Boudoir Photo Shoot

 

 

I have struggled with self-love and self-esteem issues ever since a boy I had a crush on asked me, “why aren’t you pretty like all your friends?”. I was seven years old.

Ever since that day, I have tried to discover ways to make myself feel beautiful. Whether it was as extreme as starving myself or something as simple as buying myself a new outfit. I’ve tried it all.

My journey of self-love has been a long and rough one but I still seem to trek on.

So me being the super self-conscious and critical woman I am, I decided the best thing for me to do was partake in a boudoir photo shoot for my two year anniversary present to my boyfriend. Makes perfect sense, right?

A photographer I had been following for a while on Instagram posted that she was doing a boudoir photo shoot package including hair and makeup as a Valentine’s Day gift idea and I signed up right away.

I was obviously very hesitant to partake in the photo shoot due to my body image issues, but little did I know that this photo shoot would be one of the most empowering and impactful things I have ever done for myself. I honestly thought that me posing provocatively in sexy lingerie was just a great gift for my boyfriend, which it was, but it was also a gift in disguise to myself.

On my way to the photo shoot, I was stressing out about the outfits I had picked out for myself. My two main insecurities had always been both my stomach and my arms. So naturally, I got two outfits that covered both with just enough skin showing that I felt comfortable but also sexy.

As soon as I arrived, I was greeted by the photographer, Jessica (@lagophoto), the makeup artists and hairstylists, Jess, Hailey and Loe, as well as the other women that were there for their own shoot.

These women were immediately so friendly and made me instantly feel comfortable. I was surrounded by women who were constantly speaking words of encouragement and love to each other from the second I stepped out of my car.

Once my makeup and hair were complete I went into the house to watch the ending of one of the other woman’s shoot. And let me tell you, this woman was PERFECT. She was nailing each pose and didn’t have to be directed as to what to do once. This scared me a little since I knew I was going to need A LOT of coaching on my poses and facial expressions since I knew I’d be somewhat stiff once the camera was on me. Oh, and I felt that my physical appearance was nowhere near as flawless as she was.

When it was my turn to shoot, I went and changed into my first outfit and I’m not going to lie, I gave myself a little pep talk in the mirror before stepping out.

But the second that I walked out of the bathroom all of the women began to boost my confidence with their “damn”, “oohs” and “ahhs”. And honestly their words of encouragement and constantly assisting me with my poses.

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This boudoir photo shoot was honestly such an amazingly positive experience for me. I was surrounded by women who genuinely support other women and aren’t threatened by another woman’s beauty or confidence.

For the first time in a long time, I felt so beautiful and sexy in my own skin and it was all thanks to these women.

While I was shooting, I wasn’t once worried about how the poses made my stomach look or whether my arms were pushed against my sides making them look fat. I was able to feel free and confident. I was living in the moment, which hasn’t happened to me in years!

There was even a time during the shoot that the photographer asked me to take off my lace kimono, which I was wearing to cover up my arms. It had been my security blanket throughout the whole shoot and I told her that I hated my arms and she told me to stop being silly and to take it off.

Taking off that security blanket, while it may seem so simple and easy, was a big deal for me. I haven’t worn anything that shows off my arms in about two or three years. So at first, I was nervous but honestly removing it felt so freeing!

Doing something so out of my comfort zone like 1. wearing lingerie and 2. wearing it in front of strangers and 3. having photo evidence of both of those things was honestly one of the best ideas I have ever had. It forced me to face my fears and confidence issues and left me feeling empowered, loved and self-assured.

DSC_3074When I received my photos I cried. I had never once in my life seen myself in that light before. I was so beautiful. The photos were breathtaking. I looked and felt so confident in my own skin.

But at the same time, I was overcome with sadness. Why had I not seen this side of myself before? Why was I now, at 25 years old, seeing the natural and raw beauty in myself?

That thought was extremely saddening. But it made me realize that I need to step out of my comfort zone more often and put myself in situations that will not only help me learn to love myself but also situations that allow me to build other women up. Women encouraging other women is so important and impactful.

The women that were on “set” that day with me probably don’t even realize how much of an impact they made on me and my confidence that day. They made me feel invincible and forced me to see my own beauty. It has always been extremely easy for me to see and express the beauty in others, but I have never been able to do that for myself. So these women really made a lasting effect on me with their kind and honest words.

Since gifting the photos to my boyfriend, I have been trying to better myself for myself. I have been working on my self-confidence and self-love. My goal is to see myself the way my boyfriend sees me; effortlessly beautiful.

I know that the journey of self-love is going to be a lifelong journey but it’s something that needs to happen in order for me to feel fulfilled and truly happy.

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I never thought that something as simple as partaking in a boudoir photo shoot would have such an impact on me. But it did. And I cannot express how much this experience meant to me and how I feel like every single woman should do one for herself.

I thought this photo shoot was for my boyfriend as an anniversary gift, but it truly was for me and my own personal empowerment. It made me understand that us women need to stick together and support each other no matter what.

The years of women being pitted against each other to make themselves feel better is behind us. We need to stand together, support and empower each other. We are stronger together!

 

 

Valentine’s Day for new couples

I recently, and by recently I mean like a few days ago, started dating a guy. We’ve been talking for a few months now but I wasn’t ready for a committed relationship until recently. So naturally, we’ve already discussed Valentine’s Day. I personally wanted to do something super mellow and small since it’s a new thing and because I’m just not that into Valentines Day. But on the other hand, he wanted to go all out since I would be his first real Valentine. (Super cute, I know!) Thankfully I talked him down and we compromised to a nice little picnic in the park and gifting each other something small.

But sometimes talking about Valentine’s Days with your new significant other can be awkward. You don’t want to see too eager to get all lovey-dovey and you also don’t want to seem like an asshole for not wanting to do anything.

Let me make it simple for you guys.

Ease into. Bring up the topic with something casual like, “Hey I know we just recently got together but I was wondering if you wanted to do something for Valentine’s Day. Nothing crazy, just something casual and easy-going.” This will open up the conversation and help you both compromise on what to do.

But just be sure to state what you’re comfortable with. If you’re not ready to go all out and go to a five-star restaurant and exchange expensive gifts, then tell them. It’s also good to set a price limit on gifts during the beginning of the relationship. It’s better to just be honest than feel the pressure of something you’re either not ready for or just not comfortable with.

Below I’ve listed a few simple things that you can do on Valentines Day that pretty much take all the stress and pressure out of trying to plan something romantic but not too romantic for new couples.

Where to go:
1. Go to the aquarium
Taking your significant other to the aquarium is very romantic, yet not over the top. The best part about going to the aquarium is watching your them in amazement and awe of the beautiful sea creatures. (I’m an observer)
2. Picnic in the park
Go to Trader Joes and pick up some artisan cheese, multi-grain crackers, fruit and wine and head to a cute, quiet nearby park. (Bonus points: bring some bread and feed the ducks. But steer clear of the geese. Those fuckers are mean and will chase you down.)
3. Grab brunch/lunch
Bottomless mimosas.
4. Movie marathon
Grab some popcorn, snacks and candy and jump into bed with a Netflix marathon. You can pretend to watch all 8 seasons of Dexters as you suck each others faces off in-between stuffing your face with fatty food.
5. Cook together
Decide on something to cook, then to to the grocery store to grab all the ingredients and then playfully make dinner together.

What to give:
1. Their favorite alcoholic beverage
Grab their favorite bottle of whiskey or go-to wine and share a few glasses together. (Or even the whole bottle, no judgement)
2. Homemade goods
It’s a proven fact that no one will turn down freshly baked brownies or chocolate covered strawberries.
3. Get them a gift card
Keep it simple and under $50.
4. Give them your favorite book or movie
This gift is like giving them a little piece of you.

X-Rated Valentines Day Ideas

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone and break your normal sexual routines.

When the day is winding down, after you’ve showered your significant other in mushy gushy gifts and kisses, make your way home for a night of real fun using these X-rated tips.

Before you do anything, be sure to set the scene and mood for the night; go overboard on the candles, make sure the sex toys are easily accessible, and cover the floor in rose pedals. “It’s all about sensuality – the stimulation of the five senses,” said Dr. Eve, a sexpert and sex therapist from Sea Point, “Get some aromatic oils, screw in a red light bulb to give the bedroom a different sort of feel or put on some sexy music.” A little romance makes a night of erotic fun even more pleasurable.

1. Watch porn together and do as they do
Make your way over to Porn Hub, the largest pornography website on the internet, and pick an interesting film to mimic. This is a great way to expand your sex life and try something new and adventurous.

2. Explore and fulfill your partners sexual fantasies
Talk to your partner and find out what they have always wanted to do. Whether it’s role-playing, using bondage in the bedroom, or even just a new sex position, try it out and make their dreams come true.

3. Bring food into the bedroom
“Create an erotic buffet and eat light finger foods off of your partner’s hot body,” said Jessica O’Reilly, a sexologist with a PhD in human sexuality. Grab some whip cream, chocolate covered strawberries, champagne, and even pop rocks to add a spark to your routine sex life.

4. Give and receive a sexy massage
Whip out the edible massage oil and give your partner a full-body rub down. If you know what I mean.

5. Grab a pair of sex dice and let the games begin
Roll the dice to see your future. Lick, kiss, suck, or rub your partner’s mouth, neck, ears, or unmentionables. Let the dice decide.

6. Grab the fuzzy handcuffs, bondage, blindfolds, whip, and anything else to take a stab at the wonderful world of BDSM (Bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism). Then turn your significant other 50 shades of red with your dirty talk.