Thursday, December 23, 2010

Seeing is Believing.

Yesterday I had the great joy of assisting Operation Mayday at the River Hills Church in Lake Wylie SC.  In conjunction with Steele Creek Outreach, Operation Mayday serves, families in need from our community and surrounding areas by providing a full family meal for Christmas. 
Bi-Lo provided all the hams and the rest of the food came form donations from River Hills church and the Steele Creek Outreach food pantry. 
The idea began back in the fall and Operation Maydays first success was the day before Thanksgiving where 150 meals were boxed up and handed out to area families in need.  It was so inspiring to me to learn that families who wouldn't normally have Thanksgiving dinner, would be now thanks to this great organization.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mom Business Tips: 5 Ways to Keep it Together

During the holidays, I think we all need some tips on how to keep things together.  Especially those creative type minds like myself who are trying to create a new adventure and (gasp) maybe even kick start my writing career.  I know I need all the help I can get along with other Moms who understand and know what it is like trying to balance family and career.

Mom Business Tips: 5 Ways to Keep it Together

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Picture Perfect.

So I welcome guest writer, Erin Jackson with Madiosn Lane Photography who happily agreed to give us some much needed photo taking tips and suggestions.  Thank you Erin!!  I will defiantly be taking her suggestions, and her class which starts in January.

Quick Tips for Better Holiday Pictures.

Some of you may have a digital SLR camera on your Christmas wish list, but you don’t have to have a nice camera this holiday season to take better pictures of your kids. Try following these easy tips to make the most of your holiday memories!

1.  Make it fun: My first rule for my clients is to have fun. Children photograph best just being themselves. So instead of making your child say “cheese” or stand posed, trying capturing your kids playing in the leaves, running in a field, putting an ornament on the Christmas tree. These unplanned moments make some of my favorite photographs.

2.   Get to your subject’s eye level: Typically we all take pictures from our eye level looking down at our children, but don’t be afraid to get down on your knees at shoot at your child’s eye level. Not only will your children be more receptive, it will give your photographs a whole new perspective.

3.   Fill the Frame: So many times we will take pictures where our subject ends up being a small part of the frame. Don’t be afraid to get really close to your subject and use your space wisely. Make sure you are filling the frame with subjects that tell a story. If it’s not important, don’t include it!

4.  Color: Children photograph best in color. As we enter the winter season, this is a great time to incorporate fun and colorful accessories into our photograph. I’m a huge fan of knit hats and scarves. The textures and colors work great on everyone!

5.  Go outside: Your photographs will instantly improve if you just do one simple thing and head outside. I know it’s cold, but you cannot ask for better light than the sun naturally diffused by clouds. Taking pictures first thing in the morning or late afternoon makes for some of the best lighting, and good lighting equals great pictures in photography.

If you have an SLR camera and want to learn more tips for taking better pictures of your kids and also how to use your camera to its full potential, Madison Lane Photography regularly offers a Mom’s Photography Class. Please become a fan on Facebook or email the studio for more information at

Madison Lane Photography is a boutique studio serving the Charlotte, NC and Fort Mill, SC areas. I take an all-natural light, lifestyle approach to photography, and I specialize in newborn, baby, children’s, family, maternity and seniors photography. My style is simple, fresh and fun. My sessions are unplanned as my goal is to capture you being YOU! I’m a mom of two boys {and a baby on the way!} and wife to a southern gentleman. I love all things chocolate brown, Chik-Fil-A lemonade and fresh clean sheets.

Photography Blog
Family Blog

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Steele Creek Outreach - Helping the local homeless and more.

Not long after I had my second son, I joined a group in the area called “Steele Creek Mom’s Club.”  It was great to have an outlet, the boys play with new kids and as I would come to learn, I would meet and become friends with some pretty terrific Moms and women.  All of us added our own unique flair and style to the group.  Over time I have learned so much from these women and have been inspired by them, more than I often admit. 
One of the things I really hope to emphasis on Lakeside Chatter is the incredible local charities and local fundraising efforts that are going on in this community.  This week we are featuring “Steele Creek Outreach, Inc.”
I had the privilege of meeting Nichole Jaworski about two years ago when she joined the Mom’s group.  At the time I ran a blog for our group and she was featured as a new member.  Upon interviewing her I learned of her altruistic spirit.  Since then I have become a fan of her many inspiring quotes she posts on FaceBook, one of my favorites; “Be The Change You want to See in the World”  (Gandhi).  Okay so I am a quote junkie, but this one has stuck with me for a long time.  Simply because I do believe we can all make a difference in this world.  We just need to give it a try. 
I had the pleasure to speak with Nichole again last week and learned where she got the idea and inspiration for the Steele Creek Outreach.  I hope you enjoy learning more about her and this great organization.

Initially, Steele Creek Outreach was a very primitive idea. I had originally started a blog called Pay it Forward-documenting my families fundraising efforts and charity work with organizations such as the American Cancer Society, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. My father passed away from brain cancer when I was a teenager, and we have lost other family members and friends to cancer as well, so this was always a driving force for me in wanting to raise money for cancer research.

But I have always had a soft spot for the homeless too which most likely stems from my 8th grade trip to Washington, DC. I remember the conversation the teachers had had with us prior to the trip-"There will be homeless people on the street, do not look at them!" That advice never sat well with me-and I remember looking at every homeless person on the streets of DC and feeling terrible for them.

A couple of months after starting the family blog-I ran a food drive for Stand Up for Kids-an organization that helps street kids. We put together 40 bags of food-and not only did this drive transition the family blog into Steele Creek Outreach, it also gave us the idea to start our own street homeless bags, the S.C.O. goody bags. We distribute 60 of these bags to the street homeless in Charlotte every month. The bags contain vital supplies such as water, pudding cups, individual snacks, cough drops, hand wipes, toothbrushes, etc. It's been 14 months since the start of S.C.O., and although we have made a big impact, there is still so much we need to do for our local homeless population. S.C.O. is unique in the fact that a neighborhood banned together and formed a lasting organization. I hope that it will inspire others to create something similar in their neighborhood, or inspire them to be a part of S.C.O.

Being a mom of three has taught me that not everything will be perfect...some days I feel like I can take on the world, and other days, not so much. It is an interesting balance-and I am truly blessed to have really great friends and family in my life whohave contributed to the progression of S.C.O.
For me the most important things are to live a humble life, to help others however I can, and to teach my children to have a giving heart.

Nichole Jaworski
For more information on SCO and how you can help please visit

Ladies: Getting Your Legal Foundation in Place is Sexy!

Ladies: Getting Your Legal Foundation in Place is Sexy!

Great article from Startup Nation for those who are thinking about starting a business or have one in place but just not share of the legalities.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Unique place for Christmas Shopping.

Happy Friday Chatter family.  I had the great pleasure to visit Hattie’s Antiques in York, SC yesterday.  Since I haven't set foot inside an antique shop since the days my sister and I used to stay with my Grandmother as kids, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  However, upon entering the store my expectations were not only surpassingly exceeded, but I found myself taking a walk down many aisles of "memory lane".

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Help with the Elf

So are you just about out of ideas for the Elf in your life as I am??  Do you wake up at 2:00 a.m. in a panic trying to remember if you moved the Elf from his previous spot?  Do you find yourself constantly writing down ideas, when they come to you, on where to put the dag thing next? 
If you have answered yes to most of these questions than welcome to my online "This Little Dude is Killing Me" support group.  You are in good company here.  I  have been doing Elf on the shelf with my two boys (4 and 5) for two years now and let me just say....  I am running out of ideas.  I used to fancy myself a creative buff, until this little guy (we call him Elfie) came along.  Now I find myself standing in the middle of my living room at God awful hours trying to figure out where to put him next.  And now that my oldest son is in Kindergarten, he has become even more inquisitive:
"But HOW does he fly, he doesn't have wings?"
"He has special Elf magic that helps him fly."
"But How?"
"That is just how he was created, with special Christmas magic."

See, now you know why I need a support group.  So I stumbled across this cool article that gives great ideas on what to do with the Elf on the Shelf, including a awesome creative idea with toilet paper.  Now that is my kind of silly. 
Thanks to the Blog "Complicated Mama"  for the tips.  Enjoy and hope this helps during this very busy, stressful yet fun time.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Operation Mayday continues into December

Steel Creek Outreach we will be doing Operation Mayday again on the 22nd of December, bagging groceries at 10:30am and then a ceremony at noon. SCO is also looking to make mashed potatoes for the 150 families benefiting from the program.
For more information on the program and how you can help, please visit:
Make sure to also read the next post for more opportunities on how you can volunteer.

150 Thanksgiving meals were delivered to area families in need through Operation Mayday:

Gift Ideas from Arbonne

Timeless Gifts from Arbonne.

Okay so I am hooked.  And I am not just saying this because I wrote an article about Arbonne and adore the mistletoe out of Kara, but I am truly hooked.  I have looked for a long time for something that  helped my crazy skin compliments of my Mom, and her Mom and her Mom (you get the idea).  I have been using the FC-5 line which is geared towards folks with sensitive skin and who also want to get a leg up on this whole aging thing that I have yet to figure out how to stop.