1. My Love: In 2014 my fiancé came to live with me in Portland after spending 10 months separated by state lines and a 10 hour drive.
2. My Career: I finally gave up the security of a steady paycheck in exchange for the ability to pursue my dream of working for myself as a full-time photographer. My days are spent working from the comfort of my home with candles burning, snuggly kitties on my lap, and a kitchen full of fresh food at my disposal. I get to do what I love every single day and am eternally grateful for it.
3. Travelers: Living in a new city, far from the daily comfort of friends and family, can get a little lonely. I am extremely grateful to the people who have traveled to visit me in Portland this last year. To my stepdad, my brothers, my fiancé, and the dear friends who have made the journey, thank you.
4. Neighbors: It took a full year to muster up the courage to say more to my neighbors than “hello” in the hallway. A few words of kindness lead to an hour long conversation in the hall which lead to hangouts in the living room and the best cat sitters a girl could ask for. I’m feeling extremely grateful for my two sweet neighbors and their adorable pups.
5. Knowledge: In the last year I have learned of many ways to positively effect my health through better eating habits and am thankful for every one of them, even though it’s been hard to give up coffee and cheese.
6. My Apartment: Every day I am thankful for my beautiful, light filled apartment in NE Portland. The sun shines in and keeps me warm year round, the cats have a great view of the neighborhood dogs playing fetch in the park below, and it is amazingly quiet for being so centrally located. I do believe this is the first time I’ve loved a space so much.
7. Airbnb: In July I decided to try hosting people through Airbnb.com and am so glad I took the leap. Andrew and I have met really kind, interesting, and inspiring people from all over the world these last six months and are currently hosting our very first guests of 2015. This may be one of the best decisions we made in 2014. It has been a lesson in trust, patience, and connection; something my introverted self dearly needed.
8. Family: As some serious heath issues have arisen in my family the “I love you”s and acts of genuine connection have increased. It is hard to see my family deal with so much but it has brought us together again, closer and more expressive of our feelings. At the same time my bonds with Andrew’s family and my younger brothers have gotten stronger.
9. Craft: – Cooking, candle making, and knitting are just a few of the crafts I dabbled in last year. True, I still haven’t finished my scarf, but I am thankful for the opportunity to craft something with my hands, and on occasion, get a little messy.
10. Collaboration: 2014 was a year for collaboration. It started with the “Throwaway” photo story I created with my good friend Denis (the final chapter will be released this month!) and continued on to include collaborative photo shoots with Rio Wrenn, Alina Phillips, and Andrea Margaret (images to be released soon). Through these projects I’ve grown exponentially as a photographer and storyteller and am eager to see what new collaborations will manifest in 2015.
11. Cats: Every day they bring a smile to my face. My two little fur-babies are one of the best things that ever happened to me. 2014 marked their 8 year birthday and I can hardly imagine my life without their soft little snuggles, insistent hugs, and meows of greeting.
12. Cocktails: I’ve always enjoyed a good drink but it wasn’t until moving to Portland that I truly learned to appreciate cocktails. In the last year I’ve started learning how to make my own. I started with a simple bourbon sour in the winter, moved on to the Tom Collins in the summer, and perfected the art of the hot toddy in the fall.
13. Gilmore Girls: Thank you, Netflix!
14. Dreams: As a little girl I would dream often and in so much detail that I was surprised upon waking that none of it was real. As I got older the dreams started to fade until I nearly dreamt at all. In early November I was browsing my favorite vintage store and came across an original hardcover copy of The Dreamer’s Dictionary and decided I had to have it. Since purchasing this book my dreams have come back to me nearly every night, vivid and real.
15. My Clients: Every. Single. One. Without you life wouldn’t be the same. You make it possible for me to do what I love and live a more meaningful life because of it. Thank you.