There are so many cool people out there doing amazingly creative things!  From time to time I thought it would be fun to shine a spotlight on them & highlight what they do.  Since it’s fall and the holidays are just around the corner (only 14 weeks til Christmas- yikes!)  I thought it was the perfect time to talk with Whitney Baker.  I met Whitney through her hubby and when I found out what she does & how creative she is, I knew some of my clients would love to know about her.  Are you one of those families who has an Elf on the Shelf?  Ever need inspiration on what to do with that guy?  Well, the Wondermint Shoppe is your answer!  Whitney makes incredible accessories for those Elves and makes me wish my kids were still young enough to do this!
Here’s a bit from my interview with Whitney….
Hi Whitney!  Can you tell us a bit about yourself ?
I’m a Mom of two boisterous little boys, a wife and a designer.  I’m originally from Maryland, but have been in this Florida heat for the last six years, and loving every minute!
Can you tell us about The Wondermint Shoppe?  How did this start?  How long have you been in business?
The Wondermint Shoppe is my Etsy store where I sell my handmade goodies, mostly Holiday miniatures.  My shop had been open for a while with a bit of activity since the beginning of 2015, but it was an afternoon last September that changed the game for me.  I was daydreaming about the upcoming Christmas season, which I countdown for all year long, and I got a pit in my stomach when I thought of the Elf on the Shelf.  That darn elf – such a love/hate relationship!  I love the joy and magic it brings to my boys each morning, but it seemed every night was a battle in creativity.  The routine was I would get all tucked into bed, perfectly comfortable and then realize I had forgotten to move ‘ole Judy Garland to a new location.  If you own and actively participate in a full season of Elf-on-the-shelf nights and this hasn’t happened to you, then you are just as magical as the elf.  I realized I needed some fun props to keep my elf entertained for the season.  Turning to Etsy, I was sure I would find a nice selection… so many I’d have to narrow down my selections.  To the contrary, I found nothing.  After another 20 minutes of research I realized there was nothing to match what was happening in my head.  I literally got to work that very minute and had my first sale within the month!  Between mid September and early December of 2015 I sold over 1,500 miniatures and I’m hoping to triple that number this year.  What’s better is my Christmas elf doesn’t have to just sit on a shelf anymore and it takes no effort at all with a wardrobe of fun props.  I still have to get out of bed to move her around though.
 What are some of your more popular items?
All of my holiday miniatures are designed to fit Christmas elves measuring under 20″.  It’s a different scale than dollhouse miniatures, which look disproportionate with the Elf on the Shelf.  Each set of props includes 2-5 miniature items and is titled under MY ELF IZZA.  My most popular kits are My Elf Izza: Pizza Lover including a Supreme Pizza with a removable slice, functional box and gingham napkin, the My Elf Izza: Pirate kit which offers a mini hat, hook and patch and My Elf Izza: Troublemaker with a whoopee cushion, slingshot and pebble.  I have some new kits this year though, that are quickly gaining on them like My Elf Izza: Ready for Santa with milk and cookies and My Elf Izza: Taking a Sick Day with tissues, thermometer, blanket and ice pack.  They are great for mixing and matching too, which offers additional set-ups for your elf.
Wondermint Shoppe productWondermint Shoppe productWondermint Shoppe product
  Where can we find you?
You can find me on Instagram @thewondermintshoppe, on Facebook at and on Etsy at
 How long does it take you to make these items and how long does it take to ship out the orders?
The items can take anywhere from minutes to hours depending on detail and how many I’m making.  This time of year I mostly make things in groups of 25 so that I can build an inventory for future orders.  I try to make about 50 My Elf Izza kits per week, but most hours I work are after my kids are in bed, so I have to cut myself off in order to avoid being a Mombie (Mom Zombie) the next day. The processing time for my orders is 5 – 10 business days.  Last season I was at the post office almost every day of the week, so this year I’m trying to streamline my process and only go two days a week at most.
 Anything else you’d like to tell us….
Yes!  To anyone thinking of opening an Etsy shop: DO IT!  It has been such a bright spot in my life.  The difference between a crafter and an artisan is income; I am so blessed to be able to make money creating things I love.  I have recently unearthed little polymer creations that I made as young as 9 years old.  9!  Which not only means that I could have saved a lot of those college dollars (Sorry Mom and Dad!), but that I also could have avoided all that time I spent in my 20’s flailing around unsure of myself.  It was there all along, I just needed someone to tell me that it was possible to make a living at it.  Now, I’m living proof that it’s possible, and I when I sit down to my clay supplies I know my 9 year-old-self is doing a happy dance.  Don’t doubt your talent, have courage and put it out there!
Thanks Whitney! Isn’t she amazing?  If you haven’t yet, please click the links to check out her Instagram,  Etsy page and like her page on Facebook.  Oh and get those orders started now!  You’ll thank her late at night in December when you might have been cursing that darned Elf on a Shelf but now are happily relaxing & watching your favorite show!
Do you have a small business you’d like me to highlight?  I’d love to hear from you.  You can comment below and I’ll be in touch!
 (All images courtesy of Whitney Baker)
  • Anita Stevens - Great blog! She’s an amazing artist. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

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How lucky am I to get to work with families like this one?  I’ve had the pleasure of working with this family over the past year to document this handsome guy’s first year.  Recently, we met at Phillipe Park in Safety Harbor for a family photo shoot and first birthday cake smash.

This little guy was all smiles and giggles and it was crystal clear how much his Mom & Dad love him!

Family Portrait session

After some  family and individual portraits, I set up for the cake smash.  Mom & I had discussed the colors she was using for his first birthday party and I used those for the banner and balloons and cake.  She had this adorable tie and diaper cover which was perfect for the messy cake smash!

Birthday Cake Smash, 1st birthday boy, Phillipe Park, Safety Harbor

I always make sure to shoot a few images before the cake smash as I know most will be covered from head to toe! Birthday Cake Smash, 1st birthday boy, Phillipe Park, Safety HarborBirthday Cake Smash, 1st birthday boy, Phillipe Park, Safety Harbor

This little guy did not disappoint!  He dove right into the cake and loved checking out what Mom & Dad thought!  These images are always some of my favorite from a first birthday portrait session.

Do you have a little one about to celebrate a birthday?  I would love to work with you!  Give me a call & let’s chat!

  • Proud momma of this little guy, Bryce Christopher! - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Forget 5 stars- I give Mary Ebert 10! My husband and I have worked with her since our now 16mth old son, Bryce, had his newborn photo shoot and fell in love with Mary instantly. We knew we found our official family photographer. Her level of professionalism, genuine kindness and love of children made us so comfortable. We’ve had the pleasure of doing many sessions with Mary and every time have felt relaxed and at ease throughout the whole process. And we always have fun!!! That’s all kind of important when you’re literally capturing the moment! Not to mention her execution and quality of work, absolutely stunning! Mary does a great job of showing you the edited pictures within a very reasonable time after your session. Here’s a little tip, make sure you have tissues when it’s time to preview! Also, you’re never left waiting on your purchases too long. In fact, she hand delivers!! She is our dear friend and I highly recommend her. Hire Mary Ebert for your next maternity or family photo shoot, you will not be disappointed!ReplyCancel

    • maryebert - You made my day! Thank you so much for your sweet review & you know how much I love your family!ReplyCancel

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September officially marks fall in my book- even if it’s Florida and 90+ degrees most days.  This is one of my kids all time favorite recipes and I love that it’s on the healthier side by using whole wheat flour.  When they were younger, this was always their request when they could bring a treat into school. While the original recipe says that you can make them as cookies or muffins, we have only ever made them as mini-muffins.  Perfect size to pop in your mouth!


1 can pumpkin mix

3/4 cup of sugar (the recipe actually calls for 1 cup, but I cut it down and have never noticed a difference)

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

1 egg

Mix these 4 ingredients together in their own bowl.


2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1\2 tsp salt

Mix these 4 ingredients in a separate bowl.  Then mix the two bowls together.

Add 1 tsp of baking soda dissolved into 1 tsp of milk to the mix.

Then add 1 tsp Vanilla

Blend in 2 cups of chocolate chips


Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes & Enjoy!!


pumpkin muffins


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What a beauty!  I first met this stunning girl a few years ago at the Fashion Funds the Cure event for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation.  Taylor was one of the featured models and I got to know her a little bit back stage while working with the models and then got to photograph her owning the runway!  I was lucky enough to see her again the next year for the same event and just loved the connection between Taylor and her Mom.

We chose the University of Tampa for her session and Taylor arrived with several amazing outfits and complimentary accessories.


Senior Portrait Session at University of Tampa,

When working with High School seniors I always suggest an outfit that’s “totally you”,  something that captures their style and personality.  While all the outfits she chose were amazing- I think the simplicity of the tee shirt and jeans with a statement necklace is my favorite!


Senior Portrait Session at University of Tampa,

I love that she brought her cap & gown to capture in a few images!


Senior Portrait Session at University of Tampa,

Taylor kept her makeup simple and classic which is so important for a portrait session.

Senior Portrait Session at University of Tampa,

I love the contrast of her statement pearl necklace with the black dress and the pretty pop of her pink lipstick!

Senior Portrait Session at University of Tampa,

One more of my fav outfit- Taylor was so relaxed and fun to work with!  I can’t wait to hear about all the great things her future holds! Thanks for allowing me to capture this memory for you Taylor &  I wish you all the success at the University of Alabama!

  • Leah Hitlaw - I am searching for a photographer for my daughter’s senior pictures. Can you give me a rough estimate of your prices?
    I am guessing that she will have three to four clothing changes with one being soccer uniform.ReplyCancel

    • maryebert - Sure! I’ll send an e-mail with some information about my sessions and products! Would love to work with you all!ReplyCancel

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One of the great things about switching my website format to a blog is that I can share some of my favorite images with you all from time to time!  When I first moved to Florida almost three years ago, I thought everyone would want their portraits on the beach… turns out, locals don’t always head for the beach for their portraits, who knew?  I wanted to expand this part of my portfolio, so with the help of my networking group, I found a few families willing to help me in exchange for a free session- lucky them, right?

We choose Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin, Florida for our location.  Honeymoon Island is a beautiful beach and has so many great locations to work with.  The Price Family was fully prepared for their session, rocking their outfits and ready to have some fun! Silhouette of family on beach for family portraitsTampa_Beach_Photographer_ExtendedFamily02

The family had clearly spent some time pulling complimentary colors together for their outfits which is so important for a cohesive!  The girls were put together from head to toe in styles that reflected their personalities!  Sisters during family photo session at Honeymoon Island, Tampa Bay Portrait of Teen Girl at Honeymoon Island, FlPortrait of teen girl at Honeymoon Island, Dunedin Florida

I loved their playfulness and their interactions!  They were a wonderful family to work with! Sisters making a heart during photo session on Honeymoon Island, Dunedin FloridaFamily Portraits on Honeymoon Island, Dunedin FloridaFamily Portraits on Honeymoon Island

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