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Sexy Trend: Be your own Valentine

Laura Dachenbach

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“I think my portraits are fiercely feminine, and they hold space for women to feel empowered just being themselves. They’re truthful, soft, strong, and beautiful,” says Stef Streb, owner of Stef Streb Photography, a Columbus-based photography studio, whose photos might be described as “boudoir.”

Boudoir photography, with its varying contexts and connotations, has traditionally been an opportunity for women to create a private photo collection for their partners as an engagement, wedding, or anniversary present, or perhaps as a token of remembrance before a period of separation such as a military deployment.

“I struggle with the word ‘boudoir’ a lot,” says Streb, who admits to the intimacy of her portraiture style. “But most boudoir photography feels very hyper-sexualized and unnatural to me. I think there’s this idea that boudoir photography is to make yourself look as ‘perfect’ [or] as skinny, airbrushed, and posed as possible, and there are a lot of body issues that come up for most of us in that sort of situation.”

Streb has instead chosen to refer to her work as “goddess sessions,” reflecting the increasing trend of women to have an intimate photography session as a form of self-affirmation.

“Goddess sessions are a time to embrace and celebrate your body. I really believe that women benefit from seeing our bodies in images that show how soft and strong and beautiful we are without needing to be super sexualized,” says Streb.

Streb has been behind the camera since the age of 14, when her dad first taught her how to use one. A graduate of Columbus College of Art and Design, she interned in New York City and spent five years in fashion and ecommerce while working with models and portraiture. As part of her own personal journey, she also began using herself as a photography subject and posting her work on Instagram, quickly realizing the power of the experience. It was a power she wanted others to share. A little over a year ago, she made the leap into full- time self-employment.

Women ranging in age from their 20s to their 50s have participated in goddess sessions. Streb finds most of her clients via Instagram or personal recommendations. About half are planning to give the photos as gifts, and half are scheduling the session for their own reasons: to feel good about themselves, or perhaps to document a body journey. In keeping with the spirit of integrity, self-confidence, and ownership, she does not photoshop or alter any of the images.

“I’m here to show off the real thing. Rolls, cellulite, stretch marks, all of it. Because we’ve all got ‘em, so why not flaunt ‘em? I want women to feel empowered in their bodies—not like they have anything to hide.”

The photography experience tends to be a negative one, full of flaws and bad hair and awkward facial expressions, and the nature of the goddess session can exacerbate the usual nerves. Before a shoot, most clients are unsure what to wear, how to look, and how to calm her nerves. Streb understands. Booking a session is a conversation, rather than just scheduling a calendar time, where every question a client might have is answered.

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“I’m a big believer in looking like yourself in photos,” Streb explained. “So I encourage every woman to do her hair and makeup in whatever way makes her feel the most herself—which is different for everyone— but [also] to bring things to wear that might be what she wants to feel confident in, but doesn’t yet, because our shoot is the time to change that.”

The world of portraiture is often limited to weddings or professional head shots for work. The world of the camera phone has created the “selfie,” which in Streb’s view, is more of a self-reflection—a catch in a feedback loop, rather than a documentation of the subject in the present moment.

“When you hand over that piece of the experience, where you’re not seeing yourself reflected but actually being present in having your photograph taken, it opens up a layer of vulnerability that allows you to just be yourself,” says Streb.

Goddess sessions exist for women’s personal reasons, but Streb acknowledges her work does challenge traditional ideas of boudoir and the male gaze.

“We can see a woman’s body without it becoming a sexual object,” Streb says. “We can appreciate the female form for its inherent softness and strength. And we can be honest about what that form actually looks like. It’s ever-changing. There is no right body for a woman to have. All bodies are good bodies. And they deserve to be appreciated for carrying us through life.”

Interested in a goddess session? Visit stefstrebphoto.com. Check out Stef’s Instagram @stefstreb.

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Getaways

Want to get away? Southwest making it cheap

614Now

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Southwest Airlines is hoping that enough of you are close to feeling safe to leave the house for more than a trip to the grocery store. In a bid to jumpstart their flagging business, Southwest has announced some pretty steep ticket discounts - as low as $49 each way to a host of cities departing from Columbus.

Flights must be booked at least 14 days in advance and travel must happen between May 26 and August 31. Most expect Ohio's 14-day travel quarantine rule to expire by August but be sure to take that into account if you decide to hop on a plane.

Some of the cities and deals we have imagined for you include:

A long weekend in Atlanta: $118 per person roundtrip from Friday, Aug 14 - Sunday the 16th. Keep in mind, it's about 100 degrees in ATL this time of year so be sure to have access to a body of water if you go.

A patriotic, weekend protest in Washington DC: $98 per person roundtrip, 4th of July weekend. See the sights (if they're open to the public) and stand somewhere with a sign with whatever outrage you have in mind.

A long 4th of July beach weekend in Ft. Lauderdale: $198 per person roundtrip from July 3-6 and you can stay at this cute Airbnb apartment that's just one block from the beach for $88/night.

Vegas baby! You're going to have to forget the weekends if you want the great flight deal. But we found August 5-7 available for $198 a person. Plus you can get into the Bellagio for $139 /night right now as an added bonus. Two nights of debauchery, a little gambling and some of the best restaurants in America. What could go wrong?

Of course, traveling may be risky business for some people and this all assumes the respective cities and attractions re-open and are relatively safe. But if you just need to get away, it's probably never been cheaper.

See other flight options here.

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Food & Drink

¡Ándale, check out these 12 Cinco de Mayo fiestas!

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It's hard to imagine a Cinco de Mayo without the traditional tequila-induced hangover. Even though you may not be able to sip those margaritas on a sunny patio or at the bar, local restaurants have figured out a way to help you celebrate at home - margaritas included. Here's the not-so-skinny on living out your tequila and enchilada-fueled dreams.

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In order to bring a bit of normalcy back, we've teamed up with @hornitostequila and @daiquiri_daze_popup to open our doors back up for the day and serve a limited offering of some of the faves for Cinco de Mayo. Offerings include but are not limited to our basic-cable famous salsas and Columbus' most missed margs. A party pack for four will include a Spotify playlist and that good Cosecha pebble ice that MIGHT JUST help to make you feel like you're celebrating on our patio. Online pre-orders will start sometime tomorrow at www.toasttab.com/cosecha-cocina/v3 and go to the day of. Walk-in’s are also welcome! Stay safe Columbus. We miss you dearly. Thank you so, so much for your continued support and we'll see you on the other side. Offerings: • Margaritas - Single (Comes with Salt, Lime, and Pebble Ice) - Traditional - Hornitos Reposado, Dry Curacao, Fresh Lime, Agave $8 - Next Episode - Hornitos SIlver, Dry Curacao, Hibiscus, Habanero, Lime $8 • Chips and Salsas $4 Koki's Chips, Roasted Tomato and Mint and Tomatillo-Avocado salsas Single/Extra Salsa $2 • Sage Margarita Jell-O Shot $2 • Cinco De Mayo Pack for 4 $40 (4) Margaritas of your choice, (2) Orders Chips and Salsas, (4) Jello-O Shots, Spotify Playlist, Ice, Limes, Salt, Super Cool Cactus Decanter • Chicken Tinga Taco Kit for 2 $20 (Pre-Order Only) Chicken Braised in Mild Red Chillies, Corn Tortillas, Avocado Salsa, Pickled Red Onion

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Are you ready to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? This year our Fiesta is at your house with our 5 de Mayo Fiesta Combo 🇲🇽 You can get a combo for 2 or 4 Amigos! Each Amigo gets: • One Queso or Guacamole with fresh chips and Salsa 🧀 🥑 • Three Tacos of your choice (Shredded chicken, ground beef, or Al Pastor)🌮 • Two Lime or Flavored Margaritas We will be also dropping some 5 de Mayo T-Shirts inside some orders as a gift! But you can support our team by purchasing one for $10! *Promo available on 5/5/20 all day. Pick up only • • #eat614 #columbusfoodie #columbusfoodscene #topcolumbusrestaurants #614magazine #614eats #buckeyes #happyhour #mexicanfood #margarita #girlsnightout #tacos #guac #collegegirls #collegelife #restaurant #margarita #asseenincolumbus #college #campus #columbusfoodscene #columbusohio #osugrad #ohiostate #socialdistancing #quarantine #quarantinelife #cincodemayo #togetherasbuckeyes #osugrad

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Things To Do

Flanagan’s has your Saturday night covered with unique drive-in concert

Mike Thomas

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With the usual slate of summer festivals and events cancelled due to the pandemic, we're going to have to get creative if we want to have any fun at all in the weeks to come. In that spirit, the team at Flanagan's Pub in Blacklick is hosting a special drive-in concert this Saturday, May 2, that offers a good time from the relative safety of your own vehicle.

Described as "Sonic, meets drive in movie, meets live concert" on the Flanagan's Facebook page, this special event running from 6PM-9PM on Flanagan's north lawn will feature live music from artist Brad Moore, with full service carry-out food from the pub also available.

Upon arrival, drivers will directed to the field north of Flanagan's parking lot. Attendants will be on hand aid with parking, and to ensure that a proper space is left between vehicles to promote social distancing. From there, servers wearing gloves and masks will deliver a single use menus to each vehicle and handle all carryout orders. Then, it's just a matter of kicking back to enjoy the show (but please take note: Flanagan's requests that all guests at this event remain in their vehicle at all times).

To aid in parking when you arrive, Flanagan's has produced this handy map:

Flanagan's is located at 3001 Reynoldsburg-New Albany Rd in Blacklick. For more information, visit Flanagan's on Facebook, or reach them by phone at (614) 855-7472.

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