6 Summer Best Buys from Amazon {Series}

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Oh, Amazon, how I love you so. Here is what have been my favorite picks of the summer! I’d love to hear what you have been digging from this amazingly convenient website.

Toiletry Bag – With a ton of summer travels, I knew I needed to update and better organize my toiletry bag. This one was cute and was surprisingly spacious.

Sleeveless Swing Top– I have been living in this during the summer. It is cute enough to wear out and professional enough to wear to work. And I adore a cute floral! (pictured below)

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Workout Tanks – I am constantly going to grab a tank to throw under tops or to work out in and these are super bright and fun.

Hammock – This double hammock is completely awesome. I love the ability to read a book in this comfy hammock. One thing I would recommend is also ordering straps to go with it. I’m a curvy girl and want to make sure it will stay exactly where I put it!

Charger Power Bank – This thing has saved my behind so many times while traveling. I love taking photos on trips and always seem to run my phone low, so this charger is packed in my bag every time!

Facial Mask Sheet – Technically, I haven’t bought this one yet, but I am incorporating more self care into my routines and face masks will be part of it. I think as I get older I realize how much care I need to put into my skin and body. I thinks these will be a great thing to add to my routine.

Another store I’ve totally been loving is ThredUp. My work wardrobe needed an update and I scored some awesome inexpensive finds. (I can also send you a $10 coupon if you are interested!)

To check out the Winter version, click here!

30th Bucket List {Personal} – 1/2 way update

I wanted to follow up on what all I have accomplished so far on my list….

I pledged to make this year fierce. Yes, turning 30 might be hard, but not when you have a year of fun planned. Without further ado, here is the list- and what I have accomplished so far!

  • Ride a Riverboat – not done.
  • Go to a Chocolate Factory – not done.
  • Climb a Water Tower – not done.
  • Go see Hamilton – accomplished!!!
  • Update my Passport – not done.
  • Paddle Boat in Forest Park – not done.
  • Graduate with my Masters – accomplished!!!
  • Read 3 Books for Fun – not done, I have at least one done.
  • Enjoy my Hammock – not done.
  • Go Camping – not done.
  • Travel to 3 New Cities – Accomplished – Indianapolis, South Padre Island, and Los Angeles.
  • Plan a Cruise – not done.
  • Pare Down all of my Clothes – not done.

I’m about 1/3 of the way done with my list, thankfully some of the smaller items can get done this summer. And if you want to join me on some of these items, let me know and we can get it planned! Enjoy some of my accomplished photos below.

 

Best Restaurants in South Padre Island {Personal}

personal . boatsIf you followed my Insta story you may have seen that I took a very much needed family trip to celebrate graduation and other family changes. Thank you for letting me get away and rejuvenate. I did a ton of research on great places to eat on vacation and the whole family loved that we could just look at the list I created and know that the food was going to be good and moderately priced. So if you or a friend you know is going to South Padre Island, send them this post and let them rest easy knowing that their tummy will be filled well.

Padre Island Brewing Company – After arriving on the Island this was our first choice as they had the shortest wait time. It is a cute location with great drinks and the favorite meals from my family was the – Salad with Grilled Yellow fin Tuna and Baby Back ribs (the meat literally fell off of the bone!)

Gabriellas – This location was overall of the best experiences that we had the entire week. The service by our waitress Stephanie was outstanding. While it look unexpected tucked away in a strip mall setting the location is cute and we loved the candles. I am not a bit fan of Italian food but really enjoyed this meal and how they treated their customers. Favorite meals – Lasagna

Manuels – Manuel’s was the only restaurant that I did not have on my list and was recommend by a local islander. It is technically located in Port Isabel- but I promise it is worth the trip! The tortillas are made fresh and are the size of your face. Each server is funny and gets to know each guest. Favorite meals – Breakfast burrito with potatoes and avocados. However our server brought out a tortilla with butter and cinnamon/sugar for us to try which was a kind gesture and was delicious.

Blackbeards – This was my favorite meal and I would recommend arriving early as this location fills up quickly. The location is large but is very popular. Favorite meal – Fish three ways (it comes with a giant baked potato!) and also the calamari was some of the best my family had tried!

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Pier 19 – This spot has great food and everyone was very pleased, however what I would recommend is all of the action that happens here. This pier is also a spot that boat tours leave from and so if you time it right you can see a pirate boat tour play around the pier. After dinner I would recommend going out past the restaurant on to the pier and looking for dolphins. Favorite meal – Diablo Flautas

Painted Marlin – This is currently the newest restaurant on the Island and the owners did a great job decorating. The bright colors and atmosphere adds a ton of fun to the experience. Favorite meal – The catch of that day was Swordfish and everyone loved it!

Dirty Als – While Dirty Als was not an overall favorite, if you are looking for a great place to get fried fresh seafood this could be it. It is highly recommended by the locals and has multiple locations. Favorite meal – peel and eat shrimp

 

If you have been to South Padre Island and have a restaurant to recommend, please share in the comments!

2018 Books {personal + business}

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I am officially done with grad school and so I want to dig in to a long list of incredible business and personal books. My past three years have been filled with not so fun accounting, marketing, and analytics books, however, I have made sure to fill my amazon cart with books that I think would be great for personal and professional growth. And I am so excited to dig into a few on my many trips this summer!

So here is my list of books for my post grad school indulgence:

  • The E – Myth Revisited – Because I have to throw in a few business books to keep my mind sharp!
  • The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners – I’ve realized that I need to change my mind on how I view food and Keto has been a great option. This book has easy recipes even for the worst of cooks!
  • A Simplified Life – To state that I’m atrocious at organization, might be an understatement. However, I’ve made a ton of strides to get better at it and am excited to dig deeper into this book.
  • The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up – Because of my issue above.
  • Miracle Morning – Long story short, I usually pick books that have titles that force me to become a better person and this one is no different. I love sleep and particularly sleeping in. This book is bound to push me to having productive mornings.
  • Univited – So here in lies some of my introvert showing. So often we feel left out or less than. This book sheds some light on the issue and I know it will grow me in big ways.
  • The 4 Hour Work Week – I’m all about working smarter and not harder. As my life will continue to get busier with life plans, I want to remain just as effective.
  • Make it Happen – Motivation is tricky when you are an entrepreneur and I try to surround myself with text that is uplifting and motivating.

I’d love to hear which books are on your list for summer reading! I’m lousy and picking out fiction books (I always lean toward practicality), so if you have some good suggestions, please leave them in the comments section!

Sarah Marie, MBA {Personal}

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I might have alluded to some of my clients that for the past 3 years I have been chipping away at a higher degree – an MBA (Masters of Business Administration).

Two weeks ago, I had the honor to walk across the stage and receive my degree. There is something so exciting about accomplishing a life goal – especially when it has been in the works for 3 years.

As my clients, I want to thank you for your patience. I strive to be timely and over deliver, but sometimes life gets in the way. So thank you so much for your understanding and kindness!

I am excited for what this degree means to Sweet Sarah Marie Photography. It has allowed me to institute stronger business practices and marketing plans. It has given me the confidence to wish new plans into the world, (like co-leading the St. Louis chapter of the Rising Tide Society and maybe one day teaching business classes!)

Thank you to a wonderful school – Missouri Baptist University – and also their communications team for taking incredible photos of this event!

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6 Winter Best Buys from Amazon {series}

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I’m fairly certain that Amazon prime has taken over my life at times. The convenience is overwhelmingly amazing, but sometimes I want someone to tell me that “wow this product is incredible” so this is me telling you the items that have rocked my winter.

CD organizer : I got rid of all of my dvd cases and pared down to this tiny guy. I can’t even begin to tell you how nice it looks on my shelf and how much space I got back. Mind you, I don’t usually put on a movie this days, so I can’t speak to those who would get into this organizer often.

Mario Bedescu Face Spray : I saw this face spray on some list that had amazon items that people are crazy about. And after buying and trying it, I’m joining the crazy train. It is so refreshing and I use it after my shower and before bed. It can also be used as a makeup setting spray, but I’m not that fancy.

Frother : While I know nothing about frothing, I love this little guy for making my evening dessert. I decided to try a keto diet in December and the one thing you can’t have is sugar. So each night I mix up a sugar-free jello and heavy cream dessert and it could not happen without this little frother.

Humidifier : I don’t own this specific one, but I have kept a humidifier going this winter and boy do I notice a difference. This one is cute and perfect for small spaces.

-Dry Shampoo : This is a game changer! I’ve never really used dry shampoo because I couldn’t find one I loved. But this one smells so amazing. Like I want to use it everyday on my hair just because it smells good.

Floral Floor Length Dress : Want to wear socially acceptable pajamas to work? This dress is perfect if you have that mentality. I’ve received a ton of compliments on it. Which I was a little leery about as I’m typically a black and grey clothes wearer. But if you want to spruce up your winter/spring wardrobe and be complimented, grab this dress.

What did you buy recently that you are loving?

30th Bucket List {Personal}

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This year is going to be fierce (insert the above finger snap)! Last year was such a hard year, that I knew that I needed my 30th year to be incredible. Yes, turning 30 might be hard, but not when you have a year of fun planned. Without further ado, here is the list!

  • Ride a Riverboat
  • Go to a Chocolate Factory
  • Climb a Water Tower
  • Go see Hamilton
  • Update my Passport
  • Paddle Boat in Forest Park
  • Graduate with my Masters
  • Read 3 Books for Fun
  • Enjoy my Hammock
  • Go Camping
  • Travel to 3 New Cities
  • Plan a Cruise
  • Pare Down all of my Clothes

Now is where I need your help! Keep me accountable, I already have some of these plans in the works- my tickets for Hamilton is bought and I graduate in May! But ask me how these are going and I’ll make sure to update you all when I accomplish them.

Spring Travel Dates {business}

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One of the goals I had for my 30th year was to travel. I want to see 3 new cities this year and this spring I will have the honor to get 2 of the 3 done!

While I travel, I love the opportunity to connect with locals and photograph their family/couple sessions. it is thrilling to find the cool photo spots in new locations.

If you have family in Chicago, Michigan (specifically near Kalamazoo or Gaylord), Indianapolis or South Padre Island, let them know I will be in the area as I would love to connect with them.

One of the best parts of these sessions is that they are discounted… up to $75 off a session!

Also… if you love these locations and have suggestions on places for me to visit – food or fun – let me know by leaving your tips in the comments!

Most popular posts from 2017 {recap}

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Hello Lovelies!

I always enjoy seeing which posts you click on the most. Here is a list of last years most loved blog posts:

  1. Top St. Louis Photo Locations
  2. Birth, Bravery, and Giveaway
  3. 30 & Fabulous Cake Smash
  4. Big News for 2017
  5. Ben & Chelsie – Christmas Proposal
  6. Rising Tide Society – Co leader
  7. Laura & Jared . Engaged
  8. Creve Coeur Camera Photopalooza
  9. Celebrating Sister
  10. Siddens Twins . Newborn

I am so thankful that many of these top posts are personal posts. It makes me want to tear up and exclaim, “They like me, they really like me.” So thank you for investing in my life and helping me celebrate other families in their lives.

Word of the Year {Personal + Business}

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There are lots of posts going around in which people are choosing their word for the year. This big picture philosophical concept is incredibly difficult for me to understand. See I’m a small detail practical person. I like making steps and sub steps to meet a goal. I prefer breaking things down and am immediately turned off when I hear people discussing lofty ideas and concepts. But I know I need to grow and expand my preferences. So I jumped on the train.

My 2018 word is : Flourish

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Originally, I was between the words flourish and bloom. So I looked both of the words up, and when I read flourish and specifically the part of “especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment” I knew that had to be the perfect word. I have made huge changes over the past year (see some of them in this post) with the concept of creating a favorable environment. I am so excited to embrace the word to “grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way”.  (BTW, the photo above I blew up and put on my living room wall- got to have those visual reminders!)

As I said above, I am a wildly practical person so here is a brief list on how I want to embrace the concept of flourishing:

Personally

  • Building deeper friendships – this is so essential as I am an introvert to the core.
  • Finishing my Masters – that’s right, friends, I will officially have my MBA in May!!!
  • Church Community – that introvert in me always pushes against me in making new friends but this past year has taught me that your community is what keeps you going.
  • Experiencing Life – this means creating a list of places I want to go and actually going, even if I have to do it alone.
  • Family time – I am a time person and I have loved growing closer to my family this past year and plan on doing more of it this year (hear that mom and dad- be expecting me over more weekends this summer!)
  • Organization – I am lousy at organizing things- I am an expert in organizing people and events- but things baffle me. So I am learning and plan on growing in this area.
  • Health – I’ve really taken my health for granted and over this past year have had a few health scares. This makes me realize that God has given me one body and I need to take better care of it.

In Business –

  • Blogging – Sharing stories visually is what I do, and I must get better and blogging regularly (at least two times a week).
  • Knowing the client – Honeybook (Client Management System) has been stellar for me this past year at organizing client documents, payment and communication. However, it also has the ability to send surveys so that I understand exactly what each client is looking for in their session. I plan on creating more so that I know more about the person/family before I go into the session.
  • Collaboration – There are so many cool businesses out there that I want to work with. If you are one of them, send me an email and lets create something spectacular!
  • Specialization – I’ve loved photographing a variety of types of sessions and events, but I am passionate about families and high school seniors. I still love newborns, couples, and weddings but feel much more in sweet spot with families and seniors.

2018 will be wildly exciting as I already have great plans in the works including seeing Hamilton (insert all of the heart eyes) and going to the RESET conference. Now I want to hear about your word! What word do you want to represent your year- tell me all about it in the comments below!