"You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

I already love this beautiful woman just by knowing that her birthday is the same as my first child’s AND my anniversary with my husband. That is a sign in itself that she was meant to cross my path! Oh- if you were wondering, her birthday is 09/03 and she’s a 90’s baby! She currently lives in Salem, CT with her parents, siblings (and their fiances) 2 cats, 1 rabbit and 1 hedgehog. (Now imagine me take a HUGE breath of air after saying all that! Her life sounds busy just at home, now imagine adding her work life to the mix?! She works as an EMT (which we all know can be hectic if you ever watched Chicago Fire — by the way that’s her favorite bingeworthy series!) but she’s always dreamed of working with animals. (I believe if she puts her mind to it, she’ll be there one day!)

When Emily is not working, she enjoys taking Krav Maga classes and hanging out with friends, but if she just needs to purely relax, she’s perfectly content with taking a hot bath, reading (her favorite book is Harry Potter!), napping, going for walks, or hanging out with animals (she’s your modern snow-white!)

If you wanted to suprise her with a hot cup of goodness in the morning, it’s NOT going to be coffee! You better show up with a tasty mug of Hot Cocoa - and if you are invited over for a get together, hold the wine and bring the hard liquor ;)

If ice cream counts as food, this would be Emily’s all time favorite meal. NO JUDGING HERE!

Emily’s favorite inspirational quote:

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think”

Emily has been traveling on a journey of self love and self acceptence and this includes her commitment to using a skincare routine that works for her (I can attest to this as I just started a routine myself too that I love!). There is something about taking 5 minutes morning and night to show a little love to your skin and body. Emily has also been trying to improve her personal health by eating better and being more physically active but she is also learning to love her body more as it is (THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY!)! Another big step in her journey was when she began to work with Becky Mashuta and her Sapphire program which is teaching Emily to love herself more and take care of herself!

As I do with all of my clients, I asked Emily what message she wishes she could tell the thirteen year old version of herself about self image, and she responded with this:

“You are beautiful and loved, no matter where you are or what you do.”

Emily is inspired every day by everyone who loves her and everyone she loves. Her parents have a beautiful marriage, her siblings are successful and loving, and all of her friends support her no matter what- and this connection and relationship to all of these people is a huge part of who she is today.

The reason this amazing woman decided it was time to experience a portrait session with us was because she was diagnosed with depression/PTSD several years ago and she has been through therapy, hospital stays, medications, etc. She finally feels more at peace with herself and she’s learned so much about herself since then. She wanted to treat herself by celebrating her mind and body with this photoshoot - and I’d say she rocked it, wouldn’t you?

HMUA: Makeup by CG

“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”

Besides my family, my biggest “WHY” in photographing women is to give them a safe space to celebrate, to strip down, to feel empowered and to reconnect with themselves. They have an opportunity to see themselves through the eyes of everyone around them by what I am able to capture through my lens.

This rings true when I had the honor of working with this stunning mother of two boys, Jennifer, another amazing woman who stepped up to be a part of my 30-Women-Over-30 portrait series in which I am showcasing real every day women in their glory.

Jennifer is an 80’s baby born October 5th, making her a Libra. A Libra born on October 5th is perhaps most well-known for their thoughtfulness and always seems to be helping others and displays great patience in doing so. I felt this in every moment I spent with Jen during her experience with us- she had such a kind spirit about her and so incredibly patient and down to earth!

Jen is a phenominal single-mom living in Brewster, New York with her 2 young boys, ages 8 and 5. They are her life and keep her incredibly busy in between her job as an insurance company manager. Although her dream job was to be a teacher or nurse, she fell into this field out of college and she hasn’t left since.

Her spare time is filled with whatever her boys have going on and it’s pretty rare that she gets a lot of free time to herself (so this makes us EXTRA elated that she chose to join us for a day to really take a breath and pamper herself).

IF Jen DID get more spare time, you would find her spending time near the water. It brings so much peace to her (and I can absolutely relate to this!) She is on the hunt for her ideal way to relax and is currently trying to get back into reading each night which allows her to escape for a while! If she’s in the mood for a netflix binge, you’ll catch her watching the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - because she can relate in a way to the main character!

Jen’s favorite drink of choice is coffee, and her all time favorite meal is… coffee?! Girl - she’s my spirit animal.

Jennifer’s favorite quote is by the great and powerful Oprah Winfrey: “If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”

Jen has had an incredible journey over the past few years both emotionally and physically. She lived at an unhealthy weight for quite sometime, and when she went through two major life changing events (the loss of her father and her divorce) she realized there are things she can’t control and things she CAN. That was when she decided she needed to take care of herself. Jen took the step to have gastric sleeve surgery in 2017 and admits that this procedure has changed her life. She is now able to do things with her boys (run and chase after them) that she wasn’t able to before - and let me tell you (as a mom too) this is what life is all about- our children are EVERYTHING to us and to be there for them without limitation is SUCCESS.

“When my boys hugged me and got excited because they were able to wrap their arms completely around my waist is a day I knew I am getting better.”

Jen admits that it's hard to see herself the way she is now because she still has the image of herself 130lbs heavier in her head. She takes pictures often to show herself how far she’s come. It’s a journey for her but she’s growing every day through it and let me tell you, this woman is breathtaking.

I asked Jen what message she wishes she could tell her 13 year old self about body image and self-love.

“Do not let anyones view or opinions of you dictate how you feel about yourself.”

I wish someone could have told me that at 13 too. To this day I can still remember the kids at school making fun of my eyebrows and facial hair. I’ve never stopped tweezing since! It’s amazing how negative words hold so much skin in our lives.

HMUA: Makeup by CG

After FOUR attempts in asking her out, she finally said yes!!

Kelsey & Brad met each other in the Summer of 69’— just kidding, it was summer of 2016 (but I couldn’t help myself) I love nostalgia and that includes my favorite songs from the 90’s :)

Ok back to this dream couple. The two met online, and after 4 different attempts on Brad’s part to get Kelsey to go out with him, she finally obliged and they had their first date on September 5th that year at an ice cream shop! At the time, Kelsey was so nervous and wasn’t really in the market for a relationship, but decided to give him a shot- and by the end of that first date, she was so glad she did.

Once Brad asked Kelsey to move in with him, and she had the key in hand she knew that he was as serious about her as she was about him. She needed a lot of reassurance to know that she could let her guard down and let Brad be her safe place. The first 15 years of her life were not her best. She has been through the worst but it has created the person Ishe is today. The thing she strives for most in life, is happiness- and well, Brad truly makes her happy.

Kelsey admires Brad’s genuine kindness. He rubs off on every single person he encounters. It’s how genuine he acts in every way that makes her love him more and more daily.

In their spare time, Brad and Kelsey love being homebodies. They love to snuggle and watch tv together & eat all the yummy snacks! When they do leave the house, its safe to say that the beach is their favorite place! Swimming, laying out and being on the water paddle boarding is the right way to spend summer days!

I asked Kelsey - ‘If you could go on a date, anywhere in the world, do anything you wanted, for any amount of money, what would you do (and where)?’

“We’d stay somewhere hot and tropical, maybe a hut in the Maldives on the water. “

Here are a few of their favorite people, places and things:

Texas Roadhouse
The Yard House (in MA)
Steak with Ceasar salad (meal)
My Sister’s Keeper (movie)
Moscato (Kelsey)
Beer (Brad)
Pizza Rolls
Ice Cream
Strawberries
Sweets

Together, Kelsey and Brad just purchased their FIRST home (EEK!! YAY!!!) and celebrated their one year wedding anniversary on July 10th!

Their dreams are to truly enjoy their time together after Brad’s crazy military schedule and lifestyle dies down a bit. They look forward to have kids of their own and travel with them (currently Kelsey nannies, so she has sudo-kids!)

As someone who now knows these two personally, I am SO excited to watch their beautiful lives unfold as they grow in their new home and welcome children into their amazing little family <3

Professional HMUA: Makeup by CG

“A little crazy, a little strange, a lot of caring and always there.”

Fun fact about this amazing woman… she’s a manager at Sikorsky, she’s a hockey referee and she’s expecting! ANY DAY NOW! She married her best friend and love of her life just over a year ago last July (2018) and now her and her husband will be growing their family by two little feet!

I met her last year for the first time at her wedding while I was second shooting for Hanging on a Moment Photography and absolultely adored how easy going Samantha was as a BRIDE! She grew ALL of the florals for her flower arrangements and they were stunning - OH SO STUNNING! That is where her passion is - flowers and gardening- and it shows at her home because she has gardens upon gardens and even an indoor garden to keep those beauties safe during the harsh months! We had such an amazing time capturing this beautiful woman in all of her glory as part of our 30-Women-Over-30 portrait series!!

I love you so much. Forever. Forever ever. No matter what.

I had the absolute pleasure of having Ashley and her husband Ryan in my studio for my very first intimate couples session last summer. The entire experience was breathtaking and every bit as amazing as I dreamt it to be.

Witnessing this beautiful couple love each other the way they do was so priceless and being able to give them the space to be with each other and document this brought me pure joy. Ashley is currently expecting their first baby, a sweet little girl- and I know that this baby girl is going to be raised by two parents who love each other so deeply and it gives me such peace.

Ashley is currently a childcare provider while Ryan is a submariner in the United States Navy. They are both amazing in their own ways, but together, they can have the world.