makeovers

Happy International Women's Day

“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”
-Michelle Obama

Writer, lawyer, & former First Lady

Here’s to a celebration of all phenomenal girls and women all around the world.

Happy International Women’s Day!

#internationalWomen’sDay

Ghia, 2017 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Santa Clara, CA

There exists a unique kind of beauty that comes with the broken and the real. Ghia is a woman that possesses that kind of beauty - the kind that laughs out loud, tells it like it is in any and every situation, and is unapologetic about her own need for truth, grace, and love. One of my favorite qualities about her as a friend is that she always somehow reminds me that no matter how far I think I've fallen, I don't have the ability to fall too far away from God's constantly available love. From day one she is real about herself, her life, and how God's grace is constantly shaping her as well.

Ghia is a wife, a mom, a sister, a loyal and longtime friend who is loved by many....and it is my honor to be able to share with you all a glimpse into the heart of this awesome woman as well share  a behind the scenes look into her photo shoot with Heartbox Photography!

Photography: Heartbox Photography

Hair and makeup: Kalani Brown

"There are so many things that make a woman beautiful; her confidence in who she is, the joy she can spread with her laugh, how she looks, and the list goes on.

But what I think makes a woman truly beautiful is a gentle spirit. Kinda crazy, because I'm the exact opposite!"

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0003.jpg

"There's beauty in women when they can build other women up, instead of tearing them down."

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

"I wish I could tell my 18 year old self that the opinion I should care about most is God's.

I still have to tell myself this now, and remind myself that God seems me as His precious daughter, that I am loved the way I am, and not for what I think I could be."

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0002.jpg

 

 

"As a young girl, I compared myself to the images I saw on TV and magazines, and it made me feel bad because I thought I looked so different.

I was also very quiet and shy, even awkward, and I thought that made me look more weird. I basically cared way too much what other people thought."

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0001.jpg

"Today, although I am still struggling, I would tell young girls now to focus more on figuring out who they are, regardless of who they think the world wants them to be. Outward looks may come to mind immediately when we hear "beauty" but the word means so much more.

Being a woman is hard enough in this world, and I think that if we could encourage each other despite our differences, we would love ourselves more, and each other."

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0005.jpg

"I think what I appreciate the most is how God continues to remind me just how loved I truly am, just the way I am."

 

Preview | Ghia, 2017 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Santa Clara, CA

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

 

 

To say that she is one of the most real friends I have been blessed with is an understatement.

Ghia is as real with her joys as well as she is about her struggles. She is as transparent with her victories as she is with the things that she knows are broken in her and healing. On countless occasions has her straightforward demeanor encouraged me, prayed for me, challenged me, and yes, even had me rolling with laughter when I would rather cry.

Even as I write this, I can't help but smile remembering the many times she has been an example of what love, laughter, and and a real friendship cemented in God looks like.

She's a woman, a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter. A friend to so, so many. And to me, she's more like family. The kind that's loud and crazy and beautiful inside and out beyond words. 

I am so very proud to share with you all a preview image from the photo shoot of my lovely friend, Ghia. As always, there is more to come and I can't wait to show you all so stay tuned!

Photography: Heartbox Photography

Hair and makeup: Kalani Brown

Phoebe | 2017 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Santa Clara, CA

 

There is an unmistakable and genuine joy in her eyes that you that very obviously comes from somewhere beyond the surface.  She is engaging, always quick to offer a word of encouragement to those who need it, and is a woman unashamed to share the testimony of her life story and the healing that came from some of her deepest hurts.

Phoebe is a wife, a mother, a friend, a sister, a daughter...and one of the most beautiful women I know both inside and out. 

I am proud to share with you all the images below, even more proud to share with you all some words from Phoebe herself. The details of our stories as women vastly differ, yet interestingly enough the struggles of self-worth  and misplaced identity seem to be the all-too common thread that connects us, making our stories actually more similar than we thought. 

As with all stories shared here, I hope Phoebe's words reach deep and awaken you to the unchanging truth that you are a woman eternally loved, deeply forgiven, and unbelievably valued by a God that is closer to you know.

Enjoy!

***

"I struggled with getting my approval, value, and worth in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways. In my teen years, it got me into a lot of trouble, leading to traumatic experiences. These painful experiences caused me to fill voids in the wrong ways; I hurt myself and others often.

The scars followed me for so long to the point where I did not want to get healthy [despite] all the health issues I have. I was afraid if I was thinner again, all the things that happened to me then would happen all over again. I was afraid I would make the same poor decisions, too. I had to really confront these fears and lies head on. That was hard and extremely painful. "

"But I needed to believe God was GREATER than my fear, GREATER than those lies and GREATER than my past. Because He is. I knew that in my head, but I really needed to believe it in my heart. And when I did, I realized grace means that all my mistakes, all my pain, and my past now serve a purpose instead of serving shame."

 

 

 

"...grace means that all my mistakes, all my pain, and my past now serve a purpose instead of serving shame."

"Our world is so obsessed with outward appearance. Don't fall into that obsession. We are only going to be here in this world for a short period of time. Don't spend it on pleasing or trying to impress people who don't even matter. It is a tiresome hamster wheel that gets you no where but feeling exhausted. Focus on how God sees you so beautiful and whole, despite what you look like on the outside or feel on the inside."

"Beautiful to me is facing fears and challenges even when it is hard or painful. Beautiful is seeing the amazing outcome of gold, pearls, butterflies, and so many other things in life that have to go through turmoil, fire or hell before it can become what it is." 

 "[Beautiful] is getting back up 1001 times when you have fallen 1000. It's finishing the race because you now believe your worth and value."

 

 

 

"Beautiful is seeing the amazing outcome of gold, pearls, butterflies, and so many other things in life that have to go through turmoil, fire or hell before it can become what it is."

"I feel most beautiful when I am spending my quiet time with God. He reminds me who I am in Him, not by anyone's view of me, including myself. He reminds me in beautiful ways how precious I am, how loved I am, and how beautiful I am - despite what I do or don't do. He gives me the ultimate confidence and constant reminders that I don't have to live in fear, in lies, or my past, and [life] is one crazy, yet beautiful adventure!"

Many thanks to Kat Tinney for her work on Phoebe's hair and makeup!

 

Sonia| 2017 | Glamour & Contemporary Outdoor Portraits | Fremont, CA

 

Time shapes and molds people in different ways as the years go by. And while the years change some individuals, for others time seems to simply solidify the best character traits you've known existed in them from the beginning. 

Sonia and I go way back. As in, during a time when Jansport backpacks were what you sported and pagers were the best way for your parents to flag you down on a summer day to tell you to come home for dinner. We even had the same baby sitter at one point, sharing the same memories of what it was like to jump at the sound of the doorbell, hoping it was our turn to finally get picked up after waiting impatiently for what seemed like decades. Oh, the challenges of childhood.

Quiet, steady, dependable, warm, and genuine is how I'd describe Sonia and I kid you not when I say that she's remained pretty much the same from our adolescent years. She has supported Heartbox Photography from the very beginning, back when I was displaying my art in a local coffee shop. Her appreciation for the arts and love for travel and color is nothing short of wonderful and clearly evident by the beautiful displays that carefully line the wall of her dining room in her home. 

Sonia and Kevin celebrated a huge event in 2016, the birth of their son, Noah. And it is my pleasure and honor to be able to not only celebrate this beautiful woman, but to also celebrate the moments in her life that have helped shape her heart to be who she is today and enable her to love like she's never loved before.

Sonia, thank you. For not only supporting the early years of my work as a photographer, but for the chance for us to reconnect as friends, laugh over memories from childhood, and now celebrate this new chapter of your life. May these images remind you of not only the beautiful woman you already are on the outside, but also of people around you that fill your heart and reveal how beautiful you are on the inside as well. 

These are just a few of my favorite shots from Sonia's photo shoot. Be sure to check out the behind-the-scenes video below to sell all the images!

Hair/makeup by Becky Lau of Beautiful One Makeup Artistry

"I was never one who enjoyed being in front of the camera. I was shy, self-conscious, and I just didn't see myself as beautiful. Then one day I saw a candid photo of myself laughing. My smile nearly stretched from ear to ear and my cheeks were rosy and my eyes looked so...vibrant, for lack of a better word. I liked this photo. I looked so at ease, I had joy, my happiness was genuine and I thought I looked pretty in this moment." 

"I wish I [could have told] my younger self that beauty is not necessarily something you have or are. Rather, it's something you express, something you evoke, something you embody." 

"I [would also tell my younger self] that happiness is something you can give yourself. It can be a choice. Don't waste your time thinking there are things that need to be done on a timeline, just enjoy what's happening in that moment. "

"When I think of beauty in a woman, I often admire a woman's smile. When someone truly smiles it can reach all the way up to their eyes."

"A smile can express so many different things and is unique to each person. That's why I think it is so beautiful."

"I appreciate that my life is exactly where it's supposed to be right now. My life feels full. Full of so many wonderful things; my home, my partner, my family, my friends, my work, and MOST of all my son. He puts a smile on my face every single day and so I feel peace, strength, joy, love, hope and anticipation for the future. I look forward and see an adventure I can't wait to experience!"

 

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!

 

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!"

 

Sisters | Amy, Julie & Kristina | Glamour and Contemporary Portraits | Santa Clara, CA

 

My own sisters and I like to joke that we all share one brain. A little weird to picture, but I think that joke originated from the fact that we simply shared our lives together, that there was this special bond between us that only sisters could understand.

When I met Julie, Kristina, and Amy, I could immediately tell I would just love working with these awesome ladies. There are four sisters altogether, but only the three of them live in California, with their fourth sister living in Florida. Their closeness and love for one another was obvious in the abundance of laughter, smiles, and jokes shared during their photo shoot with me on a Saturday morning.

To be a part of helping celebrate these beautiful ladies and their sisterhood was a great honor and I am so excited to share with you all a few images as well as a full slideshow/video of their day with Heartbox Photography, so be sure to check it out below!

Kristina, Julie, and Amy -                                                  

Thank you for allowing me the privilege to not only capture the essence of who each of you are as beautiful individuals, but also what you are together as sisters and women who support and love one another. May these images and experience forever be a treasured reminder of how beautiful it is to be a woman - and what a blessing it is to be a part of this gift of sisterhood. 

"We are extremely close. We grew up going to school together, shared a room, as well as shared all of our clothes - yes, we all wore the same size! Kristina and I were only a year apart in school so we had the same friends, shared the same first car, attended the same college, and were even college roommates."

"We all listen to the same types of music, all enjoy shopping and love to eat the same types of food. You could say that we have A LOT in common. We still share our clothes and talk to each other on a daily basis."   - Amy

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

"Happiness comes from experiencing things you love surrounded by people you love. Don't worry so much about what others would say or think of you because in the end, time will continue to move and you don't want to waste your lifetime living for others. Use your lifetime to create memories experiences that you want to look back on and fall in love with the story of your life." - Amy

"Your body is beautiful, embrace yourself. Education is beautiful, because no one can take that away from you. You and only you, control your destiny." - Kristina

What do you appreciate most about your life now?

"I appreciate the fact that I have a relationship with God. Through this relationship, I have found the true meaning of love and happiness. I realize how blessed I am with my family, the memories that we get to create together, and every single day is embraced in our household."  - Amy

"I appreciate my family more than anything. I appreciate our health, our time together, and our love for one another."   -Kristina

"I am the youngest of the 5 siblings. I just moved to California two months ago because my husband Robby accepted a job opportunity in Silicon Valley. I am 39 years old, married to my best friend, whom I have known since I was 14 years old, though we did not date until after I graduated college. We have 3 precious girls - Chloe, Audrey, and Leia. Yes, our daughter was named after Princess Leia in Star Wars. They are the center of our world! We love to spend time outside as a family hiking, beaching, and exploring new places." - Amy

"Beauty is definitely more on the inside for me. It is the beauty of someone's heart and soul. Her genuine character. The love that she shares with others." - Amy

"I have three young girls (4,6, and 8) and I tell them they are beautiful everyday. I tell them that God placed them here on this earth for a reason and each one is blessed with special gifts. Embrace the gifts you are given and use it to show love to others. That is how we can grow the love here on this earth and beyond. So if someone was mean to them, we talk about about we think they would act that way, pray for the individual, forgive him/her and move on." 

"I want them to know that people's actions and words reflects who that individual is and should not affect us. So they understand that everyone is supposed to be different with different looks of beauty, talents, gifts, and qualities."    -Amy

Julie and her husband, Bobby, met in high school. It was truly a match made in heaven, as they were inseparable after that. Julie moved to California with her husband and first son, Christian when she was in her late 20's. They had their daughter, Hayley, here in California. 

Sisters_EDITED39.JPG

She has a career as a loan officer and her family is very much into fitness, food, and fashion.  Julie loves to shop...for everyone, according to her sister, Amy. They enjoy going out to eat as a family and loves the beach/warm weather so they spend their vacations either on the beaches of Hawaii or Florida. 

Kristina moved to California after graduating college in her early 20's. She met her prince charming in San Francisco and married him. Kristina and her husband, Howard, have two beautiful children, Lauren and Lance. Her family loves to travel around the world and experience new foods, culture, and scenery. They are also very involved in the community and what is best for their kids.

"I believe nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she IS beautiful." - Kristina

"Your body is not everything that defines you. Don't take everything so seriously - enjoy life! Most of the stuff that makes you anxious doesn't really matter when you're older." - Kristina

"We are truly blessed to have this sister bond and we all know it. I could go on and on about all the things we share. We've created so many memories together and now all of our kids are growing up together as loving cousins. What more could we ask for in life?" - Amy

I couldn't agree more. :)

 

Bea | Glamour and Contemporary Portraits | Santa Clara, CA

I had the recent honor of photographing and getting to know a lovely woman named Beatrice ....or, as she's more known to her nearest and dearest, "Bea". This beautiful woman is not only a mommy, wife, daughter, sister, and friend but a yoga instructor, speech and language pathologist, home health therapist and Netflix marathoner. 

And when I found out that she loves avocados as well, let's just say I knew we were going to get along just fine. =) 

Her smile and sense of humor was an absolute joy to be around, making the hours just fly by during the fun we had during her makeover and photoshoot. Below are a few of my favorites that I am proud to share with you all along with a full on video of our time together with the lovely Bea. 

Bea, it was an honor getting to know you and to have you become a part of the message that all women are indeed beautiful as they are today. May you look back at your own smile in each of these photographs and continue to remember that for yourself as well. 

 Many thanks to the talented Kat Tinney for Bea's hair/makeup!

"A beautiful woman is comfortable in her own skin and in her perfect imperfection. She does not take herself too seriously and knows  how to enjoy life to its fullest. Someone who, despite what life hands them, is overflowing with joie de vivre."

"A beautiful woman doesn't rely on what's in her make-up bag."

What do you wish you could tell yourself back when you were 18 years old?

"Wear your SPF! Hahaha! Wise words from my mom.  I would tell myself "Babyguuurl, accept yourself as God made you because he does not make mistakes!"

"Look up (from your screen), life is going on around you! Explore the world around you, go for a hike, hydrate!"

"Speak up for yourself, and do not be afraid to make decisions because nobody really knows where they are trying to reach. Breathe, really BREATHE, and enjoy just being because you will be ok." 

Preview | Ruchi | Glamour and Contemporary Portrait | Santa Clara, CA

It was like the fall colors of the leaves that surrounded the park beckoned the gold of the afternoon sunlight into a perfectly choreographed dance for us to witness. And needless to say this breathtaking background was perfect for a photoshoot with a lovely woman named Ruchi. 

Ruchi has been a long supporter of Heartbox Photography , standing behind the message that every woman is beautiful and has a story to tell. I am so very excited and honored that she took that step to grace my camera with her presence. Below is just a sneak peak into her photoshoot with more to come -  stay tuned!

Many thanks to the talented Keziah Dauz of Beauty by Keziah for making Ruchi's hair and makeup look absolutely stunning for this photoshoot! 

PREVIEW | Bea | Glamour and Contemporary Portraits | Santa Clara, CA

Even in this digital age, I am still a huge advocate and fan of having pictures printed out, whether it's treasured in a special folio box, an album you can touch, or a beautiful frame to display. And in this era of blinding speed and fleeting moments, I am still a huge advocate for stopping time in a special way for a woman through a timeless portrait of just herself.

Yes, I know it seems odd to take some time out of an incredibly hectic and busy life to have your portrait taken. I know it seems odd to have your hair done, to go beyond just the two second application of eyeliner and instead have a professional do your makeup in a way that makes you feel your best, polished self. However, many years down the road, it won't seem so odd anymore. Because that portrait of you that you hold in your hands is now part of the legacy of your family. Your children will treasure it, your grandchildren will have a glimpse into generations before them. It will serve as a reminder to you, that every year of your life is important and that there is something wonderful about reflecting back on a photograph of yourself from years ago. It will bring a smile to your face as you recall just where you were at in life when it was captured. And as a woman, I hope it resonates something deep inside you and reminds you that you are valued and wonderfully made.

Exist in photographs for yourself. Exist in photographs for your loved ones. 

Exist in photographs. 

I am incredibly excited and honored share with you all the latest celebration of women who have chosen to exist in photographs, a lovely mother and wife named Bea.

Bea not only a mother and wife, but a daughter, a sister, a friend, yoga instructor, speech and language pathologist, a homehealth therapist, a Netflix marathoner. Having spent an afternoon with her in the studio was more like hanging out with a familiar friend as her easygoing personality and laughter filled our conversations. 

As always, this is just a sneak peak, so stay tuned for more!

Happy Thursday!

Many thanks to Kat Tinney  of A List Makeup for Bea's hair and makeup!

PREVIEW: Rina | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Santa Clara, CA

One of the things that I am finding as a photographer is that the last time almost all of these women had their portrait taken was either when they were seniors in high school, during their wedding, or during some other "formal" event in their life years ago. I love and appreciate every opportunity I am given to remind them, through these photographs they allow me to create, that they are just as every bit as beautiful now as they were then. 

Meet the lovely Rina. This beautiful mom came in recently for a portrait session and we had a fun time getting to know each other and of course capturing her sweet smile in these photographs. Below is just a little sneak peak into her photo session with more to come soon, so stay tuned!

Many thanks to the talented Kat Tinney for Rina's hair and makeup!

PREVIEW: Phoebe | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Santa Clara, CA

Women are beautiful both inside and out. It's a message that I hope becomes more strong, more loud, and more true through every photograph I am privileged to take.

Meet the lovely Phoebe.

Phoebe's journey through the ups and downs with health and faith is nothing short of a story worth telling- complete with the highest of highs and the valleys of lows in between. In other words, her story is real and has helped changed her perspective on what it truly means to beautiful.

This is just a sneak peak into this amazing woman's photo session - be sure to stay tuned for more to come! 

 

 

 

Preview | Van | Glamour and Contemporary Portraits | San Jose, CA

I absolutely love when my craft goes beyond me and makes someone smile, makes them feel inspired, and helps remind a woman that she is stunning simply because she is herself. 

Photographing the lovely Van felt like it was an afternoon spent with a beautiful friend who absolutely rocked that inner model. Van is not only one of the nicest, most down-to-earth women around, but she's also a wife, the proud mother of 2, and a driven and passionate entrepreneur, serving as founder of Tempo Bicycles

I'm so excited to share a sneak peak into Van's photo session below - there are definitely  more lovely images to come, so stay tuned!

Many thanks to Kat Tinney for the styling of Van's hair and makeup!

Suman, 2015 | Contemporary Portraits | Fabulous Series | Santa Clara, CA

"I am a strong and independent woman and mother."
Bay-Area-Santa Clara-San-Jose-California-women-portrait-glamour-photography-heartbox-photography-makeovers
"I was raised in a loving and caring family. My parents taught me to be respectful towards others, to be independent, compassionate, and truthful in whatever I do in my life."  
Bay-Area-Santa Clara-San-Jose-California-women-portrait-glamour-photography-heartbox-photography-makeovers
"A truly beautiful woman does not compete with anyone. She understands the values and strengths that she alone possesses and appreciates them."
Bay-Area-Santa Clara-San-Jose-California-women-portrait-glamour-photography-heartbox-photography-makeovers
"Our society is obsessed with physical beauty and many women are caught up in that obsession. [But] the irony is that physical beauty is temporary in every sense. 
Bay-Area-Santa Clara-San-Jose-California-women-portrait-glamour-photography-heartbox-photography-makeovers
"My greatest strength is my mom and two wonderful, loving sisters."
Bay-Area-Santa Clara-San-Jose-California-women-portrait-glamour-photography-heartbox-photography-makeovers
"My father is my hero and never preached, but led by example. Though we never had a lot of money, there was incredible love [in my family]."
Bay-Area-Santa Clara-San-Jose-California-women-portrait-glamour-photography-heartbox-photography-makeovers
"Being a mother is the greatest joy of my life."
Bay-Area-Santa Clara-San-Jose-California-women-portrait-glamour-photography-heartbox-photography-makeovers
"I am eternally grateful to my family and friends who have always stood by my side and taught me to believe in myself."
Bay-Area-Santa Clara-San-Jose-California-women-portrait-glamour-photography-heartbox-photography-makeovers
"I have tried my best to live life honestly and compassionately though I have been put in many difficult situations which could have completely brought me down."
Bay-Area-Santa Clara-San-Jose-California-women-portrait-glamour-photography-heartbox-photography-makeovers
"What keeps a woman eternally beautiful are many inner qualities like the ability to love,  care, and exhibit compassion."
Bay-Area-Santa Clara-San-Jose-California-women-portrait-glamour-photography-heartbox-photography-makeovers


"Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart."

Photography: Heartbox Photography
Hair/Makeup: Kat Tinney 

Preview | Nancy, 2015 | Contemporary Portraits | Fabulous Series | Santa Clara, CA

Everyone's got a story. And as a photographer and writer, I have the opportunity to share the unique beauty in those stories for some pretty awesome and unique women.

Meet Nancy.

Nancy is the type of person whose warm smile and easygoing laugh immediately can make you feel at ease in a roomful of strangers.  And for someone like me who immediately gravitates towards hiding behind the refreshments in a crowd, well, you can bet this personality trait is one that I absolutely appreciate!

I recently had the opportunity to photograph this lovely lady and am so excited to share a little sneak peak with you all - there's more to come so stay tuned!


Photography: Heartbox Photography
Many thanks to Ashlyn Taylor for her lovely work on Nancy's hair and makeup!

Margret | September Birthday Rewards | Portraits by Heartbox Photography | Bay Area, CA

As the cooler air starts to settle in and we teeter between the remnants of summer weather mixed with the anticipation of a new season to come, I'd like to take the time out to say a happy birthday to the September Birthday Rewards winner, none other than the lovely Margret!

Margret and her family were one of the earlier supporters of my endeavors with Heartbox Photography and to have that trust from people to allow you into their world in front of the camera is a gift I will never forget.

Margret, I hope you had a fabulous September birthday celebration. Thank you for always being so supportive and genuinely kind. Here's to many, MANY more beautiful years to come!


Preview | Suman, 2015 | Contemporary Portraits | Fabulous Series | Santa Clara, CA

One of my favorite things to share with my clients is that even as a photographer, even I still get really nervous and shy about being in front of the lens rather than hiding behind it. I sometimes think that us as women, though hopefully we grow more confident over time, will always have a little sense of this shyness, this hesitation as part of our DNA. And I personally think it comes from deep down hope that we are loved, approved, accepted as we appear in the reflection that stares back at us in the mirror.

It's getting harder and harder drown out the voices of social media and Hollywood that says we need to be a certain size and a certain age to be considered beautiful and fabulous.  But perhaps a new style of photographs can help change all of that. One that says, yes, I feel more beautiful as I get older and wouldn't wish to reverse anything!

As I photograph more and more women who are part of the "Fabulous" Series - celebrating women who are 40+ in age - I begin to see how awesome it is to see their smiles unfold and their unique personalities come out in each photograph. Yes, there are still hints of that shyness but to see how it intertwines magically with the heart and soul of a her smile creating a unique image for the camera to capture...well, it's just beyond cool.

These ladies are brave and I hope they see that it's ok to be proud of your age, that it's ok to laugh at the quirks of each year that passes, and HECK YES it's totally acceptable to twirl around and feel beautiful in front of the camera.

This is just a sneak peak into the latest "Fabulous" Series photo session - there's more, so stay tuned!

Photography: Heartbox Photography
Hair/Makeup: Kat Tinney 

portrait-photography-makeovers-Santa-Clara

Lisa, 2015 | Contemporary Portraits | Fabulous Series | Santa Clara, CA

For any artist, it can be exciting to embark on a new endeavor, to see what will result when you take the imagination you have in your mind and then apply it to the blank canvas in front of you. 

As part of the "Fabulous Series" I am getting to meet some incredibly beautiful and interesting women who are allowing me to photograph them, tell a little bit of their story, and contribute to changing the face of what beautiful is for women everywhere.
There's a confidence and depth that come with living life beyond 40, 50, 60 years and as I learn more about these women, even I'm seeing little pieces of how I hope to be when I have reached those years in my own life - expressive of what I want and don't want. Less afraid to speak. More understanding of perseverance. Less defined by the world's expectations. Abundantly grateful for life, friends, family. More appreciative of health.

I am so excited to share the latest Fabulous Series photo sessions, featuring an incredibly lovely woman named Lisa.

Lisa, thank you. For stepping out of your comfort zone to be a part of something that entails more than just a pretty picture. For being incredibly honest about your life. And most of all for being willing to share a little bit of your world with me and with others.
What do you think makes a woman truly beautiful?
"Confidence. If you believe you are beautiful, it radiates outwardly. Everyone is beautiful in their own unique way. 

Thankfully, what society sees as beautiful isn't always so to everyone. That's why there are hundreds of shoes in different colors, shapes, heels, materials, textures, etc. Design would be limited if we all found the same thing beautiful." 
"Beauty cannot be bought in a "lightening" cream or some surgery. Beauty is inside and radiates outwards.  Be confident and let the world see it!"
What are a few things you wish you could tell yourself back when you were 18 years old?

"Just like there are different styles, foods, designs in nature, each person is just as unique. There are so many different things that people gravitate towards. That's what makes life so exciting! Just be yourself and never try to be like anyone else. 

Your uniqueness is what makes you stand out."

What advice would you give to young girls about beauty, self-confidence, and growing up?

"Regardless of your size, you are beautiful. Don't diet. Exercise. 

Find something you love doing. Eat healthy and everything in moderation. 

Size is not an indication of health. TV and magazines can distort reality."

"Know what you want and stand up for it. Never let anyone stand in the way of your dreams. Accept compliments and be sure to give them in return.  Accept failures - they are learning lessons. Spend less time online. 

Enjoy the journey!"

What do you appreciate most about your life now?

"I am grateful for my friends and family. 

I am grateful for the amazing experiences I have had living abroad. Living in a foreign country helps you re-think your own environment and gives life a new perspective. I wish more people did it."


"I'm grateful for my own sense of inquisitiveness. It's the spark behind some amazing adventures and evolving perspectives in my life."


Happy Friday!

Many thanks to the talented Tammy Do from A-List Makeup for Lisa's hair and makeup!

Lisa | July Birthday Rewards | Portraits by Heartbox Photography | Bay Area, CA

Summer is one of my favorite times of the year and always has been since I was a kid for many reasons. The free excuse to eat ice cream at Thrifty's (remember that???), the scent of Banana Boat sunscreen during days my parents took us swimming, to even the fond memories of riding around the "big kid," upside down roller coaster rides and toughing out the nauseating consequences of it later at our local amusement park. (Endless upside down motions coupled with churros and cake tend to make for an interesting car ride home. Sorry, Uncle!)

And even more so than fun roller coasters and amusement park memories, the summer season also means a celebration of life for some folks. I'm so excited to announce that the winner of the July Birthday Rewards drawing is none other than the lovely Lisa, who I also happened to have the opportunity to recently photograph! A full post is currently in the works for this fabulous July celebrant, so stay tuned!

Happy birthday, Lisa, and here's to many more to come!