In This Journey Called Life…

Santa Fe NM Beauty Boudoir Photographer-3…you just never know what to expect, who you will meet or what serendipitous and coincidental situations you will find yourself in, but after my time in New Mexico I can firmly say: I’m all in.

Let me briefly start at the beginning. The last year has been filled with blocks and missteps with regards to my photography and I really just did not know how to get over them. I couldn’t see them, but I could absolutely *feel* them. I felt heavy, restless and seriously distracted. I found myself being less and less motivated, which really played heavily on my creativity. I can tell you, in my work, creativity is what drives me, fuels me, gets me up in the morning and keeps me awake all night. My brain is flooded by the hour with new ideas, spins on old ideas and the working, re-working and flipping of someone else’s idea till it bends and folds into my own creation. Anyway, I was stuck.

Then, an out-of-nowhere reuniting with 2 friends of mine introduced me to the practice of reiki. One of my blasts from the past has spent the last year or so getting certified in reiki and she spoke about her instructor and practitioner so highly I just felt compelled to give it a try. You guys…I’m so glad I did. I “met” Sharna, owner of Seek Spark Shine, over the phone by way of distance reiki sessions that I booked with her. Before you crinkle your nose, yes, you can do reiki over the phone. It’s connecting and moving energy and if you’re lucky enough to get hooked up with a super talented practitioner, distance reiki is just as beneficial in person or not. Sharna is also an intuitive so she is able to connect with your energy even deeper than most and let me tell you….it’s been absolutely amazing. I have never felt more clear and more determined to continue on the path and journey that she has helped me with during our time together. I **highly** recommend her to you. In fact, I have had one friend take me up on my recommendation and I can tell you, she was more than pleased with her session.

So, after my 3rd session with Sharna, I felt like I needed a respite and Sharna was actually the one that recommended it. The minute I knew in my mind that I was on board, I instantly saw cacti, sand and dry weather. I’m not sure why as I haven’t really spent much time at all in the midwest or southwest states. But I followed my nose and wound up renting the most adorable little casita in the hills of the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, NM. I emailed Sharna to tell her, all this time thinking for some reason she lived in San Diego and worked mostly there. I thought she had a satellite office in NM but never considered it beyond a fleeting thought. Once I told her where I was going she immediately responded, “You know I live in Santa Fe, NM, right??” I was FLOORED. I could not believe that out of all the places in the world I chose for my respite, I chose a place 60 minutes from the woman that helped me on this journey in the first place. Holy. Serendipity.

I’m trying so hard to keep this brief so let me just say, I traveled. I rested. I meditated. I yoga-d. I hiked. I took myself out on dates. I wrote. I pondered. Mostly, I just did whatever I wanted to do and did not do anything I did not want to do. I woke up each morning and took about 30 – 45 minutes to drink my cup of coffee and think about what I wanted to do with my day. I meditated for about 30 minutes and then wrote in my journal for another 45 minutes. Made breakfast and got ready for my day. I either did yoga or hiked on the Tramway Trail. So, basically I gave myself about 5 hours every single morning to just….be. I could do that because I made it a point to stay on east coast time. So I was up each morning around 4:30am local time, giving me so much time to myself and so much peace and quiet because I was up at least 2 to 3 hours before the rest of world near me. It was a pure delight.

It was absolutely perfect and I have decided that I will not only do this every year, but every year it will get longer. I had 6 days and it was way too short. No, I did not have any grand epiphanies. No I did not see “the light” and float on air. Yes, I did begin a wonderful practice of taking time for myself and being good to myself. It’s not perfect, but it’s a journey and I’m so thrilled to have one those right now.

Lastly, Sharna needed some new photos for her business and really how could I resist?? Here she is in all her beautiful glory (I know…I’m posting so many but I couldn’t help myself), along with a video that I stumbled through at the conclusion of our shoot, which will help you get to know Sharna so much better. Enjoy!

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So Many Experiences…

New Mexico Elizabeth Craig Photography-11…to share with you about my trip to New Mexico. I’m going to start with this one because I actually have the visuals to go along with my story.

While Sharna, my reiki practitioner and now gal pal, and I were waiting for the light to fade to that oh-so-golden moment, Eric & Tatiana happened upon the area where we were shooting (more of that to come). They drove in from Santa Fe, about an hours drive, with their 2 dogs, Zeus and Scooby Doo, a bottle of wine and some sushi. Yep–they drove all the way to this spot to simply sit in one of the openings of this structure, take in the view, share some wine (no glasses, which I loved), a nibble and the most magical sunset you can imagine. When you get regular sunsets such as the ones you can see for miles in New Mexico, it becomes somewhat of a ritual to slow down and take a moment or two to enjoy such majesty, and hopefully with a loved one.

So, meet Eric & Tatiana. Two very lovely and interesting folks I had the pleasure of spending time with while photographing in New Mexico. While waiting for the light, I started taking photos of the puppy dogs (ok…not puppies at all) because I just couldn’t help myself. Zeus was happy to lay so regally and take in all the sites, while Scooby Doo was curious enough to follow us at a distance while shooting, then eventually became my steadfast friend and leeaaaaaaaaned into me, begging for any kind of scratch I was willing to give. And I just couldn’t help myself but to take a few photos of Eric & Tatiana too. I loved them sitting up there, so close to each other as they chatted away with each other, sharing some laughs, hugs and even a few silent moments. I took their email address with a promise to get these images to them. I’ll be checking that off of my To-Do list later tomorrow.

I’m happy to say my trip to New Mexico is filled with little stories such as this and I’ve written them all down so I don’t forget. I’ll get to those eventually, but for now just take a look at all this beauty.New Mexico Elizabeth Craig Photography-4New Mexico Elizabeth Craig Photography-5New Mexico Elizabeth Craig Photography-8New Mexico Elizabeth Craig Photography-6New Mexico Elizabeth Craig Photography-10New Mexico Elizabeth Craig Photography-9

 

Hunting Cacti

Right…so maybe I’m not “hunting cacti” but I AM going hiking, meditating, reading, cooking, yoga-ing, reiki-ing, writing, filming and photographing out in New Mexico for a few days.

I’ll be back, but in the meantime I will not be blogging (did you see that list of things I’m doing up there??) so I leave you with this. Enjoy!

Elizabeth Craig Photography Boudoir Photography-1Elizabeth Craig Photography Boudoir Photography-2Elizabeth Craig Photography Boudoir Photography-3Makeover by At Home Beauty.

The Body Positivity Shoot

Body Positivity Photo Shoot | Elizabeth Craig Photography-14So….holy moly. Let’s grab a cup of coffee for this one, ladies. Where shall I begin? I was approached by a fabulous and talented Pittsburgh business owner, Amanda Cowan, owner and operator of AFaye PR and chief señorita at GRLPWRPGH, a female-centric networking and collaborative group that meets monthly.  Amanda had this amazing idea to get a group of amazing women together for a fun, empowering and crazy day in my studio, which was alllllll centered around body positivity.

And The Body Positivity Shoot was born.

So, each woman thought about what body part they most struggle with and why. And then….bravely stood in front my camera so that I could specifically hone in on that specific body part and show it off to the world. Can we say c.o.u.r.a.g.e.o.u.s??? I mean, really think about this ladies….could you do it? I don’t know that I could, truthfully.

And can I say to you, I had the TIME of my life! Each of these ladies were so incredibly powerful in their own way. Each were their own stories in this life and were filled to the brim with so much support and love for one another. And no, they did not even all know each other. There were a few that did, but otherwise, we were a studio of 10 women, most of which met each other on that day, and made a collective decision to fill that space with so much support, acceptance, absolutely no judgment and a shit ton of love and laughs.

I could not have been more excited and honored to have been the photographer that got to be there with each and every one of these ladies. I am so THRILLED to have been a part of this project. And I would like to throw out some giant special THANK YOU’s to At Home Beauty, Ciel Cosmetics and Caviar and Curls for all the glamorous hair and makeup styling. You ladies are SO TALENTED!

So, without further ado…

Autumn. Breasts. “I am a body activist. Growing up I was the girl that got made fun of for having big boobs but now embrace my boobs and my curves.” Hair: Caviar and Curls. Makeup: Ciel Cosmetics.Body Positivity Photo Shoot | Elizabeth Craig Photography-12Body Positivity Photo Shoot | Elizabeth Craig Photography-11

 

Kelsey: Legs. “Growing up I was teased and called thunder thighs and it really stuck with me. I’ve come to have a friendship with my legs. They may be big and have cellulite but they are strong and take me where I need to go.” HMUA: At Home Beauty.Body Positivity Photo Shoot | Elizabeth Craig Photography-8Body Positivity Photo Shoot | Elizabeth Craig Photography-7

 

Julianna. Breasts. “I always felt self-conscious about having big breasts but I have really come to love them and accept them and I’m so much more confident of them now.” HMUA: At Home Beauty.Body Positivity Photo Shoot | Elizabeth Craig Photography-2Body Positivity Photo Shoot | Elizabeth Craig Photography-1

 

Chelsey: Hips and Legs. “I have always been self conscious about my legs and hips. I think they are disproportionate and bow but I have come to terms with the fact that they have gotten me from place to place and have supported me and I try to remember to think of the good things about them.” Hair: Caviar and Curls. Makeup: Ciel Cosmetics.Body Positivity Photo Shoot | Elizabeth Craig Photography-3Body Positivity Photo Shoot-1

 

Mallory: Stomach. “I used to be very large and have lost weight and now my stomach is a bit deflated. I love my body, it gets me strong and gets me through my workouts. My belly is what it is but I still love it.” Hair: Caviar and Curls. Makeup: Ciel Cosmetics.Body Positivity Photo Shoot | Elizabeth Craig Photography-10Body Positivity Photo Shoot | Elizabeth Craig Photography-9

 

Amanda: Stretch marks on stomach and thighs. “When I got pregnant and through my pregnancy, my body stretched in places and ways I didn’t even know were possible. After having my daughter, Willow (now almost 3), I was left with incredibly visible and intense stretchmarks, particularly on my stomach, hips and thighs. My times of sporting 2 piece string bikinis were long gone, and though I’m happy with the shape I’ve been able to get back in, the scars and stretchmarks still remain. I’ve been self-conscious of these marks ever since. I’ve had to re-center and remind myself how I got these, and why I still have them. They show the beautiful transition my body went through, and I now have my little Willow to show for these marks. For that, I am learning day-to-day to accept that these are apart of me, and I am learning to love my tiger stripes. They make me who I am today.”  Hair: Caviar and Curls. Makeup: Ciel Cosmetics.Body Positivity Photo Shoot | Elizabeth Craig Photography-6Body Positivity Photo Shoot | Elizabeth Craig Photography-5

You ladies are my new heroes! Here’s to fat thighs, droopy boobs, more stretch marks than we can count and saggy tummies. May they continue to encourage self-love, empowerment and, of course, one hell of a #giveszerofucks attitude! Body Positivity Photo Shoot | Elizabeth Craig Photography-13

 

Sometimes I forget…

Elizabeth Craig Photography Boudoir Photography-8-2…who I serve in this career and why I do what I do. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it’s not about money or stuff; it really is about providing a safe space for self-discovery.

I love what I do and don’t get me wrong, I realize how incredibly blessed I am that I am one of the few that gets to do what I love for a living and be able to support my family with it. But even if I couldn’t make money off of it….it’s just SO fulfilling!

“Oh my gosh! I’ve never even thought of myself like that! I can’t believe that’s me!”

“That doesn’t look like me! I mean, it does but….I’ve just never imagined I could look like that!”

“I needed this. I’ve had such an awful year and this is exactly what I needed. Thank you.”

“I just feel so….sexy!”

“I had no idea I had this in me. I mean, I wanted to believe I did, but I just had no idea!”

“At a time when my heart has been broken and belief in myself has been so tested, you brought me right back.”

“I can’t thank you enough for making me feel so powerful. I read your reviews and your posts and I read what other women said. I’m just so thankful to now be one of those women thanking you for making me see a side of myself I didn’t know I had.”

THIS is why. And my cup runneth over….Elizabeth Craig Photography Boudoir Photography-8Elizabeth Craig Photography Boudoir Photography-11Elizabeth Craig Photography Boudoir Photography-12Elizabeth Craig Photography Boudoir Photography-13Elizabeth Craig Photography Boudoir Photography-9Elizabeth Craig Photography Boudoir Photography-10Makeover by At Home Beauty.