XOXO Alice Blog
Consider this my page to tell you all about the raison d'etre of XOXO Alice. My WHY. I'll update with new thoughts and goodies from time to time, so be sure to check in occasionally.
June 24, 2020
How are you doing friends?
I've been busy behind the scenes here working on the best plan for re-opening and for keeping my staff and my clients safe. We have two main hurdles; the inability to social distance or have a client wear a mask during hair and makeup/sanitation of supplies and the fact that my trigeminal neuralgia keeps me from wearing a mask during any extended period of time.
I'm working on some boring liability waiver paperwork that protects me and my clients and will be sort of a new normal in the age of Covid and studio photography. I have an official re-open date of August 1st, and I'm equal parts stressed and ecstatic to start seeing your beautiful faces again.
I have quite a few clients on the waiting list, and I’ll be getting in touch soon to get you all officially back on the schedule and share that new paperwork with you.
I’m looking into getting one of those fancy forehead thermometers… does anyone have a lead on one?? All of the ones I'm finding on amazon have such mixed reviews and I don't want to get a crappy one when I'm trying to keep us all safe! ** update, I found one!
If you are wanting to get on the schedule, get in touch and we will get things set up. I can't wait to see you all
May 15, 2020
When did you hit your limit?
For me, it was this past Tuesday. I have had plenty of ups and downs through all of this, but it all came to a head earlier this week. Everything, all the stress and anxiety and pressure and strangeness piled up on top of some additional life things and bam. I was a crying mess half the day and doing breathing exercises the other half of the day trying to just keep my body as relaxed as possible.
We started a refinance on our home before all of this started, and there were so many delays because of CoVid.. then Tuesday last minute run around for additional paperwork when our closing was already set for today (Friday)!
I'm going through IVF after a years long up and down battle to be able to have a kiddo, and all the hormones and stress just sort of hit me on Tuesday.
I was STILL waiting to see if I would qualify for any of the emergency assistance put into place for self-employed Americans and just so frustrated at the lack of a path, and starting to stress about money after 2 months of being unable to work at the studio.
And I know like you, and my family and friends, these stay at home orders are really starting to wear on us all! We are struggling with the abrupt changes to our routines, with the social isolation, with loved ones or ourselves dealing will sickness, and with the incredible money stress that is coming along hand in hand with this pandemic.
So yeah, Tuesday I was just pushed right over my edge. One of my best friends jokes that Tuesdays are ALWAYS the worst and she certainly isn't wrong about that this week!
The good news is that my general optimism is impossible to permanently squash, and I've been slowly feeling better as the week has progressed. I've been connecting with clients more, and finding new creative ways to create a sense of community with acquaintances and friends. The refi closes tonight! and the IVF journey continues (we are looking at a retrieval early next week, for anyone in the know... so send me good healthy vibes ). Oh, and I finally got a sign that we will qualify for the PUA, which is a huge relief.
Once again, my best tool in all of this has been being patient with myself. I didn't spend too much time beating myself up for falling apart, because I was already feeling beat up enough by life in general. I let myself sit in my feelings, ate a large quantity of ice cream, and went to bed early.
Friends, be patient and loving with yourselves, and those near and dear to you. I'm afraid the new stressors that are here aren't going to let up anytime soon... and we are all just trying out best to get through. Find the little joys where you can, and stop and take some deep breaths when you need them.
Sending you all love and peace from my little sun-filled backyard
May 8, 2020
Soooo... yeah. We have to have a talk friends. Times are hard right now, for a whole lot of people for a whole lot of reasons. The world as many of us knew it has changed, and may not get back to normal for awhile. Maybe you have been lucky enough to find some positives in these radical changes, and maybe you've barely been treading water. Or maybe, like me, you've had both of those on different days... hell, different hours and even minutes it feels like sometimes. Because whatever life is right now, it isn't the 'normal' we were all accustomed to.
Here is the thing. I love you. You are amazing. You are doing your best. Yes, I really believe that you are, because I have to believe that I am. Life is damned hard, for a whole lot of reasons, and we can only do our best with each moment we have. Sometimes that best may mean staying in bed all day but remembering to feed the cat. Other days it may mean showering and working on a garden and getting the things we need from the grocery store. And other days it may even mean reaching out to your loved ones and checking in on them and letting them know that even though you can't be close, you love them.
I wish you grace. Grace for your loved ones, for strangers on the internet, and most importantly, for yourself. Forgive yourself, love yourself, be patient with yourself. Think of the person or being you love most in the world, and think of all the love you feel for them, and then take that love and turn it back on yourself. Treat yourself as specially as you would treat the most dear person in your life.
I have two of my favorite humans to thank for these images.
Jackie Connor Stevenson for the beautiful, sexy, and hilarious photographs, and Kristina Sunshine for the radically awesome hair and makeup. I love you
February 14, 2019
Long post ahead, and a lot more personal than usual.
TW: pregnancy loss, chronic pain
Last week I was able to spend quality time with some of my favorite women. We spent 4 amazing days together for our Galentines gathering, and spent one of those days being in and taking photographs. I faced some fears and got vulnerable, and decided to practice what I preach... I got in front of the camera!
My full time job (and one of my life's passions) is helping women feel amazing through photography. Photography has been my full time job for nearly 15 years, and I've focused on photographing beauty and boudoir for women for the last 8 of those years. And yet, in that time, I've only had my boudoir portraits done twice! I have clients who come to see me once a year and are on their 5th and 6th sessions, and yet I've only put myself in their shoes 2 times! Clearly, I was overdue.
I'm at my heaviest weight. I haven't talked about it much here, but I've hard an incredibly hard two years personally with my health. I was diagnosed with a chronic pain disease called Trigeminal Neuralgia, I had to have foot surgery, and I suffered two losses/miscarriages. That is A LOT to deal with in two short years, and it left me feeling incredibly unsexy. I was focused on just making it through each day, and my feelings about my body and my sex appeal went to the very bottom of the list. I made it through and am starting to see the other side of things with the support of my INCREDIBLE husband, family and friends.
When your body becomes nothing but repeated pain and loss for two years, it is so easy to get lost in all of that. I don't fault myself for it. I did my best. But 2019 is going to be better, because it has to be. So, I made a decision last month. A new start to 2019. A way to say fuck you to this painful Trigeminal Neuralgia disease, and to learn to love my body again. I invited some of my best photographer friends to spend the weekend before Valentine's Day together. To talk, to laugh, to cry, to drink bourbon and play Miss PacMan, and to take some sexy photographs. And yeah... it was the best idea I've had in a year. What an incredible, rejuvenating, soul fulfilling time we had together.
The first image is a few of us together laughing it up and looking like sexy beasts, and the second image is one my ridiculously talented boudoir photographer friend Jackie took of me. I have a lot more favorites I'm looking forward to sharing, but didn't want to wait another minute before sharing a bit of my story and these images I love.
February 1, 2019
I would like to chat a bit about 'body positivity' and the body positivity movement. I think there is a general misconception that only 'curvy/plus-sized' women are allowed to belong to and identify with that movement. And although that may be where things started, the movement has grown to encompass so much more.
In my job, I have the honor of getting to know so many different women. These women come from all walks of life, have different skin tones, body shapes, ages, and sizes. And at the end of the day, nearly every woman who comes into my studio is dealing with some level of insecurity. They tell me their stories, their experiences with how others treat and view their bodies, and how that affect their own self-image.
Sometimes (all too often) women who are thin are teased or ridiculed for being 'too thin'. "Eat a sandwich" "Grow an ass" "Anorexic much?" and on and on are some of the hateful things they have to hear again and again. And you know what? It pisses me off! It brings out the same levels of frustration and anger that I get when people tell a bigger woman "Hey fat ass" "Look at the tub of lard" "Please go starve yourself" etc etc.
Guess what? It is never ok to comment on or critique another woman's body. You don't know her life, you don't know her health, and you don't get to assume she is in poor health or that she has some kind of disorder. A woman's body is her business, and hers alone. That is it. End of story. Full stop. If a woman has concerns about her body, she will talk to her doctor, not some random asshole shouting at her from the sidewalk while she is just trying to take a walk.
A* is the last of my 4K Giveaway clients to come in (I gave away 8 sessions in total), and her story really spoke to me. She has dealt with the bullies who think they know something about her, her health and her body. They made her fell less than... less sexy, less womanly, less worthy. And they were full of crap. This woman is GORGEOUS. And hot, and sexy, and beautiful. She is really stunning, from her piercing eyes, to her curves and down her long legs to the tips of her toes. It was my absolute honor to be able to use my camera and skills to show her exactly how beautiful she really is. And that those haters are just dead wrong. No one gets to decide how a woman should feel about her own body except that woman herself.
Ladies, love yourselves. Don't let society tell you that you are 'too'. Too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, too pale, too dark, too whatever. The only thing you is your gorgeous, worthy self.
I’m making a commitment to represent every woman. The bodies we see in the media are traditionally thin, white and young. I specialize in photographing women, and it’s a personal passion to show women who don’t fit the ‘thin, white, young’ mold they they are just as worthy of sexy photographs as any other woman. Do you not identify with any of those words? Or you do with one or two but definitely not all three?
Please send me an email at email@example.com so that I can tell you a little bit more about what I do for women in my studio.
Help me in my pursuit to make my website a showcase of diverse bodies. Help me show the world that all women are beautiful, even and especially when they don’t fit into the little boxes society tells them to. I have some specials available just for you.