LIFE. CHANGING. Those are the only words I can really come up with to explain our trip to Arizona. A few months ago I shared with you about WHY we were going to Arizona, and why I was so excited about it, if you missed that you can check it out here!
Okay, now that you're caught up on the reason we decided to venture to the desert in the middle of summer, I'm SO excited to tell you all about it! Friends, I'll be really honest here: the photography industry is packed with a lot of useless things to spend your money on. I've invested thousands of dollars over the years on things that simply weren't worthwhile, with a few amazing things sprinkled in here and there. Because of that reason, regardless of how much I hoped and prayed that in person coaching with Amy & Jordan would be everything I dreamed it would be, I was fully prepared to be let down to some degree. I mean, I've been saving for this opportunity for a long time now, and over that time I'd built up what this was going to be like in my head. I had HIGH hopes heading to Arizona, combined with really big fears that I'd worked it up to an unachievable standard. What I never expected though, was for it to be even greater and more life-changing than I could have ever dreamed of. That's not an exaggeration friends, not in the slightest. I'm sitting here a full week later and my head is still spinning; my brain hasn't calmed down at all in the last seven days!
We flew into Arizona really late Wednesday night, got a few short hours of sleep, and then we were up bright and early to meet Amy & Jordan at a little breakfast place down the street from their home. And I. Was. NERVOUS. But the moment Amy & Jordan walked in the door, with huge smiles on their faces, they gave me the biggest hugs, and all my nervousness disappeared. Over breakfast we drank insane amounts of coffee and started getting to know each other a little better. Jordan and I bonded over our memories of family dinners growing up where everyone yelled over each other to speak, and you knew to eat as fast as possible if you wanted a chance at seconds; Brandon and Amy bonded over the fact that they had calm sit-down family dinners growing up and both had moms who were killer home decorators! Amy & Jordan made it SO easy to feel comfortable, and we were loving getting to know more about them. But after we finished eating we headed back to their house to start diving into the whole reason for our Arizona vacation; photography coaching.
Oh. My. Goodness, Friends! We dove into every single area of our business, and I was repeatedly amazed by Amy & Jordan's transparency and honesty as they shared their own stories, struggles, and successes! Nothing was off limits. Any question or concern I had about my business was fair game. These two have such amazing hearts for serving others! We talked details about nitty-gritty things, shared big scary dreams, discussed ways to improve areas of our business that had been holding us back, and put a multi-year plan into place to get us from where we are to where we want to be! SO EXCITING!! Plus, Amy & Jordan introduced us to cookie butter. COOKIE BUTTER. Also life changing! And they brought us to Chipotle and In-N-Out Burger, which are quick ways win over our hearts!
Anyways, I won't get into the details too much more, so to sum it up: After 12 full hours with Amy & Jordan, without any breaks (I didn't even check my phone, which is SO rare!), I drove away feeling more empowered, inspired, hopeful, and passionate about my business, and my life, than ever before. We ended our day by grabbing some burgers at In-N-Out, since Montana doesn't have any, and as we sat there I started tearing up. I couldn't help it! My brain and heart were overflowing and nothing I said would have been enough to let Amy & Jordan know just how amazing and meaningful our day with them had been.
THANKFULLY, that wasn't the end! We met up again the following night for Brandon and I's 2 year anniversary session, which you can see more of below!!
This right here is also the first ever #DemosCookieButterIceCreamSandwich - which is basically just a whole lot of amazingness crammed into one photo! Cookie Butter. SO. GOOD. Thankfully they sent us home with our own jar since we can't buy it in Montana!
The rest of our time in Arizona was spent hanging out with one of the most amazing ladies I've ever met; Brandon's grandma Joan! She is the most vivacious woman, and I'm so thankful we got to stay with her and spend time with her. She took us to some seriously fun places, including the Phoenix Zoo, where we got to FEED GIRAFFES!! Yep, you read that right! We got to feel a giraffes tongue wrap around our fingers as it grabbed food from our hands. It was incredible!
We spent the 4th of July at Chase Field, watching the Diamondbacks play the Rockies, which was completed with a spectacular fireworks show that pictures could never do justice!
And since we were in Arizona, we decided a trip to the Grand Canyon was a must since neither of us had ever been! But Amy & Jordan told us that we had to detour in Sedona on our way there, which was most definitely worth it! The Red Rocks are BEAUTIFUL!!
Oh, The Grand Canyon. This place was amazing too! It was surreal how it seemed like this giant painting, and how the colors changed across the whole canyon as the sun shifted throughout the day. Do you wanna hear our secret though? Even though the Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, we'd pick the Montana mountains over it any day! As Brandon put it, "It's grand, and it is a canyon", but it's got nothing on Glacier National Park in our hearts!
And FINALLY, the pictures you've been waiting for, images from our 2nd Anniversary session with Amy & Jordan!!! I can not even begin to tell you how much I love these images of us! Our sesion was H.O.T. Like, really hot! 100+ degress is insane for us mountain dwellers who are used to 9 months of winter and layering no matter what season it is. Within five minutes my hair had started to go curly, as it natrually is, and I didn't even care one bit. By the end my cheeks hurt from laughing so much! We started out at the Botanical Gardens, because they are BEAUTIFUL, and I just wanted a cactus in our desert session - needless to say, this far exceeded that hope!
Then we went to Papago Park, Amy & Jordan wanted to show us their kind of mountains, and it didn't disappoint! We seriously loved it, and if I would have let Brandon he would have stayed there a few extra hours to explore it! Maybe next time, dear!
I'm going to leave you with this one last picture of Brandon and I. My favorite picture of us, maybe ever.
You see that smile? It doesn't make it out for pictures often. I've always felt like my teeth were too small, and I hated my gums showing in pictures, so I have a "photo" smile that I've perfected over the years. This big, cheesy, full on laughter smile, it rarely shows up in our photos. We've got countless images of us that I love and will cherish forever. But this one? When I look at this image I can't help but get overwhelmed with how perfectly it reflects the way I feel about that man standing next to me. The man who makes me laugh like no one else can. Who stands by me through the ups and downs. Who cheers me on, and picks me up when I fall. Who pushes me to new heights, and dares me to go on grand adventures.
I'm SO thankful to have a husband who holds my hands and chases big dreams with me. Because when it comes down to it, my biggest hope for life is that it's one grand adventrue with this guy by my side!
Be sure to check out Amy & Jordan's blog about our time in Arizona too! Just click here to read about how absurd they think it is that the nearest Chipotle to us is two hours away. Oh, Montana, it's a good thing you're gorgeous, because you don't have any In-N-Out Burgers, you have very few Chipotles, and we can't buy cookie butter anywhere in you. But I'll save those rants for another day...