Santa Cruz Boardwalk Family Pictures

It seems as if we have been doing a ton of traveling lately as a family (and more to come in the next couple of months) and I’m so grateful for these opportunities we have to create memories with one another. Sure it can get hectic and stressful but overall it is so, so worth it! Our kids love being on the go and really it’s how we manage doing life with three little ones. If the kids are happy, mom & dad are happy!

We live in Sacramento, CA which is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Santa Cruz, CA so we decided to venture over there for the day to shoot a project with Ashley Maxwell Photography (who has turned into a dear of mine over all of these year of photographing our growing family). Ashley is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet and her eye for creativity and photography is endless. We drove down on a Sunday and I’m pretty sure everyone in Northern California had decided THAT was the day to go to Santa Cruz too, because crowded doesn’t even do it justice. I mean, there were people everywhere! It was a little difficult trying to navigate and pose for pictures but we made it through with the help of two large lollipops, cotton candy, a carousel ride, and ice cream cones at the end to top it off!

…Answering the Q&A from my Instagram post following these pictures!




Q: How do you plan your outfits for blog pictures or when you’re going out with your kids?

A: Sometimes it’s planned, sometimes it’s not. If I have clothes that have just come in, I’ll almost always wear that as I know most of you want to see whats new and shoppable. I also do sponsored posts for some clothing companies (but will only wear/share if I truly like it) so sometimes I’m wearing a brand for a specific reason. Other than that, I just try to stay true to me. My kids outfits I almost always decide on the spot. We tend to go for bright and bold when mix and matching. Cotton On Kids is probably our most favorite place to shop for our kids!

Q: What are some of your favorite places to shoot your outfit posts in Sacramento?

A: This is probably one of the toughest things I run into every week 🙂 Almost always my husband and I will drive downtown and search for places. We don’t normally have “a spot” we go to- rather we know we’ll almost always find something downtown. We’ve tried the Folsom area and never really find any luck. Our go-to’s are mural, bright walls, coffee shops, or some type of floral/succulent vibe. I wish I could give you specifics but A. I’m horrible with directions and B. We switch it up constantly. I will say that we do frequent Old Sac quite often! You have to like that specific feel but we’ve done a decent amount of shoots there.

Q: Do you ever sell your past outfits/items?

A: I haven’t yet! But I am seriously considering it! My closet is overflowing and my husband keeps telling me I need to do something about it. I told him we need to move so I can have a bigger closet lol half serious and half joking (we probably will be moving within the next six months or so) but I’ve been considering starting to sell on Poshmark. In fact, I just created an account so feel free to follow me and I’ll share when I’ve posted my first batch of items! My username is Ellabrooksblog

Q: What’s your inspo for your Instagram feed?

A: That’s a good question! This could mean a couple of different things so I’m going to answer it both ways. I follow a lot of Fashion/Lifestyle bloggers and gain a lot of inspiration from them on what I want my feed to look like/represent. My top two favorites are probably @amberfillerup and @hellofashionblog (in the fashion/lifestyle world) and @shalicenoel & @cellajaneblog however there are many many more with various genres that I admire and glean inspo from. I love accounts that are inspirational whether it be mentally, materialistically 🙂 or spiritually. I follow different people for different reasons so I don’t know that there is just one that encompasses it all for me. A few inspirational mama’s I love following along with are @thegraygang , @jessaconnolly , @gparrish and I’m sure I’m totally missing someone completely obvious that I love. Mainly, I love to incorporate fashion, family, travel (slowly getting there) and inspiration into my feed.

Q: How do you style your hair? Any tutorials in the near future? 

A: The question of the year! lol. Here is the serious truth- the lighting and my house aesthetics basically suck right now. Like, I feel like I’d be putting out an amateur – I have no idea what I’m doing – type video up and my perfectionist self just cringes putting that out. The other side to it is I really don’t feel like what I do is much different from anybody else except that I probably use about 70% more hairspray and fake hair lol – that’s the truth!!! Extensions add soooooooooooooo much! I can’t stress that enough. My hair looks full and voluptuous because A. I have extensions and B. I use a ton of hairspray/product. I think people are really timid with hairspray and you just gotta go for it! I use Big & Sexy and will not ever use anything else. It’s hands down the best! I do plan on sharing a tutorial soon but probably not until we move (again which is hopefully sooner than later).

Q: How many kids do you want?

A: Three and done 🙂

Q: What does my morning routine look like? How do you manage 3 kids and getting yourself ready each morning? 

A: I probably “get ready” like really ready about 2-3 times a week. The rest of the mornings I’m in my sweats, no make up, hair not done and probably thrown up in a bun. There is no way I would be able to manage getting ready everyday. I know some people do and if that works for them, that’s great! For me, it just isn’t realistic. My kids are usually the ones to wake me up every morning (except for Jude cause he’s in a crib still) around 6:30-7ish. Brooklyn is our sleep hater and early riser so he’s usually the one I hear playing in the living room which means it’s time for me to get my booty out of bed. If it’s a school day it’s time to get the kiddos ready, make breakfast, pack up their lunches/backpacks/diaper bags, make sure I’m half way decent lol and head out the door. My husband starts work at 6am every day so it’s just me and the kiddos! We are usually out the door by 8:00 or so.

Q: What is your workout routine?

A: I just did a post on my current workout routine here

Q: Do you think you’ll ever do a meet & greet?

A: I did one at the Nordstrom in Roseville last Summer but haven’t done one since. I guess it feels sorta odd setting up a meet n greet for yourself 🙂 If I do plan one or partner with another store, I’ll be sure to let you guys know!

Q: I love how adventurous and outgoing you are with your style. I love so many different styles and pieces but don’t feel like i have the look to rock them or the confidence. How do you recommend feeling more confident in stepping out of your comfort zone while trying different things and figuring out what your style is?

A: That’s a great question! Because I bet you a lot of people feel this way. In fact, I do at times too depending on what it is. If I don’t feel like it “fits” me, I don’t do it. I think there’s a difference between admiring something and liking it for yourself but a little more timid to wear it as opposed to looking at something and knowing it won’t work for you. There are some trends that I just am not on board with. Not because it’s not trendy, because it is. But it doesn’t fit into my personal style. I would recommend trying out one “bold” item per outfit and then take it from there. Try sticking with more simple/classic pieces and adding that one handbag/shoe/accessory that is more fashion forward and stands out. I think if you do baby steps, you’ll find yourself more comfortable stepping out of your comfort zone more often!

Q: How to start a blog, grow a following, etc.

A: I wrote this blog post and included any/all info I thought would be helpful for you guys as to what has worked for me etc. Let me say this. As much as I don’t want to say it or believe that it’s true… the influencer/blogging world is changing. A lot of it (actually I think most of it) has to do with the algorithm Instagram has put into place (SUCKS FOR US BLOGGERS!). I know for a fact that half of the pictures I put out there, a lot of you don’t see. If pictures aren’t being “liked” or commented on, Instagram will not show those profiles in your feed. If you engage, they will 🙂 But with that said… engagement for all bloggers is way way down. I’m apart of a few blogging groups via FB and other things and people complain about it almost daily. It’s definitely a struggle we’re all trying to work through in figuring out how to remain successful in this industry. To piggy back that, there are a ton of influencers who are now buying followers/likes. It’s honestly so disheartening to see, especially when it’s people I’ve personally admired- but that’s what competition and comparison in this world can do unfortunately. If people aren’t making it, they’re cheating their way there. Of course there are so many sides to this and I could probably talk about it for days. But all this to say- it is a very hard time to “make it” in the blogging world. I feel for those just starting out or trying to find their place because I feel like the opportunities just aren’t there like they were for me. I don’t know what to tell you to do differently other than what I recommend in this post. But keep your head up and for the love of all bloggers (mainly myself) PLEASE do not cheat your way to the top! Don’t do that to yourself or to the bloggers who have worked their booties off to get to where they’re at. It’s just not right (not to mention will ultimately hurt you in the long run). Hard work and consistency will always pay off!







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Bonding through Water Play + Do my kids really get along?!
Santa Cruz Boardwalk Family Pictures