Hey y'all! and welcome to the Beloved Woman series! Whoever you are, and wherever you are reading from, I hope you'll grab a cup of coffee and snuggle up to read about my friend here Danielle. First though, let me back track just a little in case you don't yet know what this series is about.
I launched this blog a year ago, and it's been an incredibly badass year. I've met a ton of women, worked with some amazing companies, made new friends, and have talked with a lot of YOU via e-mail and other social media platforms. I've been praying a lot about what's next, and heavy on my heart has been this: celebrating + loving the heck out of the women around me. Now, this doesn't just mean Louisville, Kentucky, where I am based--but obviously I'm starting here. Over the course of 2017 I pray that I will have traveled far and wide to meet women around the world, so that I can not only photograph you, [because that's one of my greatest passions!] but to hug you, hear your story, and then to SHARE with the world your greatness. Because sisters? YOU ARE GREAT. Not just great; you are BELOVED.
Welcome Danielle with me, won't you?
Danielle was born in Louisville but moved to Miami, Florida when she was three years old, so her growing up years were spent there. She then made her way back to the Bluegrass where she attended the University of Kentucky, and she moved back to Louisville upon finishing her degree.
Danielle works full-time at Boxcar Public Relations, where she does a mixture of account
management, marketing, PR and tons of social media on a variety of clients. She also blogs over at Lou What Wear, a life and style blog that she started in 2011.
"My husband Drew and I have three kids - Drew (6), Reese (2) and Blake (7 mo). We met 10 years ago (when did we get so old!) through my best friend Kelly. They worked together and we met at one of their happy hours. We¹ve been together ever since."
Since becoming a mother, and photographing many a boudoir sessions in my master bedroom, I've began to notice how hard it is for women to feel beautiful and to know deep in their core that they are loved. This has just really struck me over the last several years and honestly, brings me back to why I wanted to start THIS. So I asked Danielle when she feels the most loved, and this was her response:
"...When I'm getting a big hug from one of my kiddos or when we're all snuggled up on the couch as a family. Is it bad to say that it's probably when my kids are sick and they want to just cuddle up with me? That's probably a mean mom thing to say...but hey, it's true. I of course never want my kids to be sick but those snuggles are definitely the best."
[and I can completely relate to this, Danielle!! There is something about being MOM when your kids are sick. Sometimes I doubt my ability as a mom, all of us who are DO, but I know that I'm a darn good nurse Mom!]
I then asked her what she wishes she could encourage other women with, that she wished they knew.
"I wish all women would stop being so damn hard on themselves AND each other. Everyone is running their own race, and there's no medal at the end. If we all just gave ourselves and each other a little slack, it would be a much less stressful world."
Last year I had the privilege of being interviewed by several different publications and one of the questions that still stands out the most for me was this one: "What do you hope to teach your daughter and what do you hope she believes about herself as she gets older?" For me personally, I never want my daughter to think that beauty is it; that that's all she needs to strive for, that that's the best adjective to describe her. So hearing from other women what THEY want their daughter(s) to learn is something that you'll see a lot here. Danielle, who is raising TWO daughters, says this,
"I really think confidence is such an important key. Having confidence in yourself and the decisions you make, that's going to make everything easier." Do y'all find yourselves hoping the same? Wanting to teach our daughters to find their own self-worth and to BELIEVE in themselves? My hand is held HIGH on this one!
Danielle told me that her heart is the happiest and most content when she is in the moment with her family. Her time with her three kids and husband keep her going strong, and she says, "truly, everything else just melts away. And when I asked what a big dream of hers is, she said,
"In some fantasy world, I¹d LOVE to pack up and just move to Key West. I'd live a much simpler life, work a much simpler job and spend every single day in my favorite place in the world. It's definitely a dream. Not sure though that we¹ll ever make that happen...at least not until we're retired!"
When I first met Danielle, I was immediately blown away by her ease. She always makes me laugh, and I of course adore the fact that we both have a daughter named Reese. (Mine thinks her name is Reesie Cup and hers thinks it is Reesie Piece.) Danielle is strong, brave, and determined in all that she sets out to accomplish. She knows how to talk fashion among the best of them (and a gazillion times better than myself because me, fashionable? Mmmm, not my strongest suit!) and amidst ALL that she does, she is loved by three amazing (and hilarious) children, and one heck of a husband (who was cooking the kiddos homemade french toast when I arrived!) Danielle has many roles and wears MANY hats, but one that I hope she will hold dearest to her heart is this one: beloved.