Archives for category: Guest Blogger

>So there’s this girl
and her name is Casey {cool, right!).
I go to her blog
and I stare at her pictures like a creeper.
She is gorgeous,
and so is her family.
But the best part.
She is 100% humble.
And we like humble.
She is a Momma who loves with every ounce of her heart.
She has an Ashton Kutcher look alike hubs {huge compliment if you ask me}.
She has babes that could be Gap models.
She writes from the heart.
Oh, and did I mention that she is an insanely talented artist?
Because she’s that too!

Today Casey is visiting us,
to share some of her beautiful thoughts on Motherhood.
Here she is:


Hi, My name is Casey Wiegand and I am a freelance artist, wife and mama. I love painting and sharing our life through my blog …where you can expect pieces of my perspective on life, faith, kids, marriage, with touches of art, creative inspiration, projects and things I love along the way. I have two littles ones in the hopes of lots more and am married to the love of my life!
When sweet Ashley asked me to guest post I was HONORED and so excited. She is such an inspiration to so many of us and to get to be a part of this beautiful blog is amazing! I was thinking about what I should share today and decided to talk about open hands…..something I struggle with when it comes to my littles! 
So very nice to meet you all!!!
Aiden (my 2 year old)is a major snuggle bug. I don’t know if it’s because for the past 2 years I have snuggled him constantly or if it was already in his nature but he loves to be held, snuggled, tickled, hugged, kissed…all things wonderful.
Some nights he is extra extra loving. Like tonight. 
I went in to put him to bed and both arms instantly wrapped tight around my neck, holding on for dear life and then came the kisses! Countless kisses all over my cheeks.
Then came my tears. 
The hot tears streaming down my cheeks. Oh the love. Sometimes I just can’t squeeze tight enough. I stayed in there till he fell asleep and he never let go.
I have an incredibly sensitive spirit. It’s both a strength and a curse. I tend to get my heart broken often.  Then I started to think….if something happened to me, could others love my babies the way I do?

Would they know?
Would they know the big things like schedules. What Aiden will and won’t eat. His favorite toys, his own little language. His bath routine. His favorite shows & songs to dance to.

What about Ainsleigh ( my 9 month old)? when she eats, the noises she makes when she is tired vs hungry. What makes her laugh.

Then I think…well, what about the little things.
Would they know that when Aiden pulls your eye to his cheek he wants butterfly kisses.
Or that when he runs to the kitchen rug & sits down, he is ready for a pretend picnic.
The countless things I know about them.
What about the nights. Would they get up with him 10 times each night and hold him till he slips into slumber.
Please say yes.
It actually makes me weep.
There is a great hope in Jesus. He loves my babies more than I ever could imagine. More than me. Impossible to imagine really, but true. And no matter if I am here or not, they will be loved greatly.
Open hands Casey, open hands.

“When a woman has a kingdom heart, she has an active understanding of what matters most to the heart of God. She lives in the balance of passion and contentment. She learns to love well, give without regard to self, and forgive without hesitation. The woman with a kingdom heart may have a duffel bag full of possessions or enough treasures to fill a mansion, but she has learned to hold them with an open hand. Hold everything with open hands. I don’t think we are ever allowed to grab hold of anything or anyone as though they matter more than the kingdom of heaven. When you hold relationships with open hands, then people come in and out of your life as gifts of grace to be cherished and enjoyed, not objects to be owned and manipulated. And then when you hold your dreams with open hands, you get to watch God resurrect what seemed dead and multiply what seemed small.”



Tips for Getting Kids to Smile for Pictures
by: Kristen Duke Photography
{we love her}

Hello friends! Ashley asked me to do a post on some photography basics, so I thought I’d share something that would help the momma’s out there trying to get their kids to just LOOK AT THEM for a picture. I know a lot of you can feel my pain when you get blank stares or grumpy frowns or just plain ignoring your requests. As a momma myself, I have to have a LOT of tricks up my sleeve to get my own kids to smile at the camera (no, they aren’t used to it and happyily comply, I have to work for it). Right now in my family, I am dealing with my hardest client ages–the 2 year old and the 10 year old boy–Neither want to do what you ask when it comes to picture taking! Luckily my 6 year old daughter loves the camera!

My dad said if you want people to remember something you are teaching, give them a set of three points and it will stick better (Did you notice that with my e-book?) So I’ve got 3 tricks for the young ones and 3 tips for the older kids.

3 tricks for getting young kids to smile:

1. One word phrases
“Cheese” is SO overdone…the kids are tired of it and by now they’ve heard it so much that they move their lips in a straight line and show some teeth but their eyes are totally annoyed and rarely even make eye contact. Change up those one word phrases you have them say. Some of my favorites for kids or groups: “Yee–haw” or “happy” or “Hooray!” or “pizza.” Throw out any words for them to repeat. It can be anything from their favorite treat to their favorite cartoon character to their favorite toy. Have them repeat what makes them happy and they will think happy thoughts.
2. Sing a song
We want to get the children to a place that brings happiness in order to capture happiness. As the momma (or aunt or grandma), you know their favorite song, start singing it! If they don’t sing along, they will surely smile as they hear it. Twinkle Twinkle or Old McDonald or Wheels on the Bus are standard favorites, but I often ask kids (if I don’t know them well) what shows they like to watch and I am finding myself singing about Dora or Elmo or even Barney. Singing the words wrong can actually be pretty funny as well. The little ones will correct you. One time, I kept singing it wrong even after correcting, and I got a grumpy face. I think I just took that one too far;)
3. Have a bag of tricks
First, I pull out a little yellow hair scrunchy that has been converted to a duck. It wraps around my lens and I tell the young kids to look right at the duck and quack. I try to wait until I am desperate when I pull out a ball or a rattle to get their attention. I do this because often the little ones want to hold it and my plan could backfire. I throw the ball up in the air, or put it right by the camera and say I am going to throw it at them. The anticipatory smile is all worth it. I have a silver bell ornament from Christmas that I like to bring out because in the event that the young child wants to hold the ball, it isn’t too ugly to stay in his hand for the pic. A stick or book can “bonk” the photographer on the head or leg and you can actually yell “OWW” and that brings on the laughs as well. This requires an extra person doing the “bonking.” This shot below what my head getting “bonked” by my reflector as I pretended to get hurt.

3 tricks for getting older kids to smile:

1. Have a conversation
Show interest and have a chat about life. Ask about school, friends, sports, skateboarding, vacations, birthday wish list, their favorite show, etc. By asking questions and getting them to talk, they forget about the grumpiness that surely presented itself when you pulled out the camera.
2. Have some music at the ready
Teens love their music and it usually puts them in a good mood. Whether you ask them to bring their ipod, or tune the car radio to their favorite station, you are sure to get a happy face. You may even get to capture a dance move. Seriously, I love those kinds of candid shots!
3. Ask about their girl/boy friend.
They may not have one, but the idea of this brings a “no way” or a big smile as they think of that person they are crushing on. Whether they try to deny it, or paint you a picture of all of their loves’ exquisite details, you will get a smile.
If you have some suggestions on getting kids to smile, please share! I can always use new ideas…especially for my own kids!
P.S. Ashley mentioned my Say NO! to Auto e-book and workshops on here last week. I want to mention that I had a location change for my July 23rd California workshop. It was going to be in San Diego, but it is now in Huntington Beach. So if that is closer to you, please let me know if you’d like to attend! If you aren’t close to there or my Texas locations, look up my skype mentoring info for some one on one Q&A!
Oh, and if I haven’t given you enough links to pass the time, com
e on over to my facebook page and become a fan because each Friday (today!), I have a Facebook Freebie where I give away full resolution files of landscape images I have taken. Print as you please.
Have a great Friday!


Every now and then I like to let you guys know what you will find in my browser history.  As in what other blogs I have been obsessing over.
As in searching through their archives waaayyyy past my bedtime.
As in want to have their phone number so we can text and become BFF,
because I just know we have so much in common.
And today, there are two ladies in particular that I have been getting to know a bit better, and falling head over heals with.
The first, I learned about from my gal MGR.
Author: Cori
She is my BFF and doesn’t even know it.
This girl is me.
No really, she is.
Except she has better eye brows,
she can sew like Martha Stewart,
she seems to have complete control over her 3 stunning kiddos
and she is way braver with fashion.
OK, so maybe we aren’t exactly alike,
but I still like to think so.
Did I mention that we are the EXACT same height?!
Yep, 4-10 and 3/4.
4-11 with shoes.
That’s really short, and NO we don’t get a special sticker for parking,
so don’t even ask, because that will only irritate us.
My favorite part about Cori,
she makes us shorties look good!
You will love her.

Yes, she did sew all of these outfits, Mmm Hmmm.
I think she looks just like Jamie Lynn Sigler.
Translation: she is stunning!
Visit La Vie Petite today,
and while you’re their would you mind letting her know that we’re BFF–its time I come out of the closet.
Now this next girl KNOWS I love her.
Meet Lee La La.
Author Lindsay.
This girl has got it all going on.
Crafty super star.
Etsy business owner stud.
Hot Momma with fabulous fashion sense.
And a new REAL life BFF of mine–true story.
It turns out we live around the corner from each other,
and even grew up in the same area,
AND our kids are the same age.
Woah, right!?!
She has been a blessing to my life
and I can tell we will be life long friends.
Visit Lee La La here.
Ok, so who are your latest blog crushes?
I must know.


I was introduced to Kellie Larsen Photography a few months ago,
and as I browsed through her website
I remember thinking,
Wow, I want to take photos like this chic.
If only I could get up the nerve to take my camera off auto.

And if you read this post, then you know my picture taking methods are a bit…well, elementary {for lack of a better word}.

So after chatting with Kellie a bit about my
ridiculous fears of the “manual” setting,
she decided to put together this amazing post
to help us all take the plunge.

Seriously, this post is like GOLD! Thank you Kellie!


10 Steps to Ditching Full-Auto
(and improving your photos)

Do you own a nice,
expensive camera,
yet still shoot in Full-Auto?

If so, you’re possibly feeling overwhelmed by all of the settings and buttons on your camera. Or maybe it is because you don’t see the point in taking your camera off of Auto Mode since your camera must know more than you, right?

I wrote this tutorial in hopes of making you feel empowered. I’m giving you 10 tips to help you to learn to use your DSLR and improve your photography skills. You are smarter than your camera and with some work the quality of your photos will improve greatly!

But before we begin, a little bit about me.
My name is Kellie.


I’m a 26-year-old mother to two beautiful girls.
They’re a year apart and so much fun!
I wouldn’t change a thing.

My Girls1

I’m also a wife of 3+ years to one super fun guy
who just so happens to be my best friend and such a good dad!

(Us. The dating years. Oh man, he’s cute!)
We love to adventure together as a family.
We also love a relaxing day at home.
But mostly we just like to be together.
I am a self-taught photographer by profession. Check out some of my photos HERE. I am currently living in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area. I love what I do and one of my goals before and during a photo session is to get to know my clients so we actually become friends.
You can check out my website.
Follow me on my blog.
And “like” me on FB.
Okay… On to the tutorial!
First of all, please do not feel overwhelmed. Once you begin to put these steps into practice you will get it, your photos WILL look better, and you will feel so proud of yourself. Now go grab your DSLR and try these tips out.

10. JPEG vs RAW
Let’s just keep it simple: If you are just photographing your cute kids then I recommend shooting JPEG. The JPEG files are smaller than RAW and most programs support them. Refer to your instruction manual.
9. ISO
If you are outside in the sun, use a low ISO setting. If you are inside where it’s darker, you will need to raise your ISO. I always like to start low and raise it if my photos are still coming out too dark. The main problem with high ISO is that your photos may look more grainy. The top photo was taken with a low ISO (100) and the bottom with high (1600). You’ll notice there are grainy spots in the shadows of the bottom photo.


8. White Balance (WB)
Your camera will give you different options for White Balance. Choose the one that applies to your situation. The appropriate White Balance will give your photos warmth and character.
This photo was taken outside in direct sunlight. For the top photo I set my camera to ‘Daylight’ WB mode. Nice and warm. For the bottom photo I set my camera to ‘White Fluorescent Light’ WB mode. Washed out with too much blue in it.

WB Example

7. Exposure
There are two components to Exposure: Aperture and Shutter Speed. They need to work together to get a good picture.

Aperture (Av): Controls the how blurry or clear your background and foreground are. If you want to control the amount of blur-effect then set your camera to Av Mode. The lower your f-number, the more blurry your background and foreground will be. The left photo was taken with a low f-number (F1.8). The right photo was taken with a high f-number (F20).

Aperture Example

Shutter Speed (Tv): Controls the motion blur of your subject. If you want to control the amount of motion blur then set your camera to Tv Mode. The Shutter Speed is measured in seconds. 1/500 means 1/500th of a second is how long the shutter will be open. Most shutter speeds range from 1/4000 to 30 seconds. The longer your shutter is open, the more motion blur you will get. The left photo was taken with a longer shutter speed (1/25). The right photo was taken with a shorter shutter speed (1/3200). You might need a tripod for longer shutter speeds to avoid unwanted blur due to camera shake. Also, if your photos come out too exposed (too bright) then shorten your shutter speed.

Shutter Speed

Manual Mode (M): Play with it if you want but I stick with Av and Tv most of the time.

6. Focus
In Auto mode your camera will focus on the closest subject. Because you may not always want this you can change your camera’s Auto Focus Mode to focus where you want. Refer to your instruction manual under Focusing\AF-mode. Follow the instructions to have it focus on the center square. Now you can look through your viewfinder and choose what you want to focus on.

Place the center square over your subject, press and hold the shutter button halfway (the button you use to take the picture), then press the button the rest of the way. As long as the shutter is held halfway the focus will stay the same.

Take this orange tree for example. I wanted the orange to be in the left corner of my frame. But if I were to just take the photo like that, the center area would be the back bushes.
Focus Example1

So in order to get my orange in focus, I put the orange in the center of my viewfinder, held the shutter button half way down, then moved my camera so the orange was where I wanted it, and then pushed the shutter button the rest of the way down. This was my result:
Focus Example2

5. Flash
The best philosophy when it comes to the flash is: use it when you have to, avoid it when you can. Your photos will look so much better in natural light. Sometimes the flash can be your friend but, for the most part, a flash creates unflattering and unnatural shadows. If you are in a low-light situation, first try lowering your f-stop or increasing your shutter speed OR bumping up your ISO. If you need to use your flash then use it, but only as a last resort.
Here is an example of how a flash can create unwanted contrast. The flash created a reflection and a shadow that is avoidable.


If you take a picture and it comes out too dark because the subject is back-lit, using your flash as a Fill-Flash is a good idea.

Flash Example

I have an external flash that I sometimes bounce off the ceiling when indoors. This helps to illuminate the subject without giving the shadows of a direct flash to the face.

4. Shade

Shade is your friend when photographing people. Most people look outside on an overcast day and think, “Well, there goes my photo shoot! There’s no sun in sight!” Not true. The sun often creates shadows and makes people squint, so an overcast day is great! Want to get some great shots of your baby? Sit them in a shady spot under a tree. The sun is great for some shots too, but one thing to be sure of is to avoid partial shade/partial sun. Your photos will turn out looking blotchy otherwise like in the photo below.
3. Framing Your Subject
Imagine there is a grid when you look through your viewfinder. Instead of always having your subject in the center square, consider centering your subject on one of the red marks. This is called The Rule of Thirds.
Rule Of Thirds

It makes your photo more visually appealing. Also, if there are horizontal or vertical lines, try to place them on the corresponding horizontal or vertical lines in this grid.

Take your camera with you everywhere you go! Make it a point to take it out and use it in many different settings to get the experience. If you need some incentive to using it, get a cute strap to make your camera seem like an accessory!

Hire me because, not only are my prices incredibly affordable, but because (if you are anything like me) I bet you are hardly in any of your photos. When is the last time you took a family photo that you love? Make it happen and send me an email for session information. Contact me HERE. I’d love to meet you!

>Every now and then
someone comes into your life
who makes you want to be a better version of yourself.

And sometimes that person is a stranger,
someone you have never met in person,
but have observed and admired from afar.

And then sometimes you get the nerve to shoot her an email
to tell her just how special you think she is,
and how the work she is doing MATTERS.

For me, that person is Ashley LeMieux,
the author of Shine and creator of The Shine Project
A project dedicated to finding the light within ourselves,
and then spreading that light to others
through random acts of kindess.

Every week,
she gives us new challenges.
Here are some of my favorite:
Meet Your Neighbor
Write A Letter To Your Teacher
Quit Talking and Begin DOING
Do Something You’ve Never Done (I AM poster)


Now, meet Ashley.
She’ll insire you.
Join her challenge.
Make a difference.
Be better.
And Shine.

Guest Blogger: Ashley LeMeuix, The Shine Project


Just so we’re a little more aquainted, my name is Ashley,
and I want to inspire the WORLD.


Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a dream,
and you didn’t reach it.
Don’t be shy, no one can actually see you raising your hand at your computer,
unless you’re in your work cubicle or something,
then this might be awkward.

Why do all of us have a goal that has been left unfulfilled?
Why do we sell ourselves short of our potential?
This is why I created The Shine Project.
To give daily motivation,
and weekly challenges,
that push us out of our comfort zone to stop making excuses


Now, think about the last time you went out of your way,
to help someone.
The Shine Project is also a source of motivation to push us
to give light to those around us who are in need.
Think of what the world would be like,
if everyone did one thoughtful thing for someone else every day.
I want The Shine Project to change the world.


Come join The Shine Project team.
Motivate yourself, motivate eachother,
feel good about what you can accomplish,
and lift the burdens of those around you.

I have created SHINE necklaces
so we all can have a daily reminder of our purpose.

$1 for each necklace sold goes into The Shine Project Scholarship Fund,
which will be rewarded to an inner city highschool student to help them pay for college.


This week’s Shine Challenge is to give a compliment a day.
Are you up for it?

I will be revealing a big project I’ve been working on this month,
that will spread The Shine Project to more people.
Come join me at
And go ahead,
let the world see you SHINE.


I just discovered a new blog,
and it makes me happy.

Eisy Morgan, is my new go-to blog for crafts, blogging tips, fun stories and every hair tutorial you can imagine!

Yep, there is even a tutorial for the super hot Marissa Miller look.

And today, we are lucky enough to have the super beautiful and talented author of Eisy Morgan here with us–meet Ashley.


Hi, I am Ashley:)

I run a little blog called
EisyMorgan all about inspiring women
and I am so thrilled to have the 
privileged of sharing a tutorial with you
for Ashley here at 
Little Miss Momma!
If you are reading this 
you don’t have to ask me why, 
because you are here following every post she puts out!
So in the spirit of all things ASHLEY
I am going to show you how to make a cute,
glittery, headband with items you might
have in your craft area right now!! 
So let’s get started on 
How to make your own 
Dragonfly Glitter Headband
What you will need:
  • Tiny beads
  • Headband: I picked up a pack of 4 for a $1.00 at Walgreens!
  • Felt
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie
How to do it:
  • Take your Sharpie and draw a dragonfly (or whatever shape you might want!)
  • Cut out your shape
  • Spread your tiny beads out on a piece of scrap paper

  • Cover a small area of the felt completely with hot glue
  • Place glue covered felt into beads (don’t press down too hard or for too long as it tends to stick to your paper or get too much glue on the left over beads)
  • Let dry. This only takes about a minute
  • Cover entire area of felt
  • Brush off any loose beads
  • cut a small piece of felt that will cover your headband but you can’t see behind your shape
  • hot glue over the headband attaching to your shape

That’s it! 
Put it on and your ready

       with your one of a kind headband!! 


Have you entered our latest and greatest giveaways yet?

and there is still time to join our March Madness Bracket!!!  It’s gonna be off-the-hook people!
{click HERE for details}


Meet Sadie Jane of Simply Delicious,
she is beautiful,
she is talented,
she has the most precious little family,
and she has some mad design skills.
Read her guest post today
for the scoop on her crazy awesome
bedroom remodel!

and she teaches us how to make EVERYTHING you see in this room,
including the bed spread!


Hello all you wonderful LMM readers!

I could not be more excited to be guest posting for Ashley today.
Isn’t she just so adorable!
Someday we will get together at a coffee shop and talk for hours!
I’m Sadie Jane from {simply delicious}

Running. Clothes. Decorating. Blogging. Friends. Cupcakes. Sewing. Shoes. Kissing my Prince Charming. Motherhood. Delivering babies. Working out. Baking. Purses. {My Religion}. Sporadically breaking out in dance. Laughing. Family. Licorice flavored taffy. Jewelry. Shopping with mom. Skype. Being a nurse.

I have been a labor and delivery nurse for 2 1/2 years now and I absolutely love it!
You can read about some of my experiences {HERE} and {HERE}.
I work night shifts {6 PM to 6 AM} while my husband watches our little girl, Reagan Jane.
When I’m not delivering babies I am training for a run or athletic event.
I am very passionate about fitness but you better believe I have something sweet everyday!
To read about some of my running adventures go {HERE} and {HERE}.

Another obsession!?!…
my beautiful little pea-pod Reagan Jane.
She came into our lives last year.
My life wouldn’t be complete without her.
To read about some of her adventures go {HERE} and {HERE}.
Reagan is wearing one of my {simply delicious creations}.
One of these days I will open an Etsy shop…but until then this little girl will have to be my only customer.

When I’m not working, running or playing with my little girl I am sewing, crafting or decorating!
To learn more about me go {HERE}

Now onto the fun stuff!!
I am here for all of you today to show some of the fun things I have been up to lately.
Jeff and I moved into our home in December and since then I have been busy painting and redecorating.
This was our master bedroom right after we moved in.

Although I loved the trim and molding in our room I wanted to do something completely different to it…while staying on a budget.

I decided to paint it grey, turquoise and white.
I bought the paint, rolled up my sleeves and went to town.
I bought an amazing stencil from {Cutting Edge Stencils}.
What do you think?

Instead of buying the $100+ bedding from Anthropologie I decided to channel my inner seamstress and make the bedding myself!
Wanna see how I did it?
Go to the tutorial {HERE}!

I was going for a ‘shabby-chic-retro’ feel.

Everything I made for this room was either discounted or from a thrift store.
#1 tip to redecorating: ALWAYS SHOP THE THRIFT STORES!
They are full of simply delicious finds.

Find out how to make this beautiful feather wreath.
Go to the tutorial {HERE}.

And check out the tutorial for this Candle Holder Re-vamp.

I still have a few finishing touches to add to my newly vamped bedroom.
Rosette lamp re-vamp {yet to create}
Refinished bedside tables {currently drying}
Wall decor {waiting for the hubby to hang}
and more…
watch the play by play of my master bedroom come together.
And don’t forget the {other rooms} in the house.
Thanks again Ashley for letting me come over and guest post.
Stop by my blog, become a follower and read all about my journey as a nurse, mother, wife, decorator and plain ole’ country girl in my {simply delicious} life!
Sadie Jane