Boudoir Photography

Hello again! I’m very happy to have you still here reading my ramblings. Finding ways to be fresh and keep things real is sometimes difficult. However, a dear friend of mine mentioned just recently about an instant dose of confidence and empowerment that she recently experienced. So today I wanted to shout out to all those ladies who have embraced their beauty, flaws, and sexiness and building confidence simply by being themselves. Love the skin you are in, and show off to the world that you are a body of perfection.

Jenna Lynn Photography

My friend recently informed me of her experience with Boudoir Photos. Now if you are not familiar with this, Boudoir Photography is a style featuring intimate, sensual, romantic and even sometimes erotic images. It can be with backgrounds ranging from bedrooms, and private dressing rooms to outdoor shoots and cozy fireplace backdrops. The choice is yours.

Boudoir photography is completely different than glamour or nude shoots, it’s more of a suggestive rather than explicit image you are creating. Looking at the shots from previous photo shoots I saw women of all different shapes and sizes and what really drew me to the beauty of these images, was not the person themselves, even though they are all beautiful, it was the confidence and empowerment reflected in the images. I was absolutely impressed by how the photographer was able to capture that and what a little bravery and courage from some tasteful lingerie could do for a woman. These women embraced the vixen inside and the confidence oozed from them.

Zams Photography by Zita Makkos

I would love to find a photographer I am comfortable with to take photos like this, and use them not for my spouse, even though he would enjoy them, but really for myself. I want to see the beauty captured on film that other profess to see. I want that daily confidence in front of me and a way to flaunt the feminine mystery that is me.

If you have had experience with Boudoir photography on either side of the lens, please share your experience with me by leaving comments!

Fred And Rosemary

*Warning – The information you are about to read may include discussions of true crimes, graphic details, and crime scenes, this may be too graphic for some people, please use discretion when reading*

Many people are drawn and interested in true crime. Whether it is morbid curiosity, wanting to learn more about those people deemed ‘serial killers’, or simply a fascination with something taboo that they wouldn’t ever participate in. We all have heard and possibly read about high profile cases such as Bundy, Dahmer, Manson, and many others. I want to discuss not only the well known cases but cases that may have slipped under the radar.

The case of Fred and Rosemary West is a despicable case. It involves sexual abuse, incest, bondage, and, of course, murder.

Fred and Rosemary West

Fred West and Rosemary Letts both grew up in England. Their early family lives were similar in their despicableness. Fred and Rosemary were both sexually abused by family and sexually abused others while growing up. Perhaps this is why these two eventually met, married, and murdered.

In the beginning, Fred had been married to Rena Costello before he met Rosemary. With Rena, they had one child together, Anna Marie, and she had one daughter from a previous relationship. The nanny, Anne, and her unborn child by Fred, disappeared in 1967. Sadly both Rena and her first child, Charmaine would fall victim to Fred and Rosemary in 1971.

25 Cromwell Street, rear view

After marrying Rosemary and moving to the ‘House of Horrors’ at 25 Cromwell Street, the West’s began to inflict pain and abuse on their children regularly. By 1983 Rosemary had birthed 8 children, some from her clients as a prostitute, some by Fred and, rumored, from Rosemary’s father as well. The abuse inflicted was verbal, physical, and sexual. Rosemary participated in the abuse and sometimes initiated it herself. Fred’s oldest daughter, Anna Marie, was raped by her father starting at the age of 8 and prostituted in her stepmother’s business at the age of 13, with her stepmother telling clients she was 16.

Many nannies were hired to care for the children in the West household. Fred treated these women as his own harem and regularly initiated sexual intercourse with them, some becoming pregnant by Fred. Very few of the women who entered ever left the house on Cromwell Street.

Murders began in 1973. Lynda Gough was the first victim, and in two years time, 5 other victims were abducted, assaulted, tortured, and murdered. These five victims, were each buried in the cellar. Following the last murder in 1975, Fred converted the cellar into a bedroom for the oldest children and no further murders were committed until 1978.

In 1978, the murder of Shirley Robinson, who was also pregnant with Fred’s child at the time, was committed to remove a threat perceived by Rosemary to her relationship with Fred. Alison Chambers was the last sexually motivated murder committed in 1979. Shirley, her unborn child, and Alison were all buried in the back garden.

West Family Photo

During this time the abuse to the children had continued, the oldest West children, Anna Marie, Heather, and Mae had been sexually fondled or assaulted, being told that “I made you; I can do what I like with you.” And Stephen the oldest son, being told by his father that he would have to have sexual relations with his mother by the age of 17. Heather went to her mother about the abuse from her father and was laughed at in reply.

The children were told to NEVER divulge details of their home life, word got back to Fred and Rosemary that Heather had shared details of her home life and her mother’s prostitution business. After leaving school in 1986, Heather attempted to get a job to leave her family home forever, when she was unsuccessful in finding a job, it was reported that Heather had run away from home. However Fred often ‘joked’ that the the other children would “end up under the patio like Heather.”

In 1992, 13 year old Louise West, confided to a friend what was happening to her at home, that friend told her mother who, anonymously contacted the police. This prompted the children to be examined and placed into foster care. An investigation was begun, Fred and Rosemary were charged with rape, buggery, child cruelty, and obstruction. Rosemary was released on bail but unable to have contact with her children, husband or stepdaughter.

Louise and Anna Marie, who had both provided statements, declined to testify for fear of Rosemary’s vindictiveness and the misery of the other children. For this reason, Fred and Rosemary were acquitted on all charges. The younger children remained in foster care. The police were still trying to locate Heather, whom they believed to be dead.

In 1994, police were successful in obtaining a search warrant to locate Heather’s remains at 25 Cromwell Street. After being presented with the search warrant, Fred and Rosemary spoke together that night and the next day, Fred confessed to the murder of Heather. He directed police to where Heather was buried, and her body was located. Police continued to excavate the back garden and discovered the remains of the other victims. Rosemary was also arrested at this time, and both were formally charged.

HM Prison New Hall where Rosemary is held

During court proceedings, Rosemary no longer showed any interest in her husband, she snubbed him, and ignored him. Before facing trial, Fred committed suicide in his cell by hanging. Rosemary faced trial and was convicted on all counts. She was sentenced to life with no option for parole. She remains incarcerated as of 2021. The house on Cromwell Street has since been destroyed.

I know this was a lot. This case has spanned several decades, too many victims both deceased and living with the scars, and an anti-climatic ending as Fred never faced the repercussions of his actions.

Please be ever alert, make good choices, stay safe


Ghost Hunting

*This post is not sponsored by any of the locations or businesses there in*

I have eclectic tastes. I enjoy a lot of different things that don’t always seem to go together, or would be found in one person. But here I am rocking my hobbies and enjoying it all. Today I would like to talk about ghost hunting. Now I want to point out that I have yet to be able to go on a ghost hunt myself, but it’s really at the top of my list to do. Anyone who regularly does this, please let me know where and when you will be going and if there is room for one more.

One of the places I would love to go to is Waverly Hills. Located just outside of Louisville, KY. The history and activity at this location are heavily documented. I’ll touch on a little of what you can expect at this location, however if you have first hand knowledge please feel free to comment more.

Check out the official website, therealwaverlyhills.com

Waverly Hills Sanitorium began construction in 1908 and was open for business in July of 1910. The building was designed to hold up to 50 tuberculosis patients. At the time, this was a very serious disease. As tuberculosis became more of an epidemic, the clinic was holding more than 140 patients. A much larger hospital was needed to treat the patients afflicted. In 1924 the current Waverly Hills structure that still stands was underway and opened to accommodate at least 400 patients in 1926. The hospital was closed down in 1961. The site was also home to the Woodhaven Geriatrics Sanitarium until closed by the state in 1981.

Waverly Hills wouldn’t be showcased here if it was simply a hospital to care for patients. Oh no, no, there is of course that dark side as well. Treatments at the hospital ranged from rest, fresh air, and sun rooms, to balloons implanted in the lungs to increase oxygen levels or ribs and muscles removed to allow more lung expansion. Those who survived the disease and treatments, left through the front doors, those who did not left through the body chute.

It is estimated that approximately 6000 people died in Waverly Hills from 1911 – 1961.

In 1961 the facility was opened as a Geriatrics Sanitarium, and here is where the stories become even more disturbing. During it’s 20 years of use, patients were mistreated and subjected to unusual experiments.

Some of the stories about the hospital’s hauntings vary by source, however here a few things you may experience:

  • A little girl running up and down the third floor solarium
  • A little boy with a leather ball
  • A woman with bleeding wrists crying for help
  • Footsteps in the cafeteria/kitchen areas
  • Doors closing on their own
  • The smell of cooking/baking
  • The fifth floor – Room 502 – Shapes moving, disembodied voices and a compulsion to jump to your death. A nurse was found to have committed suicide in this room by hanging herself from a light fixture.
  • Let’s not forget the body chute and what it was used for as well.

The owners of Waverly Hill allow tours, private and group throughout the year. Please check their website for dates, times, and requirements.

I hope this tempts you into checking out Waverly Hills and the reputed history they have. If you have your own experiences please let me know, if there other places you may want me to showcase please mention it as well!

Be strong, be beautiful, be you!

Skincare Battle – Part 2

Reference back to Part 1, here: https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/amateurconnoisseur.com/230

*This post is not sponsored by any of the products or brands mentioned therein*

Welcome back to the battle for your skins happiness. So you cleansed your skin, and it’s all squeaky clean. But now what?

Well now you have to prep your skin for the other products you will be using to make your skin, healthy, happy and receptive to further treatments.

I know you are sitting there thinking, what on earth could do all that? One simple product. Toner. No I’m not talking about that drying agent you used back in junior high that probably did more damage than benefit. Just say ‘No’ to the astringent burn.

Everyone has a toner they love, everyone has a toner they hate. There are some wonderful options out there for every face and skin type. Remember to follow the recommendations and directions provided by your skincare professional.

Below you will find a few options that are available for every skin type. Remember to use toner for your skin type and find one that is alcohol free!

My current favorite toner is Lumene Klassikko Refreshing Toner for all skin types. It comes in a 6.7 fl. oz. bottle, and is more than 80% derived. It is also alcohol free. This toner is beautiful, it’s made in Finland and uses pure arctic spring water and Nordic cotton grass. It smells like fresh clean cotton. It is becoming harder to find, sadly, so I have to keep an eye out for when local retailers sell it, then I stock up. Cost $9.98USD.

If you are looking for something simple and cost effective, do not overlook the use of Witch Hazel. Absolutely nothing wrong with this product, it refreshes skin, but the scent to me has always been a little off putting. However you can’t beat the price of $3.99USD for a 3 fl. oz. bottle. And witch hazel can be used for other needs as well, ranging from scalp sensitivity, sore throats, inflammation and even hemorrhoids. Sea Breeze can’t compete with that.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can take a high price brand toner as well. One that is rated highly is SK-II. This is made from 90% Pietra, the proprietary fermented yeast, that is rich in vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. I have never tried this product, only for the fact that it costs $79 USD for 5.4 fl. oz. If this is something your skin needs to try, please let me know how it helps you.

You can certainly make your own decision on your toner, as long as you find one that doesn’t dry out your skin, make it burn or prevent you from putting your best face first, you can use whatever brand you prefer. What’s important is that you are using them in the correct order. So to recap: Precleanse, cleanse, toner.

Be strong, be beautiful, be you.

Welcome to Wisconsin

I love to learn. I enjoy finding the answers to questions that pop in my brain. Anything from how to build an igloo, to where can I get the best beignets.

So it’s not surprising that I know a little bit about a lot. I want to share that knowledge with you. Today I will be sharing more about my home state of Wisconsin. If you have had the privilege to live here, please feel free to add to this by commenting or correcting me if I am wrong.

Wisconsin, 30th state admitted to the union and we have a long history. Some things Wisconsin is known for:

1. Beer – We have over 250 breweries in Wisconsin. Well known brands include Miller, Point, and Leinenkugels.

2. Cheese – We are the dairy state and produce over two and a half billion products each year.

3. Cheese curds – I make this separate as anyone who has experienced fresh cheese curds knows that it requires its own listing. Look for the squeak.

4. Brats – Brats (sausage) are a staple for any cook out or tailgate party. Best with beer, mustard and onions. Every Wisconsinite will tell you the best time to have a brat is, any time.

5. Sports – When the home teams are playing think long and hard about calling, or planning an event that would interfere with prime game play. And remember Bob Uecker and Vince Lombardi are saints. Even if you disagree, just smile, nod and walk away. It isn’t worth having a whole bar, stadium or bowling alley mad at you.

6. Weather – we have all four seasons, sometimes in the same week. 20 degrees isn’t cold and neither is -20 degrees.

7. We go to fish frys on Friday and can tell you the difference between Perch, Cod, and Walleye.

8. We have our own way of talking. You will hear Ope, You Betcha, and ask you questions ending with an Or no? And if you hear us asking for a bubbler, just direct us to the nearest water fountain.

9. We aren’t all farmers.

10. We can polka, it’s something that we all learn in school and show off at every wedding we go to.

11. And don’t challenge us in a drinking game, you will lose. We have all been drinking from our parents glasses since elementary school. Can we outdrink most people in most places, you betcha!

This is not all that Wisconsin is known for, come check out our state and see the beauty, the beer, and the great food.

You are your own best investment.

Focus on Fashion

“Fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it.” – Unknown

London WRTW Fashion Week Street Style – February 17 2019 – Fall Winter 2019

The world of fashion is as diverse as the world in general. Everyone has their own style, role models and fashion sense. I wasn’t a trendsetter in my teens, nor am I one now. However what I do have is a desire to learn, an idea of what I like and the drive to use clothing as a tool to improve myself. In my opinion, clothing should reflect your personality, regardless of where your day may take you. If you are hiding in your clothes instead of having them enhance you, then we need to correct that.

I’m not a fashion expert, nor will I tell you what the trends are nor what they will be. If I had to describe my style I would say I have a classic look, however lately it’s been much, much more relaxed. (Hello leggings.) However when I was working out of the office instead of the bedroom, I wore jeans 95% of the time and then used that fashion staple as a way to make my personality shine.

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” – Rachel Zoe

Following a work guideline of business casual, I enhanced my jeans with colorful flats, flattering tops, and statement jewelry. I layered tops with cardigans or blazers, included scarves and necklaces and changed up my handbags to coordinate with my outfit and the aesthetic I was striving for.

Was it going to get me on the cover of Vogue magazine? No. However did it make me feel like me and allow me to tackle my job with confidence? Absolutely. Was I ready for an emergency meeting or even an unexpected client visit? You bet. I felt confident and was able to tackle my day without worrying about the image I was radiating.

So going forward, I would like to provide you with little tips and tricks on things you can do to take your basic style and enhance it where YOU feel you need to enhance it. I’m not a stylist but I’m willing to provide any advice asked of me and ensure you wear your clothes, and not hide in them.

Be strong, be beautiful, be you.

Skincare Battle – Part 1

*This post is not sponsored by any of the products or brands mentioned therein*

How much do you love the skin you are in? How are you taking care of it the largest organ your body has? Skincare has been something of an obsession for me lately. The hands of time may be marching forward, but I’m doing everything in my power to prevent them from marching across my face.

I have been extremely fortunate not only in my teen years, but in my adult life as well to not be plagued with excessive acne or troubled skin. My biggest issue is combination skin and my past neglect of it. These opinions are my own, I do not encourage you to do things that are against your current doctors’ instructions, please continue to follow the care your doctor may have directed you to do.

First and foremost if you do nothing for your skin, please at least cleanse your skin daily. This not only allows your skin to breathe, but allow you to remove any built up skin cells, dirt and debris. But it’s not only important to consider how you cleanse but with what and in what order. Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor nor registered esthetician, so again, these are my opinions and please consult a professional if changing products or trying new skincare regimes.

Which skincare regime should you follow? There are lots and lots of options out there. Depending on what your needs are you could use as little as two products or as many as thirteen products. Recommendation Number 1: Have your skin care needs reviewed with a professional so you can get treatment recommendations and know what your skin currently needs. If this is not possible, do your research. And start slowly. Don’t introduce too many products at one time, why you may ask? Well if you introduce multiple products at one time, and you are allergic or have a bad reaction to one of them, how will you know which one it is?

Cleansing your face: I swear by a two step cleaning process, oil cleanser first followed by a second cleanser. If you haven’t tried the two step process, you will be amazed at how much cleaner your skin is afterwards.

Let me introduce you to my little friend. Dermalogica PreCleanse. This product is amazing! If you wear makeup, sweat, get dirty, this is the starting point for you. One pump of the oil based product is enough to start cleaning your face with. It attracts dirt and make up, oil like a magnet and then easily washes it away.

Dermalogica Precleanse – 5.1 oz $45 USD at dermalogica.com

You are probably wondering why you would use an oil cleanser if you are trying to eliminate oil. Simply put, like attracts like. If you break an egg and part of the shell remains with the egg, what do you do? You use the remaining shell in your hand to get that stray piece. Same concept, the oil cleanser will attract other oils on your skin to gently clean them away.

But wait, there’s more. You may have noticed that the first product was a PreCleanse, so step two is the cleansing. I enjoy using Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel. This is a mild cleanser that is gentle but works wonderfully. It cleanses, without overly drying, has a fresh feeling, and again, a small amount or product goes a long way.

Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel, 8.4 oz $39 USD on dermalogica.com

If you are looking for a new skin care product, please consider these as options, Dermalogica provides sample/travel sizes of their products for you to check out, and see if they work for you. If you try these and love them, please let me know, I always like to hear success stories. If you already use them and want to provide a comment about your experience please do so!

This is part one of a multi part topic. Please stay tuned for Part Two coming soon!

Be strong, be beautiful, be you!

On The Dinner Table: The BEST Chicken Sandwich EVER!

Who doesn’t love a juicy, crispy, flavorful chicken sandwich? Why are these masterful creations only found with a price tag of $10.99 USD or more?

I tackled this recipe the other day and I will never look at a processed chicken patty again. Not only was this the easiest to make, it had the absolute greatest flavors ever. Below is the recipe I used, however you can adjust to your tastes.

Double breaded chicken sandwich with herbed buttermilk mayo sauce

Ingredients:

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or breasts. If using chicken breasts, cut in have the short way and pound out to about 1/4″ thick.

Vegetable Oil for Frying

Lettuce

Pickles

Rolls

For Marinade:

1 Quart of Buttermilk (be sure to shake the container before using it)

1/2 tsp of kosher salt

1/4 tsp fresh black pepper

1/2 tsp of paprika

1/4 tsp of chili powder

1/4 tsp of garlic powder

1/4 tsp of onion powder

For Sauce:

1 cup of Mayonaise

2-3 Tbsp Buttermilk

1/2 tsp Dill

1/4 cup green onion

2 tsp of parsley

1/2 tsp basil

1 tsp of dried onion

Salt and pepper to taste

For Breading:

2 cup All Purpose flour

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Marinate the Chicken in the seasoned buttermilk for 4-6 hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Put a baking rack on a baking sheet to keep chicken warm after frying it.

Pour vegetable oil into a heavy bottom pot and heat up on medium high to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare the breading mixture and take the chicken out of the marinade and coat in flour. After it is coated put it back into the marinade and then into the flour again. Double coat the chicken, this is an important step.

Fry the chicken, in batches, for 3-5 minutes per side. Turning once during cooking. After chicken has been fried on both sides, put on baking rack into the oven to keep warm while the rest of the chicken is cooking.

While the chicken is cooking, combine the ingredients together for the sauce. Mix well and set aside.

To assemble the sandwiches, put a tablespoon onto the top and bottom of a roll, brioche or similar. On the bottom place a piece of butter lettuce, or what you prefer, followed by 3-4 slices of good dill pickles. Place chicken on top followed by the top of the roll.

This sandwich is ready to be eaten and will now ruin you for the other chicken sandwiches out there. Please let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Happy eating!

Cozy dinner table; see my other cozy home photos

Carving out that “Me” Time

*This post is not sponsored by any of the products or brands mentioned therein*

Being a mother keeps me pretty busy. I work Monday – Friday, I have kids to get dressed, fed, clean and on the bus to school each day as well. At night there is dinner, errands, dance classes, cleaning, laundry, and other events that take me in a hundred different directions each week. When do I get time for myself?

The usual answer is not often. However we all need to create that time to unwind, relax, recharge and just overall let the stress go and be our wonderful selves. I always considered myself to be Wonder Woman and being able to do it all, while neglecting myself and my own needs. Well when I hit the burned out wall, I learned differently.

We all have a lot of responsibilities, but one of those should be taking care of ourselves, if we don’t do that it becomes that much more complicated when we do get sick and can’t do what we normally do. What are the things that you once enjoyed that you don’t get to do as much? What activities would you like to try now? What will give you joy by enabling you to find that motivation to keeping being strong and amazing?

For me, I have a monthly appointment to get my nails done. It’s something small, but that hour away from the house and from the kids, is precious to me. Every Saturday I sit down, with a large cup of triple chocolate coffee with chocolate creamer (I like chocolate) and take out my Happy Planner and plan the next week. Determining what I need to get done in a week’s time, fills me with goals, and something for me to accomplish, and that is a powerful motivator.

Example of Happy Planner

My challenge to you is to find that one thing that will restore your batteries, and make you feel like you. Go hiking, read a book, watch sappy movies until you cry, as long as it’s something that you love and enjoy, there isn’t a reason you should neglect yourself by not doing it. You have the right to be happy, healthy, and the absolute best you possible.

Be strong, be beautiful, be you.

The Scoop on Shapewear

*This post is not sponsored by any of the products or companies mentioned therein.*

A beautiful silhouette is something a lot of women (and men) strive for, however not all of us can achieve that. So what do we do? We turn to our good friend shapewear. Now let me tell you, I do not have an hour glass shape. Would I like one? Maybe, but not as extreme as Ethel Granger, who had a 13 inch waist.

This undated image of Ethel Granger shows an impossibly small waist that she had strived for her entire married life as it was an image her husband found most attractive.

Originally women achieved this hourglass look with corsets. Elizabeth Swan in Pirates of the Caribbean said it best when told that corsets were the latest fashion in London, “Well, women in London must have learned not to breathe.”

Corsets are still in high demand and some are referred to as waist trainers, whatever they may be called, you want to find a corset that fits properly and allows you to still move as normally as possible. You can always go smaller, but you have to do it in stages. Like drinking, it’s in moderation.

We have all been exposed to the other forms of shapewear out there, from control top panty hose to Spanx. Do they all work as claimed, that’s in the eye of the wearer. I have tried a few brands and the one I like best is from Shapermint.com. They have a line of products for most body types and sizes. Ranging in colors of white, black and beige. Their products also range from bras and panties to tanks, shorts and leggings.

I find that it smooths my silhouette but doesn’t restrict my movements. The products are washable and breathable. Are they going to make me look statuesque, no, but they are providing me a confidence to wear clothing that flatters me better and not hide in my clothes.

Clothing is something that should flatter us in fit, style, color and design, not something we should use to disguise our perceived flaws. We are each unique and this extra little layer can do wonders for how we feel.

Wouldn’t you like to wear that devastating LBD and killer heels? Would the cigarette pants and fitted top? Shaperwear may just be that little push to overcoming self doubt.

Be strong, be beautiful, be you