Before we begin, there's one thing you have to do for me: Stop thinking that your baby's newborn session is all about your baby. It's not. It's about documenting the bond between you and the one you've waited so long to meet. You're as much a part of the picture as your baby, which means you deserve to be taken care of and pampered.
Treat yourself to a new outfit.
You deserve this. You deserve to feel beautiful right after you've brought life into this world. But here's the catch — you have to buy this outfit while you're still pregnant. Trust me, there will be no time or energy for shopping once your little one is here.
Most likely, you'll still look a few months pregnant during your baby's newborn session, so purchase bump-friendly styles. You'll be so happy to have a pretty new outfit to pull out after so many days of little showering, no sleep, and no makeup. I love the maternity collections from Fillyboo, PinkBlush, and Show Me Your Mumu.
Indulge in getting ready.
As soon as baby's asleep, hand him over to Dad and book it to the bathroom for a long, hot shower and hair and makeup. Play your favorite songs while you enjoy this little escape.
Eat a meal and have water nearby.
It's so easy to graze or skip meals completely when you're a new mom (someone has to stare lovingly at the baby, right?!). But it's also easy to feel really tired or lightheaded, so be sure to eat a good meal before your session. Have your water jug handy, too; in those first few days after giving birth, it's not uncommon to feel very flushed or become extremely thirsty while you nurse.
Dress baby last.
Every mom knows the sound: the gurgling build-up of a diaper blowout. It happens when you least expect it, but usually at the worst times. I recommend dressing and changing your baby just before you're ready to feed him (which should be the very last thing you do, in the hopes eating will put him to sleep).
Feed baby 30-45 minutes before your session.
(And make sure they're wearing a bib or spit-up cloth.) It's best if baby is asleep for at least some of the session, and feeding him right before usually does the trick. You and your baby are still learning the ropes when it comes to feeding, so give yourself plenty of time.
Laura Richards is a family, newborn and maternity portrait artist serving Charlottesville, Virginia. She specializes in authentic, feel-good photography that tells "the story of you" for generations. Learn all about what makes her different from other photographers here.
Tucked behind a Jiffy Lube on Franklin Road in Roanoke you'll find one of the Valley's fashion meccas: The Golden Shoestring.
The high-end consignment store owned by Lee Robison takes designer brands many only dream of owning — Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, and Chanel to name a few — and makes them accessible to every fashion-loving woman.
If you grew up in Roanoke, you may have visited the store with your mom or grandma — it has, after all, been around since the 1970s — but if you stop in today, you will not find the same shop.
When Lee, a former Macy's Buyer, took over in 2013, the store was old, tired and in desperate need of modernization. After much hard work, they are now computerized, actively involved in social media (find them on Facebook and Instagram), and have made eye-catching improvements inside and outside the store. Lee and her team of female employees have also hosted several events, including a fundraiser for rescue greyhounds, Elevate Your Image demonstrations, Royal Wedding festivities and an annual holiday open house.
Q & A with Lee
Laura: What's one thing people might not realize about what it takes to be a successful business owner?
Lee: The business environment — particularly with social media — is an ongoing challenge and keeping your business relevant and fresh requires constant visual change and awareness. Our staff reads lots of magazines, follows our fashion favs on Instagram, reads "Off Duty" in the WSJ, and we work with Christina Garnett, our marketing guru. Garland Gravely of Roanoke Fashionista is constantly getting us exposure on TV, in fashion shows and on covers of magazines. We also travel to locate great finds and designer items are shipped to us. We try to continually set the bar higher as far as what we consign.
Laura: What kind of experience can customers expect at Golden Shoestring?
Lee: We get to know our customers and consigners on a personal level. For some people, we provide retail therapy in a unique boutique environment, and we want the experience to be memorable, fun and something they always look forward to. Our staff loves fashion, recycling, and helping others save money on designer brands. Each of us are from families that shared clothes with siblings and friends, so we love going green.
Laura: What does a typical day in the store look like?
Lee: There is no real typical day, because we never know what items will come through the door. It can be a little hectic when three or four consignors show up with merchandise for us to evaluate. Some days we get brand-new items with $1,000 tickets on them. We love the stories behind the merchandise, which we pass onto our customers. We are busy bees helping our customers and consignors, posting Instagram and Facebook stories, freshening new arrivals, and moving items to our Last Chance area before donating locally.
Laura: Who inspires your own fashion style?
Lee: Chanel, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch and Eileen Fisher. I love designers who consistently create new, forward-thinking ideas, but stick to their true image and craftsmanship. They set the tone for the entire marketing industry, from fashion to home, to gardening.
Laura: What styles are you looking forward to this spring?
Lee: High waisted jeans, wide leg pants, high impact sleeves and beautiful printed mixing of patterns.
Laura: What's one fashion trend that makes you cringe?
Lee: Low rise tight jeans.
Laura: What's one thing most people don't know about you?
Lee: I love to garden. My grandmothers and my mother were amazing gardeners. I love digging in the dirt — I think I've moved almost every plant in my yard a couple of times. I'm a member of the Mill Mountain Garden Club, which oversees the Mill Mountain Wildflower Garden next to the Discovery Shop on Mill Mountain. It's a crown jewel that can bring you joy, peace and a true love for our beautiful Roanoke Mountains.
Laura: How do you spend a day off?
Lee: To be honest, it is hard to get away from the store. Even if I'm not there, I may be doing bookkeeping or buying supplies or doing research on designers and brands. A full day off happens when I'm out of town, but even then I like to pop into little boutique stores.
Interested in consigning with the Golden Shoestring? They are now taking summer items on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. They accept unstructured (non-business clothes) boutique items sizes 2-18. Learn more here.
Laura Richards is a family, newborn and maternity photographer serving Charlottesville and the Roanoke Valley. She specializes in authentic, feel-good photographer that tells "the story of you" for decades. Learn all about what makes her different from other photographers here.
Welcome to the blog! I'm Laura, and I specialize in authentic, natural-light photography and heirloom print art. Hope you'll explore my little online home and reach out if you have any questions!