couples

A Tour of Our Living Room // WV Boudoir Photographer

The silver airplane bottle opener is from a delightful, expertly curated antique barware store on Tybee Island. We only got to enjoy that shop for one year before it closed. We knew they wouldn’t be open the next year, though, because we’d made friends with the owners and got a little back story. They moved back to D.C.

The white porcelain horse is from Target, the clearance end cap. I waited for him to be cheap enough to justify the purchase of a white porcelain horse. I’ve had him longer than Ricky and I have had each other. He’s got two chips on his elaborate bridle. I call him Conquistador Horse.

The macrame on the bedroom door is from a craft I attempted at a business owner’s meeting. I’m not very good at macrame.

The fiddle fig tree is from a friend. She thoughtfully brought it as a thank you gift for having her as an overnight guest.

The letterpress prints behind the bar are my brother’s gift for being in our wedding. They will be expensive and inconvenient to ship, so I have put that off. Ricky would like to do it before Christmas. I would like to wait until they drive up here again.

“Girls Named Penelope” is a piece of art by a lady called Leslie. I fell in love with it at Arts Walk, an annual event here in Morgantown. It is often crisp, cool and wet this night. It’s my favorite evening of the year.

The candle beside Alexa is made by a company that is based in Ohio. The candles are too expensive, and I have to go to this one store in the Strip in Pittsburgh to get them, but I always have a really pleasant interaction there. I’m kind of proud to be able to treat myself to these candles, and I enjoy visiting the store where I get them.

The blue velvet pillow is from Salvation Army. I got it at least 7 years ago. It used to have tassels on it, but I cut those off. I like the color a lot. It is luxurious and whimsical.

The other blue pillow in the room was accidentally stolen from the hotel where everyone stayed for our wedding. Our nephew thought it belonged to us and packed it with our things the morning after our wedding. We thought that was a funny story so we kept it.

The brass bar tools set is from a cool vintage shop in Pittsburgh. I was with my friend, and she really liked it too, but it was a lot of money for me to spend on something like that at the time. So I tried to send Ricky a picture, but I didn’t get very good service in the store, so I had to make the choice on my own. I’m really glad I got it.

The statue of a samurai was a gift from Ricky’s host family in Japan. They didn’t speak English, and he didn’t speak Japanese. He had a hell of a time getting in through customs. I think it’s hideous but is cool enough to keep around. I hope someday we have a perfect spot for it in our house. I know it means a lot to Ricky.

Part 2: Okay, I Kind of Lost My Shit When I Lost My Wedding Venue // WV Boudoir Photographer

I think it's safe to say that I had less than 5 "Bridezilla" moments in the first 351 days of wedding planning. (Check my math with my bridesmaids and fiancé.)

Then we lost our venue and the number of Bridezilla moments at least quadrupled. 

I was messaging bridesmaids and family and friends at odd hours, delegating the venue search to as many people as possible, doubled down on bridal shower planning because it was the only thing I could control, and snapped at Ricky when our old venue recommended we get married in a fire hall. (For the record, there's nothing wrong with that, but it was not comparable venue to suggest to someone who'd planned to get married on a hotel rooftop.)

It wasn't just sass and cinnamon that came out, though. PLENTY of tears fell in the two weeks we were searching for a venue. Some of them were happy tears, in disbelief that I found such an amazing man to marry. But not all of the tears were joyous.

There was a moment I will never forget about 11 days into the search.

We'd gotten so many No's, so many too expensives, and if I had a dollar for every time I said in a saccharine voice, "well at least I still get to marry THIS guy!" I'd have enough money to buy out one of these damn venues so it could all be over. I was also eyes-deep in editing, freaking out about booking enough clients in the new year, and facing an inbox FULL of emails waiting for my reply.

I was working from our bed, because I was so mentally and emotionally exhausted I couldn't imagine doing anything else. But overall, I felt pretty on top of things. We'd gathered a short list of strong venue options, and things were looking up. 

Then we got one. more. no. 

It was from a venue I wasn't even in love with, but it didn't matter. 

I lost it. There I was, in our bed, in my pajamas at 2:30 in the afternoon, sobbing. Nothing made sense in my brain. I couldn't even get to my recent calls to call Ricky. My body went limp, and my sheets were getting soaked in my tears and slobber. I barely had the energy to let the cries out. So I just laid there and whimpered for minutes. 

Before you start to feel too sad, know that this had to happen. It was A LOT for one person to handle, even with the assistance of some of the best humans in the world. It was a LOT, but I didn't even notice how much the situation was demanding of me, taking from me. I was on happy little auto pilot. I had a job to do, and when I've got a job to do, I fucking do it. I was moving too quickly and too optimistically to realize just how depleted I was. 

I needed this moment of sadness to sort of reset my heart and my brain. I needed to empty everything out and start over, from a more honest, realistic place. 

From the moment I received the message about our venue, I knew I needed to allow myself to feel the disappointment. I knew Ricky and I needed time to be sad together. I knew that it was permissible to feel overwhelmed and stressed.

I KNEW all of this, but I didn't give myself the time to FEEL all of this. 

Being emotionally intelligent is a little bit like being book-smart sometimes. You can know all the things your mind has to do to process something. (Hell, you can even write a blog about it.) But if you don't TAKE the time to allow it to actually happen, your knowledge means nothing. 

Two days after my mini breakdown, we received the news that one of our top venue choices was available, and we began the process of securing it for our wedding date. It IS better than our original plan. It DID work out in the end. And yes, I still get to marry THIS guy. 

 

 

 

Babes in TOYland: A Sexy Little Gift Guide // WV Boudoir Photographer

I received a delightful Frisky Friday question early on about my favorite sex toys, and I will be completely honest with you. There is a big, wide world of toys. It's intimidating. So I took it to our panel of Sexperts, and I did some serious research.

Just in time for the holidays, I've compiled a list of potential treat yo self gifts, presents for your partner, or even your girlfriends if you've got that kind of friendship.

Instead of ranking them, I've decided to do a kind of awards ceremony. Everyone is looking for something different in a toy, so "best" is super subjective. Below are my findings including links! These are primarily directed towards women, but many of them can be used for male stimulation as well. 

So without further ado, I present to you the 2017 AYA Boudoir Sex Toy Awards!

1. First up, the award for Most Likely To Get Mistaken for Cabinet Hardware

The NJoy Pure G Spot Metal Wand. This little momma is a great way to start exploring G spot stimulation if you're new to that playground. The ergonomic curve is easy on the wrist, and BONUS: this is a happy treat for men, too, if you're into perineum play. 

2. Next we have the award for The Most Underestimated Sex Toy

A blindfold. That's right. A good old fashioned sleep mask can heighten the rest of your senses like you wouldn't believe. And at less than $10, why wouldn't you try it? Bonus tip: pop some headphones in to deprive one more of your senses and see what happens. 

3. Best Conversation Starter goes to

The Crave Vesper. If you've ever wanted to feel like a Bond girl AND get great clitoral stimulation, and really who hasn't, this is your match. The short battery life is made up for by the fact that you CAN WEAR THE DAMN THING around your neck, and she's a beauty. I dare you to wear it out for drinks and NOT sneak off to the bathroom to play.

4. The Sex Toy Most Likely to Outlive You

is the Hitachi Magic Wand. You've probably seen it on an episode of Sex and the City. It's huge. But it's powerful. This vibrator has been raved about for actual decades. This is your choice if you need something you know is going to get you off every. time. Just make sure you turn on some music first--this baby's loud.

5. The award for Best Toy to Live Out Your 50 Shades Fantasies goes to

 Bed Restraints. Be sure to do your own homework on this one, as there are LOTS of variations, companies, materials and price points on these. I don't think I need to tell you why these are fun.

6. Chiropractor-Reccommended, Partner Approved

I love The Liberator Wedge for its versatility. It's a great choice for couples who aren't necessarily into using vibrators together but would like to spice things up and keep things interesting. Limitless position options, comfortable, approachable.

7. The Jill of All Trades

Okay, Stay with me. She isn't cheap, but she's a multitasker. The Intensity is not only a powerful vibrator with 5 speeds designed for G-spot AND clitoral stimulation, IT IS A KEGEL EXERCISER. That's right, it strengthens all of those yummy muscles that make pleasure possible, making even GREATER, more intense orgasms possible. Read the reviews on this thing. It's intense. (See what I did there?)

8. The Better Than A Diamond Ring Ring

The Jimmyjane Iconic Ring is a win/win situation. Easy to use, easy to clean. Features replaceable batteries (many rings do not), is shower safe, and is a great option to start off your adventures in Toyland.


So there you have it! A happy little list of pleasure-makers, vouched for by some of my favorite sex therapists, bloggers, and fun friends. 

If there's a toy you love that didn't make the list, don't be selfish! Leave it in the comments below! 

Happy Shopping!

 

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

Making a Good Thing Great: Thoughts on Couples Therapy // WV Boudoir Photographer

Ricky and I are going to pre-marital counseling. Our officiant isn't making us, and we're not getting married in a church, so it isn't a requirement. We are voluntarily participating. I think Ricky and I are a pretty solid couple; obviously we aren't perfect. But you don't have to be broken to attend therapy. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," doesn't really apply here.

I say, why not make a good thing great.

And that's exactly what is happening. Ricky and I are learning so much about each other and feeling closer after every session. We're collecting tools for our marriage toolbox, so to speak, so that when something does need repaired, we have what we need to fix it. 

I'm a pretty therapy-positive person anyway, but I know not everyone is. I'm not the boss of you, and I probably shouldn't tell you what to do, but I'm going to.

Go to therapy. 

You don't have to go forever, and you don't have to go alone. You decide what you need. You don't even need to have a blaring problem to go. 

Something I've found super valuable about counseling is the chance to just. talk. In therapy, it's okay to go off on tangents, it's okay to meander with your thoughts. Sometimes, that's where the epiphanies are. Hidden in the weeds of subconsciousness. 

Likewise, it's been wonderful to watch Ricky open up about things he finds difficult to talk about. With a third party present, asking questions I might not think to ask, going down paths we might not go down on our own, he feels freer to explore his ideas. And I love it. 

Have you attended therapy either independently or as a couple? What has your experience been? How do you think it improved you and/or your relationship? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

 

Photo by the super talented and wonderful Lauren Webster Photography


DISCLAIMER: I know therapy isn't cheap. I know we are so fortunate. But there are lots and lots of resources, financial aid, payment plans, online options, etc. to make therapy more accessible.