So I did a thing…

I’ve long been an admirer of a certain photographer…this one in particular has a sensual and majestic way of capturing women, children, even whole families. Her photos are just exquisite and mesmerizing.

When she posted a model call for a boudoir shoot, I found myself interested…I quickly talked myself out of it though. “That’s just not something I would want people to know about,” and “I’m a married woman and a mom, what would people think?”…all these thoughts crossed my mind.

I went to sleep that night thinking about the opportunity-there were only 5 spots, and I couldn’t really afford to do it even with the discount…but in the morning, I saw that she still had a spot open and before I could talk myself out of it, I sent her a message. I was in! And I was excited!

“As you look at the women I photograph you may find yourself thinking, “I’d book a photoshoot if only I looked like her.” But what you don’t understand is that 💯 of the women I photograph say this very statement. You are perfection just as you are; allow me to truly See You & your Soul Beauty. Reclaim your power. If you’ve ever dreamed of having your own empowering photoshoot please use the link in the comments to book your complimentary consultation. There’s so much power in saying Yes, and declaring your desires. 🌹” Megan Marie, Photographer Find her website here

I had a lot of questions and did a lot of research. I wanted to be completely prepared. After talking with the photographer, I felt at ease and hopeful that it would be a positive process. She isn’t just about taking beautiful photos, her mission is to capture the essence of a woman’s soul, to affirm the beauty that we cannot always see for ourselves, that hides behind our life-colored glasses.

She set me up with referrals to shop for lingerie, to get my makeup done, and a friend of hers would be doing my hair…all of these were way out of my comfort zone but I went in with a positive adventurous attitude! Make-Up link Hair done here! Lingerie shop here!

So fast forward to last week when I got my hair and makeup done, and showed up to her studio feeling quite unlike myself and nervous…my hair felt smooth and flat which I hate, and the makeup felt like I had pancake batter on my face and caterpillars on my eyes. But the photographer made me feel at home, comfortable, and nurtured. I made myself dive right in as she assured me that she’d play with my hair a bit to make it more me, and that once we got going, I wouldn’t even notice the makeup.

And she was right, because I was too busy feeling like every lump and ripple was on display in my first pose…I was sure the first shot was going to be awful because I just didn’t see myself as anything other than an out of shape middle age woman with stretch marks and wrinkles.

I’VE NEVER BEEN MORE WRONG!

She showed me the very first shot and I was in disbelief! If it wasn’t for the fact that I was with her the whole time, I would’ve thought she had manipulated the image. It was gorgeous and it was actually me! Well, after I saw that photo, it all got so much easier and was much more fun! She had some of my favorite music playing and we had a wonderful time. I felt so pretty and so sensual, so bold and so proud too.

Here is that first unreal shot!

Megan has a talent for capturing real women in the most empowering and beautiful way while making me forget the parts of myself I obsess over usually…we are beautiful as we are and Megan has an incredible way of showing that to us! She has a way of revealing to us the beauty that we have become blind to…she has some serious talent, for photography and also for bringing out that soulful self that we hold onto so tightly. It was an experience I would not trade for anything and I am so glad I went for it. She really helped me to embrace my body, myself, and to shine!

That look on my face…that’s the feeling I had❤️

And I had wanted to keep it a secret before, not so much now. I have not and will not be sharing with my husband. This experience was not about him or sex. It was about me. It was about reclaiming my body and my beauty. I’m pleased to share with the women in my life, to help them along their own journey.

Check me out here !

To continue your own journey, or begin for that matter, Find Megan here! You’ll be glad you did!

Bolts of Excitement and Disappearing Wrinkles

Today I’m feeling young, energized, beautiful and alive. I look in the mirror and I see a vibrant young face that looks windswept and electrified.

I want to embrace this feeling and carry it with me…

So I’ve been making guest appearances on a few podcasts and it’s been so fun!! The first one had some sound issues but the hosts rolled with it and it was so invigorating! The hosts were patient and kind, and so engaging and appreciative of my story. The next one was focused on depression and how it impacted my weight, and while another rich experience, the best part was how much more comfortable I’d become in front of the camera.

My most recent podcast is my favorite so far, edited perfectly, not too long, and includes some of my most cherished sentiments. Give it a listen here!

And last weekend I attended an early childhood conference in Bangor Maine. I built in a couple extra days for relaxation and adventure…and I’m so glad that I did.

Acadia National Park was just 20 minutes down the road from my hotel and it was incredible…the solitude I found on the shores, the likemindedness among hikers at the top of Cadillac Mountain was inspiring, and the views took my breath away.

And for the first time in 5 years, I saw my twin sister…it was strange, awkward, and a little stilted, but it’s a start…and I got to see her three daughters again, though I’ve seen them through the years, I just can’t get enough time with them!

Help me out?

Raising funds for book 4 and working to spread the Honu and Kiyaya love, I’m selling hoodies and tees!

Order here!

Have a look! Adult and youth sizes available, and they are shipped right to your door!

And you can even bundle them with my books for super cute holiday gifts!

Find my books here!

Ugh!!

Last week I ran out of my antidepressants. My dr had been wanting me to cut my dose in half as it was, I had a cold that could’ve been covid, and the pharmacy didn’t refill my prescription and is closed on the weekend…so I’ve been off them for a week.

At first, I felt the same as always…then Friday hit and I felt mostly the same, but I found myself getting irritated with people for things that were quite insignificant. I thought maybe I was just tired from being sick the last couple days.

Saturday came and we went to visit a college with our son (a topic for another time). The person sitting behind me was breathing loudly…no congestion or anything like that, just breathing loudly. And my level of agitation was off the charts. I was so annoyed, but I told myself I was being dramatic and I was just nervous about my sons college visit.

Later that afternoon, I went down to the lake to paddle and read, as I often do. Usually it’s just what I need to reset and feel peaceful. There was this one guy who was talking to his toddler like he was trying to sell him a used car…I heard myself mumbling “shut up” to myself. Another persons dog kept yapping and once again, I mumble to myself “shut your dog up”. Later, some young adults are floating on a paddle board talking. They’re pretty far out but I can hear every annoying word. Again, I’m agitated and mumbling to myself.

Notice a theme here?

Long story short…I’m going to the pharmacy tomorrow and come hell or high water, I’m going back on my meds! They work!

Here we go again…trying something new!

I tried a cooked oyster over the weekend and it was disgusting…but I did it!

Now I’m going to be on a podcast (or 2)! I have been working on marketing my books more, and more effectively. I came upon a group on Facebook that matches pod cast hosts with people who might like to be a guest.

It’s amazing to me how many podcasters are out there! I had no idea-and I was pleasantly surprised to find many podcasters that I felt I could relate to. I’ve reached out and connected with a few-not just about my books!

When I have links, I’ll share with you all…it’ll be across the next few weeks!

Another Adventure…A big one!

I know it’s been awhile-lots going on for me and sometimes writing about it doesn’t feel quite like the thing to do…

Then again, I am super proud of myself and it’s time to BRAG!! Here’s a little background preceding the big brag-worthy moment…

In the spring, my brother told me he got a job in Yellowstone National Park as a year round carpenter. I was excited for him and looking forward to a big send off…but then my son got covid (mild) and so we all had to quarantine right around the time my brother was leaving for Wyoming.

I hadn’t really seen him since the winter as it was and I was so disappointed that I couldn’t see him off-especially considering he had no idea when he’d be back for a visit. Now most of you know about my travel anxiety…anything new and I predictable causes me stress. When I fly places, I tell my companion that they are the grown up and I am the child so they can take care of details and I can concentrate on breathing, yes I said breathing.

By the middle of May I was feeling like I wanted to see my brother badly enough that I was going to go. It was expensive, so I went alone…(read that again), I WENT ALONE.

I drove myself to the airport and that was scary-crack of dawn, backed into my son’s car in the driveway, and the parking garage seemed so full! But I found a parking spot and took a photo of where I parked and sent it to my mom-she was picking it up later. I gathered all my stuff and headed in.

I went through security smoothly and then waited for my flight. I had a good book with me so that was helpful. I had previously printed out maps of all the airports I would be heading to-I was especially nervous about Chicago but it turned out to be super easy!

When I landed in Montana, I easily found my checked bag and then the car rental company sent me a text with the exact location of my rental car, even going so far as to include photos. They were amazing! Check them out here!

And then I slowly found my way to Yellowstone-I made a couple stops along the way and even though it was a little scary for me, it was also wonderful and empowering and got easier with every stop.

I had a wonderful long weekend with my brother. We saw some beautiful skies, lots of wild animals, majestic mountains and the coldest lakes.

Soldiers Chapel
Two Oceans

And at the end of the trip, I treated myself to a massage: Check them out here! I got a hotel room and treated myself to nice dinner. I got myself to the airport nice and early the next day and after a stop in Denver and just one panic attack (we waited on the plane for takeoff and I think the anticipation got to me), I was back home.

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

AND SO PROUD OF MYSELF! i did it! all on my own! and it was so much fun!

So many Bison!
Lewis Lake

And though traveling with my brother to Iceland was a little tricky, this trip went extremely well and I’m so glad that I did it!! My brother is so happy there and I think he’s really found his place in this world❤️

My brother in his uniform

North Carolina

Ever since I became a Nicholas Sparks fan (Find his books here), I’ve wanted to see the Outer Banks. After my Iceland trip it seemed possible, even likely, that o could do it!

So my folks and my husband and I went together…my folks flew down a day earlier than us, but same hotel.

As this trip was awhile ago now, I’m going to show lots of pics. Bottom line: I’d go back. I enjoyed the beaches-so empty and vast and beautiful!

New sweatshirt from The Black Pelican-our favorite restaurant
Ghost crab
Sunrise

Feeling Brave(r)

After my trip to Iceland, I was feeling like I could do anything! Well, not exactly, but I felt so proud of myself for setting aside my many fears and I wanted to keep it going.

I’ve always wanted to go to North Carolina’s Outer Banks (I’m a huge fan of Nicholas Sparks). So I looked at my bank account and decided I could do it-I booked a trip for my family in the spring-my folks are coming too. And for those who know me-this is huge!

As school began for my son and I enrolled new children in my program, I was feeling like I needed to get out and about more and exercise and have quiet reflective outings. Being so busy during the week, I just needed the peace.

I used to love hiking and having conquered that volcano hike, I decided to go hiking-by myself! I used to have so much fear about being in the woods by myself, but I found it to be peaceful and restful. I made sure I had proper gear as the season got colder, even preparing for winter hiking-which I LOVE!

My first solo hike-Mt Philo 10/8/2021

One hike led to a mountaintop lake where I sat down on a weather worn log and refueled. I started thinking of my young adult self and how many opportunities I missed out on because of my fears…there were too many to count.

Silver Lake 10/22/2021 (I stripped down to my underwear and swam!)

It all boils down to anything unknown…travel, food, new people (men in particular whether in the workplace or proximity), animals, even going to an appointment in a new building. My fear of the unknown has been hampering my experiences and relationships for much too long.

So now I practice embracing the unknown…I say practice because it’s a process and I’m not always successful. Though I am proud to say I’m making progress and finally beginning to live a richer life for it!

Rattlesnake Cliffs 10/28/2021 I was too tired to find the good lookout spot -next time!
Silent Cliff-Long Trail 11/7/2021
Robert Frost Interpretive Trail-water tower 11/19/2021
Falls of Lana 12/4/2021 a short hike after getting over being sick
Snake Mountain 12/5/2021 lots of coughing still…can’t wait to do it again!
VAST trail near my house 12/18/2021
Mount Philo 12/26/2021 hiked down in the dark-spooky!
Great Cliff long trail 1/8/2022 so steep at the top but worth it!
Wright Park 1/23/2022
Buck Mountain 1/30/2022 a new fave!!

That’s all for now!!

ICELAND! I did it!

The trip was AMAZING. It was also eye opening and challenging in ways I did not expect.

First things first: it was the coolest place I never knew I wanted to see. The history, the landscape, the people…it was a unique experience, and so worth the anxiety I had felt at first.

And next, traveling with my brother…I definitely got to know him better…unfortunately he’s not nearly as enjoyable as I would have thought…that’s life though, right? But a trip this really is how you truly get to know someone and learn how to work toward common goals. I have no regrets, though let’s just say that a trip like that with my brother was a one time event…

And finally, I am so proud of myself! I really had to stretch out of my comfort zone just to get on a plane…and I spent an entire day walking the city BY MYSELF! They went off to the northern peninsula and I stayed behind. I wasn’t scared at all, like I’d thought I would be. I didn’t get lost and I felt really comfortable-what a surprise!!

So much to say…

I’m just going to dive in-lots of growth and triumph lately!

I’m going to Iceland in a couple weeks! Back in May, my brother was texting me a bit and mentioned that he was going to Iceland in August. Without even thinking, I replied, “ooh! Can I come?” To which he replied that indeed I could. This may not seem like a big deal, but for those that know me, it is. In fact, I shared on Facebook that I was going and several friends thought it was a joke! I have a lot of fear, always have. I don’t travel much because I get anxious with the unknown and like to be in control-I’m a terrible flyer! And I’m not sure if Covid is the reason, or maybe I’m realizing I’m getting older, but I found myself shedding that fear faster than a snake sheds it’s skin! I surprised myself, and I’m truly excited to go on this trip! I feel like Iceland is the coolest place I never knew I wanted to go-and I get to go with my little brother! We need to spend some quality time together-life is short!

I’ve finally been able to let go of michael, (mostly). It’s funny, I’ve been hanging onto this friendship for so long, so tightly, and reading a book finally got me to shift my thinking. I read The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd while on vacation, and it had quite an effect on me. The vivid descriptions and poignant thoughts and experiences of the characters spoke to me in a way that was hard to explain…of course, the characters’ experiences were different than mine, but the author still had a way of capturing some of the feelings that go along with my own unique journey. It also sparked an idea for a new children’s book, though I haven’t gotten it down on paper yet! Here are a couple quotes from the book that have stayed with me (the very first one gave me goosebumps when I read it):

“I marvel at how I was before I met him, how I lived molded to the smallest space possible, my days the size of little beads that passed without passion through my fingers.”

“I wonder if perhaps they (the mermaids) saved me. I know this much, the mermaids came to me in the pink hours of my life…for them I dove with arms outstretched, my life streaming out behind me, a leap against all proprieties and expectations, but a leap that was somehow saving and necessary. They caught me after I hit the water, baring me not to the surface but to the bottom, and only then, pulling me back up.”
“yes, here I am returning, the woman who bore herself to the bottom and back, the woman who wanted to swim like dolphins leaping waves and diving, who wanted only to belong to herself.”
“What I loved in him most was my own aliveness-his ability to give me back to myself…”.
“At first it was difficult for me…to realize i would only know you as a memory or a longing…YOU BROUGHT ME DEEPER INTO LIFE…”

Over the winter, my liver function was terrible, and after a lifestyle overhaul, I’m finally feeling better (and fitting into my clothes better than I have in years). I’d been having gut issues for years, and when combined with my terrible diet and super sweet tooth, and my alcoholic youth, my liver was angry. My blood pressure was sky high and would not come down despite being on four different medications. After running blood tests, the doctor told me I either had to prepare for my liver to shut down completely or change the way I was living…so I stopped eating butter and sugar. That was the simplest and least overwhelming step I could take right away. Next I started drinking more water, again, simple and not at all overwhelming. As the pounds began to drop, I added frequent but light exercise…I found that the workouts felt easy and that gave my mood a boost. That led to adding more healthy foods, I lightened my sugar and butter restrictions a bit as a reward. Gradually, working out has become easier to build into my life, and I actually look forward to it, sometimes crave it. I’ve switched to protein pasta and cereal, and it’s been good. I also changed my grocery-shopping mindset-I now spend more money that I used to on produce. I used to skip out on the $4 honeydew or the $5.99/lb cherries. Now I let myself buy them as a treat. It’s cheaper than the ice cream, soda, or chips I used to get and so much more satisfying! And though I am still a work in progress, I feel strong and healthy and it’s wonderful!