Self Confidence with Photos

Self Confidence with Photos

Lets just get real here, self confidence is beautiful.  

Beauty is power..png

Not everyone can pull this look off though.  As a photographer it is my job to help my client to feel confident, beautiful, handsome, or sexy depending on what your session is about.  The main feeling I want my client to have is confidence during their session.  When they feel confident the end result is a better photo and remembering that feeling when they look at their photos.

Take it from me, a girl that went from weighing 150 to 280 pounds, self confidence was not my forte let alone jumping in front of the camera.  When a picture was taken of me the first thing I would see is all my flaws….look at my double chin, GOD IM SO FAT!

BUT WAIT! In today’s society, the outward appearance is what we base our self confidence though.



Yes, that is one part of having confidence, feeling and accepting your body the way it is.  Seriously though, what I am learning is it is so much more than just your body image.

A good friend of mine just told me that she loved to see how confident I am getting..???? wait, but I still haven’t lost weight and I haven’t seen you in a couple months…how the heck am I getting any more confident than I was before?



How does this translate into Photos?   One of the hardest photo shoots, yet most rewarding, is the boudoir shoot.  Where a man, woman, or couple become vulnerable to their audience.  If the photographer is not confident in their abilities their clients will feel it as well.

As a client you can….

The number one thing your can do to help is to get to know your photographer and let them get to know you.    It is so important to get to know your photographer.  What they like in general and about themselves, so that way you can help them relax and have fun with the photo shoot.

With boudoir shoots, as a client you are exposed.  If you are not confident or comfortable in their photographer the session will be awkward and more importantly the final product will not be flawless.  A photo is meant to evoke emotion and take the person to that time and relive that experience, so your photo might be the sharpest, most beautiful display of your client, however if you remember feeling less confident than you should that is what they will remember.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty….

It comes down to the fact that you are beautiful both inside an out.  Your inside make up is beautiful, so regardless if you weigh 120 pounds or 300 pounds does not play into affect at all.  Look deep inside you, what are you passionate about? What do you enjoy doing the most? What are you good at?


Next time you look at a picture of yourself, regardless of what type of photo it is, take the time to see the good in yourself.  How your eyes light up, how you smile, how soft your skin looks, how much you enjoyed doing the shoot, how awesome your hair looked.  Once you have noticed the good about your physical aspects, start looking at the picture in thinking of all the good things that your able to do, be apart of, how much you are loved and how much you love others, how you help others.



Behind the Scenes of the Traveling Pipeline Wife

Behind the Scenes of the Traveling Pipeline Wife

Behing the Scenes of the

Why can’t you come home?

You never come to the important things?

Why don’t you call more?

How is this life good for your kids?

Can’t you think of anyone else but yourself?

And the list goes on, and on, and on of questions from friends and family members that are astonished with the lifestyle we live.

Let’s not focus on me for a second and focus on my soon to be husband, James.  He has lived this life for over 10 years now, has lived on the road most of his adult life.  He has missed funerals, birthday parties, and births of loved ones.  Does this make him selfish?  No, he lives to support his family, he works tirelessly day and night sometimes to be able to give a life to his family.  He drags up only to pack up again in a week to go to the next job.  This life is not easy, It is one of the hardest lives you can live.


At the present moment…

For over a year now I have been living this life of a pipeliner wife.  In the grand scheme of things, it isn’t that long of a journey yet, but I have learned so much and would not trade this life for anything.  Who in their right mind would give up  living 30 minutes from friends and family, to move across the state in a beautiful 3 bedroom home with in-ground pool and 35 acres, to traveling with her man and staying in a little 2 bedroom apartment?

Raising her hand and jumping up and down!!!

It is FAR easier to travel with him then to stay in a big house all by yourself.  My daughter gets to be with a steady father figure instead of a man coming in and out of her life; always leaving for weeks and months on end. She gets to travel around, learn from different parts of this beautiful nation.

People just think its all glits and glam.  They think just because us wives get to stay at home that we get to just lay around in our PJs all day, go shopping, and veg out.

Taking care of 2 households is rough, raising kids in tight quarters, making sure they get educated and socialize, waking up early to make you husband breakfast, staying up late to make sure his lunch is packed.  Waiting endlessly for a phone call to say he is coming home because its raining.  Watching the weather everyday to see if we get a couple more hours with him.  Praying for his safety when you know they are winching down a steep mountain side.

Whether we stay at home and our men are away or we travel with him this life is not for the faint of heart.  I can remember when we didn’t travel with him.   After only getting to spend 2 days with him at home to just turn around kiss him good bye, holding back the tears to help him stay strong, and waving until the I can’t see his tail lights anymore.  It is torture, but many women do this.

Now that we travel with him getting to see him every night is a blessing.  Transitioning wasn’t easy, but to have Jemma have her dad here everyday, that constant in her life is worth more to me than any heart ache that has come.


And just to clarify…

Home schooling kids, finding a place to bring your kids to school if that is your choice, to doing laundry, preparing dinner, making lunches, make sure all the laundry and chores are done, grocery shopping, taking dogs to the vet, cleaning up poop, paying the bills, running a business and all that it entails is NOT us sitting around drinking coffee watching TV all day and shopping on Amazon.

The one thing that we know more than anything else is our love.  When we get to spend time together, we understand those precious moments that we have.  No one understands the best of what absence makes the heart grow fonder than us pipeline wives.

The women that live this life are strong, independent, hard working, creative, talented, and courageous.  I have met so many of them and they have built this community together that is simply amazing.  It is wasn’t for them, and especially the few that I talk to on a regular, I wouldn’t have gotten through some of the tough times.  We rally together to support our own, we bring our kids to places so they have friends, it really is an amazing community that comes together to create a family.

To all the women and men that live this life, you are the most amazing people I have ever met.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the blood, sweat, and tears, and countless hours you put in for your families.


Make My Mind Stop! – 4 Suggestions

Make My Mind Stop! – 4 Suggestions


When your mind is racing and all you want to do is to make it stop, what do you do?

There are so many suggestions out there from the holistic aromatherapy approach, to the go to the gym and sweat your batoody off, to writing in a journal.  Many entrepreneurs, especially the stay at home mom kind, have their brain hardwired to think all day long.  It never shuts off.  When you lay your head down at night thats what it is the worst.

I can understand this more than anyone, my mind goes a mile a minute, especially at night when I want it to shut off.

What bills do I need to pay?

What am I going to cook for dinner?

What affiliate programs can I join?

How can I get more people for my portfolio?

What books should I read to help others?

Am I even going to succeed at this?

This right here is when the spinout of thoughts turns negative.  Self talk is so essential to an entrepreneur, so anyone really.  If you continually talk negatively then that is what will remain in your life.

In the book, “Mindset Magic: Using Scientific & Spiritual Principles to Create Your Life” it states “that if you claim something (think something) and claim it to be true your subconscious mind or amygdala will accept and bring forth into your experiences.”  So basically, what this book is saying that there is scientific proof that you can bring into existence peace, calmness, and all things positive is we just BREAK THE BROKEN RECORD OF DOUBT AND NEGATIVITY IN OUR BRAINS.

What is the reason we always go to the negative?

Some will say that it is because we had some type of experience in our earlier lifetime that has created this negative aspect about ourselves or a situation and it just keeps repeating until something happens where that chain is broken.

For me, I have a lot of experiences in my lifetime that has created the Negative Nancy tape in my head, but as an entrepreneur I am most guilty of comparing myself to others.

Why can’t I just look like her?

When I look like her or sound like her I will make more money.

My business doesn’t look like hers so thats why I am not making money.

I need to look prettier, skinnier…..and the list goes on, and on, and on……..and on.


Society today looks at the exterior, your skins, your hair, your nails, you clothes, what your driving, where you live, as depicted in this image by Meg Gaiger from Harpy Images. If you do not fit in societies cookie cutter mold or what “the Jone’s” dictate as what’s in then your not part of it, your labeled, your an outcast.

The fact of the matter is, it all comes down to one thing….HOW WE FEEL ABOUT OURSELF.

What? What the heck does that mean?

My feelings are controlled by my thoughts and when my thoughts are negative then my feelings will be negative.  It is basically the proverbial chicken and the egg at that point.  When I feel I am not up to someones or myself’s standards my thoughts will find that negative tape and play it over and over.  On the other hand, when I am feeling confident, loved, on top of the world, worthy my mind will play the positive tape.

I know this has to be confusing, am I making any sense?

So, the key to stopping that negativity in your head will come down to what you want to do to help yourself.  Here are a few suggestions that will help when the Negativity Monster comes after you:

  1.  Come up with some positive mantras.    I am beautiful. I am worthy.  I am going to be the success I know I am going to be.  I am loved.   Remember, get your subconscious to understand it is true and forever change the tape and your life.

  2. Meditate or Breathing Exercises.   Mediation helps with relaxation, clearing your mind, and pulling you back into the present moment.  Being present in the moment is important because when we are over thinking or having a racing mind it is due to either looking towards the past, which is full of regret, or the future which is full of fear. 

  3. Soak in a Hot Bath.    ****this is my favorite method****  This is not something that is a medical explanation here, it is simply one of my personal methods to helping calm my mind.  Running a hot bath, maybe some bubbles, a good book or some candles and just zone out.  This is also a great time to combine mediation with this method.

  4. Journalling.  Writing what your thinking and what your feeling is so important on finding out the real, striped down thinking is all about.  Do not hold back, by raw, be real, be authentic in your writing so that way you can either look back and laugh, look back and realize you have had this issue before and it is creating a pattern, or look back and see how far you have come.

  5. Gratitude Lists.   Thinking of something positive will hopefully make you see and think of ho amazing your life really is.  

  6. Sleep!

There is so many other methods out there.  I can spend days and days listing them all.  Most people, actually 1 in 5 people have anxiety and depression, which can be tied to a chemical imbalance, but can also be tied to experiences that a person has gone through or is going through.  So, spending the time to uncover what is really going on will help you get through to the other side.

The mind, our thoughts are all an amazing thing.  Just like our bodies we need to take care of it.


Parenting…Isn’t there a Manual?

Parenting…Isn’t there a Manual?

As a mom of a 4 year old and a 11 year old I sometimes wonder if I am doing this parenting thing right.  I think that is a question we all wonder as parents at one point in time or another.  I have been doing a lot of reading on parenting to make sure I provide the best childhood for my children.  There are so many different paths, techniques, and choices to make.

Lets give you some background:  My son lives with his father, which I would not trade for the world.  Is there guilt there? Absolutely.  I might not get to be there everyday living 3-7 hours away, but I know that where he is has to be the best for him.  I see him as much as I can see him.  With that being said, my daughter who is 4 lives with me.  I have sole custody of her and try to make the best decisions for her.  My fiancé works for the pipeline, so my daughter and I travel with him.

My thought processes on this is that she has a strong, consistent male role model in her life, we live similar to the military life, and she gets to see different areas that she might not have living in one area.  There are a huge number of critics about this life and having a child on the road with us, but in the end…there really isn’t a book on this parenting thing.

The environment that I am creating for my children is an environment where they are able to come to me, no matter what is going on, and talk to me about it.  I can remember being able to go to my mom about losing my virginity and I can remember talking to my dad about the drugs I use to do.  Having that trust was paramount on being able to know who to come to and who to trust.

Creating that trust and honestly starts at a young age.  The mind of a child is shaped by their surroundings until they are 7 years of age before they start to shape their own thoughts and feelings about what is going on around them.  How to create an atmosphere of honesty and trust means not always doing what is thought to be done.  Yelling, punishments, and corporal punishments aren’t always the answer.

Do I belive in spanking my daughter? Yes, when she deserves it.  Do I believe in sending her to the corner or taking a toy away? Absolutely, consequences for actions need to happen.  Do I yell too much? I certainly think so.  I am human and get overly frustrated, reached my limit, or just plain crazy when kids do not listen.

There is a different way to go about all of this.  Let your kids know that it is ok to tell you anything, regardless if it is bad or makes them uncomfortable.  Those are natural feelings that kids need to experience and you, as a parent, need to nurture.

One of the biggest take away’s I have learned so far as a parent is:  DO NOT SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF.

If you continuously yell, create a mountain out of a molehill, or always punish for every little thing then your child will wash it out as white noise and either chose not to listen to it, hide, lie, or sneak around so they do not have to hear the “white noise.”

Let’s be selfish for a moment, all this yelling and screaming, punishing, stressing, and everything that a parent does, what is it actually doing to you?  It is creating more stress in your life, it is playing a role on your health and mental well being.

The fact of the matter is that when a child is being raised in a house where love, trust, honesty, and reasonable consequences are given we are raising a child that will understand how to talk to adults, respect, and not fear authority.

Do I wish there was a manual? No way.  Life is too interesting, children are so priceless.  They are sponges and they take everything to heart, so be compassionate, show love in more productive ways then yelling.  Just because your parents did it doesn’t make it right, the world evolves and children think differently then when we were kids.  So we need to adapt.  We need to provide a better life then what we were given.


The Prison I Create – The Mind of an Addict

The Prison I Create – The Mind of an Addict

It has been quite awhile since I have written anything, so anyone who has read my posts…thank you.  Today is strickly because I need to get some things off my mind because if not I will lock myself in a man made prison and throw away the key.


They say that in this program we are more alike than different; that none of us are unique.  Our thoughts, our experiences, the pain is all similar and that’s how we can come together and help one another.  I have been clean since May 9, 2013 and it seems as time goes on I see more problems than I do solutions or I am always working on something, life can never be just…peaceful.  Then again, we thrive in chaos.  When something is finally peaceful it is uncomfortable.

I am told I am in a growing phase, that because my life is so…uncomfortable at the moment…I am growing; that I am learning.

Well dammit!  If this is growing what the hell am I supposed to learn because I feel like I am getting tortured here, like I am going crazy.  My mind is telling me some horrible things.  In the program we call it as, “the disease is talking to me,” but I feel that it is more than just “the disease.”  I have this issue in me that makes me feel like a monster, like I am less than, that I will always be alone because who is going to love this broken, fragmented person that is me?  I can then turn around and tell you that it’s because I cannot accept this part of me, that I don’t love this part of me and the only way to be happy is to learn to accept this part of me that was based from one bad decision.

My defense mechanism is to simply push people away because if I push you away then there is no chance you can hurt or reject me, but all I want is for you to accept me for who I am and love me for who I am; the loving, caring, kind hearted, determined, loyal, good willed, hardworking, creative, and bright individual that I am.


I was out with a bunch of people last night, I didn’t really wanna be there, but it’s been so long since I have gone out for a celebration.  I was at the end of the 3 tables that we put together and I looked down and saw this amazing group of people and felt…alone.  I was even having a conversation with this dear woman that has been there for me since day 1 of this journey and yet still felt alone.  My ex was there and I see him laughing and carrying on and I see that he got himself a burger….I cannot even afford my bills and didn’t buy anything to eat last night, the waitress even gave my daughter milk for free.  Instantly, I start getting in my head…look at this I am a failure, but why does he get food, but yet can’t even help with our daughter?

It takes one thing to set me off…once that one thing hits my mind I spin out and trap myself within the prison that locks me up with the thoughts that will tear me down till I am nothing…you aren’t a good mom, you are nothing, your fat no one will love you, look at all the lies you told, you can’t even afford your bills, you have no friends, they are all just saying those things to make you think they like you, they don’t care.


Then there is this thing that lives in my past that no one should ever have to deal with.  I hear other people in the rooms talk about it and most women that I talk to this thing is how their story starts.  That was the first time that they felt…different, that something out of their control affected them, so they did everything to make them feel different, to mask themselves to fit in anywhere, but never knowing who they really are because it was taken away before they can find out who they are.

In the end it is up to me to be able to push through this because our mind is a very powerful muscle and can be used to for many things.  People in the rooms may call this self acceptance issues and yes some of it is exactly that and others may say I am in the triangle of self obsession and yes because a lot of this is from the past and fear of the future….but what if its more?

Addicts are some of the most resilient, bright, creative people out there and half the time you have no clue who we are.  Society has always stuck us in corners and made us out to be these people that are like the “scum of the earth,” but really we can be the nurses that take care of you, the CEOs of major corporations, to the grandma that goes from doctor to doctor to get prescriptions.  Not everyone may have the same thoughts as me, but I know they can understand how I feel and the pain of isolating myself as a result of locking myself up in this prison I have created.

Even during the darkest times of this process where I am alone in this jail it still isn’t as bad at my best day using because I know I am clean, I am loved, and I have a God that guides me to where I need to go even when I am in the eye of the storm.





That Area…you know, that hurts!

That Area…you know, that hurts!

Completely and utterly blessed!

It is so very easy for me to say this when I am having a good day or more importantly things are going MY way.  If it’s not going my way then I am a very large 3 year old throwing a temper tantrum both in my head and to everyone that will listen to me and not want to listen to me, just let it go.

I don’t know why I do this, maybe because I haven’t grew out of that little child within me or maybe it’s because I just feel like I am right (That’s the sales person in me), or maybe it’s because I just like to debate…and that just boils down to wanting to be right.

Ever just come across a person that just irks you, that makes you lose control of what you say or do…it’s just an automatic reaction?

There is someone that I know that gets so under my skin and I love this person very much.  So many of my friends, family, and my sponsor say that the qualities that I see in this person is what I harbor in me and that is why it bothers me so much that I cannot control myself.  I practice a program and they do not, so I have to hold myself to different standards.

Most people in recovery will tell you…if it makes you feel something then you should look at it or what step are you practicing?  When it comes to this person I do not practice steps.  This person is controlling, selfish, and self-centered.  There is always motives when they do something.  When they are nice there is always a hidden agenda.  They will tell you they love you and that they care, but the only way to show it is to buy you something and then throw it in your face.  Love is not materialist anyway.

Overtime, after knowing them you see the real them…and I was always asked if you know they act like this, then why do you let it bother you so much?  You can say that I hold them to a different standard, I seek their approval, that I want to see them happy, but yet nothing ever makes them happy.


The solution is within me, it’s my decision, my choices to entertain such negativity.  If they are exactly like me, an addict, but they do not have the drugs or hit their bottom yet to know they have these issues then I have to compassionate.  I have to listen to what is being said to me and not just react to everything that comes out their mouth or what they do.

I was told that if they are use to me being defensive, argumentative, and verbally aggressive than that is what they always expect of me.  How can you change anything if you do not do something different?

Step 1 – I cannot control them only myself and my reactions.

Step 2 – Do something different.  Instead of run at the mouth or cause myself grief; listen, be more agreeable, be loving towards a person that is sick.

Step 3 – Trust that the differences that I do portray will change the relationship dynamic.

Caveat: I do not have to accept the unacceptable!


Hold up?  What does that mean?  I do not have to be a doormat.  Being agreeable does not mean letting them just walk on me and being taken advantage of.  For me, it’s always been all or nothing.  I do something and give it my all or I just will not do it.  Remembering that caveat protects me from going to extremes when trying to practice the steps that I have in my life.

There is so much more that I could say about this, but really that sums it up.  Its really just that simple.  The program I am in is just that simple.  I do not practice this perfectly, but it’s getting better.  If any part of this post has reached you, if you are still reading and going….wow, Andrea I know what you mean I can relate to this; I have a person in my life exactly like this and I do not know what to do…then just stop, know that you have a choice.




Red, White, and…Green

Red, White, and…Green

In light of my previous post last week, I wanted to start posting recipes on my journey to getting healthy.  I am going to start with just one recipe and then I will post more on a single post.

Over the past 2 years I have spent a lot of time battling what most Americans have been battling…trying to lose weight.  I have watched a lot of documentaries, read a lot of  articles, have gone to different meetings about supplements, and even became a team member for various types of weight loss programs.  Through it all I have learned a great deal about what and how to put stuff in your body.  I think the next thing I would like to study up on is how the body digests different foods.

You know, you always hear, don’t eat anything white, don’t eat processed, must be organic and forget about the gluten, but why?  What makes the body digest it differently than most?

I know maybe I should go to school to be a dietitian!!!

I don’t know why I always get off topic, but without further ado….THE RECIPE!

Zucchini Salad

I made this over the weekend as a test to see if my mom would like it, as well as myself.  It was a hit!  So I made it for my meal prep throughout the week.


2 Zucchini

1/2 red onion

2 plum tomatoes

2 Tbsp Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette

3 large fresh basil leaves

Grated Parmesan

Use the zucchini noodle maker to create the zucchini noodles.  Place in large bowl.  Mince the red onion and combine with zucchini.  Dice the plum tomato and place in bowl with zucchini.  Fine slice the basil.  Combine all together and toss around.  Add Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette and toss again.

Serve.  Add Parmesan on top when serving.

I hope y’all enjoy this as much as my family and I did!