30 Days of Blogging

# 8- The NEW Boudoir Divas Look

By | 30 Days of Blogging | 3 Comments

I’m really excited to show you the new vibes our studio is going for. Our biggest thing has always been boudoir, and even with these changes it will remain boudoir. But we are changing up the look and feel and experience entirely.

Living in hippie surfer town USA, aka Leucadia, has changed me I think. I’ve always loved the ocean. My dad was a surfer, and he and Mom named me Marissa, translates to “of the sea” in Latin. So, odd as it may seem, our new vibe is going to completely inspired by the Leucadia lifestyle, which I’m sure I’ll chat your ear off about in the future.

So today I have launched the bare bones page for The NEW Boudoir Divas here. If you know anything about us you know that we are obsessed with making an intricate website experience. Like our current boudoir studio site.  So this is the shell, and once we start shooting you will see the site grow and grow.

I also wanted to share some inspiration for our new vibe via the lovely pinterest that we all are rightfully addicted to. For instance the other day I was at my friends house watching football, my friend Chris was in his man recliner, a pretty big and threatening looking dude, caveman beard and all. He was on his ipad. I asked him what he was up to. His answer… “pinning” without looking up. It the perfect way to share and organize what you already see in your minds eye.

Check out our mood and art direction board pinterest….


So the vibe, the feel, the style will be different, and so will the experience! At our current space we love the way things work. But being high volume means a few clients a day, a little more rushed than we want in a sense. See we love our current experience so much that we want to stretch out the experience even more to include:

-pre-consultations and styling sessions

-lifestyle in studio and beach shooting

-gorgeous Italian Designer books

-behind the scenes cinema shorts

What we know is the same about our new studio and soon to be old one is the heart and the motivation behind what we do. We want to celebrate with our clients, imagine and create gorgeous images of them. We are so blessed with our job as boudoir photographers.

We are officially launching in June. In order to kick off this new departure for us, we are going to be doing a soft launch starting in mid May at 30% off the rates on this new boudoir page. Here are the soft launch dates. 

Thursday May 18, 2017
Friday May 19, 2017
Saturday 20, 2017
Thursday 25, 2017
Friday May 26, 2017
Thursday June 2, 2017
Saturday June 3, 2017

Next openings at 20% OFF
Thurs June 8, 2017
Friday June 9, 2017
Sat June 10, 2017
Weds June 14, 2017
Thurs Jun 15, 2017
Fri Jun 16, 2017
Thurs June 29, 2017
Fri Jun 30, 2017

We would be thrilled if you called our studio to grab a spot. 858-485-0443.


PS. Oh and in other cool news, our Greece packages booked up in 2 days!! So we opened one more slot, if you want it please call the studio asap for that as well!!! Such cool things going on!
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#7 -Letting the team know

By | 30 Days of Blogging | 2 Comments

This was the scariest part for me. By far. Letting the team know that….

1) our lease was up after 9 years and this time the landlords weren’t going to renew it. Shit.

2) the entire business model and brand was changing after some hippie like ideas I’ve been having.

3) their hours would be going down a bit, but that eventually when we start booking these killer projects the hourly pay itself will go up substantially. So really it should all even out…


4) don’t worry, because I know that this is going to be really, really good for us. How do I know? Oh just the completely fool proof fact that I can just totally see it in my mind.

So, you see ladies who depend on me for a paychex every other week, you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Which was basically my pitch. Plus some very Marissa like visuals and the details of the plan. Spiral bound. Obviously.


What’s true about this situation is that I have been thinking this through, running the numbers, the ideas, the plan over and over in my mind for a long time now. With the help of my bestest business friend, Google Docs, and my second best biz friend Google Spreadsheets. And don’t forget my necessary biz tools since kindergarden; colorful markers and notepads. I think obsessing and fretting is the right way to describe this process actually. As business minded Marissa kinda went out the door here and I turned a bit into overprotective girl scout leader, worried about her troupe. How do we make this a learning and life enhancing experience, and a rallied, fun, team activity? In short, I kinda lost my mind a bit once again.


What’s also true about this situation is that I think my team is superb. 

Lindsey killing it for five years as our production gal. She can seriously edit a photo I shot, and I look at it, and I think it may as well have been processed by me. Trust me that’s rare for a photographer/editor relationship. And just staying on top of all things production, clients always getting what they want on time. Dy-na-mite gal right there.

Ashley, blowing my mind with hair and make-up skills, photography skills, overall styling skills, stay on the ball and get it done skills (read that in a Napolean Dynamite voice if you know it). But most of all, just in straight up freaking gumption. She’s excited to make art, even if it means driving a huge truck and a flatbed trailer to Arizona to pick up an epic spiral staircase for a set we were dreaming of making- which she offered to do and I said ‘thank you’, but ‘no thank you.’ Sounds too dangerous Ash.

Megan, giving her fun loving spirit to our clients and creating some seriously sexy pics in our studio, also just ready to shoot everyday with an incredibly serving heart and infectious positive vibes. Using lights in off beat ways that I never thought to use them and churning out next level images. Laughing it up with our clients constantly. And that girl can sell! To be a fly on the wall in her after-the-shoot-sales-meeting …

Peggy, our insanely talented HMU, who has been with the studio for 8 years!! She helped us craft the whole glamorous look that women wanted our studio for. And she’s seen all the fluctuations of this place, being a support and incredible team member through all of them. Adding so much to the experience for our clients. 

I care about these strong and loving women. I don’t want to stress them out by saying June 1st we are totally hopping off this routine, and always on time, train and getting on a bullet train that’s basically going to the wild wild West. You with me, cuz alllllll aaaaaaaboarrrrrd!!!!

Here is the plus though. It’s going to be EXCITING! We are going to create things that we’ve never dreamed of. We will have to work together even more as a team than ever before. We can be scared together, and for that reason I know we will grow even more creatively as artists, and as a business, than we thought possible. I’m tempted to google a quote about pressure refining wonky stuff and then making diamonds or something, but I like to think I am above googling quotes for my original blog. Or maybe I’ll do it and edit this in ten minutes. You won’t know.

I want to be a good leader. And I know I’ve fallen short more in the past few years than ever before. As I am coming into this new chapter of not being so damn hard on myself I will say this, I care. I sincerely care. And that’s what matter most I think.

And also I tell you all about this fretting, because the thing is I am not fretting at all anymore. The goal, the vision, it might as well be here. Because it is. And that doesn’t mean it won’t be hard and that random things that throw me won’t happen, as I assure you they will. It means that I have done the time to figure my shit out, and I feel damn good about me and my purpose. The best I’ve ever felt yet as an artist and creative and biz owner. So I lay all this reality out to say that it’s a process. Shaking in your boots is part of it. Not wanting to get out of bed because you are so overwhelmed is part of it. Arriving and feeling pretty damn unshakable in your vision is best the part of it.

In the words of Steven Tyler “dream on” (read that in a screaming voice),

Marissa. And I leave you with this gem.

PSS. Lindsey will be part time for me indefinitely in June, unless we have big projects under out belt, then I hope she will be around more. So if you need an outrageously good editor to take some of the load off for you so you can spend time doing what matters, she is your girl. Enter your info here and after all this chaos of the changes she will contact you with her rates.


#6- A new kind of portrait experience

By | 30 Days of Blogging | 7 Comments

I LOVE photographing people. It’s kinda a little bit of a crazy thing ‘ya know? Here you are with a person you sometimes just met, and you are asking them to just be still and look right at you, and look relaxed and comfortable while they are doing it. It’s an incredibly powerful thing and it provides me with an amazing amount of connection that I cherish.

Also, I think every single person is so incredibly unique and beautiful in their own way. It sure makes photographing someone easy. It’s why our boudoir business has been so successful. When you really believe that, how can you take a bad pic?

But even though I love what boudoir does by creating self confidence, and awakening the sexy, flirty side in a woman, I desire to take it a step even further. My hope is to create an image with my subject that goes beyond a just a pretty photo of her. I want one that really, really speaks to her. One she can hang on her wall as a soul stirring daily reminder to herself of who she really is inside. Something that will stop everyone in their tracks when they see it.

This session is going to be so much more complex than just a normal photo session. In my home we will have a conversation where we will discuss her, I probably ask a ton of kinda personal questions, and I will guide her in creating the vision for our art together. Aiming to identify who she sees herself as in all its entirety. A key question in this process is asking who she aspires to evolve into from the strengths she already inhibits. What does she want to invoke in her soul that she feels in being hidden? What masks does she need to rid in showing her true authentic self?

What does she want to RISE to be?

What barriers does she need to break down to fulfill this?

What are her hopes for herself? Is it to be more vulnerable? Is it to be more bravely authentic? Is it to be more aggressive? Is it all rolled into one? Strip away all the BS in your life and let’s take a raw yet powerful photo that represents you when are feeling like the most empowered version of yourself. We already know she is beautiful, everyone is. So let’s go beyond that.

I experimented with some of my ideas on the awesome team at The Boudoir Divas…

This is hard for me too. It will force me to slow down with clients and really listen and understand. To be okay with both of us feeling a tad awkward at times. It will make me ask tough and uncomfortable questions. It will force me to look harder, search someone’s face for answers.

But I know it will yield the best images of my entire career. Both from an art perspective and from a meaningful one. I believe in this project so much.

And the cherry on top for me is that my clients will get actual ART. Something totally next level in physical form. A framed 16×24 image of their favorite shot that we will select together. A legacy piece. A soulful striking depiction of who she really is. She will also recieve a box of proofs to always remember the shoot and the high of feeling completely at peace in your own skin.

My girlfriend Angie sent me this quote when I was describing my idea to her…

Thanks for stopping by again, see you tomorrow friends.

#5- Our new location. Up-sizing, downsizing, and then just the right fit.

By | 30 Days of Blogging | 13 Comments

Let’s talk about the new location. More than anything I keep dreaming of what the geo tag for the new spot should be.

Marissa Inc. A Production Company- Headquarters of all things creative and nerdy and cool and stylish.

Too much huh?

Whatever it is, it’s going to be cheesy. See I don’t mean to be dramatic. But man it feels SO good to be THIS excited about something in A LONG TIME. Except for that one time a girl stood up on stage a sang me a love song on NBC. But that’s a post that’s scheduled for a bit from now. I mean we still need to get to know each other a little better.

So I’ve been scouting for the perfect new location for myself and for the reinvented studio. As you know it has to be in Leucadia to match my new boho beachy lifestyle that I always dreamed of having and I’m still piecing together. If you follow me on instagram you’ll know that I’m obsessed with all things Leaucadia: Grandview, Beacon’s Beach, Coffee Coffee, Surfy Surfy, Le Papagayo (where everybody knows your name), my dolphin and whale friends who are always out swimming. And even more magical, that little seal who chilled with me while I was reading that one day.

When thinking of our new brand, I asked myself, what am I crazy about. And it was all that.

But first, I want to tell you more backstory about why this is such a big deal to me. In 2007- 2013 we had 6500 sq feet of awesome boudoir territory. We joked that it was the biggest boudoir studio in the world! And back then it probably was. Toward the end of 2013 our lease was up. The new building owners wanted to increase our rent an insane amount. We were actually inhabiting two large suites and we chose to move completely to the smaller suite (it had the better natural light) but it meant having use all of our cash flow and some loans – as we had to completely remodel. Not to mention losing income while we moved and set up the new space. Pretty intense.

In the same months that we were wrapping us construction and moving into our new suite, my ex Weston and I took our separation a step further and I officially moved out. I left my little dreamy beach house in Encinitas to move into a bit of a rundown home with roommates. Don’t get me wrong, it was exactly what I needed at that time. But I was in a little bedroom. Feeling a bit like a child, living with five other adults I just met (one of them a kismet coincidence, Stephanie Dandan, who has been an incredible photography and wanderlust inspiration to me since). I thought this to be entirely temporary. That’s why I chose it. It wasn’t.

photo by Stephanie Dandan

I joked that it was my hippie commune. It was there that I learned minimalism. Letting go of my huge closet of “diva-esq” clothes, bringing only my essential possessions into my 10×11 bedroom. My lease on my luxurious and hip, vehicle was up- so my parents let me borrow the 1997 Toyota mini purple pick-up truck I drove in high school. It was meant to be as a few week loaner until I bought my typical fancy-ish car, but I ended up driving it for a couple years. It just felt right.

I wanted to brush away every ounce of comfort and see who I was when I was stripped down. Nothing fancy to hide behind, just me.

In this eco-conscious home I learned how to go about a daily life where paper towels were forbidden, when composting everything was a tenant requirement, television quietly frowned upon, and I learned if I was feeling lonely, all I needed to do was make a fire in the pit outside and one of my odd roommates would come out and talk to me. Or offer me pot. I was there over a year.

So you can see why my next place felt like such a step up. I was finally allowing myself to grow, to accept that I needed to build a new life, but I wanted to stay a minimalist. Articulating it is hard, but I felt as though I had lost grip on everything I built. Weston and I had officially lost each other. That’s something I think that is too painful to really write about about however I will say this about it.  It was an amicable mutual decision made on an eerily quiet, sunny day under our favorite tree. Neither of us was at fault in any way. We made the decision together, from a place of love, only truly wanting better for each other.  

But only those other divorcees out there will comprehend the gravity of the pain that unexpectedly sneaks up on you and throws you into a vortex of crippling loss. Of pulling apart from something that’s so much a part of you. It was physically painful. My insides were so wound up tightly up in who we were together for 15 years, that pulling them apart felt like an out of control unraveling. It was like I was a ball of tightly wound yarn, all put together and assembled safe and neat, and then everything in me started to unwind at a speed so fast it made me dizzy. I couldn’t grab back on and stop it if I wanted to. No one prepared me for that.

I have to give completely unsolicited advice; if you are considering divorce, don’t do it. I don’t care what has transpired between you two. Whatever they did. Or whatever you did. Weston and I have many reason reasons to justify our divorce but this is the reality: divorce is not an easier solution to staying together and working it out. If you think staying is too painful, then you simply don’t know divorce. Please do the work and put in the time. Stay. Always stay so long as there isn’t danger. I say that not because I don’t still believe we made the right decision but because I sincerely don’t know how I survived that.

Sorry for the momentary tailspin. I don’t talk often about it, in fact I’ve never really talked about it on social media, and I have moved on and am completely in love with the most incredible person (more on that in the future, I can’t wait to share honestly) but it just needed to be said. Mainly because some of my friends who are married and at a crossroads ask me, I get the question often and I have to be honest. Divorce is like crossing a dry, dry desert and there is a greater chance your heart and mind won’t survive it than that it will.

Back to the minimalism….

So I felt I had been depleted of everything that felt lux and normal in my life (first world problems am I right?). So many things that made me feel secure. I was afraid to build them up again. What if I had to deal with losing everything all over again? Back in that chapter of my life a couple years ago I simply couldn’t deal with the risk of that.

I chose the safe approach. If you don’t have anything, you won’t live your days in fear of losing it. So I moved into my 500 sq ft two story tiny house. If felt temporary, safe, and close to my biggest comforter, the sea. Just a block away. Where at night I could hear the ocean if I leave my bedroom slider open. And it’s the ocean that has always reminded me how small I am in comparison to how big and powerful God is. Not an insignificant small, more like it makes my worries seem a bit trite compared to how expansive and diverse this world is. It makes me feel a little like an ant in a hugely overwhelming heap of intricate tunnels and chaos. My mistakes feel less significant, and I feel a little silly for ever feeling like the weight of my little world was all on my shoulders. 

I have been here now for a year and a half. And now I’m far less scared. I am happy here and my heart has been healed a little more. Partly by understanding how to be alone in this big world. And also from meeting the most beautiful soul, who aims to love me more than I deserve. Who somehow saw who I really was through that fog I had been living in. So many beautiful pieces coming together to finally help me let go and not be afraid of building again. Creating a new vision for my life again. And so now we move on…..


Here’s our headquarters of all things us, our Production House, under construction. I’ll probably find a new name for it soon enough. Help me out with fun geo tag ideas please.

Since this new business is going to be very personal and we will be spending even more time with our clients and getting to know them on a whole new level, I want to work and live in the same space. This is for a couple of reasons, I have done this before, and I moved into a studio space as I once loved having my home and work separated mainly because I loved working constantly, so I needed to set up that boundary for myself where I could be truly off the clock. I don’t love working 24/7 anymore. I have a fulfilling  personal life and I live somewhere where I can step outside and be in one of the most unique, and spiritual communities. Rich in surf culture, friendly people and craft coffee. Also, I want us to be in Leucadia (while hippie-ish, it is still expensive) and I want to minimize my expenses. And we will be doing just as much shooting outdoors as in the space, probably more. We will only be doing 1 or 2 in-house shoots a week, the rest will be on location. So it all works perfectly. I will be moving in late Feb to secure this incredible new gem that I am in LOVE with. And then come May we will start our new transition- because we lost our lease on our current space anyway (did I mention that yet? yea I think I did). So all of our boudoir shoots at our current big studio need to be booked and completed by the end of April. April 30th to be exact. As technically this is an entirely new business.

Goodbye Boucher Inc, you’ve been oh-so-lovely, and hello Marissa Inc. I am more excited to meet you than you know.

Thanks for reading my words friends. And also I got some emails saying you couldn’t comment. So my cool web guru Kyle fixed that. I’d love if you told me about YOU.





#4- Do you wanna go to Greece with us?

By | 30 Days of Blogging, Destination Shoots | One Comment


I’m gonna pause and take a little break from the regularly scheduled program for a sec. Lately I’ve been chatting about some things that are kinda been big and a little stressful to execute. Today I’m delighted to share something that’s BIG, but so not stressful. Actually a total dream come true in fact. Today I am officially launching our Greece Photo Shoot packages!

Wow did I really just get to type that? Pinch me.

When I say it’s a dream, my gosh do I mean it. Greece is everything I love when it comes to travel. It’s by the sea, it has some towns where we can dine and chat with locals. It has picturesque beaches that we can walk and along and feel revived. I imagine it has the perfect spots to sit quietly and journal. And it has vistas for days that we can shoot with.

greece photo shoot photographerThis is an invitation to four ladies (actually 2 now, the other two spots have already been snatched up!) who want to join us in Mykonos and have us photograph you. If you would like, we invite you to stay at the same boutique hotel as us (to be disclosed soon) and together we can have fun as a group. Or if you want to getaway and do your own thing, maybe bring your favorite person with you and then just rendevous with us on the day of your shoot, that’s totally fine too. It’s your adventure. You get to do as you wish.

paris marissa kimberleeIf you have followed us in the past you maybe know that we have done Paris photo shoots or workshops almost every year since 2009. When we would visit Paris, I would make it a point to always stay 2-3 weeks. We would rent an apartment, go to the street markets, get a cafe au lait at our favorite local places. We would sit for hours under the Eiffel and it became so routine I no longer felt like a tourist. It started to feel totally normal to have a long baguette hanging out of my purse. These are the travel experiences I dreamed I would have as a child. To really soak in a place. And truthfully these international shoots make adult Marissa feel like a total kid again. Wandering around in gorgeous destinations, photographing a client in an outfit to die for as the wind whips her hair and the sun hits her back. It all sounds so dramatic doesn’t it? Well it always is. My heart pounds at these destination shoots.

And now that Paris is officially a part of me, I’m ready for a new photo shoot adventure. Kimberlee and I have always said to each other Dare to Dream. In some of my last posts I confessed that I had stopped doing that. Without realizing it I had shut down my imagination. Well no longer! Time to rise up to the call of all the beauty this world has to offer again. I would love for you to join me.

To promote the trip to Greece, my forever travel and adventure buddy Tenley Molzahn and I did a little shoot here in San Diego to get inspired. She will be joining us on the trip, so it felt very fitting to ask her if she wanted to get the dream going! And that gorgeous Grecian inspired dress by Salt and Arrow with be joining us as well. As will many other awesome pieces.

We would love for you to visit this page where you will see more details about the trip and photo shoot.

Dare to Dream,

Note: Top images used with permission from Paris images by


#4- We are becoming a Production Company

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We are becoming a Production Company. Where imagination and freedom will reign. It will serve as an umbrella brand, allowing for all different types of projects that set our hearts on fire.

A production company or a production house provides the physical basis for works in the realms of the performing arts, new media art, film, television, radio, and video.This website and blogs header had already given that way. But the site is basic right now, and we are looking forward to the many projects we have planned to start filling it up with all the imagery that we are currently storing in mind’s eye that will make up the portfolio of our Production company.

We wanted a brand that could serve as an umbrella to all our art. And one that also allows us to continue as we always have with a killer “The Boudoir Divas” experience.

Please don’t get me wrong. I love the current studio. When I am photographing clients I feel like everything in me is in alignment. Just like every woman that hopes to minimize the critical voices in their head, and bring forward the positive ones. I thrive on being able to bring forth a woman’s courage to silence those harmful insecurities and bring her into a moment of acceptance and self love. I get to be a key part of that for women. And I have a blast doing it. Those moments are what I live for.

But I have been a fast-paced, high volume business owner with a fairly large staff for eleven years. I’m only 34! That puts a lot of financial stress on one person. And for years now there has been one and only one solution with all the raising prices in California. It’s time to majorly increase our prices. But I fought it and fought it. I wanted every woman to have access to this incredible opportunity.  It’s most of the reason we chose the high volume approach. It created a do-able pricing for the majority.

But reality check. California is expensive. And as a biz owner,  like whoa expensive. Especially with more mandatory changes in 2016 from the federal government that increased expenses making raising prices no longer an option.

In September, my vision came, then I started to execute it. As I began to plan I also discovered our landlord would not be renewing our lease for our current studio. We had to move on whether we wanted to or not.

I will forever miss the big ol’ studio we’ve been in since 2007. Having 1-3 clients into the studio every day. But what’s ahead warms my heart so much.

Here’s a throwback video to one of our really old studio tours circa 2011

One of my upcoming posts will talk about what our new boudoir division will be like. What our looks and inspiration will be. And what their experience will be like. It’s so different and so thrilling. With the core of why we are doing it always remaining the same; we want women to see themselves in new light, to see their beauty and put to rest insecurities.


Also, I launched my new Facebook Page today! I would be honored if you went and liked it pretty please.

And my current site is still a work in progress. So much to do! While still shooting almost everyday, managing the studio and planning for this new huge brand change, things are very busy! I have tons of amazing teammates in this, I’ll talk about that in future posts, but it’s definitely the most overwhelmed I’ve ever been that’s for sure. 

Thanks for joining me on this wild ride!


#3-I did something drastic on Black Friday

By | 30 Days of Blogging, Photography business | No Comments

Here we are. My third post of what I hope will be many, many steps towards the vision I can see in my head. We are on a roll.

I don’t mean to sound cryptic with what that vision is, it’s just that, well, it’s personal. And it’s my story that I am writing here, so I am going to lay it out the way I want to . Slowly. So that I don’t even freak myself at how daring it feels. I said that already didn’t I?

I did something drastic today.

So drastic, that I can’t turn back now. Black Friday was upon us. And since the structure of the business will be majorly changing, I wanted our last few normal months on the calendar to be full, to go out with a bang! To give every woman that ever dreamed of having a shoot with us a last chance to book it at a super affordable rate. So we launched an incredible Black Friday sale.

Today we also announced that in April we will be raising our prices to start at minimum $1300 for a photo shoot with us.  Like I mentioned, I really wanted clients who have wanted a shoot with us, but are on a budget, to have to chance to get in. It’s helpful that I had the incentive of Black Friday, because man was I timid about it. I mean our shoots start at $220 right now. So let me pause to do the math. Ok, so I think that’s like a 600% increase. It was scary. But it was time. I’m excited about the change. And it felt so good to just come out and confidently say it. We are changing, and that’s ok. We are allowed to evolve. I mean we are artists for Pete’s sake. Whoever Pete is anyway.

We sold 135 Black Friday photo shoots for 2017. Almost completely filling the four months of the years calendar for us.

I’m not sure if you can comprehend the stress that takes off my shoulders as a business owner. The obsessing over how to market, and where to spend our hard earned marketing budget, with a full time staff that will be taken care of now completely with bonuses and commission, as commission is obviously important to both them and to me! All while shooting on the regular. I love marketing, SO MUCH, we have taught workshops for years on it. But to know I am entering my busiest season yet and to have that area on cruise control!? Ah. So cool.

This sale brought me to my knees in gratitude. I felt a hallelujah reverberate through my bones. Ha-le-lu-jah. And even more I still had some debt from our big studio remodel in 2013. And these deposits made that far more manageable and then insured a successful first half of the year for our studio. Thank you God.

May I also say “No, thank you.”

No thank YOU, to the few emails I got from people telling us how expensive we are to begin with, and they didn’t even want to pay for an overpriced shoot with us even with this sale. I wrote back and said “Well, I am sorry that you don’t think I am entitled to govern my own life,  to believe that I and my staff are worthy of a professional’s salary. I work very, very hard, long hours, and I’ve taken a substantial amount of risks too…..”  That’s when it occurred to me. I don’t need to justify myself to anyone. That’s half the reason I am who I am.

Because I believe in my instinct and intuition and I follow it.

And from now on, I think I will follow it unapologetically. For the most part. I deleted my ranting email that I didn’t really ever have the actual intention of sending in response to this client. I also deleted the FB rant in my head that  I had equal intention of not posting.

Later that day I had another “Rise” moment that confirmed what I was thinking. I was watching an Oprah Super Soul Sunday, as I often do while I stairmaster it out at LA Fitness. The brilliant musician India Arie said,

“Be clear about your intention and the universe will RISE to meet you wherever you are.”

Hearing her say that, after how much I have been focusing on the word rise, well it’s kinda hippie-ish to say, but hearing her say those words was the universe [God] RISING to meet me where I was. And that I was was on the right track with where I was. It felt exhilarating. It had been a really long time since I felt so excited and alive about my business plans.

All that to say, there is my step number two in the unfolding of my story I am writing. It’s this; we are significantly, raising our boudoir package prices in April 2017. Unapologetically…… but I also must say this…

I have loved the business model we have adhered to for years. At moments, it allowed us to have a big team that felt like a big family, afforded Kimberlee and I to travel and do workshops, while still maintaining a salary from the studio. It opened the doors  to us, it created a network of clients that felt like friends. It allowed us all to shoot what we loved everyday. It provided me the opportunity to feel like a real business owner and a legit entrepreneur. To learn an enormous amount about marketing and branding and running a full fledged busy business. Not only as a photographer. I mean, we had 8 people on payroll at one point. I will always be proud of those days. Here’s a little glimpse into the past if you weren’t able to be a  part of it with us, as SO many awesome photographers and clients were.

I have big, big plans for the future. And they don’t just involve boudoir. I mean they definitely will involve boudoir, that’s my first love. But it’s going to be more of a production (that’s the first hint) than what it has been. I am eager to explain more in future posts and have my site evolve more and more.

2 things I will leave you with:

You may have already seen it, but here’s a blast back to a few months ago, our Black Friday Video


The India Arie video that I just love. Please watch it.

marissa boucher

#2- 30 consecutive-ish days of blog posts

By | 30 Days of Blogging | 6 Comments


This better be the best thing I’ve ever done. ‘Cuz I am moving slower than molasses. For someone who is incredibly impulsive this feels very slow. For instance I actually wrote this post a long time ago, and now I’m posting it months later. It’s all kinda gone this way. 

They say that the things that take the longest and encounter the most resistance are typically our best endeavors. So I’m trying to see the positive in how pulling all of this out of me, thinking and overthinking before saying green for go at each baby business decision, might actually be a good thing in disguise.

I typically move fast. The vision I have always used to come naturally, and executing it was comparable to a runner’s high in a way. It was hard work, but also easy for me.

But this isn’t the case for this whole big project. Maybe because it is such a departure from something comfortable and safe?

Maybe because it’s a bit of secret and I can’t bounce the idea off all kinds of people yet and get that immediate energetic feedback. Why haven’t I even told you yet what I’m thinking!? If you’re getting excited that maybe this will be the coolest and craziest idea once you hear it- that I’m adding to the anticipation, well you may be disappointed. I’m merely taking my time, laying this out for you. Maybe more for me.

Maybe because I’m scared that the team at the studio won’t love it once I let them know the plan in my yet to be drafted detailed presentation. The plan is so wild and new for all of us. And as Ashley said yesterday (yesterday as in a couple months ago’s yesterday) when I tried to tell her a faster way to label to her Lightroom choices, “I hate change.” Oh boy, I thought. We all do. We all hate change. How is this going to work. We are just getting rolling. What if they don’t get on board? What if this new idea that will hopefully open us up to create magic and freedom in our lives, doesn’t work out as perfectly for all of us? 

This RISE to something so new has gotten me nervous. Mainly because it’s not just about me. I have many people I care deeply about and my choices impact their success as well. I can see how this will elevate us, but it’s still a risk. Plus my goal was to bring the Supermodel Experience® to every woman that wanted it, and at an affordable price, can I let go of that? I have always been so proud of that.

I love being nervous about the possibilities of the future, and I am feeling so good about this. But just to be safe I have given myself a buffer.

I am writing all the posts and scheduling them a month or two-ish before they actually post. If it feels like I am dragging this thing out, well I am. But I don’t care about what you think remember, refer to post one. I am being true to myself here.

That way if I panic I can pull the cord long before I hit the ground.

Scheduling these all so far in the future seemed weird to do at first, but it eased my nerves. And then I realized it’s a bit like watching a reality tv show. Like as an example of one of my silly brand inspirations; we are watching Rachel Zoe on our screen in the moment, but we know she’s already done all these fashion-y, Paris-y things. And we will hear about the things she doing in this present moment in the future. So thinking about Rachel Zoe, makes me feel more sane for giving you things I wrote quite a bit in the past.

From here on out, you will get 29-something more consecutive-ish posts, skipping Sat and Sun. I hope some will be about the spectacular things that have opened up and how God is confirming to me that I am indeed on the right path. I fear that an equal amount of it will be about how hard this is to just churn out; you know, crazy obstacles, long hours, the usual make the dream happen kinda things.

Being raw and talking to cyber air isn’t easy. So if a you are a person reading this, and not a google spyder will you say hey below please? Then I’ll imagine I’m just talking to you.

I’ve also found out we’ve lost our lease on our current amazing and customized space. Our building is being sold by our landlord, our little home we had made from us will no longer be ours and renewing the lease isn’t an option. Feels unfair since I designed this space and had it built just for us in 2014, we’ve been here since 2008. It’s our home. And this is forcing change, really big change. And after stomping my feet and minor tantrums I put on my big girl panties and worked for days and days on what options we had.  The Boudoir Divas studio is actually closing on April 30th, 2017 and opening as a new entity in June. So in November 2016 we started contacting anyone with a retainer and telling them they need to get in by April 30th.

The calendar is packed till April 30th, and we are no longer accepting new bookings unless it’s from someone who has paid a deposit in the past. We are focused and busy right now. And I am incredibly grateful to Lindsey, Ashley, Megan and Pegs who are on board and killing it right now.

See you tomorrow 🙂

And PS. Let’s be honest I still really do care about what you think, mainly ‘cuz I care about you.


marissa boucher

#1- The honest journey of an artist and business person making some big changes. 

By | 30 Days of Blogging | 18 Comments


This is harder than it seems. My first post. The first post of my new chapter. 

It’s hard to be this vulnerable, which is exactly what I plan to be. I wonder, will I sound nuts? Will I sound cocky? Will people hate it? What if people really like it then I’m that lady who gets out of bed in the middle of the night to check her blog comments ‘cuz all of a sudden that’s where I get my self validation. Clearly I’m overthinking this. Whatever, here I go….

I am driven on vision. Actually seeing how things could be in mind’s eye. If you know anything about my past (this link will lead you to over 1000 blog posts circa 2009-2012 chronicaling the adventures of owning The Boudoir Divas) you know that I have a bold idea of what the future holds for myself and for those around me. I felt it was quite a gift, but a little bit ago it faded.

Three years ago I began the divorce process and I was sad. I can’t call it depression, because I felt just, well legitimately saaaaaad. My bones hurt, my smile felt forced. And while I felt grateful, all I saw for the future was gray. Let me clarify though, not like a sad gray. I mean I was sad, but my future wasn’t, it was just completely unclear. As if it didn’t exist. Like there was a huge fog and I had to fight through to understand where I was so I could know where I was going. Ever heard the song by CCR, “have you ever seen the rain, coming down on a sunny day?” That was me for most of those three years straight. I had this foundation of love around me, and I felt so loved, but something I couldn’t control was raining all upon it, hurting my precious foundation, and messing with my identity.

So there was this season of fog, then it just, um, lifted.

I wish I could tell you what the miracle was, I wish I could say that it’s gone forever, but all I know is I’m so relieved and grateful. Like get on my knees thankful for the millions of things that pushed me into this oh so clear direction and place that I can now stand at the helm at and navigate myself into. It won’t be easy, but I’ve never minded that.

I’ve been trying to analyze the why and how of that breakthrough.  ‘Cuz really what’s the point of a “my life sucked for a chapter then it didn’t” testimony if you can’t pinpoint how you were able to move through it. Isn’t that what all of us want? Solutions?

The fog started to clear a few months back. (And I’m intentionally going to be a little vague about this as I have big plans to reveal each new little twist and turn of my intentions for my future right here on this blog). I kept hearing and seeing the word “Rise.” I mean everywhere. The synchronicity was  apparent in songs, from conversations, in writings, in the bible, in my head, on the label of a pair of sassy thrift store heels my mom bought me for the studio. Everywhere. This word would whisper at me. In the back of my head, down a dark corridor of my mind I’d hear the word. Haunting me. Like just pick your ‘effing ass up. I was scared of it. The idea of figuring out exactly what the word meant felt like standing up with a thousand bricks on my shoulders. Just do it Marissa. Rise. You never been this lost at sea. You’re sitting still. Worse yet you’re floundering and you know it. So stand up. STAND UP.

But it didn’t really happen from that haunting voice. I needed more. And, see, I could have muscled through it. But I had no direction to muscle to. Why stand up when there is no reason? Or all the reasons seem unfathomable.

Until after a couple of months, the ideas in my head that were just flirting with me, that I could just barely see, like BAM, became a full in color vision of what my future held; both personal and professional. The spark I had known so well returned and I had a joyful reason to get to work to make a plan. To serve wholeheartedly again. It was magic. It was God. And also maaaybee had something to do, possibly coincidentally, with the super moon. I’d like to think it a combo of all those, mostly God.

And he did create the moon- so all God then.

I started to move forward with a new vision for my life. And all of the sudden the fear I had, started to disintegrate. Not quickly, not slowly, but once again like old times, I returned  to who I used to be and who I so easily was, a person to whom risk seemed safer than the same. Rise started to feel not like standing up fighting crushing weight, but like standing outside of myself, able to see a more accurate picture of who I am.

I opened my journal to an entry from Jan 2016. Here is what it said, this time I believed it. I didn’t when I wrote it. I was just trying to spill thoughts on a page to motivate myself.

“Ever since I was younger people have always told me I see the beauty in people. I really immediately hone in on it. And I absorb it and then try to make something of it. The other day a respected client, who I’d had the honor of photographing, but didn’t know so so well, authored a gorgeous childrens’ book and I took her photo for it. As she was leaving my studio she gave me a signed copy of her book. She said something to me- and I continue to be in awe of the kindness and generosity people show me. Especially when I feel like I’m not putting my best self forward. Perhaps even my worst. I’m humbled that this broken spirit can still give enough to be gifted these words…..

I opened one of the most beautifully written and illustrated books I’ve held in my hands, and the inscription said, “To Marissa, who always sees the beauty.”

I think my breath caught in my chest a little. These past few years I’ve known extreme heartache that goes far beyond my divorce. And yet, it somehow also landed me in hot crippling anger, that I inwardly lash out at myself with unreasonable self frustration for not feeling grateful for all the blessings in my life. So many blessings. So much to be joyful about.

But this is a reminder (the beginning of the rise). One thing is true, even at my darkest. I always, always, see beauty. I latch on to it. Behold it. And want desperately for the world to see what I see.

marissa boucherAgain, I said I didn’t know exactly where in the process of grieving, I was able to move forward and change up my life drastically. But I have some ideas and I wanted to share them:

  • I allowed my imagination to run free. I had bottled it up, out of fear of getting my hopes up that it would all come crashing down.
  • I stopped waiting until I felt strong enough or ‘put together’ enough to move forward, and just started putting one foot in front of the other. I wished I hadn’t waited until I had an exact plan to just start moving.
  • I stopped beating myself up for not being as productive as I used to be. Actually I stopped beating myself up in general.
  • I finally allowed myself to grieve. I stopped telling myself to suck it because I was blessed even in this season and just let myself unravel a bit.
  • I had to let go of what people thought. This one is hard to admit, because I didn’t even realize I cared until I came across the incredible Brene Brown. If you don’t know her I encourage you to go buy all of her books NOW. (Daring Greatly, Rising Strong)

One of my favorite excerpts from her book…

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~  Brené Brown from Rising Strong.

Thank you to those of you who desire to begin this journey with me. Today marks the beginning of this 30-ish days of blogging as I journal some major changes happening with my studio, business and personal life that I am SO VERY EXCITED ABOUT!! I have had the immense blessing of getting to so many people throughout the years who follow our studio, I wanted to share with you and them what’s going on.