HECT // A FAMILY SESSION

 

The weather in Michigan has been so back and forth recently but I'm so glad when I met up with this sweet little family we had the most lovely evening for taking pictures. Tifani is a talented photographer and she recently photographed our family photos too! We actually have a lot in common beyond being photographers. Our husbands are both pastors and we both have little girls born in 2015, fairly close in age! Needless to say, this was such a fun family to photograph and I can appreciate the season of life they are in now as it is so similar to my own. I hope you enjoy a handful of my favorite images from their session. Happy Tuesday! 

 

HOMEMADE BATH BOMBS // A DIY GUIDE

 

Of the many projects I've done with Rhiannon Bosse, this is one of my favorites! These make great gifts for just about any occasion because I don't think it's a secret that sometimes, it's just nice to feel pampered! This is the perfect way to end any day when you're in need of a little pick me up or a bit of relaxation. I hope you enjoy seeing the process and make sure to save the recipe and step by step instructions at the end of this post. Also, just in case you're wondering, they do smell just as lovely as they look! 

HOMEMADE BATH BOMBS

1/2 cup baking soda
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup citric acid
1/4 cup Epsom salts

1 1/4 teaspoon essential oils (we used a a floral scent)
1 1/4 teaspoon of melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon of water
1 - 4 drops of food coloring
a handful of dried rose petals

You will want to mix your wet ingredients separate from your dry. When you're ready to mix and fill your mold, combine the two quickly because the mixture will 'dry' fast and keeping the ball shape can be tricky. When you pour in your wet ingredients you'll also want to pour really slowly so that the citric acid doesn't fizz too much and compromise the mixture. You'll know the texture is perfect when you can grab a fist full of the mixture and it's not too wet or soggy but still has a bit of a dryness and some of the epsom salts flake off a little.

If the mixture feels TOO dry chances are it's just right!

For the molds, Rhi found these on Amazon and they worked perfectly. You fill up both sides of the mold with your mixture (overflow the cups just a little), then you'll push the two halves together tightly to create a ball, then lightly release both sides to reveal your bath bomb. Rhi gently brushed away the 'ring' left behind where the two halves came together but you could keep that if you like the look better.

Gently set them aside to so they can dry and set for about 24 to 48 hours. If the mixture doesn't hold well enough it could be too dry. If the bath bombs aren't drying and feel too slimy (from the oil) you may have added too much liquid. This is a very easy project but it might take a little troubleshooting. 

A couple of things to consider.

• You can use whatever scent and color you'd like. A very SMALL amount of food coloring goes a very long way. For the pink color you see in the photos here we used about 3 drops of red food coloring. For the dried rose petals in the top of the bath bombs, Rhi just filled up the bottom of the mold with the desired amount and then filled the rest up with the bath bomb mixture.

• The citric acid is what makes the bath bombs 'fizz' when they hit the water. You can make bath bombs without the citric acid but honestly, the 'fizz' is part of the experience so that's why we used it in this recipe. You can get citric acid here.

• About one to two weeks was an appropriate shelf life for the bath bombs. They don't necessarily go bad (the only thing really perishable in them is the coconut oil) but the fizz will be best if you use them soon after making them.

• For the packaging, Rhi used simple Kraft boxes on Etsy and then had Alex of Prairie Letter Shop write sweet messages on the tops. Then, a silk ribbon was fastened into a bow around each box and voila! A perfectly home made gift for anyone! 

You can view Rhi's post on the bath bombs here

 

EASTER BASKET INSPIRATION

 

Easter is just around the corner so Rhi and I came together to showcase some darling baby products in boy and girl themed Easter baskets! All of the content in the baskets are from The Baby Cubby, an online hub for all of your baby needs! Not only are these items adorable however some also play a practical purpose too. This doubles as a gift for you and your sweet little one! We hope this inspires you to think of a few things to put in an Easter basket this year that isn't just candy... although, a little chocolate never hurt anyone, right? 

All of the products featured above (minus the baskets which were purchased at Target) were sponsored by The Baby Cubby. The items chosen for this post and words expressed are of my own choosing. 

Little Women & Alice in Wonderland

Pig Stuffed Animal

Rose Blankets

Hedgehog Backpack

Turkish Towel

 

WEDDING INSPIRATION // A STYLED SHOOT

 

I am very excited to see this beautiful styled shoot featured over on the Smitten Blog today! Cassie from White Dress Events came together with Century Club Ballroom to create a romantic, winter setting to inspire couples to think outside of the summer months when planning their wedding. Have a lovely weekend everyone!

 

LACHLAN RUE // FIRST BIRTHDAY

 

I am so excited to see Lachlan's first birthday party featured on 100 Layer Cakelet today! He is one special little dude and it was such a fun afternoon celebrating his first birthday! Rhi is one of my dearest friends and we were fortunate to have our babies just shy of 8 weeks apart. Emery and Lachlan are great friends and they have a lot of fun together! Rhi had so much fun designing this party for Lachlan and you can read more about all of the fun details you see in her post here

If you are interested in having a birthday party or event photographed please contact me HERE

Photography // Samantha James Photography

Venue // The Grand Rapids Downtown Market 

Planning & Design // Rhiannon Bosse

Stationery // Smitten On Paper

Calligraphy // Prairie Letter Shop

Catering // Tacos El Cunado

Cake Pops & Cookies // The Cakabakery

Cakes // D&W Fresh Market

Linens // Special Occasions

Dino Tattoos // Shop Sweet Lulu

Mini Dinosaurs & Craft Supplies // Amazon

Dinosaur Hats // DIY

Mini Instagram Prints // Social Print Studio

Cake Stands & Wood Bowls // Target

 

MICHIGAN WINTER // HOLLAND BEACH

 

Visiting the beach in the winter is such a cool experience! We went with my friend and her son who are staying with us right now. While it was extremely cold and windy we had the opportunity to walk around on all of the ice and take some photos. The waves were huge and wild, crashing up against the mounds of ice and snow. If you haven't done this and you live around here, I highly recommend you do this at least once. Just remember to bundle up! 

 

VALENTINE'S DAY CUPCAKES // A BAKING RECIPE

 

Valentine's Day is just around the corner so Hey Gorgeous Events and I baked up something extra sweet for you! These cupcakes are not only super cute but they were incredibly easy to make. If you need a last minute recipe for a Valentine's Day party this is the one for you. You can see the recipe at the end of this post. I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine's Day!

EASY CUPCAKE RECIPE //

1 box of devil’s food cake mix
1 small package of chocolate instant pudding
4 eggs at room temperature
1 cup sour cream at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped baking squares

FROSTING RECIPE //

1 tub of regular Cool Whip
6 ounces of white chocolate baking squares

DIRECTIONS //

Combine all of the dry ingredients, minus the chocolate chips, in a big bowl. Add in your wet ingredients with the exception of the sour cream, one by one, beating with a hand mixer on medium speed until combined. Fold in the sour cream until combined well, followed by the chocolate chips. Fill cupcake tins with your favorite liners! Fill the liners a little more than halfway with the batter. These can get pretty big and fluffy so don't fill them too much! For the cupcakes in the photos we filled the liners up a tiny bit under halfway so you can get a feel for how they bake. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

To make your frosting, completely melt your chocolate baking squares in a glass bowl either in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds or you can use a double broiler. Once the chocolate is completely melted, fold in the entire tub of Cool Whip and mix until a ganache-like texture is achieved. You can use white, milk or dark chocolate. It's completely up to you!

Be sure to let your cupcakes cool completely before frosting and top them with whatever topping you would like! Sprinkles could be fun for kids! 

I hope everyone enjoys this easy and delicious cupcake recipe! 

 

NEW YORK CITY

 

Today I'm sharing a few photos from a weekend trip I took with my friend Rhi to New York City. Not only was this a great chance to get away for a fun girl's weekend but we also had the incredible opportunity to attend the Martha Stewart Wedding Party while we were there! The party had so many incredible vendors participating and it was full of fresh wedding inspiration. We also got to hear Martha Stewart give wedding advice to a few brides who were planning their wedding!

The rest of our trip was a blast and we also found some really great places to eat too! I had only visited New York City a couple of times prior to this, both when I was a lot younger. As an adult I was definitely able to appreciate more of the city and embrace all of the hustle and bustle that came with it! I'm incredibly grateful for any chance I have to travel and this quick trip was no exception. Maybe next time I'll go when it's a little bit warmer though!