Babely: the first retreat of (hopefully) many. It happened just over a month ago and it feels quite surreal to reflect on this dream turned reality. More than a dream, but rather a mission, a hope, a vision come true. No matter how I describe it, words can never compare to the feeling of putting your heart into an experience, having it come to life and be received with such love and appreciation.
One hope during the planning stages of Babely was that we could trust that our girls, the women we dreamt would attend and designed this event for, would be the kind of courageous, vulnerable, spirited women that couldn’t help but connect and have a good time.
And damn, did they show up ready.
As you may or may not know, it can take a lot to feel comfortable in the skin you're in, but I found it so inspiring that each lady showed up bare-faced, energized and ready for whatever was in store.
We spent the morning making mean mimosas, digging into our baller sponsor goodie bags, eating a delightful af brunch and getting a crash course in making a DIY yarn wall hanging with bulletin board looms. We sat underneath the rustling trees, talking about all the things we were excited about, for the day and in life. These ladies' openness, confidence and general level of "down-ness" was something that left an impression on me right from the start. It was apparent right away- we were in for one hell of an experience.
Pictured above is our supremely talented make-up artist doing her thing, Taylour Chanel. She doesn't just do your make up and leave you feelin' fine as hell (though she does that too). She gets to know you. No polite small talk bullshit- just realness. She was such an asset to our team and I seriously cannot thank, adore or recommend her enough.
MELODY: Bold and energetic right from the get-go. Melody is a badass mama of two who runs an inspiring blog called Honest Chatter. Her blog aims to facilitate a safe, open space for women to feel empowered, supported and not alone in their experiences. Both in her blog and in person, Melody is unapologetically honest in sharing her own stories & perspective, and in doing so, could not be more relatable and beautiful. So happy to be on the receiving end of her spirit and realness.
CECILY: Quiet and powerful, Cecily carries herself with effortless elegance and poise. "An elegant scorpion," (a title given to her by a close friend) is something I don't think it could be more appropriate or paint a more inspiring vision when it came to planning her shoot. She came in strong with the vibes and wanted to go a french new wave route (which was EVERYTHING). The mood, emotion and story-telling element was such a fun avenue to explore. I love a woman with a vision.
LAURYL: Our Babely girl to a tee. She came in wanting to experience a new way of treating herself, open to learning new things, to feel confident and meet a squad of wonderful women. And that she did. Lauryl's shoot was more free-flowing and very much a gut reaction to the light and shadows in the space. There was lots of movement, direction and experimentation. It was an honor to document her and capture both her light-hearted, sweet personality, as well as a more sexy, mysterious side. We are beautifully complex creatures, and to capture an ounce of her dynamic nature was everything.
BROOKE: All I can say is damn, girl. Brooke was not playing around- she 1000% came to slay. This angel by far traveled the farthest all the way from Idaho, and we could not have been more grateful for her presence that day. She's got a new role kicking ass in the real estate world and recently started rebuilding her life and relationships in a brand new location. With all these major transitions, Brooke's hope in joining the Babely family was to leave feeling empowered, confident and glamorous. If this woman is not the face of fierce, I don't know what is.
SARAH: I think I can safely say, all of us were impressed by/crushing hard over this powerful woman (just me? I don't believe it!). Sarah spends the majority of her life in service to others, so I found it really special that she decided to join our day of relaxation and indulgence and allowed us to take care of her. She was the last shoot of the day and wanted for her session to capture her natural, joyous self, so she and I bounced up out of the Babely house for a change of scenery and explored the neighborhood. She listened to me ramble (I'll be honest, my brain was a little jelly by that point), climbed into beautiful but sharp spaces (do it for the gram!) and was generally just a delight to spend time with and photograph. Spirit and heart aplenty. My kinda gal.
LAUREN: In addition to looking forward to meeting new ladies and treating herself, this goddess shook things up and sought to celebrate her body by doing a shoot in the nude. I sadly can't share most of the images because the internet is filled with prudes and creeps (ugh), but I will say that this shoot really changed how I approach photography. It forced me to slow down and be ok with taking pauses to think and to construct. I don't take a person bearing their body and soul lightly, so I made every effort to show Lauren off in the artistic and beautiful way she deserves. So stoked at the yummy, moodiness that we were able to create together, and beyond thrilled she is too.
DARLENE: I feel like a photographer can never totally know someone until they get them in front of their camera. I had met Darlene earlier in the summer on a lady beach date and got to chat with her a bit... she came across sweet, intelligent, into nerdy things (I do NOT see nerd as being a bad thing guys, so look in the mirror before you come for me -_-) and maybe a bit on the introverted side. When this lady wrote in her questionnaire that she wanted to "look like a badass queen" in her session, I was excited but had no idea what to expect. Fast forward to her shoot- this babe was throwing down attitude, style and face. None of it was a front, there was no "trying" to be fierce... it's just another aspect of her dynamic personality, and I am obsessed/in complete admiration. Teach me your ways!
//Dinner is served
For those of you who made it to the end, please accept this virtual hug ::SQUISH!::
You're amazing and dedicated and I love you.
This day was more powerful and magical than I ever imagined it could be and I have a lot of people to thank that without, none of this would be possible.
- Right-hand woman// Bad Ass Graphic Designer: Jaimie Myer (also responsible for guiding our DIY)
- Intern-Turned-Family//Babely Angel: Karina Richardson
- Seattle-based Make Up Goddess: Taylour Chanel
- Modern Flower Arrangements: Rusted Vase Co.
- Botanical Menus//Place Cards//Acrylic Schedule: Robinson Paperie
- Babe Chefs: Kiel Kleeburg + Genevieve Jones
- Gorgeous Seattle Home Studio + Venue: Laura and Tim Sullivan, of Sullivan & Sullivan Photography
- All of our incredible, generous sponsors, who I will be dedicating a proper post + thank you to shortly.
And last but not least, thank you to Melody, Lauren, Lauryl, Cecily, Darlene, Sarah and Brooke. Each of you stepped into the experience with open minds, hearts and your unique flavor. You made that day what it was, and it is surely something I will never forget, so THANK YOU.
To those who see these images and are inspired, and either want to attend, collaborate or be a sponsor- get at me! All inquiries can be sent to email@example.com. Round two is in the works and hot damn- it's going to be bigger, better and more beautiful. Absolutely can't wait to show you what Babely 2.0 has in store <3
All the love.