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Hi, friends! I’ve got another fun before/after reno project for you today! You may recall reading my blog post last August when my office was moved from our upstairs bedroom to the garage. It’s been my new space to tackle all things photography business and Crafty Neighbors business. Slowly taking over Ryan’s man cave, LOL! The before and after photos from that initial transition was huge and I’ve been loving my new cozy corner! I’ve spent many, many hours during preschool hours, nap time, and/or late nights in this space. Ryan is now using our computer more out there so we tag-team office hours. On days when it’s nice weather we can open up the garage door to let more light in (especially now since the pollen has calmed down!). It’s awesome!

So, this is garage reno 2.0… » OPEN POST »

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Hi, friends! Today I’m excited to share with you our latest fixer upper home makeover project… NEW PAINT!!! This week marks 7-years in our home! It was about time we stopped procrastinating and painted — we’re SO happy with the end result! Luckily, we haven’t had to do much with regards to remodeling since we moved in July 2012. Last year we tackled updating our master bedroom/bathroom with fresh paint and new furniture and we spruced up our backyard with a playset and paver patio.

This Summer, Ryan and I were both itching for a project and we agreed to tackle some painting together. The walls were looking a bit outdated and dingy with age. Throughout our entire house was this beige/taupe color… while there is certainly nothing wrong with this color as it is versatile throughout our home… it just was becoming a bit boring and dated… plus our living room was a dark, dark green that had to go! We had a contractor quote us how much it would cost to outsource the whole thing (because… toddlers!)… he told us $3,200 which included labor and supplies… So!… we decided to save the cash and do it all ourselves! Talk about an arm workout!

We started this project thinking that it would take all summer long… we weren’t really in a rush to get it done (since we procrastinated for almost 7-years now!). We were quite proud of ourselves that we tackled this project in only a few weeks and we strategically painted our entire downstairs… the downstairs foyer/hallway (and the upstairs hallway), family room, kitchen, dining room, living room, and bathroom. We figured while all the paint supplies were out… and we were motivated… that we just kept going room-by-room primarily during nap time… because paint, wet brushes, tape, and ladders do not mix with 2 toddler boys running around the house!! » OPEN POST »

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Hi Friends! If you follow me on Instagram Stories then you already know we have our first trip to the beach as a family of four. Thomas is now 15-months old and his older brother Michael is 2.5. We have made countless trips to the RIVAH over the years but this coming weekend is our first family beach getaway! 4 days, 3 nights… all of us snuggled in one hotel room! Wish us luck!!

My mom’s side of the family has a family reunion every year over July 4th weekend (close to 100+ in attendance most years!) and a gathering filled with laughs, family stories, and dancing! Tons of fun! We haven’t been back in 2-years (pre-baby!) so this is the first year we’re going with toddlers. While we’re obviously excited to see everyone!!… I was quite overwhelmed when it came to the packing list this week… SO much to bring along with 2 toddler boys in tow!! Pretty much packing all the things!! Also the stress that comes along with littles on the beach… gotta bring my A-Game! But… it’s gonna be great!

In the spirit of summer vacations upon us… I thought I’d feature a blog post on my OCD packing list in case this is helpful for YOU as you pack for your next family vaca. Now, a quick disclaimer… I’m an over-packer! You may already know this based on what I packed in my hospital bag, LOL. I tend to pack some odd-ball random things that I will likely need while I’m there so I’m ultra prepared. The key is to consolidate the packing (have everything in a bag so it’s easy to transport) and not go too overboard.

SO! I’ve put together the ultimate beach family vacation packing list (for toddlers!)… I’ve organized it into sections and included Amazon links below! Let me know if I’m missing anything! {Not photographed above… all of our food/drinks and mom/dad overnight bags.}

A few other travel tips prior to hotel check-in…

  • Call the hotel one-week in advance to confirm reservation + call day-of to request an early check-in.
  • If you’re traveling with friends/family then request for adjoining rooms! More space to move around.
  • Contact friends/family in the area of where you’re traveling to lockdown a babysitter for one of the nights — that’s what we did for this trip but not too sure how it will all go. It helps having my parents adjoining rooms with us so the babysitter can be in there while kiddos “sleep” in the other room.
  • Most hotels offer a microwave and fridge in the room… I prepped (fruit/snacks/meals) in advance and put them in ziplock bags to put in fridge at check-in.
  • Search around for fun things to do in the area — we’re going to the aquarium one morning! Michael is so excited!!
  • Take deep breaths and go into the vacation with a flexible schedule and a sense of humor! I’m fully counting on the boys waking up super early… like 5:30AM… just because it’s a new sleeping environment for them… so will be pleasantly surprised if they sleep in until 7AM!
  • Check out my Instagram Stories on how I strategically organize our hotel room upon check-in to maximize space in our room for day/nighttime + keep it baby proofed! I’m going to have Ryan take the boys to the hotel pool while I get us unpacked and settled in the room.

Packing list…

  • BOB Stroller (the Cadillac of all strollers! All-terrain tires for the sand is a must. Great for strolls on the beach, providing shade, and it reclines all the way back for naps!)
    • Waterproof picnic blanket
    • Camera/tripod – As a photographer, I’m obviously bringing this along but lots is captured on my phone since it’s what I have on me at the time. Thank goodness for the iPhone 10X’s amazing camera where I can basically shoot in manual mode!
    • Booster seat – For Thomas’s meals
    • Stroller hooks – These are seriously AMAZING!! Heavy duty and great for holding purses, backpacks, shopping bags (and anything else with a handle!)
    • Stroller cup holder – For hands-free morning coffee (and happy hour!) walks
    • Baby Bjorn – To hold Thomas so me/Ryan can be hands-free with him in the ocean/pool
    • Puddle jumpers
    • Bike lock – Great to keep attached to the stroller for when you want to lock it up and pop into a store, restaurant, coffee shop, etc.
  • Beach cart – We got ours at Costco but there is a similar one here. It holds all of our beach gear and has a cooler!
    • Pop N’ Play Playyard – To keep Thomas contained in one place and out of the sand as much as possible! You can also use a fitted sheet, a baby pool, or dig a big hole in the sand for little ones but Thomas would just crawl out of that.
    • Umbrella/screw – The sand corkscrew is a game-changer!
    • Baby float/canopy – Great for the ocean/pool for Thomas so I can be hands-free in the water
    • Beach chair – We got ours at Costco but here are similar ones. The Tommy Bahama chairs are great because they typically have straps to wear as a backpack, have pockets, a cupholder, and a built-in cooler. Yes, only bringing one beach chair — will be lucky if I actually get to sit down and relax on the beach, LOL!
    • Beach toys
    • Beach towels and hooded towels
    • Cooler – To hold all of the snacks, fruit, water, etc.! Will use the free hotel ice! Ours is from Costco and I love all of the pockets for storage!!
  • Beach Bag or you could use this amazing backpack diaper bag (went viral on my YouTube channel!)
  • BOYS:
    • Pack n’ play/sheets (for Thomas) – Hotels will often offer these but with it being a holiday weekend I didn’t want to chance it.
    • Single air mattress/sheets (for Michael) – Easy to deflate and roll-up in the morning to conserve space in the hotel room
    • White noise machines/lovies/night lights/books
    • Baby gate – Because we will have adjoining rooms with my parents
    • Potty chair (for Michael)
    • Travel medicine/aloe – I bought some Zarbee’s sleep melatonin liquid for the kiddos to help with all of us sleeping in one hotel room!
    • Baby cam – To hookup to hotel WiFi (we plan to have a sitter for 2 of the nights!)
    • Clothes/PJs/sleep sacks/shoes
  • OTHER MUST-HAVES:
    • Hitch Cargo Trailer – We love our Yukon because it’s so spacious but this cargo carrier has been a game-changer! Great for holding large items (i.e., stroller, cooler, etc.) for road trips and it helps spread out all of the luggage so it’s not stacked too high and causing blind spots in the trunk space.
    • Shower curtain tension rod/shower curtain – To provide a divider for Thomas in his pack n’ play
    • Bose/charger – My go-to speaker for on-the-go!
    • Trash bags – For dirty diapers (to keep on the hotel patio), laundry, excess trash, etc.
    • Hand sanitizer – For beach bag, diaper bag, purse, etc.!
    • Nightstand fan – Have to have a fan on me!
    • Nightlights – So we can more easily navigate the room in the dark while the kiddos (are hopefully!) asleep
    • Extension cord – For the extra needed outlets I know we’ll need!
    • iPad/case/charger – For screen time during witching hour…
    • Wine opener – Yep!
    • Plastic plates/utensils – For meals in hotel room
    • Food prep! I’m planning to make sandwiches, rinse/slice fruit, prep lunches before leaving on the vacation so everything is ready in advance

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Happy Thursday, friends! Happy Spring!! Back by popular demand… it’s launch day for MOMMY & ME MINIS!!!

Spring is so very gorgeous in Virginia! This is a great time of year to spruce up the photos in your home. Before we dive into the details… real talk?! As a fellow mom raising a 1 & 2.5 year old… our lives are busy! It’s that time of year where we’re covered in pollen, we’re tired, we feel like we’re going 1,000,000 miles p/ hour, schedules are hectic… allergy season is upon us… the idea of scheduling a photo shoot and preparing for picture day may sound a bit overwhelming to think about… I get it! But! Spring is here! You’ve conquered Spring Break and Easter… Summer is just around the corner… flowers are in bloom… it’s not yet too hot and humid out (!!), annnnnd it’s almost Mother’s Day!

It’s really the perfect time to get motivated to pull down your spring/summer clothes from the attic (I tackled this yesterday!), grab your favorite spring colors or flowey maxi dress… whatever you feel beautiful in… block off 20-minutes with me to have it be all about YOU and savor some special time and snuggles with your children! » OPEN POST »

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My sweet little Thomas is a lucky ONE! This birthday theme couldn’t be more perfect for our little lucky charm. He’s 26 pounds of joyful thumb-sucking squish… I tickle, squeeze, and smooch on those pudgy cheeks and thighs every single day. That strawberry blonde hair, that little smirk, that laugh, those blue eyes, those doughy biscuit rolls… I’m in awe of him.

One year old today… my how time flies! The nights are long but the years are oh so short. Ryan and I were quite surprised (and grateful!) to find out only 8-months after our Michael was born that I was pregnant again with Thomas. God works in mysterious ways. Michael was only 17-months old when Tommy was born (birth story here!). While raising two under two most certainly had it’s moments of pure exhaustion… In being a stay-at-home boy mom-preneur hustling two businesses… the struggle is real each and every day to find that perfect work/mom/wife/life balance. But I always knew no matter how hectic of a day, week, or month I was having… that I could count on Tommy’s smile and dimples to make it all better. He and Michael remind me on a daily basis just how lucky I am to be their Mom. Our hands and hearts have never been more full! » OPEN POST »

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Well hello there friends! As many of you know, I’m a Shoot & Share photographer which is a fancy way of saying that I offer my clients all of their high-resolution, non-watermarked images with a print release. I deliver my images to my clients via an online gallery system where they can easily view, share, print, and download their images with the click of a button. I’d rather my clients have them to enjoy, treasure, and share those images, their memories, versus having the images sit on my hard drive or make my clients feel pressured to buy prints from me.

Full disclaimer that this is a long blog post and I go into a lot of nitty-gritty detail but for good reason! This is the an important announcement, a shift in my business structure, so hang in there with me and read it all if ya want to be fully in the loop!

After 8+ years, Allison Shumate Photography has partnered with a brand new online client gallery system… CloudSpot!

Let me start by saying that I took this decision very seriously and had been contemplating making a switch for quite some time now. Please know that it was a well thought out business decision to ensure my clients are well taken care of for the long haul! This was also a personal decision because this is how I organize and safely store all of my own personal/family images.

If you are an ASP Client, then you are familiar with the PASS system that I’ve been using ever since I started my business. Over the years, I’ve been a loyal PASS advocate and I’m grateful for their services. So why the change? » OPEN POST »

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My little Michael,

OH, my heart! Tonight was just like any ordinary night these days. We had dinner as a family — it was taco night! Your DaDa made it (I heated the taco shells) and at the table we ate, sang nursery rhymes, made animal noises, counted to 10, and your meal was complete with a halloween flavored Oreo for dessert… or as you call it, a “coosie!”. I carried you upstairs, we had a tickle fest on the floor in your room while we put on your PJs, and before I put you in your crib for “night night”, I held you a little tighter… closed my eyes and soaked the moment in a little longer… because tomorrow you will be two. My little boy, turned big brother, turned toddler, tomorrow will be two-years old!

How is it that these last two years have felt like a lifetime yet, looking back, it feels like I blinked and we’re here now? Two years ago… 730 days ago… you forever changed my life. You, my sweet boy, answered my lifelong dream… to be a mom, your mom. Navigating the new world of parenthood has been the most pivotal, life-changing, challenging, happy, and scary… one big emotional roller coaster all balled into one… it has challenged me both mentally and physically… becoming a mom is one of my greatest joys. Your Dada and I re-watched your birth story video tonight. Let’s just say that I couldn’t get through the first 3 seconds before happy tears came pouring down my face. Your whole little body once fit perfectly in the palms of my hands. I re-read my letter to you on your first birthday and I still ask myself the same question… where did the time go?!
» OPEN POST »

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Hi friends! Whew! It’s been a while since I last sat down to write a blog post… You can always follow along on Instagram Stories to see what I’m up to! It’s been a busy, busy time over here with raising two boys under two, wrapping up Summer, and gearing up for a fun-filled October/November of Fall family sessions (I have 23 sessions in October!!). My inbox has been buzzing non-stop for 2019 inquiries of expecting parents — SO exciting!!

Speaking of exciting!!! I have some news! It’s ironic that my last blog post was about my Craft Corner (read about it here). It’s my new favorite girly space and I’ve spent many, many late nights in here dreaming up some BHAGS (big, hairy, audacious goals!!!). It feels SO good to officially introduce you to The Crafty Neighbors, LLC! Me and my fellow boy mom-preneur, bestie, and next door neighbor are now proud co-owners in this new venture and we couldn’t be more excited! We’re homemade craft makers of personalized gifts to embellish, empower, and elicit joy for you and loved ones. » OPEN POST »

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For all you crafty mamas out there… this blog post will speak to your love language! If you follow me on Instagram then you know that my latest DIY project around my house is my new craft corner! I convinced my hubby Ryan to share a little corner of his man cave in the garage. I wanted a place where I could get messy, be inspired, and create!

I know what you’re thinking… the garage isn’t the best place to be inspired… Well! Our garage is not your typical garage! We don’t park our cars in it since we have a pool table in there with a sofa, a fridge, games, Bose speakers for tunes (of course!), and it’s complete with fancy-schmancy custom checkered flooring that was installed before we moved in (the previous owner was a car guy). We’ve had many nights of entertaining in this space with many fun (dance party) memories so it’s a happy space for sure!

This whole idea on my need for a craft corner came when I recently invested in a Cricut Maker! Now, I’m a Cricut newbie! To say that I’m excited to learn all what this machine is capable of would be quite the understatement. So many possibilities! Gifts are my love language… I love the happy feeling of gifting something to a dear friend. I cannot wait to brainstorm personalized and thoughtful gift ideas for my clients. After doing lots of research on which machine to buy, I chose the Cricut Maker because it was built to grow with me! It’s the “ultimate smart cutting machine” handling fabrics, leather, paper, vinyl, and balsa wood. It arrived this past weekend just as I completed my craft corner in the garage. Click here and be sure to check out my go-to Amazon list for crafty mamas!

Back to the craft corner design inspiration… We go in-and-out of our garage on a daily basis. That being said, it’s an easy room to collect junk. You’ll see in the “before” pictures on the left below that we tried disguising a lot of clutter in our garage (scroll all the way down to see a pullback view of the entire garage). This craft corner project was just the motivation I needed to spend several hours in the garage this past weekend to transform the space! A large drop-off to Goodwill, sold several items on Craigslist, rearranged a few things, threw away a bunch of things, and a quick paint job later… our garage now feels 10x larger and is a much more useful space. Ryan and I moved my desk and iMac from our upstairs guest room (where my office used to be) and brought it down to the garage. Then it was a quick trip to Hobby Lobby and Home Depot for the finishing touches and voilá! I give you my new craft corner… a place to monogram all the things!

The pegboard was already installed before we moved into our house. Personally I wouldn’t have chosen such a large piece of pegboard but the size works great now that I’ve decorated it! The paint color is Behr Serene Breeze and I love it! Such a calming yet cheerful color! I got the 3-tiered baskets from Home Depot and spray painted them white — I also got various hooks for the pegboard. My Hobby Lobby finds include the music note (not sure why I felt compelled to have this… I just love to sing and dance!), the letter board, the white buckets, the gold organizer, the pineapple candle holder, the “hey y’all” sign, and the white Christmas lights. Love their 50% off deals! The huge gold ball ornament was purchased at HomeGoods several years ago — obsessed! During the holiday season it’s in our front foyer but in the off-season the only place it can be stored is the garage (it’s that big!)… So! It now sits right next to my desk and I couldn’t love it more — you better believe I’m going to put vinyl on that soon!! I have a craft cart next to my desk which holds various vinyl, cardstock, wood stain, and other supplies. The bins underneath my desk hold notecards/thank you cards, craft items, and gift wrap.

I’m settling right into this new space and have already spent several late-nights crafting! So much to learn! I’m exciting to use this space for my photography work too (culling, editing, etc.). Will likely host my future On Air with Allie episodes right here! For the guys (if you’re reading this)… don’t worry… it’s still very much a man cave garage (just ignore the teal wall and Christmas lights, LOL!).

I hope this craft corner weekend makeover inspired you crafty mamas to spruce up your space!

To view my master bedroom retreat before/after click here. To view our backyard reno project click here.

Here is a pullback view of the entire garage! See all of that clutter in the “before” photos?! Feels so much more organized now… let’s see how long that lasts!

 

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Hi friends! Can you believe that the time has come to book your family’s annual mini-session?! Every year I offer an annual Fall/Holiday Mini-Session special to my clients as a thank you for their love, loyalty, and support! Psst!! My current ASP Family clients get a 1-hour head start on booking their timeslot before it opens up to the public. There are *limited spots* available and I’m thankful that they sell out every year!

Fall is so very gorgeous in Virginia! This is a great time of year to spruce up your family photos hanging in your home, get images for your upcoming holiday cards, and/or gift photographic prints/albums to family and friends for Christmas. It’s a win-win-win!

How it works…? I have 2 dates available (with corresponding rain dates) along with various morning/afternoon 20-minute timeslots. The location will be announced 2-weeks prior to your mini-session. I have a helpful Client Guide that I will share with you 2-weeks prior with more details on where to meet, what to expect, tips on what to bring, outfit inspiration, etc. As always, the session investment includes an online gallery of your images along with a print release. Images will be professionally edited/enhanced and delivered before Thanksgiving so you have plenty of time to order holiday cards!

Click the link below to route to my Online Store for more booking details!
*Book your session*

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