Boudoir Photos

Getting married? Anniversary coming up? Or do you just want to take some sultry photos because you’re gorgeous?

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I have compiled a short checklist of what to look for when picking a professional to capture these intimate shots.

1. Be Picky: Find someone local with lots of reviews and a personal website. Don’t just book the first person you find. Take the time to do your research, scour the best deals and above all, make sure you actually like the pictures in the photographer’s portfolio.

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2. Pricing: The price range for boudoir photos varies depending on where you live, the number of photographers in the area and what you’re comfortable with paying. I’ve seen “Groupon Deals” for $50, but when you read the fine print that doesn’t always include your “sitting fee”, prints, retouching, etc. Decide on your budget and try to get the most bang (pun-intended) for your buck.

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3. Style: Some photographers do more soft light, sensual shoots while others are pretty hardcore and graphic. I’m not here to judge one way or the other, but just make sure that whatever you choose, you will be 100% comfortable with because if you’re uncomfortable, it will definitely show through your photos.

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4. Be Suggestive: Make a Pinterest board with posing ideas, camera angles, costume changes and background settings that you like. This was something that my boudoir photographer, Aimee, suggested and I absolutely LOVE her for it. During our shoot she’d pull up photos that I had pinned so we could try and recreate them.

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5. Perks: See if your photographer includes digital copies of your pictures with the photo session. My photographer not only included a CD with the photos, but also a photo book that I gave to my husband as a secret gift on our wedding day. It is the perfect present for your significant other…and my hubby always takes it with him on business trips.

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Photo Credit: Aimee Rossi, Visit Her Website Here

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Domaine Carneros

Is there anything more enjoyable than sipping some freshly popped bubbly? I think not. And while we are discussing the most delicious experience of the palate, there is a sparkling wine I would love to introduce you to: Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé.

The Château Society
The Château Society

The Domaine Carneros Château is nestled in the heart of Napa Valley. This California vineyard is easily one of the most beautiful settings I have had the pleasure to explore, and the experience is matched by the deliciousness of their sparkling wines.

Champagne with a view.
Sparkling wine with a view.

For those who enjoy champagne, I highly suggest the Sparkling Wine Sampler. They give you 4 glasses of blessed bubbly goodness. For those who prefer du vin, Domaine Carneros also has some of the most wonderful and complex red wines that are to die for!

Domaine Carneros Sparkling Sampler
Domaine Carneros Sparkling Sampler

I always like a little something to munch on, so try the charcutèrie plate or the soft fromages (my personal favorite) from their menu. They take walk-ins or you can call ahead and reserve a table. When visiting Napa Valley, this winery should definitely be on your list.

Take a nibble and sip some bubbly.
Take a nibble and sip some bubbly.

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Keratin Treatment

Does it actually live up to the hype? Is it worth shelling out hundreds of your hard earned dolla-dolla bills?

Well, when you wake up to a mane that makes Medusa’s hair look tame, you will try anything to manage it. These techniques may or may not include countless numbers of hair serums, “straightening” shampoo and hours spent straightening those tresses, but nothing has ever seemed to last. My friends have always described me as the girl with the “huge blonde hair” and given me endearing nicknames like “Mufasa”. Now that I have convinced you of my need for a real hair transformation, I will describe my experience.

Straight Hair, Don't Care!
Straight Hair, Don’t Care!

Thank god my new hair stylist (I just moved to SF) is a total doll, and the sweetest girl ever, because this appointment literally took 6 hours. We started with a set of partial high lights (I needed a little touch up) and I headed over to the wash basin. Oh, and that heavenly head rub/scratch you get while warm water courses through your luscious locks? Yeah, that place is my heaven. After that it’s the typical blow dry and I got to sit under one of those heat lamps for 45 minutes, which was the perfect timer for my daily online window-shopping habit. But once that’s done you have to sit and get your hair straightened about 7 times over and over.

Look at these straight locks!
Look at these straight locks!

Yes, this was a time-intensive experience (I can’t imagine how much her forearms must have ached the next day) and you can’t wash your hair for 3 full days, but it was worth every penny. My hair is no longer a frizzy mess and it looks great when all I do is blow it dry! I have never been able to just blow my hair dry and have it look this good! I am planning to get a second Keratin Treatment in about three months and I will enjoy running my fingers through my gorgeous mane in the mean time!

Hairstylist: Alexandra Drew (@Alexandra_Hairstyles on Instagram)

Where: Descend Salon (San Francisco)

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Does Gatorade Need A Reality Check?

Newsflash Gatorade: not everyone is a professional athlete. Gatorade needs a reality check when it comes to their customer database. My reaction comes off the heels of one of their recent “hilarious” commercial campaigns featuring Peyton Manning as a store manager refusing to sell a woman a bottle of Gatorade. (Link: Gatorade Commercial).

Are we, as consumers of this advertisement, supposed to ignore the fact that Gatorade is available in almost every single grocery store, po-dunk gas station and found in every college fraternity house across the country? Gatorade cannot dictate who will buy and how they will use their products, nor should they try to. It’s not that everyone is unaware that Gatorade is meant to rehydrate athletes during a workout, race or match. I wonder why Gatorade is choosing to completely ignore and isolate a huge marketing opportunity. Are they not willing to accept that the average person who drinks their products is not one of the very, very few professional athletes of the world?

Sharing the same birthplace as Gatorade, Gainesville, Florida, I’ve always been loyal to Gatorade and never thought twice about choosing it over PowerAde or any other competitor. That orange bottle is always my go-to choice when I need a quick hydration, usually after a particularly intense spin class or tennis match. But after viewing this commercial, I am very worried about how they are choosing to represent their brand.

The commercial was staged as a candid camera episode and it was intended to reassert Gatorade’s image as an athlete-only brand. The most disagreeable feature of the commercial is that there were two male store clerks and a female customer. The situation made it seem like she was this ditzy party girl and they were judging her for being hungover from the night before. Gatorade’s advertising team should have made this more gender-balanced because it hints at slut-shaming women. The female customer is even pressured to pose in the “down-ward dog” position before being “allowed” to purchase a Gatorade, so this is not an overreaching argument. The people that approved this distasteful commercial need to think twice before granting something similar as suitable for the mass population to consume. One poor marketing choice, such as the subtle shaming of women, will take years of apology campaigns and can damage your brand forever. My main message: THIS COMMERCIAL IS NOT FUNNY.

But you know what would be funny? If Gatorade started featuring ads with the “alternative” ways real consumers actually use their products. Show us the caring mother who has been up all night with a child with the flu handing a bottle of orange Gatorade. What about the student who pulls an all-nighter studying for the LSAT and chugs a bottle to rehydrate and reinvigorate his brain before heading in the classroom to take the test? Or better yet, where is the hung-over beer-pong champion reaching for that Lemon-Lime flavored liquid resting on her nightstand? Why isn’t Gatorade embracing the fact that every college student would give their left arm for an ice cold Gatorade the morning after a night out on frat row?

Or what if Gatorade sponsored a fun, less-than-serious athletic event such as Bay to Breakers in San Francisco? This San Franciscan tradition is a gold mine practically begging for a sponsor like Gatorade to step in. Not only is there the serious race in the morning for this event but over fifty thousand people flood the streets of this hilly city in crazy costumes, or even nothing at all. Events like this will satisfy Gatorade’s wish to be the drink of choice for athletes, while “drawing in” the average-joes that buy their products. They need to stop trying to be an exclusive “athlete only” brand and embrace their hung-over beer-pong-champion consumers, for a true win-win. If Gatorade were to take the opportunity to sponsor an event like this, what thirst-quenching hangover-reducing sweet nectar of the gods do you think people will reach for the next time they’re at their neighborhood convenience store? Exactly. 💋

An Homage To Emily Post

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Emily Post is heralded as the queen of etiquette because she was the first to publish a book, Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage, with all the rules that women (and men) should live by to ensure that he/she was acceptable in society in 1922. She gives detailed instructions on everyday tasks, such as how to correctly write a letter, how to take off long gloves and how to set a table. Nowadays, you may scoff at these “hoidy toidy” rules, but she was the first to put pen to paper and actually set in stone what was then, largely unspoken rules of engagement. With her book, anyone who could read had the potential to become a gentleman or lady even if they had not grown up with careful instruction.

Emily Post
Emily Post

Today, people mostly use her “Etiquette” when addressing envelopes and writing formal wedding invitations. Her daughters and granddaughters have published updated versions of her books, have an incredible online (and printed) presence and created the Emily Post Institute, to keep up with the times, of course. I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with these gems because a little etiquette can’t hurt, right?

18th Edition of Etiquette
18th Edition of Etiquette

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The Hunting Ground: A Must-See

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One in four. One in every four women will be a victim of sexual assault or rape by the end of her college career. I can barely wrap my mind around this staggering statistic. That is nearly one quarter of the female population. This means that if you have a sister, a cousin, a friend, a girl friend, an aunt, a godmother, a teacher, there is a twenty-five percent chance that she has been/will be a victim of sexual assault or rape.

This is an epidemic. An epidemic that we are FINALLY talking about. Just six years ago, when I started college in September of 2009, there were only 5 members (all girls) in the Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP) group at Emory. It was the first time in my life where I felt safe talking about my own experiences as a survivor. It took me years to come to terms with what happened to me, to finally stop blaming myself and to learn that my abuse did not define who I am as a person. By the end of my college career, I was president of ASAP, we had just under one thousand student body members and the number of people attending each of our events was mind boggling. I left college knowing that I had helped others and made Emory a better place than I had found it.

The topic of widespread sexual abuse, especially on college campuses, was never really broached in the mainstream media until very recently. I remember when my group had made posters with sexual assault statistics, (gathered from RAINN) written on them and we posted them in every building on campus. In retaliation, Emory had the janitors tear the signs down because they “didn’t want to scare potential students”. I went to a disciplinary hearing for my actions, but now, I think they would have called me a hero. Oh, how the tides have turned.

The Hunting Ground, which first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year, is arguably the most important documentary that everyone, especially college-bound students, needs to watch. It is eye opening and heart wrenching. These brave men and women who disclose their stories are true heroes. Their strength to fight the pervasive victim-blaming society that we live in is refreshing and monumental. If you think that our society doesn’t blame the victim, then read the unbiased cases against Ben Roethlisberger, Darren Sharper, Bill Cosby and especially Jameis Winston. In each of these cases, the women were cast in negative light by the mainstream media, the women were portrayed as gold-diggers and their stories were not taken seriously, at least not at first.

The truth is that survivors have been systematically shamed by our society. Instead of asking, “Are you okay?” or “How can I help you?”, the first question usually is, “What were you wearing?”. It’s as if you were somehow asking for it. No. It should never be about your clothing or how much you had to drink. It should be that your body was violated and that the criminal justice system will bring your perpetrator to justice. As I used to tell people at Emory, “You could be running around butt-ass naked and it does not give someone else the right to touch you.”

Did you know that out of the reported rape cases, 98% of rapists will never see their day in court? Now please do not start thinking that I am a man-hater or that I think all men are rapists. No. First of all, I am married to a man, I enjoyed partying at his fraternity while I was in college and the majority of my friends happen to be male. What I believe is that it is a very small percentage of the male population that actually commits these heinous crimes, and they often do it more than once. Because of the low reporting numbers, rapists are able to get away with their crimes and feel free to do it again.

The Hunting Ground is amazing for allowing these men and women a platform to openly talk about what happened to them, to empower other survivors and actually prove that societal change can happen. This movie helps to shatter the notion that “Sexual assault doesn’t affect me”, because it actually does. This epidemic affects each of us, whether you’re aware or not, and it is now our time to take a stand for every survivor, to give a voice to every victim too ashamed or scared to come forward and to invoke change in our country so that every person is believed from the very start.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any comments/concerns or just need to talk to someone.

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Statistics Reported from RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network).  https://rainn.org/

Also watch videos on Project Unspoken, which I was a part of during my time at Emory                                                       https://www.youtube.com/user/ProjectUnspoken

Pink and Gold Wedding

As I am sure most of you can tell, my favorite color in the entire world is pink. Most of the time I don’t even realize that I pick out some shade of pink to wear daily unless someone points it out. It’s honestly just what I am naturally drawn to, so it only made sense that pink would be a prominent color in my wedding.

Now with such a bold hue, I needed to pick an accent color that wouldn’t try and overpower the pink and that’s why I chose gold. This was actually before Kate Spade started to make all of their postcards the same color combination, my wedding was on June 15, 2013 and I had a year and a half of planning before hand. So with that said, here are some little details from my fairytale wedding. 💋

Table Settings included Gold Chargers with our Monogram in Hot Pink Decal, Menu cards and gold napkin rings.
Table Settings included Gold Chargers with our Monogram in Hot Pink Decal, Menu cards and gold napkin rings.
Table Arrangements at my wedding in Paris.
Table Arrangements at my wedding in Paris.
Each Chair had a white slipcover & gold organza bow.
Each Chair had a white slipcover & gold organza bow.
Our wedding programs with my family's crest.
Our wedding programs with my family’s crest.

I hope you enjoyed these glimpses of what was the most beautiful day of my life, and I will include more pictures and descriptions of that day in future posts. Please leave me feedback if you enjoyed this post or if you have questions that I can help answer.

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