Hurricane Harvey

i can’t, i just can’t. my heart hurts, i get happy for two seconds and then i look at the news or at social media and it starts all over again. its just getting worse. thankfully, my family and us are perfectly alright, safe and dry. we’ve got about 15 people currently in the house all going stir crazy so we took turns going around our area to see the devastation. this is so surreal, so unreal, can we just wake up from this bad dream and it all be over already? i know our city is strong and will recover but its so sad to see where you grew up to be destroyed and basically gone. places i go visit weekly, gone. people who are so near and dear to me loosing everything and having to leave their homes with their little ones. I’m so happy that everyone is being strong but I’m feeling helpless sitting at home waiting for the roads to clear to do something.

my brother, bless his heart, went out with his kayak and helped as many people as he could. he almost got taken by the current but thankfully he made it safe and sound back home. he can’t stop wanting to go out and help as many people as possible. they are asking that people be smart and safe when they are going to help victims and make sure that you get them to a safe area with other people. if you think you’re going to get hit, start clearing your most valuable and important items. leave everything else on higher ground, put it in bags in your attics but do not try and take it with you. material items can be replaced but your life cannot.

please stay safe, help your neighbors and stay strong. we will get through this. we felt the southern hospitality this morning when we went to the grocery store. even though the lines were wrapped around the entire store, everyone was so calm, so orderly and so helpful. there wasnt a sour soul insight and we are thankful that people are still being human around here.

just to give people perspective, we are in southern part of the city, just past NASA and before Dickinson. our area is okay to somewhat maneuver around but only if you have a big car. please be smart if you want to explore, either don’t do it and wait or be with people in a very, very high of of the ground car but even then 18 wheelers are under water. everything north of us is completely submerged.

i do not know what will happen of the city but i will try and keep everyone updated as much as i possibly can. I’m only sharing the information that i find. please be safe, stick to your curfews and keep the emergency numbers handy and keep your phones charged if possible. i can only urge what i am hearing from everyone else.

we have the national guard, cajun navy, red cross and so many relief efforts in town but thats not enough. we have tons of people opening up their businesses for shelters but thats not enough. we are going to need so much more. we are going to need supplies for people in need, they are going to need anything and everything you can think of. people of all ages, children, infants, elderly-everyone is going to need our help- so whether you want to pull from your own closet or you want buy and donate, donate money anything is going to help. just like NOLA had Katrina, we have Harvey and its nasty.

ill be posting relief hotlines below. shelters are everywhere, george r brown, gallery furniture, churches, masjids, hometown heroes, and so many other places. if you need shelter don’t be afraid to ask.

here are some photos from our area just a couple of hours ago, its much worse now.

Relief efforts:

Red Cross Houston 713.526.8300/Beaumont: 409.832.1644

Evacuation Routes: 800.452.9292

Elderly & Disabled: Call 211

City of Houston Help Line: 311

Centerpoint Energy: 713659.2111, 1.800.752.8036 (24 hour reporting)

City of Houston Office of Emergency Management: 713.884.4500

Harris County Flood Control District: 713.684.4000

Houston TranStar: 713.881.3000

FEMA; 1.800.621.3362

Texas Attorney General: 1.800.621.0508

Disaster Relief Donations:

Diapers are not provided by disaster relief agencies.

www.texasdiaperbank.org

Salvation Army Hurricane Relief: 1.800.SAL.ARMY

Red Cross:

Text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation

United Way for text donations,

Text UWFLOOD 41444

i will try and keep everyone updated as much as i possible. stay safe.

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Sweden

Part 1 of our 3 country European tour.

Sweden- Let me preface by saying this trip was a complete surprise and none of the family we were going to visit knew we were coming. This is family that we hadn’t seen in over 20 years. Two of my uncles that we visited lived here in the states with us while my brother and I were younger and then came here with their families. 3 of my grandmother’s sisters live here, the majority of their children and grandchildren. Lots of family to see in 3 days and since it was rainy most of the time we were there we didnt do much site seeing. HOWEVER, Im counting the days until our next trip! Hopefully soon because I miss everyone so much! You know how you meet someone for the first time and it feels like you’ve known them you’re entire life, yep that was pretty much everyone we met while we were there.

My brother and I always joked with our cousins here that we don’t look like them. We’re the darker ones and everyone here is super light. People have actually questions my cousin and I if one we’re really related and two how we’re related because she’s light skinned and Im dark, we just laugh it off and say yes we’re really related. When we met certain family members here, we were in awe of how much we resembled them and how my brother and two of our cousins could pass for brothers or triplets! It was crazy. Don’t worry the picture is in here to see for yourselves.

This is one of my uncle’s family that we stayed with while we were there. He lives out in the country area and its breathtaking. It reminded me a lot of Idaho when I visited a while back for work.

By the way, this kid decided to X the bottle on the first day we were there. Ill be doing a post about traveling with active toddlers later.

The sunsets here were magnificent. A photographers dream! But it also doesn’t set until 10pm. So theres that.

Jet lag at its finest.

Everywhere is so lush and green!

These are my uncles that lived with us in the states. Let’s just say that my uncle in the middle was shocked when he saw my dad.

Day 2:

We did a little more sightseeing on day 2, drove around and went to a couple of different places in between going from house to house.

Everything is very Scandinavian and so unique, every house looks different with the pointed roofs and colorful housing. The art history/designer nerd in me was really happy.

We went to a huge mall, turning torso and a local park that went on for miles. It definitely rained the entire day but we didnt care. Hopefully next time it won’t be raining.

This was inside the mall. Let’s just say our malls need to step it up. All natural and so lush. Think of the emerald city from the Wizard of Oz inside of a mall.

So my cousin, pictured below, his grandmother (dad’s mom) lives here in Sweden. We were all going to Italy at the same time but the day he left and go to Italy just wouldn’t add up. Well someone not only surprised his grandmother but surprised us as well and it was such a great surprise.

My beautiful aunts

Incase you were wondering, yes we grew up eating big family meals like this. Trust me its the best way to eat.

This kid is always in someones pantry.

Here’s the picture I was telling you about.

Day 3:

Day three was our last bittersweet day. The fist day was filled with happy tears seeing everyone and the last day was filled with lots of laughter, hugs and we’ll see you soon!

My dad meeting some of his cousins for the first time.

Until next time Sweden! We’ll see you soon!

Our little family

A couple of weeks ago, we got our family photos done with Cassie of Cassie C Photography. Let’s just say I am blown away with these images, she couldn’t have captured us better. It’s always hard trusting someone else with my family photos as a photographer myself, Im a bit picky and when I saw her work I knew I had to have her take our photos. Im so glad that we got to do this because who knew the weeks after taking our pictures would be a whirlwind. Those are stories for another time.

For now, enjoy!

xo,

layla

Galentine's Day with your Girlriends

Who said Valentine’s Day had to be with your hunk of love?? I surely didn’t! Take your girls out tonight and celebrate your friendships! My gals and I did this a few weeks back and we had the best time! I’ll be sharing more about our new venture soon but I wanted to at least share our Galentine’s brunch with you!

This shoot was so perfect! We had such a great time getting together and brunching with each other at Tiny’s Boxwood. If you haven’t been there you need to go! It’s seriously so adorable and picture worthy!

We are Chick Boss Mob

Love you ladies!

Invites: Jennie with The Sensible Type

Paper Flowers: Kourtnie with Alaan Studios

Styled Cheese Board: Meggie with Organized Life Design

Host: Ameerah with Brunch & Slay

Photography: Layla (me) with Le Zu Photography

Bloggers: Ashley R. & Sanah S.

Cotton Candy: Lauren with Twirl Cotton Candy

Location : Tiny’s Boxwood

Seattle

Man how I miss this place. I want to go back so bad, take my little family & travel to the coast. I love cities like this and like NYC that offer so much in a small radius. Lots of fun things to do and so much to see.

One thing I always recommend doing is a city, especially if you’re only there for a few hours is to get up early and spend you’re entire day out in the city exploring. I love Seattle and the little area of Pikes Peek. I could live there every day! I mean what more do you need other than fresh flowers, fish & spices!

Oh & the original Starbucks. Super tiny space.

Seattle Public Library-oh the architecture.

The Pier

The early mornings at Pike’s Peek

Freshly baked croissants

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month & if you’re like me you either know someone who has battled this disease. I have known several people with this disease and the majority of them have prevailed and kicked cancer’s butt! This month I am extremely excited to announce that I am teaming up with some amazing ladies in the Houston area to host a benefit for the Rose Foundation’s honoree of the year.

Last month I had the extreme pleasure of photographing Hemari Jewelry’s newest collection for this year’s benefit. It is such a stunning piece! We have also teamed up with Macaron by Patisse and the Rose Foundation. I am excited to be photographing there event in a couple of weeks and cannot wait to share more!

Here are some pictures from our shoot last month!

More will be featured on my new photography site once it launches here in the next week! So excited to be working with these ladies for such an amazing cause!

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so you can stay up to date with all of our posts! xo, layla