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. 

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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!

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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?

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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!

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**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.