Stepping out on a limb

I have a confession: I’m easily intimidated by other people.  I’m told I come off as super confident, but inside, I’m a shaking, quaking mess.

I attend a lot of public networking events and things like that to promote what I do.  They make me sick to my stomach!  I literally give myself a pep talk every time I pull into the parking lot for one and talk myself into getting out of the car.  That is why what I’m about to tell you is So awesome!

A few weeks ago, I spoke at one of these events.  I spoke about bullshit.  I try really hard to make this a bullshit free zone, which is why I made the confession at the beginning of this post.  How can I expect you to trust me, if I’m not 100% honest with you about who I am, and what I stand for?

I would love to hear what you think about my talk, and if you’d like to be my guest for a monthly meeting of Sparks Talks, let me know.  I’d be glad to have you!

https://sparkstalk.com/they-many-types-of-bs-jennifer-bartlett-phelps-sparks-february-2016/

A “Can’t Mess Up” checklist for your very first session

Planning your first session with me is SO easy, but a lot of women can feel overwhelmed with it, and worry that they’re missing important steps.  I’ve put together a comprehensive checklist of everything you should do when planning your session.

  • Choose your date and time
  • Sign and return your contract, and pay your creation fee
  • Decide on your “outfits”.  (Most sessions include 3, but if you need help narrowing them down, it’s okay to bring more)
  • Make sure anything that needs ironed is, and is wrinkle free for the best images
  • Be sure to pack shoes, jewelry and any other accessories
  • If spray tanning (which I do not recommend) do it at least 2 weeks prior to your session
  • If waxing, make sure to do it a few days before to ensure proper healing time
  • Make sure nails are neat and trimmed.  Polish is nice, but not necessary
  • If applying your own makeup, apply it slightly darker than you’d normally wear it.
  • Relax and have fun!

Want more details?  Sign up for my “Amazing Session Planner” here. It has everything you need to know and more!

10 things I love about serving women

I love my job.  It’s not just a job or just my business,  but a labor of love and service.

Service.

Maybe that sounds strange, but I see what I do as taking care of you; your confidence, your sense of sensuality, your soul.  I choose to serve women (and some men) because I understand what you need, and I want to give it to you.  Why do I choose to serve you?  I compiled a little list:

  1. Your nervous laughter.  I know your afraid you can’t do this when you step into my dressing room for the first time.  I also know your about blossom in front of my eyes.
  2. That moment when you relax (about 20 frames into the session) and you start to embrace it.  The gleam in your eyes, the breath through parted lips, and connection you make with my lens.  I know your about to let me capture something amazing, that will make you incredibly proud.
  3. Your bravery and trust.  You barely know me, but when I ask about fixing a strap or a stray piece of hair, you quickly tell me to just do it, you trust me.  I take that trust very seriously, and I honor it.
  4. The excitement in your eyes when I act all silly and dance around at a shot I know is absolutely perfect! (I can’t hide my excitement either.)
  5. The look on your face when you see your finished images for the first time.  The tear that’s often shed at how beautiful you look.  I can’t even put that feeling into words.
  6. The way you feel when you leave my studio, your head held a little higher.  Your pride at the inner woman you’d forgotten was there, and the awesomeness she possesses.
  7. When I look at you I see myself, and every woman I’ve ever known.  I see the self-criticism and list of faults, and I want to help you forget them.
  8. You are amazing, strong, passionate, sensual, and fabulous.  I want you to know it.
  9. I want to help you embrace who you are, so together we can help our daughters embrace who they are.
  10. You are important.

7 Reasons to fall head over heels in love with yourself

February.  A month full of hearts, roses and romance.  Many of us put a lot of time and money into someone else this month, but we neglect the person we should love the most, ourselves.  I’m not saying we should be selfish, self-serving jerks, but I am saying that we should love who we are first and foremost.  It’s the only true to path real happiness.  So, here are 7 reasons to fall in love with you:

  1. You are the only person you HAVE to live with for the rest of your life.
  2. If you don’t treasure who you are, no one else will either.
  3. Loving yourself will help you to steer clear of those who don’t deserve you.
  4. We all have physical flaws, but we are all beautiful in our own way.  When you love who you are, those flaws seem much smaller and less important.
  5. You are a role model to someone. Show them what they are worth by valuing yourself.
  6. You were created perfect in your imperfection.  Embrace the imperfections.
  7. YOU ARE AMAZING!

Ways to work out when you’re totally bored with all the usual stuff

I don’t know about you, but I despise aerobics classes.  They aren’t fun, and I find myself comparing my body (and my heavy breathing) to everyone around me.  But, I do like getting some exercise, and building strength.  Besides the endorphin rush, I love that it helps me feel in control of my body.

I am always in search of new ways to work out that are fun, but don’t really feel like work.  I’m not one of those chicks who gets up at 5 am to run a mile.  Never going to happen.

Over the last few years I’ve tried a couple of different things that I really enjoyed, and I thought they would appeal to you too.

  1. Pole fitness.  That’s right, a fitness class that centers around a stripper pole.  It’s WAY harder than you expect.  If you’re like me and your upper body strength has drastically decreased with age, you’ll find this an especially challenging work out.  From floor work, to spins all the way to inversions (stuff where you go upside down) this work out has it all.  It’s a major core workout, but you’ll learn some pretty cool moves in the process.  FYI, it’s a little addicting.  I bought my own pole for at home not long after I started taking classes.
  2. Burlesque dance classes.  You got it; it’s sexy dancing in heels and awesome outfits, but it’s hard work too.  I haven’t actually tried this one yet, but I plan on enrolling in the first class that fits my schedule!
  3. Trampoline aerobics.  Did you know that those places with wall to wall trampolines for kids often have and adult aerobic class a couple times a week?  I’ve only tried this one once, but it was super fun.  Your legs will scream at you the next day though, so be prepared for lots of ibuprofen.  Since it’s on a trampoline it’s easy on your joints, and it brings out the kid in you again.

I hope you’ll give one of these a try, and who knows, maybe we’ll end up in class together!

Why absolutely nothing is wrong with your body

January always seems to be the time where most of the world declares they need to lose weight.  Sometimes that means we start out on some crazy diet.  Hopefully for most of us it means resolving to make better choices.  While that is a great thing for our overall health, we tend to focus more on how our bodies look.  We scrutinize all of our perceived “flaws” and usually end up feeling worse about ourselves.

There is nothing wrong with your body.  Women come in all shapes and sizes, and they are all beautiful and sexy.  If we all looked the same, life would be so incredibly boring.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of this January self-loathing too.  But what I need to remind myself, and you do too, is that it’s natural to gain a few pounds as the weather cools down, and it’s natural to drop those few pounds when it warms back up.  People in general are more active in the summer than in the winter.

Here’s what I know for sure: I see all different kinds of women, and no matter what their body shape or style is, their boudoir images are always fantastic.  And it has nothing to do with Photoshop! (I don’t change anyone’s body in Photoshop anyway.) It’s because they are embracing themselves, loving themselves, and enjoying the process.  That inner beauty shines through in their images, and nothing else really matters.

Why I am no longer satisfied with “the norm”, and what I’m doing about it.

It’s a new year, which for me means it’s time to re-evaluate where I am, what I want and how I intend to get there.  I’ve had a lot of changes in my personal life in the last year, the main one being that I decided to end my marriage, a relationship that had lasted 20 years.  Regardless of your feelings about divorce and marriage, there comes a time in every woman’s life when you find yourself unhappy and off track, and you have to make a major change of some kind.

The biggest change I’m making this year: I’m no longer accepting anything just because it’s what everyone else does.  Lots of people are unhappy for a myriad of reasons, and they choose to stay that way because they fear the unknown or because it’s too much work.  I refuse to live my life by default.  I truly believe that we all have the power to change our circumstances, and it’s all about mindset.

I choose to believe I am capable, beautiful, and worth it.  I choose to believe that I can have anything I want in this world, and I choose to believe that you can too.

They say that a rising tide raises all ships, and I believe that to be true.  My mission here at Alter Ego Imaging is to provide a fun, safe environment for you to connect with and embrace your inner self, and to have an emotional and empowering experience that transcends the physical.  It’s in the service of that mission, that I invite you to get to know me better, and grow with me this new year.

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Why Boudoir?

I get asked all the time why Boudoir?  Why specialize in this specific genre?  The answer is simple: confidence.

 As women, we are constantly barraged with images in the media of beautiful women with perfect bodies, and we’re constantly made to feel like less.  We are told we should be a certain size, look a certain way, act a certain way.  Our sexuality is something used to sell products, instead of a part of our souls.  If we embrace it we’re slutty, if we deny it, we’re prudish.  It’s a double edged sword.

I believe our sexuality is a very important part of who we are.  It’s what makes us women.  Our curvy bodies, our soft skin, our shapely thighs.  Many of us, myself included, have struggled for much of our lives to be comfortable in our skin.  Too believe we are beautiful and sexy no matter the curve of our waistline.  I  show women just how amazing and beautiful they really are.  Boudoir gives us all a chance to embrace an often denied persona, to be and feel like the woman we’ve always wished we could.  It allows us to accept the everyday goddess within.  To see her in all her glory, accept and love her.

 Everyone is nervous when they first walk into my studio, but when they walk out they all say the same thing, “I’ve never felt so great about myself”.  And this is before they’ve seen the first image.  You don’t have to have the perfect body, you just have to be you.  To allow yourself to embrace who you are, and what is beautiful and sexy about you.  There is a huge confidence boost that comes out of the Boudoir session, that many women don’t expect.  They leave my studio feeling empowered by their bodies, many for the first time in their lives.  I can’t think of anything more rewarding.

Boudoir is about taking control of your sexuality, embracing that it’s part of who you are, and making it your own.  And most of all, it’s about showing yourself that you are a beautiful, vibrant, sexy woman.

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