Jessica A. | Boudoir Photography

There’s something I have wanted to do for a while…a looong while!   For years now I have dreamed of shooting a  boudoir session.  I’ve watched webinars, bought books and brainstormed ideas, but never knew exactly where to start.  So when my friend Jessica called and asked about doing a boudoir session for an anniversary gift I was so excited.  Seriously!  I think I was more excited than she was!

I love how raw and sultry Jessica is.  When asked what made her nervous about the shoot she said “um…being in my underwear?”  Hahaha!  Jessica is so fierce and dedicated.  She gives 110% to everything she does and this session was no exception!  Her 3 words to describe her intentions for this session were Sexy, Romantic and Feminine and she she nailed it!

Jessica’s session was the second boudoir session I have ever shot and I am so head over heels for them now!  I had so much taking these photos, from the challenge of learning something new to shooting while standing on a chair on a 20th story balcony.  So much fun in fact, that I have decided to make boudoir sessions a part of my business now!  I am really enjoying showing women how gorgeous they are and bringing out their inner beauty as well as capturing their outer beauty.  Thank you Jessica for being one of my guinea pigs and for asking me to do this!  You rock!!!

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Blue + Gray Project | Month 5 | Anora Jayne

Today is a very special day for us here in the Clark house.  One year ago today we got our first peek at the beautiful little girl that would make us parents!  It’s hard to believe it has been a year since then.  Our baby has gone from a wiggly little alien to a beautiful, sweet, smart baby girl.  She’s 5 months old and her tiny little hands hold our hearts.

This month she has learned to sit on her own for small amounts of time, roll from her tummy to her back, hold her weight on while standing and probably one of the most exciting developments for me…piggy tails!!!  This little lady is already a diva!  As soon as she puts her sunglasses on she enters “diva mode” and gets the cutest little pout and attitude.  She is definitely my child!

Also, this month we welcomed two little girls into our Ohana.  Miss Josie was born on May 8th to our friends Glory & Cameron and  Miss Lilia was born on May 13th to our neighbors Lei & Osama!  Both of these little girls are just so beautiful and I feel so blessed to have met them!

Seeing these babies has made me realize how much Anora has grown over the past 5 months.  She is so big and so smart, she just melts my heart!  So here we go!  Anora at 5 months old in all her cute little glory!

Month 1

Month 1

Month 2

Month 2

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Month 4

Month 4

This month’s cuteness:

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Megan turns 20 | Personal

Twenty years ago today, I was blessed with one of the most special gifts I have ever received- sisterhood.  I still remember when my mom told me I was going to have a baby sister or brother.  I started crying and telling her “No!  I don’t want a BABY sister!  I want on my size!”  Despite my argument, I was still given a little sister to torment and love.

Over the years she has hugged me, yelled at me and even beaten me with a metal baton.  There have been many fights and squabbles and arguments, but through it all we still love and support each other.  She is the jelly to my peanut butter and the zig to my zag.  Without her my childhood would have been a long, boring mess and I wouldn’t be who I am today.

She is now a beautiful young woman, with a loving heart and a enough drive to move a MAC truck!  She is a military spouse, a college student and (most recently) a veterinary aid.  I am so proud of her for finding the love of her life and having the courage and tenacity to go after it, even when that meant a year long deployment to the middle east.

Happy birthday Meg!  I love you and hope you enjoy your first birthday as a wife and Virginia resident.  It’s still so hard to believe how much you’ve grown!  You’re no longer the little girl with “pagetti” sauce on your face, now you are a beautiful young lady with a home and a family of your own.  Give the puppies love for us and remember to have a piece of cake!  Love you!

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Charity Mini Sessions| Photography

I love doing sessions with children!  I love families and couples too, but there’s just something so pure and innocent about shooting children’s sessions!  I love how free and natural kids are in front of the camera.  They have such a sweet, honest and open view of the world that only last for a short time.

So what better way to honor a child’s memory, then with a mini-session event dedicated to childhood?!?

On October 5th I will be holding mini-sessions to benefit the Olivia Faith Foundation.  This foundation was set up in tribute to Olivia Faith, a beautiful angel that battled a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH).  Olivia was born on October 28, 2011 and survived so many changes in her short life, including surgery while still in the womb and a surgery to repair her diaphragm at 1 week old.  Olivia survived only 51 days on in the NICU before gaining her wings on December 18, 2011.  The Olivia Faith Foundation was created by Olivia’s family to help provide support to families in similar situations.  Along with organizations like CHERUBS, the Olivia Faith Foundation is helping to raise awareness for this little known defect that claims so many lives every year.

In honor of Olivia’s 2nd birthday, I will be holding a mini-sessions event on October 5, 2013.  Sessions will be $150 and will include a 30 minute session and a gallery of at least 10 images.  50% of additional products purchased will also go to the Olivia Faith Foundation.  All products will need to be ordered by October 25th in order for the donation to be made on October 28th.

**DETAILS**

Date: Saturday, October 5th | Rain Day~ Sunday, October 6th

Times: 8:00am- 11:00am, 3:00pm- 6:00pm

Theme: Celebrating Childhood- From mismatched outfits to superheros to favorite blankets and teddy bears, please feel free to bring some of your children’s’ favorite items to use during your session. 

Location: TBA, probably off Pali Highway or at West Loch Park- Natural light

Each session will include a gallery with a minimum of 10 high resolution images

Each session will include a free gift in the mail

Sessions will be 30 minutes – so you are in, out and welcomed to go enjoy the rest of your day

Images will be available to you within a MINIMUM of 3 days after the shoot so you are able to order cards, prints, etc before the October 25th cut off.

Proceeds benefit the Olivia Faith Foundation

Investment: $150

Tickets can be purchased HERE:

http://littleflowerphoto.com/#/contact-me/

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OPSEC | Loose Lips Sink Ships

As a former sailor with a, shall we say “secret squirrel” type job, I have a special place in my heart for OPSEC.  It’s what keeps my husband save on deployment, what keeps our military men and women coming home to their families and what keeps this country in over all safety.  So what it?  Why is so important?  And how did I become such and OPSEC nazi?

OPSEC is short for Operational Security.  It is defined by the Operation Security Professional’s Association as: A systematic, proven process by which a government, organization, or individual can identify, control, and protect generally unclassified information about an operation/activity and, thus, deny or mitigate an adversary’s/competitor’s ability to compromise or interrupt said operation/activity.

So what does all that mean?  Simply put- OPSEC is a way keeping important information that could be used against us away from people that may want to hurt us.  This could anything from the range on a specific missile to where a united is located in Afghanistan to when a ship is hitting port or coming home.

Does the name USS Cole ring any bells?  On October 12, 2000 while in port in Yemen, a suicide bomber drove a boat up along side the USS Cole and ignited an explosion.  This resulted in a 40’x40′ hole in her port (left) side right at the waterline.  When the bomb went off the explosion hit the ship’s gallery and mess decks, where her crew was lining up for lunch. 17 sailor died and another 39 where injured. The crew fought for 3 days to get her flooding under control.  A dear friend of my husband’s was on board the USS Cole when the attacked happened.  According to him the crew “just did what we had to do”.  This is only one of a thousand examples why OPSEC is important.  Had the ship’s movements been unknown, had the location of their ship, the time the pulled in been kept secret, there may have been 17 more sailors returning home from deployment. Click here to read more.

I became aware of OPSEC when I first went to school for my job in the Navy.  There were posters and signs hanging all over the school house- even in the bathroom stalls.  Our instructeors made it ABUNDANTLY clear that what we did and what we were learning, didn’t leave our work area.  We had our own “code” which was really just vague, half sentences that only made sense in context, like “was question 4 sideways or native american?”.  It made sense and may of us still speak this way- at home, on smoke decks, in the Exchange- it’s part of who we are now.

So what are the rules to OPSEC and how do you know if you are breaking them?  Simple!  Keep is light and vague.  For instance:  When I would call my mom from the ship and she asked about where we were I would tell her something like “we’re in the western Pacific, about to hit port in a few days”.  I would never say anything specific like “we’re about 200 miles form the Philippines, about to pull into Subic Bay tomorrow afternoon”.

For those that may not be military or are new to the spouse game or who may just need a refresher, here’s a quick list of no-no’s you should always have in mind.  You can get the full list here. Also, you can click here to download the OPSEC Facebook Guide.

Do not post last names of service members.  You can right all about how proud you are of a Private Timmy, just leave out his last name (and with a name like Schmuckatellie, why wouldn’t you!)

Don’t use specifics.  While we all know you’re excited your marine’s flight comes in on Oct. 5th at 12:17, you shouldn’t post it.  Knowing he will be home this week is more than enough (at least until your “headed tothe airport post on the 5th).  Srg. Johnson being in Iraq is enough info for his family and friends, they don’t need to know he’s 14 miles NNE of Camelaka or attached to the John Smith FOB.

Never post itineraries or troop movements.  I can’t say this one enough!  Knowing that the USS Liberty is pulling in the first half of June or between June 2-10 is a LOT different that know she comes in the morning of June 6th.  Being told by Cpl. Jimmy that he has to do a road sweep tomorrow or go outside the wire is ILLEGAL.  If your service member is telling you these things, please report them to their chain of command.  This is a danger to everyone!!!!

Don’t write/say specific jobs.  Even now, I don’t usually say what I did in the Navy.  When someone asks, I politely answer “I worked with computers” or “bean counting”.  It’s not a lie, but a very vague truth.  This was something even my mom had to learn.  as proud as she was, shouldn’t just brag to to whole world.  It’s kind of like saying “I work at Gap” verses “I fold ugly sweaters and hang up clothes all day”.

Don’t post where your husband is ported. Ask yourself this: could someone with bad intentions who knows my husband is gone (because I said so on Facebook) use this information to make me think he knows my husband or make my husband think he knows or has been in contact with me? If so, don’t post it.

Don’t post where you’re service member is stationed.  This goes hand-in-hand with no specifics.  For instance: “We’re stationed at Norfolk Naval base” is okay.  “He works over at Pacific fleet in the all-about-submarines department” is not.

Don’t ask for prayers or good thoughts because your service member is on a mission.  Seriously, you may as well hang a “Out to War, At Coordinates 045, 287″ sign on their door.  If you feel it must be done, try asking for prayers because “my family could use them” or “Jerry is going through so stuff”.

Overall, just be conscious and what are you are saying.  Greg may only be a Private working in supply and may seem harmless, but there are wicked people out there.  Terrorists use little bits of information from here and there to piece the puzzle together.  Think of it as a general idea- do I want everyone on Facebook to know I’m home alone with the kids?  Do I want the world to know who my son is, what he does and when he comes and goes?   Be smart, be safe and if you’re not sure DON’T POST IT!

Vintage OPSEC 4

The hole in the side of the USS Cole as a result of the explosion.

USS Cole 2

The crew of the USS sleeping on deck as a result of the damage.

USS Cole 3

Vintage OPSEC posters, some of which still hang in the school house today.

Vintage OPSEC 1

A few new OPSEC posters…just to keep up with the times!

OPSEC 2

OPSEC 4

Lessons Learned

You know those times when you feel like you’re on top of the world, then life decides to bring you back down to reality?  Today is one of those times.  I really though I was cat’s pajamas (who came up with that saying?) and that I was going to change people’s lives for the better…then reality struck, fast and hard.  But I’m just rambling, I guess I should start from the beginning.

About 6 weeks ago, I had an I idea- no not an idea, a great idea, maybe even a revelation!- I was going to make people happy.  No! More than happy…I was going to make people feel beautiful and accept themselves for the gorgeous creatures they are!  And how was I going to do this (like you really have to ask, right)? With pictures!!!  Sexy pictures!! Half-naked pictures!?! Excited- and more than a little impressed with myself- I called my friend Melody and started bouncing ideas off of her.  She was so very excited and help me come up with the concept that most women feel better about themselves when they lose a few pounds.  Perfect!  It was a new year and everyone makes the resolution to loss weight anyway.

Next, I put in a phone call  to my BFF Kristy down in Florida and told her “I want to take boudoir pictures of curvy women and make them love themselves!”- or something on those lines.  After about 2 hours- and lots of sidetracks- I decided I was going to get a group of women together and have them set goals for themselves. What are they going to eat? What are they not going to eat? When are they going to exercise and how? The main goal was to set realistic goals they could keep for 2 weeks, then to celebrate their goals we would do a boudoir shoot at the end of the 2 weeks.

So I wrote a blog to announce that I was working on an event.  Then I hashed out some ideas and wrote- you guessed it- another blog!  This time I laid out more of my plan and even told the dreaded story of my issues with weight and self image.  I created a Facebook event page and had a couple people join.  Whoo hoo! Now I knew this was going to be a hit.  I set up the date for our “kick off” meeting and started working on the details: questionnaires, goal sheets, helpful links, even a slide show.

That brings up to today.  I got up and started getting ready to go to my big kick off meeting.  I curled my hair, did my make-up and careful chose my outfit (i.e. I changed 4 times and threw everything in a pile on the floor).  I gathered my camera bag, lap top and all the paperwork.  Then I kissed my husband and left the house – screaming “I love you! Sorry!  I’m going to be late!”-  as usual.  I got to the Panera in Virginia Beach I had chosen to meet at and ran inside to look for a big table and the ladies I was meeting.  Then I noticed two things, no big tables and no ladies.  No one showed up!I sent out a couple of Facebook messages and sat there, trying not to cry in the middle of Panera at lunch time.  I was so mad and so hurt!  After about 20 mins I headed out to my car, broke down and then drove home.  Needless to say, my husband was surprised to see me so soon and even more surprised to see me crying and upset.  I told him what happened, vented a little and finally calmed down. Then I checked my phone for messages.  And there it was, the truth staring me in the face!  A message from one of the ladies that had signed up.  It said “Everyone thought it was yesterday. I had planned to be there yesterday…”.   I was horrified!  In all my planning and work I never checked to see if I put the correct day up on the event page!  I also forgot to write in the event group and keep everyone updated on times, locations and all the big details.

I was so upset at everyone for not showing up that I didn’t think the fault could be my own.  I was swearing that I was going to cancel the event and never do anything like this again.  Now that I see where I went wrong, I just feel foolish.  I was an analyst for goodness sake!!!! How could I have made such a dumb mistake?  Now, we all do it and we all feel foolish after the fact.  Is my epic idea of making women love themselves a disaster? NO! Have I killed anyone? NO! But I have made some ladies rather upset.  For that, I apologize and I want you all to know there WILL be a boudoir event before I move out of Virginia Beach.  And this time, I will double check my details!

Courage Charisma Confidence Part 2- The Challenge

I know you must be thinking, “WE WANT DETAILS!”.  Well, I don’t blame you.  This is a a whole new level to not just photography, but life in general! So how is this going to work?  What do we have to do?  When do we start?  What are these goals you spoke of?  Well let’s start from the top.

You know how this time of year, there are 800 commercials and magazine ads for weight loss pills, diets plans and everything in between -all juice diet, anyone?  Well, as tempting as those are, lets give them the cold shoulder and an eye roll this year. Here’s the big challenge- are you ready? I challenge all of us, for two whole weeks to eat healthier and get out and exercise.

All my soda addicts (yes, my hand is up on this one too) let’s put down those cans- and big gulps- and grab a couple glasses of water, maybe even a V-8.  My sugar fans (my hand’s up again) let’s put down the zebra cakes (I know, I know! But they’re so good!) and grab some fruit.  YOU! With the Cheetos!  Put those down and grab some whole grain crackers instead.  Instead of fad diets & false promises, lets fill up on the good stuff!

I asked some ladies today what they viewed as their worst aspects. Big surprise that 6 out of 7 women had tummy fat on their lists. I also saw legs, booty and even “turkey neck” on the list!  I know this is no surprise to anyone, so here’s one for you.  What if I said I want to take pictures of you modeling all those spots that make you go “ick”?  I want you to model those baby bellies, the thunder thighs.  I’ll even throw in my dimply legs (I know we ALL wanted to know that :-) ) and the second most popular answer: the ta-tas.  Let’s have a good time and poke a little fun at ourselves.

This will be our “before” session.  This is a casual session where we will laugh and joke and show off all the yucky parts- you know the ones- that we wish would shrink and disappear overnight.  I expect normal daily clothes (yes, jammies are exceptable!) and lots of Lucille Ball worthy faces.  I want to show who we are.  I want to see the self-conscience, flawed feelings that we all feel.  These will be done in the comfort of your own home or where ever you would prefer.

The Investment: Of course you will have to put in a little and effort on this project, but the juice- and hopefully tushy- are well worth the squeeze!  The price for this event is only $125 per person.  This will include: 2 weeks of support and motivation from real, local women (including 2 meeting during the challenge); 2 weeks of small workout challenges to meet your lifestyle and schedule; a “before” shoot showing who you are and how beautiful you and all your “flaws” are; small, personal goals for you to meet during your 2 week challenge; an on-location “after” shoot with  cheesecake style portraits to show off your new confidence and body (hair and make up included) and complimentary slice of cheesecake during your session to celebrate meeting-or exceeding- your goals.

To sign up visit http://www.littleflower.com and send me message in the “contact” page.  Make sure to type “CCC” in the type of event box.  Our kick off meeting will be on January 27th and “after” portraits will be Feb. 9th-10th.

The Inside Scoop (make it a double scoop!)

When I was a kid, going through puberty I was…well, chunky.  When I hit high school I filled out, but I was still SUPER self-conscience.  Sophomore year, I began to feel very pressured and I became bulimic.  I was begged by friends to stop, but it wasn’t until senior year that I truly gained control of my disorder.

This was me my senior year of high school

This was me my senior year of high school

A year later I joined the Navy.  At that point I was 4′ 10 1/2″ and weighed 112 lbs.  I went through boot camp and actually gained abs!  In June, 2007 I was stationed here in Virginia Beach for  A school where I met the man I would later marry.  When I left the Navy in 2007, I weighed a whooping 118 lbs (shortly before that I was eating a box of blueberry pop-tarts every night on watch).

In Japan in April, 2008

In Japan in April, 2008

On leave with my baby sister in August, 2008

On leave with my baby sister in August, 2008

AT Brevard Zoo while on leave in August, 2008

AT Brevard Zoo while on leave in August, 2008

In 2010, I moved back here to Virginia Beach and married my A school sweetheart.  I was out of work for about 4 months and gained a good 15 lbs.  Then my husband went to Iraq for a year and I gained a bit more.

On my honeymoon on July, 2010

On my honeymoon in July, 2010

For the past 18 months, my husband and I have been trying to have a baby.  A few months ago I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) , which makes it a bit harder for me to conceive.  In November, we got a positive pregnancy test and jumped up and down for days.   Recently, we found out that the pregnancy was non-viable. I currently weigh in at 155 lbs, which on someone less than 5 feet, makes me feel like an umpa-lumpa.  I have dieted, purged, starved and exercised, but with the PCOS, I have a harder time than most with losing weight.

This was taken Jan. 20, 2013

This was taken Jan. 20, 2013

Jan. 20, 2013

Jan. 20, 2013

Me at my biggest on Jan. 20, 2013

Me at my biggest on Jan. 20, 2013

This is why I want to do this project!  I’m not a gym rat or a work out buff.  I’m just a normal chick with the label “obese” and hard time losing weight.  I look back at how I looked 7 years ago and I feel ashamed.  I have no kids to blame, no real reason to look this way.  I think of how small my waist was and my old pants size and I feel guilty and flawed and huge.  I want to remind myself and others, that we are beautiful and our “flaws” help tell the story of who we are.

Every little wrinkle, every stretch mark, every scar is there because of who we are and what we went through to get to this point in our lives.  Just because we don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model, doesn’t mean we don’t all deserve to feel like one every now and again.  So let’s show the world what real women look like!  So we’re more than magazine “ideal”.  So we have a little wear and tear around the edges.  With a little bit of courage, some charisma and bit more confidence we can change the world!!!