Archive of ‘Life’ category

2015 Family Christmas Photos

This Christmas I feel like the luckiest gal in the world, I have a healthy and happy husband and daughter.  Matt continues to be the hardest working and most supportive husband and father I know, and we have grown so much closer and learned so much more about the true meaning of teamwork in the journey of new parenthood.  Vera will be 3 months old this Christmas and we are having so much fun watching her grow. Enjoy our 2015 family Christmas photos!

Sending you the warmest wishes and happiest of holidays from our family! Thank you for reading the blog and following our little journey of life.

Christmas Photos 2015

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Gift Guide for the New Mom

With the holidays just around the corner, I know there must be some of you (myself included) who haven’t completed your gift shopping (that’s why they invented Amazon 2-day delivery!) Being a new (first time) mom, I thought I would round up a gift giving guide of things for a new mom, first time mom, or soon to be mom that are fun but still functional and things that I’ve found myself either loving, or putting on my own Christmas list.

bathpillowBath Pillow
Prior to having a baby I really wasn’t much into baths. I pretty much would get too stir crazy thinking about all the other things I could be doing. Now, baths are glorious and a great way to have alone ‘mom’ time (and in our case, evenings for giving Vera & Matt alone DAD time). I admit I need one of these, I may or may not be using Vera’s BloomingBath as my pillow 🙂
Bath Pillow – $19.95


Coffee Shop Gift Card
For the coffee-loving mama (me me me!), coffee shop gift cards are truly the gift that keeps on giving. Nothing energizes me more than my favorite delicious crafted coffee house beverage. I could say my coffee orders in my sleep (“Venti white mocha”…”Large Mint Condition with white chocolate, skim milk and nonfat whip”) Getting a coffee shop drink is totally a TREAT for me, and gift cards make that treat 100% guilt free. (Tip: Find out what the closest drive through coffee shop is for the mom and buy a gift card from there! Drive throughs are a god-send to new moms who don’t want to get baby out of the car!)
$25 Starbucks Gift Card


Nursing Shirt
Clothes are hard. The new mom just went through the dreaded maternity clothes feeling super whale-like, and now sort-of has her body back (SORT OF). If she’s nursing, however, her boobs are still probably huge and finding cute tops that are conducive to nursing is an uphill battle (because the last thing you want to do after having a baby is CONTINUE to shop maternity clothes. Blah!) I like this Old Navy top because it looks like something I’d wear even if I weren’t breastfeeding a baby, but also offers a great option for nursing in public. Win!
Old Navy Nursing Shirt – $26.94


Bed Tray
Maybe this one is more of a ‘stay at home mom’ gift, but Vera and I often hang out (and I work) in bed all day. Somedays I have my coffee and lunch in bed, and I’m always on my computer, this handy little tray would make for less spills and more ample room! I also admit that often on weekends, Matt brings me breakfast in bed since I’m usually either feeding Vera or working, so this would be great for that too!
Bed Tray – $24.99


As a new mom, I’m still working on the mastering the process of meal planning, grocery shopping, and successfully cooking dinner on a consistent basis (oh, and having food in the house for me during the day, although I hold true that wheat thins and a cheese stick IS considered lunch). My sister is a great cook and I asked her for a recommendation for a cookbook for a new mom for quick and easy dinner recipes.
Everyday Food: Great Food Fast – $14.63

Clarisonic Mia
New moms can vouch that often, showering doesn’t happen (heck, even when I take a bath sometimes there really isn’t hair or face washing going on, it’s literally just soaking and relaxing). As a new mom, I’ve found that something as simple as a really clean feeling face can feel super rejuvenating. I’ve had my Clarisonic Mia for a few years now and love it. It just provides a really deep clean feeling and you feel like you really do get all the makeup, dirt, and oil off your face. (Tip: Don’t worry about buying their face wash, you can really use any face wash with it! My current favorite is the Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Ageless Resurfacing Scrub).
Clarisonic Mia – $150

Sexy Hair Dry Shampoo
Having previously worked in the beauty industry, I can say that this product comes highly recommended (especially for people who have fine hair like me!) Back to the theme of not always showering (so glamorous I know), I love this dry shampoo for pulling together quick hairstyles and taking that greasy look out of your hair.
Sexy Hair Dry Shampoo – $11.08

Mommy Hook
While strollers can seem like more work and a pain to haul/push around, lets look at the positive of them, they hold all our crap! They have a pouch for our phones and even cupholders for our (much needed) coffee. When you are out and about, this Mommy Hook is essentially a huge carabiner that can clip things like shopping bags or purses so you can stroll hands free and sip that delicious coffee.
Mommy Hook Stroller Accessory – $6.99

Magazine Subscription
Magazine subscriptions are seriously so underrated and so often overlooked as a possible gift. Some may say that they are even outdated (which truth-be-told has made magazine subscriptions CRAZY affordable). Well, I say “pshhhhh” to that nonsense. New moms are often confined/stuck in one place for 30(ish) minute increments nursing or pumping, and while Pinterest and Netflix can provide some entertainment, magazines are a great piece to add into the rotation. PLUS, who doesn’t like getting fun mail amongst a bunch of bills and spam?! (For the last few years I have been gifted the HGTV magazine and I totally love it!)

Enjoy & Happy Gift Giving!

Corporate Dress Gone Stay at Home Working Mama

Corporate Dress Gone Stay at Home Working Mama

Ready for another career update? In the spirit of blogger transparency and keeping it real, I want to update you on real life, and my work updates (p.s. –  I have had more career updates in the last year than in my entire working life.) Here’s the update about what’s new and exciting in my world of “work”.

As you may recall from this post back in January, about how 2015 was going to be the “Year of Big Changes”, I underwent (another) career change BACK to the corporate world, but in a part-time position so I could also pursue photography, blogging, and wedding rentals. Well my friends, that post went live on January 5, 2015. Just 17 days later, Matt & I discovered the most wonderful news that really DID mean that 2015 was going to be the “Year of Big Changes”, because we were going to be first-time PARENTS! (Is that foreshadowing or what!?) Yep, Baby K had entered the equation and we excitedly looked forward to the months ahead.

With this news, also came lots of adult life choices/conversations/decisions (yes, I guess you need to do those adult-like things, especially when you are having a baby). Questions like, “was my part-time salary going to be worth looking into a daycare situation”, “would there be a daycare that would take an infant part-time”, “wait, do we even want to do daycare?”, “can I stay at home?”, “can we afford me to stay at home?”

So with those questions in mind, here I was working part-time corporate, part-time my own personal endeavors when suddenly in February (about a month after finding out we were pregnant), I received an offer for a part-time remote position that I could do 100% from home (or anywhere with wi-fi). I had applied for this position back at the end of 2014 and had thought that the opportunity had passed. This new part-time remote position would require me to work 15 hours a week to start. So, I started the part-time remote job in May, and well folks, 24 hours at part-time corporate + 15 hours remote at home, yep I was back to 39 hours a week (plus photography and personal endeavors). So to say I was “busy” work-wise through my pregnancy was pretty much an understatement.

So really, the whole point of doing the part-time remote gig right away was because it was essentially our long-term plan for me to have a (steady) income after the baby was born, and also have the opportunity to stay at home with the baby.

Fast forward to today — our daughter Vera has (of course) arrived (and yes, blown up all over the blog :), and I’m embracing this whole new idea of “work” from home. I admit that she and our cat Lewis are pretty great coworkers, and trading in my workspace cubicle for my sofa, bed, kitchen counter, passenger seat of the car, or a coffee shop, has been wonderful. But of course the best part is the baby snuggles and the amazing opportunity to work from home.

So I am beyond excited to announce my new (self-proclaimed title):

Mallory Kiesow – “SAHWM”
Stay-at-Home (PT Remote-Working) Mama
Lady Boss

Man oh man, that is going to be one BUSY business card, ok fine, that really made me make a fake business card, just because. 🙂

Corporate Dress Gone Stay at Home Working MamaHere is what my beautiful life has been looking like in my new role (funny how Instagram can be a good summary of our everyday lives!)
Corporate Dress Gone Stay at Home Working Mama

Vera’s Newborn Photos

Contrary to the last few posts, I DO promise this blog will NOT 100% be a shrine to my daughter Vera (I plea that she is 6 weeks old and I AM still obsessed with her, as healthily as a new mom should be 🙂  But I did want to share the newborn photos we took of Vera in her first 10 days of life. A big thanks to my sister Adrian who stood in as the photographer while I got in front of the camera vs. behind the lens like usual!

I wanted this session to be a lot like the newborn sessions that I photograph. A healthy mix of lifestyle photos with parents in the nursery, as well as some more classic ‘portrait’ type shots of the baby (especially great for birth announcements, etc.)

*Side note: New parents (in particular, new Moms) I (now) can 100% sympathize and relate with how you feel just days after giving birth, but I BEG you to be in a few photos like these with your new baby. In all reality, the focus is on the adorable baby anyway, and all you have to do is stare lovingly at your new bundle of joy with your partner. Although it may be tempting to skip out and just have the photographer only photograph the baby, toss on some mascara, leggings, a comfy sweater and a scarf and you will be good to go. (And I promise, you will be glad you have these to look back on!)

Vera’s Newborn Photos

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Looking for a newborn lifestyle photographer in the Minneapolis area?! (Don’t worry, I come to your house so you and baby can stay put!) I would love to book a newborn session for you or anyone you know! Please contact Photographs by Mallory Jo to setup a session. 🙂

Maternity Photos

Better late than never, right?!  Before I reveal little Vera’s newborn photos, I figured I should share the MATERNITY photos we took at 36 weeks. As a photographer, I always encourage soon-to-be mamas to get maternity photos taken, even if you aren’t feeling photogenic, they are great to look back on and embrace the inner beauty of having your child in your belly. Like I always tell mamas, the focus is on the bump! And it’s true, looking back I’m so glad we did these photos. We used a field behind my parents house for a gorgeous golden hour backdrop.
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Gender Reveal!

I can hardly wait to share the gender reveal with you guys – we FINALLY know the gender of Baby K!  And without further anticipation….

Gender Reveal PhotosGender Reveal Photosgirl

Can you believe it?!  I sure couldn’t, I was totally shocked! I had boy boy boy in my mind SO much that I was seriously floored when I found out it’s a girl.  Matt and I thought long and hard about how we wanted to find out the gender.  I was worried about what my reaction might be, so we decided to have the ultrasound tech circle on a piece of paper in an envelope I brought the gender, and we went through the entire 20 week appointment without knowing (omg you guys, it was so hard to not know for that hour!)  We got into the car and opened the envelope together, alone.  AND… I totally screamed, I was just so so surprised.  My heart was racing, it was such an awesome moment, and we are SO excited to welcome a little GIRL into the world this September!!  🙂

Gender Reveal Photos
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A very special thanks to Hannah of Hannah Schmitt Photography for the awesome photos! 🙂


Gender Prediction – 1 Week to Reveal!

1 week.  1 week.  1 week.  7 days.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Gender prediction is all that is on this preggo mamas brain.

Alright guys, to say we’re excited for a week from now is the understatement of the year.  I did pretty well being patient for most of April leading up to the gender reveal, but I’ve lost it and gone crazy with just a week left!!

So crazy in fact that those old wives’ tales predictions that mean nothing?  Yeah, I’m throwing that all out there along with this gender prediction, plugging in our own variables that we have thought of while waiting (ever so impatiently).

Gender Reveal Prediction Old Wives Tales, Boy or Girl

Now, we aren’t having a gender reveal party or anything, but we will be posting something special on the blog to tell everyone the gender!

What’s your guess!?  Vote below! (No, seriously PLEASE vote to humor and distract me for the next 7 days while I continue to wait 🙂

Old Wives Tales Gender Prediction


It’s your turn to guess! What is the gender of our first baby?!

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The Big Announcement – We’re Pregnant!

Matt & I are SO SO excited to share that we are expecting a baby this September!  For someone who is so terrible at lying, this secret was SO difficult to keep for 3 months, but we couldn’t be more excited to finally share our news! 🙂

How Far Along:  I am currently 12.5 weeks and feeling pretty good!  Our due date is September 23rd.  I was of course feeling nauseous in the beginning, but that has definitely improved.  More than anything, I feel like I am super tired all the time (which is very out of the ordinary for a night owl like me).

Size Of Baby: Baby is as big as a plum (in a few days, we move up to a peach)

Cravings:  Nothing too crazy (yet). Tending to be drawn to salty food and carbs – random cravings have included: cheesy bread and marinara sauce and even more randomly: Subway.  I expect these will continue to change as time goes on.

Anti-Cravings:  This is insane you guys, coffee sounds terrible to me   I know!  Crazy!

I’m excited to share more baby projects in the upcoming months, along with the gender reveal that we will find out in early May (We cannot wait to find out! The planner in me just can’t go with a surprise, I just have to know!).  In the meantime, Matt will be stepping in as my spray painter/painter for other projects since I am out of commission in that category.

So what do you guys think!? Boy? Girl? (No twins, we have confirmed there is ONE baby in there 🙂 Matt and I are both guessing boy, but time will tell!!


Welcome to CMCD’s New Look & Feel! (+ 100th Blog Post!)

I know what you are thinking, “Am I lost?” No no you are not!  CMCD has undergone an amazing (& much needed) rebrand and facelift, both from an aesthetic side as well as content management so I can continue to improve the user experience for all my valuable readers (cough-cough, yes you amazing people). Yay!  Don’t worry, the same great (and even more) lifestyle blog content spanning across so many different categories will continue on.

Now, my designer friends, please don’t judge 🙂 I am not a designer, but had so much fun from putting my new brand and site together.  I drew inspiration from my original purple, but sophisticated the palette and brought in elements from watercolor/calligraphy (a new-found obsession of mine), our wedding, and organic elements.

I hope you like it as much as I do! 🙂


AND, like seriously you guys I did not plan this i swear, this is my 100th blog post ever!  Aww so special and such perfect timing with the rollout of the new blog look.



2015 | The Year Of Big Changes


As I write this post I can hardly hold back my feelings from gushing everywhere all over your screen as I begin to unveil what 2015 holds for me and the changes I am going to make. Words to describe it include: excited, terrified, eager, scared, enthusiastic, optimistic, and – ready.

If you remember, about 6 months ago I made a career move transitioning from a large Fortune 1,000 company to a small agency with less than 20 people (flashback here).  It seemed like time to see “what else was out there” and move on from my first job out of college. Career-wise, my role shifted from marketing/branding focused into an account management, digitally-focused position.  I have learned a lot about both large and small companies, the past few months have shown me that it is time to do something very different, something else, to find balance, and, to try.

Try to take time to focus on my own small business endeavors, my crazy entrepreneurial ideas (yes, including those that I wake up in the middle of the night and write down in the notebook on my nightstand), and just see. See what happens because you only have one life to live, and if I wake up everyday and love what I am doing, I consider that a win. I just can’t turn off the passionate person I am, it is just simply that- it’s who I am. I urge for creativity, freedom, strategy, trial and error of my own accord.  I am proud of what I have created thus far, but so excited to see what more I can do to grow.

That being said, here is a look at the Big Changes of 2015!



I am makin’ (another) Corporate Dress Change, and actually going back to Corporate.  I am bouncing BACK to my Fortune 1000 company that holds a special place in my heart and was my home for 4+ years. I will be working in a different department rather than Marketing, working in the Merchandising team planning Education and Events.  I get to work with a new team of more amazing people of whom I’ve already had the pleasure of working with on a project-by-project basis when I was there before. In addition to a whole new department/team, another big change is that I am going back part-time.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to stay in the industry in which I love, working with such great people, and was so humbled when the opportunity arose and I heard how highly I was thought of as a candidate/previous employee.

I am so excited for the flexibility of my schedule so I can work on the strategy of my businesses and strive for a new type of balance between career, personal, and entrepreneurial goals.


Photographs by Mallory Jo

As most of you know from Facebook, I have started to pursue and grow my photography business beyond my standard friends and family clientele.  I got my website up and running in September and have had a great start doing family, newborn, engagement, and maternity sessions all over the place! I’m loving the variety and growth and want to shout out a big ‘thank you’ for all the support. Whether you’ve liked a photo, visited the website or Facebook page, or referred a friend, you guys are seriously the best cheerleaders ever (bold statement, coming from a former cheerleader).

While I’m loving what my photography business has brought thus far, I am a firm believer in learning.  I certainly don’t claim to be an expert and I am definitely learning as I go.  One thing that I crazy love about this industry is the passion and morale and sense of community that photography has.  It has already been such a supportive and amazing industry to follow and break into!  Speaking of which, in 2015 I have the INCREDIBLE opportunity to intern for an established wedding photographer Hannah Schmitt Photography.  I will be working with Hannah and interning/second shooting about 9 weddings this year. Ah! So excited.  I’ve been wanting to break into the wedding industry SO much (I actually did book my first wedding this coming May!), and I am so eager to learn the ins and outs and gain hands on wedding experience (and portfolio) with a wedding photography pro.  More info about this awesome opportunity to come. 🙂

*All photo portraits of me in this post are credited to Hannah Schmitt Photography.



Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Don’t worry, I (as in CMCD) isn’t going anywhere. 🙂 IN FACT, I’ve been planning a complete overhaul of the website and brand look, so excited to share once it’s up and running to deliver a better blog experience for my awesome following (cough-you guys-cough).  I’m excited to work on a better schedule/cadence of posting and really dig deep to make Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress a fully functioning Lifestyle blog with LOTS of different topics. Can you sense the excitement?  I sure can!



Mint to Be Vintage Rentals

After planning and DIY-ing my wedding back in July 2013, I accumulated a boatload of event decor treasures.  Rather then these things collecting dust in my basement, I’m in the process of launching a full-out Vintage Rental and Styling company for any and all wedding/event decor needs!  I want to help make others visions come to life with the help of my eclectic inventory of items styled into beautiful schemes that are sure to be swoon-worthy.  The website is in process as we speak and when it is up, I mean, it’s gonna be fab (I even “leaked” a tiny preview below-gasp!).  Make sure to keep up with Mint to Be Vintage Rentals via the Facebook page for more information and to be the first to know when the website is up and running!


So as you can see, lots going on and lots of new & exciting changes in 2015 – I can’t wait to make this year the BEST year yet for all these endeavors! I’m out on a mission to strike a balance I’ve never had.  A balance between corporate work life and my own dreams – hang on tight everyone, it’s going to be a thrilling ride!  Let’s cheers to 2015!

Per the photo, I think this is an appropriate time to gaze off into the distance at all the fabulous things to come 🙂


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