*She is Beautiful!*
I met Dani in July 2007. She was VERY pregnant with her first daughter, Abigail. I immediately loved her and knew that she, along with her husband George, was someone to keep in my life. We're two artsy girls with a love for photography, how could we not be buddies?!
When I went to visit her in the hospital after delivering Abi, she joked with me saying, "When are you going to have a baby??!". I laughed it off thinking that it was something totally out of my near future. Low and behold, 9 months later, my daughter was born. I'm pretty convinced in her newly mothering state that she had a sixth sense.. The I-can-tell-you-are-going-to-be-a-mom sense.
The past 5 years have flown by, with Dani and George having 2 more daughters, Autumn and Avery. They are growing up way too fast! Although we don't get to see each other nearly enough, the times we do see each other are always full of motherly bonding, hilarious children playing, and so much happiness. She is one of the greatest women I know.
She has not only been raised as a beautifully strong woman, but she is also raising her daughters the same way. Talk about a role model!
One of the most incredible miracles of life is the creation of it. Becoming a mom has been such an amazing experience. Not only am I shaping the life of another, but I now have someone else helping to shape my life. I saw a quote a few months ago that was from a mother to her child that said: "No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you. After all, you're the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside." I think that is a perfect description of what motherhood is like.
Megan and I have been friends for seven years now. We went through 2 years of college together, both studying photography. She was there for me after my daughter was born, and now I'm excited to be there for her during her journey into motherhood. She has been an amazing friend and an important part of both my life and my daughter's. I'm so lucky to have a friend like Megan. I took her True Beauty picture when she was about 4 months along.
A BIG congratulations to Megan and her husband Dan, on the birth of their beautiful baby boy, Dexter James. I am so excited for you two!! Here is a picture of the adorable Dexter, who weighed a whopping 10 lbs. 4 oz. and was 23 in. long!!
Another (soon-to-be) mom that I was so excited to photograph this past weekend was the lovely Kristy. Growing up, Kristy lived right across the street from my family and was best friends with my oldest sister, Leslie. Since the beginning, when her and Leslie would organize talent shows with all the neighborhood kids, I knew she would make a great mom. Not only does she have a smile that can light up a room, but she also has a heart of gold!
Six months... A lot can happen in just six months.
It was mid February and my boyfriend's mother, Anne Marie had woken up not feeling well. She had a severe headache and was starting to lose her balance. Shortly after telling her family about how she felt, a blood vessel bursted in her head and she passed out. While unconscious, her mother and her son tried to carry her to the couch while her daughter called 911. She remained unconscious until at the hospital, where she was sedated. It was a scary moment for her family. No one was sure what was happening.
The next morning Nic received a phone call from the doctor. They needed to put a tube into his mother's head to drain the blood out of her brain. In order to do so, they would have to shave the hair off the top of her head. Nic knew that this could save his mother's life.
After 6 weeks of Intensive Care and in-hospital rehabilitation, Anne Marie was able to go home. She had gained back a lot of her physical strength and her brain was connecting more and more each day. She had realized fairly quickly that the top of her hair was gone. She told me that she was feeling like she had lost part of her womanhood.
Sometimes we focus on our physical appearance to define ourselves as women. Long hair, big eyelashes, full lips, big breasts... All of these are a part of the idea of femininity. Although I struggle with these thoughts occasionally as well, I try to remember that who I am, along with the beauty that I possess, isn't determined by what I look like.
Anne Marie is a fighter. She is a woman not defined by her struggles but defined by her strength. I took her True Beauty picture exactly 7 weeks after her first day in the hospital. She could not be any more beautiful.
I am very impressed by the progress she has already made and can't wait to see how much more she will make. What an inspiration!
*She is Beautiful!*
This is my grandma, Eliades Allende. She was born in Puerto Rico and came to America as a teen. Shortly after, she met my grandpa. They have now been married for over 50 years!
Ever since I was little, I remember how much I loved listening to my grandma's stories. She may have one of the cutest accents ever, but she also has an incredible strength and an amazing heart. I have learned a lot about faith and commitment from her.
In 2001, the day before 9/11, her father passed away. That next year, on 9/9/02 she lost one of her sons. Through all of this she has shown how amazing of a woman she is. Her smile and laughter has brought so much joy to my life and to the lives of others!
She is not only known for are her fantastic fashion sense but also for her sassy dance moves!!
*She is Beautiful!*
Emily is an amazing photographer (http://www.facebook.com/photographe.is) and an incredible person. Although we live far apart, I still consider her to be a close friend.
When I came up with my True Beauty project I knew I had to tell her. We talked about where I hoped the project would go and she had nothing but positive things to say about it!
Soon after taking her True Beauty picture, she photographed a fundraiser that I was helping with. She handed me a small brown paper bag and a letter. Inside the bag was a bracelet with the word 'Beautiful' on it (as seen on the home screen of my page). The letter was just as wonderful, saying, "It takes true courage to go beyond having beliefs and convictions to acting on those". That has been such a motivation for me.
The bracelet is my daily reminder to always see the beauty in others.
*She is Beautiful!*
Before taking a shower one night, I went to take my bracelet off. It slipped right through my fingers and broke on the tile floor. I wanted to cry.
Although it may sound silly, to me, there is a certain symbolism to my broken bracelet. Although the word is broken, it still is 'beautiful'. We may feel down or broken at times in our lives, but we are always beautiful. We just need to be reminded sometimes.
Soon after this happened I received the picture below, and a text that said, "Replacements!!! (one for Bella too!)".
In just a couple of days I will be 25 years old. My little sister Madison, who is a year and a day younger than my daughter, is 3. It might be a little confusing, but just go with it.
I wanted to start my True Beauty project off with family. Bringing over my stamp and camera to the house, I asked Madison if I could take her picture, and she was pretty excited. What little kid doesn't love having their hand stamped and saying cheese?! After that, I asked her if she knew what her hand said. She, being only 2 at the time, had no idea. I told her it said the word 'Beautiful' and that I stamped her with it because she is beautiful. She looked up at me with her big hazel eyes and gave me a great big smile. I knew right there that I was already feeling the effects of the positive message this project was all about.
Madison is not only full of energy and giggles.. She is also full of knowledge. She has an incredible love for animals that I hope she continues to develop. I love my little sis more than I can type in this blog.
*She is beautiful.*
Hello person reading this! Thank you for stopping by :)
I'm using this blog as a way to start sharing, what I am calling, my True Beauty Project. This project began in early February and has already blossomed into a passionate campaign. I have photographed about 77 women so far and, in the process, have both shared and heard stories of true beauty in action. I wanted a way to keep these stories going, to spread this message of what true beauty really means, and to keep myself motivated in finding beauty in the people, and things, around me.
I'd like to thank all of the women who have already participated in this project, and for all the support from my family and friends. One of my biggest supporters is my wonderful boyfriend, Nic, who has had to endure my crazy passion for this project since day one. I seriously couldn't thank you all enough!
I'm extremely excited about sharing this project and hopefully other projects in the future!
Thanks for reading!
*You Are Beautiful*