business owner

Hollingshead Was Not My Maiden Name // WV Boudoir Photographer

By next Christmas, I will be a Hussmann. By the Christmas after that, we might have a child I’ll one day tell that Hollingshead was my maiden name. 

Hollingshead was my maiden name?

That doesn’t seem quite right. 

 

I became the woman I am today with that name.

I attended and dropped out of college with that name.

I started a thriving business with $100 in my bank account with that name.

I fell in love, soooo many times, with that name.

I made terrible, life-altering decisions that I then rose from the ashes of with that name.

I introduced myself to the love of my life with that name.

I was surprised by visits from my brothers with that name.

I worked behind counters until I could start my own business with that name.

I made the hardest decision of my life with that name.

I learned how to love and please my body with that name.

I drove so many miles and booked so many trips with that name.

I rejected men that didn’t treat me the way my mother taught me I should be treated with that name.

I created hundreds of thousands of images of beautiful, incredible women, with that name. 

I voted for the first black President of the United States with that name. 

I removed my toxic father from my life with that name.

I giggled at 31 years worth of twinkling Christmas lights with that name. 

I adopted my beloved Astrid kitty with that name.

I got laughed at countless times with that name. 

I discovered what singing does for my soul with that name. 

I held my mother’s hand in the hospital more than once with that name.

I showed my work on gallery walls for the first time with that name.

I said “yes” to a lifetime of happiness with that name. 

 

My dear future child, Hollingshead was not my maiden name. 

Hollingshead was my warrior name.

Why I'm "Sex-Obsessed" and Why You Should Be, Too // WV Boudoir Photographer & Intimacy Advocate

If you're not familiar with my weekly "Frisky Fridays" feature (GO GET FAMILIAR, BB! @asyouareboudoir!), basically every week, I answer a sex question sent to me by a follower that I then take to my panel of "Sexperts" to help me answer. These questions range in sauciness from "How do we keep things interesting," to "I hate oral. Help!"

This feature prompted a comment within the family calling me "sex-obsessed."

As a whole, my family has been surprisingly supportive of my chosen photography genre. They're impressed by the images and proud of the work I've done to build the business.

But apparently, this Frisky Friday stuff crosses a line.

I was informed by my mother that a family member expressed disapproval of the weekly feature. Allow me to preface this by saying

1. My family is comprised of amazing humans, and I love all of them very, very much.

2. that anyone can feel how they want to feel. I am not under the delusion that all of my ideas, opinions and content will be loved by all people everywhere. 

But this struck a chord. 

Because this perspective is EXACTLY WHY SO MANY OF US ARE FUCKED UP SEXUALLY.

Shame.

Guilt.

Secrecy.

Disconnectedness.

We (especially women) are met with SO MUCH emotional opposition to a healthy sex life. Don't even get me started on how far back in history this goes. We're not allowed to surrender to pleasure. We're not allowed to aggressively SEEK pleasure. We're not allowed to talk about sex. We're not allowed to FEEL. We're not allowed to dress a certain way. We're not allowed to ask questions. 

All of this has resulted in a repressed, sex-negative culture that shames us for desiring sexual intimacy. 

Which happens to be something that we are ACTUALLY DESIGNED FOR. 


My emphasis on and advocacy of a healthy sex life is not just about pleasure, though. 

It's about the tools you learn and the power you collect on the way to a thriving intimate life. 

We are so disconnected. From each other, from the life things that matter, and especially from ourselves. And when you set out on the quest for great sex, you learn ways to reconnect with yourself. You learn ways to love yourself and your body.

When you're connected mentally and emotionally, you're able to invite your body to a higher level of existence and experience. 

We are capable of SO MUCH MORE than we're experiencing now. There is SO MUCH LIFE we're missing out on because we've been told not to seek pleasure.

The best part? You can take these lessons outside the bedroom. Breathing techniques, mental and emotional exercises, mindfulness, connectedness. All of this yummy stuff can be put to use at work, within your family and friendships, through particularly stressful times, to maximize your enjoyment of other things!


I also cannot ignore that every session, I watch my clients deeply connect to their sensuality and then walk out of my studio with their heads held higher, smiling wider, FEELING as beautiful as they are. When you're in touch with your body sexually, you're more confident, you show more self love, you invest in self care. There's science behind that, sugar babies, not just my observations. 

I started a business with the sole intent of making women feel beautiful. A healthy intimate life facilitates that.


So yeah, I'm pretty interested in what sex can do for our bodies, minds, relationships and souls. Can you blame me?

I just want to start conversations. I want to be a person who doesn't shy away from important things because it's uncomfortable. I want to facilitate communication between partners.  I want to give people hope. I want to help turn pages and start new chapters. I want to build bridges and create connections. 

I don't know if you were in the camp of people wondering what all this sex talk is about, but I hope this helps shed some light on why it's so important to me. And if any of the sexy sex content has helped you and/or your partner, don't be shy! Let me know! As always, if you have a question that my sexperts and I might be able to help you with, email me! 

XxXOoO,

Jodi

That Time Ricky Was Right and it Made Me Mad(ly in Love with Him) // WV Boudoir Photographer

8 months into wedding planning

Running a busy business

Progressing through a transition at work

Oh and life--family, exercise, friends, housekeeping, etc.  

Every Sunday, Ricky and I would take some time to compare schedules and for MONTHS we'd have something every. evening. and every. weekend. 

It was exhausting to say the least, and if I'm honest, we aren't out of the woods yet.

One of these Sundays, I was coming to the end of my mental and emotional reserves, and I exasperatedly said, "God. We are SO BUSY. Like, crazy busy."

To which Ricky replied, "Yeah, I'm done with saying we're busy."

Yeah, well, Mr. 9-5, must be nice to be so ABOVE being busy.

But once he explained his comment, my agitation turned into a deeper love for the man I get to marry.

He went on and said that we might not ever be not busy. This is just life for us. So let's just do it, take it one day at a time, and enjoy it. 

I fought my natural inclination to argue, as Ricky basically gave me a huge and heavy, "YOU'RE WRONG," which I don't take very well. Instead, I was quiet for a moment, looking at my man, and allowed what he said to soak in.

He was right. We are both ambitious, social people, and that means a busy life for us to be happy. We want busy. We thrive on busy. Busy means there's so much LIFE in our life together. That's how we like it, even when every evening and every weekend is booked.

Ever since Ricky slammed the brakes on our "We're so Busy" train, our packed schedules haven't gotten me down. We're just as busy as we were before his comment, but the shift in perspective completely rearranged my mindset on the matter.

Deep breaths of gratitude have replaced sighs of exhaustion. 

Note. Busy is not the same as nonstop. We take breaks. We steal moments away for cocktails just the two of us. We partake in our share of Netflix...and chilling. 

We're still learning not to balance, because I'm not sure I even know what that means, but to prioritize. Making sure we're putting first things first. I imagine we'll be learning how to do that the rest of our lives.

How do you deal with a busy schedule? How do you say yes to the right things and no to the wrong things? Do you enjoy being busy, or are you a slower life kind of pal? 

Xo

Jodi

I Did Wedding Dress Shopping Wrong

I did wedding dress shopping wrong.

Which is funny, because my maid of honor, bridesmaids and mother did it exactly right. My MOH planned and scheduled an amazing day of appointments, complete with time for a nice long lunch (and beer!). My bridesmaids brought healthy snacks and all the encouragement without any of the opinions you see on "Say Yes to the Dress." My mother was a quiet light of love and support the whole day.

But I definitely did it wrong.

I started to worry in the days leading up to dress shopping when I wasn't feeling as excited as I thought I'd be to put on the dresses. Don't get me wrong; I was over the moon about a weekend in the 'Burgh with most of my girls. But I wasn't, like, giddy about trying on dresses. 

So the day comes, we're having a blast, but when I was putting on dresses, none of them made me FEEL all the FEELS everyone tells you you're going to FEEL. I started to get a little frustrated/exhausted/worried and even cried at our last appointment because my head and my heart were just so tired. (Shout out to Glitter & Grit in Pittsburgh for sweetly allowing me to take a beat for some deep breaths and refreshing. Erin even suggested I put on the dress I tried on right after I cried one more time at the end to make sure the tears weren't blurring my dress vision.)

So we didn't get a dress. Because I liked everything and LOVED nothing. 

We all decided it would be best to take some time, maybe go shopping again later with a little less pomp and circumstance.

Well, here we are three weeks later, and I haven't so much as LOOKED at other shops I'd like to go to. Why wasn't I jumping on this? Why wasn't I excited and determined to find THE DRESS?

And then it hit me. 

I wasn't driven to find the dress for two reasons.

1. I'd already found it.

2. I just don't give as much of a shit about the dress as I thought I'd be. And THAT'S OKAY.

The more I thought about the dress I liked the most (we all affectionately refer to it as Air Dress), the clearer my reasons for liking it became.

I like Air Dress because it will be SO EASY to DANCE in!

I like it because it's sophisticated, a little funky AND whimsical--just like I like to think I am.

I like how our photos will look with Air Dress in them.

I like how effortless Air Dress is.

I like that I've already found it which means I can turn my time and energy toward our guests' experience. Which is what I've cared as much about as I thought I was supposed to care about the dress.

I am way more excited about seeing our family and friends enjoy rooftop cocktails and live jazz. I am so much more excited about the photo booth with our sidecar in it. I can't wait to see people's faces when they come in for hugs and congratulations. 

I'm most excited about OUR wedding, not MY wedding dress.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a dress to order. ;)

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