My friend Justine is an extremely talented photographer so when she offered up a boudoir photoshoot in order to build her portfolio I was intrigued. The boudoir aspect was intimidating though. When I think of boudoir photography I think of corsets and platform heels and strands of pearls and false eyelashes and red satin. There's nothing wrong with any of those things. They're just not me.

Justine had something else in mind entirely. Her goal was to use light and shadows and keep things really natural.

These photos were taken a week and a half after my second surgery. I almost cancelled because I was still a sad, stressed out, puffy mess but a small part of me felt like putting on lace knickers and forcing myself out of my comfort zone, and pretending for a couple hours that I wasn't a frumpy housewife, would at the very least provide a nice distraction.

I wasn't expecting to have so much fun. Justine is hilarious and made me feel so comfortable with a body I struggle to love. I'm awkward and a bit nerdy but Justine made me feel relaxed and beautiful. At one point she told me to "channel my inner sexy" and I couldn't help but laugh because please, have you met me? But then I saw these photos and I'm beginning to think that I may have an inner sexy and Justine found it.

I sometimes hate this broken body of mine. It's difficult not to when my scar is so prominent and unavoidable when I look in the mirror. Hormone replacement therapy and comfort eating has earned me twenty extra pounds in the last two years (I'm cringing as I type that). My deflated baby bump is visible in these shots. My hair is patchy and my skin is dry. But I don't see any of that when I look at these photos. I see a balance of strength and softness that I didn't know I possessed.

I don't mean to get all "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" on you here but I honestly feel differently about myself after doing a boudoir shoot. It's not about stripping down and taking photos in my bra and underoos. It's about loving this broken body and celebrating all it can do instead of hating how it fails me and how I fail it (I say as I eat another brownie.)

If you're interested in boudoir or family or wedding/engagement photography, I highly recommend you check out Justine's work. She's a damn ninja with her camera as well as being a genuinely nice person.

Justine B Photography / Instagram / Facebook

Blurb Giveaway

I take a lot of photos. I am constantly taking photos with my iPhone but I also love whipping out my fancy camera when I have the time / free arms / remember to charge the battery.  

I use Blurb a couple times a year to print photo books for the grandparents and I've promised myself that I will make an annual Grady photo book. I want to print my photos, to have tangible reminders of the memories I deemed worthy of photographing. 

Blurb gave me a code to make a free book of my own but they are a company I would use - and recommend - regardless. Their software is easy to use and intuitive. The quality of the books is outstanding. And their customer service is extremely responsive and helpful. 

Blurb has kindly given me a $40 code for one of my Canadian readers to use to create a photo book (or calendar!) of their own. Follow the instructions below to enter. Winner will be chosen on Friday and will be contacted by email.