Melodee's Portraits

When we asked Taylor why she nominated Melodee for our Mitzi Starkweather Photography 4th Birthday giveaway, she said, "It was a given! She was the first person I thought of... and because I have done a Luxe shoot before it was easy for me to understand the benefit."

Our goal with this Giveaway was for it to be a gift - a gift to a woman who makes Joplin a better place to live and who gives selflessly to so many. Even as we scheduled Melodee's consultation to plan her shoot, I started to realize how involved she is with her family, business, and local government commitments! We booked her shoot about 6 weeks out so her youngest daughter Alyssa could join her. But throughout the photoshoot and portrait reveal, Melodee did remind herself that this experience was about HER - that she had won it - and I was so gratified to hear her say that. (If you're a woman, you might know how hard it can be to give yourself permission to enjoy something just for YOU!)

You see, most of our Luxe Portrait clients are women who are tied to a million commitments that they pour themselves into whole-heartedly. They don't even have to be asked, and they'll pour hours into projects and details to help their families, friends, and coworkers succeed. Often, they'll willingly keep themselves at the bottom of the shopping list so that everyone else can be taken care of (and it's their joy!) But an experience like a Luxe Portrait shoot takes them out of their comfort zone in the best possible way. 

"I loved getting an opportunity to concentrate on ME! It didn't matter if I wanted to be funny, be serious or otherwise, it was about me! That is a great feeling! No expectations beyond letting myself enjoy the moment, all of them!!" -Melodee

As I get older I realize how sacred it is to take time to do things that encourage me, bring me joy, and fill ME up. After all, we invest our time, energy, and resources in whatever we value. Over the past couple years I've realized that self-value is not selfish! When I value myself, I am much more capable to practically and lovingly value others. And I'm so much better at living life.

Taylor shared my sentiment when she narrated our Behind the Scenes Video for Melodee's shoot: "For a woman like Melodee who gives so much to so many people... her taking three hours out of her day to do something for herself is... sacred. When you're so busy, to take that time for yourself, it can be really transformative."

Transformative. What a beautiful word. I love seeing women be "transformed" in our studio into the most beautiful versions of themselves... and then realizing that's who they were all along.

Thank you, Taylor, for nominating Melodee. And thank you also to the 54 people who nominated other amazing women and shared their stories with us.

Last week one of my makeup artists who's been with us only a couple months said she never imagined how much she'd enjoy meeting the women she's met through our Luxe Portrait shoots. I told her I felt the same way, and an enormous wave of gratitude and honor washed over me. It carries me still.

-Mitzi

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