Meet Me Monday: Megan

I’ve been following Megan Wood (@princeportrait) on Instagram for a while, now. At first, I just followed her work because I thought her photography was just so beautiful. I like her dark and soulful vibe. It’s an incredible variation to most of the Instagram accounts I see which involve so much bright white with little pops of color. Don’t get me wrong, I love that too. But Prince Portrait really holds its own in contrast. Not only that but I love that there are so many different types of people represented. In a lot of boudoir photography, a thin blonde girl perched uncomfortably on some piece of furniture is what we imagine but Megan is breaking molds. One quick glance at her feed and you can tell that she’s here to share different stories.

It doesn’t take long, to see that Megan wants exactly what I want which is for people to be able to meet, know, and express themselves fully. Everyone has a different language that we use to tell our stories.  I use interviews and writing long essays. Megan uses what she describes as “intimate art for royal souls”. Yeah, she takes a lot of gorgeous photographs of people in their underwear. It’s hard work but someone has to do it! (No, seriously, it is actually really hard work and for real, someone has to do it.) I hope you hear the passion that she has for her work. It’s so contagious!

So, here you go. Let’s meet Megan!


WEBmeganwoodprinceportait-1

How do you want to introduce yourself to these readers?

Hello, beautiful humans! My name is Megan. I am a storyteller at heart, photographer by day, and binge-r of The Office by night.
I am a dog mom to my beautiful rescue boy, Lincoln, big sister to two hilarious siblings, and devoted daughter to the two most selfless people I’ve ever known. I was born and raised (for the most part) in Kansas City and though my mind, body, and soul ache for somewhere near the coast, KC is most definitely my favorite place to be in the midwest. There’s a creative culture here unlike any other I’ve ever experienced, and spending time with likeminded creatives always keeps me inspired. I have been a photographer of some sort for 10 years now. After shooting weddings and reaching the inevitable burnout, I founded my luxury boudoir studio, Prince Portrait (named after my childhood pup) on the belief that loving yourself, as you are right now, is what’s most important. We cannot improve, grow, or love others unless we celebrate ourselves in the present moment. Boudoir is so much more than sexy photos, it’s a self-love experience and a chance to document the most intimate parts of your body, mind, and soul. I freaking love what I do and I adore my clients for trusting me to tell their stories.

What gets you out of the bed in the morning?

Literally, my pup and music! I have Spotify or podcasts playing all day, every day. I probably wouldn’t function properly in the morning without coffee and a well-curated playlist. In less literal terms, I wake up each morning wondering who I can help that day. I am a giver and a supporter. I thrive when I’m helping others reach their goals, see their potential, or recognize that they’re already a badass. My clients, friends, and family all allow me to do that so there’s always a reason to wake up that’s not solely for me.

What word/ phrase resonates the most in your life?

“No half measures.” It means so much to me that it’s permanently inked on my wrist. It’s a constant reminder that I am all in, no matter what I’m striving for. For the Breaking Bad fans out there, they’ll know what it means. For everyone else, it simply means don’t start what you don’t want to finish. Don’t half-ass shit. Also, go watch Breaking Bad!

What does your ideal day look like?

Oh, so many options. I enjoy too many things! In a perfect world, I would spend most of my day outside; in or near the water is always preferable. I feel such a sense of calm when I write, read, or create outside of the box I call home. Animals have to be a part of it, Lincoln goes everywhere with me so I could never fully enjoy a day without him. A random drive, good book, music, fresh food, and laughter are all ingredients for an outstanding afternoon. Just the other day I realized that I don’t look at the stars nearly enough. I used to travel for work and fell in love with the night sky in the desert. Nothing is more humbling or inspiring than standing in the middle of nothing, gazing up at everything. So my perfect day would end somewhere that allows me to relax and stare at the sky.

IMG_2123.JPG

Megan–thank you so much for sharing a part of yourself with us!
Everyone else, if you have any questions for Megan, leave them here in the comments and I’ll make sure she sees them. Also, she’s got a ladies only, private FB group that is an awesome space for celebration, body positivity, and just generally chill hangs.

XOXO, Lib

I Don’t Think That Means What You Think it Means.

Last week I went a little overboard and bought all of the skin creams, face masks, foot masks, nail polish, and discount Valentine’s chocolate that Walgreens had to offer. Then, I went home and watched the better part of the entire season of Queer Eye on Netflix. And then, because I am a good Millennial (albeit an old one), I uploaded a photo of my haul onto Instagram. It didn’t take long for the comments to start rolling in congratulating me on my self-care day and how “oh my gosh, I really need to work on my self-care game as well.” Self-care. Self-care. Self-care. Self-care is the buzziest of Buzzwords these days and I’m starting to cringe every single time I hear it. Because self-care is not what we keep saying it is.

IMG_2062

Self-care is not the act of slathering your face in expensive clay. It’s not making sure that you’re using the right serums in the right order at the end of the day. And most importantly, it’s not the kind of thing you should feel guilty about if you’re not doing it right. Guilt has no room in self-care. Guilt is the opposite of self-care.

Capitalism has this way of infiltrating every single movement towards human betterment and making us think that we need to buy things in order to take part. That’s not true at all. No. It’s infiltrating the Bopo community right now… kind of. Brands are coming out with clothes that claim to fit a size 24 (which in reality fits more like an 18) and they’re patting themselves on the back for how great they are. But even if their sizing was accurate, I still can’t wear any of it. And I’m not the biggest person I know by any means. But regardless, in the same way that Self-Care isn’t about laser hair treatments, Body Positivity isn’t about making overalls for fat people. Yeah, it’s part of it. It can help some people get what they are wanting out of life. But that’s not all it’s about.

Self care is about taking care of yourself. Self care is and should be accessable to everyone regardless of their body or ability or financial status. Self care is free and important and oftentimes difficult work. It’s not always relaxing and bubble baths and french terry bath robes. A lot of times it’s doing, today, that from which Future You will benefit.  And maybe a small part of that involves expensive beauty products for you but self care is something so much more.

Self-care is making sure you’re hydrated and ending toxic relationships. It’s not skipping a shower when you really should take one. It’s letting that call go to voice mail. It’s trusting other people to be in charge of their own emotions and taking that burden off of yourself. It’s about not avoiding the mail box because you’re afraid of what’s inside of it. It’s about taking the medications that have been prescribed to you. It’s about busting yourself out of destructive funks and preventing destructive funks. It’s about washing the windows to let some more light in. It’s about taking out the garbage because that smell is coming from somewhere. Sometimes it’s about locking yourself in the bathroom with a magazine and an expensive clay mask–but the self care isn’t in the mask, it’s in the taking the time to listen to what you need. And if what you need in that moment is stillness, you’re choosing stillness. That is the self-care part of doing a face mask.

I was recently asked in an interview what my favorite “self-care routines” are. And, look, don’t get me wrong. I actually love hearing about people’s morning and night beauty routines. I can talk about this stuff all day long–that’s why I listen to the Forever 35 podcast. But I was uncomfortable with this question. So rather than focusing on the products that I use during my routine, I talked more about how it’s the routine itself that serves me. I don’t get sleepy and ready for a well-rested bed time because I use this brand of makeup remover or this particular gel-based moisturizer rather than an oil-based one. I get ready for a well-rested bed time because I’ve trained my body to use this time to go into shut down mode. These products aren’t magic, I’m magic. I create my own magic. The routine is the self-care.

Sometimes when I feel myself getting irritable and unable to bust out of a particular mood, I have some fall-back plans in place. I watch my favorite YouTubers, I listen to old episodes of my favorite podcasts, I tell my friends that I’m having a rough day and could use a check in every few hours. I try to eat something healthy or I eat something decidedly unhealthy depending on what my intuition tells me I should reach for. I put out a call on Facebook for everyone to tell me what their favorite cheer-up song is. That’s always fun.


I wanted to post this piece about twelve hours ago and it was really stressing me out that it wasn’t happening. But it felt pretty false to write a post about self-care while I was feeling rushed and unhappy so I gave myself space and took the time I needed. I walked the dog. I watched this video on YouTube about four times (Ryan showed it to me last night and it’s been stuck in my head ever since). I ate a salad and I might even make a smoothie for an afternoon snack.

Anyway, friends. I hope you’re able to come up with some self-care techniques to keep in your back pocket. Maybe keep a literal list in your phone. Number one on that list: hydrate. It’s amazing what chugging a glass of water will do for you. Or, do what I do, and keep this tab open on your phone at all times. Any time I feel like crap, I pull it out and it really, really does help me.

I love you. Take care of yourself, please.

XOXO, Lib

Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

Five Tips for Planning Intentional Self-Care

I’m sitting here listening to the hold music at my doctor’s office on speaker phone while I drink a big cup of coffee and draw up a lazy grocery list for this weekend. I want to make sure we get a lot of fresh veggies in our systems so I’m thinking a big salad for lunch… grilled chicken and veggies for dinner, and I’m wondering if peaches will satisfy our after dinner sweet teeth or if we should just admit it and get some cookies. And when are we going to get some movement in? If we can’t go to the water park, maybe we can take a park-tour or walk up and down main street. Or maybe even both… My best friend is coming to spend the night and I want to make sure that I’m at my very best while she’s here.

This planning ahead is something pretty new for me. Sort of. I’ve always been the type who likes to know what to expect but this is different. I’ve learned, recently, that if I plan certain things ahead, I’m more in control—not in control of what happens but more in control of how I feel. I’ve started seriously planning my self-care. And it has made all the difference. I’m not going to say that I feel like a whole new person… but I can tell you that I feel more in control of myself, these days.
Image(41)
Continue reading “Five Tips for Planning Intentional Self-Care”

The Honor and the Sacredness

“You’ve been married for over a year now! Time to have some kids!” “You’re not getting any younger!” “When are you going to start a family?” “Oh! You got a dog? That should tide you over until some kids come along.”

There have been a few times in my life when I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what I was supposed to do and what I wanted.
When I was deciding which college to attend, I prayed for certainty and I received an illogical, deep confidence that I was supposed to go to this specific college in this specific city at this specific time. And I did that and I came away from it with a degree that I have never used and a few friends that I would gladly spend dozens of thousands of dollars to meet again.
When my friend Ryan took a long lunch break and came to my house and told me he couldn’t wait one more minute—he had to tell me he loved me and asked me to be his partner in this life and I had so many questions and so many doubts and what-if’s swimming through my mind but my soul screamed louder inside of me, “This is something big for you. Take this and protect it!”
IMG_9487bw

Everything else—I’ve just been winging it. I’ve never felt called to anything in my life.

Continue reading “The Honor and the Sacredness”

Announcing the #XOXOSummerSelfie challenge!

“Now maybe there’s a lesson I’ve been given
Or some wisdom from the stories that I need to tell.
And everybody’s hoping and scraping and wishing
They could be something outside themselves.
If I can be me, then you can be yourself.”
Tunde Olaniran

We’re only half way through 2016 and I feel like we’re due for a pick-me-up. I feel like we’re beyond due. World—what are you doing to yourself?

So I think to myself, what’s one thing that almost always perks up my mood? And you know what it is? It’s when I’m feeling bored or feeling sad and I’m scrolling through my Instagram feed and I see a photo of one of my dear friends. Endorphins just start shooting all over the place. It’s magnificent! Don’t you love it? Image(31)

 

Anyway, so how’s about another Selfie Challenge?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I believe in selfies as a form of radical self-love. I think it’s crucial to proper self-development to get used to seeing yourself and sharing yourself. It can sometimes be really brave and it can sometimes be fishing for compliments and sometimes you’re just feeling yourself. And all of those reasons and so many more are very, very okay!

Image(30)Image(29)

 

We did a Selfie Challenge back in February and we had 725 participating photographs on Instagram! My goal is to go for over a thousand this time. Do you think we can make it happen? I mean, the fact that July is longer than February will help. And readership has grown since then (hi new people!!). And you love to share posts on social media and get your friends involved—I see you! So I think a thousand is a perfectly attainable goal. The more the merrier is not only a cliché—it’s also a solid truth. In this instance.

Rules: Starting Friday, July 1st, anyone who wants to contribute can! You don’t have to do it every day—though that IS the challenge of it. You don’t even have to follow the list of themes. You make this into whatever works for you. But in the end, I want our community to come together over celebration of ourselves and each other because that’s the way that we make this weird world a better place to exist.
The only real rule is that you take a photo that contains at least a little bit of yourself in it and then upload that photo to Instagram with the hashtag:
#xoxosummerselfie .

Here’s a calendar that I made with some suggested themes for each day—for those of us who like a little direction.

xoxosummerselfiecal
Save this to your phone and refer back to it every day.

Last time we did this, I left you with a song to get you pumped up for the month ahead of us. Don’t think that I left you song-less this time.

I hope you already know about Tunde Olaniran but just in case you don’t, I give you his mind blowing song, “Namesake” which has become my fight song lately.

“Now maybe there’s a lesson I’ve been given
Or some wisdom from the stories that I need to tell
And everybody’s hoping and scraping and wishing
They could be something outside themselves
If I can be me, then you can be yourself
Might not be easy, it’s like we’re never satisfied
Right?”

See you on Friday!
XOXO, Lib
#xoxosummerselfie