So I did the photo shoot last night after all. It was amazing, and the photos are everything I hoped they would be. You will get to see the best of them tomorrow. I need to go through them and narrow it down from the 50-100 beautiful photos I have to choose from. In the meantime, let me tell you about some of the more glamorous aspects of my evening.
It’s not all exfoliating scrubs at the spa and windblown hair. Oh no. We’ll start with why the photo shoot happened yesterday at all. As the sunless tanner began to develop, and my color started getting darker, I noticed something. All of you moms out there, sit up and pay attention. This is important. Sunless tanner does not tan stretch marks. Yeah. My usually fairly unobtrusive white stretch marks were staying white, while the rest of my belly was turning tan. This was not at all pleasing to me. So I decided to wash it off early. I still have way more color than I could ever get from the actual sun, but less than I would have had if I had left it on overnight like I was instructed. This happened at around 4:45pm, and when I called my sister, she told me that the thunderstorm risk had gone down to about 30% and moved later into the evening, probably starting after 8. So if we wanted to do the shoot, we could.
The next hour is a frantic whirlwind of preparation. Showering off the tanner, but trying not to get my hair wet so I can style it without blow-drying. Realizing that the bottom and edges of my feet, despite the oil the aesthetician applied, have gotten more than their share of tanner, so switching to the bathtub for some major pumicing. Pedicure (which turned out to be silly, since I think you may not be able to see my lovely red toes in a single shot). Camera-ready hair and makeup in record time. Packing up jewelry options, a silk orchid for my hair, my pretty blue silk belly dance veil in case we need something flowy, makeup for touchups, and two pairs of impractical shoes in case we decide to shoot somewhere other than on sand. Kiss the kids and out the door. All in an hour.
My sister and I arrive at the beach as the sky darkens. A few guys are fishing on the beach. They give me approving glances as I take off my dress and reveal the first bikini. That feels nice. It gives me energy to feel seen and appreciated. It’s a bit challenging to “pose sexy” with an audience. I’m awkward. For about 15 seconds.
In no time, I am lying on a piece of driftwood, kneeling in the sand, and crawling around at the water’s edge. I am covered in sand. My knees are red and aching from the tiny pebbles on the beach. My sister is making inappropriate “big piece of wood” and “are you wet enough?” jokes to get the smile into my eyes. I am completely and utterly enjoying myself.
Then it’s time for a “costume change” into the other bikini. I put the dress back on, take off the (soaked and sandy) bikini bottom and put on the other one under my dress. I do the top switcheroo magic-bra-removal style, by putting the new one on over the old one and then unhooking and sliding the old one out from underneath. The fishing dudes are no longer even pretending not to watch me.
As I go back to the water’s edge, we hear the first faint rumble of thunder in the distance. There will be no jewelry changes. There will be no creative use of my blue silk veil. We have maybe 10 minutes. Maybe. We get a few more shots and then I wet down my hair. At this point, I start imagining I am on America’s Next Top Model, and I realize what good TV this would make. A thunderstorm approaching... can we get the shots in time? Do I have time to change back into the first bikini to get wet hair shots in that one? I do another under-the-dress bikini swap for a few final shots. In those last shots, you can see the raindrops on the water. We start walking back towards the car, grateful for the plastic trash bag my sister brought to protect the camera equipment. The whole thing took maybe 25 minutes.
As we left, the fishing guys told me I looked beautiful. I wonder if they knew how much it meant to me.
On the walk back, my sister decides it’s worth trying to get a shot on the path with me in one of the pairs of impractical shoes I brought... my thigh-high patent leather boots. Have you ever tried to put patent leather stiletto thigh highs on sandy wet feet and legs in a bikini without anything to sit on? No? I now have. It’s neither easy nor graceful. For some reason, my sister thought this would be an awesome time to snap some quick photos of me. Thanks for that. Once I am boot-clad and standing, she gets a few shots in between raindrops, and then we pack it in and book back to the car as the rain gets more intense.
Except that I still have to pee. I was going to pee in the port-a-potty on the way in, but it was toooooo gross. So I sneak onto a side path, hope no families (or fishing guys) wander by, and pee on the side of the path in the pouring rain with a lovely view of some poison ivy and wild blackberry. Told ya, I am so glamorous.
We look at the photos on the back of the camera in the car, while the rain pours down around us. My road trip mix provides the soundtrack. Liz Phair. Pink Floyd. On the small camera screen, I can already tell... we got the shots. Better than I could have hoped for. My sister is a genius.
Then it’s off to the Chik-Fil-A drive-thru, because I haven’t eaten since lunch. I am soaked to the bone, sandy in all of my secret places, and happier than I have been in a long time.