Monthly Mocha - Asado coffee roasters

I have been out and about all month. I really wanted to keep busy and stay cozy with warm drinks. I had heard of Asado Coffee Roasters, but hadn't made it to one of their locations yet. Well this was the month! 

I met Veronica from Golden Mean Boudoir for a drink a few weeks ago. She just moved into a studio in West Town, so the Asado on Chicago Ave was a perfect spot for us try out.

The coffee shop is small and clean with some modern vintage decor. It felt modern, but cozy at the same time. It's a great setting for a meeting. I felt very at home, and parking was pretty easy to find nearby. 

My mocha was great! I was sad when I took the last sip. Veronica had a hot chocolate which she enjoyed.

I've been to this area quite bit. Growing up, my father owned a store just across the street from Asado. It's still there, but he sold it long ago. It brought back happy memories to be there again. I've been meeting more people from West Town, so I'm sure I'll be back for another mocha. I'll also have to check out the other locations. 

I'm so excited for February's monthly mocha. I already have the spot picked out. If you want to join me on my coffee adventures all you have to do is ask. :-)

It's the year of giveaways!

Peacoat and dress from Stitch Fix

Peacoat and dress from Stitch Fix

I'm turning 30 this year! I can't believe it, but I'm ready for my 30s. I know I can only get stronger, wiser, and better at my craft. 

I have made some amazing connections in the past few years and had some wonderful clients. I have really been blessed and I want to give more. 

One thing I love is giving gifts. Time and gifts are my love language and I spend most of my time and energy pouring into other people...because...well...it energizes me. 

Every month this year there will be a different giveaway. Some small, some bigger, but all personal. 

FIRST: a STITCH FIX GIVEAWAY!!!

Red blouse & sweater from Stitch Fix

Red blouse & sweater from Stitch Fix

I'm going to be receiving my 10th stitch fix this month, and I absolutely love getting these boxes.

As a mom and a wedding photographer I don't have a lot of free personal time.

Shopping is super low on my list of things to do, so having a personal stylist with Stitch Fix has really helped me update my wardrobe for work without having to spend hours at the mall. 

I'm so happy with the convenience and customer service they offer, so I want to share my experience. I pretty much wear at least one piece from Stitch Fix every time I go out. 

 

 

I'm giving away two $50 gift certificates to STITCH FIX! One for you and the friend you tag on Instagram.

 

Dress & Necklace from Stitch Fix

Dress & Necklace from Stitch Fix

For a chance at winning:

1. Go to your Instagram and make sure you're following me @karina_mettsphoto AND @mettsphoto

2. Like the post where I'm announcing the giveaway

3. Tag a Friend who would love to win. The friend you tag also has to follow both @karina_mettsphoto and @mettsphoto for your entry to count.

 

 

 

 

 

I'll announce the winner on Wednesday, Jan 13th at 5pm. This is my own giveaway and isn't sponsored, affiliated or endorsed with any Instagram or Facebook. 

To stay in the loop for all our giveaways this year AND get some great tips as an engaged or married couple, sign up for our email newsletter.

Flip through some of the out-takes. Elena took most of the pictures. Elias took the one that Elena is in. She LOVED being a big help. It went much faster than it would have if I had set timers for every shot. 

Monthly Mocha - Star Lounge

Happy New Year's Eve! I'll be having a low key night with the family, but I plan to make it until 11pm to at least see the ball drop in New York.

We've had an enjoyable coffee-filled holiday. Michael has even been making me coffee over the Holidays and since he's been able to watch the kids more, I get to have it warm (Thanks, love).

This month I visited Star Lounge with Jaqueline, make-up artist and owner of Jacqueline Gamache Beauty. She has great taste in coffee and suggested meeting here. Dark Matter's Star Lounge Coffee Bar is located in West Town on Chicago Avenue. Their mocha was on point. It tasted so fresh and not too sweet. Perfect. 

They have plenty of space on the main floor, but they also have a quieter section upstairs and a colorful outside patio for the nice weathered months. There was also plenty of street parking. 

We had run out of coffee at home, so I bought a bag that was roasted just 2 days before. It seriously is some of the best coffee we've had at home. The fact that they roast everything in-house is what makes this coffee so amazing. I've been loving the coffee shops with their own roasters, like last month's monthly mocha from Gaslight Coffee. They also have some fresh and amazing coffee.

Two thumbs up Star Lounge!

Until next year! Have an awesome NYE!

MY NINTH STITCH FIX

Here we are again with another great stitch fix box! As soon as the box comes, the kids know they'll get a fashion show. 

Elias kept saying, "You look so beautiful." He's quite the self-esteem booster.  

Elena was more critical,  but usually likes anything I wear, and then talks about how when she gets older we can share clothes. 

This box came just in time for a networking event, and it was a nice way for me to slow down and "be a model" with the kids, with my increasingly busy schedule. 

Aaaaaaaand, I kept everything.

The dress is a winner!! Stitch fix is definitely getting me to like dresses. The Leevie Dress by Pixley is a perfect holiday dress. I'm not much for sequence, but because it is a little bit, and the dress is black, I loved it. I wore it with boots, even though my sister urged me not to...but it was cold...and I ignored her. Next time I'll wear heals...maybe.

I am pretty obsessed with layering my clothes. I wear a tank top under all my tops, and usually feel comfortable when I can put on a sweater or a zip-up. This cardigan is perfect. I actually didn't have a black sweater until now. (Crazy I know) The Jiva Mixed Material Open Cardigan by Olive & Oak was a little confusing at first, but once I realized how it works I loved it. There is a a different material that comes out of the sides, but it drapes effortlessly in front. Very fun.

I also have already worn the Donna Embellished Neckline Blouse by Brixon Ivy to a photography event last week and it was really comfortable. I always like to wear something that's light because I usually get hot at some point as I'm moving around taking photos. This blouse is perfect for shoots.

Now a more casual piece. The Merry Lace Inset Blouse by Crescent will be great with jeans or more casual meetings. It's comfy, and I like comfy. I also really like the lace shoulders and the 3/4 quarter length sleeve. I have a habit of rolling my sleeves up when I talk... then rolling them down... then rolling them up. Yeah... I annoy myself. This helps with that since the elastic keeps the sleeves in place. 

Lastly I received a necklace! I have one other necklace from stitch fix. I've realized I really like long, minimalistic necklaces like the Erma Crystal Octagon Pendant Necklace by Marilyn Schiff, but I would never spend time at a store looking through jewelry so I'm glad they sent a one. However, I don't like necklaces or any other jewelry while I'm shooting, so this is reserved for casual hangouts. 

Another stitch fix in the books. My next fix will be my 10th box! (A giveaway might be in order *hint-hint*) If you haven't tried stitch fix for yourself yet, I don't see how anyone can regret it. It's such a nice treat that I've come to really look forward to. 

Soooooooo give it a try. You know you want to. ;-) 

Monthly Mocha - Gaslight

I hope everyone had a great weekend filled with family, love, and lots of coffee. 

We did not partake in the Black Friday craziness, but we did drink our fill of coffee and do a little light Sunday shopping. 

This month for my monthly mocha spot I went to Gaslight Coffee Roasters in Logan Square a few times. I've had their iced tea, hot black tea, and their mochas. All delicious. I need to have their food sometime because it always smells so good. Their mocha is very full and has a roasted taste. Perfect for the winter. Michael thinks I'm becoming a mocha snob. (I'm ok with that.)

I love the location of this place. It's right near the train, has a lot of convenient parking and has a nice amount of seating.  I've even walked here with Liz from Coachhouse Pictures

This is definitely my go-to Logan Square coffee shop. 

Daniel, Jennifer, Perry, and Lydia

This is a family that I sooooo wish lived closer to us. Every time we hang out I wish there was a magical bridge between Michigan and Chicago that would take 5 minutes to cross. Or I wish I was like Barbara Eden in "I Dream of Jeannie" and I could appear in Michigan whenever I wanted. 

This weekend I was happy that Daniel and Jennifer stopped by. The kids had a great time playing with Perry, their son. I'm sure Lydia will be able to keep up with them soon. 

Jennifer took our wedding photos and it's always an honor to be able to take pictures of her beautiful family. 

Phone Photography Friday - The workshop

A quick pic of the styled shoot portion, where everyone got to practice what they'd learned.

A quick pic of the styled shoot portion, where everyone got to practice what they'd learned.

Hello! This week felt as if the weekend would never come. At least for me. Perhaps because Elena didn't have school on Wednesday and is also off today. Anyone else feel like their week would never end?

Our second phone photography workshop on Monday was GREAT! We had a fun time teaching and hanging out with our attendees. I wish I had more pictures to show you, but Michael and I always realize afterwards that we barely took any. There's always next time though.

I want to share a few pictures that I've seen a few of our attendees post since the workshop. I can already see an improvement as they are more intentional about their pictures and their brand. I love it!

 

@alwaysbmoody is a blogger. Her website, bekmoody.com is a place where she shares about her life in a wheelchair. These are some pictures she has taken this week. I really like the hashtags she comes up with. You should definitely check out her Instagram feed.

@escandargroup is an event and business concierge company. They launched this year and have an amazing and talented team. Their website escandargroup.com now includes their Instagram feed of places around the city. I'm so glad they partnered with us to host this workshop.

@veileventdesign is a shabby chic floral and event design company. Casey's creations are beautiful, and we were so thankful that she sponsored the workshop and provided the beautiful florals for us to use. I love how she is using her images to inspire her followers. Her website, veileventdesign.com, is amazing and her social media is a reflection of her brand. Definitely give her a follow. 

We are so thankful for all our attendees and can't wait for our next workshop. We will be back in the spring. We hope everyone enjoys the holidays and takes a lot of beautiful pictures!

Phone Photography Friday

Hello and good morning!

Welcome to November!

I enjoyed an amazing trip to Dallas this week and came back refreshed and inspired. It's our last phone photography Friday post until the next workshop *tear*. I'm going to be focusing on celebrating the holidays with the family and planning for 2016, but Phone Photography Fridays will be back in the new year!

We talked about telling your story last week and now we're taking things a step further by talking about branding.

THIS WEEK'S TIP: BRAND YOURSELF

Examples: @mjmetts' feed shows you how he sees the world due to his background in photojournalism. @karina_mettsphoto shows her life as a mother and an entrepreneur. @mettsphoto is like a lookbook for wedding clients wanting to get a feel for our work. @mariabayer1 is a business coach and you can see her passion as she encourages her audience through words while keeping her feed cohesive and giving you a glimpse of her brand (you should follow her...she's great).

If you're a business owner, you pour yourself into your business. You should think about social media the same way. Thinking about your social media as a complete story instead of single posts will give you a better idea of what to post and what not to post. You will build your audience based on how you want to be perceived, so authenticity is key. 

We're going talk about branding in depth at our workshop on Monday! You don't want to miss our last one of the year.

We are going to have snacks, desserts, goodies to give away, and a time to practice what you've been learning.

OUR NEXT PHONE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP

When: Nov 9, 2015 | 5:30-9:00

Place: Lewis Tower, Loyola University Chicago | Beane Hall -13th Floor | 111 E. Pearson Chicago IL 60611

See the full schedule


Monthly Mocha - Bow Truss

We've officially entered the season where warm drinks are a must. Daily. I've got my winter coat ready, sweaters galore, and my coffee shops lined up ready for me to visit. 

This month I hung out at Bow Truss. They have several locations around the city. I visited two, but I'm sure I'll make my way to the others soon enough.

I found Bow Truss when I was looking for a coffee shop that would be ideal for an engagement session. One of my couples loves to go on coffee dates and we wanted to take pictures in Lincoln Park and find a coffee place nearby. We ended up choosing a different place for the pictures, but ever since I saw Bow Truss I wanted to try it. 

First of all, I love their website. They have videos of each location! I also like their logo. I know it's silly to judge a place on their marketing, but Bow Truss had me at first click. 

Both locations (in the loop and Lakeview) I visited were so clean, spacious, and had nice, natural light. Their mochas are also phenomenal. I would definitely take a client here, and would even recommend it for a photo shoot. They're opening a few more locations around the city soon too.

Until next month! And if anyone ever wants to join me on my monthly mocha trips, let me know. I'll treat you to whatever warm drink you'd like. :-)

We stopped at the loop location after picking Michael up from his train. It was nice to have a place to relax as a family for a few minutes.

We stopped at the loop location after picking Michael up from his train. It was nice to have a place to relax as a family for a few minutes.

Phone Photography Friday

It's the last Friday of October! Just two more months till the end of the year. Can you believe it?

Today my daughter is having her Halloween party at school, then her friend is coming over to paint some pumpkins. Tomorrow her ballet class is letting them come in costume and invite a friend. Afterwards, we're spending the day hanging with friends baking scones, drinking hot drinks and handing out candy. I hope you guys have a great candy-filled weekend! I’m sure you’ll be taking lots of pictures of the fun.

Today we are going beyond the technical aspects of creating a picture and talking about telling your story.

THIS WEEK'S TIP: TELL YOUR STORY

With each image you are relaying something to your viewers. Have you thought about what that is? How are you portraying yourself or your business? Are you thinking about your social media feeds as a whole and what those pictures are saying about you?

Now is the time to think about the visual message you're sending, and to step it up. Come to the workshop and we'll show you how you can tell your own story through images and engage with your audience. 

It’s going to be a great time! We will have snacks, sweets, and a time for you to take pictures you can use for your own social media accounts.

OUR NEXT PHONE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP

When: Nov 9, 2015 | 5:30-9:00

Place: Lewis Tower, Loyola University Chicago | Beane Hall -13th Floor | 111 E. Pearson Chicago IL 60611

See the full schedule


Phone Photography Friday

Happy Friday! We have about one more week in October. I have no idea where the month has gone. However, we've gotten some warm weather again this week. I hope everyone is savoring the 70 degree weather before we're bundling up for below-zero temps in a few months. The kids and I have been spending a lot of time outside the past few days.

Last week we talked about taking pictures of people, specifically people in action where posing really isn't easy. Today I'm going to touch on the times when you can pose your subject.

THIS WEEK'S TIP: PEOPLE - PART TWO

If you're taking a picture of a person and you have time to frame your shot and find the light but you aren't really satisfied with what you're capturing, don't be afraid to give them a little direction. Phrases like "can you turn your head a little to the left" or "can you hold your cup with both hands" can really change the end result of your picture. (Thanks for bearing with me to get the second picture above Chelsea.)

You might feel self conscious about how long you're taking to take your picture as you keep telling someone what to do, but fellow creative Kristi from It's All Happening Events coined the phrase #doitforthegram.  So don't worry about what you look like if at the end of it you're really happy with your picture. I mean we are all out there looking silly. You're not alone.

What's really great about our workshop is the time we give you to practice what we've been teaching, and the time to ask us questions on the spot. We can help you with posing, styling, and how to find the light in tough situations.  Plus, you'll leave with great pictures to use on your own social media feeds.

OUR NEXT PHONE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP

When: Nov 9, 2015 | 5:30-9:00

Place: Lewis Tower, Loyola University Chicago | Beane Hall -13th Floor | 111 E. Pearson Chicago IL 60611

See the full schedule


 

MY EIGHTH STITCH FIX

Fall is definitely my favorite season. Who else is with me? A show of hands? I mean who can resist apple orchard donuts, the beautiful fall colors, hot chocolate with marshmallows, and dressing in cozy layer upon cozy layer?

I have been so busy the past few weeks that I had totally forgotten my box was coming. But the kids and I opened it right away and they ooo'ed and aaah'ed as I pulled each piece out. (Well mostly Elena...Elias just copies what Elena is doing as he runs too and from his cars). I love trying clothes on with Elena because she thinks everything looks fantastic on me. She talks about the day that she is able to fit into my clothes and already has plans to wear all my outfits.

Anyway, we were all pretty happy with this box.

First of all, I got a coat! I am very specific about my coats, and I usually get a new one every two years or so. I wanted something that looked dressy, was warm and had a neutral color. I really need to be happy with a coat since it's something I wear everyday for about 4-5 months...and they sent the most perfect one: the Almeria Tweed Wool Coat by Pink Martini.

I've really come to embrace stripes this year, so I was really happy with this next top, the Lawford Knit Top by Market & Spruce. It's similar to the one I got last time, which I really like. I like the leather detail in the collar, and how this one is a little longer. 

Another dress! And yes, I requested another one because all the dresses they've sent me this year have been my style. The Janette Dress by Market & Spruce is another winner. I'm excited to wear it with some tights or high boots. (I guess this is a good excuse to buy some new boots).

Another fun top is the Brixon Ivy Romford Stretch Lace Knit Top. Michael was a little surprised by the color, since I don't usually wear brighter colors, but after a little coaxing from my sister, I decided to keep it. I tried it on with a black cami, and I think I like it better than with the purple one it came with.

My final piece is the Nielson Lightweight Cotton Cardigan by Brixon Ivy. The material is SO light and comfortable. It's like wearing long underwear. I'm sure I'll be able to wear this into the spring next year too! 

I give this fix two thumbs up! Is it bad that I'm wanting my next box now? It will come just before Christmas. Merry Christmas to me! ;-)

If you're looking for some new fall pieces to add to your closet, sign up and give it a try!  

Phone Photography Friday

It's Friday guys! You made it through the week! Woohoo!

I've been sufficiently filled with coffee and pastries this week. I’m getting into my fall groove of donuts, pies, and scones. I exercise every day so that I can indulge my sweet tooth…seriously.

Last week we talked about styling your pictures for social media, and how it’s ok to take time to set things up to get the shot you are hoping for. Today we're talking about something that might be a little harder to set up; people. We're going to take this in two parts, because sometimes you are able to pose, and sometimes you aren’t.

THIS WEEK'S TIP: PEOPLE - PART ONE

Usually if you are taking a picture of someoneespecially if you’re a momit’s because you want to capture the moment, so you don’t always have the luxury of taking 30 minutes to set and pose that person (or kid), especially if you want to be authentic in telling the story.

Don’t feel like you’re limited to include the person’s whole body, specifically when trying to catch action. Sometimes changing your angle by coming in close or stepping back will make your image more interesting and make people feel like they can experience what's happening at that moment. 

Photographing people isn’t easy. During our workshop we tell you how you can photograph peoplewhether they're your clients or your kidsin a way that engages your audience and stays true to your brand.

There's still time to sign up!

OUR NEXT PHONE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP

When: Nov 9, 2015 | 5:30-9:00

Place: Lewis Tower, Loyola University Chicago | Beane Hall -13th Floor | 111 E. Pearson Chicago IL 60611

See the full schedule


Aaron & Adrienne | Anniversary Session

Aaron and Adrienne just celebrated two years of marriage last week.

The way they look at each other and laugh together, you'd think they're still dating. This is how marriage should be. Your love, joy, and passion should grow stronger every day. 

Their relationship is an inspiration, and I loved doing a special anniversary session for them in Kalamazoo, Michigan. We got to enjoy some of the area's beautiful fall colors. 

Happy Anniversary you two!

Phone Photography Friday

Haaaaaay! It's Friday again. And the weather is perfect for running. I enjoyed a nice run this morning after more than a week of Michael being away from home. 

We're exactly a month away from the next phone photography workshop! I am busy coming up with ideas for how to style the scene so everyone can practice what they learned during the workshop. I'm also coming up with new goodie bags and books to give out to each attendee. I'm so excited!

Have you been practicing the new techniques we've been going over each Friday and improving your phone photography skills? We already talked about composition and lighting. Now let's talk about styling

THIS WEEK'S TIP: STYLING

When you take a picture of an object, either to promote something for your business or to promote someone else, it's okay to spend some time preparing the scene. You might even take 100 photos of the same thing from different angles stopping every few minutes to shift something then start the picture taking again. We do this because visual presentation matters. 

Not only do you want your subject too look perfectly appealing to the eye, you also want to make sure it's clear to your audience why they should be interested. A big part of that has to do with what you write, but the biggest part of it has to be conveyed through your picture.

Whether it's framing something simple like a USB drive or arranging or an array of products you receive in a care package, during our workshop we can help you think through the photos you style in a way that's attractive and speaks to your brand. 


OUR NEXT PHONE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP

When: Nov 9, 2015 | 5:30-9:00

Place: Lewis Tower, Loyola University Chicago | Beane Hall -13th Floor | 111 E. Pearson Chicago IL 60611

See the full schedule


Phone Photography Friday

Can you believe we're in October?! While I like the summer, fall is definitely my favorite season. I love blankets, warm drinks, and layers. 

While the weather is chilly outside, our house will be filled with movies and cuddles on the couch. Hmmm...I think it's time for me to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

Ok, enough about fall. We're continuing to talk about composition as part of our Phone Photography Fridays series. Two weeks ago we talked about the subject, then we touched on framing, now we are talking about blank space. 

THIS WEEK'S TIP: COMPOSITION (PART 3)

While it's great to get nice and close on your subject filling the whole frame, think about doing the opposite. Leave some blank space. It will help draw your viewers eye to your subject. 

Think of the rule of thirds. Put your subject in one third of the frame, and leave the other two thirds with white space. This also gives you an opportunity to write in that blank space if you wanted. (I never do, but if it benefits your business and brand, then this is a good way to incorporate your own images to the message you want to relay).

Come to the workshop and we'll give you more ideas on how you can use images to tell your story in a way that fits your branding. 

It is a little over a month away on November 9th at 5:30pm. See a more detailed timeline.

Monthly Mocha - Firecakes

This month I visited Firecakes in River North. It's a little shop on Hubbard that sells coffee, donuts and fresh squeezed lemonade. Thank you Jennifer for always posting about this place. Your posts always looked so good, that I had to try it for myself.

Now, let me tell you, I had the best donut ever at this little shop. It was an almond joy donut, and it was AMAZING! 

I know I’m all about the mochas, but this is the place to go for a donut. 

I had an iced mocha on my visit as well, and it was great. It was a warm day, so it was the perfect way to quench my thirst. They aren't really known for their coffees, but for a shop that's focused on donuts, this place has great mochas. 

They don’t have inside seating, which will be a bummer come the winter months, but their little patio is really cute and inviting, even as someone who doesn’t really like to dine outside. (This is a thing between Michael and I, because he is an outside diner, and I’m not.)

I don't think this is an ideal spot for a client meeting, but it would be nice for a stop after an engagement session to treat them to something special. 

I like that they're open late. They start selling at 7am and they stay open until 10:30pm, or until they sell out.

I'll definitely be back here again if I find myself in River North…and you should try it too! It's worth the stop. 

Phone Photography Friday

I've come to look forward to Fridays even more than usual ever since we started Phone Photography Fridays. I get excited writing these blog posts and helping you improve your photography.

Last week we announced our next workshop date! It's going to be Nov 9th at 5:30 right downtown. Get all the details here.

This week we are continuing to think about the composition of your image

THIS WEEK'S TIP: COMPOSITION (PART 2)

Once you've thought about what you want to take a picture of, you need to think about how to make it look nice or interesting; eye catching. 

Whether you are photographing products, places, or people, you'll want your images to stand out and invoke feeling in your audience. Come to the workshop and we can give you different strategies on how to nail your framing and draw your audience in. 

*What do the images above make you think or how do they make you feel?

Elias plays soccer

I am in this denial phase where I don't want to believe that Elias isn't a baby anymore. I remember when he was born, Elena was instantly a "big girl" and "grown up" at 2 years old. Yet, I don't want to accept that my 2.5 year old is growing up.

We are in Elias' third week of soccer. He was wanting to play soccer last year when he saw his sister running...or should I say sauntering after the ball during her soccer season. His time has finally come, and he is completely in his element during practices.

He can dribble and kick the ball pretty well. And I love how he runs with his tongue out.

I'm so excited to share my love of soccer with him and see how he grows.

He had just gotten his hair cut and styled by our amazing stylist Trisha at Lemonmade Salon, so he was feeling pretty good about his soccer practice and his new haircut. He didn't feel so great when Elena swooped in and scored a goal.