Things are looking up...

Three weeks ago I decided to make my business my full-time job! Since I graduated from Alverno and started my business in 2012, I've always had another part-time job. I don't feel I've ever really had a proper handle on things, including life, love, business, and money, until this year. Of course, there was a brief moment in 2021 when left my other job and tried to go "full-time photographer" while I was also finalizing a divorce, going through a couple of extremely awful relationships, and then death of my mother. Basically, during that time, my focus was EVERYTHING BUT running a photography business! That was the worst time of my life. Surviving was really the only thing on my mind. Oh yeah, and then my 14-year old dog died in Oct. 2022. Ugh.

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at 45. Her cancer turned to bone cancer, and then to brain cancer the last two years of her life. My mom was only 61 years old when she passed. She went on at-home hospice care in May of 2021, and passed away May 22nd, 2021. This has had an extreme impact on my life, way of thinking, and the way I conduct myself and allow people to treat me. My mom was my best friend. We spoke every. single. day. We even worked at two jobs together, and she was even my 2nd photographer for a couple weddings! We had sleepovers, went on vacations, took each other to see movies like John Wick 3 (she LOVED Keanu), and we'd have movie nights where she'd show me new movies like Frozen and Guardians of the Galaxy (you know how hard it was to watch the very beginning of the movie when Star-Lord's mom is dying from cancer when you're LITERALLY SITTING NEXT TO SOMEONE WHO IS DYING OF CANCER? Thanks, mom...jk jk.)

When I got my first camera in 2021 as a gift, my mom gave me two of her old Nikon camera lenses. They did NOT auto-focus, so I had to manually focus them on whatever I wanted to be in focus. I'm grateful for this, and it has made me a much better photographer. My mom loved photography and was hobby photographer, and my dad went to the Layton School of Art and Design. While he is still alive, his college is no longer. My dad and I bond through comic books, Marvel films, movie quotes, bloody marys, and classic rock. What I'm saying is, I get my creative gift from my parents, and I am so grateful to have this photography outlet to express myself and have a career I love!

So here starts the beginning of 2024. The things I've accomplished already this year have blown my own mind! I have a very hard time tooting my own horn. I have an issue where I never want people to think I'm gloating or sound like a broken record when talking about my accomplishments, but I've given up a lot and I want to shout it from a rooftop! So here it goes:

I'm so proud to have earned The Shepherd Express Best of Milwaukee 2023 - Best Photographer!

This year I'm a Knight in Shining Armor sponsor for Oak Creek Youth Cheer!

Starting this week I'm a member of The South Suburban Chamber of Commerce!

I've won a few raffle prizes just this month! Weird, but I seriously like never win anything. Like ever, so three times in one month seems fishy and I keep feeling like I need to dodge a lightning bolt or something...

I know, deep down, that my mom is encouraging me from Heaven, cheering me on, rooting for me, and is so proud of me for chasing my dreams. I want to spend my life making people feel good. I want to make my parents proud.

So that's a little about me and how I've come to this point in my life! I guess, if you're going through hell, keep going.