The Elizabeth Craig Photography Experience

Boudoir Photography Testimonial Review | Elizabeth Craig Photography-65I get it. You’ve never been photographed professionally before. Well, maybe those embarrassing senior photos that you hid in the back of your closet. Or maybe you’re already married and had a professional photographer snap away all day. But what about being photographed, by yourself, with no one but you and your photographer…and you’re half naked? Hmmmm…..what’s that experience like??

Well, thanks to some words from some of my past wonderful, awesome and incredible clients, you can now get a taste of what your experience would be like with me. I think half the reason some women don’t take the plunge with me is that they don’t know what to expect, so they immediately assume they can’t do it. And I do talk a lot about my clients and my impression of their experience with me, but here is your chance to hear it first hand. And my hope is that you can see that my goal was to understand how the session effected her. I wasn’t looking for accolades; I wanted to know if their session changed them in any positive way, and also sustained that positivity long after. I sent this to quite a few women and the results were wonderful. Read on…Boudoir Photography Testimonial Review | Elizabeth Craig Photography-67Boudoir Photography Testimonial Review | Elizabeth Craig Photography-66

1. What brought you to Elizabeth Craig for a session? I first found Elizabeth when I was looking for photographers for my wedding.  A boudoir photography session never even crossed my mind, but when I found her page and started browsing all of her work I couldn’t believe how she was able to capture the beauty and confidence in all of these women.

2. What, if anything, would have been an obstacle or fear that would have prevented you from a session with Elizabeth? I actually scheduled a session before my wedding, I planned to give it to my husband as a wedding present.  However my nerves got the best of me and I cancelled, even after meeting with Elizabeth at her studio and talking to her beforehand because I was nervous.  All of these thoughts kept running through my mind of how I wasn’t pretty enough, sexy enough, and that I would probably go and my session would be the worst she had ever had.  Then 2 years later I decided I was going to go for it. I kept following Elizabeth after my initial encounter and just loved how beautiful and confident these women looked and I wanted that for myself.

3. How did you expect the experience of the session to be for you vs. how you feel the experience actually was for you (if there was a difference at all)?
I told myself when I woke up the morning of my session that I was not going to be nervous and I was going to go in there and just go for it.  I was so excited. Once I parked my car and started walking to the studio my nerves started creeping in.  I had the same thoughts running through my head: you aren’t good enough, you will never to be able to make good eye connection or expressions, what are you doing.  I was very quiet while there and E even commented that I was one of her quietest clients.  I was so excited and so nervous at the same time so I was not very talkative.  Once I sat in the chair and started with hair and makeup, and I was given a glass of champagne I started to relax.  She showed me how I looked in the mirror and I couldn’t believe how beautiful I looked.  E took me through every single pose and told me exactly how to connect with the camera.  It honestly felt like I had done this 100x before, after getting started I felt so comfortable, and was having a blast.

4. What was your favorite part of your session? My favorite part of my session was when E showed me some of my shots on her camera after taking them, I was able to see them and see that I had it in me. I was so worried about having a horrible session because I really only ever smile in pictures, I didn’t feel I was capable of looking sexy and confident, and when I saw those pictures I just could not believe that, that was me and I was really rocking it!

5. Have you noticed any differences in yourself since your session / Do you feel the same about your inner/outer beauty or has that self-perception changed at all in a positive way, and if so, did that feeling last for you / Do you see yourself differently now? If so, what are those changes? I have seen such a turn around in my self-perception; I used to be an extremely quiet, reserved, and self-conscious woman.  I was constantly worrying about what others thought of me and never thought I was good enough because of past experiences so I figured if I just stayed low and never really did anything out of the norm I would be perfectly fine and content.  After my session with E, I just felt alive. When we met for my reveal, I sat in the chair next to her and was in awe of how amazing this experience truly was for me. Me, the girl who was nervous to wear a bikini to my family pool because of self image issues, totally rocked my boudoir session. I looked amazing, and realized living life in my past experiences and in the shadows was a total waste of my life.  From that day I am so much more confident in myself as an individual, I love my body, I started chasing dreams of mine, and actually started my own personal business where I am helping other women realize their full potential and that it is totally ok to love yourself and be who you really want to be deep down inside.

6. How do you define “beautiful” and has that changed, been strengthened or weakened since your session? Beautiful to me used to be the celebrities and models you see on tv or in magazines, with the “perfect” skin, body, hair, and makeup.  After my session with E and growing and learning more about myself since then I have come to realize beauty is not an image, it is truly what is inside. Being beautiful to me is loving yourself, being confident in who you are as a person, and being someone who does not care about what others think of you, if you want something you go after it and you don’t stop until you reach your goal.  We have been brainwashed to think beauty is a certain number on a scale, a smaller dress size, and just “perfection”.  Now I truly believe that there is no one such thing as perfection, everyone is different and that is what makes each person beautiful in his or her own way.

7. Would recommend that women in your life have a session with Elizabeth? Would you refer your friends/family? Yes I would! I have told multiple friends and also some family members about my session! It was such an experience and I know I want have another on in the future!

8. What are 3 words to describe how you felt about your experience with Elizabeth before the actual session? Nervous, self conscious, and doubtful.

9. What are 3 words to describe how you felt about your experience with Elizabeth as you were leaving the studio after your session? Do those feelings still ring true for you? I felt confident, beautiful, and just absolutely amazing.  And yes they do!

10. Is there anything else you would like to add? My session with E was initially a gift I wanted to give my husband for Christmas.  Then as time went on I truly just wanted to do this for myself, I wanted to show myself that I was capable of being beautiful and confident, even though when I was walking into my session more nervous than anything.  A session with E is more than just a photo shoot, well it was for me.  It opened up a whole new part of me that was always there but I just never knew how to let it out.  I don’t think I would have made the progress I have since my session emotionally, physically, and even with my new career if I would not have had this experience.  I think every woman deserves to feel beautiful and know that she is capable of anything and having a session with E totally did this for me!

Ready for your Experience? Booking for October and beyond now…

Makeover by Hannah Conard Beauty.

The Transformation is Real

Before and After Beauty Portrait Photographer-2It is so real, it typically brings my clients back to me for more than one session (and some of them are on their 4th and 5th!!) This absolutely gorgeous woman came to me about a year ago to create a gift for her then fiancé for their wedding night. Oh my gosh how much fun we had. It was a sexy, sweet and very powerful shoot and from what I understand, her now husband wasn’t sad he didn’t get a watch instead.

But this time, she said it was for her. She was more interested in celebrating the skin she’s in and really showing off her self-love than any other reason. Now that is the kind of session that really gets me going. What’s really interesting to me is that when a woman comes in for herself, a few of her outfits are always high fashion and so so gorgeous. The sessions are a bit more relaxed and gravitate to a more editorial look. Once you’re out to only impress yourself, the nerves seem to calm and an entire world of fashion opens up to you. It’s wonderful to see the difference in clients on their 2nd sessions. So much more courage and so much more open to ideas that have nothing to do with impressing a boy. Not that there is anything wrong with impressing a boy (I love impressing mine) but every gal needs a few moments at different times in her life when she puts just as much energy into wowing herself. Most times that’s way more difficult than impressing a loved one. But not this time.

The real fun is not only when my clients see themselves for the first time after their hair and makeup transformation, but mostly when I take those first few frames and show them who they really are in that moment. That transformation is something special. Want to see more of that? Go to my new site for my most updated transformations.

After seeing this particular photo, and taking in that look in her eye while also keeping in mind our discussion about her reasoning for this session…I couldn’t help but embellish just a bit. Pittsburgh Beauty Portrait Photographer-2

Makeover by At Home Beauty.
Black dress: Dress the Population
Black shoes (not seen): Manolo Blahnik
Blue Dress: Adriana Papell
Nude shoes: Forever 21

The Right Branding for You

Pittsburgh Branding Photographer-3It’s been super exciting to see the Personal Branding trend really take off. Gone are the days of boring, traditional, totally “meh” head shots (good riddance) and here to grow is the new style of really infusing a healthy dose of your own personality and daily grind into your visual marketing. And that, my friends, is Personal Branding.

In today’s fast-paced-I-want-it-now kinda world, you have but a moment, a blink of an eye really, to catch a potential client’s interest and even that interest can be quite fickle. You gonna leave that to a tightly-cropped, arms-crossed-why-so-serious head shot? I think not.

Remember this when starting your venture into branding: People only care about what they are going to get from you. The trick to successful branding is how you deliver THAT information. This is the kind of moment when you have to consider your branding from your clients’ perspectives.

They say that “Personal Branding is what people say about your after you leave the room.” So, you must then consider: what do you want them saying about you?

So how do you know what you need? Well, your first step is finding someone to help you sort that out. I photographed this lovely, sassy brunette you see a few months ago when I helped her launch her own brand. We talked about what she wanted to convey, what her hobbies and inspirations were and I came up with Oprah. Yep–Oprah. I saw her in a light and flower-drenched room that spilled out comfort, family, friends and home to anyone who saw it. Pittsburgh Branding Photographer-15raemie biz cardAnd then she realized she wanted to take it to a higher level and include her assistant. So, we came up with some new concepts, put wardrobe and locations together and here we have it (this is the first time they’re seeing a peek of these photos. Woot!)Pittsburgh Branding Photographer-1Pittsburgh Branding Photographer-9Pittsburgh Branding Photographer-5Real Estate Personal Branding Head Shots-1Pittsburgh Branding Photographer-6Pittsburgh Branding Photographer-11Real Estate Personal Branding Head Shots-2Pittsburgh Branding Photographer-4Pittsburgh Branding Photographer-8Pittsburgh Branding Photographer-10
So, what can I do as a photographer to help you with your branding? Let’s explore…

Do I still offer head shots? Yes. But they are my style and my style is artful, personable and real. Know how you’ll know if your clientele will respond well to your visual marketing? If you also kinda want to put them in your home (although…I doubt Raemie and Shannon want photos of the two of them together in their homes…but you get the point). If you love your photos so much you believe they could be in your home as part of your decor, that’s how you know your branding photos are personable and real for your clients as well. That’s my type of head shot style.

Do I offer different levels of service? You betcha. We talk. We brainstorm. We figure it out together. And based on what you tell me, I’m going to be able to put together a level of service that’s right for you. I offer everything from simple head shots, to more personalized sessions that include hair and makeup, collaboration on direction and mood, to full on, whole sha-bang, design, direct, coordinate, shop and pull it all together and re-emerge to your knew world in your new kickass “Hear me ROAR” persona (which is what you see in this post). And this can include all facets of your life. Kids, dating profiles, business, pleasures…etc. There is no limit here.

Will I help you figure out what you need? Yes. The real question is, will you listen. Almost every single person I photograph thinks they only need one or two photographs of themselves.

Them: “I really only need one photograph for my website. That’s it. I really don’t want to pay for a big shoot that I simply do not need.”

Me: “OK. So you only need one photograph for your website? Do you only market through your website?”

Them: “Well…no. I also market through Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.”

Me: “OK. Which of those platforms bring you the most success for your business? Which brings you the most business?”

Them: “Oh…um…Facebook”

Me: “Gotcha. And do you do a newsletter or any other marketing?”

Them: “Yes…I do a monthly newsletter, quarterly brochures and e-brochures, holiday newsletters and ads via social media like Facebook.”

Me: “So…..”

Them: “I see what you’re saying.”

OR I get this: “Right, I know. I need a lot more than I thought I did but I just don’t have the money right now. I don’t want to spend a lot right now.”

Me: “OK–can you tell me how much you spent on your website, blog, marketing materials and miscellaneous items for marketing?”

Them: “Probably around $10,000 or so.”

Me: “And how’s that working for you without having really good visual marketing of yourself? And what do you consider would be “spending too much” on damn good kickass photography that will give you at least 2 to 3 years of use, and reuse, and reuse and reuse?”

Them: “I see what you’re saying”

Or, they just stick to their guns, come in for “one” photograph and end up spending way more than one of my packages because they loved so many of their photographs because they “had no idea this is what they would look like”. Yeah. I know.

Listen, yes…it is only in my best interest to sell you more. The more money I make, the more margaritas I get to drink poolside at some hum-dinger of a resort while counting seagulls and calling out to that adorable pool boy to bring me another drink. This is true. But what is not in my best interest is to have you walk away feeling like I influenced you to do something you don’t want or need. Because what are you going to say to the next person you talk to that is thinking of re-branding and needs photography? Exactly. So, you can either trust me and partner up with my brain and go for the ride and allow me to help you, or mistrust me, think you know better and wind up spending more than if you had listened to me in the first place. Feelin’ me here??

Do you help with locations, wardrobe and session design? Yeppers. If that’s the package you pick, I am allllll yours. Like I said, you can go from just showing up and snapping a few off, to making me your new Personal Branding, Life Branding, Dating Branding, Professional Branding BFF. We can even get matching bracelets, on me.

Regardless of where you are in your business persona, considering a re-brand or getting another brain in there to offer up some new ideas just may not be a bad idea. When you’re ready for your first step into the world of branding yourself in a personal way, I’ll be right here waiting for you.

Concept design, creative direction, wardrobe & photography: Moi, of course
Shannon’s hair and makeup styling: At Home BeautyAt Home Beauty
Locations: Brennan Builders at Timber Ridge
Black & pink floral dress on Raemie: Ellen Tracy
Matching black sandal heels on Raemie: Pour la Victoire
Tan dress with pink florals on Shannon: Taylor Dresses
Matching nude shoes on Shannon: Sam Edelman
Blue dress on Shannon: Maggy London
White dress on Raemie: Adrianna Papell
Matching nude shoes on Raemie: Jimmy Choo
Black and white jumper on Raemie: Adrianna Papell
Black and white dress on Shannon: Felicity & Coco
Matching black heels on Shannon: Sam Edelman
White dress on Shannon: Cushnie et Ochs
Matching metallic gold shoes on Shannon: Giuseppe Zanotti
Blush dress on Raemie: Kate Spade
Matching brown cage heels on Raemie: Jimmy Choo
Blush briefcase bag in front of desk: Tory Burch

Them Curves Tho…

Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-15-2
*gulp* Goodness goodness me oh my. As soon as she walked in I knew this shoot was going to be alllll about those gorgeous curves. Can you stand it??

I was so proud of K at her shoot. Typically I try to start clients off with whatever piece of clothing keeps them most clothed and also is closest to their day-to-day personality type. This way I can keep them at a relatively comfortable level to start off with, then slam them into high-gear as we go. However, since we also usually start off with whatever look requires the most natural of makeup and hair as a base that we then build upon, I started K off with the outfit I would normally save for last. By that time my clients are seriously into their sessions and have figured it all out and are just nailing it. So starting the shoot with the end…well…that can be hard.

But she nailed it. I showed her what I wanted, told her to trust me, and she nailed it. I think this t-shirt is my favorite look for the day! Oh, and the roses? She said she could get 100 of them for $80 at Sam’s Club so I said, why not? What does one do with 100 roses? Look below. You’ll see.

Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-16Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-17Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-18Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-19Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-20Makeover by At Home Beauty.

Life-Hacking Jewelry | Rocksbox

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 8.02.04 AMOK, I know this is a pretty big detour from my normal blog posts but I just wanted to share this find with you. I am so in love with this concept and the savings are UNREAL! I’m not a spokesperson for this company at all, but I should be because I tell every woman I can about it. I should get paid for how much I preach the gospel about this company.

A few months ago I complimented Lee Ann on a piece of jewelry she was wearing and she said she got it through a company called Rocksbox. After she explained it to me I was all kinds of in on this. So let me explain to you…

Hear me out and don’t let me scare you with this first statement: it’s a jewelry subscription service. Don’t click off!! Just keep reading….I pinkie swear it’s worth it.

Here is your countdown of….

10. It’s only $21 per month and you can cancel at anytime for any reason (though I’ll bet you $21 you won’t. My first month was free and I thought “Oh yeah…I’m playing the system. I’m gonna pull a fast one and take that first month, then cancel. That’s how I roll.” And 4 months later….you get it.)
9. You get access to buckets and buckets of different styles of every type of jewelry you can imagine.
8. You have access to over 15 DESIGNER jewelry brands, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to just go out and buy a piece of designer jewelry anytime I feel like it.
7. You get THREE pieces of jewelry in your shipments, which is awesome because what’s better than one? Three. That’s what.
6. Your subscription comes with your very own stylist that helps you make the most awesome choices based on the answers you provide in their quickie profile questionnaire.
5. The choices are yours. You can create a wish list and even rate your top 10 choices. You can tell your stylist to either have a ball and send whatever her heart desires to you, or you can tell her that you want her to only send what is in your wish list. You can even tell her about an upcoming event and discuss your wardrobe and she will help you choose a set based on that. COME. ON!! What woman doesn’t want THAT?!?Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 8.11.19 AMScreen Shot 2017-07-06 at 8.11.34 AMScreen Shot 2017-07-06 at 8.11.49 AM

I’m separating the last 4 because they are my favorite parts of my subscription.

4. You know that $21 per month you spend on your subscription? You get it right back every month to put towards purchasing pieces from any set in that month or an entire set. AND if you buy a whole set you get to keep the pretty box and velvet bags the jewelry came in! AND if you do buy the whole set you get an extra $10 off. Nice!
3. If you refer friends and they sign up under your name (hint hint hint) you also get an extra $25/sign up towards purchases.
2. It’s free shipping both ways! The envelope each set comes in is what you use to send your set right back and it comes with a free shipping label.

And the NUMBER ONE benefit of this subscription that I love to itsy bitsy pieces is…….

Your month of sets are unlimited. Meaning: as quickly as you send a set back, another set is sent to you. That’s right. You have access to over 15 designers so you can send and receive as many Kate Spade, House of Harlow, Kendra Scott…and on and on, as you want! I loved a set so much I kept it for 3 weeks and wore the hell out of it. So that month I only received 2 sets. The following month I think I returned sets 5 times and had a BLAST wearing 5 different sets that month. I had OVER A THOUSAND DOLLARS worth of jewelry sent straight to my home and all for $21 bucks! SHUT UP!

1. You actually have to send the jewelry back (unless you buy ever single set, which in that case….why are you a member of a jewelry subscription service?? You’re crazy. Click off this post right now. Go on…get off).

Ok–maybe it’s not exactly life-hacking…but it sort of is because it’s such a fantastic, super-easy-to-use service! What I love about this concept is that, if you’re anything like me, I’m not exactly jewelry-inclined. I’m fickle, I change my mind a lot and a lot of times I just don’t know what the best pieces are for the wardrobe I’m choosing. Being able to utilize my stylist for advice and being able to send and receive multiple pieces in a month is ideal for me because I love trying out new things, but not necessarily committing to them.

So–go out and get yourself some designer jewelry, girl. For $21 buckeroos you just cannot beat that. Go ahead. Try. I dare you.

My current set: Processed with MOLDIV

The Mighty Before & After

Boudoir Photograpy Before & AfterSo, you might be wondering why I’m following up my last post with this one. Well, hopefully you understood that my last post wasn’t about boycotting everything girly, letting your leg hair grow and burning your bra (unless that’s your thang, girlfriend, and if that’s the case, I’m right there with ya). It’s about self-acceptance, woman-centered support and being happy with yo-self.

Interestingly, these are the very reasons women come to me in the first place. We so desperately want to like ourselves. Life is so much easier and so much happier when we do. We are innate nurturers and we want to make people around us feel good. When we make women around us feel good, we feel good. We just want to know we are doing ok, inside and out.

Every woman finds this very energy in my space and that is why women come to me. I help you see yourself with new eyes. I encourage and cheer you on so that you understand I’m here for you and this day belongs to you. My sincerest and deepest wish is that when you walk out of my space, your sense of self-love is completely renewed and permanent.

So, this is where the before and after makes its entrance. I simply have to film our clients’ reactions when a mirror is held up to their faces after their hair and makeup styling. You can see that awesome injection of confidence just make its way through their bodies. They’re excited, they’re pumped, they’re ready to go. And this is why you won’t find any big mirrors near the styling station. No peeking! The Before & After gallery on my site is the most visited page by far. The transformations are real, ladies, and not just in looks; it starts with that first glance at yourself and you just know…this is what you came here for and you got this.

I guarantee I will make you feel differently about yourself. Who’s ready for that challenge?Boudoir Photographer Pittsburgh-1Boudoir Photographer Pittsburgh-2Boudoir Photographer Pittsburgh-3Boudoir Photographer Pittsburgh-4Boudoir Photographer Pittsburgh-5Boudoir Photographer Pittsburgh-6Boudoir Photographer Pittsburgh-7Boudoir Photographer Pittsburgh-8Makeover: At Home Beauty
Gown: Rubin Singer

The Struggle is Real

The Struggle of Women-1You know what I’m talking about. The. Struggle. I’ve come to realize that every single woman in the world deals with this, no matter their size, socio-economic status, hair color, shoe size, job title, mothers, singles, divorcees…the older I get the more I see how it really is our number one cross to bear and our biggest obstacle to our own happiness.

Our desire, need and obsession with being beautiful.

I have yet to meet a client that felt she was at her peak and ideal beauty level. Just the other day I had a client that told me how much she hated the lines on her forehead and decided to get botox. It was when her right eyebrow was stuck in an upward position after having injections that her husband said if she did it again, he’d divorce her. And she said, as she sat getting her hair and makeup done: “Why did I even do that?? I love my short hair and began to grow it out. I got eyelash extensions…I got botox. Why? It wasn’t for my husband, that’s for sure. Why? OTHER WOMEN…that’s why.”

I had another client in my studio that reminded me we are all afloat on this dingy just searching and waiting to feel ok with ourselves. She’s a size 2, absolutely stunning and a model. She said to me, “I couldn’t even look in the mirror because I was so disgusted with what I saw looking back at me.”

The struggle is real. Knowing all women actively participate in this struggle, realizing we are all on the same team, understanding what it feels like to look left and right and wish you had those thighs, that hair, those breasts…why-oh-why-oh-why do we continue to do this to each other and to ourselves?

How have we not yet united in a singularly-focused mission to say fuck this shit?!? 

It all started when we had to fight for the best provider to ensure our own survival and the survival of our children. I know you’re envisioning a family of cave dwellers but I’m talking about today. Now. You know it. I know it. Alive and well is the ongoing knowledge that there is still way too big of a population of women that still have to beat out the woman on their left and right for the guy in the room that has the best paycheck. And that struggle is real too. Yes, we’re in a better position now than our sisters that began the good fight so very very long ago. Our fight for control, equality and the right to just live our damn lives the way we want to is still happening, and will never go away, but we got smart, fought hard and most of us can now rely on our damn selves.

But that doggone innate, evolutionary drive and obsession with being physically appealing just. won’t. go. away.

And I know you want to blame men. Lordy, lordy they are such a fun and easy target. But ladies, and I say this with so much love and respect: men are just big dumb animals when it comes to our happiness. As my husband points out to me, regularly: “Bring me a sandwich, occasionally naked, and I’ll do anything you want.” You know I’m speaking the gospel here.

And yes, we could all blame the media. But but but but…who makes up the media? We do. Women and men. We set our own standards. Who do we blame? Ourselves, that’s who…and you know I’m right.

We all know true beauty is confidence. We have all been in that room with that group of women or that bar or that space where the woman in the room that no one could keep their eyes off of was not of the traditional beauty type. But she was magnetizing, captivating and yes, absolutely stunning. It’s us, ladies. We do this to ourselves, we do this to the woman standing next to us and we do this so often we don’t even realize when we are scanning the room to make sure we are not the fattest, ugliest or worst dressed in the room. Ha! Go ahead…tell me I’m lying.

Women, on average, spend about $300,000 in their lifetime on beauty products. Lest you think that’s not that bad, that doesn’t include procedures, injections, nips, tucks or the clothing we invest in to hide our wobbly bits or show off our gorgeous bum (if you’re lucky enough to have one). Holy. moly. cannoli.

And listen, this is not to say that you shouldn’t buy those products, you shouldn’t work out, you shouldn’t wear makeup, you shouldn’t spend silly amounts of money to hide those grays…people: I’m in the image business. My site is plastered with before & after photos showing how incredible women look all done up. That’s not what I’m saying.

What I’m saying is: I want to love myself regardless of my physical state and that that love is the hardest love I have ever, in my life, struggled with to give any person in this world. Me. Myself. That gal looking in the mirror and wanting so badly to look away. And I know that you feel the same way I do.

For me, it started in my late 30’s. I’ll spare you all the wobbly bits stories and blah blah blah. Let’s just say I’m tired of the yoyo diets, the love-hate relationship I have with myself and the seemingly uncontrollable desire to compete with every woman around me to be the thinnest and most beautiful in the room.

We eat ourselves alive daily, and the worst part is we go in head first, wayyyyyyyy more than willing participants in the destruction of our own selves, both outside and in.

We are our own cannibals. The Struggle of Women-3

Do you see the mask she is wearing in these photos? Now you know why.

I actively participate in my own self-destruction, and I know for a fact that you do too. In fact, I am my own team of 1 that raises my own bar of acceptance, and happily crosses the line, in what can only be described as the worst relationship I’ve ever had in my entire life. Me + Me.

I cannot even begin to imagine what I would do, how I would react or what my actions would be if someone treated my girlfriends, daughter, mother, nieces…etc. the way I treat myself. You know what I’m saying here.

So, what do we do? We fight, and not with each other. I have begun daily affirmations to myself and I have begun to be forgiving of myself. I have decided I can no longer allow the last thoughts I have at night before bed to be the counting of calories I had during that day, followed by the barrage of insults I give to myself for being so stupid to eat those calories. I have decided I can no longer wake up each morning and promise myself that today is the day! Today is the day I follow a diet, eat less, exercise more…blah blah blah.

When I look at you, I see you.  I don’t see the flaws you think are a shining beacon of failure to anyone else in a 10 mile visual radius. Ever notice that? We never ever ever notice what is likely the single most hated things we can’t stand about ourselves when we look at another person.

I have flabby arms, a flat butt, a belly pouch and thighs that rub a little when I walk. Those arms have held my daughter, husband and friends in their times of need. That butt was sat on for hours while listening to loved ones tell me their hopes, dreams and fears. Those thighs are part of the legs that chased my daughter from room to room, listening to her giggles of glee and sheer delight at making mama run after her. That belly pouch created a life. Created a life. Jesus, Mary and Steve…CREATED A LIFE. And then this body, my body, sustained that life for an entire year just off of my own body!! Really think about that for a moment, ladies. I mean, holy mother of pearl. That’s simply amazing.

So you know what? I’m creating a club. I’m not sure of the title…something like “Wobbly Bits Unite”, or just simply “Team Woman”. I’m a bit politically incorrect and definitely 100% filthy-mouthed, so my favorite right now is “I’m Fat. Fuck Off.” I’d love to see that t-shirt on every size 0 through infinity. C’mon ladies…who’s with me??

OK–so let’s talk about these photos. I had decided a while ago to start a project called Dichotomy of a Woman, centering around the struggles we face as women and I call this one “The Perfectionist”. I don’t think I need to explain it. Yes, I know it is a stark and shocking photo. And I’m sure you know that was the desired effect. This is an on-going project and I’ll release images as I take them.

I have a simple hope with this post: the next time you look in the mirror think of these images, give yourself a smile, say something loving and then give yourself a big high-five.

And when in doubt: Put The Fucking Bathing Suit On.
The Struggle of Women-5Hair & makeup styling: At Home Beauty
Model: Ashley Giffin
Badass booties: Lauren Lorraine
Hot ass heels: Malone Souliers