Category Archives: Personal

If you read my updated Day In The Life post, you saw that I mentioned doing a quick 15 minute clean up before Matt gets home from work. Sometimes I’ll do it before Jesse gets home from school if Zac really messes things up or right before bedtime so we can enjoy a clean and quiet house when the kids fall asleep! Anyway, I’m about to share with you my tips and tricks! This also works if you’re having friends over soon and don’t want your house to look like a war zone.


Why 15 minutes?

Mainly this is a 15 minute clean up because any longer than that and the kids will have started messing things up again. So I start about 15-20 minutes before Matt gets home so he can actually see the clean before everything gets ruined again.   It’s also a good amount of time you can try to dedicate without getting burnt out.



This is NOT the time to start projects. Do NOT get sucked in to alphabetizing books, swapping out your kids clothes that don’t fit for the next size up, reorganizing photos, or deep cleaning. Those are weekend projects ok, guys? This is a quick fix for maximum visual cleanliness. No one is going to lick your floors (I hope) so it just needs to appear clean! LOL. Commit 15 minutes and go hard. Are you ready?


Bins, Boxes, Buckets, Baskets and Bags! 

The first big tip is to get things off the floor. The easiest way to do this is to have stuff to throw things in. We have a toy kitchen and it’s food gets ALL over the house. So I grab everything toy-kitchen-specific and toss it in a bag (or stuff it in the cabinets and close it up.) Everything else goes in the big toy box. Clothes all go in the dirty clothes baskets. Dirty dishes can sit in the sink for now. Trash gets thrown, you guessed it, in the trash. If you have multiple floors, toss things that go on other floors in a basket on the stairs to take up on your next trip up – don’t keep going up and down! And don’t worry about things looking pretty as long as it’s away in something and off the floor. This is the most time consuming part of the 15 minutes and I usually dart around like I’m on Supermarket Sweep- which brings me to my next topic of going for the big stuff:


Straighten Up The Sofa

My kids love to have the pillows, cushions and throws that we keep around the sofa in complete disarray. Straightening that up takes like 4 seconds but makes a huge impact on the look of the room because the biggest things are where your eyes go first. Fluff up the pillows and fold the throws to keep on the sides of the couch (for getting cozy during nextflix binges-obviously.) This goes for love seats, lounger chairs and ottomans too. Ta-da! Your house is already looking so much cleaner! AND there are places for your guests/your hard working SELF to sit down!


Stacks On Stacks

Is your mail, coloring books, stray pages of drawings, bills, school work, magazines and other shenanigans covering your tables or counters? Stack it all up. Don’t spend time going through it. If you didn’t need to look at it until now, it can wait 15 more minutes. I’ll make a kid stack and put it in Jesse’s room (he has an arts bin for all this mess- so it goes in there!) and an adult stack that I put on our dresser. Even if it stays on the table or on the corner of the counter where it was, it’s in a nice neat stack now, and you can SEE the table! Secret Tip: move everything back to the corners of your counters. Push back all of the appliances and stuff on your counters to the very back to give you visually more empty counter space.


Distracting The KIDS

This part is key. Otherwise you’re probably going to be turning around and repeating what you just did. I like to have my bigger kid focused on (read: complaining about) ONE task. Usually picking up his clothes or a specific type of toy like his legos (both going into big bins.) Usually this task is something that isn’t crucial in case he has a total drama meltdown and ends up not cleaning anything at all. As long as he doesn’t spend your 15 minutes messing things up. The little one I usually sit on the couch and take the vacuum out so he just sits and stares at it for a while because he’s not sure if it will turn on or not. LOL! Or I put him in something he can’t escape from like his high chair or a walker. If all else fails- screen time. *angel chorus*

I don’t advise using nap time for this clean up. Nap time is the precious time we get for important things like going potty, eating food for ourselves and mindlessly scrolling social media. That is YOU time.


Bonus Points!

Ok, so your tables and counters are mostly cleared, your floors are hopefully free of clutter and your couch is sittable! With any extra time left, here are some things I like to do to spruce up the place a little more. Feel free to pick one or go for the gold and do them all!


Smells And Sounds!

We used to be all about candles before we had kids and don’t even talk to me about fabreeze (aka my college-days solution to cleaning.) But NOW I love my safe and healthy Young Living Diffuser! Depending on the time of day, I either go with a peppy blend of Lemon and Purification, or my favorite relaxing duo: Stress Away and Lavender.  Either way, a fresh wave of smells will really fix up the room. Turning the TV off and putting on a fun playlist (like This Is Your Year on Spotify through Alexa!) also sets the mood too (unless your kids are quietly watching it- then DEFINITELY keep that puppy ON.)


Wipe Down

This goes with nice smells: wipe down your counters, tables or coffee table with your favorite cleaner. This makes things SMELL clean, and it’s a quick way to get crumbs, smudges, smashed bananas, coffee stains and what have you, off the newly visible surfaces! Secret Tip: Toss some lemon slices into the garbage disposal to freshen that up too!


A Quick Vacuum.

To be fair, we live in a smaller condo, so it doesn’t take MUCH time to do our floors, but even just quickly running it over the big parts of the floor gets those fancy vacuum lines and fluffs up the carpet a little. Again, don’t get too hung up on details and corners.


Last Second Tidy Up

The places where people will look when walking in to your house can stand a little extra TLC at the end if you have time. Stand at your door and see what looks astray and go there first. Straightening up the shoe rack or making sure all of the books on the book case are standing up and facing out makes you look like you have your life together- even if you don’t!


TIMES UP! Enjoy.

I hope you can catch your breath and enjoy your beautiful, mostly clean living space for a few minutes! Pour yourself some coffee or wine and put your feet up for a minute because you earned it. High five.









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Today is the celebration of Matt and I surviving another first year of childhood! I mean it’s my son’s birthday. One of my very favorite parts of my job is chatting with moms about their birth stories because literally every single baby and every single birth is unique. And I just think birth is ridiculously cool and endlessly amazing. So in honor of Zac being the big O-N-E today, I will share his birth story.

First, I’ll start off with the part of the day that we didn’t get too much documentation of (mainly because Matt was in denial that I was even in labor when I started.) You see, with Jesse’s birth, I was induced, so didn’t get to experience what it felt like to naturally start going into labor, but I had a feeling…

I woke up around 5:30 am on February 3rd 2016, I was 6 days away from my due date and I was feeling some contractions. I had a feeling this could be it, so I snuck out of bed, did some dishes, put the bags by the door, tidied up the house a little and went back to bed. I saved a bunch of birth affirmations from pinterest onto my phone in case I needed some good mantras to help me through and tried to get some rest. I was timing my contractions around 10 minutes apart. When I told Matt around 7am, he was like “Ok thats fine, I’m going to go to work and you can let me know if things get serious.” LOL!

I ate some breakfast in bed and snuggled Jesse and kept an eye on the time as I felt some mild contractions lasting about 30 seconds each. I had my weekly appointment set for 11:45, but I called to see if I could push it up because occasionally I would only get about 7 minutes between contractions (and this was my second baby which they say can sometimes be a shorter labor.) I got a 9:30 appointment and Matt met me there. I was 3cm and was told to go home and relax until contractions were 5 minutes apart lasting a minute or so, then I could head to the hospital.

Next on my list of to-do’s was getting lunch since it was close to 11 now and I was (as always) hungry! By the time we decided on food, got home with it and sat down, my contractions were getting closer and I was personally ready to head to the hospital.

I won’t bore you with my sitting in the waiting room for 20 minutes while in active labor (even though I had preregistered) but I will tell you that Zac was one of SEVENTEEN babies born that day. So I was in triage for quite a few hours until they could get a room for me. There’s a pretty rediculous picture of me trying to eat a GIANT chocolate cupcake that my bestie Erin brought me (who hightailed it from the school she teaches as soon as I told her it was GO TIME) but I’ll spare you.

So we got a room around 4pm (time was flying by for me and contractions were like 3-4 minutes apart and pretty manageable at this point) and we brought out my camera so here come all of the pictures:


Erin decided to spruce up the white board that usually the nurses use to note things like their names or medication doses. The nurses called her and Matt and his Aunt Debbie the Birth Squad!


I was still feeling pretty good, we were playing some fun dance music.


Until a contraction would roll around, they are about 3 minutes apart lasting a minute each at this point.




And back to smiling. I tried to get my mind off of things with dancing and drinking tea.



I now had to focus on getting through my contractions, usually holding on to Matt or Erin for support.


My water broke while I was dancing around after that things got pretty serious. I went from 4-7cm in 3 hours. It was now about 7pm.







Remember when I mentioned that 17 babies were born that day? Well there weren’t 17 doctors.


The nurse called for any available doctor because it was go time…


And although I tried to wait for one… Zac didn’t want to.


And with one huge push (because no one was there telling me to stop. I was just listening to my body and Zac…) the nurse “caught” him.


Zachary William arrived at 7:30pm looking exactly like his big brother did when he was born and my heart exploded.


Warm and soft and probably not particularly happy to be outside his hot tub.


But we were so very happy to meet him.





6lbs, 12oz, 19 inches



In Dada’s hands.




Time for Jesse to meet his baby brother!


“Hi Baby Zac!”


My heart is so. Full.




Jesse asks about all of the bracelets on my wrists.



I could stare at him for the rest of my life.



Big brother holds his baby for the first time!







Dark hair for baby Zac, not “cherry blonde” as Jesse called his own hair color.


A girl’s gotta snack, birthin’ babies is HARD WORK, guys.


Debbie shows Jesse some pictures and videos she took.


Our little family of four!


Thank you so much for letting me share one of the best days of my life with you guys! I look forward to capturing births of other amazing mamas in the future because I truly live for images like these.

Happy Birthday Zac!


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Happy New Year everyone! It’s the first day back to the daily grind and I’m pumped. I love my work days. Don’t get me wrong, I love lazy days with my family (even though most of my weekend was cleaning the house and folding PILES of baskets of laundry), BUT work days give me time every day to do something to get me closer to where I want to be, professionally and personally.

If I’m lucky, like today, after I drop my big kid off at preschool, my little guy will nap and I get QUIET TIME (whaaat!) And guess what I get to do? Focus on ME.

Enter my WORD for 2017: Focus


Focus on what really matters: spending time with my boys (husband included!) and spreading joy to everyone

Focus on one thing at a time: because my brain is like an internet browser with 500 windows open at all times.

Focus inwardly: because I follow a million talented photographers and I need to stop comparing their story to mine and work on my own journey.

It’s also a fun choice because it’s photography related too! Bonus points!

I don’t want to sound like I’m trying to fill space by copying definitions (*pushes up glasses and lifts up pants* websters dictionary defines Focus as…) BUT when I looked it up for fun, I kind of took it further than the regular definition so hear me out.

fo·cus v. – adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.

Which personally, I take as finding the light (however small at times) in everything and use it to see things better. BOOM. What a great idea to keep in motion all year.

I like the idea of choosing a word for the year as your mantra. Especially for our crazy, busy world. Sometimes we need instant coffee, 20 minute work outs, fast food dinners, and one word to repeat and keep us on track. To help us FOCUS.

What is your 2017 word? Comment below- I’d love to hear it!! <3 If you need some fresh vibes for your first work week of the year, check out my This Is Your Year playlist! 



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  • DebJanuary 3, 2017 - 12:53 pm

    Tenacity is my word this year!  The ability to weather the storm and follow the plan and stick with it….regardless of the circumstances or whatever my head starts telling me!  Of course, you kinda need FOCUS to do that, lol….ReplyCancel

Hey guys! I haven’t done one of these in a while. I think the last time I posted a Day In The Life post, Jesse was like not even 2. Let’s travel back real quick:


Oh mygoshhh my heart.

Ok anyway! So since then, my day has changed quite a bit. I think that if you’re going to hire someone for something personal like photography, it should be someone you (and your family) feel comfortable and happy with. So I’d like you to come along with me on a normal (as normal as a life with two kiddos can get, anyway) day so you can see who I am and what I do outside of being the lady who takes your pictures.

I start off my day waking up to this beautiful face.
Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. He almost always wakes up with a smile on his face. Most of the time Matt has already kissed me goodbye and headed to work.


We  go in to Jesse’s (newly redecorated Jungle) room and usually Zac takes responsibility for waking him up. Can you tell my kid is trained to smile at the camera….? I had to tell him all day to stop smiling at the camera! Who else loves Jesse’s leaf canopy?


Jesse has had this tag blanket since he was a baby and it tugs at my heart to think he will sleep just fine without Blanket one day.

LOL just kidding….. sort of. Coffee is definitely helpful to making mornings run smoothly around here. This is the emiB coffee bar that you get to take advantage of if you come for an in studio session!

It’s so beautiful… (PSA: These creamers are out for guests, but I use the crazy flavored creamers usually- which I am happy to share with you as well! This week it’s Toffee Chocolate Caramel or something.)


Jesse gets ready for preschool, but please know, he would spend ALL. DAY. in front of the bathroom mirror if I let him.

I definitely don’t get a chance to shower before drop off, so I am always rocking the messy bun and sometimes my lovely Strawberry Revolution tie back. So I can turn crazy hair into something way more stylish.


Ugh, it’s getting cold, so it takes an extra 5 minutes to bundle everyone up. But off we go to school!

If I’m lucky, Zac falls asleep on the way home (a 5 minute drive…hah) if not and I really need a shower, this happens.
Moms, don’t pretend like you haven’t put your kids in something they hopefully can’t escape from in a 5 minute period of time so you can take a shower. Amiright guys? And all that mess was what was keeping my messy bun together… and my fitbit that is water resistant, but I still don’t like taking it into the shower. LOL.

Once I get a shower, it’s time to get some work done!


This is the 3-4 hours of my day that I get to spend editing, snacking, watching webinars, posting blogs, answering emails, eating lunch and getting snuggles in with Zac. That last one is never hard to do, since most of the time he either wants to sit with me (aka, hit and knock over everything on my desk) or he falls asleep on me. Safe to say I have mastered the art of one-handed editing.


Zac wakes up from his nap and we go pick up Jesse from school!


I try to find LOVE in all things. Like even though my condo association has been totally slacking on repainting… lol, there is a little heart here that reminds me to smile and spread love every day.


Jesse gets home and today he was excited to work on his piano lesson homework.


Zac’s favorite thing right now is Jesse’s lego table. Mostly just throwing the blocks everywhere. This is about when I make my afternoon cup of coffee… no correlation… (just kidding, they are directly related.)


At some point, Zac needs his afternoon nap and I get to spend time with Jesse. Usually it’s something screen time related, we play this monster game thing on our phone/ipad or we watch an episode of something (this week we are into the Kid’s Baking Championship on netflix) or we do an art project. He got a fashion design book for his birthday, so we’ve been doing some designing. This is also when I might sneak away to answer another email or edit a little more if I’m on a time crunch.


Zac wakes up and we play some more, I try to get dinner ready or do my 15-minute tidy up before Matt gets home so it doesn’t look like a total disaster when he walks in.


The REAL best part of the day:


Dada’s home!


Matt gets home and relaxes, we have dinner and play around a bit afterwords until it’s time for bed. I ask Jesse what his favorite part of today was and we talk a little. He has been in the habit lately of asking for one more hug and kiss almost as I walk out the door. And as much as I feel that tired sigh when I can taste that post-bedtime freedom and it gets snatched away, I never ever ever say no to one more hug and kiss because one day he will think I’m gross and I’ll be the one begging for one more hug and kiss. Cue sobbing over Jesse turning 5 on Monday.


Matt and I snack or indulge in desserts I don’t want to share with the kids (like left over cupcakes from Jesse’s birthday) while we catch up on all the shows we watch together. Sometimes I get more editing done during the boring shows… LOL.

So that’s my day in a nutshell! Thanks for coming along. Follow me on your favorite social medias to keep up with the latest!


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  • DebDecember 1, 2016 - 1:02 pm

    I’m sure I wasn’t supposed to cry, but this was really sweet!  I secretly sometimes wish I was you xoReplyCancel

Hey guys! So we’re going out of town today and heading down to the Outer Banks. Two of my best friends are getting married, maybe you’ve heard of them, I only post about them all the time! Haha. I had a few random little things to post about, so I’m making a ‘gumbo’ post of sorts.
As I was looking through Ashley and Eric’s completed engagement images I took last fall, I noticed something. They were my first engagement session ever, so I was making sure I had the quintessential poses and feel that I see all over my favorite photographers pages. But looking back, it didn’t do a great job showing off how fun and silly they are! So I went through all of the unedited ones and picked out a few really great ones, some were outtakes where they were laughing at each other, some I just wanted to see differently, and I re-edited them. Here are a few of my favorites:

Two days until their beautiful, amazing wedding!

And since this is an |Extra| post, I wanted to show off the little project a friend and I put together. This her adorable pup, Maddie and the layout we have planned for a lonely wall in her living room. The squares are 8x8s and they will be framed, but this is the basic idea. I had so much fun trying something new and Maddie was a fantastic client.

And in other news, fall mini’s are available! Such a great deal. Life moves so fast, and believe me, I know about keeping to a budget, but this session fits so nicely with both of those guidelines. Only 20 simple minutes and you get 5 beautiful images on a CD to use however you want! You can upload them to your favorite online holiday card designer, print a few wallets or small prints to frame for family, or get one made into a big canvas to hang over your fire place!
It doesn’t have to be fancy and stressful, I love to get you just how you are. Fall is all about scarves and boots and cider and changing leaves. Just show up and fall will work with you!


I hope you guys liked my crazy, random gumbo of a post. 🙂
Hopefully it will be lovely for their wedding, and for our weekend at the beach (probably the last nice one of the season).
Leave some love!

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Hey there!

I'm Emily! A photographer, coffee zombie, car singer, baby snuggler, snackaholic boymom serving the Maryland and DC area! Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to click around and check out all sorts of posts about my fun sessions, behind the scenes secrets and snippits of my personal life! Grab a cup of coffee and stay a while- or come hang out with me on your favorite social medias!

You guys already KNOW we have to bust out the Pumpkin Spice! I like to go halvsies with it and a white mocha (2 pumps each in a grande) Fall perfection!


With the fall weather, comes a lot of blustery days and rain, so I made a playlist called The Perfect Storm. 

Come sing with me!


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