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Today I’m going to share a bit about my experience at my very first boudoir photoshoot with The Adore Girls. I knew it would take a dose of bravery for me to share this with my readers, but there might be some women out there who have been toying with the idea of booking a photoshoot but haven’t brought themselves to actually doing it yet.

To start, let me give you a short back story…

The past couple years I’ve been in a constant battle with myself about my body. I won’t bore you with the details of all the negative things I’d been thinking about myself, but I’ll tell you I wasn’t nice. Then one day I was contacted by the incredible women behind The Adore Girls and was asked to do a session.

Several things ran through my mind. “I’m scared.” “What will people think of me?” “How do I lose weight in four weeks (while still eating tacos and donuts)?” and “Is this right for me?” I sat on it for a day or two and then finally responded with a YES. “I’ll do it.”

I decided to set aside my inhibitions, doubts, insecurities, and fears to do something for myself that would make me feel like the Laura I once knew. Brave, confident, and comfortable in my own skin. I knew the insecurities I had with my body would come bubbling back up during the photoshoot, but I decided to hell with insecurities. This was something I was going to do for me.

When I arrived at the studio, the women who worked there greeted me with smiling faces and made me feel right at home. The studio itself is a house they turned into a fully-functioning photo studio, so in a way it was a home. They offered me some refreshments (they even have mimosas!) and a place to sit so we could chat about working together. I also brought a full bag of items with me so they could help me pick out what to wear (since I was absolutely clueless and wanted a different opinion). I told them I wanted to be tasteful and have a few photos that I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable sharing since this collaboration would mean sharing a few of the images myself. They looked through my things and made the decision so much easier.

After getting to know their team a little better, I went over to the hair and makeup chair so that their stylist, Sarah, could start working some magic on my mug. She was excellent and made sure she wasn’t giving me a look that was unnatural to me. When she was finished, Jamie took a few head shots of me before I changed into outfit #1 of my wardrobe.

A common misconception: You don’t have to be nude or even half-naked for it to be considered boudoir. Boudoir is about being body confident and feeling beautiful. It doesn’t have to be about sex or gifting a photo of yourself to a significant other.

You also don’t ever have to do anything you don’t want to do.

boudoir photoshoot

boudoir photoshoot

boudoir photoshootboudoir photoshoot

boudoir photoshoot

boudoir photoshoot

boudoir photoshoot

Jamie (the photographer) and her sister were super supportive and easy to work with. They made the entire boudoir photoshoot feel seamless and refreshing. From helping with poses and cracking jokes, we all had a great time. In the end, I felt like a body positive badass who deserved to feel good about getting her photograph taken. I cannot recommend this experience enough.

Don’t ever let anyone (Ahem, even YOURSELF) make you feel like you are unworthy of feeling anything less than beautiful. We can all be mean to ourselves sometimes. Instead of insulting your so-called flaws, try loving them for making you different.

Here are some tips to note before booking a boudoir photoshoot:

  1. Bring multiple outfits/wardrobe items and have your photographer help you choose. They’ll have a better understanding of what photographs well and what doesn’t.
  2. Don’t get a spray tan, spend too much time in a tanning booth, or wear sunless tanner right before a session. Natural looking skin is the most beautiful in photos.
  3. Stay true to yourself. Don’t wear anything you wouldn’t feel like yourself in, don’t overdo your hair and makeup, and don’t pose in any way that makes you feel uncomfortable.
  4. Relax and be open to the ideas the photographer has. They have way more experience doing boudoir than you do. You might surprise yourself.
  5. Don’t be negative. The photographer is there to bring out the inner beauty and make you feel confident. Be positive and be a goddess.

For anyone interested in booking a boudoir photoshoot, you can book a Dream Session with The Adore Girls for $100 off using code LAURA at checkout. Click here to visit their website.

If anyone has any questions about my experience, PLEASE don’t hesitate to comment or send me an email. I’m happy to give any advice that I can.

And, remember– You are beautiful.

nashville blogger

 

Today I’m celebrating Lifestyle Blogging Basics being on the Amazon Best Sellers List for 6 months! To commemorate the occasion, I’m hosting a giveaway for all those who want to celebrate with me. I’m also going to be releasing the paperback version of my book in a couple weeks, so stay tuned for more information!

lifestyle blogging basics

About the giveaway: One lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of the book. All you have to do is fill out the entries below. Buying the ebook and leaving a review earn you 3x points!

Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian readers. Giveaway ends on the evening of Sunday, August 27th. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If there’s one accessory that always looks good on a man, it’s a good watch. If it’s a stylish, cool, and unique watch, that’s just a bonus. Some of you may recall a few months back when I shared a post about my favorite wood watch from JORD. I’m excited to share that they recently released a brand new series of men’s watches called The Conway that come in beautiful designs and stunning colors. The Conway Series includes metal accents to compliment the gorgeous wood options, which now includes Kosso and Walnut.

men's wood watch
men's wood watch

As I browsed through their collection, I knew exactly which one would be perfect for my husband, Steve. Since he has a wardrobe full of dark browns and navy blues, I picked out the dark sandalwood and burgundy wood watch to complement his go-to color scheme. If you’re looking for a classic and timeless men’s wood watch, I highly recommend taking a look at JORD’s collection.

Their watches run between $129-$395 in price and they have a huge variety of styles and colors. They also offer custom sizing with an easy-to-use size guide. Our watches came ready to go on our wrist with no need to add or remove links.

men's wood watch

men's wood watch
To view my last post on JORD wood watches, click here. I selected a beautiful piece from the Frankie collection in the colors Koa and Ash and I’m still in love with it.
men's wood watch

men's wood watch

To celebrate my new-found love for these men’s wood watches, I’m hosting a giveaway! One lucky person will win a $100 gift code to use on the JORD site.

Enter the giveaway here!

BONUS: For everyone who enters, you will receive a consolation code worth $25 once the contest ends. Enter now to take advantage of $25 off a wood watch of your own! You have until 3/19 to enter the giveaway. JORD will select a winner and everyone will be emailed their coupon code. The code will expire on 5/31. Good luck! 


Wooden Wristwatch

It’s officially launch day of my book Lifestyle Blogging Basics: A How-To for Investing in Yourself, Working with Brands, and Cultivating a Community Around Your Blog and I’m so happy to share it with the world! To celebrate my launch, the book is FREE on Amazon through tomorrow, so click here and grab yourself a copy now!

lifestyle blogging basics

After today, the price goes up to $0.99 and 100% of proceeds for the first month of sales will go directly to SowHope.org, a nonprofit focusing exclusively on the holistic needs of women living in extreme poverty. Every sale makes a difference!

In this how-to guide for lifestyle blogging basics, I break down how I got started with my first blog, how I progressed, and what failed attempts at success I made along the way.

The book begins with covering the essential groundwork of discovering your niche, defining your content categories, choosing a blog name, selecting a platform, and creating a healthy and attainable blogging routine.

Then, it takes a deep dive into describing the the most effective ways to invest in yourself and your blog by explaining the importance of quality design, high resolution photos, email marketing services, and more.

You’ll also learn how to partner and collaborate with brands by building an online media kit, how to promote your blog on social media, and how to create a thriving community around your blog that will stand the test of time.

Learn more about the book here.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the book launch so far. I’m forever grateful!

 

*I actually started writing most of this post back in July and delayed publishing it due to my own lack of public vulnerability. I hadn’t realized until now how much it was holding me back.*

vulnerabilityVulnerability is something I’ve struggled with since day one.

Brené Brown told me to be more vulnerable. In ‘Daring Greatly’ she insisted I just go for it. To take the plunge and dive right into emotions I may not have explored. In ‘Rising Strong’ she taught me to dust myself off after diving in led to epic failure.

Then I learned that there is no failure in trying. The only failure is no longer doing.

Even after reading about vulnerability, I realized I still wasn’t exploring it myself. I wasn’t letting my guard down. I didn’t want to be judged for what my heart looked like. I didn’t want to let anyone see me past the depth of my skin.

Until recently, I was okay with only my spouse, best friend, and a few family members seeing my vulnerable, messy self. “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.” Right? I was only allowing the ones I trusted wholeheartedly to see what my soul looked like.

A few weeks ago, my company started a book club. First on the reading docket was “The ONE Thing”, which essentially identifies that behind every successful person is their ONE thing. It continuously begs the question “What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

We broke the book club up into 4 separate meetings. Every Thursday we’d meet for 1 hour to discuss the chapters we’d just finished reading that week. On meeting #3, we discussed ‘purpose’.

Shit. I couldn’t avoid talking about it anymore. I’d gone 29 years without having to talk about ‘my purpose’, and now I was cornered.

I was sweating bullets. I was looking down while picking at my fingernails. My boss called on me. “Laura, you’ve been quiet this entire meeting. Let’s hear what you have to say. What is your purpose?”

I took a deep breath and looked at the other 6 faces that were staring at me on the Google Hangouts video call. I finished my long inhale, and with my exhale came a stream of tears.

“I don’t know.”

Side note: Answering a question (especially coming from your boss) with “I don’t know” feels pretty freaking detrimental to your confidence level, especially when it comes to something as seemingly simple as ‘what’s your purpose?’

There. I said it.

I had just then realized that I had spent so many years living out what I assumed people thought my purpose was instead of determining for myself what my purpose was. Sharing that information with my team made me feel naked from the inside-out.

I knew from then on that I wanted to stop coasting through life doing what others expected me to do and make something happen.

Which leads me to my main point. I’m currently writing my very first book. For those of you who don’t already know me, I work for an incredible company called Self-Publishing School. We are a virtual, educational online business that teaches aspiring authors how to write, publish, and market their first books. It’s really quite something to be a part of, and I can’t explain how good it feels to have a job that has purpose behind it.

Back in July, I had made the commitment to myself that I would write my first book. It will be about starting a lifestyle blog and the struggles and failures that come along with it.

There were a few reasons that pushed me to make that decision. One, my boss really wanted me to have my own book under my belt in order to create the most valuable, helpful, and productive content for our own students. If I had been through the process myself, I’d have more first-hand experience and could personally help the students we work with. Two, I needed to work on my personal accountability. So often I’ve started new projects that are so fresh and exciting to me, gotten more than halfway done, been able to see the future positive outcome of finishing, and then I set it aside and walk away. I had to make a change and be accountable for my commitments. Three, I have some deep-rooted personal struggles I’m working through when it comes to seeking the approval of others, and more importantly, myself. It’s been 7 months of me dragging my feet to the finish line of my book because I’ve been so afraid of what people will think.

“Who is she to write a book about something she’s not even that great at?” “Does she think she’s better than everyone else?” “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” “She’s a failure.”

See, the thing is… the more I think about it, the more I’m afraid of asking myself these things.

WHY am I letting these limiting beliefs define who I am during such a crucial time? It’s time to move on and do what I’ve set out to do. I’m going to write a book.

So this is me, after waiting far too long, admitting my fears of comparison and failure because it’s time I let myself be vulnerable. This is a huge first step in helping me discover my purpose, follow my passion, and stop letting the opinions of myself and others hold me back.

 

P.S. I want to know if anyone else out there has struggled with vulnerability. Is there anything that’s holding you back? What are we so afraid of?