Remembering You're More than "Mom" | Miss C | Austin Boudoir Studio

Motherhood is a beautiful, rewarding, selfless blessing and responsibility. It's SO selfless, in fact, that so many moms admit to having a hard time remembering who they were before having children.  If they try *super* hard, they can recall the days back when....

"I used to be more fun. I used to be more spontaneous. I used to be in better shape. I used to have ME time all the time. I used to stress less. I used to have a ton of friends....and I used to actually HANG OUT with them."  -Me. And just about every mom I know.

It's true that the majority of my clients are moms....most of them longing to remember the woman that they were before they were "Mom. MOMMY!!! MOMMAAA!?! Mom?? MOMMMMYYYYYYYY!!!!!".  And it's not just the duties of motherhood. It's LIFE. The responsibilities of adulting have a way of changing you and making you forget the most important relationship of all--the one with yourself. 

My clients come to me for many reasons, but re-connecting with their womanhood is top. 

Today's featured client is one of those truly blessed, truly exhausted moms who has overcome a ton of heartache, personal loss, and lost a large part of herself in the process.  It was clear to me from our first communications that this woman needed this. She needed to reconnect with herself, not as a mom, not as a wife, not as anything else...but as a woman

There is not much more that I can say to preface this post, because Miss C has written the most beautiful testimony of her experience and I hope that you take the time to read through it. Those who have lost a child, or were never able to conceive at all and had feelings of failure as a woman should especially read on. She is one STRONG woman, and I'm so delighted I had the opportunity to work with her.

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"GIRL you are a genius!!!! I truly don't know where to start. From the first email exchange to the photo reveal it has been the most amazing experience and has forever changed me.

As an angel mommy to 2 boys who have passed, I have felt like a complete failure as a woman. I have never seen myself as sexy ever, and have had some horrible relationships that have torn me down in so many ways. For the last 12 years, I have been 'Mom' and have put myself on the back burner. This [boudoir experience] was my way to help heal myself and start being ME in a way I've never been. As a soon-to-be 33 year old, and mom of 7, I decided I had to just jump in and go for it."

"I have never felt so comfortable around someone else in my entire life, not even my husband. The process was so easy the day-of. My nerves that were all over the place when I arrived, were easing away by the time my hair and makeup were done. I left the shoot on cloud nine feeling a confidence I had never felt before." 

To me, at that moment, the experience was worth it no matter what the pictures turned out looking like.
— Miss C

"The photo reveal left me speechless and just in pure awe that I was looking at MYSELF in these stunning photos! I called my husband on the way home with this amazing empowering feeling, like I hope my daughters always feel about themselves! I told him how shocked I was and how I think he will be pleasantly surprised at the photos. He laughed a little and said 'Nope I won't be surprised, I have eyes and see that in you all the time. I know they are going to be amazing and beautiful.' "

"My self-doubting ways are going away and I am finally confident in who I am and focusing on the positives. I am happier, spunkier and for the first time feel like I am good enough. My album arrived today I am again left in awe of this amazing experience!"

"I am already looking forward to doing this again it is truly addicting!!!! You are a true professional who feels like someone you have always known. Without you, it would not have been the same experience. Thank you for lifting my spirits and finally showing me what my husband sees." -Miss C.

ALL. THE. EFFING. FEELS. 

I cried reading this e-mail when it came in, and cried again composing the blog today. I am so honored to have been able to work with Miss C to help her reconnect with her womanhood, gain confidence, discover her SEXY (I mean, did you see these photos!?!? HOT DAMN!), and do it all so comfortably. I work really hard to make this a comfortable experience for all of my clients, so hearing it in the majority of my client raves makes me so incredibly happy. 

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU, Miss C for your candid review, for your trust, and for choosing me. I cannot wait to have you back and put another notch in your boudoir belt! You are strong, beautiful, and BADASS. 

 

IF YOU NEED A LITTLE BIT 'A HELP REKINDLING THE ROMANCE WITH YOUR 'OLD' SELF....LET'S CHAT!

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Googling "How to Be Sexy".... | Miss K | Austin Boudoir Studio

Ohh, the dreaded "BUT I DON'T KNOW HOW TO LOOK/ACT SEXY" excuse! I get it all the time. Like...almost every single shoot. My clients tell me how terrible they are in front of the camera, how they have NO clue how to be even remotely sexy, how they dislike this and that about their bodies. 

I'll tell you what I tell every single client...

It's not your job to make yourself look amazing in your photos. It's mine. And you're in really, really good hands. Promise.

Not only do I have tons of boudoir photography experience under my belt, but I'm also highly intuitive (which allows me to really read people's demeanor to know if they need a little more assistance feeling comfortable, or if they're not particularly digging one of their outfits, etc), AND I've got this knack for posing people oh-so-perfectly to play up their favorite bits, ANNNND make them love their not-so-favorite-bits so much more. 

But enough about me. On your end of things, you're already awesome...we know that. You're gorgeous--whether or not I've met you. You've got things going on for you that no other woman has. 

Every so often, I'll have a client who thinks they are going to be the first person to make my job impossible (Nope. Not gonna happen.), orrrrr who thinks that I only show the modelesque women on my website and their images aren't going to be anywhere near as good (I show everyone who gives me permission to! Your photos WILL turn out that good.). I always joke with clients that my favorite part of boudoir photography is proving people wrong.

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Miss K is an example of a woman who was quite a bit nervous for her session, and not expecting walk out of her shoot feeling so amazing...and certainly not expecting to love her photos so much. Hear from her here:

"This year I turn 30 AND get a new last name! I wanted to do this shoot just as much for myself as I did for my fiancé, who I must say makes me feel beautiful even in my 'give-ups,' as he calls them.

I booked my session 5 months in advance, because #weddingdiet, so I had lots of time to anticipate being super awkward. On the day of, Kara's fabulously personable demeanor and coaching {and my glass of champagne} quickly put me at ease...and, VOILÁ! "

"The walls I had built of insecurities and negative thoughts about myself vanished. I left my photo shoot feeling so incredibly empowered and beautiful, which was a huge shift from the same girl who was googling "how to be sexy" the night before (I wish that was a joke). "

"This was such an unbelievable experience for me and I could not be more thrilled to have stepped out of my comfort zone. I encourage every woman to do this, if not for someone else, for YOURSELF."

"And, finally, a huge shoutout to Kara for her amazing talent...I even got a "Damn!" out of my sweet, southern mama."

I assure you, SHE.WAS.SEXY....though I'm not sure it had anything to do with what her Google search results turned up ;)

Miss K was an absolute stunner. Her curves were that of a goddess, her freckles were sprinkled perfectly on her face and shoulders, and her eyes were the most insane shade of blue. Between that and all the pose guidance and continuous encouragement, we certainly could write a new article for Google search on "HOW TO BE SEXY". We got this. 

SO many thanks to Miss K for trusting me, for letting me show her all her sexy, and for sharing her experience with all of the KMB readers!

You ready?!? The hardest part for you will be reaching out to start the conversation. I'll take care of the rest. Promise. Let's chat!

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P.S. you're amazing | Austin Boudoir Studio

Yesterday I had the ultimate in lazy Sundays. My son's soccer tournament was cancelled...which is a good thing because I just so happened to have a raging hangover from an embarrassingly little amount of alcohol the night before (HELLLL-OOOO adulthood.), and it was cold and rainy. I worked from my laptop in bed all.day.long. and watched movie after movie. 

I probably wasn't mentally prepared to watch P.S. I love you in my current state, but I did. For some reason it resonated with me so much more yesterday than it did the first time I saw it nearly 10 years ago...before kids. There was a message hidden in there that I didn't pick up on the first time. 

For those of you aren't familiar, it's about a recently widowed woman Holly (played by Hillary Swank) whose late husband (Gerard Butler) left letters with her friends and family to be delivered to her intermittently after his passing to help her cope and move forward.  He challenged her even after he was gone. As you can imagine, it's emotional AF. 

In a really pivotal scene for me, Holly's mother (Kathy Bates)  says "Ohh how your father used to make me laugh..." and Holly responded by saying "I don't remember you laughing...". Mother, looking absolutely crushed says "Well that makes me sad. Because I did."   How many of us have lost so much of our young spirit because...well...life?! I know I have. I know that I don't laugh as much as I did before kids. I know that I'm far, FAR more serious now. And I know that I'm not alone.  We need reminded. 

Without giving away too much of the movie (if you haven't seen it, wait for a lazy Sunday, grab 6 boxes of tissues and a tub of ice cream and be prepared to cry it all out), it was one sentence in the final letter Holly received that drove the point home and had me ugly crying. You see, Holly, like so many of us women, lost a bit of her young free spirit. She got very serious over the years. The young woman who met the love of her life in a really adorable and quirky way on a winding road in Ireland while lost was actually the LEAST lost when she had no idea where she was. 

In his final letter to her, her late husband said "You see, I don't worry about you remembering me. It's that girl on the road you keep forgetting."  *ugly sobbing accelerates*

We.need.reminded.

If you hung in with me for that, you should get the correlation. That is my goal during your boudoir experience...to remind you. This experience isn't about the mom version of you, the wife version of you, the boss or employee version of you, the flat out EXHAUSTED version of you. It's about you...the WOMAN. 

Today we are hearing from Miss Z. A hardworking mom who, like most of us, needed a boost, and got it when she needed it the most. She was an absolute honor to work with, and when I received an email from her immediately after her session before even seeing the photos speaking of how great she felt, I knew my mission was accomplished. 

"Kara, you have a gift and it is so inspiring to see you use it to lift women up in a positive way. You make people forget about their body image and embrace beauty."

I hadn’t even seen my pictures and I didn’t care, it was so easy and fun and just what I needed.

"This has helped me regain some self-confidence and self-respect. I know it sounds silly but as women we don't see ourselves in the most positive light. Especially coming out of a situation where I was doubting the person I was."

"Thank you for being my silver lining in a time when I needed a boost the most! As I am writing this I have tears in my eyes because I don't think you and your team realize what you did for me. My pictures are stunning, I'm so incredibly happy with the results."

Rave reviews never get old. It reiterates to me (because, yes, I need self esteem boosts just like the rest of you!), that I am doing what I've always intended to do: Make women not only FEEL amazing, but make them realize that they ARE amazing. All the time. Boudoir photography can be categorized so many different ways...but for me it's about boosting confidence long-term. It's about self-appreciation. It's about self-acceptance. It's about being reminded of who you are as a WOMAN, not just a mom/wife/paycheck generator/exhausted human being.

Thank you, Miss Z, for sharing your experience and allowing me to remind you of your badassness. ;) 

DO YOU NEED REMINDED? I CAN HELP. LET'S CHAT, DAHHLING!

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A Breast Cancer Survivor's Journey | Austin Boudoir Studio

The past year at my studio has been flooded with women recently diagnosed with breast cancer as well as those who are officially breast cancer survivors.  Working with these women has been such an inspiring journey. 

One of these women, Lora, was referred to me by my partners at the Dr. Piazza Center for Plastic Surgery + Advanced Skincare. She's had a long journey, lots of surgeries, and has built an unbelievable supply of strength that inspires those around her.  It was an absolute honor to meet and photograph her. 

I will be revealing an art series from her photo session at an event this coming Thursday, April 21st that I would like to invite you ALL to. It's the Piazza Center's annual "Cocktails + Curiosity" event benefitting the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Texas -an organization that educates, supports, and empowers those affected by breast cancer to navigate through diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and beyond. Held at the gorgeous Terrace Club in Dripping Springs, the event will seriously blow you away with TONS of information about all of the procedures and skincare options that the Piazza Center has to offer, amazing hors d' oeuvres and cocktails, swag bags and samples, and some of the greatest people you'll ever meet.  You can read more about the event and RSVP >>HERE<< 

 

From Lora:

 

"In November, 2014. I heard the words 'Lora, you have cancer'.  Those words started a life transition that continues to this day.  When you hear those words, you want to get the ball rolling right away toward the road to recovery, but the process just takes time, and can severely test your patience and amp up your fears and frustration."

"I  had such a feeling of being in limbo until my first consult with Dr Piazza's office.  The feeling of relief from that visit was so overwhelming that I'm not sure I can describe it.  Every follow up appointment, every surgery he leaves me with a smile in my heart because of his positive upbeat attitude. I truly feel as if I'm his only patient."

I'm really grateful to be able to share some really beautiful photographic art of Lora at the event and I genuinely hope to see LOTS of you there! It will be really fabulous!

You can read more about the event and RSVP >>HERE<< 

Meet Elyse | Austin Boss Chicks Portrait Project | Austin Boudoir Studio

Remember back in the day when I used to photograph weddings? It seems like a lifetime ago, buttttt it really wasn't.  Elyse used to be a venue coordinator for a popular local wedding venue and finally decided to take her life into her own hands. I always LOVE when amazing women leave their positions working for someone else to be their own boss. 

This wonder woman has an awesome sense of humor, a really amazing sense of style, and knows how to take care of clients like a boss. I'm super excited for her new venture into bossdom with her event design and furniture rental company. 

Meet Elyse:

Q: Your name: 

A: Elyse Shumsky-Alcorn

Q: What do you do? What’s your business? 

A: I am Owner and Creative Director (marketer, social media expert, furniture mover, cleaning lady, etc.) of Bellwether Design. We are a modern furniture Rental Company and also specialize in Event Design for weddings, corporate parties, and intimate gatherings.

Q: Business website: 

A: Our site should be finished in just a few weeks (warning: make sure to gain endless patience before having a website built)

Q: Business Facebook page: 

A: https://www.facebook.com/BellwetherDesign

Q: Why is being in charge of your own success so important to you?

A: I was tired of someone else having the ultimate authority over my decision-making, business acumen, and career path. Through all the actions and risks that come along with starting a business, I was able to trust myself and feel a newfound sense of freedom. Owning a business allows me to have the lifestyle and flexibility I want.

Q: Have you ever experienced gender discrimination? How has that affected you?

A: I’ve actually had the opposite. I’ve worked for a few female bosses that created obstacles rather than an environment of empowerment. Their actions could have been driven by a fear of being replaced by someone younger, new ideas or simply change. In any case, it ended up becoming an internal competition rather than a collaborative workplace. I now try my best to create an empathetic, cohort-based environment where I learn as much as I teach.

Q: What advice would you give to those women looking to take charge of their own success?

A: Take risks – your choices, your actions, and your sense of self will create the foundation of your success. Do whatever it takes to turn off the inner chatterbox, the little critic that is telling you “no” or “ what if”. Self-development is so important, whether that means contacting a professional, reading self help books or joining “Meetup” groups. Do whatever motivates you to fight through the fear and replace it with confidence. This should help you focus on opportunities not obstacles. If things don’t go as planned (expectations are a bitch!) remember there is always something to learn from any experience.

Q: Where do you want to be in 5 years? 

A: On a beach with my family while someone runs my business. I’d actually love to own my own event venue in the next few years. In my mind I’ve designed it down  to the window furnishings!

 


In case you missed in, in the month of August I will be featuring portraits and stories of local Austin boss chicks!! I've got a whole slew to share with you (so I hope I stay up on my blogging game for the rest of the month because I'm a little backlogged! Eek!)

Thank you Elyse for participating!