Nothing is more empowering to a woman than learning to embrace even the parts of ourselves that we considered flawed.

This beautiful woman is Lynne! She was another participant in our 30 women over 30 portrait series. Lynne has been married for 20 years and is the mother to two daughters (18 and 15) and she is a stay-at-home mom or more appropriately titled: Domestic Engineer. In her spare time she loves to spend time with her family and friends, explore new places and listen to live music. She also loves to relax by enjoying a glass of wine on her porch (we are both front-porch-enthusiasts!) and reading a juicy mystery novel. After years of taking care of everyone in her family Lynne absolutely deserves to have some beautiful, classy photos taken to celebrate herself!

Lynne told us that she really is happy with her body for the most part but, she has a hard time committing to staying in shape and feels she loses motivation quickly. Lynne says she naturally has an athletic build and could be in REALLY great shape if she committed to doing so and that is partly her motivation for participating in this shoot. When discussing insecurities she also admits that she had for a long time been very self-conscious about her forehead. She recently decided to embrace it and now she proudly wears all of her hair pulled back, away from her face, which she would NEVER have done before. Lynne says this makes her feel wonderful (There is a lesson for everyone in that!) Nothing is more empowering to a woman than learning to embrace even the parts of ourselves that we considered flawed.

If she had the chance to tell the teenage version of herself some advice about self image she would say: "‘Stand tall, because you are! Don't hunch over, or bend at the knee in photos, be proud of your stature, your long legs, your high forehead!’ Lynne also says that at almost age 47 she is finally taking her own advice (Never too late!). To cite Lynne’s favorite inspirational quote "Be yourself..everyone else is taken."

Professional HMUA: Christen Gundersen, Makeup by CG

This hard working farmer and brewery owner traded in her work boots for a day of pampering and self-love.

This beautiful woman is Heather. Heather participated in our 30 women over 30 portrait series. She is a married and with her husband she has one daughter, 3 horses, 2 dogs, 3 barn cats anywhere from 3-25 pigs and roughly 12-300 chickens (Holy Cow!). Heather’s primary job is running her farm but she also helps to run 3 small businesses.

When she can find some spare time in her schedule she just loves to have fun. In the winter the farm slows down she enjoys getting out for a hike or checking out a brewery. She also loves her role as a snowboard instructor at the local ski hill! To relax she will go horseback riding, do Yoga or work on a DIY project.

Heather says that she always feels that she’s not enough as a mom, as a business owner, as a community member, as a friend and as a wife. This insecurity is one that strikes true with so many other women. She is working on these insecurities on a daily basis and says: ‘As for being "not enough" still trying to figure that one out. Every time someone thanks me, or tells me they couldn’t have done it with out me, how great my daughter is, how beautiful the farm is, how amazing my animals taste... they all chip away at that.”

Heather works hard to teach her daughter positive things about self image. She says: ‘I try to teach my daughter that it’s not fat or skinny, it’s healthy or unhealthy, fit, strong, those are what we want to be, not always worried about the scale. Once you start idolizing successful and intelligent people that are not movie stars, you start to realize what you look like matters way less.’

Similar to so many mothers out there, Heather admits that since becoming a mom she has put herself on the back burner. Her daughter is 8 and she says she hasn’t even been to a hair salon, so a little ‘me time’ to feel empowered is just what she needed so she decided that a portrait session was the perfect gift for herself!

Professional HMUA: Christen Gundersen, Makeup by CG

“Just don't care what other people think, Let your freak flag fly!”

Christine came in to have her portraits taken as part of our 30 women over 30 portrait series. Her and her husband got married this past April and have a miniature poodle together named Olive (so cute!). She works as a manager for a manufacturing company and although it wasn’t what she dreamed she would be doing she totally loves her job. They just bought their first house this past summer so most of her time lately has been spent fixing it up and making it their ‘home’. When she isn’t fixing the house up she likes to craft and paint. Christine also loves to put her feet up and relax by binging some episodes of Parks and Rec or reading her favorite book series, Harry Potter (Both so good!).

Christine comes from a family of amazing women whom she looks up to. She says her Mom, Grandmother and Aunt all have very different life stories but the common theme among them is that they are good, brave, loving and hard working people which inspires her in her own life. Fittingly her favorite quote is: "If you want to be proud of yourself, you have to do things to make yourself proud.” which she says means ‘get up off your butt and make it happen!’

Like many other women Christine also admits to having struggled with weight and body issues but always continues to work on overcoming those doubts, she says: ‘Insecurities come and go so it’s really just about trying to not be so hard on yourself. No one is setting these expectations other than yourself. Trying to be kind to yourself isn't always easy, but you try.’

Christine wanted to do this session as a gift for herself so she could have some ‘me time’. This was actually her second time getting her portraits taken and she explained that she felt so powerful and confident after her first experience she had to come back for more!

To sum it up Christine says it best when asked what message she would tell the younger version of herself and she answered: ‘Just don't care what other people think, Let your freak flag fly!”

HMUA: Christen Gundersen, Makeup by CG

This shop owner and women’s coach helps women increase self-worth daily.

Becky and her husband have been married since 2014 and together they have a greyhound (Pup) and two cats (Moqui and Fleur De Lis). Becky is living her dream by owning her own retail store and a coaching business working with women to increase self-worth (what an awesome job!). She stays active by going for hikes with Pup at Esker Point Beach. She also absolutely loves to read, her latest obsession is the All Soul's Trilogy by Deborah Harkness starting with "A Discovery of Witches". Becky says getting swept away into a wonderful story is one of the juiciest parts of living.

Becky is deeply interested in awareness training and mindfulness practices and loves to have her own versions of Sacred Ceremony which usually include candles, crystals, mala beads, and tea. She is most inspired in her life by this quote by Jim Carrey: "Your Soul is not contained within the limits of your body. Your body is contained within the Limitlessness of your Soul." Becky believes this beautifully articulates the truth of just how expansive and immortal the Soul is, and that our bodies are simply a device used to give us the ability to experience a human life. Our Soul's live all lives.

Becky has worked for years to honor the communication of her skin through natural remedies leading her to opening her own store, Becca Rose, which started out as a natural skin care store. She wanted to support other girls and women in learning how to listen to their bodies and what natural products it needs, how diet effects their skin (in good ways and bad) and in general well being and health. Becky has also recently dropped 20lbs which further deepened the fulfilling relationship she has with her body. She accomplished this by taking a step back and really listening to her body and what it needed and adjusted her diet accordingly and now she feels vibrantly healthy!

It seems only fitting that when asked why she wanted to have her portraits taken she said: ‘I loved your message about promoting self-love for women over 30. I wanted to be a part of sharing that message and encouraging more women to step into what it means to prioritize themselves! It has been my honor to be a small part of this mission.’

Professional HMUA: Christen Gundersen, Makeup by CG

She loves to binge on great TV shows such as Golden Girls and Penny Dreadful.

This striking lady is Lauren, another participant in our 30 women over 30 portrait series. She is living her dream as a stay at home mom of 2 1/2 year old twins. She decided to treat herself to having portraits taken as a celebration of achieving a significant weight loss goal and also as a gift to her husband.

Lauren enjoy’s crafting and dyeing her bold colored hair in her spare time, and recently she’s taken up creating beautiful watercolor paintings (that are for sale here). She also loves to binge on great TV shows including Golden Girls and Penny Dreadful. When she needs a moment of ‘me time’ to relax she likes to sneak away and drink her morning coffee alone.

To overcome her insecurities, Lauren has worked hard to try and keep her mindset health centered instead of on her looks. If she could share advice with the thirteen year old version of herself she would say: ‘Be who you want to be right now. You don’t need to try to dress, act, or think differently.’

I wanted to take another moment to tell a more personal part of Lauren’s story because we both share something in common. Her twins were born early. And not a week or a few weeks early. Her twins were born at 26 weeks (same exact timing as my daughter) so we share this fact. However - Lauren has gone through SO much with those two babies, especially her daughter who suffers from chronic illness. This woman you see here carries the weight on her shoulders with so much grace and love. Her sweet children are growing bigger and stronger every day and it is an honor to know her and follow her journey.

I found a beautiful excerpt from her blog-page (The Crazy Haired Momma):

“When my twins were born at just 26 weeks i knew instantly that my experiences as a new mother would not be like the other moms. I knew I would not, I could not, bond the same way other mothers did with their children because of the remarkable and complex circumstances of their birth. What i didn’t know yet was that our bond would be just as strong as the others, but we would have to forge it in our own unique way. I didn’t know that it would grow to be just as remarkable as the amazing story of their survival. And that through fear, and grief, and sadness we would find happiness and beauty. I didn’t know that it would be the greatest joy in my life.”

Professional HMUA: Christen Gundersen, Makeup by CG