Looking Back & Facing Forward

looking back facing forward

Last year, the new year felt monumental. I had accomplished and grown so much, and by the end of 2013, I was in a totally different place than I was at the beginning. I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished nearly as much as I did in 2013, but there are a few goals I’m proud to have accomplished.

2014 To-Do List:

  • speak at an event I spoke at both the Philly Women in Tech Summit & WordCamp Philly! I also made short remarks at the Girl Develop It 3rd Anniversary Party.
  • record an EP with Chad  NOPE. But we’re both taking voice lessons and actively working towards it this year.
  • get published (in a periodical, online, in print, self-published, and/or ebook all count) I was so excited to be included in Melanie & Sandra’s We Are the Contributors project. The archives should be back online in the near future, and I’ll be sure to reshare when they’re posted.
  • learn JavaScript & feel comfortable and confident using both it and jQuery I’ll (rightfully so) probably never feel done with this one. But! I did start getting familiar with Angular this year and will be setting aside more time this month to dive into it even deeper.
  • build another Rails app Also did not do this, but I want to be doing this during 2015. Multiple times.
  • find a house or apartment that feels like a more permanent living situation DONE! I’m so psyched to be living in a place where the floors aren’t rotting. Also, dishwasher! Laundry in our apartment! Dedicated office/music/creative space! It’s glorious. Perhaps it even warrants a house tour series this year.
  • read at least a book a month This was an epic failure, and I am thoroughly embarrassed about it. I was one of those annoying kids who got in trouble for reading too much in class. My parents took books away from me as punishment. I would bring multiple books to the supper table so that when the first one got taken, I’d have a back up. I’m ashamed of the way that screens have taken the place of books in my life.

In addition to making up for what I didn’t accomplish in 2014, I’m hoping to add a few other things to my 2015 to-do list. If I share them here, I have to make moves, right?

So here we go.

  • read a book a month
  • work on at least two Rails apps
  • learn Angular better by building something on my own
  • learn to/make a quilt
  • set up an online shop
  • speak at another event
  • work towards recording an album with Chad

Bonus: I’ve been compiling another playlist, appropriate for year planning (& my birthday! Happy birthday to me!) Reflective, but full of possibilities. Check it out here, & follow along on Spotify if that’s your thang.



Iceland: Everyone’s an artist

Icelandic CatOn our last night in Reykjavik, we decided to make friends with a really sweet bartender at the famous Kaffibarinn after ordering the cursory shot of Brennivin. He told us that everyone in Iceland is a bartender, because everyone is also either a photographer, musician, or artist and tends bar to pay rent. We asked which of these he was, and he answered, “I’m all three!”

I think one of the things that draws me back to the country and stokes my fascination is the total saturation in literature, narrative, visual art, and music I felt while we were there. Our wanderings in downtown Reykjavik were punctuated by stopping to read the poetry that was painted on the sidewalks.

Reykjavik Sidewalk Poetry

Before we even left the city, I decided that someday I would try to partner with an organization that would send me back to Reykjavik for Iceland Airwaves, to write about and photograph it. Airwaves is a huge music festival that happens every fall. Even if you don’t score tickets to the shows, there are street performers and free gallery shows all over the city. It’s a little scary to admit it, but I’m still secretly harboring the dream of being sent there to cover it for a music or travel publication someday. It was while we were there that I really solidified my decision to quit my really terrible job and take my creative sabbatical, and having a dream that huge and beautiful made the idea of quitting my job seem easier. I’m still grateful for that.

Kex Hostel, Reykjavik Iceland

To close out the Iceland series, I’ve put together an Icelandic Love playlist so you can get a taste of the music and art that’s so prevalent there. Fun fact: I walked down the aisle to part of the first track — Sigur Ros’ Untitled 3!  I’ll likely be adding to it, so feel free to follow along on Spotify.

You can read about the rest of our adventures in Iceland in the archives