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A few of my favorite things + a sneak peek or two

I’m always on the hunt for good beauty products. I’m pretty picky, I’m kinda cheap, but I also understand somethings are worth investing in… skin care is so important. Regular washing and moisturizing helps our skin to age well, so take care of yourself!!

These are a few of my favorite skin care and beauty products – it takes a lot to make a big ol’ pregnant lady feel good and these guys are like my little buddies every single day. I love them. :)


First Aid Beauty | Ultra Repair Cream <- click for more info!

I have always had combination skin, parts are oily and parts are dry. Around my nose, especially, is super dry to the point of cracking and peeling in the winter. Gross. A few months ago I was at Sephora and decided I needed to try something new – all my go-to products that have worked a time or two but never consistently were just on my nerves that day. I asked one of the clerks (what do you call the people that work the floor at a make-up store?? No idea…) and he flamboyantly and emphatically shoved this jar of awesome in my face.

And, now, I use it every single day. I use it on my kids sun burns and mosquito bites and it helps immediately. I use it on my face every single morning after my shower. It. is. awesome. It has completely done away with the dryness around my nose and the other weird patches I had, but it’s still light and airy feeling. I have not had any breakouts or anything since I started using it, too, I think it’s helping me have clearer skin that is oh-so-soft! It comes in a good sized jar (think 6 month supply if all you’re using it for is your face… maybe longer). Oh, and, PS it’s made without yucky ingredients like parabens, fragrances, sulfates, dyes, pthalates, GMOs, etc, etc…


albaBOTANICA acnedote Face & Body Scrub <- click for more info!

I have been a loyal Mary Kay user since I was like 13. I still love Mary Kay and would never say anything bad about the brand or the products, because, seriously, I love them. But I have had some recurring breakouts that I just could not get to go away so I wanted to try a new product and see how it went. This albaBOTANICA acnedote scrub has quickly  become my absolute favorite face & body wash I have ever used. And my husband uses it too – it has shrunk his pores (mine, too, but seriously to get a man to use a facewash that shrinks his pores is so awesome! haha) and my skin is so much more even and smooth all over. I use it every day and my skin is so glowy and fresh looking all day. I love love love it. And it smells good. Like. Naturey delicious. Locals- I get mine at BiMart. Shop local, y’all (plus… it’s cheaper locally, ha!)

No bad stuff in this product, either, 100% vegetarian, too! :)


 Younique Moodstruck 3d Fiberlash Mascara <- click for more info & to buy via my party – closes Monday 6/30!

 I love this stuff. I was super skeptical and it took me a few months of thinking about it to finally give it a shot. When I realized they have a love it guarantee I decided it’d be worth a shot- if I hated it, I’d get my money back. Well, unfortunately for my pocketbook, I LOVE it. :) So I’m hosting a party for my friend Tiffany, if you click on the link it’ll take you directly to shop from my party and help me get some of this new addiction for free!

I literally have zero lashes naturally, so being able to swipe this on in the morning has been revolutionary. I have been really happy with a couple other drugstore brands of mascara but that’s because I had no idea what I was missing. Once I gave this a try I was like “Ohhhhhhh, I get it now…”

Also love that it’s all natural, cruelty free, cry-proof (as in, I watched The Fault in Our Stars, bawled through the whole thing, left looking like a normal human with eye lashes and no Alice Cooper running down my face), washes off easily with warm water at the end of the day… long-wearing… love it.

Want to see a few more natural beauties? :) Just a couple of sneak peeks from my most recent senior sessions. I have one shoot left before my maternity leave is officially ON. It’s pretty unreal to me that the time is passing so quickly and before we know it I’ll be “mom” to THREE kiddos. What the heck! Anyway- check out these good lookin’ seniors and head over to the Facebook page to see more!

senior girl 2 carly carlson photography

senior girl carly carlsonsenior boy carly carlson photography

Shelley + Ian

I have over 20 unblogged sessions. Maybe even close to 40 quite honestly… and I have decided rather than try to play catch up, I’m going to just start now – and if I end up posting old sessions, well, then there you go. But if I don’t, I don’t.

I’ve been feeling very “meh” about photography blogs since Google Reader died (may she rest in peace) and we’ve all seen our blog readership decline since then. I know there are other feed readers and I should probably give them more of a chance, but I just can’t love them the way I loved GR. Have you found something you really love, that compares? I know I’m late to the game at solving this conundrum but like I said, “meh.”

Ian and Shelley, however, were not “meh.” I loved these guys. Shelley is a baby photographer in La Grande, OR (and she is fantastic… find her here) and I’m so glad she reached out to me to do this lovely lovey session with them.

Decluttering and a Sneak Peek

carly carlson shelley banks

a sneak peek – more to come

We are a growing family in a shrinking home. We’ve found a new home, one we’d fit in perfectly with room to grow – but the timing just isn’t right. So the last several weeks have been nesting-overdrive for this pregnant crazy lady. I am bound and determined to “make it work.” (Thank you Tim Gunn.)

The two bedrooms, the one bathroom, the overflowing closets and drawers. When did abundance become such a burden? I remind myself daily of the blessings disguised as inconveniences and challenges. I’m in a major purge-mode right now where very little in our home has an emotional attachment and is easily sold, donated or tossed. It is mind boggling, the freedom and lightness you feel when parting ways with things that add no value, purpose or meaning. I’ve found myself so intrigued by the minimalist mindset, this William Morris quote on repeat in my head

“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

Sigh. “What a happy life that sounds like,” I think to myself as I cautiously avoid the pile of dirty laundry on the floor and the clutter of papers piled up on my office desk. But when I close my eyes there’s a clear pine scented breeze blowing through our crisp clean home with nothing but the necessities by my side…

Every day I’m working toward this reality I seek. The pregnancy hormones are really aiding my progress in some ways and hindering in others. I’m really really motivated… and really really tired.


Above you see Shelley and Ian, a wonderfully in love couple I had the privilege of shooting this past weekend… more to come from their session soon!

Excuse the mess.

Holy web-construction Batman, I have made a fine mess of things over here. Just ignore the mess, broken links, etc for now – working as fast as I can to get the site looking lovely again and make the tweaks needed so it’s fully functional again soon!



Pushing the boundaries.

Over the last several years I’ve been really inspired by some pretty dark artwork… which is funny, I’m not a very dark person. As far as I’m willing to admit… bwa haha… Anyway, I have been particularly drawn to conceptual fine art photography and just kept thinking “Dude, I want to do that…”  I shut that idea down pretty frequently until finally I decided I had to just give it a shot. I just had to try it.

I put together a concept (four, actually), got some models who generously worked for free as my guinea pigs, was given access to an amazing location and tried to put my vision into action. After the shoot, I came home anxious, a total ball of nerves ready to break into the photos and get on to the editing process. I picked the first scene and started work. And continued to work. And continued… For like, a month. On that one photo.

It got to where I really hated the photo, the whole process and pretty much decided this is not an art form I’ll be pursuing. That feeling hasn’t changed much, but I have to say I’m proud of myself for pushing my boundaries with this challenge. That was the whole goal – the goal was not necessarily to create some masterful artworks, though that would have been a pretty rad and bodacious outcome for a first attempt at something pretty ambitious… (I really need to keep reminding myself this is SO out of my comfort zone and perfection was not the goal… very very hard for a perfectionist to wrap her mind around let me tell ya…)

I have learned an insane amount about Photoshop manipulation and compositing and just through the process of creating a vision, doing all the prep-work and having a finished product to show for it is pretty rewarding.  While I have three other scenes to edit at this time, I’m definitely taking a break from this project for awhile.  I really did not anticipate how draining it’d be… and how much I’d kinda suck at it! But it’s awesome to have a challenge that’s pushing the boundaries and that will surely push me in my “regular” work as well.

I have been hesitant to share because I’m really not sure what to expect the reaction to be (seriously, I don’t know what my own reaction is right now…) but this is part of the process for me. So here is the first concept… with all its flaws and imperfections. They are kind of growing on me.

Edit to add… Each of the scenes are snapshots into the character’s dream – this particular dream takes place in a room that’s filled with water… just a little snapshot into the backstory that maybe I’ll share more of someday. :)

Model // Kristin Jones