Hot Girl Summer


With the summer approaching and the world starting to reopen another ‘virus’ has begun spreading among us…Wanderlust. We need to travel and NOW! Maybe we still can’t make it to that far away island, but that shouldn’t stop us from exploring what’s in our own backyards. Now that small groups are growing, why not get together with a few of your female friends and set out on a Hot Girl Summer Getaway. Here are a few suggestions that won’t zap your vacation with travel time.


Many people have visited the bustle of Nashville, but Chattanooga (TN) has a laidback vibe all its own that makes it a great weekend.  While Chat’s not known for having a large night scene, it makes up for it with daytime attractions.  There are plenty of unique and fun hotels in Chattanooga that will spark your friends IG envy. Check out The Dwell Hotel or Hotel Indigo and reserve your room early, they sell out quickly. To make the most of your day, try and arrive the Friday night so you can get a jump on the next day.

There is plenty to do in Chattanooga, so grab your morning pick me up from Frothy Monkey or Wildflower Tea Shop and get a move on. Make memories and your own fragrance at Good Fortune Soap before heading to Look Out Mountain for the day. Located just a few minutes away, but in another time zone Look Out Winery pairs it’s wines with a variety of brick oven pizzas for an affordable mid-day meal. If you like the view from the top of the mountain, head underground to Ruby Falls for view of their cascading waterfalls.  Hungry post cave walk? Dinner options are not hard to come by in Chat and there’s something for every palette.  If you want to try something out of the ordinary, check out Flying Squirrel on Johnson Street.

Sunday is definitely the day for brunch in Chattanooga.  Locals and visitors flock to Stir and State of Confusion for food, but more importantly their $1 mimosas.  Make the most of their brunch hours since you won’t be doing much of anything after a few rounds.

Savannah, GA is a great girl’s getaway and frequent go-to for bachelorette weekends. This walking city allows you to take in the sights from all angles. During the day, beat the heat and stay in the shade in one of the city’s parks, take a trolley tour, or relax pool side at your hotel.  When the sun goes down, choose to mobilize on a Pedal Pub, socialize on a roof top bar or take your beverage to go (it’s legal there), it’s your choice.  For a crafted cocktail and a great turn on classic American, stop by Repeal 33 and try the Hendrix Gin Martini.  It tastes like a summer day in a glass, you’ll want a bottle to go. Or, if you are like me and you prefer a bar that feels a bit secretive then head to Whitaker St. and enjoy some shared plates at Flock the Wok. The food is not only amazing, but it will give you the much-needed base for the evening’s events at their speakeasy, Peacock Lounge, located right downstairs. You and your ladies can make reservations for dinner and drinks and never have to leave. When the night is over, you’ll be happy you made the choice to book a boutique hotel like the Kimpton Bice which offers personal attention, or the Adaz whose central location will save you a ton on Ubers.’

If you are lucky enough to be a GA resident, you might already know about the hidden gems that lie in the mountains of Northern GA. However, if you don’t, please allow me to spill the tea, because no one is going to spill wine, that’s for drinking!  And drinking will occur during your tour of the Vineyards of Northern GA, so it’s strongly recommended that you arrange a designated driver for your day drinking to drive you from Kaya, Wolf Mountain, or Montaluce to the Cottage and back again.  DSH is a great provider in the area offering both public/private wine tours and round-trip transportation via Sprinter van. So why not check-in to local hotel like the Limelight Inn or rent a cabin in Dahlonega and take in some live music at the Crimson Moon. Make the most of this local getaway and return home recharged.


Regardless of where you choose, it’s the people that help make the memories. Take this opportunity to reconnect with your friends, reinvest in your friendships and build new ones.

Spring Cleaning!


Each new season brings with it a unique opportunity, but there's something about Spring that gets a chance for rebirth and change. Since Spring is officially here (or so the calendar says despite the 30-degree mornings and 70-degree afternoons), let's take the opportunity to do some spring cleaning while we wait for the weather to make up its mind.

As a self-proclaimed Home Edit addict, I've always been a fan of organization and a regular customer of the Container Store. I love an organized pantry and fridge more than anyone. Yet, it was a recent addition to my bookshelf that changed my perspective on editing. Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was a game-changer for both my closet and my life. Her organization methods are intelligent and space-conscious, and she believes that the possessions we own and the places we spend our time should spark joy. Using the Konmarie method made me look more closely at my life.  I quickly realized that my life, as it was, wasn't bringing me much joy, and it started with my closet

Like so many of us, I always feel like I have nothing to wear, yet I have a closet full of clothing.  With Marie's help and some examination, I had to admit that I've never worn half the items I owned. I gravitated to the same 10-15 things every time I got dressed, which led to wear and tear of my favorites and a closet of items I didn't want.  Yet, I continued to allow these other items to occupy my space and time. Why? They didn't do anything to help me, and I didn't look forward to wearing them. They were buried in the back of my closet and the bottom of a drawer. For what? Was there going to be an apocalypse sometime soon where my size six flare bottom jeans were going to save the day? The more I thought about it, the more I wondered why couldn't I let these old items go and the bevy of memories that hung along with them?

Your clothes tell a story. They help people know how to identify you and enable you to let people who you are or want to be. There is so much more than just fabric to what we decide to dress and present ourselves in each day. Clothes can be your armor or your costume. Shouldn't we be sending the right message? Why should we store fabric memories that bring us anything less than joy?

Why should you be stuck to the same routine to avoid dealing with the other items in your life?

This Spring, I challenge you to open the doors of your closet and your soul and do some spring cleaning.

Take those jeans that you wore back when you were a size whatever and say goodbye. Honor their contribution to your story, but close that chapter. It's no fun having a younger and smaller version of you hanging around judging the new you. Donate them to your local Goodwill or sell them on Poshmark, Mercari, or eBay and buy something that you can wear NOW that will make you feel fabulous.

Take a scroll through your phone and social media.  Examine the person you are becoming and eliminate those you follow or follow you that aren't in line with this new vision.  We aren't required to remain friends with those who have hurt us, devalued us, or do not contribute to our growth.  Allowing these people to witness your new growth will only bring toxicity into this new chapter.

Look around your space, whether at home or in the office. Does it reflect the person you are or want to be? Does it bring you joy? If not, why not? Or rather, what are you doing to change it.

Spring is all about turn-over, growth, rejuvenation, and change.  It's an annual reminder that we get to choose and renew our plans.  Tailor your clothes to fit you, do not squeeze yourself into a life that doesn't quite "fit" anymore.

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Coming Through The Abuse

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You know that first drop of water that falls on your floor that first major rain of spring. No, you don’t. Why? Because many people don’t see the first drop of change. They live in a belief that they are protected from the elements, the outside, if they are safe in their home. But what if the element you need to avoid is inside with you?

This is how abuse begins. It doesn’t come all at once. It’s subtle like a slow leak. A hurtful word said in an argument or a slur, a grasp of your arm just a little too hard. It’s then followed at best by false promises and assurances that it’ll never happen again, or more readily, denial, misdirection and blame.This divide between your ideal of love, promises you made to yourself, plans you had for your future and the reality of the world within your own home is so vast, often time we fall in. Into despair and disbelief that allows us to be gaslit.

Some of us may have less strings or soul ties to their life making a clean break a possibility, but more often there are other lives involved that keep us in place and in pain longer than we should. Tied down by the “what ifs” of it all. What if I do this and it hurts the kids? What if I never find love again? What if he/she can change? What if I tried harder, made this change or that? The list goes on. Then you realize those single droplets have become too much to avoid, there are pots filled all around and you find yourself side stepping trying to evade a disaster, until one day you scream... I need a new roof!


A new home

A new start

A new beginning

A renewed me


Many of us have decided at one point that change is needed. For those among us that are rebuilding their esteem via self-love, we need to seek new sources of power. Friends, family and new interests are all helpful, but there is sometimes you need a new visual.  Viewing yourself through Jenn’s lens could be the first time you truly see yourself as the phoenix you are. Burnt but not broken, reborn from the ashes of your prior self. These images can be the source of power you’ll need to gain the strength for the road ahead. The strength it will take to leave, to change the narrative and begin a new chapter.

This is something to be celebrated.

You do not have to be broken because you pushed to your breaking point.

You do not have to feel ugly because someone who is ugly (inside) told you so.

You do not have to continue to question your intelligence because you allowed yourself to believe in them for so long.

Their problems are their burden, not yours.

You are in a new house now with a new roof, and hopefully a new lease on life.

Love yourself enough to date yourself.

Send yourself flowers out of love, not apology

Get dressed and wear something they’d never allow you to leave the house

Or stay home and dance around naked because you can!


Your space is now a reflection of your healing, growth and personal style. You have a place in the world that is uniquely and solely yours. If you choose to share it in the future, great. But there’s no rush. This is your time. For now, hang that photo of the new BAD BOSS you on the wall and strut…it’s a new day.

XoXo Marissa


Our sessions have been referred to as being therapeutic, and our clients do share a lot of their personal trials & triumphs with us.  So many inspirational women have walked through our doors; fighters, survivors, mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, ex wives.... every walk of life.  We're truly humbled by the amount of women that have trusted us to keep their stories private but show their strength and perseverance through our imagery.  Lately we've heard an abundance of stories of survival... surviving the person who is supposed to love and protect you.  I asked Marissa to write a blog about the topic, the underlying message is that you are not alone.

The National Domestic Abuse Hotline can be reached via web or phone (800-799-SAFE).


PS- Client pictured is not related to this topic, it's just a beautiful image of a beautiful woman. :)

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It's Getting Hot In Here

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With boudoir, preferences vary. There are those that love to be photographed in natural light and surrounded by white (light and fluffy as Jenn calls it), and there are those that prefer to be edited and shot with a darker more moodier feel; but what exists between black and white?  Enter our newest set at Mirrored Images Boudoir:  50 Shades of Grey.

As women we are taught to be demure and modest in our interests. Rarely are we allowed to express we may want “more” or would like to “experiment”. These adjectives seem reserved for our other halves as they are permitted to speak about it publicly. So, when the book/movie 50 Shades of Grey was released women [and men] were either introduced to a world unknown and/or faced with an emerging truth that they may just be interested in exploring more behind closed doors.

Adult shops can be intimidating for the newbie; words like flogger, paddle, tickler and spreader can be a bit much, but with all things the more you know the less overwhelming it is.  After all these are just toys, so it’s time to have some fun! There's nothing wrong with letting your inner bad girl out a bit. She probably hasn’t seen the light of day since that one night in college you never speak about. Well, it’s time to have a conversation with your inner diva and perhaps give her the reigns, or crop for the day.

Still unsure about all this? No worries, our team is here to support you during your 50 Shades shoot. Our set that has something for everyone, so let me walk you through.

The Basics:  Think back to your bachelorette party, or any bachelorette party like…ever. You’ve seen the handcuffs, satin masks and maybe even a small crop/flogger. The intro items are fun to play with and are perfect for those who just want a little extra.  Another intro add is the sex swing. It’s a real swing so whether you want to use it alone or with a partner it’s fun all around.

The Playroom: These items are a bit more adventurous, but if you’ve ever read the book you won’t be surprised to see a paddle (just like it sounds, but leather), a tickler (think of a sexy feather duster) cuffs, collars and ropes. These all hung in Christian’s room and he used them to explore the levels of excitement with his companions. If you’ve already taken the Basic class, this may be more your vibe.

The Red Room:  These aren’t for the novice, even Christian waited a while to introduce the leg spreader.  If this is more your speed, then try out the St. Andrews Cross. It’s a standing X, which allows you to use a combination of items from your basic or playroom toy chest to explore the levels of pleasure with your partner. Giving up control can be thrilling, but remember trust is must if you are using these toys.

If you aren’t ready to dive into the deep end personally you can still have fun with a non-kinky Mirrored Images session.  The 50 Shades set allows you to showcase your inner bad gal while you to get used to some of the toys the set has to offer at your own pace.  We will have you feeling like the diva you are whether you use everything in the room or nothing at all.  Who knows, maybe you’ll get inspired and get a few toys of your own!

Just remember there’s power in knowing what you want in life, whether it be in the boardroom or the bedroom.

Don’t be afraid to explore new possibilities.


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Our new set is available for an additional $100, which includes use of the set & props as well as additional time shooting.

Keep it Spicy | Valentines Day


With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching the supermarkets and stores have turned their white walls red and pink awash in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Sponsored by Hallmark and the FTD the holiday can make some of the more cynical of us a bit overwhelmed. Especially if you are in a long-term relationship all this fuss can seem pointless, but it’s not.  Rekindling, rebuilding or retaining your spark in a relationship doesn’t take an over the top rom-com gesture. There are many ways to keep your relationship fresh and add some spice this Valentine’s Day and year-round.

Get Nostalgic: Reminisce about the fun things you did when you first started dating. Leave a few “Remember When…” notes around where your mate can find them and be reminded of your greatest hits.

Prioritize Your Connection:  When’s the last time you sorted through your lingerie drawer? Are you keeping it spicy or keeping these for a “special occasion”?  I know life gets in the way, so you must prioritize your connections. Slip into something slinky on a random weeknight to surprise your mate and see where the night takes you.

Gift Yourself: If you have already had the experience of a Mirrored Images Boudoir shoot and have the images (and rights), why not make them into a calendar so your mate can have a bit of naughty all year long?  Or, if you have an adventurous lover, why not schedule a couple’s session for a future date? You can build the anticipation with lingerie “date night” and choose what you’ll wear before the photo shoot.

Role Play: If you are at the point in your relationship when you think you know all there is to know about one another, switch it up and become someone else, even if only for one night. Schedule a night away at local hotel of your choice.  Try out a new look and sit at the bar.  Tell your partner nothing more than what you are wearing and let the night unfold.  Heighten the experience by using an app such as Kik or Google voice to coordinate the meet up (and maybe send some steamy texts beforehand). Whether it’s an experience to relive or redo a first date, it will be a night to remember.

Try a New Skill:  Dancing together is one of the most intimate things you can do as a couple. Learning to tango, salsa, or fox trot together can be just the trick to give you two some alone time while you work on your form and footwork.  Dancing not your mate’s thing? No worries ladies why not take a class FOR your mate. Pole dancing classes are no longer taboo. Not only does it help with fitness, but it’ll awaken your inner bad girl as you learn a few new moves to warm up the cold nights this winter.

Explore your senses for Valentine’s day or any other day for that matter, tease your mate’s senses with a gift for each.

  • Taste: Schedule a cooking class or clear out the house and try a new recipe out at home.
  • Smell: Take a scent building class and define the scent of “you’ with your partners help. Spray a teddy bear or keep sake with the new scent for those nights you are apart.
  • Touch: Plan a night for sensual massage or book a couple’s massage for you both.
  • Sight: If you have a yard or similar space, plan a drive-in movie night. Choose a film that is important to your story. Lay out a warm blanket or heater, a bottle of wine and some apps to take in the show.
  • Sound: Make a playlist of sounds that have meant something to your partner or you as a couple.

Keeping a fire burning takes time and tending, otherwise it will go out. Our job is not to allow the day-to-day responsibilities we carry to take away from the spice of life.

Head to Toe shopping guide

I am in month six of IF (Intermittent Fasting) and as a treat, I decided to put some of the subscriptions I’ve been paying for to use and dress myself from head to toe for my holiday Zoom parties!  Given my recent luck with Stitch Fix, I figured I didn’t have much to lose.  Well, Ladies you are my tribe, so I will not lie to you, so I am going to tell you the real about my personal experience both the good and bad.


Because every good outfit begins with a great foundation, the first stop on my journey had to be my shoes.  I reset my long-forgotten password and signed into my JustFab account, because if you can get a foundation on a budget, all the better. JustFab offers an ever-changing inventory thanks to trends and celebrity sponsors. With an introductory offer of $49 for their VIP access and $10 shoes, it’s hard not to fill your cart with tons of JF pink boxes.  I bagged a few pairs for holiday Zoom parties and when my doorbell rang, I was in shoe heaven.  The shoes met my expectation for the price; trendy and sturdy enough, but I don’t expect them all to make it through another season.  It’s like IKEA, but for shoes. Most items are good enough for now but look elsewhere if you want longevity.

Shoes done I turned to Rocksbox for some bling. I was really excited about this box, as I hate shopping for trendy jewelry. Too many options.  Rocksbox took on the heavy lifting and delivered a box in trend and on par with my style choices.  I played my way through the box, but most of the baubles didn’t justify their price point. I opted to keep a classic pair and send the rest back. They will find a home with someone who loves them.

For my face, hair and nails I turned to Birchbox.  A monthly subscription offering makeup and grooming options curated for you based on your enrollment quiz. It’s a great way to be introduced to new products without a large initial investment. The only drawback is that most, if not all, items are trial size, so if you love the item you will need to purchase a full size from Birchbox or an alternate provider.  I found a few items that made it into my travel bag, but unfortunately nothing wowed me enough to keep the membership. But if YOU love the options, keep them!

With my hair done, nails done, everything did – I needed an outfit, so I turned to Amazon hoping to avoid the in-store holiday mania and USPS shipping delays.  Amazon has long been my go-to for options I’ve found on social media via #founditonamazon so I’ve seen the option to Try On-at-Home before while casually shopping, but I never tried it. This time I decided to give Amazon Prime Wardrobe a chance so I enrolled for a 30-day trial, selected a few options (you get 8) and I waited…and waited.  Nothing came.

What I didn’t know is, unlike the many Amazon items that arrive via courier, Amazon Prime Wardrobe is mostly shipped via USPS.  The holiday timelines were going to play a part despite my best efforts.  I spent over a week watching my box be routed and re-routed through neighboring states while my “try-on” week whittled away.  When my box finally arrived, I was scheduled to leave town, so I just returned the box unopened.  The shipping had taken up my time to review and I didn’t want to pay for clothes I hadn’t seen or used.  The return process was also via USPS and weeks later I received an email from Amazon asking if I’d returned the box. It was lost in transit. Luckily, I was able to remedy the issue because I had my tracking information.  Keep in mind if you decide to give this a try, be sure to keep you receipts. For now, I think I will stick with Stitch Fix for my major clothing items and add some Amazon picks in on occasion.

All in all, I find that these subscription companies have something to offer. Depending on your needs as a customer you might find them to be permanent additions or temporary fixes.  I hope to give one or two a second chance in this new year, perhaps without the pressure of holiday timelines. Until then, I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Happy shopping!

xoxo, Marissa

I'm saying F U to the "New Year, New You."

2020 has had its trials and come 11:59PM on December 31st I am sure you will be among those hoping 2021 will offer a better outlook. Yet, somehow this year, despite all its differences, many will fall into the habit and make resolutions to be “new” and improved in some way. Oaths to save, travel more, and eat less will be made. Followed by the first quarter of the new year during which many of these promises will be broken and gym memberships unused. This year I am saying TO HELL WITH THAT!

2020 has been difficult, but not the worse year for me, there have been other years in which I’ve lost more; more money, more people, more everything. Specifically, 2012 in which my husband lost his mother, and I lost my best friend. Yes, my mother-in-law was my best friend and for you married ladies out there you understand this is like catching lightning in a bottle.  I hated that year and was happy to see it go. We threw a New Year’s party in our small NY apartment themed – “F U 2012”. It was epic! We said goodbye to all that happened that year and opted to start the new year on a better foot.

This year I am following suit and hosting a (small) Roaring 20’s NYE party. I think this is a fitting tribute. The ‘20s were the era of prohibition and 2020 has been a VERY prohibited year.  In 1920 they weren’t allowed to drink, and in 2020, in some states, we aren’t allowed to drink indoors, within 6 feet of one another or after 10PM.  I will take all the precautions ahead of time so I can lose all my inhibitions the night of AND the next morning I am not going to have one regret, one resolution or one broken promise, because I am not going to make any.

This year I urge you to reflect rather than restrict. Look back at all you’ve learned about yourself throughout the year. Pat yourself on the back for what you’ve accomplished and say F U to the rest.  Remember selfish isn’t a bad word, remember to give yourself permission for self-care and to take up room.  This year has been one of firsts, change and “the new normal”.   Forget the New Year New Me mantra!  I have had enough of the “new”. If 2020 has taught me anything it’s that I like who I am, for good or bad and I am keeping her around.

When the clock strikes 12 on all this craziness, 2021 is on schedule to mimic the early 80s – debauchery, decadence and overindulgence is all I have planned.  I will eat that brownie that is a bazillion calories, because after this past year Athleisure is now acceptable work attire. I will use accrued PTO and I will take that trip I’ve been saving for, but never found time to go (some place must be open).  And when I get there, I will go to the beach with my added brownie weight because that’s why God made one-piece bathing suits.

The only resolution I am making is a promise to myself that I will enjoy every minute this new year has to offer in whatever way I can, to the fullest extent I can.  I am not going to fall into the trap of last year and put added pressure on myself with plans that this will be the “best year ever” for me, because I have no idea what’s ahead.  What I can promise is I am going to enjoy 2021 for whatever it is and whatever it brings.


Happy New Year - Marissa xoxo

Holiday Gifting

With Christmas approaching and Black Friday behind us, holiday shopping is in full swing. Your wallet and brain are both taking a beating as you work your way through the list. If you are like most of my friends and family, you hit a small speed bump when it comes to that “special” person in your life. Special could be the new boo you just started dating, a long-term love, or if you are of the millennial or Z generations - this could be someone you’re just hooking up with on a recurring basis.   Either way the looming question remains - do they go on the list (hook-ups) and if so, what do I get them? With the help of my husband (under duress and fear of making the naughty list this year), I compiled a few ideas for the new and the long term loves of your life.  


The WAW (what are we?) Stage 

Whether you're young, single, newly single, or returning to the dating game there is always that starting point. That point in time when you aren’t defined, yet you find yourself in each other's space more than not.  So, do you include him/her on your list? Will this scare them off if you include them or piss them off if you do not? The answer: If you haven’t shared a holiday with this person, then don’t go spending your holiday cash on a gift but plan a post-holiday hook-up (outside the bedroom), also known as a date for generations X and up. Pick a day/time between Christmas and NYE and have a blast. You might just end up with a new bae for the new year.


The New Bae 

So, you are a grown woman with the title “girlfriend”. Who cares! You are defined now, so what the heck are you going to get your boyfriend? Here’s a hint from my bae: MEN LIKE WHEN YOU LISTEN.  In the last months he’s probably dropped a few hints about his favorites, so pick them up! Get him a gift card for one of his favorite activities. BE SPECIFIC, an Amex or Visa gift card won’t cut it.  If he’s a gamer, sport fan, or chef- there’s a gift card for it.  Be creative with the presentation, if he’s a golfer present him with the gift of a tee-time at a local golf course, complete with personalized golf balls.  


If your man’s interests are even more specific, try a one of kind gift from a small business like Mancrates who offers curated crates for masculine interests, or visit Etsy and Amazon Handmade for gifts aimed at your bae’s hobbies and interests.


The Honeymooners

A gift card isn’t going to cut it anymore. You now have permanent pet names and have been through at least one holiday. Since you know he’s worth it, dig a little deeper. With 2020 keeping us sidelined, events are the way to set off 2021. Plan a short trip and take him to an away game. If he has a favorite band, check and see if they are playing smaller venues right now and buy some tickets.


Not a planner? No worries. If you are adventurous, Packupgo  is the way to go. They do ALL the planning with options spanning from the staycation to the surprise road/plane/train trip. You set the budget and travel parameters and the rest is a surprise for him and you!  


The Long Haul 

When you’ve gifted everything from ties to diamonds it’s time to step back and use the knowledge you’ve obtained over the years to think outside of the box. A gift that provides more than one experience helps keep the coming year exciting!  The Couples Bucket List is the perfect gift for a long-term relationship that provides some inspiration for dates and adventures.  Gift it on Christmas and work your way through your top 12 choices throughout the new year. 


Or you can return to the basics and keep it simple. Gather a few of your loves favorite things in multiples and give him 12 Days of Christmas! Each day presenting him with one to twelve of his faves. You can wrap them individually for a daily drop off that will keep him counting the days, or gift him a HUGE box of holiday spirit on Christmas day.


Regardless of where you are in your love story – do not lose sight of the point of the holiday and the importance of one another.


Image of our fav new cover option from our luxury album company

Finding Gratitude

In our effort to put 2020 behind us and ring in 2021, the holidays may seem even more important. Jack o’ lanterns have quickly been replaced with wreaths, and holiday music is on repeat. It’s almost easy to overlook Thanksgiving in the rush toward the end of the year, but I invite you to slow down. The holiday that urges us to give thanks for our blessings may be a sore note for those of us particularly affected these past months. I understand, trust me, my family has also felt the strain of this year, but as the year nears an end I am beginning to remember some wisdom that was once handed down to me. While November 27th is Thanksgiving, living a life of continued gratitude keeps you in the spirit all year round.  Yes, I know this sounds a bit like a bad self-help book or a Hallmark Christmas card you found in the back of your junk drawer - but hear me out.


At the beginning of the year, at the onset of Covid, I was online and I spotted a book I had to have “I NEED A DRINK, an inner truth journal”. I intended to use it as a means to vent about all that was going on in the world. Yet, as soon as I purchased it I was challenged by a friend to begin a gratitude journal. This is the same friend who suckers me into making a vision board every January. Given Covid-19 wasn’t on any of our vision boards, I wouldn’t say I had much faith in this suggestion. Not one to back down from a challenge (and I was in quarantine), I accepted.


Each day I had to search for something to be grateful for, and sometimes I couldn’t find it in me to write anything more than a line or two. The economy, COVID, the ongoing news cycle all made it hard to see straight. I started off small and somedays I had to stretch it (“I am grateful for coffee, so I don’t doze off during this Zoom meeting”). It sucked but somehow I stuck with it and slowly I began to see things differently. My perspective began to shift and my journal entries grew longer. My need “for a drink” decreased as I started to look at the positive much easier than I had before. 


Listen, I am a cynic who acknowledges I need self-improvement. I mean, you won’t’ find me in the Self Help section of Barnes & Noble (because I have a Kindle), but there is something to be said about an attitude of gratitude. My friend gave me a gift that I didn’t know I needed and could never repay, so I’m paying it forward. 


I invite you to purchase a journal, something you want to write in, and take a moment a day to reflect. What do you have to be grateful for this year, and just the big things that we so often say around the Thanksgiving table. Take a moment and highlight the small things - those often overlooked. You’d be surprised how small things can make a big difference.


Try it.


You can thank me later.


That's What She Said: Marissa

I wasn’t a stranger to Mirrored Images; I have friends who are ambassadors of the brand; heck, I’ve even modeled for their Shameless collection. However, I never thought I could or would book an actual session. I always made the excuse of the costs, but would quickly find myself spending the same money elsewhere. Even when Mirrored posted a holiday deal or other incentive, I’d find another reason (I can’t get off work, I need to lose another # pounds, etc.). Finally, I was honest and admitted as a wife/partner, I’d lost myself. My self-esteem paid the price and it oozed out of me into my sexual, personal, and professional lives.  I needed to do something to bring my sexy back.

The Decision:

This time I wasn’t going to give myself time to back out, and I typed When the page loaded, I quickly chose Book a Shoot, and there in black and white typeface on the website were the words I needed to hear..THERE’S NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW.  So I selected the 1-Hr package and completed the questionnaire.  I made mention of what I wanted to see from the images and the experience I wanted. Jenn is great at both light and dark imagery, and I specifically wanted a Boss Bi*ch feel to my shoot. I needed to remember who I was.


The Prep: A few days later, I got an email from Mirrored Images. A complete soup to nuts guide on what I could expect the day of, hair and makeup timelines, my e-invoice (for deposit or payment in full), and a helpful guide on where and what to purchase for the shoot if I chose.

In the following weeks, I got lost in purchasing lingerie and emailing back and forth with Jenn/Jamie about my makeup and photo ideas. While professional, the banter was more like speaking with my talented friends rather than a hired vendor. So, it didn’t surprise me that the weeks leading to the shot flew by and before you know it, I’m shotgunning water by the liter to ensure I’m not bloated for my call time the following day.


The Shoot:  It was the first shoot of the day, and the ladies at Mirrored Images helped me rev my energy with a great playlist. You can bring your own playlist, but Jenn’s selections were a vibe. Jamie and I played with colors, and my final look was fun and fierce! I laid out the lingerie I’d brought along for the day and, with Jenn & Jamie’s cheering, made some daring additions from the studio’s in-house selections of lingerie and stilettos.

I was nervous and took direction from Jenn to “breath through my mouth” as a knelt on the studio’s blue sofa. From then on, it was a blur, not rushed, but in that way on your birthday or wedding day when you’ve planned all you can and the day has finally come. You can now let go and enjoy it!  I knew I was in good hands and just had a good time. The hour flew by.


The Sneak Peek & Photo Review:

Within 48 hours, there was another email from Jenn in my inbox; this time, it included a bonus, a sneak peek of my shot. With those two images, I knew I was in trouble - hide my wallet, having only seen the two, I knew I wanted them ALL.

A week later, we reviewed the images (nearly 100) during our scheduled appointment, and I Yes/No’d my way down to my top 20 picks. It wasn’t easy; Jenn’s lens caught so many great angles and images - some we’d discussed and some sexy surprises. Somehow she’d highlighted all the best parts of me (my soul included).


The Final Result:

There are many affordable options to memorialize the images - a bound book, a metal wall hanging, a painted portrait, or just the beautiful digital images. Since the photoshoot and the photos were for me, I chose the latter, with the right to print them in the future. When I have a special spot for them, I will showcase my art, front and center. For now, they will be my little secret, a battery for me to draw from when my sense of self depletes.

eating disorder, mental health, body dysmorphia disorder, therapy, writer, journalist, self love, journey, empowerment, boudoir, boudoir photography