I, Marissa, have to tell you about this non-profit called Kusewera. Here’s their wonderful mission “Our mission is to empower and educate children in impoverished countries through active and creative play. We create affordable humanitarian service trips for people of all walks of life, so that they can personally help implement the Kusewera Empowerment & Educational Program (K.E.E.P.). We organize activities such as sports, dance, music and art. This sustainable year-round program empowers the children to learn, laugh, play. We hope to empower the children to pursue goals, dream for a better future and be positive leaders in their community. We encourage and invite anyone to volunteer, and in turn, gain valuable perspective while making a long term difference in the lives of the children.”
I was invited to join this group with one of my closest friends, Tenley Molzahn. She and I met when she had a shoot with our studio in 2010. Since then she has been one of K and my most awesomest friends (in fact she’s even my neighbor and she went to Paris with us!). What a trip this was….
I meant to write this post when I returned from my trip in October, but you know…. life. It happens. So here I am now looking for a few of my fave pics to post to tell you what an INCREDIBLE trip this was. This was my first humanitarian venture where I wasn’t asked to photograph it, so to say the least, I was stoked. WAIT, don’t get me wrong, I love being able to serve with my talents, but being behind the lens always leaves me feeling a little disconnected while documenting other people playing and interacting with their new friends. So I was ready for this new take on this type of trip where I felt like I could really goof off with kiddos.
All that to say, sorry for the quality of some of these images…. I was too busy having fun and DANCING!!!
I truly fell in love with the Philippines. I felt so at home with all the friendly faces, the weather, their customs, their BEACHES (omg)! This trip was such a reset and reminder that there are billions of people that needs our help and resources and hope that I never forget that and am intentional with the way I live my life, in hopes to make a small impact. If you are looking to to do something like this, I STRONGLY recommend you look into a trip with Kusewera.
One of our “play” assignments was teaching a dance to these kiddos! We had about 30 minutes to teach them this cute little number and man did they get into it. Here’s the end result.
I still have more stories to tell, and I so, so, so plan to return and hope to teach a photography and business course to a group home of girls that I fell in love with. I’ll will be sure to fill you in when that’s a little more on the horizon with that.
Thanks for reading and be sure to shake it off, shake it off.
Can’t stop won’t stop mooovin’- Marissa
When we were young 20-somethings, our imaginations ran wild with the possibilities for this vision that was our photography business. But what began as a grand dream in our minds, we matched with some serious will and hard work. Persistence doesn’t even come close what would describe what when on the countless times we were knocked down, made mistakes or just plain worked through the exhaustion. We had a vision and we wouldn’t stop until we saw what was so brilliantly clear in our minds as a functioning, beautiful reality. We wanted to create our own little castle, a lovely little kingdom that was authentically ours. That the rest of the world would see as “The Boudoir Divas,” the world’s largest and most sought after boudoir studio, but we would see as something that was totally our little universe. A world where women could enter, feel amazing, learn what it meant to embrace their own skin and unique beauty, and have one of the best days of their lives in the process. Through the years we were honored to hear over and over how a woman’s shoot was the mark of a new chapter in her life that was titled, “Self Acceptance.” Our little world was so loved and we were, and are, incredibly grateful to all of the women who have trusted us so willingly.
Our little world…… 6500 sq feet, 7 full time staff members/photographer/artists, 500+ shoots a year. Adding crazy photo shoots all over the world, having people from as far as Hong Kong flying in for a shoot or to learn from us, traveling and speaking to other photographers showing them pieces of what’s possible and how to get it. If we are unabashedly honest in our content, well it was electrifying to pour out hearts into our art and have it so well-received. What more could or would an artist ever ask for? I think the answer to that is nothing. They would ask for nothing.
But if you are like us, if you think in pictures, if you see the world as an open sketch pad just waiting to put your pen to it, then you will never harness your imagination. You just have to let it keep creating. When one creation is done, you revel in it, you enjoy it, but then you turn the page and go on again. But this time around the artist sees things differently. What was important to her is still VERY important, but it has changed a bit. Mainly because her medium has changed, her brushes or tools are different, and an artist is nothing if not resourceful and ready to adapt. She loves the challenge of using the best pieces of the beauty that is currently around her.
This is exactly what happened to us. Our lives are different and change is in the air. A lot has been happening in our lives, and we are excited about all of the big changes that are taking place. It’s actually very simple, all of it. And my goodness is it colorful, risky, and exciting. Instead of continuing in this gorgeous chaotic world that we call our BIG studio, we were inspired by the words in the quote above, and we are changing-up our business and our studio a bit. We will be leaning-out, freshening up, condensing, and reinventing The Boudoir Divas. We won’t be doing as many shoots, but we will remain just as profitable. We are the same crazy-entrepreneurial-minded-business-women-best-friends. None of that has changed. But we are ready to reinvent and give a new look to the San Diego studio.
We are learning that you need to embrace the simple in order to enjoy the extraordinary. Now for us crazy dreamers (who, mind you, still have a lot of long-term crazy dreams), when we were talking about this new direction for the studio – for a few minutes, ‘scaling down’ felt a little like ‘going in reverse.’ But if we keep our focus and continue pursuing our big dreams, we know that the opposite is actually true. Sometimes in order to move forward, you have to take a small pause and decide what changes need to be made in order to jump into that next season of life. Our hope and big dream is to open more Boudoir Divas studios someday, and in order to do that we need to create more time to focus on just that. And in order to create more time, we need to get the San Diego studio more streamlined, and give it a fresh new look, or facelift, if you will.
Not to mention… with this change, we are going to create a little more time to explore life. What’s the point of hitting your goals if you don’t take the time to relax and enjoy them?! Life is so sweet right now. Kimberlee is enjoying mamahood in Washington. I am planning my next wanderlust adventure. We are blessed beyond measure.
So what exactly is getting sketched up on this blank page you wonder? Well, we currently rent two suites that make up the 6500 sq feet of our dreamy little castle – upstairs and downstairs in a huge building in San Diego. So we are now consolidating into one suite, currently under massive reconstruction, putting up walls, windows, lofts, doors. Creating all new sets, with hopes of going from a kitschy look to a very fresh, modern look.
We move into this space on July 26th. So we have about a week to paint, host the biggest yard sale in the history of Sorrento Valley, move our entire offices downstairs, and build our new sets to be up and running on August 2nd. It’s going to be a challenge, but this little family can hustle like NO other, and I think we are all excited about the task at hand. Hard work has never intimidated these beauties we roll with.
Let the new adventure begin, chin chin!
So um, REALLY big news……Kimberlee HAD A BABY boy!!! I know, I know, there wasn’t much build up about it, well unless you follow us on that thing called Facebook. And even then it was a little under the radar. Here is my theory, K is really great about posting about all thing business, marketing, ME, etc. But when it comes to her, well she gets a little camera shy. I tried to get her to share some of the exciting and very eventful things in our lives lately: her freaking cute nursery, her kinda epically adorable pregnant belly (plus great figure, which let’s be honest is a little annoying), her and her hubs so sweet family sessions with the baby belly and on the list goes on. But as good as this girl is about cheering on the rest of the world, she really seeks no attention herself. So I am saying all that to say…. that I FINALLY got her permission to post a photo of this OUTRAGEOUSLY beautiful little creature, Arie Chandler, who entered the world on Feb 1st at 4:54 am. He was 8lbs, 14oz, and 22 inches. We have a baby!! Oops, scratch that, KIMEE has a baby!! My bad. And I am going to love him like he’s my little nephew. I am so happy that K is healthy, that he is healthy, and that she has such a wonderful hubby, who I should probably mention at this time cuz he was kinda a big part of the whole thing. Thanks for being our “someday your Prince will come,” Prince Eric. That day you met and won us over, I mean won Kimee over, at our suite at WPPI in Las Vegas, you swept her off her feet (which let’s be honest, not that easy to do, she was rightfully picky) well that was an amazing day for all that love her. Look at what God can bless us with. Love you guys (Arie I love you more, but shhhhh, that’s between us). – M
It’s done……….and so therefore I can’t “un-do” it. Because people know it’s been done. And then I would look like I panicked. And for the most part, I am a fairly confident person. So “un-doing” it would ruin that whole idea I have of myself in my head. See my past blog post if you are wondering what the heck I am talking about ;)
So I am a pretty conservative-ish person, and yes I am a boudoir photographer. And I have this thought, if I want to run a boudoir studio that’s known for being the most conservative/private boudoir studio, I can’t be showing my own boudoir pics. Like here I am conservative biz-owner and here’s me in my undies.
Not that I would really want to anyway but just like all our other clients, I have some SERIOUSLY hot ones that impress even me, so once in a while I have gotten excited about the thought of showing a pic of me at my best, a wowzers boudoir pic. But it’s just not in the cards for me. As well as for my personal modesty reason and the afore mentioned reason.
For years now we have been wanting to do a BIG and very HONEST before and after piece on a client. But we are always VERY weary of before and afters. Especially posting them on FB etc. (side note, don’t please don’t get me wrong, we TOTALLY see why other studio do them). But our overall fear is that it looks like we are saying, “hey look at this girl who is “beautiful” NOW because of US.” And we worry that this would bring us amazing monetary gain, while perhaps hurting their feeling (sometimes, not always, please don’t think we are bashing other boudoir studios, this OUR reservation). The before and afters we do have of the gals you see on our website or FB are our close friends, and signed up for the task with no reservation. Understanding the scope of how, why and when we would use them.
So back to that project we wanted to do. Like I just explained, we decided that we couldn’t ask a friend or client to look like total crap in terrible light on video in their skivvies. So in a moment of bravery, and a desire to take charge of my mind (see the video for the full story)…. I did it! Ah!! While I feel very vulnerable expressing my un-confident inner thoughts (and my cellulite) in this way, certainly far from the glamorous ways I once fantasized about showing off a boudoir pic or two, I think that if it can help some other gals overcome the same thoughts I am having, then it serves a purpose. I try really hard to live honestly, if I am going through things, I share them. I never want to act like I have it all together, leaving others to feel isolated. So here it is…. my current thoughts…. and what I am doing about them…
Marissa here. So I am working on a new video project called, “What light do you see yourself in?” It’s a step in a crazy direction for me. It’s very honest, and it’s also very revealing in many ways. The other day I was editing and I said to myself, forget this, I don’t want to do this anymore. I quit Final Cut with no real intentions of opening it to finish this project I had been dreaming of doing for the past few months. Then something happened, a little voice clicked on in my head that said, you have been a lot of things, you have made mistakes, but being a coward was never one of them. It was a resonating thought. And it continued to resonate till I got the car later and heard this song. Then I knew the thought wasn’t a fluke, I was being taught a lesson by the universe.
So with that I leave you with the fun news that we will be launching a little bit more of a provocative video than we are accustomed to. IF I am brave enough ;) (Maybe this post was written in a hasty moment to be sure I don’t chicken out) -xoxo – M
We hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving and a wonderful time with your loved ones. In the midst of the holiday stress and shopping craziness, we hope you were able to take the time to be refreshed, to remember what is most important in your life, and cherish those who mean the most to you.
With love and gratitude,
Marissa & Kimberlee
Happy Monday everyone! Today I (K) wanted to share some photos from the fabulous, beautiful baby shower that Marissa, my sis Kelli, and my momma threw for me! This was such a special day, and at the end of it I just couldn’t stop smiling. I feel so incredibly blessed to be surrounded by so many great friends to encourage me, love me, support me, and shower me with love in this season of my life. Baby boy and I got spoiled big-time. :)
So the theme of baby boy’s nursery is all about “Adventure.” It’s based on a book that used to be my grandfather’s when he was a little boy – called “Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax.” (I’ll be sure to post a few pics of the nursery reveal once it’s ready!) So this is what Kel and Riss used to go off of for the decor of the day. The shower was held, of course, at the Divas home – our San Diego studio! All of the little details were so adorable, and I just loved seeing how they set everything up.
Let’s talk about all of the food you see here. As a prego woman, I love to eat… and Caroline with Cucina Coronado created some absolutely DELICIOUS appetizers and small bites for the shower. Everything was beautifully prepared and displayed, and Caroline was so sweet. Even though we just met her on that day, it felt like she fit right in with the Diva family!
And that adorable cake!!!! It was made by Truly Scrumptious Cakes – and it truly was scrumptious!
Thank you, Riss, Kel, and Momma, for giving me such a special day. And a special thanks to Mama Cece and my other sis, Ash, for all your help in setting up the shower! AND… thank you to all my family, friends, and Diva fam who got to be at the shower – it was so special having each of you there. Love you all! xoxo, K