Jessica Hickerson Photography » Blog

Well, we did it. We survived the “fourth trimester”: three whole months with Dylan Bailey. I could write all day about how perfect my angel baby is and how we are completely obsessed with her. If you follow me on Instagram you already know this (and sorry). But instead I want to share an honest post about what motherhood really looks like.
To sum it up in one word: Overwhelming.
Every day is a new change, a new challenge, and a new lesson. One thing I’ve felt from the very beginning is completely overwhelmed. Mostly in a good way; with love, with joy, with this new responsibility. But at times I’m overwhelmed in the negative sense of the word, though those days are few and far between.
The first month was the happiest and the hardest. Sam and I would just look at each other and say “I’m so happy!” because our family was finally complete and we could feel it. But then he went back to work and I was all alone as a stay at home mom, something I claimed never wanted to be. (Yes I know that sounds ridiculous because every mom is a SAHM for at least the first few weeks.) I fell into a haze and that made me feel like I was loosing my identity. I hardly slept and had to feed Dylan every couple hours, but I was so completely obsessed with her that I couldn’t leave her side for more than a few minutes. That left no time for the little things that made me me, like waking up early in the mornings, going for a run on the beach, sitting in a coffee shop and editing, or even eating a meal uninterrupted.
Then suddenly I found the “Reset” button- I actually remember the exact moment it happened. I planned Dylan’s morning feeding perfectly, left the house early, and took her for a nap time walk in the stroller at the beach with a hot cup of coffee in hand. The fog in my brain cleared. I actually had a moment where I missed working and remembered to catch up on texts and emails that had been forgotten for days. Then I made it home before she woke up and needed to eat again. I had everything under control and it felt GOOD. It sounds silly but that little victory gave me so much confidence. Now there are hardly any days where I say “I can’t do this” because there is no doubt in my mind that I was meant to be her mama. Even with the constant changes (growth spurts, schedules, etc.) she really makes it easy for me by matching my newfound calm nature with her own even sweeter version.
Over the next couple of months we really found our rhythm. Most mornings she wakes up with a smile on her face. If she ever cries its probably because she is hungry, and as soon as I feed her she stares at me with those big dark eyes and everything is okay.  Sam and I have kept up our fast paced lifestyle with weekly trips to the beach, dinners out, and even a couple road trips, and Dylan is happily along for the ride. But as much as I love the “busy” times, I’ve really surprised myself with being able to do absolutely nothing all day other than hold her and watch her sleep and still feel completely fulfilled. When we have those rare rough days, something new happens (like her first laugh- oh my heart) and it doesn’t matter. I still am missing pieces of my old self but have replaced them with a new identity. Her mama.
With all of the love I have for this identity, I have to admit something: one of the first things I said when she was born was “I’m NEVER doing that again!!” I went from wanting allllll the babies, to absolutely no more ever. I’m terrified of experiencing pregnancy and labor again, though I’m told I’ll eventually forget the bad parts and only remember the good. But my biggest fear is that I don’t know if I’m capable of loving more than one baby. Because I love her so much. Like, so so much. My heart is already ready to explode. And yes its very strange to already be thinking about adding to our family but I think a big part of becoming a mama is making a lot of scary decisions. Is just one enough for us? or two, close together or years apart? putting it off for as long as possible? I still can only imagine life with Dylan. I’m interested to see how (if?) my heart changes.
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Its been a fun ride so far and I feel like I learn more every day.
Here are just a few things I’ve learned about motherhood so far…

• You should never post a picture of your baby bragging about getting them down for a nap. Just don’t. Because they are pretty much guaranteed to wake up a second later

• Mom arm is a real thing (My arms are more toned now than when I used to weight lift 3x a week haha!) So is mom bod. But I’ve learned to love & accept my pooch since its perfect for standing on- like a built in Boppy.

• Speaking of Boppys, baby items have the craziest names. Boppy, wubba nub, nosa frida, lovey, bumpo…

• Parents cheer on their baby’s poops. It’s super weird but whatareyagonnado?

• Baby things are SO EXPENSIVE. Which I already knew, but what really surprised me is that resale value on the best of the best items is almost the same as retail.

• I can function on basically no sleep and sleeping 4 hours straight makes me feel completely refreshed.

• You AND your baby will go through multiple outfits a day. Being covered in poop and barf doesn’t faze me one bit anymore.

• The laundry can wait. The dishes will be there tomorrow. Its okay to order dinner three nights in a row. What’s important is soaking in every single moment of holding that tiny human and watching them grow, because if there is one lesson I’ve learned its that babies don’t keep.

 

 

Photo by Bernadette Madden
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Its time for my THIRD Annual Wedding Photography Giveaway! My 2017 season is wrapping up (how is it mid-September already??) and I’m really looking forward to the intimate weddings, elopements, and whatever other adventures end up in front of my lens in the next year. Its going to be a good one.

Back in 2015 when I gave away wedding photography coverage for the first time, I definitely didn’t expect it to become an annual thing. However, I was so happy being able to give back to the “wedding world” that I care so much about that I just can’t stop! The couples that won were so incredibly deserving + gracious.

The first year Ari & Chase won the giveaway and I photographed their camp wedding in Flagstaff, AZ in September 2016:

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A month later I was inspired to do the giveaway for a second time, and Anna and David were the winners. I photographed their intimate wedding in Big Bear, CA this past May:big-bear-intimate-cabin-wedding-51pinthis

So if you are getting married in 2018, lets do this thing!! See the details below to find out every last detail about entering this exciting giveaway!

What do you win:

One lucky couple will receive a complimentary wedding photography package valued at $4,000:

• 8 hours of wedding day coverage by Jessica Hickerson

• high-resolution, edited images

• 10 year online gallery

Entries will be accepted on Instagram from Monday September 11th to Friday September 15th. Please make sure you are available via phone or email on the 17th and 18th to answer questions I might have (to make sure I would be the right fit for your day!). The winner will be announced Monday September 18th.

How to enter:

  1. Follow me on Instagram and “like” the original giveaway post
  2. Post a new photo of you and your fiancé and share a bit about your story + your wedding plans
  3. Tag me (@jessicahickerson) in the photo and use the hashtag #2018hickersongiveaway
  4. Email me at jessica@jessicahickerson.com with your full wedding details and contact information

The fine print:

In order to enter, you must be at least 18 years old and getting married sometime in 2018. Please already have a date + venue booked or be able to select one by the time the giveaway ends.  (And obviously it must be a day that I am not already booked!) If you have already booked OR inquired with me as your wedding photographer, you are not eligible for this contest.

While this giveaway is open to anyone in the US to enter, wedding or elopements more than 50 miles outside of Los Angeles are subject to travel fees. The winner will be selected by Jessica Hickerson and then announced on Instagram on September 18th as well as notified via email. If they choose not to accept the prize, Jessica will choose an alternative recipient.

By participating in this wedding photography giveaway, you agree to be bound by these official rules.  By entering you hereby warrant that all information submitted by you is true, current & complete. This giveaway is in no way sponsored by Instagram, Facebook, or any other website.

Thank you & good luck!!!

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I posted on Instagram stories last week that I was in the process of become more of a minimalist. While there are so many things I LOVE to collect (i.e. every time I leave the beach my pockets are full of shells, and its hard to leave Home Depot without a new plant…) but overall I feel like I am drowning in stuff. Our house is 800 square feet, theres only so much it can hold.

I’ve always been pretty good at getting rid of home items but lately I’ve been strongly considering starting a capsule wardrobe. I have a closet full of things I don’t wear and it honestly stresses me out daily. So I started selling my clothes online. I mentioned this on Instagram and the response was overwhelming! I receive so many messages asking me questions about how I’m doing it, what a casual wardrobe is, and even some advice from others who have attempted. So I decided to share a blog post about what exactly I’m doing and how I haven’t spent any money to do so.

Fair warning: I considered waiting to share this until I could say TA-DA I DID IT but instead I’m sharing the process. I’m still at the beginning and have a long way to go.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been going through my clothes and realizing how much of it I don’t use and don’t really need. I’m not a big shopper and normally get overwhelmed in a store, so I end up buying something that doesn’t fit perfectly or that I don’t love. I spend so much time in either workout clothes or just a tank top & shorts that it’s never really made sense to me to put a lot of thought into my wardrobe. So you can see as a photographer that has to dress up every weekend having the right outfit was always a problem.

The method to my madness was based on what I’ve read on various blog posts (like this) about capsule wardrobes. Basically it is narrowing down your entire wardrobe to less than 40 items. Every single thing you’re left with should be intentional items that bring you joy. No exceptions. (Side note: did anyone watch the Gilmore Girls revival on Netflix? I feel like Emily, “No joy!”) I love the idea of having quality clothing, getting rid of duplicates, and most importantly for me having a clean space in my home.

A lot of the questions I received on Instagram were about where and how I sold my clothes. I belong to various clothing re-sale groups on Facebook and you would not believe how willing (and excited!) people are to buy used clothing. This is especially true for baby clothes. — I have not spent any additional money on Dylan’s wardrobe since she was born. Everything I buy is funded by baby shower returns, or selling too small/ unused/ unwanted clothing on Facebook and an app called Kidizen. And no she will not have a capsule wardrobe because baby clothes are just too. darn. cute.

Anyways, back to me. I’ve had success in the past for selling some quality items of my own clothing in yard sale groups on Facebook, however it is a little more difficult because people want to try them on. Occasionally you can get a unicorn that is willing to just pick it up at your house and go about their day. For my first “purge” I’m currently going through I have about 30 items I’m selling in a clothing specific group with people all over the US. However, I am setting a time limit on it of two weeks. Whatever does not sell in two weeks will go straight to Salvation Army without a second thought. So far I have made $130 but it did cost $50 to ship everything. I say, better than nothing!

The true key to purging your clothes in attempting a minimalist/capsule wardrobe it’s taking every single clothing item out of your drawers and closet (and wherever else you stuff them 😉 ). Having to touch every item really makes you consider what you actually need. You then make four piles: keep, donate, sell, and “maybe.” Keep the best of the best, donate anything worth less than $5, and sell the nicer items. The “maybe” pile is stuff that you currently feel like you cannot part with so you put it in a bag and see if you go looking for those items over the next three- six months. If you don’t, they’ve got to go!

Like, why do I have two red plaid button up shirts? How does that even happen!

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This is where I struggled the most. I wear tank tops and t-shirts + shorts pretty much every day and feel particularly “attached” to them for different reasons. So far I got rid of about half of them, but only ones that didn’t fit or live in the bottom of my drawer. When I start doing a true capsule, a lot more will need to go.  But in a way I’m breaking the rules by keeping a little more (probably 10 tank tops and 4 pairs of shorts) because I’m a breastfeeding mama and in all honesty that can get messy!

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This was the start of my Items to Sell pile. I kept them all on hangars and photographed them right away. Little photography tip: use a white wall and good lighting- it helps make the sale!

Dylan was a great helper:)This was the first of three bags that I said buh-bye to!

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Above was my “maybe” pile. I had a tote bag for those items because I’m so oddly sentimental and a little bit of a hoarder, so I needed to limit the space for these items. Once the bag was full “Maybe” was no longer an option.

I hope this helps a bit! Like I mentioned before, I am at the beginning of the journey and still have a lot of work to do. But the past week I have been able to open and close my dresser without any “stuffing” and that has been a pretty great feeling:)Next up is doing this all over again in about a month and seeing what else I can get rid of.

Feel free to continue to message me on Instagram with questions!

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  • Amanda - I think we’re at a similar stage in life; I just had a baby girl in May. I’m struggling with what to wear right now because I still have a “pooch” so don’t fit into my pre-baby clothes, plus I’m breastfeeding so it has to be easy to nurse in. I don’t like shopping but need to because I need new clothes! And everything fits different than before so I don’t know where to start. Ah, this is a rambly comment haha but I’m basically wondering how you’re handling these things? Any suggestions for fave clothes that are nursing friendly?ReplyCancel

    • Jessica - Hey Amanda! We are definitely in the same stage and it can be so difficult! I kept in mind that I will probably be breastfeeding for one year, so while I need items that work for me during that time I also don’t want to go crazy buying specific items. I’m really embracing loose tank tops and vnecks that I can tuck and tie to give a different look. But remember you can lift anything up! :) Also I love my Levi 501s for holding in the mom pooch a bit, and tshirt dresses can be very flattering.
      I want to avoid shopping as much as possible haha! If I do buy something from here on out, it will be from a local boutique or online (current fav is http://www.carlyjeanlosangeles.com). I want to skip the “easy” places like Target because I know I’ll settle for just ok clothing from there. Plus shopping small feels good!ReplyCancel

      • Amanda - Thanks for responding! Settling for okay is exactly what I want to avoid and I agree, I don’t want only nursing-specific items. A year can feel long, but I know it will go by quickly!ReplyCancel

I’ve been photographing this family’s story since Sara and Mike got engaged. Every session we have done together becomes a new favorite, but this is definitely the best yet.  Sara reached out to me and said she wanted to do a session with just her and her daughter Mia at home. They spend so much time there together, learning and growing, and she wanted to remember this little moments.  Reading together.

This is A Day in the Life with Sara and Mia.

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Amanda and Kevin’s Bella Gardens Estate wedding was so much fun! Their focus for their wedding was a laid back celebration that combined their German and Mexican heritage. So that meant lots of love, great food, and even better beer. The entire day was full of laughter (see Amanda’s face in 90% of the photos:) ) and toasts in honor of the bride and groom.

Kevin’s sweet natured love for Amanda made everyone feel like they got to play a little party in their incredible story. From two years of road trips, backpacking, and adventures, to a proposal at breakfast at 5am before Amanda’s nursing shift, its a story they will be telling for years. On their wedding day, Kevin sent little notes and gifts to her throughout the day. She anxiously awaited the moment they finally saw one another at the alter. And it was everything she imagined it would be.

Here are just a few favorite moments from their summer wedding:

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Photographer: Jessica Hickerson Photography

Venue: Bella Gardens Estate

Coordinator: Nikki DeVries- Happily

Rentals: Haz Party Rentals

DJ: DJ Pros

Catering: Fork in the Road Catering

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