written posts

i deactivated facebook

I have been comtemplating for awhile (over a year) about whether for not I should deactivate Facebook. I have spent 9+ years on this website & I feel done. At least for now. Facebook is just full of negativity, politics, & people sharing every littlle thing, which I am 100% guilty of. I am just tired of these types of posts. I also feel that Facebook is a huge time suck. Before I deleted the app on my phone, fb was one of the first things I checked in the mornings & I hated that. When I am on my computer, I check fb constantly. I hate that, too. So, I think it’s a good idea to get rid of it for a little while. I will just share more on Instagram & my website, then link to my Facebook photography page. Hopefully, I am just able to stay away from Facebook for good. We’ll see how that goes though. lol. The cool thing is though, messenger still works if people want to get in touch.

Take a picture of moms with their kid(s).

I made a post for Mother's Day but I didn't publish it in May because I was sad because there were barely any pictures of me & Christian taken candidly or by other people. Most were selfie-type photos that I took of us. My experience has always been when I ask people to take pictures of me & Christian together, they huff & puff about it. But I always make an effort to take pictures of my siblings with their kids or my husband with our son. I completely understand that not everyone is a ~*photographer*~ but it is sad when no one cares to take the pictures on their own or without getting mad about it. When I was making the post, I realized that I didn't have an updated picture with Christian. The last picture of us was at Halloween & his face is covered. I don't know. It threw me off, I guess.

I don't know why but moms are hardly ever in photos. They are always behind the camera or no one thinks that mom wants a photo with their kid. Everyone knows a mom...so do her a favor & take a picture of her with her kids. Even if she complains about how she looks or refuses to look at the picture. Then, take a step further & PRINT the pictures for them. Moms will cherish the photos, especially as their kids get older. These pictures are important.

So, while we were at Main Event for Christian's birthday, I told John to take pictures of us doing stuff together. I love those pictures. It actually shows that I was there, having fun with my child for his birthday. I don't care that they aren't the most flattering photos or that I had a double chin. None of that matters

I published the Mother's Day post anyway because I did want it published. It's obviously backdated.

VIEW

it's easier to raise strong children than to repair broken men - frederick douglas

I am sure that I will come across as judgemental, but I truly do mean this in the most non-judgmental way possible.

I have been a parent for nine plus years. I have done research, talked with other parents, & used common sense to shape how I parent.  I have done the whole spanking & hitting thing, often because of peer pressure or fear of judgement that I am not parenting "correctly." I know that sounds absolutely ridiculous but the judgement is real on that side. I spanked knowing that this wasn't how I wanted to treat my child & it has taken me a few years to learn that it's okay not to hit my kid.

I am fully aware that having more than one kid is frustrating as hell & it's hard to have patience, but your kids didn't choose to be here. So, you have to grow up & practice patience. Stop thinking of yourself as an authority, but instead think of yourself as their guide.

Here are some things I personally do as a parent. The main one is:

TREAT YOUR KID(S) THE WAY YOU WOULD WANT TO BE TREATEd. 

1. DO NOT YELL/scream.

This is a hard one for me. I am a yeller & sometimes I still yell. But I hate yelling, so when I find myself wanting to yell, I have to remind myself that I am getting a bit ridiculous & I need to chill out. I don't like it when people yell at me, so why I would I yell at other people, especially my young child?

2. it's okay when your kid has a voice.

In fact, that is great! Your child should use their voice. Not everything out of their mouths is backtalk. It's okay if your kid expresses their anger, sadness, or frustrations. When you are feeling this way, you are able to express yourself so give your child room to express themselves. There is a difference between, "Dinner is gross" & screaming & throwing their food on the floor. Don't silence your kids. Let them speak their minds. Let them trust you & know that they can share with you without the fear of getting into trouble. You can't silence them all of their childhood & then wonder why they don't talk to you as teenagers or adults.

3. kids have bad days too.

Kids go through emotions just as adults do. The difference is, they do not have the tools to properly process their feelings the way adults have learned. Our job as their parent is to teach them the proper tools of dealing with their emotions. If my kid is upset, irritated, or sad I ask him if he needs a hug, if he wants to talk about it, or if he wants to be left alone. I don't expect him to be happy 24/7. Most times, he wants to be left alone & then he feels better soon after. Sometimes, I make him go to his room to calm down or to be in a quiet space. He always comes out happy.

4. Talking to your kids is better than hitting your kids.

As I said above, I did the whole spanking thing. All that did was make me & Christian feel like crap. Christian didn't actually learn anything from being spanked other than to fear me when I went to spank him. Once I finally gave myself permission to stop hitting him & start talking with him instead, things went so much smoother. He hardly ever acts out.

5. Accept that you are not smarter than children.

There is a difference between experience & being smart. Kids are so freakin' smart. I feel that we underestiamte just how much kids know or can learn. We end up holding them back because we assume they will not understand what we are talking about. Stop treating kids like babies & you will see that they learn faster & can make good decisions for themselves. It's okay for kids ot make mistakes from the decisions they make. This is how they learn & grow as people.


Christian mentioned a few days ago that he noticed I don't spank him anymore. At the time of writing this post, I haven't spanked him in probably four years. He said that he was happy about that because it hurt his feelings & he didn't learn anything from being hit. We talked about why spanking wasn't an effective method & how all hitting did was upset the both of us even more. I can tell that Christian is a happier, calmer, smarter person because of the rule I follow. Every year, Christian's teacher tells me that he is the nicest & most communicative kid they have had. I am sure there are some things I am doing wrong or missing or whatever, but I feel I am doing the best I can with what I know to help Chrisitan become a strong & confident person.

 

I chose this thumbnail picture because it's one of my favorites of me & Chrsitian together.

is it fall yet?

I am honestly ready for Summer to be over. When Summer started I really thought that I would be energetic, happier, & productive. Instead, I've just been lazy, blah, & undisciplined in the things I should be doing every single day, like working out. I blame the heat. I haven't posted on Instagram in awhile because I don't do anything. I just lay in the a.c. hoping Summer ends soon.

I have eaten & drank like shit all Summer. I've only worked out twice, maybe three times. And I CAN TELL. That's probably part of the reason for my blah mood. BUT I can tell in my body & that's depressing as fuck. WHATEVER. Not the end of the world. I will fix that soon. Discipline is important. There's a reason why this is a lifestyle change & a lifelong habit & not one time deal. D U H.

ANYWAY...

School shopping is almost done. We've got the clothes & supplies. Now, Christian just needs shoes & a haircut. I can't believe he's in the fourth grade & turning nine soon. Christian keeps saying, "Can you believe I'm in the FOURTH grade?! Soon, I'll be in middle school!" Let's not the think about that.

School starts a little early this year, but the good thing about that is Christian finally gets to take cupcakes to school on his birthday. Usually, school starts after his birthday. Why do we not take cupcakes anyway? I don't know. I honestly never thought about to do that. Oh, well.

[the photo has nothing to do with the post]

ughhh

Okay. So, lately, I have been feeling like I want to write a bunch of posts. Mainly, rants & opinions, but I am hesitant because I know people will be upset if they think the particular post is about them. Which, I mean, if the shoes fits... But all you have to do is change the way you live & the posts will no longer be about you. lol.

I want to write about parenting, 45 & all the dumb shit he does, politics, religion, etc. Basically, my opinion on them & the types of people that I know on both sides. Basically, how my mind is blown that they are these types of people.

It's such a weird feeling to want to write, but feeling hesitant. I have never hesitated to write about my feelings. And I've never felt that I was sharing too much of my thoughts. The older I get the more I think about consequences. Ughhh, so annoying.

the pizza isn't related to anything.

Lately, I have been in a funk. I hate when that happens. Currently, I am out of my funk & on a high. I have the energy to interact with people, take pictures, work out, & now blog.

I wrote the above on the fifth.

The weird thing is, with each passing day, I can feel the "high" getting lower. I think this is the first time I have ever really paid attention to how I am feeling each day. So weird.

It's currently 11:30 p.m. & I am just now doing laundry because John doesn't have shorts to wear tomorrow. I don't know why I waited until now to do laundry. Whatever.

Lately, I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos. I am currently digging Andrew Hales/LAHWF, Casey Neistat, & Peter McKinnon.

Andrew is just fucking hilarious & his current "chat" videos are interesting, but also funny. While I was watching a video by Casey, Christian looked over & said, "Hey, I know that guy. I watch him for his plane videos." My mind was literally blown because we both watch him without realizing the other does. lol. I watch him because of Peter & because his videography style is great. Digging his new 368 series. Peter's videography style is super amazing & I love his personality. His vlogs are great & he offers a lot of tips, which are cool. Also, coffee.

My 365 project has obviously stopped...again. But, I mean, trying is what matters, right? I will still update my 2018 gallery when I create something new. I think this will give me time to execute some of my other ideas that I want to create. Sooo...yeah.

twenty seven.

I am twenty-seven years old, which is just insane. I don't feel as if I am nearly thirty years old. I don't feel like I have been around that long. I got the idea to write out a list of things i have learned in my life from my sweet friend, Clarice. I thought it would be a good idea to get some clarity on who I am at a core level. I may not always like myself, but I do love the person I am deep down - my beliefs, my humanity, & my compassion. Most of these, I have learned within the last six or seven years.

 

parenting:

kids are not malicious. they are not out to get you.

kids are people. they have their own thoughts & feelings. they are not property. you do not own your children.

it's ok to say yes more than no.

it's ok to show affection. showing affection does not spoil a child.

when kids are unhappy, they do not need punishment. they need compassion & understanding. they need parents who see their struggles & will help them through their distress.

 

life:

just let people enjoy things. who cares if it's ugly, gross, or not something you would do.

it is useless fighting about politics & religion with people. if they aren't already on the same page as you, then they probably never will be.

being wrong is ok. admitting being wrong may be hard, but do admit anyway.

do not let anyone stop you from being who you are & from enjoying what you love.

anxiety attacks are temporary.

decluttering your life will make you feel at peace in your home.

atheism works for me. i tried being a christian & believing, but it just never worked for me. i am so much happier now that i have stopped forcing myself to believe.

you think you know everything until a few years past & you realize you were dumb as hell. stay humble. keep an open mind. learn what you can.

be kind, but don't take shit from anyone.

trust your intuition. listen to your mind & heart. you know what is best for you.

always keep perspective. keep yourself in check. we all go a little crazy sometimes. that's ok as long as you rein it in & check yourself.

 

health & fitness (body & mental)

fatloss is more important than weightloss. weightloss is not the same as fatloss.

the scale is pretty much useless.

lifting heavy is better than cardio, in my opinon.

exercising helps keep anxiety & depression to a minimum.

there is so much pressure to enjoy things. if you aren't doing the most during holidays, your birthday, or the freakin weekend, then you aren't spending your time correctly. ignore the pressure & focus on what's important: the things that make you & your family happy.

it's ok to cut out the toxic people in your life, even if they are family.

it's ok if you aren't happy 24/7. just breathe & try your best to relax. let the feelings happen & they will pass eventually.

everything should be consumed in moderation. anything can become addicting or harmful.

you can have a flexible diet (the lifetime kind, not the temorary diet fads), & still lose fat or maintain a healthy weight. you don't have to eat salads for the rest of your life, but you shouldn't eat candy every single day. basically, just don't eat & drink like an asshole. this is something i still struggle with but i am working on this every day.

you are not supposed to use shampoo, brush your hair, use heat, or wear a pony tail every single day. cutting these out a few times a week will greatly improve your hair's health & encourage growth.

you can't please everybody everyday, not even your closest bff. sometimes, you just gotta focus on yourself & let everyone deal with their feelings.

2018 goals.

I suck at resolutions but these seem do-able. I just have to stay focused & force myself to learn something new. Creativity-wise, 2017 was a lazy year for me, even though it was supposed to be the year. I am hoping to change that in twenty-eighteen. fingers crossed

Anyway, these are some of the goals I would like to work on:

life goals

be more present as a mom & wife
be more present in conversations in real life & online
learn something new
read books

creativity goals

take more pictures
get in front of the camera with christian
start a 365 day or 52 week project
step up my editing game
take more videos
blog often

fitness goals

work out at least three times a week
work on healthy eating habits
learn to meal prep
lift heavier, obviously

You know, the same shit I say every year. lol.

i kind of miss the online community.

I remember the days when I used to be a part of an online community on thebump. Now, the forum is dead & thenest doesn't even have a community anymore. I came across thebump while stumbling upon theknot because I was super into wedding crap back then (at age 16 / 17. lol.) I don't even think I was pregnant yet. I think Christian was a few months old when I finally joined thebump. I was so shy & sometimes felt stupid when I made a post, but I met an amazing group of women who helped me through motherhood & the early years of my marriage. The group became smaller & smaller as groups do when you get to know each other & piss each other off. Now, I am only friends with three on Facebook. That probably says more about me than them, but it is what it is.

From there, I discovered the world of blogging. I miss when blogging was all the rage. A few of the mommies blogged & we all commented on each other's stuff. Or you randomly found people through the comment section & followed their blogs. I was always thrilled when they commented on my posts. I am still friends with some of them & I love following their work on Instagram.

I found one of my favorite photographers through thebump & blogging. She still is an amazing photographer but now I mainly follow her for fitness. She's a total badass. [klodid]

Another former blogger disappears & reappears at random, but I still love her work & I am willing to wait for her. Haha.

Another one became an amazing friend & photographer. She has helped me through my photography journey & I had the pleasure of meeting her almost a year ago. [gabby]

sam and gabby

From blogging, I somehow came across Tumblr. Tumblr is where I pretty much became the person I am today. I discovered self love, body positivity, feminism, & various activism movements. I learned about white privlege, male privilege, racism, etc. These newfound realizations are part of why I lost some of my online friends. Opinions clash & no one can handle being wrong or knowing we have different opinions. 

Now, the online community seens to be mostly on Facebook & Instagram. I mostly stick to the photography groups. I have even found some amazing people through photography groups or through friends who are into photography. 

Amazingly enough, because of Facebook & photography, I met my BEST FRIEND in the whole world. Sadly, she lives in a different state but we talk every day, sometimes all day. Haha.

samantha whitford photography austin texas photographer (18).jpg

I can't seem to connect as I have done in the past, even in groups that I have created myself. Somehow, as a young adult, I just had more to talk about. Now, I am quite reserved or I have already shared all I have to share.

Maybe I have just outgrown the online community, but I do miss being an active part of it.

I think I want to make blogging more often a habit. Just stuff no one cares about. Just daily motherhood stuff. Maybe daily or weekly blogging will force me to take more pictures. Or maybe I won't do it at all. Who knows.

my thoughts.

I don't believe that it is unamerican to criticize your country, the president, the government, the anthem, the pledge of allegiance, the past, where the future is going, etc. In fact, I think the most American thing you can do is use your right to criticize your country. You can still be a proud American and want to improve your country.

I do not understand this blind loyalty or blind patriotism some people have. They seem to think if you question anything at all about the “traditions” the USA have, then you must hate your country or you aren’t proudor thankful to be here. It almost seems like the blind followers want to prove how American they are & how thankful they are to be here. Like some sort of competition. Being an American isn't a competition.

People still have this notion that any war we are in, any bombing that happens, etc. is all there to ~*protect*~ America & the freedom we have. Seems like they haven't quite grasped that wars & bombing & recruiting unsuspecting people with the lure of lots of money & "family is important" are ALL about money for the rich people.

The American flag pattern is everywhere. It's in our advertisement, on the clothes we wear, on blankets, posters, the can you drink your beer out of, etc. No one bats an eye to any of that, but as soon as someone *coughs*ablackperson*coughs* decides to kneel during a song, they are "disrepecting" the flag. I honestly believe this is all fake outrage just to make yourself feel like you are a Proud American.

how to choose a photographer & what to do once you find one

 

First and foremost, understand that photography is a luxury, not a necessity. Photography will be expensive. Photography is art, not snapshots. This post is for those who want quality over quantity, but aren't sure what to look for.

 

+ Find a few photographers who specialize in the genre (the type of session) you are wanting to book in your surrounding areas.

Obviously, you can use Google, but you can also use Instagram hashtags! Simply type in area + photographer or area + genre + photography.
Example: austintexasphotographer or austintxseniorphotography.

+ You want a photographer who does well in the type of session you want. You do not want a photographer who only half-asses what they do.

Of course, this doesn't go for people who are just starting out. They are still learning their craft & what they love.

~ Do not expect a photographer who specializes in family portraits to shoot your wedding.
~ Do not expect a photographer who specializes in weddings to shoot your newborn photos.

Most photographers are well-educated in specific genres. Meaning they have spent a lot of time perfecting their craft in their chosen specialties, especially with newborns; Professional newborn photographers take classes to learn how to safely pose babies in those unique poses.

+ Pick a photographer whose style/look you love.

Do you love the dark & moody feel or the bright & airy photos? Do you love the indoors/in-studio look or do you love the natural light in the middle of the field look? Do you want your photos to be full of smiles or do you want to go for the serious expressions with interesting poses? There are a lot of different aspects of a photographer's work that will stand out to you. There are many different photographers out there & there is one for everyone. You can't go wrong choosing the photographer whose style you love.

Personally, I am a dark & moody/weird vibe type of photographer. I occasionally dabble in bright & airy photos depending on the session. Here are some examples of my own work that is considered having weird vibes, dark & moody, and bright & airy. I have even mixed them all up in one photo shoot.

 

Dark & Moody

 

Bright & Airy

well, bright & airy for me. to some people, these photos might still be considered moody.
 

Weird Vibes

 

+ MAKE SURE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER'S WORK IS CONSISTENT

The three main places to check are their Facbeook pages, Instagram, & website. There is a possibilty a photographer's Instagram account will not look consistent if they share personal photos along with their professional photos.

+ FIGURE OUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S CONTACT INFORMATION

If they have a website, they will more than likely have a contact form for you to fill out. They may have an email on their Facebook page, in the bio section of Instagram, or somewhere on their website. If you email them, provide as much information as possible, such as: what type of session you want, how many people are involved, what types of products you are wanting, what you are expecting from your photo shoot, etc. If you are contacting a wedding photographer, let them know how many hours you need, where the wedding will be, the date & time of the wedding, how many people will be in the wedding, etc. This helps the photographer figure out if they are the right photographer for you. If they aren't, they may give you names of photographers who best suit your needs.

+ ALWAYS CONTACT A PHOTOGRAPHER & BOOK A SESSION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Most photographers are booked weeks or even months in advance. Booking in advance gives the photographer time to prepare for your photo shoot, especially if there is location scouting or fashion styling involved. Sometimes a photographer will even have a hair & make up artist available; So depending on the type of session you are booking, the hair & make up artist also need to be available as well.

Also, keep in mind: Unless you have put down a deposit, do not assume the photographer is showing up to the photo session because, the date is not yours. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people make that mistake.

+ AVOID SENDING A MILLION PINTEREST PHOTOS AS "IDEAS".

Unless your photographer asks you for examples of poses, ideas, etc., do not bombard them with Pinterest images. Pinterest is an amazing tool, but most photographers already have a style & cannot really imitate other photography styles. If your photographer does ask for examples, first check their website & see if anything jumps out. This will be so much more helpful than sharing other people's work.

+ DURING THE PHOTO SHOOT:

Have fun & trust your photographer's vision. Afterall, their vision is what you hired them for.

+ AFTER THE PHOTO SHOOT:

Give the photographer time to carefully edit your photos. If you aren't sure how long this should take, look over your contract.

Do not edit the photos in any way. Do not put Instagram filters on them. Do not crop them. Do not run the photos through those "fun" apps to make them look all funky. This is considered rude. Photographers work very hard on those lovely pictures & seeing them re-edited is always heartbreaking.

Order the photos through your photographer! Your photographer has carefully chosen a professional printing lab that prints their work to look the best possible. If your photographer does not offer prints & products, ask for their recommendation!

Enjoy your beautiful photos & hire your photographer again!

 

what to wear

Always be yourself. You should wear something that you are comfortable in. Wear something that truly represents who you are. If you are comfortable with your outfit, your happiness & comfort will show through in photos, which is super important.

Complement each other in colors & style. Unless you & your family members purposely dress the same every day, I wouldn't recommend dressing the same for your photo shoot. Pick at least three colors that go well together & go from there.

When choosing patterns, it's best to balance out the patterns by also wearing solid colors. If you are wearing prints then the other person should wear something solid. Limiting the patterns to one parts of your body is best.

Make sure you & your family members are dressed as if you're going somewhere together. One person shouldn't be completely dressed up while the other is dressed down. One person shouldn't be in their Sunday best while the other is wearing clothes they usually wear to clean the house. If you wouldn't wear it out to eat, on a date, or to church, then it's not the right outfit.

Think about your location. If you're shooting around a bunch of hills & cactus, make sure you are wearing colors that pop & goes against the browns & greens of nature! And always wear shoes that are comfortable & will protect you from any stickers. If you're shooting against old buildings, wear colors that are bold in colors in contrast to whatever color the buildings may be.

Do not wear clothes that have logos & characters. This dates your photos, which will not go over well. You want your photos to be as timeless as possible.

Do not wear neon colors. The colors will reflect onto skin, hair, other pieces of clothing, which is not flattering.

If you need help figuring out what colors go best together, you can check out my pinterest board. On the pinterest board, there is a color wheel chart that may be helpful for you.