Bedazzled, Strong & Beautiful

Bedazzled, beautiful & strong

My dear friend Jess & I took a weekend long road trip to Miami this past January to visit our beautiful sister, LaRae Lobdell, for a little pick me up session and some fun girl time together. 

I met LaRae back in Seattle over 3 years ago, when I came across her beautiful photography studio while looking for a space to rent to build my own glamour portfolio.  She's an incredible artist, photographer, blogger, story teller & one of the lead hosts of CreativeLIVE.  You will love browsing through her site & her blog learning about her incredible work!  Make sure to check them out! 
I have to say, when I found out about LaRae's plans to move to Miami shortly after we moved to Florida, I was really excited that another Seattlenian (is this even a word?!) is moving to our beautiful sunshine state! 

Last October I learned about LaRae’s terrible car accident, which left her with serious pelvis injuries.  She spent weeks in the hospital, in the wheelchair and now finally learning how to walk again using her gold walker & cane, determined to heal and live her active lifestyle again.  Watching her journey through this hard recovery has been incredibly inspiring.  I can only imagine how vulnerable it feels to be completely dependent on others unable to perform tasks that we all take for granted every day… and then learning to perform them again with an incredible amount of patience.  

No words can describe what she’s going through better than her own:  

“For the last 20 years I have been hyper-obsessed with trying to find my true purpose in life. I have filled my time on this earth trying to achieve as much as possible, and to feel fulfilled by doing those achievements for others.
Throughout this experience of being in a traumatic accident with pelvis injuries I have had to stop my search for purpose. I have been physically and mentally limited to just a few basic functions. I haven't been able to work my dream job filming education for Polaroid, in fact, I had only shot a few days of Season 1 before this happened. I haven't been able to volunteer with my church, something that was giving me great fulfillment. I can't clean or tend to my home, which I take great pride in. I can't go fishing, cook for my fiancé or friends, nor can I go for a walk out in the sunshine to refresh my mind.
All I have been able to do is rest and to just be present in this exact moment. No plans. No fulfilling myself with achievements. No to do list. I am finding I can just "be" and feel complete and whole for this moment. 
And that is enough.” 

“My gold walker gets me from the wheelchair to the commode to the bench seat in the bathtub to shower and back to the wheelchair. A process that takes me about an hour these days.  Every day I'm grateful that I didn't die in the car wreck. Every day is an obstacle course of physical challenges as I do small daily activities to feel somewhat normal on my path. Every day is filled with moments of frustration trying to will my body to heal. Every day balancing enough movement for physical therapy but not too much to where I have to rest for two days to recover. Every day I have to rely on someone else to care for me. Every day is filled with the ultimate level of trust in being cared for. Every day that is frustrating and humbling. Every day I am willing my body to heal. Every day I am paying for patience and grace. Every day my physical, mental, and emotional state is tried and tested to the brink of exhaustion. Every day makes me stronger.”

LaRae was inspired to make her walker fabulous & bedazzled it with over 4,300 rhinestones!  Yes, this lady is super crafty and has an incredible amount of patience!  Jess & I inspired by her determination and her spectacular walker, decided to create a shoot for her… and her walker.  Of course we had to shoot at the beach, because it’s one of LaRae’s favorite locations; we also used the colors of pink mixed with gold to match her gorgeous walker made of pink, gold and gray rhinestones.  

Jess & I grabbed a couple of corsets from my couture wardrobe collection, a couple of tulle skirts made by Jess & Jennifer (one of our fabulous Tampa Shutter Sisters), packed all accessories and tools, and hit the road. 
I made a couple of neckpieces and dressed a few bobby pins with golden shells.  The starfish neckpiece looked so beautiful on LaRae!  With our forces joined, Jess did LaRae’s makeup and I styled her hair.  The shoot was fun and LaRae had quite an audience looking gorgeous while carefully placing her feet on the sandy beach holding onto her bedazzled walker.   

The weekend flew by, the weather was beautiful, the beach rejuvenating and the water refreshing. And all there is left now, is our memories, good times, sisterly bonding, and pictures.  I cannot wait to see LaRae fully healed.  There are no walls she couldn’t climb; she’s incredibly determined, patient and strong.  And today she's turning 40 :) Happy birthday beautiful LaRae!!  May the world smile to you every day, just the way you sprinkle your kindness & smiles among others!  <3 :) 

starfish necklace
shell necklace for styled shoot
Getting makeup done
Shell styled hair style for a photoshoot
A woman walking on the beach using her walker
LaRae being playful on the beach
Headshot of a beautiful woman looking down her shoulder
Headshot of a gorgeous woman looking into the camera
Close up shots of a beauty on the beach
Gorgeous woman sitting in the sand
Beautiful woman sitting on the sandy beach
Close up of a stunning woman sitting in the sand with her walker
Landscape shot of a lady on the beach next to her bedazzled walker
Beautiful woman looking over her shoulder
Gorgeous headshot of a lady looking down her side
Beautiful woman touching her starfish necklace
Beautiful close up of a lady looking down her shoulder
The expression after seeing her picture
A beautiful woman looking out into the ocean
Being playful on the beach
Gorgeous woman laying on the beach
Close up of a woman with beautiful makeup
An image of a woman being playful on the beach
Gorgeous shots of a woman from above
A woman surrounded by ocean
Playful shot of a beautiful woman after the shoot