photography

Corina | 2019 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

“She is a queen. Her soul is royalty.”

-Adrian Michael

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Corina is the example of a queen that is well loved by her family.

I immediately noticed her quiet and steady smile as well as a laugh that was easily expressed in any given moment. Needless to say, it was a joy to spend some time getting to know her and create a photoshoot that celebrated Corina as the matriarch of her family, her recent birthday, and just the fact that she loved her life as it has shaped out to be.

Her family gifted her this photoshoot and needless to say, it was an honor to be chosen to capture such a beautiful and strong woman on camera not only for images that will be forever part of their family legacy, but also for images that will always remind Corina to celebrate everyday and every season of her life.

I am so proud to share with you all a few of Corina’s beautiful images and a behind the scenes look into her experience with Heartbox Photography.

Special thanks to Becky Lau of Beautiful One Makeup Artistry for Corina’s styling on this special day!

And last, but not least, Corina’s note to her family:

My special thanks to Denise, Mayra, Luis and my husband Alonso for this great experience to capture in photographs this moments that we will treasure in years to come. “

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“I am so grateful I started early to have a family. This year is so special to me. I turned 50 and had our 35th wedding anniversary.

My oldest grandson is 10 years old now. Now we are experiencing the empty next and we are ready to move forward.”

“Beauty comes in all colors, shapes, and sizes.

God created us as life givers. Even if a woman does not have children, she still can create or give life to someone else.

We are full of love. Beauty comes form our inner selfs.

Confidence is the acceptance of who you are created to be.”

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“The best advise I ever received was to persevere.

Remaining there gets results.”

What do you appreciate most

about your life now?

“Now, I have more time for myself. “

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Kathy | 2019 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

“Confidence and intelligence will never stop being beautiful.”

-author unknown

I love hearing stories about women who have stepped out in huge ways to try something new and way out of their comfort zone. It is amazing to see how much that “new” and sometimes scary step turns into something so life-changing for them you’d never guess they had any hesitations in the first place.

Kathy is a devoted mother of 4, a nurse manager here in the Bay Area and a ballroom dancer with the sweetest of smiles. She shared with me that she never would have imagined developing such a love for ballroom dancing, let alone be competing in dance competitions. Needless to say, dance has impacted her greatly and I loved being able to capture Kathy in beautiful outfits she has used in competitions.

Most of all, I loved being able to capture the sweet smile of a woman who continues to celebrate, grow, and learn from the journey that her life has been and what it has yet to be.

Kathy, thank you for trusting me to capture you in this season of your beautiful life. The best is yet to come.

Images | Heartbox Photography

Hair & makeup | Becky Lau of Beautiful One Makeup

“In my real world I am a mom and a nurse. I have been a registered nurse for 31 years and a mom for 21 years. I have twin girls and two boys that bring me much joy and are the center of my life. I don't know what I would do without them!

In my fantasy world, I am a ballroom dancer although my teacher always told me it is not a fantasy anymore, it is my reality! Unfortunately, I had to leave an unhealthy marriage but the past seven years have been such growth years in my life. I've struggled with weight issues my entire life and focus now on healthy eating and exercising regularly. “

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“Balancing a stressful management career and family left very little time for myself and I found ballroom dancing to be my saving grace. It was my escape after a busy work day. It was something I had always wanted to do.

Entering that dance studio over 6 years ago changed my life. I have never been surrounded by so many positive, supportive people who, instead of being judgmental and critical were always uplifting.

I never imagined that I would be out there on the competition floor in those beautiful costumes, make up, hair and spray tan. But they told me I could and I did! The excitement is indescribable.

My mom died at the young age of 53. From her I learned that family is the most important thing in your life, you must do what is best for you, that life is short and you have to enjoy each moment.

From dancing, I learned that comparing yourself and your journey to others is the most damaging thing you can do to your self esteem. I've learned that your confidence needs to come from within.

I have learned that you have to love yourself and take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. I was convinced that I would die at this age as well and as I turned 53 this year, I am starting to believe that I will be living a long life.”

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“I appreciate that I have had the opportunity to learn and grow and now I am able to support and mentor others in their career and coping with illness. I appreciate that I have more strength to be uplifting to others.

I am honored to have my patients and their families share their lives with me and that I have the opportunity to make a difference. And I appreciate that I have a beautiful outlet - ballroom dancing - that connects me with a wonderful family of friends who support my journey. Above all I am proud that my children are thriving and doing so well now.

When I first separated from my ex, I purchased a silver band inscribed with the words "Ancora Imparo." It is attributed to Michelangelo and means I am still learning.

I have worn it almost every day since and it is my reminder to be kind to myself, that we learn from every situation and grow each day. It reminds me to not give up.”



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“Ballroom dance has challenged me to do things I never imagined I could do and that has boosted my confidence and self esteem tremendously.

Do I still struggle?

I think we all do but to be around people who support your journey makes such a difference. And nothing compares to that magical feeling of floating across the dance floor and connecting with your partner.

What looks so easy takes much work and that work is the most rewarding part, not the end result.”

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“The best advice I have ever received as an adult was to not quit dancing after my first instructor left - not because I am still dancing but because it taught me how worthwhile it is to challenge yourself and not run away when you are faced with a challenging situation.

Sometimes you must step out of your comfort zone to get better, to learn, to grow, to experience new things. You never get better if you give up. My favorite quote: "Inhale Confidence, Exhale Doubt"

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Jennifer | 2019 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

 

Jennifer is one of the most down-to-earth women I have had the opportunity to meet. She’s not only an executive for the City of San Jose, but she is also dedicated mother, and a singer and actress for local theater productions.

Basically, she’s the boss lady you’d admire, respect, and look up to. :)

When I heard about all her varied interests outside her day job, but also in her personal life, I couldn’t help but smile to think about how awesome it was to meet a woman so engaged with life itself.

Jennifer is an example of what I think us women need to be reminded of often - that we’re not “just” mothers or “just” this role at work, etc. - but we’re a lot of different roles and the richness of that is exactly what makes being a woman today so awesome.

I am so honored to share with you all the final images and behind the scenes footage of Jennifer’s photoshoot with Heartbox Photography.

Images | Heartbox Photography

Hair & makeup | Becky Lau

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“As a single, working mom raising three teenagers, my days are quite full. I love my career as an engineer, and devote most of my time outside of work helping my children learn, grow, and prepare to launch into their own lives.

Both at home and at work, my goal is to help those around me find their voice and grow into the best “them” they can be.”

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“I am also a classically trained pianist and love to sing. I’ve been singing in church choirs most of my life. and music has always been a part of my life.

Looking ahead to future empty-nester days, I joined my love of music and desire to become a part of a supportive community into an interest in community theater. I performed in my first few shows in the past year and a half. “

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“Being on stage has helped me develop confidence in new areas, meet a group of wonderful people, and promote my goal of helping my kids become independent. Having something of my own to enjoy models to my kids that I’m more than just their mom.

I appreciate working at a job I enjoy, loving my children and family, the company and support of good friends, and remembering that taking time to care for myself enriches my ability to take care of others. “

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“The best advice I ever received was from my paternal grandma.

She told me to “be happy with what you have.”

This advice has become my secret to happiness. I learned that happiness comes from within by accepting who you are are, where you are at this very minute, and finding gratitude for what is in your life at any given moment.”

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Phoebe | 2019 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

I stared at the blinking cursor on my computer for awhile as I was preparing to write this post.

It wasn’t for any reason that was bad - the complete opposite. It was more like “how do I even have enough words or the right words that would accurately communicate the message and story of Phoebe’s life?”

The one thing that I think anyone can say about Phoebe is that she is all about God and not in a superficial way - rather, in a deep, heartfelt, raw and real way. The kind that makes the skeptic believe in the hope of actual miracles in this world again.

To say she has gone through a lot in her life would be an understatement and yet, what she is quick to share with anyone she meets is a message of the unwavering grace, love, and pursuit of a God that is real and alive. Despite having gone through childhood trauma, physical and mental health battles that sometime resurface even today, grace and hope collided with Phoebe’s life in ways that has changed it and continues to change to it. It is no surprise to me that Phoebe’s daily work in founding Overcoming with Grace is grounded in wanting to help others experience a life transformed as hers has been. Maybe you or someone you know could use a message of hope and life change and this is coming at the right time. Visit her website, learn about her story. You’ll see what I mean. :)

I am so very honored to share with you all the final images from Phoebe’s photoshoot. She is a woman, a devoted wife, a mother, a survivor, and living proof that God does some pretty crazy things out of a never-ending love for His people.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Images | Heartbox Photography

Hair & Makeup | Beautiful One Makeup

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Can you tell me a bit about your journey since your last photoshoot, what inspired you to start your company, and what you find most rewarding about your work?

Oh man, a LOT has happened. I got pregnant with our second daughter, who is now 2 and is this spunky, funny, sweet, ball of fire!

I started Overcoming with Grace, because I wanted to be an example to women of what is possible.

Whether they've experienced trauma, loss, debilitating health issues, deep negative self-talk, or any pain...they CAN recover.

Not only can they recover, but they can actually have JOY in their life again after experiencing so much heart ache and pain. They can get out of the darkness, even when it seems like there is no light.

Time and time again, God has shown me that with whatever I thought was impossible to overcome or heal, His limitless power can heal anything. We have an impossible God!

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What do you appreciate most about your life now?

I appreciate the way I view suffering and trials way more than I ever have. I used to view it as another hardship and challenge that would inevitably come, because, hey, that's the life I've been living. Always a tragedy, trauma, loss, surgery, diagnosis, struggle, failure, betrayal, etc. So what's next?

Now, it's more of: I wonder what God is going to show me, or teach me, or grow me through this? I wonder what I'm going to learn more about Him and myself? It's such a freeing way to view challenges and suffering. This came most clear to me earlier this year when my physical and mental health flared up the most it has in awhile.

It showed me a new layer of living with my conditions, where I could not only still have joy in my life, but also to show others that it is possible to do it too. It showed me a new level of letting go. And being able to LIVE with my family, friends and the other people placed in my life has been such a gift that no condition, past trauma or anything or anyone else can take away!

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The most rewarding thing about my work is seeing when the light bulbs start going off in my clients of how they don't have to be at the mercy of their circumstances...when they start being aware that they CAN take back control of their lives in a healthy, empowered way...when they start being aware that they have everything they need within them to succeed and feel loved, and it's not depending on anyone or anything else....seeing all that magic start and unfold more and more is such a gift and privilege!

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Best advice you ever received and advice you'd give to your own daughter now regarding confidence, beauty, wholeness as a human in today's day & age?

When you can view beauty and confidence WITHOUT comparing, you've gotten confidence down. (Oh, that just came to me at midnight!!! LOL!)

Even when we compare ourselves to our old self, sometimes we do it negatively and in a way where we keep unhealthily striving.

I would tell my daughter to view her beauty, confidence and wholeness from within, and not the within from herself, but from the one who created her. God is THE voice that will carry her through.

When she has God-confidence and views herself the way He does, then I know it won't matter whatever comes her way, she will be able to soar through!

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Karmen | 2019 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

“Love yourself for who you are, and trust me, if you are happy from within,

you are the most beautiful person, and your smile is your best asset.”

-Illeana D’Cruz

Karmen Reed is a Money-Mindset Coach and Consultant based here in the Bay Area. I had the privilege of recently photographing this lovely woman and learning not only more about her personal background but also about what inspired her to do the work that she does to help other women achieve their optimal success when it comes to their mindset and outlook on finances. She is also a devoted wife and mother with one of the warmest laughs and sunniest smiles I have ever encountered. If there is one thing I noticed about Karmen from the beginning is that she genuinely passionate about learning all that she can as well as teaching others so that they, too, can grow in their own professional and personal endeavors.

I am extremely honored to share with all of you some of the final images from this lovely woman’s photoshoot with Heartbox Photography. As always, a heartfelt thanks to Kathleen Tinney of A-List Makeup for her beautiful work on Karmen’s styling of hair and makeup for this special experience!

Here’s to celebrating phenomenal women everywhere, especially to women like Karmen who set out to help women realize their own inner-awesomeness.

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“I was born and raised on the island of Brac in a little Mediterranean country Croatia. I came to America in 1987 when I was 20 years old because I fell in love and could not see anything that is in my way of that happiness.

My journey was that of learning. I was always a very curious being, always looking for opportunities to learn more… about everything. This has really allowed me the courage to start my own entrepreneurial journey. I was never alone on that journey. I was surrounded with people who love me and they were my biggest supporters and cheer leaders.

I also always had a mentor, a coach, a community I could rely on for support and help, as much as being challenged to rise up and take steps I was afraid of. This type of environment allowed me to thrive. I was learning about myself, business and the world. This inspired me to share everything I learned, to give back to women who are on a similar journey of empowerment, financial independence, and living their best life every day.

I learned to be a masterful coach. I started mentoring and coaching women and helping them create an amazing relationship with money so they can thrive in every area of their life. I absolutely LOVE watching women go through beautiful transformations when it comes to self-awareness and empowerment.

It is my goal to help many women create an amazing relationship with money, because how we do money is how we do everything.”

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“The best advice I have ever received is from my mom when I was a child:

Go explore and find your own answers.

These words are imprinted inside my soul. I am definitely an explorer. This has become my DNA blueprint.”

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“I believe that the beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, and that we have to be that for ourselves.

Our empowerment comes from the place of awareness about our self-talk and our emotions.

Our self-confidence comes from our self-empowerment.

We as women have so much to offer to the world, and the world is hungry all the time. When a confident woman offers her love, care, perspective, knowledge, vision to the world, the world stops and listens.”

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“My message to all women today: rise and thrive!

Create a legacy you will be proud of, step into your brave, and show the world your love. This is what beauty is in my eyes.”

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What do you appreciate most about your life now?

“I have an amazing husband, I have two adult children, I have family abroad, and my husband’s big and complicated family is near and dear with many activities, we are surrounded by great friends, and we are very active socially.

I used to think that these are my disadvantages when it comes to my entrepreneurial journey, because these are my obligations as well. Relationships that are strong require work, time, and commitment consistently.

I looked at some of my colleagues who were seemingly more successful and was envious of their freedom from close relationships, mortgage, and family, because they can focus all their time and energy into their business.

What I realized is that my envy was so unfounded. I realized that I am the one with everything I need, and my relationships are my support, my cheerleaders, my biggest fans and that was an advantage.”

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“I love my life and I want to help other

women fall in love with theirs!”

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Sarah, Anna, and Rosie | Mothers and Daughters | 2019

 

Mothers of daughters

are daughters of mothers

and have remained so in circles joined to circles,

since time began.

-Signe Hammer

Sarah is a wife, mother, and the founder/owner of Hey Presto!, a personal concierge services company based here in the Bay Area. It was my privilege to be able to not only have her come in for for updated headshots that represent her and her company, but also to capture a moment in time with her and her two beautiful daughters.

I love when women make the decision to not only step out in front of the camera for themselves, but also bring in their daughters with them for the photoshoot. A day of hair/makeup and pampering is always fun, but what makes this even more memorable is that these images are ones they will keep for a lifetime. It represents capturing a special moment in time with Sarah and her daughters, especially because time is so fleeting and children grow so fast. So why not add to the legacy and images of family memories for years to come with photos that celebrated a mother and her girls - the women of the family.

Here’s to mothers and daughters everywhere, to existing in photographs forever.

Images | Heartbox Photography

Hair/makeup | Katie Pheneger

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How has having daughters changed you as a woman?

It's a journey of course and I guess this is true of parenting in general but being a role model to any young person is both scary and a privilege.  I’m learning that each time you think you solve an issue, or get through a ‘phase', a new one takes its place.  I’ve become more patient, and have learnt to trust my instinct.  Oh, and to appreciate the small moments!

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What are some things that you would want your daughters and other young girls want to know with regards to beauty, self-confidence, and growing up as a woman in today's world?

If only all these girls knew how amazing they are, and what potential they have.  I want them to know that if you believe in yourself anything is possible.  Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough.  You will have to work hard for your opportunities, but when you see one, be fierce and bold and grab it with both hands!  Don’t regret the things you’ve done, regret the ones you haven’t!

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What are some things that you would want your daughters and other young girls want to know with regards to beauty, self-confidence, and growing up as a woman in today's world?

If only all these girls knew how amazing they are, and what potential they have.  I want them to know that if you believe in yourself anything is possible.  

Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough.  You will have to work hard for your opportunities, but when you see one, be fierce and bold and grab it with both hands!  Don’t regret the things you’ve done, regret the ones you haven’t!

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Are there things you hope will change by the time your daughters are your age?

Besides world peace, a halt to climate change, and equality for all!?!  

Actually, I find it difficult to imagine what their lives will be like in 30 years time.  Technology will surely evolve and who knows what the world will look like then.  It has made life easier in so many ways, and I love that our wider family is spread all over the world but that we are still in each others’ daily lives with the wonders of the internet, FaceTime and email.  

But at the same time I hope technology won’t make the world too ’small’ and discourage them from having real-world adventures and travel.  You can learn so much online but nothing can replace a real-life, in-person experience.  

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Can you tell me a bit about you and what inspired you to start Hey Presto!, what you find most rewarding about your work, as well as what you want others to know about your company?

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I was looking to get back to work after a career break and quickly realized that I was surrounded by people constantly on the go, stressed and overwhelmed, running from one activity to the next, trying to stay on the Bay Area merry-go-round.  

A lightbulb went on as I realized its a perfect fit for my skills and experience.  I love to organize and I love to help people, and so Hey Presto was born!  

I love that I can help people with their everyday struggles, such as running errands, or admin, but also the bigger projects like vacation planning, doing the legwork on remodeling projects and dealing with life’s events like coping with life when a baby joins the family, or moving house.  

It's so rewarding to know that I can make a difference and help smooth the path. 

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Best advice you ever received?

To follow my own path.  My own mom was a working single parent but I think her biggest lesson to my sister and I was to be fierce. By that I mean that she encouraged us to have a strong will, take pride in our work, and responsibility for our tasks.  She taught me to be practical and encouraged me to speak out if I ever wanted anything to change.

 

What do you appreciate most about your life now?

I have an amazing, supportive husband, beautiful kids, and good health and exciting opportunities.  

I love my life right now! 

 

A First Try and Reflection Back

This past weekend a friend of mine celebrated the fourth year anniversary surviving a brain aneurysm. Back when it happened, I wasn’t as close to her as I am now and to put it bluntly, I am thankful to God for allowing her to miraculously survive and heal from that - to live today. I would not have known her had she gone home so to speak. :)

As part of celebrating her (and her brain!), she invited a group of us to join her for a hike that, truly had it not been for love for my friend, I would NOT have done. Give up chocolate for a day, yes. Climb up a hill for fun, no. But alas, friendship and love makes you do some weird things.

It was long, it was warm day, and there was an incline towards the end I wasn’t a huge fan of. BUT! We all made it! And yes, indeed it was beautiful and also so interesting to physically look back at the path and think “Seriously? We went and surivived ALL that way?!?”

I think that as much as being in the present and hoping for the future, it is equally important to look back. It makes the entire endeavor that much more meaningful, that much more sweet, that much more interesting, really.

I got to thinking about this as I looked at archives of past work. Below is one of the first photos I ever took when setting out to be a photographer of contemporary and glamour portraiture. I barely knew my camera, barely knew what I was aiming for, barely knew what it was like to create something without fear. I only knew that I wanted to create. That’s all.

And while it shows indications of a newbie just starting out, to me, it’s an image I am proud to share with you all and proud to say I created, even while still learning so many things.

Happy Wednesday!

Image |   Heartbox Photography    Hair/makeup | Julieta Camacho

Image | Heartbox Photography

Hair/makeup | Julieta Camacho

Lady In Red | Glam Out Your Outfits!

Red is always a good idea.

Always.

And I absolutely love it when women want to rock a special outfit just because for their photoshoot.

What outfit do you want to glam up and be photographed in? Let’s do it - there’s no time better than the present!

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Image by Heartbox Photography

Hair/makeup by Katie Pheneger

Celebrate Daughters, Celebrate Legacy

I love when clients bring in their daughters to also be photographed - because she is essentially shaping the life of a human that will grow into a young lady one day knowing it is absolutely awesome to celebrate every year of your life, whether you are 8 or 80 years old.

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Celebrate the legacy of girls and women in your family with a portrait to last a lifetime - there’s something beautiful and powerful that is beyond the images itself.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Image by | Heartbox Photography

Hair & makeup | Katie Pheneger

A Recent Diagnosis and a Journey Upward | Osteoporosis Awareness | Guest Blogpost by Daniella Dayoub-Forrest

As many of you know, what I appreciate and value most from the women I photograph is not only their courage to step out in front of the camera, but their willingness to share their stories to encourage, educate, and empower other women on a variety of subjects. Whether it’s physical health, body image, diversity, entrepreneurship, motherhood, or leadership, the voice that women have to share their stories is something I am privileged to be a part of as a photographer and writer.

A few months ago I had the honor of meeting and photographing Daniella Dayoub-Forrest, a health, fitness, and nutrition coach and owner of DFitLife, based here in the Bay Area. You can imagine my surprise that, given her background in fitness, a social media post she shared recently revealed her diagnosis with osteoporosis. I was curious to see if she’d be willing to share a bit more about her story and she graciously agreed to shed light on not only her own personal journey with this diagnosis, but also her her journey as a woman navigating and growing through many of the body-image challenges we as women commonly encounter today.

I hope Daniella’s post below helps you or someone you may know of. You can follow Daniella’s journey through her blog www.baredbones.net . Spread the word on something that will help improve women’s health everywhere!

***

Here I sit, 42 years old, and seemingly at the peak of my health. 

I own my own health coaching business and personal training studio.  I have a thriving 8 year old daughter.  I am married to the most amazing man.  I eat my veggies and try not to overdo the wine.  I have a fabulous group of girlfriends.  Both of my parents are aging healthfully.  And I honestly like my own body when I look in the mirror. 

Basically, I have it all.  Except strong bones.  

The above paragraph sounds like I'm braggadocious.  But no.  I spent most of my life from my teen years through part of my thirties being the harshest critic of myself.  Nothing I did was smart enough.  Nothing I ate was healthy enough.  I wasn't skinny enough, or pretty enough. 

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Enough for what?! Who knows. 

But that self-criticism and need to be perfect manifested into an eating disorder.  And while outwardly I looked just like the picture of health I was selling to my clients, on the inside, my skeleton was starting to disappear.  

At 29 years old, I was attempting to snowboard (having been a skier my whole life), and struggling to say the least.  My boyfriend was really good, and I wanted desperately to ramp up to his abilities.  But as I was just getting my bearings, I caught a little air down a slope, and as my feet landed back down on the snow, my left lower leg shattered.  I knew instantly that it was a severe break.  When we finally got to the hospital, the X-rays revealed that I had indeed shattered my distal tibia like glass, and broken the adjacent fibula as well.  All from a very slight impact.  

That break took me 3 months to heal, which was much faster than the doctors thought.  But it was the alarm that finally alerted me to the fact that I was indeed in the early stages of osteoporosis.  Back then, bone density in the lower range was categorized as "osteopenia," but that term has fallen from the medical vernacular.  Now, however, I not only have low bone density, but have full-blown osteoporosis. 

Why?  Well, so many reasons, really:  

  • My first year of life was riddled with X-rays due to being born with severe hip-dysplasia.  (maybe an early warning sign of weaker bones)

  • I was raised in the 80's when most of us were told to avoid fatty foods.  You cannot absorb bone-building minerals without fat. 

  • In my teens, I developed anorexia and got down to a low of 92 pounds.  I only ate the bare minimum; calories, not nutrition being my focus.

  • I am a small woman, even at a heavier weight.  At 5'3" and an ectomorphic body type, I likely never had a chance to have truly dense bones. 

When I learned about my bone density issues, I made it my mission to fix the problem.  I did exhaustive research, and found that the medical advise I was getting to take a calcium supplement and lift some weights was just NOT enough. 

Over the next several years, I built my bones back up out of the red zone.  Even with having conceived and breast fed a baby (both calcium leaching activities), I still was in a better place with my skeletal health.  I started counseling other women on the basic things they could do to increase bone density besides the outdated suggestions of their doctors.  These included:  

  • Do impact activities with good form often (weight lifting, hiking with a pack, running, etc.)

  • Eat a nutrient dense diet with plenty of healthy fats

  • Take a multimineral supplement that includes magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and trace minerals

  • Get plenty of vitamin D from both outdoors and supplementally

  • Take a vitamin K2 supplement to make sure the body is properly metabolizing and utilizing calcium stores

  • Don't drink alcohol in excess, and do not smoke

In fact, I had started to help so many women that I decided to put together a workshop.  I really wanted to get the word out to as many people as possible.  I spent 6 months doing research on all aspects of bone health.  I started putting together slides that would encompass three days of learning for my clients.  In fact, I had organized the information in such a way that each person could fine tune their own bone building program. 

It was really coming together into something great!  While doing my research, I came across my old DXA scans.  I thought it would be a great idea to tell about my own personal journey to add validity for my audience.  So, I contacted my doctor, and asked him to order a new set of scans to really pull it all together.  

It had been 6 years since I'd had a check up, and was due.  Just a few weeks prior, I had fallen really hard at my studio while boxing with a client.  Running sideways, and full stroke, my dog tripped me, and I had hit the floor straight on my hip.  While it hurt, I had no fear of having actually broken anything.  This made me think, "Hey, I bet my bone scan is going to be great!"  Then I got the results.  According to the scan, I had lost 11% of my bone density in the last 6 years.  I cried.  I cried so hard.  

I felt scared, surprised, incredulous, and mostly just felt like a fraud!  Who the hell was I to be telling other women what to do, when I couldn't even fix myself?!  After my husband hugged me and calmed me down, I started organizing my thoughts and my plans.  I realized that I'd become complacent, and maybe even cocky.  I had stopped lifting really heavy, and had done lighter workouts lately.  I had stopped running mostly, and was doing way too many SoulCycle classes.  My weight had been decreasing into the low 100's and my cycles has mostly ceased.  I was having a few too many glasses of wine through the week.  Etc, etc, etc.  

So, I begin anew.  I got a weight vest and use it when hiking/walking.  I started lifting really heavy again!  I have ordered blood work to check my thyroid and inflammatory markers.  I am actively gaining weight until my cycle comes back, and will make sure to stay there.  I started a new blog, to air my thoughts, and hopefully reach others with the same struggle.  

But mostly, what this latest scan has taught me is that it will be a lifelong commitment.  I cannot, ever, drop the ball on this.  I must stay vigilant.  But I have faith.  The science shows I can fix this, and I can stay fracture free my whole life. 

But it starts now!

Laura | 2019 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

 

"Feminism isn't about making women strong. Women are already strong. It's about changing the way the world perceives that strength."

-G.D. Anderson

I absolutely love Laura’s energy and warmth and am so excited to share with you all these stunning images from her photoshoot! She’s a budding entrepreneur with Rodan and Fields and it was so much fun being able to create fresh new headshots but also some images that were entirely for fun because with the beautiful outfits she brought - WHY NOT?

This was Laura’s first time ever doing a photoshoot like this and I am beyond honored to be able to help create images she can use as headshots but also ones that captures her class and confidence as a woman.

Cheers to phenomenal women…EVERYWHERE.

Images | Heartbox Photography

Hair & Makeup | Kalani Brown

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What are you most proud of as the woman you are today and why?

“That I have created an amazing life for myself. I have amazing friends and family that support and encourage me. I live life with a a lot of gratitude!”

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What do you believe makes a woman beautiful?

“Confidence and a positive attitude.”

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“I feel like I am a half-full kind of person. I enjoy inspiring others to live life full out!”

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“I love to travel, meet new people, and experience new things as often as possible.

I believe in taking care of yourself inside and out!”

 

A Celebration of Phenomenal Women | Peggy, 2019

 

I think what made me the most excited to have Peggy in for a photoshoot was simply the story of her life thus far. She is the owner and founder of Ballet Petit, but she is a teacher and long-time investor of children who love the art of dance, she is a wife, mother, and grandmother, she is a cancer survivor, she is a woman whose smile, humor, and warm conversation make you feel like you’re talking to a long-time friend even after a few minutes of meeting her.

Peggy had never done a photoshoot like this before and as with most women, had some hesitations to step out in front of my camera. However, that did not stop her because in a very real way, this photoshoot was more than taking a few photographs - it was celebrating her journey with life on so many deeper levels.

I beyond honored to share with you all a few images from Peggy’s photoshoot, a behind the scenes video glimpse below, and most of all, a little bit about her through her own voice.

Here’s to the celebration and journey of life, both the peaks and valleys, and being able to see a deeper beauty through all the seasons.

Images | Heartbox Photography

Styling | Kalani Brown

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“About three years ago, I went to yet another doctor’s appointment to try and control my asthma. After a chest X-ray, and several more follow up appointments, it was determined that asthma was not the issue after all - I had Hodgkins Lymphoma, Stage 2B, with some extra symptoms.

It was a huge shock. I was told, due to concerns for my immune system during treatment, I was not permitted to teach school during my treatment, but was encouraged to teach ballet and take my ballet classes each week, for as long as I was able. It was a scary time. Less than a month later I started 6 months of chemotherapy every 2 weeks, followed by weeks of daily radiation treatments.

I decided the day I was diagnosed that I would do my very best to keep dancing, knowing that it would help my survival physically, as well as emotionally. I wanted to be strong for myself, and to set a good example for my students of the power and strength that comes from doing what you love. “

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“I kept my focus positive, accepted the help and love of my community, and happily kept dancing all the way through my cancer treatment year. I didn’t give up.  I made it and I am proud of that!”

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What would you tell your 18-year-old self?

“I was a pretty strong-willed and ambitious 18 year old. I thought that if I tried hard enough, I could make just about anything happen or not happen.

I would tell my 18 year old self, “You may think you can control your life, but you can’t. Life happens. You can, however, have some control over how you handle what comes your way in life.”

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“A beautiful woman lives her life according to her beliefs and the dreams she holds in her heart. Whatever it is that she values, desires, aspires to be or do, wants to achieve, her beauty shows through as she takes the steps necessary to fulfill herself and make her dreams become a reality.”

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“Everyone has a place. Everyone has worth. No one is perfect. We all have imperfections.

This reminds us that we are all human. Regardless, we can all try to be our best selves while seeing the best in others. We become our best selves by being honest, open, and aware of ourselves and how we share this planet with others as we navigate through our lives.”

“I have been so fortunate to have lived my life surrounded by wonderful people in my family, my schools, and in the world of the classical arts. The proverb about it taking a village to raise a child rings so strongly for me.

I am grateful for the many people who have been a part of my village from the day I was born to the present day. They have been such an important part of my life story. I have been lucky to have had such a vibrant and supportive village. They have all had some part of who I am today. It has been pretty wonderful, the ups and even the downs. All in all, I am happy with how my life has turned out.”

 

Birthday Celebrations

“Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words,”

– Plautus

What’s even better than helping women celebrate who they are through creating timeless images? Celebrating their life whenever a new birthday comes around. =)

Cheers to this month’s #MarchBirthdays!

Image | Heartbox Photography

Hair & makeup | Keziah Dauz

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Tara | 2019 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

“If you’re lucky enough to be different, don’t ever change.”

-Taylor Swift

Tara is a mother, an ambitious go-getter, a woman dedicated to continuously learning and meeting challenges head on. Her love for fitness, passion to help and serve others through her work is evident - I even had the opportunity to see her in action as she skillfully led the organization of a local fitness fair for the community here in the Bay Area.

As part of the continuing “Phenomenal Women” series that features women from all over the Bay Area, I am so proud to share with you all a glimpse into the life of this entrepreneur, mother, and resilient go-getter - the lovely Tara, owner of Infinite Health and Fitness.

Here’s to celebrating phenomenal women everywhere who hustle hard in their own life for the purpose of serving others.

Images | Heartbox Photography

Hair/makeup | Kalani Brown

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What are you most proud of as the woman you are today and why?

“Over the years I find myself more and more proud of my humble roots. I grew up in a cabin in a small town, where my doctor's office was in his house and my backyard was nature's wonders. 

For some time, I didn't know how to integrate that into having a city or suburban life once I ventured out after college. I tried to fit in. I didn't understand different cultural norms and sometimes got in "trouble" with my peers due to differences in societal conditioning.”

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What advice would you give your own niece as she grows up? 

“To spend time with herself, figuring out what she likes, dislikes and being strong in the alone time.

Being alone does NOT mean no one wants to be with you.

Also, a fit woman makes everyone happy!”

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What do you believe makes a woman beautiful?

Her ability to handle what life reveals. Take it seriously, then handle it with grace snd smile back at it with gratitude.

For example, "You've been kicked out/broken up with/fired?!”

Great. Now you can find your new destiny because it's been waiting!

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“Recently, I have opened a new business - the 5th since I was 18. This time, I am armed with a business degree education and the confidence of experience. I still expect some twists and turns, but will welcome more wins this time than I ever believed could happen. “

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What would you tell your 18-year old self?

“That she will be able to get over the imperfections of life experiences, and be able to celebrate every rise after every fall. And this process will maker her stronger and more resilient, which is a space that cultivates love and not fear.

Also, that she will be able to help people like she wants to :)

But only after some adventure and healing and evolution/awakening.

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“I want her to know over and over that things do not matter, and people will disappoint.

But sometimes things can seem like they matter and sometimes people can share magical moments that change your life for the better.

And to accept it all as imperfectly perfect.”

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“When a woman puts herself aside to attend to a friend, child, senior, or clients needs, with the utmost respect, personality, attention and skill, her vibe is beautiful.”

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Monique, 2019 | San Jose, CA | Glamour & Contemporary Portrait

“To be a woman is to unapologetically resilient despite everything.”

-h.h.

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There is a sweet and calm demeanor that I immediately liked when I first approached Monique for the possibility of doing a photo shoot with Heartbox Photography.

As most of you know by now, I am a firm believer in finding ways to connect with other women who run local businesses and organizations simply for the fact that women who support women is nothing short of impactful and great. The best part is that I get to know them even beyond the work they do and learn about them as wives, mothers, daughters, and grandmothers - as the unique and beautiful person they are.

Being allowed to share in their world and learn about what inspires them, their family history, even their dreams for the future is a privilege that makes the story of each woman I photograph so fun and beautifully unique.

Monique is the founder and proud owner of Innate Sense. She is a wife, a loving mother, a daughter, and a big sister. (I even got to meet her little sister during the Image Reveal appointment and absolutely loved the sweet, sisterly dynamic of their relationship as she helped her choose her images!) During our photo session, I learned more about Monique’s Portugese ancestry and how having a desire to help people be whole and healthy are one of the factors that inspired her work.

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One of my favorite things about her photo session is her love for color, beautiful patterns, and accessories in the outfits she thoughtfully selected for her day - this probably explains why we definitely took a little longer wanting to capture the gorgeous look and feel of each outfit combined with the natural surroundings at a local park!

The sunlight was bright, the skies were clear, beautiful, and perfect for the afternoon and needless to say, I am so proud to be able to share with you all the final images and behind the scenes video from this lovely woman’s photo session with Heartbox Photography.

Here’s to celebrating the phenomenal women everywhere around us!

Many thanks to Kalani Brown for Monique’s hair/makeup styling!

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“I see beauty when a woman knows

her worth and shares her

gifts with the world.”

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What are you most proud of as the woman you are today and why?

“I am most proud of taking the path that my heart led me towards for my career and to live out my soul’s purpose.

Growing up, many members of my family had jobs that they didn’t like, but tolerated them because they needed financial stability. I knew from a young age that I wanted to work in a way that I enjoyed, that allowed me freedom, and to help others.

I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but my heart guided me and here I am with a business where I have all those things and life that I love.”

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What would you tell your 18-year-old self?

“I would tell her to surround herself with a close circle of good friends and fully enjoy the season of her life with little responsibilities. I would tell her to travel more to gain a broader perspective of the world and people as a whole.

I would let her know that “success” is not a destination that she needs to TRY to get to…she will forever be evolving and becoming who she is meant to be in the world. To enjoy the journey, it all ultimately works out for her highest good.”

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What advice would you give your own daughter as she grows up?

“Well, I am sure my advice would vary depending on the stage of her life she is in…but I would always tell her - you are here for a purpose, you are love,d and to always be true to herself.”

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What do you believe makes a woman beautiful?

“I believe inner peace, confidence, and self-love

makes a woman glow and shine her beauty from the inside out.”

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To the odd birds!

Productivity...how do you find it?! I’m at my personal best when the rest of the world is at actually at lunch!

I am semi-functional in the morning, but somehow manage to get a surge of great ideas right around the end of my 1 o’clock lunch break.

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So what does that make me, I often wonder. Not exactly an early bird. Not exactly a night own. But I guess whatever bird is it that thrives in the afternoons?

Here’s to the odd birds among us. :)

Happy Friday!

Eva | 2018 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

 “A strong woman stands up for herself.

A stronger woman stands up for everybody else.”

-author unknown

Eva is not only a wife and proud mother of 2, but she is a health advocate in the best ways. She is the owner of Eva’s Fitness here in the Bay Area and one of the things I think is especially awesome about her work is the obvious passion she has to especially help individuals who may be challenged in leading a fit lifestyle because of injuries. As I got the chance to learn more about her background, work, and family, it was clear to me that she is a woman using the education and experience she received to make a difference in people’s health and provide the best service for her clients. And perhaps that is why the quote that starts off this post is the one that I felt was most perfectly aligned with the work Eva dedicates her life to. In her own way, with the talents and abilities she uniquely possesses, Eva is helping to encourage people live the healthiest version of themselves and even more importantly, helping them see that it is indeed possible even through injuries or other ailments.

I always have been a firm believer that every woman has something to give, whether it’s in the daily grind of raising her children, to being that listening ear on the other end of a friend’s call, or being the head of a major corporation. And what every woman gives is not limited by her ethnicity, age, or size, but rather the unlimited grit and grace she possesses. Every woman is uniquely created, therefore has something unique to contribute to the table - that is what this series “Phenomenal Woman” celebrates.

It is my honor to share with you all these images and video that highlights Eva, one of the many phenomenal women out there I have been privileged to photograph.

Many thanks to Kalani Brown for the styling of Eva’s hair/makeup!

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“So far, my life has been very extraordinary and wonderful.

I come from a small town in Germany and was very fortunate to not only be able to pursue my dream career as a teacher of movement and health, but also to have met my amazing husband with whom I moved to quite a few new places in the world.

We have two beautiful children that we love and are extremely proud of.

Every day I am grateful for my husband and kids, my big family in Germany and in the US, as well as my friends and my clients.”

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“The beauty of a woman comes from the inside, her thoughts, and beliefs. But we [also] need to take care of our health, work on our athletic skills, and keep fit.

Rather than telling this to my daughter I have to be the best example that I can.”

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“Looking back, there is not much that I would tell my 18 year old self, except to wear sun screen and to keep dancing!”

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Preview | Tara | 2018 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

“The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”

-Maya Angelou

I had the privilege of meeting Tara a few months ago when she invited me to be a part of a fitness fair she was organizing for her clients and the the community. She is an incredibly driven woman, passionate in what she does as a coach for others as well as a loving mom to both her son and fur kid - both of whom I also had the privilege of meeting at the time of her photo shoot!

I am so excited to share with you all a sneak peak into Tara’s photo shoot as part of the continued celebration of phenomenal women all over the Bay Area!

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Many thanks to Kalani Brown of Kalani Style for Tara’s hair/makeup!

Daniella | 2018 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

“I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity.”

-Michelle Obama

Women have broken and continue to break barriers. And as I write this post, I find myself reflecting on what I sense is a beautiful revolution today of women everywhere who are are being reminded of the positive influence they can have for change in their own home, own communities, and society as a whole. I want to always be a part of any movement that empowers women - from the young girls to the women who have walked the path ahead of them.

I recently launched a series titled “A Celebration of Phenomenal Women: Fabulous and Over 40”. This series was meant to invite women in who were over 40 years of age, proud of their story, their life, and most of all, proud to be a woman of today.

Daniella is 41 - a wife, a mother, and health, fitness, and nutrition coach. As founder and owner of DFitLife, she is a businesswoman in the Bay Area who continues helping and serving people live the healthiest lifestyle they can.

I am incredibly proud to share with you all these images and video from the first photoshoot of many photoshoots that will aim to celebrate these phenomenal women in our community.

Many thanks to Kalani Brown of Kalani Style for Daniella’s hair and makeup!

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What are you most proud of as the woman you are today and why?

“I have worked hard through many years of self-doubt and loathing to finally emerge as the woman I’ve always wanted to be.

I feel good that I am setting a strong role model for my daughter. I want her to know she should ask for the moon, because you might just get it!

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What advice would you give your own daughter as she grows up?

“Be kind to yourself and to others.

Don’t forget that life is full of laughter, but you have to choose to see it.

Choose happiness.”

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What do you believe makes a woman beautiful?

“Self-confidence for sure. This is where men have been ahead of us. Regardless of how someone looks aesthetically, if they are comfortable in their own skin, that beauty shines through.

Women of my generation have done a lot of catching up on this and I think our children will really own it!”

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What would you tell your 18-year-old self?

“Love yourself or no one else will! I would go back and try to embrace my quirks and imperfections.

I spent so much time trying to be perfect, that I lost sight of the moment. I was too serious for my own good. Now I try to find the humor in just about every moment of my day.”

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Thuy, 2018 | Glamour and Contemporary Portraits | Fremont, CA

 
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“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her own imperfection. To me, that is the essence of true beauty.”

-Steve Maraboli

Thuy is the founder/owner of 923 Design here in the Bay Area. She is a designer, a creative, a boss lady, a hustling mother who took the leap into her dream and never turned back.

In short, she is awesome and I am so proud to share with you all some of my favorite images from her photoshoot with Heartbox Photography, with hair/makeup by Miranda Villanueva of Love and Artistry.

Here’s to the women bosses out there representing the Bay Area. :)

Happy Friday!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0059.jpg
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