end and begin

I have always loved celebrating the New Year. Ever since I was a child it has been my favorite holiday of the year. Reflecting on all the previous year was and letting it go, and welcoming the hopeful fresh start of the next twelve months. I love the way you so actively witness the transition from one year to the next. Yes it's only time, and everything is really the same, and yet it always reminds me that you can have a fresh start, new goals, a shift in perspective... whether it's January 1st or the middle of July. There is always hope.

2014 far exceeded my expectations, both personally and professionally. I am truly grateful. There were joys and challenges, breathtaking moments and feelings of defeat. I took on too much at times, but continued to learn when to step back and how to balance and prioritize. I gained wisdom, and in turn realized all over again how very little I know. But there is hope in that too—you never arrive; there is always room to learn. This year was real life, at its best and grittiest, in all its love and heartbreak.

I'm so very excited to dive into this New Year, 2015. There are amazing new people to meet, with incredible stories that I haven't heard yet. There is so much to learn, so many places to grow, so much art to create and mistakes to learn from. I wish you each joy and adventure in the coming year.

Peace and love,

Hannah

Drea | The Motherhood Project

This project has been burning in my heart for quite some time now. It is not groundbreaking or really anything new at all. I wanted to photograph moms with their kids—not done up and dressed up, but just the real and simple beauty of motherhood and everyday life. I wanted to get them talking about who they are, as mothers and as women. I wanted to connect with these amazing ladies from various walks of life, and take the time to know a bit of who they are, hear what they think, and see their beauty. Because as moms we can feel so disconnected from one another and even from ourselves at times, but we all have love at our core, and that weaves us together and is beautiful.

It's been a while since the first post in this series. Finding balance in motherhood and life is something that doesn't always come easily to me (maybe one reason I'm compelled to do these interviews in the first place). Personal work can be hard to fit in with everything else, but this project means a lot to me and I'm confident that it will gradually unfold.

I've gotten to know Drea and her family pretty well this year as we've collaborated on photos for her blog and cookbook (due to hit shelves next year!), and I've shot tours of her gorgeous home for Design Sponge, Glitter Guide, and Design Mom. Drea is creative and natural in her approach to life and parenting. This installment is unique because I've observed and documented this awesome mother-daughter relationship over many occasions rather than just one day. 

So without further rambling from me, meet Drea and Marlowe.

How do you describe your style of parenting?

I would say that I'm a lot of fun, while being really stern. We have a lot of structure and rules, but then we also have a lot of fun and a lot of creativity in the house. So as long as the rules are followed, it's really fun. 

What are your thoughts on maintaining your own identity after becoming a mom?

I think it's important. I think you can have both. You can be a mom, but still be yourself. It's just you find a new version of yourself, which is nice. I think I've only become a better person since I've been a mother. So I'm still myself, but cooler (laughs)- well not cooler, but better.
You can have freedom, you can have fun, and you can still be a great parent. You still have to be happy to be a good mom. You can't have a happy kid if you're not happy.

What's your number one advice for new moms?

Don't panic. (laughs) Just don't be so concerned about what everybody else is doing, or what the books say, or what you think you're supposed to be doing. Just do what feels right - do what feels natural. I get emails all the time, "What parenting books do you recommend?" and I'm like, "I don't know!"

jessica de melo

Jess is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. She has a heart for those in need and acts on it. She's also an incredibly talented singer/songwriter—listen to one of her original songs here. She's only just getting started, but I really believe she's going to make a big impact on the world. I had a great time shooting a few promotional images for her at the lovely Colt and Coop Studio in Jupiter.