Running from the Law: February 2017

Friday, February 17, 2017

Make My Book

This post is sponsored by Shutterfly but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
As you all must certainly know by now, I'm a bit OBSESSED with photography. I'm pretty sure I take thousands of photos of the kids each month, and while I'll post a few to Instagram and use a few on the blog, the majority of them stay trapped on my computer until I get around to doing something with them. I'm currently in the process of updating all the photos on the walls in our house and it's been really fun looking back at my favorites and getting them out where we can all see them and talk about them. I've also been printing a few here and there to give to Mac for school projects and to put in his bedroom. Over the last few years he's been increasingly reluctant to let me take his picture and he fights me more and more over it. Yet, recently he's been asking me to take pictures of him and I think it's because he likes having and seeing photos of himself on our walls and printed out. 

One of my favorite ways to print/display photos in through photo books and albums. I've made books for birthday parties, the kids' baptisms, family photo shoots, Christmas albums, vacations, yearbooks and other special events and occasions. I'm obsessed with photo books and would order a book for every single event in my life, if I had the time to make them all. I also love gifting books to friends and family members. I love being able to pull a photo book off the shelf and relive a day, year or trip through the photos. I'm never lacking in pictures of our days, but I am lacking in having the time to make books. I'm picky and it takes me FOREVER to make a photo album because everything has to be just right. I also tend to get really overwhelmed with all the options, accessories, bells and whistles that you can do with photo albums, so I don't use any of them. I can't tell you how many times I've wished I had someone else with discerning taste and experience to make photo albums for me. 
Well guess what...there's a brand new service from Shutterfly called "Make My Book" that does just that! They design your book for you for $9.99! I wanted to make an album of the photos from our annual SGI beach vacation for the kids, since we talk about the trip all the time. All I had to do was upload the photos I want included and they did all the work of sorting through them, picking out the best ones, arranging them in order, cropping (if necessary), picking the layouts, adding accessories (frames, borders, etc.). I had the option of choosing from some standard Shutterfly themes and background colors and could leave a note for my editor, and then they put together my entire book (in less than 24 hours) for only $9.99 (plus the cost of the book)! I can't even quantify how many hours of work that probably saved me. Once they sent the design to me for approval, I still had the option of swapping out photos, adding more, making changes, etc., but the majority of the work was already done. Color me impressed (and I'm picky!). 
I asked for the classic white layout with white pages, very little embellishment and a focus on the photos. I think my editor did a great job of choosing photos and layouts that are clean, simple and classic, just like I requested. 
The kids and I all love the book. They are obsessed with looking at photos of themselves and talking about everything we did on vacation. Mac loves the fishing photos and seeing the pictures of the stingrays he caught. Mim loves all the swimming photos and the ones of her playing in the sand. They've even asked if we could look through the book at bedtime instead of reading a story! They love it so much. I think I'm going to have to start making a lot more of these books! 
This service is perfect for busy moms that don't have the time to design an album or anyone that would like to print their photos, but is overwhelmed by the options and effort. The Make My Book design service fee is only $9.99 and you only pay the design fee if you choose to order the book. Shutterfly has lots of sizes, themes, styles and options to choose from, so what are you waiting for? 

Do you print your photos?
Do you prefer photo books, wall prints or something else?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! 

As promised, I thought it would be fun to share a few of the outtakes from our little love-inspired photo shoot. As in years past, I threw the kids in front of the camera in to snap some pictures of them for a Valentine's Day card to send to friends and family. Unfortunately, both kids were germy, snotty, disgusting messes that day, with bedhead and cranky attitudes and the photos reflect their annoyance with me. The picture I used in our card is the best I could get (out of approximately 175 photos) and they both look like death warmed over. Y'all, this winter is going to kill us. Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day, filled with all the love, kisses and chocolate you want! 

*Card design by Minted.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Classroom Valentine Ideas

I absolutely cannot believe it's already February. What happened to January? Where did it go? Did I just imagine it? Somewhere between my crazy work schedule, Ryan's insane travel schedule, an ice storm, a round of the stomach flu, a political disaster, a birthday, a new website, a round of the regular flu and a preschool discipline problem, it turned into February without me even realizing it. I guess that's what happens when you're sleep deprived, living on pizza rolls and desperately waiting for the neighbor girls to finally deliver those Girl Scout cookies you ordered ages ago! Come on already...I need Samoas in my life. 

Anyway, here it is February and so it's time to start thinking of all thing Valentine's Day! While I can't say I've ever been a huge fan of Valentine's Day pre-kids, over the last few years it has been really fun to do little things with them that teach them about love and kindness. We also have some fun Valentine's Day traditions that we've started and continue to do. Every year on Valentine's Day we make our friend Dorothy's famous Pink Cake with strawberry buttercream icing. This year I might switch it up and try it with a chocolate cake mix and raspberries! I like to get crazy like that sometimes.

We also had a little Valentine's Day photo shoot and made a cute photo card to send to family. This year's photos were not nearly as good as last year's photos (or the year before), because the kids were both snotty disgusting messes with bedhead and attitudes, but I still love it! I ordered a super cute Valentine's Day photo card from Minted that I'll post later, along with all of the hilarious outtakes of Mim crying and zoned out and Mac scowling and begging for candy. Typical. But she's sporting one of her very first-ever ponytails and I just about died of cuteness.

This year I started the tradition of leaving the kids little hearts on their door every day with compliments or something I love about them written on it. Mac's hearts say things like, "You're an amazing fisherman. I love your laugh. You are a wonderful helper." Mim's say things like, "You take the best naps. I love your hugs. Best booty shaker ever!" I'm also planning on doing some random acts of kindness with them next weekend - we always do a few of these over Christmas and they're a big hit with the kids. I think the entire world could use some extra love and kindness right now, so I'm looking for ideas, if you have any. 

We also participate in a Valentine's Day card exchange with a bunch of other bloggers, where we make and exchange valentines. Last year we made Valentine's Day counting printables that you could play with candy conversation hearts and watercolor valentines. The year before that we made DIY tissue paper suncatcher hearts to hang in the window. And three years ago, when Mac was a tiny little thing, he and I made heart pennant banners to send to our friends. Mac also gets to give out valentines cards at school, which he's super excited about. 

I would have loved to make our own valentines this year, however, we just ran out of time (and energy and focus and everything else), so instead, I picked out a couple of my favorite options of classroom valentines from Minted and put together some fun non-candy (per school rules) ideas of little trickets to give with our classroom cards. I showed Mac all the options and let him pick which card he wanted. He chose this really cute "YOU'RE OUT OF THIS WORLD" space valentine card, with matching stickers. We paired it with some fun glow-in-the-dark stars and voila! Instant (and super awesome, if I do say so myself) valentine! 
The classroom valentines from Minted are adorable. They're tiny, so they're not for mailing, but they're the perfect size for little hands and a tiny little treat/gift. 
I bought 2 different packs of glow-in-the-dark stars (here and here) and put a few in a cellophane bag. Closed the bag with a cute personalized planet sticker and stapled it to the card. Mission accomplished. 
Mac and I both love the way these turned out. I think the stars are a fun gift that his classmates will really like. Actually, I really liked all of the ideas that I had this year so I thought I might as well share them with you in case you're looking for ideas. So, if you're more of an Amazon Prime type mom than a Pinterest mom, you're going to love these!

All of the cards are from Minted and all of the little trinkets can be purchased in bulk (very cheap) from Amazon. Done and done. 

Do your kids do classroom Valentines? 
Which is your favorite?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Stitch Fix Reveal - Birthday Edition

I'm so excited to share another Stitch Fix box with you. This box arrived just days after my birthday in January (don't ask...I'm really old) and I once again requested the same stylist I've had over the last year. Every box with her seems to get better and better, so I was excited to see what she'd pull together for my birthday. I request a few of my "favorite things" in this box - anything bright and colorful (bonus points for something yellow), anything with polka dots, ruffles or peplum, a vest or jacket and an amazing pair of jeans. JessicaV got the job done and hit all my requests. I was so excited to pull out each piece and know she really paid attention to what I asked for. I was extra picky this month, so I only ended up keeping 1 out of the 5 items, but I honestly could have kept them all and been happy with them. After I adjusted my sizes last month, everything fit so much better and I'm already looking forward to my next fix. 

And speaking of "next fix" -- if you want to win an AWESOME giveaway for a $150 gift certificate to Stitch Fix for your next fix, make sure you read all the way to the bottom of this post!
Stitch Fix 41 Hawthorn Norden Lattice Detail Blouse
This was probably my least favorite item in the box, but looking back at the photos, I kind of wish I would have kept it. When I tried it on the first time, I didn't love the color. It looked very garnet, and while that's my birthstone, I just don't love that dark color on me. I love bright red, but burgundy/wine...not so much. However, once I got outside the color was so much lighter/brighter - more of a raspberry color and I loved it so much more. I also really loved the v-neck on the shirt and the length. However, I just couldn't get on board with the lattice/cut-out look and felt like the body of the shirt just hung boxy on me. Maybe I just needed to steam it or something. Like I said, looking at these photos, I'm not sure I see that and now I'm kicking myself a little bit for sending it back. 
Stitch Fix 41 Hawthorn Norden Lattice Detail Blouse style card
Stitch Fix 41 Hawthorn Norden Lattice Detail Blouse
Stitch Fix 41 Hawthorn Norden Lattice Detail Blouse red

Stitch Fix Daniel Rainn Bethanie Lace Yoke Knit Top mustard
Daniel Rainn Bethanie Lace Yoke Knit Top
Next up, yellow! While I prefer bright lemon yellow, this mustard color was so pretty! Perfect for fall and winter. The length was great and I loved the softness of the knit, but the lace on the top just turned me off. I love wearing camisoles under shirts (and non-strapless bras) - both of which would be impossible with this top. And I felt like the lace was a little too old lady and dated me a bit. I felt the same way trying on lace wedding gowns - lace just doesn't work on me. 
Stitch Fix Daniel Rainn Bethanie Lace Yoke Knit Top style card
Stitch Fix Daniel Rainn Bethanie Lace Yoke Knit Top mustard yellow
Stitch Fix Daniel Rainn Bethanie Lace Yoke Knit Top details
Stitch Fix Daniel Rainn Bethanie Lace Yoke Knit Top mustard1

Stitch Fix Market & Spruce Anella Puffer Vest black
Gah! How cute is this little black and white polka dot puffer vest?? I wanted to love this vest so much, but it just didn't do anything for me. So much potential and then it just looked plain and boring when I put it on. I don't know! It's sporty and casual and so me! I tried it on with a number of different tops in various prints/patterns/colors/styles and it just didn't look as cute on me as it looked on the hanger. I also have a number of black/grey puffy vests very similar to this one, so maybe it was just looked too much like what I already have to stand out. Maybe next time I'll ask for faux leather or shearling or something a bit more exotic? 

Another one that was SO close, but just barely missed the mark. These distressed jeans were so comfortable, with just the right amount of distressing in a great color. They fit perfectly around the middle, however, they were just a teeny tad bit too short (that never happens!!) - they hit right above my ankle - and I thought they'd look ridiculous with heels. I almost kept them anyway to wear with with flats and boots (as pictured), but then the ankle zip part of the jean was really uncomfortable when tucked in. The zipper hit right on the bony part of my ankle, making them impossible to wear with boots. Womp womp.
Stitch Fix Market & Spruce Anella Puffer Vest style card
stitch fix Pistola Tory Distressed Ankle Zip Skinny Jean style card
Stitch Fix Market & Spruce Anella Puffer Vest polka dot
Stitch Fix Market & Spruce Anella Puffer Vest black dots

stitch fix Market & Spruce Elissa French Terry Moto Jacket grey
Market & Spruce Elissa French Terry Moto Jacket
I was not expecting to love this jacket as much as I did when I first pulled it out of the box. Heather grey usually washes me out, but this jacket was just too good to pass up. The black leather details on the jacket made it just a tad bit edgy/modern, while still being really warm and comfortable. I loved the cross-body asymmetrical zipper and the collar and thought it looked just as cute zipped up completely as it did half-zipped. This is one of those items that's casual enough to wear with jeans and boots on the weekend and can also be dressed up with a pair of black slacks and black heeled booties to work.
stitch fix Market & Spruce Elissa French Terry Moto Jacket style card
stitch fix Market & Spruce Elissa French Terry Moto Jacket gray
stitch fix Market & Spruce Elissa French Terry Moto Jacket heather grey

What do you think of this fix? 
Did I keep the right pieces?