Giving Back - Charity

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from Sweet Memories Photography!

What a wonderful year of amazing clients and new friends!  Witnessing beautiful weddings, watching babies grow up and families grow, too, meeting new people starting careers - headshots, modeling portfolios; the list goes on!   Going into 2019 we have so much to be thankful for, and I look forward to launching a new teaching element to Sweet Memories!  Pick up that old (or new) camera and learn what all those button do. This is the year to do it! 
I cannot wait to share in all the memories you make in 2019!

Thank you all for being a part of my business and my life! 

A look back at just some of the amazing people I had the pleasure of meeting and reconnecting with over 2018. Looking forward to more fun in 2019! Music by Young Presidents.

Art for Awareness: October #breastcancerawareness

October is the official month of Breast Cancer Awareness... but as you know it's not just important to be aware this month - but every day.    During the Month of October... for every one of my Fine Art pieces sold through my Loudoun Arts Council Marketplace - I will donate 25% of the sale to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.  If you would like to donate directly, click here...  


The following can be found on the Susan G. Komen site:


In 2017, it's estimated that among U.S. women there will be*:

  •  252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer
  •  40,610 breast cancer deaths

What Is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer occurs when cells divide and grow without their normal control.   Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) occurs when the abnormal cells grow inside the milk ducts, but have not spread to nearby tissue. DCIS is a non-invasive breast cancer.  Invasive breast cancer occurs when cancer cells spread to nearby tissue or other parts of the body.  Invasive breast cancer that spreads to other parts of the body is called metastatic breast cancer.  

Warning Signs

The warning signs of breast cancer are not the same for all women.

The most common signs are a change in the look or feel of the breast, a change in the look or feel of the nipple and nipple discharge.

Learn more here

*American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2017. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society, 2017.

Updated 03/28/17

Loudoun Charity Event: ONE Sparrow's Lip Sync Battle!

Just another fun Saturday night... but this one was filled with lip sync battles, food, drinks, friends and family!  Smokehouse Live in the Village at Leesburg hosted this event and even the assistant manager (and his amazing staff) brought it doing a Backstreet Boys performance!  I had the pleasure photographing this amazing group... From the performers, to the judges (Nikki McNutt Thiem, Dennis Stanley Sr., and Curtis Taylor),  to the people running the check in, to the MC... one word comes to mind - IMPRESSIVE.  Check out One Sparrow to learn more about their efforts to raise funds for others!  Check out all the photos here!

Wreaths Across America: Loudoun Union Cemetery

Union Cemetery

This year we decided to visit a Loudoun cemetery for the annual Wreaths Across America event on December 17th.  The icy rain was causing delays throughout the morning and the wind was fierce, but it was nothing compared to what these veterans and families have given to us all.  Here are some photos of the local veterans' grave sites at Union Cemetery in Leesburg.

(From Established in 1855 on the immediate outskirts of Leesburg, Union cemetery was created as a public cemetery open to people of all faiths. It predated three other “Union” cemeteries in Loudoun County established at Hillsboro, Waterford and Lovettsville. The cemetery contains the 1908 Union Chapel and several notable monuments, including a Confederate War Memorial at the north end of the site, and an imperfectly cut 30-foot- high granite column, allegedly designed for a D.C. public building, but rejected and brought to the cemetery in the 1890s.

If you are interested in visiting this historic cemetery, the address is 323 N King St, Leesburg.

This Is My Brave - Washington, DC

One day we will live in a world where we won’t have to call it 'brave' when talking about mental illness. We’ll just call it talking.

Saturday, I had the honor of photographing fourteen brave individuals who shared their stories of overcoming or living closely to someone with mental illness.  Poetry, original music, and stories were performed live, evoking tears and laughter from the audience.  

 "Through the sharing of stories and experiences of those in recovery, we provide a sense of community and hope; and encourage others to share their stories. We believe that each time one of us shares our story, there’s another crack helping to break down the stigma of mental illness. Right now, it's time to #LiveBrave and bring mental health issues into the spotlight because they've been in the dark too long."

Support their mission by donating today. Donations are 100% tax deductible. Our tax ID # is: 20-8944419.

You can also mail a check (payable to This Is My Brave, Inc.) to: 43300-116 Southern Walk Plaza #652, Broadlands, VA 20148

"Thank you so much for your support of our mission to end stigma through storytelling!"

This is My Brave - coming soon... May 15th

This month, I was so fortunate to meet this wonderful woman and volunteer my time to take headshots of the 2016 cast.  Jennifer is the creator and founder of "This is My Brave."  Now one of many voices expressing their stories to help educate others.

One day we will live in a world where we won’t have to call it “brave” when talking about mental illness. We’ll just call it talking.


The 2016 show (for the DC area) is scheduled for May 15th.  Click here to learn how to get tickets and support this great group!


Support our mission by donating today. Donations are 100% tax deductible. Our tax ID # is: 20-8944419.  You can also mail a check (payable to This Is My Brave, Inc.) to: 43300-116 Southern Walk Plaza #652, Broadlands, VA 20148

Thank you so much for your support of our mission to end stigma through storytelling! 

Smashing Walnuts: Cracking the Cure

I am pleased to announce three separate photo packages have been added to the Smashing Walnuts: Cracking the Cure Gala silent auction!


f you are interested in attending the Gala visit the main site:

(the following is from

The 3rd Annual Smashing Walnuts
"Cracking the Cure" Gala!
Ritz Carlton, Tyson's Corner ~ Saturday, March 19th, 2016

We are thrilled to once again welcome Larry Michael, the "Voice of the Washington Redskins", as our event Emcee and Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the NIH as one of our featured speakers. Join us as as we continue our fight against Childhood Cancer and our mission to cure Childhood Brain Cancer through funding of targeted scientific research and clinical trials.

Enjoy sumptuous cuisine, an incredible silent and live auction and a spectacular after party with dancing.

What is this Gala about?

Smashing Walnuts Foundation was started by 10-year old Gabriella Miller and her family after Gabriella was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor the size of a walnut. Gabriella smashed walnuts with a frying pan to symbolize "smashing" her tumor. 
The Smashing Walnuts Foundation mission is to cure Childhood Brain Cancer by funding targeted research and clinical trails. We are an organization dedicated to raising much needed awareness of Childhood Cancer and in particular it's DEADLIEST FORM in kids
under 18, Childhood Brain Cancer.

Quick Facts:

  • Childhood Brain Cancer is NOT THE SAME as Adult Brain Cancer. It is a DIFFERENT Cancer.
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease past infancy among U.S. Children.
  • Brain and Central Nervous system tumors are the leading cause of Cancer-related death in Children.
  • Less than 4% of tax-payer funded National Cancer Institute's (NCI) entire annual budget is dedicated to Childhood Cancer.
  • In 2014, there were 10,000+ new Childhood Cancer cases reported within the U.S. alone.
  • There have been NO NEW cancer treatments developed in 30+ years and NO treatments developed specifically for Children.

Children are dying every day waiting for promising new treatments that lack funding.

This is NOT OK.  Our Children deserve better.

How Smashing Walnuts began:
In November 2012, 9-year-old Gabriella Miller was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor known as DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma).  Her parents were told it was "terminal upon diagnosis". Without treatment she would have weeks to live – with treatment maybe a year.  Her family described the size of her tumor as that of a walnut.  Gabriella began smashing walnuts with a frying pan every night to help her visualize what she wanted radiation and chemotherapy treatments to do to her tumor. 

During the time between Gabriella's diagnosis and her death in October 2013, she became a global advocate for children with cancer. She spoke on the Washington Mall. She co-authored a children's book about cancer.  She raised close to

 $300,000 for childhood cancer foundations prior to starting her own foundation, Smashing Walnuts.  She was featured on CNN, The Today Show and dozens of regional news networks for her advocacy work.  Journalists covering Gabriella's story earned five Emmy awards.

Hear Gabriella's powerful words from CureFest 2013 here

Please forward this info to anyone who would be interested!

Stay sweet!


Puppy Love

Companionship is one of the most precious things we can experience, whether with a spouse, child, or the special loyalty of a pet.  It's true love especially when it's puppy love (and kitties, too for the cat lovers out there!)

Love, unconditional and true... People rely on this love, sharing happy times and hard times alike.  Pets are successfully used to help in so many situations including therapy. They don't judge and in most situations just want to share their love. 

A dear friend of mine recently lost her sweet companion of nearly 14 years. Amber, the chihuahua came into her life as a teeny puppy. She was (indoor) potty trained within a week and greeted my friend everyday (and every time she came into the room) with a cheery tiny bark. She hopped in circles when treats were mentioned and was also so well trained she knew the kitchen was off limits while mommy was cooking! (Puppies under feet are always a cook's worry!).  A best little buddy to my friend's son (now grown with a family of his own), she brought joy and helped protect my friend's home knowing very well what a huge guard dog she really was!  

I visited often and took some fun photos of Amber earlier in the season. She normally put her ears back or ran any time she saw a camera or cell phone come out, but she was in a posing mood this time! 

Photo credit: Samantha Marshall

Photo credit: Samantha Marshall

Amber's 14th bday came just a handful of weeks after she passed from a weakening heart, but I was able to be there with my friend and Amber in her last hours.  My friend used one of the photos and had a pillow made so she can always remember that little face greeting her! 

Photo credit: Samantha Marshal

Photo credit: Samantha Marshal

Making and keeping memories is so important in our fast paced lives, even with our four legged family members!

Stay sweet!