Time to Shine – Carla Coulson, Paris and turning 50

Time to Shine with Carla Coulson

‘Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye’

H. Jackson Brown Jr

I turn 50 this year in June, and I will be celebrating in Paris.

I will also be in front of the lens of Carla Coulson

and the beauty of this is that she will show me what everyone else has always known

……that I am beautiful and that it is my time to Shine.

Congratulations started coming in, my face book page was beeping all day, and when I saw my name selected I couldn’t believe it.

Dance Like.. And The Winner(s) are…

Paris, March 28, 2014


I turned the camera on to say thank you to Carla Coulson and that was the end of me. It was all just too much, a life changing dream come true, my time to Shine. I almost deleted that little video clip, kept trying to compose myself to make another one without the raw emotion. But in the end I posted it to Carla on my facebook page, the response was overwhelming.

The reason I didn’t delete it is because I never want my daughter to feel like this.

I don’t want her growing up without photos to capture the moments of joy in her life. I want her free and certain and glowing in front of the camera, I want her to always know how beautiful she is both inside and out, good hair days or bad…..make up or no make up, laughing crying and just the way she is. Isn’t that what we all want, to be seen, to be heard, to make a difference.

I still don’t look in mirrors, I haven’t since I was a teenager, especially if anyone else is in the room. I have been known to wait in toilet cubicles until those applying fresh makeup leave the room. I don’t like getting my photo taken, and growing up my Mum would always light the house in the evening with candles and she was careful to sit in the ‘best light’ how funny I had totally forgotten about that until just this moment.

At school and into my early 30’s I had severe cystic acne, I tried everything to make it disappear but in the end I see now that I disappeared a little at a time. In my teens and 20’s I wouldn’t go out if I was having a bad skin day.

Friends and family would greet me with ‘Oh your skin looks better today’ and old ladies would stop me on the street to give me the ‘cure’……my closest friend in high school turned on me (as can happen in school) and her favorite taunt was about my skin, she enrolled the entire school into her chorus (or so it seemed to me).

Actually now I think about it my brother hated getting his photo taken as well and it was a family sport to try to get a photo of him. We have many of him with his hand up to his face or with the finger up, I wonder what his story was. I never thought to ask him and it’s too late now.

I notice that Carina doesn’t give her childish beaming smile when getting her photo taken, she thinks her teeth are too big….when I got my wedding photos I ‘fixed’ them….and on one favorite I even slightly straightened my nose (thanks to the wonder that is photoshop). My Mum rang to thank me for the photos I sent her saying she’d never had such a nice photo of us, she never knew that I tweaked it a little first.

I remember when I was working for a photographer in Melbourne, she took packages at school formals and a Mother came in to her office enraged that she’d ‘taken out’ her  son’s acne without asking first. I’ve been guilty of doing this same thing with photos of our children. Carina will think she never had a spot as a baby. We are so lucky to have this chance to put it right with Carla Coulson behind the lens.

How we see ourselves can become complicated

It’s time to give that story up…..it’s my time to SHINE with the wonderful Carla Coulson

and as always I will be sharing the journey with you x

Let’s SHINE together x

Post Update

click here to see the portraits from Paris


 and the gang x


images Carla Coulson

44 comments… add one

  • Meredith Mancini September 3, 2014, 1:16 am

    I cried right along with you Lisa. I think most of us can relate to your younger self story. For what it’s worth, I think you are beautiful. I am 61 and only now am accepting my old face. What gives with us ladies?? Enjoy every well deserved minute and give Carla a hug from me because I just love her work . Ciao cara Lisa 🙂

    • Lisa Chiodo September 16, 2014, 7:13 pm

      It’s been such an emotional time the last few years Meredith, and winning the portrait was totally overwhelming. Now having returned from Paris and seen the photos I have resolved to be in as many photos as I can, to laugh out loud, to be silly, to hug my kids, to just be happy within myself and let my spirit shine.

      A huge gift from Carla, she showed me that dreams can come true.
      We women are so hard on ourselves, I love turning 50, and spending that time with Carina, she was so surprised to see me in high heels and yes even red lipstick.
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Life is full of beautiful momentsMy Profile

  • Trisha Thomas April 9, 2014, 9:51 am

    Lisa — I loved watching the video of you and hearing your voice in person. You are beautiful inside and out and you deserve this more than anyone. I am so happy for you. Big Hugs, Trisha
    Trisha Thomas recently posted..Anja and Kathy – AP’s Two HeroinesMy Profile

    • Lisa Chiodo April 10, 2014, 7:23 pm

      Oh through the snuffling and tears, I was totally over wrought and it all hit at once. I can’t wait to spend the day with Carla and having Carina in the shots is just a huge bonus. My Mum will be so proud and we’ll have a record of a very special time in our lives and the first time my daughter visits Paris. xxx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Creating a Simple Life in ItalyMy Profile

  • Catherine April 5, 2014, 8:21 am

    Lisa this is so exciting!! I’m so HAPPY for you. I also dodged photographs for years and years thinking I was an ugly ducking then in my thirties I lived with a photographer who made me feel beautiful and something changed. I know this will happen to you too. It’s never too late to blossom!! Xxcat
    Catherine recently posted..Heel PornMy Profile

    • Lisa Chiodo April 11, 2014, 9:23 am

      arghhhh I know I am mega excited and so is Carina. I think a photographer would be the perfect soul to show you your own beauty. I plan to shine so brightly my Mum will see the glow in the sky xxxx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Creating a Simple Life in ItalyMy Profile

  • Caterina B April 5, 2014, 1:30 am

    Lisa, what a beautiful revealing video! You are so honest and open and willing to expose your most secret feelings to us. It is wonderful that you will get a professional sitting for a portrait.
    Nothing could be more appropriate for a landmark birthday like your fiftieth. And to do it in Paris! Wow!

    • Lisa Chiodo April 10, 2014, 7:28 pm

      Caterina I almost didn’t share it but then I thought I bet other women feel this way, if nobody talks about it then it just continues to the next generation. I’ve always been honest, maybe very tactful but honest if possible. I remember my girlfriend and I would go out to the pub on the weekend and we’d get chatting with guys and when they’d ask me something I’d just tell them the truth, it shocked them at first but then they’d keep asking questions. So funny now I think about it. Bring on Paris xxx
      sending love xxx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Creating a Simple Life in ItalyMy Profile

  • Wynne April 4, 2014, 11:24 pm

    Oh, Lisa, how I (and my mother) can relate! We both avoid photos because we’ve never felt we photographed well (we really don’t – or rarely). I’m so excited for you, this opportunity. You will have a blast and I can’t wait to see (and hear) all about it!

    Ciao bella! xoxo

    • Lisa Chiodo April 5, 2014, 6:07 pm

      Ahh I remember how you felt about photo’s and I was thinking what a shame because you looked so gorgeous in the few photos I took, guess you could say the same to me lol
      The only concern I have about the photo shoot is that I have no clothes other than jeans etc and no moola to buy anything….I’ll have to see how we can get around this, I’d love something really special x
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Rustic Italian Living Room – before and afterMy Profile

  • Karene April 4, 2014, 7:30 pm

    Hi Lisa, although I already commented on your facebook page, I wanted to add a comment here. I just so relate to you. My mom hated having her picture taken, and I do as well, and now my daughter. I also was bullied as a young girl, and had horrible acne, from 10 yrs. old through mid-30s, and only with the help of really strong drugs did it go away for good. Now my issue is my weight.

    So I am the one behind the camera instead. I feel more comfortable that way. But what am I teaching my daughter? That her beauty comes from the outside, and not from her beautiful soul? Your words on the video and this post have touched me deeply. I am going to make some changes–even dare to step in front of the camera from time to time. And to stop complaining about my looks!

    Yes, it is our time, and our daughters’ time, to shine. I have been a faithful, but silent, participant in your posts for quite a while, but now I am speaking up because I want you to know how much your pursuit of your passion has meant to me, and now, being vulnerable with all of us, I feel like we are long-lost sisters. Even though I live across the ocean in California, and our paths may never cross (unless I can save up enough pennies to fly your way, or vice versa), please know that you have a new long-distance friend.

    PS: Congratulations, again, on the photo shoot. Can’t wait to hear all about it and to see the results.

    • Lisa Chiodo April 4, 2014, 11:14 pm

      Karene it’s so true that we pass this legacy onto our children, they look to us for guidance and I see this already with Carina and she is only eleven. I only hope that she doesn’t go through this acne phase it made my life hell and yes I went on two courses of those drugs and had to sign paperwork saying I wouldn’t fall pregnant. My Mum spent a fortune on naturopaths, skin care, creams, and so did I and it didn’t make much difference.

      That my sharing could make a difference to you is what gives me the greatest joy, I truly believe that all these things we tell ourselves are universal. The more we step out and look for ways to make a difference the brighter we Shine, and it is voices like yours that ring true and speak to the heart. I’m so glad to hear you, your voice is like a beacon and my dear long lost sister I am sending you a big hug and I hope our paths do cross, we could always skype, these conversations are what makes all the difference, as women being able to share and know we aren’t alone xxx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Let’s have a Coffee and Chat – getting to know youMy Profile

      • Karene April 5, 2014, 5:26 pm

        I would love to overcome the time difference, and my tech challenges, to skype with you, Lisa! Although my old computer doesn’t have a camera, my daughter’s does, and I have sort of learned to skype on it. When she isn’t in college classes, I know she would help me out. Isn’t technology amazing?! Especially for those of us “of a certain age” 😉 Let’s keep in touch, friend!

  • La Contessa April 4, 2014, 4:28 pm

    SO, off the mountain in ITALIA you go on to PARIGI……….MA CHE BELLA!
    AS Heather said, I had a WONDERFUL experience with CARLA and MY SONS.IT truly was living a DREAM.
    Ps. I did not sleep well the night before and the FABULOUS make-up artist put very little make-up on me.Well, let me tell YOU these are the BEST photos of me ever……..
    To see my story go to http://www.vintagehenhouse.com
    Search under NEWS: I HAD A DREAM REALLY…….then see a few of CARLA’s photos at THE SHOOT.You see I owned an antique shop called HEN HOUSE and she ran with that idea in the TUILLERES!
    La Contessa recently posted..10 things for LA CRUISE!My Profile

    • Lisa Chiodo April 4, 2014, 11:05 pm

      Oh La Contessa I saw your photos when you posted them and was just laughing at the chickens but in awe of the glamor and style you bought to the shoot. Your sons are gorgeous and obviously love you to bits to pose so beautifully . I’m going to do the shoot with Carina and I know she will be in awe, she loves fashion, design and is mega creative xxx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Time to Shine – Carla Coulson, Paris and turning 50My Profile

      • La Contessa April 5, 2014, 3:41 am

        THAT will be GORGEOUS!MOTHER and DAUGHTER!You see I did 21 years of Black & White photos for FATHER”S DAY for my husband every year.So, my BOYS understood what it was all about!They have had lots of practice!!!WE went every APRIL first to the photographer then I had two months to pick just ONE photo and get it framed!His office now houses all these photo in order from 1991 to 2012.My idea then was watch me age and the boys grow up!If we ever had a fire I would grab those first!!!!!!!!!!!My SONS are 24 and 26 now.Both fluent in ITALIANO!We lived in TUscany from 1991 to 1994.My husband was born close to NAPLES and grew up in ROME.I being the AMERICAN did not want to move back to the STATES………..when the time came.So, I keep pretending I live in a CASA COLONICA and parla con the animals daily!!!!!XX
        La Contessa recently posted..10 things for LA CRUISE!My Profile

        • Lisa Chiodo April 10, 2014, 9:25 pm

          What a great idea for your husband and something to really treasure. Your boys are gorgeous, and fluent in Italiano oh my my! I’m so glad we finally meet up and you are just a breath of fresh air, I love that you parla with the animals. Having an Italian husband certainly brings passion to the relationship xxx
          Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Creating a Simple Life in ItalyMy Profile

  • Charmain Giuliani April 4, 2014, 4:10 pm

    omg….your video is so everything….
    I am moved to sobs.
    You go GRRRRL!

  • jann April 4, 2014, 3:44 pm

    Lisa, how totally WONDERFUL that you won!!!! Congratulations!!! You’re going to have a blast in Paris. A perfect 50th. And I cannot wait to see your pictures!!!!
    jann recently posted..Comment on Everything Else Can Wait by AnitreMy Profile

  • Margaret | Destination Here&Now April 4, 2014, 12:25 pm

    You’re a good mama Lisa. Truly one of the good ones.
    Margaret | Destination Here&Now recently posted..Celebrating two years at the blog and meeting Ita ButtroseMy Profile

  • Anne April 4, 2014, 12:10 pm

    You are a lovely , gorgeous lady . That is my mantra and this is for you too. I really cried when I saw you video , full of happiness , even though you were crying too. ♥♥ and tinged with a little sadness in how you have felt all these years. You WILL SHINE!!!!!!

    I think Carina is shining now ♥

    I have always hated my photo taken too BUT I will say that your prize is totally different , ISN’T it.!!
    I hate yep hate, my profile , I hate my chin , which I was bullied for at school, I have a lump on
    my nose , need I say more and I have a thin mouth and cannot smile … Yep it hurts me to write these things, but I have survived all these years ..

    I delete photos , I always go through them , even my husbands . Facebook is a pain actually and I have told my family they are not to put photos up of me. unless I have checked them.
    Anne recently posted..Two lovely cards with a newly discovered connection..My Profile

    • Lisa Chiodo April 4, 2014, 10:59 pm

      Ahhh glad I’m not the only one with a photo hang up, and we just bring these stories with us into adulthood. I delete probably 90% of pics of me, and I don’t get anyone to take any either. the only reason I get them now is for the kids, I don’t have many pics of my Dad and I together as he was always the one taking the photos. Carina is shining and so are you ….always shining and beautiful so let that show when ever you can xxx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Italian Rustic Decor – the collector My Profile

  • Heather in Arles April 4, 2014, 11:25 am

    I was very, very moved by this Lisa. You are so brave and so right to be honest – about your joy, your emotions and how you feel about your looks. I agree with Millie and Ryrie but I know how hard we can be on ourselves. We keep telling ourselves those old stories whether they are true or not anymore. And I also know what it is like to go through a few very hard years and to be just utterly blown away by good news…
    My friend La Contessa had an amazing photo shoot with Carla (and her two sons) last year and she said it was just the most wonderful – and fun! – experience ever. I can’t wait to see you shine through Carla’s lens too – because you always shine here.
    Gros Bisous,
    Heather in Arles recently posted..Ten things to take on a cruise – for By Invitation OnlyMy Profile

    • Margaret | Destination Here&Now April 4, 2014, 12:23 pm

      Nicely put Heather.

    • Lisa Chiodo April 4, 2014, 10:55 pm

      Oh Heather thanks so much for this, and I was just looking at the photos of La Contessa today with Sam….no chickens for me lol x Her photos were beautiful and I loved the black and white ones. Most of us growing up bring a few of those stories with us, and yes those few years and trauma’s all came to a rush of emotion that I just couldn’t hold back. xxx

      PS totally loved your post about the cruise, top images and so real and just loved them straight away, xx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Time to Shine – Carla Coulson, Paris and turning 50My Profile

      • Heather in Arles April 10, 2014, 1:33 pm

        Thanks Lisa! After I wrote my previous response I thought back to my childhood and how my Mom always called my Sister “the pretty one” and I was “the smart one.” She didn’t realize that she was doing harm but of course I grew up never feeling pretty and my Sister felt that she wasn’t intelligent! Neither are true but oh it took us both well into our 30s to begin to come to grips with that…
        Heather in Arles recently posted..Contrasts in Provence, part twoMy Profile

        • Lisa Chiodo April 10, 2014, 9:22 pm

          How funny you say that because I have a friend who is stunning, and at a seminar it came out that she never felt like she was beautiful as it was always her sister who was ‘the pretty one’ I was so shocked and she was to tears. I think this happened to my middle brother as my oldest brother and I were so alike, xxx
          Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Creating a Simple Life in ItalyMy Profile

  • Millie April 4, 2014, 10:37 am

    Wow Lisa, you are already gorgeous. Your courage, grace, emotion, and love shines through all of your posts. I cannot wait to see more of your beauty through Carla. Millie xx

  • Ryrie Wild April 4, 2014, 9:58 am

    Oh, Lisa….I just wanted to reach out and give you a hug when I saw this video. It is so overwhelming when something unexpected and exciting happens…..it makes us release all sorts of pent up emotions 🙂 I hope you felt so much better after doing this video. Remember too that beauty is on the inside as well as the outside and you strike me as a really beautiful and caring person. I for one cannot wait to see the portrait. I bet it will be fantastic!! Keep your chin up and look forward to Paris.

    • Lisa Chiodo April 4, 2014, 10:49 pm

      Ryrie it just was overwhelming and amazing all at the same time. Pent up emotions galore, it took a long time to come down to earth, and so wonderful to share with my Mum and family. Taking some girl time with Carina will be wonderful, I can only take so much dust and renovating before I go round the twist. Here comes Paris xxx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Rustic Italian Living Room – before and afterMy Profile

  • livinginthelanghe April 4, 2014, 9:57 am

    Congratulations! It’s going to be amazing!! We’re so happy for you. I absolutely love her photos so really can’t wait to see the results! Much love from us all x
    livinginthelanghe recently posted..The story so far: Part 1My Profile

  • Michelle Parsons April 4, 2014, 9:56 am

    Oh that video is so beautifully heartfelt and touching Lisa. I was so thrilled when I saw that you had won the session with Carla. You deserve to be pampered and treated like a Princess for a day. It broke my heart to hear the pain you suffered growing up and the insecurities that now reside within you. I hope that after your day with Carla you are able to see what everybody else can see…a beautiful, inspiring woman, who’s not only a devoted wife and mother but a lady who’s brave enough too move to the other side of the world and renovate an Italian farmhouse all the while sharing the experience with those of us who are only brave enough to dream it…not do it. x

    • Lisa Chiodo April 4, 2014, 10:46 pm

      Oh just the thought of being pampered is wonderful, although I don’t have any clothes and only two pairs of shoes lol x Funnily enough I love to talk with people and have no fear or concern speaking in public, I love that these photos will be a little legacy for my kids, and especially Carina. It has been a big few years for us, and it all hit at once and I’m glad I shared that raw moment and that doing so made a difference in some way. I bet you’re braver than you know xxx sending love
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Rustic Italian Living Room – before and afterMy Profile


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