Self-Love, Self-Care, Selfishness, and The Wisdom to Know the Difference

 
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Self-care is the new buzzword.  If we just buy enough miracle skin creams, go the gym, be fit, do yoga, get manis, pedis, massages, and visit the salon on the regular, we will be happy, well-adjusted, and productive adults right?

Wrong.  Listen, I don’t have to tell you that adulting is hard. Sometimes making time to do all of the above can just leave us more exhausted than when we started. 

Self-care is NOT self-love and as your resident female empowerer, I have some ideas on how to love yourself a little more:

Practice Gratitude: Appreciate your legs, cellulite and all. They carry you through each and every day.   Appreciate your arms for the same reason.  Accept that although your smile may bring out your crows feet, it also lifts your cheeks and makes you look younger. 

Forgive Yourself: Negative self-talk is almost second nature for most of us.  Notice your reactions to stress and take accountability.  In other words, if you’re feeling bitchy, what’s the root cause? Then take action to remedy the bitchiness. 

Wear It!  Wearing clothes (lingerie included!) that makes us feel good gives us confidence.  It’s self-expression.  We can express moods and persona with our outfits. 

Wear all the hats!  We have many roles:  boss, co-worker, mom, friend, wife, girlfriend etc.  These roles don’t operate independently of each other.  Being a mom, for example, doesn’t mean you stop being a sensual being.  So don’t accept the little box that society wants to put you into.  We can drive ourselves crazy with societal norms and expectations. 

Shameless Plug:  Of course, a boudoir session can help you appreciate yourself.  I’d love to help you change the way you see yourself.  

 
 
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Slippery When Wet

I came up with a temporary shower set as the bathroom in my studio is much too small to shoot in and the results were nothing short of spectacular. 

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This was a limited edition set due to the small space afforded by studio; I cannot leave it up all the time.  BUT...that doesn't mean I won't be bringing it back.  If you want in on these sessions, get on my mailing list now! 

 
 
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A Little 911 for Your Lingerie Dilemma: What to Wear After Extreme Weight Loss

I’ve had clients come in for a session after massive weight loss and I’m often asked what kind of lingerie is best for hiding excess skin or scars from surgery for skin removal. 

 Black Mesh Overbust Corset 

Black Mesh Overbust Corset 

You’ve heard me say this one before and I keep recommending it because it’s a universally flattering piece; it’s the workhorse of the lingerie closet:  the corset.

Look for a steel-boned corset; it will hold its shape better than a corset with plastic boning. 

Bodystockings:  I love them because they show off your shape, are revealing, but still cover a multitude of perceived flaws such as cellulite, scars, varicose veins, etc.

Gowns or Lace Dresses: Sheer lace works the same way a bodystocking does but you can wear it over a pretty bra and underwear set or completely nude.   Alternatively, you can also wear a satin gown for a more conservative look.

Hi-Waisted Briefs: They look great under a lace gown or paired with a bra, elbow length gloves and some over-the-knee boots. 

Robes:  They can be worn over other pieces, and used to drape and hide certain areas. 

As women, we get so nervous about exposing ourselves in a boudoir session, but it's really more about showing who you are.  Your choice of wardrobe (if any) not only reflects your personality, but can help you feel better in your skin.  Don't let a little extra skin get in the way of expressing your sensual side. 

The Strapless Bra: It's Not an Oxymoron! My Review of the Upbra

I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve been shopping and looked at a dress or a top and thought, “Where the hell am I supposed to stuff the girls?”  Duct tape is a breast’s worst enemy.  Therefore, anything that requires strapless or backless becomes a no-no in my closet. 

Most strapless bras are ill-fitting and don't stay up.  Not to mention that most of them are downright plain.  It seems that bra manufacturers don't want to invest in the R&D to develop a bra that would solve a wardrobe problem for a vast majority of women.  

 
 Big Titty Sisters Unite!

Big Titty Sisters Unite!

 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the look of strapless and backless. It just seems to be a look that is meant for the less well endowed, or those fortunate enough to have perky breast implants.

So, when I was scrolling through Instagram, and saw the Upbra, I had to find out more.  Everyone has seen the stick-on strapless bra with the strings meant for pulling the cleavage together, and although you might get a little cleavage, it doesn’t lift the girls, and will apparently fall off with boob sweat (which is a given in Florida).  

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I was sure this was going to be another gimmick.  The website photos shows of the bra being modeled by women with ample assets, but it was the before-and-after photos that won me over.  

I promptly made the purchase based on my usual bra size without taking their patent-pending bra size test so when the first one arrived, I had to return it for a smaller band size.   It is often said 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size, although I couldn't seem to find a reliable source to support this notion.  I gained some weight and assumed I needed to go up a band size. Who knew I was a 36DD?  

Well, apparently, now the whole internet knows.  If you’re a lingerie company, feel free to send me any new bras that you’d like a review of.   (pervs need not apply)

Shipping is fast; the bra arrived in about two days.  It definitely doesn’t resemble your typical strapless bra.  The cups have some kind of panel in them that the breasts sort of sit on top of to lift them.  After you put the bra on, you adjust the clips on the inside to adjust for minimum or maximum cleavage.  Do take note: the more you stretch those clips, the more cleavage you get, but you also get more jiggle, aka the titty twerk.  

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I put it on but wasn’t totally sold until I actually tried it on with some clothes.  It doesn’t leave a visible bra line, is quite supportive, and actually stays in place.  

 I would love a bit more lift. 

I would love a bit more lift. 

That means I actually bent over in it and jumped up and down.  The things I do in the name of blogging integrity…

The Upbra would be even better with a slightly wider band and 3 hooks for support, and some boning in the band would probably help give the girls a bit more lift.

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My Holy Grail strapless bra is one that will lift my boobs up to my neck and still stay put all day.  What’s that saying? “The higher the boobs, the closer to God?”  Oh wait, that’s for high heels.  Well, I believe it applies to boobs too.  

So, is the Upbra my Holy Grail strapless?  Mostly. I’d still love a bit more lift, but if I’m being realistic, I’d need a crane for that anyway.  

 I welcome being able to introduce some strapless styles into my wardrobe.  Oh, and Upbra, if you’re reading this, please make a black, lacy, strapless Upbra.  

The Woman's Guide to Lingerie

This post is dedicated to all my hard-core lingerie lovers out there.  I previously wrote a post about how you don’t have to wear lingerie.  Click HERE to read. 

But now, I want to discuss the ingredients for pulse-pounding, heart-stopping lingerie. 

 Harnessed Hottie Bodysuit $37.95 Yandy.com

Harnessed Hottie Bodysuit $37.95 Yandy.com

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Harnesses:  Next to bodysuits, these are probably my absolute fav.  They’re unapologetically sexy.  The focus is usually on the neck, which is considered an erogenous zone.  Plus, they’re multi-taskers:  They may take some effort to put on, but you could wear it over a white button down shirt, under anything low-cut, anything sheer, or even over a dress.

 
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Bandage:  She’s an aggressive tigress, like her cousin “bondage”.   Bandage lingerie is body-conscious lingerie that promises to whip every curve into shape.  It’s the opposite of  “Nice girls don’t do that” mentality, and projects the idea of a woman in complete control.

Corsets:  It’s never-ending love affair.  They whittle the waist and push the girls the higher and closer to the heavens.  They give every shape the coveted hourglass shape.  TIP:  Make sure you get a steel-boned corset; plastic boning will lose its shape faster than a fat kid chasing the ice cream truck.

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Lace: Its origin is lost to history yet it remains timeless and feminine.  The delicate fabric is the only fabric known to represent both chastity and debauchery.  The only differentiator seems to be color associations:  pure white, scandalous red, or black as either sophisticated or somber.

And there you have it.  You are now armed to locate your own brand of daring.   

Get A Leg Up!

We all have that one less-than-flattering photo.  You know, the one that looks like you're about to birth a food baby or three?  

I get why women find it intimidating to come in for a session and get undressed, or at least partially undressed in front of a stranger.  Just know that I won't stare blankly at you while you figure out how to emote sexy.  I will guide you into poses that make you look like the drop-dead gorgeous woman that you are.

One of the things we'll discuss when you come in for your session is any perceived problem areas. I always hear that women want to lose a few pounds first, but I have you covered in the posing department.     Let's look at some examples, shall we?

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Titling your head slightly down can be flattering for most face shapes but tilt too far down and you create a double chin.  Tyra Banks has a trick that she calls the "turtle".  Push your chin out a bit and hold your tongue against the roof of your mouth to avoid a double chin. 

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Letting arms hang limply at your side flattens the muscle and makes it look larger.  Bending your elbows and creating a triangle creates a much more flattering silhouette.

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I'm all about creating or enhancing curves.  Having her bend the leg that is closest to the camera and place her hands behind her to create negative space gives her a much more dynamic shape.  

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You can see that the photo on the left does nothing for her shape.  Her arms are hanging limply at her side.  Again, I have her bend the leg that is closest to the camera and bend her elbow slightly to create negative space.

 
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Create the illusion of a smaller waist.  No Photoshop required.  Simply placing your hands around your middle and bringing them in closely gives the appearance of a teeny, tiny waist.  

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I can also help to create a rounder derriere.  Lifting the hips creates a booty-ful booty to behold and has the added benefit of smoothing out any cellulite one may have.

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I promise that I will never take a photo of your bum straight on; that's always a sure fire way to make you look as wide as possible.  We avoid this by having your shift your weight onto one hip and bending the leg that's furthest away from the camera.  

"Pop" the booty in a standing position and you've got a butt worthy of the song "Baby Got Back"! 

 
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It's all about that hourglass shape! Tummy in, chest out! Shift your weight onto one hip, and create a diamond with your hands on your hips. 

See?  I promise I can make you look as gorgeous as the ladies on my website.  What are you waiting for?

Is Happily Ever After Even a Possibility?

 
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I spoke with Gwen Washington, one of the founders of LuvTalk, a relationship forum for women to improve their relationships and when I found out she is hosting a few mixers in Tampa for ladies, I just knew I needed to feature her on my blog.

1) What is LuvTalk? And Where Can People find LuvTalk online?

Luv talk is a dating advice platform with monthly content on all things love and a dating advice app that allows users to connect with a personalized dating coach or matchmaker. We are on web and IOS apple store for the app.

2) How long has LuvTalk been improving relationships?

Luv talk started over a year ago and we have made great improvements to our site and finished our first app two months ago. We have coaches and matchmakers from Chicago, Tampa, and California soon to be NYC as well.

3). What's your biggest tip for women seeking to improve their romantic relationship?

Learn how to Communicate with your partner. The biggest tip I can give is understanding communication is the most important tool in a relationship. If you can't say what you want and what you don't want, you won't get it. Learn to communicate in a nonjudgmental way and you will have less confusion and less anxiety.

4) What advice do you have for the single ladies out there?

Stay positive and feminine. We can beat ourselves up over our looks, career, and family life. It is important to treat yourself and make sure you are doing little things that you enjoy and make you feel feminine. The right guy will come along and sense that positive and empowered feminine energy. Love comes in when you truly love yourself and value you.

5) How often do you feature Ladies Nights in the Tampa area?

We are starting to increase our ladies night with monthly at various bars. We have done Wine Exchange, Flemings, and have the upcoming Cask Social Kitchen in February and American Social Club coming in March.

How to Feel Sexy When You Just Don't

Women come to me usually for two reasons:  either they feel really beautiful and sexy and want me to capture that for them, or they don’t feel sexy at all and need that confident boost.  Of course there are other reasons women get boudoir done, but those are the top two.  You may be the in the latter camp. 

Although I do find that a boudoir session carries lasting results for clients including a sense of newfound confidence and a reassurance that they are indeed beautiful, sometimes we just have those days when we feel about as sexy as a pissing toad.

I mean, Mama June went and got herself a beach body and I’m still over here eating cookies for breakfast.  That’s ok.  My boobs match my butt.  I put my big girl panties on, which may or may not include a leopard print, look in the mirror, and pull my confidence secrets out of my hat.  Let me share a few:

Whether I’m wearing make-up or not, I fill in my brows. It’s the first step to looking more put-together, and well, younger.  Most of us want to look as young as possible.  Plus, it frames my face.  A microblading appointment with Lauren Haley is definitely next up on the beauty list.

Next, I might throw on an off-the-shoulder or cold-shoulder top to show off my neckline.   It’s super feminine, and if I’m feeling really extra, I’ll put some highlighter along my collarbone.

Sometimes all we need is lipstick and mascara.  Of course, I’m partial to Limelight by Alcone’s Perfect Lipstick which is super pigmented, but no so matte that it makes my lips feel dry, and my lash-lengthening Perfect Mascara that has fibers already in the formula, but no matter which brand you use, there’s just something about lipstick and mascara that serves as a quick mood booster.  Give me lashes.  Give me lips.  Give me the world. 

 
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Do something outside your comfort zone.  When we’re feeling too comfortable, we develop limitations.  We suddenly convince ourselves that there are certain things we can’t do.  Getting a little uncomfortable helps you reinforce positive attributes about yourself.  Doing a boudoir session is one way to get out of your comfort zone, but it could be as something as simple trying a new machine at the gym. 

Gym…did someone say exercise?  Yep.  I do it at least four times a week.  It’s a mood booster that gets the endorphins going, and keeps the doctor at bay. 

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Then, after you’ve done your session with me, get comfortable accepting compliments and accolades.  See below. 

 
 

Are You Ready to Make Your Confidence Soar?  

Home for the Holidays: Making The Group Photo Drama-Free!

It’s like a scene from a movie.  Your hard-of-hearing aunt misunderstands everything.  Your redneck cousin camps his RV on your front lawn, and grandpa is always drunk before noon. 

That’s probably why Victor Borge once said, “Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year.”

 
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Still, we always decide to get a group photo.  Gathering up family members for said photo can resemble herding cattle, and it's practically a guarantee that someone in the group will blink at the same time the shutter is pressed.  I can’t relieve family tensions but I can help make the annual group photo a little less stressful.  Here are some tips to try regardless of what camera you’re using:

1)   Put Your Camera or Phone into Burst Mode to increase the chances of getting a shot where everyone is smiling or not blinking.

2)   Now is the time for family togetherness; the closer everyone gets in the shot, the more detailed faces are.  Get as close as you can yourself either by standing closer or shooting with a zoom lens.

3)   Raise your chins to avoid a double chin but not too far; you don’t want everyone looking like a giraffe.

4)   Take the shot at the beginning of the event before anyone starts drinking and still looks they’re best.

5)   Try shooting from above.  This works especially well when you limited space to back up to try and fit everyone in and it’s a large group. 

6)   If you’re taking photographs outdoors, place friends or family with their backs to the sun.  This way, you avoid glare and squinty eyes.  If you’re indoors, find light that faces your group so you can avoid using the flash which can give a harsh look to photos.  The least flattering light comes from overhead or the side, so avoid that where you can.

Now that you're armed to take the family selfie, don't forget about yourself.  Get Your Short Guide on How to Look Gorgeous in Photos Every Time!  

 
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One Love: A Celebration in Glitter

Glitter.  It's known as the herpes of the crafting world and yet I have an unending love affair with glitter.  I think it's because I suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome.  If it shines, I must have it. 

So, what could be better than two ridiculously good looking men and a whole lot of sparkle?

 I had them take turns applying glitter to each other. 

I had them take turns applying glitter to each other. 

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Love.  ❤️  Sprinkle it everywhere.  

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8 Myths About Boudoir Photography

I need to lose weight first.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  I always say that I can do with more lighting and posing than you can with six months at the gym. 

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We may get thinner but we’re not getting younger. 

I Don’t Wear Lingerie and/or I Don’t Want to Get Naked.  You don’t have to be naked or wear lingerie.  I know how to shape light to conceal as well as reveal. See my POST on alternatives to lingerie for non-lingerie ideas. 

 
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Boudoir is Porn.  Porn objectifies and demeans its subject; it’s explicit in nature.  Boudoir photography captures your beauty in a sensual and tasteful manner.  It’s about making the subject look and feel incredible.

 
 

Boudoir is only for young women.  Boudoir is for every BODY and every AGE.  One of my clients gets new photos done every year to honor herself.   I’ve had clients from age 19-65!

Boudoir photography is a One-Time Experience.  False.  The confidence boost can be addictive.  I have many repeat clients, and they often come back for different reasons:  birthdays, bridal boudoir, anniversaries, and even maternity.

Boudoir photography is Only for Those Who Have a Partner:  Wrong again.  Many clients come in to celebrate weight loss, birthdays, breast cancer recovery, or just to have beautiful photos to capture them at their current age and weight.

You Need to Look Like a Model.  Nope.  You don’t need to look like, or pose like a professional model.  It’s my job to guide you into the right poses, choose the right lighting, and give you the same editing and post-production that models get.

Getting Photographed by a Stranger is Scary.  I promise you that I’m furthest thing from scary.  I’m a little goofy, but it is always my primary goal to make you feel comfortable.  We’ll chat before your session so I can get to know you a little better, and I provide an all-female environment. 

It seems that most of these myths are rooted in fear.  Have you ever noticed that when you say  “yes” to new experiences that good things happen?

You Don't Have to Wear Lingerie

Sometimes I hear clients tell me that they don’t really wear lingerie and aren’t sure what to wear.

Bring Your Best Fuzzy Sweater, and make sure it’s loose and boxy.  Wear it with some sexy lace undies, and you’ve mastered laid–back appeal.  Bonus Points for Knee High Socks.

 
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You can also do the above look with a simple tank top. 

 
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A White Button Down Shirt is a classic and hides a multitude of sins.

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A Swimsuit Coverup:  They look great with some pretty undies or you can go nude underneath. 

 
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Fitness Apparel:  If you’re more comfortable in a sports bra than a lace bra, own it. 

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An Evening Gown:  This atypical item is more glam than boudoir but still very sexy. 

 
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A Vintage or Faux Fur:  Raid grandma’s closet, or scout a thrift store.  There’s something about fur that reeks of luxury.  Plus, it’s soft and feels great against your skin.

 
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A White Sheet and Nothing Underneath:  Save yourself the stress of worrying about what to wear and just be nekkid! 

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