A Girl Named Leney

THE JOURNAL

Posts tagged Happiness
Goodbye 2015

So I started the morning of this last day of 2015 with reading my post from this time last year.
It was interesting to see both, how much I've grown since then but also how much I am the same. 

2015, as a whole, was amazing. I hadn't fully realized what a truly incredible year it really was until I sat down to evaluate and think about it. Which is such an odd thing to admit really, but I don't know this year went by so fast that it's taken me until now to realize how much has really happened just in one short year. 
Like, really guys, I went to five new countries this year. Five
That alone would make for a red letter year in my book. 
But there's so much more that happened that made this year one of the best yet. Some of it too personal to share, but other pieces I am more than happy to revel in with you. 

Let's review...

I rebranded.
Holy wow was this huge for me. I already have even more new ideas and changes that are going to be introduced in the upcoming year, but having this foundation for my brand and my business, was so very huge for me. I felt much clearer and more focused in regards to my brand and how I represent myself and what my goals are and what my mission is with what I do.
I can't wait to continue adding to it next year.


I introduced a new series on the blog, Thoughts, from the morning and late night (the latter is actually when most of these entries seem to come to me for some reason).
This came about because I rediscovered how much I really and truly love writing. I'm no shakespeare by any means, but I do so love expressing myself and my thoughts in this way. So I hope you won't mind that being more of a thing in 2016 because I think this is just the beginning of a rediscovered love.


I was an ETSY FEATURED SELLER.
Hello, can we talk about how insane this was? A dream come true to be sure. I still have a hard time believing this one. Wowee wow wow. 


Learned how to spin yarn.
Cannot wait to pursue the elemental aspects of various fiber arts this winter. Believe me, it's only becoming more of an obsession from here and I have some big plans for furthering this education. 
(No, I don't have a sheep in my backyard yet but....)


Freaking ran a whole 10k without stopping. Quite a feat for a person who's never run more than two miles max at a time. 


I was a model a time or two (I use the term model very loosely as Meagan is literally the only person who can take photos of me where I'm not portrayed as the true goof that I am 24/7) 


Started another new series I'm still working on sharing photos in from this year, The Urbexing Diaries. See more entries here.


Introduced Travel Dates.
Here's to some great new ones come 2016 yea?


I was featured in Whurk Magazine as their centerfold pinup girl. ;)


Started officially documenting Leney’s Airstream Dream
One day friends… One day…


Added heaps of new strips to The Travel Blanket, which is so ginormous now and getting quite heavy... kind of thinking I need to either start a second one, or just add teeny tiny bits of yarn in the future or something because I'm not sure how functional a blanket the size of my living room is really going to be at this rate...


Went to Iceland. ICELAND
This truly could be the only note worthy thing I did this year and I would have written off 2015 as the best year of my life I'm pretty sure. 
Planning on finally sharing real non iPhone photos and thoughts from that trip very very soon.


I also went to Ireland, Spain, France and Switzerland.
There are no words really to sum up this sentence. But there will be non iPhone photos forthcoming of those photos as well you can bet on that.


It was the year of travel actually, for I also revisited Maine, Florida, New York, North Carolina, and various places all over Virginia as well as went to Michigan for the first time.
(Detroit in February.... That's all I'm gonna say...)


Helped the sailor whose daughter I am bring home a new boat that I even helped name.


Established that mornings are, indeed, my favorite time of day.


Worked for some pretty cool people and got to stretch my creativity work wise as well as personally in so many various ways with my photography. Something that lapsed a bit more so at the end of the year, but something I'm looking forward to jump starting again at the start of a new one.


I also stretched my creativity with my fiber work in making this commissioned piece that I still really love.


I introduced One-Of-A-Kind Knitwear.
A project and concept I was so excited to finally make a reality. I'm excited to see where it goes this year.


I also released another new knitwear line, The Classics Collection.
A collection I am so very proud of and one that felt so good to share with you all.
It's still up in the shop for anyone who feels like they need some knitwear for the upcoming winter months. ;)


Hosted a pop up event with my knits at Madewell!
Such a cool opportunity. So many lovely girls who work over at that store. Grateful and humbled for the privilege and honor of being noticed and singled out to do that with them! 


Turned another year older (shocker) and summed up some overall things I've learned throughout the year.


Started working with a pretty cool dude at a pretty cool shop on some pretty cool things.
Maybe you’ll hear more about that in the new year…


Identified that slow living is something I want to make a point to live out as well as shopping small whenever possible, and overall living a more sustainable lifestyle. Definitely plan on touching on those subject matters more in the near future.  

And.....
Countless other things that didn't even make it to the blog/instagram.
But again, some things are just too personal and I'm going to keep just-for-me.
2015 was it man. It really was.
Last year I wrote: 

Goodbye 2014.
There are some parts of you I'm really going to miss, and some parts I very much will not.
But I am grateful for all of your parts. 

I find that sentiment still rings true for 2015 (though I have to admit I have a hard time remembering much of the bad from this year because I feel as though it was overwhelmingly and almost-all-the-way-through good). 

So, in closing, 2015... 
I am grateful for all of your parts.


//
Photo cred: Meagan Abell

The Dream I Am Working On

I still may not know 
what I want to be when 
I grow up but I do know 
that I want to live at 
home filled with books 
& travel souvenirs. And 
the walls that aren't 
covered in bookshelves 
will be covered with photos 
of my family & friends. 
When I leave home I will 
be going to a job I love, 
and I'll return to a 
person I love. So that is 

the dream I am working on.

Source

/////
I don't know that anything has ever rung so true as this for me.
Such simple yet perfect words.

Happy List || 01
Follow me on Instagram  @agirlnamedleney

Follow me on Instagram @agirlnamedleney

Decided to bring back Happy Lists.
Because taking note of the good and small things that make life great is worth doing. 


A HAPPY LIST//
rainy morning runs. asphalt that smells like spring. the colors of 7am. the smell of honey suckle. favorite sweatshirts. open windows that filter in the sounds of birds and rain soaked streets. scratchy blue vinyl playing before breakfast. bluejeans and white t-shirts. boxes of tea. a blue yoga mat. an empty inbox. oriental rugs. nikes.

May Flowers

April showers bring May flowers.
We've definitely had our fair share of rain here in Richmond this week.
I'm not complaining though because it's calmed all this nasty pollen down. And it's been sort of refreshing and rejuvenating in a way. I often feel that way when it rains. Especially in the springtime. Spring rain seems to bring with it a calmness and peace that just does my soul good.

Been working hard on new designs for the shop.
Trying not to jump the gun and work on warm knits for fall/winter and focus on the spring/summer pieces I have going instead, but it's hard when I have all of these ideas running around in my head!
Lots of sketching and doodling and writing and list making.

I've also been working on my goals for May, but of course I probably won't get them up until after the weekend. 

Speaking of being refreshed, I've been reading more again. It's been really nice.
There's just nothing that slows you down and puts things into perspective a little like taking the time to be still a while and read a book.
Of course I have about six going at a time right now... but hopefully I can get that down to a more reasonable number after the weekend as well.

I can't really believe it's already May.
I mean really, 2014, where are you goin?

I came across this old post from last May.
I hope this year's May is just as good to me as that one was.

I have a feelin it will be. 
Paying Attention

I've been reading this book, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, and there was a particularly interesting passage that I read the other day which made quite an impression on me.
I thought I'd share it here with you guys. It's a little long, so bare with me.
//////

Very often, a creative block manifests itself as an addiction to fantasy. Rather than working or living the now, we spin our wheels and indulge in daydreams of could have, would have, should have. One of the great misconceptions about the artistic life is that it entails great swathes of aimlessness. The truth is that the creative life involves great swathes of attention. 
Attention is a way to connect and survive.
     "Flora and fauna reports," I used to call the long, winding letters from my grandmother. "The forsythia is starting and this morning I saw my first robin. . . . The roses are holding even in this heat. . . . The sumac has turned and that little maple down by the mailbox. . . . My Christmas cactus is getting ready. . . ."
     I followed my grandmother's life like a long home movie: a shot of this and a shot of that, spliced together with no pattern that I could ever see. "Dad's cough is getting worse. . . . The little Shetland looks like she'll drop her foal early. . . . Joanne is back in the hospital at Anna. . . . We named the new boxer Trixie and she likes to sleep in my cactus bed, can you imagine?"
     I could imagine. Her letters made that easy. Life through grandma's eyes was a series of small miracles: the wild tiger lilies under the cottonwoods in June; the quick lizard scooting under the gray river rock she admired for its satiny finish. Her letters clocked the seasons of the year and her life. She lived until she was eighty, and the letters came until the very end. When she died, it was as suddenly as her Christmas cactus: here today, gone tomorrow. She left behind her letters and her husband of sixty-two years. Her husband, my grandfather Daddy Howard, an elegant rascal with a gambler's smile and a loser's luck, had made and lost several fortunes, the last of them permanently. He drank them away, gambled them away, tossed them away the way she threw crumbs to her birds. He squandered life's big chances the way she savored the small ones. "That man," my mother would say.
     My grandmother lived with that man in tiled Spanish houses, in trailers, in a tiny cabin halfway up a mountain, in a railroad flat, and, finally, in a house made out of ticky-tacky where they all looked just the same. "I don't know how she stands it," my mother would say, furious with my grandfather for some new misadventure. She meant she didn't know why. 
     The truth is, we all knew how she stood it. She stood it by standing knee-deep in the flow of life and paying close attention.
     My grandmother was gone before I learned the lesson her letters were teaching: survival lies in sanity, and sanity lies in paying attention. Yes, her letters said, Dad's cough is getting worse, we have lost the house, there is no money and no work, but the tiger lilies are blooming, the lizard has found that spot of sun, the roses are holding despite the heat.
     My grandmother knew what a painful life had taught her: success or failure, the truth of a life really has little to do with its quality. The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.

Later on in the passage she writes

Writing about attention, I see that I have written a good deal about pain. This is no coincidence. It may be different for others, but pain is what it took to teach me to pay attention. In times of pain, when the future is too terrifying to contemplate and the past too painful to remember, I have learned to pay attention to right now. The precise moment I was in was always the only safe place for me. Each moment, taken alone, was always bearable. In the exact now, we are all, always, all right. 

//////
It is in the paying attention that we learn to enjoy life despite it's many trials and pains.
And, without fully realizing it, that is why I so often do many of the things that I do.

It's why I take pictures. To help me focus (no pun intended) on the subject at hand, to pay attention as fully and completely as I can so that I can soak in a moment and enjoy it. 
It's why I blog. So I am made to recount good things and share them with others to keep my perspective a positive one, even when things are hard and maybe not so easily enjoyable.
It's also why I go on meandering walks in new places, it's why I read new books, it's why I create and make art, in all of it's varying forms.
It's the principle behind my core value of enjoying the art of the every day. 

Granted, there are often times I choose not to do these things as well.
Not to blog something, because it is too precious, and sharing it with the world would take away from it and having it be something just for me. The same with taking photos. There really are some moments too beautiful to attempt to capture, document and recreate. However, these things are still tools in a way, to help remind me to pay attention more, even when I don't use them to help facilitate that.
And I still do choose to share things in this way a lot of the time, because it is often part of how I enjoy them and I love encouraging others to do likewise in their life. Because I am so often similarly encouraged by others in this way as well.
Not to gloss over the bad stuff, not to brag, not to portray that I have a perfect life, and not to say "hey look at me!". (Although there have definitely been times where I've done all of those things and there of course is always the ever present issue of comparing your real life to someone's best moments via social media. Which is a whole other topic for another time...)
But to help remind myself, and others, that even though there is a lot of pain and problems, and messy stuff that we all deal with on a daily basis, there is still so much beauty and life and wonder in the world.

Paying attention to the details in life, the things that can go unnoticed if you're not looking for them, is what reminds us why life is so beautiful.  



So that's my rant for the week (sorry for all of the run-on sentences. I'm terrible with those...). 
I'm going to go outside and smell the roses now.
Even though they're at present caked in pollen. 



"Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music- the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself." -Henry Miller
Core Values
Photo Cred: Meagan Abell

So today I'm sharing my core values with you guys!
I posted them one at a time last week on my Facebook page, but I wanted to do a post with them all together here on the blog.
This is something I've been wanting to do since the beginning of the year so it feels really good to finally have these all written out. It also has just helped me a lot already in staying more focused and motivated when I do any sort of work for my business, I only wish I'd made them sooner!

I've mentioned this before, but I figured I'd go ahead and share this again for you first time readers, I think it's really important to have core values.
Not just for your business, but for your personal life as well.
It helps remind you why you do what you do and keeps you motivated when things get crazy.
Mine end up encompassing a little of both my personal and work life.
Partly because what I do is so much a part of my life, and partly because I put so much of myself into my business and it really is an extension of who I am in so many ways.

They're a little lengthy, but hey, why not be as specific as I want to be, right?
So, without further ado...

// My Core Values // 

1. Do everything with Passion
Do my best in whatever situation I'm presented with. 
Stay tremendously interested in things. 
Above all point back to my creator in all that I do because He's the source of all things good. 

2. Be in a state of constant Exploration. 
Seek adventure not just in traveling. 
Challenge myself. 
Always be willing to learn new things. 
Observe the world around me. 

3. Love.
Fall in love with people. Their stories. Their uniqueness and individuality. Love them where they're at, wherever that might be. Fall in love with work. With what I get to do for work. With the process of things. 
Be in love with my life. 
And above all: Remember what love is

The simple. The routine. The ordinary. Because there's beauty in all of it. 
Live in a state of thankfulness. Have it be a part of my lifestyle, not just a list. 
Collect moments not things.

5. Create. 
Whether that's knitting a sweater, taking a photo, building a new relationship, or learning how to make really amazing guacamole. 
Make more. 
And in the making, don't be afraid of failure. 
Remember that no great thing is created suddenly. 

6. Dream fearlessly. 
Do not let the world's standards or definitions of what's possible define who I am, what I want to be or where I want to go. Have vision and drive for doing and being better. 
Never settle. Aim high. Go confidently. 

7. Inspire. 
Help others discover their dreams and passions by simply pursuing my own. 
Pursue excellence. 
Encourage and motivate others to be the best that they can be. 

8. Be Leney.
Authentic. Confident. Unique. Genuine. Whether that's the donut obsessed Leney, the avid picture taking Leney, the never not knitting Leney, the Leney who likes to dance to cheesy pop music or the Leney who likes getting on buses alone to find a new adventure at the other end. 
Remember that comparison is the thief of joy and to not let my vision of who I want to be obscure my view of who I actually am

///////

What about you?
Do you have any core values? 
Whether they're personal, or for your own business, I'd love to hear them!

Goals | February
| Follow me on Instagram at @agirlnamedleney |


So I have to say that I'm actually pretty happy with the outcome of January's goals.
I did really well at creating new habits in regards to eating better, journaling, not shopping, working out, trying out new methods of organization, getting rid of some things, having a daily quiet time and getting much better at creating a work schedule to stick to, as well as a few other things.
Granted the work schedule isn't exactly how I'd like it to be yet (neither is the workout one for that matter...), but it's a heck of a lot better then where it was a month or two ago!
I can definitely feel a difference in a lot of ways already, even though I wasn't as strict and routine as I wanted to be with a few of the goals, so I'm not going to be so hard on myself. I mean this is a process after all, and it's certainly not going to be perfect the first go round.
Things take time.


When thinking about what I wanted to do for February's goals, I thought about what was important to me. The first thing that came to mind was the people in my life.
And so, while I focused on myself for the first month of this year and taking care of myself and creating good habits, this month I'm going to focus on others.
That first bit might seem selfish but at the same time we can't truly love others and care for them if we don't first love and take care of ourselves.
Don't you agree?
So this month, despite it being a tad bit cliche with Valentine's Day and all, I'm focusing on love. Loving others. And finding new/strange/exciting/hard/fun/uncomfortable/selfless ways to do that.
And, as it so happens, in The Happiness Project Gretchen talks about a very similar project for her February chapter of the book.
So it's perfect!
Here are some thoughts and reminders I've collected to motivate and inspire this months goals.



February | There Is Only Love



Expect The Best


  • Love expects the best.
  • Remember that there is only love.
  • Refuse to have critical thoughts of others or of circumstances.
  • Often times we are far more aware of what we do than what other people do. Whether it's in a tough situation, in a discussion about compromising or when we feel wronged. Be more aware of what others do or what they may be dealing with. I don't always see the big picture. 
  • In frustrating situations where I might be tempted to assume things or think the worst. Take a moment to reframe. Go back and remember the first thing on this list. 
  • My relationships set the weather for other areas of my life.
  • One of the worst things is to focus on someones bad habits and take their virtues for granted.
  • What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.
  • "It is easy to be heavy, hard to be light " -G.K. Chesterton
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4 = What love is


Don't Expect Praise Or Appreciation

  • When doing things for others, don't have ulterior motives. 
  • However sometimes you have to do things you're doing for others, for yourself. If you do it for other people, you end up wanting them to ackowledge it and to be grateful and to give you credit. If you do it for yourself you don't expect people to react in a particular way.
  • Am I doing this selflessly or is it for a "gold star"?
  • It's not about what I'm getting out of doing it.


Fight Right

  • Some disagreement is inevitable. Even valuable. Don't see it all as negative.
  • In order to fight right you should tackle one difficult topic at a time. Not airing every grievance and wrong doing ever committed in the history of the relationship.
  • Avoid saying things such as "You always.." and "You never.."
  • Be honest about feelings now instead of later. Don't allow things to build up.
  • The major cause of my bad feelings might not be others behaviour, but rather my guilt about my reaction.
  • Expressing anger often doesn't relieve it, but amplifies it.

Nix The Negativity

  • People pick up on one anothers moods easily.
  • Hearing people complain is tiresome. Regardless of whether or not the complaining is justified.
  • In any relationship it's less important to have many pleasant experiences than it is to have fewer unpleasant experiences. Because people have a "negativity bias"; our reactions to bad events are faster, stronger and stickeier than our reactions to good events.
  • It has been said that it takes at least 5 positive actions to offset one critical or destructive action.


Give Proofs of Love


  • Whatever love I might feel in my heart, others will see only in my actions.
  • Focus on peoples love languages. If I don't know them, learn them.
  • If you want to know how people would like to be treated, it's more important to look at how they themselves act than what they say.
  • "Act the way I want to feel" -Acting lovingly towards someone can only amplify my love for them.
  • Love extravagantly.
  • Take all the love you've received and give it away like you weren't trying to save it for later. We are rivers, not reservoirs.
  •  In Galatians Paul writes that the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Which is loving God, and then by extension loving other people. As we begin to focus more on Christ, loving Him and others becomes more natural. 
  • Make a list of specific acts of love that I can accomplish this month.

Goals | January

Photo cred: 

Meagan Abell

2014.

A new year, a fresh start.

We're all making new goals and resolutions this time of year and cliche as it may be, I think it's a really important thing to do. I think wanting to improve and become better for yourself and others around you is an admirable thing. Plus, who doesn't want to just start off the year feeling good?

So this year, along with the rest of you, I have my own set of goals, resolutions, plans and dreams.

I spent the first week of this year figuring out what I wanted them to be and while it's still a work in progress, I'm excited for what I'm aiming for this month.

I make lists constantly.

If you read my blog on even a somewhat frequent basis that quickly becomes apparent.

The reminders app on my iPhone is pretty much my favorite thing. I'm always adding and checking off things throughout my day. Not only on there, but on the work to-do list clipboard I have hanging on the wall by my desk in addition to various lists I write daily in my calendar.

(I sometimes even write things on my lists that I've already done just so I can check them off... but we don't need to talk about that...)

This year however I wanted to really be purposeful with my goals for 2014.

My tendency is to just make a non specific, never ending, uncategorized list for the year (with items ranging from "go to that new restaurant" to "write letters more" to "clean out closet" to "be more positive") and then just sort of have at it.

This method however is pretty overwhelming and needless to say I never really get very far with accomplishing things on my list.

After recently picking up The Happiness Project again (after a failed attempt to read it a year or two ago), I was inspired to instead make monthly goals and have specific themes and projects along with those goals each month. This way I have a game plan, a few specific things to work on, and I have a more focused plan for things I want to change and get done.

This idea is pretty closely modeled after the book, however I've added my own modifications and as the months progress I plan on modifying the subjects and goals even more and adjusting to what works best for me.

But to start off the year I decided to just go with the basics.

So, for this month's goals:

January | Creating Good Habits

Go To Sleep/Wake Up Earlier

  • Read or journal before bed instead of getting on Facebook again or looking at a screen
  • Don't stay out past midnight on week days
  • Make a work schedule. Write it down. Stick to it. No more knitting at 4am trying to keep up with orders...
  • Get up with the sun

Exercise Better

  • Make a work out schedule. Write it down. Stick to it.
  • Always exercise on Mondays. I don't want to work out on weekends (I'm usually pretty active on weekends anyway) and so I think it's pretty essential to starting off the week this way
  • Get outside
  • Don't skip exercising for two days in a row
  • Don't link exercise to weight loss. Sanity > vanity.
  • Spend money on exercising. It's worth it. 

Toss, Restore, Organize

  • Clean up my inbox and unsubscribe from unwanted emails and subscriptions via Unroll Me
  • Clean out bookmarks on computer
  • Resolve to crave and create an existence of order and serenity
  • In regards to clothing: fewer choices actually make you happier than more choices. Get rid of stuff.
  • Try this method of storing clothes
  • Also in regards to clothing: No shopping this month
  • If something can be done in one minute- Get it done. ie: Stop dropping scarves and jackets on that one chair...
  • Outer order creates inner calm
  • Happiness comes not from having more, not from having less, but from wanting what you have
  • Listen to just positive music this month. Restoration of a different kind. 

Eat Better

  • No sweets for the month of January. I've actually been eating less sweets over the past few months in general and I've found that I don't even crave or want those things anymore really (with the exception of donuts. Obviously.) However with the holidays I got a little off track so I'm resetting my cravings by abstaining for the month!
  • When debating between less and more, always choose less. Especially when eating out. When I'm indecisive about it, I always regret getting more. It's not like I can't order more if I need to later...
  • Drink more water. Eight cups a day is the popular recommendation. This means filling my 24oz water bottle about 2 1/2 times. Not that hard... right?
  • Take Vitamins

Tackle a Nagging Task

  • Write them all down. When overwhelmed with all that I have to do, write it all down, get it all out and then go from there. This will help put things into perspective. 
  • Set up easy successes to feel motivated and accomplished before tackling something bigger.
  • A few specific nagging tasks to tackle this month: 
  1. Get type writer fixed and working
  2. Get a Post office box
  3. Write thank you notes
  4. Get oil changed in car
  5. Put Christmas stuff away
  6. Make a list of what my core values are for my business
  7. Mend that pile of clothes
  8. Clean out and organize bookmarks on computer
  9. Mount and hang Etsy map

Act The Way I Want To Feel

  • I have power over my thoughts and emotions. They do not control me.
  • Have a quiet time every morning
  • Smile. Especially when I don't feel like it. 
  • No one is in charge of my happiness but me!

So the hope is that by focusing on a set theme of goals for one month instead of a whole bunch, I'll be able to create good habits and routines with them and so when I move on to the next month full of goals I'll naturally/already be doing the previous ones.

After all it takes about 21 days to form a new habit!

Or so they say...

So we'll see how this goes.

I'm actually pretty excited about it. And the thought process behind blogging about it was that you all can help hold me accountable... ;)

Plus I read somewhere that people who wrote down their goals were 42% more likely to achieve them than the ones who didn't. And that telling a friend increases this rate to 78%.

So there.

On another note, there might be some months that I decide not to share here on the blog, depending on how in depth and personal they are, but I did want to start the year of with at least sharing these.

Please keep in mind that I am not an expert at any of this by any means. I'm also not suggesting that these habits and goals are ones that everyone should take on. Especially health wise. We are all created beautifully unique and as a result what works for one may not work for the other, and that's okay!

I'd love to hear your thoughts about how you plan on keeping your own resolutions and goals this year!

And, since a lot of you asked, tomorrow I'll be sharing a post full of resources I found helpful when creating this list of goals.

(I actually meant to share it today but Blogger decided to eat it and then delete it... So tomorrow I'll re-write it for you!)

The Best Year Ever

I'm sitting here at my desk this morning reflecting on this past year, as most of us do around this time, and I really am overwhelmed with what a good year it's been.
To be honest I've actually had a hard last few weeks and remembering the good things hasn't come super easily. My work load for the holidays was one I really had a hard time keeping up with amongst other things and a lot of little and not so little things kept discouraging me.
I've definitely had my fair share of melt downs this season.
However, I've grown so much in this past year, which is made even more apparent when I look back at where I was this time in 2012. So much has changed, and though some of it's been really hard and not the most fun or completely painless, it's still been good. I wouldn't change a single thing about any of it.
Good or bad.
(Except maybe the fact that I didn't read a single book on this list... 2014 is going to be the year of the book worm. I'm just going to go ahead and declare that right now.)
And truthfully, there really has been more good than bad anyway.

In fact I had decided that I was going to speak this over my year, and I really think it came true.
2013 really was the best year ever.

So, in the spirit of reflection and recounting good times, here are a few favorite moments from this past year...


Tried out freelensing.
And now I can't get enough of it.
I do it too much actually.
Is there some sort of cure for this sort of addiction??


Spent a lot of happy weekends with lots of beautiful friends.
New and old

Speaking of friends Meagan and I had more than one or two grand adventures

Had many, many, many, manymany, successful photo shoots 


Tried out more than one or two new Richmond restaurants

Discovered a reason I love taking pictures

Found a new favorite quote

Did a Q&A post

Traveled to California, New York, Chicago, North Carolina, Georgia, Charlottesville, Williamsburg and a few other local cities and places

Realized how full and complete God's goodness is

Redesigned the blog


(which I didn't do the greatest job of posting for but that's okay)


Started teaching myself French.
Which didn't get very far.
So we'll be trying again next year...

Learned how let love quiet me, what perfect love is, which way to walk, how to be challenged, how invaluable mornings are, how to weather storms, what grace is, who I am, how to just be and few other things

Saw Best Coast and Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros in concert

Took a beach trip or two or three

Went sailing.
More than once.

Bought my dream camera

Shot many wonderful engagements

Shot six weddings on my own and second shot for seven more.
 Already have several more booked for next year and I couldn't be more excited!

Made some happy lists

Attended the first annual Bacon Festival

Sang a song. And made a video.

Got better at playing the ukulele

Had my pen pal of 5+ years come visit

Updated the shop

Watched a dear friend get engaged, then get married
(all of which I had the pleasure of capturing)

Was featured on Etsy's front page and Facebook page more times than I could keep track of

Shot a lot of film

Learned how to see the art in the everyday

Had to say some goodbyes to some very dear friends who moved away which was hard but now I have more places to have an excuse to visit

Was a counselor for a cabin full of some of the most beautiful girls I've ever had the pleasure of spending a weekend with

Got to be on the news

Met and became friends with a lot of really wonderful people 

Discovered what it truly means to be thankful

Celebrated turning 22

Reached over 1,000 likes on the Facebook page

Made my first girls and guys lookbook for the shop

Had the most profitable year with my business yet

Started sharing bits and pieces of my hometown RVA

Bought my dream lens

Participated again in the Bizarre Market

Had a very wonderful and perfect Christmas

Learned to cherish solitude, how to stick up for myself and speak my mind more, that I love routine, I have a mind like a lens, that I'm worth it, what the best way is to watch the world, that I love to write, that things are never ever as bad as they seem, how to dream bigger, how some things are just givens, and how there are many many things that can take you by surprise.
In the most wonderful way.

Bring it on 2014.
/////////////////////

See past years in review...
Hey There Good Lookin

This beauty arrived in the mail for me the other day.
(the lens, not the phone...)
I pretty much did an endless happy dance for the rest of the afternoon.
So excited to finally own a 50mm 1.2!
Can't wait to take this beauty out and shoot with it.