Handling challenges with grace and self portraits

Panama City Beach women’s portraits-

I wouldn’t say I have handling challenges with grace down completely, usually a few (more like 50) calls to my mom and figuring it out before I can really face any challenge head on. But I will say this, when bad days hit I used to try to superman through them, to try to act as if they didn't exist but now I know they’re needed. So I read my book, journal, watch TV, probably cry, and know this too shall pass as long as i’m willing to go through the difficult times the right way.. and that’s straight through them; allowing you to feel down to be mad, sad, upset, and then healing and moving that process along. And no, it’s not as easy as that. for myself I learned to allow myself a couple days depending on the challenge to have a little pity party and then give myself a deadline when i’ll stop and start kicking butt again. But once you get through the other side, you can see how you handled it, and what your character says about you when it happens. And that’s the best part of challenges, when you’re proud of what you said, what you did, and how you forgave or moved on.

I’m saying all this to explain a few reasons for these portraits you may have heard on my instagram earlier this week. Yes I needed portraits for content, not being hypocritical when I tell women to get photographed often, and really to update all my platforms but the day it hit me was when I needed a little self love, I decided that day I needed photographs of myself. It’s exactly what I hope for other women, that it’s something that will help empower (and there are so many things we can do to empower ourselves, this is just one.) and look at the photographs and remember you ARE the strong, capable, sexy, smart woman you tell yourself you are. And what’s more, I think it’s important as we scroll through thousands of photos of women looking their best, we see photographs of ourself looking our best too. And yes i’m sitting in my pajamas in my bed as I write this, not at my best now but I can appreciate that day and feeling strong and it carries on even when the day has passed.

Im right there with you. I get hurt, upset, go through challenges and watch sappy movies, i’ve been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and learned the best ways to deal with it or keep it at bay. Through working on myself and loving myself i’ve found what gives me strength and keeps me going daily for the things I want most for my life i’m designing. It’s why I push so hard for you all to read, journal, workout and be vulnerable too, it just heals.

so here’s to the women and men in my life, thank you. and now a few of my favorites of me on the beach, posing alone with a camera on a tripod looking silly as always and never caring. scroll to the bottom for a short video and behind the scenes!

Shanna Magnuson- davista photography- fashion nova
Panama City Beach women's portraits
fashion nova jumpsuit beach portraits
self portraits I Panama City beach jumpsuit
fashion nova jumpsuit- Panama City beach photography
30a glamour and boudoir photographer
fashion nova yellow dress womens boudoir on the beach
fashion nova dress- Panama City beach photographer
Panama City beach boudoir photography
Panama City beach women photography
davista photography- fashion nova dress- beach photographer
fashion nova davista photography
self love self portraits on the beach
Nikon z7 self portraits on the beach
self love self portraits Panama City beach
Shanna magnuson- 30a photographer
self portraits- Shanna Magnuson
fashion nova dress- Panama City beach photography
30a portrait photographer
confident woman self portraits
women empowering women davista photography
yellow dress on the beach- poses
dress on the beach- Panama City beach photographer

Keep Shining

Shanna Star

in no specific order i’m leaving you with some books i’ve loved this year. click below to order yours now!

the answer to your question is to turn inward.

love yourself

Today i got the question: what are some good books to read for a woman who has been deeply hurt by multiple men? My immediate answer is to work on you (not just books about men), and find books and activities that cultivate joy in your life. The only thing you can do in those situations is strengthen your confidence, realize your value, work on your weaknesses, and learn how to better communicate and articulate your needs and wants all while still serving your future partner. Many women (and men too) have been in such damaging relationships it leaves us feeling a yearning for someone that “fit us” that are our “soul mate” and how a man will see the value in us in the future. While it’s true, we do need a man who’s going to have our best interest at heart the only thing you can control is your growth and value in yourself. Women have this incredible (and sometimes scary accurate) intuition and the more we work on ourselves the more we become connected to.. well.. bullshit in others. Being as i have dealt with some crap too, the best thing i did was forgive.. like truly forgive and want the best for that person and really continue to see the things in myself that need work to be a better woman. I’m not putting all the action on the woman that we MAKE a better man, i’m saying we should make ourselves the best, let go of the hurt (i know i know.. that sucks when we want them to see us as something they lost.. but that’s such a selfish way of thinking. time to forgive so you can be happy and want them to be too.) and do the work to know ourselves in and out so when the man comes along that captures our heart, we can see through issues and even have a better relationship from the get go, and also not bring up hurts from another relationship; those are ours to deal with, not our future partner’s.

It’s true and i’ve believed it for years and seen it for myself that men actually do hear our complaints about HOW to love us but unless it’s a marriage.. cause i still believe to FIGHT for it until it can’t be saved.. the best thing is to leave it. All of those things we want him to do, i’ve seen them turnaround and do it for someone else. Honestly i’m thankful i can say i’m happy i had some kind of affect with no resentment towards the past. Basically they hear it, but unless they want it to work and they feel the same, no amount of teeth pulling, whining, crying, and desiring is going to shape him up unless he wants to be in relationship- with- you shape. It’s easy to point and blame others but looking inward is the real win here. Iinner growth hurts and i think that’s why a lot of people don’t do it.

So not to complete disregard the first question. So what are some good books? i’ll always suggest Captivating by Stasi Eldredge, it’s an amazing start to healing our feminine hearts, opening up to be vulnerable and seeing value in the woman you are. A more recent read is Don’t Forget your Crown by Derrick Jaxn, a male’s perspective on toxic and healthy relationships and just a great little book that brought tears to my eyes i have a dozen more but those are some great ones to start with. But i am encouraging you to sit down with an open heart, and start to journal as you breathe in the words.

“Without self-love, no love matters. It can be poured into, but still broken.”- Derrick Jaxn

ya’ll messaged me and let me know some affiliate links would be something you’d like to see! so if you click these and purchase them directly, my code is embedded so I get credit (just like all those other people you click from!) i’d appreciate it! thank you!

-Keep Shining

Shanna Star

Confidence- why it's important

I recently started writing a blog about why confidence and self worth are really so important. i find myself constantly drawn to books, quotes, and trying to encourage other women on the subject. While writing last week i thought the root of the reason was my experiences. Negative and positive ones i’ve had that shaped who i am. Those still are a few of the reasons but i delayed posting it. Then a new situation where I consistently heard young men speak about women so negatively happened .  it left me in complete shock and for the first few minutes i couldn’t even speak. and if you know me, you know that’s unlike me. i tend to snap back and get a little lippy. Mouthy for lack of a better term. 

From a young age it’s instilled in someway or another what a woman looks like. We’re taught to be the nice girl, not necessarily speaking out and having a voice but quietly working hard as the boys without ever seeming too confident. Because although we ask women to be confident, as soon as they are, we quiet them down.. telling them it’s too much. We’re taught what humility looks like which normally for women is a response back of “no” to any compliment received. I could go on a tangent about that, but it’s not humility to shut down a compliment. It’s just rude. 

what confidence is

But here’s why it’s important beyond our life experiences both good and bad. Because a foundation that’s built on someone else’s approval will fail you. We’re human and even with the best intentions, we’ll be let down. If it’s built on God (another topic for another day) and finding out who we are alone, the foundation will be strong. I wrote a blog recently how I’m starting from scratch with my foundation again at 30. It’s not easy, it’s definitely not fun, and it’s taking a lot longer then I would like. But I feel a different strength within me, and whether I’m reading, lifting, or taking care of myself in any way.. it’s for me. To better myself. It’s not for the approval of anyone else. 

When i heard these men speaking about women in a way they NEVER speak about men (which is women and their bodies, what they need to fix with surgery and how beauty somehow relates to success for women but oddly enough not brought up when men’s success is the conversation) my heart broke. then i got furious. What came next.. one of these men TOLD the woman about her weight gain. i’m still so beyond words about that i could rage all day. but bottom line. we need self confidence for us. so when these incorrect and ignorant comments are made, we know who we are. so we can stand up for ourselves, leave the conversation and never think about the arrogant comments and to love ourselves even if we gain a few lbs. because the few extra lbs i carry, well that “man’s” opinion doesn’t matter especially as it spilled out of his entitled mouth to tell a woman his feelings on her weight. and so we can correct the behavior or at least try immediately. 

So i’m sorry to the women who have time and again experienced this behavior from male “friends.” It’s not a friend or his right to ever have an opinion on your weight. The few close male friends i’ve had have never spoken to me with such disrespect even at my worst. even when i did gain weight, because they valued my heart and who i was as a person. These men tend to be the same ones to mansplain and talk down to women and then think telling you about “flaws” is helpful. Im going to be honest, the one time an ex-BF told me i gained weight and compared me to another woman… just made me want to gain more weight. women tend to not be encouraged with negative comments, and any man reading i highly suggest the next time you want to “help” her by telling her the flaws you see… shut your mouth. anything you view as a flaw has already been thought about by her for years and years, we’re already beating ourselves up about it. we don’t need your help. It will only be words that sting, stay with her, hurt her, and damage her self confidence. If a woman is changing physically because of some personal situations, ignore the weight, ask about her life. show you care about what's going on with her, not her weight.

I'm not trying to man-hate. I think there are some truly incredible men and definitely some in my life whom I cherish and am so thankful for. But I speak about women a lot, and don't always touch on the subject of men in our life that have an affect on us. Just as there are hurtful women, there are men that hurt us too.  it was almost as if I was shielded from hearing these conversations until recently and couldn't believe how in depth they were about women and what should be "fixed." 

self-confidence may be found sexy by your significant other, you may get enough courage to ask for a raise, to do the thing you’re scared to do, to meet new people, go on adventures alone, and so much more. But it’s really for you. At the end of the day for you to like who you are, and be able to reject and forget about any negative thing someone said about you. Do you like you? That’s what matters, brings happiness, draws out joy in others, and can even quiet your inner critic. oh and ladies, stop rejecting compliments, but definitely reject any negative words.

Self Care Is Self Respect

Women. We all do it. We all deny compliments, give until we can’t, and tell ourselves we aren’t good enough. It’s become part of the norm for women as we see constantly compare online “perfect” women who seem to have 90 hours in a day. Today I’m going to encourage and be a little harsh about things we all need to work on.. together. Let’s hold one another accountable and be there for other women. it’s tough and we should be telling ourselves wonderful things because we are strong, capable, passionate women. 

The first is accepting compliments.I know many want to come across as humble and so denying compliments and encouragement seems like the right way to do that. I’m here to say, that’s the first step we need to take.. accepting compliments. I recently came across and video and book that described what happens when we deny compliments. Here’s the example. Let’s say a friend gets you a physical gift. Would you say no and deny it completely? Then why do we deny a gift from their lips? One that they willingly and want to give you, to encourage you? I still am working on this, but I will tell you it changed me slowly. I accept compliments, I let them sink in and in time, it gives me an extra boost so that I can pass on love to someone else. What a beautiful thing. Allowing our love tanks to be filled so we can give it back to people. I’m going to challenge you to accept compliments. There’s nothing else you have to say aside from “thank you.” Then let it sink in that they BELIEVE it and you should too. 

No this doesn’t make humility go away. In fact I think it shows great character when I hear another woman accept my compliment whether I’ve never met her, or have known her for years. It’s confidence building, self-love building words to keep for your heart. Sometimes to remind yourself on those days we can’t go on, can’t get up, and have no energy.. you reach down and somehow find a little motivation because you accepting that gift. 

The second thing we as women need to do is take care of ourselves. I don’t mean exercise 6 hours a day and only eat clean food and ignore our families to get pedicures. I mean take a little time to do what gives you energy and helps your grow. Myself- I need alone time. I need space sometimes. I do grow confidence in the gym, but there are other ways. I take some time to read and to reach out to people. Whether it’s because you need them, or they need you. It’s okay and necessary to take care of you. Again, to give more to your family, you need that tank filled or at least not completely empty. It’s not selfish. It’s self respect. (And no I don’t mean look perfect going out or even showering everyday. I’m sitting here wearing flannel and grandpa slippers and I have no intention of showering today.) Today I’m reading, praying, and then going on with things I need to do. I do this to grow for me but also when someone needs me I'm able to give back.

The third thing we all need to work on is how we speak to ourselves. Whether it’s in the mirror or aloud to others. I’m not saying fake it till you make it. But words become thoughts and vice versa and we’re thinking and telling ourselves things we would NEVER tell ones we love. I have days where I can’t see the good in myself. Usually this correlates with hormones. Anyone other women experience this craziness I all girl brain? This is when I reach into my heart and remember those compliments and I pray. Those days WILL happen but the best thing we can do is not entertain those thoughts. If for example I’m feeling overweight I don’t stand in front of the mirror and pinch and pull at every “flaw.” I know there are days like that where I simply have to say.. nope, I’m cute but today I can’t look in the mirror. Those days I put on a loose shirt and move on. When there are days that my girl brain finally is coming around and sees beauty that God made, I stand there extra long and agree I am beautiful as He made me. (I store those up for later ) 

Ladies I'm not trying to point out every little thing you do wrong. Because you are doing SO much right. Working, taking care of your family and your spouse and I swear you all volunteer 30 hours a week. I'm here to remind you that YOU were fearfully and wonderfully made. I struggle with negative thoughts, giving too much, and denying compliments. But when I tweak how I go about a few things, it starts to change my mindset and energy. I want that for you. Extra energy to go finish that Pinterest project? nah.. maybe not. But at least cook dinner and feel worthy of love. 


"Words can poison, words can heal. Words start and fight wars, but words make peace. Words lead men to the pinnacles of good and words can plunge men to the depths of evil." So why do we allow our own minds to continually tell us those negative thoughts and deny encouragement? We have control over the thoughts we entertain. We are those strong, capable, passionate women. Let's start accepting it. :) 

Keep Shining

Shanna Star

***Disclaimer. I realize mental health is a serious topic, and to those of you that deal with any of these, I know you cannot just change all thoughts and get over it. I was diagnosed with a short term situational depression 8 years ago, and although I have overcome it, I know It can't all be changed by simply telling yourself a good thought while looking in the mirror. And in no way am I saying it's boiled down to that. I would love to talk more about that, but this particular post just couldn't touch on every part of it. However, I would love to talk to you if you'd like to talk about it.