san jose photographer

Family Photography Sessions during Corona virus || San Jose Family Photographer

I’m stopping by to let you know that during this Summer I am still open for business. Many family photographers decide not to work and are taking their time off. That’s totally okay because this is a very personal decision to make.

However, instead of a variety of different packages and prices, with all that’s happening right now, I decided to offer 30 minutes long minis in the comfort of your own front porch or back yard. I want to make it as easy as possible for all my clients!

Don’t worry! YOUR FRONT or BACK YARD is AWESOME FOR FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY SESSIONS – I promise you! 

I  have spent countless hours driving around the Bay Area and testing new locations. I still do that, because I have clients who’ve been with me for the last 7 years and I don’t want to run out of new locations to offer them each year!

All outdoor photographers have their “super secret” list of favorite locations they are ready to recommend for their clients. I have such a list as well. But when the world turns topsy-turvy the list is as useless as the list you make for the hospital before your labor. Do you know what list I’m talking about?

I was asked to make such a list for the doctors and nurses before my first daughter was born. They told me to write my entire plan for the delivery.

So I went ambitious:

  • all-natural,
  • no painkillers,
  • vaginal delivery,

But when the labor came, I was begging for epidural, and when my husband opened his mouth and this sentence got out of him: “but honey we had a different plan” I was about to shred him to pieces.

So, yeah… the list of beautiful locations can wait for another time… It’s still available for my clients if they want it…

 

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I want to make it as easy as possible for my clients. Plus those mini sessions are designed to be as affordable as possible, too.

With the right attitude and the right angle, we can make anything work. Plus, these are special times. And special times call for special solutions 🙂

MAKE SURE TO TAKE YOUR HOLIDAY CARDS PICTURES THIS YEAR A LITTLE EARLIER… 

As the world is absolutely unstable right now, and nothing is for sure, I really recommend taking care of your FALL pictures this SUMMER. 

There are some predictions that the shelter in place (in its full potential) is going to return this Fall. That means no sessions, again 🙁 So, I really want everybody to start thinking about their family photos a little earlier this year. It might feel weird, but I think it’s also awesome to think outside of the box.

I’m open for sweet and short (not to mention fun) sessions:

  • on your front porch, 

front porch mini session _ Ewa Samples Photography _ San Jose Family Photographer

  • in your backyard,

backyard mini session covid19 - Ewa Samples Photography

  • in-home lifestyle, like baking cookies or doing crafts and arts or hanging out with your pet.

No matter the size of the pet. I’m pretty pet friendly.

pet friendly photographer in San Jose _ Ewa Samples Photography

 

As always I’m very open to hiking sessions or beach sessions. If you’re feeling adventurous or simply want to document your family having fun somewhere outside your home, that’s absolutely fine.  Let’s make it fun, short, and filled with as many kisses and hugs as possible.

family photography sessions 2020 _ ewa samples photography _ morgan hill

 

AFFORDABLE PRICE and A GREAT GIFT

The sessions I’m offering have two prices:

  • $175 for 10 images if you want it super short and kept to a minimum!
  • $250 for all images from the session

All images are going to be delivered online via online gallery and you will be able to purchase additional images after you see them – in a situation where you book the 10 images package but after you see the gallery you will want them all. And I know that this is going to happen because so far all my recent clients have done that! Hahaha!

This would be also a wonderful gift for families that you know could use a cheer-up these days! Or just for your sister or brother or a bestie!

Use the contact page to schedule your session!!!
See you soon!

Ewa

 

Paws for Purple Hearts Puppy Petting || Menlo Park Photographer

Did you know that being a “puppy petter” is a real thing? Well, it is!

I’ve had quite the experience in puppy petting in my life. Let me count… Amor, Rosie, Muffy, Maggie, Oreo, Ewelina, Natalia… Oh wait… the last two are my kids… However, all of my pups came with other (dirtier) responsibilities. The puppy petting I’m talking about today is different. Plus it serves an amazing purpose.

Paws for Purple Hearts, Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy

I recently connected with a non-profit organization which trains and provides service dogs for veterans. 

Let’s travel in time to 2006. In that year Bergin University Of Canine Studies (located in Penngrove, California) with the partnership of The Menlo Park Veterans Administration Medical Center started a research program.

Why this program is so important? Because today that program is an amazing non-profit organization with 5 locations nationwide. That organization is called Paws for Purple Hearts.

A few months ago I traveled to Penngrove where PPH’s national office is located. There I met with the founder of the University, the creator of PPH, Dr. Bonnie Bergin, and the team. That was a great experience.

PPH connects veterans with highly trained service dogs. They call them champ service dogs. The organization believes golden retrievers and labradors (or a mix of those two) are the best breeds for the purpose of becoming the champ service dog.

The most amazing thing about their training program is that it involves between 40 to 60 veterans per dog. One pup can have a therapeutic impact on so many people who need it. WOW!

The puppies are born and spend most of their early puppyhood in Penngrove. After they reach a certain age, a volunteer drives them once a week to the Menlo Park location (and back) for a puppy petting event and to start their training with veterans. Now, the best part is that everybody (age 14+) can sign up to become a puppy petter. Yes, you read that right. You come and pet puppies for an entire hour, once a week. I can assure you, just that itself has therapeutic powers! Puppy petting is designed to introduce the pups to all kinds of positive stimulation around people and they need as many of us as possible. 🙂

paws for purple hearts, puppy petting, June th _ewa samples photography

It costs PPH $35k to fully train ONE service dog! Can you imagine that?

Bergin University programs are growing. PPH is only one of them. When I visited Penngrove’s team they seemed really busy with 3 different litters. One of the litters will go to PPH. It’s the one you can see in the video. The two remaining litters will go to different programs. However, with the growth, they need to increase manpower and raise money.

Simply speaking, they need as much help as they can get.

Volunteers are always needed! Same with donations. PPH’s website has detailed information about getting involved with them, so please visit and see if you can!

Maybe I’ll see you there next time.

Summer Challenge for Kids. Big Ideas Start Small.

“Big Ideas Start Small”  – Summer challenge for kids (and their parents)

 

big ideas start small summer challenge for kids

 

Last Christmas my daughter attempted creating an online store. She was selling one of her paintings. She participated in creating a short video about it and the rest was done by me, her mama! We posted it once, and we forgot about it. The whole thing wasn’t a big hit.

We did nothing else to market it and spread the word about her little adventure.

We did, what many first timers do… We planted the seed but never watered the soil after that. 

Since then, she asked me countless times if we can do more, so she can sell more and support WWF. In other words, if I can do more to help her out. I told her, she will need to step up her game. I’ll support her and give her as much of my time and knowledge as I have, but the rest must to be done by her.

Every time I talked about running a business and about all the responsibilities that come with it her eyes glazed over and I knew I lost her.

It was simply boring.

Our life was a little crazy over the last year or so. I wasn’t pushing her to do anything with it. There was a lot happening already. However, with the cancelation of my Kids Photography Workshop, a space opened up for something I’ve been meaning to organize for a long time:

Business workshop for kids!!!! 

With all that in mind I decided to create something more fun. Something with a simple language that a kid can understand. Plus engaging and relatable content would also be nice! (right?)

Coming up with a short list of MUST KNOW topics for this was hard. There is so much I’d wanted to cover. However, I think I got the essentials down! We will find out if I’m right while putting all the bullet points into a practice over the next several weeks 😉

brainstorming _ ewa samples photography

Brainstorming

I gathered a small (but strong) group and we are up for an adventure!

By the end of this Summer we are going to have small businesses opened and running! 

We will cover such topics as branding, connecting with their clients through storytelling, web design, creative writing, and money (of course).

During this workshop all participants are going to learn how to:

  • name and connect with their superpowers (aka unique talents),
  • come up with a interesting concept for their business based on the unique skills they already have,
  • create a brand,
  • create simple marketing campaign from scratch,
  • create a website,
  • start their business with mostly free tools!!!
  • and more…

We will have trips to local businesses and listen to other CEO’s stories.

 

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With their notebooks ready for new ideas to be born!

 

Our first meeting was a big hit! 

All the girls got notebooks and sticker books.

business workshop for kids. ewa samples photography

business workshop for kids. ewa samples photography

We set up 3 main goals for our businesses. 

Lead. Serve. Impact.

 

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We had really great brainstorming session. All the girls supported each other and participated with their own ideas. Non of them had to think long to be able to list a few causes that they can support with their business. Animal shelters, homeless shelters and kids hospitals, animal hospitals, and more! WOW!

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Our team is made out of 4 girls. Two are my daughters and two are Carlie’s.

Carlie is the owner of Lehrfeld Farm in San Martin. And we are using her studio for our Summer Challenge meetings.

We are planning a few adventurous field trips already. However, we will have some exciting guest in the studio as well.

Plus we always have fun afterwards:

business workshop for kids. ewa samples photography

Stay tuned to see what those young enterpreneurs will create.

 

 

 

Spring Mini Sessions. Lost yourself in flowers! {San Jose Family Photographer}

SPRING MINI SESSIONS ARE HERE!

 

Do you feel Spring in the air? Or it’s just me?

I kid you not, I get outside and I can smell Spring. Like literally I can smell it. Fresh, juicy green grass. The refreshing air after the rain. The birds chirping. 

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This weather we’re having right now reminds me of Summer rain in Poland. Well, a little warmer Summer rain.

Anywho, the rain and than the warmth means only one thing in here… It’s time to scout mustard flowers locations…

And that’s exactly what I did this week, and I’m excited to announce MUSTARD FLOWERS MINIS… (follow the link to read the details and see some breathtaking mustard flowers images from past years)

Spots available on February 22nd, 23rd and 24th

BOOK YOUR SESSION TODAY!

 

To stay on top of all the events and specials I run through the year sign up for my newsletter. Some of them do not go public so it’s always great to be on that list and get all the exclusive offers. Plus I’m planning to release lots of tutorials and educational materials this year. If you on my list you’re going to be one of the very first ones to hear about them. Test them. Benefit from them and be inspired by them if you on that list! 

Creativity is like a muscle || Bay Area Photographer

 

Creativity is what helps me escape a lot of my inner demons. 

Demi Lovato

 

Creativity is like muscles Self Portrait Ewa Samples Photography San Jose Photographer

I strongly believe that creativity is not a talent. I believe creativity is like a muscle. We have to exercise it in order to grow it.

We are all born with the same amount of creative potential. However, when we go through life we learn different ways of dealing with problems. In the process, we develop our creativity or we decrease it.

I believe some people are prone to be more creative than others. In other words, some people are born with specific talents and can use them without having to spend countless hours on practice. Still, talent without creativity and vision won’t take you far.

Not everybody is exposed to arts and creative ways of expressing themselves as they go through life.

I prefer when my kids spend their time painting with me than doing their homework, for example. However, I know many parents who rather send their kids to after school math classes.

I’d also prefer if there were more art in schools and less testing and scoring and chasing some kind of invisible standard or more defined ways of success in life – like being a doctor, a lawyer, a broker, or IT person.

I believe art is powerful. Participating in art making in particular. With today’s technology and easy access to art supplies, creativity is one of the best ways to invest in yourself and your potential.

This year, I’ll be investing a lot of time and effort into spreading the art. I’ll try to show you how to see this world around us in a more artistic way. I’ll give you some ideas how to express the heck out of yourself via photography, creative editing, and some mixed media techniques.

I tend to express myself a lot with self-portraits. Therefore, I’ll be using a lot of them in my tutorials and workshops. You can translate this knowledge into whatever you’re interested in. It could be nature or your kids or your pets or even architecture. Or all of it.

To create material that interests you I’d like your help. Please take a few minutes and let me know by filling out this survey. If you had the opportunity, what would you want to learn about photography wise?

Otherwise, I hope you stick around and help me develop the vision I have for using creativity in our lives. Because I have a big vision and I want to invite you to be a part of it.

To stay on top of all the events and specials I run through the year sign up for my newsletter. Some of them do not go public so it’s always great to be on that list and get all the exclusive offers. Plus I’m planning to release lots of tutorials and educational materials this year. If you on my list you’re going to be one of the very first ones to hear about them. Test them. Benefit from them and be inspired by them if you on that list! 

1st birthday cake smash plus a sweet video. {San Jose Photographer}

HOW this session STARTED

1st birthday cake smash, Almaden, San Jose

I’m happy to say that this mama booked me because I was one of the very few photographers in the Bay Area who was offering video along with the photography from my sessions. I have to admit, it’s not easy to do both, but the love for making those videos is stronger than the difficulties.

So here we go…

 

The rest of the story

A few weeks ago, when the grass was still green here in the Bay Area, I had this oh-so-gorgeous 1st birthday cake smash session. This mama ordered a custom made dresses for both her and her baby girl from India just for the purpose of celebrating her little baby girl first year. While having a few phone consultations over the phone, I was able to convinced her to bring those dresses to the shoot. I am so glad she did!!!

1st birthday cake smash outfit ideas for girls _ ewa samples photography

During this session I could not stop talking about how impressed I am with this baby girl for not taking her headband off. Haha. I know little babies, and I know the most tricky part of dressing them for a photo shoot is to make them wear a headband or a hat. She did not mind it at all. Through the entire session it was like she didn’t have anything on her head. Her mom mentioned that this is not her normal behavior and normally she takes off anything they put on her within a few seconds. So, it looks like we got super lucky for this photo shoot.

Well, I think we got double lucky, because once rescheduled this session was done two days after we had quite a lot of rain falling from the sky… For days…

So, cheers to double luck, and amazing 1st birthday celebration!!!

 

P.S If you’d like to stay on top of any specials for your next photo shoot, weekly chats and other goodies sign up for my newsletter. 

Holiday Mini Sessions || Unique Silhouettes

Last year, I had a vision for my Holiday card. I’d arranged several dates to do it with my family, and each time there was something that pushed the first date to the second date. And then the second date to the third date. And then the rain came. And then it got very cold. And I finally said, it’s today! With a grumpy husband, hungry kids, and a dog that was all over the place we went out. 

For the first 15 minutes, I was trying to figure out HOW for the sake of it all, am I going to manage the big umbrella (behind us on a downward slope), that was flying away with the wind every time I let it go, while running towards the camera to set the self timer, then running back to position myself and manage my kids who were not having it. And the husband. You know, the regular thing. Standing like a statue in a place where he was put, looking up the newest news that might have appeared during the last 15 minutes. 

My hands were freezing. In my mind I was just about to commit a murder on somebody. I was ready to throw everything down, and to start jumping on it like a mad woman, smashing and breaking all the equipment. 

And here we were, holding a sign that says JOY! Oh the best joke of that entire Holiday Card making process. Isn’t that the truth of self made holiday cards…  (at least I got an awesome feedback from almost everybody who received the cart!). The process was similar to a childbirth: you hate everybody around you during it, but after you see the baby, everything is forgotten. (or so they say…) Hehehe (as my 5 year old says it). 

Holiday Mini Sessions San Jose Silhouette Ewa Samples Photography

If you’re still thinking about doing your own holiday photos (or skipping it all together), because:

  • the offers you see don’t look like anything you’d want to have on your Holiday Card, (same old, same old holiday photos), (that’s why I was considering not doing any holiday minis this year because I was struggling with coming up with something special for my clients)
  • you really need 1 or 2 (ok, 3 images at the most), – and you could always use some of the iPhone photos you already have. I DARE YOU!  
  • you want something unique, 

Well,  then stop that train of thought. I have something better for  you. Something that will save your sanity. 

We will find a unique message for your card! 

No matter if you have kids or maybe…

…expecting a delivery… 

or maybe, you have a different kind of kids…

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Holiday Mini SessionsUnique Silhouettes

Holiday Mini Sessions

Detailed address will be available upon signing up. Email me to ewasamples@gmail.com to secure your spot (or use my contact form).

 

OR SIGN-UP HERE

If you want to get very special offers and prices for mini-sessions, full sessions and portrait playdates, sign up for the membership to Ewa Samples Photography. 

or stay on top of all the specials I run through the year by signing up to my newsletter:

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It’s fun to be bored. Family Photographer in Morgan Hill

It’s fun to be bored, said no kid ever. However, I think after this summer break my 7 year old daughter is going to change her point of view on the matter of “being bored”. I’m on the mission to change it.

fun to be bored

 

I remember days of my summer breaks. They were everything but boring. I did not watch TV much (no cable, no much of cartoon choices back then, no electronic gadgets to play with/on). I read quite a bit, I’ve always been a book worm. What’s most important, I’d never had “special” activities planned for me or my siblings by my parents.

Still, I have amazing memories of discovering the world on my own. With a friend or two. With my cousins or without them. Getting up early to watch my aunt milk the cows. Going to the forest to pick fresh blueberries and then sell them on local farmers market. Make blueberry stuffed pierogi with what was left. Exploring the world after dark with my friend. That was the most powerful “quality time” my parents could had given me.

Being honest, I don’t really like comparing my summer breaks to my kids’ summer break. Or my times to “their times”. Times have changed, (they change with each new generation), and what was 20 years ago is no longer anything but memories. But as much as I’m aware of that, I’m also not ready to let go of the thought that it’s FUN TO BE BORED.

It’s also good for you. Especially for the kids. I have recently read several great blog posts about the importance of being bored. Here is one and here another. There are more. Many more. Just google “the importance of being bored” and you’ll find yourself a great number of articles to read.

My 7 year old daughter was pretty upset about the school year coming to an end. She anticipated end of the year means staying home and being bored THE ENTIRE TIME. She wasn’t thrilled that she will not be seeing her friends anymore. Like staying home with mom is one of the most boring things on Earth.

Then again, since the summer started I really haven’t heard much of complaints about being bored. I’m loving every single trip we have, and I can’t be more happier to have the opportunity to spend so much time with my kids. They might think I’m boring and not fun to be around, but being honest with you, I don’t think that’s the problem, AND I’m having a blast, myself. So, who cares! Right!?

On the other hand, she is having so much fun, she can’t keep up with documenting all those fun days in her journal.

fun to be bored_ewa samples photography_san jose family photographer

 

Two days ago I witnessed my younger daughter teaching herself how to swim.

I heard her yelling across the swimming pool: I’M SWIMMING!!! I’M SWIMMING!!! I looked up, and there she is, kicking and punching the water like her life depends on it… (because it did). Then, she moved, and moved a little more, and then even more, and just like that she was swimming.

Today, I have to keep an eye on her because she purposefully forgets to put her floats on. She just thinks she’s the pro now. 😂

 

fun to be bored_ewa samples photography_morgan hill family photographer

 

The other day, my older daughter had an amazing time climbing a tree. Simple thing. And yet. She’s been on that tree many time, but not as far as she climbed on that day. I was so proud of her, and the whole experience was just precious.

I made this sweet movie of her adventure. When I turned my camera on to make the video, I had no idea the whole thing is going to be so funny.

The whole adventure was the fruit of a simple picnic we decided to have in the local park. Few friends. Some food and drinks and we were all set.

The mission to change my daughter’s opinion about being bored is almost completed. Just yesterday she mentioned something about the summer being super fun and her not being very upset about being bored anymore. We are not quite yet there, but I’ve got another month or so to work on it. Right?!

How is your summer break going?

If you’d like me to photograph some of your #summerbreakadventures let me know!!! I’m here to help you create amazing memories.

Even better, sign up for the memberships to Ewa Samples Photography so you won’t have to miss on any photo opportunities through the entire year!

 

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Photographing Stranger Challenge part 7 – Valentine’s Day Stranger

This past week my “Photographing Stranger 52 week Challenge” got very sweet. Literally. It’s week 7th of the challenge. I seriously didn’t think I’ll come that far.

As you might know, we are big fans of libraries. Two weeks ago we went to our local library, for their free Valentine’s Day Crafts event. My kids enjoyed it a lot. On Valentine’s Day, we ended up in the library again. While on our way out, my older daughter spotted a sign pointing to the same room as the previous event. It said: Valentine’s Day Cookies Decorating. Oh man! How could we say no to that?

The fun part (or sometimes not really), of having kids who can read is, they no longer depend on the adults telling them what the world around them is all about.

This event was aimed for older kids but we were invited anyway, as most of the participants of this event were my kids’ age anyway.

While my kids were busy making their second set of cookies, I asked the librarian, if I can take a picture of her for my project. She didn’t want to just sit there while I was taking pictures of her, so she started decorating a cookie. She is a big fan of chocolate but not cookies. And because of that, we ended up with an extra cooking leaving the library. A reason for more happiness for my girls.

I love her smile she gave me at the end!

Photographing Stranger Challenge || San Jose Photographer

 

 

I’m happy that this time photographing stranger didn’t take me an entire week. It was a brief impulse and I went with it. In the past weeks, it took me several “misses”, as I call them. I see someone who I would want to ask but then I’m too scared and I miss the opportunity.

Now go and check out Hailey’s stranger!

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If you’d like to receive special offers and free photography tips straight to your email, feel free to sign to my newsletter.

 

Learn about portrait photography during photo walk

Join us this Thursday, January 26th for a photo walk with local, and not only, portrait photographers. We’ll be talking about portrait photography & street photography & and any photography related topics or just chit-chat. No pressure. We will probably grab some coffee or tea and just enjoy the non rainy day in a great company.

This will be a great opportunity to get together & network & connect. We will be meeting Downtown San Jose at around 9:30 am. From there, well, there is no plan where we will be heading.

portrait photography photo walk san jose ewa samples photography

 

Shoot me an email if you’re interested: ewasamples(at)gmail.com

and if you’d like to hear about my upcoming FREE events sign up for the newsletter:

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Halloween Portrait Play Date

The last play date we had – The Halloween Portrait Play Date in Saratoga – was a great success. I’m so happy I’d decided to do it. I’ve connected with so many great families who haven’t worked with me before.

Thank you so much to all who even despite the rain came to have some pre-Halloween fun with me.

Halloween Portrait Play Date

I decided to organize the Halloween Portrait Play Date because so often, too often, I see parents sharing photographs of their kids having fun in their Halloween costumes, but what’s always missing are the parents. Even if the parents wear costumes during Halloween, the pictures of the whole family I keep seeing are quick snapshots of before or after trick-or-treating.

I know how important and fun for kids is Halloween. They get so excited. They wish they could wear their costumes day after day for weeks. At least my kids do that (or wish to do that). Why not to make it a fun halloween session without being stressed about everything (like most parents do when it comes to professional sessions).

All that stress is going away during the play date. It’s fun, relaxed, and quick 😉

During the Halloween Play Date nobody expected anybody to look fabulous and the kids could play, run and scream, and pretend they are pirates and fairies… And during all off that all the participants had their family portraits done! This is how our Halloween Portrait Play Date looked like and felt like. Fun and relaxed with no pressure on anybody.

This was also a great introduction for many of the families who attended to get the feeling how working with me looks. And I hope they all had fun.

See you at our next portrait play date. However as soon as the photography craziness stops after the Christmas I’ll get back to organizing them again. Stay tuned by subscribing to my newsletter and/or to the events on Facebook.

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In the future if you’d like to receive special offers straight to your phone before anybody else, feel free to sign to my newsletter, and get the mobile app:

San Jose Portrait Mini-Session and the most gorgeous light!

This San Jose Portrait Mini-Session had the most gorgeous light!

but that’s not enough. That is never enough.

The light is quite a big part of a successful session. However, if the people I work with come with the open and relaxed attitude that moves the light to a second place.

Since the beginning of my business, Caroline and her family have been updating her family pictures with me regularly. Every single year we meet during our sessions and chat about photography and our kids. I always get crazy over her hair, and she is like, “well, look at your daughter’s hair, JUST WOW”. And we go on and on the entire session 😉

San Jose Portrait Mini-Session

C. is always full of praises about my older daughter’s hair, however, look at what she has herself!!! It’s just breathtaking. She comes to the session in a bun, and I always say, “please let the hair down!!!” From each session with her I come home with a bunch of new shots I immediately add to my portfolio, and to the folder with pictures to use on my new business cards.

Our last session could be probably done in 10 minutes, but we spent most of the time chatting while the kids played. She finally got to meet my Little Ones in person, and the kids immediately made friends. This was the cutest thing ever.

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In the future, if you’d like to receive special offers straight to your phone before anybody else, feel free to sign to my newsletter, and get the mobile app: