full table | new year

Twenty years old.

I think I spent a lot of high school growing up fast, but the last year I’ve felt my true age more than ever. I’m not an old soul in a young body. I never have been. More so a young soul with a big job to do. I’ve been putting off writing a blog post for my newsletter like this, but yesterday was the perfect push to make it happen.

The truth is I have no idea where I’ll be in 10 years, 5 years, or next year. My goals have swayed, my vision has shifted into guidelines, and my concept of the future has been altered by my faith. The Lord has taken me to places I couldn’t have dreamed. He has given and taken. He never ceases to surprise me by gifts and mercies. love I don’t deserve. joys he never promised I would have, but simply gives. I don’t want to come up with a detailed plan. I’m done trying to plan my biggest dream, because his is beyond what I could muster up.

Ephesians 3 is clear,

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

I know his glory isn’t my fleshly desires. By accepting christ, laying my sins at the cross, and pursuing his plans, happiness is not promised, joy and gifts are not my reward on earth. But we are in it for the long run. for his mighty plan and his victory. his glory, for the kingdom. All I dream is that this year, next year, in five years, in 10 years, I want my table full. full of friends, family, and strangers.

Reading apostle Paul’s letters to the churches makes me nostalgic over memories that aren’t mine. There was fierce struggle, the good fight was daily just like it is now. There were hidden churches, there were joyful believers celebrating in low voices around tables. They leaned on each other as family and community. They had abandoned all. He wrote to encourage and challenge.

I think about the good fight I’m fighting with my brothers and sisters. The tearful phone calls, the hours of prayer, the long travels to just be with each other, the challenging conversations, the times of worship, the times of communion and fellowship. I love when I glance around and we are together and laughing. “We” is vague because I experience this “together” in different homes, states, and countries. As my birthday has passed and this new year is around the corner, all I’m praying for is that in 2018 my table is full. Even if it’s full in a different way than I imagine, may it be full.

God blessed last night, as the table was full.

At 11:00am, my best friend Ginny arrived to my new home. We greeted each other with squeals and hugs because we’ve become accustomed to not seeing each other for months due to distance. She is joining MTR (Memphis Teacher Residency) next year, and I’m proud of her. At about 12:30pm, my friend El arrived with “hazelnut spread” and a container of parsnips with carrots. She brought stories and updates from her first semester at school in New York City. We laughed over subway experiences and conversed about art, work, and community. Quickly our little group grew as Tiana, my friend who is studying dance in university, arrived; then Olivia Grace, a music major; Kelly and Vincent, friends I’ve known through Avenue Coffee; and more and more. The day continued with grinding loads of coffee. I had mentioned that you could bring your presents to wrap so we could all be together, and many of them did. So out came boxes and bows. My mom and her best friend Megan, my art and science teacher from HS, stopped by. My sister arrived with 18 boxes to stuff and package for my clients. It was a full experience.

As dinner grew near, food was arriving with each person. It was two sets of incredible mac + cheese, blt bites of some sort, bananas, fried chicken, parsnips + carrots, and veggie chili. We slayed that mac + cheese. Nothing left.

I was in the kitchen for maybe 20 minutes when I rounded the corner into my room, and dear Lord, there were so many people all together sitting on the floor, chairs, and bed. It was a full room, barely room to walk. People I didn’t recognize came and introduced themselves, new friends brought other friends. My heart swelled. This is what I’m about. I’m about the sharing food and having conversations. I love when I hear people learning about another lifestyle and culture. I’m all about hearing a friend from one part of my life introduce themselves to a friend from another part of life. Even baby Liam made a showing with Jo and Peter, my freakin’ people. I didn’t want this to end. As every bit of mac + cheese was scraped from the casserole dishes, it was time for music.

Mary Mad, as her friends lovingly call her, brought out her guitar to start us off. She is a student at MS State and a dear friend to one of my dear friends. So of course, we are tight. <3 She played and we all joined in as she finished off with Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours”. Next, Jackie, my Zimbabwe queen. She brought her drums and spontaneously (under much squealing on my part) started hyping up the room with her beats. We even morphed a beat into jingle bells and it was so fun. Wyly began setting up his piano, and swept us away. My favorite of his last night was an original called Memphis Nights. SHAMELESS PLUG: https://open.spotify.com/track/22l9CHlqXrDL0zp8J985Gx . Olivia Grace brought out some Mariah Carey with Wyly killin’ it on the keys. After many a request, out came ice cream and cookies. We gathered together in my room again to grow quiet for John Black to play a “rough draft” of his music. He drove home to get his amp and guitar just for it, and everyone had no complaints as he kept playing.

Gosh, so much joy that night. This friend family I had left nothing for me to do, as they gathered plates, cups, moved furniture back into place, cleaned mugs. The house was back to normal in a few short bustling minutes! I was driven to Gibson’s by Sara Beth to finish off the night.

I came home, heart full, room empty. I won’t ever forget how full it was. And I hope it will always finds its way back to that state.

thanksgiving | no phone, no laptop, just mountains + family

I spent most of last week with my family in a cabin tucked away in the mountains. I decided a while back (with much encouragement) to take complete holiday. laptop free. phone free. WORK FREE. It sounds simple, it really does. Even I thought it was kind of a small order, but as the weeks went by… the to-do lists grew and the editing pile built.

So, that week I learned two things.

1. It’s okay to sprint, as long as you aren’t trying a marathon at that pace.

2. Some times the second mile isn’t in reach, and THAT’S OKAY. You just have to let certain things go. You can’t manage it all. No one hates you for being a small person, with 24 hours a day.

After a long-haul 4 a.m workday/night, I woke up Wednesday morning and quickly packed. We hit the ground around 8:00a.m. At about 8:15, I deleted instagarm, facebook, and snapchat, and turned off notifications for emails, messages, whatsapp, and phone calls. I was officially off the grid.

The get-away was wonderful. I took about 100 photos the whole week… which is shockingly low in my books. I went on my first few hikes without a camera in years. Feeling a new sense of bravery climbing rocks and looking over edges with the lack of camera-anxiety. I wasn’t quite aware just how much I don’t try or do with my camera strapped to me.

Even when I wanted to, I couldn’t reach for my computer to check an email, or edit even when I was in the “mood.” Instead, I did lots of yoga, reflection, reading, and card-playing. I am slowly trekking my way through Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley. Gosh, what spark to light before coming home! Seriously, this book has me dreaming big, ready for action! Highly recommend it even though I haven’t even finished it yet.

For actual Thanksgiving, we all slept in till our hearts (and bodies) desired. We aren’t a major traditional-food kind of a family, so we opted out of turkey and stuffing for our family favorite: Raclette, the description for which is:

“Raclette was mentioned in medieval writings in texts from Swiss-German convents dating from as far as 1291,[4] , it’s a particularly nutritious meal, originally consumed by peasants in the mountainous Alpine regions of Valais (Switzerland), Savoie and Haute-Savoie (France). It was then known in the German-speaking part of Switzerland as Bratchäs, or “roasted cheese”. Traditionally, cow herders used to take the cheese with them when they were moving cows to or from the pastures up in the mountains. In the evenings around the campfire, they would place the cheese next to the fire and, when it had reached the perfect softness, scrape it on top of bread.”

“A modern way of serving raclette involves an electric table-top grill with small pans, known as coupelles, in which to melt slices of raclette cheese. Generally the grill is surmounted by a hot plate or griddle. The cheese is brought to the table sliced, accompanied by platters of boiled or steamed potatoes, other vegetables and charcuterie. These are then mixed with potatoes and topped with cheese in the small, wedge-shaped coupelles that are placed under the grill to melt and brown the cheese. Alternatively, slices of cheese may be melted and simply poured over food on the plate. The emphasis in raclette dining is on relaxed and sociable eating and drinking, the meal often running to several hours.”

AND lastly, in so many words, these are a few things, this year, I am thankful for:

  • My family, including time with my brother in law, Josh.
  • Freakin Memphis and its amazing creators
  • Opportunity and the risk friends and clients have taken to support me
  • Planes and tickets that have taken me around the world this year
  • Best friends who don’t let Facetime feel less than an in-person coffee date
  • Memphis water
  • Friends’ babies that make me want to hold a baby. (that’s you, Clark Daniel and Liam Knightly!)
  • Evergreen trees + wildflowers that sneak up in places they shouldn’t
  • The Michalaks, The Mustards, Sprinkle of Glitter, Our Tiny Tribe, and Safiya Nygaard (to name a few of the youtubers who inspire me weekly.)
  • Butternut Squash
  • Twinkly lights and brick walls
  • My faithful car that has carried me far

Here are a few of my captures from Thanksgiving in the Smokies:


So first things first: I moved. Don’t worry, I’m still in Memphis! This move is semi-permanent, in the sense that I know an end date for how long I’ll be here. I’ll probably be in Memphis afterwards, but you never know where the Lord will lead me. Here are some FAQs about my move!


I know! eeeep


I now live in a pocket neighborhood behind Walnut Grove. I have some awesome new roommates named Bekah and Maggie; I already love living with them. They let me drink their coffee, so…it’s a good deal.


Pretty short and simple: it was an unexpected move. I graduated from high school and decided not to go to college, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. As I’ve started learning how to work from home, though, it has become clear that it’s difficult to fit your bedroom and your office into one average-sized bedroom space. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t think size is always necessary–companies like IKEA can help you prioritize organization. I think it’s really important to live a minimal lifestyle in terms of organization and how much stuff you have. I strive to live a life like this, but even I began to feel claustrophobic in my own space due to all of the equipment I have. I haven’t narrowed down exactly where I want to be–I mean, I don’t know if I ever will–I think I just know that I will always want to be creator. I don’t have a designated “creation” or outlet so to speak–I think in general it will probably always include photography, but I’m not confident enough to say that photography will be what I do for the rest of my life. Because of that, I have a lot of other art supplies including canvases, paint, packaging materials, and loads more in boxes I was never able to unpack at my old house. My space at the new house is twice as big, with lots of additional storage space. Being able to find a place for things and store my equipment has been a huge blessing.

Did something happen with my roommates?

This is more of a personal note, especially for my friends and family who really didn’t expect the move. Before this, I lived with my best friends Hope and Katherine. Hope and I moved in together July after graduation from high school, so I really haven’t known living with anyone but her, and then Katherine joined us not too long after. To be clear: there was by no means any tension there. The move was not an emotional decision–it was very practical. There have been many tears shed after having separated the three musketeers. I will seriously hold dear the memories of living with Hope and Katherine for the rest of my life. I’m going to always be telling all of the crazy stories and talking about all the laughter and fun we had. We’re excited to learn how to be friends now– that is, how to schedule out intentional time together and hopefully that will go really well. It’s already been really strange not coming home to see them, so I am slowly learning and would definitely appreciate prayers in that area.

What does your new space look like? How have you set it up?

One thing that attracted me when I walked in was the beautiful stone floor and the exposed brick wall. I ended up painting the wall with white primer and I’m really happy with the results. My friend Emily Gluntz was the final push that convinced me to do it and we did it together with two gallons of primer paint. We did one layer with brushes to get into the mortar and grooves and the second layer was done with a roller–my new roommate Maggie ended up helping us roll, too. In the end, we did it in four hours. I was actually moved in before then, but the space is big enough that I was able to move everything away from the wall before painting. On one side of the room, I have a standing desk that I got from Autonmous, and my bed is on the other. I decided to make the brick wall a feature wall mainly because I think it’s unique and it’s what makes the room really feel like a studio apartment. I have an awesome table that was built for my sister’s wedding by her husband Josh, who heads up Olive & Iron Woodcraft. He does some personal projects on the side so if you’re interested in getting a new piece of furniture built, let me know and I’ll send you to his inbox. I really wanted to put that table in here because 1. the space was available, and 2. I want this room to be filled with art and artists, and I want to be able to share this space. I feel like I would never have dreamed I would be able to live in a space like this when I was 19, and I want to give it back to other artists as much as I can. Super excited about the future of it! On another wall, I have a seating area and my big ficus, and also a huge closet that has allowed me to expand and unpack a lot of those boxes I mentioned before. If you would like to come by and work and treat my place like a coffee shop, you are welcome to! I have been able to stay at home a lot more and work from home and I’m excited about that. I hope to continue to soak in the amazing opportunity to live here. What I’ve learned in this process is that the Lord is not held by leases– and when His will is to be done, His will is to be done and there is no fighting it.

How are you doing?

I am doing well! This space has been life-giving. There is space to create, breathe, stretch, and separate my work and personal life. I’m loving inviting friends and even clients over to have coffee. I am enjoying having an area for messy art while keeping my “work” desk clean (since there are two desks). I have felt growing pains, but I know His plan is greatest. Thanks for asking!

Here are some PICS from the whole process.







The lovely Jo of JoDarling Photography took a few photos of me in my room:

EFC | FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions



I was 12 when I picked up my first camera, trailing behind my big sister with her big camera. I started pursuing photography as more than a hobby sophomore year of high school when a friend handed me some cash after we frolicked around a field taking her senior photos. As I grew in the time I spent with my camera by my side, my friends and family starting seeing more potential than even I saw! And then my life changed forever (age 16) when a couple trusted me to take photos at their wedding that same year, 2014. And it’s been a whirlwind since! Booking through word of mouth and my portfolio circulating through platforms like my blog and Instagram.



I grew up interacting with so many cultures and peoples. I spent my childhood by the Mediterranean Sea speaking Turkish and eating lot of veggies. I currently live in “the City of Blues”, Memphis, TN, where you can find me in any of the coffee shops within 10 miles of my apartment.  I travel as often as I can. Every new place I visit, when someone asks me this question, it usually stumps my heart. I never fully felt like I fit in Turkey, nor do I feel as though America is my home. I don’t really know where I am from but I cling to the truth of Philippians 3:20.



 Why photography? 

Simply put: it’s just me. There is something pure magic about stopping time. In such a visual world, I love that I can spark emotion, capture moments, and deliver work that allows my clients to cherish their memories. I love the responsibility I have to capture something that won’t ever happen again. And I love that I am growing and getting better each day I pick up my camera.

I know I will never stop taking photos because, like I said, it is truly a part of who I am. I think in colors and composition. I process life and events through photos. I pray I will always have the opportunity to empower, encourage, and evoke. I don’t think photos should only be happy. I choose to pick up my camera to be a communicator. A photo is worth a thousand words. I don’t control your interpretation of an image, and that is a beautiful thing.


Community over competition is what I am all about, and I never want to lose that. I love coming alongside other entrepreneurs and creatives, empowering them in their own goals and dreams.

If I didn’t have microphone anxiety I would absolutely love to be an inspirational speaker. That being said, I love to be a one-on-one catalyst. My passion is to set goals, write mission statements, and make things happen. There is a world full of people with ideas scribbled on napkins and journals, but they are never challenged or given the tools to make their dreams grow into a reality. I want to be there with the passionate individual and help breathe life into their visions, to be their one-on-one inspirational speaker and tool kit.

You need QUALITY photos to launch your product/brand. Photos that capture you as the maker and creator, photos that show off your products in a lifestyle way. That’s what I am about.


1. I want to be a humanitarian photographer. I want to use my skills and heart to serve the nations, shedding light on the culture, joy, as well as hurt in cultures and nations. I want to serve with those being a voice for the voiceless. I don’t want to just photograph someone. I want to dignify them, empower them.

2. Community Creative Space. My brother-in-law and I have dreamed of starting a community building/studio for creatives in our city/a city. A place where photographers, designers, videographers, illustrators, entrepreneurs come together to work alongside each other at community desk areas. Turning screens around, brainstorming big ideas on white boards and windows. Community over competition at its very finest!

3. I would love to write or commission someone to write a biography on my parents’ story, covering from the day they met to current day. From the date my mom accidentally spilled a whole glass of ice water on my dad; to the day my dad asked her parents’ blessing in marriage, communicating “You won’t watch your grandkids grow up. We want to move overseas”; to their around-the-world trip, straight to living in Turkey for 20 years. Their legacy inspires me daily, and I think it’s a book that would impact so many.


After growing up overseas, I’ve got the travel bug strong. Thankfully my TCK (third culture kids) friends still live all over the world AND are getting married. So a lot of my travels are to visit them/shoot their weddings. I am continuing networking and one of my goals by 2019 is to have almost 80% destination weddings/out of Memphis weddings. SO, where ever you are, hit me up!

As for personal trips, as with most things that are luxury and not necessity, you give up a lot to have something else you want. I don’t go to movies, concerts, and festivals. I try to stay frugal on clothes and stay conservative on how much camera gear I invest in and keep. ALL in order to save for long trips. I love LIVING as long as I can in a place I visit to truly experience the feel, culture, people, set up, and way of life.


Honestly, it’s different every week, but in general my to-do lists look a lot like a scatter-brained 15 year old with priority issues. Every week I log about 40-50 hours of work split into about 5 categories (listed from most time to least time spent): Editing, Shooting, Bookkeeping, Media (blog/Insta/website/fb), and Client Care (emails, meetings, calls, etc.).

You can find me working in coffee shops (especially Avenue Coffee, our local spot open till 12a.m.), in airports, on planes, in the car on road trips, on trains, (have yet to work on a boat), in my bedroom at my standing desk, anytime I can outside on my patio, on the floor at a friend’s house, or pretty much anywhere that week has me. I live on the go as much as I can, relishing new spaces that inspire me and help me create in a way that keeps me getting better and better. So to answer that question is kind of hard, but let’s just say I work as hard as I can wherever I am. 


My main camera body is the Canon 6D (and my second is canon 6D) accompanied by the Canon 35mm 1.4f prime, and Sigma 50mm 1.4f prime. Every once in awhile you will catch me traveling with the 24-70mm 2.8f. For low light situations you can find me using the trusty Canon 600x flash. I edit on my 15 inch MacBook Pro with Adobe Lightroom. I stand behind Photo Mechanic and BlogStomp as lifesavers, as well. I use Mailchimp for my monthly newsletter, as well. My favorite app is TOGGL for self-employed folks like myself.


My AWESOME brother-in-law through KINGSMAN CREATIVE. Seriously the bomb. Check out his work! He’s committed to taking the time to build something that’s inspired by you.