Sarah Lehberger | Portrait Photographer | Fairfield County, CT » Celebrating the Dreamers and the Doers of the World

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Sentimental Family Photography Sessions

The leaves are already starting to change colors around Connecticut, and we’ve only got a few more weekends left to experience the warm “Indian Summer” days that I adore. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts that the peak colors of the season will be mid-end October this year so that only gives us a few more weeks left to enjoy the gorgeous autumn colors and to schedule the sentimental family photography sessions that you’ve been meaning to schedule with my limited release for the fall. I’m booking up quick so here are the details of what’s available if you are interested…

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I’ve got two days scheduled for back-to-back sessions for my clients so we can make the most of the warmer Saturdays and Sundays before they are gone. If you’ve wanted to sneak in a quick family photo in between your weekend activities or want to get those holiday gift prints ready now before things get crazy, than go ahead and click on a session date (below) that works for you and schedule your time slot now! You will be taken through a Paypal payment process so you can pay the retainer and secure your time slot.

Sentimental Sessions…

  • Saturday, September 27th - for the whole family
  • Sunday, October 5th - for the whole family
  • Friday, 10/10 or Sun, 10/26 – Mommy and me, Grandparents or Women’s head shot sessions - Interested in either date? Comment below and I’ll open up the date if I get some interest. If your school is out on the 10th than you could take advantage of the day home with them or gift this to the Grandparents if they are babysitting, and not use up precious weekend time! Alternatively, if you just need a later date before the cooler days of November than the last weekend might work. Let me know ASAP!

Please note: If you do not see a date or time that works for you above, please email me personally using sarah {at) sarahlehberger {dot} com and I’d be happy to schedule a 2-3 hour custom session. Also, retainer fees only cover my time, talent and services. Actual prints, products and digital packages will be available A la Carte after the session and may be purchased online via your private gallery and shopping cart.

I can’t wait to see you all and celebrate the silly, sweet and sentimental emotions that we get when we are present with those we love most in this world.

PS – While you are here, why don’t you go ahead and sign up for my monthly newsletter (below) so you can be the first to know about what’s happening with my photography, get tips and tricks to photographing your kids, living an intentional life, staying sane and working happy for savvy moms and accomplished women!

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SarahXOXO

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The Queen of Jazzercise

Some things about my childhood I can’t recall. And then there are the vivid memories that I feel fortunate to remember. Some of those accompany a photograph, like this one.

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She was the Queen of Jazzercise and Aerobics, and I yearned for her fancy leotards, leg warmers and dance moves. (The 80’s did not disappoint with the bold and daring fashion statements – that’s for sure!) I could not wait to wear these items of hers… and also to have boobs! It was a right of passage after all, and so I danced and went through the sparkle and shine phase… where we spray painted our tap and ballet shoes. Thankfully the glimmer of my feet would hide my string bean legs for a few years. I would wait until one day when I was older, and I could inherit her dance wear. I couldn’t wait to be a woman and to feel confident in my own skin.

Sadly, I can’t recall if I inherited any of these clothing items in my teens. The one thing I did inherit was her passion for dance and moving to the rhythm. In fact, it became my intense joy and solace growing up. I didn’t dance for anyone (or their approval), just for myself. The stage (or the dance floor) was the one place where I could let go and feel safe with all of my emotions. Not much has changed, except for the fashion statements. Oh and I no longer stick out my tongue when I’m concentrating on my moves. ;-) Gosh, am I the only person who did that?

I look at this photo and who we were back then and I still see the same extraordinary woman that she has always been. She is the fiery Latina who I get my spirited side from. She is the smart and sassy lady who could speak five romance languages and surprise those who least expected it (especially from a woman who grew up speaking English as a 2nd language). She is the determined woman who believed in empowering other Moms like her. She taught so many of us how to feel beautiful and confident from the inside out. She is the hot Mama (on the right hand side of the photo) who sacrificed so much so I could live the life of my (and our ancestors) dreams.

I wonder if the Queen of Jazzercise knew what her legacy would be back then? Do you think she had any idea of the impact that she would have on the woman I’ve become? I’ll have to ask her. So until then, I’ll ask you. What is your legacy? What are you working hard to pass on to your children now? What are the gifts that one day they’ll look back upon longingly and realize they were from you? How are you working to make a dent on this Universe so the generations and family members that follow will feel your impact?

I welcome your feedback, and thank you to all of the Queens of Jazzercise, Zumba and more… for never being afraid to be your higher self!

SarahXOXO

 

 

 

 

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Why Do Women Stand on the Sidelines?

Is the sport of cheerleading to blame? Is the age-old activity one of the reasons why women stand on the sidelines even today?

I’m not sure, and my daughter recently asked me about the sport. She’s heard of some older siblings of her classmates that cheer and so she was curious as to what it was all about. I tried to put my own personal feelings aside and give her the scoop. She’s a gymnast and dancer at 8 years old, and I suppose that cheerleading would be a natural progression for girls who like gymnastics and dance. She’s young, so I’m happy with her choice of activities and yet I am secretly hoping she will find a team sport that she loves in the near future.

And, the one sport I was hoping she would skip is cheerleading. I know, that sounds horrible and I feel a bit ashamed to admit that since I did Pop Warner cheerleading with my friends in middle school (and there are incriminating photos to prove it).

It’s not that I don’t think it is a sport, because I do. And I know it requires teamwork, strength, a positive spirit and other great skills. What bugs me is that it’s mainly a supporting role with an inferior status to the sport (and overall game) that it is associated to. And I believe it affects young girls in ways that we are too afraid to admit or in ways that our society is too ashamed to discuss.

I believe that this supporting role mentality is ingrained in their minds and stays with girls long into adulthood when they are women working in a corporate or similar environment. Instead of raising their hand, speaking up or taking the lead, they choose to remain in a supporting role where they won’t “rock the boat”. A role that encourages and reinforces the male as the authority and leader. This mentality also exists in households today where women are often afraid to speak their mind, are often forced to act submissive, and where daughters are praised for being “well behaved” (or quiet) compared to boys.

I want my daughter to be in the game. I want her to be taken seriously. I want her to feel confident that she is capable and powerful. I want her to know that her knowledge and character are far more important than her looks.

I’m sure you’ve seen the ad campaigns for #BANBOSSY and Verizon’s #InspireHerMind that are hoping to empower girls, encourage leadership, and change the confidence gap – and I think they are brilliant! I applaud them for continuing the conversation, and in case you haven’t seen the new Pantene commercial that challenges women to stop apologizing and to instead share her strength, watch it here!

It’s time for us to take a stand as women, wives and mothers and to embrace the idea of girls as leaders! We need to work hard to close the confidence gap that exists today, and to show our girls that ambition, success, strength, leadership and confidence are all traits to be proud of.

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What will I say if she asks me if she can be a cheerleader one day? I will tell her to try out for the boys football or basketball team. If that doesn’t work, I might say yes… and let her try it (like I did)… but only if she joins the science, math and engineering club as well or lets me coach her squad (in hopes that I can change the future of cheerleading and girls NO LONGER standing on the sidelines). It’s time for us to be in the game ladies and more importantly — leading the effort! I hope you’ll join me.

Hugs and Kisses, Sarah

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How to Stay Sane as a Working Mom

I hear it all the time. “How do you balance it all as a working Mom?” The truth is, I don’t think of it as balance anymore. You’ll have to read on to find out why.

When I first started out, I wasn’t organized and I didn’t have a plan for how to get through the week. I wore spit up on my shirt like it was an accessory and I was so excited when I discovered dry shampoo (my new BFF). There were toys and crumbs all over the carpet and no time to clean (thank God for the dog that doubled as a vacuum cleaner!). I didn’t have a free hand for cooking and the closest we came to gourmet was Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (my childhood favorite). I often dreamed of cloning myself. It was time to get a grip and be the boss. I had to learn from all the others (the pros) who went before me. How did they do it all? I was about to find out.

I went to a retreat and a fellow photographer and Mama (Danielle) shared her secrets to running a household of three boys. Her talk included a white board and a weekly meal schedule and she made it all seem easy. The truth is, we know it’s not until you get the hang of it. Until you’ve practiced and worked out the kinks for your own family. Until you’ve learned how to prioritize or what to let go of. Until you’ve decided to be intentional about some tasks so you can be more carefree or spontaneous on other tasks. And then I listened to a webinar by another smart woman (Jane) who challenged the idea of finding a work-life balance. She got me thinking that it really doesn’t exist. Not in today’s technology age where working around the clock seems to be the norm or expected sometimes. I know others have written articles about this as well, and are calling it “the work-life balance myth“. The outside world doesn’t have balance and there’s no real equilibrium for all of the many roles that we play, so it comes down to us taking a stand for ourselves and the things that matter. I like to think of it as finding our sanity in the midst of chaos.

…and acknowledging that everything or everyone else can wait. I won’t lie. It isn’t easy at first. And as soon as you make peace with this controlled chaos and figure out what you NEED to do (not want) and what makes you happiest… you will exhale deeply because you have found the secret to your own success.

Here are my Top 10 Tips and Tricks on how to stay sane while running a household AND a career!

  1. Be a Queen of Routine – From morning to bedtime, everyone will thank you for it as they’ll know what to expect and what’s expected of them. That means morning alarm clocks, afternoon homework or chore times, family meals and shower times. If you have a sitter who helps with these, make sure they stay on track so when you come home the chaos feels like it is under control after that 5pm witching hour that we all know so well.
  2. Learn to Say No – Without apologies, explanations or feelings of guilt. As much as you want to be superwoman, there is only one of you and you need to take care of YOU first. (This is an especially hard lesson to learn.) Minimize your time on activities that don’t enhance your career or personal life. Saying no means that you are making time for the things that truly matter.
  3. Say Yes to Offers of Help – Accepting help isn’t a sign of failure, it’s a sign that you have good people in your life who generally care enough to offer. And you know that when the time is right you would gladly help them too. Do it – and let them know it’s appreciated!
  4. Delegate and Streamline – Let the kids dress themselves and put their pajamas away, take out the trash, etc. Don’t let your partner off the hook either. I’ll wash and you fold?! You get the idea! And instead of racing to multiple activities after school or work, set up some carpools and swap turns. Keep a checklist of groceries on your mobile device so you can share it and send a honey-do list when needed too! Try the Out of Milk App, if you are looking for a great tool to do this with.
  5. Let Go of the Guilt – Having a passion for your career doesn’t make you a bad mom or wife, and desiring a quality of life and balance means you are human. Choose to give priority to whatever fills you at your core or whatever feeds your soul at that time. When you feel fulfilled and happiest you’ll be able to give priority to other things that are equally as important or even less. It’s a constant tug of war, which is why it’s important to find inspiration and meaning in each role that we play in and out of home.
  6. Get Organized on Sunday (or the Night Before) – That means you start packing the back packs, making lunches, and prepping dinners or a menu for the week! You won’t have loads of time in the morning and inevitably someone wakes up late. So get a head start the night before. I like to plan 4 meals and prep my meats in Ziplock bags, so I can throw them in the fridge to defrost or in the crock pot the next morning. If you like to plan ahead too, you might find these #intentionalhome project lists super helpful (as I have, thanks Karen)!
  7. Be Present with your Loved Ones – When you clock out or shut down, do just that. Put the phone away and exhale as you enter family mode. Set your boundaries and eat with your loved ones, take the dog for a walk, read bedtime stories, cuddle, or have a date night with your spouse/partner.
  8. Outsource time-consuming chores and errands – Consider the things that can save you time and energy so you can have more of it with the ones you love. Try ordering your groceries online for home delivery! Set up the free dry cleaning delivery service, or try out the wash and fold service at the laundromat! Maybe you can splurge on the once a month house cleaning service while you work? You’ll get precious time back in your life! The same goes for your business and you’d happily outsource the time consuming things to the experts, so follow this rule at home too!
  9. Set Aside Some Me Time – Do you have 15 or 30 mins for some de-stressing, hobby time, journaling or meditation? How about an hour for a workout? Clearing your mind and boosting your energy level may make all the difference in having a productive and happier day. Remember, YOU matter!
  10. Find a Community of Like-Minded Women – Surrounding yourself with hard-working and passionate people who want to mentor, support and encourage each other while fostering continued learning. Women who want to develop relationships, and who aren’t afraid to express authentic emotions about their work challenges or triumphs. Research some groups in your area and comment here if you know of any great national chapters or organizations that others can join!

I’d love to hear your feedback as well. What are other tips that have worked for you and your family, and helped to keep you sane? Do you think work-life balance is a myth? What does balance mean to you? Let’s keep the conversation going ladies! :-)

SarahXOXO

 

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