Confession: The first time I hired a professional photographer to take photos of my children was last year. I struggled with finding one that didn’t look canned and had a unique eye. There was a photographer I had been tailing for about a year through her blog and was about to book until my friend, Christina, started Christina Lynn
Photography. Here’s the back story…
Christina and I met in the Junior League 6 years ago. Upon meeting, we also discovered we worked at the same bank and were in the same sorority in college (insert squeals and snaps here). I know you’re thinking that we both sound like a cliche. Anyone who knows us can tell you we ain’t no cliche. Christina is insanely hilarious and I’ve coined her brand of humor as “fierce sassiness”: tell-it-like-it-is-’cause-I-know-you’re-thinking-it.
Christina’s bank job was a great way to earn a living but left her uninspired. After having her first child, she said “to heck with this” and became a SAHM and started Christina Lynn Photography. She didn’t hem and haw. She didn’t continue with her bank job and do photography on the side. She jumped in with both feet, fueled by her
passion, and hasn’t looked back. I admire mompreneurs who take that leap of faith and embody the outlook: Chase your dream. Do what you love. Let’s get to know Christina!
Christina’s Smarty Mom Quick Facts
Married to: Travis for 8 years
Mom of: Jack (3 years old), Henry (2 years old)
Occupation: SAHM and Owner/Chief Photographer, Christina Lynn
Hood: South Charlotte
Since embarking on this wild ride of mompreneur-ism, what has surprised you about yourself?
That I can do it! Seriously, it is one thing to have a dream, but completely another to pursue it with two very little children. I had always wanted to be a photographer, but planned to ‘try it out’ once the boys were older and in school. I was your typical “mom-tographer”- I’ve always loved taking pictures, but finally got a nicer camera when I was pregnant with my first child, and spent his first year of life learning how to shoot. The business developed organically through social media – I posted pics on Facebook, a friend asked me to shoot their family, and it all snowballed from there. It wasn’t at ALL how I planned for things to turn out – I officially started my business when my second child was only 3 months old, the first only 16 months, and somehow with patience, TONS of support from my husband, more patience, a LOT of frustration and missteps, things have started to evolve. I LOVE the freedom to make my own decisions, to be my own boss (I’m very much the type of person who would rather be in control than be told what to do), and I couldn’t be more thankful for the support of my clients as I have learned, and grown, and continue to
learn and grow.
What is your biggest challenge in trying to balance being a SAHM and a business owner?
I think the biggest challenge is balance. Balancing time with the family and giving enough time to growing a business is really hard, and it always feels like something is lacking. I have come to terms with a new version of life as we know it, which often means choosing something to leave slightly neglected – be it the laundry (or as I
like to call it, “Mount Laundrymore”) or dinners (what, mac and cheese and chicken nuggets aren’t part of YOUR daily menu?), something has to give, and I have quickly become more comfortable making sacrifices. As long as my children are happy and healthy, my husband is taken care of, and my clients are getting my best work and attention, the other stuff is incidental. It has been a process to learn to balance life, family, work, and my (teetering-on-the-edge-of) sanity, but I feel like we are getting there. I also feel like setting my mom-expectations relatively low helps me find success in the small things (i.e. – “We got dressed today!” or “Everyone has been fed!”) I kid. Kind-of.
Biggest celebrity crush?
What I like to call the “Grey’s Trifecta”: McDreamy, McSteamy and Mc-holy-amazing-eyes Avery. Yum. I might have to DVR it to watch it in peace, but it only makes Friday afternoon naptime even more of a treasure.
Favorite TV show?
I love to sit down with the hubs and watch mindless TV – Pawn Stars, The First 48, weird manly stuff like that. As mentioned above, Grey’s is MY show to watch in peace. I also love Bethenny Ever After. I may have a small girl crush on her perfectly imperfect life. And reruns of Sex and the City and Will and Grace make me smile. I’ll never not love those shows.
Favorite place to score kids clothes and shoes?
For normal, low-anxiety-play-in-the-mud clothes, there is nothing better than Target. I think dressing your child in beautiful clothing is great, but I find more value in my boys’ ability to actually play in what they are wearing. And I don’t want to hover over their every move making sure they don’t get dirty – I’d rather sun myself and
catch up on Twitter. Otherwise, my boys live in Polo – I have the hardest time finding ‘dressy’ clothes for my preschoolers that doesn’t involve smiling bears and smocking – nothing makes me cringe more than a smiling bear – so the Ralph Lauren outlet and TJ Maxx/Nordstrom Rack are the way to go.
Favorite place to take the whole fam to dinner?
We have all fallen in love with Los Paisas on Pineville-Matthews Road, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with awesome Colombian cuisine, at really great prices. They have killer empanadas (and chicken nuggets for the picky eaters). And a bar. The end. For breakfast, Le Peep in the Arboretum never fails. Great food, HUGE portions, and kid-friendly.
Best book you’ve read lately?
Room by Emma Donoghue. Its content will take your breath away, but the story of a mother’s dedication to her child in the most horrible of circumstances is really uplifting.
Of all time? Dirty Dancing. Lately? Inception.
Funniest thing your kids have ever said to you?
“Mommy!!! Raise my leg sleeves down!!!” – in reference to pajama pant legs.
“That looks like it hurts.” – in reference to a zit on my forehead. I thought I paid my dues years ago, but apparently my amazing diet (see mac and cheese and nuggets above) hasn’t helped my thirty-something skin to rid itself of the occasional blemish. Thank GOD for makeup.
Best birthday party you’ve attended/hosted?
I like to think I host some pretty awesome parties, but so far my sister-in-law takes the cake. She has a way of making the parties feel magical, all the details are well thought-out, but not too over-the-top. She recently did a Hello Kitty carnival theme for my 5-year-old niece, and it was awesome. Pink everything, gourmet candy apples, popcorn, cotton candy, face painting…I could go on and on.
Favorite date night spot?
Del Frisco’s in Piedmont Row. I like to sit down with my man, a giant steak, and enough moscato to make the room a little blurry. It doesn’t happen very often, but when we do get out, we love to just sit, talk and eat.
Minivan or suv?
SUV. For all the impractical reasons. I have a secret crush on the Odyssey (and actually owned one for 14 months) (see Loser Cruiser) but I can’t deal with people who don’t get OUT OF MY WAY just because they see a minivan in the rear view mirror. Moms have places to go too, you know! I now have a Tahoe Hybrid, which makes me feel a little better about driving a monster vehicle around town. And people now get out of my way, so life is back to normal.
Favorite phone app?
Instagram. I might be a photographer, but I rarely get photos of my own children that aren’t on the iphone. So then I play around on Instagram and post them for the world to see (on FB & Twitter. You know, the world). Unfortunately for my children, most of their childhood memories will be via grainy, hipster styled iphone pictures. I also love Diptic, another photography app, which allows you to make collages out of your photos. Super cute. The Sephora app is great too – I’m a beauty product junkie, so that helps me get my fix when I’m not at the mall.
Favorite Charlotte Smarty Pants blog?
Anything written by Susan. We may be friends, but even if we weren’t, I would fall in love with her a little more with every article she writes. And she writes like she talks, y’all, so now you love her even more. You’re welcome. I also love the recent blog about Mom Muscles. I might not look fit (at all), but I can easily carry two 35-pound children down a flight of stairs, or hold one, plus an umbrella and my giant purse while hoisting the other into his carseat on a rainy day.
It made me feel good that another mom recognized the special strength that comes from hauling around crazy younguns’ all day.
I could not live without my…
iPhone. Kids. Sweet Tea. Husband. Black stretchy pants. In no
such a fun website! love the typewriter.
Christina is awesome!!! She has taken our daughter’s newborn and 3 month photos. She will be taking her 6month, 9 month and 1 year photos also. It is so nice having such a wonderful dear friend be part of these special moments! And I agree with Susan, she is hilarious.