Posts in “Motherhood”

Hello Spring + behind-the-scenes of creative photography

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hello Spring + behind-the-scenes of creative photography (9)


Hello, first day of spring! Can you tell in this picture how happy I am for this season?! Let’s say goodbye to thick clothes, and say hello to more fun, lightweight outfits. 😉 I love spring because it gives our family a reason to go out and enjoy the weather.  Whether we go to the beach, park, or other fun places, spring makes it all more enjoyable. Also, this season is when I will be celebrating my birthday with my youngest son for the first time! Today on Hello Island Mama, I also wanted to share how I created this spring themed photo with my chill baby. :) Scroll down for some fun!

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First, I googled an image of a bike, so I could sketch it and tweak some areas to fit my idea for this shoot. The more simple the sketch, the better, since I imported this illustration into Photoshop and added more details there.

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I did the cleaning in Photoshop by removing the background and decided to make the bike white in color by using “Color Overlay”.

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I know, I look silly here… Haha! But anyway, I used a counter stool for me to sit down on and pose in the position that I liked for the riding on a bike concept. Take note that you should check your clothes, like your top, to make sure it’s in the right flow. This also helps to add a more realistic look to the image when you’ve removed the background.

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Here’s the close up shot in my Photoshop workspace.

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Since I used a biking concept, I thought it was better to add a wind blown hair effect. I used my hair dryer (on the cold setting of course) to do the trick. I selected the hair to manipulate in the main image.

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I’m wearing a flowy pink top from Pink Blush, with pretty lace details. I also paird it with white jeans and a pair of slide sandals (similar to these).

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Of course, my little man wanted to join in on the fun too! His big brothers didn’t make it in the photo since they are too heavy to ride on the imaginary bike. 😉 However, it might be possible in real life to ride with 3 kids with something similar to this. That photo was taken in the Philippines. Haha!

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I hope you enjoyed today’s creative post! What are you looking forward to in this new season?

“As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” – Hosea 6:3


Family Weekend at Kemah Boardwalk

Thursday, March 15, 2018

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Over the weekend, we went to Kemah Boardwalk for some family time with my mother-in-law, who was visiting. We’ve brought our kids to Kemah a few times before and they love this place. The sights, sounds, and fun activities make them so happy! Weekends are the perfect time for us to spend time with Brent since he works all day during weekdays.

Kemah is a great place to bring your kids and family as there are different rides and attractions for the kids, which even adults can enjoy. They also have waterfront restaurants and a playground area for the kids to run around in.

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My eldest two sons always have fun walking around in Kemah. It was great weather too, after we had chilly weather last week. I had a chance to wear a more lightweight chiffon floral dress from Pink Blush, paired with a thin leather belt and a pair of sandals.

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My mother-in-law wanted our eldest boys ride the carousel and they got excited when we finally got up to the second level of it. I think the second level is the best place to ride since you can see more of the sights around you.

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When you plan to go to Kemah, you might want to check out this 25-minute boat ride on Galveston Bay, which is called Boardwalk Beast. It says to be ready to get wet since it hits speeds up to 40 miles per hour. We haven’t been on it yet, but I always see a lot of people going on and off the ride.

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Kids also love feeding the fish!

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Brent and his mom rode this wooden roller coaster together. I’ve never seen a roller coaster made of wood, so this caught my attention when I first saw it a few years ago. It can reach speeds of up to 51 mph. I’ll pass if you ask me to ride. 😉

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Hope everyone is enjoying the daylight savings time! Happy weekday!


maternity and nursing wrap style dress

Friday, March 9, 2018

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I’m thankful for this month that my baby is now 6 months old, and I am still breastfeeding him. Of all my sons, I have breastfed him the longest. I had a challenging time breastfeeding my second son due to what I suspect was d-mer. Now, my baby and I enjoy the bonding from our breastfeeding sessions! Breastfeeding brings me so much joy as I watch him grow healthy and strong. It also brings joy to my husband as well, since we save money from it. hah! I think my favorite part of breastfeeding is that it’s easy to feed at night, especially during the first few months when I lacked sleep.

maternity and nursing wrap style dress (1) I also wanted to share this cute wrap dress that is easy to use during breastfeeding. I picked a few other floral prints from Pink Blush that you might want to check out. They are perfect for the new season of spring!

wrap dress pink blush

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This wrap dress can be used if you are expecting. You can pair it with booties, wedges, and add accessories like a floppy hat or pouch. maternity and nursing wrap style dress (3)

Here’s a photo tip for today! I like to use a liquid based moisturizer, like coconut oil, on my shoulders and legs. When the light bounces off the skin, it creates a healthy, glowing look in pictures. Just make sure you don’t over do it so you don’t look greasy!


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What kind of dress styles do you like to use for nursing?


Kid’s play area + machine-washable rug

Sunday, March 4, 2018

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How sweet to watch them play together! I really love this stage that my youngest son is in now. He’s able to sit on his own and watch his Kuyas (Tagalog for big brother) while playing or browsing through books :) Now that the weather is not gloomy and super cold anymore, we are enjoying our play area with bright sunshine. This is where we mostly read stories, learn some Tagalog words from Filipino children’s books, play with legos and have other fun activities! Lorena Canals sent us this gorgeous rug to enjoy in the kids’ play area. One thing that makes me excited to use this is that it is machine washable! If you have three boys, you’ll probably need a rug that is easy to throw in the washing machine. You’ll also need one that doesn’t worry you about stains, dirt, and spit up from the baby. 😉 This one rug checks off all those criteria. Who else can relate??

The one we have for our kids’ room is called “Bereber Beige”. It is simple and super soft, whether for your kids’ room or for the living room.  There is also this runway rug with a similar print for use in the kitchen or hallway.

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The rug is 100% super soft cotton, which is so nice for my baby to lay down in, especially for his tummy time. Lorena Canals rugs also use natural dyes, so there is no irritation for babies and kids like mine with sensitive skin. kids play area machine washable lorena canals rug (8)

Here are some of my favorite pics from their site that you should check it out for your home. There is also a wide selection of cushions with unique and cute designs, blankets of varying colors and shapes,  stylish baskets to hold items like magazines, scarves, toys, and wall decor! Be sure to check out their website to browse these super cute pieces and for inspiring images to see!

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Tropical Green


Azteca Natural


Round ABC

I think this is attractive for a kid’s room. I like its simplicity and how it’s educational at the same time.


Hippy Mint

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Do you love to use machine-washable rugs at home?

Don’t forget to follow me and Lorena Canals on Instagram!


This post is partnership with Lorena Canals Rugs. All opinions are honest and my own.




Talking about handling tantrums and more (VIDEO Q&A with my husband)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

talking about tantrums and more child psychologist cover

I was supposed to share this video on my Instagram story, (that is why it’s in a vertical orientation) but I thought it would be more helpful if it’s on my blog so my readers can also watch and hear. This is a continuation of our Q&A from Valentine’s day activity we did in Instagram story couple weeks ago. My husband rarely participates in my social media photoshoots or campaigns (haha) but when it comes to his field in child psychology, he is happy to share something that can be helpful for both parents and kids. He shares his advice regarding how to handle tantrums, why yelling is not effective, and some thoughts on depression, since that happens in our stage of life. This is a very quick video, but it has lots of great tips!


A sign you need a MOMCATION (+ photo editing tips)

Monday, February 26, 2018

sign you need a momcation helloislandmama

Do you ever take a vacation all by yourself, leaving the house and mom duty for a few days? As much as I love my kids, I sometimes wish that I could take a few days away from the noise, refresh my mind, and spend time alone. Maybe I could have a spa appointment, go to the beach, stay in a hotel, and eat my favorite treats without hiding from my kids? Yeah, it’s all just daydreaming right now. 😉

Here in Galveston Island, we’ve been getting lots of tourists these past few days, since the weather dropped down to the 70s. Brent and I brought the kids to the beach over the weekend too. As I was walking with my baby by the shore, someone stopped me to ask if I had 3 boys. I replied that I did. They are a couple from Canada who have 3 boys too, but are all grown up. They were on vacation here in Galveston Island. How wonderful it will be when you reach the age when your kids are all grown up! I’ll be able to travel with my husband like that couple! Brent and I are looking forward to that. Today, I want to also share photo tips and a behind the scenes look at this creative shot! I thought it’d be fun to share what goes on behind my creative shots. It’s fun to look at, especially if you have an interest in photo editing and photography in general!

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I took a picture of myself wearing this pretty ivory floral wrap dress. It can be used during pregnancy and nursing as well.


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I used a chair for my toddler’s table set, so I could take a picture of my baby, pretending he was on top of the suitcase.

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As for the floral wallpaper, I laid my dress down on a flat surface and took a photo of it to transfer on Photoshop. I then edited it for use on the wall. I adjusted the levels and used the “Multiply” tool to make the photo look realistic on the wall.

Again, I used my Nikon DSLR (an oldie, but it still takes good images), a tripod, and my remote (like this one)  to make the shoot easier.

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This is an image I took in Austin, TX while Brent and I were on our honeymoon. I thought the image was beautiful, so I decided to use it for what was outside of the window. sign you need a momcation photo editing (8)

Hope you enjoyed today’s behind the scenes topic!

Where do you want to go and what do you want to do for your “momcation”? Give me some ideas!


Finding your daily “me-time”

Friday, January 26, 2018

finding your daily me-time helloislandmama adventure captain america photoshop

As a parent, we all have different struggles with how to find time for ourselves. Before I had my third son, I tried to wake up a few minutes before my two eldest, so I could start my day quietly. But now, since our 5 month old still wakes up a few times at night, I’d rather wait for our human alarm clocks (our two older boys) to wake us up. I thought to share a few ways that help me recharge as a full-time mom with my three boys.


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House messes and to-do lists such as laundry can be overwhelming to think of and can easily distract me as a stay-at-home mom. But my husband Brent, always reminds me to give our kids time to bond, whether it is a few minutes playing with their Legos or sword fighting… I can really notice afterwards that they are more independent and happy when I give them my time to play and bond.


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Like I have mentioned in my post about “Mom life with 3 boys under 3”. Brent and I learned to circulate the kids’ toys so they will be excited when they see the toys they haven’t seen for weeks. This keeps them occupied and gives them some time to play on their own. I kept the big toys in their playroom, but I made 4 boxes and separated different toys into each box. I thought to put different colors to make it more exciting to the kids’ eyes. I find this simple way of circulating toys makes the house less chaotic from mess too. Plus, I believe that kids can concentrate on playing when there are no huge mountains of toys on the floor.


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Since my 5 month baby is getting into a naptime schedule (Twice a day! Hallelujah!). I tried to put my eldest boys on the same nap time as him in the afternoon. This is such a big “me time” solution to get 100% silence and get things done, such as cleaning, chopping ingredients for dinner, blogging, or shooting for a product, etc. I feel thankful that my boys continue to sleep for at least 2 to 2.5 hours! (Knock on wood!)


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I grew up in a family that had the TV on throughout the day. My husband Brent who studied child psychology opened my eyes to the fact that TV can be very addicting and not healthy for a child’s brain, especially for young ages like our boys. We try to use screen time on Fridays (as a reward or for popcorn night) or weekends. They love Daniel Tiger and Animal Planet. During normal weekdays, letting them watch is my last resort if I’m totally overwhelmed and I need some space. If I I do, I let them watch a quick Youtube video with my supervision (I often show them videos about how to learn Tagalog words, I like to use this Youtube channel). Another effective way is when I let them browse through books like “The Grounch Lady Bug by Eric Carle” and use this Youtube video of the book to let them hear a narrator reading the story for them. All the while, they listen and browse the book. You can simply open a new tab, so they can’t see the Youtube screen.

Any other tips or effective ways to have few minutes of your own time?



Dreaming of tropical weather (+ photo editing tips)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

dreaming of tropical weather hello island mama adventure 1

How’s your weather, my friend? How’s mine, you ask? Cold. That’s why I was inspired to create this image of my boys. This time of the month last year, we brought our two eldest sons to the Philippines for the first time. Even though it was the longest and most tiring trip I ever had (and to think I was pregnant at the time), the 20+ hour trip was worth it. We enjoyed the tropical weather and the fresh food and fruits that my mom and my brother prepared for us. I really miss the beach and how relaxing it is to stay on the island of Marinduque.

I wanted to share today a few behind-the-scenes images at how I created this fun and tropical style image of my boys. Scroll down for some photo editing tips!
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Use the same location if you are using natural light for the shoot dreaming of tropical weather hello island mama adventure 5

Use a tripod and remote to make the shoot easier, especially if you need to assist your kids. I also like to plan beforehand what position they will be in for the photo idea. For my baby, I want him to look like he is climbing a tree, so I carried him to get the angle and positioning of his body that I needed. I used clone in Photoshop to remove my hand.

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For the legos, I still try to take photos of them in the same location, so I can avoid doing lots of adjustments for the lighting. I love to use the pen tool to remove the background and transfer the lego onto the the main background.

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I try not to show the whole faces of my children here on my blog and Instagram, since my accounts are public.  I love to use props like this toy camera my eldest is holding to cover parts of their face.

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Hope you enjoyed this post for today! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my blog. :)


Baby’s Pajamas / Toddler Blue Short Sleeve (similar) / Toddler Blue Short (similar) / Toddler Khaki short

Safari Duplo Legos / Toddler table and chairs


Hello Island Mama is a makeup, DIY, design, and lifestyle blog by Em Smith. She is the mother of three boys and a wife, who loves to inspire and encourage others through her works and stories. Originally from the Philippines.

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

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