'Limitless Motherhood' Newsletter! | Free Guide: Finding Imperfect Balance

Finding-Balance-Moms

I’ve always considered myself a multi passionate person. The things I loved as an 8-years-old, are mostly what I still hold dear. Thankfully though, I no longer collect those smelly Strawberry Shortcake dolls. #sostinky

I was the kid reading with a flashlight under the covers at night. As a moody teen, I was scribbling poems and singing along to show tunes on my Discman. I became an English major, and then a middle school teacher. 

Lately, I feel a deep calling to communicate and encourage.  I want to come alongside other Mothers on their journeys. Offer notes of encouragement and maybe a helpful tip or two I've gleaned over the years. 

Although nothing will change with the portrait side of my business, I DO have a way you can follow along on this writing journey with me.

I’ll be sending out two short newsletters a month where I share resources, encouragement and gentle insight for Moms who are feeling stuck or overwhelmed. It’s my hope these emails will be a light in your busy day as you try to do the next right thing. We’ll chat about balance, getting unstuck and thriving in our day-to-day lives. The newsletter is called Limitless Motherhood, because that is exactly what I want for us! 

lim·it·less

adjective

without end, limit, or boundary.

When you sign up, you’ll immediately get access to a special free gift I made just for you. It’s called, Finding Imperfect Balance: A Guide to Getting Unstuck, no Matter your Season. In this printable pdf, you’ll find a roadmap for getting unstuck this Summer. Whether you’re feeling lost in many areas of your life right now or just need a quick reboot, I hope this guide will help direct your next right step. 

We still have at least eight weeks of Summer to go. Whether you’re a stay-at-home Mom, running your side hustle or working a 9-5 schedule this Summer, there is still LOTS of time to thrive right where you are!

Moms, I hope you’ll grab the guide and join the conversation.

Let’s grow stronger together! 

- xo Erin

Summer Favorites! | #MomLife

Summer Favorites for Moms

Happy 4th of July, friends!

Today, I thought it would be fitting to share a short list of what I'm loving this Summer. :)

Maybe your list looks the same or you could add to it?

Here's what's making me smile lately: 

1. Sparkling Water - You guys, I'm becoming quite the sparkling water connoisseur. I've tried several different brands and here are my current favorites in no particular order:

  • La Croix - orange and tangerine are amaaaazing.
  • Bubbly - current fav!
  •  Polar - so yummy...
  • Trader Joe's - love the raspberry lime cans!

2. Coola Sunscreen - I've been using this brand of sunscreen on my face for a couple of years now. I love that the daily facial moisturizer has an SPF of 30 and smells like cucumbers. :)

3. Picnic Dinners - Not sure what to do for dinner tonight and loathe turning on the stove in the Summer? Picnic dinners are giving me LIFE right now. Pull out all the bite size foods from the fridge and make a hodgepodge on the table. Lunchmeat, cheese slices, olives, chopped nuts, veggie slices, dried fruit, hummus, pita chips and plenty of fresh fruits are just a few options. My kids LOVE this. They get to pick their favorites and I don't overthink it. 

4. Podcast marathons - While the kids are busy, I love to pop my earbuds in and listen to my favorite podcasts. Folding laundry is a great time to do this or during an early morning walk. My current favorites:

  • RISE podcast by Rachel Hollis
  • The Simple Show
  • The Alli Worthington Show
  • The Lazy Genius
  • The Next Right Thing with Emily P. Freeman

5. Netflix - Remember when we had to watch commercials? The WORST. Send me your favorite Netflix suggestions, I need some new binge worthy choices. :)

6. Quiet Mornings - Working at home and balancing the kids is always a season of change for me. Every Summer I get a little bit better...a little more grace-filled...and a little more intentional with my planning. Five years in and I'm thriving by waking early most days to work before our day starts. It fills my soul and keeps me caught up on edits and all things EAP. 

Self-Care-for-Moms.jpg

7. Gratitude Lists - During some of these early mornings, I write down everything I'm feeling grateful for. It sets my mindset for the day and fills my emotional cup. I can remember that list when I'm feeling irritable or generally ungrateful. A few items on the top of my gratitude list:

  • Coffee with almond milk
  • The friendship my daughters share
  • My latest fiction read
  • Charcoal face masks (hello, oily Summer skin...)
  • Air Conditioning (praise...)
  • My husband's flexible schedule this Summer 
  • Colored pens and highlighters #nerdstatus

What are you loving this Summer?

What is currently blessing you in this season?

Drop me a note and lemme know! I always love hearing from you, friend. :)

xo Erin

The Power of Kind Words | 'Only Little Once' | Hampton Roads Photography Education

Hampton-Roads-Photography-Education-1.jpg

I'm a big believer in letting the people in your life know what they mean to you. If you've learned from them, been inspired, or they have helped you in some way... shining a light on them helps you both shine brighter!

This might be why I love complimenting strangers. If you're out shopping with me, just know I'll stop someone at Target to compliment their hair or mention how patient they are being with their toddler. We ALL need words of affirmation, even if that's not our primary love language. ;)

There’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.
— Scott Adams

This week, I got the sweetest email from a previous student of the Only Little Once workshop. Emily is an amazing Mom of four sweet kiddos. I have photographed her family, mentored her in photography and I'm so grateful for her heart and friendship!

Since she's had her hands full (four kids, remember?) I was so moved she took the time to send me this thoughtful review complete with before and after example pictures. Talk about blown AWAY! Emily has always had talent with her pictures, but she is next level now! The lifestyle images she takes of her own kids... are beautiful. 

Reading this email, I had just gotten home from a beach session and was covered in sand. Pretty soon, I was blubbering through tears and showing my husband the email. It made my week! This is what kind words can do, friends.

From Emily:

"For as long as I can remember, I have loved photography. I love capturing those magical moments that become memories. 

And once I had children, that love of capturing those memories grew even more. Since I couldn't slow or stop time, I had the desperate desire to at least preserve it through photographs. My photos weren't "bad," but they weren't incredible either. I longed to take beautiful "frame worthy" images of my family, but somewhere there was a disconnect between what I was envisioning in my mind and what I was actually able to produce. 

Then my husband gave me the gift of a seat in Erin's Only Little Once course. To say it was life changing is not an overstatement. It was less than an hour into the class when a lightbulb went off and all of those little pieces of knowledge I had about photography clicked into place. Thanks to Erin's gift of teaching, I FINALLY "got" the puzzle!

I used to rely on post processing software to "fix" my photos since I could never seem to get them just right in camera. Now I use it only to enhance the incredible images I am getting straight out of the camera. 

If you have a love of photography, if you long to take beautiful photographs of your family, friends, or other interests, if you feel like you're holding some of the pieces but just can't seem to get those images right in camera - this course is for you! Erin is incredibly talented, warm, knowledgable, and, above all, an excellent teacher. You will be so glad you invested in this course and in your photography. After all - they truly are Only Little Once!"

Yep. This was me reading the email... only with crazy hair and sandy feet. The BEST!! I'm so grateful. xoxo

Look at these adorable before and after images!

Before:

Hampton-Roads-Photography-Education

After:

Hampton-Roads-Photography-Education

Before:

Hampton-Roads-Photography-Education

After:

Hampton-Roads-Photography-Education

hampton-roads-photography-education

If you can connect with anything Emily said, then I want to personally invite you to this workshop! I created this for Moms, Foster Moms, Fur-Moms, Hobbyists, Grandmas, anyone who wants to learn their camera. If your DSLR is sitting in the closet collecting dust... let's change that! 

The Details:

Saturday, July 28th in Virginia Beach

2-4:30 PM

Cost: $120

Includes a learning manual, instructional time, an opportunity to practice AND membership to our private, VIP Facebook group!

* If you register by July 1st, use the coupon code 'EARLYBIRD' to save $10! Yay!*

Space for the workshop is limited and seats are filling! For more details:

If you know this workshop is for you, YAY! Let's do this!


I can't wait to see you next month! If you have questions or are wondering if this is for you - I totally get it. Please feel free to email me and let's chat. :)

xoxo

Erin

Relaxed, Lifestyle Newborn Session | Hampton Roads Newborn Photographer

There are a few things that really test our patience in life. Waiting for a baby must be #1, right?!

After this couple's gorgeous maternity session in Virginia Beach, I was so excited to meet their baby girl. I knew they were counting down the days, and that anticipation was infectious. 

On the morning of their session, this sweet baby girl was wide eyed and alert most of the time, which I loved. She did not want to miss anything, and arched her head back to take it all in. Her favorite thing to observe were her parents' faces and the ceiling fan! ;) 

Sharing a few from our very relaxed, in-home lifestyle newborn session. These are just a handful of favorites from our morning together! 

No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you. After all, you’re the only one who knows the sound of my heart from the inside.
— Kristen Proby

Are you expecting this Summer or Fall? I would love to capture your family's story! 

Name *
Name

Golden Oceanfront Sunset | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

Oh, this family. Where do I even start? 

Such sweet friends that are moving -again- because that military life, ya'll. I could write about a zillion words on this fabulous crew, but instead - how about some fun, quick facts? ;)

1. Abigail and I are both ENFPs married to ISTJs. We laugh about this and swap hysterical stories all. the. time. These men are so very patient, ha!

2. I met her when we were both young, newly married English teachers back in 2006. :)

3. Watching our kids play together is probably one of the sweetest gifts of our friendship.

Aaaaand I'll stop here, because #feelings! 

We chased some gorgeous light this night in Virginia Beach and I am so in love with all of these images. They love these sweet kiddos so well, and it's always such a joy to watch each of their unique personalities shine. 

Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.
— Robert Browning

When was the last time you were photographed with your kids? Even if they have outgrown your lap, can I encourage you to get in front of the camera with them?

They deserve to see images of their Mom. They deserve to see your love for them pour out of a picture.

Friends, my Summer schedule is just about full! A handful of weeknight slots are available. 

EAP is booking into mid-October and I'm so thankful! If weekends are ideal for your family's schedule, please contact me soon and we'll get you on the calendar!

xoxo

Erin

My Spring Book List! | #EAPReads | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

Hampton-Roads-Family-Photographer-1.jpg

With Summer right around the corner, I am so excited to start working on my Summer Reading List! I keep a digital bookshelf on my GoodReads app of what I want to read, so whenever I have a moment, I put a title on hold at the library or drop it in my Amazon cart. This really helps me manage what I'm reading next and there is -always- something in the lineup!

I made real progress towards my goal of 30 Books in 2018 this Spring! I'm just finishing book 20 this week. #happydance 

Here's what I read:

  • The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware - A fun, who-dunnit mystery. I'm not a fan of any real horror writing, and this was certainly more my speed.
  • Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight out of this Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker - I devour everything this lady writes. She's such an uplifting voice! I was either giggling or sobbing throughout the chapters of the book - so you know it hits right in the feels. ;)
  • Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living by Linnea Dunne - This was a quick, light read that affirmed much of what I think in regards to living a simple life. Also, when can we all move to Sweden and wear matching sweaters and drink all. the. coffee.?!
  • Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin - This book was less research and more personal narrative than I expected, but I still gleaned lots of helpful insight into why certain habits don't work for me. And why others stick like glue! 
  • Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life by Susan David - I had listened to Susan speak on Lewis Howe's podcast, The School of Greatness, and I knew I had to read her book. Lots of depth in this book, but plenty of actionable tips and insights into why we get stuck in our feelings. 
  • Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis - This book has been everywhere lately and for good reason! After about four friends said, " You MUST read this Erin, it's so YOU!" I quickly added it to my library holds list. But when I discovered I was still #14 on the list, I snagged it on Amazon instead, haha! #soimpatient I'm glad I have my own copy to keep though, because I need a second reading to highlight and absorb more of Rachel's teachings. Loved it!
  • Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff - I haven't read "Love Does" yet (his prequel to this book in a way) but I can see why Bob Goff is such a prolific storyteller. He shares so many different stories, with each one pointing back to loving like Jesus. So inspiring and soul-filling!

Your turn! Leave a comment and let me know what you're reading. I think I'll aim to add a few more fiction reads to my list this Summer since those are always perfect for beach days. 

 

Need more recommendations? Check out my February post with my list of Winter Reads!

 

Are we connected on IG? I share over there almost daily and would love to 'meet' you!

Hampton-Roads-Family-Photographer-2.jpg
 
 

Happy Reading,

friends!

 

~ Erin

Battling Mom Guilt and Seeking Truth | Personal | #MomLife

“Mom, I haven’t had ANY time with you! I'm tired of you working all the time.”

Right in the heart pangs.

I sat on the edge of her bed and attempted to reason with a very dramatic (where does she get this from?!) eight-year-old. 

I am pretty sure that no Mom escapes the guilt from time to time. No matter if you work outside of the home full time, or you're with your kids at home. It affects us all! I am no exception to this and the balance of working from home has been a tricky one with young kids. Navigating each season of my business and our family's needs has had it's own frustrations and victories. 

As I left that evening, I had to go through my own gut check. I searched for the truth under the guilt and doubt.

- Am I working too much?

The Truth: Busy season is ramping up, but I only commit to 2-3 sessions a week and my kids will see me most of the coming weekends. I block off specific dates and trips so I'm available for family time. We make time for individual dates with our girls each month. I'm home for bedtime and books most nights of the week. I attend field trips and volunteer in their classrooms. 

The truth is that I've learned to build boundaries into my business and to schedule our family time first.

And when I zoom out, I can see all the quality time and connection we really have. Do I want them to remember me jumping on their beds belting out the 1980’s Gummy Bears cartoon theme song?! Yep, that happened last week. And yes, I want them to know that their Mom is silly and goony and can shake off the role of ‘rule enforcer and snack-maker’ on occasion. 

 "...bouncing here and there and everywhere..."

"...bouncing here and there and everywhere..."

When I can let go of those lingering doubts, I can look at the past week, month and season. The truth is, we have an abundance of valuable family time. My most recent favorite is introducing the kids to my fav board game - Clue!

Side Note: It's -always- Mr. Green or Miss Scarlet... I mean, they just look guilty - right?

I have learned that quality can sometimes trump quantity with my kids, and this has ebbed and flowed as they've grown. When I say ‘yes’ to doing something they love together, it fills their cup. It might only be 20 minutes, but the length of time is irrelevant. Sometimes Mommy can only handle playing Batman for 20 minutes, and that's okay!

Now, I’m never going to get it all right, because, that’s life. I know the Mom Guilt will come and I'll have to go through my gut check all over again. But I pray I am creating these points of purposeful connection with my girls to be stored into their memory banks for a lifetime. 

Battling Mom Guilt.png

Explaining to my kids that I work from home is challenging. Just because I’m here, doesn’t always mean I’m available. As we merge into Summer Vacation, I have already talked with them about certain time boundaries, but that we will still have plenty of fun together. Setting the right expectations before that last week of school will hopefully save my sanity. Check in with me mid-August and we’ll see how it’s going, ha! ;)

If you're hit with the pangs of Mom Guilt, remember to have a gut check. Ask yourself the tough questions, but then take a step back.

On the hard days, remind yourself of the truth. The truth is we're all doing our very best with these gifts God has entrusted us with. And each season comes with new challenges, changes and triumphs.

Let's shake off the guilt and choose truth together. xoxo 

Best,

Erin

 

Croatan Beach Sunset | Virginia Beach Maternity Photographer

Stories. 

This is what I love about my work. True, I don't have to share a family's story with you... and I don't always because, well, it's not mine to tell. But I love to share just a bit about what makes a couple unique. Especially two people who are so vibrant and clearly in love as these two.

Some couples are a testimony. A promise that we can see and hug and believe. That even though we don't know the plans, God has our best intentions at heart. I got to witness that while reading over the questionnaire that soon-to-be-Mom, Heather, submitted after booking their maternity session. They were in town for their baby shower and surrounded my friends who radiated their joy with them! What a gift to witness.

Thank you for letting me a small part of this special day, Heather and Michael! 

Are you visiting Virginia Beach this Summer?

Well, I'd love to meet you and help tell your family's story. Let me know when you'll be in town and we'll get your session on the calendar!

Best,

Erin

Name *
Name

Golden Hour at the Beach! | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

Meeting new families gives me so much joy! My little extrovert self is so uplifted by hearing their stories. This adorable family have only been in Virginia Beach a short time, but are loving it already!

We had a blast chasing the sunset and their sweet little one-year-old at the Virginia Beach oceanfront last weekend. He was probably the happiest baby I have every photographed! True, I say this often, LOL! But seriously, he was nothing but smiles and so excited to explore/eat/dig the sand with Mom and Dad. ;) 

Gah, SO excited for all the beach sessions on my calendar!!

To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude.
— Jeanne Moreau

If you've been dreaming of updated beach pictures this Summer - let's make it happen! :)

AND, there are just TWO Beach Mini-Session slots left for 2018. Snag one before they sell out!

Saturday, May 26th @ 7:45 pm or 8:00 pm

See you at the beach!!

xoxo

Erin

'Art of Imperfect'- A Guide for Family Photographers | Online Education

family-photographer-education

If you've been around here for awhile now, you know how much I love capturing perfectly imperfect moments. I'm all about the lifestyle approach to family photography and I LOVE sharing my tips with other hobbyists and professionals! In fact, I recently had the "oh-my-gosh" moment of realizing I've mentored over FIFTY women. WHAT!? SO grateful!

Last Fall, I held an 'Art of Imperfect' Workshop in Virginia Beach that was an amazing success! We talked all things family photography and even had two families come to model for us so the students could practice their new skills. I was so excited and honored to share my tips with these ladies, but I knew that was only the beginning!

The question I most often hear from photographers is, "HOW can I get families to relax during a session and pose naturally?" Well, to answer this question and serve my community well - I've created my very FIRST digital guide. Why should we ask newer photographers to reinvent the wheel? I'm not about letting others sit in the dark of not knowing, when I have years of experience to share! #sharingiscaring ;)

This short and sweet series of video modules has zero fluff. No hours upon hours of video, no unnecessary pages of PDFs to sift through. Your time is valuable and ain't nobody got time for that! We get right to it.

Here's a bit of a preview of what to expect:

If this sounds like your cup of tea - click below for all the details!!

I am beyond grateful for this opportunity to teach and share with other family photogs! I'm so passionate about this topic....to the point of being pretty nerdy, haha ;) 

 

Thanks for following along on this journey with me, friends!!

Best,

Erin

 

Family-Photographer-Education (1).png