It’s okay to say “No”

There was a day not all that long ago where I came home and I was literally crying. I was in a job where I was told to choose between my family and my job. Tears were streaming down my face, I simply couldn’t take it any more. I thought to myself that every time I say ‘yes’ to more work, I’m saying ‘no’ to my family.

Oh, friends. I’m a workaholic and had gotten into the terrible habit of saying yes to everything. Yes to every request, every opportunity. My desire to please people turned into an unhealthy inability to say no. This escalated and made me a trap for those to walk all over me.

“No” is an incredibly empowering word if you allow it to be. Saying no allows you to say yes to the things that truly matter in your life. We don’t need more hours in the day. We need to be more dedicated to prioritizing, more diligent in protecting those hours that we reserve for our friends and family. When overwhelm begins to weigh on you… I want you to remember that you are not alone. As a creative entrepreneur myself, I know how hard it is.

So I’m here to remind you of the word “no” so you can have “yes” to life. I’m not here to tell you to quit your job but remind you to prioritize and seek what matters most.


Photo by my friend Amanda over at Willow Photo and Design

Baby Bijou Designs

Hi everyone! My name is Caitlyn and I’m a West MI mommy creating unique baby clothes and nursery decor for my company, Baby Bijou Designs. I am super excited for the opportunity to guest post here for Kara and share a little bit about what starting my business has been like so far.

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Several months ago I started thinking seriously about opening my own business. I was working part time at Starbucks, and the rest of the time I was hanging out with my super sweet one year old daughter Lillian (and you know, working at home!). I mentioned to Kara my thoughts on opening a shop that featured baby clothing and accessories, as well as nursery decor. Being the supportive and knowledgeable person she is, Kara immediately started asking me about branding, my logo and more. She even offered to help me figure out how to get started with my business – something that was starting to seem like an overwhelming task!collage2

As Kara and I talked more and more, I decided to quit Starbucks so I could have more time to pursue my business. I chose to name my business after my daughter’s nickname: Baby Bijou (you can read all about the story behind that nickname here!) Before long with lots of work, research and also some great advice from Kara, I was ready to launch my business. I was able to work with a really talented photographer and get beautiful pictures of some of the onesies I had designed (can you guess who that photographer is?), and after a few weeks I got my very first sale!

As I’m just starting out, the tasks I have yet to do with growing my business can sometimes seem insurmountable, but by setting goals and making lots (and lots!) of lists, I know I will get to where I want to go. It also helps to have a huge support network. I learned from Kara that family and friends are important to encourage you to achieve your goals, but also the community at large. Because of her, I am beginning to learn how to connect with other people and businesses, and Baby Bijou Designs is starting to feel like a part of me and a passion rather than just some business venture.

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I am so excited to learn more and more as I expand my shop and continue to work with Kara and other great entrepreneurs. I’d love for you to join me on my journey with Baby Bijou Designs and read about other fun stuff like craft projects, travel, dinner parties and more on my blog, my Instagram, or my Facebook page. I’d also love to hear about your experiences with starting a business. What parts of starting your business have been the hardest or the most rewarding? Do you have any good advice?

Thank you so much for letting me share about starting my business with you today!

xx Caitlyn

P.S. Enjoy 10% anything in the Baby Bijou Designs shop with the code BIJOUTHANKSYOU before June 30th, 2017!


Want to book a session with Kara? Inquire for pricing by filling out the contact form here

Summer Bucket List : 2017

The start of a new season gets me excited. I’m most excited for summer. This will be my first summer where I get to explore and spend as much time with my kids as possible. I could not wait to plan out some of the things we’ll be doing. If your kids are anything like mine, all they want to do is stay inside and play on devices. Well this is going to change. I remember as a kid spending so much time outside that the rule was to be home by dark. Well, Today I’m sharing with you our family’s summer bucket list. I’m hoping this will inspire you on some ideas. I’d also love to hear from you, what are your favorite bucket list items?


Grand Rapids Airplane Viewing Center – Free

Air Zoo

Amusement Park: Michigan Adventures

Barbecue with friends

Baseball Game: West Michigan White Caps

Beach: Millennium Park, Grand Haven, Holland, Tunnel Park to name a few.

Bounce: Rebounderz, Sky Zone, Playworld, Jesters Court

Blandord Nature Center

Cooking class Host or attend one: West Michigan Kids Cooking Classes

Coopersville Railroad July 2017 “Train Robbery”

Day Camp: Spring Hill July 17-21 in Hudsonville, Hogwarts Academy June 15-16 Engine House 5 in Allendale

Fair: Hudsonville Fair August 21-26

Frederick Meijer Gardens

Hike- Free

Lazer Tag: The Lost City

Library: Allendale Library EventsKent District Library

Mini Golf: Craigs Cruiser, Locehners, Pirates Landing

Movie Theater:, Grand Haven 9 Free movies for frequent movie goers, Rivertown Crossings $5 movies all day Tuesdays, Free Kid Flicks at Celebration Woodland.

Movies in the Park: Allendale– Free, Grand Rapids– Free, Getty Drive In

Museum:  Children Museum, Gerald R Ford Presidential Library & Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum

Picnic at a park: Highly recommended West, MI parks Ada ParkSeidman Park, Garfield ParkManhattan Park, and Rosewood Park, 

Race: Berlin Raceway  US 131 Motorsports Park

Splash Pad:  Local Splash Pads

Sleep Over- Free

Slip n’ slide: June 17th 12-5pm

Star Gazing- Free

Vacation Bible School: See Full List Here– Free life stream kids camp. June 12-14 6-8:30pm

Zoo John Ball Zoo, Boulder Ridge, Binder Park


Print out your summer bucket list worksheet here

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I’d love to hear what plans you have that I did not list. Feel free to comment below.

Planner by http://www.heidiswappstore.com Sold in most local Meijer stores.


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Festerling Family

Meet Dennis, Chriss, Noah, Eli, and Bella. I had the pleasure of hanging out with them last week. This family was the silent auction winner for the fundraiser called “Blessings for Bekah”. Dennis was introduced to the fundraiser through Bekah’s brother’s boy scout troop. It’s such an honor to have been able to contribute to two very deserving families. Untitled-1

Are you interested in scheduling a family session? I’d love to hear from you and tell you about the Kara Hanes Photography experience Inquire Here. Not ready for photos? Would you be interested in following what’s going on with Kara Hanes Photography? Join my newsletter. 

Instagram

Have you wondered what all the fuss is about with Instagram? Well today I’m going to help you get started from the very beginning. Instagram is always changing so today I’m giving you the latest information that I have learned.


Set-up: There are two types of Instagram accounts. Personal and Business. Most people who own a business switch to this type of account because you can add additional contact information and data. See below

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Data Information

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Once you’ve chosen an account you’ll want to put in your bio of 150 characters or less along with a website where you can be reached. If you are a business I recommend using  https://linktr.ee Instagram will only allow one website option and you are unable to link in your individual posts. Most people will say “link in bio” which would direct someone to their website link in the profile section. I suggest link tree because you can create multiple websites within the one link. Plus it’s free! You can check mine out here https://linktr.ee/karahanesphotography

Now if you only want to have one website attached but it’s very long an unpleasing to the eye, I suggest using https://bitly.com which will allow you to choose a name on your own. I use this a lot as it cleans up the long list of subpages in a website.


So there you have it. Your instagram is created. Now to start posting. The biggest part of Instagram is adding a #hashtag. For those of you who still call these pound signs, I’m going to let you in a little secret. These are used to store your posts in a specific category and is also used for search options. For me, I use #westmichiganfamilyphotographer along with many others so that when someone is looking to find a photographer in my area my posts pop up.

But Kara, should I place my hashtags in my original post? For me I do not, but this is personal opinion. The reason being, I don’t want to take away from the story I am telling. I simply post my content and then comment my hashtags.


Is there a way to schedule my posts? There is! You should know that legally there is not an option to automatically post on your behalf. However there are many programs that you can schedule a post, receive an alert and with the click of a button your post with go live. The most highly rated option I’ve seen is Plann. I have not personally used this site because I’m frugal and love free stuff that can save me money. I currently use Later. Later offers many options but my favorite options are these; image storage, pre-set hashtags, pre-post viewing and did I mention it can be used on the computer or via ap?


What is an Instagram Story? Insta-story is a 24 hour view. For me, I don’t post on my instagram in real time but I do through my instagram story. Also you can tag others in this too!

Have you ever wondered how someone has placed an image other than direct photos? Take a screen shot, click your “camera” in your story, scroll up and see your latest photos. It’s that simple.


Kara, what is this paper airplane logo for? This is where you’ll be able to a postdirectly to your friends or groups within the ap.

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Okay so now you know the basics, What I want you to do now is jump over to my instagram, follow me so I can check out your posts. If you have further questions let me know.


For those of you who have already been rocking out your instagram but want to take it to the next level, my girl Jenna Kutcher is offering a free live training May 31st and June 1st. Hurry because they are filling up fast! Click here to see what openings Jenna has.

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DeBlaay Family

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I met Lindsey and her husband Matt when her and I were both pregnant with our girls and teaching preschool. Needless to say we have been great friends ever since. Not only friends but I’ve come to know her extended family and they remind me a lot of my own. Meet the DeBlaays, Mary (also known as Beppe to her grandkids), her sons Chris, Jake, Matt and Mike and their families. I think it’s fair to say that Mary has quite the beautiful family. During this session we continuously laughed, danced and said the magic word *FART* over and over to make those kiddos giggle and bring out their natural smiles (well, mostly the dads). Would you believe me if I told you that prior to this session it was 60 degrees and raining? We lucked out with beautiful mid day sunshine and a little bit of shade at Aquinas college. If you’d like to check out more from this session you can do so at Kara Hanes Photography

Are you interested in scheduling a family session? Send over a contact form and you’ll instantly receive information on my style and pricing information.

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Agnes and Dora by Stephanie H

Stephanie is an Independent Agnes and Dora Representative helping others feel comfortable and confident with beautiful clothes! Imagine you’re at the mall going from dressing room to dressing room trying to find the right outfit but none of them fit just right. You’re frustrated because you’ve just spent hours of your time trying on clothes that you’re not even taking home.

Now I want you to imagine meeting Stephanie for the first time. You can do this over the phone, via social media or in her own home where she is fully stocked with your future wardrobe. Now Stephanie can either let you pick and choose what you want to try on or she can style you with amazing, comfortable clothing. Trust me, I can’t stop wearing my leggings based on the soft fabric alone and not to mention they come in so many patterns. Now you may be wondering if you’re too young, too old, too tall, too wide, too short or will it fit you like it does in the ad. I’m here to tell you, yes! Agnes and Dora is for everyone. Check out what Stephanie has for you this summer.

Find Stephanie on Instagram, Facebook, or at www.agnesanddora.com Zipcode Jenison, 49428.

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See more from this session at www.karahanesphotography.com/agnesanddora


Would you like to schedule headshots for your business? I’d love to hear from you. Get info at Contact Kara.