Kate likes having her photo taken. She has had people comment that she is photogenic. What does “photogenic” mean? My definition would be a person who feels relaxed and confident in front of the camera. It could also mean- looking your best in photos.

That doesn’t come naturally to me, but it does to my daughter. She was a willing & enthusiastic model for a mentor session I did with Sophie and two friends this summer. I know a few “hacks” to help if you want more confidence in front of the camera.

  1. LEAN…lean on one leg OR your head on your shoulder OR your arm on the person next to you OR all three. The idea is to relax. When you offset your weight and lean on anything in your environment, it gives a much more natural feel to your images.
  2. Watch your THOUGHTS. What you are thinking about will translate from your face to your images. If you are criticizing yourself, or feeling self conscious- that will permeate through the images. Instead think about the mood or feelings you want to create with the images. Is it a family session? Think of why you are grateful for that person or people next to you. Think thoughts that bring up gratitude for that moment. It will shine through to your photos.
  3. create ANGLES…angles are more flattering than facing the camera straight on…bend a knee, point a toe, turn your shoulder toward the lens. Twist and turn to play with angles
  4. MOVE…walk, run, turn, spin. If you are sitting or standing- switch weight distribution, turn your head, change your gaze (look toward the lens, away, at the people or environment around you). With several seconds of stillness-the images can feel stagnant. MOVE IT MOVE IT
  5. engage with your ENVIRONMENT- talk and interact with the others in your photo…hug|embrace|lean on|play|laugh If you are alone…engage with the world around you…lean on the wall, climb the tree, run up the stairs, sit on the railing, pick the flowers…


A few years ago, we had a back to school celebration with a Fear Factor food challenge. I think two of my three girls were disqualified when they tried to eat fruit cocktail. They couldn’t swallow the canned grapes! I was raised on fruit cocktail! I remember clearly at age 7 or 8, when my dad made us a slice of bread with peanut butter and topped it with canned fruit cocktail. My sister Dede and I loved it SO MUCH we insisted dad open a restaurant!

When I met Danny, I learned to LOVE the beauty and taste of fruit straight from the tree. I even received my wedding ring, as a surprise, at the end of the cherry sorter, on a warm July evening. After we were married, his grandma came to our small apartment and taught me to can peaches. I haven’t kept up the canning tradition, but Danny and I have bought and planted several fruit trees. We have purchased most of them on spring shopping trips to Costco.

Our current collection of trees:

  • 3 peach
  • 1 nectarine
  • 1 pear
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cherry
  • 1 plum
  • and a row of grape vines

The family orchard is gone. We no longer spend Saturday mornings helping Papa sell fruit at Farmer’s Market. Fortunately, our love of fresh fruit will last forever.

SHE INSPIRES: write your story

Once I saw the physical product, I immediately understood why she panicked. My sister in law Amanda had switched to a new phone and her journal, that she had faithfully written in for years, was gone. Fortunately, she was able to retrieve it…but until she worked it out, she was pretty devastated. After you read her words, you will understand why. These journals are beautiful and are just a daily commitment to enter pieces of her life on her phone every night. Amanda has been a faithful journal writer most of her life and since May 2018 she has kept her journal digitally with DAY ONE JOURNAL. Currently she has created 564 journal entries with them. This is not a sponsored post, we both just genuinely love their product.

Why are you a faithful journal writer?

It’s a combination of a few things. I remember the day that I got baptized, our family friend Chris Snell gave me a children’s Bible and a journal for my baptism. I was so excited to get such nice gifts. I remember Chris telling me to record this special day so I could always look back on it and remember it. So, I have Chris Snell to thank for planting a priceless seed.

I started documenting my life at 8 years old. I still have my first journal to this day. I think starting to write every night like I did really helped my handwriting! 🤣

My mom has also been a very good journal writer. I remember as a young child I used to watch her write in her journal. About eight years ago, when my grandma Davis passed away, I really had a life-changing experience. My sister Michel got my great grandmother’s journal (Goldie Davis.) Michel called me over the phone and was reading me page after page. I had never seen these journals in my life. My grandma Davis had stored them safely at her home for all those years. I remember that day as Michel was reading stories about my grandpa Davis and him being born with curly blonde hair, I literally just sobbed on the phone. In that moment I had a burning testimony about journal writing. The story just came to life. I didn’t want Michel to stop reading. I wanted to hear every detail. The story of my grandpa Davis as a baby and somebody I just had an amazing connection with- it just changed me to read those journal entries. I made a promise to myself that day, that no matter how busy I was, I would try to take time and document my days so I wouldn’t forget. I also found out that My grandma Davis rarely wrote in her journal. The few journals that I do have of hers I cherish every page. She wrote things about me that melt my heart. I knew she loved me but, to read her words calling me “her girl” just is a testimony to me of how journal writing isn’t just for you, it can literally change generations. 

“Seriously, look how beautiful skiing was today! I was able to capture snow falling from the trees! It was so pretty! I had a great day! I met up with Michel and Carin and we went shopping at TJ Maxx then met Jimmy and the kids at Red Banjo Pizza! Jimmy gave me a pass and I went and skied for two hours! After skiing I picked up Rivers from water polo. We went and had dinner at Slap Fish and then took her to drivers ed class! She better get her drives done so that she can get her dang drivers license in a month!” Monday, Mar. 4, 2019

Has your DAY ONE JOURNAL changed your experience?

Of course, I love hand written journals. But the day one journal in my opinion just really takes any efforts out of finding a journal and a pen and all the things. With Day One journal it’s just so easy to pick up anywhere and write about my day or things I’m grateful for or something funny that just happened. For the fact that you can also add pictures, it’s honestly priceless! It’s on your phone, it’s like having a journal in your pocket. You are already looking at your phone 1 million times a day. One of the times that you look at your phone make a journal entry. It’s that easy. (I should honestly be a spokes person for day one) I could sell this app all day long. Who am I kidding I’m gonna get my own app? I want to be the next poster child for Journal apps!

“We rolled up to St. George today at 4:47 a.m. I was so trashed, Lauren seriously drove the entire way. I woke up at 10:30 a.m. when Michel called to see where I slept last night. Oh hello, I slept in St. George. I just sleep wherever I want! We unloaded the car and decided because we missed breakfast we should just grab lunch at Mad Pita…Came home, jumped in the pool. I fell asleep in the pool for probably 45 minutes. The pool temperature could not be one degree better. So freaking magical…Lauren’s friends just showed up. They are going to stay the weekend. I hope they have so much fun and are super good kids! (THEY ARE!) I think I’m off to bed! It’s been a long day! Sunday, July 7, 2019 @ 12:35 am

What is the greatest blessing in having kept your journal faithfully?

Right now, I feel like my journals are actually making me money. I’m right in the middle of a divorce and for the fact that I have such detailed information and photos and documentation. My attorney loves me. 

Another major blessing, I feel like I have the worst memory. I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast yesterday. I love going back and looking at my journals. It brings me so much joy to watch my kids grow and remember all the tender mercies that have taken place in my life. 

Amanda and her five beautiful children

What is the biggest obstacle for you keeping your journal daily?

Waiting too late in the night to start writing. How do I overcome this? Get in a routine. The first thing I do as soon as I sit on my bed is try and document my day. Sometimes when something really awesome happens, I try to document it right in that moment so I don’t lose any of the emotion and feeling.

Don’t you love my sister in law? She radiates joy in her life…and on these pages! She inspired me to keep a DAY ONE JOURNAL too. How could I not after seeing them printed? That is a service they offer, to print your books. On my next post, I will share my experience of keeping a DAY ONE JOURNAL myself.

You can follow Amanda on Instagram HERE.

embracing your thoughts on motherhood

me, my mom and my sister Dede: I was one year old

Our thoughts and feelings about motherhood change like the ocean tide. Is it filled with joy or sorrow, or like many of us—both? Are you lucky enough to have a mom living? Even luckier still, are you able to visit her this weekend (careful to social distance…or able to embrace her)? Does she live far away or does the current health crisis keep you physically distant, that forces your contact to be over the phone? Has your mom passed away, and your recognition of the day required to be on your own? Is your relationship such that you keep a physical and even audible distance for your own well being? There are endless ways to document your feelings about her and your relationship with her, regardless of your situation. Whether your story of motherhood is beautiful or tragic, there is always beauty in the story of how you have learned, benefited and gained from your mother- BECAUSE OF HER, or even in spite of her.

my mom and I the day I graduated from college


If you are lucky enough to be able to be with your mom on Mother’s Day…document it with a photo. Hand over a camera, even if it’s your phone. GET IN THE PHOTO! Let go of any idea of perfection and photograph life just as it is.

If you aren’t able to be with her in person…screen shot or video record a Facetime conversation. Ask her questions. Tell her something you are grateful for.


My girls asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day. I responded, “a letter.” I am fortunate to have all that I need and most of what I want. I can’t think of anything more meaningful than reading their thoughts of us and our relationship. It would mean the world to me. So whether your mom is living or has passed- write her a letter or meaningful words in a card. Write your thoughts and if you can, fill it with gratitude. It will fill you with love and will be the greatest gift she may not have asked for.


Whether you choose a social media platform with a photo or the journal and pen at your nightstand, write your thoughts and feelings about motherhood. It can be about your feelings of your mom or your thoughts about being a mom yourself. The benefit of sharing it on social media is the connection and inspiration you can share with those that see it. The benefit of documenting it for yourself is the beautiful way you can process all of your thoughts and feelings without the lens of what is appropriate to share with the world.

visiting my mom at work at age 11

The most important part of any way you choose to celebrate-is letting go of perfection. Just like motherhood, EMBRACE WHAT IS. Embrace the struggle, trial, messiness of your relationships, thoughts and feelings. It is in that process, that love, that grace that creates an opportunity for the beauty of humanness to flourish.

my mom with my daughters approximately 8 years ago

“do it anyway”

I was walking through City Creek and shopping with my daughters. I ran into my friend Natalie. She had a huge smile on her face and I was excited to catch up. She had fun news to share with me. Natalie was going to be starting V School in the coming week. She had decided to study web design. I was really happy for her, and had a longing to join her. At least join her in knowing what she wanted to do and going after it. I looked up V School as soon as I got home.

Natalie worked hard that year. She has since been hired by Intermountain Health. She asked me to take some head shots and I talked her into sharing her thoughts about this path she has taken.

my question: What have you learned about yourself in the process of completing your training and beginning your new career?

I don’t know that I have learned anything super new  about myself, but I’ve definitely been reminded of many things:
-I love people. I am a social person for sure, but it’s deeper than that. I have always been good at reading people. I think that’s why I love Consumer Experience (CX) so much. 
-I have a hard time sitting still. Really. I first figured out I am ADHD when I was in my late 20’s and I didn’t seek treatment until my late 30’s. Medication isn’t for me (although I’m not against it), but I definitely have to make a deliberate effort to focus.  
-Being a working mom means I have to be organized  and multi-task. When I have a lot on my plate I don’t get bored or distracted. 
-I am a morning person.  I do my best work between the hours of 4:30 and 11:30 am. Last year I read the book, When” by Daniel H. Pink. It is life changing to discover your “when”, but more importantly, the “when” of those in both your personal and professional life. 
-If I had to choose one thing I’ve learned about myself, it is that I can be a working mom and still be a great mom too. It requires sacrifice and prioritization, but it is possible.

my question: What would you say to women who have dreams but are afraid to step towards them?

“DO IT ANYWAY. My greatest asset in conquering  fear is my belief in God.  It might seem silly, but I pray for help and confidence for some of the smallest things.  Going to school and stepping into new experiences has been challenging and definitely out of my comfort zone. I could not have done it without prayer and a higher power. “

my question: What do you love most about your profession?

“People. I love CX because it brings brand messaging to the core of the why and what for the consumer. In my industry the consumer is the patient. 
My portfolio covers Oncology and Behavioral Health.   We have weekly meetings where we discuss patient safety stories in which we face anything from self harm, to death. The patient experience is our focus because the experience IS the product; and healthcare is a product we all need.” 

My favorite wisdom that Natalie shared is DO IT ANYWAY! Take the leap, take the class, apply for that job, open that business, start that new hobby, feed that passion. It is there, wide open, waiting for us!

group senior session

Of all of the many amazing things we learn in school- learning to love friends might be the most valuable. It feels like an important aspect to document beautifully. I am offering group senior portrait sessions.

The details:




up to 3 individuals: 30 minutes of shooting, minimum of 5 individual portraits of each person and 5 group images $350 total. ($100 non refundable deposit to hold your spot)

up to 6 individuals: 50 min. of shooting, 5 individual portraits of each person and 5 group images $450 total. ($100 non-refundable deposit to hold your spot)

up to 9 individuals: 65 min. of shooting, 5 individual portraits of each person and 5 group images $550 total ($100 non-refundable deposit to hold your spot)

Each individual participating will receive access to an online gallery to download images from the session.

Text me @ (801) 232-4920 to check availability. Once you receive a time from me send the deposit via Venmo to @Carin-Davis to save your spot.

the world feels quieter when the snow falls

Today it snowed. I woke early for a Pilates class and was surprised to see the world draped in white. As I slipped along the path to the door, I was excited for what was to come. The class is always a challenge, yet for some reason, against my nature, I enjoy the challenge. After the hour of strain and movement, I stepped back out into the world of white again. There was a brightness from the snow and a clarity from the work that I had just done, that gave me a fresh perspective.
I felt ready. The lenses of self doubt, needing approval & insecurity fell away. I am ready to shift from looking to outsiders for help, answers & learning. I am ready to quiet the world & move forward in confidence with what I know today.
The world feels quieter when snow falls, which is just what I needed.

what FUN has to do with it

I was in a conversation recently where having FUN was considered frivolous…and business and productivity were almost only valued. I have reflected on it a lot, not because I agree intellectually, but because my nature tends to lean that way. If I could go back in time and change anything about my life as a mom…or really just a human, it would be to have more FUN. Work, learning, service, and relationship building are ALL IMPROVED WITH FUN.

One great example of this is Kate’s third grade teacher. Kate did well in kindergarten and first grade. She began reading so early (at three) and has always been so smart. She has a summer birthday, but I never considered holding her back because she was already ahead of kindergarten curriculum well before she entered school. What I didn’t realize was that she wasn’t ready for a traditional school schedule or work day. Her creative and fast moving mind was really struggling with the tasks and sitting required at school. It caught up with her in 2nd grade. Her teacher was really contentious and wanted to help. She even got the principal involved at one point. Kate remembers really liking that teacher-but the teacher, knowing how smart she was, remained frustrated.

The following year was completely different. Kate had a younger, energetic and extremely positive teacher. Mrs. Curtis kept the kids working and expected a lot, but implemented CREATIVITY, THEIR INTERESTS and FUN amazingly well. I still get teary thinking about it. This teacher knew a few of the girls loved THE SISTERS GRIMM series, Ellie and Kate being two of those girls. (Ellie wasn’t even in her class!) Mrs. Curtis spent many lunch periods hosting a SISTERS GRIMM bookclub, when I am sure she could have used some peace and quiet during recess. They would come home from school, their faces lit up, telling me all about it. It increased both of their love of school and reading. It was amazing. SHE is amazing.

The FUN and POSITIVE ENERGY Mrs. Curtis brought to her day and teaching is what I am striving to improve on. How can I make a task more FUN? How can we have more FUN as a family? In what ways am I taking myself too seriously? How can I make my career FUN?

A few strategies that have helped me-

I write in my dream journal everyday“I cherish Danny and our marriage that is filled with love, enthusiasm, growth and FUN” It reminds me that having FUN together is a value that I cherish…and my heart lightens a bit just writing that.

Schedule FUN. When ever Danny and I have reflected on our favorite memories as a family- they have almost ALL been attached to a vacation…having fun. We relax and allow ourselves more FUN when we are on vacation, but scheduling it at home more regularly will bind our family memories more tightly together, which is important to us.

Follow the kids. I have played UNO almost every night this week before bed, because Sophie asked me to. Then I call everyone in to join us. UNO is not my favorite game- but I have been so grateful for the smiles and togetherness to end the day. I am trying to remember to always take up a child’s invitation to play with them. Play is so good for our emotional state and strengthens learning and relationships.

That is a fairly short list that I would love to grow. How do you add more FUN to your life? I know my sister in law would say, drive a convertible! I might add that to my dream journal today!