Welcoming Piper: A Motherhood Collective | New Orleans Birth Photography

When I made the announcement that I would start offering birth photography coverage as a part of my Motherhood Collectives, I was graciously and overwhelmingly surprised by the positive response. From old friends to clients of whom which I’ve documented many milestones, in just a couple of short months since that announcement, I’ve been hired to document so many beautiful and vastly different journeys into motherhood.

From neighbors to roommates to countless laughs, trips, and memories made together, Jamie is a treasured long-time friend. I’ve watched her and her daughter Bailey journey through life since Bailey was three years old, seeing the ups and downs of heartache, life lessons, and losses we all experience in one way or another. I truly believe the intricate personalities, experiences, and details of some humans are made to fit so perfectly, like the pieces of a puzzle, to certain other humans. Whether it’s chalked up to “true love,” destiny, soulmates, or whatever other coined term, I wholeheartedly believe there are people that exist in the world who so perfectly complement the existence of other humans. Through various sincere gestures made by Bubba in their relationship, the way he dotes on her, and what I know about the intricacies of Jamie’s heart, I know without a shadow of a doubt that these two were meant to share this life experience with one another.

Bubba with two little girls of his own and Jamie with Bailey, they joined forces last year as they got married and embarked on the journey of expanding their beautifully blended family. While Bubba is quite outnumbered to the ladies in his life, he’s pretty great at loving, providing for, and exemplifying an admirable male example to all of the little ladies who are so lucky to call him “daddy.”

I’ve seen Jamie experience many different things in life, but watching her strength and strong support system as she brought a child into the world takes the cake as my favorite. Here are a few snapshots of that journey…

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

As we spent hours anxiously awaiting Piper, I couldn’t help but feel such a full heart watching my friend flourish in so much love, support, and happiness during this season of life. My mind was also amusingly blown by the fact that the sweet 3-year-old I’ve watched grow over the years is now old enough to send T-E-X-T  M-E-S-S-A-G-E-S checking on her mama.

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

For anyone who knows Jamie personally, they know of her playful, jovial nature in almost any situation. When Bubba began cracking jokes in between Jamie’s exhaustion and pushes, I thought with even further affirmation than before, “Good gracious, this boy was made to love her.”

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

And just like that, Piper graced us with seven pounds and four ounces of chubby-cheeked perfection.

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

And never have I seen my sweet friend more content with all things in life.

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

While I thought Jamie deserved a 5-course dinner after that experience, this hungry new mama settled for the remainder of my Jimmy John’s and, in her true nature, was providing the entire room with laughs.

A few days later, we learned that Piper is a fan of being on camera in between naps. Oh, the life…

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Hillary + Scott Engagements

This past July, Jamie’s brother Jacob’s life was tragically and unexpectedly cut short in a motorcycling collision in San Francisco. Jacob is survived by his newly married wife and adventure buddy, Ali, who was with Jacob in the accident and is still recovering from many severe injuries.

Jacob was so full of enthusiasm for seeking out wonderful people and experiences, and also, a huge part of Jamie and Bailey’s life. Jamie was gifted two bears from close friends for Piper in remembrance of Jacob. One, a build-a-bear with a voice recording of Jacob exclaiming he had successfully completed the lunge challenge Jamie put him up to–the type of typical playful fun the two of them often shared. The other, a blue gingham stuffed bear made from one of Jacob’s dress shirts. While Piper never got to meet her vivacious uncle, she undoubtedly will learn of his beautiful spirit from the memories he left behind and the many lives he affected. And for Jamie, a photograph containing two of her most treasured loves.

Hillary + Scott Engagements

Jamie and Bubba, I cannot wait to see where this beautiful life brings you and your girls next.

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No Rain, No Flowers: A Personal Announcement on Growth + Change

“If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you–or so I’ve come to believe.”

                                                                                                                                         – Elizabeth Gilbert

When I’ve mentioned 28 was my favorite year to date in several posts, I meant it. When my high school English teacher sat in front of the class and told us, “Ladies don’t reach maturity until their mid/late twenties and men, often times, their early thirties” I distinctly remember the know-it-all disdain my 17-year-old self had towards her comment.

I can confidently proclaim that 2017 has, thus far, been one of my most favorite years of life, to date. I’ve had years of anxiously awaiting the next season in life, years of many tears, years full of mistakes and learning curves, years of deliberate focus, just to name a few. This year though has been simply magical. Not for any particular life reason or situation, other than I truly feel that at 28 years old, I’m learning to own and love this skin, brain, and heart I have. The things that make me, ME, and simply embracing all that is here–the traits that make up who I am, the people who add value to my life, and the experiences I’m ever-so-lucky to soak in with all 5 of these humanly senses.  I’m learning to be ok with not knowing what the future may bring or being afraid of change.

I know I’m an extra emotion-driven soul. For those of you that think it’s super sappy, apologies! Feel free to stop reading here.  I’ve been meditating, focusing on personal growth in a way that I never before have in my life–a way that turns the mirror around on myself and takes responsibility for the good, bad, and ugly experiences that have found their way to me over the years.2017-10-18_0001

At 28 years old and through much self-reflection, I’ve also come to make the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to consciously make: a decision to graciously appreciate the season, experiences, and beautiful growth my relationship with Preston has brought, but to honor ourselves and our capacity to grow as individuals by going our separate ways romantically.

These words come with a heavy heart and announcing this on social media is a decision I’ve reflected on how to do appropriately for quite some time. Social media is a tricky little thing, and how much of my personal life I share is always done with intention. Nonetheless, as writing, documenting, and sharing the moving stories of my clients is such an inherent part of what makes me passionate about this life, I felt that it would be a bit hypocritical to not expose some of the pieces of my own heart that have molded me and will undoubtedly continue to mold my future.

Break-ups are never easy, and in fact, I think cutting ties with anyone who has ever impacted my heart is an extremely difficult feat for me. An excerpt from one of my favorite books strings together how I feel that I love, perfectly. In If You Find This Letter, Hannah says:

“That’s always been my downfall, the thing my mother always calls me out on. I romanticize things…I feel things too deeply. I hold on much longer than I should. All of life has always been one big book of poems to me. I think every person is a living poem–from their hopeful heart to their ugly habits. Life is just too busy to ever stop and dwell on one thing for too long.”

Letting go of people and the role you are used to them playing in your life is N-E-V-E-R easy, but we all know more than we’d like to admit that the most difficult times are the ones that shake up our insides and mold them into the new form they must take for us to evolve. And well, evolution is ever-necessary for us to reach our full capacity in this one life experience we are given, my friends.

While this decision has, for obvious reasons, not been an easy one for me or Preston, it is one we are consciously trying to navigate through with love and respect for one another. As we have spent nearly a decade and our entire adult lives together, neither of us have the desire to part ways and never speak again. In fact, I feel that that behavior, at least for us, would be extremely silly and counterproductive to us evolving into better humans. We are closing the intimate, romantic chapter of life together, and moving towards our own paths of growth and self-awareness, honoring ourselves as individuals and what that means, fully.

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 8.57.03 AM Quote from Conscious Uncoupling by Katherine Woodward Thomas

 

This ending to our romantic relationship came at a time when both of us were more whole and healthy than not, as opposed to coming from a place of brokenness or hurt. I share this because, for me, that is particularly important. Important for the both of us moving forward into future, healthy relationships and without overhanging baggage, resentment, or hatred. While this process will undoubtedly bring about various levels of grief, sadness, and occasional negative passion, it would defeat the whole purpose of us growing as individuals if we left this season of life with one another angry, resentful, and broken. I truly wish the best for Preston in life, love, and well-being, as I know he does for me.

As Craig Hamilton puts it, “If we are willing to walk fearlessly and tenderly into the crucible of a painful ending, we will find gifts waiting for us there that we could never have seen had we continued clinging to the safety of the familiar.”

If you are going through your own life struggles and growth, whether it be from the impending end to a relationship or some other time of change, I encourage you to look within yourself and embrace the insight and beauty life is bringing into your life by shaking up and resituating some difficult emotions. If there’s one thing I know for a fact in life, it’s that we can find beauty in ANY situation we endure, it only requires us to look past the pain to find it.

 
PS. If this post resonated with your own heart and struggles and you’d like me to share with you some of the reading material, podcasts, and resources that have helped me navigate through difficult emotions, I’d be more than happy to share them with you. Send me a message or comment and I’d be happy to point you into the direction of those.

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These are the Good Days | Hammond Farmer’s Market Lifestyle Session: Hammond Family Photographer

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things – they push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

– Steve Jobs

I’ve quoted this wildly popular quote from Steve Jobs before on my blog, and undoubtedly, this isn’t the first time you’ve read it. Nonetheless, since the first time I came across it many years ago, it’s always stood out as a beautiful mantra to me. If you asked my mother, she’d tell you that from the time I could speak I was always set on doing things in my own imaginative way. From clothing shopping to the way I wished my room decor to be, even before those treacherous pre-teen years, I had a vision for certain things and didn’t let the opinions of others sway me from attacking my oftentimes out-of-the-box visions. When I’ve come across other imaginative, creative, independent-thinking souls throughout life, I always gravitate to them, so intrigued by their wildly beautiful minds. Shiloh is one of these people.

I’m sure you remember her from this session earlier this year, but if you missed that one, it’s hands-down one of my favorites. As always, Shiloh brought her creative A-game when it came to the vision she wanted us to execute for Keane’s one-year photos.

Shiloh’s husband Daniel is a baseball coach for the university here, so he’s often times working Saturday mornings during baseball season and traveling for recruiting. Shiloh and Keane have made Saturday morning traditions visiting the Farmer’s Market in our cozy little town, so we thought it to be a perfect way to start out our morning session! My Saturday mornings off are also often spent going to yoga, followed by a trip to the Farmer’s Market as well, so it was quite a treat!

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

 

Keane 1yr

Keane doesn’t meet a stranger. Those two tiny front teeth, baby blues, and big smiles scored him all of the yummy samples.

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

 

Keane 1yr

 

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

After the Farmer’s Market, we strolled down the street with breakfast in-hand for a little more fun. Keane was batting those crystal blue eyes and giving me the biggest smiles, so I was soaking in every bit of it.

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

I mentioned Keane is a social butterfly. When he saw his friend and local business owner, Mr. Benny, passing in his new car with the windows rolled down, he took it upon himself to send some friendly waves. This boy…

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

This town may be small, but it has some hidden gems that leave my little artistic heart thumping. Shiloh has begged me to execute some sort of laundromat shoot with her for years, so when my sweet, talented photographer friend Catherine came across this funky one, we had to pop in.

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Don’t worry, Keane didn’t stop making sweet eyes and giggles to entertain everyone when they moved their clothes over to the tumble cycle.

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Keane 1yr

Interested in an organic, fun lifestyle portrait session of you and your loved ones? Contact me at kali@kalinorton.com and let’s make some memories!

PSA: I will be in the Pensacola/Fairhope area and offering a limited number of sessions on the following dates…

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20TH

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21ST

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22ND

If you or someone you know is interested in natural, organic family, maternity, newborn, motherhood, engagement, etc photography, please share with them!

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What I’m Loving: 2017 Summer Favorites

As I gear up for the busy Fall season of weddings, portraits, and all things leading up to the holidays, I thought it suitable to share about a few of the things that have made my life a little sweeter during the first half of 2017. From my current favorite fashion obsessions, recipes, and reads, here’s a short list of a few of faves that have been on my list of loves this year!

WRITING BY TYLER KNOTT GREGSON: If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed many of my posts authored with his work linked. I don’t get paid to sponsor his work, I just genuinely love it! As I love writing myself, I can always appreciate beautifully strewn together words. Like many of my current favorite reads, I came across Tyler’s writing on Instagram, and was drawn to how palpable the feeling in the words he contrives. I truly never knew I had a love for poetry until I came across his work. Chasers of the Light and Wildly Into the Dark are two of his works that I own and currently read daily. If you’re looking for an easy read that you can pick up on a crummy day to soothe your restless heart, I highly recommend grabbing one of his books–or even just following him on Insta! You can find his Instagram handle at @tylerknott.

FRINGE WITH BENEFITS JEWELRY: I love watching the journey of fellow entrepreneurs as they attack their passions. Callie, owner of Fringe With Benefits, has an eye for fashion and is constantly leaving me feeling inspired and refreshed by her outfits and accessory pairings. If you’re looking for regular fashion inspiration or a fabulous pair of tassel earrings, Callie’s Instagram accounts are refreshing follows! You can find them at Instagram handles @fringewithbenefitsjewelry and @bluejeanedblonde.

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ZUCCHINI BROWNIES: Yes,  you read that correctly. As I’m always trying to find at least slightly healthy alternatives to recipes, I sought out recently to find a recipe for the occasional sweet tooth that didn’t leave me feeling guilty and sluggish. After trying a few that didn’t turn out so well (ehem, black bean brownies), I came across and tweaked a brownie recipe that called for zucchini. While this recipe does contain wheat flour (which I typically try to avoid), it’s still light and fairly guilt-free. Note: If you are a sweets lover, you may not find these sweet enough; however, I’m more of a “lightly sweetened” type of girl, so I find the level of sweetness to be pretty on point.

Total Time: 50 Minutes   |   Prep Time: 15 Minutes   |   Cook Time: 35-40 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Cup Sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 1/2 Cups Grated Zucchini, undrained (about 1 Large or 2 small)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9×13 pan.
  3. Combine oil, sugar, egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir well. (It will appear quite dry). Gently stir in the zucchini a little at a time and spread the mixture into your prepared pan.
  4. Bake 35-40 minutes. (Once it hits the 30 minute mark, I start checking them).

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

ESSENTIAL OILS: I know, I know. This is all the craze right now, but I have jumped on the bandwagon to start supplementing some of my daily household products, medicines, and just general daily practices with oils and it’s been quite a pleasant journey for me. While I’m not sure I will ever try to supplement all possible things with oils, I have enjoyed gradually learning and supplementing certain aspects of life with them.

Essential oils have enhanced lives for thousands of years, offering a variety of benefits from cosmetic and dietary purposes to spiritual and religious use. The most common practices for using essential oils include aromatic diffusion, topical application, and dietary consumption. These methods bring the pure essence of health-promoting botanicals to your home, family, and life.

I personally first started really looking into oils for emotional support. As a woman, hormones are no freaking joke, and I sought out to educate myself on how I could clean up the practices in my life, from the products I use to the ways I react to situations with the assistance of more holistic approaches and oils.

Some of the health benefits of aromatherapy include its ability to reduce anxiety, ease depression, boost energy levels, speed up the healing process, eliminate headaches, boost cognitive performance, induce sleep, strengthen the immune system, reduce pain, improve digestion, and increase circulation. I’ve seen improvements in many of these areas of my life from the induction of oils into my regimen. I won’t go into intense detail in this post; however, if you have more questions about this, please feel free to comment or message me, I’d love to share with you!

WINE SUBSCRIPTION: This is something I always got offers for in the mail, but never jumped on, as I figured it wouldn’t be quality or cost-effective. However, after having a wine subscription with Naked Wines for over a year now, I can say it’s been both fun and cost-effective!

What I love about this particular wine subscription is that Naked Wines invests directly in winemakers and much less on things like sales, marketing, fancy packaging and other things you can’t taste. Which means you get more bang for your buck.

I also love that with this particular subscription, I pay $40 per month, which goes DIRECTLY into a tab on my account with them, thus, I don’t generally ever pay outright when I order a case of wine. I order a case every 3 months or so when my tab is around $120, and receive what are often $20-30 bottles of wine for about $10 per bottle. As someone who enjoys trying out new wines and pairing it with a home-cooked meal, I love the ease and luxury of this subscription.

If you’d like to try them out, you can use this link for $100 OFF of your first case! I paid about $60 using this coupon for my first case of wine with them. Ehemm, that’s about $5 per bottle for quality wine. I’ll take it. (:

What have you been loving lately? If you think I’d like it, I’d love to hear!

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Healthy Pesto-Avocado Shrimp Zucchini Pasta + DIY Slime | New Orleans Lifestyle Photographer

This weekend was one for the books in the littlest of ways. There weren’t crazy adventures or breathtaking sights, but there was lots of genuine, soul-fulfilling girl time, big-bellied laughs, and the best food to fill these taste buds. I’ve truly been embracing this slow season of life, letting myself soak in the mundane moments, meditate on the why behind certain feelings, and cultivating a heart open to change and growth, even when it feels uncomfortable or scary.

As this weekend was so fulfilling for me, I thought I’d share a few of the recipes that contributed to it. From healthy, delicious meals to crafts and educational events, it was a jam-packed, yet relaxing weekend. I always get lots of positive feedback from sharing healthy recipes on here, so I thought I’d share one of my recent favorites that we indulged in this weekend!

I try to stay away from pasta, so it’s always fun to find alternatives that are both healthy and tasty. Friday night I made Pesto-Avocado Shrimp Zucchini Pasta and it was SO delicious! Here’s the recipe…

2017

HEALTHY PESTO-AVOCADO SHRIMP ZUCCHINI PASTA

3-4 Zucchini

3 lbs fresh shrimp

3 TBSP Grass Fed Butter

1 TBSP Olive Oil

1 Lemon

1 Jar Basil Pesto

2 Avocados

Feta crumbles (optional for topping)

Seasonings: Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder

DIRECTIONS: Peel fresh shrimp. Melt butter + olive oil in pan on med-high heat. Once butter is melted, add shrimp and seasonings. Saute until shrimp is fully cooked. Mash two avocados and add to pan along with jar of pesto. Squeeze lemon over all ingredients.

Clean off zucchini and cut off ends. Using a vegetable spiralizer (I use a VERY simple one similar to this), create veggie noodles with the zucchini. Simply add shrimp-pesto toppings and feta crumbles (if that’s your thing) and enjoy!

I was recently introduced to the world of slime on Instagram by a friend and had NO IDEA of how viral the slime trend is right now. In efforts to get my hands dirty with a light-hearted and fun craft, I bought the ingredients and decided to give making slime a whirl. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the slime craze, it’s essentially what you may have played with if you ever partook in the Gak or Silly Putty phase as a child. As with all things in our Pinterest-driven 2017 though, slime has taken a whole new world compared to the simplistic nature it came in years ago. Now, people are adding tons of beautiful colors and textures to it to create an ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) aka “sounds that feel good” aspect to the fun. It’s actually pretty cool!

I had my good friend Lauren and her daughter Emma over for dinner Friday and Emma had endless fun with the slime and rainbow beads we added to it.

2017

If you have children (or even if you don’t) and want to try it out, here’s the recipe I used:

EASY 3-INGREDIENT SLIME

1 cup Elmer’s Glue (white)

1 cup Shaving Cream

1/2 cup Purex StaFlo Concentrated Liquid Starch

Food Coloring (optional)

Glitter (optional

Rainbow Foam Beads (to add in for fun after slime is made)

DIRECTIONS: Mix glue, shaving cream, and starch together in a large mixing bowl. The shaving cream makes the slime fluffier. You can also add food coloring + glitter to get different colors.

If you add too much liquid starch to your slime it gets a little stiff. If this happens, just add a little water – a tablespoon at a time, until the slime puffs up again. Knead and mold the slime until it’s the consistency you like. That’s it!

You can store it in jars, plastic bags, or lidded containers to keep it from drying out.

What new projects or recipes have you tried recently that have enriched your life? I’d love to hear about them!

Happy Tuesday, friends!

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