feeling totally fine, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be and I felt confident that we’d be just fine. I remember nursing Hayes in bed that morning and Kyle kissing us both goodbye, I was absolutely fine until the front door shut…I immediately burst into tears (HELLO hormones).
I wasn’t scared or nervous, I just missed Kyle already. We had just experienced the most incredible thing together and been side by side nonstop being a team and learning and growing together for two weeks straight. Our relationship grew and strengthened so much that week Hayes was born and gosh I missed Kyle SO much when he left us for work…
(For those of you messaging me about how our marriage has changed since having a baby, I talk about that on this blog post {HERE})

If you’re not a mama yet, but will be soon, you’ll learn VERY quickly that motherhood is full of ups and downs, there are really great days and there are really bad days…BUT even on the really really bad days there are still good moments, and I’ve learned that those moments are what you’ve got to cling onto when you’re about to lose your mind or start to consider selling your baby on instagram. (no joke, I literally told (shouted at) Hayes if he didn’t stop crying I was going to sell him…#momoftheyear)

There will be days where you will feel like superwoman and your child behaves perfectly, you shower and put makeup on, you clean the house and do the laundry, and you feel like you WERE MADE FOR THIS. And then there are other days where your baby won’t stop crying and the house is a mess and your dog won’t stop barking and you stink and haven’t had time to eat and you call and text your husband all day long in tears begging him to come home and help you.
We all have those days, all of us!

Motherhood can be extremely lonely and I know I’ve talked to y’all about this before but there are a few different things I did at the beginning that really helped me get through each day! I remember getting overwhelmed with visitors coming every day and I was honestly totally over it and couldn’t wait for Hayes and I to just have some time to ourselves! But once the visitors stopped coming, I’m not going to lie, I totally felt sad. So if people want to come hold your baby so you can shower, or want to bring you coffee or whatever LET THEM!
Tips for surviving:
#1 GO OUTSIDE – this is so so important. Fresh air is so good and it really does help when you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, sad, tired, you name it…do yourself a favor if you’re a new mom and go on a walk, or sit in your backyard or on your front porch because I’m telling you it is SO much better than being locked inside your house all day.

#2 Get in the car and listen to music – If you have a baby that loves the car and falls asleep as soon as you turn on the engine, TAKE ADVANTAGE of it! Even if you don’t actually go to a store or public place, get in your car and drive around and listen to music or get yourself a milkshake (you deserve it), I swear a car ride with some good music is good for the soul.

#3 Join a facebook group or some kind of community for new moms – If you don’t have friends that are going through the same thing as you or people that can relate to you, you will feel SO ALONE. I was extremely lucky and had a good amount of friends going through the same thing as me or friends that had just gone through the same thing but also having all of you on here and on Instagram to chat with or ask questions was seriously so incredibly helpful.

#4 Start your day with Jesus and coffee. In the beginning when I was extra hormonal and extra exhausted I would always start my mornings with worship music and I swear it would always put me in a better mood and make me feel so grateful no matter how tough our night was. And well, coffee is everything…

#5 Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to have it all together – This may be the most important tip, the absolute worst thing you can do to yourself as a new mom is compare yourself to other moms. Everyones story is different, everyones baby is different. The moms you see on social media with perfectly posed pictures and beautifully decorated spotless houses are a freaking hot mess too they just know how to hide it! Y’all should see the amount of laundry I let pile up each week, its absurd. And don’t even get me started on the dog hair all over E V E R Y T H I N G. I post cute outfits on Instagram pretty often but day to day? I’m wearing the ugliest/most comfortable granny panties with a huge tee shirt, no make up, and dirty hair. So embrace the chaos mamas, we’re all just doing our best, and YOU are doing great and deserve a really nice prize.

For those of you that will become a mama soon or are in that newborn phase, HANG IN THERE!
I promise you it does get easier, and as each month passes your baby will just get cuter and cuter and more fun!
I still learn new things every day but I also feel like I’m really getting the hang of this whole “mom” thing,
and heck I feel pretty proud of myself and YOU should too!
We are 5.5 months in and we are all sleeping through the night (since a few days ago, shout out to Jesus)
Hoping it stays that way, but not counting on it because as soon as we all get an awesome routine going Hayes decides to go through a growth spurt, or developmental leap, or starts teething or SOMETHING and throws us all off.
BUT, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Mom life is the best life.

Raising a good human


There is something about becoming a mom that completely changes you.
Ever since Hayes was born I’m different, in the best possible way.
There really is no way of explaining it, or pinpointing exactly what has changed, but once you become a mama,
you’ll know what I’m talking about.

It is mine and Kyles responsibility to raise Hayes to become a wonderful human being and incredible husband one day. And we don’t take the job lightly!

Hayes is only 5 months old so he’s not learning any major life lessons right now BUT,
as his mom I am constantly praying for him and the man that I hope he becomes.
There is SO much negativity in this world and evil things are ridiculously easy to access these days thanks to technology, which gives me soooo much anxiety.
(please just stay a baby forever Hayes Wyatt)

I was chatting with my mom the other day and she mentioned some friends of hers having
a special bible verse that you pray over your child, a “life verse” and I absolutely fell in love with that idea.
When it came to choosing a verse for Hayes I had SUCH a hard time.
So I’ve decided to change it //add on each year, as he grows into his own little person.

Hayes’s current life verse is Isaiah 26:3
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
I pray every day that Hayes doesn’t get my anxiety, I pray that he trusts in the Lord always.
That he looks to the Lord for wisdom & advice first, before he comes to me or Kyle.

I’m not going to lie, it is NOT every day that I’m able to sit down and spend time with Jesus.
My talks with Jesus are usually short and sporadic throughout the day.
But I wanted to share a few different books with y’all that I HIGHLY recommend!
Whether you sit down for a few minutes every day, or for a few minutes each week, I promise they will fuel you,
make you a better parent, and help you pray for your children!

#1. The Power of a Praying Parent

I can’t recommend this book enough, it is SO SO good and relatable and empowering.
As parents we always want to pray for our children and their future, but with lack of sleep and busy schedules sometimes it’s hard to know where to start or what exactly to pray for…this book is INCREDIBLE and I promise you will be so thankful you ordered it.

#2 Embraced-100 Devotions to know God is holding you close

This devotional is SO good!!! and it’s for anyone!

#3. Treasuring Christ when your hands are full

I haven’t started this one yet but I am SO excited too, and will be keeping y’all updated on how I like it!
I’m pretty positive I’m going to L O V E it because it’s an “encouraging book for frazzled moms”, which um,
HELLO, that’s me.

I know this post is totally random and short and unorganized BUT for some reason I really felt like it needed to go live TODAY.
No clue why, but here we are!
Hope all of you have THE BEST weekend.