30A Photography Education & Healthy Living » 30A editorial photographer inspiring women to savor life through learning about photography and healthy living. Serving 30A & Panama City Beach, Florida.

Patience has never been my strength. When I take a photo I love I want to race home, edit it up and share it with the world. When working for businesses and magazines that’s not an option though – I always have to wait until after they’ve been published by the client. During a styled shoot for Wyndham Vacations in Destin last fall, I found myself literally jumping up and down over the incredible skies. We’d spent a few hours shooting inside and then moved to the beach for sunset. Now I’m able to share a few of my favorites and I’m jumping up and down again at my computer. Yes, I love what I do. So without further ado, here are some sweet, soft, pastel sunset photos (and a few from their styled shoot section) with a couple that is full of love and light!

–  Holly

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Hello, friends! I hope that you’re having a lovely love month. I’m sure it’s seemed quiet around here, but behind the scenes I’ve been working on designing heirloom albums, shooting editorial spreads and planning for the year ahead.
This weekend as I was prepping for a huge shoot later this week I ran across images from Brianna and John’s engagement session in Panama City Beach. Seeing as how it was one of my favorites this past year I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you. I’m very much looking forward to their Cape San Blas wedding next fall – if it’s half as fun as their engagement session was then it will be one for the books. Enjoy!
– Holly

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  • lauren & andrew (engaged) - […] few weeks ago I posted images from John and Brianne’s engagement session at St. Andrews State Park and today I wanted to post an even more recent session! Lauren and Andrew […]ReplyCancel

Most of the time, I really don’t miss the forbidden foods… I tell myself (and others) that I have grown to enjoy living without peanut butter, all things cheesy, and gorging myself at parties on junk food. And that’s true most of the time. But then there are moments that I find myself craving a mound of chocolate cake or a pizza, delivered fresh to our door. The thought I always have immediately afterwards is “That’s ridiculous. I’m healthier, my child is safe, and I don’t really need junk” – followed by overwhelming mom guilt.

Lately, my craving has been for one of the absolute most terrifying (at least to a food allergy mom) things ever – peanut butter pie. I have thought about it for a while and finally decided that I had to find a way to find  a “safe” version of it. A “peanut butter pie” with a “buttery graham crust” that’s completely free of all the things that make it a true southern delight – butter, cheese, and wheat. And so I scoured our grocery store and asked friends about suitable replacements and decided to give it a try. And man, am I glad I did! Our daughter helped me put this together one Saturday afternoon and we took a few pictures of the process for you to enjoy and replicate at home. It’s just as good as the original treat and was fun to make!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (8 oz.) GoVeggie Vegan “Cream Cheese” Spread or other dairy-free alternative
  • 1 1/2 Cups of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 (16 oz) package of thawed CocoWhip
  • 1 Cup Wowbutter (Our son has a seed allergy, so sunflower spreads are out for us.)b
  • 1 Cup soy milk (or other dairy-free alternative)
  • 2 (9 inch) gluten and dairy-free graham style pie crusts

What you’ll need:

  • Mixer or bowl and large whisk (we use our Kitchen-Aid mixer for ease)
  • Spatula and/or spoon
  • Measuring cups

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Step 1: Pour together cream cheese alternative and confectioner’s sugar.

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Step 2: Blend together

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Step 3: Mix in Wowbutter. Lick fingers if so inclined. 😉

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Step 4: Mix in milk alternative and beat until smooth.

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Step 5: Add CocoWhip.

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Make sure you get every last drop!

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Step 6: Blend until smooth and then pour into a graham-style crust. For this step, I decided to take over because we didn’t want to spill any of the delicious concoction.

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Step 7: Cover pie and freeze until firm.

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We’re always the first… As soon as Thanksgiving comes, you can count on the Gardner family having our Christmas cards planned and ready to go out the door. This year we’ve been a little (ok, a lot) off the ball and completely missed the mark. What we’re considering doing is sending Valentine’s Day cards instead. Or perhaps even St. Patrick’s Day cards. (We’ll start a trend.) What I do have ready though is something else that’s far sparklier and more fun – photos from Kristen & Gabe’s wedding! Their wedding was a few weeks ago at the Carillon Beach Meeting House, followed by a reception at Runaway Island in Panama City Beach. Their day was full of love, laughter and chocolate cake – all of my favorite things. 😉 After their Carillon wedding (coordinated by Avis Glenister) they caught the last light of the day and danced the night away.

I hope that you enjoy this Christmas and that these images bring a little extra sparkle to your day.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Holly

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Here are just a few of the many vendors that made this day possible:

Ceremony venue: Carillon Meeting House

Ceremony coordinator: Carillon Weddings, Avis Glenister

Reception venue: Runaway Island

Reception coordinator/florist: Signature Events, Clay Keels

Photography: Holly Gardner Photography

Cake: Fatty Patty’s

DJ: BBoy Entertainment, Daniel Davis

Makeup Artist: Morgan King

Hairstylist: Amber Conner

Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero from Simply Elegant Bridal

Ring: Mahajara’s Jewelry

Our food allergy story, like many of yours, began with unrelenting eczema. Itching. Scratching. Red, oozy spots. The doctor said it was common with infants and wasn’t a big deal. It pained us to watch our precious baby so miserable and raw. After changing pediatricians, I (Holly) followed my mommy gut and brought him in when he woke up from a nap in a pool of blood. That was, by no means, ok. Not at all.

That day we started a new regimen of baths, topical steroids, crèmes… The advice we received was completely opposite from what we’d been told previously, which frustrated and confused us, but we were so desperate to see a change that we followed their instructions to a t. Within a week, his sweet little baby skin began to heal. It took ten days to clear up completely, but it finally did. Once he was diagnosed with food allergies his flares became less severe and frequent, but he still struggles occasionally.

The other day a friend called and I could sense the desperation in her voice. Her baby was going through the same thing and they were at a loss. I started out by saying “I’m not a doctor. Or an expert. But I know what works for us…” And so I shared a few tips that I’ve picked up along the way. As I started to share, I realized that we have learned a lot about how to keep his eczema under control.

Every child is different, as are their triggers, but here are a few things that we’ve found to be helpful along the way.

  1. Read every label

When our food allergy journey began, we didn’t realize how many allergens were hidden in every day items, like lotions and soaps. That fancy organic lotion we loved? It had dairy in it! Just like food labels, be sure to read each and every labels on toiletries, detergents, etc. Cross-check the ingredients with your food allergy avoidance lists (like this one here.) Not sure what “natural oils” are? Call the manufacturer!

2. Get back to the basics  

Once we ditched all of our fancy toiletries, we started our search for ones that were safe. Our allergist originally suggested Dove Unscented, but we found that we had to be extra careful to get it in his eyes because it burns terribly. When our son had his first appointment at Dallas Children’s Medical Center’s Food Allergy clinic we received a handout from the National Eczema Association (NEA) on soaps and lotions they recommend. We cross-checked their list with our own avoidance lists, to find a few products that are not only completely free of the “Big 8” but approved by the NEA! (Conveniently, we offer a selection of our favorites for sale here!)

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  1. Bathe regularly

A huge piece of the eczema puzzle was baths. Our first pediatrician told us to bathe him less often so we didn’t dry out his skin. But what we learned works best is the opposite – bathe often!!! (The smart folks at the NEA agree on this.) We will soak him in lukewarm water (not too hot or too cool) three times a day for fifteen to twenty minutes at a time. This is a good time to bust out the toys and do a little splashing because you’re going to be in there a while. Keep this routine up for 7-10 days and things should start clearing! We’ve found that adding oatmeal to his bath helps speed up the healing, and now we use Eczema bubble pods. They’re filled with oatmeal and are tons of fun! We also recommend that after you get out of the bath you dress up in a puppy towel. While it doesn’t do much to heal eczema, it does a lot for making everyone around you smile.

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4. Slather up like a pig

Once you’ve finished the bath, take your little love out and pat them dry. The key is to leave a little moisture on their skin. Then, use your moisturizer of choice and slather them up like a pig. When his skin feels particularly rough, we turn to either the Hydrating Ointment Moisture Cream or Eczema Super Cream – both of these are thicker and more hydrating.

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  1. Keep allergies under control

This is going to sound obvious, but we have to say it… If you suffer from eczema from environmental or food allergies, the best thing that you can do is avoid your allergens! The more controlled your allergies are, the more controlled your eczema will be!

5. Keep it covered

Something we had to learn the hard way was to dress our eczema baby in long pants whenever we knew he’d be out and about. That can be particularly annoying since we live in the South, but when he doesn’t then any part of his body that touches couches, chairs, or other fabrics breaks out in eczema. We try to balance controlling his eczema with keeping him cool and are still working on this!

     6. Use steroids (sparingly)

Our final tip is to use topical steroids sparingly. We reserve using prescription ointments for when things are really out of control. We have found great success with prescription Locoid, which is formulated to be safe for regular use in newborns, as well as mild hydrocortisone, as found in the Soothing Eczema Care Gift Set. Be sure to only use topical steroids under a physician’s supervision. When you really need it though, a few dabs really does the trick!

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We’d love to hear your tips for controlling eczema. We’re all in this together!

– Holly