Heartbox Photography

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.

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1590.jpg

“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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1592.jpg
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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1594.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1595.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1596.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1597.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1598.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1599.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1600.jpg

“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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1603.jpg

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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1604.jpg

“I love my life and I want to help other

women fall in love with theirs!”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1591.jpg

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!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1268.jpg

Image by Heartbox Photography

Hair/makeup by Katie Pheneger

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

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0344.jpg

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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0339.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0314.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0343.jpg

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!”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0340.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0339.jpg

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!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0335.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0338.jpg

“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. “

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0334.jpg

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.

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0333.jpg

“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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0325.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0324.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0323.jpg

“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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0320.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0318.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0317.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0316.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0315.jpg

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.

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0479.jpg


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!

Target Socks and Winter-themes

Tell me something about YOU before I get carried away...many of you already know I’m a contemporary glamour and portrait photographer who posts stories about the incredible women I am blessed to have as clients.

But every now and again I like to toss up a post that tells you some things about me you probably didn’t know. And since it’s properly winter outside, this posts theme will be entirely cold-weather related.

Ready?

I have a love/hate relationship with winter weather. (as in LOVE the Christmas season, the reason to eat cookies and copious amounts of cheese and chocolate treats…but, hate that it’s 50 degrees outside and tugs at my inner, hibernating bear-like ways). Rawr.

Heartbox Photography.JPG

I always crave warm soups of all kinds to to warm my soul, especially soups that contain noodles , aka CARBS.

This winter, I’m really into fleece-lined socks with penguins and animal prints on them. (HELLO, TARGET!!!)

My fave thing to do on a chilly morning is SLEEP. Surprise, surprise.

And…I love nothing more than to curl up with my fleece-lined, penguin-print socks and pajamas with a good book in the evening.

Happy New Year and happy winter, everyone!

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!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0136.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0135.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0134.jpg

“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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0133.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0132.jpg

“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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0131.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0129.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0128.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0127.jpg

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

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0126.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0125.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0124.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0123.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0122.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0121.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0120.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0119.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0118.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0117.jpg

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!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0033.jpg

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!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0081.jpg

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!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0078.jpg
 
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0085.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0084.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0083.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0087.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0082.jpg

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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0080.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0079.jpg

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!”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0088.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0077.jpg

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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0076.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0075.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0074.jpg
 

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

 
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0063.jpg

“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
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0065.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0070.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0071.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0069.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0066.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0061.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0068.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0067.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0064.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0062.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0060.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0058.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0057.jpg
 

Preview | Monique, 2018 | San Jose, CA | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits

 

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

-Sophia Loren

I read that quote from Sophia Loren and was reminded what a great privilege it is that I get to be a small part of that message that reminds women of their inner and outer beauty.

Monique is a wife, mother, sister, daughter, and woman-business owner here in the Bay Area and I am so proud to share just a small glimpse with you all into her photo session with Heartbox Photography below.

Happy Friday!

Special thanks to Kalani Brown for hair/makeup styling!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0087.jpg
 

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

Azalia is a lovely wife,  mother, and grandmother. I had met her some time ago through a mutual acquaintance and I'm so excited to share with you all these final images from her photo shoot with Heartbox Photography. And yes, that shade of purple on her dress was beyond AMAZING and I loved how it just brought out her elegance so well!

Many thanks to Kalani Brown for her lovely styling of Azalia's hair and makeup for this photo shoot!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0046.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0044.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0043.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0042.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0041.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0040.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0037.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0036.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0035.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0034.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0033.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0031.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0025.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0024.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0023.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0022.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0020.jpg

Preview | Hannah, 2017 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Fremont, CA

AFTER.JPG

 

 

I knew immediately that Hannah was cool the second she agreed that a bowlful of noodles with nothing on it but Parmesan cheese counts as dinner.  (BECAUSE IT DOES)

And when you meet someone who shares your love for planners and calendars (the paper kind, people!!), let's just say I almost wanted to high-five her for being all sorts of awesome. (If you haven't felt the excitement of perusing the aisles of a store in search of that perfect planner for the new year, I hate to break it to you, but you've been missing out. :)  #justsaying #partyatPaperSource

This lovely soul stepped out in front of my camera and I am proud to share with you all a preview from her photo shoot with Heartbox Photography. There's more to come, so be sure to stay tuned!

Photography: Heartbox Photography

Hair/makeup: Kalani Brown

April | 2017 | Glamour and Contemporary Portraits | Fremont, CA

 

I recently had the privilege to photograph this beautiful lady woman named April. We had crossed paths a few times through mutual friends (even being in the same fitness accountability group!)  and she had reached out to me about a photo shoot for the simple reason of wanting to celebrate her life. I read that and immediately smiled because celebrating life through photographs is, as you know by now, kind of my jam. :)

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0010.jpg

This vibrant young woman willingly shares her heart, her talents, and embraces the victories as well as the ups and downs of her life. What I appreciate the most about April is that though the trajectory of her life has been anything but a straight and smooth line, the joy that radiates from her smile, her enthusiasm to share her story with others, reveals that ultimately, she knows God is continuing to work His perfect plan no matter what and that her purpose remains the same -  to embrace Him and show others who He is. 

I am proud to share with you all these images from April's photo shoot with Heartbox Photography! Be sure to also check out the behind the scenes video below that captures a glimpse into April's day with us!

Many thanks to the awesome Keziah Dauz of Beauty by Keziah for the styling of April's hair and makeup!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0017.jpg

"My parents divorced when I was 6 years old so my mom, older brother, and I moved to Hayward with my aunt and her family until my mom was able to buy a house for us. 

Growing up, I excelled academically and the only extracurricular activities I had were choir and dance class because I just love the performing arts. I also battled with childhood obesity so for the longest time I despised being in my own skin.

Fast forward to college, I was blessed to attend the University of California, San Diego, and I lived there for 4 years. I really love that city. I love the ocean, sun, and community events. After graduating, God has really given me the chance to visit friends like family twice a year there to reconnect. Part of me feels like it's a mission field because my friends and I often talk about our struggles when I am there and I'm thankful I can physically be there for comfort.

San Diego is also where I discovered Christianity at the Rock Church in Point Loma during my first deep heartbreak with my bf at the time of 3 years. We weren't together for 3 months after that, but I think it was the time where I learned that my dependence did not come from a human being. Because of my upbringing and broken family, I did not really know how to approach romantic relationships so I often became dependent on my partner, which was very unhealthy. We did end up getting back together after those 3 months and lasted for 6 years total (if you included that hiatus), which led me to an even darker place of depression (although not clinical). 

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0018.jpg

In college, I also had the privileged opportunity to travel abroad for service in Costa Rica, Honduras, and the Philippines, which opened my eyes to the need of compassionate healthcare providers and confirm my desire to work in the medical field. I love volunteering and being of service to those in need.

My career plans are to apply to graduate school to get my master's in Physician Assistant Studies so that I can apply my experiences, skills, and talents to help under served communities thrive in life with a healthy approach. I also know that this requires me to constantly work on myself, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This journey has definitely helped me to see God more in all of my circumstances!"

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0009.jpg

"I believe what makes a woman truly beautiful is how many times she falls down to rock bottom, yet somehow finds the courage to rise up to the challenges and is stronger, vibrant, and more joyful than ever before."

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0011.jpg

"I absolutely appreciate my singleness season. I used to despise being alone in this season, but I realized that singleness is truly a precious gift from God. This season allows me the freedom to dive deeper into devotion with Him and other believers without any unnecessary distractions. Through this time, God is teaching me invaluable lessons that will be beneficial for me in the long run, such as how to extend grace in tough times and even how to be more gentle, honest, understanding, patient, and loving. For the first time in my life, I don't feel like I need to fight this season, but instead embrace every single day as it comes.""

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0012.jpg

"My singleness also allows me the opportunity to pursue higher education whether that is near or far from home and even travel around the world with friends without any agendas. I love being able to sit at a local Starbucks and read a book or take a solo trip to the movies spontaneously. I also like spending quiet time with my ultimate Provider who never gets tired of hearing from me. I have found that He is extremely humorous at times so it makes this walk with Him even worthwhile. Most importantly, my singleness has allowed me to take more risks in general and I think with or without a significant other, I am safe and loved in His arms."

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0013.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0014.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0015.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0021.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0016.jpg

"If given the chance, I would tell my 18 year old self that a life pursuing academic excellence and trying to keep a complacent long-term relationship going will not fulfill you. Trust in God knowing that He has great plans for your life. Even though it does not feel that way right now, He is going to use you for some amazing plans. Embrace it!"

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0019.jpg

"Some advice I would give young girls and my future daughter would be to focus not on what the world thinks you should do, but tune into your unique personality and talents. God has gifted you in order to bless others by spreading more love and joy in this world. We live in a time of much heartbreak, loss, abuse, and neglect, thus your mere existence in this world is proof that there is a living God. He can use you to help others know Him for His unfailing love is truly the greatest. Let His light shine through you to accentuate the true beauty that only comes from within."

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0020.jpg
 

Preview | Portrait of a Dancer | Patience, 2017 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Fremont, CA

 

"The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music,

and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable.

Dancing is poetry with arms and legs."

-Charles Baudelaire

I once was told by another photographer that if you are looking for inspiration for your own artistic medium, look to other artistic mediums that are not your own.

Read the masterpiece created by the author who is able to form revelations, new ideas, and poetry with the words she skillfully pieces together.

Listen to way a musician blends a complex pattern of notes and rhythm to create a song that brings tears and a unforgettable sense of wonder to their audience.

Watch as the pieces of various fabrics and textures of cloth are sewn together to create an article of clothing that graces the magazine covers and runways of modern fashion.

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0029.jpg

Witness the transformation of a seemingly meaningless lump of clay as the potter shapes, molds, carves, and colors it into beautiful pottery.

And allow yourself to be captivated and carried away by the way dance beautifully takes music, human movement, and expression to a whole new level.

I am honored and proud to share with you all a sneak peak into "Portrait of a Dancer", a photo session with a beautiful woman named Patience. 

Stay tuned for more to come!

Many thanks to Miranda Villanueva of Love and Artistry for Patience's hair/makeup! 

 

Preview | April, 2017 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Fremont, CA

 

“Luxury to me is not about buying expensive things;

...it’s about living in a way where you appreciate things.”

Oscar de la Renta

When I think about April and her journey, her smile then becomes something else to me. It's radiant, genuine, and most of all it is full of celebration.

A smile that celebrates this season of where she is.

A smile that celebrates the journey, the highs of it and the stumbling parts of it. 

A smile that celebrates wholeheartedly what is to come, trusting her life in the Hands of the one who breathed life and purpose into the depths of her soul and being.

Below is just a sneak peak into April's photo shoot with Heartbox Photography. I invite you to stay tuned as there is more to come and more to share on the life of this beautiful woman.

photography by: Heartbox Photography

hair/makeup by: Keziah Dauz

 

Preview | Rainia, 2016 | Glamour and Contemporary Portraits | Oakland, CA

 

As soon as you walk in, the shelves and walls of her home tell a beautiful story and make evident a love of history, art, travel, and culture. The morning sun shone brightly through the windows and onto the many photographs of smiling family and friends that lined the mantel, giving me a glimpse into the world of those she holds near and dear to her. The sound of Sade's timeless voice streamed easily through the speakers, adding a melody to the air that blended seamlessly into the already beautiful morning.

This sunshine-filled day in Oakland was the perfect setting for an outdoor photoshoot to capture images of this lovely woman named Rainia.

I am thrilled to share with you all a sneak peak preview below - be sure to stay tuned because there is more to come!

Many thanks to Keziah Dauz for her collaboration on Rainia's hair/makeup!

 

Elissa | 2016 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Santa Clara, CA

 

"Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak." - Rachel Zoe

She is a wife, mother of two, a daughter, friend - not to mention a woman well-skilled at leading others through her work at Facebook, Groupon, and e-Bay. I recently had the opportunity to photograph and get to know this wonderful lady named Elissa and I am so honored to share not only a bit about her, but also some of my favorite images from her photo shoot with Heartbox Photography!

Elissa, thank you for trusting me to capture you in these photographs and to celebrate who you are as a beautiful woman, influencing others greatly both at home and work. Your youth and vibrancy, your essence as a woman, simply shined through with each smile you shared in these images.

May you be reminded, for years to come, that you are valuable and beautiful, with a unique style that is all your own.

Many thanks to Kat Tinney of A List Makeup for her work on Elissa's hair and  makeup!

What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself back when you were 18 years old?

"I [would] tell my younger self to have more confidence in myself and my abilities and not to compare myself to others. Be me."

What would you tell young girls with regards to beauty and self-confidence?

"Don't rush it - you will grow up. Enjoy your life as it is today. Make time for your family and friends. Enjoy the moment."

"I try to manage family and work life but not always well -- but enjoy the fun and challenges of both parts."

What do you appreciate most about your life now?

"I appreciate my family and friends. I am grateful for the support and friendship they give me."

"I believe true beauty comes from within. A self-confident person who cares about herself, is happy, and brings joy to others is truly beautiful."

I couldn't agree more, Elissa. 

 

Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Bina | 2016 | Santa Clara, CA

 

"A beautiful woman is someone who is wise, kind, classy, and whose eyes light up when she smiles..."

These are words directly from a lovely wife, mother, and woman named Bina. Her eyes twinkle with a ready smile. Her love for her daughter, husband, and life itself is evident in the way she describes this season of her life and shares about who she is. We spent the afternoon in hair/makeup with the talented Kalani Brown Kalani Style and had a wonderful time capturing Bina's beautiful smile in these photographs.

It is my honor and privilege to share with you all the latest feature, story, and photoshoot along with a behind the scenes look into Bina's time with Heartbox Photography - check it out below!

Bina, thank you for trusting me to capturing that twinkling smile of yours and for sharing your story with me! Your daughter is fortunate to have a mother  and role model who embodies joy and pride in being who she is as a woman. Here's to continuing to empower your daughter, as well as future generations, of young girls that will shape this world. 

**

"I was born and raised in Bombay, India. I'm a textile designer by profession, but have been a stay-at-home mom looking after my beautiful daughter for the last 10 years. I've loved every bit of being a hands-on parent. The bond we share is priceless."

"It's an interesting time for me. My daughter just finished elementary school and is getting to the point where she is more independent. I'm looking to get back to designing. I'm a foodie and love experimenting and cooking wholesome food for my family and friends. I've also been assisting with Ayurvedic cooking classes. "

What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself back when you were 18 years old?

"I wish I would have told myself to be fearless!"

"Over the years, my focus has been on simplifying my loving husband and daughter's life and on just being happy. Traveling is something we like doing as a family and we've been fortunate enough to travel to many places around the world, experiencing different cultures. No matter what my week looks like I always make time for hiking and reading, my two favorite activities."

What would you tell young girls with regards to beauty, self-confidence, and growing up?

"I would tell my daughter and other young girls to not let the world tell you what perfect is! Just be yourself.

Speak your mind, be uninhibited, be authentic and in the moment. And keep smiling!"

What you appreciate most about your life now?

"I am comfortable in my own skin, I'm following my heart and loving the journey!"