Friday, March 20, 2015

Why Professional Family Photos are Worth It: A Visit with Sunny Bunnies Portraits

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I hate being photographed.  Can you tell?  It's hard to find a shot of me, the real Jersey Momma, anywhere on this site.  I like candid shots- ones where I am laughing or not looking at the camera.  I am hard on myself.  I am my own worst critic.  So I think this is the reason why I never bothered to have professional photos taken of The Jersey Momma's Boy or our family.  I thought, I can take my own photos!  I don't need a professional photographer!  But you know what?  I regret that decision and I'm going to tell you why.  I was recently contacted by Nadia of Sunny Bunnies Portraits in Washington, New Jersey.  She asked if I'd like to come in for a mini photo shoot, to see what her studio was all about. So I thought, why not?



Where is Sunny Bunnies Portraits?

Nadia's studio is based in a cozy little room of her mountain top home in Washington, NJ.  But she can meet you on location somewhere if you work out the details with her.  She takes photos of newborns, babies, and children (but she will take family photos, too!).  Nadia is sweet and friendly, and even The Jersey Momma's Boy, who can be very shy, seemed to feel comfortable in Nadia's home.

Sunny Bunnies Portraits Studio - photo courtesy of Sunny Bunnies Portraits

What is a Professional Photo Shoot Like?

I can't speak for all photographers, but Nadia was warm and welcoming.  She was kind to The Jersey Momma's Boy and talked to him in a soft voice during the photo shoot.  Although she specializes in babies and newborns, she also enjoys photographing children, families and siblings.  She had a slew of adorable props for us to choose from, and she put care and thought into picking out the right props and how to set up the photos.

It was a challenge to keep The Jersey Momma's Boy from slouching during his session!

Nadia also had some adorable outfits that her clients could dress up in if they desired (The Jersey Momma's Boy wanted nothing to do with hats or suspenders or anything of the sort, and that was okay, too).  But the little girls' dresses?  Oh, my!  Precious!!

The Jersey Momma's Boy didn't mind holding some fake Spring flowers for his photo shoot

What Are My Options for Professional Family Photos?

I remember going to Sears when we were kids and awkwardly posing with my sister (The Pirate Cupcake lady!), but we've come a long way since then!  If you're not comfortable going to a photographer's home, you can also go on location somewhere, like local parks or lakes, to get some beautiful natural shots.

Nadia also took the time to make a Pinterest board for me of ideas, so I could look through them before the shoot and decide what kinds of images we hoped to capture.  There were so many cute ideas!  Posing with toys, seasonal props, black and white, close-ups!  So much to choose from!  Here are some of the sweet poses that Nadia came up with for The Jersey Momma's Boy:

When The Jersey Momma's Boy saw these, he said, "I look so handsome!"

Can I Afford a Professional Photographer?

Nadia occasionally offers specials at her studio, so check her website or Facebook page for options.  At times, some photographers (including Nadia at Sunny Bunnies) will offer mini sessions around the holidays, so be sure to ask what package options and prices are available.


How Do I Get My Photos?

Sunny Bunnies sent us all of our images via Drop Box.  The images are ours to keep and we can take them anywhere we want to print them.  Each photographer is different, but Nadia usually sets up online galleries for her clients (not always DropBox, but some method of online file sharing).  She can also provide a CD of images if you prefer.


Are Professional Family Photos Worth It?

So this is the initial question I started with, and here I am to tell you why these photos are so important.  I have said before, especially in the About Me section of this blog, how much I cherish time and every moment we have.  As the momma, I am the one who takes most of the photos in this family (and with my cell phone, no less, so the image quality is not always great!).  But that means I am also not in a lot of the photos.  I know a lot of moms out there will agree, you have a million pictures of your children, but not many of you, or you with your children.  Am I right?  And since I am always avoiding the camera, the memories of me with The Jersey Momma's Boy are not being documented very well!  So remember that.  You deserve to be in the pictures, too.  You, momma, are beautiful.  And these moments?  These days of baby cheeks and pudgy legs- they go by in a flash, in a heartbeat.  You look back and think, where did the time go?  Having a professional image of such a special time is a true treasure.




Disclaimer:  You can find Nadia at Sunny Bunnies Studios on her website or Facebook page. Sunny Bunnies provided us with a complimentary photo shoot in exchange for documentation of our experience with her. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Review of The Turtle Back Zoo: Classic New Jersey Day Trips

One of the very first field trips I can remember attending as a child was to the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange.  It's such a classic place, really, and will forever hold a special place in my heart.  I couldn't wait to take my son there when he was born.  I think he was just barely two the first time we visited!  Now The Jersey Momma's Boy is six, and we have been back numerous times throughout the years.  The zoo is open year round, so you really have no excuse if you've never visited.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Let's Visit The Better World Market

Have you ever heard of The Better World Market in Somerset?  If you haven't, I'm going to tell you why you need to know about this awesome little place, and why you should stop by if you're in the area.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Make Your Own Find It Game

Once again I needed to find a fun activity to do in The Jersey Momma's Boy's classroom for the latest class party (which just so happened to be a Dr. Seuss Read Across America Party.  You can read about the Yertle the Turtle Stacking Game we made for that party here).


Saturday, March 7, 2015

All Aboard The Pirate Cupcake Truck!

Being The Jersey Momma comes with lots of perks.  One of them is having a sister who owns The Pirate Cupcake truck.  I was so excited when my sister bought an ice cream truck. This ice cream truck (affectionately known as 'Clyde') was destined for greatness.  He was to become 'The Pirate Cupcake Truck,' serving cupcakes and ice cream at parties and events!


When I first met Clyde, he looked like this (well, without the white walls; he acquired those later on):

The Pirate Cupcake truck before his transformation was complete!

Everyone already loved him, and he was able to attend a couple of parties before his final transformation:

Party time!  Pre-transformation!

With much determination, planning and help from cool friends, Clyde made his final transformation and became a butterfly.  He became...THE PIRATE CUPCAKE TRUCK!!  

 

So what's The Pirate Cupcake truck all about?  Well, visit The Pirate Cupcake website to find out all about it and see all of the awesome cupcake flavors (my personal favorites are the Joe Vanilla and the Strawberry Shortcake).

photo courtesy of the Pirate Cupcake
photo courtesy of the Pirate Cupcake
The Pirate Cupcake truck can be hired for your next party, wedding, or private event.  Some other cool facts?  The cupcakes are totally NUT FREE, so if you have concerns about allergies, you needn't fret.  You might also choose to serve ice cream at your event, and in that case, The Pirate Cupcake can dish out some of the yummiest ice cream you've ever tasted- homemade from OWowCow in Pennsylvania.  Just check out these babies:

Ice cream cookie sandwiches from The Pirate Cupcake and OWowCow                       
Last night I was invited to tag along and help serve ice cream at a birthday party with the Pirate Cupcake.  I had a blast!  Just seeing the smiling faces of the kids as they ran up to the back of the truck was enough for me.  The adults had just as much fun as they posed for pictures and asked us to play our ice cream music again and again.  Although I must admit it was a little torturous to pass out all of that delicious ice cream and not eat any of it.  But I'm weak like that.

We were also lucky enough to have the Pirate Cupcake truck at The Jersey Momma's Boy's 6th Birthday party (which was robot themed.  You can read all about that here).


I would love The Pirate Cupcake even if my sister wasn't the driving force behind it (literally).  I adore the idea of something this fun and unique at a party or event.  These days it's hard to even find a real ice cream truck anywhere, let alone one this cute that serves cupcakes, too!  www.thepiratecupcake.com


*You can currently find The Pirate Cupcake at the Stangl Market in Flemington on Saturdays from 9-3, or visit the Pirate Cupcake Facebook page for more information.












Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Make Your Own Votive Candle Holders

Mini votive holders make great gifts and they look so pretty on a gloomy day!  You can make them in any color combination for the holidays, too (think green and white for St. Patty's Day, pink, red, and white for Valentine's Day.  You get the idea, right?).