06 | right now with teens

One of the biggest things that I struggle with in taking photos of my teens is what on earth am I going to take photos of? We talked last week about how to handle photographing the same thing every day/week and this week were talking a bit on finding those little moments in your day to photograph.


We’ve discussed how photographing your teen is so very different than when they were little. We just took a ton of photographs because they were just cute all the time. Teens aren’t cute all the time. They just aren’t. And finding those moments to photograph where they’re being adorable is hard. So you need to remind yourself that isn’t what you’re looking for. You’re helping them (and you) document their days, their lives. And our days are filled with little moments. Things that we don’t think we need to pull out our camera for, things we might think are silly to take photos of. Things that they most definitely will think we’re being silly for photographing. But you’ve gotten them on your side with this new way of taking photos and you’ve thought about areas to focus on taking photos…but now you’re stuck.

My favorite tip - what are you currently doing? What’s going on right now? When you’re going about your day, stop and think. What are we doing? How is this important in telling the story of our everyday lives? And take a photo. Be creative, look at the 10 tips to documenting the same thing everyday for some ideas on how to get creative with your shots.

What we’re doing right now

  • what are we eating - has someone decided to be a vegetarian? Is someone on a huge cereal kick and that’s all that they’ll eat? Do you have a giant child getting up at 11pm for second dinner like I do?

  • what are we playing - board games, video games on the tv or on your phone? Is there someone in your house always playing pranks on someone? What are we doing for fun around the house or out in the world?

  • what are we reading - books, magazines etc…digital readers or paper books? Do you have a teen with their nose always in a book? Trips to the library or stacks of books everywhere? These are great images to get to remember something that they are passionate about.

  • what are we talking about - get photos of your kids talking to each other, I love looking back on photos of my kids carrying on conversations all on their own. Kids talking with parents or friends or other family members…get them while they aren’t looking, peek in on those little moments.

  • what are we practicing - instruments or sports? What are the things that our kids are working on every day? Have a new driver like I do? The photo above of him gripping the wheel as I’m panicking in the passenger seat is a memory I don’t want to forget. There are many things that our teens practice to get better at…you might be missing something you aren’t even aware of.

  • what are we listening to - do your kids always walk around with at least one earbud in? Are they playing records in their rooms? What is the music of choice in their cars? Are they on itunes or spotify (a screenhot of a current playlist is always fun)? What images can you get that tell the story of their taste in music right now?

  • what are we watching - sports or movies or tv shows? Do you have someone with their face buried in Netflix or someone that is addicted to Impractical Jokers? What about someone who loves going to the movies and always gets a photo of their tickets and their feet showing the crazy theater carpet…just my daughter? Ok.

  • what are we working towards - I love this one. What big goals and dreams do your kids have? Have you asked them? What are they striving for? Do they want to make their varsity football team? Maybe they’re working hard at getting their grades to be amazing so that getting into college is a slam dunk. Are they writing or drawing, working towards getting into a specific program in college? Are they getting up for 5am practices so that they can swim faster than anyone on their team? Working towards getting the lead in the school play or working at perfecting their free throw shot and shovel the driveway just to get more shots? There is likely something that your teen is working towards, take some time and find out what that is. Celebrating the journey along with the achieving the goal is so important to showing them how proud you are of all of their hard work.

These little everyday moments are what our memories are made up of…they’re the things that we’ll miss, that we will look back on fondly. Don’t let them slip by…be present in these moments and snap a pic or two to remember them by. Looking for some inspiration? Find a few instagram accounts that you love and look closely at what speaks to you about those images. What are other people documenting about their lives and how? I love looking back on my instagram recaps to see the little moments in our lives.


home office tour + photos

Working from home has its benefits and its low points. I love having a home office that allows me to work from home and still be close to the family. My office is right off of the kitchen and front room of the house - this allows me to be close to the center of the home and also look out the front windows to see what’s going on in our world.


My office is home to my photography work, my oils work and also a space for kids to do homework if needed. Lots of natural light and everyone keeps telling me to rip down the wallpaper, but it doesn’t bother me too much…


This office space has evolved over the years but I love where I’ve ended up. Check out this old post about finding inspiration for your home office on the Carrie Owens Photography blog. And if you want to see what it used to look like check out my old home office when I was more of a scrapbooker and photographer, things have slowly changed and I’m loving where my space is now.


I love my oily station in my office - so accessible to anyone in the family and the perfect spot to mix up some rollers or sprays or other fun stuff.

Do you have a home office? I would love to see! What are your biggest struggles with your home office space?


eo | 10 ways to use your premium starter kit

You just purchased your starter kit and now you’re wondering what on earth you’re going to do with it…how will you ever use all of those oils and what will you use them for? It seemed like a great idea, you want to start on this wellness journey that all of your friends are talking about…but how?


Okay, first things first - open that baby up. take everything out and open all the bottles and smell them. Really breathe them in. Some will smell amazing and others you might think you’ll never smell again…they all have amazing uses, so don’t discount any of them just yet. (DiGize will be your best friend when you overindulge in your favorite meal, give it a chance :) )


Don’t forget to lift up those oils and look underneath - there are two amazing oils under there, two sachets of NingXia Red, a sample of Thieves Household Cleaner, a bottle of Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier and two rollertop fitaments. You need these!! I’m loving the updates that Young Living made to their Premium Starter Kit this year. The oils give you so many benefits and you will love each and every one!

10 ways to use your PSK

  1. Take your diffuser out and put it together, grab some water and fill to the line and add 3 drops Peppermint and 3 drop Lemon for a great energizing and clean smelling blend that helps with focus. You’ve just created your first blend! Set your diffuser up somewhere in your home that the smell can be enjoyed by all. Enjoy...and know that you’re going to soon need additional diffusers, we have them in nearly every room in our house now! Start with your main living area and also your bedroom, you’ll be so glad you did!

  2. Grab one of the roller fitaments, remove the reducer and pop it on the top of your Stress Away bottle - roll onto your wrists and breathe it in. Everyone calls it “vacation in a bottle” and you’ll love it. Calming and relaxing, perfect for those stressful moments in your day. (you can diffuse this one too!)

  3. Take a big cold glass of water and add a drop of Peppermint or Lemon for a refreshing drink. I love adding Lemon to my water and have also loved Grapefruit (a great inexpensive oil to add to your next order that is great in so many ways!)

  4. Take that Theives Waterless Hand Purifier and stick it in your purse or your car. I have one tucked just about everywhere and we use it all the time to get the germs off…perfect when you’re out at super crowded spots and it smells great! Young Living also sells a big bottle to use to refill the littles or to have in your kitchen. I love that YL sells the little bottles in packs of three - perfect to get them everywhere you need them!

  5. Looking for some sleep and relaxation support? There are so many great oils in this kit that can help you. My favorites are Valor, Peace + Calming and Lavender. Frankincense is also great for sleep (and for your skin!! Put a drop in your moisturizer before smoothing on your face and breathe it in). I can’t imagine going a night without my diffuser, I even take it with me when I’m traveling.

  6. Grab a 16 ounce (glass if you have one, we get ours on Amazon) spray bottle and empty the packet into the bottle and fill the rest with water - you now have the best smelling most amazing household cleaner that is safe and effective for your entire home. We use this to clean everything and there are tons of recipes to make scrubs and other products as needed. I love knowing we have replaced all the awful smelling toxic cleaning supplies in our home with this one bottle. No more feeling like I’m going to pass out when cleaning the shower.

  7. Feeling like you’re not feeling your best? Grab your favorite mug and fill it with hot water, add some organic honey and a drop of Thieves and a drop of Lemon for your very own Thieves Tea, perfect for a little immune boost.

  8. Remember that Peppermint Vitality oil? Add a drop or two to a box of brownie mix for the best Peppermint Brownies…yum!! The white label oils in your kit are safe to ingest, so know that you can add these to recipes or veggie capsules and ingest them for various benefits.

  9. Get a roller bottle (Amazon has some great ones) and some fractionated coconut oil (Young Living sells their own V6 Carrier Oil that I love!) and add 6 drops Lavender, 6 drops Lemon, 6 drops Peppermint and roll on your wrists or your feet. You can also use this blend to diffuse for some seasonal relief just use equal drops of each (fewer for a diffuser). I diffuse this every morning in the spring while my children are up and about getting ready for school. I love roller bottles and make so many different ones for various needs. Valor is great for confidence and courage, roll some on and breathe it in before a big test for your kids or other big moments in your life.

  10. Grab those little red sachets and stick them in the fridge. When you’re ready, pour one over ice and top off with your favorite sparkling water and enjoy. You’ll love all of the benefits for your body and the afternoon pick-me-up is always needed by this busy mom!


Did you notice that I didn’t even get to talk about all of the oils? There are so many uses for each oil. Twelve amazing little bottles of plant juice that you will fall in love with. Something to remember is that many of the oils smell differently out of the bottle vs on your body or being diffused. And if you don’t love the smell of an oil - give it another chance or try and use it in another way.

My number one tip? Be consistent with your oils, know that these oils are amazing, but without consistent use you may miss out on some of the most amazing benefits. If you’re not seeing the results that you’re hoping for, reach out and let’s talk, you might be missing out on something that you haven’t thought about yet. I love helping families find what works the best for them because what works for my body may not be the same for yours.


Do you want to learn a little more about those little red sachets in the bottom of your starter kit box? I wrote a blog post all about why we love NingXia Red in our home. I can’t imagine going a day without this little pick-me-up and I love knowing that it’s giving me nutrients that I’m not getting on my own.


If you’ve been on the fence, wondering if this is the right path for you, send me a message and let’s chat. I’m so glad that my family looked into essential oils and so grateful that we chose Young Living. There are so many amazing products that we have introduced into our home in the past year and this little box has given us so much. This just opens the door to all of the ways that you can slowly (or quickly) start removing chemicals and unhealthy things from your homes.


06 | fueling your body with love

One of the best things that you can do for your self care is to take care of your physical body…what you eat and how you move. These are both areas that I’ve struggled with my entire life. I’ve gone through phases where I’ve felt like I have it under control and I’m on the right path and others where I’ve made choices that weren’t really in my best interest.


I’ve tried all of the different diet fads. Really…all of them I would imagine. I have finally I’ve come to a point in my life where I’ve realized that I know what I need to do and it’s really up to me to decide to choose to actually do what I need to do. This past summer I attempted the Whole30 for my second time (first time was more of a Whole17) and this time I completed the challenge…and I loved it. I lost weight and that was my goal, but the best thing that happened was that I realized that I can be in control of what I eat. It was the first time in my life that my relationship with food became more about fueling my body than eating because I wanted to (for stress, emotion or out of spite when I was upset with myself). I was able to order Dairy Queen Blizzards for my family and easily pass on one for myself. And not feel deprived. Not feel as though I was wishing for the day when I could have one again. Just proud of myself for making the choice that best suited me and my goals for right now.


Do you struggle with what to eat, how to eat, when to eat? Here are my five best tips on finding what works the best for you.

5 best tips for fueling your body with love

  1. Drink lots of water…take your body weight and divide by half and that’s how many ounces of water you should be drinking EVERY DAY.

  2. Fill your plate with mostly fruits and vegetables.

  3. Choose foods without added sugar.

  4. Choose foods with ingredient lists you can understand. I try and keep the foods that I eat to fewer than 5 ingredients per item when I’m not on the whole30 (as most all whole30 foods I eat are whole foods). Better yet - choose foods without ingredients. Whole foods. Foods that only have things in them that your body knows how to handle.

  5. Keep healthy food options on hand (at home, in your car, in your bag) so you don’t end up in a situation where a drive thru is your only option…and if it is, remember your goals. Remember how your body feels when you fill it with fake foods.


Some of my favorite books to keep me motivated are shown above and linked below. At this point, I’m not 100% following any of them but am taking bits and pieces from each. Learning about the science behind the foods and the way that the different foods make me feel and effect my body. The main thing that I am trying to focus on in my world right now is making sure that the foods that I eat are as real as possible (aside from my morning coffee…because I’m just not prepared to drink black coffee at this point, and that’s just ok) and have ingredients that I understand. With things like the coffee…I’m making the choice to drink that as it is currently the better choice than what I might want. You can’t always make the perfect choice, be 100% clean and healthy all of the time. Sometimes the lesser of two evils to keep you on track is what works best. Finding what works for you may not be what works for someone else.


I try to pin recipes and quotes that inspire me to make choices that are in line with my overall health goals. I’m often an “all of nothing” type of person and I need to be careful of giving myself a “treat” or taking a detour “just this once” until I’m fully committed (and seeing results…I need results). For me, counting points or calories or things along that line don’t really work. I need guidelines. But I also know that sometimes the best things for me is the “unhealthy” choice. Restrictions aren’t healthy and finding a way to live where I am giving my body the best chance at being healthy is my goal. Maybe, just maybe I’m finally figuring some of this health thing out.


Reminding myself daily that eating well is one of the greatest forms of self respect. What tips do you have to keep your body healthy with the foods that you eat?


instagram recap | january 2019

I finally feel like I’m getting back on track with getting photographs of my life and my kiddos. This month Instagram was full of images to choose from to make a great Instagram recap. I love going back through the images and reliving our memories.


I love that there were big moments (a new 15 year old in the house + a great college visit for the big) and lots of everyday moments. Lots of basketball too, which I love. I love seeing the seasons through sports in my feed every year.

I still need to work on getting more of myself in the images, but I’m proud of myself for asking my sister to take some pics of my daughter and I at the record store and also getting my daughter to take some photos of me…if you aren’t getting in your images, please make an effort to do so.

Are you on Instagram? You can find me here for our daily lives and here for my oils account. I would love to connect and be IG friends!


05 | the same stuff everyday with your teen

One of the biggest things that I hear when I talk to other moms about documenting their teens is that they feel like it’s silly to take photos of the same things every day. I feel their pain and generally speaking they are spot on…most of our daily lives are spent doing the same things over and over again. But there are gems hidden in the everyday. We live our lives in the everyday, in those routines live the memories that our kids will take into adulthood. These are the things that they will remember when they’re doing the same with their children someday. Document these seemingly repetitive moments and I promise you’ll find some of your favorite moments.


The thing to remember is that when we are in the thick of it and it feels like we’re doing the same thing every day all of a sudden we realize that we’ve just experienced one of the lasts. The last time we had to take our kid to school…the last time they asked us to tuck them in at night. The last time we made their lunch, the last time we took them to practice, their last game, the last of so many things. These are harder to see. When our kids are little we are super focused on them achieving all of their firsts…these lasts are sneaky. But if we are making an effort in documenting all of the things these little lasts don’t pass us by without us noticing.


  1. Think creatively - how many ways can you show a basketball or a football game? How many ways can you show your child at a piano recital or a dance competition? Don’t go for the same shot every time.

  2. Overall images - take images that tell the overall story. The entire baseball diamond. The whole football stadium. I would love to have images that show me in my high school as they have since remodeled it and my memory seems to be fading. I know the school that my kids currently go to will look differently in less than 5 years…get overall images of the events or practices or carpool drop off because you never know when things will change.

  3. Details - go for the small things. Do you get your hand stamped at the games? Do they give tickets? What do the seats look like? The score board and other elements. What does their instrument look like? What does their hand look like playing the keys on the piano? Get closer. Find the little details that are so quick to fade away.

  4. Ask your teens for their input - what is important to them about what they’re doing? Do they love the warm up routine and laughing with their friends? Do they love that everyone has matching gear bags? Do they love that they have a lucky pair of goggles or that they wear the same shoes at every recital? There might be things that you don’t even realize that are important to your teen about the things that they do everyday…now is your chance to find out.

  5. Ask your teens for their images - you know your kids take photos, maybe lots, maybe a few. But ask to see them. Look at their daily life through their eyes to see what means the most to them.

  6. The tools of the trade - similar to getting the details, but really think about all of the things that make up the activity…the shoes, the uniform, the helmets, the instruments etc…what are all of the things that your teen needs. These things change over the years so it’s fun to look back at these things over time. We love looking through our high school year books with the kids showing them the differences between their days and ours.

  7. Include people - not just your own child, but get their teammates and their friends and the coaches and teachers. Find out who is important to them and include them in your images. (Don’t post images online of other people without their permission…obviously)

  8. Just the scene - the field when everyone is gone…the empty stage. The parking lot after a game or the court and stands full of people.

  9. Change your perspective. I find that I often sit in the same spot at all of my daughter’s basketball games…it’s the best spot for photos. Well…not if I’m going for variety and to see something a little different. Sit somewhere else, shoot from down low, shoot from above, shoot from a completely different vantage point and everything will seem new again.

  10. Create a hashtag for your series if you’re active on Instagram. I love looking back on our instagram hashtags that we created for the things that we do day in and day out. Check them out before you use one…might have been used for something already that isn’t in line with what you might have hoped :)


Here is a great read on the Carrie Owens Photography blog about documenting a series. It’s so fun to look back on these images. We were doing the same thing nearly every day and I really didn’t see an end in sight. I remember thinking that we would be swimming every single day for the rest of time. These days I only have one swimmer (even though I thought for sure I would have three high school swimmers this year) and things look very different. I love that my kids can look back on these images from those busy years and remember what this point in their lives looked like.

What is something that you do everyday? Or every week? How can you look at these parts of your life creatively so that you enjoy documenting the things that you do? I would love to hear your tips and ideas on this subject.


my 10 best monthly planning tips

Happy February! I love a new month and all of the possibility that it brings.


At the end of each month I go through and look back over my calendar from the previous month to see where I was successful and where I struggled. I then develop my strategy for the new month and look for as many areas that I can be successful and what potential roadblocks I can move before they even become an issue. Read on for my best monthly planning tips.



  1. Find some quiet time without distractions to work out your month…taking the time to plan out your month well allows for you to give yourself the best shot at being as successful and productive as you can be.

  2. Take some time to review your previous month…look for wins and areas of struggle. Were you hoping to get up early every morning and work out? How did that go? Is there a better time in your day for some of the things that you want to do but can’t figure out how to fit them in? What can - or should - you let go of?

  3. Make note of all of the “must do” items for the month - birthdays, sporting events, school obligations, appointments, bills or other deadlines. These need to go in your planner first.

  4. Think about recurring items, note these and make sure these have time to get done - think working out, work obligations, time for yourself etc…

  5. Take some time to meal plan - you don’t have to figure it all out if that isn’t your style, but take note of the days that will be late nights (practices or mom-taxi time) that make figuring out dinner a pain. If you can schedule some of those meals ahead of time, you will thank yourself later!

  6. Look at your finances, what big expenses are coming up? A birthday to plan for? Perhaps a vacation or extra sports expenses? Taking these things into consideration at the beginning of the month helps ensure you’ve got the funds to finish out the month as well.

  7. Are there any house projects that you need to consider? Spring cleaning or prepping the pipes for the colder temps? What about furnace filter replacements and other little tasks that often get pushed aside. Thinking about these items and making time for them helps your house run smoothly. While you’re at it - check on your vehicles as well. Oil changes and other routine maintenance.

  8. Your personal growth, self care and wellness. Like working out, hair cuts, reading, learning and other things that help you become your best you…see #9 as well.

  9. Review your goals for the year and really think about your big goals…the big scary ones that you dream about. What are you doing to make those reality? What little steps do you need to be taking every day to get yourself closer? I don’t know what your big dreams are…but write them down and start making progress. Time passes by so don’t just wait for these dreams, you need to do the work.

  10. Plan for some fun - just for you and for the entire family and friends. Make an effort to reach out to friends and family. This time is so important so that you don’t get worn down.


What do you do to ensure that your month is set up for success and that you aren’t letting things fall through the cracks? Are you a paper planner person or a digital planner expert? Paper all the way here with my Get To Work Book planner. It’s really the best planner


eo | all about NingXia Red

When you order your Premium Starter Kit from Young Living you get these two little red packets at the bottom of your kit. Most people either ignore them or pop them in the fridge and forget about them. I was one of those people. I stuck them in the fridge and thought I’ll give those a try someday.


So one afternoon my sister and I each had one of those packets. I’m super picky with the taste of things so I was pretty sure I would hate it. I didn’t. I was concerned about the texture. There was no need to be. So we decided that we would bring Ningxia Red into our daily lives and I’m so glad that we have.


Benefits of NINGXIA RED

There are so many great benefits of drinking 2-4 ounces of Ningxia Red every day. I am not a doctor and these are just the things that I have found with my research and the benefits that we have found in our own home. From the Young Living site: “NingXia Red® is a delicious superfruit beverage that combines whole Ningxia wolfberry puree; a superfruit blend of blueberry, aronia, cherry, pomegranate, and plum juices; natural stevia extract; grape seed extract; pure vanilla extract; and Orange, Yuzu, Lemon, and Tangerine essential oils.”

  • Made with exotic fruit extracts and the whole fruit of Young Living’s exclusive Ningxia wolfberries, NingXia Red can help prevent against oxidative stress, support eye health, and provide energy throughout the day.

  • Antioxidants—one ounce has roughly the power of four pounds of carrots/eight oranges/two pounds of beets/three cups raspberries/two cups blueberries…are you getting those fruits and veggies in your body on the regular? I’m not…so I drink NingXia daily to help pick up the slack and give me a boost.

  • Once you have been drinking NingXia for a while people typically say they have brighter skin and a little more natural energy…who couldn’t use that?

  • The NingXia Wolfberry is a complex carbohydrate, which means your blood sugar will rise slowly, reducing the risk of a sugar crash afterward. This is one reason why this energy drink is a much better alternative than conventional energy drinks that are filled with sugar and send you into a sugar high and post-sugar crash. 


My favorite way to drink my NingXia is over ice and a can of NingXia Zyng (Young Living’s Sparkling Beverage) sometimes I add a tube of Nitro if I’m feeling super drained in the afternoon…the perfect pick me up.



You can drink Zyng on its own for a great afternoon pick me up as well…refreshing with a little boost of energy. With natural flavors and sweeteners, white tea extract, and added vitamins, NingXia Zyng delivers 35 mg of naturally occurring caffeine and only 35 calories per can…I’ll take that over a store bought energy drink any day.


The kids drink their NingXia in the morning with their vitamins…I love knowing that the get this extra boost of goodness into their bodies before heading out for their day.


Have you tried NingXia Red yet? How about any of the other NingXia products? I would love to hear what you think and how you make them a part of your everyday wellness plan.


05 | creating time for you

I’ve touched on this in previous weeks, but one of the best things that you can do for your self care is ensure that you have created time for just you. In order to be your best self, you need to take care of yourself first and foremost. You cannot give to others if you are empty.


In today’s world we are all busy. Whether you’re a parent, a business owner, have a full time job - or more than one, or any of the many other things that keep you busy it is so easy to put yourself on the back burner. You tell yourself “I’ll get to that later” or “the kids need me” or any of the other things that we tell ourselves as to why we don’t have the time to take care of ourselves. But what happens if something or someone goes uncared-for for too long? Imagine if we pushed our children’s needs or our boss’s needs to the side? We can’t - we wouldn’t. Yet we are so often very comfortable in pushing our own needs to the side. It is not selfish to take care of yourself. In fact, it is necessary.


It may be so long since you’ve done something just for you that you might be a little stuck here. Why do I really need this time for myself? If I can actually create it, what on earth am I going to do? You need this time so that you can learn more about yourself. So that you can dive deeper into your interests. So that you can spend time with friends that you don’t get to see very often. You can go to a class…to the library or out exploring your city. Or you can simply sit on the couch in a quiet home (or room) and read or listen to music or listen to silence and think.

But a word of caution…don’t go looking for time in your calendar to give yourself a little “me time”. I can almost guarantee you won’t find it. If you have a busy schedule it’s going to take some effort. You’re going to have to create the time. And you may even need to schedule it like an appointment for a while. Most importantly…do not cancel on yourself.



  1. Get up an hour earlier - How To Get Up An Hour Earlier

  2. Stay up an hour later after your family has gone to bed - but be careful here. You don’t want this late night me time to make you sluggish in the morning or have you struggling to get up on time. Balance.

  3. Sign up for a class either with a friend or by yourself (make sure it’s something that you are genuinely interested in so that it does not become a chore).

  4. Create time around your lunch break for things you love.

  5. Become more efficient with your time. Take a hard look at your days and weeks. Don’t spin your wheels with different tasks and you’ll be surprised at the time you might be able to find in your day. Multi tasking might feel like you’re getting more done, but I promise you’re just taking longer to do one thing and likely aren’t doing as well of a job with it as you would hope. Focus and you’ll create pockets of time for yourself.

What are you going to do with your “me time”? It doesn’t have to be the same thing…it doesn’t have to be everyday (as long as you’re getting some time for you during your morning routine and bedtime routines) but it does need to happen if you want to feel your best.


04 | tools to document the everyday life of your teen

Documenting your teen isn’t about making sure you have a professional camera or a professional photographer following you around everywhere you and your teen go…it’s about making sure that you’re using the tools that you have and maybe finding a couple new ones to make your life a bit easier.


The majority of the photos of my children are taken with the camera on my phone. I am a photographer so I do have the big camera and I do use that at many sporting events for the kids and I also bring it out in the fall for their yearly photo shoot…other than that, it doesn’t often make an appearance (unless my daughter and I have scheduled a fun photo shoot or are out location scouting). I have found that for the most part, my phone can do the job. Remember…you’re not trying to win any photographic awards with these photos…you’re simply documenting your life and the lives of your teens. No need to get super fancy here or you run the risk of not doing anything.


  1. My camera on my phone - I have a Samsung. I go back and forth with wanting an iPhone or just sticking with what I have. Honestly…I think the differences are pretty negligible. It’s really just about using the tools that you have. Someday I might switch back but for now, I’m happy.(Although the available apps are different and I do believe that Apple has a bit of a leg up on photo editing apps…see #2)

  2. Editing apps on my phone - I don’t usually bother downloading photos from my phone onto my laptop to edit. I use apps that are available in the Google Play store but I know that there are some awesome apps available to Apple users that developers are slow to bring to Android users. I consistently use VSCO and love their platform. The presets that they have and the ability to create recipes has made this the only editing app that I use. There are others available that are amazing as well: PicTapGo, A Color Story (I do love this one too),

  3. Instagram - I’m a big believer in using instagram to document our lives and I love that each of my children have their own accounts. Not everyone would agree with me on that and that’s ok. You need to do what is right for your family and your social media rules. I have over 3000 photos posted to my Instagram account and I love looking back through my account and seeing the changes in the kids over the years. I always ask permission before posting a photo of my kids on my account as I ask the same of them :)

  4. 1 second everyday app - I haven’t been consistent with this awesome app since 2016 but I love looking back on this video. It’s something that I would like to try and work into my daily routine for the remainder of 2019…remember - just because you didn’t start on January 1st doesn’t mean you can’t start now. (see my video at the end of this post)

  5. Blurb books or Chatbooks - there are some great tools out there to make books from your digital images. I used to be an avid scrapbooker but my interests have changed over the years. I love looking back on the old books that I used to create when the kids were little, but for me creating a digital book with just the images is an easier way for me to get the photos printed where we can touch them and experience them.


This really was the coolest project. I have seen many out there that have done some amazing projects with this app with beautiful images and music and you can easily get stuck feeling like yours won’t measure up. I promise it’s not about that. I look back at this video and I am so happy that I captured these little moments. This is the most perfect video representing a year of my children’s lives. Doesn’t get much better than that.

What tools do you use to document your teens? Don’t worry about having the latest and greatest tools. Have the tools that work for you and your lifestyle. Make it easy on yourself or you’ll get stuck not taking any photos at all. Make sure that you aren’t getting caught up in capturing the most perfect “instagrammable” moments. We want to ensure that we are capturing real life. Ask your kids for help, make sure you’re getting in some of the images and most importantly…just do it. These years go by so quickly and our memories fade. Having photos ad videos to share with them and their children someday is something you don’t want to miss out on.