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

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

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

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


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

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

Basically, I have it all.  Except strong bones.  

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


Enough for what?! Who knows. 

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

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

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

Why?  Well, so many reasons, really:  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Eat a nutrient dense diet with plenty of healthy fats

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

  • Get plenty of vitamin D from both outdoors and supplementally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it starts now!

She Is

She is a woman.

She has dark hair, she has light hair, she has mixed hair.

She's a mom, she's a mother's helper, she's an aunt, she's a grandmother, she's a great grandmother, she's a sister, she's someone's confidant, someone or several people's best friend.

She's the CEO, she's the homemaker, she's the entrepreneur, she's a student. 

She's the writer, the adventurer, the doctor, the techie, the gardener, the teacher, the assistant.

She wears her hair curly, she wears it straight, she cuts it to a pixie, she let's it cascade down her back.

She's from the United States, she's from Europe, she's from Africa, she's from Asia, and so many other places in between. 

She's a leader and she also serves. 

She is not one category - she instead is forever creating new ones.

She is a woman. 

#diversityisbeautiful #celebratewomen

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0085.jpg

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

"She's got a light around her
And everywhere she goes
A million dreams of love surround her everywhere..."

-Billy Joel

She gives generously of her time and attention.

Her words are filled with an abundance of love and joy whenever you ask about her children, her husband, her grandchildren, her family....her life.

The smile that graces her face when describing places she has traveled to with her loved ones or recalling some of the best memories is a smile that seems to radiantly shine even brighter with each story.

Her laughter speaks of nothing but joy. 

Melba is a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. I always find it so uniquely special about photographing a woman who has given of her time, love, and attention so lovingly to others for many years. Because suddenly she is at the center of attention and having a rare moment where she gets to stop and say yes, I'd like to celebrate it all right now. There is this unmistakeable and endearing shyness when a woman realizes that it is absolutely ok to take a moment to celebrate, ok to feel beautiful inside and out, and yes, more than ok to enjoy every minute of the experience.

I am so proud to share with you all a little sneak peak image into this remarkable woman's recent photoshoot with Heartbox Photography. There is more to come from Melba's photo shoot, so be sure to stay tuned!

Many thanks to Kalani Brown of Kalani Style for Melba's hair and makeup!

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.



"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!


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: 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! 




November Birthday Rewards - Happy Birthday!

Part of what makes my job as a photographer so much fun are the fabulous people I get to meet and know. They trust me into their life to not only photograph them but also tell their story and share their beauty with the world.

I am excited to announce that my lovely client for this month's November Birthday Rewards drawing, the lovely Susan is the winner!

Susan, I hope you had nothing but a memorable birthday celebration full of life and love with your nearest and dearest! Here's to nothing but fabulous in the years to come. 

Happy Birthday!

PREVIEW: Susan, 2013. Bay Area, Glamour Photo Session

This world can never have too many smiles or friendly people and I am privileged for every time I get to work with individuals who exude this type of warmth and kindness.

Meet the lovely Susan. I met Susan through Hollman - they have been good friends since their college days and I can see why, as they both are two of the nicest people you could meet.

Here is a bit of a sneak peak into Susan's photo shoot - as always, stay tuned for more to come!

Happy Tuesday!

Erika, 2013, Bay Area. Glamour Photo Session.

A few weeks ago, I previewed a shoot from the owner of Take A Break Massage Therapy, Erika Denney. Born and raised in San Jose, Erika is not only a business owner and shaking things up in her own career, but also a loving mom to a beautiful little girl named Labella.  

What I remember most about my own first meeting with Erika is that you can immediately see that she is a no-nonsense go-getter, full of life and a passion to not only build a successful business doing what she loved but exerting that same passion and energy into being the best mother as well. 

Erika, I am thankful to have met you. It is refreshing to be around your energy and conviction as it challenges to me to grow, to think outside of the box, and most importantly, to be unafraid to just go out and get it! It was an honor to photograph you and also learn a little more about who you are as a business owner, a mother, and as a person. Keep it up, girl - the world needs more women like you who are unafraid to shake things up. 

"I believe that every child deserves the best when it comes to their education as it is the foundation of their future."

"I admire people who are decisive and - I think too much sometimes!"
"If I were ever on a deserted island, I would absolutely have to have a lifetime supply of Carmex, my family and maybe something practical like a hatchet!"

"Playing sports showed me discipline and leadership - two attributes that have helped me accomplish so much in life." 

The one thing I say the most is "If you're not early, you're late! If you're on time, you're late!"

"My family has always given me love and support in everything I do."

"Everyone deserves to live the life they want. Don't be afraid to make changes in our life to get it - sometimes it takes a little hard work, but it will be worth it!"


Happy Tuesday!

PREVIEW: Erika, 2013. Bay Area, Glamour Photo Session & Makeover

As I walked around the studio setting up the reflector boards, checking camera gear, adjusting the blinds that shielded the afternoon daylight through the windows and preparing for a photo shoot this past weekend, bits of a casual conversation floated in the air between the stylist and model but it was this sentence that resonated the most with me:

 "I just want to be a role model for my daughter."

Meet Erika, owner of Take A Break Massage Therapy. When I first met Erika, I could immediately tell she was a no-nonsense go-getter, the type of person who wasn't just all talk about the things she wanted in life but rather the person who filled her days pursuing them without hesitation or excuses. Her love for her daughter is also very apparent and the bright smile that illuminates Erika's face at the mention of her little one was one of the things I remembered most from our first conversation over coffee.

Here is just a little sneak peak into Erika's recent photo shoot - as always, there is definitely more so stay tuned!

Happy Tuesday!


Holli, 2013. Bay Area, Glamour Photo Session

She walked into the studio for her makeover and glamour photo shoot and I remember asking her a bit apprehensively: "So, will your boys be ok with the baby sitter for the afternoon while we have your photo shoot and makeover?" (I was actually starting to wonder if I was going to be the reason the baby sitter was going to have a tough afternoon with two boys looking for their mom!) But thankfully my fears were quickly re-assured by Holli's friendly smile and an enthusiastic reply of: "Oh, they'll be just fine!"

Meet the lovely Holli. Wife, a busy mom to two very active little boys, writer, and entrepreneur. 

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of providing her with an afternoon filled with not only an in-studio glamour photo shoot and professional makeover and styling from the talented Angela LaFlamme, but a chance for her to take a break from her busy schedule.

It was a smile-filled afternoon being able to chat with Holli and learn more about her, her two young sons, being a wife, and yes, even chatting about some pretty awesome mineral-based mascara she brought along for the makeover! (Hey, we're women, when we chat, you can bet we chat about everything!) 

Holli, you were a joy to work with and absolutely rocked the photo shoot! Thank you for not only trusting me to photograph you, but for also just being a friendly face to connect with and get to know as a person. I hope that these photographs remind you every day that in the midst of being a busy mom, wife, and business woman, you are valued and awesome not because of the many hats you wear, not because of what was accomplished or missed on your to-do list, but simply because you are YOU.

And of course, here is a little more about Holli!

I am a freelance writer and I own a skincare business. I love helping people correct common skin conditions so they don’t have to feel self-conscience about their skin and can confidently put their best face forward! I truly love helping people, it makes my heart sing!

I am passionate about fitness and am an avid Crossfitter. I also enjoy spending time outdoors hiking and golfing. I have always been a sports fanatic. I enjoy watching professional football, and baseball as well!

My advice to other mom entrepreneurs is to remember that you can’t do it all, and that is ok! It doesn’t mean you are failing! We put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, but just remember that you are doing your best and that is all that matters! Just keep going and don’t quit! 

Happy Friday and have a fabulous weekend!












Mint-Chip Ice Cream and A Mighty Grace

These past few days have been a bit of a rough patch. And to even say that/type that aloud so that the whole Internet world can see is scary, but also maybe a little bit necessary. The world could use a little more honesty.

I don't know about you, but my default whenever life gets rough is to withdraw a little more, to self-protect. Which, in retrospect, is probably not the best thing to do since the very one I need to protect myself from is none other than - you guessed it - myself. The myriad of self-spoken lies are too believable without someone to intervene and point you to truth that can combat the poisonous hold of a lie you chose to believe about yourself and your self-worth. Depression is no joke, especially I think, when it comes to us women.

I had recently attended a service at my church this past Sunday that spoke into this very issue. I can't speak for everyone else, but for me, I find it's never a coincidence when a message ties so specifically and so scarily into detail the exact thing I am struggling with. It's annoying and liberating all the same. I like to think that God sat me down and had a good heart to heart talk with me, complete with a tissue for the tears and a cup of mint-chip ice cream he knew I would need. Hard to hear, but comforting all the same.

In exchange for my burden, He gives me rest. And the best part? Unlike even the best department store shoe sales, the best of Black Friday sales, the best clearance racks during the winter time, the trade doesn't cost me anything - only my willingness to give the burden away and instead receive an unconditional rest and grace.

Matthew 11:28 " Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and  you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

I hope this message encourages you today the way it encouraged me.

Happy Tuesday!

Glamour Photo Session, Bay Area. Hollman, 2013.

Enthusiasm and smiles. A girl-power kind of ambition. 

Meet the lovely Hollman Wong. 

I initially met Hollman at a women's business networking event and later sat down to chat at a local coffee shop to learn about her and her businesses.  One of the things I appreciate about Hollman is that while she is a driven businesswoman and entrepreneur, she's also the type of person who makes you feel like you just spent the afternoon chatting it up with your best girlfriends - complete with the laughter over the things women struggle with and the understanding that we gals, at the end of the day, just want to do something great in this world.  

As with every glamour photo shoot I do, it is my hope that the photographs along with the story behind each beautiful woman, help to influence other women in a meaningful way. Complete with a "girl power" fist bump to the air, of course. 

And now, over to Hollman...

Give us your “elevator speech” – a snapshot of who you are, what you do for a living, and how we should “know” you.
I am an Event Planner at heart.  I've been planning events since I was a kid.  I fell into the event marketing world in High Tech and toggled between that and planning weddings and celebratory events.    

I have always believed that, there is always something to celebrate.  Small touches can turn the most ordinary gathering into something very special and memorable.  I'm in a career transition at the moment.   I just finished my studies at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and am a Certified Holistic Health Coach.  My mission is to help people figure out the right mix of whole and real foods to eat for their body so they can feel great in their favorite jeans!
Towards the end of my studies, I was working on creating a wellness Meetup group to share my knowledge and wouldn't you know it I came up with a whole new idea which incorporates wellness and getting things done.  I'm currently incubating the two ideas but the gist is that I'm creating a community where I connect action-challenged go getters with what they say they want to do!  

Who or what 3 things have helped shape you to be the woman you are today? Tell us about the path you took to get where you are today.
  • Making mistakes and learning from them
  • Speaking up over injustices and or crummy work that can affect the integrity of a project or the company
  • When I started my first, "real" job out of college, a manager in my department told me to "take this time to learn - really learn.”  I have always remembered and followed this sage advice.
If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your 18-year-old self? What advice would you give to other women in today’s world? 
  • Ask more questions.  If you feel sick to your stomach about asking the question, all the more reason to ask the question. 
  • Have the audacity to be who you really are regardless of what anyone tells you, what your family thinks or what you think society thinks. What matters the most is what you think of you.We can all mold ourselves into something else but  your authentic self is going to kick her way out for one reason or another very soon. 

There was a philosophy at a company I worked at. It made me laugh and frightened me at the same time but I loved the sentiment behind it: "It's better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission."
When things get tough, how do you keep yourself going?
After wallowing in self pity for a good 10 minutes, I write out everything that is bugging me and figure out a plan of attack.  I also have a Blue Me folder which is a collection of compliments written by friends, former managers, and clients that I read to cheer me up when my confidence has dropped.  

What leadership qualities do you most admire?
The ability to acknowledge a really messed up situation, then inspire the troops to keep going in spite of this.  Former NYC Mayor Giuliani is a beautiful example of this.  I was out of the country for six months when 9/11 happened but when I returned, I read and watched so much about him and his leadership for the people of NYC and frankly, for the whole country and found it incredibly inspiring. 


How do you get balance in your life?
What I have learned is that what I do on a daily basis matters much more than what I do once in a while. Hence, I have worked hard to create healthy habits that feeds any schedule I have.  I know what I need physically and mentally to feel my best so I protect these habits to the nth degree.   

If I can't make it to a 90 minute yoga class then I walk for 30 minutes. If I can't walk for 30 minutes, I have a 10 minute crunch and push up routine so I can get some kind of exercise that makes me feel powerful.  I also stay away from bad food which to me means processed and fast food.  If I'm not eating a sit down meal I whip up a black smoothie and eat a handful of nuts to fuel me up.  When I have these basics managed, I know I'm balanced.   

For a woman (or anyone starting their own business), what three things are most critical for them to be aware of?
  • Understand why you're going into business. 
  • Have a plan so you can gauge your progress.   
  • Don't be all things to all people or you will drive yourself nuts and waste your time.
Why did you choose your career?
My career chose me.  I actually did not know event planning was a career.  I have a natural ability to organize details and it's very easy for me to meet and talk with people; put the two together and voila - event planner! Now I'm taking the very best pieces of me and creating a new career.  Watch out world!  

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?
·       A note book and a blue medium point ball point pen because I must jot down thoughts and ideas.  (These are two things but they go together ;D )  
·       Neutrogena lip balm in fresh plum.  I am lip balm freak and must have one with me at all times!
·       My iPhone

What is your personal motto or mission statement?
Honor self, have fun, connect to spirit, make it cute, keep it real, no drama, and play fair. Don't preach, judge, or hurt any one's feelings. Take power naps, share your sweet treats, be in the moment, and enjoy it.

Besides your daily work, what are you passionate about? 
Nutrition from the inside out.  This not only means good quality whole and real food but good quality relationships and activities because these things feed our soul. What is the point of eating an organic diet if your personal relationships drain you and junk TV deadens your mind?

makeovers for women

A special thanks to Portia Spencer  for her beautiful work on 
hair and make up!

Happy Thursday!

PREVIEW: Holli, 2013. Bay Area, Glamour Photo Session

It's a very, very tough thing to have to choose what your passion is versus what the majority of the crowd is doing. It sometimes feel equivalent to hiking uphill - in the wrong shoes, while everyone of your peers effortlessly jobs forward in not only the right shoes, but with all the fancy hiking gear to go along with it.  

Whenever I share with others that I am a photographer, a majority of them naturally think that I photograph weddings and families because, truth be told, a majority of photographers I am aware of are indeed wedding or family photographers. And though I am proud of the fact I have chosen to specialize in only glamour photography for the everyday woman, there are moments I get a bit shy about sharing this other people. In short, yes, I sometimes get insecure, wonder what they might think, and wonder to myself if I should be doing what the majority of the photography industry is doing. But, thankfully, that thinking only lasts for a split second and quickly fades away.

I specialize in makeovers and glamour photography for the everyday woman. The college gal, the busy mom with 3 kids who runs at 100 miles per hour daily, the grandmother who proudly bears bears the grey hairs and lines of years of wisdom, the girlfriends courageously conquering the world, the busy working woman. You get the picture. EVERY woman. No exceptions.

It might sound funny to some, but I dedicate my time to studying pages and pages of fashion magazines, learning various poses (and yes, even practicing them in front of the mirror) that is flattering for women of all shapes and sizes. This was the only way I could teach myself how to pose other women in their photographs. I coach women through the entire photo shoot. I study photos of styled hair, colors of eye shadow, the direction the wind is blowing a woman's hair in a magazine. I love the creative freedom that comes with styling a glamour photo session, a freedom that I don't feel when I used to photograph weddings.

You know what the best part is of glamour photography and working with women? Is seeing them smile at their photograph because you've just helped them see themselves in a way they maybe haven't in a long time. That right there? It makes the "uphill" all worth it in the end.

Here is a sneak peak in to the latest glamour photo session with an awesome woman named Holli. As always, there is more so stay tuned!

Happy Monday!

A special thanks to Angela LaFlamme of Flame Angel Design for her work on 
hair and make up!


PREVIEW: Georgina, 2013. Bay Area, Glamour Photo Session

Being able to use my photography as a means to give back to the community is something that truly excites me. I'm learning that giving back in whatever way you can is as equally important as growing the business itself.  And for someone like me who can be a bit stubborn and too focused on myself, the reminder to give back is something I regularly have to do not only to check my head, but also my heart.

One of the ways I like to give back is by offering organizations whose causes I believe in, a photography session that they can give away at their fundraisers or auctions. I met Georgina and learned that she was the lucky winner of one of the sessions I'd given to a local fundraiser. It definitely brought a smile to my face to hear the excitement in her voice as we discussed over the phone the details of her shoot and makeover. 

Below is just a sneak peak of Georgina's photo session -  you know there's more,  so stay tuned!

Happy Thursday!

A special thanks to Angela LaFlamme of Flame Angel Design for her beautiful work on 
hair and make up!

Love Transforms People | Bay Area, Glamour Photo Shoot | Dee. 2013

There's no doubt about it that I am excited about building and growing a photography business that focuses solely on getting the message out there that every woman is beautiful. This focus and mission sits squarely in the middle of the heart and direction of Heartbox Photography because it's something I personally believe in as a woman who has battled my own challenges with confidence for many years.
Every new technical aspect of my camera I learn, every new client's story I get to hear, every new look my stylist creates for the client, every new result I see captured in the final image - I love it all and am inspired by it constantly.

But even in the midst of all of this awesomeness, I too can easily lose sight of the inspiration and what drove me to start Heartbox Photography in the first place. Sometimes, I get way too caught up in the what ifs of failure, the fear not knowing, the opinions of naysayers, worrying what others think of my efforts as an artist, a photographer, a young entrepreneur with big ideas who also still has to work a full time job until what I dream of comes to fruition to do this beyond the weekends only. There were countless times when I have talked myself out of even trying something new because the fear that it would not work practically debilitated the hope in my heart. It's not a fun feeling and can instantaneously get me to focus on the half-empty rather than the half-full glass. And while in this slump, inspiration and direction can seem like a million and one miles away.

Which is why this particular photo session is special to me. 

As I watched the last of the edits being produced for the final images and video footage, I couldn't help but notice a little jolt in my heart with every re-watch. A little smile every time the music played, every time I heard the story. It was as if I was getting a big reminder from God that this journey is more than just about taking a nice photograph and certainly way more than building a successful photography business meant to satisfy my whims. It was a reminder that this can grow into something much bigger than what my plans limit and can help reach into the lives of women on a whole new level. And most importantly, I am reminded to aim for something bigger and beyond me, myself, and I. Because of this reminder, I am inspired and excited once again to keep walking down the path of what I know will be a mind-blowing journey. 

I am proud to present the latest photo session from Heartbox Photography, "Love Transforms People" a makeover and photo session of a good friend of mine, Dee Murphy. 

Here's to always being inspired to help transform people...and the world.

Happy Tuesday!

To see more of this photo shoot, feel free to view the photos and video below or also view the video here!

Special thanks to Tammy Do of A List Make Up for a beautiful job on hair and make up 
older women makeover
older women makeovers

Older Women Makeovers

makeovers for older women

makeovers for older women

older women makeovers

older woman makeover

older women makeover

older women makeover

older women makeover

Older women makeovers

Birthday Wishes & A Grateful Mindset. Glamour Photo Session, Bay Area, 2011.

My parents instilled in us early on the importance of having manners. "Please" and "thank you" were very much a part of our every day vocabulary from as early as I can remember. Often at times, even during our birthday parties in which our eyes met disappointment at a gift we were given that wasn't exactly the Barbie doll we were hoping for, you can still bet that Mom would be close by to nudge us into saying "thank you" nonetheless to the giver of the gift. Simply because it was the right thing to do. 

As I grew older, saying "please" and "thank you" became more than just the "right" thing to do - it became more like the very least I can say for what has been given so generously to me. Especially being an entrepreneur, every little bit of help, advice, encouragement, and time that has been given  to help grow my business by various individuals along the way has reminded me of all that I have to be abundantly grateful for.

A few years ago, I was in the midst of building up my portfolio. Needless to say, I solicited the time and untapped modeling skills of various acquaintances and friends to grace the front of my camera. It's amazing the inner-Vogue skills some folks have if you just venture out and ask!

One of my models, Ariane is featured in the photograph below and in one of the earlier promotional videos here. Today is her birthday (I am slowly becoming a little better about remembering birthdays with the help of, ahem, Mr. Facebook!) and in addition to wishing her a very happy and blessed birthday, I'd like to also like to express a huge thank you for not only allowing me to photograph her but for also being one of the many faces of women photographed by Heartbox Photography. As many of you know, my photography primarily focuses on photography and makeovers for all women and Ariane was one of the early models when I decided to shift the business focus entirely on this genre. 

Thank you again, Ariane, and happy, happy birthday!

Happy Thursday!

My Mom, The Hip Hop Hula Girl

There's definitely something very awesome about getting out there and trying something new, even though it scares you. I find that this is especially true when it comes to us women and exercise.

Just recently, my mom and I attended our first Hot Hula class together. And now I know why all the testimonies talk about how much it's a challenge and fun all at once! I've never been a graceful or coordinated dancer who knew how to stay in step with everyone around me (my childhood dreams were filled with daydreams about being a backup dancer for MC Hammer), but I am so glad I took the chance on trying this class out. It gave me a chance to step out of my little shell and hula my way to fitness, regardless of I was hula-ing to the left while everyone else hula'd to the right. =)

Once I got over the fact that my mother can dance better hip hop and hula than I can (wait, whaaaaa?), I found it refreshingly fun and a challenge especially since I have been stuck in a bit of a rut as far gym routines go. It's been told to me time and time again that sometimes your own body hits a plateau when it's used to the same routine over and over again so for sure this class is going to help me shake things up a bit. It was awesome to see that there was a variety of women attending, all ages and backgrounds. Truly, it was evident that everyone was there to have fun, break a sweat, and get your shake on!

And the music the instructor used? Too awesome and lovely. Let's just say I have a strong feeling Hawaii wants me to come and visit again.

The verdict? Definitely check out a local class in your area if you want to get fit and try something new. Lovin' Hot Hula!

Valentine's Day Gift Special

Valentine's Day is coming up, but who says it's a day just for those who have been struck by Cupid's arrow? 
Why not make it a fun day to celebrate love not only for the wives and girlfriends  but also for the single gals who want to make it a girls' day out with their best friends? 
Or just to celebrate the love you have for your sister, your mom, your grandmother? 

Heartbox Photography is pleased to announce it's launch into glamour photography, celebrating HER in every season. 

Curious about a session? Check out what you can expect in a photo session with Heartbox Photography.

Gift certificates are now available for purchase that include a pamper session of professional makeup, hairstyling, and photo shoot. To book your session or to gift a session for your best friend, sister, mother, grandmother, or YOU, contact me at maria@heartbox-photography.com or visit www.heartbox-photography.com for further details. 

Because her beauty is timeless.

Valentine's Day Special

Valentine's Day is coming up, but who says it's a day just for those who have been struck by Cupid's arrow? 
Why not make it a fun day to celebrate love not only for the wives and girlfriends  but also for the single gals who want to make it a girls' day out with their best friends? 
Or just to celebrate the love you have for your sister, your mom, your grandmother? 

Heartbox Photography is pleased to announce it's launch into glamour photography, celebrating HER in every season. 

Curious about a session? Check out what you can expect in a photo session with Heartbox Photography.

Gift certificates are now available for purchase that include a pamper session of professional makeup, hairstyling, and photo shoot. To book your session or to gift a session for your best friend, sister, mother, grandmother, or YOU, contact me at maria@heartbox-photography.com or visit www.heartbox-photography.com for further details. 

Because her beauty is timeless.