617.501.4008 cara@carasoulia.com
How to Survive Being Stuck At Home With Kids

How to Survive Being Stuck At Home With Kids

By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.

—Benjamin Franklin.

7 Ideas for How to Survive Being Stuck At Home With Kids

While the kids might be cheering over the fact they don’t have school for the next two weeks, I can’t deny feeling a little bit of panic.  I have been a parent long enough to know that the kids’ excitement will wear off sometime during the very first day, boredom will set it, and this will inevitably will lead to incessant requests for screen time.   

During regular school vacation weeks I know the key to happiness and success is getting out of the house.  Everyone in the family is just in a better mood with an activity outside the home. However, since we are going to mostly be home during the next 14 days, I am making a plan.   

Here are 7 ideas I came up with for ways we will survive ( and perhaps even enjoy ) the next two weeks.

Set a schedule

Work with your kids to decide how your day will look.  Set simple rules that everyone can agree upon. This will lead to many fewer battles and less frustration.  ie, no screens during the day.  I based our schedule loosely on my kids’ schools schedules… morning work, outdoor time, activity (art/music/reading), snack break, outdoor time, activity, lunch, outdoor time, alone time, snack, activity, dinner….

Exercise / Move your Body

Without fail, the days during which I am in a better mood and have more patience for my children are the days that I exercise.  Although I can’t attend my favorite hot yoga class, you better believe I’ll be hitting up my favorite online exercise resource this week.  We are lucky to have a trampoline in our backyard, but moving your body can be as simple as a walk/bike/scoot around the block.  While you’re at it, don’t forget to drink your water. I love the recommendation of drinking 1/2 your body weight in ounces.  Will you have to pee constantly?  Yep. But at least you’re at home and near the bathroom ( #silverlining )

 

Connect with your inner artist

It goes without saying that we are experiencing an unsettling time.  It’s hard to explain to our kids what is going to happen, because we’ve never lived through a time like this before.  In our house, we are just trying to stay positive, stay present and stay calm.  One proven way to reduce stress and anxiety is through art.   

You don’t have to be an artist to pick up some colored pencils or a paintbrush.   I personally love to knit and I never seem to make enough time for it.  This week I’m working on some super cute hats to give to friends.   For my daughter, being artistic involves making obscene amounts of slime.  My older son is working on a model airplane.  All my five year old needs is play-doh.  Dedicate a time each day that you and your kids will do something artistic. You might be surprised at how lost you get in your project.  

Complete a project

If you’re anything like me, you have a list a mile long of things you’d like to accomplish.  I have short term goals and long term goals.  Business goals and family goals.  Somehow the list never ends. But what if you committed to finishing one big project during the next few weeks?  Every year I make a really special photo album of our family’s year and I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t completed one of these books since 2015!  I’m committed to spending time each day working on our 2016 family album.  What projects have you been putting off?

Be Alone.

Set aside a time every day when everybody in the house is alone.  Kids can choose to read, play music, play with Lego, train tracks, or just stare at their ceiling!  If your kids can’t tell time yet, set a timer.  60-90 minutes of alone time/quiet time can be a game changer in keeping your sanity!

Do something for someone else.

Use this time to think of ways you can help someone else.  When you focus on someone else’s needs, it helps you reduce stress and anxiety. Check in with your neighbors and friends to see how they are doing and if they need anything.  Make time to sort through the 1,203,456 stuffed animals and toys you don’t use and make bags for donation.  Collect books that you no longer read to donate to the library.   Declutter your closet.  Why are you keeping that dress that doesn’t fit you anymore anyway??  Completing a task for someone else is a great way to focus on something positive and keep your mind off the news.

Enjoy this time.

I know it’s probably easier said than done, but try to just enjoy this break in the pace of your normal routine. How often do we have a mandated 14 days to stay at home? 

If you’re into journaling, write down how you’re feeling or make a list every day of five things your are grateful for.  Write surprise letters to family and friends.  Leave fun notes for neighbors in chalk on their driveway. Have breakfast for dinner (here’s our favorite waffle recipe!) or wear your PJs all day.  Make a huge fort that takes over the entire living room.  Bake a cake for no good reason.  Create a scavenger hunt for the kids. Step outside and listen to the birds or check out that full moon tonite

Do all the things you wouldn’t normally do to make this time special.  In a strange way, you (and your kids!) might actually look back on it fondly someday. 

 

Cara Soulia is a Boston Family Photographer who is also a mom of three and she is acutely aware of how challenging it can be to be at home with the kids all day every day.  Cara hopes her 7 ideas to Survive Being Stuck At Home With Kids might be just the helpful advice you need during this trying time.

Give a Holiday Gift That Tells *Your* Story

Give a Holiday Gift That Tells *Your* Story

I feel your panic.

The holidays are barely two weeks away and you’re scrambling for meaningful gifts for your loved ones. And I’m not talking gifts for the kids. They’re probably letting you know exactly what they’re hoping for, right?

I’m talking about the grandparents, godparents, special aunts and uncles — maybe even your spouse? The people you adore dearly but who are tough to buy for and, all too often, you ultimately give them a random bottle of wine or new slippers, right?

I’m here to help.

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Photo gifts may seem trite. If you agree, chances are the photo gifts you’ve given or received haven’t been printed with quality printing, framed professionally or presented as part of a gorgeous album. 

Lifelong images – the kind you give to family and hope they’ll display and treasure for a lifetime – are more than just photos snapped, printed at CVS, and tossed in a cheap frame. In fact, the worst thing you can do is invest your time and hundreds of dollars in a professional photographer and then print your photos at the local drugstore. Stop right there, if that’s your plan. Read on for better ideas.

Maybe giving photo gifts is already one of your go-to ideas. Fantastic! If so, or if you’re reading this with heightened anticipation that I am thisclose to solving all your holiday woes and worries, here are some tips on the ways I turn digital images into a gift that sparkles with joy.

  • Blurb.com: If you’re looking for a do-it-yourself photo book or album, please look at Blurb. I use them for my own family snapshot album every year. They have a fantastic array of options and the quality is superb. You won’t be disappointed.
  • mpix: The highest quality image prints are at mpix.com. Take a few seconds and check them out if you’re looking to print images for framing or on a canvas.
  • Me! I’ll do the work for you. If you’re tight on time and want to make sure your images are printed with love and quality, I share your goal. Here are the details:

… Orders for Canvas and Framed Prints need to be placed by 12/10 for regular shipping and 12/12 with expedited shipping ($25).

… Orders for Prints need to be placed by 12/12 for regular shipping and 12/14 with expedited shipping ($25).

… Orders for Coffee Table Albums, my most popular product after digitals, order by Dec 15th. Gifting someone a photo album is so special, because it can be personalized. I do all the design, including a custom layout. Clients can include text and quotes, as well as a letter to the recipient. Sizes available are: 8×8, 10×10, and 12×12. Each starts at 10 spreads/20 pages and includes about 30-40 images. I offer a variety of covers to choose from.

Send me an email or give me a call ASAP to inquire about ordering any products in time for the holidays!!

cara@carasoulia.com

617-501-4008

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Cara Soulia is a Boston Family Photographer who specializes in capturing real and beautiful moments in a unique and artistic way.  Get in touch to inquire about ordering your holiday gift!!

But What To Wear? Wardrobe Tips For Your October Boston Photo Session

But What To Wear? Wardrobe Tips For Your October Boston Photo Session

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How gorgeous is this photo?

And, no, I’m not saying that to toot my own horn! I’m reacting to the facets of this image that are hopefully speaking to you, too. The joy on the children’s faces, their genuine smiles, their loving bond (evidenced in their holding hands), and the gorgeous scenery that we’re lucky to experience every October in the Boston area.

But it’s actually more than that, and anyone who has been disappointed in a family photo probably (now) knows the most crucial element in capturing the perfect moment: color. And more importantly, colors that coordinate – with each other and the photo setting itself.

See below for more examples of what I mean, then read on for some of my personal tips on How to Dress for Your October Boston Photo Session.

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How to Dress for Your October Boston Photo Session

While the essence of an amazing photo is rooted in the expressions and connections of each family member and their interactions, it’s also nice to look great. Here are some tips on how to make that happen:

The most important thing is to be comfortable in what you are wearing. You don’t have to dress fancy to look fantastic. Nothing ruins well, anything, more than an uncomfortable pair of shoes or an itchy sweater. Go casual if you’d like, but feel free to put your boys in jackets to spruce up the look. Don’t worry, they’ll likely still act like boys (see these guys flossing during their session!).

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OK, Here are some real tips:

  • Think about your photo in terms of colors and contrasts. The location is going to offer both. For an October Boston Photo Session, you’re going to see green, orange, reds and yellows in the landscape. In my experience, the clothing colors that work well in Fall foliage include navy, maroon, cream, brown, pink/fuschia, and red. Choose 2-3 complimentary colors maximum and have everyone wear something in that color scheme.

 

  • Patterns can be wonderful, but consider them for one member of the family vs. everyone. It’s nice to have one person stand out. One of my clients always put her young daughter in floral dresses for our photo sessions, as it was a great way to add beauty to the image while also getting her child out of her typical play clothes. Alas, this year I photographed the family and her daughter is now 14 (!). She finally put her foot down: No more floral dresses. Moms, get them while you can!

 

  • If you celebrate Christmas and send out a Christmas card, red plaids work really well in October and look festive when them season changes to winter.

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  • An October Boston Photo Session can be chilly, so think ahead about ways to incorporate layers and textures into your outfits. Bring accessories, like hats and scarves, if you’d like. If the items blend and fit nicely, they can bring a lot of personality to your images.

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  • Definitely consider how quickly the leaves evolve during the Fall season. Late October/early November is usually the best time to schedule a Boston October Photo Session if you really want bright Fall colors.

 

  • But never fear, if you miss the Fall foliage, evergreen photos are also really beautiful. Check out this adorable guy and the family below.

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Cara Soulia is a family photographer who offers an October Boston Photo Session for families of all ages.

See more of Cara’s work on the blog or get in touch to find out more about scheduling a session this Fall. Limited dates still available.

How to reduce wrinkling in photographic prints

How to reduce wrinkling in photographic prints

Do you ever notice photographic prints around your house wrinkling a little bit? Want to know if there is something you can to do to prevent it?

Love the photo, don’t love the print. I ordered this one unmounted by accident and in less than a year it’s already wrinkling 🙁

Boston Family Photographer Tips & Tricks

The most likely reason your prints wrinkle is because they aren’t mounted.  I recommend mounting any image that is printed at 8×10″ or larger to significantly increase it’s longevity, especially if it’s going to be in a place where the temperature and humidity levels fluctuate.

There are lots of options when it comes to mounting:  mat board, styrene, foam board all with different levels of sturdiness and thickness.  If you’re planning to frame your print, go for something thin like mat board.  If you’re planning to hang the print unframed, go for thick ( 3/4″ foam board ). 

Styrene is thin and durable, great for framing.

I love the unique, modern look of unframed photos, mounted withe 3/4″ foam backing.

Include mounting to your print and you will increase the cost a bit, but your prints will have a much longer life, I promise!!  

(Psst:  All prints ordered through me are printed on Kodak Professional Endura Premier Paper.  Images 8×10 and larger are mounted on styrene for durability and longevity!   They are also lustre coated and UV sprayed.  These are not CVS 19cent prints!! )


Cara Soulia is a Boston Family Photographer who specializes in capturing real, honest moments in a beautiful and natural way.  Click here to see more of Cara’s work, or get in touch to schedule a session!

 

Dreamchasing: 8 ways to reach your goal

Dreamchasing: 8 ways to reach your goal

In January, I launched a new portrait series called “A Mother’s Work” which features female entrepreneurs who are also mothers. The idea for this series quite literally came to me in a dream one night a few years ago and I’m so excited to finally be devoting energy to making this dream a reality in 2019. In the last two months, I have already met so many wonderful inspiring women and look forward to those I will be meeting in the future. The positive feedback I have received about this project has been amazing and I can’t wait to share more!

One thing I did not expect when I started the series, however, was the amount of comments and questions people would send me about my OWN journey to becoming a photographer.  You may or may not know that I used to have a career as an analyst in investment management.  I worked in the corporate world for 15 years before making the leap to full time photography!  So many people have asked me questions about this switch:  Was it scary?  How’d you plan for it?  What are the things that have helped you succeed the most? Do you wish you had done anything differently?  

Career Change to Boston Newborn & Family Photographer

Because I’m on the other side of this big life/career change, I thought it might be helpful to jot down some things down that I think were most helpful in achieving my goal of becoming a full time photographer.   I certainly don’t have all the answers, but having owned my own business for almost 9 years now I do have a few solid ideas about things that are helpful in achieving your goals

1. Talk about it. A lot.

I think this is the single biggest way to start making your dreams come true.  At first it might feel weird to speak out loud about your secret dreams, but I promise you the more you talk about it, the closer it will come to reality.  Even if you are still a little hesitant, you have to do it.  Just start with a close fried. Or your Mom.  The more you talk about it, the more you will start to feel comfortable with your ideas and eventually you will start to be more confident in your dream coming true. AND the best part?  When people know what you’re working toward, opportunities will start to appear!  

I remember when I first started thinking I wanted to be a photographer, I mentioned it my friends and family first.  Soon I was photographing their babies and kids for practice.  I did pro bono work for a friend’s nonprofit because she knew I was interested in expanding my portfolio.  I learned so many valuable lessons during that time about photography, but also about working with people, editing images, being organized, etc.  None of this would have happened if I kept my big dream a secret.

2. Make a plan and write it down everywhere 

There are number of different ways you can make a plan to achieve your goal, but one thing is for sure — if you only talk about it and don’t actually do anything, you are not going to meet your goal!  duh!

  • To start, sit down at the computer (or if you’re like me, at the desk with pen and paper!) and just start writing.  Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or being too organized with your thoughts.  Set a timer for 5 minutes and just write.  This is called ‘free-flow writing’ and a highly effective way to brainstorm your ideas. Don’t stop until the timer goes off.  Write about your dream, with details big and small, write about what it looks feels like to achieve your goal, write about what you want your life to look like in 1, 5 or 10 years when you’ve achieved your goals, make a list of steps you could take to get there.  
  • If you are a highly visual person, it might be helpful to make a ‘vision board’ that is a collage of all the things that you goal looks like.  Hang it somewhere prominent where you will see it every single day! 
  • Hang up sticky notes everywhere to remind you of your goals!  Motivational quotes on the bathroom mirror are acceptable and encouraged!
  • Once you have written down your goal and a rough plan for reaching that goal, break it up into smaller goals.  Keep breaking it up until you have at least one action item for each week.  

3. Seek Inspiration and Advice

One big thing I have realized in the last two decades of soul searching and dream chasing is that most people are more than willing to help you out;  all you have to do is ASK.  If you are thinking about a new career, find someone in that career and ask them to have a phone call with you or to meet up for coffee!  Pick their brain and ask tons of questions.  Dedicate a journal where you take copious notes on things you notice and learn.  Even better, go on a job shadow with someone.  This is really the best way to figure out what how it feels to do this job!

I know podcasts are certainly not a new thing, but I personally just started getting into them about 2 years ago and they have introduced me to so many amazing people that have literally changed my life!  The best part about podcasts ( besides the information and inspiration they provide ) is that you can listen to them almost anywhere ( unlike a book where you read three pages and then fall asleep or are interrupted by your kids!).  Podcasts in the car, podcasts while out for a walk, podcasts while cooking dinner, podcasts while doing laundry, the options are endless.  A few of my favorites right now: (more…)

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