Sunday, April 29, 2018

Tour of our new home :)

Hi everyone :)

It's finally time for a tour of our new home!



I don't really know how to describe my decorating style so I can't really label it.  I do a mix of modern farmhouse & contemporary... I think? Haha! Either way, I just like my home to be warm, cozy, inviting, but chic all at the same time.

Here are photos of each room, & I've added links on some of the details as well!

Front Porch:




I adore the big tree in the front! I love this neighborhood. We can keep an eye on our front porch at all times thanks to our Video Doorbell Pro by Ring.  (You can find a more detailed review I posted here).




The pretty spring "Hello" door sign is by The Pink Door Designs.  I literally smile looking at it every time I pull up to the house!



Our adorable personalized door mat is by Fox and Clover! ALL the heart eyes over this!!!


Living Room:

To the right when you walk in the house is our living room.  I'm loving having a living area that can be used for having coffee with guests or reading in the sunlight that pours in all the windows.


That mirror on the wall is my favorite garage sale find ever, that I painted white.  My husband made that table for me.  The washable rug is by Lorena Canals that I reviewed in a previous blog post. Its amazing & still looks great after MANY times in the washing machine & dryer!


Dining Room:

The living room connects to a dining room area that we will use when we have extra guests for holidays, etc. :)


Stairway:


LOVING our framed canvas prints by Photography.com.  More details on those in the family room portion of this post. ;) Bench was made by my hubby.  Mirror I bought at Target years ago!

Kitchen:

My favorite part of our new home, the gorgeous kitchen.  I love the grey cabinetry, the grey & white marble granite countertops & the gorgeous back splash.



I had to add copper accents because I LOVE how copper looks with grey!


My Thankful sign is by my friend Lynnae at Rustic Branches.  She is so talented!


"Kitchen Nook" (not really but I call it that):




Hello Letterboards is where I got ours, love it SO much for changing up inspirational quotes & sayings for each season. :)



Family Room:

This is our family's hang out area.  We watch lots of movies & relax in here!


Our framed canvas print of our family vacation photo made the perfect addition to our gallery wall.  It's by Photography.com & we are SO happy with how it came out! They have intricately detailed frames & many options to choose from.  They also arrive ready to hang.  

If you're like me & have TONS of super cute photos of your kids but still haven't had any printed for the walls of your home... I have an amazing special for you.  Right now with Photography.com you can get buy one get THREE FREE with free shipping!!! Now there are no excuses NOT to decorate your walls with your beautiful family photos. ;)


The bible verse sign, Home Sweet Home sign, & letter J are all from Hobby Lobby.  The "This is Us" sign is by a friend of mine here in Texas, visit her Facebook page to see all of the adorable signs she makes: Three M Designs.  The Jackson family sign was a gift & the chevron arrows my hubby made.  I love a good Farmhouse gallery wall!


The matching pom pom blanket & pom pom basket that I put my fiddle leaf fig tree in are by Lorena Canals!  They were the perfect addition to our family room as well.  Love them!!! The blanket is really big, stretchy & soft. The basket is just ADORABLE & can be used to put blankets in too.  It would also be precious in a play room!


Our entertainment center is a total Ikea hack.  My husband added the molding, the feet, & built the little crates.  If you'd like any details on items shown just message me! :)  My dogs love their little spot in front of the fireplace.


Master Bedroom:

Just like our last house, I wanted to keep it simple & chic.  I believe in keeping the master bedroom uncluttered & peaceful, it makes it easier to unwind & get a good night's sleep!


Guest Room:

I LOVED decorating this room, especially with all the guests we have visiting us this spring/summer.  


The grey herringbone duvet is by Linens & Hutch.  I LOVE the softness & quality.  They have so many cute prints to choose from! They're also SUPER budget friendly.  Use sincerelystevieblog at checkout to get your own gorgeous bedding for 30% off!


Play room:

I can't say for sure that this room is complete yet... BUT this is what we've got so far & the kids love it.  Thank you Texas for big homes that include areas for the kids to play/video game/watch movies in!



PS: This little sofa I found on Amazon has STORAGE underneath.... it fits all the costumes perfectly!

Jace's Room:

I wanted this room to look as much like it did at the last house as possible.  I linked most all of the details in his nursery reveal post here.






Room not pictured: Cole & Brody's bedroom!  I let my husband & the kids do what they wanted in that room so far, so I'm not sharing it. LOL! Hopefully in the future I'll give that room a makeover & share here.

Thank you all for reading!  If I didn't link something & you'd like to know where it's from, please just email me or message me on my Instagram

Time to get ready for a pool day with the family, I hope you're all having a happy Sunday!





Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Easter Decor on a budget & a First peak at our new home!

Oh my gosh it's been awhile!

Moving as a family of 5 is NO joke.

I wanted to come on & share with you my Easter mantle & kitchen nook area/table scape, all decorated for this special holiday.  The rest of my home tour will be on the blog very soon.

As most of you know, I love to decorate but I do it all on a budget.  I don't need to spend a lot of money to be happy!  Some of what I decorated with is new & some is not, I'll list it out below. :)


Our new house has grey details, grey wood floors & a grey kitchen. It's gorgeous & we're loving it!
I found the window at a garage sale!  The wreath I made out of supplies from Hobby Lobby.  The "He is Risen" pennant I bought at Walmart.  The Easter egg bouquet & little bird are from Target.  The horse head is from Home Goods.  The candle sticks & faux orchids/pots are from Ikea.  The adorable felt ball garland is from one of my fave Etsy shops Glitter Party Co!

The second area I decorated for Easter is the "kitchen nook" area.  I asked my hubby to put in open shelving for me to decorate.  I painted the shelves white & love how it turned out!  



Shelfie!  The fake flowers are all Ikea, eggs are Target, white dishes have been randomly bought over the years from various places, & my adorable letter board is by Hello LetterBoards!



This chalkboard is the same one Michael hand made me for Jace's Winter Onederland First Birthday Party.  I knew the minute we found our new house that I was going to put this chalkboard in this very spot. :)  The white cherry blossom wreath is from Target.




These little bunny napkin holders & the eggs in the vase are from ALSO from Target (of course).


I know this was short & to the point so if you have any questions free to message me here or on my Instagram page!









Wednesday, February 7, 2018

How I get great photos of my kids + edit my photos!

Hi friends!

I've received a lot of questions about how I edit my photos & get my kids to cooperate when I take them.  Since I've been doing this for years & have learned a lot of tricks along the way, I thought I'd share some secrets.  I am by NO MEANS a trained photographer, so if you want a professional course, this is not it.  I have a fancy camera that I have no clue how to use on manual mode (that will be for another day when I have a hours of free time - which is never). I do however have a few tricks under my sleeve that help achieve professional "looking" photos using only your smartphone, & that's what I'm going to share with you today.

Tip #1:  LIGHTING IS EVERYTHING.

Obviously the outdoors are always optimal for a photo with great lighting.  If you're going to take photos in the middle of a sunny day, only shoot in the shade.  If you're wanting perfect lighting though, take your pics during golden hour right before/during sunset.  Cloudy/overcast days are GREAT for taking pics outside as well.

This photo was in the middle of broad daylight, but there was shade in front of the fence.  With a little bit of editing afterwards, I was pleased with the results!  Also, the kids weren't squinting with sun in their eyes. ;)

That being said, you don't have to be outdoors to get great lighting. In fact, some of my favorite photos have been taken of my kids indoors!  I have sort of memorized the areas of the house that have the best lighting depending on certain times of the day.  For example, Jace's nursery is facing the East, so his room is brightest in the morning.  My bedroom is facing West, so it's bright in there in the afternoon.  When you open up your blinds/curtains & place your kids facing towards the light, you'll be amazed at the lighting you can get!  *PS: Turn OFF your flash.  Just do it.  It's worthless.*

Here's an example of an indoor picture in front of the window with plenty of natural light!


Tip #2:  SIMPLE BACKGROUNDS.

This tip alone can take any normal pic of your kids (like the type that flood your Facebook feed) to the type photo that catches someone's eye & makes them stop.  Eliminating clutter, random people, etc from the background of your photos draws focus onto your subject (AKA: your kiddo/s).  This doesn't mean the background has to be one solid color (although walls are a great backdrop too).  Just look for open spaces, light colors, pretty views, or simple settings.

One of my favorite things to do is lay my babies/kids on a white blanket.  I know I won't be able to do this for much longer, so if you have little ones - capture some of these before it's too late! Throw in a fun prop or sign to make it even more adorable.  You won't regret it later when they're older & too cool for school.

Also, in this tip I want to mention the rule of thirds.  You may have heard of this before.  Imagine drawing to lines down a photo vertically, & then across horizontally.  In the photography world, the 4 points where these lines meet are the best spots for placing your subject.  If you don't have time to think about that, just put your kids to the side of the pic a little bit & take the pic.  OR, crop the photo later making it look like you used rule of thirds to begin with. ;)

This pic is a good example of rule of thirds.  I used self timer on my camera for this as well!


Tip #3:  GET FUN ANGLES/BE SILLY.

If you follow me on Instagram, it's no secret I love the shots from up above.  I sleep stalk Jace all the time to capture these gems.  I've also achieved some super cool shots of the kids at this angle while they're awake, & that's where being silly comes in.  Sometimes our kids get sick of saying "cheese" for photos, & I think every single photo of them smiling the same way gets boring anyway.  Have some fun, & make silly faces for your kids.

When I took this photo, I had to do the most ridiculous voices they've ever heard & it made them all crack up.  It was worth it to get this shot.  This is now framed on my living room wall.  But be quick... once you get them in the spot you want, make sure that camera is ready, they won't hold still for long.


Tip #4:  VIDEO SCREEN SHOTS.

Kids won't hold still? That's fine, take a video of them & then screen shot it.  Once you've gotten a video in an area with good lighting, go to the bottom of the screen when viewing that video.  You can scroll through the clips of your video at the bottom of the screen & screen shot what you like.  THEN, edit the photo.  (Which I explain in my next tip)!  This is also great when you need to get you and your husband in the photo too!



Tip #5:  EDIT YOUR PHOTOS.

There are a LOT of great photo editing apps, like VSCO, Snapseed, Color Story, etc.  My favorite for making my photos light & bright though is Adobe Lightroom.  It's free.  Here are the main steps I take when editing in LR:



1.  Go to light settings.  I turn up the Exposure, the whites, & sometimes the highlights (depending on the lighting from photo to photo - my editing can vary & be in different amounts.  I just eyeball it).  Sometimes I will turn down the blacks if there are any black colors I want to pop after turning the light up.




2.  Go to color settings.  Go to Mix, & turn down orange saturation to eliminate any orange tones (orange hues make a photo look unprofessional & like a cheesy filter was used IMO).  If you're in the photo with your kids, turn down the luminance a bit to give yourself a tan. Then turn down the yellow saturation.  Also, to make any colors in your photo pop, turn the saturation up on any of those colors.


3.  Go to detail.  Turn up the sharpening a bit to make the picture more clear after all of the light/color filtering.  Then, turn up the noise reduction to smooth out the photo. After I export my photo out of LR, I crop it in my phone however I want it.  I prefer iPhone cropping tool.


Here's an example before & after using the editing steps listed above:



I have a feeling I will come back & edit this blog post from time to time to add in any tips I forgot, or learn as time goes on.  Just remember to have fun with it... the best pics of your kids will be of them having fun, not being forced into a photo.  (I am totally guilty of making my kids pose for photos from time to time, but doing that too much makes them despise getting their pictures taken)! Also, GET IN the photos with your kids sometimes!  They will want to look back in the future & see mommy with them too.  Have your hubby take them, or set up self timer to have you and/or your hubby in them as well.  Keep your eyes open for good photo opps.  I sneak up on my kids all the time when they're together being super cute & not fighting for once. ;)  Or, if I see a beautiful back drop, I'll get my camera ready & then ask the kids to turn & smile just for a moment.  These turn out to be some of my favorites.

If you have any questions about these photo tips, the editing process, or anything I forgot to mention, PLEASE let me know! You can email me at: sincerelystevieblog@gmail.com or message me on my blog Instagram page!

Thanks for reading & I hope you find some inspiration from this post. :)