“those boys don’t come around here no more, probably all moved far away and if they return on the trains from the big cities, i wouldn’t recognize their face ’cause they changed so much that they might as well be someone else. at the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, ’cause lord knows i’ve changed myself.”

i got my first tattoo in 2004, at age 18, like so many others. it really doesn’t have any meaning, it is a tattoo of an open stylistic heart on my right hip that i found on google, which i then saw a year later on hershey kisses marketing around valentines day while browsing market district in shadyside, haha. i acquired a few others as well over the years, with more meaning as i really thought about what i wanted on my body. an open star on my right foot, angel wings on my left wrist, birds on a wire with my best friends on my right shoulder, stylistic flower with my sister on my left clavicle, a vine and the word “forever” on my left ribs. my latest tattoo though. it has the most meaning.

but what exactly is it? it is the lyrics to, i suppose it is my actual favorite song because it is the only song that has been tattooed on my body! (its so hard to pick a favorite!) the words “still got this smile on,” an excerpt from “the positives” from the album by the same title, by person l, the brainchild of kenny vasoli and the other musicians in the band as well as producers and designers of the album. Most of them happen to be from philadelphia, pa (so cool) – musicians who use instruments and their voices as their mediums of art. please do listen to it. this song gives me such a calming feeling – i especially love the way the instruments play at the beginning.

i actually had designed the tattoo 2 years prior to getting it, using gimp, a graphic design application which is free to download and use which i love to use for graphic design (heh, i’m also a self-taught graphic designer – i designed my logo and blog and even a magazine from scratch!). the font that i chose was made by kimberly geswein called “kg sunshine in my soul.” (her fonts are outstanding, so fun!) i have the words below written in that font. i used a flower bouquet drawing (below) that fernando galisteo roberto drew (it appears as if he made it, but i can’t find anything about him other than this pin on pinterest) tweaked it a little bit, duplicated the layer and flipped horizontally to make a somewhat wreath of wildflowers. i had planned to get it but plans fell through. i had kept it in my wallet because i didn’t want to lose it and it was a safe place for it to remain until i finally could get it.

then came the issue that i didn’t know where to get it – im kinda weird in that i want my body to be even. and this was my 7th tattoo, so, i had to get over that i wouldn’t be even anymore (and i’m still not, haha). finally, in july 2021, i got it tattooed on my upper left thigh. the photo below is what i gave to mike dietrich, the owner of 13th hour tattoo & piercing studio in butler, pa – a tattoo artist, using inks and skin as his mediums. (i was really nervous, as this is the largest tattoo on my body! he did great!!)

the final artist in this awesome intersection of a handful of artists, is me. i use cameras and subjects as mediums.

maybe you are left wondering. why though? why those lyrics? and the answer is because exactly like this song says;

“yeah, i still got this smile on, i’ll wear it across my face and if you still can not see the positives, then you’re just not looking my way.”

this lyric to me – represents that it doesn’t matter what life throws at me – i “still got this smile on” and life has thrown a lot of shit. right. at. me. over and over again. i will spare you of all the horrid details (i touched on those things briefly in this blog) but death by suicide, death by cancer, divorce and drug addiction all by the time i was 14. 14 years old until this very second and up until the moment i leave this earth, i have trauma that follows me. it creeps in every now and again to remind me every so often that my life has been far from perfect. it has been quite literally hell at times. so this lyric, it has basically become my mantra because despite all of the bad, no good, horrible things that i deal with, i have so much to smile about. and when i really sit and think about it, i know that EVERYTHING has led me to where i am today. i simply would not be the same person if the things that happened over my life didn’t happen exactly how they did. with trauma, you also have guilt at the fact that you can smile because of the things have happened to you and people you love. it requires you have to talk yourself out of feeling guilty and remind yourself that you are a better person because of it and you deserve to smile.

i’m pretty sure that anyone you ask to describe me, that they would say that i am always laughing and smiling. it’s true – i do love to laugh! many people know its me by my laugh without even seeing who is laughing and i know this because they have told me. i smile at strangers in the hallway at work or that i am passing by in a store. there is no way on earth we could ever know the extent of what others have gone through in their life because we haven’t experienced life from their point of view. what we can do is be kind to others. a smile costs $0 but it could mean everything to someone who just needed that simple act of kindness.

so, in case i happen to forget, i will just look down and be reminded that “i still got this smile on,” and appreciate the beauty of art as a tattoo made up of graphics and fonts that i designed from a song that i am so glad i got to listen to.

“and you changed so much that you might want to be someone else. run the risk of being an impressionist ’cause we should all become ourselves.”

so in coming up with the idea for this blog, i thought it would be interesting to share the {intersections} of artists by featuring individuals sharing their lyric tattoos and the inspiration behind them. if you are local to armstrong county, pa or are willing to come here for a quick 5-10 minute session in my backyard between april and october 2023, please sign up using this google form. it will also ask you some questions that you can fill out now or 1 week before your session, about the tattoo artist, musician and any other artists involved with the making of your lyric tattoo (please just indicate that you will fill out those parts later as it is required to enter something on those parts of the form). of course, i would love for you to share the meaning behind your tattoo – as much or as little as you want to delve into it. your blog will be a little bit different than mine, since i wrote mine myself and yours i will be writing using the information that you give on the form. you will need to sign a model release and i will gift your images to you via digital download. my goal is to be sharing ten{intersections} on my blog in the future, with the help of anyone who sees this and is interested in collaborating.


WHY I DO THINGS THE WAY THAT I DO | Worthington, Armstrong County Photographer

I picked up a camera for the first time, probably when I was a toddler. My great aunt Marilyn and my aunt Sue both had “fancy cameras” in the late 80s, early 90s. I know this because I have photos and videos of them, and of myself, taken by them that serve as my memory.

I loved disposable film cameras as an adolescent and teenager. They were fun tools to remind me of my life then. The anticipation of turning your camera in, waiting for the prints and then seeing them (and all the spoofed ones lol.) I know this because I have photos specifically that I took, or I was in that serve as my memory.

I remember when I was a senior in high school my mom bought me a camera. It was a cheap one, but it was mine. I have no idea where it is now. It looked similar to this: https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/shop/autofocus-35mm-camera {which holy moly, that’s cool you can buy one still.) I know this because I took photos with it and have prints and they serve as my memory.

When digital cameras came out, I thought that was awesome. I played on other’s digital cameras, because I couldn’t afford one. Finally, in late 2006, after I moved to Pittsburgh and finally bought a bed to sleep on- while I was working as a waitress, I had some money and bought my first one. It was a Kodak Easyshare. I have no idea where this camera is now. But I loved it! I took many, many photos on it, pictures of Lacey and Beefy’s wedding, me and Jody, Yuri’s graduation… so many big memerories. I know this because it is still not too long ago, but these photos serve as my memory. It is hard to remember every exact moment from even today, and although the memories are there, I believe it is because the photo specifically reminded me of it.

After that, Lacey got a DSLR. Nikon D3100ish era. I thought it was so cool. I took photos on it any chance I could get. Baby Noah and Camp Little Joe 60th anniversary are two things I specifically remember. I also see the photo of camp, with four generations of their family documented together, when I go to Maw Maws house, and look in her dining room.

Eventually, I upgraded to a Nikon Coolpix, which was the camera I had still when Ava was born. Uncle Marky had a DSLR and he would let me borrow it to take pictures of Ava, and at this point I just knew in my heart that I needed to have my own. More than anything, I wanted to be able to capture my memories and the memories for her to remember from a time that she can’t. I know this because our walls are filled, that serve as my memory of that split second of time, for the past 10 years.

So at the end of 2011, I bought my very first DSLR. My only brand new one too! Nikon D5100, with kit lens. It wasn’t cheap, I was in school and not working and Jody just got hired at Bayer. I charged that battery as fast as I could and started snapping away. I had no idea what I was doing, but I took photos and I printed them too. If I wanted Ava to remember these times, I had to. In this digital age it is so easy to just leave them on the card, post them on Facebook, etc. but prints are an absolutely necessity. It is hard for me to remember so much because like most of my life, it all seems like a blur. It simply isn’t possible to remember EVERY MOMENT OF OUR LIVES. The big moments that are special we take pictures of. But for me, I wanted pictures of even the mundane moments. I wanted pictures of the way Ava’s hair curled when she was a year old, the way her hand fit in mine and was so small. The way that Jody embraced her in his arms. Her cute little smile, her baby face. It all helps me remember so I know it will help her remember, too. I hope that her children, and her grandchildren, and her great grandchildren, will get to see these images. To share that moment in time even after I am gone, the way that photos have been shared with me, by my family members.

I took a lot of pictures from the first shutter on my Nikon in 2011 to 2014. I still really had no idea what I was doing, pictures were looking okay, but they didn’t have the exact look that I wanted. I finally buckled down and taught myself manual mode photography. ISO, aperture, f-stop. Exposure triangle. Focusing. Depth of focus. Posing. Angles. Somewhere along the lines, it all clicked. Literally and figuratively, haha. I figured out my style. I realized what I wanted to shoot was not portraits, not the ordinary thing that everyone else was doing.

I started my business in January 2015. I had no idea what I was doing but I did it, with the help of the IUP SBDC, which I am so thankful for their guidance starting out. I still barely know what I am doing, I didn’t go to school for business. I went to school to learn how to care for people. I taught myself photography. It took me my whole life. From the first time I picked up a camera to finally understanding the magnitude of what holding the tool that I held in my hands, with the knowledge in my brain and caring in my heart. I am not a standard, run of the mill photographer. I am one of a kind. I am Forever Whimsy.

Graphic design, my logo is one of kind, I made it myself. Website design and redesign, also me. Taught myself both. I found a free software called GIMP and although, it took many, many hours of frustration to figure it out, I did it. I learned as I went and still consider myself to be learning. Wanting it to be absolutely perfect. Photoshop, taught myself and although I used it for over 5 years, I wanted to upgrade. So I bought Lightroom and it literally took me over a year but now I have loved it for about 5 years. My editing flow took some time but I found the tweaks I love and use them on every photo.

Three more used cameras. My first full-frame DSLR, Canon 5D classic. Which at the time was nearly a decade old and cost me half of what my brand new Nikon kit cost me, and I had to still purchase a lens. I got the 50 1.8, nifty fifty, a great lens. I took one of my absolute favorite photos of Ava, which is in my kitchen above my sink. Everything about it is perfect. Amazing that such an old model was so good still. I also bought a 40mm pancake lens. I knew what I wanted though. A Sigma 24mm 1.4 Art. But first, I upgraded to a used Canon 6D. Much newer, cost me close to what my brand new Nikon kit cost. Awesome camera. Lots of pictures on that one. I have no idea how I could ever calculate my shutter count, between every DSLR I have used but it has got to be way over a million. I know this because I have folders upon folders of photos of my life and every person thats been on the other side of my lens dating back to 2010. 11 years of unlimited shutter clicks, outside of running out of space on a card, which is hard now with a 16GB or 32GB card. I easily take between 200-300 photos during a 30 minute-1 hour session.

April 2016, I got my Sigma. Used. It cost me the about the same amount as my used 6D. It is amazing how awesome these photos turn out. Partially because of me but also because of the equipment. I bought my ultimate camera, my Canon 5D Mark iii in 2018. That and my 24mm are my main set up that I always use. I do still have my 6d with the pancake lens but I hardly ever use it. Sometimes for self portraits, because it hooks up to my phone through wifi.

I know this has been longwinded but basically what I am trying to say is that I love photography, the memories captured. I believe in printing photos. Putting them in albums. Hanging them on walls. Looking at them and remembering for that moment, unfortunately we can’t just remember one thing all the time.

When you book a session with me, I give you everything that I learned, know and feel in the photos that will become your memories and the memories that you pass on.

This last year has been a difficult one for me and my family. If you know what I have been through, just as an outsider of the ones afflicted, you probably wouldn’t understand how I can still smile today. I have tried my best to do what I love, photography. Of course, the virus didn’t help at all. But over the last month, things are looking up. I have had a few sessions and those brightened my spirit a bit. The carnival is next week which will be so colorful, a wonderful backdrop for memories!

I got off track again and the purpose of this post was to help you understand why I do the things that I do. To understand why I want to continue to do things that I love to do. And to put it into the universe that I want to do more of it. Just put the camera in my hand and I will do the rest. Just make sure to have prints made so they can serve as your memory. Display them. Look at them often.



There have been many challenges of having to stay at home. One big challenge is missing our friends and family – and the time we spend together. Luckily, we have old fashioned games and internet/smart phones/tablets.

I was thinking of Ava, missing out on her friends, so I had the idea to play games via video chat with them. I reached out to her friend’s mom and we set up a day/time to play together. We used Facebook Messenger Video to play, but you could use Zoom or Google Hangout as well.


Yahtzee is super easy to play with via video chat, with 2 or more players. It is meant for ages 8+, but it is very easy to play for even 6 or 7 year olds. If you don’t have Yahtzee, but have 5 dice, you can play. If only one of you have the actual game, with scorecards – you will keep score for both parties – or you can print off/make your own scorecards and keep track seperately. Here are two versions you can print – Classic Yahtzee via www.winning-moves.com or Triple Yahtzee Score Sheet via www.memory-improvement-tips.com. You may want a calculator handy to add up the scores at the end. Here are the rules to Yahtzee via www.winning-moves.com, if you have never played before.


Farkle is a fast paced dice game that is so fun! Play with 2 or more players, ages 8+, but like Yahtzee, it is possible for 6 or 7 year olds to pay as well. You will need 6 dice and a score sheet to play. Here is a score sheet via www.elversonpuzzle.com with directions on how to score. Also, here is another score sheet via www.dicegamesdepot.com and a more detailed version of how to play the game here via www.playmonster.com.


Scattergories is awesome to play via video chat. It is recommended for 2-6 player to play, but its definitely possible for more to play! It is listed for ages 13+, but 8+ can play (they might not get some of the topics or spelling correctly, but that’s no big deal.) If you don’t have Scattergories – click here to print it out for yourself via www.nwtliteracy.ca If you just need sheets to play the game, just print pages 6 and 8 of the previous link, or use lined paper folded in half across and then thirds, numbering each “column” 1-12. You will also need a timer – set for 4 minutes a round. Here are the rules via www.winning-moves.com to Scattergories, if you have never played before.


Battleship is a game for 2 players ages 7+ that can be played via video chat. You would play the game as you normally do, just not in person. Here is a travel size on Amazon for under $10, if you don’t have it yet.

Watch Ya Mouth

Watch Ya Mouth is a silly game that came out a few years ago that requires the player to put a mouthpiece in and say what is written on a card, while their team member guesses what they said. It is recommended to play with 3 or more players, ages 8+. This would be fun to play with team members on video chat – if two players are in one house and two players in another house, then pair up with someone from opposite houses. If there are only 3 players, 2 players would guess. You will need to have this game handy to play, for cards and mouthpieces – here it is on Amazon for under $20. There are a few different versions to choose from.


Charades is a classic game that you don’t need anything but yourself, another player(s), a charades list via www.thegamegal.com (you can also google charades list to find more words to choose from!) and a bucket or hat to put the words in to play. Here are the rules via www.familyeducation.com. This would be so funny to play with via video chat!!


Pictionary is another classic game that can easily be played via video chat. It can be played 2 or more players, ages 6+ (will need to be able to read.) You will need a dry erase board of any size (they have them at Dollar Tree for $1), dry erase board markers and a list of ideas to draw. Here is a great resource with rules on how to play as well as multiple word lists via www.thegamegal.com!

These are just a few ideas that I have for this blog post, but please let me know if you have any other ideas! Let me know if you have a virtual game night, and how you liked it, too! ❤



DEAR PHOTOGRAPHER featuring Forever Whimsy Photography

(I can’t believe it’s been nearly 5 years since I wrote my original Dear Photographer post.)

Dear Photographer,

Can you believe it has been nearly 10 years since you officially began your journey as a photographer? You started much earlier than that, you always had disposable film cameras in your youth and for your 18th birthday, your mom bought you a Targus film camera. You couldn’t wait to get your hands on a digital camera and it wasn’t until 2007 when bought yourself a Nikon Coolpix E7600 with some leftover money from waitressing. It was so awesome to be able to take pictures of anything at anytime. Eventually you bought a Kodak EasyShare, but what you really wanted was a DSLR. Your best friend got one and you would take pictures on it whenever you could. In 2010, you documented Camp Little Joe’s 60th anniversary on her camera – even funnier to you because a week later, you were back together with one of the subjects you were documenting. Then came Ava and that sealed the deal – you had to learn photography. You would borrow Uncle Marky’s DSLR to take pictures of her, but you needed to have your own and could finally afford it. So for Christmas 2011, you purchased a Nikon D5100 with kit lens. Never did you think to yourself, “I will be a professional photographer someday,” you just wanted to capture every stage of your daughters life the best that you could. The first SECOND you could take a photo on that camera (as soon as the battery was charged) – you did just that. It remains as the image you remember of Ava’s “rooster curl” at 5 months old.

You practiced all the time, mostly on your niece Mariah. She was always willing to be your model and in doing so, you learned SO much about your camera. Back then, you were still shooting in aperture mode but you were learning composition, focusing, lighting. You made it a point to try to learn something new every time you picked up that camera. You would take pictures here and there of other people, just for fun. Then you started photographing other people. Looking back, you wonder why in the world anyone paid anything for those photos, but understand that it was a stepping stone. You became interested in learning how to shoot in manual mode the in the winter of 2013. It was not easy, by any means, to teach yourself photography. Months and months of trying and failing and finally getting it after reading a blog on Click It Up a Notch. Your A HA moment… finally.

By fall 2014, you were mastering manual mode – and looking into how to start your business. You also had made a blog and had some photographer friends from different states that you met online helping you with it, “The Thrifty Tog Blog.” It fizzled out after a few months, no biggie. Then the same friend you worked on TTB with had come to you and had a new idea – Dear Photographer. You worked your butt off from mid-2015 to 2017, running the Facebook page, keeping the blog going, getting two photographer meetups planned in different states. You even developed a magazine, literally designed it from scratch which released early 2017 – you wanted to give up a few times in the process, but you held on until it was done. Then, you decided it was time to part ways. You wanted to stay because you spent so much precious time working on this and building it up… but you weren’t treated fairly and your friend, wasn’t your friend anymore. It wasn’t a decision you took lightly, and still to this day it bothers you… your farewell post that so-called friend wrote when you left was taken down, so it was literally like you were erased from it’s history. You know and there are some good friends that you met through that community that know your integral part – and a lot of them also left that community. Today, all you hope is that your reasons for starting it didn’t go to the way side – beginning photographers to feel empowered in their journey and seasoned photographers to help them in their journey – and for them both to continue to learn from one another.

Eventually, you had to have a full frame camera but you didn’t have the money to buy anything new, so you chose a used Canon 5D classic in March 2015, which at the time, was 10 years old. Oh my, who cared? It was such an amazing camera, to go from crop to full and show you the possibilities that were endless! The 5D and 50mm 1.8, which for you at that time, was a $550 setup but absolutely amazing to you, left you wanting more though due to technology restrictions from an old camera. So you bought a used Canon 6D and again, were floored at how amazing it was. You held on and on for that Sigma 24mm, knowing it was quite an expensive lens – and were able to buy it used from a local photographer in spring 2016. It’s been nearly 4 years and it’s still the only lens you want to use, so beautiful. Finally, in 2019, you purchased a used Canon 5D Mark iii for a deal you just couldn’t pass up. It is so nice to have two cameras and not have to worry about what happens if one breaks.

Wow. If only you knew how many photographs you would take, how many people you would meet because of photography, how you would run out of wall space haha. How empowering, frustrating, interesting your journey would be. How you would view these images you take for others as memories and get to watch families grow with your camera. How much a gift you really have.

Continue to grow, no matter what. Be kind to others, help them on their journeys. Be thankful for the photographs you have taken that are on walls in homes for families to look at for generations.




Ava growing up has been a testament to my photography journey. To see how far I have come, it is amazing to me. If you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything.



I admittedly do not carry my DSLR around with me 24/7. It’s big and bulky. Not to mention, I’d be afraid of something happening to it using it that much.

I do however, carry my phone with me nearly at all times. No, the quality isn’t anywhere as good as my DSLR’s quality but it’s all about composition, light and the edit for me. I have photos from my phone that are some of my absolute favorites.

I had the iPhone 4, iPhone 6, iPhone 7+ and I currently have the iPhone 11 Pro Max. My iPhone 4 photos are not the greatest, I was really just getting started with smart phone photography then. I have some real favorites on my iPhone 6 and iPhone 7+. I am BLOWN AWAY by the capabilities of the iPhone 11 Pro Max, especially that it is such an upgrade from the iPhone 7+ which had portrait mode but it wasn’t all that great in my opinion. I rarely used it. The iPhone 11 Pro Max has the ability to change the f-stop to 1.4, which is literally what I shoot with on my DSLR a lot of the time – I just love bokeh (the blurriness of the background.)

My favorite apps for editing are Afterlight and RNI Films. They both have great presets. Afterlight has some neat overlays that can make your photo look more interesting. RNI Films has a great grain texture that you can adjust. I also like the fun “disposable camera” apps like HUJI and Kanon-Classic. They can be kind of finicky in my opinion.

You can absolutely take wonderful photos on your phone. You need to practice, try different things, use light to your advantage, try to keep the background uniform to limit distractions. Capture real! You don’t need your subject to smile for every picture. Document the little things that you don’t want to forget.

I want to remind you to please make sure to print the photos from your phone. There are different apps you can use, Shutterfly is a great one for up to 250 free prints which you just pay shipping (for me, it usually ends up being $25ish for 250 photos, but the quality is definitely better than Walmart or other cheap print places for about the same price if you paid for them.) You can also back them up in a cloud or upload them to your computer and save to a USB drive or external hard drive, if your phone quits working you will lose those photos forever, and that would be sad.

Lastly, I would LOVE to teach you smart phone photography – I have a class that I teach! I can do 1:1 (just you and me) or a class (up to 5 people.) It’s super fun to share my knowledge with you. I love what I do. I really want EVERYONE to have beautiful pictures from their phone ❤

Have you ever taken a great photograph on your phone? I’d love to hear about it! ❤