One question I get asked a lot is “why do you have a butterfly on your logo?” or, “what does the butterfly stand for?” For the past four years, the symbol of a butterfly has been super important and meaningful to me; this is why.

Last summer, on August 9th, I was in Downtown Cleveland for MKTO’s American Dream Tour. One of my best friends, Tiffany Houghton, was opening for them! Tiffany is an upcoming singer/songwriter living her dream in L.A. I have waited for years to see Tiffany performing at The House of Blues in MY city, and I still can’t believe it happened. Seeing Tiffany doing what she loves, living her dream, singing up on that stage, I felt SO proud of her. Tiffany is a HUGE inspiration to me. If I’m honest, I would not be this successful if it wasn’t for her. I wouldn’t already have my own small business at 18, so in a way, I owe it all to her.

One thing about Tiffany is that she loves butterflies. She has this butterfly necklace that she wears every day, and the meaning behind it is so special to me. I was waiting outside after the concert to see Tiff, and she had something in her hand for me when she came out. It was my very own butterfly charm. She gave it to me and she told me the meaning of her butterfly:

“One wing stands for being kind and the other for working hard. As long as you do those two   
                                                 things you will always have good luck.”

At this point I was crying, I felt so honored and blessed to have a friend like Tiffany. Tiffany is out living her dream in L.A with a crazy, busy schedule, but still makes time to talk to me. After she handed me the butterfly charm, she looked me in the eyes and told me that she believes in me and is proud of me. She told me that I can accomplish anything. That night changed me. I woke up the next morning and thought, “I’m going to make this dream possible, TODAY.” Now, almost a year later, I own a small business, I’ve had 8 senior sessions with 5 more coming up, I’ve traveled to VIRGINIA for a mentoring session with one of my favorite photographers, I photograph a wedding NEXT WEEK, and this is only my first season!

This past year…wow, it’s been a rollercoaster. Balancing a business, being a full time college student, building and losing relationships, and trying to squeeze in free time with friends…my schedule was booked from the time I woke up to when I went to bed.  Lately it’s still like that, possibly even crazier. Some days I feel like putting everything on hold and waiting until I am out of college so I have more time in my day to make plans with friends. But I didn’t want to do that, so I didn’t. You want to know why I didn’t? Because this is what I want to do, and this will make me happy for the rest of my life. Because Tiffany was with me, encouraging me through it all. Those nights crying myself to sleep in my dorm room because I was so stressed and I felt like failing, or those moments I felt totally depressed. I felt like I was alone. But I wasn’t alone, ever. I wear Tiff’s butterfly around my neck every day. I never take it off. By wearing Tiffany’s butterfly, I know she is with me, even though she’s on the complete opposite side of the country. She gave me confidence, she gave me courage, she believed in ME and I cannot thank her enough. She is my strength, my island when I’m lost at sea. She is always with me by the little butterfly around my neck. Tiff showed me who I am and who I want to be. So, the JTP butterfly, as well as my necklace, is just a reminder that anything is possible as long as I be kind and work hard.