Family Christmas cards are one of my absolute favorite things to design and send out each year. I know it can be stressful planning outfits and getting ‘the perfect shot’, but I am always so happy to have that stage in our life documented beautifully. It makes all the hard work worth it! 
2015 brought a lot of changes for our family- the biggest change being the birth of our baby Eli. What better time to change things up with Christmas cards, than after adding a new member to your family! Adding a new baby to the family is exciting and new and unexpected, and I wanted our card to reflect that. I’ve loved out traditional family pictures from past years (you can see some herehere, here, and here), but this year I wanted to think outside the box a bit.

I designed our card around the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. Instead of a pretty setting, I opted to take them in a studio. I originally had the boys holding baby Eli, but I liked it better with Garrett holding him, kind of like Santa is holding the best present of all! I really wanted to run with the theme, and I’m so happy with they turned out! I designed our cards using Shutterfly. They have such beautiful metallic card options, and I love the simple modern design of this one.

I listed 3 tips on how to make your Christmas Cards unique and memorable below…

  • Think outside the box: There is no rule that says your cards must include beautiful scenery and matching outfits. Don’t get me wrong. I love scenery and matching outfits. But maybe try taking pictures in your kitchen baking Christmas cookies, or reading “The Night Before Christmas” all snuggled up in bed. Or go with a theme like I did. I worried a bit that a theme would be cheesy. But if you are going to do a theme, you must commit to it 100% for the concept to really work. Why not break the mold one year?
  • Add visual interest: If you are going with a theme for your cards, bringing in props can really help elevate the look of it. If you do choose to shoot in a studio, make sure your props are big and bright and will really pop. Taking your pictures outside? Try pulling a piece of furniture outside to sit on, have the kids hold wreaths or balloons, etc. Props add a finishing touch to themed cards. 
  • Go with a candid: If you aren’t quite ready to sway from the typical family photo, try selecting one of the candid shots where your two-year-old is pulling a crazy face while everyone else is cracking up.  As tempting as it is to want one with everyone looking and smiling, it’s the candid shots where personalities shine through. And seeing everyones individual personalities is what gives your card it’s own personality. 

This post is sponsored by Shutterfly. Share and celebrate your family update. Shop Shutterfly for personalized holiday cards that are unique, meaningful and that are just the way you want.



My favorite picture of Cash. Maybe of all time.

Me- Blazer: Banana Republic (old, similar here), Dress: TJ Maxx (similar), Heels: Seychelles, Earrings: INPINK c/o, Necklace: Helen Ficalora c/o  //  Boys- Suits: Apaman c/o (these suite are a wool blend and European cut.  I am in love with them.  Impeccable fit and well made.)

I was in Target with the boys a few weeks ago, way too close to nap time, trying my best to maneuver the two-seater “limo cart” and get the heck out of there.  I was out of fruit snacks, and the boys were done.  As I turned down an isle I stopped the cart, bent over to them, held their chins in each hand and said quietly, “Just one more thing and we’re done.  Hold it together.”  I had thrown on my “mom zone” blinders, and was just doing my best to avoid eye contact with everyone and finish my trip.  I didn’t see the nicely dressed business man on the other end of the isle.  After the boys calmed down, he walked right up to them and said, “Do you know how lucky you both are to have a mommy who cares about you?”  Then he looked at me and said, “Mom’s have a hard job.  Everyday should be Mother’s Day.”  I was totally taken aback, and really  glad that I hadn’t snapped or gotten mad at them, when I had someone watching me that I was completely unaware of.  I’ve thought a lot about this small interaction and it has really helped my in the mom category of my life.  I love my kids.  I love being a mom.  Yes, it is a hard job, but more importantly, it is a rewarding job.  I want to make sure others around me know how much I love motherhood.  That man inspired me to be as kind and patient as possible with my kids, especially in public.  You never know who is watching you, and I would hate to give the impression that I am anything but fulfilled in my role as a mother.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I have partnered with Helen Ficalora to give one deserving mom the beautiful “Mom” necklace I have styled above (a $270 value!).  This 14k gold charm is so meaningful and timeless, just like the role of a mom.  My mom moment in Target made me fall in love with being a mom all over again.  I want to hear your mom moment, and what inspires you to be a better mom!

Here’s how to enter:

  • Follow me and Helen Ficalora on instagram
  • Post a photo on your instagram of you/your kids saying what you love about being a mom, or what inspires you to be a better one (be creative!).  Use #mymommoment and make sure to tag @helenficalora and @leannebarlow in the post.
  • We can’t view your entries if you are private, so unfortunately private entries can’t be considered.  We apologize!  

I’ll announce the winner on Mother’s Day!


brotherly love

My boys are growing at a rapid speed before my eyes.  As much as I want to stop the clock, keep them little, and just smother them with kisses, it is fun to see them enter the stage where they can play and interact together.  I find myself peeking at them from around the corner, trying my best to be a wallflower, while Bradley chases Cash and makes him giggle.  Those giggles often turn quickly into cries and whines, so it is best to cherish the happy moments while I can.

Welcome Sponsor: Lacey Smith Photography + Giveaway

Do I have a giveaway for you today!  Once of my newest sponsors, Lacey Smith Photography  is giving away a fantastic photo package.  Lacey has a degree in photography, and recently launched her photography business in Utah County.  Check out her work on her facebook page or her website


Lacey is giving away free session, bridal, engagement, or small family, at Thanksgiving Point with a disc of medium res images and an 11×14 professional print!  This is a $450 value!  And with the fall rolling in, this is the perfect time of year to get some great shots of you and/or your loved ones.  If you haven’t been to the gorgeous gardens and grounds at Thanksgiving Point, it is the perfect backdrop for pictures.  
* note: Photo session must be used by October 27th.
Entry Rules:
  • Like Lacey Smith Photography on facebook
One Additional Entry:
  • Post the link to this giveaway on your facebook or twitter
How to Leave Your Entry:
  • Leave ONE comment letting me know you liked Lacey Smith Photograpy
  • Leave ONE additional comment if you followed the additional entry step
  • In both comment please include your email spelled out (ex: contactelleapparel at gmail dot com) so we don’t get spammed.
The giveaway will run through Thursday the 13th and I will announce the winner on Friday.
Happy Monday everyone!

photo shoot sneak peek

I got to spend this past weekend with my dear friend Lauren from Lalas Lens Photography shooting the first few pieces in my clothing collection.  Production is going on as we speak and I am so excited.  I can’t wait to show you all what I have been working on for the past few months!  If everything goes as planned (fingers crossed…) my first piece should be available for purchase in the next few weeks!

family pictures

After welcoming Cash into our family, I wanted to update the family pictures throughout our home.  I couldn’t be more thrilled with the work that Lauren of Lala’s Lens Photography did.  Bradley’s attention span lasted a grand total of 6 mintues, but she was able to capture his personality during the few seconds he would actually sit still.  Lauren was amazing with him! 

tangerine lace

I posted a while back that I was working on a lace dress for my brother-in-law’s wedding.  Here was my inspiration for the dress:
via anthropologie (no longer in stock)
and here is the finished product:
 dress: me, shoes: nine west, bracelet: JCrew, necklace: Nashelle, earings: Forever 21, nails: China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint
all photos courtesy of the uber talented lalaslens.  Love you Lauren!

It turned out just as I was envisioning, with a little trial and error along the way.  Rit dye became my bff.  More on that little love affair later…


I was more on top of Cash’s birth announcement than I was with Bradley’s.  I think Bradley was a solid 4 months by the time I got his out.  I took Cash’s picture and created the announcement in Illustrator and I printed it with Mpix.  LOVED them.  They were very reasonably priced, nice and thick, and the coloring was great.  I got them printed on a pearlized paper at no extra cost.  I would totally use them again.
(this is my personal opinion and not sponsored by mpix in any way) 


I thought I would share a few shots with you all this morning from our first photo shoot as a family of four….


photos taken by my sister in law, Kate

Welcome Sponsor: Lala’s Lens

I’m excited to introduce my newest sponsor: Lala’s Lens Photography.  The brains and beauty behind the camera is my college roommate bestie, Lauren.  She captured a few moments of Bradley and I at our last get together.  She has a fabulous eye and her personality will add to the joy of your special day.  No doubt your smiles will be genuine with her behind the lens!

She does custom invites too!

Check out more of her work here
*sorry about the non existent photos earlier.  Guess that’s what I get for trying to post from my phone!

Cash’s birth story:: in pictures

It’s hard to believe my little newborn is now 1 month old! Here is a little glimpse into the day of Cash’s birth. It was amazing and I loved every minute of it.

the room where Bradley was born  /  the room where Cash was born

photos courtesy of Kate Barlow

back when I was still pregnant…

Some of my old college roommates and I got together for a lunch a few weeks ago for some much needed catching up time.  My friend Lauren is a super talented photographer and snapped a few shots of Bradley giving my tummy some love.
So crazy to think that was just a few short weeks ago.  Now that bump is a baby! 
My friend Merrick and I are heading to Soel boutique tonight for this little meet and greet.  I’m excited to have a little girl time….and to get 20% off!  Maybe I’ll see you there!