Amanda Joy Photography

Choosing a Location

Portraits, FamilyAmanda MohinaniComment

Spring is rolling into Kansas City in full force, and the warmer weather has me dreaming about shooting in the gorgeous sunlight (or lovely downpour)! My brain is full of ideas for photo sessions, and I thought I'd take this opportunity to share my favorite types of locations for photo shoots! 

Location #1. Your own home

Home is where you and your kids are the most comfortable. Home is where you are safe. Where life happens and memories are made. No more packing up the kids into the car in a hurry - I come to you! This translates into some of the most relaxed and lovely photos I've ever taken. And don't worry about making it look perfect; photography is about looking for great light, and beautiful light can be found in many unique places around your home! 

Want ideas for what to do in your home during your session? Let's set up a fort in your living room, bake some cookies in your kitchen, or snuggle in your bed! 


Location #2. The Woods

Woods are magical places. Dappled light, crunchy leaves, and rows of trees add such depth to photos and create a lovely backdrop for you and your family! One of my favorite things about shooting in the woods is that there's always new spots to explore just around the next tree - perfect for inquisitive kids! 

Want ideas for what to do in the woods for your photo session? Take a hike, create an "I Spy" adventure, explore new paths, build a fire, or roast some s'mores! 


Location #3. The Wide Open Fields

Wide open fields are where kids can run free for miles. And it just so happens that Kansas is the best place to find gentle rolling hills and wide open spaces! Aren't we lucky?? One of my favorite things about them is that fields give us permission to breathe deep and gaze far. To let the kids run free and wild while we lay in the soft grass and gaze at the sky. And THAT sounds like the best photo shoot ever! 

Curious about ideas for your field photo shoot? Go look for flowers, roll down some hills, fly a kite, have a picnic, or just sit and stare at the clouds!

Location #4. The Urban Scene

Maybe all of this nature stuff doesn't float your boat. Maybe you and your family would rather explore an alleyway, or climb a bridge, or discover a museum, or ride a trolley! Well, thanks to our lovely city, you can do all those things! Your photo shoot is all about capturing who you are, so let your personality shine!

Needs some ideas to get you started? Get coffee together, dance down an alleyway, ride your bikes, paint graffiti, visit a museum, or attend a baseball game! 

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. I hope this gives you some ideas for where your next photo session could be! 


PS - If you need more inspiration, I have a whole Pinterest board full of location ideas!! Click here to see it. 

2016 Self Portraits | Kansas City Lifestyle Family Photographer

PersonalAmanda MohinaniComment

Each year for our anniversary I try to set up my camera and take a self portrait of me and my favorite Indian for our never-ending photo frame. Sometimes we're on the ball and get our photo done within a few weeks of our anniversary, and other times it doesn't happen for six months. This year, as a tribute to our growing family (not pregnant!), we decided to add in our adorable little pup - #PixelOurBeagle - because she's cute and we like her (enough to have her own hashtag).

It usually takes many attempts to get it right.... especially now that we have a puppy in the mix. But I always love the result: me and my husband and my pup and our very own home and our journey encased in a little 8x10 frame. 

Taking self portraits always makes me extra reflective, and so today I'm reflecting on how incredibly thankful I am to be taking a journey with this man, how thrilled I am to have a home that I can open to those in need, and how much I love having a snuggly puppy who teaches me how immeasurably impatient I am (and how I'm SO not ready for kids). 

Have a lovely Wednesday! 

Five Final Tips - Starting a Capsule Wardrobe

Capsule Wardrobe, PersonalAmanda MohinaniComment

If you've been following along on my blog for the last couple weeks, you'll notice that I've been sharing my thoughts about how to begin a capsule wardrobe! Post #1 was about being willing to risk having less, post #2 was about making your own rules, and this 3rd and final post is all about the different tips and tricks I've learned along the way. I hope it's helpful to you! 

Let's dive in!

Tip #1. Study your style

If you've followed posts #1 and #2 and have begun to whittle down your closet to pieces that you love, you may notice a common theme among your clothing. Right away when I first started, I noticed that I had a large amount of tops, and they were all bright colors and patterns! But as I studied other capsule wardrobes that I loved on Pinterest and blogs, I noticed myself being drawn toward those outfits that were a mix of just a few simple and neutral pieces (Caroline from Un-Fancy is still my wardrobe hero). It became pretty apparent that I had the habit of purchasing colorful and loud tops because they were easy to quickly pair with jeans without a lot of thought - but it drastically increased the amount of clothing I owned, and made it difficult to mix and match items together! 

Over the last year, I began to slowly filter out stand-alone pieces, and only purchase items when they were able to be paired with several other clothes in my closet! Studying others' style and intentionally creating your own style will reveal which items you're drawn towards, and which pieces are missing from your wardrobe. (Plus, it's a fun excuse to surf Pinterest!! As if I needed one...)

Tip #2. Bottoms multiply your options

As I mentioned above, my natural tendency has always been to purchase a variety of tops and wear them only with my favorite pair of jeans - easy, right? But as I studied and experimented more, I found the more bottoms (pants, shorts, skirts, whatever floats your boat!) I had, the more options I had to create different outfits. That made my few (but intentional) tops more versatile and less boring. My dark jeans will always be my favorite and most comfortable go-to bottoms, but finding a good pair of light jeans, black jeans, purple pants, and green pants (I still enjoy the bold colors!) has multiplied the options I have, and diversified my tops. 

Tip #3. Completer pieces do their job well

This one is pretty self explanatory, but it's definitely worth mentioning! Finding versatile cardigans, jackets, vests, and blazers will easily and swiftly change the mood of your outfit. You can wear the same top and bottom two days in a row, and if you pair it with a different jacket or blazer, it looks completely different! Yay for less clothing and more options! 

Tip #4. Rock your accessories

I'm not a jewelry girl. Somehow necklaces and bracelets always seem to get in my way, and I'm still awkward when styling them! If that's you... welcome to the awkward club!! But, I do have a love for fun scarves and big 'ol earrings - and thanks to my short haircut, you can actually see them when I wear them! Colorful earrings and scarves can spice up a neutral outfit in ten seconds flat, and add color! Yay color! 

Tip #5. Invest in your pieces

If you're building a capsule wardrobe that will last for a long time, you'll be wearing a lot of the same clothes over and over. And with time and use and many washes, cheap clothes will eventually wear out! It's better to spend more on one piece that you know will last you a long time, then to buy five pieces that sort of fit within your wardrobe. This comes back to knowing the rules you've set up for yourself, and the budget you have! Maybe you only buy one or two new pieces every few months or even once a year. But as you begin to recognize your style and which pieces you want to purchase, you'll be more willing to spend more on quality materials. (I'm still working on this myself!)

Bonus: Tip #6. Consider ethical fashion

This is something I'm still researching and figuring out for myself, so I definitely don't have all the answers! Bonus tip! Here's my thought: if you're going to be spending more money on quality materials, why not purchase it from companies that provide fair wages, safe work environments, and maybe even help support international artisans through fair trade? It's worth a thought. I'm excited to begin discovering how I can help support companies I believe in (like Noonday), and I invite you to do the same! 


I hope this series has been helpful to you as you journey towards being content and resourceful with less. I'd love to hear from you about your own experiences with a capsule wardrobe and what you've learned along the way! 

Making a Plan - Starting a Capsule Wardrobe

Capsule Wardrobe, PersonalAmanda MohinaniComment

Welcome to part two of my journey into a capsule wardrobe! I began this whole process about a year ago, and if you want to get caught up, you can click here for part one. 

Starting a capsule wardrobe can be intimidating and scary unless you have a plan. I am ALL about plans. And lists. And budgets. So when I began contemplating the capsule wardrobe idea,  I followed these basic steps. 

Side note: A lot of this I learned directly from Un-Fancy (Check her out - she does a fantastic job of explaining everything!) and other Pinterest people, and some of it I made up on my own. Proceed with caution: I am long winded. :) 

Step 1. Pick a time frame

If you're going to begin an experiment, I think it's important to set a reasonable expectation on how long you want to try it out! When it comes to your wardrobe and your style, the last thing you want to do is begin a process that takes forever while you hate every second of it. So if you're going to try a capsule wardrobe, stick with it for a month, a season, or a year and then reevaluate.  

I decided to try a capsule for a whole year because I was pretty well convinced that this would work perfectly for me - and because a good friend of mine who had fabulous style had already tried it a little bit and loved it (thanks for being my guinea pig, Jess!). However, in the back of my head, I knew that if I didn't still love it after a few months, I had no problems stopping. With no guilt!

And that, my friends, is very important.

Step 2. Make your own rules

Here is where you decide how many pieces (or a range!) you want to stick with, and what kind of pieces count. You get to customize your plan for your lifestyle. Do you want to overhaul your entire closet? Go for it! Do you want to experiment with your every day clothes and leave your workout clothes out of the picture? Own it! 

For me, I decided to try to stick under 40 pieces of clothing (picking one arbitrary number didn't seem flexible enough for me). Then I decided it was realistic for me to count only my tops, bottoms, completer pieces (cardigans, jackets, etc) and shoes. I left out all underwear (for obvious reasons), workout clothes, lounge-wear, painting/work clothes and shoes, and dressy items because they are used so infrequently. This gave me a framework to begin with and seemed a whole lot more attainable! 


Step 3. Go through your closet

This is where the magic happens! First of all, take everything out of our closet. EVERYTHING. Lay it on your bed (make your bed first!) and start by picking up each piece one by one. If you absolutely love it and the way you look in it and would wear it every day then put it back in your closet. If you like it, but don't love it, then set it aside in pile #1. If it doesn't fit you, flatter you, or feel good - get rid of it in pile #2. Once you're done, get rid of pile #2, but keep everything in pile #1 - just hide it out of sight. If, by chance, you find that you miss anything out of pile #1, then you can still go get it! But I think you'll find that once it's out of sight and out of mind.... you won't miss it one bit. 

When I went through everything in my closet, I had a pretty large pile #1 and a fairly small pile #2. Pile #2 immediately went to my nearest clothes donation drop off, and pile #1 went into a large trash bag that I saved in the corner of my closet. Get this: I saved pile #1 for almost a year. It was only recently that I finally got rid of it! But do you know how many times I went back into that pile for clothes I missed? Zero. I missed nothing! But I'll be honest... it was still comforting to know that all my clothes were right there in case of a clothes emergency (is that a real thing?). 

Side note: I chose to separate my summer clothes from my winter clothes during this step. All of my off season clothes (that I loved and didn't make it to any of the piles) went into our other closet until it was the right season to wear them again. That means your closet is only full of the things you can wear today! 

Step 4. Make a budget and shopping list

By now you have a beautifully clean closet with all of your favorite pieces of clothing. It feels airy and light, and most beautiful of all - simple. I'm such a sucker for simplicity! Up until now you've been intentional about what you currently own, and this is where you get to be intentional about what you want to buy in the future! Revisit Step 1 (your time-frame) and Step 2 (how many pieces and what kind) and decide how often you want to shop, what you want to buy, and how much you want to spend. 

For example: I allowed myself to go shopping for one week right after I went through my closet. Then I decided no more shopping - for three months! Every three months (when the season would change) I would allow myself to go shopping for about a week (visit a few different stores, try on different things, return things, etc) and then I wouldn't shop for the rest of that season. It's incredibly freeing, but also immensely strategic! Use those three months to make lists, research and pick out what you want next, and set up your budget. Remember to be intentional! 

I currently still use a note on my phone to track how many pieces of clothing I have in each category, and which pieces I want to buy in the future. Keeping a list helps me see what I currently have and which pieces I want to purchase in the future. 

And these were my previous capsules! 

Step 5. Give yourself grace

This may seem like a long and complicated process - I promise it isn't. But if it's intimidating for you and it seems overwhelming and unnecessary, maybe capsule wardrobe isn't for you! That's is totally ok! Or maybe you go back up to Step 1 and 2 and make different rules! Remember to give yourself grace. The whole concept of a capsule wardrobe is to bring freedom and ease to your life so you can love what you wear and find confidence in your style. Experiment. Try new things. Find what you love and stick with it. 

I hope this is helpful for you!! Next week I'm excited to share some final things I learned throughout my year long experiment - and boy, did I learn a lot! Can't wait! 

Risk Having Less - Starting a Capsule Wardrobe

Personal, Capsule WardrobeAmanda MohinaniComment

Growing up I had two older sisters with incredible fashion. As the youngest child, I often ended up with their (much desired) hand-me-downs. This made my little heart happy because I didn't have to spend any money AND I got to look good in my sisters clothing (win win!). Even if I was constantly a few years behind the fashion trends, I loved seeing beautiful things from my sisters end up in my closet. 

When I was young, I never really put a lot of thought into my appearance. With a short. low-maintenance haircut, and a preference for boys t-shirts and jeans over those itchy frilly tops, short shorts, and make up, I just didn't really care. When I got married, I started realizing that my entire closet was made up of hand-me downs, and some of these items were pushing 10 years old! (But my sisters looked so good in them!) My fear and hatred of spending money kept me from exploring my style, and my thrifty-what-if-I-need-this-in-4-years mentality kept me from getting rid of clothing that I'd held on to for far too long. 

Not long into our marriage, my dearest husband started pushing me to spend money on myself. Not because he wanted me to change, but because he knew that exploring my style and freshening up my wardrobe could bring a confidence in my identity and joy in my appearance that can only come from sitting down to think about what you actually want to look like - instead of being handed something for years.

Or maybe he didn't know that (girls are complicated). Maybe he had no clue what would happen - he was just being generous with his wife. But either way it pushed me down the dreaded path of spending (wasting - as I thought) money on myself. 

About a year ago I came across the idea of a capsule wardrobe when I was on Pinterest. My inspiration came from following a blog called Un-Fancy; a woman's journey to find joy in less, by limiting herself to a wardrobe of 37 pieces of clothing (37 PIECES, YA'LL) per season. Hating clutter and waste as much as I do, I loved the idea so much that I decided to tweak it for myself and try it for a whole year. I researched (Pinterested), studied (envied), and wrote lists (duh). And a year ago I dived into the capsule wardrobe world. 

I've never looked back. 

Now, I don't want to be dramatic.... but having a capsule wardrobe can change your life (is that dramatic?). Learning to live with less, being more intentional about my purchases, and wasting less time on the what-do-I-wear-today conundrum transferred into other areas of my life. When I picked up Mari Kondo's book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a light-bulb went off in my head! I long for simplicity. I hate clutter. I love owning a few things of great significance. I love having time and money to be generous with others.

You see, having a capsule wardrobe gave me the confidence and and courage to risk having less. I'm no longer afraid that I'll having nothing to wear. I no longer buy that $5 cute shirt on the sale rack at Target JUST because it's a bargain. I have a cleaner closet! I feel like I have more clothes that I love! I can create 5 outfits in 5 seconds that I would want to wear every day! (5 seconds is probably impossible, but you get the idea...) 

It's not about spending lots of money - believe me, I created my capsule wardrobe a little at a time. It's not about making up a bunch of rules that you can't, won't, or just don't even want to follow - I made my own guidelines and changed them as I went along. And it's definitely not about trying to fit in with whatever the latest fashion trends are - a capsule wardrobe is all about finding what works for you and giving you the confidence and satisfaction to own it. 

Coming up, I'm so excited to share all that I've learned about capsule wardrobes in next week's post (there's just too much to share in one blog post!), but in the meantime... check out Un-Fancy's blog, or my wardrobe Pinterest board to see how awesome a capsule wardrobe really is! (I may or may not be biased!) 


Also, big thanks for Aaron Phelps for these lovely photos of me and my love. I married the most generous man I've ever known.