She hadn't felt sexy in years | Mother's Day Boudoir Celebration

It's May! A month full of holidays & celebrations - Star Wars Day, Cinco de Mayo, Kentucky Derby, National Burger Day, Memorial Day...but the most important one, is Mother's Day! I dunno, maybe it's the whole baby-in-my-uterus thing, but I've got moms on the brain in a big way this year and feel like celebrating motherhood ALL month long. 

I love photographing all women and making them feel beautiful, but I'll admit it - I have a special place in my heart for my mama clients. Probably because I am one and it was my rocky start at motherhood that actually lead me to the empowering world of boudoir photography. So, I decided to focus my blog on MOMS all month long. Each week I'll be featuring a different beautiful mama and her unique story. 

First up, we have Miss S. This lady here captured my heart in one single sentence in her very first email to me, "Honestly, I haven't felt sexy in....the PC answer is years....but the true answer is decades." UGH. That right there breaks my heart, and is why I do this. I'm positively certain that she's not alone with these feelings, and it's my mission to change the way so many women see themselves. To show them that they ARE beautiful and sexy. 

Sometimes we like to sneak a few headshots in too...you know, since you're all glammed up. 

What made you want to do a boudoir session? 

"I had been feeling for a while like it was time to break out of the norm, but I couldn’t quite figure out what that next step needed to be. I was a 50 year old, divorced, single mom - so much of my life was defined for me that I was feeling like I just wanted something that was me. 

I saw your post looking for women for a boudoir shoot and I thought - that’s it!  I had never considered a boudoir shoot before. I literally submitted an application before I had a chance to think about it. Once I hit send….I panicked.  I thought, who are you kidding Sandy? You are definitely not a boudoir model."

(You see, most of my clients don't walk in feeling like "models" who are ready to take it all off and have their photos taken. They're doing this because they don't, and they need a little pick-me-up.)

[On the day of the shoot, when I left the studio I felt...] 

"Liberated, like nothing was off limits now.

I was always that kid who followed the rules, colored inside the lines, raised my hand, finished my homework before playing. 

I did the same in adult life - married my college BF, had 3 kids, made my family my top priority. But then divorce, going back to work full time, and raising 3 boys alone - it felt like there was simply nothing left of me. And I had completely lost what it was like to be and feel desirable."

After seeing your photos and getting your heirloom box, how did it make you feel? Did it change the way you see yourself and your confidence? 

"Without a doubt, yes! Desire is in the mind. The photo shoot opened that door back up. 
Free the mind, the body will follow where ever you want it to go."

(Rawr! Yea, girl!)

What would you tell other women who are considering this experience for themselves? 

"Do it!  Do it now, Do it today, Do it for yourself. If you want to become the best version of you, you have to be willing to step outside of your box and go where it is uncomfortable.

There’s an old fable about the lobster.  The lobster stays in his “home” until he starts to outgrow it. He knows it’s time to shed it and build a new home when the old one becomes uncomfortable. Everything he tries to do becomes harder and harder with the old home. So, when he’s finally had enough, he sheds the old, crawls under a rock to retool a new one, and then emerges when it’s ready. He would never know he needed a new one without that discomfort."

"Doing the boudoir shoot with Mandy was my discomfort. But the funny thing was - the only discomfort I had was in making the decision. Because from there - Mandy made it so incredibly comfortable, I literally left her studio laughing at myself for making such a big deal out of it in my head."

Thank YOU, Miss S for sharing your story and photos with us. Helping you reclaim a portion of yourself that had been lost, gives me the warm and fuzzies. 

To all the mama's out there, I see you. I know how much this joyous life can give, and take of you. If you're in need of a day all to yourself, to reconnect with the WOMAN who is there at your core, lost in the daily grind of #momlife...get in touch. Mandy Merino Photography is a boudoir portrait studio located in Orange County, CA (with a trip to Central Kentucky on the books in June). We're dedicated to empowering women via intimate portraiture in a loving, empowering and judgement free space. It's way more than just sexy photos - it can be a life changing experience. Each session is planned unique to you, and your comfort zone. 

Trust Miss S - reaching out truly is the hardest part. After you send that initial email, I'll take care of you every step of the way. 

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Boss Babe Spotlight: DAHLIA BOUTIQUE | OC Lingerie & Bra Boutique

Welcome to the OC Boss Babe Spotlight! #ocbossbabespotlight

What’s that, you ask? It’s a monthly feature on my blog where I’ll be spotlighting local Southern California female-run businesses, who are doing their part to empower women! In case you haven’t noticed, a big part of what I believe and do here is empower women. I think a woman who knows her worth and recognizes her beauty is unstoppable!

Have you ever heard that you should surround yourself with people who inspire you and you can learn from? That’s where the inspiration for this blog series is born. My personal desire to meet, interview and photograph some of the most badass, hard-working, confident lady-bosses in LA & Orange County. 

This month, I'm featuring Dahlia Boutique located at 246 Main St, Seal Beach, CA. As an Orange County boudoir photographer, I spend a lot of time shopping for lingerie. You know what's most surprising...the lack of local lingerie shops (especially outside of the mall)! So when I stumbled upon Dahlia, I had to get my butt in there ASAP. Then, when I met the fabulous women working in there, I wanted to know more!

Here's what they had to say...

How did Dahlia Boutique get started, or what was the inspiration? 
Dahlia Lingerie and Bra Boutique was created for women who have a hard time finding their bra size; those hard to find sizes and styles.  A wonderful alternative to chain lingerie stores that only carry basic sizes.  A place where women can get a professional bra fitting and walk out embracing their bodies and feeling beautiful.  

orange-county-lingerie-boutique
orange-county-lingerie-shop

Can you tell us a little about the owner?
Leticia is a strong, independent business woman who opened this boutique to help other women. She always found that the department stores didn't carry her size either. She found her niche and embraced it. Lety has been a member of the Junior League of Long Beach and a volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club. She is very involved in her community and giving back to others.

orange-county-bridal-lingerie

How did it find it's home in Seal Beach?
Seal Beach is a charming beach community filled with families. Main St is definitely a wonderful place to shop with many one of a kind boutiques and local owned stores. When Lety came across 246 Main St and found a corner location, she knew it was meant to be! With so many growing families, moms need a local place to shop for their unmentionables without having to go all the way to the mall. A place they can easily go to after work or while the kids are in school.

orange-county-lingerie-store
orange-county-lingerie-shop

How do you choose which brands and styles that you want to carry? 
We carry a variety of brands. Some are widely known and trusted brands, others are smaller designers who have specialty lines that are unique and hard to find. We love to find brands that are beautiful and well made of course, but also brands that offer the 28-30 bands and the 38-44 bands. You would be surprised how many women come into the store wearing 36DD and walk out in a 32F.

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Most important thing women should know about buying the perfect bra? 
GET FITTED!!  Not once, not twice, but every time you buy a bra. Women's bra sizes can change on average 6 times in their lifetime.  Gaining or losing a few pounds can mean a different bra size. Having babies and/or stopping breastfeeding can change your size (DRAMATICALLY!!!). Age and hormones change them as well.  Get fitted at least every year.  We recommend getting a new bra every 6-9 months.  

orange-county-lingerie
Kierstin Shettlesworth,  Assistant Manager at Dahlia

Kierstin Shettlesworth, Assistant Manager at Dahlia

What are your favorite things about working in the lingerie industry? 
I love helping ladies find a new version of themselves.  Teaching them about the importance of a proper fitting bra and how it can make a world of difference.   Ladies love to shop, there is no doubt about that, but it's often our undergarments that need the most attention.  There is nothing like having your bra and panties match!  You walk a little taller and feel like you really have it all together, at least that day!


While I was in there chatting, we got to talking about bra fitting parties - which is something they offer - and I just knew I had to throw one! So, join us this THURSDAY, 11/10 from 6pm - 8pm. The Dahlia ladies will be offering up complimentary bra fittings, and I'll be bringing the wine & champagne. If you've ever been curious to meet me and ask your boudoir session questions, this is a great time to do so. There will also be a killer doorprize! Every lady who attends will get her name added to a drawing for a chance to win a complimentary boudoir session with Mandy Merino Photography, and either a chemise or bra and panty set from Dahlia Boutique (offer good until February 14th, 2017).

orange-county-ladies-night-out

Get more information over on the Facebook event page. Button below will take you straight there. 

Hope to see you there!


Are you, or someone you know, a Boss Babe in the Southern California area committed to empowering women? If you'd like a chance to be featured on my blog, please get in touch via the form below! 

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Moody Milk Bath :: OC Boudoir Studio

If I could have a second dream job (in addition to being a boudoir photographer), it would be working with the person who creates the soundtrack for a movie. I'm not sure what that exact title is, but, I think that would be so much fun. Nothing makes me happier than listening to awesome music while creating beautiful art. And that's exactly what I felt while creating this collection of images. We listened to an entire Radiohead album during the shoot, so it seemed only fitting to use their new song in the video for this session. Turns out, it perfectly represents the mood and vision for this shoot. 

Listen to it loudly and enjoy! 

SONG: Spectre, by Radiohead

I wanna hear what songs/bands/artists inspire you! Comment below with your inspiration. I love the idea of developing a concept for a shoot based on the inspiration of one album or musician. 

#boudoirisart

You definitely still "got it" momma!

This woman right here, is the poster child for my boudoir philosophy and mission. I RELATE to her on so many levels. Helping women like her reclaim their sensuality in a totally fun, relaxed and artist experience and walk away with a new-found confidence is why I do what I do. 

So many women think or say, “Oh, I wanna wait until I lose the baby weight to have my shoot.” I absolutely, totally get that. However, what if instead of waiting, you accept the person you are TODAY (stretch marks and extra pounds) and capture this beautiful time in your life. I don’t know about you, but my breast-feeding boobs were pretty amazing! ;) How cool would it be to have photos to remember that unique version of you? 

"I wanted to do something for myself that would make me feel a little like my old self, since having the twins. It was time to get out of the yoga pants, take the mom bun down, and put some makeup on."

"I am not as comfortable in my skin since having my babies. It took some guts to strip down into so little, but I knew I could do it. As much as I would like to be skinner and more fit, I know that my body created two little humans, at the same time! And that, is pretty amazing."

What was your favorite part of the experience?

 "I think I would have to go just the interaction with Mandy. She really made it feel like I was just hanging around with a girlfriend and taking photos."

"I was able to see that I still got it! Under all the spit up, sweat and whatever else there is, I am still that sexy woman that my husband says I always was."

Mrs K, thank you so much for sharing your photos and experience with us! You absolutely, without a doubt, definitely still GOT IT. You're a goddess, and your husband...he's one lucky man. 

And to those of you reading, wondering if you still have "it"...you do! I promise. If you need me to show you, get in touch and I can answer all your questions. 

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Miss A

I'm so excited to feature this beauty in my very first blog post. It's fitting, as she was one of the first few women to walk through my doors and entrust me with her boudoir experience. The moto and motivation for her shoot was YOLO! "...you only live once, and one day I would like to look back at myself and see my full sexy potential."

I agree, girl! You're a badass sexy woman. We all need a little reminder from time to time. 

"My favorite part was the effect before and after the shoot. Before the shoot I started exercising more, taking care of my skin and hair, thinking about what I wanted to look like as a sexy model. After the shoot I felt sexier than ever, kept talking care of myself and I knew for a fact I was sexy because I had seen the pictures and it was proof! "

Any advice for other women considering a boudoir session of their own?

"Do it ASAP. It brought me out of a funk I had been in for a couple years and motivated me to be who I really want, it was the exact kick in the pants I needed. You can either spend the money on a shrink, or sexy photos. " 

 

Let me help you see your full sexy potential! Get in touch and let's chat about what a session planned just for you would look like. 

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