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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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Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1593.jpg

“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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1601.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1602.jpg

“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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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

Preview | Azalia, 2018 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Santa Clara, CA

"Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful."

 - Sophia Loren

Azalia is a wife, a mother, grandmother, and sister - a woman who is as beautiful and unique as her name. We had chatted briefly a few years back when I had met her through a mutual acquaintance and it is my honor to now have her in front of my camera. I love when women step out and not only get dolled up for the day, but also make that decision to celebrate their life by choosing to exist in gorgeous images that will last a lifetime.  

The light was perfect for her shoot (that gorgeous, natural daylight was ahhh-maaazing) and below is just a sneak peak into her photo session. Be sure to stay tuned for more to come!

Special thanks to Kalani Brown of Kalani Style for Azalia's hair and makeup!

Krystal, 2014. San Jose City Hall, CA. Headshot Photo Session


I always find something so fun about outdoor photo sessions, especially because I love the endless possibilities the Bay Area has to offer. Combine that with the perfect balance of late afternoon light and it's a recipe for every photographer's dream.

I met Krystal for a late afternoon shoot and got the chance to chat with her during her make up and hair preparation by the talented Vlada Fomenko-Haggerty. I love being able to make my client's laugh and relax in front of my camera -with Krystal's friendly smile and wicked sense of humor, I immediately discovered that photographing her would be more like having fun spending the afternoon hanging out with an old friend.

Krystal is a user experience designer in the tech field as well as a talented artist. While her hair and makeup were being prepared, my eyes grazed the walls of her home and saw a beautiful collection of her work. My own painting skills never saw itself past 1st grade so to meet another artist who uses paintbrushes to create beautiful art is a real privilege.

Krystal, it was honor to meet and learn more about you, to share a sunny afternoon of laughing and photographs. Thank you for trusting me to capture your smile with my camera! I truly hope these photographs serve as a reminder to you of your own unique brand of girl-power fierceness for years to come. You rock!

Happy Tuesday!

Many thanks to the talented Vlada Fomonko-Haggerty for Krystal's beautiful hair and makeup!

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Robert Ajlouny. 2012.

Whoo-hooooo!! Did you know today is FRIIIIIDAAAAAY?! (insert Roger Rabbit/cabbage patch/running man moves here)

I love long weekends because of no other special reason except that it's a long weekend. Enough time to actually fold laundry and put it away instead of letting it sit in the laundry basket for days on end, edit a few photos, run around with Justin and Kona Bean, and just breathe in sunshine and time off. My parent's dog, Coco Bean will be crashing at our pad for a few days as the parental units will be doing a little bit of travelling. (yes, her and Kona share the same middle name and yes, I do indeed think they'd definitely be the cool kids at the doggy park if others knew this). Coco just had some dental work done, so she's sporting the cone of shame. Going for that lamp shade look goin' on and everythang!

I am excited to now present to you a few of the final shots from a photoshoot with actor/model, Robert Ajlouny. My husband and I decided that when he gets famous, we're soooo gonna ask him to introduce us to Tylor Perry. =)










As we start off this Memorial Day weekend, whether you high-five, chest bump, fist bump, do the running man, give bear hugs, or salute, here's a huge thank you to those who give up time away from their own family and loved ones to serve for our protection.

Happy, Happy Friday!