Katie and Morgan warmly welcomed me into their historic and picturesque home on a cold winter morning. I enjoyed touring their beautifully decorated space looking for the best locations and lighting to capture this loving family. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about their lives and travels during the lifestyle photo shoot. As I was leaving I caught a glance at a witch above their kitchen sink. It reminded me of a witch my husband and I had received as a wedding gift from a friend that lives in the south. I was so curious about it. We laughed and googled to learn that it is a German tradition and she brings good luck to your home. I’m now curious how common kitchen witches are. Let me know if you have one too in the comments below. I hope you enjoy hearing Katie and Morgan story!
How did you two meet?
I was living in Athens, Georgia with 6 other girls, 3 dogs, and only 1 full bathroom when a roommate’s boyfriend brought Morgan over to our house to hang out. He was tall, dark and handsome, and so very funny. We dated while we lived in different cities, and eventually different states until Morgan put a ring on it and we started our life together in Atlanta.
Describe how your life changed once you brought home your newborn baby.
Sleep went out the window! But in all seriousness, we both feel a whole new sense of purpose. I never knew I could love someone like I love Eleanor (or “Ellie” as we call her). And while our schedule has been flipped in its head, the disruption is worth every smile.
What do you enjoy about living in the Pittsburgh area?
Pre-COVID, we really enjoyed exploring downtown! The food scene is on point, and we try to hit Phipps Conservatory for each new exhibit. Perhaps our favorite part of the area, though, is the Montour Trail. We walk it, run it, bike it, and nowadays push Eleanor around in the stroller on it. Our dog, Boots, enjoys it as much as we do.
What are your family’s favorite things to do in and around Pittsburgh?
We adore the Strip District. Our visit usually looks like this: Bar Marco for brunch on Sunday after church, then Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop for some novelty gag gifts, My Sweet Lilly for one (or two!) macarons, then final stop at In The Kitchen where we purchase a kitchen gadget we didn’t know we needed. It’s the most fun.
Tell us about your home.
We adore our home. We were under contract for two other homes before we laid eyes on this one. We put in an offer, sight unseen, since Morgan was living in Philly and me in Atlanta at the time. Our home is over 100 years old, built super sturdy, and recently flipped by a sweet young couple who must be Chip and Joanna fans. It’s the perfect size for my husband, me, our daughter, and pup. We decorated it with intentionality, pulling together pieces from the places we’ve lived including Atlanta, Athens, and Birmingham. It’s warm and inviting… even more-so now that Eleanor’s presence fills it.
In your opinion, what are the best shops around Pittsburgh to buy decor for your home?
To be candid, I haven’t bought any home decor from Pittsburgh yet! That said, I’m open to suggestions.
Describe a typical day in your life as a new mother with a newborn baby.
It’s a bit like Groundhog Day with feeding starting at 7 and the feeding/awake time/nap schedule cycling every 3 hours. Sprinkled in there, Eleanor and I do tummy time, black and white flashcards, read our daily devotional, bounce in the bouncy chair and snuggle a LOT. She’s down by about 8 PM, so Morgan and I have an hour or two to catch up on each other’s day.
What is your family’s favorite meal to cook at home?
We cook very simple meals, which usually includes firing up the grill a few times a week. Recently, I’ve been on a veggie bowl kick. As for the recipe, line the bottom of your bowl with brown rice and quinoa. Next add roasted cubed sweet potatoes. Sprinkle steamed broccoli (must be al dente! you need that crunch) on top. Top with fresh spinach and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Quick, easy, and healthy! Can’t go wrong.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 12 months?
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
How did you prepare for your newborn lifestyle session?
I hit Janie and Jack, Posh Peanut, and Amazon for Ellie’s precious outfits and bows, and raided our closets to find simple pieces for us that would keep the focus on Ellie. Also, I used Pinterest for inspiration on poses.
How did you decide what to wear for your in home lifestyle session?
I looked at Laura’s portfolio and gleaned what I thought other couples wore that looked really nice.
What is your favorite portrait from your lifestyle session?
Eleanor on the bed giving her trademark smirk. It’s my favorite because her smile melts me and is just so precious. Laura did such an excellent job capturing Eleanor’s quirky and captivating facial expressions, and this is a prime example.
How did you decide to schedule a newborn lifestyle session with Laura Mares Photography?
I did a google search and after scrolling through a dozen or so photographers, Laura stood head and shoulders above the rest. I loved her work and how her lifestyle photos looked so natural, not posed. I could tell that she knows exactly how to position her subject matter to capture the most authentic moments. Beyond that, her website was well curated and her video engaging.
Could you share one final thought about your family.
One final thought I’d share is how much fun having Ellie around is. One of my favorite things recently is to watch our dog, Boots, interact with her. He’s so curious about her, and already I can see that he enjoys being in her company. When I feed Eleanor, it’s almost a guarantee that Boots will rest his head on the opposite end of the nursing pillow and just gaze at Ellie. As you’ll see in the photos, he is truly a flirt!