Mother Morpho | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I’ve had the Mother Morpho concept floating around in my head for awhile now. To say it came to me in a dream sounds corny, but it’s 100% true, at least the name for the shoot did. And this shoot almost happened with someone else a year prior but it was pouring rain and we were downtown St.Paul and it just was not meant to be. So I put it on the back burner and waited. And waited. But then, when I thought I was going to have to shelve the concept for good I found out my favorite model Ashley was preggo! AND I was going to be in the Wisconsin area with Elle and everything aligned. We shot in my favorite spot which is just for realz MAGIC and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

I used one of my STUNNING Catherine D’Lish gowns as the base and paired it with Free People lingerie, a necklace as a crown, a long ethereal wig, and some butterflies. (All come from the Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet so this could literally be YOU if you want it to be!)

Elle did her magic with the hair and makeup and kept it equal parts weird and dreamy in a way only she knows how to do and Ashley basically just ate a panini, hopped on the 4-wheeler, and then struck a pose (she’s THAT good).

As is my new custom I like to ask all of the people who get in front of my camera to talk about their bodies. the relationship they have with it, and anything they want to share. It’s kind of like an emotional baggage spewing catharsis for the writer and I think, well I KNOW because you all tell me, that it helps the people who read it.

I asked Ashley to stick with the theme of pregnancy because generally she is such a body positive force of a woman and I thought it would be interesting to hear her take on growing a dang human inside of her!

Here’s what she had to say-

“Pregnancy is a beautiful and life-changing experience but that doesn’t mean it has to change who we are as a person. 

 

I’ve noticed that as a society we tend to view pregnant women in a different light. Suddenly, because we are carrying a child, literally the product of our sexuality, we can no longer be seen as sexual beings. There is a great divide between the conception of pre-pregnancy women and mothers-to-be but in reality, are we not the same person we were prior to pregnancy?

 

Even with all the changes my body has and continues to go through during my pregnancy it’s been important to me to stay as true to myself as possible. Shooting boudoir has always been empowering to me and continuing through my pregnancy has helped to remind me that even though my body looks nothing like it did 7 months ago, I am still beautiful, I’m still sexy, and I am still me. 

 

Like every woman, I have moments when  I break down, when I feel I feel like my body is failing me, nothing fits, my skin is stretched to the max, I’m exhausted, and I look in the mirror and wonder who I’m looking at. I let myself feel feel the feels but quickly remind myself that my body is doing something amazing! I’m literally creating and nurturing a new life. My body deserves my respect! 

 

I hope to always inspire body positivity and through my continued boudoir work I hope to show society that moms-to-be are still sexy.”

Hellz yeah to THAT!

Sometimes You Just Need To Go Through Some Shit...| Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Amanda is a special person to me. Over the years we’ve bonded through our mutual love of lingerie and she’s probably just as obsessed with vintage clothes as I am, always scoping out the best deals in the coolest places.

I’ve photographed her a few times but never really feel like I truly capture her raw essence. It remains elusive but someday I’ll get it! Either way, the images always turn out gorgeous so I must be doing something right.

One thing I really love about working with Amanda is that she trusts and encourages me to create whatever I want with her as the subject. Last year she wore only a veil in the sunlight and the year before that she was one of my first boudoir clients. This time around we went with this awesome brightly dyed vintage girdle set with a sheer tulle skirt on the top (because why the hell not) and then her own Lonely lingerie set paired with one of my kimonos. Perfection!

When I asked her to do a write up for me I knew I was going to get a story because I had seen, through social media and photographing her, the weight changes throughout the years but I had no idea the personal struggle that went behind it and how far back it went. I feel like a lot of us can see ourselves in this story and relate to temporarily losing our way when it comes to relationships and the struggle to stay true to ourselves above all else.

And without further ado, Amanda’s words-

“When asked to write about my journey through weight loss, body image, and self love, I chuckled to myself and thought, “Shit, where do I begin?” I honestly can’t remember the first time I felt ashamed of my body but if I had to guess, I’d say about 8 years old. That in itself is troubling to say the least. I knew that I was bigger than most of my classmates but it honestly never bothered me until the teasing started. Looking back it’s clear how the downward spiral of self criticism began: we usually are comfortable until someone else makes us question our image and self worth.

Creating an identity and having a sense of style was a struggle for many, many years, which I can laugh about now. In fifth grade my favorite shirt was a thin cotton tie dye poncho that I wore constantly. I was a “tom boy” for years and remember refusing to wear a bra to the point where my mother would check me before I left for school. I was an early bloomer and just wasn’t having it. Floppy boobs or bust, baby. Puberty was just a vapid ole bitch in general. I was terrified of shaving and had hairy armpits for a while until one of my friends moms said something to me.

My parents were always very gentle about the way they handled concerns about me, which I will always appreciate. Around the end of elementary school they started taking me to a dietitian. I knew that they were just trying to help me but I was so embarrassed whenever we went to the clinic and prayed that we wouldn’t run into anyone that we knew. I never even told any of my friends about it and eventually buried it so far in my memories that it didn't resurface until a few years ago. Toward the end of middle school depression set in and I’ve never felt so alone in my entire life. I tried explaining my feelings to my friends and they just didn’t understand why I was sad.

At my largest I was a size 18/20, weighted 230lbs, and was incredibly depressed. I became convinced that I would probably have heart problems, develop diabetes, and would never find love if something didn't change. I started working out at a small fitness center and felt good about my path until a friends dad approached me one day and offered his advice on building muscle vs. burning fat. I’m sure he meant well but again, the stomach cramp of embarrassment set in and my workouts became less frequent because of it. I struggled with yo-yo dieting into my college years until I eventually managed to maintain 160lbs. In 2013 I contracted a parasitic infection called, cryptosporidium, which was part of an outbreak in the Midwest linked to contaminated lettuce. I lost about 15 or 20lbs in two weeks and it was the sickest I’ve been in my entire life. My diet changed quite a bit after that and I became more active in attempts to slowly heal myself.

Just as I was starting to feel healthy and got accustomed to a smaller self, I met a guy. At first I thought his sense of humor was just strange and that teasing was his shtick, but as the words became more hurtful and specific to me, my arms, my belly, my stretch marks, my legs…the voice of denial faded and the truth set in. “You can just get plastic surgery to fix that.” “You shouldn’t wear shorts. You just don’t have the legs for it.” His words cut me deeper than any childhood dickweed. When things finally ended I fell into a deep depression of guilt, constantly asking myself how I had let that happen to me. Why didn’t I leave early on? Why didn’t I stand up for myself? The answer is fear and it is a powerful motivator.

I desperately needed to regain my independence and sense of empowerment. I caught wind that Massive Attack would be playing a festival in San Francisco so I bought myself a ticket and went on a weekend trip by myself. My family thought I was crazy but it was one of the best things I ever could’ve done for myself. I felt like a new person when I got home and decided to cut my bust length hair to my chin, got bangs, and a tattoo. It comforted me in a way I can’t describe.

It took a long time to build up the courage to open myself up to someone after that. The first guy I saw was super fit and always had been. He knew about my journey but just couldn’t relate and that’s okay, but the first time he saw me naked he said, “When is the next session with your personal trainer?” and my heart sank. Really dude? Needless to say that didn’t last long and I didn’t date for a while. The next guy shared a similar story to me and also lost a lot of weight. It was so relieving to meet someone that I didn’t have to explain anything to, because he had been through it too. But over time it became clear that we were very different and that gas lighting had been happening for a while.

When things ended at the beginning of the year it was obvious that the things I was “overreacting” about were true. I felt betrayed, miserable, and enraged. I soon realized that those feelings were unsustainable and that I should transform that negative energy into something better. I was interested in boxing for a while and decided to take a class with a friend. She bailed out at the last minute and I almost did too, but then I realized that it would be good to do something for myself and by myself. The feeling after that first class was so intoxicatingly empowering that I’ve been hooked ever since. Nothing has ever made me feel more strong and confident in my entire life. I made a promise to myself from that day that I would put myself and my happiness first before anyone else. Live a bit more, take more chances, and embrace change. I dyed my hair, got new glasses, met a new dude, and finally feel like everything has fallen into place. Going to the gym regularly has been great for my stress, anxiety, and confidence. It’s kind of funny how things came full circle from dreading gym class to missing the gym when I’m sick or reschedule a workout. Everyone’s journey with health is different and sometimes it just takes a while to figure out what your body needs.

Losing a substantial amount of weight is often glamorized to the point where all we really talk about are the physical changes, when it is really a long, hard, and emotionally draining process. I still worry about moving out of the way for people and exaggerate the amount of space to give them. I have stretch marks and extra skin, especially around my belly. The most frustrating part is that I’m strong now and have hard abs underneath, but no matter now many crunches I do that extra skin has nowhere to go. I’ve considered surgery and felt guilty/vain about it for the longest time. When I talked to my boyfriend about it recently, he told me that I should do whatever makes me happy. What a great dude, eh?

Looking back to the awkward chubby girl with Cheeto stained fingers, I still wouldn’t change a thing because I wouldn’t be the same person. Sometimes you just need to go through some shit in order to become the person you were meant to be.”

Hating Yourself is Tiresome | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

 

Alicia, the amazing woman behind Buxom Boudoir, and I recently got together to do something that we do for other people all the time but don't really do for ourselves...get neekid(ish) and have our own self-love experience! We each took turns posing and photographing out in nature one afternoon and I must say it was SO MUCH FUN! I can't wait to do it again! 

I asked Alicia to share a little bit about her experience with her body and how it's changed over the years so you can get a glimpse into the amazing person she is. It's easy for me to sit here and type about how important it is to love yourself along your journey but it's so much more powerful to hear other women talk about their struggles and how they are working to overcome them.

So without further ado here is what she had to say-

"My relationship with my body was strained for a very long time. When I hit puberty, I started gaining weight in my midsection, and a big belly and thighs just became a part of who I was. Even if I lost weight, the belly remained. I also have acne, body hair, cellulite, stretchmarks, and other “imperfections” that I hated for a long time. I was not kind to myself for many years, and all it took was a glance at my nude body in the mirror to start crying. I hated having my photos taken, I never believed people when they complimented me, and I never changed in front of other people because I was so insecure.

Then about two years ago, I started to actively change my mentality. I was exhausted from self-loathing. Hating yourself is tiresome, and I was over it. Around this time, I decided to start shooting boudoir under the impression that I would be helping other women feel better about themselves. What I didn’t realize is that it would have a positive effect on my self-image, as well. I started learning about body positivity, reading articles, wearing clothes that forced me outside my comfort and spending more time naked in my home. (It might sound silly, but sleeping nude and just being in solely my skin helped me have a better appreciation for my body.)

I’ve still got a long ways to go in regards to loving myself, but I’ve already changed a lot for the better. When people compliment me, I say “thank you.” I do not chastise them. I wear what I feel comfortable in, so if that’s short shorts and tops that reveal my shoulders when it’s ungodly hot out, so be it. I do not put any effort into hating my acne, stretchmarks or cellulite. I don’t love them, but I will not exhaust myself by hating them. I accept them. If I’m having a bad day and feeling garbage about my body, I give myself the day to feel that way. Then the next day, I practice a lot of self-love and remind myself that I am worthy of love and happiness no matter what I look like. I don’t weigh myself anymore. I take care of my body and mind as best I can on a daily basis rather than treating it like a project I’ll get to when I have the time.

If you had told me two years ago that I would wander in the woods half naked, I would have called you crazy. But I did it. I laid in a river wearing just a white robe, and it was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever done. This body and I have come a long way, and we have a long way to go, but for once, I’m not afraid of the journey. I’m excited for it."

Here is what I captured that day of Alicia! 

And if you want to see MY session you can check out Alicia's blog HERE! 

Unpredictable Magic | Indianapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Photo shoots in nature are my absolute favorite...but I've said that many times before.

I keep trying to think of why exactly I love them so much (besides the fact that I freaking LOVE nature) and I finally know why- 

Everything is up to chance. The scenery changes not only by the day- things blooming and fading- but also by the minute-one moment full sun glare and the next dappled shadows. 

I have to be in artist mode when I'm working outside- looking, searching, seeking for inspiration and then meshing that with the person in front of me to produce images that we can both be proud of. And it's such a thrill! Things never go as planned, and that's why it's so moving when we capture what we do. 

I hiked around the location of this photo shoot multiple times leading up to the day with my pup and had very specific ideas of what I wanted to do where. I should have known this would be pointless but nevertheless I wanted to be prepared. There was a gorgeous carpet of flowers I wanted to work with and the curvature of the nearby lake was going to make for some stunning fine art style imagery. I was very excited.

Well...nothing with nature is ever predictable! The flowers had all disappeared with the recent rain and the lake curve area was in full sun. After walking around for honestly 1.5 miles and me refusing to get mediocre images we stumbled upon a bunch of great locations! A gorgeous forest that let just the right amount of light in, a hidden fishing spot straight out of Huckleberry Finn, a grassy lane behind a porta potty of all things, and finally we went to a spot that I had hoped we could have time to get to- a gorgeous algae-covered pond complete with two geese! 

Everyone always wants to do the nature shoots but the truth is that no one thinks about the logistics.

If you want to get 'the shots' you have to be willing to brave the mosquitoes and the creepy crawlies, roll around in the mud, and lay still when you feel a spider making it's way up your arm (don't worry it's almost always a blade of grass!) Sometimes the shoots are freezing cold in the water and sometimes they are sweltering hot in the sun but you won't ever be forced to do anything you don't agree to. 

In the end, we create magic together and the images are even more cherished because of all of the things that had to fall into place to get them. 

Here is the unpredictable magic that Kiann and I created that day!

 

To book your own nature shoot- CLICK THIS! 

Lingerie Lovers Unite! | Nashville Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I used to think that I was a pervert because I loved lingerie so much. I didn't really think that liking lingerie was sinful in itself but having a straight-up love affair with corsets and panties and balconette bras seemed somehow...wrong. No one else I knew gave a shit about 'underthings' past the point of going to the Victoria's Secret at the mall a few times a year to buy underwear on sale with the word PINK plastered on the back. Obviously something was wrong with ME.

So I sort of kept my obsession a secret. I'd scour the Goodwill's  and the thrifts stores for vintage garter belts and itty bitty bustiers that I, a 14 year old, really had no use in buying. I remember being ashamed at the check out counter, trying desperately to hide my newest score, a green velvet bra, in the middle of a pile of sweaters and jeans, all the while praying that the lady ringing me up didn't give me 'that look.' 

I eventually got older (as you do) and grew some lingerie balls. I also discovered the wonderful, anonymous world of online shopping! Ebay, and later Etsy, took a lot of my money (and still does). 

My tastes have changed as well. I now lust after and splurge on designer lingerie as well as independent brands because the quality, construction, and design are just so much more well-executed than your average JCPenny bra/panty set. And talk about unique! But I'm not a snob either. I still scour the thrift stores for vintage girdle panties, bullet bras and 80's Victoria's Secret finds. 

One of my main labors of love is the Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet. It's where my passion has turned into something beneficial. I have SO MANY options for you to choose from to wear at your boudoir photo shoot with me in a wide variety of sizes and styles. I get stuff so frequently that I have a hard time posting it all up on there for people to look at! I have things that people could only dream of wearing, such as a Catherine D'lish gown (I have FOUR so far) or an Agent Provocateur corset. Or discontinued Made by Niki. These items are out of most people's price range, considered an unnecessary extravagance (you can love lingerie but think it's crazy to spend $700 on a robe and still want to wear one for a shoot!), but when you come to me you can truly experience luxury lingerie for a day. 

I recently discovered a private Facebook group dedicated to Lingerie Addicts and I feel like for the first time I found MY PEOPLE. 

And one of those people is Melissa (@theheiresslingerie on Instagram)!

Melissa currently lives in Nashville and we have similar lingerie tastes. We both love Bordelle and Agent Provocateur and the store Baby Likes to Pony so I thought it only natural that we team up for a photo shoot. She kept insisting that she isn't a model. I kept insisting that didn't matter. She brought her favorite pieces, I added a green Corsettery corset and my black lace D'lish gown and we made magic! We didn't have enough time to capture the Bordelle set she owns which haunts me to this day (both not having the images or owning that set!) but oh well, there's always next time and vigilant searches on Ebay!

Here's what she had to say about the experience-

"The shoot was even more fun than I thought it would be. I've obviously never modeled nor am I a model but having someone say things like, "Yes fierce goddess!" to me was just awesome. I'm a little different in that I wear lingerie that's slightly...aspirational. I have very specific tastes and they're usually a bit expensive so every piece I own is like a little piece of jewelry to me. Meeting Paige through lingerie and then getting to live my 'fancy rich lady model' fantasy, if only for a few hours, was so joyful."

It was a joy for me as well, smooshing three things I love together- lingerie, nature, and making a woman feel amazing!

 

To book your own shoot- CLICK THIS

Light and Dark | Nashville Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

We all contain multitudes, we are made up of light, dark, and 50 shades of gray. 

What a wonderous thing that is, this multifaceted life!

UNLESS...you want to book a boudoir shoot with me and have to decide between my dreamy, airy work AND my sultry, moody stuff. OMG how do you EVEN CHOOSE?!

Well, NEWSFLASH, you don't have to decide! Do them BOTH! 

The style and type of shoot you do, or the VIBE as I like to call it when I talk to you about your dream photo shoot, is completely up to you. It's whatever you dream about, whatever you love, it's make yourself into ART time! 

There are so many different, very personal reasons why women book boudoir experiences and your reason, your WHY, will most likely factor into your style and your vibe. 

For example-

If you have been feeling frumpy and dumpy and like you've just lost your damn mojo you might want to go for a more powerful, badass sex goddess vibe to help you harness and MANIFEST that shit back into your life. 

If you've always dreamed of having a gorgeous, magical fairy tale photo shoot with the wardrobe and the sunshine and all the 'fixins' you're probably (most definitely) going to want to go with a more ethereal vibe. 

If you just want to capture you as you are (but the best possible version, you know the one who has cute underwear on and just lounges effortlessly cool-girl style around the house) then you're going to want to go for a more lifestyle vibe for your shoot. 

These are just some options, but really the whole world is open to you as far as ideas go. You want to do a shoot in Vegas? Cool, I'm on a plane! You want to do a shoot in a shower, awesome I love it! You want to do a photo shoot wearing latex, riding a horse in the desert? That might be kinda hot but I'll bring a spray bottle! 

I'm all about making your boudoir dreams a reality. 

Sometimes you can't decide between two styles (this happens A LOT. Like basically every client.) and that's OKAY! It's totally fine if you want to be a princess but you also, in the same afternoon, want to get pictures of yourself grabbing your ass like it's nobody's business (because it's hot. It's really, really hot). 

All it takes is a few tweaks to make the transition. Change the wardrobe. Maybe change the location, maybe not. Change the lip color and mess up the hair a bit more. Change the posing. CHANGE THE ATTITUDE. (Change the playlist!) 

Easy Peasy!

Here's a shoot I recently did in Nashville where we started with more of a fairytale vibe, then switched to a gorgeous, powerful vibe second and rounded the whole shebang up with a few minutes rolling around in the water! 

You really can have the best of both worlds people! 

Good luck choosing which images to put up on the wall though! (Or don't choose and get a whole collage!)

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet AND corsets by Corsettery

To book your own light and dark shoot- CLICK THIS

Summer Goddess | Madison Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

It's hard to talk about summer Goddess sessions when the Midwest is about to be dumped on by 17 inches of snow. In April.

Luckily, I'm currently in Nashville where it's a nice 65 degrees!

I took these images last summer and am just now getting around to posting them because life is busy and I suffer horribly from dotoomuchitis. But here they finally are! 

Elan looks like a damn Goddess brought to life...because she is. And we all are. We just have to realize it and OWN it. 

It helps when you're wearing lingerie that looks like a million bills, your hair and makeup is on point, your poses are flawless and the nature is cooperating with you to bring everything together! We even caught some cool sun flares!

This whole set took us about ten minutes to shoot, you can get some really great stuff with me in a short amount of time if you just trust me, I promise!

I still have a few slots open for short outdoor shoots this summer in Hixton, WI. so contact me soon if you'd like to know more! 

Now have fun looking at these images and pretending that it's this warm where you are. You can almost feel the sun on your face when you look at the last image, right?! 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

To book your own Goddess Session- CLICK HERE

Blue-Haired Girl | Memphis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Sometimes I don't have much to say in my blog posts. The writing gods aren't blessing me right now and I don't feel like regurgitating the same 'love yourself' mantra to you again because honestly I'm struggling right now personally. 

Everything is sort of out of balance in a big way for me.

I'm working on getting things back on track, sorting through my priorities, and changing some things.

It gets old, this re-aligning. I feel like I have to do it a lot.

But maybe it's because I want the best life for myself, who knows. 

Either way I'm still taking on boudoir clients! And I'm pushing myself to try new things, to create in new locations, to just let the human in front of me BE more of who they are and then pose around that. 

This is Luna. A beautiful, currently blue-haired woman living in Memphis. We didn't really get to connect as much as I usually like but I can tell that she has stories within her. This was her first boudoir shoot and she really rocked it out!

All That Glitters Is Not Gold | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

It's hard being a woman.

Most of us are stuck in a state of MORE- a bigger, better, faster, stronger mentality that keeps us in a loop of perpetual unhappiness. 

The constant need to PROVE and BE THE BEST (what even is that?) gets to all of us at one point or another, no matter how zen you claim to be.

And the worst part? All of us are walking around unhappy wondering what the hell is wrong when the answer isn't that you need a new dress or a new body or a new house but that you need a new perspective. You need to look at your SELF, because you already have everything you need within you. You need to get off the damn hamster wheel and get into the self-reflection. 

If you love Netflix maybe watch documentaries that encourage you to think. If you feel like working out how about doing something you love instead of logging time at a gym you hate. And how about instead of scrolling on the phone for half an hour before bed you read a damn book. I know you've got a stack of them just waiting to be cracked open. These are small things that seem like they don't have anything to do with anything but in all reality are ways that you can disconnect from the 'machine' and reconnect with yourself and your goals and your BLISS.

I work with women's bodies a lot. Which really means that I deal with women and their issues about their bodies a lot. It's probably the most profound thing about us as women- that we all walk around hating our bodies. And no wonder, when everything we watch and hear is telling us that we need to be better, thinner, more like this and less like that. And then-CURVEBALL- all the rules change and what was the ideal body type 5 years ago is now not okay anymore. How the fuck do you ever win???? YOU STOP PLAYING THE GAME.

We tend to pick ourselves apart. We don't see ourselves as people, we see ourselves as thighs that are too big and boobs that are too saggy and stomachs that are too pudgy and teeth that are crooked. Not big enough, not small enough, not straight enough, not tall enough or light enough or smooth enough. Well enough of that. YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE SO GODDAMN ENOUGH IT'S AMAZING HOW ENOUGH YOU ARE. 

The sessions I do with people are so much more than just glitter and gold. Yes they are glitz and glam but they are also raw and real. They change people. They hold up a mirror to YOU and all of your power. They help to teach you that the only person you need to look to for acceptance is yourself. And that all you need to do in order to accept yourself is this- say YES.

Own it. Own who you are, perceived flaws and all. Revel in the miracle of YOU. You are sensual and beautiful and brave and deserving. You are also strong and capable and can do anything you set your mind to. You can also be none of those things because YOU MAKE THE RULES. 

Everyone wants to blend in but by being yourself you stand out. You make a difference by owning your truth and accepting your unique you-ness. People look up to the people who are brave enough to be themselves. There is so much power in self-acceptance. It effects every aspect of your life. 

All that glitters is not gold. All that beauty you see in the world is surface, not substance. It's great to look at but at the end of the day it doesn't really matter. What matters is INSIDE. Once you accept yourself for who you are and just love yourself so much time is freed up for other stuff. Imagine how much mental space you'd have if you could get rid of all of that negative self-talk? I would get whole entire years of my life back! 

These photo shoots help you see you for who you are, they help you get your power back, and they help you move on. You hang your portraits up and look at them every day and remind yourself that you are a badass. And then you go out into the world and kick some ass. 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

To Book your own session- CLICK THIS!