Meet a Mom: Ariana Jones, Owner of Brilliant Oak. 

Today’s beautiful mama is one who wears so many hats. She is a business woman, an entrepreneur, an amazingly talented photographer and also a local mama of 2. She runs her business Brilliant Oak with her equally talented husband Jonathan. Together they specialize in wedding videography, portrait photography and more. We just love all of their work and their whole vibe! We knew we needed to hear about how she manages to balance both a business and mom life. 

How long have you lived in Phoenix?
19 years. I moved here with my parents in 2001 from Ogden, UT. We craved sunshine and opportunityNow as an adult and motherwe appreciate all of the diversity here.. And the lack of natural disasters is a major perk! 

You’re a mama! How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
My son, Jackson, is 5 and my daughter, June, is 2.

What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in the Phoenix area?
We really appreciate all of the diversity here.. And the lack of natural disasters is a major perk! 

Greatest gift about being a mom and greatest challenge?
I would say the greatest gift about motherhood is getting to see the world in a different way and getting to be kids with them all over again. Seeing them experience things for the first time, that’s the greatest gift. The greatest challenge is making sure there is balance between life and both kiddos. They’re both so different and even though they play a lot together, I want to make sure I spend equal time with them individually.

Least favorite mom job? (i.e. packing lunches, dishes, bath time, etc.)
My least favorite mom job is bath time.. I will make any excuse to get out of that one.

One thing people would be surprised to know about you… This is a tough one… I’m pretty much an open book! I don’t think there is a lot people don’t know about me.

Favorite local things to do in Phoenix with kids? My kids are just getting to be the age where we can go out and do things without it being chaotic. So we love splash pads, bike riding, going to church, organized sports, the movies, and the park! Favorite things to do just for mom? (or mom and dad)
My hubby usually has the scoop on great local restaurants and we love trying new places to eatIt’s been a while since we’ve been out to eat.. But we enjoy going to The Henry and Charleston’s for a nice dinner! 

Do you experience mom guilt? If so, how do you deal?
I think every mom experiences mom guilt – even when there is no reason to. For years it was so hard for me to spend money on myself, knowing the kids needed something or that I should put it away to save for them. I felt guilty leaving them to do anything for myself – even with dad who loves spending time with them. I didn’t want to feel like a burden. Lately, I’ve grown a bit and I’ve been able to make peace with it. I do experience mom guilt from time to time but I think that’s natural. I’m a work in progress.

Best mom hack that makes your life easier?
Taking time for myself. I work a part time job as a paralegal and I get most of the afternoons and every Friday to myself – WITHOUT the mom guilt because they’re in school. I get to recharge and be the best mom I can be. 

Tell us more about your business Brilliant Oak!
Brilliant Oak came about shortly after me and my husband got married. I had a passion for photography and he had a passion for videography/cinematography. We were hired separately for a wedding and after that we decided to make a business out of it offering both services. We work very well together and our creative styles are similar! We are constantly pushing each other to be better. We offer family sessions, graduation, and engagement sessions as well! We love to shoot in the desert because it can look completely different depending on what time of the year you go. 

Besides your photography business, what are some of your passions outside of motherhood?
Besides photography, I LOVE yoga. My favorite is Bikram and I recently started taking classes at The Foundry in Paradise Valley. They offer classes at the perfect times for me and their studio is so nice and the instructors are incredibly welcoming. Something about taking 75 minutes of uninterrupted time to SWEAT and focus on nothing but your body and practice is so healing for me. 

How important is it for you to have a passion outside being a mother?
Having a passion outside of being a mother is probably one of the most important things you can do. If you know me, you know I scream this from the mountaintops. I preach this regularly. I know moms can get so wrapped up in being a mommy they forget who they were before. It’s ok to dedicate time to yourself and find something you like – it makes you a better mom. The more lost you are in motherhood, the more difficult it is to find that passion. And that’s when it’s more important than ever to explore that part of yourself again.

Who has most influenced you to be the mom you are today? My mother. She will always be there with a suggestion to an issue that I didn’t think of. Not to mention the countless times I’ve depended on her for help with my babies. She loves them with all her heart and I truly don’t know where I would be without her. Becoming a mother showed me how much she did for us, how much she sacrificed for us, and selfless she is. Love you mommy! 

Name one thing you hope your kids look back and remember about their childhood and you as their mama?
The one thing I hope my kids look back on and remember about me as their mama is that I listened. We get so wrapped up in life, our phones, social media, what’s on television that we tune out the hour long stories they tell.. I want them to remember that I listened to every story, every comment, every complaint. It’s hard for me to remember that sometimes but I want them to always feel important and that they can talk to me and I will hear them.

What would you tell the old “You” before you had kids?
What would I tell the old “me” before I had kids… that’s an emotional one! I would tell myself – your body is going to change – a lot, but take the picture, get in that video, it’s ok to not love yourself but you have to work on it, spend time by yourself, apologize when you lose your patience, and you’ll never get a good night’s rest again.

Make sure to follow along with Ariana and Brilliant Oak. Their Instagram feed is filled with the dreamiest photos! From couples that are head-over-heels in love to stunning images of children and families that truly inspire and evoke emotion. 

Social Channels: IG  @brilliant.oak Website www.brilliantoak.com      

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