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!

SeeSondraSignaturePRINT

Learning to See the Pretty…and Photo Reveal from Agi M Photography!

It may sound a little stupid, but I have gotten pretty used to being “pretty.”

A lot of people think I’m really vain, self-absorbed, or shallow… but the fact of the matter is, I am just catching up. I’m making up for lost time. Making up for all of the years, days, hours and minutes that I told myself I wasn’t good enough.

Freshman Year Homecoming... circa 2002?

Freshman Year Homecoming… circa 2002?

Circa 2009...at karaoke with my Other Mother

Circa 2009…at karaoke with my Other Mother

All the time that I sat there and believed I didn’t deserve to be loved.

That was all, pardon my French BULLSHIT.

Your weight doesn’t determine what how much love you deserve. A bad haircut doesn’t instantaneously disqualify you from being treated with respect. It doesn’t work that way.

When someone says “You are so pretty!”  I smile, and accept the damn compliment with a “Thank you!” and I always try to genuinely return compliments as well.

But there is always that one person trying to rain on my parade and make me think that those compliments are undeserved. And lately, that person has been ME.

I literally cried when I saw that homecoming photo on Instagram. Partly because that point in life is hard to re-visit in general, but also partly because I needed a reminder that no matter how I might think I look or feel at times…I am NOT this girl anymore. I am so much stronger. So much braver. So much more confident in what she deserves.

I was honored and thrilled to be asked to model for The Boudoir Divas recently at their annual Boudoir Photographer Retreat, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I’d been considered in the first place!

I got there, got my makeup done, Candace came and did my hair…I put on my high wasted black panties, black bra, black bustier, and lace robe…and I felt ready!

I felt gorgeous! I felt secure!

As some of the photos made an appearance on Instagram, I started to feel less sure of myself.

As I mentioned awhile back, I ironically LOST weight on vacation in Hawaii. In the midst of my return, I was dealing with things being harder at work, Sean losing his job the day before I departed for Hawaii, and more… and next thing you know, the New Year is here and I’ve gained 20+ pounds.

I was so disappointed. I was so angry. More than anything…I was so ashamed. I pride myself on what I accomplished with weight loss, and here I was, failing. Gaining.

My immediate reaction was fear. Fear of becoming that girl again. So… when I saw these photos from the amazing and talented Agi from Agi M Photography, I was having a hard time seeing the pretty.

I was seeing the cellulite. The HUGE arms. The droopy thighs. The plain face.

(I should disclose that I opened this email Sunday morning at closing ceremonies for Relay for Life, after walking over 30 miles in a weekend, and operating on the one nap I took from 1-6 am. So, I was not the most aware of anything happening!)

You know what? My arms might be huge. But I can change that! My thighs might be droopy… but at least my surgeon said the first revision wasn’t perfect. My face isn’t plain. I’m just a tad dramatic when I see myself NOT smiling. Agi was so much fun to work with; so full of life, so excited, and so passionate about what she does. She is one of those people who you trust instantly, because you feel like you’ve known her forever (she is perfect for this industry, because you’ll recall I felt the same way about the Divas and their MUA Peggy when I very first ventured in. You can read more about that in this post)!

I decided to open the email and re-visit these images this evening, after showing them to Sean last night and sharing how I felt with him last night. If you know my boyfriend, you know he is a huge supporter, and that he loves me for me. And his perspective was not surprising. He said I looked great, and then helped me plan my next steps for fixing what’s really wrong: how I feel inside!

So… here are a few of my favorite shots. Check me out!

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Check out more amazing photos from some amazing women at the retreat in this Boudoir Divas Blog Post! Also, you can connect with Agi M Photography on Facebook! While you’re at it, you need to check out my super talented friend, Candace from Ah La Mode Designs. My phenomenal hair is ALL her doing! Also, the fabulous Peggy with His Blushing Bride who did makeup for all the girls! This was my second makeup run with her, and she is still as fun as the first time I met her!

I’ve rambled on and on… but the moral of the story is… sometimes you have to learn to see past what you hate seeing. See past what you’re struggling with, and know that you are captivating regardless of what a label in a dress or a number on a scale says. You’re not defined by how small your arms are, or how your thighs look. The best thing about boudoir is that it captures your beauty at any size. It’s not about being a Victoria’s Secret Angel… but the fact that you FEEL like one. And that you are captured in a way that puts you right up there with them in rank.

 It’s a gift to learn to see yourself in the eyes of those who capture you the way that Agi captured me. And once I took the time to see that, I found myself re-energized and ready to get back to actually working on those things, instead of avoiding the way they look in photos. I’ll be sharing more from these talented ladies, as I receive them!

That’s all for now… but I won’t be gone for long!

SeeSondraSignaturePRINT

 

An Awesome Opportunity (and a Fun Video Clip, Too)!

I have been totally slacking on blogging, and for that, I profusely apologize.

This surgery has been a little more mentally/emotionally tough for me, and while there are a bajillion awesome ideas running through my head, it’s been hard to find the motivation to just type them out.

Last week was especially hard! I had my 1 week post op appointment, which I showed up for on the WRONG day. I expressed that I was a little frustrated that my thighs look EXACTLY THE SAME TO ME, and that I could see some areas starting to split on my incisions on the left thigh. Don’t get me wrong. I am not blaming my surgeon, nor her excellent team. They totally let me know at my pre-op appointment that splitting was possible. Stressed it, in fact.

I guess I just wanted it to be different for ME.

Fortunately, earlier that day I had seen a post on The Boudoir Divas Facebook Page that they were looking for a past client to be featured in the San Diego Channel 8 News Segment for them being shot on 8/30, the next day.

Imagine my surprise (and DELIGHT) when they emailed and said they’d love to have me!

If you haven’t already read my post about The Boudoir Divas from last year, when I did my first shoot with them as my 75 pound loss goal present to myself, please do. I was so awed when I left…and then, I picked up my images later that week, and I got to experience it all over again…I even shared 1 or 2 with the world here on my blog! Check out that post here.

These women empower other women. They have the best job ever….they make women feel beautiful, take them into a room with a GIANT flat screen, and make sure they leave OWNING that beauty.

That’s a powerful, powerful emotion to evoke, and they make sure you’re having fun the whole time! It’s one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had!

On my way to my doctor’s appointment, after getting the details for the next day, Marissa, one of the owners and founders of The Boudoir Divas, called and asked if I’d be able to come in the same day to do some new shots to share on the news segment. I was more than happy to oblige, but a little worried when I thought about my incisions, bruises, and overall lack of self-esteem for the few days prior. But, like I said, they empowered me so much last year; I would do anything to repay that favor, and help show people just how amazing this company is! So I went in, got my makeup and styling done by Marissa, and we got to business.

When I arrived at the studio, I was greeted by Erin, who shot my first session (LOVE YOU ERIN!), and then got to soak in the flirty, pretty, mellow vibe from the amazing décor they have.

I am happy to say, I experienced all those emotions and that genuine confidence all over again. And it helped me bring a really emotional, really tough week to a positive end! They planned to reveal the photos to me the next morning, ON the news, so I got really excited when I happened to go on Facebook and saw my face staring back at me from a TBD post!

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Photo Credit: The Boudoir Divas/Marissa Boucher

The next morning, I showed up at 5 am, ready to rave about this opportunity and what it meant/did for me! I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be, just concerned about making sure I did these women justice!

Alisha, from Channel 8 showed up, and it was really cool to see the behind-the-scenes action of one of these broadcasts!

September is Self-Awareness Month, and they featured The Boudoir Divas as an interest piece and kick-off to that (ahem, BRILLIANT), and it was amazing! Obviously, I had Sean DVR it, and had to post my testimony on my YouTube Channel!

All in all, it was super fun, and just an amazing opportunity to help people who probably don’t even realize how much they helped me.

It couldn’t have come at a better time. It helped me enjoy what I have, and live in the moment, and still feel gorgeous! I am working on saving up enough money to do a SuperModel Package with them after I am all healed in the next few months…I am obsessed!

Check out The Boudoir Divas, and help them get a SuperBowl commercial! GO VOTE HERE! You can vote once per day, and you don’t even have to provide any personal information. Help them share their talent and empowerment with the world!

That’s all for now! But I hope you are as inspired as me, and I hope you’ll take the leap to book your own shoot with this awesome team! With twenty awesomely gorgeous sets, and a group of women who ROCK what they do? You won’t be disappointed!

Til’ Next Time!

XOXO

SeeSondraSeductive. Mmmhmm!

After being in the hospital since Sunday night (don’t get me started. YouTube video coming soon!), and not getting home until late last night….I needed something fun in my life.

Wouldn’t you know? I got to pick up Alex and I’s photos from The Boudoir Divas!

As promised, I wanted to share two with you. I am BEYOND satisfied with the final product, and I will be launching my world tour with Victoria’s Angels this spring! Well, that last part is a bit of an exaggeration, but I mean….come on!

Before I share (since I really like building up before the big moment, clearly!), I just want to share again how much this experience really did for me. I feel like every woman needs to take the opportunity to do something like this. I see a side of me that I always wished for, but couldn’t quite channel. These ladies really helped me set her free….and when I see these photos, I truly FEEL sexy. I see all of the allure I posess, and it makes me want to walk around in pin-up style lingerie for the rest of my life. I bought really cute high-waisted undies a la Marilyn Monroe last week, and I’m really sad that I don’t have a photo shoot coming up soon to wear them for. That, my friends, is powerful stuff! Get you some!

Without further procrastination…..here ya’ go!

Meeeeeeoooowwwww! Lol.

I'm sorry....it doesn't get much sexier! (Well, not on MY blog, anyways).

Not gonna lie. There are some shots where I made sexual prowess my bitch, pardon the language! I didn’t think my face could master any of these expressions….but, here we are!

I want to send a HUGE thank you to Marissa, Kimberlee, Erin,Peggy, Deena, and all the other wonderful ladies at Boudoir Divas who made my experience what it is. Because of the atmosphere they create, I am able to have a finished product like this! I really can’t articulate the overwheming gratitude, appreciation, admiration, and love I have for them after this shoot.

On a side note, I couldn’t find Peggy’s card when I did the ‘SuperModel’ post, but I’ve located it, and I insist that you check Peggy out too! You see the makeup! I look ridiculously good. You want to hide your significant other from me, don’t you (kidding, kinda!)?

Check Peggy out at His Blushing Bride, her official website or on Facebook. Obviously, she mainly does makeup for weddings, and works with the Boudoir Divas. But I know a bunch of you who are sending out wedding invites this spring….so, you’re welcome! Lol.

Aside from sharing my new body confidence with the world, I really just want to encourage people to step out of their comfort zone, and have this experience. I will be able to look back at these, and not only remember a huge 90 lb weight loss milestone, but it’s also a reminder that I am a gorgeous force to be reckoned with. And for that? I have no regrets, and offer no apologies to anyone who doesn’t like it.

You shouldn’t, either.

Here’s to celebrating your sexiness….whether it comes in the form of a smile, a slight sneer, or a seductive face you practice in the mirror to make sure you’re not bordering on looking constipated.

Stay Gorgeous!

XOXO