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“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it.” -Wilferd Peterson

More often than not, I have my head stuck in the clouds. I have big dreams. Most times I feel they are so big, I will never be able to even touch them. Some are within the grasp of my fingertips. These dreams seem to push me into always wanting to be better. A better person, a better business woman. There are times my heart yearns for things. I want it so much it hurts. How will I ever get there? Is this something I will ever accomplish in my lifetime? I know its possible, I just have to want it enough to do it. I have to be ok with failure. Because there will be many times that something will not work or I will fall flat on my face. But I need to be ok with this in order to get back up and do it all over again, in a different manner. In a better way. Fear is something that holds me back from so much. If I could only let that go and have faith in myself to overcome any obstacle standing in my way. Most times that obstacle is myself. When I do allow myself to be set free wonderful things happen. I am opened up to a world that enlightens me. It captures my soul. It rocks my core. It shakes up my mind and tantalizes my bones. Those are the days I control my own destiny and it’s a miraculous thing.

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs

Photographer: Modern Love Photography

Hair and Makeup: Ashlyn Taylor

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I asked him why he fell in love with me. After 12 years it’s still the same answer. “Your Sexy Confidence.”

Lately it feels as if I left her behind. Or stuffed her in the back of my closet along with those size 4 jeans. I swear one day I’ll pull them both back out and work the room again. Nowadays when he says confidence I’m sure he is just talking about how I speak my mind and know exactly what I want in life. Or maybe it’s the way I talk to people with such a confident manner. Always laughing, never faltering. Batting my eyes and being the playful human being that I am. Being comfortable in front of strangers and making friends within minutes of meeting someone. The older you get, the harder it is to keep up. It’s a constant battle. Most women struggle with this. I know. I am one of them. Although on the outside it may SEEM like I got my shit together. There are times I want to crawl into bed and just stay hidden from the world. Women have such a huge complex because of what this world expects of us. Size 2, wealthy, no stretch marks or wrinkles, keeping an immaculate household, being the amazing lover and perfect in every manner. Yet in reality we are searching for miracle creams, are business women, stay at home moms, drive mini vans, hang out at dance class or soccer practice 3 times a week and barely have time to make a decent meal for our family. Our laundry is piled high because we had to work late or catch a 2nd shift in order to pay the bills and when we get home we walk around in sweat pants and our hair in a bun… screw the sexy lingerie. I get it. Life is not all lollipops and gumdrops. But who the hell says sweatpants and buns can’t be sexy? Make that shit sexy. I bet if you walked out with your head held high and rocked that shit… your man would look at you like… DAMN!!!! Try it!!! I dare you. My man loves me without makeup. He would rather I walk around looking natural than all done up. Because I do it with confidence.

My entire purpose on starting this self love project is to bring back that self confidence- stronger than ever before. I’m 37 (***edit *** 38 now) and gosh darn it , I’ve earned these stripes!! Every scar, every mark on my body and in my heart is proof that I have lived. I deserve to feel confident in my own skin. My age and my weight do not define me as a woman. But my personality does. That is one thing that will never change. I will constantly battle my weight issues. I went from size 0 and wishing I was more curvy, to size 12 and wishing I was thinner. I battled both sides and it’s exhausting. Im knocking these walls down slowly each day I post something new. Stripping away each layer one by one until I can free myself of all self negativity. Allowing myself to become vulnerable so that I can grow. Self Confidence doesn’t just happen overnight. If you remember Day Four, I talked about how it was taken from me. It took years for me to get it back. You too can get yours back. And it starts with loving yourself. You can be told time and time again just how beautiful you are but if YOU don’t believe it, you will never see it. You are AMAZING. Do you know that? Absolutely incredible. You deserve to be celebrated!!! So do something that makes you feel worthy!

Here are a few tips on how to build your self confidence:
Prepare for your journey
– Get your mind right. Remove any negative thoughts from it. Remove Can’t, Won’t and Hate from your vocabulary. RIGHT NOW!
– Write down one positive thing about yourself daily. In a journal or on the notepad app on your phone. Do not be shy. IT IS OK TO LOVE YOURSELF!!!!!
– Look at what you have already achieved. These don’t have to be big goals. Little goals are important too.
– Think about all your strengths and list them down.
– Think about what’s important and where you want to go.
– Continue to manage your mind. This part is easy to lose sight of. Be strong.
– Surround yourself around people that are positive and motivating.
– Wear something that makes you feel pretty.
– Commit to your success.

Its easy to fall back on stuff. Don’t beat yourself up if you do. Just get back up and try again. And again and again. Eventually this will become a habit. Treating yourself the way you want to be treated. It’s a beautiful thing. There are so many amazing and empowering quotes. Look them up. Read them. Believe them. Here is one that I adore.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make and manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson

And THIS BOOK!!! Get it and Read it daily!! — She by Kobi Yamada

She turned her cant’s into cans, and her dreams into plans. Celebrate her goals.
She discovered her real measurements had nothing to do with numbers or statistics. Celebrate her self-esteem.
She woke up one day and threw away all her excuses. Celebrate her accountability.
She discovered she was the one she’d been waiting for. Celebrate her self-reliance.
She decided to start living the life she’d imagined. Celebrate her freedom.
She held her head high and looked the world straight in the eye. Celebrate her strength.
She made the world a better place. Celebrate her…

I can’t wait to hear about your journey. Please share with me. We are in this together!!!

Photographer: Modern Love Photography

Hair and Makeup: Ashyln Taylor

Heidi - I just love this so much! I’m 10 years ahead of you, 48, and miss that old feelng of being super confident in my own skin. I’m always coaching other woman about how to embrace their beauty, but I’m so much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it.

I’d love to go on this journey with you to reclaim myself ❤️

Denise Nicole - Heidi, we need to get you to feel that way again!! Age does NOT MATTER!!! It’s how we hold our heads up high and believe in ourselves. It’s everything we carry within. It’s so easy to lose it, trust me. I fight daily for it!! DAILY!!! We can be in this together girl! Let me show you how brave you really are. 🙂

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“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”— Winston Churchill

I’ve learned I am happiest when I give my time to someone in need. I knew I was missing something in life but I didn’t exactly know what it was. Then I was approached with an amazing opportunity to head to Haiti. I had no clue what I was to do there. But I knew I had to go. So I went. And it was the most amazing experience in my life. It changed me. I went thinking I would change the lives of these beautiful orphans and little did I know that they would change mine. They completely moved me and made me see what life was really about. How easily we take life for granted. How selfish we are. How spoiled. It was such a humbling feeling to be in their presence. I came back to the states with a different mindset. I’ve always given my time in little ways. Gifting a wedding once a year to a couple in need, gifting glamour sessions or family sessions for silent auctions and what not. But I want to be more connected. I want to be a part of a journey when I gift my services. I want to make a difference. Last week I photographed a beautiful young lady 24 years of age, who has terminal cancer. Her family recently placed her in hospice. You would never know this because she is as vivacious as they come. Full of life. She requested a shoot with her 2 boys and her husband. I wanted to give her photos that she and her family could cherish. And I offered to be there every step of the way. God willing, come December, I will be photographing her vow renewal. This kind of stuff lights my heart on fire. Knowing I can do something so small, yet have such an impact on someones life fulfills me. It really knocks me on my core. There really is no other feeling like it. I wasn’t going to tell this next story. I’ve kept it all to myself for selfish reasons. I hold it very near and dear to my heart. This client, now friend of mine, has changed the way that I photograph women. Im going to give up my selfish ways and share a bit of her story. She is the most STUNNING woman I have EVER met, just over a year ago. We chatted back and forth via email. And the first thing she mentioned to me was her weight. She was a size 14 or 16, I’m not really sure anymore because honestly that’s not how I remember my clients. I remember the way they made me feel. Anywho she asked if I could pose a “fluffy” woman. And if this shoot is meant for her or if she is crazy to even contact me. And I of course said YES!!! This shoot is exactly what she needed. So she came. She walked into the hotel room for her session. It was a boudoir marathon weekend and there was another girl getting her photos taken when she walked into the suite. Poor thing was frightened beyond means. Ready to walk right back out because she felt she didn’t deserve to be there. I’m so very glad she stayed. She was a natural in front of the camera. I didn’t know her story during the time I was photographing her. I just knew this girl was special somehow and I felt very connected to her. Instantly. After her shoot was done, she cried. And told me how she has NEVER in her life felt more beautiful than how she felt at that moment. She said people always called her fat and ugly names. Men that she loved would do that. Hurt her so deeply with words that crushed her world. And somehow I was able to make her feel sexy even though deep down inside she didn’t feel that way because of how others manipulated her mind. A few days later she came in for her viewing… and we cried again. And this time she told me more of her story. And we bonded even further. A couple of days later I received a text from her. She told me something she has NEVER told anyone ever before. She had an eating disorder. And it had been 5 days since she has let it take over her. FIVE DAYS!! Since her session with me that she stopped hurting her own body. And I was floored. Absolutely floored. To know that I helped this woman overcome her deepest, darkest hours. Simply by telling her how gorgeous she was and allowing her to be vulnerable in front of me and giving her the freedom to just be her… in all her glory. Giving her that boost of confidence and allowing her to open up. She just simply amazes me daily. Fast forward a year and this woman is now probably a size 6 or smaller- I don’t really know. She just looks even more amazing… and not because of her weight but because she has self confidence now. And it shows!!! We did another session and her confidence just exudes from each photo. You can clearly see how different she is and how she holds an inner peace to her now. She does zumba and works out hard core. Consistently motivated. She changed her life around. She stopped allowing people to speak bad to her. And she took control of her life. Wow. Talk about inspiration. She will swear up and down how I have given her something money could never buy but little does she know that she gave something to me that has changed my life drastically. It gives me reason to do what I do. To reach out to more women and help them through their struggles. Her story is one I will never forget. How did I get so lucky? I am not worthy of this. Yet I know my purpose here is to do so much more. And I hope one day I find out what that purpose is. Im ready for it. I just need to be still and listen.

“When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself and everything that arrived into my life, then I was prosperous.”— Wayne Dyer

Photographer: Modern Love Photography

Hair and Makeup: Ashyln Taylor

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