To me, boudoir is about being your best you, and showcasing that confidence for yourself and a loved one. I didn’t always feel this way, though, especially when I was first engaged and thinking about doing a boudoir shoot for the first time. I understand all the apprehension and questions from people who are a little curious and maybe a bit scared of the concept. Many people who’ve never done one say they’ll need to diet and work out, and some are afraid they won’t know how to pose, or some will say, “I’m just not sexy.”

I get it. I felt this way before my first boudoir shoot too. I grew up overly critical of my body, comparing myself to what I saw on TV and magazines, and overly focused on all that I’m not.

If it wasn’t for my wedding “deadline,” I would’ve kept holding out til I was “more fit.” During the shoot, I realized that it wasn’t about being perfect — it was about being the best version of me today. Sex appeal and confidence actually radiates from within, not from losing another five pounds.

I  can choose to be the best me I am today, and continue to be a better me each day. The self appreciation I learned was one of the most empowering and liberating feelings ever. When I stopped focusing on my flaws, I actually enjoyed taking care of myself more. Instead of working out to lose another inch off my waist (which felt like such a chore), I worked out because I loved taking care of my body. It became something I did for myself out of love, rather than an obligation. So rather than trying to reach a goal before you love yourself, love yourself for who you are today and the more love you have for yourself, the better care you’ll want to have for yourself.

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