A Soul of Strength.

 

 

 

It’s natural for some people to be completely outgoing without an ounce of shyness in their body.

For most, we have to pull it out of us…sometimes, with a heavy chain that seems like it goes on for miles.

Kijafa is the kind of person who’s energy and love are so strong you can feel it before she comes into a room. Not only does she have one of the brightest, warmest, and most welcoming energies that I know, she’s got a soul of strength.

She is sweet and delicate but she is also bold and strong. She is strong enough to make anyone feel welcome. She is strong enough to revolve her entire career around helping youth with their very heavy problems. She has the strength to be completely alone and thrive, just as much as she does while being social. But most importantly she is strong enough to be herself, and be proud of who she is.

For Kijafa’s photo session we decided to shoot in an abandoned warehouse. It’s always been something that I’ve wanted to do and when she mentioned it, I was all in. As we pulled up, I have to admit, I got a little paranoid and nervous but with her around, that couldn’t last long. Once we made it inside, it couldn’t be more clear that this warehouse was the perfect place to embody the strength, resilience and beauty of this magnificent soul.

Here’s to another one of the many women I admire. Cheers to you Kijafa!

 

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Meanwhile, in Santa Cruz…

Living in San Francisco, I always thought it was the lively part of Northern California…

Then I moved to Oakland and saw how amazing and lively Oakland is…

And then… I met Kristi, of good ‘ol beach town Santa Cruz and I decided that Northern California as a whole is just incredible.

 

I imagined Santa Cruz to be beautiful, relaxing, and calm with nothing more to offer than its beautiful beach and youth like boardwalk. Little did I know, Santa Cruz has a wild side of its own. Co-Founder of Sin Sisters Burlesque of Santa Cruz, Ca. little miss Kristi is turning up the heat… a lot.

By day she’s a home-body and by night she is Miss Balla Fire.

She kindly welcomed me into her home and let me join her in the physical and mental transformation of a soul that is so private, calm, and “normal” to this wild being that embraces the human body, knows how to show some sass, and definitely knows how to make things steamy.

She is a strong and powerful woman embracing who she is, full circle and there is nothing more beautiful than that.


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The Old and The New

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The old Brooke wore fake lashes, spray tanned, was always in on the latest diet and fashion trend, trying to “fit in” and be like “everyone else”. She wasn’t comfortable in her body and that’s no surprise with the social standards that our world has created.

The new Brooke is beautiful, strong, confident and truly an inspiration. She acknowledged what she was doing to herself.

She wasn’t being herself. 

She has ditched the tanning and the self-shaming and learned to embrace and appreciate her natural beauty. No matter who you are, or what you look like, we are all guilty of thinking or feeling like we need to keep up or that we aren’t good enough.  How are we ever supposed to be our best “self” if we are never actually being ourself. Brooke’s self appreciation shines though her eyes and it’s the most beautiful accessory that she’s welcomed to her style. When I asked Brooke if she would let me photograph her, she said “yes” without a moment of hesitation. That is true body/self love right there. She is one to be admired. I now give you… Brooke.

 

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Yes or No…? Let’s meditate.

 

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Something that I’ve been trying to bring into my daily life is meditation. It’s pretty difficult to remind yourself to take that short amount of time to check in with yourself each day, but the more I do it, the more I find it to be extremely necessary. I am a cocktail server part time, and over the last few days when get to work, I lock my self in the locker room, turn off the lights, meditate and prepare myself for the night. Sounds weird, I know…but for any of you that have served before, you know that people can be difficult to work with. If I meditate before work and tell my self to let go of things that don’t matter, my shift is a lot more enjoyable.

I recently read something from Liz DiAlto, creator of The Wild Soul Movement (which is amazing by the way, you should check it out!) and she mentioned how she leaves her decision making up to her body. What does your inner goddess have to say about the decision your trying to make? Here’s what Liz said…

Now it is always my practice to check in with my gut because she always, ALWAYS leads me in the right direction.
So when it comes time to make choices here’s what I do:
1. Find a quiet place to either sit or lie down.
2. Close my eyes and breath deeply, allowing my lungs to fill with air and my heart rate to slow down. If I’m really in my head, I do this until I feel clear enough to engage my senses just as, if not more loudly than my thoughts
3. I ask myself the question I’m considering and I do a “body scan” for feelings of tightness and constriction or softness and expansion
If I get tightness and constriction (which is also often accompanied by a bit of anxiety) it’s a no.
If I get softness and expansion (which is also often accompanied by a bit of giddiness), it’s a yes.
It makes sense right?! Your gut/inner goddess has your back and knows what is the right choice/direction for you.

Your life is yours. 
Do what you want with it.
No one else is living your day to day.
Live it the way that is right for YOU.

Listening to your body and your inner goddess will help you be ok with what is really right for you compared to what the rest of the world thinks is right for you. Only you know the answer.
Do you meditate? New to it or a long time body listener?
Tell me your experience… How long did it take to be a normal thing for you?
Cheers goddesses! May the peace be with you!

The Hermit.

The HermitI recently had the pleasure of photographing my dear friend Naomi. She was my first photo shoot in over three years and being with her felt like home. I met Naomi a year ago, on a bus ride from Southern California to San Francisco. I was coming back from my sisters graduation with my girlfriend Amy and sister Sarah, while Naomi was coming back from another one of her spontaneous blind adventures… The moment we sat with each other, we clicked. Who is this warm, free spirited, shining soul?!? She now happens to be a very dear friend.

Naomi’s tarot birth card is The Hermit. Keeping it simple, it symbolizes her strength to create and follow her own path and the power to be her own light source, should she allow and accept it. When Naomi and I were chatting about her upcoming shoot, she mentioned how she is at a time in her life where she wants to meet her inner goddess and accept the hermit in her. That’s not an easy feat! It was immediately clear what we were going to base her shoot around; Naomi’s bright and shining soul, her inner goddess and The Hermit.

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Self Love.

I now have 5 photo shoots booked for the next two and a half weeks and I couldn’t be more excited. Going into this, I knew it was going to be a rewarding event in my life, but I didn’t realize how rewarding. Before every shoot, I like to do a pre-consultation and chat with my client. I like to get to know her and see where she’s coming from, in wanting to do a boudoir shoot. I ask them things like, “What makes you excited about doing the shoot?” and  “What do you LOVE about your body?” It’s surprising to me, to see the dramatic change in their answers from the beginning of our chat to their second answer when I ask them again in the follow up e-mail. The most common first answer I get when asking what makes her excited about the shoot is, “I like your pictures and I want to do this for my husband.” When I ask the second time, I get answers like, “I’m excited to meet my inner goddess!” or “I’m excited to embrace and fall in love with my body!” How beautiful is that!! When asking what she loves about her body, I most commonly get, “…hmm…ummmm…that’s a hard question.” If I were to ask, “What do you dislike about your body?” the answers would come flyin’. I don’t want to focus on that. I want her to LOVE her body. Sometimes after thinking for a minute, they shyly answer, “Umm… I like my hair?” It’s a start! I ask them to think about that question and warn them that I will be asking them again the following day. The next day is dramatically different. The shyness is gone and the love makes it’s appearance. “I love my lips, my eyes, my waist, my shoulders, my collar bone, my boobs, my bum…” It’s magical. This is when the self-love starts to grow… and it doesn’t stop. Seeing that transformation so quickly warms my heart. I think that is a question we all need to think about, as often as possible…

What do I love about my body?

(This is your chance to be self centered, don’t be shy.)

Cheers goddesses! Bring on the self-love!!

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What is “inner goddess”?

I often talk about our “inner goddess.” I find that she is VERY important, but I couldn’t figure out the right way to best explain who she is. My Aunt commented on my first post of the blog, asking “What is inner goddess?” and she then continued to quote Anita Revel, an Australian author and  founding member of the Goddess Association in Australia, with the best explanation I’ve heard yet. I had to share it with you.

 

“Inner goddess is a concept used in popular psychology and women’s circles to denote the feminine aspect of a woman’s psyche. When a woman is able to transcend inhibitive social expectations or perceived behavioral requirements and instead act in a way that is right for her, she is said be honoring her inner goddess.” Anita defines the inner goddess as “… the beautiful, sassy, intuitive, lovable, sacred and authentic Self that we were born to be.”

A goddess is someone who:

Celebrates her physical body and her connection to Earth, family and humanity
Is comfortable with infinite abundance, emotional flow and creative freedom
Is proud of her Self and her actions in all her aspects
Fosters mutually fulfilling relationships at all levels
Speaks her truth with diplomacy and shares her learnings with grace
Clearly knows what is right for her, and acts in honor of her innate wisdom and intuition
Revels in her divine purpose/work with gratitude, dignity and generosity

-Thanks Sharen!!!

Let your Self out and embrace your inner goddess! Its the best gift you could ever give yourself.

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