Maura’s Energy

It’s a day I waited for for almost 5 years!  When I started my boudoir journey, I so desperately wanted to photograph this woman whom I’ve known for over 10 years.  We worked together at my corporate job and have kept in touch since she first left (then I followed YEARS later to give my full focus to photography).  She was the only person that I ever worked with that I invited to my wedding!  She was something special…I was actually her manager and it was amazing to watch her blossom.  She’s an amazingly intelligent woman who shines so bright in EVERYTHING she does.  I have loved watching her grow into a wonderful woman.  I can’t say enough good things about her – I do know that she has the biggest heart of most people I know and has a passion for people!  So much good is coming her way and I feel honored to sit behind the scenes and watch it all unfold.

I’m already planning our next session together, and it’s going to be even better.

SHE KILLED IT!!!!!! Here’s what she had to say about her session:

1) Why did you decide to invest in a boudoir photo shoot?  Because Maura is amazing and I really wanted her to document my body at my age when I’m feeling good.

2) How did you feel about yourself before your photo shoot?  Eh…hate a lot of things about my body

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boudoir photography Pittsburgh

3) How did you feel about yourself after your photo shoot?  Helped me see it my body in a new light (no pun intended)

boudoir photography Pittsburgh

boudoir photography Pittsburgh

4) Describe your session in 3 words?  fun, exciting, amazing

boudoir pose ideas of woman on bed in bra & panty by Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer, Pics By Chicks Photography

5) What was your favorite part of the boudoir photo shoot?  maura’s energy – I wasn’t feeling all that well but Maura made it so fun

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6) What would you say to other women who are considering a boudoir photo shoot?  If you’re feeling down about yourself for any number of reasons, do it. If you’re feeling great about yourself, do it. Do it.

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Are You Enough?

Recently, I was asked to speak at a Moms group about a topic of my choosing.  I chose the Power of Intention – being intentional with our thoughts and the things placed in front of us (a blog post is coming soon about this subject).  I had a great time speaking about something I’m very passionate about.  After the meeting was over, I hugged the person who invited me to speak and asked her, “Was it good enough?”

It hit me on the way home.  “WAS IT GOOD ENOUGH??”  We all struggle with feelings of being good enough, no one is immune to this struggle – not even me.   Isn’t that what most of us fear?!? Am I being enough to those around me? Being a good enough speaker, a good enough wife, a good enough mom, a good enough daughter!! Do I look good enough, am I pretty enough, am I skinny enough, do I have enough money.  But here’s the thing …

WE ARE GOOD ENOUGH. What we do is enough, who we are is enough, what we give is enough.

My mind wanted to tell me I wasn’t good enough but I fought back and changed the narrative that I was speaking to myself.

 We want validation, acceptance and love that what we’re doing is the right thing.  The feeling of not being enough is rooted in those 3 feelings.  We waste so much of our energy trying to get others to like, accept and validate us.  Sometimes we push ourselves so far that we begin to play a game of charades with everyone because we want them to believe certain things about us.  Playing this game wastes so much of ourselves because we then have to constantly keep up, constantly prove ourselves to everyone.

As I was thinking about this post, it hit me..

I’m not sure that you can even put a value to “enough” – what actually is enough?  Do you know what it looks like when you get to “enough?”  No, you don’t.  Because when you get to the point that you think is enough…you want more, you push yourself to go further.  Go ahead.  Sit down, think about how much is enough.  What does it look like to be a “good enough Mom” – can you quantify?  Can you see it in your mind?  Some might say that I have to be the perfect wife, perfect mom to feel like enough.  Once again, I ask you, what does “perfect” look like to you?  Can you see what that looks like?

When you think you get to that enough point, it won’t be enough.  You’ll keep reaching for something that is unattainable.  A millionaire always thinks they need another million. If you can’t define “enough” or even quantify it, it’s not a goal you can even have in your life.

It’s never enough.  You have to decide that how you are and WHO you are right now, in this moment, is enough.

We often forget to see ourselves for the woman that we are.  We are in a land of comparisons and no matter how many times I tell you to stop the comparison game, you still do it.  Do you feel pressure from those around you to have kids, get married, make more money?  If so, you’ve fallen into the enough trap.  What if you’re single?  They ask, “when are you getting married?” Then you get married, people begin to ask, “When are you having a baby?”  See – it’s never enough.  There’s always something else out there for you to reach after, and you put that stress and pressure on yourself to satisfy those around you.  We continue to battle these societal pressures and the battle of being enough of everything begins!

Here are some suggestions to help you when you aren’t feeling like you are enough.

10 Ways to BE ENOUGH by Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer Pics By Chicks Photography

Love

When you are feeling inadequate, you need more love.  Allow others in your life to shower you with love and affection.  Ask!  Don’t forget to ask someone if you need to be shown love and compassion.  You can’t expect people in your life to instinctively know what you need – you must tell them!

Leave Judgement at the Door

Judgement should have no place in your life.  You do not know what anyone is dealing with behind closed doors, nor do they your struggles.  You need to accept people as they are and let it all go.  If you need love and acceptance, assume that others do too.  No more judging.

Comparison Must Stop

I will drill this into your head until the day I die!  You need to stop comparing yourself to those around or even the celebrities you see.  No two women are the same.  You can’t look at one and want to be like her or look like her.  You are your own unique person who has been given this path to walk.  And, here’s something to keep in mind – there is someone out there comparing themselves to YOU!  Yup, another woman is sitting here, looking at you, thinking they want what you have!

If for some reason you can’t stop comparing, love others for what they have or what they look like.  But, love EVERYTHING about them – don’t just love one thing.  The key is to not let comparison make you feel bad about yourself.  When you feel bad about who you are when looking at someone else or become jealous, then you have a problem.  I look at women all the time and see their beauty, their power, their soul … and I celebrate them for those features, never comparing myself to them.

Never Stop Trying

Think Kerri Strug in the 1996 Olympic Games  … YOU CAN DO IT!  Imagine what would have happened if she said, “Nope, I’m finished.  I can’t do it. ”  But, she didn’t want to stop without at least trying.  Whatever it is that makes you feel like you aren’t enough — don’t stop trying.  Don’t give up on your journey – you have a long way to go.  There’s always something to reach for, something new to try, a new way to communicate, etc.  Keep saying to yourself, “I’m doing the best I can.”

Measure Progress

In all your efforts, measure the small wins along the way.  For example, if you are working towards a promotion, celebrate the little moments so that you can see how far you’ve come.  If you feel like you aren’t a good enough mom, remember the first day you brought your baby home – it may have been chaos as you settled into a new life.

We don’t feel like we’re enough because we haven’t seen how far we’ve come. It’s time for you to stop and appreciate all you’ve done.

Hate Never Gets you Anywhere

Hating yourself for all the things you can’t do or failed to do is never the answer.  Hate isn’t a proper motivator, love is.  Love yourself for all that you have done, can do and will keep trying to do.  I know it’s not easy.  The change doesn’t happen overnight but don’t fall into hate.  I wake up each morning and say, “Good Morning, Maura.  You are beautiful.  I love you.”  It’s hard to hate yourself when someone loves you so much!

Celebrate Your Uniqueness

Have you realized yet that there’s only ONE YOU?  Only you can live the life you are given because it’s uniquely yours.  You have gifts and passion that others don’t, you can give love in a way others can’t, you can lift people up in ways special to you.  You have so many things that are unique about yourself, and that uniqueness alone makes you enough.

It’s a Journey

How many right decisions have you made in your life?  How many times have you made your children happy?  How many trips have you shared with your spouse?  The amazing things you’ve done far outweigh the times when you don’t feel like you are enough.  Life is one wonderful journey.  In each and every journey, there are good times and bad.  Relish the beautiful journey you are on and the amazing people who are with you on the ride.

A Bird’s Eye View

Sometimes you need to take a step back and take a helicopter view of your life.  Sit in a corner and watch your life happening.  See the smiles on your children’s faces, watching your spouse laughing, think about all the things you love about your life.  We get so overwhelmed with our responsibilities that we just have to stop and watch.  See everything you’ve had a hand in creating, see everything you love, and feel the affection of all the people in your life.

Make a Choice

Simply put, you have a choice to make.  1 – Live your life thinking that you aren’t enough – trying to reach something that you can’t even picture.  Never being able to reach something that you think is going to provide you with love and acceptance.  Or, 2 – Decide right now that you are enough.  You are doing the best you can.  Only you can give what you give.  You are unique and your journey is YOURS!

******

Listen up – who you are is enough, and what you give is enough!!  You are so unique that only YOU can give it.  And, you are providing something to the people around you that need it FROM YOU!  Could I provide mom’s comfort to your child?  Nope.  Could I put up with your husband? Nope.  Could I make dinner one time a week?  Nope (I haven’t cooked in forever).

Do not be concerned with what others think of you.  As long as YOU are doing your best, what someone thinks about you isn’t your problem; it’s theirs.  Be your authentic self.  Don’t conform to others expectations so that you will be liked and accepted.  You do a disservice to yourself when you compromise who you are.

Imagine what your mind can focus on when you just accept that you are enough.  Imagine the release of stress, release of pressure, and being fully present in every aspect of your life.  This is what will happen when you decide you are enough.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.  YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH.  YOU ARE YOU! That’s all that matters.

******

If you’d like more encouragement, you can join my private Facebook Self Love Community!

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Sassy, Classy ,Badassy

I don’t need to say much about this RADIANT woman!  After her first session, she became an ambassador of mine, and I have enjoyed every second of having her by my side!  She wrote something beautiful after her shoot so I’ll just leave the rest of this in her own words.  All I’ll add is that these images from her second session are ARTWORK!  We both released and just allowed us to go to new places.  It’s so freeing to have clients come back for another session because they are even better!    You don’t want to miss the photos at the end of this post!!!!

Now, onto what she said:

1) Why did you decide to invest in a boudoir photo shoot?   I did this photo shoot for myself. I had participated in the self-love journey and I had gained some confidence in myself through that experiment. I wanted to see the difference in my pictures and my confidence and compare and contrast those from the first. I absolutely love my first pictures bad in them in my face and in past year I could still see that I was not as confident as I should have been. My second shoot was completely different. It was full of sass and confidence and even though I had gained a little bit of weight, to me my pictures Were that much more beautiful. Because I saw the confidence I did not see the additional weight

2) How did you feel about yourself before your photo shoot?   I was curious, Maura and I had talked together and were a lot more creative in the second shoot then the first. I trusted her vision and her judgment and together we added a couple of things, hat, tie and I was excited to see the end result. With my dish in of confidence and the more love I had for myself I was more relaxed and more willing to be more creative in the second shoot.

3) How did you feel about yourself after your photo shoot?  Any time you spend with Maura, it is a magical day. You laugh, you cry, you share intimate moments and not only do you bury your skin for the camera but you bare your soul and in that vulnerable state you find more strength than you ever thought you had. It was an amazing day and I am looking forward to my third shoot in June.

4) Describe your session in 3 words?  Sassy. Classy. Badassy.

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sexy boudoir pose

5) What was your favorite part of the boudoir photo shoot?  My favorite part of the boudoir shoot was the time I connected with Mara. The laughter that we shared and the things that we did creatively that I didn’t think that I would be able to do she was encouraging and comforting and showed me that I can’t do these things and they are beautiful.

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6) What would you say to other women who are considering a boudoir photo shoot?   If you are looking at any pictures and you think to yourself, I wish I could do that, Man I bet that’s fine, or if you’re thinking to yourself I wonder what my pictures would look like, then you need to make the arrangements and book the shoot. I know for many people finances are always the biggest issue. Reach out tomorrow talk to her she will make it work and it will be the best investment you’ll ever do for yourself. You are important, and you are worth it!

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It Was Magic

The biggest investment you can make is an investment in yourself!

I met this gorgeous woman when I hosted a viewing of the documentary Embrace!  We both felt a shift in our attitudes towards ourselves after watching it!  At the viewing of the movie, she decided that she wanted to do a boudoir session with me!  I was so happy to see her embrace and uplift herself.  She knew that she needed to invest in herself to take her new self love journey to an even better place.  She was so hard on herself that I knew she needed to just release everything she’d been holding on to! We had a blast during her session – so many laughs and fierce as f*!k images!  She killed it every step of the way.  She embraced everything she had and let me show her how amazing she is.  SHE SHINED!

Take a peak into her session and hear what she had to say about it all! She’s coming this year for her second session and will be participating in my next group shoot in May! I’m pushing her comfort zone because I know how wonderful she is!

In her words:

1) Why did you decide to invest in a boudoir photo shoot?  To strip away years of self doubt, self hate and worthlessness.

standing boudoir poses by pittsburgh boudoir photographer Pics By Chicks Photography

standing boudoir poses by pittsburgh boudoir photographer Pics By Chicks Photography

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2) How did you feel about yourself before your photo shoot?  I was never enough

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plus size boudoir pittsburgh

3) How did you feel about yourself after your photo shoot?  Proud and strong… and beautiful.

fun boudoir photos by pics by chicks photography

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4) Describe your session in 3 words?  It was MAGIC.

boudoir photography in pittsburgh that specializes in women of all shapes and sizes

boudoir photography in pittsburgh that specializes in women of all shapes and sizes

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5) What was your favorite part of the boudoir photo shoot?  Maura’s laughter 🙂

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boudoir photography pittsburgh

6) What would you say to other women who are considering a boudoir photo shoot?  The best investment is YOU. Take the time to remember the girl within… see what the world sees when they look at you. Embrace your womanhood… there is nothing sexier than a woman who knows her worth.

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What You’re Missing

I am inviting all the haters, cyber bullies, and internet trolls into my life with this post.  My clients are vulnerable with me all the time.  I’m going to return that favor my posting something very vulnerable of myself.

If you are in my private self-love community group (I’ll link to it below), you may remember that I shared the below photo in my group last year.  I once asked the ladies in the group to write down 3 things every day that they love about themselves.  I was thinking of a way that I drive this point home – they need to focus on what they love, not what they perceive as flaws.  When you focus on the flaws, you can’t see that radiant smile, that confident women, that amazing person who serves others.  All you see are red lines all over you body….you missed it.  You missed the smile, you missed the confidence, you missed the spirit, you missed the SOUL!

I shared it in our very safe environment on Facebook.  It was great to expose myself like that and show my vulnerability.  But, I was terrified to put this out there publicly for everyone else to see.  But, the message is important.  I want to share it with you all here.  So, read below!

 

How often do you pick apart every little thing about yourself? I wanted to out myself, to show you that you aren’t alone, that you can overcome all the negativity you’ve put on yourself, that you can shine in the midst of the craziness, that you can focus on who you are not what you look like! I’m imperfect. But those imperfections make me unique but still so very lovable!

I cried .. a lot … as I was putting this together. Some of the things I’ve said about myself are horrible to think about – they were things my closest friends or even strangers would never say about me. But here I was admitting that I used to say these things about myself. Why would I be so mean? It was staring me right in the face. I couldn’t hide or pretend that this version of me existed (and maybe still exists on my bad days).

Our minds are fixated on all the things we perceive as negative. Things that people don’t even see about us. How in the world can you be positive about your life when you think and say all these negative things about yourself?!? Honestly. Until you change your focus and your perspective of yourself, you’ll  constantly question yourself.

Stop marking yourself up with red lines of all these things that don’t matter. When you start nitpicking yourself, I want you to imagine making these lines all over your body. Everyone has stretch marks, cellulite exits in most females, we all have something. Those things have no impact on the person you ARE! I beg of you to change your focus.   If you don’t, you’ll never see that bright smiling woman!  The lines have distorted your view!

I’m not saying that I don’t focus on certain things about myself but I don’t let the negative win the war in my mind. I don’t have anything that’s abnormal. Here’s something that I noticed about this – the more I looked at myself, the more comfortable I got with it. I have lumps of fat around my hips, so what. I have big thighs, great. I have saggy boobs, lovely. I have stretch marks, wonderful reminder of my weight loss.

I’m not saying that I don’t have bad days – I do. But I have confidence in myself that goes far beyond my looks. That’s why the projects I run in my group are so important to me! I want you all to feel amazing and find a new level of confidence! It doesn’t happen overnight though and it requires work! You’ve focused on the negative for so long and it hasn’t gotten you anywhere. It’s time to look at all the great things about you!!!

Join my on the next journey – there’s so much growth when we can be vulnerable with others but, most importantly, with ourselves!

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