Me, Myself, & I

I am a portrait and wedding photographer in Lexington, Ky.

I have been married for 3 years to my college sweetheart. He is my best friend and the best person in the world.

I went to Asbury University where I majored in Art.

My husband is in his fourth year of medical school. He is going to be a psychiatrist!

I am a dog mom to a perfect german shepherd mix.

I am an avid animal lover.

I have a beautiful niece named Gwen, she is the most precious little girl in the world.

When I was in elementary school I told my friends to call me AshDog.

I was obsessed with the Jonas Brothers in high school. I went to 16 concerts and met them twice. It was an unhealthy obsession.

My papa is the longest reigning mayor in the state of Kentucky.

I am addicted to sweet tea. If you are from the south, you know the struggle.

My biggest fear is sharks. They are terrifying monsters. ‘Nough said.

I love going to the movies. My husband and I go almost every week!

My dream job is to be a fashion photographer.

I am a shopaholic. It’s a problem.

Bingeing on Netflix is my all time favorite thing to do. Anything about serial killers! Send me suggestions!

My favorite food is buffalo wings.

The Beatles are the best band in the universe. That’s a fact.

My mom is my role model.

I have two little brothers. They are my favorite people.

I love to make women feel special and beautiful.

I have one tattoo that says “beauty from ashes.” I have a list of about 5 more I want to get!

I really enjoy making lists, if you can’t already tell.

That’s a little about me!



I am currently sitting in a coffee shop in Richmond, Virginia as Johnny is attending his 6th psychiatry residency interview. If you were to ask me where I wanted to live after Johnny finished medical school 4 years ago, I wouldn’t have answered Lexington.

For the longest time I believed that to be successful you had to move away from your home state. What I have found is that to be successful you have to believe in yourself and work extremely hard. It doesn’t matter what your address is, you can be successful wherever you are. Now that leads to the big question, where do we go?

For a while we thought moving away would be the best thing for us. Sometimes life is hard and all we wanted to do was run away from our problems. 2016 was a terrible year but 2017 has turned out to be a really good year. My business has doubled. Johnny has found something he is passionate about in medicine. I have stepped outside of my very guarded shell and made really great friends. We are happy. Which makes the idea of leaving Lexington very difficult.

I’m not sure where my business will lead in the next six months or where Johnny and I will be living. But there is something invigorating about the uncertainty of the future. In March we will find out where we will be going. We are excited for our next adventure whether it be staying in Kentucky or moving to a different city or state.

2018, here we come!



A lot of people hear the word “feminism” and picture a topless, unshaven, crazy woman holding a protest poster and yelling, “Free the nipple!” While I totally support hairy legs and going bra-less, that is not what feminism means to me.

Feminism: the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.

See? Not a foreign concept. Feminism is literally equality, which is apparently a very hard concept for people to grasp. I get it, people often escalate the true meaning of things to benefit themselves. I have seen “feminist” posts about how much they hate men. That isn’t what feminism was created to be. Radical feminism is just another form of hate, which is exactly what our country doesn’t need right now.

I believe that I should be equal to any man.

Meaning: I am not less of a person for having a vagina.

I am not a maid.

Cooking and cleaning aren’t my sole purposes in life.

I am not a sex object.

That being said, sexual assaults are at an all time high. Young kids play video games where you are literally able to purchase prostitutes and kill them. This is teaching both boys and girls at a young age that women are mere objects. I am in no way saying that men are all bad. I am married to a man who respects me and doesn’t think he is better than me because of his gender. Unfortunately, not every woman has a man who is that respectful.

I took a poll on my Facebook and asked how many women have been raped or assaulted. 58 women replied to my survey. 38/58 of these women have been raped and/or sexually assaulted. What breaks my heart more than anything is the reason most of these assaults weren’t reported. Majority of people said they were afraid of what their parents would think, afraid of losing their job or told someone who thought they were lying.

I am one of those women. I was terrified of what my family would think of me if I ever told them. I kept it a secret from almost everyone and decided to pretend it didn’t happen. Almost 8 years later and I am still struggling.

What does sexual assault and feminism have in common? Everything. If women were valued as equal to men then maybe the number of rapes and assaults wouldn’t be so high. We need to be teaching younger generations how to treat one another.

I am more than a statistic. I am a survivor. I am a feminist. Girl power! 

What I wish I knew in high school

When I was in high school I really struggled with finding myself. I was a chameleon who blended in to whatever my friends thought was cool. I let boys treat me like garbage and I thought I was not worthy of love.

I am now 25 years old. I work with high school girls 2-3 days a week. I see so much of myself in these young girls. The never-ending struggle to fit in and be accepted. This post is dedicated to them.

These are the 15 things I wish I knew when I was in high school. 

  1. You don’t have to change who you are to fit in with the “cool” kids. Cool is a matter of perspective.
  2. Stop pretending you are something you are not. You don’t have to put on an act to please people.
  3. It’s totally okay to cry. Let out your emotions. Don’t keep everything bottled up.
  4. Your parents aren’t stupid. They were teenagers once, they know more than you think.
  5. Find something you love to do and devote yourself to it.
  6. Don’t get drunk. I know, I know. A lot of people will say that drinking is just what you do in high school. But why? You don’t have to make poor decisions to have a good time.
  7. Be kind. Everyone is fighting an internal battle.
  8. Choose your friends wisely. If your friend is only around when they want something or need a ride, are they really your friend?
  9. Having a boyfriend/girlfriend shouldn’t be your main focus in life. Dating is fun and great BUT it isn’t everything.
  10. Stop believing that you aren’t good enough. You are worthy of love and respect.
  11. It’s okay to say no, even if it’s to the person you are dating. Don’t do anything you aren’t ready to do.
  12. Stop comparing yourself to the girls around you. If you live life always comparing you will always feel inadequate.
  13. Don’t be ashamed to tell someone if you are being sexually abused or hurt by someone. You are not to blame for the terrible things people do.
  14. Try hard in school. There is nothing wrong with wanting to succeed. Be a go-getter! Set goals for yourself and work hard to accomplish them.
  15. You are capable of so much more than you think. Where you are right now isn’t where you will always be in life. When you graduate high school everything changes. Don’t get so wrapped up in the labels you are given. You are young and you are able to re-create yourself whenever you want.


Act like a lady, think like a boss.

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a singer and an actress. The only problem was that I am not musically gifted and I hate to be in front of the camera. But that didn’t stop me from trying. When I was in high school I started taking acting classes, modeling lessons, and voice training. One day I had to get my photos taken for headshots. I LOVED it. Except I loved it because I wanted to be the one who was behind the camera. That same year I got a camera for Christmas. I took pictures of everything. Little by little I started falling in love with photography.

When I went into college as an art major I really didn’t take photography seriously. I kinda just cruised through without really putting forth my best effort. A few short years later I married my college sweetheart and was faced with the real world. I had to take photography more seriously if I wanted to shoot full-time.


After 2 years of hard work I found my style. During those years I almost quit at least 3 times. I felt like I wasn’t good and I would never make it as a photographer. I had people tell me that I sucked and that I should give up. I was hurt from it but decided to turn my sadness into motivation to be the best I could be. So, with a ton of help from my amazing husband I learned about editing, business taxes, posing, writing documents, shooting skills, etc.

I put my heart and soul into my work. A lot of people don’t understand how being a photographer can be a full-time job. Aside from shooting I am my own secretary, graphic artist, editor, account, and web designer. Photography isn’t just a job while I wait to start a career, photography is my career.


Sometimes life sucks. There are mornings when I wake up and literally can’t get myself out of bed. But there is one thing that can make me feel better at my worst.

My husband.

Johnny is my rock. When life kicks us down somehow he manages to pick us both up. I am thankful to be married to someone who understands me and loves me unconditionally.

We are not experts on marriage, but I would say we have a pretty great one. We are in our third year of marriage, and almost 7 years as a couple. It has been bumpy and wonderful all at once. Here are some things we have learned:

Listen to hear what the other person is saying and not just to respond 

I think we so often listen just to argue. I know I am guilty of this. Sometimes we need to just listen and say nothing.

Never stop dating

Dates are important. Take the time to just be together. Find a hobby you both like to do together. We love movies and food. That may sounds boring but there is nothing better than spending Friday night at the movies!

Learn how to let it go

Johnny and I are very different. He is neat and I am messy. I live life in an organized chaos and it drives him crazy. If we fought every time our room had clothes on the floor we would never stop fighting. Pick your battles.

Netflix & Chill

One of my favorite things to do is watch tv. Every night at dinner Johnny and I eat in front of the tv. That sounds bad but it’s my favorite part of the day. We find a show that we both like and binge watch it everyday. I’m not saying this is for everyone, but make a daily routine. Have time set out that you spend together. Sometimes the everyday hustle takes over.

Take care of yourself

You can’t depend on someone to be your everything. You have to be able to depend on yourself. Do things alone or with your friends. Being married is a balancing act.

Be honest

If you are happy or upset, tell your spouse. Something I had a hard time with early on in our marriage was opening up about my feelings. I was always scared that I was being annoying. It is much better to be open than to pretend you’re okay.

Compliment your spouse 

Being married doesn’t mean you should stop complimenting your spouse. Tell them when they look great or when they had success at school and/or work. Everyone wants to feel good about themselves.

Don’t keep secrets

If you are talking to someone over text or social media that you wouldn’t tell your spouse about, then it probably means you shouldn’t be talking to that person. Keeping secrets from someone is a good way to put a strain on a relationship.

Say thank you

Be grateful. Everyone wants to feel appreciated.

Don’t take life too seriously

Marriage is the best. You get to spend your life with your best friend. Johnny and I both have signature dance moves which we only do in front of each other and for some reason even after 3 years it cracks me up every single time. Life is too short to be boring.




Ovulation kits, Negative Pregnancy Tests, & Broken Hearts

It has been 518 days.

17 months of negative pregnancy tests.

Countless ovulation kits.

Every month it’s the same thing. I have my period. I pee on an ovulation stick at the same time everyday. When my fertile days hit we have sex and just pray that this time it happens. After my fertile days end is when the sadness starts to creep in. My boobs start getting sore, I feel bloated and sick to my stomach. I count down the days until my period just hoping that it won’t come. I somehow convince myself I am pregnant and start thinking about all the wonderful things that will happen. And then I wake up to realize I am bleeding. I always think the next month will get easier, or at least I will stop feeling like a failure.

This is how every month is for me. I cry for hours each time I get my period. Yes, that is completely irrational. But to me it feels like I lost something.

I have this constant jealousy every time I see a birth announcement. I am happy for everyone who is blessed with a child but I am sad and selfish because I just want it to be me. I have never wanted anything more.

I want to give a shout out to those of you who are struggling with getting pregnant. It is heartbreaking, lonely, and tiring. You are allowed to scream and cry, but don’t give up. Keep pushing through. I am right there with you.




Starving for Beauty

1 in every 200 women struggle with anorexia. Anorexia isn’t a vain disease where you just want to be skinny, anorexia can be deadly. Like everything else associated with a mental illness, eating disorders have such a terrible stigma. People with eating disorders are told to “just eat more,” as if they enjoy the constant battle with food.

I think so often we feel that we are alone and no one understands our burdens. If you are struggling with an eating disorder I hope these words will be a reminder that you are not alone.


Naomi’s story: 

It all started in eighth grade. At the time, I was suffering from severe headaches—pain that lasted for months at a time. I visited several doctors and specialists all over the area, and no one had an answer for me. My parents were beginning to worry, and at one point a doctor feared I had a brain tumor. Finally, neurologists agreed this was simply a bad case of migraines, assuring me it’d be something I would “grow out of.” Migraines and diagnoses aside, the last neurologist I visited provided some hope. I remember that visit vividly, like it was yesterday. He told me there was a new drug on the market, and it would surely help with the pain. But, there was one side effect.

“Now, I do have to make you aware that this medicine causes weight loss. But… well, you could afford to lose a few pounds so I’m not too concerned about it.”

For the first time in my life, I questioned my appearance. For the first time in my life I second-guessed the number on the scale and the size of my jeans.

“Ok. I’ll lose some weight. I guess I need to.” I thought. From that day forward… it spiraled out of control. I was held prisoner by an eating disorder. Anorexia held the key.   

DSC_0142Anorexia consumed my life—every single part of it. By the time I walked the halls of my high school the following year in ninth grade, I lost 30 pounds. A couple years later, I had dropped another 10.

I told no one. As I gazed into the mirror each day, I saw one thing: flaws. My skin was hanging off my bones, but I saw fat deposits. My ribcage prominently poked out, but I saw only 10 bones and not all 12.

“Just a few more pounds, then you will look better.”

“Did you see that girl? She’s so much prettier than you. If you lose more weight, then you can be pretty like her.”

“Look how huge your legs become when you sit. You ate too much today.”

The lies my mind convinced me of pushed me to unbelievable lengths. I hid my food in secret stashes all over the house, and declined all social gatherings to avoid food. Each day I forced myself to run 12 miles. I deprived myself of sleep until I completed 300 squats, 100 push-ups, and 500 sit-ups. Workouts grew longer and calorie intake kept decreasing in hopes that somehow, someway this would make me more beautiful.


My parents took me from doctor to doctor, desperate for an answer to my drastic weight loss—one that I would never admit. When my mom stepped out of the room for a moment during a visit with an endocrinologist, the doctor took my hand and very gently asked me, “Naomi… is there something you want to tell me? It’s ok. I can help you.”

He knew. He saw right through me.

I broke down in tears. It was as if the shackles fell off, and the prison doors opened. I felt free. No more secrets, no more lies.

This doctor referred me to a specialist, and with therapy and weekly check-ups, I started the uphill battle towards recovery. I’m alive today because of this man. No matter how many times I wanted to wring his neck or skip a session, he persisted. He fought for me when I wouldn’t fight for myself. When my heart almost stopped beating, the doctor said, “Nope. She’s not going anywhere.”

I hate this disease with every fiber of my being. Eating disorders do not simply “go away.” It’s not a simple case of strep throat that disappears when you finish your antibiotics. Trust me, I wish it were that easy.

Every single day I wake up and feel inadequate. Every morning, my mind tells me I’m not good enough. Not pretty enough. Not worthy of food. Hungry? Ignore it. Dizzy? That’s a good thing.

But every single day I choose to rise above it—to fight. I fight to love myself, and truly embrace who I am. I will not let anorexia dictate how to live my life, and I will not live in fear.

Because I am good enough.