Keeping up with the Jones's and your view of success

I recently read an article about how much our view of the world changes when we compare ourselves to others and with social media, it’s very easy to get caught up in all the “perceived” success of someone else’s life in comparison to our own. 

 “Success cannot be defined in one sentence.”-Zig Ziglar


So how do we get around this negative feeling of feeling less in comparison?  Well, have you thought about redefining your view of success?  Check out this article below and try your success with these items.  Success isn’t a one size fits all, jump off the freight train of social media comparison and start walking your own path...you can do it.

 https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/the-new-definitions-success.html

 So, what are your thoughts, how do you define success? Share in the comments in below.

success.jpg

 Have a beautiful day! You deserve it!

5 Winter Trends...Already?

Sorry to burst your bubble but winter is on it’s way.  Unless you’re a true snow bunny, then I’m a bit envious and also happy for you.

 I came upon this article to help your inner fashionista and did you know a pair of simple black leggings goes with all of these?  Well I’m here to help you out with your winter wardrobe...I mean, if you’re gonna be chilled, be fashionable at the same time.

 https://www.whowhatwear.com/winter-leggings-outfits

winter.jpg

Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments!

Have a beautiful day! You deserve it!

Are you a VIP? If you haven’t joined my private group yet, what are you waiting for?

Unleashed VIP Group

More Questions...Therefore, More Answers

 I want share these pictures with my partner, but I don't want loose prints floating around. Any ideas for the best gift?

This is a very common concern and we totally understand. It's also one of the reasons that we don't normally offer just loose prints.  Our collections typically include digital files, albums and wall art.  One our newer products is a Portfolio Box.  It contains 20 of your favorite images, matted, in a beautiful linen box.  In addition, you will receive a USB with the corresponding digital files.  For more information on these products, just ask or visit the product page.

What should I bring to my boudoir session?

Most sessions include 2 different looks.  Please bring 3-4 options and we can pick from there.  If you wish to bring shoes, please do.  

 Can I bring a friend?

I recommend you come alone, because I want the focus to be on and about you.  If you would absolutely feel more comfortable, you may bring a friend (of the same sex!) but once we begin shooting they will need to stay in the other room so that you and I can focus.

Will my session be with a male or female photographer?

Our team is composed of all women, so you will only have a female photographer for your session as well as a female makeup artist.

 Do you do touch ups?

Yes, we will smooth skin and do some basic retouching on all of your portraits.  I tend to work on the philosophy, if it isn't permanent we can remove it - so don't worry about any little blemishes, bruises or scratches.

 I’m not a model – are boudoir photos still flattering even if my body isn’t perfect?

Absolutely! Nobody is perfect and every woman is sexy. If you have any specific concerns, contact us and we can talk about it!

 Do you do outdoor boudoir sessions?

While we have a semi-private outdoor area, it doesn't get used often.  I would be happy to utilize it more though!  If you know of some private-ish outdoor land we can shoot on, I'm open to setting something up!

 Do I have control over who sees my images?

Yes, most certainly. You will fill out a privacy policy as part of the booking process.  We will only share photos if you have given us permission and have approved the images for sharing. We respect your wishes and won't post or share any images if you’d prefer they stay private.

Have a question that’s not listed here? Contact us and we can answer it for you.

Ready to book a session?  Let's chat! Click HERE.

B030-44 (Large).jpg

Improve your esteem and confidence

As you are aware, I am an advocate for women embracing their individual beauty, no matter what size, shape, age or color they are! I was reading a very unique article regarding “self image.” You can read the article too, here:

https://www.more-selfesteem.com/selfimage.htm

I really like the list of ways you can start improving your self-image!

I am challenging you to do the first one, than send it to me! Better yet, head over to the private VIP Facebook page (not a member, no worries, Click HERE to become one today, it’s free!) and post your list! Don’t forget to comment on other’s lists too!

Have a beautiful day! You deserve it!

I Love So Many! How Do I Get Them All?!

One common problem that my clients run into is paying for all the beautiful images they didn't expect to love.  I can't tell you how many times women will tell me that they only want a couple of images and then end up taking home WAY more than planned.  This can invariably lead to trying to figure out how to pay for so much sexy.

We have a couple options available that can make things a bit easier....so let's chat about them!

Paying For It

Of course, paying in full is an option - plus that kicks off the ordering of your products!  If you opted for digital files you can take them home that day.  

The next option is PayPal credit (or Square credit, coming soon!).  I highly encourage you to apply before your reveal session so you know how much you are approved for and if you need to supplement with credit or cash.  (PS:  I am no longer accepting checks....plus who really writes checks these days?).  The perk of this option is that in my eyes, you are considered paid in full and that will also kick off the ordering of your products.  Plus PayPal will normally offer 6 months no interest on your purchases.

The final payment option is an in-house payment plan.  This should really be the last resort and will be limited to orders over $1,000.  At least 20% of your total will be due at your reveal and the remainder is typically divided up over the next 4 or so months.  

Saving For It

One of my favorite programs to help me save money without thinking about it is Digit.  You can link it to your bank account (don't worry, it's super secure!) and it will monitor your deposit and withdrawals and when you have "extra" money it will withdrawal it and put it in savings account for you.  It's super easy to accumulate your savings.  They even have a Low Balance Protection option so if your checking account drops below a certain amount it will transfer money back so you aren't in danger of overdrawing your account.

You can even set up goals to save for (like your boudoir art!).

If you would like to pre-select a collection of your images, we can set up a payment plan so that you can pay towards it, when you come in for your session you'll be fully paid!  We will wait to schedule your session until you are about 1-2 payments away.  You can always upgrade your collection option, but you can't downgrade.

Remember that this is art and it is an investment.  I'm happy to work with you to come up with a plan to get all of the images you love! 

10 Facts about you

1. You are reading this right now.

2. You’re realizing that is a stupid fact.

4. You didn’t notice I skipped three.

5. You’re checking now.

6. You’re smiling.

7. You’re still reading this even though it’s stupid.

9. You didn’t realize I skipped eight.

10. You’re checking again and smiling about how you fell for it again.

11. You’re enjoying this.

12. You didn’t realize there’s only suppose to be ten facts.

 

Goal – number 6

Nailed it!

Have a great day!

Plan Early For Christmas Sessions

If you are thinking about having a boudoir session to create that special someone a gift this Christmas - the time is NOW to call and book! The holiday season is a super busy one for us, and there are a lot of last minute shoppers, but this is one thing that you cannot wait until the last minute to do. Time is need in order to shoot your sexy session, edit your images, pick your favs and then order and wait for them to come! So, call us today to discuss the best day for you to come in. You will be happy to get this gift done and out of the way, giving you extra time for all the other holiday festivities you have planned!

Avoid these Boudoir Faux Pas During your Session

The last thing you want is to be worried about not being ready for your session!  Keep these tips in mind as you're preparing so that we can have a fabulous session together!

Bad Tan Lines/Sunburn – If you have not been tanning recently, don’t tan just before your session. You can get sunburn or really bad tan lines, which are not flattering in photos. Also avoid spray tans at all cost, as they tend to photograph poorly.  I don't do extra fixing for tan lines!

Getting drunk at your session – If you are nervous about your session, it’s OK to have a glass of wine to rest your nerves. That said, don’t get wasted before or during your session. This is one of the worst things you can do. Your eyes will be bloodshot and droopy and it’s just a recipe for disaster.  I limit you to 1 drink and I would highly suggest not enjoying any pre-session drinking.  You will regret it.

Choosing the wrong sized outfits – Choose lingerie that is just the right size for you. You don’t want loose lingerie that gives your body no shape or hides your beautiful curves. On the other hand, lingerie that is too tight can be unflattering.  Try on everything you are thinking of bringing.  Does it pinch?  Bunch?  Does it give you weird lumps?  Then I'd suggest you reconsider.  If you're stuck, remember I have a studio wardrobe that we can use! Just bring a nude and a black thong with you so we keep things sanitary.

Heavy Makeup – This one isn't normally an issue because we include hair and makeup in our sessions.  But sometimes we might run a special that doesn't include it.  In those cases, I strongly recommend getting a makeup artist for your session. You don’t want to slather the makeup on too thickly. It’s more about accentuating your natural features and making you feel – and look – stunning.

Forgetting to shave/wax – Always remember to shave or wax any exposed area (this also includes your crack ;-) ) that needs to look smooth and sexy. The ‘au naturel’ look is so ‘70s. Unless you’re going for that vibe, please remember this tip.

 

You are not perfect!

Sometimes it’s tough to be nice to ourselves. It is so much easier to pick out the pieces that just aren’t what we want them to be.

So today, I am challenging you to LOVE YOURSELF! Put 5 min. of thought into this:

perfect.jpg

What parts of you are pretty awesome? Tell me. I want to know what you came up with!  Drop them in the comments below.

It’s about time you took care of yourself!

If you are anything like me, I bet you are constantly on the go and often doing for others, sacrificing yourself along the way! For sure, every mom out there can surely relate to what I am saying. We all know it is just as important to take care of ourselves, yet we still don’t take the time to do it. 

“I don’t have time.”

“It’s much easier to help take care of the needs of others. I have no idea what I want.”

"It's selfish to take time for me."

These are just a few comments I have heard (and even said myself over the years).

While browsing the web, I came across an article that gives tips on easy things you can do today to start taking better care of yourself. Most of them are easy and fast! I especially like #4.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/payout/2017/09/19/practicing-self-care-is-important-10-easy-habits-to-get-you-started/#5a02ec9283a9

How about you? Which of the tips resonated with you best?  Share with me in the comments.

run.jpg

How To Find The Right Boudoir Photographer

So you've decided you want to get some boudoir photos done.  Whether for you (its always for you) or for a gift (which is really for you), you want to be comfortable with the photographer you're taking your clothes off with.  Err...for.  Mine stay on.

First thing you need to decide is male or female.  

This is really a personal choice.  You should also consider your significant other's feelings on the matter.  I know some guys who would not be happy with their SO and a male photographer.  So start there.  Men and women are going to have very different perspectives of you.  Neither are wrong, simply different.

Now, your budget.

Like everything, there's a WIDE expanse of price points.  Examine your potential photographer's portfolio closely and ensure there is consistency among what they are showing.  Also be sure you understand what is included in your session.  Some photographers include hair and makeup.  Others sell images separately.  Read the details carefully and ask questions if you are unsure.  I'd rather get asked a ton of questions upfront than have an unhappy client after the fact.

Are you two peas in a pod?

Read through the photogs website and social media.  Do they sound like someone you'd be comfortable with?  You don't have to be besties and you don't have to agree with everything but you should at least feel like you can get through a drink together without a ton of weird silence.

Is the style you want?

Some photographers are light & airy shooters.  Other's are dark & moody.  Some like color, some like black & white.  Again, check out your prospective photogs portfolio.  If you love the light, bright images and their portfolio is filled with moody dark images you will probably walk away unhappy.  Do you like superposed images or something a little more fluid?  Full body or lots of detail?  Do your research.

What happens to your images?

I honestly don't know a photographer who has a hard and fast rule on client image usage*.  For example, I have all my clients fill out a privacy policy that outlines what images I can use and where I can use them.  Some are cool with all their images used anywhere, others only want non-identifiable images on my website.  I understand that sometimes you might want to spread your joy far and wide but maybe your job doesn't really allow for that.  Or maybe this is a special gift for your spouse and you only want him to see.  Understand the usage of your images.

(*many photographers will run model calls or portfolio updates where they offer a complimentary or discount session in exchange for use of your images.  Again, read the details.)

5 Reasons To Stop Putting Off A Boudoir Session

Everyone always gives me reasons to not do a boudoir session.  Sometimes they are somewhat valid, other times they just plain suck.  So let's talk about some of them.  5 of them to be exact.

1. "I need to lose weight"

To be pretty broad brush, who doesn't?  It's not so much that we want to lose weight, but you want to hit the gym, eat a little better, say bye bye to a few extra pounds.  But let me be blunt here - that 5 or 10 lbs you are telling me you need to lose...how long have you been trying to lose it?  Are you actively trying to lose weight (if so, and you want to wait, I totally get it).  But if you're not actively making changes to your eating and exercise and you're giving me that reason....you need to stop and think about it.  

First of all, we can definitely highlight the areas you love and de-emphasize those you don't.  Plus I need you to celebrate the you of TODAY.  Not the future you, not the past you.  Regardless of your size, you are beautiful and I want to show you that.

2. "I'm not sexy or photogenic"

Yeah, I hear that one a lot.  Like a lot.  Go browse through the pictures on this site.  Click over to my Facebook page or Instagram.  I'd say 90+% of those women told me that.  I will pose and coach you to amazing images.  I will even tell you how to breathe.  I promise you're going to love the images.

3. "I don't have anyone to give it to"

So?  You do stuff for yourself yes?  You get pedicures because they make your toes cute.  You get a massage to be relaxed.  You buy the cute shoes because...well, they are just cute.  So why not gift yourself this?  A day where you get pampered and a fabulous reminder to celebrate yourself daily.  I have a couple of big prints in my bathroom that are a great reminder when I'm not feeling super awesome that I'm still beautiful and I'm capable of amazing things.  How do you say no to that?

4. "It's expensive"

Yes.  Yes, it is.  I'm not going to deny it.  In large part, I want this to be a buy once, cry once experience (though I'm always happy to have you come back!).  Just like there are varying degrees of quality clothing, there are varying degrees of quality photographers.  Some are going to be less expensive than I am and others are more.  I want you to know that I want to provide the best for my clients - that's why my sessions include hair & makeup, drinks, personal coaching and an ever-expanding client wardrobe.  It's why I only offer you quality products from labs I can trust.  Plus, I offer payment plans so that you can take home ALL of your favorite images and you don't have to walk away feeling like you missed out.

5. "It's only for brides or young"

Nope.  While I do have a lot of brides (kind of a result of displaying at bridal shows!) I do have a lot of women in their 40's & 50's.  One thing I want you to keep in mind is that the images you see here, on my social media have all been approved by the client.  You get a say on which images I can use and where they can be used.  So some ladies are willing to share them all, some pick a few and others want to keep them all private.  It's totally up to you!

Making Resolutions, What To Consider

1. One change at a time

You don't have to do a complete 180 overnight.  Start with one or two things and add as you go.  Trying to tackle too much can be so overwhelming and you might give up because you don't appear to be making as much progress as you'd like.  If you've got a long list, pick 1 big goal and a couple small goals to work on each month or every two months.

2. Resolutions don't just involve the gym

Most people associate Jan 1 with the day that newbies flood the gym.  But your resolutions don't have to be connected to just losing weight or fitness.  A great resolution, if you don't already have one, is to set up a rainy day fund.  My newest favorite thing is Digit (check it out here).  You connect it to your checking account and it analyzes your income/expenses and withdraws small amounts of money that you aren't using.  I've saved over $1k without doing a thing.  

3. Track It

There are a ton of apps/sites out there geared towards helping people track their goals.  For example, if your goals involve fitness or eating habits look at MyFitnessPal.  Want to be better with your money? Mint.  Paying of debt?  ReadyForZero.  Not only can this keep you on track in the big picture, but if you're struggling you can look back and see how far you've progressed - even if it feels like you haven't moved.

4. It's not all or nothing

Whether your goal is to lose weight or learn a new skill, break it down into small chunks so that you can see your progress.  It's defeating to set a goal too big and then not reach it - or not reach it as fast as you originally planned.

5. Pin it up

Create a dream board.  Find pictures and words that make you think of your goals - whether they are 1 week goals or 5 year.  Pin up reminders in places you see often, like the refrigerator or bathroom mirror.

6. Talk about it

Share your goals.  Whether it's sharing in a 365-photo challenge group or just talking with friends, talk about what you're doing.  You never know when you might inspire someone else to do something great.

7. Ask for support

There's nothing wrong with asking for help.  If you're anything like me you want to keep control over the things you do, but sometimes you truly have to admit that someone knows better.  If you're struggling, ask!  You'll probably find plenty of other people who got stuck in the same spot you are.

8. Reflect on the past

When you start planning goals for the future it's often helpful to look back on the past.  If you know that your first quarter of the year is always super busy then it probably isn't the best time to sign up for a 5 day/week course at the community college.  Consider the rest of your life when planning out your resolutions.

9. There are 12 months in the year

Everyone is well intentioned in January.  But by February you might be going "what happened to my resolutions????".  The year is 12 months long.  If the first month or two doesn't pan out, regroup and try again.  Sometimes you might discover that your original goal needs tweaking.  

10. But time slips away...

Just because you know that you can start again doesn't mean you should keep putting off getting started.  Sometimes resolutions are kinda time critical.  It's important to write down your goals and even better to plan them out on a calendar.  If you use a planner, write in your plans.  If you are a Google Calendar user they introduced a goal option that can help automatically schedule your goals for you.  Check it out here.

 

 

Surviving Christmas Stress

Can you believe its almost Christmas time?  

Time for the snuggly sweaters and hot cups of tea by the fire (if you live somewhere other than Arizona I suppose...).  But it also means stress, chaos and family time.  So how do you survive the holidays?

Well you could do as we have done for the past several years - don't go.  We realized early in our marriage that going back home (midwest) for Thanksgiving AND Christmas was a lot in a short amount of time so we picked one holiday to spend with family and the other we spend...well with ourselves.  But let's pretend that isn't an option for you.

So first up - stress.  This clearly plays into many other aspects of the season but we'll tackle it up front and by itself.  First, identify what is causing the stress.  Then before you get stressed (it's hard I know!), write down a few things you can do to help relieve it and then most important - DO THEM!

Is it the fact you're hosting dinner and cooking for that many people is just a little overwhelming?  Delegate responsibility for people to bring a dish.  Or even consider catering.  Not an option?  Review your menu and see what you can make ahead of time and just reheat the day of.  I actually start cooking a day or two in advance and get things as far as I can without fully finishing up - there are plenty of recipes that are designed for just that.

Is your stress about presents?  Being financially tight?  It may be a little late for it this year, but consider something like Digit to help you save money throughout the year.  When Dec rolls around you'll have a nice little present egg and money worries will be the last thing to worry about.  If the stress is about WHAT to buy - ask people to create an Amazon wish list.  You can add items from other sites (just include the link & pertinent info like sizes) and then its easy peasy to check people's lists for what they want.  Also, save a page in your planner (I LOVE my LimeLife planner) and just jot notes down throughout the year on things you hear people say they want.  If my husband comments on something, I'll either make a note or go find it on Amazon (if appropriate) and save it to a private list.

Maybe it's where you're going to cram 6 additional people in your 2 bedroom home?  Consider renting an airbnb that is nearby for your group.  Takes the pressure off you and let's the family have a little more space to breath.  Consider the cost an investment in your sanity - or if your family is understanding, have them chip in a small portion.  If that isn't an option and everyone is stuck with you, get out of the house!  Even if its only for an hour or two, schedule something while everyone is there so that you can at least get out to breath without people tagging along.  Some people might think this is a bad plan host plan but really, you need a little me time.

A few in general tips -

Take up meditation for a week or two - close your bedroom door (maybe block it too!) and just sit quietly for 10-15 minutes to get your calm back

Go to an extra fitness class or two.  Not only will you get away for the chaos but you'll burn some extra pre-Christmas dinner calories

Schedule a massage.  Taking an hour or two for yourself is not going to leave your Christmas event falling flat - delegate if necessary or just let it go.  The important thing is that you're together, not that everything is 100% perfect.

Go for a walk.  This can be a good solo or group activity.  Again, just getting out of the house can help and it can be a good small group bonding time.

Shopping is probably going to lead to increased stress so I'd suggest trying to avoid it as much as possible.

What are you favorite tips for surviving the holidays with or without family?  Sound off in the comments below and don't forget to share!

What About Props?

You've booked your session and now it's time to prepare your outfits, but what about props? Should you bring them or no?

When preparing for your session, there is a fine line between tasteful and tacky.  I want you to love your images and I certainly don't  want them to look like something straight out of the 80's!  To be blunt with you, I'd rather you NOT bring anything with you.  I completely understand bring items that are sentimental so if there is something of interest you'd like to bring, drop me a note and let's decide together.

Is Your Skin Costing You?

Skin care can get pricey but spending some money up front can save you down the road.  Some tips to help keep your skin in tip top shape.

  • Daily sunscreen.  Use of daily sunscreen helps prevent sun damage - not only can this help keep you looking younger but it can help stave off skin cancer.
  • If money is super tight, petroleum jelly can help with a ton of skincare ailments including rough, cracked feet & hands, preventing chafing, etc.
  • More expensive doesn't necessarily mean better.  But on the same token, cheap may just be cheap.  Find what works for you and don't waste money on cheap products if they aren't helping.  If something is costly but it works, then see if you can use just a little bit less and make it last longer.
  • Don't wait till you're dry.  Apply moisturizer as soon as you get out of the shower to help lock in the moisture.
  • Keep your eye on the ingredients - make sure your products include things like Vitamin A and alpha hydroxy acid.  Don't waste your money on ineffective ingredients. 

If you're struggling with finding products send me a message!

Gift Idea - Buy A Domain For Your Child

Unique Gift for a Child

Searching for a unique gift idea for your kid’s upcoming birthday? Try purchasing a domain name comprised of their first and last names, or first middle and last, or any combination!

The digital age is in high gear and domain space is a commodity. Without a doubt, your identity becomes your Personal Brand when you are trying to sell yourself. Starting a project, getting hired, applying for college: all of these things would greatly benefit from a personalized website where your child can showcase their accomplishments. What if you have a young entrepreneur on your hands and they decide to set up shop?

The good news is that domain names are cheap - maybe $10/yr. so even if you have it and later on your kids decides they don’t need it (that’s not gonna happen, trust me), then you haven’t really lost much.

Here are a few short articles with some good information on the subject:

Forbes: 3 Reasons Why Buying a Domain Name for Your Child is a Good Idea

www.webroot.com: 3 Reasons Why Parents Are Buying Their Babies’ Domain Names

Wall Street Journal: Why Your Child Needs a Domain Name

Our Two Weeks of Fall Is Here!

Which means that very, very soon the really dry weather will be upon us.  Which means that dry skin will coming screaming our way as quickly as we'll be back to 100°.

The American Academy of Dermatology has some tips to help keep your dry skin at bay.

While we might all love our super hot showers, they can reek havoc on our skin so try to minimize how long you stand soaking in the hot water.  If you must, at least try to keep the door closed so it gets steamy up in there.  

Keep your lips & skin moist.  Slather yourself in moisturizer right after getting out - don't even completely dry off.  Do the same for your lips with a GOOD lip balm.  In addition to my boudoir biz, I also am a distributor for SeneGence (the amazing 18 hr lipstick!) and we have a great lip balm and moisturizers for all skin types.  (link to my group here).

Wear gloves.  If you're still washing dishes by hand, the soap and water will dry out your skins.  Just the same, being out in the chill air will dry your hands quick.  Keep those keyboard clickers warm and toasty.

Keep it moist.  Cuz everyone loves that word.  If your workplace is super dry and lotion ain't cutting it, consider investing in a small humidifier.  You can grab one from WalMart for like $20.  Add some essential oils and spruce up the crappy office smell.

As much as getting cozy in front of the fire sounds like a great way to spend the evening it can also be super drying to your skin so limit your exposure.

Oh - and keep drinking water!  Even though it might be chilly, drinking water is the single best way to help keep your skin in tip top shape.

Make it through this winter without getting itchy, flaky, and cracked.  Do you have a favorite way to retain moisture?