Big News

Ready for some big news? We have been on a journey of changing everything, and a big part of that has been praying about how we can give in big ways. Especially since we came home from Africa and now, we are doing it!
We are excited to announce that we are now going to be donating 100% of every single Lifestyle & Engagement Session to feeding hungry kids in Malawi and surrounding countries. One photo shoot with us is now going to be able to feed 16 kids for a MONTH! 🤯 We are elated to be in a position to be able to do this, and we hope to feed hundreds of children this way. What’s better? With the meals that will be distributed, the children also have access to a daily education. We are proud to be partnered with #nourishthechildren in this way and are SO excited to be in a position to use this platform as a way to make a huge difference. This is not a temporary change. This is something we believe in, and are committing the rest of our career to. 
Will you join us? Let’s create some photo magic and in turn, feed as many kids as we can! To book, email us at hello@jayandjess.com.

JayandJess.jpg

Day Trip To Sedona, Arizona

Do you ever live inside of moments and think, "These are the days of our lives."?

I do, almost every single day. Through the good, bad, come hell or high water I realize that these days are a true gift.

But even MORE so on days like THIS one, I reflect and am so thankful for this adventure life and this family that we created together. Every day is a true gift.

We went up to Sedona, Arizona for a little day trip. Jay wanted to hike Westfork Trail with the kids, and I knew they would love it. We've photographed many shoots there (like THIS one, THIS one, and THIS one, to name a few!) and we have fallen in love with it through the years. We knew our kids would too.

So we spent the day up there! We left Phoenix around 9:00am, had a picnic lunch right outside RESORT NAME and threw a frisbee. The kids loved chasing the lizards and bugs. We rested in hammocks and romped through the peaceful labyrinth. 

After lunch we packed up the car and drove about 15 minutes north of there to Westfork, where we hiked, checked out the apple orchards, the bugs, romped in the creek and got our shoes sandy and muddy. We laughed, we snacked, we spent the entire day outside.

My favorite days are ones spent entirely outside.

After we hiked the trail, we headed to Dairy Queen and had ice cream before dinner. Then we headed to dinner and then we were on our way home. We were walking back in the door by 9:00pm and tucked everyone immediately into bed.

If you ever get a chance to sneak away to Sedona to hike Westfork, or to spend time up there, DO IT. It is a gift. It was a day or retreat, calming and being with family.

Here's a few shots from the day. It was a day to remember for us, and a good reminder that if you can't plan an epic vacation, there's a lot to explore only a couple of hours away. We packed food and only spent money on gas, ice cream and dinner. It was affordable and MUCH MORE memorable than we ever could have hoped for. Was it a lot of work? Well, ya kinda. But all good things take hard work and the memories we made together was worth it times a hundred.

Arizona is pretty cool like that. But it's not COOL, if you get what I'm putting down. #hotterthanhell

To see more photos we took during the day, check out our Stories on Instagram! You'll see the highlight there labeled, Sedona. It's all there!

Who We Are

We are a fun bunch.

A family who loves hard, plays hard and lives loudly. We are adventurous in that we love the open road, traveling to new places and seeing new things. We live in the city but love the mountains. We live in the desert but love places that are greener.

We have three kids who we love more than life itself. They make life fun and an even bigger adventure! People always said that kids would tie us down, and to some extend, having children DO ground you a little bit. BUT, we have found that the opposite has happened. Life truly started once these wonderful little humans joined our lives, and while it's not easy to be parents, we love every aspect that they have changed our lives. They make life exciting, fun and seriously exhausting, but we wouldn't change a single thing. We love adventuring with these three.

Jason and I are photographers and have graciously transitioned out of photographing weddings full time. We still plan to do a very small handful every year, but we are no longer desiring to photograph weddings every single weekend. While we loved the wedding industry, there was something deep inside us that desired more. We desired evenings and weekends WITH our kids. We desired to take photos of OUR family, and to make time to actually see them. To be photographers more so on our terms than on the calendar that weddings provided. To travel when we wanted to and not just for work. It wasn't an easy decision; we walked away from photographing 30+ weddings a year, a "stable" income, clients galore, traveling opportunities, and we created beautiful images that people around the world love.

What we wanted, was to create a life that we were really passionate about, and that is our family. Starting to pave this new path hasn't been easy, but when our kids cheered to hear that we weren't photographing weddings any longer, we knew we were on the right path. 

Sometimes the path less traveled really is worth it. It's scary as all get out, but as soon as we stepped into our new normal, we knew it felt right and we knew this is where we were supposed to be.

So we are journeying a new path with our family. Creating adventure in the daily mundane and in the wildest of opportunities too. Taking this opportunity to remind all of you that you CAN pave a new path if you are unhappy where you are. Or even if you're not unhappy, if it doesn't fit for your family anymore, there CAN be a new way. Life is an adventure. Every single day should be treated as that, and we are taking every opportunity to see it as that. 

williamsfamily

Sun City Resort

We were SO blessed to spend some time in South Africa this last spring.

And by "some time", I mean an ALL EXPENSES PAID trip from the company that we've partnered with to thank us for all our hard work in working with their brand.

Talk about a total dream!

We will be sharing more in pieces as we go about our time there. There is way too much to share in one single post. But today we want to just mention the resort that we stayed at.

Sun City Resort in South Africa was the most supreme destination that we could have ever asked for! We are only sorry we didn't take more photos! The grounds were stunning, the pools were incredible, the food and drinks were amazing AND there were monkey's everywhere!

southafricanmonkey

We thought that was too cool.

It couldn't have been a more marvelous trip, honestly. If you ever get a chance to go to Sun City Resort in South Africa, you need to go. Not to mention, the movie Blended was filmed there with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore!

How awesome is that??

So make sure to check it out. Not only was it a great place to stay, but we never had to leave. All the excursions were taken care of through the hotel, all of our meals were covered there, shopping was available, the pools, massages, salons and more. It was a total dream and we could only hope and wish to go back someday!

Have you been there? What was your favorite part?

SouthAfrica
Nu Skin Success Trip 2018 _ South Africa-1229.jpg
southafricarhino

Powerlips

When I'm about to head out for the evening, I NEVER go without this product on my lips. Seriously, it's sort of like an addiction that I can't cut, Nor do I want to.

I mean, why would you? 

Powerlips hit the market last August and changed the landscape of how lipstick is worn! Not only is it good for your lips, but it lasts for hours. Truly, HOURS. No reapplying, no gloss to keep it not, no burning sensation, no fading, no bleeding, no feathering.

Ain't nobody got TIME.

I use Powerlips daily now, as it's my go to for any occasion. The array of colors are beautiful AND there are MORE to come in the coming months! I have yet to see any of these colors that aren't good on every single person who tries it, and everyone who's tried it, loves them. 

They don't dry out your lips, they have good ingredients like Vitamin E, beeswax, avocado oil- to name a few. It's long lasting, and bonus? It's a THIRD of the price of competitors. Check it out for yourself! 

You can't go wrong here. If you're looking for a new lip shade for your next adventure, give a Powerlips a try! If you spend $49 or more, you'll get free shipping. So stock up- the colors are SO fun to mix and match and you'll want options.

You can purchase all of the Powerlips HERE. Want to try one for FREE? Message me and I'll hook you up with the exchange of a quick favor.

*I'm wearing Ruler in the photo above, my FAV.*

In Africa, We Wait

We went to South Africa last March.

I can't even believe that I am still able to type that. It seems surreal that we went, as we have talked about visiting another country our ENTIRE married life. We never had the money, the time, the knowledge. But this last March, we earned an all expenses paid trip with the company that we have partnered with and it was seriously incredible.

Expect lots of stories and photos in the coming months.

While we were there, we went on four different safaris, we rode elephants, and we did a safari on quads. We will never know exactly when we will be back in South Africa, so we wanted to make sure to maximize our time there if we could. 

And BOY did we.

One of the morning safaris, we had a guide who had been a guide there for about eight years. He had studied the animals, spent a lot of time on the land and grew up in South Africa. He took us ALL over that desert and we saw all kinds of animals. It was truly amazing, especially since the animals were all out and active in the morning. 

At about 7:30 am, he raced over to a spot nearby the watering hole. He knew that the elephants come down this certain path EVERY single day around this time in the morning and he knew we would get an amazing view of them walking right along the path in front of us to get water. The only challenge, he told us, is that they're wild animals. So even though they do this every single day, it's not a guarentee. But he knew that if we were just patient enough, it would happen. He parked along the side of the road, turned off the jeep engine and we sat in silence. South African safari silence.

"In Africa, we wait.", he said.

I will never forget it. And we did wait. We sat and listened to the bugs waking up. We whispered to one another. We snapped photos of the scenery. We waited. Everything is slower there, he was right. But what he knew, was that if we waited- truly WAITED- it would be very, very worth it.

Before we knew it, we could hear the elephants coming. And what happened next was truly one of the most magical things I have ever witnessed. 

southafricanelephants

The entire herd of elephants, three little ones included, slowly walked together through the brush, down the path and directly in front of us. One step at a time, quietly in step with one another, for their morning drink. They crossed the road and we sat and watched them bathe, roll in the water, drink, spray each other and it was remarkable.

southafricanelephants
southafricanelephants
southafricanelephants

It's amazing what can happen during our waiting. It's incredible what can come OF our waiting. It's not easy to wait. In other parts of the world, they know how to do it. It's part of their daily life. But where we live? It's hard to wait. But when we do, when we truly sit in waiting with the Lord, looking at everything He's placed before us in anticipation of what's to come with our eyes open and ready, we won't miss it. 

He longs to bless us with so much and we can miss it in a hurry. When we wait, we are slowing down and resting our spirit on what God's plan is for us that day.

I will never forget him saying, "In Africa, we wait."

It wasn't an option in that moment. We were fully at his mercy to wait. We could have thrown a fit or gotten mad. We could have questioned him or shaken our fists. But he knew what he was doing and he knew it would be worth it.

The wait may not always seem like it's going to be worth it. But it always is. It ALWAYS IS. When we wait on the Lord, even in the small stuff, you never know what He might bring down your path. And if you're in a hurry, you're going to miss it.

Don't miss it.

Wait on him. Wait for the miracle. Expect the extraordinary in your waiting. Listen for him. watch for him and quiet your heart. 

"In Africa, we wait."

As we wait on the Lord, be encouraged. He sees your miracle coming. All you need to do is be still.

Traveling With Your Kids

Teach them to love adventure.

From the first few weeks of all of our kiddos lives, we made it a point to start taking road trips. We LOVE to road trip and we knew from the time that they were itty bittys, that we would begin fostering a love for travel into their little spirits.

And it has worked.

They LOVE to travel. We head up north as much as we can to play in the woods, climb on tree trunks, find pine cones and just breath the fresh air. Escaping to cooler weather and creating memories along the way.

We've heard people say for years that they are going to wait to travel until their kids are bigger. And we say, take them NOW. Yes, it's more work. Yes, it's exhausting. Yes, it's hard. We have some crazy stories about how challenging it was to get everyone packed into the car and onto the road, about how the all got sick mid trip or didn't sleep at all. But even in the times that it didn't FEEL like it was worth it, looking back now we realize that it always was.

We have amazing photos of ALL of the moments captured- good and bad. We have memories of our times together and they have grown up learning how to be flexible, roll with the flow, and how to be bored in the forest.

We have no regrets.

If you have reservations about traveling with your kids, take it from us. Get up and go, don't wait another minute to live your life with your family. Even if it's only an hour or so away, DO IT. Create those memories and those family bonds that only you can do by adventuring together.

Your kids will love it and will grow to love it even more.

Travel Bug

We spent last summer traveling. All kinds of traveling. Road trips, air trips, day trips, across the country trips, trips to Trader Joe's.

Man, you could get lost in a Trader Joe's.

But we spent the summer of 2017 seeing some pretty amazing parts of the country. And while we both have only left the country once (more on that soon!), we always have a huge desire to travel the US. Last summer we spent time in Utah, California, Seattle, Boston, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and small towns in Northern Arizona. It was an incredible summer.

What an amazing country we have, amiright? It's diverse, beautiful and there is so much to do here.

We spend our days and nights working right now, so hopefully we can travel the country and the globe however we would like. Our itch to take our kids on trips around the country and the world is strong. To take a year off and travel the world, photographing it all and educating our kids during the journey would be the dream.

This summer looks a little bit different, but we are still exploring many parts of Arizona and planning amazing things to do this summer. Camping is a great way to save some money and to still "get away". And although I wouldn't camp in the desert right now, personally, taking a camper up north would absolutely be something we'd consider doing.

But only in a camper because mama doesn't camp in a tent, just saying.

Where is it that you dream about traveling to? Do you have any epic plans this summer? Comment below and let us hear it! We are always looking for new places to visit and explore!

desertairstream
desertairstream
desertairstream

**This amazing camper belongs to a really good friend of ours. If you're interested in the rental rates, please contact us at hello@jayandjess.com and we'll connect you with the owner.