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Kako at the Bibliothèque Nationale

Meet Kako. She’s gorgeous, full of spark, sassy, creative, well-traveled. She lives in Paris with her gorgeous mostly
well-mannered teenage son. We have known each other for 22 years, since the year I lived in Paris (I’ll let you do the math)

note to self: might be fun to do that again

We are all getting older. For the chronically vain (yes, that’s me), it is an ongoing opportunity to practice self-love and adoration. Owning one’s Beauty is a choice, one that we must make again and again.

At the moment, I’m winning the battle against self-negating thoughts and judgement – I am living in self-love in a way I never imagined possible. When I can give that gift to any woman, it thrills me to the core. When I can give it to a dear friend, it is all the more meaningful.

At the time of this shoot, Kako was about to turn 47 and she was going through some man trouble. These photos turned out to have a deep healing effect on her bruised psyche and she was shrieking with glee to see how gorgeous she is…encore et toujours

I took these images 3 years ago. I was still living in a prison of unhappiness with my ex and had not yet freed myself. Being in Paris cracked me open using Pleasure as its crowbar. It was the first trip I had taken on my own in years – not with my mom, not with my ex –  but with old friends who knew me, who remembered I was fun and creative and made me feel that way too. Doing these shoots was as much a gift for me as for her. Reconnecting with my passion for photography reconnected me to my creative spirit, my art spirit. I know she took pleasure from seeing herself through my eyes and feeling confidant that she was still rocking it.

Turning 50 this month, happily back together with Mr. Trouble and about to travel to the US twice this year, Kako’s future is looking pretty bright. A bientôt ma chere, et bon anniversaire XO









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The Power of Selfies

As a photographer who has taken self-portraits throughout my life, it was very natural for me to start taking ‘selfies’ with my phone – after all, I’ve been doing it for years with ‘real cameras.’

IMG_5579The idea of a “selfie” sometimes evokes a negative reaction from people. Maybe they think it’s narcissistic, an example of how social media is ruining the world. For me, this video is a must-see for anyone interested in girl’s and women’s self image – it really illustrates how the act of photographing ourselves can be an act of empowerment,  a way of claiming our unique Beauty for ourselves, as well as how insecurities are passed on from generation to generation.

One of the young women in the video states, “I was surprised when I heard the girls talk about their insecurities. When they said they were insecure about things, those were the things that made them different, but the things that made them different made them unique, and that made them beautiful”.

As Sophia Loren said many moons ago, “the Beauty of each person is found in their imperfections.”
What a wise child to come up with that on her own, from her own heart…but it is a TRUTH…and if taking Selfies can help girls have a more self loving experience going through their teen years, or hell, 50 teen in my case, I think it’s a wonderful thing.

Jessica Lovejoy of the Huffington Post makes the point that “we are creating our own definition of Beauty” – one with which I whole heartedly agree. For more on the positive effects of Selfie-ing, Click here for the full article.


This Valentine’s Day, I invite you to take a self loving selfie, by yourself or with your mom, daughter, or loved ones and take a moment to celebrate wonderful glorious alive YOU, wherever you are on your journey to self love…Claim your birthright, your DIVINE BEAUTY <3

For more on my journey to self love through photography, click HERE XO




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Before The Selfies…Self Portraits from my Heart of Darkness

I have selfied for so many reasons…but mostly  for the same reason I am motivated to photographs others, to document a moment in which I felt HAPPY, to celebrate my life. There are selfies with my adorable teenage cousins, selfies with my mom, selfies with my nephew, selfies in Paris, New York, Hawaii.

For me, taking these moments with myself are generally an act of self love, a time out to connect with myself in the midst of family chaos, a foreign situation, a date gone bad, or just because I’m wearing a sparkly dress and I feel awesome.  In the social media curated  version of my life, I am always having a good time.


I spent much of my younger life battling a debilitating depression, and when I look at the self portraits I made then, I see the me that is seeking confirmation of ‘enoughness” – that I really am beautiful, that I really have value. I wasn’t making pictures back then because I was having a joyful moment, but because I was trying to find myself in a moment.


These polaroids, while awesome artifacts I cherish now, were upon viewing judged ‘not good enough’, hence no film was shot. But notably not so with the series below.

I took this series of nude self portraits for an assignment, for a class I took in Colorado at the local CC after I had already graduated photography school, just to get myself shooting. I was 27 yrs old, my dad had passed away, the boyfriend I had moved there to be with had broken up with me, and I was just starting therapy. I did not know my beauty worth or value. jam-7-22014-02-13_0010jam-5-2

so this is an ode to my completely raw unretouched self, in all my perfection that I couldn’t see then. All these selves still live in me and I am grateful to have found a greater peace, to be able to choose to own my Beauty and validate myself.

One Lifetimes, Ladies…Let’s Love Ourselves


Elizabeth Etienne - I remember some of those pics and I remember that girl. And that time. Such magnificent images and so totally different from the kinds and quality of images we make today.

Yes you were sad from time to time but I also think you’ve always been simply a deep thinking person- a soul searcher, a traveller in your minds eye and someone who was and is always on a quest to explore life, and the camera’s medium. Call that depression or call it just a quiet moment during your self reflection in relation to the appreciation for life.

You are and always were a great photographer and who isn’t more readily available to shoot than ones self. You’ve also always been an awesome writer and now you have the opportunities to share them both as you fine tune your craft and appreciate the roots of their early beginnings.

Such a beautiful girl and such beautiful images. Thanks you for sharing all of you with the world.

Bunnie - So absolutely awesome!! Thank you for sharing. Happy Valentine’s Day, my sweet Jill.

Sara - Thank you so much for sharing. So timely for me.

Leslie - So beautiful, raw and transparent, thank you for sharing!

The Power of Selfies - […] For more on my journey to self love through photography, click HERE XO […]

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Elaine, the swan emerges

I started Kind Eyes because of my own Beauty wounding and because I was blessed with the gift of seeing a woman’s Divine Beauty and being able to capture it with a camera. I have done a lot of personal growth work over the years to be a 52 year old woman, finally living in my body without criticism. There are many stages along the way – from not picking yourself apart to actually feeling beautiful – to truly falling in love with yourself.  It touches me deeply to be a part of other women’s healing journey. It is truly my deepest wish and mission, to help all faces of the Goddess recognize themselves as the uniquely Divine Beauty they are.

Elaine’s story touched me so deeply. She found me through the miracle of Facebook – we were both taking a class in Owning our Worth online with Tosha Silver, so I knew we were like-minded spirits, seeking to “Let the Divine take the lead” and to “always know our Beauty Worth and Value”.

In her words:

“I grew up being told how ugly I was because I did not fit the mold of what a Chinese girl would be. I was tall and had dark skin. My mother was very fair and petite and people often asked if I was adopted or jokingly asked if picked up from the trash because I looked nothing like her. I remembered how hard it was to try to fit in and constantly hating my body for being so different from my family and friends. How I wished I was tiny and petite so I did not look like a monster.

Over the years, these lies perpetuated themselves over and over in all ways and forms. I hated the mirror and hated being photographed at all cost. ”

Interesting also what a negative tape on repeat and an internalized critical parent will do…while she grew up feeling like  ‘a monster’, I was in awe of her amazing stature  (and jealous of her long legs!). She was so nervous but we started dancing and had so much fun…she told me that it was unusual for her to be smiling in photos…in most of my favorite images she is laughing…there is nothing more beautiful than a woman enjoying herself!

Getting to know Elaine has been such a blessing. She is a super smart single mom from the Bay Area working in IT who rocks a lot of Patagonia and granny panties. But interestingly, her inner feminine had been leading her to buy lingerie (and lots of it) over the years. She showed up with such a great pile of sexy items that she had never worn.  Although she said that this was WAY out of her comfort zone, she jumped in and allowed me to pick out the skimpy items worn here and bravely tottered around on her epic heels, purchased for the occasion.

“I cannot explain the magical connection during the session only that it transformed me. I felt like I was finally stepping into myself, the woman that I am. I felt at ease, I felt strong, I felt so comfortable, I felt curious, most important of all I love my body and how I wondered in amazement at my body for the first time. The magical moment when you look at yourself and you go Ah……

I do have moments after the shoot where I still pick on myself and my Body parts. However slowly and with more awareness, those moments are fleeting. I often look at my pictures and go “I don’t look like that at all” but then I smile and remember how magical, brave and strong I felt as a result of experiencing that photo shoot.

Owning my femininity, my sensuality is a huge step in my path of finding myself. Loving myself and honoring my body sounds simple and yet one of the hardest thing I learned to do.

To all my sister goddesses out there, Jill is our fairy goddess sister that sprinkles fairy dust and you too will see the amazingly beautiful soul that you are…..”

Elaine, thank you for allowing me to be a part of you journey, and thank you for generously sharing your story with us.
XO Jill

Photographed in Santa Barbara
Hair and Makeup by the lovely Page Berse

Karla - Absolutely stunning and fabulous!! I agree with you, Jill that although I adore each and every shot, I love the ones where Elaine is smiling. You truly captured every part of Elaine that I love. I’m so glad Elaine shared this with me…and I can’t wait to do mine! LOL xo, SG Karla

Christie - I love this …ur so hot and sexy owning who you are!!! I can so relate to wanting to fit in to the petite image of an Asian woman…so much better to own our natural beauty and uniqueness…much hotter. Thank you for sharing your beauty inside and out

Thea - Honoring the courage it took to slay those dragons of self doubt, and the emergence of your free, beautiful, juicy Goddess self!

Magi - So lucky to know this beautiful swan! I need some serious fairy dusting too!!! GORGEOUS GORGEOUS GORGEOUS. Thanks for sharing your love and light. x, ~magi.

Sofia - Wow, what a BEAUTIFUL Smile and what an absolutely Gorgeously Radiant Woman in all her Divine FEMININITY. As always, thank you for allowing us to be part of the JOURNEY you have created through the photos. Most Grateful to the both of you!!!!! xoxoxoxoxox

Erika Gorman - Gorgeous images of a true beauty

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