What Dress-Up Looks Like

If any of you follow me on Facebook, or if you read this post, you'll know that my three-year-old daughter is a huge fan of dressing up.  Not just on Halloween... but almost every day.  That girl can dirty some laundry, I tell ya.  She almost always dresses herself, and I let her.  I pick my battles, and this is not one I'm willing to fight.  Whether it's changing her regular clothing four times a day, or dressing up in her favorite costumes, I rarely see her in the same outfit for more than a couple of hours.  But seeing her develop her own funky sense of style and her own independence is totally worth all the laundry I have to wash. Recently Lila's most beloved dress is that of Disney's Rapunzel character.  She goes everywhere in that purple dress, despite the fact that it's been torn and mended three times.  She doesn't mind at all that it's tattered and unraveling.  She wears her boots with it, or sometimes flip-flops, and even sparkly pink sequined ballet slippers.  In her sweet lisp, she tells me that she wants to grow her hair "down to da grath (grass), like Rapunthel."  For now her waist-length hair is worn down, up, braided, pigtailed, or crowned with one of her several various tiaras.  She usually wears earrings, necklaces, layers and layers of beads, and often carries a tiny purse with pretend makeup and other preschooler "essentials" tucked inside.  And don't forget the shiny plastic cell phone!  You never know when the prince may call.

We frequently enter Publix or Target with Lila dressed in full princess attire.  We get winks and knowing smiles from all the other moms who've been in our shoes themselves, and she trots around just as proud as a peacock.

She runs around the house in some swimsuit or another, all year round.  And, usually, she wears three or four swimsuits in single day's time.  It's not uncommon for me to say, "We can't go inside, honey.  You're wearing a bathing suit and fairy wings."

She has been known to hit the playground in her tiara and her shiny red patent shoes.  And run just as hard as she would if she were wearing tennis shoes.

She wears clip-on sparkly earrings to the doctor's office.  Or anywhere else she wants, really.

And ya know something?  I love it.

Lila is such a girl's girl.  Sparkles and sequins, glitter and garb, dresses and plastic high heels.  She revels in it all.  We keep her dress-up treasures inside a vintage green Lady Baltimore suitcase that I picked up at a thrift store last year.  It's perfect.

I've had these photographs in my head forever, and I plan to continue with a little series of Lila in all her dress-up adventures in the coming weeks.  I have lots more images swimming around in my head that I want to realize.  So stay tuned.


What DRESS-UP Looks Like...

I always ask my clients what they want to remember about their children, what they want to preserve.  I ask them how they want their children to feel when they look back at their family photos years from now.  And I want to remember this stage of Lila's life.  Her innocence, her free spirit and her feminine ways.  Her funky sense of style, her confidence, and her independence.  I want her to look back and appreciate all those times she wanted to express herself, and that I let her do it.  Times when Mama just shook her head, smiled, and said, "Alright, you can wear the Snow White dress to the store," and she happily chirped, "Yay!"  I want her to know how much we love her and cherish the little things that make her so unique, so sweet, and so fun.

I want her to remember her carefree days of dressing up.  Forever.



Next, please visit my sweet friend Gina Oh | Arroyo Grande Photographer for her take on our "What ____ Looks Like" project this month.  I hope you continue to follow the circle until you come back around to me.  There are 11 other extremely talented women who have wonderful stories to share with you.  Enjoy the journey!

holiday schedule, and a few more images too!

Just wanted to give you a little update now that we're fully into December and the holidays are almost HERE!!!  :)  This is my absolute favorite time of year, but WOW at the busy-ness!  My labs are working overtime and crazy hours to get all the prints, canvases, albums and image boxes back in time for Christmas delivery, and I'm pulling lots of late nights getting everyone's orders in and put together, shipped out, blogged HA!, and delivered!  I even have a few new sessions to share before we close up for 2009 and await the New Year! That said, my holiday schedule will continue through December 17.  Stacey Woods Photography will be closed from Friday, December 18 until Monday, January 11.  (Excepting newborn and maternity clients, which must be photographed during all-important, fleeting, very specific timeframes to ensure the best images possible!).  If you're already on my books for the first week of January, have no fear.  You're still in!  :)  I am starting to book up January now so definitely place a call or send over an email if you'd like to get on the schedule for January or February.  And if you have an order outstanding, please wait just a little longer!  It's coming shortly, I promise!

Now, to share a few images from some recent sessions.  I've been almost afraid to post some of these for fear that I'm spoiling someone's Christmas card or present!  ;)  But I think I'm safe to share these, so here we go!


This is a lovely family that I met at the last Baby Loves Disco event in Tampa.  They looked me up again this year for a Christmas session, and I'm so glad they did!  Little A was so funny and so spirited the entire shoot!  He made me work for it!  :)

Preschoolers go their own way, that's for certain... right into Daddy's arms.  Ahhh, sweetness.


And how I love this sweet still moment with Mama.  He had the most gorgeous lashes, really.



And I know you can't see it in this black and white photo above, but Mom had on some KILLER red pumps.  :)  Loved them, and loved the energy of this family.  Can't wait until next time, sweet S family!  Hope you have a wonderful holiday.

featured on the Creative Mama blog today!

Angie Warren, of The Creative Mama fame, contacted me a few weeks ago, and I was beyond surprised that she asked me to be a part of her blog series, "For the Love of Photography".  In the span of two weeks, Angie is sharing something for everyone at any level:  from the mom with a camera to a professional photographer.  Some AMAZING photographers have already contributed to this series...  Leah Zawadski, Marta Locklear, and many more, with even more to come the rest of this week (i.e. the fabulous Tara Whitney and the Shutter Sisters team!).  So suffice to say I was honored to be included alongside these wonderful and incredibly talented women!  (And still a little shocked, LOL!) You can read my article and see some of my images HERE.  Leave Angie some blog love (ahem, a comment!) on that post, and you're automatically entered to win a fantastic camera bag from Acme Made!  ;)

Thanks again, Angie, for having me.  And thank you all so much for all the comments and compliments so far -- I greatly appreciate every single one!  xoxo


The festival.

A couple of weekends ago, the kiddos and I hit up the local Pumpkin Festival at Hunsader Farms in Bradenton.  We went with some great friends, and met a few more awesome friends there, and we ALL had such a fantastic time!  Even on my day off, I couldn't resist bringing along the camera for a few snapshots.  ;)   (And, well, I knew that if I didn't hurry and blog these, that they wouldn't see the light of day until after Christmas!!  LOL!)

Parker and Hunter figuring out the hay maze.  (Hunter's little cap pulled way down just makes me smile!)

We checked out the fresh produce stands, and bought some apple butter, pumpkin butter, strawberry preserves, and of course... pumpkin bread.  (Which I happily ate for breakfast the next morning, lol!)

One of the kids opened up an ear of corn... and guess who had gotten there first?  (Eww....)

Of course we had to stop sliding and bouncing and hay-mazing long enough to grab some lemonade, pumpkin pie, and good old-fashioned funnel cake... you know, just for sustenance.  ;)  I think Lila desperately wanted some, what do you think?!

Then the face-painting began......

Parker and his pal Tyler. (Chris and I have been friends with Hunter and Tyler's parents for about 10 years.... Tyler was born in FL but they all moved away a few years ago, before Hunter was born... and now they're all back in FL again!  It's so sweet to see our kids having the chance to grow up together and be such great friends.)  :)

Fresh country air, crafts, yummy fair food, carnival games, lots of friends...  and finally, a nap.  What a perfect day!