May 2015 archive

Maternity photography: how to keep it classy

Maternity photographyDo preggy photo shoots make you cringe? Well, they don’t have to! In fact, there are really stunning maternity photography ideas online. Okay, okay, I’ll admit, while prepping for my maternity shoot, I found some that literally hurt my eyeballs. But it was a big help because I immediately knew what I wanted (and DIDN’T want) in my photos. Let’s call them the what’s hots and what’s nots of maternity photography, shall we? But hey, see for yourself:

Not hot: I knew that I wasn’t particularly fond of having my undies on display. I didn’t want over the top nakedness either. There are ways of showing off your bump, that does not include exposed nipple. I’m convinced. (Not sure what the tyre is doing in Pic 2 there. But yeah, that too.) Maternity photographyNot hot: I knew that I wanted to incorporate something that I really love into my shoot. Which is what guy with gun (Pic 1) is probably trying to demonstrate? With that said, I wanted it to look like I’m not a crazy person (reference to Pic 2). Also, yes, I had to deal with stretchmarks (don’t we all, Kim Kardashian?) but I wasn’t about to make it a permanent feature in my maternity photos. Maternity photography Not hot: I never fully understood why the dad has to be naked in maternity photos. Why dads? For the love of all that is good, WHY?! I wasn’t comfortable with having my hubstopher’s skin on display. He’s not pregnant, anyways. I am. So that settled it. Maternity photography

So with all of this in mind, this is what my maternity photo shoot ended up looking like:

Maternity photography

Maternity photographyMaternity photography

Maternity photography: How to prepare
1. Know what you want and what you don’t want! Get pics to show the photographer.
2. Get your hair did! Get your make up did! You need to feel beautiful and like the babe that you are!
3. Decide on whether you’d want specific props or things to feature – try to make the shoot uniquely you.
4. Take snacks and have a nap before the time!
5. Make sure your photographer has a heater in studio (weather dependent). It was quite chills on the day of our shoot and our photographers heater really helped.
6. Explain to Dad that you carry the cargo, so you are the main feature 🙂 Dads are usually very understanding about these kinda things. He must also decide on the full extent of his nakedness in these pics.
7. Find out by your photographer if she/he has a preggy/newborn package. Some photographers have really sweeet deals which includes your newborn photo shoot.
8. Try to remember that you’re still sexy and drop dead gorgeous. So you don’t have to have a cheesy “yeah, I’m a whale right now but that’s okay I’ll just smile” look on your face. Flirt with the camera. Try.
9. Most photographers understand that mommy can only sit in certain positions for a short period of time, before it becomes uncomfortable. Don’t be too timid to speak up if you’re not happy.
10. Have fun!

Mom: The Collectors Edition

My hubstopher posted this on Instagram the other day and I found it quite amusing:  
He just cannot understand why any person (in their sane minds) would want to collect a whole bunch of empty formula tins. 
I, on the contrary, see an empty can as potential for:  
A fairy princess village

Or cute holders for my craft goods

Nifty party pack containers maybe?

Or even caddys for our pens

Check out these cool shoe racks

The possibillities are endless!

In the world of ready made, how wonderful it is to turn trash into treasure 🙂 
(Special shout out to Pinterest)
Collector I am! Hear me roar!!!! 

Music Monday: Bethel – We will not be shaken

Photo: Bethel Music
This week I am sharing my take on the Bethel Music album, We will not be shaken. The 11 track CD includes a DVD showcasing the video recording of the album, taken on top of a mountain north of Redding, California with songs lead by various Bethel Music artists, including Brian and Jenn Johnson, Hunter Thompson, Amanda Cook and Matt Stinton, as well as debut artists Kalley Heiligenthal, Hannah and Paul McClure, Jonathan David Helser and Melissa Helser. The release of the album was preceded by a sneak preview of this film during a free worldwide digital stream in January 2015, as reported byGateway News. With amazing footage boasting beautiful views and scenic shots overlooking Shasta Lake, I think that the spend on this CD/DVD is really worth it! 
Title track, “We will not be shaken”, was birthed out of spontaneous worship during a Sunday morning service at Bethel Church. The song speaks about not being shaken during stormy times and holds powerful declarations and easy to sing melodies that make it a real congregational song. You will hear Brian Johnson on this one – which is one of the few he leads on this album. I think it’s really awesome that Brian and wife, Jen, are training up other worship leaders by giving them a platform on Bethel Music recordings.
An example would be the lovely Kalley Heiligenthal on opening track, “Ever be”. Someone had shared this song with me months ago, so I was completely smitten by the time I found out that Bethel had decided to put it on their album. She so beautifully sings ‘Your praise will ever be on my lips/ever be on my lips’ which pretty much sums up the hearts of those who love the Lord! It has a catchy pop sound and it’s opening words are enough to make one think this the perfect album opener. I can see why it’s a favourite of so many already.
Other Bethel Music album newbies are Paul and Hannah Mclure. Paul features on “Jesus we love you” which is an emotive worship song featuring heartfelt lyrics, simple melodies and an intimate feel. This is another song that can easily be introduced to a church congregation. Hannah Mclure leads “You are my one thing” – a laid-back, almost rootsy song, that is an ode to a faithful lover. Hannah’s bluesy vocal sings ‘Just to be close to You/Just to walk next to You/This is my one thing/You are my one thing.’  I love how “chilled” it is (for lack of a better word).
I also loved Jonathan Helser’s “No longer slaves”. This guy’s raspy vocal brings something fresh to the album with a song, which was thoughtfully written, speaking about the freedom we have in Christ with a bridge that boldly declares ‘My fears were drowned in perfect love / You rescued me so I could stand and sing / I am child of God!’ Goosebumps!
Hunter Thompson’s vocals on “Home” holds such beauty that it gives depth to the simple lyrics: ‘draw to me Jesus/I’ve made my heart a home.’  He sings it as if he wrote it – which he did! Definitely a heart song.
Easter song “Seas of Crimson” speaks about the power of the work done on the cross with a bridge that chants ‘Hallelujah, death is beaten / Christ is risen from the grave / Hallelujah, now and forever / All to You the highest praise.’ This track is poetic and a proper hymn, with a stunning melody and chorus.
Album closer, “You don’t miss a thing” features the talented Amanda Cook who eases her way into the ballad. She eventually crescendos into a bridge that really moves me! ‘You see it all, You see it all, through the eyes of love!’ Amanda’s vocal always holds such passion and at the same time, such a purity during the quiet moments, which I find so powerful.
I found this album to be one of my favourite Bethel worship albums to date and enjoyed that there are hardly any up tempo songs on it! I’m okay with the fact that it is acoustic guitar and piano driven and I think that the onset of violins and a cello is the perfect accompaniment to the sound that they’ve released. I highly recommend!
This review was originally written for and published in Gateway News

Feature Friday: Yours truly

On Feature Friday I feature people, products or just random things that I think are pretty cool. My aim is to leave you a little bit more enlightened and inspired! And hey, I’m open to new things, so please hollar at me, if you have any pretty cool FF suggestions. 


In lieu of my week being super crazy and the fact that it’s my blog and I can feature if I want to, I’ve decided to share a little bit about myself in this weeks FF 🙂

I’m the wife of a really talented musician and together we have 3 kids: his, mine and ours!

A little bit more about me…
Well, to start at the beginning: growing up, I was only ever interested in reading story books and writing fairy tales and short stories. In fact, I wanted to be the next Enid Blyton. That soon evolved into song and script writing (and me wanting to be the next Mariah Carey). And then one day, I discovered that Facebook has a “Notes” section… and voila! a blogger was born!

Besides for this amazing and oh so witty blog (self proclaimed), I also write for an online Christian newspaper called Gateway News, where I focus predominately on music, reviews and other such things. I really love the paper and it’s vision! I am also a contributor for J-Star BloMag, which is a really funky online blog magazine.

I love making stuff but I’m one of those kindsa people who are very good at thinking up amazing things to craft but the end result never quite looks the way it did in my head. I am a member of my church’s worship team, where I help with directing the choir and I totally love singing and even more so for God. I always joke around and say that spreadsheets are my thing, because I thrive on planning and being organised, with color coded lists and charts. I’m quite a nut job.

About 2 years ago, I married the love of my life, who also happens to be the opposite of organised and is pretty much always in “anything goes!” mode. Lets just say, if we lived in Microsoft Land and I was Excel, then he would be Paint.

We each have a son – his is 9 years old and mine will be 14 in November (whaaat?) Together, we have an adorable little girl who will be 1 in October.
So technically, I am a mom of 3! Yep, my mind gets blown by that fact every single day.

1. So… who are you?
I am a compulsive/obsessive organiser who also happens to be creative and really lazy at times. Its a bit of both worlds really. 

2. You’re a feature today, because I think you’re pretty cool 🙂 Why do you think you’re cool?
So I just called myself “pretty cool” 🙂 I think I’m a pretty decent person. I’m a little bit TOOOO compassionate at times… like, when I cry for TV ads or when I feel bad while eating a boiled egg because I know that I’m actually eating a foetus. 

3. What is your favorite thing at the moment?
Essence nail polish (Clicks brand). Love love love! 

4. If you could change one thing today, what would it be?
I would rewind to where my son was 5 years old and just enjoy those moments with him. He grew up so fast! 

5. Learnt how to make anything recently? What was it?
Hmmm… I learnt how to make this amazing yogurt lemon meringue tart the other day! I am generally a “salty” kinda girl, when it comes to the “cakes or pies” table. But I am a big lemon meringue fan. I mean, I would bathe in the stuff, if I was given the opportunity. 

6. Share your favorite tip/trick:
Tip of the week: When washing your hair, always make sure that your last few rinses are with cold water. I’ve found that it somehow gives your hair extra shine. True story! 

7. Imagine we’re your kids 🙂 now imagine you had to share a life lesson with us. What would it be?
It’s okay to be exactly who God has made you to be! You don’t have to be anyone else, look like anyone else or do what everyone else is doing! 


Music Monday: Fred Hammond – I will trust

Photo: Rejoice Magazine
I love that music is malleable and that we are able to reinvent styles and genres and introduce sounds that may never have been recorded in a song before. It’s exciting when musicians take risks musically, especially when Spirit led. But the thing that I love the most about Fred Hammond is that a Fred Hammond album sounds like a Fred Hammond album! Uncle Fred never fails to disappoint when it comes to big vocals, big instrumentation and big songs! I’m pleased to say that all of this is evident in his latest album, titled “I will trust”, which he released in November 2014 following a double knee replacement. The operation left him wheelchair-bound and emotionally wounded. He shared: “I have two nine-inch slits going down my legs to remind me that I had to have a traumatic event. I had to learn how to walk again, but I did it and trusted God and that’s kind of what makes this album special. All of the emotional trauma that came with it.” On listening to it, one can easily pick up that the event has served to inspire and motivate the worship leader/songwriter to write fresh songs that speak of hope, perseverance and putting all your trust in the Lord. As always, the songs are Bible based and infused with the choral based Gospel sounds that we’ve come to know and love from him. I experienced moments of deep reflection, some of jubilant celebration and even moments where I wanted to shout out “Yes! Amen!” 
Track 1 is through and through a Gospel praise track. Titled “Festival of Praise” it is the perfect album opener and sets the tone for the rest of the album. I found myself moving into various stages of worship with each song.  The album’s second song, “All the way” has a reggae feel to it and speaks about pressing on. I love the bridge of this song! You can’t help but feel encouraged and determined to run the race well. Another bridge that I loved is that of the song “His perfect love.”   It says ‘Something ‘bout the love of Jesus/I was lost, it came and rescued me!’ Wow – the vocals and the lyric make it impossible to listen to that without something stirring in your spirit!
Another favorite praise track on this album is “Take me to the water.” With a cool bass line, horns and a ‘funk’ vibe, this song is another one of those “typical Hammond” tracks that hits the nail on the head for those who love traditional Gospel. I also enjoyed “Try Jesus” which is a kind of an evangelical song, encouraging listeners to give Jesus a try with a bridge that says‘if you’ve tried everything/and everything has failed/come on and try my Jesus.’ Yes! Amen! “You keep on blessing me,” again with the funk and with a really catchy melody, resonated in my heart with the season I am in. It is a song of gratitude to a good God, in true Hammond style.
“Only the comforter” is a really amazing ballade that speaks about our friend, Holy Spirit. This song has a contemporary rock sound to it and is basically the story telling of Acts 2 – the coming of Holy Spirit.  I highly recommend it (among others), if you’re curious to have a listen to what Uncle Fred wants to share with this album. And okay, I’m going to say it: Hammond sounds a bit like John Legend on this track! I admire that Uncle Fred is able to adapt his vocal to compliment the style of the song he is ministering in – whether it be by adding some grit, belting out big notes, bringing it down to a passionate croon or even delivering some old school rap – he has a skill that only the really experienced and talented can attempt.
“I owe it all to you” is another song of gratitude and recognizes God as everything and all! Hammond’s almost bluesy, choral flavor on this song drives it home, in my opinion. This track stirred feelings of thankfulness and is one that I would definitely put on repeat! It is really fitting as the closer of the album.
I’ve saved the best for last: Title track, “I will trust.”  Well, where do I begin! The ballad features Hammond’s daughter, Brieann Hammond, accompanying him in beautiful soprano. The track opens with Uncle Fred emotively singing about a time when he believed that he could do things on his own. ‘Some put their trust in earthly possessions/But in the end it won’t bring them through.’ In a buildup the father and daughter tag team sing the Proverbs 3:5-6 message: “I will trust in the name of the Lord!” Wow!
Hammond fans, this one’s for you! Hammond newbies, this is the album to cut your teeth with! This album is a testimony of how God brought Fred Hammond through a difficult time in his life. The songs are bold declarations that refer to the amazing loyalty and love that our Daddy has for all of us. All in all it has been a pleasurable listening experience and has left me feeling rejuvenated, spiritually filled and so thankful for His faithfulness.

This review was originally written for and published in Gateway News

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