• LMP Radio: Your summer, sunshine jams

    It’s here, y’all. Texas summer days and that means sunshine, shades, lake days (or pool days) and more sunscreen than you ever believed you could need. We have the playlist to loop in the background during cookouts and while you’re tubing on the lake. Crank it up, and share your summer sunshine photos with us on Instagram with #summersunshine.

    Here’s to longer days and tan, bare feet… :)

  • Which Season is Right for Your Senior Portraits? Take the Quiz!

    graphic_final

    I’m pretty sure most of my soon-to-be Love, Me Photography seniors won’t know this little factoid, but back in the day, “What season are you?” was the question that all women asked each other. Answers would go something like this: “I’m a spring!” or “I really thought I was a fall, but apparently I’m a winter!”

    You’re probably confused right now, which makes total sense since you weren’t around during the neon-splattered, blue eye shadow covered, ultra hair sprayed world of 1980-something (lucky you). So let me explain. The book Color Me Beautiful was first published in the 1980s with the purpose of teaching women how to select the makeup and clothing that was best suited to their complexion. Results really had nothing to do with a person’s actual seasonal preference; it was more like, “Oh, you have blonde hair that’s slightly warm in tone? Hello, spring.”

     

    Chick-77_bw_WEB

     

    Despite the fact that the “Color Me Beautiful” movement is still around in website form (you can take their quiz here, by the way), I don’t really hear about this concept as often as I used to. But that simple question—“What season are you?”—still got me thinking about MY line of work. And that’s when inspiration hit! For whatever reason, spring has become THE SEASON to take senior photos. On one hand, this makes sense: spring in Texas is gorgeous! On another, it doesn’t: spring is insanely busy for high school seniors, and that goes double for the photographers who take their portraits and then scramble to create their graduation announcements on time (not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything).

    The point of all this season talk? Don’t limit yourself! If you love scarves, let’s take your photos on the first available snow day! Into foliage? Fall is calling your name. But don’t just take my word for it. Take the Love, Me Photography version of the “What’s Your Season?” quiz below, and then consider that information when booking your senior portrait session!

    Quick note: My little questionnaire is by NO MEANS scientific—just a fun starting point to determine how we can work together as a team to create photos that you and your family will treasure for years to come. Let’s get started!

    My heartbeat as a photographer is to bring out the “you-est” you in each and every one of your photos. Here’s hoping that this fun quiz will help us both accomplish that very thing!

    PS: Where are my “Summers” at? I better be hearing from you soon!

    With love,
    Crystal

  • Renewing and Redoing: Fun Ideas for Empty Nesters

    Soon-to-be empty nesters, I’m looking at you today! Want to know why? I’m wondering how you’re preparing for that little bird of yours (AKA your just-graduated senior) to fly off to college and pursue their own dreams. I’m wondering if you’re thinking about spreading your own wings to soar into a new adventure. But I’m also wondering about something that’s not necessarily connected to a metaphor about birds, and it goes like this: What are you going to do with your senior’s old room?

     

    2015-06-12_0001

     

    I apologize in advance if I seem a little, well, nosy. It’s just that when my girls are gone from home for any length of time, my heartstrings tug just a little (okay, a lot) every time I pass by their room. And I KNOW THEY’RE GOING TO BE BACK IN TWO DAYS! With parents of college students, though, that room is going to remain empty for a bit longer than a weekend stay at grandma and grandpa’s house.

     

    So I go back to my original question: What happens to their room? If you don’t have a firm idea yet, have no fear! I’ve put together some ideas for you just for fun and my hope is that, at the very least, the thought of doing something fresh and new to that soon-to-be empty little room will help ease the pings and pains transitional seasons always seem to bring.

     

    1. LEAVE IT HOW IT IS

    …but only for the first year or so. They’ll be going through so many changes during their freshman year at college, and—from personal experience—I think it’s important that their personal space remains as-is for a few months longer. That way, when they come home for Christmas break, they’ll be returning to the comforts and familiarity of their stuff. Also, fair warning: Changing the look of a teen’s room too soon has been known to cause said teen to feel like “home isn’t home anymore,” thereby giving them an excuse to go to Tahoe with their friends for Christmas instead of returning to your loving arms. Just saying.

     

    bedroom

     

    1. TURN IT INTO A GUEST ROOM

    Close your eyes and imagine a gorgeous space with all-white bedding. Perhaps a crystal chandelier hangs from the center of the room, or a gauzy canopy accents an iron bed frame. Pull out the umpteen copies of Southern Living you never got around to reading due to the craziness of senior year, and start dreaming!

     

    guest room

     

    1. TRANSFORM IT INTO A CRAFTING AREA/OFFICE SPACE

    Turn that empty room into an organized arena for arts, crafts, scrapbooking, reading, penning the next great American novel…whatever floats your boat! Pre-fab shelves from Ikea can work wonders when it comes to transforming a space from bedroom to office, with minimal monetary investment to boot. Add a cozy over-stuffed chair into a corner, and pick up cute folders from Home Goods or Target to seal the deal on a high-efficiency office where everything is neatly labeled and stored.

     

    home office

     

    1. SAY IT WITH ME: HOME GYM

    A few rubber floor tiles, a treadmill, and some hand-held weights are all you need to ditch the gym membership! Bonus: That college freshman of yours will totally be on board with this idea.

     

    home gym

     

    1. THE BEST FOR LAST: A GIANT WALK-IN CLOSET!

    Because let’s be honest, yours isn’t big enough, and you totally deserve it. Hang a chandelier, purchase a hot pink tufted settee, and call your new space a boudoir. You’ll feel so incredibly chic while doing so!

     

    closet

     

    Happy (Idea) Hunting!

    [Images via here, here, here, here, and here.]

  • A Parent’s Guide to (Successfully) Using Emojis

    2015-05-21_0002

     

    You guys, there’s a reason why an actual book exists in this world that’s called When Parents Text. Something strange happens when teens and parents try to communicate via text message.

    Lines are blurred.
    Intentions are misunderstood.
    Typos abound… ESPECIALLY when emojis are involved!

    For all the moms and dads out there who have ever misused one of these handy symbols—and immediately received a reply along the lines of “Are you serious??” followed by hundreds of emojis laugh-crying their little cartoon eyes out—I’ve created a handy introductory tool that practically guarantees your future texting success. I say “practically” because, well, some of those guys still trip me up too! So consider this my absolute best-educated guess, and for further study, check out this handy (and hysterical) resource.

    Now read up, flex those fingers, and let your thumbs fly across the surface of your phone with confidence. You have totally got this!

    Parents Guide to Emojis

    PS: Need more tips and tricks to ensure that you’re social-media savvy? Check out my Instagram How-To and Ultimate Selfie Tutorial.

  • Rush 101: What to Wear During Sorority Recruitment

    At this point in our Rush 101 Series, we’ve covered the following: Recruitment packets, letters of recommendation, and the all-important resume. Don’t get me wrong—I have loved delving into each and every one of these important-and-informative guidelines with you. But today’s topic gets me just a teensy bit more excited. Why? Because we’re talking all things fashion. And because I knew we’d be talking about fashion, I got to do a little online shopping (ahem: style hunting) and file it under the category of “research” this week. Just one more reason why I’ll never stop using the hashtag #ilovemyjob. (Like, ever.)

    Back on track: To keep things organized, I’ve split up outfit suggestions according to a typical recruitment schedule. I say “typical” because not every university’s Greek system will operate this way. However, even if your campus nixes skit day and subs in, say, a day of crafts, the same dress code is still likely to apply. As always, check with your campus Panhellenic organization before recruitment begins to make sure you’ve got their unique guidelines covered from head to toe! Literally.

    OPEN HOUSE: The most casual day of sorority recruitment. Expect the current members of each sorority house to be wearing matching t-shirts. As for you? Some campuses will give each of the Potential New Members (that’s you!) a matching shirt to wear as well. Otherwise, stick to something in the casual-cute family—similar to what you’d wear to senior picnic or brunch with friends. A sundress, slim pants and a flowy top, gladiators or flats, and a stack of bangles will do the trick.

    PHILANTHROPY DAY: A maxi topped off by a denim jacket and paired with wedges will fit the bill nicely. Come prepared to listen and learn about which organization is closest to each sorority’s heart!

    SKIT NIGHT: Semi-formal is the name of the game. Not quite a cocktail dress, not quite what you’d wear to church on Sunday, but somewhere in between. A more structured dress or a pair of patterned billowy pants accented by heels would both be great.

    *NOTE: If you love wearing heels, don’t be afraid to rock them on any of the days of recruitment! But DO exchange them for a pair of flats or flip-flops every time you’re walking between houses. Trust me, those toes are going to be screaming by the end of each night if you forget your back-up pair.

    PREFERENCE: Break out the cocktail wear! A cute LBD, a colorful frock, or a dress accented by an understated pattern will work well. Avoid ultra-formal wear, i.e. anything with too many feathers, sparkles, or a floor-length hemline.

    BID DAY: Today’s the day! You’re finally receiving your bid card…and most likely a t-shirt from your dream chapter! Put on your favorite denim shorts to ensure a perfect match when you exchange your top for your new sorority colors.

    Feel like doing some extra reading? Here are two other resources I love!

    1. Sorority Ever After
    2. The Sorority Life
  • LMP Love Dare: Journaling to Your Senior, Part II

    May is upon us and you know what that means: Summer break is not far behind. (I just really felt the need to italicize that—can I get an amen?). But before I get too caught up in thoughts of dipping my toes in the pool with a cool drink in hand, I wanted to check in and see how that journal project I proposed last month is going and give you a few words of encouragement to help you see it through!

    Ramsey-69_WEB

    Since this idea was inspired by a real-life gift that one of my friends received from her mom, I thought it would be pretty cool to share a few words from her perspective that show just how much that journal really meant:

     

    “It was truly priceless. I live for words of affirmation and reading what my mom wrote, in her own handwriting, was something that helped get me through those first few days and weeks of college. I just appreciated the time that went into it because she started it near the end of my junior year and kept it up all the way through graduation. It was such a blessing to me, knowing that not only was she living those experiences with me, she was taking the time to record them; little things that honestly I didn’t even remember until I read them! She taped in inspirational sayings, devotional excerpts, and Bible verses that were such a source of encouragement for me. I went back to them over and over whenever I needed a lift. Those clippings were doubly sweet because my grandmother used to do the same thing for my mom—she would cut out little articles from the newspaper that she felt my mom would appreciate. I felt so overwhelmed with love and connected to these two women I love so much through this gift, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing the same thing with my child one day!”

    Feeling inspired yet? I hope so! And as I said in the last post, all this project really takes is a journal and a pen and a little time. Simplicity, you’re calling our names! So, take pen in one hand and coffee in the other and let’s dive into a few additional prompts.

     

    • What are your child’s particular strengths? How have you seen your child apply those strengths this year?

     

    • Everyone has a “go to” style or article of clothing that they wear on a regular basis. What is your child most likely to be sporting? Can you recall a particular event that they got all dressed up for? One day this entry will help them remember those “crazy” fashions they used to think were so cool! (Looking at you, ultra flare jeans.)

     

    • Catalogue some of the songs they’ve played most often throughout the year, then include a few titles from YOUR favorite playlist as a high school senior.

     

    • Sometimes our children think we’re bullet proof. Take the “pressure to be perfect” off your teen by sharing a personal struggle you had as a high school senior…and a few thoughts on how time has put that challenge into perspective.

     

    • Tell your child how much you admire them when they [fill in the blank].

     

    • Consider asking family and friends to write a short little love note that you can include.

     

    • Affirm, affirm, AFFIRM who they are—the unique, wonderful, crazy, awesome person that you know them to be now and who you believe they will grow to be in the future!

     

    IMG_49_WEB 

     

    There you have it—seven more suggestions for continuing your journal project. PS: If you’re one of my newsletter subscribers you got this prompt a little early:

    What hard-earned wisdom and/or advice would you give your 17-year-old self?

    So many things came to mind as I thought through that prompt—most of them along the lines of “How Not to Sweat the Small Things.” AKA, how to hold on to the truth that everything really will turn out just fine no matter what my circumstances look like. Whatever you choose to write about, I hope it turns out to be a treasure-filled binder that will bless your child in ways that are far too many to count!

    Dani: I love this idea! And thanks for including the journal prompts as a jumping off point. It gets my brain turning already! I am saving this for when my little one gets a little older. Thanks for sharing!! (May 16, 2015 at 13:02 pm)
  • Savvy Senior: Plan the Perfect Graduation Party!

    I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again: Life happens FAST. When I look back on some of the pictures of the amazing seniors I’ve had the privilege of photographing over the last few years, I’m blown away that many of those precious guys and girls are now young adults successfully making their way in the world. I love it and hate it at the same time!

    Davis-13_bw_WEB

    I love that life can be so good and that we can be so in the moment that we totally lose track of time. On the other hand, I hate it because—blink!—it’s MAY and that means another school year has come and (almost) gone, another group of outstanding seniors are about to graduate, and I think, “How is it possible I’m shopping for graduation gifts? Wasn’t I wrapping Christmas presents just a couple of weeks ago?” But I know it must be true because I keep seeing graduation party odds and ends everywhere I go. So, I’m snapping out of my time fog and thinking today would be a great day to brainstorm some ways to create a killer party for that special senior in your life!

     

    Step One: Set The Date!

    The first course of action is to get that party on the calendar and to do it ASAP. Why? Because every other mom in the Dallas/Fort Worth area is doing the exact same thing, and that means you may find yourself competing for the date you want. So here’s a thought to consider: ask your senior if they’d like to combine their party with a friend (or two). The saying “the more the merrier” is absolutely true in this case. Graduating is a major accomplishment, and gathering friends and family together for the common purpose of celebrating is nothing short of pure fun. And, because your child and his or her friends most likely run in the same circles, their party can become a one-and-done fiesta for all!

     

    Step Two: Have Your Senior Create a Wish List

    Next, sit down with your senior and put together a personal wish list/graduation registry of sorts so that when you’re asked (for the umpteenth time), “What would Suzie like/need/adore for graduation?” you are good to go with a plethora of ideas! One can only use so many monogrammed paperweights, you know.

     

    Step Three: Set the Mood With Food

    As for what to serve, well, you know this better than anyone: teenagers LOVE TO EAT and they’re usually not too picky. With that in mind, a Giant Sub made-to-order from Subway is a super easy way to provide for those always-ravenous kiddos and their friends. A nice extra touch is to get small cakes in a variety of flavors for each of the grad honorees at the party. Nothing Bundt Cakes has tons of delicious options, or you can order petit fours or cupcakes and have them decorated with each senior’s name as a special touch.

     

    Step Four: Make Your Décor Pull Double-Duty

    Decorating does not have to be daunting. I suggest gathering up some of their favorite items that speak to who they are and what they enjoy—think letter jackets, trophies, art work, musical instruments, and so on. Display these items along with a bulletin board filled with photos of some of their most stand-out senior moments and voila! You. Are. Done. Bonus: Decorate that bulletin board in the colors of their future university so that your soon-to-be college freshman can put it to use in their future dorm room!

     

    Step Five: Get Custom From Beginning to End

    Fun fact: Love Me, Photography can create all of your custom graduation announcements, party invitations, and thank you cards in order to give your event a completely branded look that captures the spirit of your amazing grad! (Yes, even if you’re running super behind!) The end of the school year is stressful enough as it is. I would love to take some pressure off your shoulders and help you create something totally unique using their senior portraits!

    Roberts-8_WEB

    No matter what you do to honor that super wonderful grad of yours, I know it will be special and memorable. Grad parties are so much more than Pinterest-perfect decorations and tasty bites and treats, although those things can be fun. It’s about creating a wonderful, memory-filled moment full of love and laughter alongside your senior, and NOTHING can compete with that gift!

  • LMP Radio: the soundtrack your perfect day needs

    So, you finally found the perfect shoes to match that dress you’ve had hanging in your closet for WEEKS now, your hair + make-up style has been meticulously chosen (did you use any of our tips?? We want to see!!), and you have a killer date (girlfriends totally count)… you know what you’re missing?

    The tunes to get you and your girls dancing and singing while you spend your day primping and pampering!

    The latest in LMP Radio is your Prom Playlist. Tell us what you think on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #LMPRadio! Have any requests for next month? We want to hear them.. or read them ;) !

  • Prom-spiration: Hair and Makeup Ideas

    April is flying by, meaning a super-significant event in the lives of all my favorite seniors is just around the corner: prom! By this point I’m thinking you may have snagged the perfect gown, but I’m guessing that all things makeup-and-hair are still up in the air. Whether you’re going glam, classic, boho, or somewhere in between, our team has compiled three prom-spiration boards that are sure to resonate!

    Look 1: Glamorous Up-Do

    Your gown is glittering, you’re wearing four-inch heels, your clutch is covered in Swarovski crystals, and your earrings are shaped like chandeliers. One: We SO feel your style, girl. Two: We see an up-do as the perfect accent for all that gorgeousness.

     

    Glamour Updo

     

    photos: Pop Sugar,  Cosmo, Amber Rose, Glamour

     

    Look 2: Classic and Curled

    Is a chiffon dress in icy blue à la Grace Kelly calling your name? We’ve got a few ideas when it comes to your mane. Think soft, beachy waves worn either up or down—the calling card of every Greek goddess.

     

    Classic Curls

     

    photos: Right HairstylesHer Interest, Divine Caroline,  Brit.Co

     

    Look 3: Boho Braids

    You’re a California girl living in a non-coastal world. We get it, and we dig it. Pair your floral-print frock and golden Kendra cuff with one of these styles, then say it with us: braids for days.

     

    Boho Braids

     

    photos: Style Bistro,Byrdie, Missy Sue, and Fox

    Feel like going for a DIY ‘do? We’re so glad to hear it! Here’s a half-up, half-down tutorial + a few words of advice from LMP’s resident photo shoot stylist, Monica!

    No doubt that prom is one of the best nights of your life and should be absolutely perfect….just like you! Whether you want to glam it up or stick close to what your normal make-up routine is everyday, there are a few tips that will help you look picture perfect for prom night.

    Decide what your focus will be…your eyes or your mouth, and pick one of those to play up. One of the most common mistakes ladies make is highlighting both features. Pick the one people compliment you on the most and then go for it! If you want the focus on your lips, you’ll want to go bright. Red and dark pinks are great choices for prom, keeping your eye makeup soft and simple.

    If you want to focus on your eyes, go all out with a heavier liner, bold, sparkly shadows (Urban Decay has some amazing colors) and false eyelashes. Brows are also a HUGE component, whichever route you choose! Whether you’re wearing soft eye makeup or decide to be daring, a well-defined brow makes the biggest difference. My favorite eyebrow products are by Anastasia and can be purchased at Ulta. If you’re unsure about applying the products or what you need, ask a salesperson to help and they will be happy to pick the perfect color for you and show you how to use them to frame your eyes to perfection!

    Keep your foundation simple and make sure to choose a shade that closely matches your skin tone, blending well along the jawline. Finish with powder to keep the shine away. Urban Decay and Tarte both make BB creams that I absolutely love and create a beautiful finish! Loreal Magic Nude Liquid Powder is a less expensive favorite and gives a flawless look as well.

    Depending on your look, the cheek color should be natural (with a smoky eye) or a dewy, darker pink (with a natural eye). Nars is my personal favorite brand (it can be purchased at Sephora).

    The weeks before prom can be a crazy time and there are so many choices to make, from hair and makeup, to the perfect dress and shoes. There’s no one “right or wrong” way to do everything and ultimately, no matter how you style yourself, the most important thing to do is have fun and dance the night away!

    For more beauty-related tips and tricks, be sure to snag a copy of our digital Hair + Makeup guide! We can’t wait to see those prom pictures start rolling in!

  • LMP Love Dare: Start a Memory Journal For Your Senior

    I heard a beautiful story the other day that included a brilliant idea I simply couldn’t wait to pass on to my LMP mommas. Ready to hear it?

    Once upon a time, a momma started a journal at the beginning of her daughter’s senior year and continued writing entries in it through graduation day. She included the highs and lows of her daughter’s year, verses of Scripture, inspirational thoughts she came across, and reflections of her own that she wanted to pass on for posterity. She also cut out articles she thought would be beneficial and pasted in photos she knew her daughter would treasure. And then she wrapped up that little journal book in gorgeous paper and presented it to her beloved daughter as a graduation present. The daughter said that it was absolutely one of her favorite gifts ever; that it wasn’t just a journal with lined paper and words tied up with pretty ribbon but her mom’s heart—written on each and every page—that was placed in her hands. I don’t know about you, but I’m crying my eyes out over here as I recount it to you! This particular gift stands out as such an amazing expression of love and commitment to me because, let’s face it, time can be at a premium senior year. From what I hear, just remembering to write a grocery list is cause for a pat on the back…am I right?

    Alex Arthur

    With that in mind, rather than laying a guilt trip on you—and, as we all know, there’s no guilt like mommy guilt!— I’m here instead to encourage my LMP mommas to take that idea and make it their own.  So what if it’s April and you’ve only got a few weeks left? Start now and call your journal “Final Thoughts on Your Senior Year,” or something to that effect. The point to me (and one I hope to remember when my babies are looking at senior year…yikes!) is for our children to have, in our own words and handwriting, thoughts that will be preserved long after they’re grown and gone.

    Okay, Kleenex used. Back on task. “Where do I begin?” you might ask. Here’s my answer: purchase that journal, pick up a pen, and get started with these prompts:

    • What would you say to your 18-year-old self? What are some of the things you know now that you wish you’d known then? Chances are your 18-year-old son or daughter will benefit from hearing those pearls of wisdom too.
    • Do you have favorite Bible verses or inspirational adages that have served you well through the years? I bet your teen will find them inspirational as well. Jot them down along with a memory of a time the words encouraged you.
    • Remember those Instagram photos of senior year I’ve been encouraging you to snap and post? Have them printed at CVS and paste them into your journal along with a note about why they’re among your favorites.
    Peyton McAlister

    LMP mommas, if you haven’t noticed by now, I’m all about your senior guys and girls. I’m also always looking for ways to encourage and equip them for life beyond high school because, well, I just really love them! But I know that no one, and I mean no one, can love them like you do. I don’t think you have to be the next great American novelist to let them know how you feel, though; being their momma is great enough. And I feel confident that whatever you write, it will be noteworthy.

    So pick up that ballpoint pen and see where you inner author takes you!

    LMP Love Dare: Journaling to Your Senior, Part II: […] of dipping my toes in the pool with a cool drink in hand, I wanted to check in and see how that journal project I proposed last month is going and give you a few words of encouragement to help you see it […] (May 15, 2015 at 00:16 am)