How Baby Steps Helped Me Lose Weight

How Baby Steps Helped Me Lose Weight

Hi guys!

I hope everyone is having a great week!

Last week, I talked about why I’m not setting new years resolutions, and what I am doing instead. If you missed that post you can check it out HERE.

Baby Steps

Today I wanted to talk a little more about baby steps. Back in October, after months of STRUGGLING to lose weight, I decided I would start going to the gym. At the time, I was working a full-time night job at a hospital,  so most of the time I was so exhausted I couldn’t even think straight. I had been searching Pinterest for weight loss success stories. Most tips I found said ” workout five to six days a week”. I could absolutely could not make that work with my schedule. I mean, I was working full time, plus running a photography business plus raising four kids. Five days a week at the gym wasn’t going to happen for me.


I ended up finding a workout program that I felt was a good fit for me… but the program was a five workouts a week type of thing. I decided to use the program but modify it to my needs. Instead of working  out five days a week, I worked out when I could. I aimed for three days a week. Some weeks, I only got to the gym twice a week. But every single week, I worked out at least twice. Even though working out three times a week doesn’t sound too hard, it was for me. It was hard to find the time. It was hard to find the motivation. It was hard to find the energy.

But I just kept going.

I found myself getting stronger every single time I worked out. Suddenly, 20 minutes on the stairmaster didn’t make me feel like I was going to die.  The five-pound weights I had started out with became eight pounds, and then ten. I started to feel more confidant every time I walked into the gym.

Working out was my first  baby step.  I didn’t change anything else. I just started going to the gym. I still ate the same foods. I still ate the same amounts.  I still drank Dr Pepper. It’s all about the baby steps. Now, three months later, going to the gym has become part of my routine. I actually look forward to it.



Here are my results from three months of work-outs. I did mostly strength training and about an hour of cardio a week.

weightloss collage

I still have weight to lose but I have lost about 15 pounds so far. I have also gained muscle in the process.

Before I started working out, I searched for weight loss blogs. I needed inspiration. i needed motivation. I needed help.

I found a lot of blogs that had incredible transformation pictures… but they were written after the person had lost weight.  I couldn’t find one that documented the process of loosing weight.  I didn’t want  a single post on how they lost the weight. I wanted it all.  I wanted the good days, the bad days, the scale and non scale victories. The more I looked, the more I started to understand why this may be…

Loosing weight is hard.

Starting a weight-loss journey is scary.

Trying to do it publicly is just down right intimidating.

But here’s the thing… We are all here on this earth struggling with something. Instead of trying to conquer our personal obstacles alone, why not help each other out? After wrestling with myself for a few weeks, I have decided to document my weight loss journey.

I feel very vulnerable doing this…

like it took me three days after writing this post to push the PUBLISH button.

However down right terrifying it feels to me, my hope is that we can form an accepting community to help each other. I will be posting about workouts, food, motivation and finding self-love along the way.

Check back next week for a post about the second baby step I have implemented in 2018.


How Making A Vision Board Will Help You Smash Your Goals This Year

How Making A Vision Board Will Help You Smash Your Goals This Year

It’s a New Year.. Yay! I am so excited about 2018. I have so many personal goals I will be working on this year as well as so many things planned for this blog. While my first instinct is to jump into the new year and my goals head first, I am doing things a little differently this year. I wrote a post about why I’m not setting New Year’s Resolutions this year, you can read it  HERE. 

So… no New Year’s Resolutions for me.  I still really like the idea of sitting down and thinking about the previous year as well as dreaming about the future one. I knew I wanted to make a vision board this year. I originally thought I would make one late one night when all my kids were in bed. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted everyone to make a vision board. I wanted the process of creating a vision board to be a new family tradition on New Year’s Day. In trying to explain vision boards to my children, I realized they first needed to understand what visualization is.


Here is my daughter, Alexa’s vision board. Her goals for the year are to read everyday, work on gymnastics and make her bed.


Visualization is a mental practice. It is the process of creating images in your mind of things you want to manifest. It is similar to meditation, only with more mental activity. When you meditate, you try not to think. When you visualize, you think of all the things in your life you want.  You repeat these images over and over and over in your mind. Your mind has the power to manifest anything. Visualization helps this process.

So What Exactly Is a Vision Board?

Simply put, a vision board is a board you create to display images that represent what you want in your life. Most vision boards have pictures, quotes and affirmations on them.


Here is my vision board for 2018. I will be working on fitness and meditation, eating more greens and reading more books. We are currently in the process of buying a home so that is one there was well. I also have several uplifting quotes as well as daily affirmations.

Why Should I Make A Vision Board?

A vision board will create a space where you can display your visualizations. Placed in an area you will see several times a day, a vision board is a constant reminder of all the things you desire.

Let’s say you start the new year with new goals you are working toward. Well six weeks later, after a rough day at work and an even rougher commute home, you walk in the door, and fall into the couch while searching Netflix for some entertainment to get your mind off the day. You lay there for hours watching mindless TV and forgetting about everything else. You eat dinner, and stumble to bed. You lay in bed thinking about your awful day and dreading tomorrow which is bound to be just as bad.

You did nothing today to help you manifest your dreams.

Now, lets say you come home that same day, rough work, rough commute. You walk in the door and there, right where you can see it, is a vision board. Pictures of your dream vacation cover the board as well as affirmations and positive quotes. You still had a rotten day, but right there in front of your face is a reminder of everything you want in life.  You repeat one of the affirmations out loud to help you get out of your funk. ” There is no positive result through a negative attitude”. You say it over and over until you feel peace start taking over.  Having a vision board helps you clarify and concentrate your focus on your goals.


Here is my one year old, Ezra’s vision board. We obviously helped him although some of the artwork is his 🙂

How Do I Make A Vision Board?

There are no rules to vision boards. You are free to get as creative as you wish.  Most people set goals in different areas of their lives.  Here are some examples

Vision Board Categories

  •  Spiritual
  • Family
  • Career
  • School
  • Personal Growth
  • Travel
  • Financial
  • Health

Gather some supplies. Magazines, glue, poster board, markers, etc. Find pictures, quotes, drawings of things that represent your goals. Add everything to your vision board. Put the vision board somewhere you will see it a lot.

For more tips and ideas on vision boards, follow my pinterest board.




Why I’m Not Making Any New Year’s Resolutions.. and Why You Shouldn’t Either

Why I’m Not Making Any New Year’s Resolutions.. and Why You Shouldn’t Either

New Year’s Resolutions.

I feel like as soon as you decide you are going to make a new years resolution… you are setting yourself up to fail. Hard core. It’s not that we don’t want to better our life by changing certain habits. It’s that we go at it full force, cold turkey and so suddenly that a few days or weeks into the process, we find ourselves struggling. A lot.

Don’t believe me?

Check out your local gym on January 1st. There will be so many people there, you might have a hard time find an empty parking space. Group classes will be packed. Treadmills and ellipticals will be occupied by good intentioned people telling themselves this is THEIR YEAR. Everyone will be gung-ho about their new years resolutions.  It’s awesome. There is a certain energy that comes along with the new year. People are ready for change….

And then will come mid- February. The gym won’t be bustling anymore. All the new faces you saw just weeks ago have disappeared. The instant results we thought we would see just aren’t there. We feel defeated. It happens every year.

Don’t feel bad. It happens to me too. Every.Single.Year.

My New Years resolutions usually look something like this:

  • Workout Every Single Day for 60 minutes
  • Don’t eat sugar, carbs, dairy, etc
  • Only drink water. Ever.
  • Loose 60 pounds
  • Count your macros
  • etc, etc, etc


Why We Are Unsuccessful

Guys… this is just not attainable for me or any of us to do in one big foul swoop.  I know I can’t just go from not working out and eating whatever I want, to this muscular athlete with a perfect diet. Those are some huge lifestyle changes. They may take a little time to perfect. It’s not because we are failures. It’s because we’re human. Sometimes we want chocolate. Sometimes we want Cafe Rio. Sometimes, we’re too exhausted to go to the gym. Then, suddenly we find ourselves eating whatever we want because, well, we  blew our diet on a candy bar so why not?

I think a lot of us struggle with the all or nothing mentality. We try to make big huge changes and if we slip up a little with our goals, we feel like failures and quit. There’s always next year.. right? Wrong. We need to allow ourselves to be human. We need to allow for mistakes. We need to realize it’s not the end of the world if we fall of the wagon and eat a treat, or two, or a whole bag or chips.  Tomorrow is always a new day and we can try again. We can always keep trying.

Instead of making a long list of resolutions, this year I am trying something different. This year, will be about baby steps and self-love. We could all use a whole lot of self love. I am re-wiring my brain this year. My goal is not to be as skinny as (fill in the blank to whatever super model, celebrity or fit mom you constantly compare yourself to).  My goal is to be fit. To be healthy. To love myself more than I did last year.

It’s all about the baby steps.

I will be adding baby steps to my journey every week. Little tiny baby steps. Every week, for the entire year, I will be trying to better myself. A baby step is a step in the right direction.

Some examples of some baby steps could be :

  • Go to bed 10 minutes earlier then you did the last week
  • Replace one Diet Coke with water
  • Meditate for 5 minutes one a week
  • Write in your journal every Sunday
  • Make lunch at home instead of grabbing fast food
  • Say one affirmation every morning

Lou la Belle Photography

It’s the little tiny changes we make over a period of time that will help us with our goals this year. Don’t even say the words ‘New Year’s Resolution”. Just think of one baby step you can start. Build on your baby steps. I promise you, one year from now, you will be amazed at how your baby steps have added up!

Check back next week for another post about the baby steps I will be working on in 2018 as well as how I found success in the gym with baby steps this year. My results and before and after pictures will also be posted.

Happy New Year Friends!!!!

XO- Haylee

How to Treat Croup in Babies and Toddlers

How to Treat Croup in Babies and Toddlers

Last night, I was awoken by the old familiar barking cough from my baby, Ezra. I cringe when I hear this high-pitched cough. It honestly sounds like someone has replaced your sweet baby with a seal… an angry seal. I went into his room and picked him up and he was burning up.  He had had a slight runny nose before I put him to bed but otherwise has been just fine. Croup usually sneaks up on you like that. With my kids, they seem to be feeling okay and then halfway through the night, I start hearing the cough. It can be very scary to deal with so I rounded up some great information about croup as well as my tips on how to treat croup at home.

*** I am not a doctor and you should always seek medical advise from your pediatrician in you have a sick child. If your child is having a hard time breathing or is blue around the mouth and lips, call 911


What is Croup?

Croup is a viral infection that affects the airway and vocal chords and causes them to swell. It often begins as a typical cold. The more your child coughs, the more irritated the area becomes and soon, the you will notice a loud barking cough. Your child may also develop a hoarse or raspy voice, fever, and noisy breathing.  Croup is more common in fall and early winter. Children under five are more likely to develop croup.

Symptoms of Croup

  • a barking cough (that usually sounds worse at night)
  • hoarse voice
  • labored breathing
  • fever (most of the time


When to Seek Medical Attention

  • if you child makes a noisy, high pitched breathing sound when breathing in or out (doctors call this stridor)
  • your child starts drooling or having a hard time swallowing
  • your child is anxious, agitated, has no energy or is listless
  • your child turns blue or gray around her mouth, nose or fingernails
  • your child struggles to breath


How to Treat Croup at Home

  • keep your child calm and comfortable, if they get worked up, breathing becomes more difficult
  • use a cool mist humidifier  (I use this one) or if it is cold outside, wrap your child up and take them outside for a few minutes and let them breathe in the cold air
  • run a hot shower and let the bathroom steam up and then sit in the bathroom with your child and let them breathe the moist air
  • continually offer your child fluids
  • if you have an older toddler or young child, keeping their head elevated while sleeping will help (Do not elevate the head of a baby)
  • even if my child has a mild case of croup, I always call and talk to the nurse at my pediatricians office. She will let me know what to watch for and answer any questions  I may have
  • you can always take your child in to see the doctor. They can prescribe a steroid to help treat your child.


Good Luck Mama’s. Croup is never fun and can be extremely scary.

When in doubt, see a doctor.


How to Take Great Candid Photo’s

How to Take Great Candid Photo’s


One of the questions I get a lot is “How do you take such great candid pictures of your kids?”. Trust me, it wasn’t always the case. When I got my first camera, I took so many pictures of my kids that were the opposite of candid. I would set up a shot and say “Okay everybody, look at me and smile”. So basically every picture I have of my children for an entire year was of them sitting or standing and looking straight at the camera smiling. It took me a while to find my documentary style of photography. I put together a few tips to help other mama’s ( and dads too) strengthen their photography skills while documenting the lives of their precious little ones.

Tip #1: Always have your camera handy

One morning,  I laid Ezra down on the floor and went into the kitchen to load the dishwasher. I looked over to check on him and found my oldest son, Owen,  was right next to him. Ezra was staring at him and touching his face. It was the sweetest mommy moment ever! I grabbed my camera and snapped this picture.

Lou la Belle Photography

Tip #2:  Experiment with light

I love to play around with light and shadows. Some of my most dramatic photo’s have been captured in very harsh lighting. I say experiment because sometimes,  when I am playing around in weird lighting situations, the pictures don’t turn out… and that’s okay. It happens.

lightalexalaughsLou la Belle Photography

Tip #3:  Document them at play

I love to get pictures of my kids playing with friends, toys, each other. It’s awesome to look back and remember the things they loved playing with. Motherhood can sometimes be such a blur of cooking, cleaning, and activities and I don’t want to forget the way my children looked while they were playing.

Lou la Belle PhotographyLou la Belle Photography

Tip # 4: Don’t be afraid of motion

Do my motion pictures sometimes turn out so blurry you can’t even tell what I was trying to photograph? Sure do. It doesn’t stop me from always trying to catch them in motion because I love a good action shot!

Lou la Belle Photography

Tip # 5: Don’t forget their little fingers and toes

I love my kids faces. They are the most beautiful little faces! But so are there hands, and feet, and hair. Capture it all !!!

Lou la Belle PhotographyLou la Belle PhotographyLou la Belle PhotographyLou la Belle Photography

Tip # 6: Capture Emotions

You don’t always have to have a happy kid to capture a great photo.

Lou la Belle PhotographyezziebearLou la Belle Photography


I hope these tips will help you get some beautiful candid pictures of your sweet babies!  My most important tip is to take pictures… a lot of them! You will never regret having them! Follow me on Instagram to see more photo’s of my tribe!

XO- Haylee

Tis’ the Season!!

Tis’ the Season!!

Hi guys!!!

It is BLACK FRIDAY!!! Yay! The biggest shopping day of the year! I have gotten some awesome deals already today and I haven’t even left the house !

I have been asked so many times where I got the pajamas my kids wore in the Christmas pictures I took of them last year.  I left the links below plus some killer black friday deals!

Utah Portrait and Wedding Photography

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Owens blue flannel pajamas:  Gap

Alexas gray star pajamas (sold out):  Similar

Max and Ezras stripped pajamams: Burts Bees Baby

Some other amazing black friday deals!!!

50% off EVERYTHING at Gap

Buy 3 get 3 free at Bath and Body Works

Up to 75% off at Crazy 8

50 % off entire purchase at Old Navy


I got Alexa tons of clothes at Crazy 8!!! GO THERE NOW! Thank me later 🙂


What to Wear Wednesday {Family Pictures}

Welcome to my first What to Wear Wednesday segment… sort of. I started What to Wear Wednesday over on my photography blog  back in 2013 to help my clients come up with idea’s for what to wear for family pictures. It was a question I got asked a lot so I came up with color palettes and inspiration posts to help. I have decided to continue What to Wear Wednesday on the new blog.

Family picture season is still in full force here in Utah so I decided to do a post on how to pick out outfits for family pictures. {I will preface this post by saying we were in the mountains in late November and it was COLD! So freezing cold and my kids just look miserable in some of these}


Rules for picking out outfits for family pictures

Coordinate outfits but don’t be too matchy matchy

Make sure everyone is in something they feel comfortable in… if you are uncomfortable in life, that translates to the pictures

Don’t go crazy with colors & patterns

Add a few pops of color to your general  color scheme

Use layers & accessories

                  {Outfit details below}


hayleeandco5hayleeandco4hayleeandco3hayleeandco2hayleeandco1hayleeandcoOutfit Details

Haylee: {Top, jeans, boots}

Scott: {Sweater (similar), Jeans}

Owen: { Shirt, T-Shirt, Jeans}

Max: {Jeans, Shirt, Vest}

Alexa: { Shirt, Vest, Leggings, Boots}


Enjoy your Wednesday friends!!! Thanks for stopping by!