The Magic of Pausing: Rethinking Your Life and Counting Your Victories

In the busy world of everyday activities, it is very easy to forget about what we have achieved and what we want our lives to be like. We are often on a treadmill that keeps moving us ahead but not necessarily in the direction of our real desires. This is where the magic of pausing comes in. A moment for stopping, reevaluating, and reflecting is quite transformative. It helps us count our wins and re-adjust our ways to ensure that we are making progress towards the life we actually desire.

The Value of Pausing

Pausing does not mean only ceasing activities; it creates room for thinking deeply or doing some self-evaluation. The world today moves at a fast pace; therefore, taking breaks looks as if one is slowing down their progress. However, these are moments where things become clearer and the burden of daily activities fades in the long run. These are reasons why pausing is important:

  1. Mental Clarity: Constant activity can cloud our judgment and decision-making abilities. Pausing helps clear the mental clutter, allowing us to think more clearly.
  2. Stress Reduction: Taking a break reduces stress and prevents burnout. It gives our mind and body time to recover and rejuvenate.
  3. Perspective: Stepping back from our daily routines provides a fresh perspective on our challenges and goals. It helps us see the bigger picture and evaluate our progress objectively.

Reassessing Your Life

Once you’ve taken the time to pause, the next step is to reassess your life. This is a big one and often scary. It involves evaluating where you are currently and where you want to be. Ask yourself:

  • What are my core values and goals?
  • Am I living in alignment with these values and goals?
  • What areas of my life need more attention or change?

Reevaluating helps identify gaps between your current reality and your desired future. It’s a vital step in making decisions about what to prioritize and what changes need to be made.

Counting Your Wins

Amidst the hustle, we often overlook our successes. Counting your wins, no matter how small, is crucial for maintaining motivation and a positive mindset. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Reflect Daily: At the end of each day, take a few minutes to reflect on your achievements. They can be as simple as completing a task, learning something new, or making someone smile.
  • Keep a Gratitude Journal: Write down your wins and things you’re grateful for. This practice helps reinforce a positive outlook and reminds you of your progress.
  • Celebrate Milestones: Acknowledge and celebrate significant milestones. Rewarding yourself reinforces positive behaviour and keeps you motivated.

Getting the Life You Want

By pausing, reassessing, and counting your wins, you are better equipped to design the life you want. Here are some steps to help you get there:

  1. Set Clear Goals: Define what success looks like for you. Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.
  2. Create a Plan: Develop a step-by-step plan to achieve your goals. Break down big goals into smaller, manageable tasks.
  3. Stay Flexible: Life is unpredictable. Be prepared to adjust your plans as needed while keeping your end goals in sight.
  4. Seek Support: Surround yourself with positive influences and seek support from friends, family, or mentors. They can provide guidance and encouragement.
  5. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself. Understand that setbacks are part of the journey. Learn from them and keep moving forward.

The journey to achieving the life you want starts with a simple pause. By taking the time to reflect, reassess, and count your wins, you empower yourself to make informed decisions and align your actions with your true desires. Remember, life is not just about reaching the destination but also about appreciating the journey. So, take a deep breath, pause, and embrace the power of reflection. Your future self will thank you for it.

How do you choose a photographer

Why might you need a photographer, you ask?

In today’s world of smartphones and the evolving realm of photography, this question might seem perplexing. Why invest in a portrait photographer when you can snap a picture with your phone and share it on social media? Isn’t that what matters most nowadays?

Here at Cristina Stoian Portraits in Amsterdam, our mission goes beyond simply providing beautiful images. While our photography is undeniably stunning, it’s also profoundly impactful. It’s about more than just taking pictures—it’s about shaping perceptions. How do you want the world to see you? How do you envision yourself being captured? When was the last time you felt empowered in your own skin?

Think about the portraits of your grandparents and great-grandparents. What do they represent? They’re not just pieces of paper tucked away in albums; they’re a testament to your history, your lineage, and your legacy from those who’ve cherished you. That’s why you’re seeking a photographer and not just any photographer. You’re searching for someone who understands not only the technical aspects but also the art of connection during a shoot. Someone who can capture your essence and create artwork that reflects the beauty seen by those who love you most.

When is the right time for a professional portrait photographer?

You need one when you’re commemorating a milestone or a cherished relationship—whether it’s with your mother, daughter, sister, or best friend. You need a professional when you’re ready to create timeless artwork that your descendants will treasure. You need one when you want to capture and celebrate your family’s love today, creating heirlooms that adorn your walls and remind your children of the love surrounding them.

How do you choose a portrait photographer?

It takes research. Explore galleries of photographers in your area whose work resonates with you. Reach out to discuss your vision and the types of artwork you’re considering. Talk about products, service steps, pricing, and delivery methods. Educate yourself on your options before making an informed decision.

As for us at Cristina Stoian Portraits, we hope you’ll consider us for your portraiture needs. Check out our Q&A page for insights into our process, and feel free to contact us for a personal consultation.

Contemporary portraiture lies at the heart of our business. Capturing women at every stage of life, highlighting their beauty, and celebrating their legacy is our passion. I’m Cristina Stoian, and my work has been described as Celebratory, Feminine, and Beautiful. All-encompassing. Seeing the different sides of femininity. Not one-sided but many different faceted. I treat each client and session with the utmost care and attention to detail.

Why schedule a portrait session?

Because you deserve more than simply checking tasks off your list. Being photographed at your best is liberating. From the style consultation to the final click of the camera, it’s about embracing your confidence and beauty. Investing in yourself means recognizing your value and teaching your daughters the same.

Who do we serve?

Primarily, we work with women—though we’re not exclusive. Our clients wear many hats, they’re busy, decisive, and value-driven. They’re seekers of deeper meaning, and they understand the importance of self-discovery.

What will you gain?

You’ll rediscover your beauty and embrace it with confidence. Let’s embark on this journey together and find that inner spark once again.

If you find yourself resonating with our approach and we haven’t had the chance to connect, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re eager for the opportunity to capture your essence through our lens.






What is your photography style?
My work is feminine, timeless and insightful, creating beautiful pieces of art.
I stand for women’s rounded self, powerful, dramatic and natural, it all deserves to be seen.


Who will photograph my sessions?
All photo sessions are photographed by me, Cristina Stoian, female photographer;


Where does the shoot take place?
Shoots are located at my studio. I have created an environment that is the most relaxing and warm for you to enjoy your photo shoot. Big studios and huge lights can be overwhelming and clearly does not create intimacy between photographer and client.


Are the women on your website models?
No, all the women on my website are clients and most of them have never had shoots before.


How long does a session last?
The Glamour Experience includes hair and makeup and will last 4-5 hours in total.


Who can I bring along at the photoshoot? 
If you would like to share the experience with your mum, daughter, sister, friend, you are welcome to invite them into the shoot. Make it a girls day out!

What will I gain from having a Portrait Session?

Lots of women are nervous when they first speak to me about having their portraits taken.  Afterward, I hear them saying “That is one of the best things I have ever done for myself”. Some, have portrait sessions for the man in their lives, others have them just for themselves… As women, we are so hard on ourselves and are often our own harshest critics. The self-confidence and self-esteem that can be gained from a portrait shoot are amazing.

One of my favourite parts of a portrait session is speaking to clients after they have viewed their images when they realise; actually, yes, they are beautiful, powerful, even sexy. “l  feel beautiful, powerful, renewed, empowered. It changed the way I see myself. Re-connecting with my Big Self, powerful, sexy, unstoppable. Amazing!” Blanca Vergara


How long should I book before my shoot?
If you want to give the folio box or prints as a gift, I would recommend booking 2 weeks in advance. It takes about 15 days to invite you to the reveal session, where you will pick your prints.


Do you retouch the images?
Yes, all your images are retouched, spots and blemishes are removed unless stated otherwise.


Do you offer hair styling and make-up?
Yes, definitely, I work with a wonderful, talented team of hair and make-up artists, which I trust with my image and yours.


What if I am not happy with my figure?
A question asked by so many women. “I am not ready yet. I need to lose 25 kilos before my session.” If we all waited until we lost weight and looked perfect we could be waiting a long time..everyone has perfections and imperfections that is what makes us unique. My job as a Portrait Photographer is to emphasize your many positives and to minimise any areas you may feel self-conscious about, through smart posing and direction.


What do I bring to the session?
I normally suggest about 4-5 outfits that work for you. All this is discussed in the consultation session.


How will I know how to pose?
I will work with you and show you the poses that will work for you and your body. I will direct your poses and you don’t need to have any prior experience.


When do I pick up my photos?
15 days after your shoot there will be a face-to-face session at my studio, I call the “Reveal”, where you will get to pick your printed and matted photos. How many you buy, it’s up to you.


Contact page

You can call me to discuss packages and any questions or queries about the shoot in more detail.

Feeling good in your own skin

How often do we look in the mirror and all we can see is our imperfections?
What would it give for you to see your qualities first instead of hearing your judging voice?
Transform what you see in your mind and half of the problem is solved already.
Make peace with who you are and what you look like and start loving yourself a bit more.
Once you focus on the beautiful part, the rest follows along and once you feel good, you look your best. I think this it’s hormonal, at the cell level.
So do a happy dance in front of the mirror, pick some angel cards, light a candle, put on makeup, do whatever makes you feel good and you will see a difference!
A lot of people never make peace with who they are. They are in a constant battle with themselves, always trying to change something about their appearance.

It’s not easy to love yourself when the world is constantly telling you that you’re not good enough. But you have to start somewhere.

Just look in the mirror and find one thing that you like about yourself. It can be anything, no matter how small. And then build from there.
Remember, there is no one else like you in this world. You are unique and special, just the way you are. So love yourself… today and always.

Why I do what I do

What is it about empowering women that makes me so motivated?


For once, it’s great to see women are more than just a pretty face, and finally have their ideas and creativity start coming forward.
Women have finally more space to develop and grow themselves and this is a big leap forward, we have the means and the brains to do it, so why not do it?


Going your own way is something that I admire, wanting to prove to the world you have a better method, invented a new process, created a new program and have the courage to start something on your own. Then, having the courage to put your work out there, owning your ideas, and publish your work, is not something to be taken lightly. It takes guts and I know how hard it is.


I want to show women to the world… it’s time to be seen. Time to prove to the world we are here too and that we have a new way of doing things. Our own feminine way. Powerful in many ways.


As a portrait photographer, I photograph energy, female energy not surprisingly is very different from our counterparts, not better or worse, but different. I am very happy to see that slowly women start to accept themselves more, start to take care of themselves more, and start to see themselves as an individual rather than a function. Sure you are still the mother, wife, businesswoman, or professional, but you are also a woman. This side is what I want to photograph, I want to show you – you in a way that is stripped from all your functions and duties. This is what I want to empower and grow in my business.


What is it about empowering women that makes me so motivated?  I could list a million things but I think it all boils down to one main point: empowerment leads to confidence. And confidence is the key to success. And I want women to succeed.


When you have the courage to be yourself and love yourself for who you are, that’s when true greatness can be achieved. So often we allow our insecurities and self-doubt to hold us back from reaching our full potential. But when we empower ourselves, those negative voices are no longer in control. We are in control. And that is an incredibly empowering feeling.


So how can we empower women? There are many ways but I think it starts with having the courage to be ourselves and loving ourselves for who we are. When we do this, we give other women permission to do the same. We become a force of positivity and empowerment. And that is something we can all benefit from.
So let’s start today. Let’s have the courage to be ourselves and love ourselves for who we are. It’s time for us to experience true empowerment. And when we do, we will engage with the world in a whole new way. We will be confident, bold, and fearless. We will be unstoppable.


For once, it’s great to see women are more than a pretty face, and finally, their ideas start coming forwards.


It’s time for us to love ourselves unconditionally and be proud of who we are. We need to have the courage to be ourselves, and not let anyone else tell us who we should be. We deserve to experience true empowerment, and when we do, we will engage with the world in a whole new way. We will be confident, bold, and fearless. We will be unstoppable.


There will be people who will try to bring you down, who will criticise your work and try to tell you that you’re not good enough. But don’t listen to them. You are good enough. You are more than enough. And you have what it takes to succeed.


So go out there and be brave. Be bold. Go after your dreams. And never, ever give up on yourself. Remember, you are amazing just the way you are. And the world needs your unique gifts, so don’t be afraid to share them with us. Thank you for being here and for being YOU!

Are you ready to set yourself for success?


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I can conquer the world

The moment you open up and show yourself to the world, show who you really are, your whole world changes.
The feeling you can conquer the world. The feeling I can do it all, everything is possible. When you realize all the fears you had, all the thoughts, the worries, it’s all in your head. It’s how you look at things and what you focus on.
Don’t let the little wrinkle that appears on your face influence how you look at yourself. Don’t make it bigger than it is. It’s how you look at things and what you focus on.
The moment you realize all the fears you had, all the thoughts, the worries, it’s all in your head.
 You start to see things differently, you become more confident and everything seems possible. You can do anything you set your mind to. The sky is the limit, and you are the only one who can hold yourself back. So go out there and conquer the world, because it’s yours for the taking!
When you focus on the good, the positive, things will start to change for the better. You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve and conquer when you put your mind to it. You have to believe in yourself first before anyone else will.
It all starts with your mindset. Prove to yourself that you can do it. Because once you do, there’s nothing stopping you. You can achieve anything you set your mind to.
So go out there and show the world what you’re made of!  Just believe in yourself and conquer the world.
Lets connect.

The Joy of Living with Confidence


Confidence means knowing that you have the ability to get the job done. It starts from there. Being confident you can do it.

It’s a mix of knowing and doing that gets you more confident. 

1 Stand tall, legs apart shoulders length, and imagine an invisible string pulling you up from the top of your head. Feet steadily grounded, even more, imagine they create roots in the ground. This is the position to feel powerful and think about your task ahead. Think about your goals or mission for the week and clearly state what you want to achieve.


2 Take care of yourself. Allow yourself the time you need for yourself. Put down on paper your favourite activities and pick at least one a day. I do 5 a week.


3 Think of yourself today compared to yourself 5 years ago. Are you happy with your progress? Have you improved in any way, topic, skill, healed some wounds, or closed some chapters? When you compare yourself with others, there is little chance of getting to know and grow you, other’s paths have nothing to do with yours, compare yourself if you like with your younger self to notice the growth.


4 Listen to yourself. There is the mind and there is the heart. The mind is easier to listen to, it talks to you all day long. Make an effort to quiet the mind and feel the heart. Is she happy? She’s the true manager of your life. Your mind is a poor negotiator, while your heart, your heart is your true soul guide in life. Are you guys in line?


5 Look around at your support system. Are you happy with the ones around you? This can be family, friends, or network. Do you feel part of it all? Are you confident in asking for help? This is an important aspect of confidence, to know someone has your back. If not, you have back aches, and you cannot stand tall, see point 1. Simple no?


6 How do you feel about your body growing older? This is something lots of people struggle with, they have an image about themselves, which is a lot of the time inaccurate. We tend to focus too much on the saggy parts, forgetting there’s still a sparkle in our eyes. I’ve seen people feeling sexy at 60, and when I look at them, I certainly have never noticed their saggy bits.


7 Your energy is your energy. You can raise your frequency (like when you’re excited) or you can stay balanced. This decision is yours. It belongs to you and you’re in charge of your own timing. Don’t let anyone misbalance you, pushing you in a way you don’t want to. Staying in control of yourself as your own energy is one of the most powerful things you can do.


8 Confidence is awarded to you when you help other people. If you focus your energy on someone else that is in need, for a change, you will feel good about yourself, you would have learned something new and you would have empowered someone. Paying it forward is a strong source of confidence.


9 Discover the things that make you you. Give them names and put them on paper. Write things like Compassionate, Curious, Content, Congruent, Resilient, Present, Strong, Sharp. Come back to this list and add more.  Be proud of who you are every day.


10 Honour your roots. They made you who you are. Good or bad, it is where you are now and this is how you got there. Accept it, say thank you, and look forward. This is part of you.
Bonus: Hang a photo of yourself, where you can see it every day. A photo which you are proud of and think is ‘me at my best’. A visual is worth more than a thousand words, it’s your imagination made real. Your mirror avatar.
This is who I am and this is how I feel like. I am strong and resilient, I am here to serve humanity the best I can. I am here to help myself grow and move forward in my quest for becoming the best version of myself. I am joy. I decide to be happy every day. I take time off for myself when life becomes too much, I come back into the world much stronger. I find Home in myself.

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I am worthy

The other day I was taking a portrait of a wonderful strong beautiful woman, who survived the brutal C. She lived her life being of service to her family and yet at 50, she was doing this photoshoot for herself, doing a photo shoot for the first time, doing something for herself.

She was still not sure this was something she deserves, as she received this photo session as a gift from her husband for her anniversary and had to be convinced to do it even though she has been thinking about it for a while.

My heart is still shattered in pieces knowing that in this world, people feel less than, not worthy of, not being good/beautiful/insert adjective here.

How do we get to a point where we realize our own worth? That we are worthy of love and respect, just because we exist. Not because of what we do or don’t do, but simply because we are.

It is my hope that this woman sees herself through my lens, the way I see her. Worthy, whole, and complete. Just as she is. Worthy of love, respect, and admiration. Simply because she is her.

 As you embark on this new journey. Please repeat this mantra after me: “I am worthy of good things and I deserve to treat myself well. This photoshoot is a reflection of that belief. It’s a chance to step outside of my comfort zone and do something that makes me feel good.

I’m excited to see how this turns out, not just because of the end result, but because of the process. This is an opportunity to connect with myself in a new way and create something beautiful. Whatever happens, I know that I am worthy and deserving of love and care.”

Marianne Williamson’s words ring true for me.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.“ – Marianne Williamson

Are you ready to realise your own worth?

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Dare to be yourself

With things opening and everyone starting to mingle more and be social, it seems that not everyone is on the same page with “coming out” of the hibernation mode. Many of us became adjusted to isolation and have anxiety about showing up in the world again.  Mental health, poor nutrition, unhealthy choices and lack of self-care all play a part in this.

Give yourself time and be kind to yourself.  There’s no need to put on any hats you don’t want to.

How many times you hear you have to be loud and be out there and hustle to get your job done.

I’m here to tell you there’s another way, one more kind, more closer to who you are. I call it the quiet storm. Just because you’re the quiet type, it does not mean you’re not powerful. In fact, whenever we whisper, people stop what they’re doing and start listening, like you’re going to say something magic. Try it next time.

Being kind wins over every time. So why not be authentically you and show your gentle power instead of someone you’re not.

Schedule a chat with me and we will start designing your glamour experience.

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