Contract With Yourself

Hey listen up!  I’m just like you.  I struggle daily in my self-love journey.  One day I feel great, the next I feel down.  Part of my journey, though, is that I realize the down days are only temporary!  I know I’ll be right back to a day of love and encouragement.  I feel it in my heart, I know that I’m worthy and deserving.  But, it doesn’t stop those bad days from coming.  We all have them.  I could meet the biggest champion of female self love, care and compassion and I guarantee you that she also has days where she feels down.

Today, I decided to do something about.  Something serious.

I decided to write a contract with myself.

There are severe penalties if this is not followed.

self love practices - making a contract with yourself

I was talking about my journey this upcoming year with some friends, and admitting that I was a hypocrite (see earlier blog post) and I needed to make my self-care a priority.  It’s a necessity for my survival to do so, but I was curious as to how I was going to keep myself accountable.  I so easily fall into a trap of working too much, putting everyone else’s needs in front of mine…blah blah blah – same old story.

Well, the idea of a contract came to mind.  So I’m working on drafting a contract with myself that specifically outlines the steps I will take.

Here’s some of mine:

I, Maura Chick, will make myself a priority in life.  Each morning I will wake and say, “I love you, Maura.  You are so beautiful”

I will do everything in regards to my body from a place of love.  That includes working out as well as eating.  I will do both these things because I love myself, and I deserve the good feelings that come from exercise and healthy eating.  I will not let my appearance hold me back from experience all the enjoyment out of life.

Every month, I will get a 2 hour massage.

Once a month, I will do a special activity that is solely for fun.  I will invite some friends to join me each month.

I will read 3 books per month about self-care, self-love and female empowerment.

I will let a white light of love radiate from me to everyone I encounter.

I will journal twice a week to get out any feelings that I have festering inside me.

I will practice meditation, mindfulness and will stretch daily.

I will encourage others around to me begin their journey and be an constant example of light, love, compassion and empathy.  Most importantly, I will show those characteristics to myself.

Signatures:

_______________

Maura Chick

_______________

Maura’s Heart, Maura’s representative

******

I encourage you to write your own contract with yourself.  Print it out, sign it and hang it up on the wall so it’s staring you in the face daily.  That will hold you accountable.  It holds me accountable too!

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Mindful-Laughter-Love

I have the pleasure of sharing with you another Chick Clique beauty who so openly shared her life with me!  I met this gorgeous woman at a wedding I was photographing – she was the matron of honor.  I immediate knew we’d hit it off because we seemed to have the same sense of humor.  All day we laughed together.  And she was unbelievably helpful to everyone around here.  But, little did I know the struggle that she faced this year.  Her daughter passed away from a heart defect.  The pain and agony that she still feels I can only imagine.  I was so honored when she contacted me about a boudoir session – I knew what I wanted to do for her that day.  Just let her relax, have fun, not worry about anything!  Just a day to reminder herself who she was before all the heartache.

During her session she said she felt good and that she wasn’t thinking about anything else but the session and the laughs we were sharing.  That’s exactly what I wanted!  I so wish I could take her pain away – I want to so badly – but I know that my job is to just listen and empathize with my clients.  I may not understand some of the situations they go through but I can be an outlet for them to just let it all out.  I love that aspect of my job!

Here’s what she said about her session:

1) Why did you decide to invest in a boudoir photo shoot?  I thought that it would be a good way to show my husband how crazy I am about him still. Considering the year that we had.

2) How did you feel about yourself before your photo shoot?  i had self confidence

3) How did you feel about yourself after your photo shoot?  This shoot made me feel like I was me again. I made me remember how great it felt to be mindful and to be in the moment

boudoir pose ideas from pittsburgh boudoir photographer Pics By Chicks Photography

4) Describe your session in 3 words?  MINDFUL, LAUGHTER, LOVE

fun and lighthearted boudoir photo of woman laughing

(Maura Side Note:  She shared this photo with our private group and said,

“So I just did my review during a skype session. Let me tell you …

1. I had just as much fun via Skype that I did during the photo shoot
2.Even if you had no self confidence. You are leaving the viewing and shoot having a shit ton more. Maura won’t let you go if not 😉
3. The first photo reminds me of who I use to be a year and half ago. It means the most to me. I want to become that women again. I want my eyes to have that light and care free feeling that I display in this photo. I NEED TO BRING LIGHT TO MY DARKNESS  #selfgoals
4. My Husband will go crazy about these!! If you know him or me you better not blurp it out to him. or i will find you and give you that evil eye :-/
5. The inspiration that Maura gave me during the shoot and viewing makes me want to become a happier\ better person.

DO THE SHOOT SEXY BITCHES IT WILL BE WORTH THE WHILE”)

5) What was your favorite part of the boudoir photo shoot?  laughing and the good convo with the photographer 😉

boudoir pose ideas from pittsburgh boudoir photographer Pics By Chicks Photography

sexy photos pittsburgh boudoir pose on the floor

6) What would you say to other women who are considering a boudoir photo shoot?  GO to MAURA you won’t even feel half naked!!!! when you are completely NAKED!!!!

boudoir intimate images taken in pittsburgh in black lingerieboudoir intimate images taken in pittsburgh in black lingerieboudoir photos pittsburghboudoir photos pittsburgh

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Be The Example

I was one of those people that used to think that I needed to shove all this self love stuff down people’s throat to get them to make changes.  I have a passion for helping women along their journey that I thought it was the best way to reach them and show them that they can live the life they’ve imagined.  I was wrong.  So very wrong.

a self love blog post by Pics By Chicks Photography, Pittsburgh boudoir Photographer

While it’s important for me to help women by giving them challenges along the way, tasks here and there that can help them, boosting their confidence through boudoir photo shoots, sending them home with a self love activities booklet…I realized it was more important for me to be the example.

I will always tell women how important, special, amazing and loved they are – that will not change.  I really want a bright light to radiate from me when people see me and know that I speak the truth.  But, more importantly, I’ve learned that I have to be the example.  I have to show them the love and care that I give to myself.  They have to see how it’s changed my life.  How I’ve stripped off the masks I’ve been hiding behind and stood in the light.

When they see that, they’ll want it too.

You see people tend to get to shy away from something when you are pushy about it, they may even reject it.  I never want someone to reject and turn from this path that I’m on because it’s so amazing.  I’ve found so much freedom in joy in letting go of the things that don’t matter.  I will continue to post what I do, challenge people to make changes, think about what they are doing, determine the messages they are sending to those around them, and encourage them to make a change.  Not force, not push …. encourage!  Be an example.  Be the light.  Be the love.

Seeing change in yourself attracts others to that change too.  Then you help them along their journey.  My clients know it, my clients see it, and they encourage and inspire others too!

I’ll be sharing soon my Self Care Menu!

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My Best Self

When they write the history books of my life (haha, like I’m going to be a history book), they will mention this woman multiple times.  She had two boudoir sessions with me in 2017!  After her first session, she became an ambassador for me.  She has a drive and determination like I’ve never seen!  She’s so inspiring – even as I sit back and watch her, I am inspired.  She gives fiercely to her family, she has so much love to give, and she’s constantly pushing herself to be better than the person she was yesterday.  2017 was HER YEAR!  She wanted to do something each month that was a step out of her comfort zone and she was going to relish in all the goodness it did for her life.  Looking back over that year, I see so much growth from her.  She proved that growth only happens outside your comfort zone!  And, I can only imagine what she’s shown to her children – especially her girls!  They see their strong, confident mother, who looks fear in the face and tells it to sit down and shut up!  She’s one to watch.  I can only imagine the trajectory of her life, and I’m so honored to be a part of her journey!  Can’t wait for her third session!

Here’s what she had to say after her second session:

1) Why did you decide to invest in a boudoir photo shoot?  I decided to invest in a second shoot with Maura to go through the experience in a new way this time around. The first session I had was a gift for my husband’s birthday, so the outfit choices and style of photos were more geared to his taste. This time around, it was all about ME!

pittsburgh boudoir photography collage of black and white boudoir poses

2) How did you feel about yourself before your photo shoot?  I was feeling happy with myself. I’ve have been living my best life this year and it was showing!

pittsburgh boudoir photography showcasing boudoir posing for a client during her second session

3) How did you feel about yourself after your photo shoot?  My best self multiplied by a MILLION!

4) Describe your session in 3 words?  Exciting, uplifting, and freeing!

boudoir pose idea from pittsburgh boudoir photographer, Pics By Chicks Photography

5) What was your favorite part of the boudoir photo shoot?  Doing my partial nude photos! I was super nervous, and I did end up deciding against full nudity, but I am very happy I decided to bare a bit more this time! They ended up being my favorite photos of the day! Maura was amazing with the dramatic lighting in the pictures and they were all done so tastefully!

(**Maura side note: You’ll see these in another blog post….with her ladies bits conceal! haha)

6) What would you say to other women who are considering a boudoir photo shoot?  The same answer I had after my first shoot, only six months ago.. DO NOT OVER THINK IT! Just book it, right this very second! YOU WILL NOT HAVE A SINGLE REGRET!

boudoir photography pittsburgh of woman on steps for a boudoir poseboudoir photos pittsburghboudoir photos pittsburghboudoir images taken during a session with pittsburgh boudoir photographer, Maura Chick

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Love Doesn’t Exist on Facebook

I see all the posts, gushing about your significant other.  I’ve done it too.  I used to see those posts and think they are sweet, and it was great to see love so freely exposed on Facebook.  When I began dating the man I now call my husband, I was active on Facebook and expecting to see all these posts about how much he loved me.  I mean, I had waited a long time for a man like him.  Someone so kind, gracious, giving, caring, patient and loving.  I wondered why he wasn’t posting such things on Facebook.

He told me he loved me, but he wasn’t telling the world.  I thought, “Oh well, that’s just him.”

It didn’t bother me much, just wanted to see him proclaim is love for me.

Love doesn't exist on Facebook, A personal blog post about the reality of love

Daily – even 6 years into our marriage – he proclaims his love for me….TO MY FACE!  That’s so much better than seeing it on Facebook, in a world that can be so fake and made up.  You only see the good parts of people online, you don’t see what it’s like behind the doors.  And, I’d much rather have someone who treats me like a queen every day than sit on Facebook and tell people he hardly knows how much he loves me.  Which one is more real?  That’s a rhetorical question.

Since January of 2017, I had been dealing with some debilitating nerve pain caused from a herniated disc in my lower back.  It got increasingly worse as the days passed.  I went thru countless treatments with the chiropractor, did some physical therapy, tried chirotherapy, acupuncture, medical massages, and steroid injections into my back.  Everything.  All these changes in and out.  Endless appointments, agonizing pain that resulted in cries and threats, not being able to cook, clean or focus, not being able to be active.  But…

The one constant thru all this…Tony!

At one of the lowest points before my back surgery, I woke up at 3 AM and had to go to the bathroom. As I was sitting on the toilet, shooting pain began at my butt all the way down to my foot.  It was intense.  So intense that it brought me to my knees, mid pee.  Yup, there I was on the bathroom floor mid stream because I couldn’t stand the pain.  (It was BADDDD)  I was yelling and screaming from the floor, Tony hears me, says he’s coming to the bathroom.  I scream, “NOOO, I don’t want you to see me like this.” He said, “Too bad I’m coming in anyway.”

I can only imagine what he saw when he walked in.  But, he didn’t hesitate.  He got some paper towels and started cleaning me up.  I was in tears – first from the pain but mostly from him seeing me in such a state.  I kept saying, “I don’t want you to see me like this.” This man – this kind, sweet and incredibly sensitive man – got down on the floor in front of me, put my face in his hands and said, “Maura, this is what love is.”

Queue more tears…but this time it was because I realized the depth of his love.  As crazy as it was (him cleaning me off and helping me back to bed), he showed me a whole new level of love.  Love I didn’t know was possible.  A partnership I didn’t realize we had until that moment.  I have always been the strong one in the relationship as we deal with Tony’s depression.  But, the tables had turned and he was the strength I needed.

So when looking to define love….

Love is when he feels your pain.  Love is the agony that he can’t take it away.  Love is the patience to deal with someone who isn’t living a life.

Love isn’t defined by fancy and gushing Facebook posts….it’s laying on the bathroom floor with you.

Love is someone you can be your raw real self with, they see you for everything you are and they love you.

Love is never trying to change who you are.

Love is acceptance of all the crazy and insane things that make you the person you are.

This whole situation showed me the countless ways he shows me love.  So, I say to everyone looking for a partner, don’t look for the spark, don’t expect sappy posts on Fakebook, don’t be wooed by fancy presents.  Find the person that’s going to help you off the floor, in your worst moments, and still look at you and tell them you love them.

Thanks Tony for showing me love in so many ways!

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