{family fun} photo booth fun!

Normally this post would have fallen under {home & garden} for parties, however, I happen to think this would be fun to do even for a play date or weekend activity, or even a family photo shoot. So I decided to post it in {family fun}.

One of the activities I chose to do at the girls Three Ring Circus Birthday last year was a Photo Booth. I checked into renting one of the machines you see at county fairs and such, but everything I found was a little more than we had in mind.

So instead I enlisted the help of my most favorite Orange County kids photographer, Sandy Heit.  We decided to use the girls playroom as the “booth”.  My sister drew some fun circus artwork on the chalkboard as a backdrop.  Then with a few great props ~ giant glasses, rainbow wig, mustache, clown noses, pink glasses, party hats, colorful balloons, a great red chair, and of course any toy in the playroom….and we were in business! Below are a few of my favorite shots….

{Click on each thumbnail for a larger image}

{Images: Sandy Heit}

It was a fun activity for the kids, and I absolutely love Sandy’s work with kids! Plus I was able to send each family a thank you note along with their photo. (Albeit I sent them over 6 months after the party…KID YOU NOT ~ 6 MONTHS, that’s how off my life and days were this past year!!)

Whether you hire someone, enlist a friend or family member, or just do it for a play date, Photo Booths are definitely a FAVORITE IDEA!

{OC Love} Holiday Mini Photo Sessions {& Giveaway!}

So who has booked their family photo for their holiday cards this year…let me see a show of hands…

I’m waiting….

Still waiting….

You know the photo you take to remember how young you still are?  And how cute your kids are??

Hmmm….lack of hands. You would think everyone has tons on their plate or something….school, kids activities, jobs, running around like headless chickens, catching up on DVR shows

I kid, I kid. But seriously, you haven’t booked this yet??! {Kidding on this too…I just booked ours last week.}

Lucky for all of us, Sandy Heit, (who is my most favorite family photographer and who has been taking all of our family photos since Addie was 2 weeks old). Has just opened up a few more Mini Holiday Photo Sessions!!! Yippee!

Sandy has chosen a few locations to offer additional sessions. 

These are her 3 favorite locations (and yes, ours is going to be at one of them too….we’re branching outside of our house this year.)

San Juan Capistrano – Tuesday, November 1st – 3:45, 4:15, 4:45, 5:15

Laguna Beach – Monday, October 17th – 4:30, 5:00. 5:30

Noguchi Garden – Sunday, October 23rd – 4:00, 4:30, 5:00, 5:30

Why I love “Mini Sessions“:

1. They last about 20 minutes, which in the grand scheme is realtively painless and is MUCH easier to fit into your family’s schedule. (And faster for your little punks to get the treat you promised them for being good…I mean, if you were a bribing kinda parent that is…)

2. They cost less cashola than a full session, which is nice when you’re having a tight budget year. It’s $275 + tax for Sandy to show you 10-15 images in an online gallery and/or studio appointment. Which includes $150 credit towards your images!

3. Did you read that part? INCLUDES a $150 credit for ordering images which can be used either for prints OR digital files!! (That’s like having free money to spend! Though my father-in-law and husband are both reading this and saying…noooo it’s still costing you money.  Then I say, but “I’m saving money”. Then they say, “But you’re still spending money”.  And I say, “Yes, but LESS money”.) It’s kind of all in how you justify it in your brain, don’t you think??

4. Again, did you catch that part about “OR digital files?” This year Sandy is offering packages to purchase the digital files. 1, 3 or all the digital images from your mini session. Love this!!!

5. Another great idea for a mini session? Use it as an early Holiday gift for a grandparent with the kids….seriously, how much would this gift be loved!!!

My favorite tips Sandy gives for choosing what to wear:

1. Choose items for the entire family as if you were creating one outfit. If your choices were all on one person, would the result be pleasing? (Look past the fact you could be wearing 25 articles of clothing….)

2. Choose one pattern item and then select the rest of the family’s clothes from within that pattern. (Kind of the same approach to decorating ~ use a piece of art, or area rug and coordinate pillows, furniture, etc…)

3. Pick your outfit first. The one YOU feel great in, then coordinate everyone else to you. (Oh my! Mom first??  I think I like that idea!)


You guessed it, Sandy is giving away 1 HOLIDAY MINI SESSION! (This is a $275 value which includes the session, and photo credit.)

RULES: Leave a comment below letting us know your location preference from above. (1 entry)

OPTIONAL: Additional entry: “Like” Sandy Heit Photography on Facebook and let her know My Favorite Everything sent you, then come back and let me know you did.  (1 entry).

Giveaway closes 9:00pm PST Sunday, October 2nd, 2011.

And here is one more treat, book your session and mentionMy Favorite Everything” and Sandy will give you a complimentary 5 x 7 print from your session!

Seriously, don’t wait. These sessions will be lucky to make it to Sunday.  They go soooo fast! Contact Sandy 949.515.3905 or sandy@sandyheit.com

Good Luck ~ and Happy Holidays!
(Can I say that before Halloween?!??)

wordless wednesday ~ i {heart} sandy heit

This really will be a Wordless Wednesday because these photos speak for themselves!  Sandy Heit has been taking our family photos and the girls newborn photos for 3 years now, and TRUST ME we have not made it easy for her!  So if we can get shots like these, under the circumstances we put her in, she is MOST DEFINITELY A FAVORITE in my book!  I hope you will have the pleasure of working with her as well.  Talent, patience, OH SO MUCH PATIENCE & a fabulous attitude to boot!  Here’s is a sampling of some of my faves she took for us.  Piper was 10 days old (perfect time to get newborn shots!)…

If you want to read more about why I {heart} Sandy Heit check out this, and this….but most of all, check out her site and her photo blog.  She is amazing to work with!

wordless wednesday ~ just a teaser

We took family and newborn photos when Piper was 10 days old….To say we gave Sandy Heit a few challenges is an UNDERSTATEMENT!  Not like you can tell in the slightest from this photo of Addie, I absolutely LOVE it!!

Be sure to check back next week to see the rest of the darling photos!

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out Angry Julie Monday.

friday favorites

It was a crazy busy week again (What weeks aren’t for moms??  Do any of you have a new found respect for your mom?? I sure do!) And I can’t believe it’s just over 4 weeks until the newest babe is here!  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t make a showing any earlier!!!  I love ya and can’t wait to meet ya, but you just go ahead and stay nice and cozy until March 9th, Pretty Please!

OK, onto the fun things from this week.  I actually had to edit this a bit because I saw so many fun things to share and try!  Here is just a sampling….

These are just too darn cute! Sweetie Pies, from Williams Sonoma. YUM!!

“Pure edible nostalgia, our heart-shaped treats recall the whoopie pies beloved by kids but with a decidedly sophisticated twist. The sweet valentines come to us from a bakery in Maine that uses local butter and free-range eggs to make individual rich, moist red-velvet cakes that are filled with decadent buttercream in three delicious flavors: chocolate, raspberry and classic vanilla.”

I {HEART} whoopie pies!  If you live in the Orange County or Los Angeles area you might also try Susie Cake’s whoopie pies. I think they got me through Hayden’s pregnancy, PURE DECADENT HEAVEN!  But I love that these ones from Williams Sonoma are red velvet cakes and are in the shape of hearts for Valentine’s Day.  Yummy AND cute!

Every girl needs a “go to” pair of “Flips” (as they are called in our house) for Spring and Summer.  I’m personally addicted to Havaianas Gold Slim Flip Flop, they are SUPER comfortable, don’t need breaking in, they always look good, and a gold pair is JUST what your wardrobe ordered!  Gold goes with EVERYTHING, add this to your wardrobe and simplify your “what am I going to wear today” daily decision.  (I also recommend buying early as the slim gold Havaianas tend to sell out closer to late spring and summer.  I like to have them waiting for me when I need them. Just ordered mine this week from Amazon.)

I seriously love Make and Takes blog!  If you don’t subscribe, I would suggest doing so.  Not every daily email has something for me, but when it does, IT REALLY DOES.  I saw this tip for making  your own microwave popcorn bags last fall and LOVED IT! But then Make and Takes has to one up themselves and show us a fabulous Valentine snack….who doesn’t love white chocolate, M&Ms and popcorn!?!?  Check out their White Chocolate Valentine Candies….such an easy fun project for you and your Littles (or just you after the Littles go to bed and you’ve poured yourself a glass of wine to go along with your People magazine….not going to lie, eating this by myself on the sofa watching my DVR shows in peace and quite sounds REALLY good!)

OK this last Favorite of the week is DEFINITELY a FAVORITE.  You must know by now how much I love the work that family photographer Sandy Heit does.  If you don’t, check it out here and here.  And lucky us, Sandy is offering this great mini photo session (LOVE that they are only 30 minutes!) to celebrate her natural light studio.  Sandy is extremely talented and so amazing at catching those little “looks” and moments in your Littles that you will treasure foreverBe sure to check out her blog for more information. (Great way to get an early Mothers Day gift taken care of for the Grandma’s, or just for the fun of updating your wall photos).

WHAT: 30 minute photo session
WHEN: February Only – contact Sandy for available dates & times
COST: $250
INCLUDES: Session Fee, (1) 8×10, (2) 5×7s

Call 949.515.3905 or email sandy@sandyheit.com to reserve your spot

(Images: Sandy Heit)

Anyone want to know who won the Valentine appliques???
We have 2 winners that have each won 1 Valentine applique:

Tiffany Lockette and Chrystal @ Happy Mothering


Thank you so much for entering!  Please email me at shanna@myfavoriteeverything.com

And last, but not least here’s the meal plan and shopping list for next week. Don’t be too critical!  I’m trying to keep it real for us all.  What I give you for a meal plan is what my family is TRULY EATING. I used to make the menu ahead a week to test for you all, but it became too much of an extra step.  So now we eat the same thing in the same week  Next week has some challenges – it’s my birthday, I have bookclub, and I have a conference.  So hubby has the girls 2 nights on his own.  Therefore next week’s menu is how I’m planning for all of that.

Would love to hear any suggestions you all have for your regular easy week night meals. Or what you do for your family when you will be out! I tend to stick to the same things that just “work” for me to do quickly, would love to hear your easy favorites too!  Email me your recipes, shanna@myfavoriteeverything.com and I’ll try them out for including in the meal plans. Looking forward to reading and sharing them! Thanks!

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you back here on Monday!

So you want to know who won?

This was a butterflys-flying-in-my-stomach-draw-for-a-giveaway!

Not necessarily for Addie, but DEFINITELY for me!

I couldn’t wait to see who the winner was, and REALLY can’t wait to see the pictures Sandy takes!

So you better share!

Here it goes…

Hey Addie – I know you’re totally infatuated with “Little Bear” but can you help Mommy??

SH 1

Sure mom, but just for a sec!

SH 2

It’s so fun to pick names!!

SH 3

Wait, this is the best part in “Little Bear”…hold please…..

SH 4

OK, I’m back, sort of..

SH 5

Here you go Mom!!

SH 6

Right in your hand!  No second guessing which one I picked!

SH 7

Congratulations Pat H!

The Sandy Heit photo session and 1 – 8 x 10 are yours!

Please email me at shanna@myfavoriteeverything.com

You will love your time with Sandy!

SH 8

OK, that was cool and all mom, but I’m back to “Little Bear”….

SH 9

say cheese…great camera tips!

Sandy Heit Christmas 3

I am so fortunate to know a photographer like Sandy Heit!  Not only has she been amazing at capturing wonderful images of our children and family, but she is also a wealth of knowledge in helping me learn how to use this new beast of a camera that I’m swinging around these days! (To see more on Sandy, check out this earlier post).

Soap Box Moment for just a sec…

One of my most favorite characteristics in a professional is not being afraid to share their tips with you.  3 of the most important service people in my life –  photographer, brows/makeup, and hair pro (haaa, that kinda made me sound like I was getting ready for my Today Show appearance!!  I WISH, just a regular ‘ole mom over here!!)…

Anyway, EACH of these professionals is amazing and very generous about giving me tips or teaching me how to do things on my own…to me this creates customer loyalty as all 3 know that in watching the family budget, I (we all) NEED to do things on my (our) own. HOWEVER, knowing that these pros are so willing to help me (us), makes me WANT to make appointments with each of them for the times that it really counts!  So it’s a win-win all the way around.

Now onto the pro tips for today!

I’m assuming with the holidays approaching, cameras for gifts (or for yourself, FINALLY) are probably on lists somewhere and thought this might help….

When I was getting ready to start this blog, I knew that one feature I really enjoyed and appreciated on other sites was good photographs.  Now CLEARLY I’m not a pro with pictures, but I’m surprised how often I receive emails from people asking how I do something.

The truth?

I don’t have a clue!

I have this camera that is WAAAAYYY better than me!  I know that someday I will have time to really unleash it’s true potential, but for now, I’m just thankful it can perform basically on auto pilot….

Sandy Heit was amazing when I was getting started and made the following suggestions:

For camera bodies, she recommends either the Canon EOS Rebel T1i (Body Only)
which sells for about $700.

Amazon Canon Rebel

Or the Canon EOS 50D Camera (Body Only) which sells for about $1150.

Amazon Canon 50D

Quite a few places sell these cameras with kit lens with she believes are junk
(I’ve had quite a few friends that use these cameras tell me the same thing…)

Because I wanted to work on product shots, she recommended a Canon 50mm 1.8 Camera Lens
that sells for about $80.  Basically a good, sharp lens.

canon 50mm 1.8

However, because Sandy also knows I’m a bit of a photo freak (I love family pictures)
she also recommended another lens, the Tamron 28-75mm Camera Lens
which she believes is a great all around lens.

Tamron 28-75

And since I’m totally clueless with cameras (unless its my point and shoot, which I affectionately like to call “push here dummy”).  Sandy also recommended a good read: Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera.  When I passed this information onto my youngest sister who is most definitely the photographer in our family, she laughed as she has the Canon Rebel T1i and also the book, and loves them both! So that served as a second to the recommendations for me.

Amazon Understanding Exposure

And to answer your question, I use the Canon 50D and Tamron 28-75.

Now as far as Point and Shoot cameras are concerned, I personally love the Canon Elph.  I have used Panasonic, Sony and Canon P&S cameras and in the end ALWAYS come back to Canon Elphs.  That is not to say the others aren’t good, but for my novice ability and need for the easiest thing that will give me the best pictures, Canon Elphs have always been the best.

My current P&S is the Canon PowerShot SD850 Elph Camera.

Canon Elph 850

The P&S that Sandy Heit wants is the Panasonic Lumix LX3.

Amazon Panasonic

The P&S she currently uses is a Canon G9
(Canon PowerShot G10 is now available).

Amazon Canon G10I have given links to Amazon as I love shopping with them, love the super saver shipping, and often get the best prices.  Sandy also recommends B&H Photography out of NY.   You pay for shipping, but if you are not in NY, you don’t pay sales tax.

Also for great tips on taking photos and also using Photo Shop (which I have YET to learn), check out The Pioneer Woman. This woman is my hero!!

Here’s a few great gift thoughts from Sandy as well…

She offers Gift Certificates starting at $250, which covers her session fee.
Great deal, because now all that’s left is buying photos, etc.

Accordian books are always fun for parents and grandparents!


I love to make photo notecards to use for personal stationary and thanks notes.
(These are 2 of my personal ones).


And my all time FAVORITE companion product Sandy offers,
her Modern Photo Books



Now I was planning on sharing some tips from Sandy on organizing photos…
I but think we will be here until January 2010 if this post gets any longer.
So instead, I’m going to move on to Sandy Heit’s FABULOUS giveaway!!!

(I’ll post the organizing tips in a future post…)

1 luck winner will win a photo session with Sandy and 1 – 8 x 10 photo, a $325 value!

Here are the rules – if possible (this is new), please leave separate comments… a pain I know, but makes it easier when I’m making up the draw bucket for the girls!!

1. Visit Sandy Heit’s Blog and leave a comment there on a favorite photo. (1 entry)

2. Sign up on Sandy’s mailing list to receive future promotions(1 entry)

3. Add one of my buttons to your site or blogroll (1 entry).

4. Vote for us for the bizziollionth time at Top Mommy Blogs! (1 entry)

Don’t forget to leave your comments so we know what you did!!  And enter even if you live out of town, it just gives you more reason to come visit the OC!!

Best of luck! You have until Tuesday, December 15th to enter. Winner will be announced on Wednesday.

Don’t forget to enter the Juliska Giveaway!!  Only 3 days left!!
The more times you comment, the more chances you have!

merry SITsmas!

Sandy Heit Christmas 4

MERRY SITSmas Everyone!

Being new to the blogging world, I’ve been very fortunate to meet a ton of new friends and blogs through Twitter, Facebook, and SITS to name a few networks!  I love that the goal behind SITS is to promote “sisters” and to introduce you to so many amazing blogs!  Best wishes to everyone and thank you for stopping by our little site over the past few weeks! Merry SITSmas Day!

New friends are a FAVORITE!

(Obviously taking Holiday Photos is not!!!  Gotta love Sandy for trying!)

Cheers and Happy Holidays!!

signature 3(Shameless plug…
if you have any extra time, check out the most beautiful tablewear for the holidays!
And enter to win the JULISKA GIVEAWAY!)