Besides What You See….

Ok, confession: I love musicals.

Like, obsessively, ridiculously love musicals.

Like, when I drive home at 5 am in the morning from my night shifts, I’ll turn off the radio and sing songs from Funny Girl or The Sound of Music, or Frozen to keep me entertained and awake.

My mom introduced me to The Sound of Music when I was about 5 years old, and it’s still one of my very favorite stories and musicals of all time!

This post was inspired by the song Maria sings:

“Strength doesn’t lie in numbers
Strength doesn’t lie in wealth
Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumbers
When you wake up — Wake Up!

It tells me all I trust I lead my heart to
All I trust becomes my own
I have confidence in confidence alone

I have confidence in confidence alone
Besides what you see I have confidence in me!”

I have always loved those lines, but as I learned to love myself over the years, it dawned on me how this little musical affirmation makes such a difference for me!

People remark on my confidence pretty frequently, and it always surprises me. In my ideal world, we would all be confident and ambitious people, who wake up ready to kick ass, and take names! “Can’t,” “won’t,” “shouldn’t” and other hesitant words would be abolished from our vocabularies, and we’d put our big girl (or boy) panties on and MAKE. THINGS. HAPPEN.

But, alas, we are only human. we aren’t sure if we can pull off a certain look, quit a job to chase our dreams, or maybe even make rent next month. The list goes on, and on!

I really value the fact that people see me as a strong, and confident person. I am those things. But rest assured, I have bad days, financial problems, personal struggles, and insecurities too! I tend to be more vulnerable and candid with these things, because I think it’s very important for people to know that someone with a past like mine-filled with emotional abuse, physical abuse, homelessness, and other various struggles- is surviving merely because of a choice. Maybe even because I live in a world that assumes those things will break me, or make me weak.

I am a LOT of things…but weak is generally only used to describe me when cookies are involved (no shame).

I genuinely believe that confidence is something I put on every day. It’s that coat of mascara to make you look a little more awake, or that statement necklace you use to punch up a basic ensemble. It’s the finishing touch to make you feel a little more…complete. And if you do this everyday, soon, it becomes second nature, and you find yourself walking taller, smiling at more strangers, and smiling to yourself because you feel wonderful.

Because you feel like a powerful, wonderful YOU.

Life has issued me many challenges, and I face more and more of them everyday. But knowing that you have those beautiful, strong qualities inside you makes it a bit better. Take a minute each day to “put your confidence on,” and I promise you’ll see some really positive changes. I am at the point now where I feel confident just because I wear matching bra and panty sets (thank you, OCD!).

You deserve to be treated like the amazing person you are. But you have to lead by example, and show the world what you deserve. It starts with you! And if it’s a corny
“Sound of Music” verse (or a Lil’ Wayne freestyle, which also works wonders for me, as well), then SO BE IT!

Sometimes, you just have to fake it until you make it. And that is perfectly fine, if it helps you build that confidence in yourself. Own it, rock it, and SHOW THEM HOW AMAZING YOU ARE!

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Photo: Bing Images

I’m always here in your corner. 🙂

‘Til Next Time! Have a great week!

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Mirrors Lie….and a Photo Reveal!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

It has been quite a week!

We got back from our adventure to Reno/Virginia City/Lake Tahoe/Mammoth (I used my new camera! Photos coming soon!) late Sunday night, and I dove right back into my normal routine on Monday!

I was really excited for Tuesday to arrive, because I had an appointment to pick up my photos from The Boudoir Divas! I went to grab them, and then headed back home to pick up my mail and get some stuff done around my apartment (that I basically don’t even live in), and then had some errands to run for my impending 3 Year Anniversary on Wednesday before I’d be able to go back to Sean’s, pop in the disc, and marvel at the fact that the woman in those gorgeous photos is….ME!

I have no shame. I use car windows as mirrors on a pretty much daily basis. Obviously, I’m going to stare at professional photos of myself for a upwards of 15 minutes. Speaking of which, I saw this awesome “quote” I posted on the SeeSondraSlim Instagram earlier today, that really resonated with me:

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I headed to Target after leaving my house, and after finding what I was looking for (amidst all the things I was NOT looking for, and ended up purchasing-hello, new embellished sweater!), and I stopped at the Starbucks they have to grab a venti iced green tea. Suddenly, as I’m waiting at the counter, I get a notification that my blog has been linked to another post, and so I go to check it out: lo and behold, Sarah over at The Boudoir Divas, who I worked with for this shoot, did a blog post about….ME. And not only did it feature some really nice, and emotion-evoking words about me, but it held some amazing sentiments about the power of recognizing, admiring, and embracing our beauty overall.

These ideas, sentiments, movements, and campaigns are very near and dear to me, because the blessings and fortunate circumstances in my life are a direct product of being at my lowest low, and taking a good look inside myself, and deciding “I am better than this, and it’s about time I show the world that.”

Life has gotten better and better ever since!

I will forever be grateful to the ladies at The Boudoir Divas for helping me see such a powerful, feminine, and beautiful part of myself. And I am even more grateful that they go into each day with the intention of doing this for ALL women. I really hope that you’ll check out their blog. It’s a great way to get periodic doses of beauty, inspiration, and encouragement. I also suggest you “Like” The Boudoir Divas on Facebook!

If you check out Sarah’s blog post, you’ll see some of her amazing work (and you know, my face)!

I figured I’d share my absolute favorite (well, they’re all my absolute favorite, but you know what I mean) with you here on the blog!

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I have to give another huge thank you and round of applause to my #GlamSquad for their amazing talents: Hair by Candace Givens at Ah La Mode Designs, Makeup by Shelby McElroy of Shelby MUA, and amazing florals by Jen at City Girl Finds! These ladies brought my vision for this “Boho Glam” look to life in the biggest way!

It’s interesting, how we live in a society so obsessed with masking, camoflauging, and “fixing” what naturally occurs. Nothing natural stays perfect forever…not the water, the trees, flowers….none of the things we deem so impossibly, breathtakingly beautiful. Yet, we spend TRILLIONS of dollars on industries that introduced the idea that we can take just a few minutes, hours, weeks, days, or longer recovering from procedures, products, and such to make us “better.” I look at these, and see that with the “pudgy” parts, the dimpled parts, the “regular old me” parts….I still look pretty damn beautiful. And I really, really needed that reminder.

In fact, one of my favorite blogs to follow is Healthy is the New Skinny, celebrating these so-called “flaws,” and challenging the far-fetched beauty discrimination we see on a daily basis. Check out the HNS Facebook and HSN Instagram accounts for even more daily inspiration and love!

Also, yesterday, Wednesday January 21st was our actual anniversary, and I am so grateful to have a man in my life who tells me I’m beautiful and that he loves me everyday. I wish that for everyone in the world…. someone who sees your beauty when you’re blind for a moment. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY (again) Sean! Love you!

On a short stop on the Geiger Pass in Virginia City, Nevada.

On a short stop on the Geiger Pass in Virginia City, Nevada.

I truly hope you’ll take the time to acknowledge, embrace, and cherish your beauty today! You are more than worth it!

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Just the way you are [Reblog from The Boudoir Divas]

Just the way you are.

2014 in review. Thank YOU!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,000 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Going Boho Glam with The Boudoir Divas!

So, at this point, no one is surprised.

I love, love, love The Boudoir Divas, and every experience I have with them tends to top and validate the last!

I was lucky enough to be featured on the morning news in 2013 doing a testimonial for The Boudoir Divas, and decided to cash in my free production the Divas were kind enough to offer me as the New Year began, and my 3 year anniversary with Sean approaches.

Truth is, as time goes by, I am still struggling with the weight I have re-gained….and it gets me feeling a little down when I have time to think about it. Between two full time jobs, trying to make time for the people I love and adore, and trying to pursue other things I am passionate about when I can, I just haven’t been able to maintain my weight loss like I want to.

Every time I step into The Boudoir Divas studio, my mindset instantly changes. I truly get into this “supermodel” zone, and everything feels perfect…my body, my expression, my confidence…they are just the way they’re supposed to be.

That is a POWERFUL feeling to evoke in a woman who is constantly consumed in her struggle with her weight and body image. And while I believe it’s something I find in myself when I am actually looking, I think that it’s a huge testament to this team of women and their mission statement. Look around the place, and there are constant reminders that YOU, just the way you are, are BEAUTIFUL.

The gorgeous studio, with all of it’s charming details truly feel like home, since the first time I stepped foot into it back in 2012!

The best part of this visit is that there were new little surprises everywhere! The Divas recently switched things up in the space, and it looks just as amazing with fresh twists here and there!

Also, I worked with Shelby McElroy, a different makeup artist this time (I think Peggy, who I’ve previously written about, has a bun in the oven)! Shelby was so fun and easy to talk to, and did an AMAZING job with my makeup. I really wish I would have gotten a better photo on my phone, but I was having lighting issues….

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but it was gold, glittery, and essentially, happiness personified! With lush lashes, beautiful contouring and highlighting, and a signature touch of sparkle (which, I didn’t even ASK for, by the way…she’s just THAT good), I was ready for the camera, and felt like a billion dollars! She currently does some work for The Divas, but actually has her own business doing makeup for weddings! I have her card stashed in my wallet for “you know when.” If you’re in the SD area and looking for a killer makeup artist (ahem, all my lovely bride-to-be’s out there), I definitely suggest you “like” her on Facebook and book her sooner than later…she’s almost booked for 2015 already! Also, be sure to follow her on Instagram and check out all the amazing looks she creates!

I had a lot of fun with this shoot, particularly, because I felt like I really killed it when bringing my vision together! I wanted kind of a soft color palette with feminine details, and I wanted the “crowning” glory to be a floral crown! My friend Jen at City Girl Finds knocked it OUT OF THE PARK with not one, but four gorgeous head pieces and 3 bouquets we were able to use as props throughout the shoot on the “Natural Light” set! You’ll have to excuse the quality…but I had to make sure I got a photo on my phone of each one…which didn’t do them justice!

Four floral masterpieces crafted by the amazing Je @CityGirlFinds in San Diego!

Four floral masterpieces crafted by the amazing Jen @ City Girl Finds in San Diego!

You’ll just have to wait for me to share a photo or two for the full gorgeousness to make itself evident! Make sure you check out her website in the meantime, and you can follow her on Facebook and Instagram as well!

Also, I visited my one and only Candace Givens at Ah La Mode Designs for those gorgeous glossy waves, and she even used a gold glitter shimmer spray to finish it off! It’s still got a little wave to it a week later, and I’m taking advantage of it! You can catch her on Instagram, as well!

It’s really important to note that working with Sarah on this visit was a complete JOY! She instantly made me feel comfortable (it doesn’t hurt that I tend to make myself comfortable every time I walk into the joint), and we had so much fun! I feel like she really understood my vision, and seeing the way those photos came out was just as disarming as ever…seeing the beauty that was captured and realizing, “Hey! That’s….me!”

I am so grateful for her vision that she brought to the concept and of course, I walked out with extra images because there were so many amazing ones to choose from. She is a genuine, friendly, and amazing person, and I am thrilled I ended up shooting with her (it has to be said that I haven’t anything short of amazing produced from any of the talented women there), and I cannot WAIT for my CD of images to arrive!

Fact of the matter is, I’ll never stop raving about The Boudoir Divas, and you can see why. The proof is in every experience they create the moment I walk in the door…and they’ve never treated me any different than that first visit each time I show up!

I highly, highly recommend you choose them for your San Diego Boudoir experience…it doesn’t get any better (believe me, I’ve gone to other places and you’ll notice I never shared those images-nor any experience, as there wasn’t one to speak of)!

Also, if you’re an aspiring boudoir photographer, the Divas have a ton of resources on their site/blog! They even host retreats every year (which always sell out), and help people hone their craft. And while I’m not an aspiring photographer, I am convinced you can’t learn from anyone better, period.

I can’t wait to share an image or two when they’re ready!

I hope you’re finding and embracing your beautiful today! You’re worth every kind word, every compliment, and every good feeling that comes your way. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

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