Liberating, Empowering, DAMN!

There’s not much I can add to this amazing woman’s story, so here she is in her own words!  Take her advice!

intimate photos pittsburgh at boudoir studio in beaver PA

1) Why did you decide to invest in a boudoir photo shoot?   I had done one previously with a national company. And while the pictures turned out nice there was definitely something missing. A friend of mine told me about Pics by Chicks and Maura and it peaked my interest. After looking through multiple gorgeous photos I decided that it was time for me to redo my photos the right way. I had also just celebrated my one year Anniversary of a life-changing decision. In May 2017 after years of struggling with my weight and knowing that my health was deteriorating much like that of the family members I decided to have weight-loss surgery. I’ve lost over 130 pounds. Having the photo shoot was my way of validating the work that I’ve put in to myself.

intimate photos pittsburgh at boudoir studio in beaver PA

intimate photos pittsburgh at boudoir studio in beaver PA

2) How did you feel about yourself before your photo shoot?  Unsure, skeptical, good, healthy, beautiful, ok… I felt a lot of different ways about myself. I feel better and clothes than I ever did, but naked I was very unsure. Weight-loss surgery isn’t a magic fix it doesn’t change the way you look at yourself… I feel great but my head still struggles to understand the change.

intimate photos in pittsburgh PA with lingerie photos on bed

intimate photos in pittsburgh PA with lingerie photos on bed

3) How did you feel about yourself after your photo shoot?  It was definitely enlightening. What I can say is if you have your photos taken no matter how you are feeling when you walk in that house if you do not walk out standing a little taller with your chin propped up a little bit more then there is something wrong and no amount of make up or posing for pictures is going to change that. Because behind those doors is a woman that empowers you in a way I cannot put into words. I walked out of my photo shoot standing taller and maybe even a little cocky but in such a good way. Feeling that way about yourself is something that I can only say I felt maybe one or two times in my entire life and it feels so so good.

intimate photos in pittsburgh PA with lingerie photos on bed

4) Describe your session in 3 words?  Liberating Empowering DAMN!!!!

boudoir photography pittsburgh in studio near beaver, PA

boudoir photography pittsburgh in studio near beaver, PA

5) What was your favorite part of the boudoir photo shoot?  That’s not fair! I loved it all. The conversation, contortioning, laughter… it was all amazing. To trot around a house in almost nothing ( and at some points nothing ) and be completely comfortable says something about the environment. Maura never makes you feel out of your element! You feel accepted, beautiful and completely comfortable…that’s the favorite part.

boudoir photography pittsburgh in studio near beaver, PA

6) What would you say to other women who are considering a boudoir photo shoot?  Why haven’t you booked! While the finished product will be presented to my husband, this entire experience was completely for me and I loved every single second.

Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer sexy lingerie photosPittsburgh Boudoir Photographer sexy lingerie photos

Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer sexy lingerie photos

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Souls On Fire Feature: Terra

Terra is one amazing woman that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for years now.  Like most of the women in this self love photo shoot, I met Terra when she came to me for a boudoir session almost 5 years ago.  I never forget my clients – EVER!  So, when she applied for the group shoot, I knew she’d make a great fit.  Terra came to me all those years ago for a boudoir as a wedding gift, but many years later that marriage broke apart as she found the courage to move on from something that wasn’t healthy.  I applaud women who can do that – it takes strength and gusto to stand up and walk away from something that you’ve been conditioned to accept as love.  As I’ve shared my own story of emotional abuse on the blog, I know that the scars and pain from that situation is silent.  You don’t have a physical representation of the hurt that is being done to you – it’s all internal, which makes it hard to deal with.  I’m glad that she stands up for herself now, believes in who she is, and knows that there is no limit to her potential!  I love this woman to pieces.

Here is her Souls On Fire Story:

The theme “Souls on Fire” could not fit my life more perfectly. The past few years of my life have been a whirlwind of emotion, pain, change, and growth. It hasn’t always been easy or pretty, but every single piece has sculpted who I am today.

self love photo shoot in pittsburgh PA with other women

I spent two and a half years in an emotionally abusive marriage. It took me a long time to feel comfortable calling it abusive, probably because so many people close to me didn’t believe me. Everything was subtle and gradual. Every demand, every accusation. Everytime I spoke up about it to family and friends, it was blown off. I started to think that I deserved it. I started to genuinely hate myself and who I was becoming. If you have a jar of marbles and someone steals one at a time, who would ever notice? But eventually, if this continues, the jar will be empty. I think that’s the best way to describe what happened to me. By the time I decided to leave, the jar was empty. I was completely lost. There was nothing left of who I was.

Nonetheless, I dusted myself off and started over. Less than a month later, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had almost lost her to mental health problems a few years before, so it completely rocked my world. (After a partial mastectomy and multiple radiation treatments, I am fortunate enough to say that she is now cancer free.)

self love photo shoot in pittsburgh PA with other women

I also met an amazing man, and not long after, we decided to start a family. Pregnancy was another rough part of my journey. I suffered through terrible depression both during pregnancy and postpartum. Childbirth also didn’t go as planned. After 26 hours of labor and refusing an epidural, I ended up needing an emergency C-Section. I planned to breastfeed my son through his first year, but the combination of having mastitis twice, severe lack of sleep, and suffering from debilitating depression proved to be too much for me. I struggled so much the first few months because I felt like I was failing at everything a mother should be able to do.

Fast forward to now. Life has finally afforded me the time to process all of the things that I’ve gone through over the past five years. I’m able to look back and see strength and resilience instead of pain and weakness. I’ve learned that you cannot let your failures define your self worth. Today, I am genuinely happy. Today, I am proud of how far I’ve come. I can finally say that I am confident in who I am and the decisions I make. A phoenix rises from the ashes, but you can’t be afraid to light the match.

self love photo shoot in pittsburgh PA with other womenself love photo shoot in pittsburgh PA with other women

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Souls On Fire Feature: Erica

I was so excited when Erica applied for the self love photo shoot!  I met Erica when she came to me for her daughter’s photos, and since that moment I have adored this woman.  Erica works so hard at raising two loving, sweet and confident girls.  I love how open and honest she is with them, and I have to say – she’s doing a GREAT job!  I want to tell her every day how amazing she is and how much I respect and admire her.  She has a soul that shines thru in everything she does, and she’s been so caring and compassionate with me personally that I know she’s this way with others too.  Thank you, Erica, for allowing me to be a part of your life and getting to share so many wonderful experiences with you.  Thanks for always trusting me – even if it involves wedgies and duct tape! 🙂

Here is her Souls On Fire Story:

I spent most of my life feeling very insecure about myself. My middle/high school years had a big impact on me, but not in a good way. I never felt like I fit in, I was socially awkward, and extremely insecure about my looks. I’ve always felt very self-conscious in large groups of people (self-described ‘awkward girl in the corner’), and have never had very many friends.

self love photo shoot with other women in pittsburgh

I’ve worked very hard to shed ‘that girl’. To become comfortable in my own skin, and feel good about who I am. But the real turning point, my step out of the fire, was the birth of my first daughter. I realized that I am her #1 role model. I am the person she will look at first. She’ll take her cues from me. I need to show her how to be confident in herself, how to feel good about who she is, inside and out.

Since then, I’ve finally begun to shed ‘that girl’. I’ve gotten to know and understand myself better. Instead of constantly comparing, I’m realizing that it’s okay to not enjoy large groups of people. It’s okay to have a small – and beyond amazing – group of close friends. It’s okay to say no, to stand my ground, and not ‘go along’ just to attempt to fit in. My body may not be my ideal ‘look’, but it’s an amazing thing. It brought two beautiful, wonderful girls into this world … and, for that, I will love it always.

‘That girl’ still pops up every now and again, but I’m stronger now. I’m fighting that girl for me and my daughters. The more I can project self-confidence on the outside, the more I feel it on the inside. So that is my Soul on Fire.

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Capturing Herself at a Great Age

This gorgeous woman is what I call my life size barbie doll!  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing her since high school and was so excited when she contacted me about doing a boudoir session to celebrate her upcoming marriage!  She had a baby just a few months before her session and was worried about how she would look.  I told her just to trust me … all she had to do was show up – I take care of the rest!  It was simply amazing!

I’ll leave the rest of this post in her own words as she shares with you what she had to say about her session!

Boudoir Photos Pittsburgh in black lingerie

1) Why did you decide to invest in a boudoir photo shoot?  I recently turned 40 & gave birth to my first child so I wanted to capture myself at a great age with life changing images

Boudoir Photos Pittsburgh in black lingerie

Boudoir Photos Pittsburgh in black lingerie

2) How did you feel about yourself before your photo shoot?  I didn’t feel like my body was where Id like it to be post partum – as always – I wanted to be 10-15 pounds lighter and more physically fit

bridal gift for groom, boudoir photography, bridal boudoir images, sexy lingerie for wedding

bridal gift for groom, boudoir photography, bridal boudoir images, sexy lingerie for wedding

bridal gift for groom, boudoir photography, bridal boudoir images, sexy lingerie for wedding

3) How did you feel about yourself after your photo shoot?  I feel my body had undergone such a drastic change with pregnancy and C-section surgery and that I look & feel fantastic thanks to Maura’s constant uplifting comments & encouragement. Embrace what you have and be proud of it!!

sexy photos in pittsburgh of women in lingerie

4) Describe your session in 3 words?  Uplifting Energetic FUN!!!

5) What was your favorite part of the boudoir photo shoot?  Honestly – Maura’s comments & constant exaggerations – she makes you feel so beautiful all the time.

boudoir photography pittsburgh

boudoir photography pittsburgh

6) What would you say to other women who are considering a boudoir photo shoot?  Set yourself up with a goal – but if you don’t meet it by the time of your session – don’t worry, the poses Maura will put you in & the overall experience will be such an amazing accomplishment for any woman and just have fun!!!

boudoir photography pittsburgh

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Souls On Fire Feature: Melissa

Melissa is someone I’ve known since I was a child, and we reconnected on a deep level when she volunteered to do a live boudoir session in my private Facebook group.  Watching her come alive during that session (and after) has been an amazing thing to witness.  We called that shoot “Untomboy Melissa.”  I wanted her to see a different side of herself, and that she did.  Her transformation since that first boudoir session is too awesome for words.  I was honored to have her as part of the group shoot.

Today, I share with you Melissa’s Souls On Fire story.

self love photo shoot pittsburgh

I have spent my entire adult life worrying more about others than myself. I went straight from being someone’s daughter & the oldest of 4 children to being a mom, then a wife, then a single mom, then a wife again and having two more children.
My middle child and only daughter is now 20 yrs old. She is on the Autism Spectrum and has intellectual delays. She is very high functioning, it is amazing the progress she has made and continues to make BUT she is still very much like a young child, 7-9 yrs old or younger in most aspects of life. This was not part of the plan! this is NOT the way it was supposed to be, by this point in life with our children ages 17, 20 & 24, we were supposed to be free of caring for them full-time. They were supposed to be independent, fully functioning human beings!

self love photo shoot pittsburgh

A special needs parents grieves, maybe almost daily but maybe not consciously, for the loss of the expectation they had when planning their family. Don’t get me wrong, my daughter is an amazing person and her innocent unfiltered view if the world is humbling and refreshing and exhausting all at once.


My husband of 20 years is a workaholic, he does not often relax or sit still. While this has always enabled me to be home and available to care for our children and him, it has also enabled me to be in the caretaker RUT of always looking out for everyone but me.
Stay with me, I’m getting to my moment of clarity and the beginning of a spark that started the fire that made me realize I needed to take care of me!

self love photo shoot pittsburgh
My mom. When I lived at home as a teen we were like oil & water. When at 20 I moved out and had a child of my own we became fast friends! She was my rock, my biggest supporter & adviser. Through wedding/marriage #1, divorce, marriage #2 2 more children she never faltered. When it came to learning of and accepting my daughter’s disabilities she was the BEST! She became my biggest helper & often planned activities to give me a break. I don’t have enough words to describe her. In 2012, I was given the opportunity to work side by side with her in the elementary school cafeteria, a job she had held for more than 10 years at that point. It was awesome getting to work everyday with my best friend.

self love photo shoot pittsburgh

In 2014, my youngest child became a teenager(march), my oldest child got married(june), my middle turned 16(august), my baby sister (nearly 18 yrs younger) got married(september) and Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread to various other places(december). 3 shorts weeks after diagnosis, she was gone. Jan 8, 2015 – my whole world STOPPED.


Becoming a motherless daughter changed my view of the world and myself. Adjusting to the new normal of reality was/is a SLOW and painful process.


Shortly after Mom’s death my brother & his wife announced they were expecting their first child and just a few months after that my son & his wife did the same. I was going to be a grandmother!!! (and an aunt) These events in 2014 and early 2015 gave me the push, started the spark, it was time to take care of me!! Life is too short! and even if you are taking care of everyone around you, you must find time to take care of, appreciate and be just YOU!

Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Menu