We love the finest things – family, friends, togetherness, home…and the occasional exemplary cupcake.  We’re thrilled you made it here…cozy up to see the latest sessions, our favorite things and a dose of inspiration for living a life committed and connected to what matters most.  Hope we remind you of your finest things so you can treasure, savor and celebrate them!

Back to first page of blog

a few favorite things…for people generally not into things

there are a handful of items that fit into our lives and make it work a little better…i love hearing about those things from friends so i thought i’d do a quick share!  please mention yours in the comments!

1- everyone soap…the goal was to declutter our shower and have just one bottle. i realized if i picked one we all liked we could use the same shampoo…bottle clutter begone! i had audrey pick her favorite scent at whole foods and I love that you can also use this as a bath gel. multi-taskers are more likely to earn a permanent spot in our home. it’s so affordable and lasts forever.  here’s the downside – buildup (which seems pretty common in natural hair products, yes?)…so i’m going to try a rinse but wanted to give you the whole scoop.

2- patagonia black hole messenger bag…i like to travel light but that same concept applies to everyday. so instead of a day to day bag and a camera bag, i use the same one because i still want a half dozen of the same things – lipbalm, id, pen…this item may be more photographer specific but i keep an insert loaded with lenses, cf cards and batteries. sidenote: cute camera bags have proliferated but i find most have quality issues that only keep them in service for 18 months of heavy duty use. i love products with lifetime guarantees – less waste, less shopping…ahhh!!

3- baggu…i’ve mentioned these before but since they’re constantly in use at our home they deserved a spot again. books to go back to the library hang out in one (because unlike other reusable bags that are intended for medium weight, these are so strong) – they’ve given us years of service and don’t show any signs of wear. i use one for the gym, too since you can totally throw them in the wash. after trying a couple different kinds of reusable bags i’ve found i prefer the baggu’s…the size is *perfect*. we use 3-4 on a regular grocery trip because they hold two regular bags worth.

4- wireless headphones…i think the suv crowd was way ahead of the curve on these. we don’t use them in our car but rather inside. granted, we don’t watch much tv during the day which may be what makes the noise a bit startling. i know people who have the tv on as background noise and this isn’t for them…it’s for those who would prefer music or just quiet :) open concept homes really benefit from these!  (we got ours a long time ago – there are much better options now that are less expensive and more compact)

5- squeasy…audrey loves those squeeze pouches but they created so much waste (this book totally changed my outlook on our household and the amount of trash we create). now most often her after-school snack on the ride home is one of these filled with unsweetened applesauce – the portion size is more satisfying, too. i pop it into the dishwasher in the evening and we use it again the next day (everything pulls apart). we’ve been using it for a year and have had zero issues.

6- ikea containers…i know, their quality can be all over the map so i just bought four and then got more later. super durable (i’ve brought them on roadtrips in our cooler even though they’re glass).

i love clear containers and really appreciate when they nest in the cabinet. side benefit: when i switched to these my mom said it looked like our fridge had been styled for a photo shoot :) sometimes getting all the sides of the lids to snap takes some muscle which might be from the dishwasher. (we have the size i linked to, a larger rectangular one and a couple small ones)

7- lamy pen…so what I’ve learned is that if i have one of something, i’ll keep track of it. one pen, one pair of sunglasses, you get the picture.

what makes this one of my favorite take-aways from 2014 is that you naturally have less stuff and you can (if you want) think about upgrading your one item to what you’ll really enjoy. someone sweet gave me the best lip balm from beauty counter and I’m using it up before i get anything else :)

tell me some of your favorites – pretty please!!



xoxo, -melanie-

happy holidays!!

2014 has been magnificent!  after today, we’re closing up shoppe for two weeks to dote on our families for the holiday season!  if you need us, pop us a note (info@melaniemauer.com) and we’ll be checking in a couple times a week!  -the happy crew at mmp-


time to celebrate

so often children are the teachers. on how to love completely. on how to be fully present in the moment. on how to celebrate everyday.  i think it’s in good part to those things that i feel so at home in their company.  grateful to see these two above love the newest addition with all they have.

the quote below seems applicable to the few weeks ahead…let’s pinky promise to make small moments beautiful!!

All too often people get caught up in the anxiety of their fast-paced lives,

feeling there is no time to celebrate.

I feel we impoverish our spirits

if we don’t regularly come together for some planned happiness

to make small moments beautiful.

[ Alexandra Stoddard ]

xoxo, -melanie-

cold weather = cuddle weather

i joke at sessions that i’m surprised i’m as busy as i am because there’s quite a bit involved to get a family ready for a session. and as we head into the final weeks of the year, i wanted to express how grateful i am for that preparation.

grateful to do work that i love.

the treasures we make together.

to spend time with you.

the trust to tell the story of your life.

for a great team at mmp that supports me so i can shoot more often than i could otherwise.

every inch of it is astounding to me.


i’m whisper-typing this so not everyone reads it ;) i’ve been writing on a secret little blog called the happy essentialist in case you’re interested in the topics of simplicity & contentment.

oooh, i have to share the most amazing journal – i know, it’s sounds very much like a 12 yr old girl sort of thing but it’s wonderful – i haven’t missed a day since i opened it at the beginning of the month.

and in case the colder weather brings a little time to read a short book, my jaw is dropping over this little number.  my closet has been TRANSFORMED.  my book collection has been edited and makes me SO much happier.  oh, and if you get confused when she talks about her folding method, there’s a youtube video on it.  it was a huge hit in japan and i think it might be #4 on the times bestseller list now…combine anything japanese with decluttering/organization/minimalism and i’m going to fall pretty hard ;)

it reads SO simply but when i hopped up and got to work on the first project, i couldn’t believe what a difference it made.

the disease of being busy – i hear you, omid…let’s see what we can do to keep the holidays peaceful and slow.  i’ve been working on gifts so most of them can be done by the end of the month. (yahoo!!)

“happy” edited to soul train – so, little known mauer family fact.  we love to dance to the end of soul train.  the hallway gets turned into a runway while we play our favorites.

i’ve got nothing to compete with those kind of moves so we totally copy and just hope we don’t pull a muscle when we high kick ;)  there are a particular few years that are our favorites – way before the head to toe spandex outfits of the 80s.  not just any Soul Train episode will do!! but this youtube edit pulls from some good ones.  (and before you think someone hi-jacked the blog, i was totally gifted the soul train collection from my brother because of this tradition) i submit this is one super fun way to get through the colder months with active kiddos :)

i love that someone even thought to make this – after going to acadia this year, i’m a national park super fan!  audrey has her park passport and loves going over to the cancellation station to mark it.  fingers crossed we’ll get to yosemite in 2015!

this house is amazing – for some reason, i could never relate to anything modern until last year.  now, i’m enthralled.  this german architect designed his home to be ultra energy efficient, off the grid, super quick to build with very little waste – yup, my smile is as big as a school bus.

love this advice on making better decisions.

have the best thanksgiving there ever was!!!!  xoxo, -melanie-








seniors are SO fun! particularly ones i’ve photographed before – like when they were 7 and missing their two front teeth :) emory, have the best year at school!

loveliness from around the web:

i love how this couple took personality tests to get to know one another – i’ve learned so much about how jason approaches things because of that.

not sure about how you plan travel, but my preparation generally includes some food research :)  why?  because a great meal seems to elevate a trip.  so i jot down notes for cities i think i’ll be in and this restaurant is going on my list for the next time i’m in asheville.

oh man, have you had L’Oven Cookies yet? good grief, i’ve walked blocks to get to my favorite bakery in nyc to get cookies this good.  jennifer brought them to the mother daughter campout and i’ve since made my own order!

love this round-up of great kiddos shoppes

have any of you played around on duolingo? i’ve heard such great things! not exactly sure when i’ll be fitting in language learning but i’d love to recapture the ease i used to have in high school.

airbnb is such a help when we travel but i’m also excited about this one…and here’s a great cliffside villa in greece, just in case ;)

hope you’re having the best start to your fall! the leaves have been crunchy underfoot this last week! (and thank you, thank you for the house leads – you guys know me well!)

Back to top