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This post is in collaboration with Minted and All opinions are mine alone.

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One year, for my family’s holiday photo, I styled a modern, dressed up holiday shoot at a chic downtown loft. Another year, it was borderline naughty Mrs. Claus and her little elves playing in the snow. A creative at heart, I love setting a distinct vision for each year’s holiday photo and then executing the details from the clothing and props to the card printing – after all, our card just might land on someone’s fridge!

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This year I went with a simpler theme, a throwback to Americana nostalgia. A historic waterwheel grist mill and homestead in Oak Brook, Graue Mill, provided the perfect backdrop. Between a sweet pistachio green and white clapboard house, and a shiny red truck loaned to us from a friend, we were able to evoke a feeling of simplicity – because that’s really what the holidays are all about it, right?

The last few years I have been printing our annual holiday card with Minted. As a professional photographer, I am extremely picky about print quality and I only have good things to say about Minted. I always go with a thick matte stock because I love the way it feels in your hand compared to a gloss, and Minted offers a luxurious signature cotton stock that is 130lb., 19.3 point thickness. I like special details, which is why I chose this glittery gold foil-press card design.

The details don’t stop there – you might consider adding an extra special touch when you send off your holiday card with love. Literally. A lovely wax seal from sealed up our cards with just the right stylish touch. I selected this gorgeous wax seal with a “With Love” script design from the Saffron Avenue Collection.

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  • Rita - Wow all the pictures are absolutely amazing. Nothing like capturing beautiful moments with great quality. Kids are so adorable.

    Rita | http://www.styleroundtheclock.comReplyCancel

  • Cathy - These family photos are so pretty! Your kids are adorable!!


  • Natalia Loren - First of all what a beautiful family! This “Americana nostalgia” theme is perfection. I’ve actually been spending some time on Minted since I have to do some shower invitations, so I’m glad you recommended it as a photographer, it means I’m on the right track. Happy Holidays xReplyCancel

  • Kachet of The Kachet Life - Your family is beautiful!! I’ve used Minted for my holiday cards the past two years and they have been fabulous.ReplyCancel

  • JoJo - OMG your family is so beautiful and adorable! You must be so proud to send out these Christmas cards!ReplyCancel

  • Anna English - Your cards turned out AMAZING! One year I”ll get around to doing this… LOLReplyCancel

  • Whit - love these family photos!

    Britt+Whit ReplyCancel

  • Ruth Ridley - Your cards came out amazing! You have such a beautiful family!ReplyCancel

  • Meghan - Your cards are just too cute! I love it!!! I gotta check out the wax seals!ReplyCancel

  • sarah tripp - Your cards turned out so cute! Love the wax sealReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - These are the most adorable family photos I’ve seen so far this holiday season. Your fam is precious!!!ReplyCancel

  • Morgan - This shoot looks so awesome! Looks like your boys were having a lot of fun!

    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.comReplyCancel

  • Taylor Aube - What an adorable holiday shoot, love these cards!ReplyCancel

  • megan - such beautiful family photos! <3

    xo meganReplyCancel

  • Ashley Zeal - You guys are too cute! Love the truck!!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley DTKAustin - These photos are absolutely adorable!! I love how your cards came out!ReplyCancel

  • Cristina - You have the most beautiful family! I love the Christmas cards that you got this year. They are so elegant!



  • Hannah - What a beautiful family you have! I absolutely love your skirt by the way:) So fun for a holiday shoot!

    xoxo, HannahReplyCancel

  • Sara - These photos are so so stunning! We got our cards from Minted, too!ReplyCancel

  • Amy Loochtan - Oh my word, what a beautiful and happy family. These turned out just gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Annette Dattilo - Love the detail and thought you put into your cards. We have kind of slacked the last few years on card sending, but this gets me in the mood to pick it back up next year. Your cards are gorgeous.ReplyCancel

  • LuxMommy - You have the cutest family and the card turned out amazing. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • dawn - these pictures are adorable! You’re family is too cute!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - These are such fabulous family photos! I LOVE Minted and how your cards turned out.


  • Laura Leigh - Oh your photos are the sweetest!!! Love the cute backdrop. Cards look amazing as well!

    xo Laura Leigh

  • Lindsay - what a beautiful family you have! I love all of your photosReplyCancel

  • Madeline - Aww these are so cute! Love how they turned out!ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - These photos are amazing! You have such a beautiful family!!

    Keep Sparkling✨
    Sparkling Southerner
    Find me at : InstagramReplyCancel

This post is sponsored by Procter & Gamble. All opinions are mine alone.

Olay Moisture Ribbon Pluspinthis

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Olay. The opinions and text are all mine.

In Chicago, we joke that there are only two seasons: construction and winter. Kidding, but not really! For at least six months out of the year, when we face bitter cold and freezing winds from the lake effect, soft, supple skin is at a premium and we up our beauty game any way we can. That’s why I’ve teamed up with Olay to join the Winter Skin Challenge – just use Olay Moisture Ribbons Plus once for softer and more moisturized skin that feels and looks great!

Who else wants supple, baby soft skin?

With winter around the corner, I’ve been prepping my skin to brace for the dryness with Olay Moisture Ribbons Plus. Unlike any other body wash on the market, this one is formulated with a deep conditioning formula that includes Shea butter as the signature moisturizing ingredient, and leaves skin feeling soft and smooth as soon as you leave the shower. Best of all, it’s non-greasy and absorbs well into your skin!

Oh honey, honey

After I took my shower using Olay Moisture Ribbons Plus for the first time, I came out of the bathroom and told my husband, “That was a successful shower.” He said he didn’t know that there were “unsuccessful showers” (he’s hilarious, haha), and I explained that this was a hair mask/shave/loofah bath sponge type of experiential shower which sadly doesn’t happen every night.

The body wash comes in Lavender and Manuka Honey scents – but I’m partial to the honey because it just goes so well with the holidays, don’t ya think?

I’ve been an Olay girl for the better part of my adult life, since I saw my mom using Olay skincare products daily when I was a child. (She has great looking skin, by the way!) Now there’s an indulgent way for me to incorporate Olay into my shower routine this winter which leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated all season long!

Won’t you join me in the Olay Winter Skin Challenge? All it takes is one use to start beating dull winter skin! You can get these exact products I’m using here.

Olay Moisture Ribbon Pluspinthis

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This post is sponsored by Michael Hill Jewelers. All opinions are mine alone.

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Last month I partnered with Michael Hill Jewelers to showcase my journey of love and a how a beautiful pair of halo stud earrings from Michael Hill represents just that. ‘Tis the season, and I’m partnering once again with Michael Hill Jewelers to help spread the joy of meaningful giving to our loved ones.

My mom and I have a complicated relationship. I wish I could say she is like those warm and fuzzy tv moms like Mandy Moore’s character on This is Us, or Family Ties’ beloved Elyse Keaton. But my mother, well, she’s more like the Vietnamese version of Ray Barone’s mom, and drives me mental. Ya feel me? I was (am) always the black sheep in the family, fiercely independent and frequently admonished for rebelling. I try my best to remember that my mom grew up in a different culture, and that her harsh persona and extreme nagging are par for the course for her generation and upbringing. We recently finished watching the The Vietnam War documentary film by Ken Burns. It gave me a renewed sense of pride and love for my parents for their sacrifices to bring me and my brother to America when fleeing the Fall of Saigon in the 1970s. (You can read more on the blog about my family’s perseverance to seek freedom.)

This Christmas, I decided to choose a timeless piece of jewelry to give my mom – to honor the unconditional sacrifices a mother makes for her children, time and time again. Jewelry is a luxury for my mom, so she never shops for it herself (not even costume jewelry), even though we all know moms deserve something pretty now and then.

With this in mind, I headed over to Michael Hill Jewelers at Oakbrook Center, in search of the perfect piece that would serve as an expression of my eternal gratitude. Michael Hill Jewelers is one of the few jewelry retailers to have an in-house team of master craftsmen, so this makes any gift from here even more meaningful! After studying the dazzling displays, I finally chose this vintage style pendant with luxe cubic zirconia in sterling silver that fits the bill. It has a classic design of a 10-point flower encircling the center cubic zirconia to ensure she will sparkle at every angle – perfect for those special occasions.

For her everyday style, I chose a modern sterling silver stud earring set featuring a circle design. It’s a simple piece my mom can wear every day without pomp or circumstance, but still looks put together. I can’t wait to see the look on my mom’s face when she opens her gifts on Christmas morning. In what ways do you gift love back to others? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

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This post has been sponsored by Groupon; all opinions are entirely my own.


Laying on a beach somewhere. Trying on all the clothes in the dressing room during an epic shopping spree. Reading a stack of magazines and sipping my morning coffee hot, without having to nuke it in the microwave. Basically, all the quiet things I dream of doing, sans kids.

But, as I usually don’t have that much solo time away from my three kids, I’ll just satisfy my need to treat myself with small luxuries, like a quick mani/pedi, now made more convenient and hassle-free with the new Groupon BeautyNow booking service! Available exclusively in the Chicago metro area, Groupon BeautyNow allows you to seamlessly book your beauty services and nab discounted appointments during select times at top salons and spas in Chicagoland – so great, right? It’s a busy mom’s best kept secret! (Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter an awesome giveaway for salon and spa services for an entire year!)

groupon beautynowpinthis

I was excited to try out Groupon BeautyNow so I booked a nail service directly on the Groupon app for Red Door Salon and Spa in Chicago, and after a client shoot I had in the city last week, enjoyed a little solo R&R time getting pampered. Everything from the super easy booking process via Groupon BeautyNow, to the delightfully warm eucalyptus neck pillow they offered me at Red Door Spa, was a mom’s day out worth repeating.

A little about the BeautyNow booking process:

Appointments can be booked via iPhone or Android. If you’re based in Chicago, download the Groupon app and select “Salon & Spa Booking” at the top to start booking! If you have the Groupon app on your phone, click here to go straight to the experience.

Groupon BeautyNow is simple and streamlined, and you can choose from an extensive menu of beauty services at your favorite Chicago area salon. This means no more personal phone calls to the salon or wait time to request an appointment while the scheduler checks their system, because I was able to do everything from my smartphone! My kids may have been hanging onto my legs while I was booking away on my phone’s keyboard, but that’s a-ok because BeautyNow does all the heavy lifting and works to confirm your appointment ASAP, so you don’t have to!

groupon beautynowpinthis

After I got my nails did (check out the gorgeous mani design my stylist gave me!), I didn’t even need to pull out my wallet – because there is no upfront payment when you use the Groupon BeautyNow service, you simply are automatically charged on your credit card (linked to your Groupon account) after your appointment for the service and gratuity that you pre-selected.

Everything about Groupon BeautyNow is so easy and convenient to use, it may just become a weekly “thing” for me to check out all the salons on their list… 😉 If you’re in the Chicago area and are curious to try BeautyNow, use promo code MTF10 so you can receive $10 off your services.

p.s. Make sure you ask for “no chip” nails if you’re always on the go – take it from me, moms need no chip! And if you need a festive nail inspiration for all your holiday shindigs coming up, try mixing it up with one or two statement glitter nails on each hand like I did!

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