A few weeks ago, I photographed my friend Lara’s boudoir session. During the session, we talked about what it meant to her, why she was doing it, and everything that she did leading up to it – and I was so inspired. I get a lot of people asking why would anyone shoot a boudoir session? Or why do I do it. Hearing Lara talk about what it meant to her was amazing so I asked her to share some words with all of you! All the love and props to Lara for speaking so candidly about this experience, and for being open to sharing the photos with everyone! Here’s what she had to say…

“I recently reached out to my friend and photographer, Jill Tiongco, to book a boudoir photo session. Leading up to the session, I began to get nervous because this was something completely new, and to be honest, my selfie game is far from strong! Some may ask why I would want to do a boudoir photo session…it’s not like I’m getting married or have a significant other to share them with, or maybe people view them differently than I do. All I can say to that is these photos were 100% for myself and I have worked my butt off (literally and figuratively) over the past year and I saw it as a way to celebrate everything I have accomplished at this point in my life.

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I’ve come to learn that there is no better feeling than when you completely love and appreciate the
woman that you have become. When Jill sent me the email that my photos were available to view, my self love reached an all time high as soon as I started clicking through them. I never knew the strength and confidence this session and photos could bring me. Some might think that sounds shallow or conceited, but for me, it was a reminder of all the work I have put in to taking care of myself and falling back in love with who I am. I’ll always have these photos available to remind me of how far I’ve come, the confidence I’ve built, and how beautiful our bodies truly are.

JillTiongcoPhotography-BoudoirPhotography_0002.jpgWe all have pressures in life and situations that can keep us from focusing on what is most important. I remember hearing something about how we spend our entire life with ourselves, so why wouldn’t you want to love being around that person. After 30 years, I began to understand that in order to be the best version of myself, I needed to come first. Through some deep soul searching, appointments with my life coach (I recommend everyone have one at some point in their life!), endless hours at the gym lifting weights, and lots of alone time shared with my puppy, I found a self care routine that brought me to the happiest place I’ve been in life. I can look in the mirror and love the person I see in the reflection. I’ve learned that living in the present by practicing gratitude is the key ingredient to my daily happiness.

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While my steps may not be what works best for others, there are a few things I promise will make
positive changes in your life:

  • Take care of your mind – My life coach has helped me identify the importance of practicing gratitude every day. I created a gratitude jar in which I wrote down one thing that made me grateful that day. You’ll start to notice the little things that are beautiful in your life and make you appreciate what you have.
  • Take care of your body – Lifting weights 5-6 days a week has been a healthy outlet for me to release stress, celebrate the wins in life, challenge myself, be excited when I reach a new
    personal best, all while seeing my body change. Maybe lifting weights isn’t for everyone, so find a fitness routine that works best for you and be proud of the effort you put in to taking care of your body. More importantly than fitness, be mindful about your nutrition! Pay attention to what you are putting into your body and give it the proper fuel it needs to feel energized and strong. I’ve tried different “diets” but what I’ve found that works best is balance. Allow yourself “treat meals” when you might need or deserve them. Take time to learn about what is healthy fuel for your body and get in that kitchen and cook! Also, let’s eliminate the whole “cheat meal” phrase. Cheating has a negative connotation and having some cookies, pizza, etc. every once in a while is needed and deserved!

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  • Don’t be afraid to say no – Too often I felt the need to go to every party, event, etc. when I was invited. I wanted to make sure my friends and family knew I cared and felt my presence. Turns out, saying yes to every invite is extremely exhausting. If you want to stay in on a Friday night vs. going to that work happy hour, don’t hesitate to say no! We all need time to unwind and if that means a Friday night in ordering your favorite food and watching a movie, then you go for it!
  • Cut out the negativity! – One of my favorite quotes is “When things in life aren’t adding up, start subtracting.”. This applies to negative and toxic people, relationships, situations, jobs, etc. If something or someone is bringing you down, don’t be afraid to walk away from it. My hope is that all women take time out of their day/week/month to practice self care and find a routine that makes them feel confident and love who they are. Don’t forget to practice daily gratitude as you’ll find that it’s easier to be present in your life. And although the practice of self care and loving yourself is never over, celebrate the wins! Maybe a boudoir session isn’t the first thing that comes to your mind, but to any women out there looking to celebrate who they are and appreciate their body, it’s an experience I whole heartedly recommend!

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