You guys! Happy Hump Day, I hope this meets you at a happy time in your day and week. Life over here is dandy, we are slowwwwing way down this month and it feels amazing. Not going to lie I was feeling extremely overwhelmed in December so having nothing to do most days has been a huge blessing. Resetting is important! Anyways, I wanted to share with you guys some tricks and tips/what I use for taking my pictures! I have had inquiry about it and have sat on the idea of doing a post like this because I feel SO unqualified but hey… it works for me so it might work for you! I’m going to do my best at answering the questions I’ve received, and ill link the products I use!


I have this sucker to thank for everything, and my super talented brother in law  for telling me what to get. I have the Sony Alpha 3600, its pretty amazing. At this point, I feel like I’m driving a Ferrari in Automatic with little knowledge of the power of this little guy but I’m slowly learning! I usually shoot in Auto but I’m learning how to shoot in RAW form because I am starting to edit in Lightroom! You can check out my camera HERE! I love this camera so much, I have the very basic lens and I feel like it covers all my needs at this point but I’m looking to get another lens this year! This camera sends photos directly to my phone,it’s so easy to take multiple extremely clear photos, its smaller than you would think and lightweight so I’m not juggling around this massive camera in public. I HIGHLY suggest this camera to anyone looking for a good one!


Best investment. As a mom my camera doesn’t stay in a pretty little case all day only to be taken out for photos. I am always on the go and I bring my camera everywhere because I’ve found the best photo opportunities come at THE most random times! Anyways, the camera strap is the best because the camera kinda just slings around my neck and I’m able to pick up and hold babies, juggle things and have it right there, safe on my neck! The camera strap I have is from one of my very favorite brands, Nena & Co. The camera straps are a hot commodity there and because they are all handmade, they often sell out soon after they post! So if you want one like mine, keep checking their site! I’ve also seen some cute ones on!LRG_DSC08745


Literally before I realized a tripod is not that expensive and easy to use, I would stack my camera on my coffee table on top of like 20 books, looking back now it is comical. Gavin works and most of the time it’s just me and the kiddos so if I want to get a shot of us all I need somewhere to put my camera, I use the tripod. The one we have is adjustable and folds up super small so I can literally fit it in my diaper bag! HERE is the one we have! Two ways I take my photos are by timer and by wireless remote called Play Memories App. The Play Memories App is an application I downloaded for free onto my Sony Camera that allows me to see the image on my phone and literally press a button on my phone remotely and the camera takes the photo!

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I take a ton of photos, in fact I think I have like 24K on my phone that I need to go through as soon as I can! Anyways, whenever I’m shooting my kids or our family I shoot away and generally get anywhere from 40-70 photos before I even look back. Correction, I usually look at the first few to make sure it looks how I think it does, then shoot like crazy. Any of you know with kids, capturing that one smiling photo after saying “1..2…3” is impossible. Taking continuous shots allows me to then download the photos from the camera to my phone and keep the (usually very few) that turn out.


One day I will go more into details on my editing because for right now I’m really just in the middle of learning! I use Lightroom only, no Photoshop! To be honest I’m a bit nervous to learn how to use Photoshop because I feel like I would create an obsession with perfection and I really like keeping our photos as real as possible. Just like anyone trying to learn something, I’ve watched a ton of YouTube videos to learn the basics. THIS is the one I watched first. HERE Is the Lightroom download, which is a program that must be purchased and I like this one because it’s a Cloud Program so I can use it on all my devices!


Okay I think that’s enough information for now, I will happily go into more details on each topic another time because I feel like I hardly scratched the surface! Taking photos has quickly became a big hobby of mine and im excited to share with you guys more and more as I learn! Hope you all have a great week! Tomorrow we are literally headed to a FARM with our pals at Central Coast Meats… stay tuned to my Instagram for a killer giveaway and insight to a great company!





I know, it takes a village to raise a child. I would be rich if I had a quarter for every time I have seen a quote on Pinterest or heard the wise words from a grandparent. What even is a village? Is it the grocery man, the local pharmacist, the grandparent, aunts and the milk man? Or is it the immediate family and close friends? I’ve always chopped it up to the people in your life that mold and shape who you are. The ones you can love and hate all at once but they generally have your best interest at heart. I never appreciated our village as much as I do now that my vilage is helping raise my child.

It’s taken me a lifetime to realize just how deep and far-reaching our village is, and children certainly have cleared the foggy window and allowed me to really focus on each and every person in it. Our village is more than just individual humans. It is deeper, full of different religions, nationalities, genders, ages, demographics and species, all working together to help me mold my children.

But Nobody told me.

Nobody told me how powerful, loving, thoughtful, and giving our village would be… to those in my village, I see you.

I see from a distance you squinting your eyes and wiping my kids boogers with your hands, and I know that’s nasty because I’m his mom. But I see you, I see you doing that because you care and you care more about them getting into his mouth than you do about your hand.

I see you tired on the couch, relaxing only to be approached by my child trying to show you his car. I see you sit up and listen, putting your tiredness aside to engage with my (what can be) annoying toddler.

I see you taking that extra five minutes to start-up the chainsaw just to see my child’s eyes light up one more time.

I see you bending over after a long days work only to push my child around on his favorite red car throughout the house just because you know it makes it happy.

I see you letting my kid drink from your water bottle 67 times, over and over and you gladly share.

I see you look my child in the eyes, listen to him and have a conversation. What you may not realize is that your conversation with him is our topic of conversation the entire way home. The energy you use, fuels him.

I see you throwing them up in the air five more times than you wanted, your arms are aching but my Childs smile is huge so you keep going. I see you, and I appreciate you.

I see you sometimes not letting my child have his way, taking a harder yet much appreciated route. That sacrifice you’re taking by teaching him fairness is one I am extremely grateful for.

To my Village.. here’s what you don’t know…

You don’t know that sometimes I reach my village tired, exhausted and hoping to just relax for a moment. You don’t know that by taking my child to play and introducing him to new things rejuvenates him, and myself. You give me the opportunity to reset and for that alone I’m grateful.

You don’t know how much it means when you show up at my house and take my child for a few hours while I clean the house and make a nice dinner. You don’t know how much sanity that brings into my life.

You don’t know but I see it all, I notice the details, i’m a mom. I am trained to watch how people are with my children, and there is no better feeling in the world than to feel my child is truly benefiting at the hands of someone else.

You don’t know that I’m okay with you making mistakes, you’re human. You love my child and just like anyone, you won’t be perfect either. So when my child falls in your care and cries, know that it’s not that big of a deal. What you don’t know is that I know it tears you up inside  because you love them, and that to me means more than any bump or bruise they get.

You don’t know that I appreciate you doing things your way with my child, they usually only see my way and my way isn’t always the best. That way you showed him how to put his thumb up actually worked, and you don’t know but I’ve been trying to get him to do it for months. You don’t know, but I appreciate you teaching my child the way YOU know how.

I get it, its fun. Its rewarding and you want to build a relationship with my child, and I appreciate that. But what you don’t know is I see those moments where you push a little harder, joke a little longer, take the extra time that you normally wouldn’t take and treat my child the amazing way that you do. Sometimes as a mother we can get caught in our comfort zone and want everyone to do exactly as we do, but I’ve learned in 2 years just how much I appreciate the exact opposite.

Having my child in the hands of someone who loves them, is wiling to put in the effort and help me raise them, is the greatest gift of all.

To my village, you definitely know who you are, and I’m incredibly thankful and blessed to have you.






Hey everyone, hope this post reaches you well on this happy Sunday! We cannot knock this dang plague that has hit everyone we know, just when we think we are better.. boom right back down! Anyways, all this time indoors has really given me an opportunity to think about what 2017 has meant to me, and what my hopes are for 2018!




I could redo 2017 over and over again and be thrilled, it was filled with a ridiculous amount of joy and happiness. We found out we were expecting a little girl, took our first trip to Disneyland, vacationed in Kauai, took on Charleston with my girlfriends, went back to College 7 Months pregnant, Celebrated Wyatt’s Second Birthday, was in my best friends wedding, and most importantly met our sweet Rosie girl on August. We had a year full of family and joy, and for that I’m extremely grateful.


With every great year comes its down moments of course and one hit us surprisingly hard. Our hometown hero, Ryan Teixeira passed away after an intense battle with cancer. As a family we followed along his Caringbridge and were extremely impacted by his resilience and character despite the fact we didn’t know him near as well as we would have liked. His family continued on a charity, 17 Strong,which grants victory trips to those 18 and over and has already impacted lives for the better.  Check it out.

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So what about 2018? Will it be a year of the same happiness and joy?I would like to hope so but the realist in me says anything can happen so for now I’m just grateful for the wonderful year we have had! What I do know is this year ahead is full of LOVE! My baby sister and older brother are both getting married, we have some fun vacations planned as a family, my sister Mimmish and my cousin Macy are both having babies and our crazy family always has a few good surprises so I’m certain there will be more to celebrate!





With the new year comes the obvious. Goals. I love goals, I love setting them and reaching them although to be honest I often fall short. This year, I’m setting one goal and one concept that will take me through 2018. I call it, 8 minuets for 2018.

Like everyone, I want the cleaner car, the spotless home, the extra time to spend reading to my children, the extra couple minutes at the gym to get me to my goal weight, I want to call my grandparents, write more letters, do nicer gestures for my friends and have plenty of good genuine face to face conversations. A couple of days ago sitting on the couch I couldn’t help but realize all the little things I want to do take such a short amount of time but have such a heavy impact! I came to the conclusion that if I just kept the motto “8 More minuets for 2018” then I could accomplish so many of the little things I want to accomplish. Eight extra minutes is doable. It’s two and a half songs on the radio, it’s not going to drastically change my day but it will help me create habits of taking that extra time. I’m going to set the alarm on my phone, title it 8 for 2018 and turn that sucker on as many times as I can during the day! I know this will help me create a life with a little more organization, little less stress and a lot more mindfulness.



I will certainly be letting you all in on how this goes, I have a good feeling it will work out and be a game changer for me and quite possibly, you too! I hope you all have a great day soaking up all that 2017 was for you and head into the new year with a positive mind and spirit! 2018 will be another wonderful year, I can’t wait to spend another year sharing our highs and lows with you all!

Happy New Year!




Holiday Season is in full swing over here, and boy does our family like a good party. We celebrate everything big and small, these past few weeks have certainly given us good reason to cheers our glasses! Along with all the holiday partying, my brother and his wife had a little girl and my baby sister got engaged to an amazing guy and great friend of Gavin’s so we are feeling blessed! As I’ve mentioned before, I have 4 siblings ( Patrick, Kj, Scotty, Jenna) and 4 cousins who we share a property with ( Rachel, Madi, Grace, Jack) that I consider siblings and over the holiday season we spend basically every waking moment together. Family is by far the most important thing in our life and I’m grateful I’m stuck with ones I like to be around!


Last night we got together for one of my favorite traditions, Gingerbread Houses! This isn’t your average decorating party, its hosted by the best babysitter in the world, Gina! (seen below in red) Gina actually babysat me when I was a little girl and she now babysits my kiddos once a week! She is the best, I have never met someone like her and probably never will. She goes crazy as soon as Halloween ends and ends up with 50-60 tubs of different candies! She hand makes every gingerbread house with love, and literally creates a party in our dining room!



Wyatt and the kids went crazy, they were eye level with the candy so of course by the end of the night the house felt like a zoo of animals on a sugar high. Watching kids decorate the houses is always so representative of their personalities. Wyatt was very detailed and meticulous for about 5 minutes, then forgot all about his house and  started eating the frosting. I let him. If I can binge on candy once in a while, so can he. Thankfully he relaxed and today is a new day, no candy for a long time!





Holiday season is such a happy time, I hope you are all enjoying the time with your loved ones participating and creating new traditions! I’ve been having so much fun celebrating, that I have not finished my gifts! If you are in the same boat, check out my Amazon Prime gift list for kids of all ages here!



Hope you all have a wonderful day! I see people from different places around the country and world reading on here and would love if you would comment below where you are from! Writing for my blog has been so much fun and I am so grateful for all of your suport!


Stephanie LRG_DSC08053-2



I opened my door yesterday morning and the beautiful orange sky caught my eye so like any millennial, I took out my phone to snag a picture. If only the reason behind the beautiful sky was as beautiful as it looked, unfortunately that’s not the case at all. That same fire that beautifully lit up the sky is destroying lives and homes just under 100 miles away from my warm home full of Christmas lights and cheer. While I put up my Christmas Tree, gather with family and friends, others just a few towns over are walking on ashes of what was their holiday decor, years of memories, and the areas where they were going to celebrate this wonderful holiday season.


I knew I wanted, and had to do something…I just wasn’t sure what. My friend Abby texted me about finding a family and I knew that was the perfect thing. With ALL that I have this season, the least I could do is help a family who have lost so much.

Gavin and I prayed, he left for work and I got to work. I took to Instagram, searched #ThomasFire and scrolled and scrolled looking through pictures hoping I could find someone who had posted of the mess. I found a picture that shook me, a home torn to the ground with the fireplace just in tact. It was the friend of the survivor who posted it, and I instantly searched for the girl who she gave PC (picture credit) to. Her name was Lauryn. Long story short, I messaged her on a few different social media sites and got in contact.I verified it was her, I stalked her social media and saw it flooded with comments from friends and families, a few go fund me pages set up. In this cruel world I knew I needed to double check this was for real and sadly, it was as real as it gets.

Her family lost their entire home. The cars were burned and the metal still looked hot. It was a horrific picture I saw on her website here.





Her sweet sweet demeanor and humble sense inspired me so much to help her out. She was the face of the Thomas Fire. Sometimes its so hard when it seems so big to find an actual person because it seems like “everybody” needs help. It’s hard to help everybody, but its not hard to help a single person. She was a fan of my brother in law Chris Burkard so I got in contact with him and like the good hearted person he is, he reached out. It’s little actions in times like this that go a long way.

I decided to create an Amazon Wish List, and a Go Fund me Page. Her request was not for the small things because the donations are plenty but the need for her family to buy a house and get on their feet again by buying things like beds and dressers. Of course she wouldn’t tell me exactly what she wanted for Christmas but I comprised a list and I hope you can find it in your heart to buy something for this sweet girl and donate to the Go Fund me page.  I can only imagine the gifts she was supposed to receive were burned as well. All items that are bought through the Amazon wish list and in the Go Fund Me Account will be delivered to her by hand with all of the donated names on it.

Let’s show Lauryn and her family what community and good people are all about.

Click HERE for the GoFund me. 

Click Here for the Amazon Wish list

SO much love,