Lady in Red: Desert Fashion Photography

Lauren Ashley Photography arizona

What are you most looking forward to this spring? Me – sunshine, warm weather (or just warmer, because, Chicago) and DRESSES! Like this gorgeous dress that I may have stolen from my glamazon girlfriend’s closet (hi, Tiff!) for a desert shoot at Salt River in Coon Bluff, Arizona. She’s like 4” taller and the dress is way too long for me, but look how it moves! Like a dream. Speaking of dreams, I’m already daydreaming about Spring Break with the kids, and have booked tickets back to Florida to visit the grandparents! After having visited Florida once already in December, my friends are starting to joke that I’m becoming a snow bird! 😉

You know the Instagram vs. reality jokes? I love how this desert shoot turned out. Everything looks so peaceful and idyllic, right? But let me clue you in on a little behind the scenes. There were three of us – me, Lauren A. (my photographer), and Lauren U. (Lauren A’s bestie who I was also going to shoot). Because of the multiple outfits between the three of us, and because we were shooting at sunset and running out of light FAST, I said F*ck it – and ended up shooting both Laurens in my bra and underwear between wardrobe changes. Lauren A. swore someone from all the way on the ground beneath us whistled. Check out Part 1 of my desert shoot here!

Tell me in the comments – what fun travel plans do you have upcoming, and more importantly, do they include warm weather?

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Hiking in Style: Desert Fashion Photography at Coon Bluff, Arizona

bliss tulle Juliet skirt

Do it for the ‘gram. As in, hike up a mountain in a tulle skirt all for a desert fashion photo shoot. Come on, you know you’ve always wanted to live on the wild side. Recently took a 2,380 mileage run from Chicago to Arizona just to maintain Elite status with United Airlines, and spent a whirlwind 36 hours in the desert with one of my best friends, Tiffany. She knows all the best locations to shoot in Arizona, and Salt River at Coon Bluff here is no exception. (Also lucky for me, Tiff insisted I take her boots because I was planning on doing the hike in my flip-flops.) That desert sunshine, wide open views, are just what I needed (and am craving right now) to escape the bitter, white winter at home. I chose outfits that were flowy in fabric and saturated in color, like my favorite Bliss Tulle blue skirt. I wanted to emphasize them against the simple beauty of the desert background, using the natural wind to create movement in the flowing fabrics. Hope you enjoy my first desert photo shoot – stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon!

Also, did you see my YouTube video of our Spicy Noodle Challenge? I mean, what else ya gonna do with your girlfriend when you’re only in town for one full day?

Photography by: Lauren Ashley

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My CoolSculpting Experience with SOLUX Med Spa

 

solux med spa chicago coolsculpting event

I wear false eyelashes everyday.

I did microblading earlier this year.

I tried Botox and I liked it.

I think these are taboo topics that women aren’t supposed to talk about, but there you have it. I said it. I am not embarrassed or ashamed to admit I do these things, because I didn’t do it to please anyone but myself. I believe that one can feel confident and beautiful au natural, or also get a little help to get there. Women put on makeup every day, and to me, these other things are just another step in the beauty game. And there ain’t no shame in the game.

At a private event hosted by SOLUX Med Spa in Chicago, I recently learned about an innovative treatment called CoolSculpting. This is a procedure that is the only FDA-cleared, non-surgical fat reduction treatment that uses controlled cooling to eliminate stubborn fat that resists all efforts through diet and exercise. Freeze away fat? Are you intrigued to know more? I was skeptical, but interested. Okay, really interested, my ears perked right up and so did my right hand, because I raised it to volunteer to be a model to receive a free CoolSculpting live demonstration.

CoolSculpting basically boils down to science (excuse the pun, see what I did?). But really, the technology safely delivers precisely controlled cooling to effectively target the fat cells. Once the fat cells are gone, they’re gone for good. Hasta la vista, baby! You can read more about CoolSculpting here.

The first-time results were so promising that I agreed to a second CoolSculpting session in partnership with SOLUX Med Spa; this time to demonstrate at a CoolSculpting event open to the public.

EXPERIENCE

My personal experience with CoolSculpting was that the procedure during the first session was a little uncomfortable when the machine was placed on me. I felt pressure and intense cold for a few minutes but then it disappeared. At the second session, the suction didn’t feel as strong. I dealt with Shamaila from SOLUX a lot while scheduling session, and she was a total DOLL. She educated me on the procedure in advance so I didn’t have one ounce of hesitation. I love that the CoolSculpting procedure is completely non-surgical, so I was able to resume regular monkey-wrangling activities as planned right afterwards. By monkeys, I mean my three boys. And bonus points for the private CoolSculpting suite – which is totally gorgeous and flooded with natural lighting everywhere, giving a spa-like environment that is designed to enhance the experience, so that patients can read a book, work from their laptop, or even take a nap. Which you KNOW I did, since I was sans kids!

RESULTS

I actually see a difference, like promised. I still have some pudge, but not like before! Before and After photos are presented with each session. My first session was in April and my second was in July. It’s been exactly 1 month since the last treatment. SOLUX says you may start to see changes as quickly as three weeks, and will experience the most dramatic results after two months. This was totally spot on for me. But your body will still flush out fat cells and continues doing so for up to four to six months after treatment – and I’m excited to see more results over the next couple months without having to do any work 😉

After my second CoolSculpting session with SOLUX Med Spa, I’m definitely a believer. This procedure was so worth it. If you’re local in Chicago, you can contact SOLUX for a free consultation to see if it’s right for you. You won’t be sorry!

This post is in partnership with SOLUX Med Spa in Chicago.

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CoolSculpting reviews

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Amsterdam Travel: Old World Charm Meets Modern Day Energy

portraits photos at museum van loon Amsterdam

While it is well-known for its taboo tourist attractions, Amsterdam boasts so much more than cheap thrills. Think: romantic canals, vast flower fields, immaculate old-world gardens and museums steeped in Dutch history. I recently joined The Giant on his work trip in Germany sans kids, and we tagged on a few extra days in Amsterdam–a city which pleasantly surprised me with its old world charm but modern day hustle and bustle. (Hey Michael, can we move here, pretty please?) In every city we’ve traveled to, we’ve done a professional shoot to document our time, and this one by Chymo from Chymo & More Photography is nothing less than stellar. She is a film photographer with a fine art aesthetic–perfect for capturing the moody romance that is Amsterdam.

portraits photos at museum van loon Amsterdam

People think I’m funny because I’m loud and blunt. But really, my better half is the one who will put you to tears. He’s quick witted, appropriately funny, and also very, very romantic in his own way even though I give him a hard time about not being passionate (reverse psychology, ya know). Chymo captured us perfectly–so many of these special moments were not posed, it was just the two of us connecting as we used to before kids.

Amsterdam portrait couples photography

In the heart of Amsterdam’s Canal District lies Museum Van Loon, a wonderful house that was designed in the late 1600s by a Dutch architect named Adriaen Dortsman. In the cozy rooms, you will find portraits, perfectly preserved furniture, fine silverware and porcelain hailing from various centuries. I’m just in love with the colorful wallpaper prints in each room. Afterward, we roamed a bit in the lovely garden behind the house, followed by a little city walking.

portraits photos at museum van loon Amsterdam

The highlight of our trip for me was visiting the tulip fields of Keukenhof. It’s been on my bucket list for ages, and now I can say I’ve done it with my love! Keukenhof is a spring park open for approximately eight weeks that showcases 7 million spring-flowering bulbs. Rows and rows and rows of tulips as far as the eye could see–I’m in love! It was perfect for twirling in my new Bliss Tulle mini skirt and lace top.

Scroll through and take a peek at our time in Amsterdam and let me know… would you go visit?

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portraits photos at museum van loon Amsterdam

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Amsterdam portrait couples photography

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