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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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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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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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Makeover and Headshots - Julie Kurtz, 2013, Bay Area.

Everybody's got a story. 

Everybody's got something to say. And the diversity of the lives I have been fortunate to photograph thus far span from the backgrounds of wives, mothers, students, working professionals, artists, the girlfriends, the single gals - women who all have something to contribute, something that helps shape this world and the lives of others.

Julie Kurtz is no exception. As a marriage and family therapist, she has helped many individuals by contributing her counseling skills to couples, families, adults, and children since 1992. In 2011, she was honored by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as one of 100 Most Influential Women in Silicon Valley.


I had the honor of meeting Julie as she was the winner of a gift certificate from Heartbox Photography for a photo session. Her friendly demeanor also displayed an obvious passion for what she does serving as a counselor and therapist, which you can read more about here





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It is my hope that my photography and the stories shared by the women I photograph help encourage other women, of all walks of life. I've asked Julie to share a little more about the type of advice she would give other women and the advice she herself wishes she heard when she was younger:


Advice to other women on success?
I wish that I could give brilliant advice to other women on "success". What I have determined is that life is a journey. There is no end of the path of "success" where you say, "I finally am successful". Along the way, the key is to be present in the moment and engaged with life and the twists of joy and sorrow it brings daily. As each experience comes to me, I pay attention to what I can learn, how I feel, and think thoughtfully of how I will respond. 

Even in the depths of tough times, there are opportunities to learn, grow, and pay attention. I have grown more during the hard times than when at the peaks of joy. Whenever you think it cannot get any worse than it is right now, remember that this too will pass. 



makeovers for women
The advice I would give myself at 18? 


- What the heck are you constantly worrying about? Life is so short. Enjoy every moment. Worrying about the future or brooding over the past will never change the moment. 

- Men created high heels to slow you down and not catch up with them. 

- All the images on TV and magazines are meant to keep you down and distracted. You will never be happy with everything about yourself. If you don’t snap out of it, you will waste your life wishing you were something or someone else.  Just highlight and build on your strengths.  People will be attracted to you only if you are attracted to you.

-Get a Ph.D in YOU and then no one can convince should be something you are not.  The more aware of yourself, the less you will be shaken by the external pressures coming at you.  


makeover for women
makeovers for women

Julie, it was an honor to photograph you and to learn more about the work you do serving and helping others be the best of themselves. 


Happy Monday!


Special thanks to Nini Yang of A List Make Up for hair and make up styling