PrePayment Options

Let’s celebrate!

New in 2019! A prepayment for products! *Happy Dance*

I hope this helps with the savers among you to secure your date while being able to pay for your products early. Think about it - you can arrive at your session completely paid for your product! No stressing.

So how is this going to work?

Payment options will be offered on collections only. At least for now. If this option goes well, we could consider expanding to a la carte products as well.

You’ll decide what collection you are interested in first. If you’re unsure, I suggest pre-purchasing only what you are comfortable with price wise. Collections start at $2000 and go up but you are welcome to add on at your reveal.

We’ll set up a recurring payment in Square so that you will be charged automagically each month. In general, I’d probably suggest starting this 6 months prior to your session so you have plenty of time to save. This is a great time to remind you that all prepayments are nonrefundable. So again, only purchase what you are comfortable with. However, you can always upgrade at your reveal when you see all your amazing images.

Also do note, as this is a recurring payment it is expected that it will be charged without issue. If for some reason the payment is declined, I will reach out for an additional form of payment (because, let’s face it, these days we cycle through cards due to fraud semi regularly and I can’t always remember what is on what until it gets charged). You will have a finite period of time to respond with a working payment. If you fail to respond, your payment plan is null & void. Non-refundable. The time frames will be outlined in an agreement that will be provided and signed, so you can’t tell me you didn’t know.

If you need to reschedule your session, your payment will travel with you, but again, if you cancel, non-refundable.

Since this is becoming an option, that means changes are coming to post session payment options. While I’m not doing away with them completely, there will be a minimum purchase to enable that option.

As always - do bring a payment method with you to your reveal because chances are you’re going to love so many more images than you thought that you’ll want to upgrade!

If you already have your session booked and you want to consider this option, drop me an email: krista@unleashedboudoir.com.

Boundaries. Mostly Mine.

This is a boring post. Really.

So those who are close to me might realize that in addition to this fabulous boudoir business, I still work a near full time job elsewhere. Oh and because I’m insane, I also try to run a 3rd business and do stuff for me AND stay married. It’s tough. Oh yeah, and I really like sleeping ~8hrs a night, else I get grumpy.

So first thing on my list of 2019 goals/strive for’s/wistful thinkings is to establish some boundaries in my life.

So, from hereforth (or is it hereto?) I will be setting a more strict schedule for boudoir business things. Meaning, until changes happen at the day job (fingers crossed!) there will be specific days for shooting sessions, for reveals, for pickups, for phone calls. This isn’t me trying to be a hardass on YOUR schedules, but the recognition that this too is a business and it has certain hours.

Among the first thing on the chopping block is response time. I genuinely want to respond to you in the quickest amount of time possible, but truthfully, sitting in my kayak on the lake is not really a good time. And I need to stop it. And I don’t want to drop my phone in the lake. You understand I’m sure.

In general, if you contact me on a weekend (that’s Fri-Sun), please do not expect a response from me until the next (or so) business day. If it appears to be urgent (to me), I will respond as soon as practical. Now let’s be honest here, lots of the emails I get, that are not inquiries, can be resolved fairly quickly and in many cases, if all I’m doing is reclining in my chair watching Love It or List It, I’ll probably get back to you on a weekend. But, just as I tell you that self-care is critical to your well-being, it is also critical to me so if I DON’T respond, please don’t fret. Go put your meditation music on and do a few OM’s.

Also, messages that I receive in the evenings will generally be handled the next business day. I want to refrain from saying 8-5 but I also don’t want to set expectations that I’m going to respond at 9pm. Also, please don’t call me at 9pm. Remember that bit about 8hrs of sleep? I get up between 4:30-5am to workout so I go to bed about 9pm. Yes, I am old. Get over it.

If you do not hear back from me by like Tuesday midday (assuming of course, business days and not holidays), please do reach out. I much prefer email to anything else but text would be my second most preferred. If you use FB Messenger to contact me, I probably won’t respond at all because in general FB doesn’t like to show me messages from people. Plus email gives us both a nice paper trail and we aren’t gonna do the she said/she said thing.

State of the Boobies

2018 is wrapping up and I just have to ask…where did it go? It feels like the years pass by faster and faster as you get older - and I don’t even have kids!

This past year has been incredible from both a business and personal aspect. Let’s recap a bit shall we?

Business

Wow…..in 2018 I shot over 40 beautiful women. Thank you so very much for including me in your life!

I’ve sent home countless albums, pieces of wall art, portfolio boxes and viewfinders.

A handful of mobile apps and nearly 1,000 digital files.

I had a wonderful week in Las Vegas with thousands of other photographers. Got shot at (outside) Red Rock Canyon in 28 deg temps. Naked. Got lost in search of a dry lake bed somewhere outside of Vegas. Got to take an amazing pole class from an amazing instructor while I was there.

I’ve spend time developing my education - improving my email marketing (still working on that! #2019goal), learning about Facebook ads (I want to give them money…but they just go #nudity), giving my finances a serious look, implementing the Profit First technique (which you should go read. Now. You can even use it for your personal life). I started working with another amazing educator who will be coming to Tucson in Jan to do a personal 2 day Boudoir Makeover and help me redecorate the studio - because my decorating skills are a massive fail. That’s why everything is grey in there…

Personal

I spend the first half of the year largely focused on pole competitions. Thanks to peer pressure I participated in my first pole competition in February and certainly didn’t come home with the result I wanted. I felt that I had a great performance that was well executed - considering I was only 6 months in! - but alas, the judges disagreed. It was a fun trip to San Francisco at least.

In May I tackled the “main event”, what was supposed to be my first pole competition (oops). Despite having what felt like the worlds most awful performance (slippery poles will get ya) I managed to walk away with the win; making me the 2018 US National Artistic Pole Amateur Senior Women’s champion. Whew. And yes, sometime’s I’ll leave out a few key words when I really want to make people wonder. After that competition I went into forced time off to deal with what started as an ankle sprain. After no real healing, PT making it worse, injections not helping, we finally arrived at acute inflammation in the anterior portion of the ankle as a result of an accessory bone - the os trigonum. I had surgery on December 7th to remove it and am now hobbling around on crutches. But hopefully ankle pain shall be gone! Then onward to next year!

I finally achieved my front splits on both sides and I am up to a single yoga block oversplit on the left. For those of you wincing in pain, I never had the splits as a kid so it is entirely possible to do it as an adult. Just takes focus and dedication.

We family tripped it to Branson, MO this summer. I got sunburnt. No shock there. Had a good time, made some memories & all that jazz.

We had a shitty time with our chickens this year losing several of them. Our most famed resident was Feather Locklear, a Japanese Bantam that we feared would die any day so we brought her in the house. She lived for about another 6 months until a camping trip to Mt Graham was her final hurrah. Yes, she traveled with us, went up to Prescott several times. Totally not weird.

I turned 36. Contemplated life. Thought about doing things differently. But didn’t. #2019goals.


Looking forward to 2019…

Personal

I’ll be back at the American Pole League’s US National Championships in July. Not defending my title since my win pushes me into at least the Semi-Pro category. I have lots of goals for that one - including creating a second routine to compete in Pole Sport as well as Artistic Pole.

I’m getting my middle splits this year. I’m determined damnit!

I am also, related to the above plans, getting back in shape. Which yes, includes losing some weight but way more focused on gaining strength.

Business

2019 is a year that I’m kind of terming as a game-changer. I’ve got a lot of things in work and in concept. This is the year that I really want to position myself to do this full-time (with all of your help of course!) and I’m starting to make a few changes to test the waters. Most importantly, I want to reclaim some of my life. I’ve been working hard on this for the past 5 years and while I haven’t thrown as much of my free time into it as some, I’ve put aside a lot of stuff for the business so do expect to see some boundary changes.

I’ve set a goal of 60 gorgeous women to pass through the studio in 2019 and there are already ~17 of you on the calendar. I have 2 bridal shows to kick off the year that should fill up most of the other slots quickly. (Yes, that is a not so subtle hint to get your session booked before the dates are gone)

Other stuff that tossing in my mind that I’ll detail in later posts:

  • Pre-payment options

  • Restructuring of payment plans

  • New session availability

  • Session scheduling process

  • New products

  • New session type

  • Office hours

  • Less Facebook, more ???

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous New Year! I plan on enjoying some slightly more “official” time off between Christmas and New Years so if my response time is slow, just be patient!

If you want to get your session booked now, click this link to get in touch.

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.

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 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

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.