Monday, August 31, 2015


Throughout this pregnancy I've been flip flopping about getting maternity photos taken.  I had a few of the bump and me that had turned out ok, and Wade and I had one of us that my dad took.  After seeing the breathtaking photography of Laura Morsman on her website, though, I knew that I wanted something more special to capture this fleeting and incredibly precious time in our lives.

I still didn't know what to expect, but all my worries subsided when Laura walked up to us in the park last week, amid the glow of the setting sun, and introduced herself.  You know when you first meet someone and instantly like them and their positive outlook on life?  That's how I felt when I met Laura.  She made me feel comfortable in front of the camera (which isn't easy) and even got Wade to hop in for a few.  We talked about movies we liked and how Austin is different (and the same) compared to Kansas City.  It felt like we were spending the hour with a good friend who just happened to also be an amazing photographer.

At one point when Wade and I were looking at each other during a photograph, I started getting teary.  It suddenly struck me that we were about to be a family of 3 in just a few weeks, and I thought about the long and windy road we had taken to get here.  I credit this special moment to Laura, because she got us out of our shells and was able to translate our emotion into every photograph.

I can't imagine not having these photos and am having a hard time deciding which ones to print out to frame.  Laura is currently based in Austin, TX, but is planning to move back to Kansas City this year (yay!).  KC friends--that means she's available to capture all your special memories.  Laura also has options available for traveling to you no matter where you are.

Since I've been going on and on about Laura, I thought it only fitting to actually introduce you guys to her and let her fill you in on a little more about herself.  So without further ado, here's Laura!

Kari: You mention on your website that your photography business grew out of your love of connecting with people and telling their stories through images.  (I love that!)  Was there a specific moment when you thought to yourself, "yeah, I could really turn my passion into a business?"

Laura:  Totally.  I consistently get the "what is your favorite subject to photograph" question a lot, and for me hands down it is kids, and fashion, it always has been.  The two combined is absolutely magical to me and that is when I started styling my own photo shoots that centered around those two subjects.  I loved the story telling aspect of creating whimsy, imagination, and fun in photography while letting kids just be kids throughout it.  No perfectionism, no starchy posing or overbearing direction.  After a couple styled shoots of my own, I realized I had a perspective to bring to the photography world, loving your clients more than your business. 

Kari: You are so courageous to strike out on your own.  Was it hard to get started?  What were some valuable lessons you've learned along the way?

Laura:  YES!  It was such a scary leap to finally cut the chord of a regularly scheduled paycheck and clock in-clock out world!  The roots of my business started when I would take photos of my youngest brother and sister who were brought into our lives from Ethiopia 8 years ago.  I mainly played around with my mom's old point and shoot camera and someone saw an image they loved and asked me to shoot their wedding.  Jaw dropped.  WHAT?!  It took that someone taking a chance on me for me to think of myself in that light and that wedding ended being my first paid photography job.  It wasn't until I moved to Texas in 2010, was a manager for the women's store Anthropologie for 4 years, and built a client base from some of my closest customers before my photography work was full time and lucrative.  I never thought of working retail to fund my passion and new business as a lack of drive believe in myself, it was a wonderful way to test the waters of running my own business, as well as an awesome way to have an organic outreach to gain more client relationships!

Kari: You've had your work featured in many publications, including Cupcake Magazine and Austin Monthly.  What was it like to see your images in this way?  What were some other triumphs you've had that made you give yourself a big pat on the back?

Laura:  Oh my goodness, it's always a surprise and mini celebration when your photos get picked or featured!  I never in a million years thought I would have the change to be published so it's still quite dreamy when it happens and you see it in something you know so many people are viewing.  As far as triumphs or other little celebrations, honestly the biggest pats on the back come from when a large group of friends are now repeat clients due to one of them referring me to their circle of friends.  That is incredible to me and a huge compliments when a friend loved their experience so much that they would encourage their friend to invest in my work. 

Kari:  What is the most interesting thing you've photographed?

Laura:  The most interesting things I have photographed...There are so many things!  I would have to say that a styled bridal shoot that I did for a local magazine in Texas with two horses at a dining table with the bride would be on the top of my list!  That or a local PR firm's Halloween party that was "Alice in Wonderland" themed.  The entire house was transformed into difference scenes from the fairytale.  It was magical!

Kari:  I'm trying to be better about printing out pictures to place around my house instead of always just keeping them in digital form.  How do you like to display and organize your photos?

Laura: I am right there with you and from what I hear, many others are as well including the majority of my own clients!  Having digital copies of your images is always a wonderful idea and keeps them safe, and in one place, but sometimes they never leave that USB drive or display anywhere beyond Facebook!  Every 6 months I have started to order my own prints in larger batches from the previous months of the year.  This way I'm not feeling like I'm losing memories buried deep in a hard drive that I eventually forget about, and if the prints end up on the wall, wonderful, if they end up on the fridge, on my work desk or by my bed, totally fine as well.  I LOVE a wonderful photo collage wall.  Mine at home is framed with the most simple of white Ikea frames and I love how it showcases the color and subject of each image!

Kari: What is the biggest piece of advice you'd give someone starting their own business?

Laura: Wonderful question!  I think across the board when you are working with, selling to, or interacting with people at all in your life of work, there needs to be an aspect of what I call "loving on" your client.  It is easy especially in a creative field to assume that what you are heading out to "sell" is exactly what people will immediately love, accept, and purchase in it's original form, when in reality the client's response will help you fine tune what they are actually looking for from you, and that's not a bad thing!  "Loving" on your client means to authentically hear what they are looking for, to have a genuine and open communication together in the planning process, and to invest in how to make their experience and final outcome truly fit what they sought you out for.  I look at my business as a continuing relationship and would never want that emotional connection between myself and my client to not be the pillar of where the love and intention for my work comes from. 


Check out Laura's sites for more information and breathtaking images!

Note: I did receive a free sitting session, but all reviews and opinions are my own






Thursday, August 27, 2015


I've seen pom pom shorts popping up all over the place recently.  They are so cute and add a fun bit of flair to any outfit.  I found a pair of elastic waistband shorts at TJ Maxx for $10 and decided to add my own pom pom trim.

Seriously, this project is so easy that it doesn't really warrant any directions except for: 1) go to the craft store and buy pom pom trim and 2) hand sew it on to your shorts.

The helpful tip I do have for the sewing part is to make small stitches on the front.  I started the stitch from the underside of the shorts, went through the front of the shorts, and then came back down very close to where I started the stitch.  This ensures that you really don't see the stitches on the front of your shorts.  I would also recommend just hand stitching the trim on instead of using a machine so that you don't see a lot of the stitch on the shorts.

Choosing a pair of shorts with pattern also helped to hide any stitches, although I'm sure that if you used the right color thread on a solid pair of shorts it would hardly be noticeable.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments or send me an e-mail.

This took about an hour to do, and I love how they turned out.  I added these shorts to my list of favorite maternity wears.

Have you been making anything fun recently?  Anything easy enough that even I could do?  Leave a link in the comments, because I'd love to check it out!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


When I found out I was pregnant, I rushed out to the nearest Destination Maternity store since surely I would need multiple pairs of shorts with giant elastic bands that covered my (at the time) barely noticeable bump, a maternity swimsuit, and countless other clothing items that had specifically been designed for the next few months.

I perused all my favorite haunts for maternity sections and even checked out online retailers.  I did all this before anyone else could even tell I was pregnant, but I just knew I should be prepared.  Here's what I've learned looking back at each purchase now that I'm 36 weeks along.  Some items have been real winners and others I wish I would have put back on the rack.

I've broken the purchases out into two sections: Maternity and Non-Maternity, since some of the best buys were not geared toward those of us who are preggo.

The thing I've been most surprised about during this pregnancy (in terms of clothing that is) is that I could get away with wearing some of my pre-pregnancy clothes and even clothes from the non-maternity section of my favorite stores.  The key is to find the right pieces that have enough elastic to fit my expanding belly as the months progressed.  The plus is that a lot of these items will still be cute after I give birth.

Lucky for all the pregnant ladies out there, elastic is IN!  Take your pick of elastic shorts in cute colors, skirts with elastic waistbands, and dresses that have a nice amount of give.  It really has expanded our options.  The key is to find a piece of clothing that has a nice amount of stretch and then size up.  Here's what I've been wearing during my 3rd trimester.

  • Elastic waistband shorts--Great Buys
Blue // Striped
The key on the elastic waistband shorts is to find ones that have elastic waistbands around the ENTIRE waistband.  Some of them may just have elastic in the back, and I haven't found those to work as well for me as my stomach has grown to the size of a basketball.  

I picked up these two pairs of shorts in a size larger than what I normally wear for $5 a piece when they were on sale at Old Navy.  Talk about a steal!  For now, I'm wearing them lower so they hit under my big belly, but I'm hoping they'll still be cute next summer.

The most fun shorts I've been wearing were a find at TJ Maxx for $10.  They are super stretchy, and I loved the fun pattern.  I've really been loving the pom pom shorts trend this summer, so I decided to add my own pom pom trim.  I'll be back later in the week with a super simple tutorial.

I liked having a few options for shorts that were comfortable but still fun to wear this summer.

  • Romper--Great Buy
Who says you can't wear a cute romper while pregnant?  While they do make some maternity rompers, I found this one at Old Navy (on sale again) and was surprised that it was a little longer in length than other rompers and fit just below my belly.  It's a little harder getting a one piece off for my frequent bathroom breaks, but still a fun buy.


  • Traditional Maternity Shorts (Over the belly band)--Regret
I bought a pair of over the belly band shorts early on, thinking that they were really loose fitting and would last throughout the pregnancy.  However, I didn't realize there were a lot more options out there that didn't include pulling an extra giant piece of fabric over your belly in the hot summer months.  Also, while these started out loose, they are now tight in the thighs and uncomfortable.  They would be my one item that was unnecessary.

  • Updated Maternity Jean Shorts--Good Buy
A few stores offer a different form of maternity pant that has a side panel extender.  These look like regular pants, but have a lot of give in the waist.  I wore these through my 5th month.  They were super cute and made me feel stylish, but as I got into the 3rd trimester, they just got too tight.  I've always had a preference towards loose fitting clothing, though, so I could see others really loving these until the end of pregnancy.  For me, they were a nice in between stage 


  • Maternity Dresses--Good Buys
Asos has a great maternity section.  There are some pricier things, but a lot of inexpensive items as well.  A lot of other maternity websites were so overpriced, I felt.  I ordered two maternity dresses from here--one for a wedding (that I also wore for my baby shower) and a casual one.  Both were on sale and fit well.  

I also bought a few tank tops and shirts for work and just know that my wardrobe is fairly limited right now.

My biggest takeaway was how I really didn't need a ton of maternity options to get me through.  I know other people told me this, but I was a little bit skeptical.  It helped that stretchiness is in right now and that I don't have a formal dress code at work.  My biggest challenge has been finding a pair of jeans.  I just gave up on that hunt since I was pregnant mostly in the summer.  I'm sure fall jeans shopping will be fun:)  

Anything that you found super helpful you would add to the list?  Anything you bought and then regretted?

Monday, August 10, 2015


Last weekend, my sister and sister-in-law threw me the an AMAZING baby shower!  I'm still smiling thinking back to the wonderful day that was full of so much love and happiness.

My sister-in-law pulled out all the stops with her decorating skills and created a gorgeous, Pinterest-worthy, garden party motif that I could have only dreamed of.  From beautiful blooms in real pineapple vases to delicious eats and drinks, she created the most lovely shower I've ever been to.

And my sister really made the game portion of the day epic.  No overly played trying to figure out the candy bar in the diaper game here, ladies.  Instead, she came up with the most hilarious and on point game for me: "Congratulations, It's a Hipster!"  The premise was simple: pick the 5 things that I would choose to ensure my baby is an adorable hipster.  I laughed so hard when I saw this gigantic sign.  I definitely would say I fall into a wanna-be hipster category, which makes this even funnier.

I told her that she needs to sell this on Etsy, because if there's one thing that hipsters love, it's playing games about being a hipster.

The biggest takeaway from the day, though, was that I felt so loved.  It can be hard in our day to day lives to remember that people care, but this day washed a huge wave of emotion over me as I talked to family who had traveled many hours to be there and read cards from those miles away that sent the sweetest and most thoughtful presents.  I feel so lucky to have such an incredibly wonderful support system and know that this little girl will be loved so much.

Thank you to everyone who made this day one that I will cherish forever!