The Seaside Calls

One girl's mission to escape monotony

Boudoir With Viktoriya | Tehachapi, CA

If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably well aware that my life revolves around two things: visiting new places, and photographing boudoir. So you can imagine how stoked I was when I had the opportunity to visit my sister in Tehachapi, CA to photograph her… Okay, I know it’s Tehachapi and not Paris, but it was a new experience for me, and that’s exciting.

After leaving San Diego, Viktoriya spent some time living in Seattle and eventually moved to Tehachapi a few years ago shortly after she gave birth to an adorable little boy (whom I will someday clone).

Needless to say, being a mom can put a hold on your budding modeling career. I’m not a parent (thankfully), but I recognize and appreciate the fact that mothering a child is a full-time job, and it’s not always the sexiest of careers. Being a full-time mom often means trading your business attire for T shirts and yoga pants, and your stiletto heels for fuzzy bunny slippers. This can take a serious blow to a woman’s self-esteem, especially if she doesn’t have the means to treat herself to a night on the town every now and then. But that’s the beauty of boudoir- it gives all women, including moms, the opportunity to transform into models.

I’d say about half of the women who come to me for boudoir photos are mommies who are looking to reclaim their sexiness. This warms my heart so much. Sometimes being a mom can become a woman’s entire identity, and she may forget that she is a beautiful, unique person who deserves to feel good about herself and about her body.

The whole goth style has really lost popularity in recent years, but Viktoriya is still pulling it off. Not just for this shoot, but during her everyday life. And you know what defines her as a true goth? One of her hobbies is taxidermy.

One of the reasons I got into the boudoir business in the first place is because I wanted to promote body positivity, and to show women that they don’t need to be Photoshopped to be beautiful. Now, upon request, I will sometimes do some light & natural-looking retouching in Photoshop, but Viktoriya specifically asked me not to mess with her tiger stripes, and that makes me so happy. I love it when women embrace their body’s natural changes, even the ones society tells us are “flaws”.

This is easily one of my favorite shoots out of all that I’ve done. The funny thing is, I strayed from my usual style (I’m crazy about color, so I NEVER edit my photos to be black & white) which I was hesitant about at first, but I think it ended up working so well.

You can follow Viktoriya Rae’s modeling career through her new Facebook page, or through her Model Mayhem. For inquiries, or to book a session with me, please contact me through my Facebook page.

Until next time… xoxo

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Brontë Country | West Yorkshire, England

“I bounded, leaped, and flew down the steep road; then, quitting its windings, shot direct across the moor, rolling over banks, and wading through marshes”

-Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights


Most of the Brontë sisters’ writings include descriptions of the Yorkshire moors, and they were truly a sight to behold. I felt like I was Jane Eyre, and that’s pretty much all I’ve ever wanted to be. I honestly would have preferred to have visited on a cold and gloomy day to get the full Yorkshire experience, but at least it wasn’t hot. After I’d had enough of the beautiful surrounding landscapes, it was a short drive to the village of Haworth, where the Brontë sisters lived and died.



The Brontë Parsonage Museum



For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the Brontë sisters, I’ll give you a little background:  Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë  were stereotypical Victorian girls. Charlotte and Emily, as well as their older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, were sent away to school in early childhood, three years after their mother passed away. They remained there until Maria and Elizabeth became sick and died. Charlotte and Emily returned home to their grieving father, brother, and little sister, Anne. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne turned to writing, and their works were heavily influenced by their own heartbreaking experiences. They all gained fame by 1847, their most notable works being Jane Eyre (written by Charlotte), Wuthering Heights (written by Emily), and Agnes Grey (written by Anne).

These photos are of their home, their grounds, the church they attended, and the church’s graveyard. Inside the Haworth Parsonage Museum, pictures aren’t technically allowed, but you can get away with sneaking a few when no one’s looking. The home is filled with fantastic treasures and artifacts from the family’s time on earth, which I spent hours geeking out over.



The Graveyard


It was a melancholy experience getting to see this beautiful area fraught with such a tragic history, but I am a lover of the dark and disturbing, so it was right up my alley.



The Church


Unfortunately, like most Victorians, all of the Brontë sisters died young. Emily caught a severe cold at her brother’s funeral in 1848, which soon developed into tuberculosis and killed her at the age of 30. Anne died the following year of tuberculosis, at the age of 29. After six years without any of her siblings, Charlotte became ill and died three weeks before her 39th birthday, along with her unborn child. She had been married less than a year, and her last words were, “I am not going to die, am I? God will not separate us. We have been so happy.”

Heartbreaking, right!? The Brontës were not buried in the church graveyard, but within the church itself. All except Anne, that is, who passed away in Scarborough and was laid to rest there.



Here you can see the names of all of the men who led the local church over the years, including the girls’ father, Patrick.



What’s in my suitcase


Bolton Abbey



Bolton Abbey really inspires the romantic in me. The haunting ruins put me in mind of Thornfield Hall from Charlotte’s Jane Eyre, which made it the perfect next stop on my road trip. It’s the kind of place that makes me want to recite some Byron. Or some Brydon.

Yes, as much as I adore the poetry of Lord Byron, I spent most of my time here channeling my inner Rob Brydon while reenacting one of my favorite scenes from The Trip. If you’re planning a trip to Northern England, you absolutely must watch this film first.




If you’re as big of a Downton Abbey fan as I am, you may be thinking, “this looks more like a church than an abbey.” You’re right. The ruins are actually that of a Gothic Priory that began construction in 1154. When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1539, Bolton was stripped of anything that could be sold, and the Eastern half was essentially abandoned. The Western half, however, was kept intact and religious services are still held inside. As an American, it’s not often that I get to behold such ancient ruins, let alone walk through them. It was like stepping back in time.



There’s this great little stone bridge you can walk across, but it’s not as easy as it looks. Some of the stones are farther apart than others, some are wobbly, and some aren’t even fully above the surface of the water. Amazingly, I managed to make it to the other side without falling into the water, but just barely. When you get across, there are a bunch of friendly cows wandering about.



After the bustle of London, this was the perfect country getaway. In the city, even a city as historic as London, you’re constantly reminded of the present. It’s hard to imagine living in another time when you’re surrounded by McDonalds’ and double-decker busses. But, in the north, there are less distractions and more chances to be reminded of what once was. I delight at any chance I get to immerse myself in another time. Some people like to escape reality by visiting Disneyland. Well, this is my Disneyland.

Of all the Brontë’s, I’ve always admired Charlotte the most. Jane Eyre is my favorite novel, and one I think all women should read. If it weren’t for Jane Eyre, I wouldn’t be a world traveler. I wouldn’t be an independent woman. I wouldn’t be who I am now. Visiting Yorkshire and walking the same streets Charlotte walked allowed me to connect with her in a very special way.

So, if you haven’t already, I challenge you to read Jane Eyre (hell, read all the Brontë novels), and then visit the place where it all began. You won’t regret it.


Nena’s Travel Essentials