NYC For A Day 

What I Learned in July 

I can’t even comprehend the fact that summer is almost over.(Almost time for fall + holiday mins, woo hoo!) I realllly look forward to summer all year – the beach, (Beaches-n-Cream,hello) being able to take trips with the kids, and most of all, NO CARPOOL. If you’ve been following me for a while then you would know that carpool is not my BFF.Least favorite part of the day, so I enjoy my break from carpool for few months. We are probably skipping Meet the Teacher night again to sneak in one last trip to the beach. (Is that terrible?) School starts so early, and I just can’t even handle it. We have to soak in every last drop of summer possible. Our neighborhood pool has been chatting about staying open later this year which is super exciting + I hope is true.

As much as I love summer, I hate when it’s overwhelmingly hot. Air conditioning is my favorite thing ever, and I love having air conditioned indoor birthday parties – HA! So this whole being incredibly hot/air conditioning ramble brings me to the first thing I learned..

1.There are some people that enjoy being miserably hot. So, I have shown up to sessions at parks this summer, and it’s ridiculously hot…like almost 100 degrees, right. And there are people in the park running or sitting and reading. on purpose. in the heat. I don’t even understand it, especially the exercising thing. It’s way too hot people. (I think I’d rather read in the air conditioning at a coffee shop)

2. I am not the biggest fan of the dentist, and you can laugh, but one thing I do is have them but the x ray thing on me (it’s heavy + calms me) and then a blanket on top of that. I also listen to podcasts on my headphones to distract me. All this being said, I just saw that you can get your own weighted blanket ,which would be better than the whole x ray cover up thing and then a blanket. I bet these are so super calming.

3. WaterWipes. For all my friends with little ones in diapers, I just found out about these from a friend. How amazing that it’s just water + grapefruit seed extract. No chemicals for your little one and probably great for those little ones with sensitive skin.

4. So a friend of mine posted on her fb that her kids had never had Burger King crowns..and I was like, oh my goodness, neither have mine. Mainly because I never eat there – ha, so you know, I have to take them! And those crowns, hours of entertainment.

5. I went to visit a friend in Princeton, NJ this summer, and we took a day and rode the train in to NYC. It was the most peaceful ride. Riding a train to work every morning just sounds so awesome and peaceful. Some were sleeping/snoring, others were reading. So much better than fighting traffic. Although I will tell you, when you are waiting for the train, and those express trains come by, we were like so scared, we were about to cry.

6. NYC is so much busier in the summer. Michael and I took the kids during spring break and it was absolutely not as crowded at all. (See our Central Park photoshoot here + more about our big road trip here) So I’d highly recommend trying to take kids a different time of the year than summer. I thought spring break would be big, but nope. It was a lot quieter.

7. I have to admit, taking taxis is the way to go if you’re going to be in NYC for just one day. We really didn’t have time for a ton of walking with our strict schedule. (We had a shared google doc with everything laid out and timed before the trip) We got back to Penn Station within 2 minutes of our train leaving so we didn’t have any time to spare. And it’s sooo hot in NYC in the summer with all the asphalt, concrete and buildings, so taxis are just way better. (And as you already know, air conditioning is my bff. That, and Smartwater..electrolytes without the sugar of other drinks)

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Sweet Tea in NYC

8. You can get sweet tea in NYC. Yep, my dear friend wanted some sweet tea, and she knew just where to find it, Chic-fil-a. I thought for sure it wouldn’t be sweet, but yep, it was.

9. Princeton, NJ is a beautiful town. This was my first trip to Princeton – loved seeing all the buildings, walking around the shops right next to the university + seeing all the huge, old historic homes.

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Images of Princeton, NJ

10. You cannot be late to a Broadway play. I had never been to a Broadway play on Broadway (only when they travel) so I was shocked to see all the signs about not going in after it’s started. They are serious – you cannot be late. If you have to go to the bathroom, you just better hold it! We went to see Wicked and got there a few minutes before it started, whew. It was so, so, so good, and everyone gave them a standing ovation at the end.

11. There’s an app for the Hamilton lottery called Ham. It’s a nice app because it lets you know when the lottery opens, makes it easy for you to enter and then lets you know when it closes. Somewhere said around 10,000 people a day enter the Hamilton lottery so I wasn’t surprised when we didn’t win. But hey, never hurts to try.

12. Yelp Eat App. I love this app, mainly because I can order Sassool before I leave the house, and then go pick it up. There are some restaurants that deliver on the app, too. San Jose just started delivering to our house, and I love their fajitas. (This app is dangerous, people! You know I love having things delivered.)

13. Lisa Frank Pajamas? This is hilarious + so excited about these! Click the photo below to see all of them.(photo via target)

14. The Luke Skywalker Landspeeder. If you have a little Star Wars fan, this is pretty much amazing!

15. I went through a lot with my nervous system after my heart surgery which I now know is super common after going through trauma. I’ve had an amazing primary care doctor, and I’ve felt really blessed to find their practice. (Beverly Medical Center on Creedmoor Rd, Dr. Goode) I had never had a panic attack in my life, and it scared me.  Going through something traumatic kind of depletes your body of vitamins and minerals, too, which makes the whole cycle of your nervous system not working well keep going.  Supplementing with minerals, magnesium, aswaghanda, and amino acids has gotten my body back on track plus healing my adrenals, too. My favorite supplement that is super calming is Stabilium . It’s a fish oil, and I just really love it if I feel my nervous system kind of revving up a little bit. All this being said, I decided to be really brave this month and get on an airplane and fly to NJ, knowing I’d be nervous about flying by myself and hoping my nervous system would stay in check. I was sitting in the airport before my first flight, and saw this post.  (She went through something far more traumatic) I started crying right there in the airport. The words of a Moana song of all things just made me remember how much God loves me and fights for me, and how He’s healing me through all of this, what do I have to be afraid of?

I have crossed the horizon to find you.

I know your name.
They have stolen the heart from inside you.
But this does not define you.
This is not who you are.
You know who you are.

“You are not defined by your darkest hour. You are greater than what has been stolen from you. It is never too late to heal.” – from Kimberly Poovey’s article.

I’ve only had a few panic attacks, but I think it just surprised me that my body would just give out, in a way. And I share this because I’m now realizing just how common this is and how so many women go through this with the stress of having and raising children, on top of any traumatic events or high stress that might be happening in their lives. I’ve had so many good friends share what they’ve been going through and things that have helped them, which has been so super encouraging.

16. A journaling Bible. I love the idea of a journaling Bible for your kids – one with your prayers for them in it. Owen was baptized yesterday, and so I went to Lifeway a few days ago to get a Bible with his name + baptism date imprinted on it. It was a journaling Bible and I did include some notes for him inside, but I love the idea of using this Bible for prayers for him. I do have some just regular pens, but I’d love to figure out what I can use that’s colorful that won’t bleed through the pages too much.

A few articles on journaling.

Bible Journaling For Your Kids

Bible Journaling for Kids 

17. One thing I forgot to mention about NY, the Mac Makeup Studio was a super fun experience! We did some make up tutorials, got a list of all suggested mac products we should use, and had super glam make up for the rest of the day. You can book an appointment online, and we got the earliest appointments that day.

View of the Empire State Building from the Refinery Rooftop. Make reservations online if you visit this beautiful restaurant.

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As Seen in People Magazine + The Bump

Raleigh Maternity + Newborn Photographer

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Rebecca Keller is a Raleigh Newborn Photographer featured in the Bump, Let The Kids Dress Themselves and several other blogs. Because we chat a lot about our personal lives on the blog, we may receive commissions from affiliate links.

Only a Million Degrees

Downtown Raleigh Family Photographer

Ok, it was a little hot the day of their session..maybe ridiculously hot, hello Summer! But these boys, they were troopers and had so much fun..I think they had no idea it was only a million degrees outside. I first met this sweet family when they were expecting their second baby boy + then got to photograph his newborn portraits, too. (Oh my goodness, you have to see their cat!) It was so fun to see them again and capture their baby at one. And look at him standing up – always such a cute thing to capture. I think we finished in about 45 minutes and ran to the car for air conditioning but the super cute portraits were worth it!

According to Mom…

What kind of feel were you thinking of for your session? Vintage, Modern, etc? A fun feel – something to keep the kids smiling through the session and capture their fun, happy selves.

Who are the members of your family and a quick fact about each person. Cyrus – 3yo – strong willed and full of energy
Kian – 1yo – very sweet, but also very stubborn

What was the weather like the day of your session? Hot!!!

What was the best part of your session? It was just fun to spend some time together with the kids.

What props did you bring and why? We brought Kian’s 1yr banner from his birthday party, just to capture it on film.

What are some words of wisdom that you have for other families preparing for a session? Don’t skip naps that day, and don’t stress too much about what the kids are wearing.

Were you worried about any parts of the session beforehand? If so, what were the worries? Since evening sessions creep up to bedtime, I was worried the kids would meltdown – but they didn’t! And I was worried about handling the heat, but it wasn’t too bad – the kids didn’t seem to mind at all.

Styled by Little Apple Styles | Rebecca Keller | Downtown Raleigh Family Photographer

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Rebecca Keller Photography

As Seen in People Magazine + The Bump

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Raleigh Newborn Photographer | Raleigh Maternity Photographer | Wake Forest Newborn Photography Wake Forest Newborn Photographer | Cary Newborn Photography | Cary Newborn Photographer Raleigh Baby Photography | Raleigh Baby Photographer

When The Weather Was Nice

Durham Tobacco Campus Family Photographer

It was kind of amazing the day we met for their session. If you can remember how ridiculously hot it’s been, it was actually kind of cool the evening of their session. They originally signed up for one of our minis, but couldn’t make a reschedule date so we switched to a family session instead. These two were so full of energy and giggles, the Tobacco Campus was a perfect place for them to run around and explore, take a few photos, and they were off again! A fun session + so great to meet this sweet family!

According to Mom…

What kind of feel were you thinking for your session? We wanted a feel for how we really live — in a vibrant community that embraces its history, which is why we chose the American Tobacco Campus in Durham.

Who are the members of your family and a quick fact about each person?

Mia (12) – vibrant, energetic, beautiful, intense
Noah (5) – soulful, happy all the time, loving, thoughtful

What was the weather like the day of your session? Uncharacteristically cool for summertime with low evening humidity

What was the best part of your session or why you enjoyed your session? Becky was so great with the kids and made the session fun.

What are some words of wisdom you have for other families preparing for a session? Relax and enjoy it. Time passes so quickly and it is great to have these moments captured.

What are your favorite family weekend activities? Going to the Life and Science Museum in Durham; going to the pool; cleaning house/decluttering (just kidding — we do a little of that on the weekend, but the kids don’t really like it).

Styled by Little Apple Styles | Rebecca Keller | Durham Tobacco Campus Family Photographer

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Interested in custom wall art from your session? Ericka can come to your home, photograph your wall + show you what different frame collections with your images look like on the walls. Frame collections start at 200.00. Contact the studio for more information.

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Raleigh Maternity and Family Photographer

Rebecca Keller Photography 

As Seen in People Magazine + The Bump

Dimples

Raleigh Newborn Photographer

This was one of those easygoing mornings at home. One thing I love about newborn sessions is not rushing them. Sometimes with siblings we are a little bit rushed on the photos with them (because they are only excited about pictures for a little bit) but for the most part, I try not to rush sessions so that a) Mom + Dad aren’t as stressed and so baby doesn’t get stressed b) no one can take photos when a baby is hungry or mad, right, so we need time to soothe them and c) the first few weeks of a baby’s life is just so precious and to get the photos we want, we just really can’t rush it. Sometimes I’m asked about newborn mini sessions, and it’s just not something that I can do. We really just have to go with the baby + what kind of day they are having. Sometimes they have growth spurts, etc, and everyday is different. I loved meeting this sweet couple when they announced their pregnancy, and it was so great to see them again after their sweet baby girl was born. And she was just so precious and content to be snuggled. Her puppies were also just adorable with her, and don’t miss her dimples! So stinking cute, and so glad we were able to capture a photo with them. I seriously tried not to share every single photo from this session (but I wanted to!)

According to Mom..

What was the first thing you thought when you saw your baby for the first time? Dimples!! She’s so sweet and alert!! She arrived with a smile on her face (highlighting her dimples) and bright eyes!! Immediately felt blessed and thankful for our miracle.

What was the best part of having a session at home? No time limit…it was relaxed, not rushed and allowed us to be new parents:)Being at home provided intimate surroundings and peek into our sweet new world and new home with our new little one!

How did you prepare baby for our photoshoot? Mom and Dad styled by Little Apples…from there, I ordered a monogrammed pink swaddle for Frankie.

How was your experience having your newborn photographed? Were you worried or nervous beforehand? We all were very relaxed and excited even with 2 dogs! We were tired, of course, but Becky was patient, gentle and respectful. Our baby was tired too but since there wasn’t a time limit, it allowed all of us to work together to get the best shots

What would be your advice to someone getting newborn photographs taken? Spouses / significant others…give mommy an hour or 2 to get ready and pretty so she can be comfortable and confident especially since newborn shoots are only a week or 2 after delivery!

Was there a sentimental item in your nursery that we photographed? Lladro – gifted to Frankie and our 2 dogs interacting with Frankie (Heidi and Herbie)

How would your describe your perfect Saturday as a family? Sunny, summer day on our screened in porch and backyard with our baby (she loves being outside!) and our 2 dogs frolicking. We love having friends and family over to our home and sharing in those sunny summer days:)

Any other advice to families preparing for a session or picking out wardrobe? Make sure your clothes and environment are comfortable, coordinated and allows you to feel confident

Styled by Little Apple Styles | Rebecca Keller | Raleigh Newborn Photographer

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Did you know we offer custom wall art? Ericka can come to your home, take a photo and show you what different frame options would look like on your walls with prints from your session. Frame collections start at 200.00. Contact us for more information.

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As Seen in People Magazine + The Bump

Raleigh Maternity and Newborn Photographer

Quick Lit July

Family Maternity Photographer Durham

I grew up reading…alot. I have just always loved reading. One of my favorite spots in my house growing up was a window seat where I would sit and read for hours..or an outdoor swing by the pond where I’d sit and read and journal. I read every single Nancy Drew, Babysitter’s club and a lot of Anne of Green Gables. I’ve just grown up reading, and getting lost in a book is my absolute favorite. One of the perks of traveling alot in the summer is getting to read in the car. Here are a few books I’ve read in the past month.

Every Wild Heart

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book when I first started reading it, but it turned out to be a great Mother Daughter story. I also loved listening to Delilah growing up and the mom has a radio show and it seemed like her former show was more like Delilah’s show. I love that it has G.G.’s playlist at the end + suggestions for other Mother Daughter books to read.

I Almost Missed You

I read this in a day..on Father’s Day. We drove to Greensboro and back and I finished this trip on 540 on the way back. It was such a great easy beach kind of read about a couple who kept secrets from each other and you get to read the story also from their best friends’ point of view. You kind of bounce back and forth between a few years and a few different people’s stories.

The Jane Austen Project

This is an amazing book, especially for any Jane Austen lover. It’s a really gripping story about time travel and changing history, but it also talks a lot about details of Jane Austen’s life that I didn’t know about. (And now I want to read more about her life so if you have any suggestions for any other great reads about Jane Austen, let me know) This was one of those that I picked up, like, will I really like this? And I loved it!

New York

I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and I wanted to read something about the history of New York. After reading this, I am still fascinated by the story of New York, so any other books you’ve read, I love to hear them! This starts with the Dutch, goes through the revolutionary + civil wars, stock market crash, and the twin towers. It was beautifully written and kept my attention the whole way. I wish he had more books about American cities but I absolutely want to read his book about Paris .Some of the things I learned about New York that I didn’t know – Wall Street was named after the Wall the Dutch built around the city at that spot. I also learned so much about Trinity church and other places I’d love to see in New York. (Another great book I read about New York last fall was A Fall of Marigolds.

The Lost Book of the Grail

Another really great summer read, and I loved Arthur’s character instantly. This was one that I couldn’t put down. It’s a great story about two people who are looking for the Holy Grail and the adventures they have + what they discover. This is not historical fiction but someone who is a history lover would love this book.

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Rebecca Keller is a Raleigh Newborn Photographer seen in People Magazine and on the Bump. Because we chat a lot about our personal lives on the blog, we may receive commissions from affiliate links.