• holiday,  lifestyle,  personal

    Holiday Cookie Food Fight with the Family

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

    baking with kids messy holiday cards funny

    It’s that time of year when bells are ringing and moms everywhere are scrambling to take family photos for the annual holiday card. That’s how the song goes, right? Cue the usual Christmas pjs and snowflake sweaters. If you didn’t wear cheesy matching outfits, did it even happen?

    Every year I have such a great time concepting my family’s annual holiday photos. I think many moms feel stressed about this, but I love it! It gives me a chance to be extra creative and thoughtful with our family’s theme, and also, we usually have a good time together doing it. This year’s theme – a cookie baking food fight – was probably the wildest, most carefree one we’ve done to date. The Giant tried to shut down the cookie fight idea, but I told him he was being a party pooper for everyone involved. I mean, wouldn’t you have wanted to egg your mom or throw flour at your dad as a child?

    baking with kids messy holiday cards funny

    I actually had no idea what to do for this year’s holiday photos up until three days before. I happened to be visiting this amazing studio/kitchen for a client shoot. From there, and with a little inspiration from this Pinterest photo, the idea of a festive food fight was born. As a lifestyle blogger and also a professional photographer, I always try to think outside the box, push the creative envelope a little when it comes to photoshoots.

    Once I have an idea in mind, I plan things down to the littlest details: I wanted a white kitchen for the photos, so we rented that incredible studio (bonus is that I didn’t have to make a mess in my own kitchen!). I bought a few props from Target like the Christmas tree table toppers and branches. We wore our regular clothes so no stress in coordinating outfits or shopping. I chose this pretty card design from Minted.com which offers the best curated designs from independent artists and designers. We had a great time relaxing together (um, I mean throwing flour at each other) and laughing. A lot.

    baking with kids messy holiday cards funny

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    Minted Holiday Cards

    Photos by the talented Lauren Ashley Studios.

    For more family holiday photo inspiration, check out my previous years:

    2017 Americana nostalgia

    2016 Mrs. Claus and her elves

    2015 Holiday chic in the city

  • holiday,  personal

    Our Family Holiday Card with Minted and WaxSeals.com

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

    Minted christmas card

    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 WaxSeals.com 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.

  • holiday,  lifestyle

    The Makings of a Merry Family Holiday Photo Shoot

    mtf-minted-card

    What do you do when a snowstorm hits the day you scheduled your family’s holiday photo shoot? Put on your best festive threads and go play in the snow! While it may look like Christmas threw up on us, we had a blast being silly in a winter wonderland. All this was a happy accident. The snow was a surprise and my original vision for this shoot was for me to go as Momma Elf, with each of my kids dressed as Santa, a reindeer, and an elf. However, the holiday costumes at Target were slim pickings, so instead we gathered up three matching jammies. I decided to be Mrs. Claus (found this little gem of a get-up off of Amazon!) and The Giant got an Ugly Christmas Sweater.

    This year I ordered our holiday photo cards from Minted. I was pleasantly surprised by the printing quality and paper stock selections. Minted has tons of unique holiday card designs to choose from (I went with this design with a gold-foil lettering) and free custom envelopes to match your card.

    The Funniest Holiday Family Photos Ever

    For more Melissa Takes Fashion tips on how to style a holiday photo shoot, check out these other posts:

    6 Pro Tips for Styling Your Family Holiday Card Photo

    How to Take a Festive Family Holiday Photo

    What family holiday photo tips and inspiration do you have up your sleeve?

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  • outfits

    Hair Pulling and Shoeless Holiday Session

    gorgeous beautiful funny holiday christmas photos

    Happiest New Year! Happy to be back into the groove of things. Here are some of my favorites from our holiday card and another from when we were in Florida a few weeks ago. Being a photographer by profession, I’m so blessed to have great many talented photographer friends. Our holiday card session was cancelled and rescheduled so many times due to weather. On the day of this shoot, we left the boys’ shoes at home so they were forced to wear their snow boots. Lol. Classic us. It was quick and my kids were wild and crazy, as usual. Our Florida shoot was another quick one. I think it was like ten minutes! Lol. We were losing light and the kids weren’t interested so we just let it be.

    Do I have any new years resolution? I don’t typically give myself one. When I do, it’s always to cook more. I love food and a huge foodie but cooking, not so much. What I would LOVE to do more this year is travel. Travel, travel, travel.While vacationing, our rental had a DVD player in the car. O.M.G. I don’t know why it took me sooooo long to think about getting one for mine but wow, it was like discovering a magical unicorn. I kept everyone QUIET! So I think with a DVD player in my car, we can now travel long distances.

    I would like to hear some of your resolutions if you have any?

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    Holiday session credit-Lauren + Chris Studios

    Flordia session credit-Linette De Leon Photography

    Tulle skirt-Space 46 Boutique