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Not Your Typical Maternity Boudoir

People think of maternity photos and they think about nothing but the bump…but let’s be honest here…for most women, like myself, the bump doesn’t show up for quite some time.

I spent 24 weeks of being pregnant before a real bump ever even began to show.  24 weeks of changes to my body, 24 weeks of new life growing inside of me…

Every single one of those weeks of pregnancy should be celebrated, admired, and honored.

This babe knew when she booked her shoot that she was pregnant and that her body would rapidly be changing and life would be growing and she wanted to honor herself and her body in these early stages of pregnancy… honor her “pre-baby” body if you will…

I will let her speak from her own heart here

___

“I wanted to do a Boudoir shoot to get in touch with the raw, sexy version of myself.

The month leading up to my photo shoot was difficult.  I ate my weight in carbs to ease the nausea I felt from being newly pregnant.  I was bloated, hormonal.  I felt as if my body wasn’t my own and was frustrated that I had no control over what was happening to me.  Stripping down in front of strangers had started to sound about as much fun as walking through a minefield.  I walked into Lindsay’s nervous and unsure if I was really supposed to be there.

Lindsay and Erin’s excitement and energy encouraged me to break out of the bullshit shell I had formed.  I felt sexy and empowered not only for facing my vulnerabilities but for owning them.  Lindsay captured a sultriness and sensuality that I had misplaced as my body transitioned into its new role.

I left feeling comfortable in my own skin again and ready to meet the challenges of the journey ahead.  I was reminded to embrace my insecurities for making me real and to appreciate myself in the present.

When I saw my prints for the first time, I took away so much more from the experience I didn’t expect.  I mean, yes, they are sexy as hell.  But I fell in love with my body as a work of art and for its ability to do what it was beautifully designed for, creating life.”

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Hair and Makeup by our resident Glam Goddess Erin Marie Artistry

Mother of Dragons, The Unburnt, Breaker of Chains

There is no surprise that I am 100% obsessed with Game of Thrones.  We totally nerd out over it.  But more recently than ever GOT has been giving me major Girl Power vibes! I am loving seeing the power shift into the hands of the feminine divine!

I, like many other nerds out there, totally love the character of Deanery’s. Her story-line, of starting in a place of submission and rising to a place of pure power is one that inspires me. So there is no surprise that when Sara reached out to me, with her new long blonde hair, and desire to shoot outside that I instantly thought of her to portray my inspired version of Daenerys Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, called Daenerys Stormborn, the Unburnt, Mother of Dragons.

I reached out to my darling friend Katie Burns and asked her if she knew how to do a “Khaleesi braid” and she knew exactly what I wanted and was on board to help me bring this vision to life.

Sara and I chose to do the shoot nude, because there is a symbolism in leaving the garments behind, every-time in the show that Kahleesi reclaims her power she is born again of fire and is shown nude in her vulnerability…but in that vulnerability is pure, unadulterated strength.

Here is what Sara had to say about her shoot:

“When I think of Daenerys Targaryen, I think about female empowerment and freedom of expression. This character is a woman who through the ordeals and trials and tribulations of life grew from a meek and self-conscious little girl into a fiercely respected leader. Her story parallels a lot of my own, so when Lindsay asked me to do a Khaleesi-inspired shoot, I jumped at the opportunity. You see, I am a woman who lives on the fringes of society. I run the world’s oldest (and many say finest!) BDSM training chateau.When it comes down to it, it is my job to give people permission to exercise their rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is ironic that for many of these people assuming a role of voluntary submission is the very act that helps them exercise their freedom. Basically the way I see it is that there are 350 million individual pursuits of happiness in this country alone, and who am I to say which ones of those are right or wrong (unless they are non-consensually harming someone’s well being or way of life)?  In fact, many people, including myself, have found empowerment through handing the reins over to someone else. Simply the act of reaching out to get what you want and to be fulfilled in the ways that you desire can be incredibly empowering. I felt many parallels to what I do and taking direction from Lindsay during our shoot. She is the expert with the camera, and I do as she says because I trust that the results will be great (which they always are!).

 It takes great strength to make yourself vulnerable and share that as a gift. This is not about the loss of control, it is about the choice to relinquish control and the resulting freedom that comes from that choice. The bottom line: there is power in submission. There is power in dominance. There is power in all of us as long as we decide to pursue these expressions of self that make us feel good, and do so with ideal intention and love.

These were the themes that were swirling around in my head as Lindsay and I shot together.

The path that I have taken from a meek young woman to a strong leader who shows others their potential. The path of a sexually liberated woman who exercises that freedom every day by empowering others to explore their own desires. The path of a dreamer who crossed paths with a brilliant artist and decided to take some photos to celebrate the freedom of expression that we have both found and continue to provide for others. Here’s to Lindsay. Here’s to the other trail guides; the women who have traveled these paths and now lead others toward their own empowerment and enlightenment. The world needs more of you, and I am proud to be part of your ranks.”

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Motherhood and Other Things

Motherhood, man, you think you know what you are getting yourself into and then bam! It is nothing like you expected.  I never wanted kids, I was never a kid person, but then I turned about 25 and that baby fever hit me like a ton of bricks. I instantly wanted and could think about nothing else.  We tried, we lost, we tried again and then I finally got my girl I had been waiting for.  So here I am thinking I have everything I want, a baby to snuggle, my husband by my side, cute baby clothes and a cradle next to the bed. “I’ve got this” I thought…

Ha! I look back now and just giggle. This motherhood thing is so much harder than it looks. Forget sleepless nights and spitup, the real struggle comes into play when you are trying to find where the hell you ended up in this mess of itty bitty clothing, a house strewn with toys, a constant  brigade of crumbs (so many crumbs, do they eveeeerrrrrrr end?!?!), trying to split your attention between your partner, your child (or children), your job, your friends, your family,  your home, your bills, your appointments, your partners appointments, your kids schedule…

Notice in that long list of things…not once did I mention YOU? Yeah ladies, this is the real shit right here.  Motherhood is hard.  Like really, really, really hard. Sure it is marvelous and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, but that doesn’t negate how hard it is.  Like, why can we not talk about how hard being a mom is without someone assuming that means that we don’t like to be a mom? Really? No. I love my kid, I talk about her all the time, but dear lord, is it ok if I focus on myself a little bit?

I always tell my husband, Justin, my biggest fear is to teach my daughter that life ends when you become a mom, that you don’t matter anymore and that everyone else does, and especially your kid.  I call bullshit. You still matter, you have to matter. Especially when you have kids. You have to show them that there is a life to keep living and that they are an incredible addition to it and give your life a whole new meaning. You have to show them you still care to exist. That once in a while, that mom bun is worth replacing with curls or a blow out, That the yoga pants and flip flops can be replaced with a slinky dress or sexy lingerie, and that underneath the mom the woman still exists.

You don’t need my permission, but you have it anyway. Be you. Find you. Celebrate you.

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Rachel found me through a professional photographers group I am a member of. I am always wicked nervous when I have to photograph another photographer because I know they are seeing and judging it all, the lighting, the editing, the process…Even more nervous when they are a really good photographer. Rachel wasn’t like that though. It was pretty awesome. She came in with a respect for the process, but more than that, respect for the art and the experience, and she let that photographer side of her go to just exist as the sexy woman she is in the moment. It was pretty awesome to be a part of that process. One of the things we talked about alot during the getting ready part of her process was how hard it is to be a mom. Rachel has a little one just like I do and is a hardcore hustling working mama on top of that.  She had reached that place where she was looking to find herself again. I had asked her to share a little bit about her journey and experience and here is what she had to say:

“Once you have a child you and your world change in so many ways. You’re a mom to a beautiful little baby, and to that baby you are their world. You become selfless and give up your every need to satisfy and soothe your baby.. you are up countless nights, you work harder than ever to provide and give your baby everything they need.. you get frustrated, you learn to balance motherhood, relationships, friends, and work, and you never fully figure it out. you never pee alone again, every day you are guessing on what to do, or if your decisions are right, all while continuing to hold that little bundle of joy in your arms. I was 22 when I became a mom, I was in a less than ideal relationship and was completely lost. That first year of motherhood was the most difficult year of my life..  A year after I had my child and my body went back to somewhat how it was before.. I looked in the mirror naked and loved my body for giving me this beautiful baby, and at the same time become upset for it looking as it did.. in my eyes my body was ruined. Nothing was back where it was.. my tummy would never be the same again.. I struggled with this for a long time and I would be lying if I said I still didn’t. I finally decided that I need images of myself to have around my home that made me feel amazing.. images that I would see and feel proud of.. images my daughter would see that would make her feel as though her mom loves her body, and she should love hers too. As women we are surrounded with body shaming in all forms. I want my daughter to love and embrace her body, and I Knew in order to teach her this I must first love and embrace my own. It took me a long time to find a boudoir photographer that was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted someone who empowers women and supports women in loving themselves as they are.  A photographer that photographs real women with real bodies who have curves and want to show them off. A photographer that would make me feel like I was stunning, and rocked the shoot! I wanted to feel empowered.. and confident, and sexy again. When I found Lindsay’s work I immediately fell in love. Her talents are exceptional and she is the best of the best in boudoir photography. Being a photographer my self I was very selective, I knew she was going to be the artist to photograph me! I went into the shoot with high expectations that Lindsay far exceeded! Erin did my makeup flawlessly, and Lindsay posed my body perfectly. I felt so comfortable from the second I walked in the door! During my shoot I felt like the most beautiful woman in the world. My flaws didn’t cross my mind, and I felt like I rocked the shoot.. Lindsay makes you feel empowered, loves with her whole heart, encourages and supports women to be who they are and feel sexy the whole way! I can now go into my room and see the pieces of art work that were created.. by my body.. I feel sexy, confident, and like a whole new person. My daughter is now being taught to love yourself as you are and be confident in yourself always. I will forever be grateful for Lindsay and Erin for making me feel and look as gorgeous as I do in these images. These are images that I will have for a lifetime and the experience I gained and how I now feel about myself is something that I will hold close to my heart for many years to come!”


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