Photography has this magical ability to weave together our moments and our memories. Oftentimes, holding a photograph in your hand can transport you back in the same way as when you hear an old song.

I like being a part of that.

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More Than a Milestone.

May 23, 2023

Life seems to get propelled forward for us simply by the people we meet along our path. Some of these people make us so angry that we spring into action, some of these people show kindness to us when we are at our lowest point and give us hope to keep going, and some of these people inspire us to keep chasing our dreams.

Last year, I met someone who inspired me. Her name is Ashley, and there were several places where she crossed my path. I ended up being lucky enough to photograph her for some headshots and we got the chance to talk about life. Then, I got the opportunity to photograph her recent college graduation photos.

Getting the chance to learn about the path she had taken to get to where she is was certainly inspiring! I had such a wonderful morning, as the sun was popping up over the buildings at KSU, hearing about the incredible life she has lived, and where her dreams are taking her next.

With this, I decided I’d like to start giving space to all of these wonderful people I meet, and do a sort of interview section to go along with their photos. I believe their stories will not only be fun to share for me, I believe they may just inspire you as well.

The words that follow will be in her words from questions I had asked her. Sometimes, I like to pick certain parts out of a person’s story for time’s sake, but I think you’ll enjoy reading her story:

“I chose to join the Air Force after weighing my options and how I would be able to support
myself financially. There is a strong sense of stability within the service that drew me in. By
joining, I was able to gain financial comfort, find love, start my little family and discover that I
had Type 1 Diabetes. I am forever grateful to the military for supporting me while I was active
duty and currently while I am a civilian.
Leaving the military was the hardest thing. I hated the idea of not bringing in a paycheck to help
my family. I didn’t want to be a burden on my husband with my health issues and being a new
mother. Thankfully, due to my diabetes emerging while I was active duty, the VA is covering the
cost of my medical supplies and medication. I don’t know how I would be living if I didn’t have
this monetary situation covered for me. I don’t think I would be able to feel healthy or even
happy if I had to worry about paying for my medicine every month. I am doing immensely better
than I was now that I am able to manage my health confidently and trusting myself and my

I have been dancing since I was 6 years old. I started doing ballet and tap before I joined a baton
twirling studio in Omaha, NE. I did competitive baton twirling from 1999 through 2013, just a
few months prior to joining the military. During that time, I won state, regional and national titles
both as an individual and with my team. We even traveled to Switzerland and won the World
Championship title in 2012, and that was an absolute dream of a trip and experience for me
growing up. I stopped dancing while I was in the service and found Kennesaw State University
through looking for a college that had twirlers in their marching bands. I have reached every goal
I set in my twirling career except being a feature twirler for a college. After finding KSU, I
looked into what degree I would take and found the dance department. Once accepted, I
auditioned 4 separate times to be accepted as a dance major. This was a great accomplishment
for me having come back to dancing after a break of 6 years. When I graduate, I don’t know for
sure how I will use this degree as I have started a business during my time in school. This
business relates to dance, but it allows me to stay in the behind the scenes of the dance world and
gain a new perspective of what I love.

After graduation, I plan to attend Graduate school at KSU to gain a master’s in business
administration to help me grow my business and become more confident in how I run it. I am
hopeful that I will have a more fruitful, successful business through gaining this additional
knowledge in the inner workings of a business and how to make it successful.
My business is called SparkleBaby Rhinestoning LLC. I enhance dance costumes as well as just
about anything under the sun. I can add rhinestones to just about anything you could want stones
on. I have done baton twirling costumes for 14 years, audition tops for high school dancers and
professional dancers, tutus and group costumes for Bravo Dance Center, costumes for a visiting
drag queen, t-shirts, earmuffs, dance bags, sweatshirts, dance team jackets and jazz shoes. I pride
myself on being custom to the customer, by sending photos of placement options prior to gluing
the stones on anything. I have a quick turn around time that has not gone over a week in time
from receiving the item and finishing it. My rates are accurately priced without undermining my
abilities and skillset.

I started SBR after attending a ballet class at KSU with Carolyn Perry, the owner of Bravo Dance
Center. She saw a jacket I had that was stoned and asked if I did it myself. After a short
conversation of how I do it, she asked me to stones some tutus in her studio. This connection
lead me to a store called Dance Raggs. They sell Swarovski rhinestones in larger quantities
which made completing the tutus easier. After Charelle, the owner of Dance Raggs, saw what I
did with their stones, they allowed me to take some items in the store home to add their stones to
and help spread the word of my ability. I then obtained my LLC to operate as a business and
created business cards that I even added stones to as well. I have since done personal projects of
my own items, worked with dancers at Divine Dance, and worked with students at KSU. I hope
this business will become a solid support for me and my family to allow me to continue working
in a capacity that I can manage my health without worry and live my life, doing what I love.”


One of my favorite qualities of Ashley’s is how upbeat she is. When you talk with her, you never realize all of those things lie in the background of her life. It’s beautiful how she is still the mom who is full of life and chasing her dreams.

Here are a few photos from her grad session:

It was an honor to be a part of the celebration, and I look forward to doing it again next year! This was absolutely more than a milestone, it was proof that she has, is, and will continue to live a very full and beautiful life.


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Photography has this magical ability to weave together our moments and our memories. Oftentimes, holding a photograph in your hand can have the same feeling as hearing an old song. 

I like being a part of that.

Atlanta, GA