What No One Will Ever Tell You About The Best Photography Spots

Have you ever been scrolling through your feed and just been stopped in your tracks by a beautiful photo? Literally stop and think “holy cow I don’t know where that was shot but dang thats so freaking stunning, I would love to do something like that!” Well, I’ve got some news for you, those shots are usually either right on private land, in a VERY awkward spot to get to, or smack dab in the middle of the public where every waking eye is looking at you. Now, don’t get me wrong, not all photo ops are that way but I can guarantee you lots are.

I have a little story of my own that just so happens to fit right in to all three of the categories I just described. However, like I mentioned these are THE seemingly best spots for a stunning picture. It also helps when you have a bad ass photographer who’s down to conquer it all with you.

A couple weeks ago my family and I were on vacation in Estes Park, Colorado. We go usually once maybe twice a year but within the last couple years our family has experienced a major baby boom. Tons of littles which is the BEST but, also makes family vacations a little more complicated. We braved the 9 hour road trip and all headed into Estes though. While we were there I thought it would be the perfect place to take some mountain maternity pictures since my husband and I married in Estes Park in 2015.

My sister is a photographer based here in Wichita, Kansas. Newer to the game but you would NEVER know it. She is one of those girls who can pick up any talent and kill it. Annoying right? I freaking love it, and she is so inspiring. She suggested we drive around to look for some spots to take pictures. I had two different dresses so I wanted two different locations. Now recently Estes, Devil’s Gulch, and Glen Haven were hit with some major flooding which changed a lot of the land down along river in the canyon. We used to have a spot we would go to that was perfect for wading but also walking through some waterfalls without being deep. Hoping to find this spot we quickly realized it no longer existed after the flood came through 😦 .

This lead us to plan B, what plan B was we really didn’t even know. We kept driving and noticed this gorgeous open pasture surrounded by trees on the foothill of the canyon. It was picture perfect I tell you… pristine, well kept, beautiful sunlight peeking through the trees and a gravel drive that lead right up to it. We whip in and park the car and the first thing we notice is a “Private Property” sign.. Sh*t. Thinking quickly I googled the area we were in and actually come to find it is a public housing development where many homes are rented out for the year. I figured if we park and take pictures no one is going to know if we are staying there for our visit or else where. We even had multiple cars drive by, one being a firetruck and no one said a word about us not being allowed to do so.

Still nervous as hell we ran out to quickly snap some shots and let me tell you.. it was all worth it! Let me also add I don’t condone you breaking the law if you see a Private Property sign, do a little research and see if its actually private.. We just got lucky and it happened to be open land with an outdated sign.

Afterwards we called my husband and told him to get ready since we were on to shoot dress number 2. We were staying on Estes Lake and right by the golf course. Thinking it was peak time for Golden Hour the golf course had some beautiful land on it that would be perfect for pictures. We pick him up and make the minute drive down to the lake/course and EVERYONE.. like EVERYONE is out walking enjoying the evening all along the path. If people weren’t walking they were fishing along the path or on the course finishing up their golf round for the evening. We figured we were already there we might as well just go with it and find whatever spots we want and ignore every waking eye watching us.

The first spot was literally right by a fisherman. My sister being the awesome creative mind that she is was able to work out angles that cut him out but, he literally was staring at us overtime I looked over at him. SO AWKWARDDDD…! Again though, the final images made it all worth it. I have some of the most beautiful photos of my husband and our baby to treasure in the same town we got married in 4 years ago.

This last spot was tricky one. You would never know it but behind me was a steep slope with a little pond of yucky moss water just waiting for me to eat it and fall into. Now if you didn’t know this, you don’t exactly have the best balance when your pregnant. My husband was sweetly talking sh*t in the background telling me “don’t go falling in!” -_- Thanks dear. Happy to say I made it out alive.

I want to give a BIG thank you to PinkBlush for sending me this gorgeous Burgundy maternity dress, It truly is a perfect piece! #sponsoredbypinkblush . You can also shop the yellow dress I am wearing here , also PinkBlush. I highly recommend checking them out for ANY of your maternity needs. They are one the best places to shop in my personal opinion, with so many options from casual wear, to maternity, to hospital and home wear. For reference in Both dresses I am wearing a size medium.

Roman’s first 4th of July!

 

Let me just start by saying that I can’t believe that this time last year I was pregnant anxiously waiting Roman’s arrival! It honestly has been the best 11 months of my life since he has come into our lives! Roman is almost 1, his birthday is July 26th so I was curious to see how he would do with the fireworks. Would he love them, be confused by them, or just HATE them?!

We got to spend the day at my parents house where they have a pool. We hung around outside and listened to some music while we waited for the rest of the family and some friends to come over. Once they arrived we did the usual 4th of July BBQing along with some s’mores by the fire (SOOOO good!). Naturally we had some type of firework accident …. what we thought were fountains turned out to have something bigger in them!! The first firework shot off and tipped the whole thing over aiming the fireworks right at us!! It was FANTASTIC, hahaaa! Roman was in his pack n play with Madden (our other family baby, they’re only 2 1/2 weeks apart in age!) and I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever got out of my chair so quick.. I ran over and grabbed the babies like the world was ending!! I didn’t even know I had that kind of speed in me hahaha! Once that disaster was over we made sure that they were labeled FOUNTAIN. The babies loved them so much.

The next night we went to the Bradley Fair Fireworks show, but we sat at Twin Peaks outside on the patio and watched from there. Unfortunately Roman was sleepy so we had to leave early.. I was hoping he would love to see lots of big fireworks but I guess he just couldn’t hang! We will of course try again next year, with him being so close to two I’m sure he will enjoy them so much more! I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July!

Below I will leave a list of essentials that helped us with baby during a busy day like the 4th<3

  1. Pack and Play —> This is crucial! It was so convenient to have something mobile to keep him in during the evening that he could sit down in and play with his toys. With my parents having a pool and him being able to crawl and walk it was nice to not have to worry so much about if he was getting too close to the edge or not! I also love that if they’re in the grass playing you can take the bottom part of the pack and play out and use it as a play mat for the grass or even hot concrete.
  2. Bug Spray —> Being outside in general especially during the evening and by a body of water it attracts mosquitos. Lets be honest, theres nothing worse than a itchy uncomfortable baby too!
  3. Sunscreen —> If you’re going to be outside or in the water lets protect that beautiful skin, both you and baby!
  4. Floaties —> If your baby doesn’t know how to swim but loves the water try finding them a floaty they can sit in. Roman loves the water so we wanted something he could float around in and hang out with us since he isn’t big enough for arm floaties or life vests yet! Also try finding one with a hood on it that helps protect them from the sun.
  5. Tanks, Sandals, Hats, and cotton shorts —> We all love a cute baby, but make sure they’re clothes are breathable and comfortable so they don’t over heat. Roman went through 2 tank tops that day! It was a hot one!
  6. Mobile fan —> Try finding a portable fan to attach to their strollers, car seats, or pack and plays! Not only do they help keep baby cool but Roman found It so entertaining! You may also try those old school but totally awesome water bottles with the fans attached to them!

I hope these little essentials helped!

XOXO,

Dani

Chic Fall Wedding Attire

As the busiest part of Wedding Season passes most people tend to move on and focus on other things like Homecoming and Winter Formal etc. etc. etc. But if you are beyond that age you know Wedding Season truly never ends!

We had the pleasure of the going to/being a part of a beautiful Fall Wedding in Kansas City recently and as you can imagine with temperatures dropping it was becoming hard to find something I wouldn’t completely freeze my butt off in but wasn’t quite cold enough for a heavy jacket to tote around. I was also looking for something that I could be comfortable eating in (something not skin tight to show my food baby) and something I could dance and move around in. This dress was the answer and is something I can get SO much wear out of!

There are so many ways to pair THIS dress I feel like it could be endless! It would be gorgeous with a black fur vest and knee high boots, belted with booties, or belted with chunky retro heels.

I can’t believe I go back to work next week. Its been an amazing 3 1/2 months home with my little guy. I think back to the day we brought him home, how anxious I was but ready to have him here with us. I was a new mom and no clue what I was doing, but I quickly learned and began to overcome fears little by little. Like is his head going to fall off? NO. will be okay to cry just while I make his bottle? Yes. He has made our hearts so full and has made so many leaps. From lifting his head, scooting, grabbing things, babbling, blowing spit bubbles, and now learning how to sit up it just blows my mind to think about how quick he is growing up. I would be lying if I said it didn’t scare me to go to back to work and miss all of his little smiles and cuddles and new quirks he starts doing. However I’m ready to get a little bit of normality back into our routine and I know it will be good for all of us! I’m so happy that God has Brought this little angel into our lives. We love you little fox.

Side note, how handsome does my Husband look?! All makeup details on this look can be found on my Fall Makeup Post. Have a great day everbody!

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Happy 3 Months Roman!


Man oh man.. how time has flown! I can’t believe my little fox is 3 months old. He amazes me more and more every day. I mean seriously.. I never knew I could love someone so much and how much that love grows each and every second just amazes me. This little boy has taught me so much in these short 3 months already. He’s also seemed to cure me of being grossed out by anything at all anymore. I mean poop, throw up, boogers you name it, doesn’t phase me! Mamas and daddies you know what I’m talking about! I feel like it’s not bonding until they’ve atleast either pooped, peed, or thrown up on you. Kind of like a welcome to parenthood present.

Roman update: He can hold his head pretty well when sitting. He still needs assistance when sitting so I just let him sit on my lap and face out or hang his legs off my leg and place my hand on his chest and he does the rest like a big boy! He can talk like a wild boy. I mean he will sit and talk to you from wake to sleepy time! He always has stories to tell and boy are they funny! He is such a smiley happy boy and even his drooling is just too darn cute. He can blow spit bubbles and will mimick sounds you make at him. He will even mock your facial expressions! He’s learning how to hold his bottle (all on his own, I never tried to teach him he just started trying one day and has been doing so ever since). He is a pretty good sleeper also! He gets a solid 5 hours when he’s put down for the night, wakes up for a feeding and goes right back to sleep for another 4/5 hours. I could honestly keep going on and on but I feel like those are some of his biggest mile stones! He still hates tummy time and refuses to participate but man he sure can scoot across the floor with his head down. It makes me anxious because I know as soon as he wants to lift that head he will be crawling. Slow down Rome, mommy can’t handle you growing up so quick!

Shout out to all the parents and step parents out there! You’re doing amazing! It really is a wonderful thing being a mom and dad! Children can truly never have too many role models in their lives. Have a great Monday everyone!

My Amazon Baby Finds & Must Haves!

amazon baby finds

#1 Pure Enrichment Humidifier – This is amazing and great especially as the colder months are approaching. Many people including myself find the air to be a little more dry and that can be hard on your baby. You might notice stuffy noses and coughing. This is/will be your holy grail to solving the problem!

#2 Baby Beanies! – Its the perfect statement add on to your little hipsters outfit. Plus it will help keep your little one warm when the weather is brisk out.

#3 Fisher Price Play Gym –  This thing is money! My little guy loves this so much! He is starting to hit the toys and can grab them if he gets a lucky swing. He also loves to lay and watch himself in the mirror above! Plus side is the music is pretty awesome too, not annoying like some.

#4 Dr. Browns Bottles – OKAY, now THESE are AWESOME! We struggled for a long time with my son on formula and bottles. He had what we thought was really bad reflux, someone had suggested these to try and I will tell you now that we will never look back. My son used to throw up what seemed like half his bottle after feedings and now he has happy burps with none to little spit up! He is a totally different baby now!

#5 Carseat Canopy – These are perfect for those rainy or windy days when baby needs a little extra protection! I love the print on this too! People always ask where I found this when are out and about.

#6 Fisher Price Sit Me Up Positioning Seat –  We just started using this and so far its a winner! My son likes to see the world around him and this is perfect for that, plus it helps with teaching them how to hold their heads up!

#7 Pacifier Clips – Now some people love these and some don’t but I’m someone that does. Its nice to not loose and have to buy new pacifiers all the time. You can clip them to their car seats, clothes, blankets etc!

Roman’s Birth Story

Hey everyone!

Sooooo it’s been a while! While I am sorry I am also not, I have been wrapped up in the beauty of motherhood and have been soaking up and enjoying every second, minute, hour, and day of it! I thought I would jump on here while Rome is taking his short afternoon nap and share with you our wonderful and hectic story of Roman’s big arrival.

3:32 AM- I wake up to contractions that had felt much different than the typical Braxton hicks contractions. Now if you know me, I had TONS of Braxton Hicks! I had ourselves a couple this could be it moments that weren’t actually IT! Haha! I knew these were different because they were super painful (they actually gave me the shakes and sweats). I wake up Kevin and go into the bathroom and call out on call nurse and she advises me to head to Labor and Delivery.

3:57 AM- We arrive to L&D and get checked in. Doctor comes in and checks me, only dilated to a 2, so he has us get comfortable and tells us rest up and that he will be back in an hour to check on my progression.

5:00 AM- No progression.. still at 2 but still having painful contractions. Doctor again tells us he will return in an hour.

6:00 AM- 3cm dilated! But he called it a “possible” 3 so I started losing hope.. and I knew in my gut that this was Labor. He tries to reassure me it was false Labor and still has us stick around for another hour.

7:00 AM- 3cm and he calls it a “sure” 3 this time but I’m still not progressing quick enough and still tries to argue it’s false Labor.. says he will return in an hour AGAIN.

8:00 AM- Doctor decides to send us home. He says I probably won’t be looking to go into labor in the next 24 hours but that I should be meeting our little guy in a day or two for sure. We get our hospital bag rounded up, I change back into my clothes and we leave the hospital. On the way home we grab some breakfast to go since Kevin has to be to work at 9AM. We get home around 8:30 Kevin gives me a kiss goodbye and tells me if I need anything to give him a call and he’s there! (Such a great guy!)

9:15 AM: Ring Ring! “BABE MY WATER JUST BROKE!” Kevin speeds home, our hospital bag is still in the car and we head BACK to L&D. Now they never tell you that your water keeps breaking.. it’s a constant leak.. and walking through a hospital looking like you’re peeing yourself is not a pretty look! Ha! We check in AGAIN and get into a room very quickly! Now I’m not gonna lie it felt good to see the doctor again and give him a little “I told you so” look hahaha! It’s funny how well you really know your body!

Now from here on out all the time started to blur together my contractions got pretty strong really quick. I was ready for my epidural around 11:15am because my contractions had become so strong I couldn’t stop shaking uncontrollably.

We get the anisthesiologist in the room to do the epidural but things just aren’t working. He tries the first time and hits a vein so he has to take it out and re-do it. Goes in for a second attempt and what do you ya know.. misses again.. so third times the charm right? He gets the epidural in and runs a little test dose of fentanyl, instantly i feel higher than a fucking kite! So he had missed again.. as I’m looser than a damn goose they call for another anesthesiologist to come in and attempt a 4th try. They have me lay on my side with my knees To my chest and tu-duhhhhhh! It’s finally in correctly and I’m feeling numb and high! Win win right!?

Now the problem we started encountering was I wasn’t progressing at all as far as dilating goes so they went ahead and called in for some petossin. But before they can give it to me Roman’s heart rate starts dropping. They turn me on my other side and again his heart rate drops. Other side, same thing. While the nurses kept their shit together calmly (which I greatly appreciate) they tell me they can’t give me the petossin because it could cause more harm then good at this point and bring my OB in. He gives me the option to wait it out a little longer or to go ahead with an emergency c-section. While I wanted to choose the c-section he tells me Kevin can’t be in there with me and I instantly rule that out as long as possible!

Hour goes by and still nothing but Rome’s heart beat dropping anytime I lay on my side. So they decide to put me on my hands and knees rocking from front to front and side to side… keep in mind I am NUMB and can’t feel a thing.

A couple hours go by and I’m finally making progression!! AND Roman’s heart rate hadnt dropped since I had been on my hands and knees so the doctors knew there was a cord around his neck. I got to a 6 and they kept me rocking for another hour. My nurse was about to be off her shift and came in to check one last time and I had progressed to an 8. She introduced Kevin and I to the new nurse that would be on with us and proceeded to put me back on hands and knees. (After all that I was thinking I better have some damn abs and killer thighs after this baby from all the rocking)!

It hadn’t even been 10 minutes and the new nurse comes back and checks me again and quickly asks “you ready to have a baby!?” Of course Kevin and I were so excited and we are like YES YES!!!!! Now the best part!? My nurse who had been off the clock stayed to help me deliver. She was absolutely amazing and seriously the best ever!!!

We spent 40 minutes pushing and around 8:37pm after 17 hours of labor our beautiful little boy arrived into the word! I can’t tell you how happy I am that we decided to wait it out and avoid the c-section! The rest I have chosen to keep to us as our special moments with him afterwards. We love you so much Roman Alexander Lyda!


You are the best thing to ever happen to us!


Born 8:37 pm, 7lbs 5oz, 19.5 inches long.