Twin Mom's Boudoir Experience

 I went into this boudoir session with Ashley Reida and I was extremely nervous! She not only assured me that my body was beautiful, but beautiful just the way it was. I am beyond self conscience about my body, she helped me overcome that by helping me see the beauty within. 

       I haven't even been able to wear a bathing suit to the beach that doesn't cover everything because of the body issues I have. I am a mother of twin 8 year old girls and the stretching, sagging, weight gain that all goes along with that. I was never able to get back into shape. I felt unbelievably unattractive. 

       After my session with Ashley she made me feel like a goddess on my own skin! Made me realize I still can be sexy no matter how I look. That comes from the inside. I WOULD HAVE NEVER HAD THIS NEW FOUND CONFIDENCE WITHOUT HER! I can't say enough good things about her.

 

DSC_5787 copy.jpg
DSC_5829 copy.jpg

Lingerie Alternatives

Lingerie Alternatives for Your Boudoir Shoot

Some women hate lingerie.  Some women think its too revealing.  And some women want something a little creative and out of the box.  And the truth is...you don't HAVE to wear it...and you don't HAVE to be naked to avoid it!  There are plenty of lingerie alternatives for your boudoir shoot! You just have to think a little outside of the box and gather up all the cute anti-lingerie accessories you'll want to have before your photography session.  Below are some excellent lingerie alternative ideas!

lingerie alternative white sheets

lingerie alternative white sheets

-Husband/Partner's button up shirt with bra and panties to provide more coverage

-Jersey with your or your significant other's favorite sports team paired with undies.  What better way to celebrate football season!

-Off the shoulder sweater can be sexy and provide coverage and leave some to the imagination.  Plus shoulders are totally sexy

-Lacy or satin robes can be used to cover up lingerie and bra and panties. Or yourself.

-Sexy dresses....boudoir is sexy photography.  It doesn't always mean you need to be nude or partially nude! Bring in your favorite killer dress!

-Bathing suits can make for fun beach type boudoir shoots!

-Sheets covering your body strategically can imply sexiness and possible nudity without exposing you at all.

-Jeans that are unzipped showing a little bit of lacy panty with a button up shirt that's mostly unbuttoned....and a cowboy hat will be sure to set your cowboy on fire!

Have fun planning the pieces that will replace or accent lingerie in your boudoir shoot!

Can you think of some other alternatives? Comment below! I'd love to hear your ideas!

lingerie alternative jersey

lingerie alternative jersey

5 Pieces of Flattering Boudoir Lingerie for Every Body Type

5 Pieces of Flattering Lingerie for Every Body Type

When you book your boudoir session, one of the most daunting tasks is shopping for lingerie because you have no idea what looks good on you. We're here to help! We've gathered 5 pieces of lingerie for each body type: Apple, Pear, Hourglass, and Square shaped women.  Find your body type get a head start on lingerie shopping!

Boudoir Lingerie for Apple Shape Women

Apple shaped women have larger mesurements through the bust and waist but tend to have thinner hips and arms and legs. Lingerie should support the top and accentuate the bottom while still paying homage to natural assets.

1. Corset- A corset is a very popular piece of boudoir lingerie that will slim the tummy and accentuate the bust of apple shaped women.

2. Sheer Flowy Nighties- A sheer flowy nightie is a sexy piece of lingerie that will fall on your body in a flattering way that will balance the hips and give a sexy sneak peek!

3. Deep Demi Bra with Supportive Underwire- Apple shaped women tend to have heavier breasts and need as much support as possible, so make sure your bra is deep cut to show off the gorgeous cleavage and and underwire to support the weight.

4. Lacy V High Rise Panties- Since Apple shaped women tend to have slimmer hips, most of the attention goes towards the bustier top.  Bring attention to your hips and balance out your shape by wearing underwear that have a v shape and a little lace.

5. Cami- A cami will balance out your top figure - especially paired with the above mentioned panties.

 

Boudoir Lingerie for Pear Shaped Women

Pear shaped women are wider in the hips and smaller in the bust.  Pear shaped women need to choose lingerie that will balance out the figure by accentuating the bust and playing down the hips.

1. Ruffle Bras - Choose bras that have a lot of fun ruffles to bring attention to the breasts.

2. Chiffon Gowns - Chiffon gowns are sexy lingerie pieces that will bring attention to the top portion while skimming the hips.  This will keep from bringing TOO much attention to the hips.

3. High Rise Thongs and Boy Shorts - High rise lingerie lengthens the body line.  This can work to the advantage of a pear shaped woman by slimming the hips.

4. Fly Away Baby Doll - The fly away baby doll will bring attention to the topportion of your body by creating an angle to accentuate the area.  The fly away portions skim the hips in a sexy way and balance the body.

5. Padded Push Up Bras - Push up bras will accentuate the cleavage and give the illusion that there's more up top.

Boudoir Lingerie for Hour Glass Figured Women

Women with an hour glass figure tend to have similar measurements in the bust and the hips and a slimmer waist.  Most lingerie flatters women with hourglass figures.

1. Bodysuit - A body suit is a piece of lingerie that is all once piece.  They can come in different materials from leather to lace.  Deep v-necks in these suits add an extra bit of sexiness to these pieces

2. Corset - A corset will accentuate smaller waists as well as compliment ample cleavage. Pair with a sexy thong.

3. Garter Belt - Traditionally used to hold up thigh highs but now widely considered as a sexy piece of lingerie.  A garter belt will draw attention to the smaller waist of a woman with an hourglass figure.

4. Form Fitting Slips - Draw attention to your symmetric curves with a form fitting slip or nighty.  It will hug your curves from top to bottom.

5. Bra and Panty Combos - Bring attention to the bust and the hips wearing supportive bras and matching or complimentary colored underwear. 

 

Boudoir Lingerie for Square Shaped Women

Women with a square shaped body tend to have smaller bust and hips that line up similarly to the measurement of the waist.  Choosing lingerie that creates curves in the body will help make your photos have the wow effect!

1. G-strings and Thongs - G-strings and thongs will create the illusion from behind of more of a booty by outlining in the appropriate places

2. Ruffle Matching Bra and Panty Sets - Ruffles and bows and Lace are all great go-to lingerie options for square shaped women.  Ruffles especially add volume to the chest and hips.  Choose bras with ruffled cups and underwear with ruffles on the hips to add the illusion of curves to your body.

3. Demi Cup Push Up Bras - Demi cup push up bras add an extra cup size to your bust and create cleavage where it may not naturally exist.

4. V-Cut Underwear - Similar to thongs, V- cut underwear create a similar illusion of curves while being a more modest option.

5. Ruffle Skirts -These are a fun lingerie option that hide slimmer hips and add a sexy flirty vibe to your boudoir photo session.

Boudoir Lingerie for ALL Body Types

Here's a list of lingerie that flatters all body types.

1. Nighties - Full piece nighties can hide the tummy area which is a pain point for a lot of women, especially mothers and is a great piece of flattering boudoir lingerie.  Fly away nighties are a fun option to add a bit of extra flirt to your boudoir session.

2. Fishnet pieces - Fishnet dresses are a fun piece that can be worn alone or over a bra and panty set.  It accentuates curves and depending on the cut and sleeves, can hide trouble areas.

3. Stockings - Stockings are an often overlooked piece of lingerie that can add fun to other pieces you wear.  You can also get shots of you putting on the stockings which will make you feel sexy and that most men love to see.

4. Solid Curve Hugging Slips - Non- see through slips that hug the body will accentuate curves and hide tummy rolls, slimming your figure.  Its a more modest option but there's nothing wrong with leaving a little to the imagination.

5. Lacey Robes - Lacy robes are an essential boudoir lingerie piece.  It can be used to put on to keep covered between sets and can be used in portraits to increase the sexy vibe and cover up problem area.  It's one of the most versatile lingerie pieces available.

Stay tuned! We will soon write about fun alternatives to lingerie for your boudoir session!

 

What is a Contemporary Glamour Shoot?

A lot of people ask me what a contemporary glamour shoot or a beauty session is.  It's simply a session where you get to come in and get pampered.  You get a makeover and you get to wear beautiful clothes.  You get to BE Cinderella for a day.  You get the day to yourself to be you and to be creative. The shoots can be whatever you want them to be.  Beauty. Creative. Glamour. Boudoir. Maternity. Vintage. Classic.  We can discuss this and we will make sure the session fits YOU.

Now what it is NOT....it is NOT the 80's and 90's glamour from the stalls at the mall.  Haha! Unless you want it to be!

Below are some examples of some of my recent Contemporary Glamour Shoots. These are all real live women...of all shapes, sizes, ages.  Moms, wives, and hard working individuals.  Women just like you who wanted to have a day to themselves and to feel like the true beauty they are.

5 Tips for a Perfect Selfie

Do you want some tips for taking the perfect selfie?

Great!

I used to hate selfies...but then I saw a quote that went something along the lines of "I am so pro-selfie.  There are bigger issues in the world than a woman thinking she is beautiful.  One of them is women who don't think they're beautiful."  That really hit home fore me...so I decided to set up a group for self(ie) love.  You can request to join it here.

Spawning off from that I thought I'd create a fun video that gives 5 tips for taking the perfect selfie...or at least a better selfie!

 

For those of you that don't want to watch my 3.5 minute video, here are the selfie tips laid out for you...although I think you should watch the video because I demonstrate! And it's hilarious! :)

Tip 1. AVOID THE DUCK FACE! 

It's just not cute.  It's not sexy.  Please don't do it. Keep it out of your selfie and in the chicken dance. Or duck dance....is that even a thing?

Tip 2. Separate your chin from your neck.

The easiest way to do this is to think like a swan...stretch your neck up, jut chin forward and then tilt it down.  That keep the double chin from happening in your selfie.

Tip 3. Smile!

Please smile in your selfie....we love to see smiles...it makes you look happy!  If RBF is your thing, that's cool..but work for at least 75% smiles and 25% RBF!!

Tip 4. Make eye contact with your lens!

Don't stare at your reflection! You're connecting with your audience, not yourself!  Also, smile with your eyes! There's a big difference between a connection with a smile and a connection without a smile....so give yourself a genuine smile that lights up your whole face...then either keep the smile or drop the smile but KEEP THE SMILE IN YOUR EYES...simply let the smile just on your mouth drop...and look in the lens...it gives an intense connection with your audience so your selfie can be a big hit!

Tip 5.  Make sure the lighting is good!

There's nothing that ruins a selfie more than bad lighting.  Except maybe a duck face! Yikes.  A naturally sunlit room gives the BEST lighting and is the most flattering....just no direct sunlight on your face please..it will wash you out and you will squint and that's not attractive. Avoid low light areas and if you cannot snapchat has a really cool selfie feature that give you a small flash in the frame!  

Enjoy the tips and make your selfie PERFECT!  

 

 

video Block
Double-click here to add a video by URL or embed code. Learn more.

Nurse's Week 2016 - Molly

Nurses are so important to our community.  Alongside doctors they assist in making us whole and healthy again.  And making the sick comfortable.  Without nurses, our doctors couldn't perform their jobs as well..and they fill in medical gaps with compassion and companionship.  They're there when we're born, throughout our lives and they'll be there when we take our final breaths.  In honor of Nurse's week, I had the pleasure of treating two local Effingham nurses to a photo session.  They deserve it don't you think? ;) 

This is Molly! You can tell just by looking at her that she has an amazing personality. Bright eyed and with a gorgeous smile (she has an infectious laugh as well).  This gorgeous lady serves Effingham County as a nurse.

Molly, in home health nurse and outpatient surgery nurse

Molly, in home health nurse and outpatient surgery nurse

Molly has been a nurse for 4 years.  She recently moved to the Effingham area and has plans to become extremely involved in our community.  She's currently working for an in home health facility where she travels to her patient's homes to provide care in their own familiar environments.  She's also working at an outpatient surgery center and is a nursing school teacher.  Molly says about her job, "Impacting peoples lives each day and changing them in any way, shape or form. I love impacting community members and caring for them in their comfortable environments." 

I usually ask questions of people I'm featuring in person or via a questionnaire and I take those responses and re-word them to tell a story the reflects that individual from my perspective...however when Molly answered my question about why she decided to become a nurse, her response was profound to me.  There is no way I can do her story justice by changing anything about it...so here is why Molly became a nurse, in her own words.  "At the age of 18, I suffered a severe allergic that caused me to lose 95% of my skin from head to toe. Unaware that I was highly allergic to sulfa, as a senior in high school, I was prescribed Bactrim for a sinus infection. Doses of medication for twelve days soon invaded my body with an extreme rash and fever. Physicians and healthcare providers were dumbfounded at the sight of me. Metamorphosing by the hour, I was finally diagnosed correctly by an excellent emergency room physician. Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis had attacked my body, an illness that strikes one in every two million individuals yearly. He explained to my parents how the illness was going to eat away at my flesh both internally and externally. Straight to the point, he elucidated the severity and what a necessity it was to transfer me to a burn unit immediately. With blisters the size of footballs covering ninety-five percent of my body, my condition only worsened. Healthcare professionals debrided my blistered skin daily, from face to toes my body was peeled away exposing raw open nerve endings. The pain I experienced is both indescribable and unforgotten. I was feed through a feeding tube, given a PICC line and was monitored around the clock. Between the bandaged slits of my eyes, I witnessed first hand the tremendous love and compassion nurses hold for their patients. Constantly unwrapping, bathing and rewrapping my victimized body, their dedication and determination for my survival never wavered. I too desired to be that caliber of nurse, who aids in my patient’s survival. " 

Wow.  Everyone has a story to tell and all of your stories sum up who you are now...Molly had a deep ah-ha moment when she was in the hospital with her own life in jeopardy.  She was cared for by such compassionate nurses and it made a difference to her...and now she's making that same difference to countless others in our community.  She says, "Nursing is a profession that offers endless possibilities and it is not always so glamours, like tv shows. What I love most about nursing and what I want the world to know is that nurses are the backbone to medicine." Well said and AMEN.

When Molly isn't providing comfort and care in our medical community, she's usually out in the general community or spending time with her family who are very important to her.  She loves to travel, work out, and socialize with her friends and family.  She's excited about what her future hold in store for her.  She believes nursing is an open book and has so much potential.  She wants to explore every door God opens for her.

As if nursing itself weren't amazing enough, Molly is very involved in volunteering.  In the past she's volunteered managing a free healthy clinic, with the organizations CASA and Blessings in a Backpack, is a member of a sorority that volunteers, and in orphanages in Mexico.  She looks forward to getting her hands on many other volunteering opportunities in the future.

A note from Molly: One year ago, I made an exciting decision to become an entrepreneur, along side my career as a nurse! I love being a nurse and I am able to share my passion for medicine through this opportunity. Medicine, in the form of feeling beautiful in your skin. This opportunity has changed my life and has allowed me to change other peoples' lives every day, by allowing them to build the life of their dreams, financially, personally, emotionally and professionally! I would love sharing more with anyone that is interested. Please feel free to contact me, mgenta1@gmail.com

 

Nurse's Week 2016 - Meredith

Nurses are so important to our community.  Alongside doctors they assist in making us whole and healthy again.  And making the sick comfortable.  Without nurses, our doctors couldn't perform their jobs as well..and they fill in medical gaps with compassion and companionship.  They're there when we're born, throughout our lives and they'll be there when we take our final breaths.  In honor of Nurse's week, I had the pleasure of treating two local Effingham nurses to a photo session.  They deserve it don't you think? ;) 

Meet the beautiful and amazing Meredith.  She has sparkling brown eyes, perfectly golden hair, and AMAZING smile...and she's a nurse.

Meredith, local nurse at the neonatal intensive care unit and at an outpatient surgery center

Meredith, local nurse at the neonatal intensive care unit and at an outpatient surgery center

Meredith recently moved back to the Effingham, Illinois area.  She works in the neonatal intensive care unit at St Johns in Springfield and also at an outpatient surgery center near St. Anthony's.  She has been a nurse for 3 years and finds fulfillment in the profession.  When asked what she loved most about her job, this is what she had to say, "In the NICU, our patients are most often admitted very premature. It's so rewarding watching these too new and too fragile infants grow and develop right in front of me. There is nothing more fulfilling than witnessing these tiny miracles every day."  Parents....we are so lucky to have a woman like this in the NICU!  Someone who views your child as a 'miracle'. 

Meredith decided to pursue the nursing path when she was a teenager.  At the time she babysat children and dreamed of opening up her own daycare center.  Unfortunately, two of the children she watched became very ill and had to be hospitalized for a while.  The experience made Meredith realize that she had a desire to help children in a different way than she had imagined...she wanted to become a nurse.   I have always believed there are things that happen in our lives that point us straight to where we need to be.  This is a perfect example.  Although it's unfortunate these children were ill, our community benefits from here being in the right place at the right time to realize her path and ultimately serve the children in our area.

When Meredith isn't busy being a dedicated nurse, she can be found playing with her 'fur daughters', Ellie and Hattie.  She also enjoys activities outside and spending time with her family-especially her nieces.  She's looking forward to getting more involved in our community and can't wait to see what the future has in store for her. 

I asked Meredith if there were one thing she could tell the community about nursing, what would it be? "Nursing isn't all about dealing with blood, guts, poop, pee, snot, or any other bodily fluid you can think of. It's about being there for a patient or family during one of the most vulnerable, scary moments of their life. It's about making an impact and being a kind, friendly face when it is needed the most. "

Thank you Meredith!  It's people like you that help hold our community together!

Samantha Mays

Introducing my lovely sister, Samantha.

Samantha Mays- college student- hard working single mom

Samantha Mays- college student- hard working single mom

Sam came into my studio to let me practice some of my new techniques.  And to have a fun girls day.  We attempted some imaginative portraiture and some boudoir.  Sam lives a few hours from me.  She's working on her bachelor's degree and hopes to one day enjoy a career she loves and raise a happy family. She has two awesome little boys (not that I'm biased) Landon (6) and Bentley (5).  She's also single (ahem eligible bachelors). ;)

We had a lot of fun during her session...getting creative and getting pampered.  And she loved her images.  Here's what she had to say: 

      "Ashley is very professional, but also loves to have fun. She was able to make me see myself in a way that I never thought was possible. If she can make me feel beautiful and love myself, she can do the same for you....I enjoyed getting spoiled while getting ready for the session....getting my hair and makeup done, yummy treats. I also found that seeing the final products made me feel so much better about myself.....I was afraid that I couldn't take good pictured and no matter what was done, that I wouldn't be able to see myself as beautiful. I was proven wrong, the pictures made me realize and feel that I am so much better than I thought I was. They made me feel gorgeous." -Samantha Mays

Enjoy a selection of her images below!

DSC_0607 copy.jpg

Donna Jones, Wife, Mother, Paraprofessional, and a Giver!

Meet Donna.  Isn't she stunning?

Donna and I crossed paths at a local MOPS meetup. (Mothers Of Preschoolers) It was obvious right off the bat that she was special.

Donna is an elementary school paraprofessional in Shelbyville.  She's been married to her husband, Jamison, for 5 1/2 years.  He works in Vandalia as a corrections officer.  They have two children ages 2 and 10 months.  (I mean holy cow! Two kids that young and she looks like THAT??) In addition to that busy schedule, Donna also runs her own home business promoting the company, Thrive where she dedicates her time to helping people get healthy and lifting their spirits

As if all I have mentioned weren't enough, Donna has started a charity for cancer patients and their families going through chemotherapy and radiation.  She provides care packages for the patients to comfort them and provide them with some needed items and a few goodies. The charity was started not long after her own mother passed away from cancer recently.  She decided to turn her grief into good.  The charity is called GOLD (Gifts Observing Lourdes Depew) in honor of her late mother.  You can learn more about GOLD here!
 

Donna was a little timid about coming in for her photo session but she soon found she could relax and really enjoy herself.  Not only did she relax but we were able to produce some stunning images to lift her spirits, impress her hubby, and to use in the near future for headshots for her programs.

"(I was concerned that) I wouldn't be able to relax enough to model...We laughed and had fun. She (Ashley Reida) made it easy to relax and enjoy my session. She takes beautiful photos and is so easy to work with!" -Donna Jones (wife, mother, paraprofessional, and founder of GOLD)

"(I was concerned that) I wouldn't be able to relax enough to model...We laughed and had fun. She (Ashley Reida) made it easy to relax and enjoy my session. She takes beautiful photos and is so easy to work with!" -Donna Jones (wife, mother, paraprofessional, and founder of GOLD)

Prepping for a Glamour Session

Beauty, Glamour, and Boudoir sessions are very different than your typical portrait session.  They are artistic, alluring, and very individual.  As such, I often get the questions, "What should I wear?" and "How do I prepare?"  I've put together a list of things I like for my clients to do before they arrive at my home as well as tips for prepping their wardrobe.  I thought I'd share it here and go into a little more detail. (The bolded statements are explanations)

 

Glamour Prep Guide

What to bring:

-Several (5-10) wardrobe items in solid, non-patterned colors (actually a few can have fun patterns that speak to you).  Choose tops, dresses, and/or lingerie that make you feel beautiful and accentuate your favorite features.  Black is flattering for most but don’t be afraid of color.(Red looks amazing on most skin tones and with most hair colors)  Also think about accessories such as jewelry (I love bold necklaces that make a statement) and fun or interesting hats. (If you’re planning to be photographed with a friend or family member try to have an outfit that coordinates or compliments the other)

 

-Makeup.  Paying clients will have a licensed hair and makeup artist on hand to prep their look.  Clients who've had their session fee waived will have the choice of doing their own makeup and letting me help with touchups or brining their makeup and I can apply it

 

-False eyelashes. If you’ve never worn them I, or the beauty stylist, will apply them for you.  They can be purchased at Walmart or Sally’s Beauty Supply

Before the Photoshoot:

-Start applying lotion to your body daily about 7 days prior to the session-pay special attention to rough areas.

-Make sure you’re hydrating daily. (It's great for your skin-hydrated skin looks amazing)

-Consider a manicure-if not, make sure your nails are clean and well groomed.

-Get a professional spray tan if you’re wanting a tan. Please do not apply self tanner unless you’re very experienced. (You do not NEED to tan – this is just optional) (I love pale beautiful skin so don't be shy)

-Choose your wardrobe items and send me photos of them via text or on Facebook so I can start planning your session and prepping backdrops. (Shopping anyone??)

-Get a good night’s rest the night before your shoot! (Beauty sleep!)

-Use invisible deodorant (we don't want white marks on your beautiful outfits!!)

 

I hope you found this article helpful in prepping for your photo session! If you have any questions or think there's something I should add, please feel free to comment in the section below!