I wanted to share this review of boudoir with you all on my blog. This woman posted this in my private Facebook group. This is the most important message I could share with you!
If this review is long, I apologize (only sort of…I’m a wordy person). The short version of what’s to come is, “It’s awesome, just do it.” If you’re interested in the longer version, however, read on 🙂 I also apologize for some possible TMI moments that I feel are applicable to share for anyone on the fence about whether to do this or not.
Let’s start with the important unimportant information. I’m an almost 31 year old mother of an almost 7 year old daughter. I’m a size 18, 40C, reflectively white mom with a jigglier stomach than I would care for, thighs that are thicker than I love when I look in the mirror, cellulite, and a list a mile long of things I could pick apart about my body (both my pre kid, and definitely my post kid, body). And while my marriage was/is healthy, I had definitely lost putting nearly as much effort into the wife side of who I am due to the amount of effort applied to being a homeschooling mom. And all that information above, is EXACTLY why I should have done this shoot years ago. And, exactly what shouldn’t keep you from doing one yourself.
I booked my shoot with Maura as soon as my husband gave me my gift certificate that covered my booking fee. I scheduled for September. In the months leading up to my shoot I had several shopping trips with my best friend. Lots of online purchases that I returned, and lots of lingerie sales I took advantage of. The girl at Torrid began to know me by name (and that I was shopping for a boudoir shoot). As a mom (who maybe added 1 piece of lingerie to my collection in the 7 years since my daughter was born), this experience was amazing. I purchased WAY more than I needed. I have bra and panty sets galore, body suits to wear for date night and some that should only leave my house if they’re heading to Maura’s! The knowledge that the shoot was coming and I needed to find what I was comfortable in for me was motivation enough to shop for not just my shoot, but my bedroom as well (is there a more polite/less taboo way to phrase this? I’m quite sure I’ve rewritten that bit several times). So long before I arrived to my shoot, I had already felt like I had gotten my money’s worth for the booking fee. I fell in love with my new mom bod and curves, even with all the faults I could pick out. I was forced to start paying attention to what I loved over what I didn’t.
There was a pre-shoot question sheet, along with a pre-shoot consultation. Both of these allowed me to let Maura know my insecurities for my body, bring the things I had purchased thus far and get feedback, and narrow down what I should bring the day of. For people concerned that the lingerie could get really expensive on top of the investment for the shoot, it’s totally possible for it to not. My items included a clearance crop top from Forever 21 with some high waisted swim suit bottoms from Amazon. Total cost was maybe $30 and I’ll use the swim bottoms next summer. A body suit from Amazon that I LOVED that was around $30, a slip style item I’d seen on Torrid’s website that I loved, and found on clearance at the store. It was $60 and probably my most expensive piece…but a must have for me. And an off the shoulder 3/4 length shirt, again from Torrid and from clearance, with a matching thong…maybe another $20? And then I went to an outlet up in Youngstown, along with Marshalls and Ross and such on the hunt for shoes. I think I paid $15 each for 3 pairs of shoes? And truthfully, a pair of black and a pair of nude heals will do ya if you don’t want to do anything crazy. But all in all, it was pretty manageable considering what lingerie prices can be, especially for plus size girls. If you start shopping and watching for clearance once you schedule (since she books so far out) you can make it REALLY affordable. Plus, the pieces from her own collection you can use.
The day of my shoot I arrived excited. Silly excited. I sat and had my make up done, and my hair done. I carried on uninterrupted conversations with other adult women (because that’s hard to do as a mom, for hours on end). And then came the image taking. This was a lesson in letting go of control for me. While I knew of Maura professionally, and had chatted with her a handful of times before my shoot, I didn’t REALLY know her. And for me it wasn’t about the parading around in skimpy outfits that was nerving, it was capturing them. I had taken enough selfies and sent them to my long distance bestie to get opinions on outfits for this shoot that I had seen how I looked in them. And while I loved the outfits…I still saw my pasty white skin, my cellulite, and all the other things. All I could do was have faith that Maura would make me look far better than my cell phone selfies did.
At the end of my shoot I rode home on a “Maura high.” Had I never gotten any photos. Had I never seen a preview. I already felt like I had gotten the value of what I paid. I left with a new feeling of confidence. A new desire for self care. A new desire to do my make up in the mornings (even if I was just running errands and shuttling a kid to gymnastics). For me. For my husband. For our marriage. I wanted to take care of myself…more than I was normally doing. The amount of genuine compliments (and cat calls) that come your way during the shoot from Maura can’t help but make you leave there feeling amazing.
So, at this point, even if you fear disliking your photos, you have still gotten your money’s worth just to let her take your photos (and believe me, you won’t dislike them).
That night she posted a sneak peek. It was in the outfit I felt the least secure in of all those that I wore. And I friggin loved it. Holy smokes. So, if she can nail what I was most self conscious in, I can only imagine what was to come.
Fast forward to today, my viewing. If anything, I was more nervous about my viewing than I was my shoot. I was excited, don’t get me wrong. But this is the part where I have to try and look at myself through non-biased eyes. I had to try and see the over all photo rather than pick myself apart. And despite how much I try to not pick myself apart on a daily basis and lead by example for my daughter, I’m terrible about it when it comes to photos of me.
She rolled out a video of my photos first, followed by the slide show, and then the one by one images. And let me tell you, it was pretty darn easy to not pick myself apart. This woman works magic. And not because she photoshops you into someone you’re not. Because SHE POSES YOU FOR YOUR BODY TYPE! Let that sink in. For your body type. Not the same pose for every body, size 2 to size 22. But posing, lighting, and angles, coupled with helping guide you to pick out clothing (or not clothing) to accentuate the things you love about yourself, and flatter the things that might deter you from loving yourself. I have had a lot of photos done over the years, and never have I received that kind of posing instruction. I think I eliminated maybe 5 photos out of the over 70 she showed me. When I had to narrow down and eliminate 10 photos from the 70 I had selected…it was actually hard to do. Most of the time I have all I can do to pick 1 or 2 family photos that I love out of sessions. And here were 70 photos of just me, that I couldn’t reject. I could pick my favorites, but I couldn’t easily discard an image of myself. My legs actually appeared long in some photos (and they’re very much not). I didn’t notice any curve or pooch in my post baby over weight stomach. The boobs that disappear into my body when I lay on my back were visible and curvy and made me feel feminine (even though NONE of my outfits actually offered support). My calves which are big enough to need wide calved boots were curvy and leggy and ended in pointed toes and sexy stilettos. My eyes screamed confidence, my butt curved in all the right places and the cellulite didn’t make an appearance. Her posing, right down to my fingers and my hair only served to accentuate the photo rather than deter from it. And I’m quick to pick out strange fingers, funny leg posing, double chins, squinty eyes, etc etc etc. But none of it existed. When people talk about Maura magic, it is no joke. She has invested in herself and her business so that she can invest in her clients and she is worth absolutely every penny I paid her for this session and then some. It’s hard to figure out sometimes if something so unknown, such as photos, will be worth the money you put into them. And in this case, you cannot go wrong.
I fell in love with myself again the day of my shoot, and again for my viewing today. I have a confidence that I’ve not carried since high school. A confidence that every woman deserves to feel about herself. And as a mom to a daughter, I should have for myself so that I can set that example for her! In a world where we are pressured to look a certain way, and see our body for all that it’s not, it is so refreshing to take this experience and see my body for all that it is. So, thank you Maura, for giving that to not just me, but [my daughter] as well.