What makes you shine?

“Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive and go do it because that’s what the world needs is people have come alive.”- Howard Thurman.

personal blog post Destin Florida blogger

Starting reading my next book and love that already inspired feeling. It sets me on fire for what my passions are. And more than anything, I want that feeling for you, but I stated in one of my newest blog posts how that will look vastly different for each one of us. Not every one desires the same things I do, aside from I assume sitting in Panama City Beach, bikini on, holding a girly drink and basking in the sun. No? fine switch it to wine, maybe more of you will be on board. Passions and dreams don’t have to turn your world on its side or look like a completely new life far away, ditching the one you’ve built, but it doesn’t mean your dreams are any less important or worthy to be fought for. I truly believe we all have desires that were purposely placed in us and things we should go after, it’s the things that make us come alive. If you’re not sure of any of that exists in you, it’s time to dig deep and find those little sparks! They’re in all of us, we just have to discover or rediscover them


Do you know why one of my passions is for other women to find theirs and to feel alive? I want to see more strong women and as become stronger, it just ignites that fire!- And here’s a little reminder to all of those putting off their dreams, goals, passions, desires… “Excuses don’t make strong women.” dang and ouch. We can talk the talk for years about what we want: careers, vacations, side hustles, hobbies, but the real no BS thing is this.. excuses don’t make you strong. I know there is a time for everything and i’m immensely aware of patience and getting through some hardships, but as someone who struggled with anxiety and depression and then went through a divorce, moved across the country and started over with no friends… I don’t really want to hear excuses. sorrynotsorry. Do you know what makes you strong? I mean that girly drink and relaxation time from above IS needed, rest in general and just existing is enough some days, I get it. But what will make you strong and learn and grow is going after the things you love. Whether it’s a side hustle of a new hobby, or finally jumping into a career you’re nervous as heck about. Life is way too short to keep waiting for the right time, because if you keep waiting for the right time.. it’ll never come. We’ve got to make it happen. I’m not saying overload yourself with being “busy” i’m talking about being productive. Baby steps are inevitable, and it will take some work and maybe some frustrations, but it’s so worth it when you feel your heart racing and you know you’re shining from the inside because you’re talking about YOUR passions.You are doing the things you’ve talked about for years.

I want more strong women because I feel strong. I have weak days and insecure days don't ever think I don’t, but I know who I am, what I want, and I am taking the steps towards it. It feels amazing to know the things set in my heart.. my purpose, are things i’m doing. It builds us stronger to fail (oh and I do! but it’s not even failing, just learning) and move towards our goals. I desperately want that for every woman so the young girls will grow up knowing what strong women look like too, but you have to want it for yourself. So tell me, what’s holding you back when you can be shining brightly?

Keep Shining

Shanna Star

Panama City beach fitness beach boudoir

Panama City Beach Florida- Home to some of the worlds most beautiful beaches, and if you step foot along the emerald coast, you’ll know exactly why as the soft white sand and clear blue and green water sparkle. It’s absolutely breathtaking. But it can also be really busy! Luckily it doesn’t have to look that way with your photographer. You can’t tell but this was a busy evening on the beach (I wasn’t at my normal spot right by my house which even during the busy months stays decently quiet) I want to share just a little behind the scenes video with Pam. Although it was a busier night, we got to spend the evening chatting and catching up and really spilling the details of our lives that seem to be ever-changing. Not once did it feel crowded, it felt like a date with a friend, and some fabulous photos in between. And that’s exactly how I want your session on the beach to be. Relaxed, fun, getting sometimes hit with some waves, and a product at the end that you’ll want to print and show off what an absolutely stunning woman you are, inside and out.

Don’t forget to check out the short behind the scenes video below

Panama City beach fitness photographer
Panama City beach boudoir photographer
30a beach boudoir photographer-davista photography
30a boudoir and beach photographer
Panama City beach photographer

Follow Pam too!: Instagram

Keep Shining

Shanna Star

For the Moments i feel faint

I was hurting and constantly upset I don’t mean the once in a while or caused by ever changing hormones, I mean my life was stuck in this seemingly never ending darkness and I couldn't get out. If you know me, you know i’m optimistic. I mean hell, even through immense pain I could see that I could use it in the future for good. I could always stand tall and get through whatever crap.. forget it i’m swearing ..shitstorm headed my way. and believe me, I had a lot of those the last few years. i’m pretty sure I lost very important inches in my height because of how stressed I was. I got to my lowest point.. no not depression and the lack of showers I took for months on end, and no not anxiety that would cause my to have to pull over because I couldn’t breathe. I got to the point where I said to a close friend..”I don't think it’ll ever get better.” and for me, that was the lowest I could get. Because my whole character seemed to be shifting and my beliefs. I couldn’t see my hard work and persistence paying off (even though for once I was being patient and continuing) I continued on through those words, tears daily, darkness and lack of optimism. Lack of self-confidence, and slowly getting worse. I can’t say exactly what changed it. I think it was a multitude of things working together. I kept working hard in my business, I kept reading and journaling to lift me up even for a second, I went to the gym (not as much but I went) I tried feeding my body healthy food with the occasional chips because… happiness, I talked with a few close friends and of course my mom daily who are constants in my life, and maybe it was finally getting through some of the toxic parts where I could see a bit of sunshine again.

we may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated

i’m telling you this with a very specific purpose. I write about women and self love, how to get healthy, and self care. I speak it with intention because i’ve been on the other side. More than most people even would care to hear about my entire life (movie-worthy or as a counselor once told me.. a reality show) story. As things keep coming my way, i’m finally to a place again where I think “well damn, I guess I can use this in the future too as an experience to connect with women.” I don’t mean to skip past the hard parts just to encourage you to keep going. Those hard parts in life SUCK and I know exactly how it feels to think it’s going to last forever. But I tell you to keep going because it’s the only way to see the sunshine again. It might take a few years, and I know hearing that sucks too. But you have the strength to get through it… but just don’t do it alone. I’m not going to give you the ol “it’ll get better” speech completely, because sometimes we just need to be acknowledged that sometimes things aren’t going your way. but if you can see a few peeks of the sunshine here and there, it’ll keep you going. That’s why I push to find people you trust, to seek out a counselor, to read and journal, and to exercise. Those are the things from not only my experience but that have been proven by studies to help healthy minds and bodies. There’s no reason to try on your own. Absolutely let yourself be sad, allow yourself to feel, but then reach out and slowly start your way to a path that eventually you can see some light. Maybe not today. Maybe today you eat a donut and take a bath. But the only way to recover is to act. And honestly, that sucks sometimes too. But if I know anything, it’s that after the days where you allow yourself to have a pity party, you need the rising up, strength filled, overcoming days and those have to be fought for. And you can do that, I have no doubt.

“We may encounter many defeats” that take us down and hold us back, “but we must not be defeated.”

Keep Shining

Shanna Star

***extra points to those who know my title reference to a little band called Relient K. It’s a song. and maybe it’ll encourage you too.”For the moments I feel faint.”

3 things we have to start owning.

Women. we have a few bad habits. i’ve found the more I photograph and am around women we tend to do a few things that get in the way of our dazzling confidence. We have to start owning it….

3 habits to start owning as women

1-Your Body. When I meet with women for a boudoir session, I often ask what they love about themselves. Want to know the answer I get most often? A resounding list of things they hate about themselves. I’m not saying I won’t be sensitive to things they’re insecure about, but every woman has SOMETHING she loves. And we tend to answer a positive question, negatively. Can we all agree to work on that? It promotes negative thinking, saying the things we love just builds us up! it’s a very small stepping stone in working on that daily self-love. Point out the good to yourself. We were given this one body, so feed it healthy food, get some exercise in when you can, point out the good and sometimes eat some donuts to still enjoy life. (or wine. whatever!) Start by pointing out what you love!

2- Your passions and work. When someone asks (and i’m guilty of this one too) what we do, we tend to shy away rather than shout out either our job, side gig, or even hobbies. DANG IT. I am a photographer, graphic designer, blogger, and lifter. But if we don’t do it full time or only have a few clients or are just starting out, we deem ourselves unworthy of a title. All you who run, when do you call yourselves runners? how many miles, hours, experience, races? doesn’t matter? you run. therefore, you are a runner. Photographers, you have had only a few clients and are inexperienced? We all start somewhere, you are still a photographer. I can openly say I don’t make gobs of money (or like none) from blogging. But i’m a blogger. The things that make us money might seem a little scary to own the title to, that’s why there are literally classes on your 30-60 second business opener, but we’ve got to be proud of our passions, and if you can say it with confidence it’ll sound a whole lot more appealing to those around you. Because WHO KNOWS who will be interested in joining you, your business, or even hiring you. You were given those talents, passions, and desires with purpose, so be proud.

3 things we need to start owning about our lives

3- Your life. There are some things in every one’s life that maybe we are unsure about. Maybe we HAVE to be patient until we can move forward, but overall, and especially in the last few years i’ve learned that you control your life. Like for real, you can change it. You are SO capable. It’s both the best and worst thing about it. No one to blame or lean on for results but the wonderful person we see in the mirror. (Oh and look how beautiful you are, inside and out shining when you’re doing the things you’re passionate about) We’ve got to start owning the life we’ve made for ourselves. I’m not saying it’s easy, oh no not even close to easy. Whether you stay at home with kids, work away from home, just got married, just got divorced, are working on getting healthy, or a better job. Nothing about chasing after your dreams and goals are easy, especially when we constantly compare to the lives around us. So that’s why you have to read a little, and journal what happiness means to YOU, what has been placed uniquely in your heart as your purpose and work on it diligently. What things are your priorities and how can you move towards a happier life. It’s all baby steps, and you have the full control to do so. Only you.

These are just 3 things to start owning, but if we can shift HOW we talk about our bodies it can change our thoughts and confidence. If we can shift how we talk about our passions, it could change our mindset on our importance and skillset, and if we can change aspects of our life, then we can move towards our purpose. That’s pretty powerful. Do you think 9 years ago when I moved from Minnesota that I would be where I am now? Not. Even. Close. But honestly, it’s bigger, better, and a whole lot more scary than I thought. I never thought i’d be okay being uncomfortable away from family and many times alone but i’ve grown more than I even knew was possible in such a short time. I uncovered parts of myself I didn’t know were even there. I promise i’ll continue to work on owning it too, it’s a practice.

We have to start owning it.

Keep Shining

Shanna Star

temporarily moving backward- with intention

We all need words from people who inspire us, encourage, and motivate us in a new way. It’s one of the many reasons I push people to read and journal. It truly manifests deep within us when we start focusing on the words of someone we trust, and then use that to thrust us towards our goals, self-love, and, even sometimes just forgiveness.

like she owns the place- blogger

I started reading from a new author Cara Alwill Leyba, and to say i’m already in love with her work is an understatement. Cara has pink hair, obsessed with working from home for freedom, wants to give women confidence, and oh has an obsession with Stevie Nicks. Honestly, I’m halfway through this book “Like she Owns The Place” and I just felt compelled to write to the author a huge thank you already, so I did. she wrote back within an hour, and I about fell out of my chair.

It might not be monumental, but sometimes it’s WHEN we read the words that matter, when our hearts and mind are open and it’s manifested in a whole new way. I have been on the verge of rearranging some of my life. (I know, how much more could it be rearranged with all the changes in the last few years?) and it lead me down some serious paths and conversations about how I feel sometimes i’m moving backward. It’s hard for me to even type that to you. But it’s true. don’t get me wrong, i’m happy, I love what i’m doing and who I am but I guess in the comparison of life, it’s just not where I thought I would be at 31. Then I read these words just two days after I told someone I feel like i’m going backward.. and the author said “Sometimes moving forward means moving backward, at least temporarily.” yup. it’s exactly what I needed in that moment. The Ah-Ha moment that the direction i’m going and about to go is still the right one for me. It’s hard and draining, and I work my butt off. But words from someone I connected with, lets me know this is the right path still. The hard work I put in, will pay off, and all the gut feelings are of sound reason even if from the outside, they aren’t a normal path.

temporary going backwards- personal blog post Shanna star Magnuson

so now the reason for this post for you, because believe it or not, it’s not just for me to babble about my life. Being authentically you is going to look vastly different from every single person around you. For me, it’s pink hair, lifting heavy, reading books, being extra,and wearing pink practically everyday while willing to work 80 hours a week for my passion so I won’t always work 40 hours a week for someone else. The best non-monumental but true words I can share today is, to learn who you are inside and out, and embrace whoever that is. Learn self love and practice it daily (because it is a DAILY practice), and then listen to those gut instincts. Living life according to the needs of your inner body, the things that make you happy and make you beautiful..I mean that make you sparkle and shine and glow, all of those energies that make you beautiful on the outside because you are on the inside. And if you’re thinking about putting pink in your hair.. DO IT. 80 year old you will be so glad, and also I fully intend to have pink hair at 80. I mean, i’m guessing i’ll still be extra then too. So, figure out what makes you light up from the inside out, and even if it looks not normal to those around you, and go for it so 80 year old you can look back and know you did everything you wanted to pursue your purpose.

Keep Shining

Shanna Star