Back and Better Than Ever! CSN stores now Wayfair.

I've mentioned before that I do a lot of online shopping with CSN stores.  Well, they have grown, evolved, and updated their site as Wayfair. If you hadn't heard of them before, they carry everything for the home.  You can find kids chairs and kitchen gadgets... closet organizers and bathroom fixtures!

Anyway! We just scored a flat panel TV through a great Black Friday deal (though I'm more of a Cyber Monday girl!) and I knew right away that I was going to head over to Wayfair to pick up a wall mount.  Their prices are much better than I can get one locally and they have a ton of options.  I recently saw a pin on Pintrest of a tv framed on the wall, amazing! I'm so doing that as soon as my wall mount comes!!! So I will share my results with you soon! Check out my inspiration-

(click image for source)

More Photo fun with Vol.25

Did you have fun checking out the photo overlays and what not yesterday?  I know to some of you it was brand new! Well I'm keeping the discovery alive with one of my FAVORITE artists today, Vol. 25 offers photo overlays with a completely different approach!  Can you spot the overlays in this image?

Merry Merry Kissmas!!!! And those doily garlands in the other window... that's no reflection, it's an overlay! Fun right!  Check out just a few of the fun themes from Vol. 25-

There are three pages full of collections (and more per page than shown here) so you are sure to find something for your photos!  I have (so far!) In Bloom (a pregnancy/ newborn collection, shown above) Joy-Christmas (again, shown above, this is where you will find the Merry Merry Kissmas!) and Very Merry (which is where the doily elements like the garland shown above in my image are from).

You may remember me sharing this image which includes elements from the Very Merry collection.

  A mixture from both holiday sets. 

Joy Set-

The overlays are vector based so you can make them as big or small as you like with no distortion.  You can also choose any color you like!!! So very versatile.  Go pick some up and get playing, it's highly addictive, I'm warning ;) While your at it, check out Jessica's (the artist behind Vol 25) other art on her blog!

P.S. If your looking for a unique christmas gift, I highly recommend one of the prints from Vol. 25.  I have the typewriter one and am completely in love with it!  Very high quality!


Fun with light and Kalidascope

You don't have to be a photographer to have gorgeous light in your photos.  Actually with all of the amazing actions out there, there isn't much you can't do to your photos. Edit like the pros in seconds!  When I was first starting out in photography I experimented with a lot of free  "actions" for Photoshop (Elements and CS).  Then as I got better I started wanting better actions and was willing to pay a bit to get them.  Since they are usually made by entrepreneurs, the prices can very drastically.  I recently found one that offers some really fun, unique actions and overlays at AFFORDABLE prices! I have a few of their products now and wanted to share with you guys as they are really easy to use!

The creator has some great tutorial on her site if you aren't familiar with how to instal and/or use these, so I won't get into that.  First, so examples of my images using the Light Play overlays. 

So I may be slightly obsessed with the "Party Lights" and "Fantasy Lights".  It's the holiday season and I think they are perfect for portraits this time of year.  But there are a ton of other great light overlays.  Here they are shown on a black background for easy viewing. 

It's just a small peek at the overlays that come in this package.  And some images that show off some of the other overlays from the website.

One thing I want to point out is how much you can manipulate these overlays.  If you've ever played with any sort of overlay before, forget everything you think you know!  These overlays are SUPER versatile and built full of hues just like real light! You can change the direction of the light, adjust the hue and saturation, and layer them on top of each other! So if you pick up a set, be sure to watch the video that she links, it shows you step by step how she uses them and how you can get your best results. 

Kaleidoscope also offers a ton of unique textures.  Here is a little snipit from the Gallery Collection, which is the one I picked up!

If your new to all of this they may look a bit psychedelic at first, but all the variation looks amazing on photos!

Maybe you just need some help getting your photos edited and aren't ready to start playing quite this much.  Kaleidoscope can help you.  They just released their first set of actions.  I do want to stress that these actions are for people who shoot RAW (not jpeg) a notch or two overexposed.  Actions are not one size fits all.  You need to find actions that match your shooting style.  If this is your shooting style I can confidently recommend the Kaleidoscope Storyteller Collection. Here are some before and afters from the site.

So if your looking to step up your photography game but not spend a fortune, head over to Kaleidoscope.  Or send the budding photographer on your holiday shopping list to pick something out!!!


Tis the season. DIY season that is ;)

So you may not be building a deck or painting a house this season, but it's the season for gift giving DIY! And that's my specialty.  Have a DIY question?  I'm answering questions all week over at the True Value FB page.  Submit your questions all week long!



 We have a VERY lucky winner of the Jewel Box Ballerina complete set of flower tutorials!  If you weren't the lucky winner, you can still receive a 10% discount with code MJG10!
Congratulations to Isahrangme who pinned the Mayumi Rose!
isahrangme said...
pinned! http://pinterest.com/pin/564197365/ 


Amazing Flower Tutorials and GIVEAWAY!

Every year at this time I wrack my brain trying to figure out what I can hand make for christmas presents that people will actually LIKE getting.  Do you remember when I did that tutorial on dying feathers?  I made this amazing hair clip...

The tutorial for that flower is from Jewel Box Ballerina and she has a ton of other amazing flower tutorials that I have been dying to try.  (The yellow flower above is the white flower top right, below)

Don't worry if feathers aren't your thing!  There are lots of fabric flower options (seen left).  I'm going to bust out my scrap bag and make every one of these babies!

Who wouldn't be happy with one of these for Christmas.  There is something for everyone so the young girls in my family are getting headband and clips with flowers and the older girls will get flower pins that can also be put in the hair (because older girls like to have fun too right?).

You can purchase the patterns separately if your only interested in certain ones, but if your like me and want them ALL, there is a bundle of all the tutorials in one! It includes all the flowers pictured above.  I have the full bundle and am amazed at how doable they actually are once you see them done step by step.  The tutorials are even more details than the one's I've shared with you myself!  Pictures of every little step to make everything clear, plus a super friendly lady behind the shop who is more than willing to answer any questions you may have.

Included in the set is a Wedding Bouquet tutorial that includes the step by step directions for all of these "filler" flowers, I think they are STUNNING!!!! 

The website also offers several FREE tutorials, one of which goes through the building of the wedding bouquet, but the free version doesn't show you how to create the flowers used, the one in the purchased to tutorial DOES! So don't be confused ;)  

I'd love to stay and drool over them some more with you, but I want to get actually dig in and make some!  Finally, something to pull me away from Pinterest and actually create something beautiful in real life!

Special offers!!!! Don't go just yet, I have a special offer for you, plus a chance to WIN the entire tutorial set!!!!

First, a GIVEAWAY! I have a couple ways for you to win, the winner will receive the All Tutorials Bundle worth $84.50! Which includes everything I have talked about today.  To win-
  1. Leave a comment below telling me which of the flowers is your favorite?
  2. "Like" Jewel Box Ballerina on Facebook
  3. Follower her on Twitter
  4. My favorite entry method.... Pin an image from HER WEBSITE on Pinterest!!!
Can't wait for the giveaway to end, you have to have it NOW?  No problem, Purchases made before  Midnight on Tuesday, November 22nd will receive 25% off with coupon code MJG25.  Those of you who wait until after the giveaway results can still get a deal, 10% off with coupon code MJG10.

Giveaway ends at midnight central time on November 22nd.  One lucky winner will be chosen at random and contacted by email.  Just in time to craft your holiday weekend away.  Black Friday deals may be great, but handmade is better!


What to wear- Holiday photos (on a budget)

Being a photographer I'm often asked "What should we wear?!".  It's hard to dress a family, or even just kiddos, for photos and what you wear can make or break your images! The key (at least to me) is coordinating without matching.  That can be really confusing to people.  Sometime you may confuse coordinating with matching so I thought I would share the outfits my assistant and I pulled for my own holiday photos of my kids.  We did two options for different budgets.  The first look was pulled together at Savers, a second hand store on a major budget.  Of course, each second hand store's inventory is going to vary and the odds you would find these clothes at yours are probably zilch, but it's inspiration.

So first the budget version from the thrift store..... (I have two boys and a girl, obviously)

Since this was a budget look I decided the boys could wear blue jeans we already owned to save money. I also added a white undershirt to the girls look and left the sweater unbuttoned.  Here is the breakdown-

From left to right-
Shirt $2.99
Vest $4.99

Sweater $5.99
Skirt $2.99

Sweater $2.99
Shirt $2.99

These were the images from the holiday photo I shared the other day, here it is again without the overlays.

I guess you can't see the outfits all that well in this image, it was really chilly out this morning and I tried to get a couple quick shots of my own kids before my day of minis with clients.  Anyway, you get the idea.

Look 2
This look was pulled entirely from Target to make things easy on anyone wanting to recreate it.

For this one we purchased everything they would wear with the exception of shoes and girls jacket.

From left to right-
Jeans (skinny jeans for boys in 4T) $15
Top $10
Sweater vest $12

Pink Sweater dress $15
Hat and mitten set $10
Leg warmers $5
Socks (girls socks, knee high, came in a pack of 2) $5
The jacket was purchased at Burlington Coat Factory for $25

Sweater $12
Top $10
Pants $12
Hat (in photos below) $1

One key to dressing for portraits is to layer.  Added textures and layers are great for photos! Happy Holidays.

Amerian Family Memories

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of American Family Insurance for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

It's that time of year.  The holiday season, we all get together with our families and listen to those timeless classic stories of childhood as it once was.  Of course, now that I have my own kids I find myself in those "oh my gosh, I'm turning into my parents" moments, you know, when you go to tell the story and your kids look at you like they have heard it a million times.  Or your story starts with "When I was your age...." someone save me from myself! 

But it's true, times have changed, and these days I find it hard to even watch a program on TV with my children in the room because the only thing that seems appropriate for them is either Disney or cooking related.  I do NOT need to watch another episode of Dora, I've had my fill of creepy stares and exaggerated blinking for the day thank you! American Family Insurance is also feeling the holiday nostalgia and keeping it family friendly with their Stand Up For Family campaign.  It's a series of videos by well know comedians talking about their lives as kids and how things are different now. 

I tried to pick a favorite video to share with you, but they all have their moments so your going to have to check them out for yourself.  Though Rodney Perry does some pretty hilarious Krumping, so make sure you check that out!

So if your feeling nestalgic, or your kids roll their eyes at you and you need someone cooler than yourself to get your point across, check out the Stand Up For Family videos by AmFam.

Visit Sponsor's Site


Did you have a nice weekend?

I'm still enjoying my last few hours of my long weekend away with the husband.  It's always so sad to leave this place, but this time I was able to spend more cozy time by the fire, inside just relaxing.  The town has so much to do and see that normally while we are here we are out exploring, shopping at "Hippy Toms" from American Pickers, or having drinks at the Baker House.

This visit we did in fact have a dinner at the Baker house, it's just to fun not to see, then dinner at Ryan Braun's (from the Milwaukee Brewers) restaurant.  We walked around down town a bit looking at all the festive little shops who are in full swing for Christmas. I did a lot of Christmas shopping online and am excited for all the packages to arrive!  Before we head out of town today we are going to visit the True Value Hardware here in Lake Geneva, as I'm told it's one of the nicest in the state. 

Does it scare you at all that I would love to pick up a Christmas tree on the way home as well?  If it weren't for wanting the have the kids along, I may do just that! Have a wonderful day and don't forget to enter the Giveaway for personalized stickers, it ends tomorrow!


It's begining to look a lot like...... oh sorry, was it too early?

It is officially winter at our house.  It's taking some getting used to as in the past decade or so it's been nearly Christmas before we see the white stuff.  But we now have about 4 inches on the ground, a snowman in the front yard, and it doesn't appear to be going anywhere.  So I've decided to embrace the holiday season a little early.  Which is convenient since I have been doing holiday photo sessions in time for people to get their holiday cards!  Happy Holidays everyone, I'm off to Chapel by the spring to cozy up next to a fireplace with my amazing husband for a romantic weekend, without the kids! As adorable as they may be ;)

P.S. If you like the snowy overlay and happy holiday sign, it's an overlay from Vol.25 (one of my fave artists) and I will tell you more about them and how to use them soon!!


Effortlessly chic with StyleMint

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of StyleMint for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
I'm one of those people that's always over dressed.  No matter how hard I try, I can never seem to pull off casual without looking, well, frumpy.  The right fitting T Shirt is hard to find, and unique designs at affordable prices? (sorry, I'm not dropping 60 bucks on a T Shirt, it's just not happening!)  My go to style advisor is People Style Watch magazine, the stars seem to pull off the casual yet trendy look all the time! But the magazine doesn't come to the mall with me and say "Here! this is your style, your size, and this is how to wear it".  But now, Mary-Kate Olson and Ashley Olson are solving my problem through StyleMint a T Shirt centered fashion website that not only has fun unique designs from the fashion icons Mary-Kate and Ashley themselves, but they personally shop for you based on a quick quiz and all the T Shirts are $29.99!
Here are the top pick results from my style quiz, remember, I'm the over dressed type, so my choices were typically more tailored and dressy in the quiz.  I love what they came up with, and this was just a fraction of the suggestions!

Once I clicked on an option I liked (already knowing it was going to be totally affordable at less than $30!) I was able to choose from different colors and read suggestions on what to wear it with!!!!   No more little black bar over MY face LOL.  You will be rocking fab outfits like this-
Did I mention there is FREE shipping?! Plus, use code IZSTLYE10 for 10% off your first purchase.  It only takes a second to register and there is no obligation to buy.   There are new styles every month and all the T Shirts are made of premium cotton.
I'd love to stay and chat, but I'm off to StyleMint for some more great finds! What's your favorite way to wear a T Shirt?
Visit Sponsor's Site


Personalized Stickers Giveaway!

With the new photography business I'm looking at all the different packaging and promotional products.  One thing I always do is put a logo sticker on my clients disk of images.  But the stickers I have been using aren't exactly what I really want so I'm excited to try out sticker printing from Next Day Flyers.  One lucky reader will get to try them also!  Enter to win 100 customized, fully colored, 2"x3.5" stickers from NextDayFlyers.com. 

 Don't worry if you don't have a fancy design ready to go.  They offer lots of free customizable designs for you.  Check out a few of the most popular deigns, all free!

Ready to win?  Leave a comment below with what you would use your stickers for.  Giveaway ends Monday, November 14th at midnight central time.  A winner will be chosen at random and contacted by NextDayFlyers.com  Good luck!


It's CIRCUS time!

Alright, so the circus doesn't come to my area until February, but I've been in circus mode here with the most amazing business writing workshop book Circus Circus!

Before I jump into how fabulous this book is, I have to introduce you to Kristen of Brand Camp.  Okay, she's not actually HERE, but you need to go over and introduce yourself, she's the most hilarious woman I've ever had the pleasure of talking to.  Her website is filled with a ton of information you can use to make your business better!  I turned to her for help with my new photography business and was not let down!  Sign up for everything, anywhere you see to put your email address, PUT IT! You will not be disappointed with the amount of free knowledge this woman gives (and in a way you actually WANT to read it!).

So I've made my way through Circus Circus, she calls it a book, but I call it a workshop! It's amazing and so much fun you won't want to put it down.  I was hoping to have my results up on my website in time to share it with you, but every time I go through it I'm happier with my results so I keep redoing it, and redoing it...

I may be a decent writer when it comes to telling you about fun crafts, but when it comes to my business I feel like I'm to infomercial.  I'm soooo not a sales person.  Hate sales. But Kristen has shown me how to put the emphasis on what I offer, not what I'm selling! You can get the first chaper of Circus Circus for free, HELLO! FREE!  But beware, you WILL be hooked as the first chapter has you create an amazing business mantra and you will want to know what other insanely awesome things Kristen has packed into Circus Circus.  Here is the mantra I came up with in less than an hour with Kristen's help.

(For MaryJanes and Galoshes Photography)

I believe people are inherently unique.
At MaryJanes and Galoshes Photography, we create unique experiences and capture personalities.
Movement, expression and emotion make our portraits unique.
Prepare for lots of laughs, genuine smiles, warm welcomes and lasting memories.

If you have ever tried to do a short write up on your business, you know how hard that would have been to come up with on your own!

In the rest of the book I created a bio that doesn't suck, found a focus to make me money, organized my inbox, streamlined my workflow, cut my email time in half, and conquered blogger's block!

While your getting to know Kristen, be sure to visit her Facebook fan page for exclusive discounts and freebies!

I could (and would) go on and on about how much I love the overall experience of Circus Circus as well as everything else Kristen gives you at Brand Camp, but I'm not sure you want to continue to read my oohing and aaahhhing over her when you could be over at Brand Camp laughing your butt off and signing up for free stuff.  So go ahead, skip over there, watch out for the elephant poop, it's a bit of a circus right now!


Holiday Fashion!

I have a few posts coming up that I will share some ideas for dressing your kiddos for that holiday portrait, but today I wanted to talk about dressing yourself for those holiday parties!  If your looking for the perfect cocktail dress or more a more formal dress, I highly suggest checking out promgirl.net.  Don't be scared off by the name, it's way more than prom dresses!   Here are a couple of my favorites for holiday parties...

Or maybe your looking for something that will really make you stand out at that New Years Eve bash!  You will be sure to impress in these!

So what are your holiday party plans?  It's things like this that make me wish I lived in the city and had something fabulous to do.  Oh! for your chance to WIN an amazing dress from promgirl.net, be sure to like their Facebook page! They give a dress away every month :)


Ooh Pretty Shiny photography by Laura Evans

It snowed last night for the first time this year.  Normally, living in Wisconsin, this wouldn't faze me to much, but we had snow until JUNE this year! I was thinking the snow could wait until like, oh, maybe.... JANUARY!  Okay, so I know some of you have had some serious, shovel worthy, snow already this year, so I will stop my whining.  The one nice thing is that it has helped me jump into the Christmas spirit!  Which I thought I had lost the last two years, maybe that was because I was exhausted with baby twins! But they are going to be 3 this year and I'm saying BRING ON CHRISTMAS!  I know... we still have Thanksgiving.  Everyone always tells me this, but I go right from Halloween to jingle bells.  Especially being a blogger, I have to get ahead enough for you guys to get ideas :)  And now a photographer, we have Christmas photo shoots this weekend, as well as one I did last weekend!

So my point today, now that I've rambled on, is to share some holiday shopping inspiration.  I LOVE to holiday shop on Etsy.  I've also been know to trade for a ton of gifts there when my shops were active.  Being a photography nut, I of course love to check out other talented photographers and their fine art style.  I'm completely in love with the work of Laura Evans of Ooh Pretty Shiny.... Plus she just took a big trip where she captured tons of new, beautiful images, which you can now find in her shop. 

This particular image speaks to me because I'm ALWAYS changing directions in life.
I also adore book stores!
I have a few Laura Evans prints myself, want to know which one's I chose?

How fitting that it snowed, because it doesn't get any cuter than this in winter!
Seriously! Those faces!

These two also spoke to me.....
Who doesn't love the ferris wheel, okay, so someone out there is screaming "ME!!", it was a rhetorical question :)
Perspective is what turns photography into art.  I love the proportions on this city.

So if you don't already, I highly suggest supporting an artist with your holiday shopping this year.  There isn't anything you can't find on Etsy and most artists are willing to customize their wares to you needs! Happy Holidays!