A Girl Named Leney


Posts tagged new year
Goodbye 2016
Cinemagraph by  Meagan Makes Gifs

Cinemagraph by Meagan Makes Gifs

so i know this isn’t a right-on-time New Year salutation, but as 2017 came to us on a Sunday, and i try to limit my screen time especially on Sunday’s, i wasn’t feeling up to writing this then.
plus i needed a little bit of time for sinking-in and mulling-over of some of the following.
this might get long, but such is the way of my heart, so bare with me.

i have felt more me this year than i ever have before.

a friend and i have this joke “you're more you than you've ever been” which comes about when we feel content, we’ve had revelations into our innermost workings, or breakthroughs in regards to external issues.

and that might sound trivial to you in a cliche millennial-generation-find-yourself sort of way, but honestly it’s how i feel. 

it’s the summation of what this year has been, and what i think will continue for me into 2017.
being more me now than i've ever been.

i think the following has a huge part in the making up of that whole...

my recognition of who my people are. who i can trust consistently in times of trouble, in times of joy, in times of in-between. who i can trust with the deeper and bigger pieces of my heart. having these people close and vocally stating to them, and myself, their value in my life did something to me this year in the way of my contentment and grounding that i’m not sure i’ve ever fully achieved or recognized in past years. having persons, a "tribe" if you will, is so essential to a healthy wellbeing.
i am so forward-and-backward-and-all-the-way-around grateful for mine.

my acceptance of who i am. quite a vague statement for a very in depth realization, but i am going to leave it at that.

my stepping out of a box i-and-others had built up around myself. in regards to my abilities, expectations, assumptions, limitations... all of which, imagined or not, smothered the person i was made to be. i'm still learning to shed the darkness of this box, but i'm seeing so much more light now than i ever have before.

my learning to practice mindfulness. recognizing how and when i was fixating too much on the past or the future and not being present---> the most important place of the three to be.

my intention and continuation of having a 'slow living' lifestyle. in so many new ways. which keep evolving and changing, but as a whole have made up so much of my mindset in regards to so many important pieces of my life this past year. which has only changed me for the better.

in addition to those key revelations and learnings, my vision for the year list (or goals/resolutions list if you will) was the shortest i think it’s ever been. 
i kept reaching to add more, tack on extra and additional, but it felt so forced that i kept erasing and deleting and cutting back again.
simplifying has been a theme of my year as well and it seems even subconsciously i've taken ahold of it in more ways than i originally had realized.
to give you some perspective, New Year’s lists of the past have had categories.
i’m talking headers with subtext, comments and sub-goals. which is all well and good but when it comes down to it, most intentions and desires can usually be summed up in a few words, if not one word.

and so, after looking at my humble little list, i realized the theme for my year (as mentioned on instagram the other night) is....

to create  s p a c e

to stop doing things out of obligation
to let go of things that weigh me down
to cease doing things that make unhappy

you would think that something of that sort would be glaringly obvious and not so hard to halt the doing of, and yet we get so caught up in routine and should do’s and the comparison game and obligation and, more often than not, downright fear that before we know it we’ve woven this tangled web that we aren’t sure how to get out of. 
it’s especially hard when those things have become habit. 
it’s maybe even harder when those things are related to money, as money is a necessity in this world we live in because, well, we have to eat... at the minimum.

and so the last quarter 2016, because i was starting to have somewhat of a quarter life crisis, involved me figuring out what those things were.
what i needed to change.
and, once i did, being brave and proactive about starting to let them go. 
again, i know that's quite vague, but more will probably come out about this as the year progresses and i figure things out.
however right now i'm not able to talk about it because i'm still somewhat in the midst of the figuring-out.
and if there is something i've learned time and time again (because for some reason i need to repeat mistakes excessively MULTIPLE times before i actually learn...) about a phase of this sort,  is that when i share something too soon, it can often change the once positive outcome into a negative one.
i've learned to share and be open once my healing and wellbeing isn't dependant on others reactions to what i've shared.
once i've moved past it.
once i've figured things out.
once i'm solid again, no longer shakable.

because when you share things too soon, even with the most well intending of parties, especially people who don't know you deep down all the way (see first point in list above), unwanted, unwarranted, confusing, misleading advice and opinion is often given in the midst of your journey. and if you invite too much of it, focus too much on it, and start listening to the outside voices more than that of your inner voice, you can step off the path and your journey becomes longer and harder.

all of that to say. 
i'm headed in a new direction.
i don't fully know what that looks like yet. it might not look that different to some of you. it might look radically different to the rest of you. but that's not really what matters because it's my journey and i'm the one who's a-walkin it.

so here's to all of our journeys this year.
i'm not going to hope that your paths are smooth and straight- for it's the wrong turns and bumps in the road that often make us into better versions of ourselves and we end up being the most grateful for- but i do hope that when you do encounter those unexpected and hard times, you have good people around you to help you through them.
and if you don't: go out and find them.

p.s. you're amazing if you read that whole entire thing.

p.p.s. i was contemplating summing up my year in a list.
a “year in review” if you will, as is my ritual
however, as i am one who’s always fighting against being defined by the things i do and people’s perception of that and being summed up in a list of accomplishments (or lack there of) i decided to refrain. and, also, because the value and whole and looking back on a year and all of it's trials and triumphs cannot be adequately expressed in a bulletpointed list.


To have a mantra, theme, idea, or even a single word to carry with you throughout the year is not a new or foreign concept to me. However, with the exception of perhaps last year when I determined that 2015 would be my year of travel, I've never really practiced this sort of intentionality in my own life.
Usually I have extensive lists of goals and resolutions that are a little all over the place in their content and theme. And though I do have a few specific goals for this year that I'd like to achieve, the idea of having a single word to carry with me while pursuing those goals, to direct my energy through the lens of this word or theme to obtain them, made a lot of sense to me. 

So I spent the majority of today thinking on what I would want my word to be.
A few came to mind...


All great words, but most were to broad and none were quite right.
And then I thought of it. 


It even spoke to the issue at hand of trying to choose a word... The irony.
Simplifying my life is something that I've been working on more, especially since the end of the summer. Pairing down my possessions, creating more efficient systems and processes for my business, eliminating stress by eliminating excess.
Not overcomplicating.
Not overthinking. 
Because of this truth as well as this one. 
Just having and doing the needed and necessary, whatever that looks like for me.
Because rest assured that action, simplifying, looks different for everyone. Becoming comfortable with my interpretation of it is part of this exercise as well.
It's not about the trend of minimalism that's been popping up, though there are aspects of that movement I'm all for getting behind, it's about doing less so that I can do more.
Which makes sense if you think about it. 
I don't want to spread myself thin. I want to focus on a few specific things at a time, or even just one specific thing at a time and do it really well, instead of doing a lot of things only half as well.
Quality over quantity.
A theme I've talked about before

So here's to 2016 being a year of simplicity. 
Do you have a word for this year?
I'd love to hear what it is if so. Feel free to comment below or shoot me an email.
Let's have some good conversations about it.

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.

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.  

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

Goodbye 2014

Photo cred: Meagan Abell

So I've kind of been thinking about this post all day.
I wanted to write something but, to be honest, I was a little unsure of what to say.
I was going to do a year in review sort of thing like I've done in the past, but for some reason I wasn't really feeling it. 
Although I did go back and read quite a few posts from this past year that I'd forgotten I'd written and, to be honest again, I think I needed to re-read. 

Namely this one, this one, this one, this one, this one and well this one and this one too.
I've been out of the blogging routine for some time now, and while it's mostly due to my excitement for the new blog/website next month and being a little tired of this current platform, it's also because I've had a hard time keeping up with all of the posts I need to write. 

I think I got it into my head that if I hadn't done the work related posts that I needed to do, I couldn't do any others just because, and just for me. 
Which is silly.
Because that's how this blog started. As something just for me. 
But I'm kind of a systematic, check off the list as it comes, sort of person and it's hard for me to get out of that sometimes. 
But anyway, point being, even though I have a system for this time of year, I'm going to toss it out the window and write something I actually feel like writing. 

I have quite a lot of things that I'm thinking about though, currently, as I sit here in this chair, by my desk, before heading out for New Years Eve festivities. 
Quite a lot. 
And I think my lack of ability to properly sort through these thoughts and put them in a shareable format this evening is why I put off writing this post all day, but I did have a few things I wanted to be sure to say, if even just to myself, on this last day of 2014.

Overall, it's been a good year. 
A really very good and wonderful year.
But it's also been a hard one for me too.
In a lot of really big growing and stretching and painful ways.
And I think this was the year I finally kind of realized that that's just how life is. 
There's a lot of good, but there's often a lot of bad too.
But that, really, the good usually outweighs the bad, and that even the bad, doesn't end up being all that bad because it leads you, grows you, pushes you, into somewhere and something better.
(Ignore the fact that that was probably a run on sentence and that I said "bad" like 45 times)

At least in my experience, and I think, if you really examine yours as well, it's probably the same for you. There's always going to be some not so great stuff that you have to deal with and get through, but so very often it makes for better circumstances than you were in before anyway. 

I think one of the biggest things I learned this year though was the state of becoming. 
That you're really always becoming, you never arrive. 

I am in a


state of becoming. 

I am growing, learning, failing, finding, wanting, stopping, starting, trying, staying, reaching, succeeding, dreaming, and all those other action words, always. 
Or at least I should be. 
Because that's the only way to live really. To go through all of it. The good and the bad.
To the fullest and largest extent. 

There are always going to be high points and there will always be low points. But it's what I do in and on the way to and from them that determine how the next ones will feel.
How I feel overall.

I don't know if any of that really translates in the way I want it to, in the way I'm thinking about it up in my head right now. I know in and of themselves they aren't new ideas, and some of them are quite repeated and over talked about ideas really. But sometimes I think we all need a refresher on these sorts of things. Especially when looking back or even looking forward on stuff and needing to maintain perspective. 
Especially for someone who can so often get overly excited or impractical about things and needs reminders to have perspective. 


Props to you if you actually read this whole thing. 
Again, these thoughts and reminders were mostly for myself this evening, but as always, I tend to share these with you because I feel like there's usually someone else out there who needs these words too. 

So 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. 

Because together they make up a year that has produced the person that's here, right here, and I've really come to love this person that I've become and continue to become. Flaws and all. 

Which is such an important thing, loving who you are, and without all that not so good stuff I don't think anyone can really learn to do that fully.
So thank you 2014 for leaving me in this place, right where I am now, because it's good. 
It is. 

As always, bring it on 2015.

Hello 2014
Follow me on Instagram at @agirlnamedleney

So I originally intended to write a blog post at the first of the new year with all of my goals and resolutions for 2014 but as it turns out, making that list is taking more time than I realized...

This year I want to be more purposeful.
In a lot of things, but especially with my business.
Last year was the first year I really started to take everything work wise more seriously, and while it was an awesome year and I learned a lot, there's definitely room for some improvement.
Having a set work schedule for one thing.
This is something friends and family alike have advised me to create for myself (usually after I have a meltdown from the combination of not getting sleep, working until 4am knitting and editing photos and working all day everyday including weekends) and I kept putting it off and kept putting it off but now I'm finally going to make one and stick to it! Because I definitely can't keep going the way that I have been.

So the first few days of this new year have been spent reading lots of encouraging/instructional/inspiring articles and books, watching informational videos, meditating on what's important to me, what my passions and core values are, organizing my new calendar and making many many many lists (we all know I love my lists).
I'm actually really excited about this year and I have a really good feeling that making these new goals are going to do me a world of good.

So anyway, I'll be sharing my list of goals for 2014 soon, but in the meantime I'm enjoying figuring out what they're going to be.

What about you?
Do you have some resolutions and goals for the year?
I'd love to hear them!
An Year In Instagrams

As I reflect today on this past year, I'm filled with so much gratitude. 
Gratitude for the year that I've had, the people I've met, the places I've been, the things I've experienced and the opportunities I've been given. 2013 was indeed the best year ever. But 2014 is going to be even better.

Follow me on Instagram at @agirlnamedleney

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...
Happy New Year
A few little goals for the year...

1. Learn how to play my ukulele
3. Be better about responding to your blog comments! You're so sweet to comment and I always read each and every single one so I'm going to try and be better about showing my appreciation!
4. Don't buy things I don't need
5. Finish editing the England photos!!!
6. Keep things clean and organized
7. Spend more quality time with family
8. Read more
9. Redesign the blog
10. Travel at any and every opportunity possible
12. Pray more diligently 
13. Finish knitting that one sweater

What are some of yours?

Year In Review
Photo Cred: Meagan Abell

Goodness I can't believe 2012 is coming to an end.
Is it just me or did it go by really fast?
It's been such a great year though.
So many amazing things happened!
While I was writing this post and looking back on 2012, I couldn't quite believe how many amazing things.
God's blessed me in more ways than I can imagine and I have so much to be thankful for.
Here are a few of my favorite highlights...

Attended the Passion conference. What an amazing experience!
I only wish I was able to go again this year.
If you ever have the chance to go, you must!

Had several awesome photoshoots and I have more booked for next year already!
Could not be more excited.
I can't decide which one is my favorite.

Celebrated a one year anniversary with this guy.
Saying I could not be happier would be an understatement.
He's the best.

On that note, I celebrated Valentine's Day!

Attended the IFB Conference in New York City

Officially started my new job
(still working on my work routine but I'm getting better!)

Made my first ever Tutorial. Think I should make more?

Travelled to England and Scotland.
Definitely in the top five as far as highlights go and one of the best experiences of my life!
You can see a full list of the posts on my travels here.
Hopefully I'll get around to sharing the rest of the photos next year...

Attended a few local fashion shows, not to mention had a few of my pieces in one!
Also was a part of RVA Fashion Week.

Got a pretty drastic haircut

Had lots of various adventures in Richmond

Discovered what would soon become one of my most popular items in my Etsy shop

Helped out with an event or two with The Gray Haven Project as well as take photos for their new website and brochures! Looking forward to doing more with them in the upcoming year!

Figured out how to use iMovie and made my first ever video!
(I've made a few more since)

Went camping

Attempted to get back into Street Style Photography.
Didn't really keep up with it... so maybe I'll try again next year!

Attended The Vans Warped Tour

Tried lots of new Richmond restaurants

Helped a new friend with shooting a wedding or two!
Both were so much fun and great learning experiences.
Wouldn't trade them for anything!

Attended a Farmers Market

Was in a fun photoshoot or two

Finally invested in some Blue China!
Isn't it beautiful?
I've since been given more pieces by some sweet family members.
Looking forward to building my set more in the years to come!

Went sailing a few times

Made some changes with the shop and have more in store for next year!

Started contributing to a new blog called Darling Companion.
You should check it out!

Went to the Virginia State Fair.
Of course.

Went Pumpkin and apple picking

Had one of the sweetest features written about me!
See more here.

Had my very own logo made!!!
Still obsessed with it.

Attended lots of First Fridays

Celebrated my 21st Birthday

Learned to be still and satisfied, among some other things.

Had some of my items accepted into Chop Suey Books Holiday Bizarre Market!
Sold a lot of stuff, it was great!

Had quite a few successful craft and jewelry shows.
Including one in Baltimore!

Had a fantastic and merry Christmas

Made some new friends and became even better friends with some old ones

2013, I know you are going to be the best year yet.
I can just feel it.

Last year's post can be read here