A Shift in Perspective | Las Vegas Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I met Aurora while in Vegas for the Spoil Me In Rhinestones shoots. From her head shot I knew that she was gorgeous, had great skin and kind eyes. What I didn’t know until she showed up was that she was fit. Like…FITNESS fit. My brother is that type of fit as well so I recognize and admire the discipline involved. We only spent an hour together and didn’t really get a chance to talk about her journey so I’m very happy that she agreed to give me a piece of her body experience story.

Without further ado here it is!-


“So, being a personal trainer, everyone assumes that I've always been in shape, I love working out, I eat clean all day long, and I only hydrate with that high quality h2o...

I WISH.

I've been a certified person trainer for almost a year, and I've been on my "fitness grind" for about 3 years.

I've always been athletic, playing sports in high school and then in college.. but I've never been that girl who LOVES fitness. I didn't even know much about fitness, even though I played sports.

I was that typical cardio bunny, you know what I mean.. I would go on a run every day, and follow that with some type of abdominal workout (crunches, sit ups, basic stuff).

As if that training regimen wasn't bad enough, to make matters worse, I had no clue how to fuel my body.. I would either completely starve myself, or binge eat recklessly. Nothing in between.

I mean, seriously, after high school cross country practice I would regularly go to McDonald's for a post workout McChicken... Yay for protein, right?

(LOL) WRONG!

This routine was what I did all throughout high school. I would run 20-30 miles a week, do my little ab workout, and then eat fast food or processed foods for all of my meals.

Once high school was over and I went to college, I knew I'd have to make a change. My body was extremely unhealthy, I felt tired and grouchy all of the time, my skin was rough and blotchy, and my athletic abilities didn't seem as strong as they once were.

I met a friend who introduced me to weight lifting. This was a new type of working out for me. It wasn't stressful or excruciating, like having to run 3 miles in less than 20 minutes, or having to do 400 meter dash sprint repeats (you runners will know what I mean)..

Weight lifting was therapeutic to me. It changed the way I thought about fitness. Rather than trying to lose weight, I started focusing on building my muscle. Little did I know, this small shift in perspective was exactly what I needed to help me achieve having my Goal Body.

I stopped shaming myself for the way I looked, and I started to feel confidence because I realized how strong I am. I mean, it's a pretty bad ass feeling to know how to use barbells and do squats or deadlifts with them.

All of this confidence made me crave MORE. I wanted more knowledge, more experience in the gym, more of this lifestyle.

I scoured the internet for articles about everything fitness: exercises to do, foods to make, macro-nutrients, all of that fun fitness stuff.

Fast forward to now: Im a fitness model, I have a body that I love and cherish, and I still work on it every day!

In addition, I'm a certified personal trainer, I get to help others achieve a healthy & happier lifestyle.

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to use my story to help and inspire others on their fitness journey. 😊”


 

To Touch Without Fear | Las Vegas Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Everyone has their story. And, to half-quote Whitman, we all contain multitudes. The things we've been through in life and the things we've overcome shape us into the people we are today, for better or worse. 

I truly believe in sharing our stories. It can be very freeing for the person who is sharing but, most importantly, by being vulnerable you might be helping someone you don't even know. Or at the very least connect with others because they have a similar story to yours. 

You might have noticed a change in the blog lately. I do less talking. Not because I don't have things to say but because I want to give a voice to all of the people I photograph. I don't tell them what to write about, I just give them a general 'write about your journey or self-love' prompt, so I never know what I'm going to get back. 

And it's incredible to me what you've been writing. It's incredible because I was just photographing you a few weeks ago and here you are with this story you live with and I had no idea. Because people don't talk about these things. They don't often talk about their pain. 

I guess that's the point I'm trying to make with these- we all contain stories and you have no idea what someone has been or is currently going through. So be kind.

This is Kat Lui's story. 

What do I say about myself? What can I tell you? What do you want to know about me? How did I get here? And Where will I go? These are all questions that plague the mind when you’re asked to write about yourself. Not necessarily about your career choice or about your goals. But about your love and hope that embodies your well-being.

Where to start I wonder? I guess I should start by saying I don’t exactly have enough self-love. I have come from a deep toxic past believing I’ll never be good enough for anyone. That I am trash meant to be thrown away. As I grew up I always thought “as long as they are happy I’m happy…” That line simmered in me for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t stand being alone without someone to love me. So I got into the habit of letting my significant others get away with things and believing I won’t get anything better. I had settled.

The worst thing you can do is settle for someone just because you’re afraid to be alone. I went through a tremendous amount of abuse verbally, mentally, and physically. Ha ha! My favorite story to tell has always been when my ex-husband threw me through a window and curb stomped me in the drive way when I tried to escape from him. How I got a tennis ball sized lump on my eyebrow bone and why my right side of my face is crooked. I still get phantom pain when I think about it and I still have the pictures. It’s broken of course.

There are many stories of my past that brought me here that are pretty emotional. But there was something that never faltered. My stubbornness. I slowly started to realize. Who am I really? Am I just molded from the things that my significant others had wanted? The realization of….”It can’t be….” Hit me harder than a ton of bricks. I had to change this at once! I had no foundation. I had no base to build from. It was just THEM that held me there in believing that I wasn’t good enough. I became independent.

There was someone in my life that had broken me more than I could ever have thought. I did everything for them. I had thrived to be intelligent, talented, attractive, and brave. Because that is what most people wanted. Someone that they can say “That is my girlfriend…” But in the end even when I was all those things it still wasn’t enough for his selfishness. He cheated and used every excuse in the book to get me to stay. Then I realized I’m too good for this and kicked him to the curb. However this had broken me. I started to believe “It doesn’t matter how smart I am or attractive or talented…I’ll always be thrown away because it’s me.”

I still fight with this saying repeating in my head like a broken record player. But I have my friends around me that have held me up and kept me going. Funny thing about being depressed is if you actually understand yourself well enough you can manage it.  I already know deep down I’m pretty fucking amazing. I have succeeded in many things that I thought I would never be able to do. I’m financially independent and I already completed my life goal.

Being able to move on from abuse has always been a hard subject. You want to give them a chance but you know in the end that they will only continue to hurt you. Being blinded by the fear of not finding someone else to love you is a scary thing. So I slowly learned to love myself. I’m not completely there yet but I have someone really special to me helping me along the way.

They have shown me the possibilities of real partnership. What it actually feels like to touch and not be scared of being hit. To not be yelled at. To be taken care of. To know what my feelings are when they look at my stupid face. I’m slowly healing and I’m pushing hard to get better. I’m never going to let some stupid ignorant boy bring me down. Instead I’m going to lift myself and bring the people that support me along. Especially my love who deserves everything I have to offer him. He has been through the same as me and all I want to do is show him what real love looks like.

I still have your usual issues like weight problems and complexes that I don’t want to talk about. But I would like to think I’m like everyone else. Just trying to make it in this cruel world that seems to be slowly dying. I’ve made it this far. Why would I quit now? There is so much more I can do! There is so much more I can learn! There are so many more people I want to meet. To do all that I must take the steps to love myself and others.

So what I always tell myself and others. “There is no use worrying about the future or the past. The present is now! What can you do for yourself TODAY?” That mantra has gotten me out of some serious depression before. So I continue to push myself not because I have to but because I want to. When you meet me you would never think that I went through such trauma, that I’ve always had a good outlook. They are always so surprised the way I tell my stories of abuse because I’ve gotten past it and can somewhat laugh about how stupid I was.

But enough about me. What about you? What are you going to do to improve yourself today?

Vegas-City of Artists | Vegas Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Vegas, in my mind, is the City of Artists. Showgirls, burlesque stars, singers, aerialists, pole dancers. I recently went to Vegas to work with some of these amazing beings in a whirlwind two days of back to back shooting in collaboration with Spoil Me in Rhinestones. I didn't get very much time with any of these women but we created some amazing stuff!

This is Dani. She's a gorgeous woman who knows her way around a pole. (If you haven't taken a pole class before I suggest you do, it's SO HARD but gratifying!) Here's what she had to say about her experience and how pole dancing has helped her to love the body she's in- 

"I had a really exhilarating shoot with Paige at The Cosmopolitan, I wish we had more time. I love to dress up, put my face on and pose for the camera. The lingerie was stunning, the rhinestones were shining and I truly felt beautiful in that moment. I feel free to be myself, to follow my dreams and to seek my true potential. That is what everyone deserves.

Body confidence for me came from mostly pole dancing, it really is a sport and there is so much athleticism but it's more about the way it makes you feel. It's sexy and the more you do it the better you feel, it became sort of addicting to me. You need your skin exposed so you can grip so I needed to feel comfortable in a two piece. Once I started taking pole dancing classes I became more confident in myself. I noticed that the more I loved and took care of myself the more I realized that it does not matter what anyone thinks as long as you are happy with yourself. I spend time with people who have a positive influence on me and are interested in similar things. I still have body issues and things I would like to work on but overall I am happy and healthy. I am very thankful for all of the positive things that are happening and many more to come!"

And without further ado, DANI! 

 

Model Misconceptions | Nashville Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

 

There are a lot of misconceptions about models. The way they look, their IQ level, and the ease of their job are constantly being dragged through the mud by people who simply don't know any better. Yes, models are beautiful (that's #1 priority of their job!) but most are extremely smart, a lot of them using the money they make to put themselves through school, and their job is anything but easy. You'd know if you spent just one hour posing like they do! 

I recently shot with Danielle Maddox, a professional model and actress who travels between Nashville, Chicago, Los Angeles and anywhere the job takes her! It was really refreshing not having to direct every move for once and just pretty much let her do her thing. And she is AWESOME. There's this thing she can do where she laughs on cue and it legit looks like she's having the time of her dang life! I mean, I know I'm funny but I'm not THAT funny. You'll see what I'm talking about when you get to the images.

I asked her to share a bit about the inside world of modeling for all of us and here is what she had to say-

"Not all models are created equal, just as much as in any industry, modeling is a multifaceted world full of all shapes, colors, sizes, and aged models. Though within the media we only see the glamorized runway super models that are human alien gazelles with perfect skin, features, and bodies, they are only a fraction of the job market. All types of people, including myself, are making a living by posing in ads, commercials, catalogs, e-commerce, look books, some of which are classified as "real people" or not Actor or Model types. Normal photogenic relatable  models. Some even make livings just being a "Parts Model" which includes hand modeling. I do it- and it is very much a Zoolander joke 24/7. Some of us lucky ones cross over from Commercial modeling to Fashion and dabble in all aspects of the industry. The biggest misconception is that being a model is easy and glamorous. Sure, it is a heck of a day job, and I love what I do. But I don't get sick days, paid time off, health insurance, weekends, don't have a salary, or always know when my next paycheck will come as it can take 30-90 days to get paid (almost always 90 days.) I have to 24/7 take extra care of my hair, skin and nails, and foot the bill on all of that upkeep. And most importantly I have to exercise and eat a healthy balanced diet, all while working on sets Monday-Sunday sometimes 10+ hours. It's a tough life, but it's also wonderful!" 

Yeah, now you don't think it's so glamorous do ya?

 

She also was kind enough to share with us how she preps for a shoot!

When prepping for a photo shoot there are a few important things I like to do!

First and foremost-

1. Don't stress! Stressing makes you break out, and boy do I break out!

2. Hydrate, hydrate. (You should be doing this daily anyways.) If your skin is hydrated it will glow and look fresh and smooth on camera!

3. Lower your salt and alcohol intake 1-2 nights before a shoot. Both will make you bloat and retain water! A little wine the night before is fine! Just not the entire bottle!!!

4. Get plenty of rest- posing can be exhausting and make you tweak or 'twerk' some weird muscles that you didn't know existed. A well-rested body will be more relaxed and flexible! You may be sore after!

5. Practice posing at home!!! This is important especially if you are doing a shoot in little clothing! Grab that lingerie and pop that booty and practice! Knowing your body and being confident shines through on camera!

6. Don't forget to shave!! Or don't- embrace your natural state! 

7. Moisturize! If you moisturize day of- use an unscented body oil so you don't stain or transfer to the garments. Use a clear deodorant for the same reason. 

8. Remember that your body is absolutely beautiful and don't let it hold you back from loving every inch!

9. Most importantly during the shoot BREATHE and have a blast!!

 

And without further ado...here is how a lifestyle boudoir shoot with a model looks! 

 

To The Fullest Capacity | Nashville Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I talk about loving yourself and learning to love yourself A LOT. I practically shout, "YOU ARE A STUNNER!" to every woman who complains about their body anywhere within my earshot. But the truth is that it's not that easy to see your beauty when you pick yourself apart all the time. You don't just fucking wake up one day and feel at peace with the flesh cage that permits you to live this life. It takes WORK. And I talk about that a lot too. It's a real battleground for most women, and a lot of them are fighting on the wrong side. Wasting all of that precious energy attacking themselves instead of reveling in the miracle of being alive! This life is such a precious gift, something so trivial as your stretch marks should not control your thoughts. My goal is to help you flip that switch from hate to love, to show you just how amazing you really are, and to empower you to help others do the same. 

I recently had an amazing session with Chelsea whose self-image is something to aspire to. I asked her to write a little sumthin' sumthin' for me and when I received the following response I swear to you I started crying in public. And you know why? Because SO MANY WOMEN HATE THEMSELVES THAT FINDING ONE THAT DOESN'T FEELS LIKE YOU'RE IN THE MIDST OF A MAGICAL BEING. I encourage anyone who is not okay in their body to print this passage out and put it on their mirror. Let's all try to get our Chelsea on! 

Here's what she had to say-

My body is my vessel. No, not in a religious, spiritual, or metaphysical way, but in the truest most factual sense possible. There have been times when it has failed me, made me feel like a complete outsider, and hate every inch of my being. But I've also rejoiced within it, worshiped it like an altar and anointed every curve I have. Only within the past few years have I learned to balance forgiveness and self love. At 21 years old I've helped myself see how strong and beautiful my body truly is, and see that every possibility is mine to grab. I've been in awe of my muscles, gotten lost in the stretch marks that map my thighs, and fallen in love with my self. This is the only vessel that I'll have in this lifetime, it's the only thing I have to get me through this journey and to survive. Why would I spend so much time beating it up and forcing it to be things that it's not? I'm going to nourish it with the love and affection it deserves. I'm going to celebrate every day I get to spend wrapped up in its perfection. I am going to love myself to the fullest capacity.

Holy shit right? 

And to top it off, her images are just going to blow you away!

Lingerie- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Corsets- Corsettery

To book your own Self-Love Experience- CLICK HERE

Heartbreak Hotel | Memphis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Getting over a break up is hard.

I don't have any recent experience, I've been with the same man for 12 years, but I still remember my last break up. It helped to shape me into who I am today. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

When it happened I was a complete and total mess for a long time, and it took years for me to finally heal all of the little pieces and fucking MOVE ON for good. I think it was because he was my first real love, my first real relationship, and the first time that I had sex. Oh, and I was like 16 or 17 so everything was very dramatic and I was going through a lot of other issues at the same time. It's not so much the break up that did the damage but the feelings of worthlessness that I held onto that I had to heal. 

I thought he was THE ONE. I thought that we were MEANT TO BE. I thought a lot of things back then. 

But time heals all wounds if you work on them and all healing takes time. 

I'm not really going to go into how shitty breaking up with someone feels, because most of us have been through it already and we know that it's a hell of a lot more than tubs of ice cream and Facebook stalking. 

I'm going to talk about the self-knowledge that comes from breaking up with someone. 

Because it can be a blessing in disguise in the long run, at least it was for me. 

When you're thrown into the deep end of the single pool a lot changes. You're suddenly on your own again. You only have yourself to think about, which for a lot of people turns into feelings of self-loathing and unworthiness. The woe-is-me mentality just sucking the life out of you day after day. 

But what if you treated each day as a single person as a day where you got to do exactly whatever set your soul on fire? What if you lived each day racing towards your bliss? And what if you could do this no matter what relationship status you are or aren't in? 

Newsflash-bang-POW! You can! It's really simple. Living your best life authentically IS the key to happiness, and it might even take you on the path to finding THE ONE who you are MEANT TO BE with. 

Lovers come and go, relationships come and go (so don't take them for granted) but you're stuck with yourself so you might as well cultivate a relationship with YOU. Treat yourself how you'd want your lover to treat you (Look up The Womanizer. TRUST ME). Take care of yourself how you want to be taken care of. In other words DO THINGS FOR YOUR OWN DAMN SELF. You're all you've got, for better or worse, so you might as well love yourself. And if someone comes booping along your path and ignites something within you then you already have a strong sense of self that can let them into your life but not let them take over your life.  

Revenge sessions, like this one, are a great way to jump-start the healing. It's a visual reminder of the fact that you are sexy, powerful, amazing... and you don't need someone else's validation in order to feel all of those things. 

I'm not gonna lie, it's also kind of fun to show them what they are missing. 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

To book your own revenge session- CLICK THIS!

Vulnerability Part 2 | Grand Rapids Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I talked A LOT about vulnerability in Part 1 of this set so I'm not going to harp on it too much more except to say that it's hella important, in life and during your photo shoot. So give it a read if you haven't already.

I'm here to connect with you, soul to soul, and capture a piece of it in images. I can't do that as effectively if you don't let your guard down.

Droping all of that over-thinking and just feeling the moment and connecting with me is the key to great images during your session. That's it! All you have to do is trust me. And relax. Because I've got ya!  

The proof is in the pictures!

Pin Me Up | Madison Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I have a great love for pin-up, old Hollywood glamour, and film noir styles, probably because I have been collecting vintage for literally over half of my life (It all started with a pair of snake skin kitten heels...).

Due to my reverence and respect for the past I am very wary about photographing the different genres (because those are 3 different genres, and even those three can be divided further into sub-categories) unless we hit all of the boxes-

Hair and makeup needs to be on point- check

Outfit needs to be on point- check

Posing needs to be on point- check

Location needs to be on point- half-check (we did the best we could with this shoot!) 

Once all of those details are squared away I'll agree to shoot the concept, because that's kind of what this style of photography is- a fully thought-out production. It's like a mini-movie!

I've seen a lot of bad work out there, and most of it comes down to lack of/poor planning. If you've got the outfit but you don't have the hair and makeup to match then the illusion is shattered and you're just a lady wearing some old style knickers. (There's nothing wrong with that, but I wouldn't label it pin-up.) It's the difference between the utter perfection of Mad Men and... not Mad Men. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for breaking the pin-up rules but you have to know the rules first in order to break them. And a lot of people are just clueless when it comes to authenticity. 

Even this shoot could have been either improved upon or changed if you're looking to be cynical. The hotel is modern (which is actually kind of cool and ended up being a neat twist) and therefore not authentic. The outfit is freaking amazing (thank you Bettie Page Lingerie for existing and making new versions of classics in fun colors!) but would have, if worn in the fifties, had stockings attached to the garter belt. (I brought those along but much preferred the bare leg because DUH look at those gams amiright?!) And tattoos weren't mainstream back then so Ginny's beautiful body art would have been sorely absent. 

Nevertheless this shoot turned out wonderfully and I'm very proud. It was even featured in Delicious Dolls Magazine (although they kind of spelled my name wrong) which was a nice surprise since it was my first time submitting to a magazine. Ahhh validation! 

So if you've got a hankering for the vintage glam let me help you make your pin-up, old Hollywood, or film noir dreams come true! It'll take planning but it's really fun for me to create little worlds, in fact it's kind of how I started out when I first picked up a camera. Costume, set design, makeup, posing, the whole shebang! 

Even if you don't care for that style you can at least appreciate the utter perfection that is Ginny Rosewater here! And Elle Allen killed it on hair and makeup! 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

To book your own Pin Up shoot- Click THIS!

F*CK That Guy...| Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I'm a Do More Photographer. It's a group comprised of the best boudoir photographers in the world and I'm freaking proud to be one of them. We have a private group where we discuss 'boudoir' issues and help one another out and one concern that gets brought to the group way more frequently than it should is this-

A client wants to book a shoot but their husband/fiance/lover says NO and cites various excuses such as "I don't need to see you naked in photos when I can see you naked at home" (NOT the same) or  "You don't need to be spending money on something so frivolous" (OKAY I'm sure he's never spent any money on anything 'frivolous' in his life) or (my personal favorite to hate) "Only sluts get those types of photos taken." (I don't even know where to begin with this one.)

Sometimes a client does a boudoir shoot as a secret surprise for the husband and then the husband gets MAD because they spent money on this experience as a gift for THEM and the client is left feeling like shit and the photographer is left feeling like shit and there is just way too much shit floating in the air.

Yes ladies, this happens A LOT.

And it breaks my fucking heart. 

And you wanna know why?! (Here we go...)

You aren't doing this for HIM. THIS.IS.NOT.FOR.HIM. This is for you. This is a celebration of YOURself and YOUR body and all the goddess that you are. This is an experience that honors your life, your self-love and your uniqueness. He doesn't get a say in that, even if you are married.

Everything from the lingerie you choose to wear (or not) to the setting you want to shoot in to the dang color of your lipstick is about YOU and what makes you feel your best self. It's a time to be truly self-centered, and I'm here to help guide you through it and create images that'll document who you are. 

At the end of the experience you'll BUY something material, an album and some wall art or a collection of images but that's not all that you are getting, you are getting that self-love experience, maybe a new outlook on life, maybe a WHOLE NEW YOU. And some men find that sort of intangible thing hard to understand, so they get mad.

I cringe when I get an email from someone and the first thing they say is something along the lines of, "I'd love to do a boudoir shoot for my husband." 

WELL LADIES, I'D LOVE FOR YOU TO WANT TO DO A BOUDOIR SHOOT FOR YOUR OWN DAMN SELF. (Yes I yelled that, it was necessary.) 

You aren't wrong for wanting to give the gift of your sexiness to your man, there is nothing wrong with that. But it shouldn't be the main reason why you're booking with me, it should be reason 15 or 16. It should almost be an afterthought.

You should be booking with me because you want to wear a dressing gown so glamorous you thought only the people in Vogue wore those types of things.

You should be booking with me because you want to get naked in the woods and grab your titties and not feel guilty about being a sexual person. 

You should be booking with me because your friend who did a shoot with me told you it'll change your life. 

You should be booking with me because my products are the best (okay no one books BECAUSE of that but it makes a hellava difference when it comes time to order your goodies). 

You should be booking with me because you hate yourself. 

You should be booking with me because you love yourself. 

You should be booking with me because you feel like you know me even though we haven't met yet. 

I just listed 7 possible reasons that have nothing to do with a man. 

This sounds like a bunch of man-bashing but I promise it's not. I love men. I just think that sometimes they think this whole boudoir thing is about them. It's not about them. It has nothing to do with them. They are LUCKY if they get to reap the benefits of your session. They are PRIVILEGED to get pictures of your ass. 

So FUCK THAT GUY. Fuck that guy that says a woman can't do what she wants with her own body. Fuck that guy who makes a woman feel guilty for wanting this for themselves. Fuck that guy who says you're a slut for getting sexy pictures of yourself taken. 

(And much respect to the partners who support their women, who worship their women, who love their women. You deserve a picture of their ass.)

 

 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

To FUCK THAT GUY and do this for yourself- Click this!

Feel All The Feels- Part 2 | NYC Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

If you haven't read Part 1 of Feel All The Feels then you're missing out (on both the message AND the images) so do yourself a favor and getonitdammit!

In the first blog post I talked extensively about how being in touch with and honoring your feelings can help you lead a better life. 

And let me tell you I've been doing a lot of that in the New Year. And it's fucking hard.

It's been an interesting few months. Things that were once very important to me have, for the time being at least, ceased to really matter. 

For all intents and purposes I'm running for cover. I'm introverting hardcore and I do not even care because I'm trying to figure things out and people and places and things (all of those damn NOUNS!) just distract me from what I'm learning about myself right now. 

And I'm learning that emotions kinda suck. I mean they are great and all when they are great and all but when you're letting yourself feel things that you usually just SHOVE RIGHT DOWN it can be kind of intense.

Especially when you're discovering that maybe all of the 'things,' the 'stuff' you surround yourself with and all of the times you ate at nice restaurants but didn't really appreciate it because everything is magic until it becomes routine could have afforded you the luxury of traveling the world multiple times over by now. When you discover that maybe you give too much and get too little from the people around you because you want them to like you and you don't want to be alone in the world. When you feel like you're wasting your life sitting around all day waiting for it to come to you instead of fucking going to IT. Etcetera, etcetera. 

So yeah, I'm feeling lots of emotions OKAY. 

But that is part of the growth process, the way to bliss. Or so the wise ones say. So I'm going to sit with it and feel all the feels (even if it means that every.single.time I meditate I start crying what is even up with that). 

I'm learning a lot of stuff about myself by allowing myself to feel, even if it is REALLY hard. And some of it is even good! It's almost like I'm reuniting with ME. Which is comforting and weird but whatever. All of this is hippie-dippy talk anyways and if you're catching the vibe I'm throwing out you'll understand and if not...well maybe you should get WOKE already.

But ANYWHO here is Part 2 of Feel All The Feels with Catherine at the Andaz 5th Avenue in NYC. My goal is to get everyone who comes in front of my camera to emote with me like she did. Cause DUH. Also this is probably my best work. I've peaked. 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Closet 

Hair and Makeup- She did her own. Which you are allowed to do if you know how!

To Feel all YOUR feels in front of my camera- Click THIS

Darling Just Fucking Own It- Part 3 | Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Here it is people!

Part 3 of Darling Just Fucking Own It!

If you haven't yet I suggest you go back and look at Part 1 and Part 2 so you can better acquaint yourself with Kit and the message behind these posts. 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Wardrobe Closet

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

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Vulnerability is the Birthplace of Connection | Grand Rapids Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I want to talk about vulnerability for a minute. Specifically how dang important it is. 

Vulnerability is the gateway to a more fulfilling life.

Trust me, I know. I've been working on different pathways to better know myself and vulnerability is one of the most effective ways to suck the dang marrow out of life. So, I've been experimenting with this whole 'allow yourself to be vulnerable and open to alllll the feelings and experiences and joy and pain' thing for the past few months and my life REALLY is changing! 

I think Brené Brown phrased it best when she said, "Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn't feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive." 

In order to make meaningful connections you have to allow yourself to be seen. So I've started letting people see me in all my socially-awkward glory. I've stopped pretending to be happy when I'm not and I have stopped apologizing for things that don't need apologizing for. things like saying sorry for taking a little longer than usual to walk through a door that's being held open for you. (First of all don't hold a door open for me when I am so dang far away that I have to practically run to get there so you aren't standing there holding the door for me for all eternity because now I have to RUN and I HATE running. Rude.) 

What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful. Perceived 'flaws' and all. Anyone who isn't a walking zombie or a huge douche canoe is going to be immediately drawn to you if you're an emoter (see my previous post) or you show vulnerability. Why? BECAUSE BEING WHO YOU REALLY, TRULY, UN-APOLOGETICLLY ARE IS FUCKING BRAVE. And everyone recognizes that vulnerability and courage at a cellular level.  

So what even is vulnerability? 

It's the willingness to say 'I love you' first when you have no idea if the other person feels that same way as you do. 

It's taking the leap and doing that thing (like moving to a different country or quitting that job that is sucking the life out of you so you can try to make a living off of a passion that you have) even though everyone around you is saying that it's too risky. 

It's getting on the stage and singing in public for the first time.

It's telling your partner about a sexual thing you want to try.

It's SO many things but basically it's just being brave. Having courage. Opening up. 

I see the lack of vulnerability in boudoir SO DAMN MUCH and it looks like this-

"I'd love to do a shoot but I'm to old/fat/thin/not pretty enough/not good enough/don't have enough time/money/support to do it but someday maybe I'll do it."

SOMEDAY.....MAYBE...

All of these things are excuses that people use to ring around the rosey the REAL issue which is this-

Lack of self worth. 

You see, it's easy to say, "I'm gonna go into that boudoir shoot and rock it out when I'm perfect and toned" but the truth is that rarely happens. You'll either be paralyzed by fear and shame because your looks aren't the real issue OR always be chasing the impossible perfection because to stop and look at yourself in the mirror and say 'I'M GOOD ENOUGH' would mean you'd have to be vulnerable enough to sit with yourself and confront who you are right now. And then accept yourself and alllll that you are....and all that you perceive yourself not to be. That takes true vulnerability.

I promise this isn't a post trying to guilt into into booking a session. You'll book when your self worth barometer goes up a bit, or when you've saved up enough, whichever comes first. 

This is a post about being vulnerable so I'm going to digress some more about MY FAVORITE DAMN THING ABOUT MY JOB! 

My favorite thing is when I get you in front of me and I look into your eyes. Not with my camera, but with my own eyes looking into yours. And you know what happens? YOU CRACK OPEN. You spew your vulnerability everywhere and I capture it for all time.

It's so much more than great butt pictures y'all. It's connection and soul gazing and vulnerability and emotion AND YES it is also good butt pictures.

This is what I love about my job. I get to give you yourself.

The you that maybe you've always known was there but from a very young age were told in tiny little ways wasn't good enough so, piece by piece, you shoved your YOU-ness into a box that you hardly ever (or maybe never?) look at. 

The you that you're starting to get to know a bit better and are learning to love who she is, 'flaws' and all.

The you that maybe needs someone like me to come along and push you off the vulnerability cliff so you can feel what it's like finally to be just un-apologetically yourself, even if it's just for a photo shoot. 

Shooting with me is an exercise in the art of vulnerability. Not just because at some point you'll most likely be naked but because your emotions will be out on display and you'll have to tap into feelings that maybe you don't always show people. But I got you boo, that's what I'm good at. And if you don't believe me then just look at these dang pictures. 

This is Autumn. She started out a stranger and became a great friend. We connected, she was vulnerable, and you can feel her vulnerability in the images.  

 

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Feel All The Feels | NYC Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I have such a profound weakness for an emoter. I'm instantly drawn to anyone who is in tune with their emotions and can harness them for their art. You know you're in the presence of an emoter when you feel more alive just by being near them. They are the truth tellers, the light bringers and probably members of the frequent criers club. Because they don't deny themselves of all the feelings that being alive brings up they aren't numb to the world like most people are on a day-to-day basis.

Think of it, all the ways you deny your feelings.

You're at a stop light and see a homeless man asking for money so you pretend to fumble with the radio because you don't want to lock eyes with him and FEEL (pity, sorrow, contempt). 

You find out that your spouse has been cheating on you so you start drinking because then you don't have to think of them with someone else and FEEL (worthlessness, anger, blame).

You are sexually assulted so you start focusing on your body and how to make it disappear because you don't want to FEEL (guilt, loss of control, hatred). 

You are finally on a much-needed vacation and all you do is complain about the food and take pictures for your Instagram because you don't want to FEEL (present, humble, your own mortality).

And the list goes on.

There are SOOOOO many feelings in a day. If you open yourself to them and let them flow through you instead of hoarding them and letting them take root and weigh you down I promise you that your life is going to change. It'll be like someone picked you up, turned you upside down, shook you out and set you back down. It might fuck up your hair but damn you're lighter now! 

As a fellow emoter myself I believe that our stories have power, and by sharing them and living our truth we can help others.

Every single one of us has stories to tell and lessons to teach. We are more connected than we realize and emoters just smack you in the face with feelings and force you to look within YOURself and find common ground. 

Usually artists do this best. Dancers, singers, poets, musicians, painters, actors.

ACTORS. They have this uncanny ability to dig deep down and pull up the type of complex emotions that most of us need two bottles of wine to tap into.

Catherine is one of those people. As you can see from the following images she can display a wide range, although we stuck to the brighter side of things this time around. We shot in one of my favorite hotels, the Andaz 5th Avenue in NYC, pretty much the only place I stay when I visit The City. The anonymous-ness of a hotel really created a blank slate for Catherine to do her thang and emote. (And if you're wondering, yes she can cry on cue!)

So go forth and feel all the feels!

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