On a Journey

This beauty!  This was her fourth time in front of my camera and I forgot just how much I love to photograph her!  This time her session was an anniversary gift, and wowzers.  She’s simply stunning and classically beautiful.  There’s so many photos I want to share so I’m going to split up her blog post into a few!  I can’t wait to show you more from her session but this blog post is what she had to say about her session with me.  I adore her more than she’ll ever know and spending time with her is a treasure!  She’s got a great heart and cares deeply – she’s my kind of people!

Enjoy….

Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer Pics by Chicks Photography

1) Why did you decide to invest in a boudoir photo shoot?  Two reasons, one for my husband as an anniversary gift and two, to invest in me. I’m still on a journey to love and accept who I am and celebrate that.

intimate photos pittsburgh boudoir pose ideas on bed

intimate photos pittsburgh boudoir pose ideas on bed

2) How did you feel about yourself before your photo shoot?  I didn’t hate my body but I share all the same insecurities that most women do post babies.

sensual boudoir images from Pittsburgh boudoir photographer pics by chicks photography

3) How did you feel about yourself after your photo shoot?  Empowered, strong, hopeful 🙂

sensual boudoir images from Pittsburgh boudoir photographer pics by chicks photography

4) Describe your session in 3 words?  Freeing, empowering, and FUN!!!!

sexy photos pittsburgh by boudoir photographer pics by chicks

5) What was your favorite part of the boudoir photo shoot?  The conversations we had. I felt so much closer to you and didn’t realize that maybe I hadn’t opened up before about what makes me who I am. It felt really amazing to connect and share many things that I don’t normally open up about.

boudoir photos pittsburgh - sexy confident and passionate women celebrated in intimate portraits

boudoir photos pittsburgh - sexy confident and passionate women celebrated in intimate portraits

6) What would you say to other women who are considering a boudoir photo shoot?  Please please PLEASE invest in this for yourself and when you do (because you know you’re going to!) let all of the feelings you have during your shoot take over you. Love yourself!!!

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Do You Need Self Love?

In this blog post, I really wanted to address whether you know you need more self love in your life.  Sometimes it’s hard for us to really know without evaluating ourselves and taking a hard look into our thoughts, beliefs and behaviors!  Also, I wanted to share some boudoir photos with you from the waterfall session I had with my friend Ashely a few weeks ago.  Ashley has totally embraced her self love journey and has allowed me to lead her down a path that has seen so much growth.  She’s changed her life, her view of herself, and the way her kids see her – she’s put so much work into her journey.  The important first step though was that she made a choice.  She chose to change.  I hope you will make the same choice as she did.

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It’s a pretty simple question when you think about it – Do You Need Self Love?  But, I imagine most people don’t know they are struggling with their own self love journey. They think to themselves, “Sure I like myself.  Yeah, I guess I love myself.”  But do you?   Do you?  Could you stand up in a crowded room and be unafraid to yell I LOVE ME? (**As I write this right now, I’m wearing my I <3 Me t-shirt.  I’m proud to wear it because I’ve fought hard and done lots of work to make this proclamation)

There are so many different areas of self-love.  It’s not just one thing.  What I’m learning in my self love life coaching certification classes is that there are many branches of self-love.  We tend to focus on one forgetting that the others exist.  And when we neglect certain aspects of self love, you get pulled into negativity that is hard to escape from.  My job is to be here for you, to listen to you, to guide you on your journey.  I want women to empower themselves, to proclaim their love and confidence in themselves, and look at themselves (flaws and all) with love and affection.

How can you tell whether you need some more self love in your life?  Let me ask you some questions:

Do you obsess about your appearance?  Do you feel the need to “fix” yourself?  Do you say mean things to yourself?

Are you scrolling through social media and seeing what others have and wishing you did too?

Do you feel like what you do is never enough? Do you doubt yourself?  Does that doubt stop you from taking action?

Do the opinions of others influence your decisions?  Do you put yourself down or openly criticize yourself?

Are you hard on yourself?  Do you blame yourself or find fault in you when something doesn’t go right (even if out of your control)?

Do you judge yourself?  Do you put pressure on yourself to be perfect?

Do you constantly revisit the past?  Do you define yourself by those experiences?

Do you think others are perfect but you are flawed?

Are you waiting for things to happen?  Do you let others control you?  Do you look for others approval, acknowledgment and acceptance?

Do you change who you are to “fit in” or be accepted?  Do you hold back your thoughts and feelings?  Do you fear being rejected?

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IF YOU ANSWERED YES to any of these questions, you need to work on your self love!!

Join a self love club to help you live your best life

Questions continued (see there’s more.  haha)

Do you celebrate how others look, what they have, what they can accomplish during the day – without getting jealous?

Could you stand with a group of women that look different from you and not compare yourself to them?

Do you know what’s really important to you?

Do you know what YOU love to do?  Do you know what you are passionate about? (**Being a mother or wife does not count)

Do you feel like you have a GIFT to offer this world?

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IF YOU ANSWERED NO to any of the above questions, you need to work on your self love!!

There’s so much work that we have to do on ourselves.  We have to come from a place of love and acceptance but first we must acknowledge that we need help in these areas.  We can no longer hide in the corner, pretend like everything is OK, and just wait for changes to happen!  We have to MAKE A CHOICE to make a change in the way we view ourselves.  You aren’t going to get anywhere by waiting!

What I’m developing with my Self Love Club is honestly life changing!  The activities that I have planned will

–Help build our confidence

–See how the things we say to ourselves bring so much negativity to our lives

–Show us how comparison kills our own unique beauty

–Determine who we are

–build a community of women who want to uplift and support each other

–Help you find those qualities about yourself that make you SHINE

–Learn to love, accept and embrace how you like just as you are

…..AND SO MUCH MORE!  I’ve got 4 things planned when this initially kicks off.  First, we’re going through a journey of self-discovery.  Then, we’re doing an event on stripping off the masks of what you are supposed to be and embracing who you are.  Third, my next Self Love Project starts with learning to love yourself through writing letters to your best friend.  Fourth, a practice in healing your heart from past hurts so you can grow into an amazing woman and see your future for what it will be!

Before I leave you with the photos, I feel it’s important to just tell you how passionate I am about this club.  I’ve worked hard on myself.  I’ve worked with hundreds of women who have issues with loving themselves – that work has lead me to where I am today.  Being a boudoir photographer is just a small part of my passion … helping women see the light, embrace themselves and unapologetically love who they are is THE MOST important thing to me.  I will be putting so much effort into these projects and events, but more importantly, I’ll be putting LOVE into it all.  A love I want you to have, a love I want to nourish, a love that never ends.

Why is Self Love important?

You hold true to your unique self.  You live life freely and confidently knowing that you are giving this world the exact person you are.  You no longer hide or try to change.  When you love yourself, it frees up so much love for others.  You set an example for others that it’s important to take care of yourself, to know who you are and NEVER settle for less than your heart desires.  You are amazing, you are unique, you are special, you are worthy, you are genuine, you are not alone….join me on this journey.

Do you need self love?

Now, to Ashley’s waterfall session!

outdoor boudoir photo shoot in waterfall - Pittsburgh boudoir photographyoutdoor boudoir photo shoot in waterfall - Pittsburgh boudoir photographywaterfall boudoir session in pittsburgh PA with Pics by Chicks Photographyoutdoor boudoir photo shoot in waterfall - Pittsburgh boudoir photographyoutdoor boudoir photo shoot in waterfall - Pittsburgh boudoir photography

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I Saw Myself Totally Different

I’ve said so many times that the best part about this job is showing my clients a new side of themselves or a side of themselves they forgot existed.  Today’s beauty was no different.

And, if you look at these photos, you may see that I was a little obsessed with her booty! hahaha.  I love butts and I cannot lie!  Enjoy these photos and what she had to say about her boudoir session!

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1) Why did you decide to invest in a boudoir photo shoot?  Many, many reasons! It started out as a surprise for my husband, but it quickly turned into all about me. I realized I was struggling with confidence, and about 40 quickly approaching, it became about challenging me outside of my comfort zone

2) How did you feel about yourself before your photo shoot?  I took pride in being strong and showing my girls strength, but I struggled with self acceptance. I created my own barriers and held myself to expectations only I measured. I lacked confidence in my body and I put those views onto others…especially my husband, I measured myself by things from the past.

3) How did you feel about yourself after your photo shoot?  I was very nervous at my shoot and felt that my “flaws” were going to be noticed…Maura quickly made me feel confident and her enthusiasm was contagious. It wasn’t until my viewing that It all came together for me, I kept thinking “that’s me” and I saw myself totally different, not through my mind with my perception but what was really in front of me.

pittsburgh boudoir session dark and moody image of woman in lingerie

4) Describe your session in 3 words?  Powerful

pittsburgh boudoir session dark and moody image of woman in lingerie

pittsburgh boudoir session dark and moody image of woman in lingerie

5) What was your favorite part of the boudoir photo shoot?  Letting Maura take control which was not easy for me… I gave up control and let Maura guide me, I felt I needed to get out of the way since I would only hold me back , best decision I made

boudoir pose ideas by Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer Pics By Chicks Photography

Pittsburgh Boudoir photo session

6) What would you say to other women who are considering a boudoir photo shoot?  take the time to invest in yourself…to see yourself for the bombshell you are and answer the question “what is my superpower?”

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All Woman

ALL WOMAN!  That’s right.  That’s a great feeling as you end your boudoir session.  Sometimes we have a hard time seeing the woman that’s inside us.  We’re busy with work, life, kids, volunteering … and all these other responsibilities.  We forget to stop and take a look around, and see the wonderful women we are.  While you are living your life, I urge you to stop and remember WHO you are.  Do you know who you are?  Do you know what you like to do?  Not you as a mom or you as a wife .. but you as a person – what do you like to do?  As I begin my Self Love Club, our first few months will be focused on self discovery.  It’s time for us to see ourselves for who we are and get reacquainted with ourselves.  I hope you’ll join me!

In the meantime, I share this amazing woman with you!  She’s someone I’ve known for a long long LONG time and I was so happy when she finally decided to come for a boudoir session!  She’s been through so much in the last year and it was an honor to celebrate her!  She’s literally one of the coolest women I know.  Her style is amazing, her design abilities are incredible, and she’s so down to earth.

Get ready for photo overload.  She is stunning!

The rest of this post is in her words:

1) Why did you decide to invest in a boudoir photo shoot?  At the age of 40, I wanted to do something for myself that took me completely out of my comfort zone.

2) How did you feel about yourself before your photo shoot?  I’ve had my hang-ups with certain parts of my body, but I’ve tried to stay as much body positive as I possibly could.

boudoir photography pittsburgh

3) How did you feel about yourself after your photo shoot?  All woman!!! Proud to be me!

lingerie photos pittsburgh

4) Describe your session in 3 words?  Invigorating Bold Relaxed

lingerie photos pittsburgh

sexy photo shoot pittsburgh of women in lingerie

5) What was your favorite part of the boudoir photo shoot?  The energy that Maura creates in the room. There’s a comfort level I never would’ve anticipated.

sexy photo shoot pittsburgh of women in lingerie

sexy photo shoot pittsburgh of women in lingerie

6) What would you say to other women who are considering a boudoir photo shoot?  DO IT!!!! But I say…. Do it for yourself!!!!

black and white boudoir photos taken in pittsburgh PA boudoir studioBoudoir Photography PittsburghBoudoir Photography PittsburghBoudoir Photography Pittsburgh

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Can You Transform Yourself?

Is it possible to completely transform the way you view yourself?  Can you hate yourself, want to change yourself, and constantly compare yourself to others for 30 years then change that image you have of yourself?  Can you see light at the end of the tunnel?  Do you think that all the negativity you show yourself daily is going to help you change?  Do you try to hide yourself for fear that you’ll be rejected?  These are all things I’ve thought to myself time and time again.

While I was beginning to prepare for the launch of my Self Love Club, I was reflecting on my own journey over the last 30 years.  Gosh, saying 30 YEARS sounds like a long time….but when I was 10, I started to realize that something was different about me.  I inherited my dad’s family’s bone structure and build.  I have two sisters and a mother who are petite.  I was always the fat kid.  The one who looked different.  The one who couldn’t fit into the clothes at the stores everyone else shopped at.  The one that couldn’t fit into seats on roller coasters.  The one who broke many a chairs in the lunchroom in high school.  During my childhood, my belly would stick out from my shirt but I didn’t seem to care until people started pointing it out.  There have been so many events that have happened in my life that helped me jump on a path of self hatred.

There was that one time my grandmother said we were going on a special trip together that she was keeping a surprise.  Something we’d never done before.  I was so excited that I got all dressed up and was looking forward to my day with her.  She picked me up and drove me straight to Weight Watchers.  I don’t want to admit how young I was when this happened.  But, at that moment I knew something was wrong with me.  I was different and I needed to change.  What I looked like wasn’t good enough for her, that she needed me to be someone else to be proud of me.  That I was supposed to look and act a certain way for her to love me.  She wasn’t accepting me as I was.  Something was wrong and it needed fixed.

Or, the time I tried out for cheerleading.  I didn’t make either of the two teams I tried out for because I was “too big.” Then I tried out for dance team.  Didn’t make it there either.  Finally made it to the drill team.  I was so proud of myself – I made it onto a team that I worked hard to be a part of.  It was an accomplishment for me!  I practiced all the time, I was dedicated.  Then came community day at school – we had to wear our uniforms that day.  I walked into Mr. Bryan’s 8th grade science class (I remember it like it was yesterday) and I went to my seat in the back of the classroom.  A classmate of mine (I’ll omit his name but I know who he is) said to me, “Oh, Maura.  You’re on the drill team??” So proud of myself, I enthusiastically said, “YES I AM!”  He responded, “Oh, I thought they had a weight limit for that.”

Queue the tears.  Headed straight to the nurse’s office and had to go home for the day.  I was devastated.  My little kid heart was broken.

how to love yourself, Maura Chick shares strategies that have helped women move from hating themselves to loving themselves

These are just two stories of MANY that I have that have shaped the way I viewed myself.  I don’t share them to get pity, love or attention, but to show you that these kind of brutal things happen to us as women.  We aren’t strong enough to know how to deal with them and each experience like this makes a crack in our heart.  Cracks that we need to fill with the love we have for ourselves.  But, all too often, we don’t have love, so we think people that say things about us must be right and it makes the heart crack bigger.  Ultimately the cracks get harder and harder to fill.  We need more love for ourselves to be able to handle all these situations.  We need love to be able to move forward with our life.  We need love to be able to accept the person we are today – that includes what you look like.

My insecurity, lack of belief in myself, and hatred for the way I looked lead me down a never ending battle with myself.  It’s a BATTLE, one I fight daily.  I always thought that I needed to change me (who I was and how I looked) in order to be loved and accepted.  I feared that if I let my true self show that people would continue to reject me.  This started a cycle of constant negative thoughts and beliefs in my mind and heart.  Negativity that I put on myself for 30 years!!  Never thinking I was good enough, never feeling like someone could love me for the real me, never feeling true love.

I looked in the wrong places for love and acceptance.  In diets, losing weight, gaining weight back, losing it again, getting into a terrible relationship, gaining weight, going to extremes (running 50 miles a week), being the “funny one” all the time so people wouldn’t see the bad parts of me, holding myself back from doing things fearing rejection, not taking chances, getting depressed because I couldn’t maintain the changes I was trying to make.  I felt like a failure.  Something was wrong with me.  If I could just change myself, I could love me.  Why couldn’t I change?

Maura, WHY CAN’T YOU CHANGE?????  I have on many occasions yelled this to myself out loud, crying as a drop to the floor in agony that I’m just not right.  Then I realized, I can’t change because I was running away from the woman I am, and my only purpose in this world is to be my true unique self.  I was doing a disservice to myself and the world by trying to hide myself behind all these masks I put up.  Not realizing that being someone other than myself was a losing battle.  And, I don’t want to fight anymore.  I’m tired of fighting.  This battle is exhausting.  There has to be a better way for us to live because I couldn’t go on anymore.  I needed peace.  Peace that could only come from within.

I started my own self love journey thinking that it would make me a little happier, not realizing the MAJOR impact this would have on my life.  I’ve completely changed the way I view myself.  I can honestly say that I love myself, I stay true to myself, other’s opinions have no impact on me, I live my life unapologetically, I have confidence in who I am, I know that my looks don’t determine my worth, I know that I’m better when I’m being true to me.

It took work to get there.  I developed strategies that I still use to remind myself that I’m worthy of love — most importantly, love from myself.  I created self love programs that challenged me to really look into the mirror and see what I was doing to myself.  How could I expect to be a positive force in this world if all I was doing was hating on myself?  You can’t.  You can’t change or be good for others when you are so horrible to yourself.  You are harder on you than you are on anyone else, but the good news is that you can change!  You change the way you view yourself…the feelings you have for you!  You become lighter, you have a better outlook, you feel happy, you have stability, you stop sabotaging yourself, you want others to have what you have!  This journey of mine is not all that different from what others have experienced but I’ve learned the tools to get to a place of love.  And, I have a passion in sharing that with others!

In the end, here are a few things I’ve realized:

-The only opinion that matters is the one I have of myself.

-That the real me is one fabulous woman.

-It’s OK to love myself.  It’s not vain or narcissistic or conceited.

-It takes hard work to get to a point of acceptance of who you are and what you look like.

-It’s work that never ends.  I need to constantly nourish my mind, body and spirit to recognize that I am fabulous.

-Every day I have a choice to make.  Whether I’m going to view myself with love or hate.

-Even though I love me I can still want to change things about myself.  The difference is I’m changing from a place of love, not hate.

What change do you want?  How do you want to look at yourself?  What do you wish you looked like?  Do you hold yourself back from doing things because you are afraid of how you look or what people think about you?  What should you be saying to yourself day in and day out?  Is what you’re doing right now working for you?

If not, I want to help!  This is why the Self Love Club is so important to me.  I’m going to be sharing my strategies and SO MUCH MORE with everyone because I want you to have the peace I have.

Nothing good ever comes from hate.  But so much good ….  good you can’t even image …. comes from love!  Let me help you stand up and shout that I LOVE MYSELF!!!  It feels so good when you do!

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