This. is. me. At 41.

I thought I was going to do a birthday post last year and then I thought, What do I know about being 40.  I am not even one day into it.  What on earth could I say about it right now other than I was drug into this decade.  Well, a year has come and gone and I thought there is no better time than now to do post after trying 40 on.  So tomorrow I turn 41.  Let's start 41 off with a long post ;)

So the first question you probably have is, So how is it?  Meh.  I actually don't feel any different than a year or two or three ago.  I think I thought I would wake up and things would start falling off or falling apart.  The biggest revelation though which is just earth shattering, shout from the moutain revelation is, I think it is safe to say that after 40 years My tatas are not going to grow.  Ever.   That ship, it is safe to say, never came to port.  But you know what?  I don't care!  I'm done and over that.  After 40 years I have finally realized that they never came BUT they aren't going anywhere either!!

Here are some other things I have learned in four decades of living this beautiful life.......

1.  God is good.  God is beautiful.  God is love.  God is worth having a relationship with.  Last week in church that is the epiphany I had.  I don't have a religion.  I have a relationship and it is my relationship.  It's my relationship that helps me love, give, understand, forgive, forget, inspire and grow as a person.  I am thankful for that relationship.

2.  I have a wonderful, awesome husband.  I am truly blessed for looking in my back yard and finding him.  ;)  People who know me may see my humor in that statment.  If not, it's okay.  I found him that's all that is important.  

3.  I have four amazing, beautiful girls who inspire me every single day.  Haley, Kylie, Isabella and Elliana.  They are the reasons during my and my hubby's little disagreements that those four girls deserve our compromise, our love and our commitment.

4.  I was a teenage mom and my child graduated from the University of Kansas.  It may not seem that big to you but you ask any teen mom and it IS THE SCARIEST THING ever.  Ever.  I am so proud I was present in her life to encourage and support her.  It couldn't have been easy for her and in the end it was her that did it and made me look good.  :)

5.  Family are your family.  Everyone doesn't always get along at all times.  Sometimes you look at each other and want to get in a boxing ring.  But family always has love.  My family is HUGE between Michael and I.  Both our families do things together and it is awesome.  I may want to pull my hair out sometimes when trying to get together doesn't fit with everyone's schedules but when it happens I realize what a blessing to have them.  

6.  People come and go in your life.  It is those people that stay who are your friends.  Cheesy right?  But it is so true.  I have met many people in my life but I have a handful of people that have been in my life since kindergarten and grade school.   Those friends have seen me through almost four decades!!  It is absolutely crazy to me but what is so fun about old friends is they remember things that you don't and you remember things that they don't so when you get together and have a collection  I have friends that have come into my life and stayed and here's the thing about my friends:  I wouldn't be the person I am today without them. 

7.  I still care a little about what people think.  Not as much as I used to in my youth, but I would be lying if I said I didn't.  Things still sting and I still ask for opinions.  I think that is just going to be me.

8.  I don't have game anymore.  I tried playing bball with some family members last year and at three point range it didn't even make it.  I tried again and had to shoot with both hands.  I'm still shaking my head.  The short game -- watch out.  But I'm not near as strong as I used to be even though in reality I should be.  I want Jennifer Aniston arms.  I really do.  I just don't like working on my arms.  It hurts the next day.  Let's not mention either that I can't play softball right now because my knee decided to take a right turn when I wanted to go left.  But I need to end this with a reminder:  I may not got game but I used to I was a freshman on varsity.  Point.

9.  I always thought I would grow up and be that person who gardens with the sun hat on and enjoyed tending to my garden and eating things I grew.  Nope.  Not so much.  Hate gardening.   Don't like getting in the dirt or digging things for that matter.   Thank God for my husband. 

10.   Sometimes I feel my Facebook looks like a highlight reel of my life when in actuality it is not.  I just choose to show my children what I believe Facebook should be used for and have to be that example.  The reality is life is hard.  Your kids and you do really stupid things and I don't always fart butterflies and rainbows.  But I would not be me if I didn't stay positive and so it is a choice I make on Facebook.  Now you know.  I'm not perfect.  ;)

11.  Music makes the world go round, not money.  Well, it does for me.  Money helps but I can click iTunes and put my playlist on and the world is changed in an instant.  It's that easy for me.  For realz.  Have I ever mention Keith Urban?  I didn't think so, so let me tell you.  He has my musical heart.  So all you American Idol, I have just discovered Keith Urban people, BACK OFF. 

12.  If I am looking at you smiling while you are telling a joke and have kind of a blank stare....... i really don't get your joke.  This happens a lot.  It really happens with sexual jokes.  I just don't get them.  I admit it.  I am a smart ass.  I am not a comedian.

13.  My coping mechanism is laughing.  Seriously.  When bad things happen I laugh.  I don't know what's wrong with me but I can't stop laughing.  I used to think I was a really off person but now I realize I am just "coping" with a situation.  Dr. Phil is good for some things.  So if you are ever around something seriously bad is happening and I am laughing.... it's not you.  It's me.  Really, it is.

14.  Being healthy matters.  I thought it didn't but it does.  I have made a great effort in feeding my body good and I feel different when I do. 

15.  If you learn from your mistakes or really poor choices it's going to be okay.  You are not the piece of crap you think you are at the time.  It will pass.  All mistakes take time.  Let that time happen.  And for God's sake don't let you mistakes define you as a person.  You aren't that person.  Truly.  Unless you do it again.  And again.  And again.  Then you might be that person and you need to change.  :)  I say that with l-o-v-e LOVE.

16.  You can't be so serious all the time.  I never have been.  I am laid back to a fault but sometimes I am around those people who are so serious all the time and you people who are just need to chill out.  Relax.  Seriously.  You make the rest of us horribly uncomfortable.

17.  I completely avoid confrontation and I am okay with that.  It took me almost 35 years to actually stand up for myself or someone I loved for the first time.  Seriously.  I have learned though that if I am passionate about something in my old age I will speak, but any other type of confrontation I am getting the hell out of there.

18.  I used to drive through Bonner Springs and see the "Yard of the Month" sign and think awwww.... that is so pretty!  It's looks like a golf course.  Yeah, I really don't care anymore.  If I have money to spend on seed, landscaping and other yardly pretty things it's not going on the yard.  Sorry lawn.  I'm going on vacation.

19.  It really is more fulling and rewarding to give rather than receive.  It's a wonderful feeling.

20.  You are who you surround yourself with.  Look at the people who you spend the most time with.   It's probably safe to say you are a lot like them.  Just saying. 

21.  Say thank you.  Always.

22.  What you sow, you reap.  Plant happiness you will be happy.  Plant criticism and meanness you will get it in return.   It is simple.  It is a powerful thing I have learned in 40 years.

23.  Be kind.  Be kind.  Be kind.  It will get you so far in life.  So be kind. 

24.  Bad things happen to good people.  When they do or if it is you, don't lose your faith.  Stay positive and take one step at a time.  This too shall pass.

25.  Find inspiration.  Seek it.

26.  I love to travel.  I love to travel.  I love to travel.  It makes me happy.

27.   It's really cool to say you have a celebrity friend.  It's fun hearing all things celebrity.  Whatever.  Say what you want.  I think it's cool.

28.  I feel smarter.  Worldly. 

29.  I have never let go of my girly side.  I still love glitter, sparkles, dress up and heels.

30.  I have so so so much more to learn in this life.  I also have so much more to give.

31.  I still get embarrassed when giving hugs.  Weird, I know.  I love love but I physically still get embarrassed when hugging. 

32.  Accept the fact that every single person in your life will change.  Doesn't matter for the good or for the worse, but they will change.  You have to learn to adapt.

33.  The glass is always half full.

34.  You are not always right.  Phew.  This is a big one.  But I really feel like I always am.

35.  Most often the things people don't like about you or vice versa  is usually what they or you see in themselves or yourself.

36.  You can find everything at Forever 21 and cheap.  And their mirrors make you feel like you have instantly lost 10 pounds. 

37.  Remember there are generally two sides to every story.  And remember that when someone is having a bad day that you didn't wake up with them.  You have no idea what their story is so back to #23 -- be kind.

38.  Unfollow, unsubscribe and avoid those people that push your buttons.  Hide them. 

39.  Believe in yourself.

And last but not least #40.  It is a huge one for me.

Be kind to yourself.  Last week I had the hugest response to some pictures I posted of my trip to Cabo.  It was of me in a swimsuit.   I need myself to learn to let my own hangups go.  One, my tatas and two I just need to enjoy.  I constantly am telling myself I can look better.  I am constantly thinking about sit-ups, what food I can't have and yadi yada yada.  Instead of focusing on what I have I focus on the the cellulite in my ass and that my legs aren't as muscular as when I was 25.  I just need to be kind.  I am learning that. 

Wow!  That was long.  I have learned so much more in my life, but these are some things that are important to me.  Maybe one of these days I will write more down so my girls will know, although they know two of my life childhood mottos because I say it to them every single day.

Choose to be happy and Make good choices.

It doesn't always happen but hopefully they are listening a little.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to listen to my meanderings.  Maybe you can find one thing that speaks to you. 

And last but not least -- Happy birthday to me!!!!

Noah the National History Bee Contender

Today I would like to introduce you to Noah. 
This past summer I had the chance to photograph him and his awesome family while on vacation at our favorite camping spot, Tablerock Lake.  Some things I learned about Noah in the short amount of time I spent photographing him:  1.  He doesn't like getting his picture taken.  2.  He is quite the jokester.  3.  (And ladies listen up)  He is a ladies man.

Let's just say he really didn't want me to photograph him and he really didn't want me to photograph him by himself.  So what happens when that goes on during a shoot?  I pull out the jokes and start talking to him and just do my thing.  Well, in the course of all this, I did my think and decided I needed to make him laugh and made the comment that I was gonna push him down the hill and we were gonna go rolling and I bet at the end he would be laughing.  The next thing that happened was one of the most hillarious but embarassing things a young man of his age has ever said to me -- "I think I would like that."   Myself along with his mom and dad, Lori and Denny laughed quite hard but the best thing is I got my sweet shot of Noah SMILING.  Good story.  :)

Here is the exciting thing about Noah I found out today:  Noah and another Piper Middle School student, Jacob Sharp are heading to Wichita today to compete in the National History Bee.  They competed against over 1000 kids in the opening test round and made the 10th percentile in their region. This covers all US and world history.  This is so awesome and such an accomplishment!  I wish them both the best of luck today!  You two have made Piper proud!!!!

Vintage Snow Senior Session

You always get an idea in your head of how things are going to be when shooting and you write down your ideas and you have a perfect location and then well things don't go as intended.  I have wanted to do my idea of a snow shoot for over a year now and it just hadn't snowed enough in Kansas City and if it did snow it was way to cold for me to take my plan into action.  Well yesterday we were getting "SNOWMAGEDDON" (of which I am quite certain the people on the east coast were laughing at us)  and my wheels started turning BUT I had a lot of obstacles in my way.

1.  Snow started falling at 8 a.m.  When it came it was thunder snow and not really safe to travel in.
2.  It was quite darn cold out.
3.  My beautiful model (my daughter) looked outside and then looked at me like I had four heads when asking her to go ahead with my plan.

Luckily Kylie is one of those teenagers that kind of just go with the flow so it wasn't too hard to get her on board.  Obstacle 3 out of the way.

Now obstacle 2 was a little different.  I knew I wanted her in something really big of which I hadn't really made yet because in my head I had this Sue Bryce (if you don't know who she is, in short description: a beautiful and inspirational photography mentor of mine) big tulle dress in my head.  That wasn't going to happen because of obstacle 1 and because you can't go outside in barely nothing because of the windchill.  So, after playing beauty salon and getting her hair how I wanted it, I went to work on her dress.   In a split second everything changed because I went to my coat closet remembering that at the beginning of summer I was at an antique store and saw this vintage lace dress of which everybody with me thought I was crazy.  I thought it had so much potential so I bought it.  When I pulled it out and paired it with Kylie's blonde hair and most of all her bright blue eyes it was like church choir music played out loud!  We still had the problem of 20 mile an hour winds and blowing snow, but I knew if I didn't do it it might now happen.  You see in my head there is snowflakes falling and most importantly a gloomier look.  Well, Kylie, God bless her was just willing to go for it and go for it until she couldn't anymore.  Obstacle 2 ninja kicked in the face!

Obstacle 1.  I wasn't going anywhere so it was going to have to be in my yard.  You made due with what you got.  Obstacle 1 diverted but with a sad face.

IT WAS COLD.  IT WAS WINDY.  IT WAS ALL OF LESS THAN TEN MINUTES TOTAL SHOOTING TIME.  BUT!  I love them.  I love them.  I love them.  I know she is my daughter, but it turned out just perfect for me.

seniors, snow, vintage senior, vintage snow
seniors, snow session, senior snow session, vintage snow,

I am woman. Hear me roar.

Today, I feel the need to talk about a part of my photography that causes quite a stir.  This is also a part of my photography that I absolutely love.  With that being said, there are so many misconceptions about what exactly it is.  I have clients that are so so proud of their images and have actually cried when they saw their images.  Does this sound like something that is wrong or personal or sleezy?  People have a predetermined idea of what glamour or boudoir looks like and it just isn't the same these days.  It is a wonderful area of photography that doesn't deserve the stigma of what it has.

If you follow me on facebook or have looked at my website, I have a section called "be{YOU}tiful".

What is be{YOU}tiful?

be{YOU}tiful is............. what they see 
they are a busy mom.  they are kind, funny and they worry about their weight.
they used to feel pretty, they criticize their wrinkles, they are passionate, they are humble, 
loving and they are courageous.  they want to always
remember what deep down they see in themselves.

be{YOU}tiful is.............what I see
they are radiant.  they are charming.
they are breathtaking.  they are intoxicating.
they are passionate when they talk about their kids.  
they sparkle when they laugh.

I believe that we as women need to celebrate who we are.  It has been hard for me to get to this point in my life where I realize that it’s okay to just be me.  I truly feel that every woman big or small, in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and on should know that they are be{YOU}tiful.  Every woman in their life deserves to feel special and deserves a portrait of themselves.

So next time you see a portrait of a be{YOU}tiful lady come across your feed on facebook, or on your instagram, twitter or on a photographer's website, tell them they are beautiful.   Don't be a bully and call them inappropriate names.   Those women weren't there to spread their legs and do a shoot to be in the next edition of Playboy.  They did it because they wanted to celebrate who they are.  They wanted to feel be{YOU}tiful for themselves as well as their husbands or finances or loved one.  They did it because they are proud of being a be{YOU}tiful woman.  

Senior Special!!

Hey Seniors!!  I have a special opportunity for you if you book a session in September or October!!  Every year I have seniors come and for the most part their mammas accommodate them to watch, to smile and to remember this very special time in a senior's life.  I have my own senior this year and I also will be doing this but I want every client of mine to have this too.  So every senior session booked in September and October gets a mini session with their moms.  Mom's are special you see.  They are your cheerleaders, they are your friends, they are your biggest fans.  You both should celebrate that.  Moms and daughters or sons and their mammas, either way when together it will be a beautiful special memory you will always have. 

Call or email the studio at 913.638.0225 //

Carnival Mini Recap!!!

Woot woot!  The carnival came and went and boy did we have fun!!!  My clients and I met at the Wyandotte County Fair and the Leavenworth County Fair.  I even made a friend, Marlon, who ran the Fun House at the Wyandotte County Fair.  He was a very sweet man who has five children and travels all the way from Memphis, Tennessee.  He was so gracious to accommodate everyone in the "Grease" barrell.  So here is a recap of a two week stint at the fair.  I can't wait to see you all next year!!

2013 Senior Time!!!

I can't believe that the time has come for 2013 seniors to be in getting their senior pictures taken.  So far, I have had to much fun with all my beauties!! Spots are filling quickly for fall so email the studio to schedule your appointment and to find out about different promotions and specials!!