Starting Kindergarten; Survival Tips

It’s hard to believe my little daughter is heading into third grade next week. Just yesterday, it seems I was preparing to send her to kindergarten. Since it’s been a few years since we began this journey, I thought I’d share a few tips on how I prepared for her first year in school.

Starting Kindergarten: Tips for parent and child

starting kindergarten‘I’m ready momma… it’s time to wake up!’

My five year old giggles as she mushes my face with sloppy morning kisses, “I love you, love you, LOVE you!!” she exclaims as she jumps out of bed and runs to put on her clothes.

She’d picked out her outfit the night before and she was already dressed before I manage to reach the kitchen.

I am not a morning person. But her excitement lifts my morning fog.

‘This is going to be soooo good!’ she says as she grabs her kitty-cat backpack and pulls my hand towards the door.

“Come on momma, your wasting time!’


We arrive at school and walk her into her kindergarten classroom.  It’s buzzing with children, while parents snap photos of their kiddos and others attempt hiding tears from their children. I choke back a few proud tears myself, as we watch our joyous girl giggle as she finds her desk. She smiles proudly as she takes her seat & puts on her name tag.

She is ready for this day even if we are not.

Starting kindergarten is bittersweet. Some parents achieve a new found freedom at this stage while others find they are now confined within the parameters of the school day. To be quite honest, I can’t quite tell if I am coming or going and I already miss our mornings together.

starting kindergarten with your five year old

Survival Tips for Starting Kindergarten:

  1. Preschool. Any amount of preschool will help prepare your child to feel comfortable in a class room environment. Even summer camp before kindergarten can make a big difference. This also helps parents develop coping skills and understanding of what to expect once school officially starts.
  2. Positive Affirmations. Speaking positive affirmations daily will remind you both that you are ready for this change. Praise them for exhibiting positive, independent behaviors
  3. Practice. practice, practice! We play school around here.. a lot. But we also practice how we handle situations when someone is mean to you. My daughter thinks this is fun and it helps her develop confidence to speak up for herself and resolve her own situations without tears. We take turns being the ‘mean’ kid and ‘nice’ kid.
    1. Mean kid: ‘You aren’t my friend, I don’t want you playing over here.’
    2. Response: ‘That’s ok, I have plenty of friends. Besides I’m the boss of me and you are the boss of you.
  4. Play dates. Lots of them. This helps your child transition from spending all of their playtime with you to playing independently with other kids.
    • Parent Tip: Try to let them resolve differences on their own. When you hear your child arguing with another child, don’t be so quick to fix the problem for them. Give them some time to settle it on their own before inserting yourself into the situation.
  5. Rip it off like a band aid!  The first day is usually harder for parents than the kids.  When you drop off, quickly say your goodbyes.  And say something positive about your child, ‘Go get ’em tiger! You’ve got this!’
  6. No crying in front of the kid. Hold back the tears until you leave.  You want to leave on a positive note and your tears will confuse your child. They can’t comprehend the complex emotions that make this sad for us; so be certain they see you leave happy and confident that they can do this on their own!


Family Photographer

The family photographer becomes part of the story.

This time, I learned the exciting news from an excited grandmother Facebook!  I’ve known Ashley & Chris since they got engaged and I was there when they said ‘I do.’  And this made it all the more exciting to learn the couple had settled temporarily in Overland Park.

Documenting this family grow and change is a joy unlike anything I prepared for in school.

Ashley has great visual style. She studied graphic arts in school & has a wonderful sense of design.  After having so much fun designing all of the stationary & paper goods from her own wedding, she began creating her own collections of stationary to inspire others Something You Design.

When I sought out to provide my artistic talents to others, I had no idea that I would become PART of something much bigger than myself.

Each time I arrive to photograph this growing family, I feel right at home. The oldest, Ryann, often writes letters that I can give my own daughter. Elsie now insists on kissing me on the check before I leave and Thea.. well she’s two. She alternates between hugs and trying to get me to chase her.

When I photograph Ashley pregnant, I strive to make each portrait different from the last. This is what I came up with when she was pregnant with her second, Elsie. (maternity photography)

And this is when she was pregnant with Thea. (maternity photographer)

Just months before the newest sister arrives, the girls came to my Overland Park Photography studio. We told the story of who the girls are before their little sister arrives. Family photography can be fun for everyone when you choose the right photographer!

Editing my Grandmother’s Obituary

Last week my cousin called me. For the last year, she’s been writing an obituary for my grandmother who turned 90 in December 2018.

She reached out to me, as the person she could rely on to help her with the process. There are several reasons for this and I wanted to share.

I hope some of my suggestions will bring a smile or happy thought to your efforts, if you too are faced with writing an obituary for a loved one,

My grandmother doesn’t want us moping around after she goes.

Even as she turned 90 last December, she was making jokes about aging. She and my 93 year old grandfather still live together in the house they built with their children in the 1960’s. In their lifetime, they’ve said good-bye to their parents, 2 of their 4 children, all but 2 siblings, neighbors, friends and countless others.

Grandma Rubye is always thinking of others and she’d prefer everything get settled before she leaves this world. She’s funny like that.

In fact, she’s made jokes about her demise since I was a child. Subtly preparing each and every one of us for the eventuality: death comes for us all one day.

One afternoon just after college, I was helping grandma clean up some things at home. I noticed a lovely floral dress hanging on the door as if it were on display. I imagined grandma going to a fancy ball or elegant party…

”Eww- wee looks like you’re going somewhere fancy?!’ I joked. I held the dress up and danced around the room with it.

‘No.‘ She laughed, like she always does at my theatrical displays. ‘That’s my death dress!’

Shocked right out of my day dream, I immediately burst into tears. This only made her laugh harder.

‘Oh Adrienne! Look at you, all worked up! It’s just a dress. You know I’m gonna die someday. You better believe I’m gonna be prepared when the day comes.’

I’m old (wise) enough to be objective.

Ok. After that last story you’d probably think I couldn’t be objective when reading an obituary about Grandma. But I’ve grown up significantly since those days fresh out of college.

I am now one of the few who could make it through objectively without letting the tears overtake me. (David could, of course- he’s a lawyer!)

Since my tears over the ‘death’ dress, I’ve had several opportunities to truly appreciate her wisdom and long life. We almost lost her to stroke a decade ago. That stroke stole her ability to walk, a curse worse than death for Rubye Lee.

She persevered. She tries everyday because we hold onto her. Truthfully, we will never be ready to lose her. She is and always has been the heart of our family.

I think obituaries should be funny.

Obituaries are notoriously awful. And according to my mother, ‘they are not supposed to be funny.’

But why not? Why shouldn’t they be funny? Why can’t they be full of life instead of death?

When my cousin first mentioned she was working on this, I flatly told her I hoped she made it funny, spirited and a tribute to grandma. Absolutely no pressure with that statement!

I want the last words written about me to help others remember who I was. Words that can encompass my spirit by sharing the things I contributed to the world. Hopefully helping anyone who reads it, feel at peace with my passing.

Which makes me think.. perhaps I need to get started on my own obituary?!? Especially if I want it to be funny!!

xoxo adrienne signing off

Artistic Newborn Portraits

thumb-artistic-newbornsHow do we achieve Artistic Newborn Portraits?

Newborn portraits, they look easy, right? The baby just sleeps. The photographer puts them in a basket, or props their tiny head on their hands and the magic just happens, right?

Well that’s not exactly what we do here. Actually newborns can’t support their heads by themselves. So those images are actually a product of Photoshop!

Rather than rely on PhotoShop to create something post-produced, I prefer to shoot what is right in front of me. Using light, texture and a limited color palette, I can create a unique still life every time I work with a newborn without finding any need for elaborate props. (Although, a few personal items can add a fun personal element!)

To be honest, I wasn’t always great with newborns! One of my early newborn sessions was when I myself was just 8 weeks pregnant. The baby cried the entire time I was there. I hung around for FOUR hours in a futile effort to provide assistance.

I didn’t know what to do!?

I felt worthless and I didn’t know how to help. As it turned out, the baby was suffering from acid re-flux but at the time, none of us knew.

I didn’t have the skills to calm a baby or comfortably maneuver them into something photo worthy. Initially, I didn’t think I was cut out for this particular vein of photography; yet motherhood was just around the corner to teach me the lessons I needed.

It’s taken a lot of patience and practice.

A lot of patience. After the birth of my own child, spending day in and day out with a newborn, gave me the understanding needed to handle newborn babies. Now I work with newborns on a regular basis and my images reflect the vision of a mother instead of whomever I was before.

I enjoy snuggling these precious babies and capturing the perfect moments of their newness. These days I have an arsenal of time tested tricks that help me capture these fleeting days with your newborn baby!

newborn baby boy cooingnewborn baby portraitsnewborn baby little brotherlittle brother artistic newbornfamily with newborn baby boynewborn portrait with big brothermom and day with newborn

Preparing for Newborn Portraits


Photographing newborns is a learned skill and it’s not as easy at it might look.

Despite all of my years studying photography and working with people, I was lost the first time I worked with a newborn. Working with newborn babies to create artistic portraits is a learned skill and an art all its own!

I’ll admit, I went through a bit of trial and error before I achieved the look I wanted for my newborn portraits. I wasn’t completely comfortable handling newborn babies until after having my own. It is a talent achieved by handling lot of tiny babies and patience, always plenty of patience.

You are tired, frustrated and anxious just after giving birth making it hard to want photos. Don’t let THAT keep you from having these first moments documented.

‘Don’t take any photos of me! I look terrible. I couldn’t get it together this morning!?!’

Try not to worry about that.

It’s a vulnerable time and I get it.  I can’t remember a more stressful time in my life than the first few days after giving birth! Ugh. I didn’t look or feel like myself. The last thing I wanted to do was leave the house.  (That’s ok, I can come to you!)  I felt Gross. Fat. TIRED…. so tired…

I’ve been there and I know exactly how you feel.  I utilize beautiful lighting, creative posing, and the ART of photography to creatively include you in the photographs.  Just snuggle your new little bundle & I will work around the mess.

Photographs are like magic… using lighting & creativity I look for the perfect moments to tell your beautiful story.  And if you’ve already met me, you KNOW you are going to be entertained.

I will share with you my life experiences & assure you this happens to everyone!  The photos we create as we chat & soothe your baby.. those photos will become a memory you’ll never regret!  I realize this more with every passing year.  The photos I have taken are now forever remembered ‘moments’ in a family’s history.  Heirloom works of art that will be special to the children that have yet to be born.

What will happen during your newborn portraits session?

‘Oh no.. it’s happening!’ The new mom exclaims frantically as she uses her hand to shield mustard yellow poop from running onto my spotless, ivory couch.  It’s only spotless because it frequently gets cleaned by me & my good friend Oxy-Clean.  I’ve removed the many stains of childhood plenty of times.  It was recently attacked by a toddler with a red crayon and before that, another baby girl who couldn’t hang on to her lunch.

You see, this is common place.  It happens almost every time.

Kids are messy. Life is messy.

I am prepared for these things to happen.  You’ve JUST had a baby & we will work around your newborn!  You will probably nurse your new baby several times… and change them several times.  But the best thing about a single photograph is the power to freeze ‘a moment’… lock that moment down… so that the in-between no longer matters.

Keep reading to see my tips on preparing for your newborn portrait session. 

Ready to Book your newborn portraits?!

neborn-preparing-beautiful-baby-portraitsStudio Session in Overland Park

(Newborn studio sessions provide plenty of time to allow you to nurse, change diapers, RELAX while Adrienne snuggles your infant!)

  1. Throw your props, outfits,  and stuffed animals into a clothes basket.  We’ll go through this when you arrive and I will help determine several things we can use to add personal touches to your newborn portraits.
  2. Dress your baby in something comfortable to make the trip as we start with a mostly naked baby.
  3. TRY NOT TO STRESS about your session. It’s your job to RELAX.  Adrienne will do the hard work (except for nursing- which brings the next point!)
  4. Be prepared to nurse or feed a bottle or two… or three.  In the early days, you’re little one will eat often!  If you are nursing, wear something that will be easy to get on & off. BE comfortable.
  5. Bring props! Anything goes- fun hats, blankets, anything with texture, neat boxes, baskets… anything your baby will fit inside! Think Creatively! Adrienne will take a look at what you bring & make decisions about what will work for your session.
  6. The studio will be very warm in preparation for your session, dress in layers so you don’t get too hot!
  7. Studio sessions are typically faster than home sessions but newborns don’t always cooperate.
  8. If this is your first baby, it will take you longer than expected to leave the house! Give yourself an extra half hour!

Home Session {We come to you!}  (sessions starting at $750)

  1. DO NOT clean the house!! Adrienne will be moving things around to find the perfect spot with great light. You’ve just had a baby- just relax & she’ll handle the rest.
  2. Warm it up! Newborns sleep better when they are warm.
  3. Have props & outfits ready. Anything goes- fun hats, blankets, anything with texture, neat boxes, baskets… anything your baby will fit inside! Think Creatively!
  4. Don’t worry about where the shoot will take place. Adrienne looks through your home and props to find the perfect combinations to create unique newborn portraits.
  5. Home sessions are relaxed & fun. Adrienne puts together several creative scenes for your newborn & gets a variety of shots within each artistic set.


Mean Girls; Raising Compassionate Daughters

woman hero quote in pinkRaising a Compassionate Daughter in today’s world of Cyber-space is quite the challenge.

At bath time I notice my daughter studying her seven year old figure in the mirror. She turns herself from side-to-side attempting to straighten her posture & suck in her belly.

Momma?‘ she hesitates… ‘When will my belly go away? The girls at recess were teasing me…’

All at once, my past and her future flashed before me.

mean girls broadway cartoon drawing

Girls are just plain mean.

I was the naive little girl who inevitably walked right into the traps other girls set for me.

In 8th grade, one of the most popular girls in school suffered an embarrassing break-up. The boy LOUDLY made the announcement to everyone just before the first bell.

I was under the impression this girl was my best friend. After all, she lived down the block and she was the first ‘friend’ I’d made when I moved in with my dad. 

Empathetic to her plight, I slipped a hand-written note into her locker just before lunch.

The note thoughtfully pointed out the reasons why the boy was an idiot before I began gushing about why she deserved someone better. Then I decorated the page with colorful hearts, flowers and swirly’s- making it extra special.

At lunch, everyone was buzzing. It seemed a lot of fingers were pointed in my direction and I felt like all eyes were on me as one of the popular boys approached my table.

He took a seat across from me and took a piece of paper out of his pocket.  I immediately recognized my own handwriting as he carefully unfolded the page and laid it in front of me.

embarrassed cartoon girl with red cheeks

Heat rushed to my cheeks, I swallowed hard trying to suppress the tears.

“What’s this all about, ehe?’  he pretended to be concerned but his words were empty.

“There are copies making the rounds all over school! You know… everyone thinks you are in love with Michelle?”

I was mortified.

It was just two weeks before summer break and I was the laughing stock of the school. I imagined this is all anyone would be talking about over the summer. Conversations at the beach would be centered around the silly little girl who was stupid enough to think Michelle was her best friend. Ha. Ha. Ha.

But the other children did forget quickly.

Within a week, their minds were racing towards summer vacation. Everyone went back to being children and eventually the humiliation took a back seat in my brain as well. No one seemed to remember the following year and I moved onward.

The internet doesn’t easily forget.

Fortunately, my mortifying event took place during the days of dial-up internet.

Thankfully Facebook and Instagram were non-existent so it wasn’t yet common practice to take a photo and immediately post online.

‘Regardless of age, women of all walks are drawn together into a posse by their very need for constant reinforcement.’

While mean girls who prey upon the less popular have always existed; today cyber bullying is vicious and it’s leading to teen suicide in alarming rates. This is something that needs to be combated early. We need to teach our daughters to be better.

Together we can Change the Standard for Social Media

While social media is still a relatively new concept to my generation- kids today are growing up with direct access to all of their peers. We are just beginning to understand the overall arching impact this will have on our children.

We all do it… slip into that ‘mean girl’ mentality when we feel insecure or threatened. It’s easy enough to pick someone else apart in an effort to feel better about ourselves. ‘Insecurity breeds hostility and contempt.'(3)

educate together we can change

Today we have direct access to hurt feelings and destroy someone’s self confidence by simply hitting the return button.

‘Being bullied by a mean girl is a kind of social torment that often exists without parents and teachers even noticing. Social media has given mean girls an entirely new avenue to harm others. In addition to in-person bullying, mean girls also engage in cyberbullying.’ (1)

Facing personal insecurities and finding your own tribe without putting others down.

At my age, I am still insecure in some situations but I manage to force my way through the doors… I put on a smile and fake the confidence necessary to get to the other side of the room. This is a requirement in my profession. When I am wearing my camera, I don’t think twice about entering a room.

My camera gives me the confidence to enter any social circle and take control. I often employ this confidence when I enter a room without my camera. I attempt to smile and make eye contact with others, nodding to acknowledge their existence.

I use this same technique when I take my daughter to the playground.

While other parents are aggressively typing on their phones in an effort to avoid eye-contact, I go the opposite route. I smile and engage with their children

This isn’t always easy, especially for those whom have anxiety in social situations. It’s important to learn coping mechanisms and ease into a social dynamic that might make you uncomfortable.

Five Ways to Help your Child 

As kids navigate friendships and cliques, there’s plenty parents can do to offer support. If your child seems upset, or suddenly spends time alone when usually very social, ask about it. Here are some tips:

Talk about your own experiences: Share your own experiences of school — cliques have been around for a long time!

Help put rejection in perspective: Remind your child of times he or she has been angry with parents, friends, or siblings — and how quickly things can change.

Shed some light on social dynamics: Acknowledge that people are often judged by the way a person looks, acts, or dresses, but that often people act mean and put others down because they lack self-confidence and try to cover it up by maintaining control.

Find stories they can relate to: Many books, TV shows, and movies portray outsiders triumphing in the face of rejection and send strong messages about the importance of being true to your own nature and the value of being a good friend, even in the face of difficult social situations. For school-age kids, books like “Blubber” by Judy Blume illustrate how quickly cliques can change. Older kids and teens might relate to movies such as “Mean Girls,” “Angus,” “The Breakfast Club,” and “Clueless.”

Foster out-of-school friendships: Get kids involved in extracurricular activities (if they aren’t already) — art class, sports, martial arts, horse riding, language study — any activity that gives them an opportunity to create another social group and learn new skills.

*(excerpt from: Helping kids Cope with Cliques- Kid’s Health)

  1. Signs of A Mean Girl
  2. Dealing with Mean Women
  3. The Psychology of Mean Girl Cliques

Raising Boys; From a Mom of Three

Raising children is a dirty, exhausting, whirlwind of trial and error. Each child requires something different and it is up to the parent to discover what works for their family. As a mom of little girl –whom is currently ALL girl–  I recognize the vast difference it takes raising boys. Since I am no expert on raising boys, I turned to a mom who I believe has a great handle on managing the needs of three strong willed boys. (I wasn’t sure if I should include the husband in that total or not!?)


Top tips on Raising Boys

  • Embrace the chaos. Little boys are a whir of constant motion that puts the Energizer Bunny to shame. They bring with them a cloud of destructive energy in everything they do. Try to harness the energy into every creative outlet you can think of, and at the end of the day, embrace the growth that the boys had in making the mess before you.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff (and don’t buy nice things until they’re grown). Boys in their infinite energy destroy EVERYTHING. No matter how many times I tell my son that the couch is in fact not a cliff diving platform; I find him standing on the arm of the furniture for take-off, time and time again. Every item in the house has been used as a sword or gun so my superheroes can save me from bad guys (and no, guns are not allowed in our house… doesn’t matter to them). Every chair I own has streaks of peanut butter and ketchup from dirty fingers that didn’t think to use a napkin. I’ll have much more time than I’d like to clean all of these things in afew years, so for now I try to keep my cool and let them play out their fantasies.


  • Start a savings account for your future grocery bill. All that energy requires more food than you can imagine to refuel. All little boys turn into bottomless pits at some point, so you might as well prepare asap. An equal saving to whatever you plan to put away for college is probably a good start.
  • No matter how you dice it, little boy are dirty, smelly creatures by nature.  So invest in a good stain stick and air freshener you love. You will use both daily. (Buncha Farmer’s is our favorite) You can’t fight nature, but you can try to save your clothes and your nose. On a similar note, you’ll thank yourself for making sure every possible fabric in your home is stain-resistant AND machine washable.
  • Teach them to clean at a young age. I don’t love laundry and my boys produce A LOT of it. I put little stickers on the washing machine settings they should use to wash their clothes. No, I don’t make my 3 and 6 year-old do their laundry by themselves (yet), but they love pushing the buttons and I like a glimmer of hope that I’m raising self-sufficient children who will learn to take care of their own messes as they grow.
  • Speaking of messes, teach them to wipe up potty messes early! My boys are easily distracted and have horrible aim – I’m talking pee on every surface of the potty, baseboards, and bathroom floor. Long story, but I’ve even had pee accidents in my pantry before (Did I mention life raising boys is always an adventure?!) If you don’t like the idea of chemicals in little hands, the norwex envirocloth is a great non-toxic tool to get this job done (*note- I am not a norwex consultant, just sharing what I’ve found that works for us).


  • Buy clothes in bulk. Boys will wear pretty much anything you put in their dresser drawers, so you don’t need to worry about them being picky. We literally buy our shorts and jeans a dozen pairs at a time. Remember, I don’t like doing laundry!? Each boy can easily go through 2-4 pairs a day! A dozen pairs of each size means I don’t have to do laundry more often than once a week. As long as I’m diligent with my stain stick, (and buy high quality in bulk) most clothes get handed down from boy to boy.
  • Teach them manners. I believe establishing manners early on will create life-long habits which will translate into my little guys growing up to be true gentlemen. When one of them has managed to find and destroy a treasured item they weren’t meant to have, I’m less likely to completely lose my cool on a little boy who just sweetly held the door for me or remembered to say please and thank you at the dinner table.
  • Teach them to be a little tough. I didn’t embrace this one at first. I was determined to raise sweet, polite children who kept their hands to themselves and played with toys the way they were meant to be used. I laugh now reading that expectation. As my children get older, I realize that boys aren’t made to sit still or use toys according to directions on a box (I told you everything in my house is turned into a weapon). Roughhousing is a language to them, they truly use it to communicate their energy, strength, and power to each other. My rule is no whining to mom about bumps and bruises that occur as a result of rough play (only broken bones and cuts deep enough to require stitches or a blood transfusion are allowed to be brought to my attention). If they break anything that isn’t theirs in the process, they pay for it out of their allowance or do chores to make the money to pay us back. That being said, I also want my kids to know that mom and dad are a safe place to be vulnerable, and they don’t need to be tough all the time. Boys have strong emotions and they need a safe place to let it all out sometimes, too.
  • Hug them A LOT. Boys won’t always tell you that they need physical affections, but they do! My boys probably each get hugged at least 30 times a day, and this will continue to happen until theyreach the age when they tell me it’s not cool for mommy to hug them. And then I will sadly and begrudgingly back off…. a little. Hugs are powerful tools to communicate affection, compassion, acceptance, and to bring a sense of security to the chaotic energy of their little worlds. They truly can’t be loved on too much.


  • Embrace the loud, messy, smelly world that is raising boys. Kiss those sweet, sweaty, dirt-streaked cheeks every chance you get. When the chaos overwhelms you (and it will sometimes), treat yourself to a girls’ night, or a pedicure – whatever makes you happy. Recharge your batteries and then jump back into that chaos with both feet. All boys are mama’s boys for a while, but they grow too fast. The days are exhaustingly long, but the years are painfully short. I never pictured myself as a boy mom, but I’ve been blessed with three of the best boys I could ever dream up. I work hard to embrace every sweet, smelly, messy, adventurous, frustrating, crazy moment with my guys. I know they’ll be grown in the blink of an eye. My world with them in it is the best adventure of all, so I’m determined to sit back and enjoy the ride.

** The images below are of the youngest boy enjoying a smash cake for his first birthday photo session.

Conversations with my Grandparents

What’s in a photograph?

A moment frozen in time? A feeling we don’t want to lose? A memory?

That’s me, in the bottom corner of the photo below. Those are my grandparents reading to me when I was  about three years old. 

I was too young to remember these moments, but Papaw appears to be seriously addressing storytime while grandma has a silly look on her face. I imagine she’s making a silly joke and this photo still makes me smile.

Thirty-five years have gone by since this moment was captured.

This photograph was printed in the 1980’s and long ago the negatives were lost.  The 4×6 paper copy remained and this weathered piece of paper was scanned and digitized; making it possible to share it online with you now.

The advancement of technology has revolutionized our daily lives. 

The entire process of photography has evolved. Now we are inundated with images on a constant basis. Storytelling is fundamentally different than it’s inception.

I’ve been a storyteller my whole life but the idea of telling stories without my camera only recently occured to me. I’ve thought of myself as a ‘photographer’ growing up in a world where images are everything.

The camera gave me the confidence to engage with individuals I found interesting.  It gave me an opportunity to tell stories and capture moments in time- both real and imagined.

But I’ve learned the conversations I have WHILE photographing are just as important as the finished product I create.

We lose the ability to interact authentically when we do all of our communicating through a screen. We lose our grip on reality when we enter into an echo chamber instead of sharing conversations with others who offer an alternate point of view.

It’s easy to disconnect, especially today- when we are constantly connected! 

Podcast = Storytelling in a digital age

Images are EVERYWHERE.  We make decisions constantly based on our visual impression. It’s part of what helped us survive in the beginning.

With the invention of social media, we are now comparing every moment of our lives to the snapshots of others.  Instead of connecting when we are online, so many of us are DISCONNECTING.

The idea of a podcast has been on my mind for a long while but I didn’t know where to start?!  But I had to start somewhere…

Starting with my Grandparents, Rubye and Max

My grandparents were born in the 1920’s and married one another 71 years ago. Through all of life’s challenges they remained faithful and loyal to one another.

When I hear their stories, I find myself comparing the differences in the way they were both brought up to the way we live now.  

My grandmother grew up on a farm, working hard alongside her siblings to help support her family. While my grandfather grew up the son of a machinist, a man who worked hard but was barely able to put enough food on the table.

They were married in 1948 and together build a life and a home for their 4 children. They remained committed to one another despite the trials and adversity of life throughout their 70 years together.

They remained strong when Rubye’s father took his own life. Together they mourned the loss of a child in the prime of his life; yet their faith in God and one another endured.

Julie Burton went viral: Part Two

Photo by Samantha Levi

It started with a litter of kittens someone abandoned in downtown Kansas City. The artist in me, jumped without thinking… I had a concept for a photograph that involved a bunch of kittens.

Listen to Part Two with Julie Burton

If you haven’t checked out part one, you’ll want to go back HERE and do that first.

What does this have to do with Julie??

We met a couple of years ago when I was shooting for SimplyKC Magazine. She interviewed me for a couple of articles and I regularly laughed at her column. I admired her writing style, her honesty and speaking what was on her mind. She offered the kind of jokes we head in our heads but rarely speak aloud.

When I posted about the kittens, Julie was the first person to reach out about adopting. It was serendipitous and she was given first pick of the litter.

Serendipitous because she was already on my list of Kansas City creatives I wanted to chat with for the Podcast. The whole purpose of this project is for me to connect and learn from others through their personal journeys. These stories fascinate me and I hope you’ll enjoy discovering them along with me!

Meet Archie Burton, he’s one of the kittens I rescued and found his forever home with Julie.


From Creative Mornings: “She’s one of the funniest moms in Kansas City. The surprisingly quiet and introverted mom of two puts an end to the “perfect” highlight reel of parenting we see on social media. Julie tells us how it really is raising two daughters with her husband in Overland Park. She gives comic relief to moms, wives, and women around the world with her blunt and often embarrassing real-life stories.

She is a contributing author to the humor books, “But Did You Die? Setting the Parenting Bar Low by a Bunch of Know-It-Alls” and “Will Work for Apples” by the Teacher’s Pets – two books in the New York Times Best-Selling “I Just Want to Pee Alone” series. She is an author in the anthology, “The Unofficial Guide to Surviving Pregnancy Without Losing Your Mind.”

Julie is named one of the funniest parenting bloggers by NBC’s Today Show, Huffington Post Parents, and Buzzfeed. She is also a regular contributor to the parenting website Filter Free Parents. You can find her words locally in SimplyKC magazine and 435 magazine.”

book will work for apples

When Julie Burton went viral: Part One

Photos by Samantha Levi

Listen below to Part ONE of my interview with Julie Burton.

The voice in her head is a funny one.

Julie Burton is a mother and a writer who uses her sense of humor to relate to others about daily life. As a mother of two girls she’ll flat out tell you her job is raising strong, proud daughters. She always puts them first but that doesn’t mean she takes things too seriously!


Today on Getting Social, I visit with Julie Burton.

She is a published author, mother of girls, self-proclaimed ‘bacon-hater and all around funny gal.

We’ll discuss how she became a published author on Amazon back to the day she went viral. And how she handled the pressure of CNN & the rest of the world calling to interview her kindergartener.

She’s just released her third book, the Jen Mann NYT Best-Selling anthology series titled, “Will Work for Apples.”

You can laugh with Julie every month by reading her column in SimplyKC Magazine and for instant gratification, you can find her everyday on social media @ksujulie

Let’s listen in as we have a conversation about what it’s like to go viral, how to handle haters and how we can all relate to the inner struggles of balancing art, life and parenting in this digital age.

Photos by Samantha Levi

Julie Burton is a small town Kansas girl who obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University with her focus on Journalism. She is a content writer for Filter Free Parents, and always named “funniest parents” on the lists compiled by Huffington Post, The Today Show, and Buzzfeed, to name a few.


How can you support artists like Julie?

Pick up Her Book

book will work for apples

If you’re looking for a great gift for a teacher you’ll want to snag her latest book, “Will Work for Apples.” This anthology series by Jen Mann is compiled of heartwarming stories about teachers who made a real difference in the lives of the authors. They’re $18 but if you’re a teacher, Julie will give you a discount!

Follow along and engage with artists online

The easiest way to support creative professionals like Julie is to follow along on social media and engage when you see something you like. It’s fulfilling knowing you’ve inspired someone with your words or made someone laugh at your joke.

On Rejection

I fail a lot.

I throw pitches all the time to magazines or book anthologies, story ideas to big publishing websites.

I get rejection letters a lot.

Writing will give you a backbone real quick! I know I can write  -but it stings a little every time someone doesn’t like what I wrote and tells me: fix it.

Julie Burton

Meet Julie at Creative Mornings in Kansas City

Next Friday, Julie will be presenting a little something at Creative Mornings here in Kansas City. You can find more information by visiting the Creative Morning Website or following along on their Facebook Page.

Reserve your tickets HERE for this FRIDAY 8:30-10:00

Remember to get your tickets for this month’s Creative Morning on Monday May 13th for Friday May the 17th!

xoxo adrienne signing off

View the original post about ‘Shame‘ on Julie’s Blog:; Get social with Julie! Follow along @ksujulie

professional photographer
with more than 15 years experience
Meet Adrienne

I’m Adrienne Maples

I'm a southern gal who invested all my effort into Art School to learn the secrets of photography before digital re-invented the market! In addition to art and photography, I love my emoji pj pants, fresh garden tomatoes, and working from home beside my daughter while she plays make-believe. My mission? Capturing beautiful moments with my camera, inspiring others, as together we navigate this new age of social media, instant gratification and constant contact!


true artistFirst and foremost,

Adrienne is a
.- Kayla White | Clients since 2013
Robin & Ventsino one else can
capture things as
you do..
You are Amazing.
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Hi! I'm Adrienne Maples

A professional photographer, podcaster & entrepreneur based in Kansas City.

I love preserving memories for my clients. I'm creative, passionate, fun-loving and I hope to inspire you!

When I'm not behind the camera, I enjoy normal things like perfecting my evil laugh, impromptu dance parties with my daughter and singing Bohemian Rhapsody like the epic song it was written to be.

(Yes, Mom- I did indeed end that sentence with a preposition.)

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