Tag Archives: 2013 in review

2013 In Review: Everything Else

At the start of 2013, I made this list of resolutions. Eight things I wanted to accomplish this year. And so let’s check them off….


1/2. See – 2013 In Review: Writing


3. See – 2013 In Review: Books


4. Photography – I’ve touched lightly on this already with that post about the Christmas Card Shoots I did this year, but I can expand on it by saying, I did in fact become more comfortable behind the camera in 2013. I still don’t have the confidence I should necessarily, or all the skills I could have where editing photos is concerned, but I have gotten braver and I have tried harder this year than I ever have before. In 2013 I did eleven scheduled photoshoots – shoots in which I got paid, even though I didn’t ask (and tried to refuse) compensation for. I also shot birthday parties and family gatherings and anytime someone asked me to capture a family moment. I shot a lot food, too (ha!). In 2014, I’d like to continue on this path of learning and finding the courage to continue to step outside of my comfort zone and spread my wings as a photographer.


5. Music – I didn’t go to even one concert this year and I regret it immensely. Some of my favorite bands came through Baltimore this year, prime opportunities for me to see them live, and I was too afraid to attend a show alone. I’ve really got to work on this because I can’t be afraid of going places alone forever. I can’t sacrifice something I love so dearly just because I’m afraid of enjoying it alone. I definitely need to work on this harder in 2014. (Also see – 2013 In Review: Music)


6. Weight Loss – Surprise, surprise, I didn’t lose 60+ lbs. in 2103. I think total I only lost 20 and who knows if that number still stands after consuming nothing but sugar since Christmas. But, I did generally stick to the “clean eating” lifestyle I set out to. And I did work out with more dedication than I ever have before, 4-5 times a week. I even participated in a 5K this year, the first of many more I hope. After working so hard for a few months and making no progress, I sought out medical advice and found that my thyroid was significantly underactive and have since tried a series of medications to get that where it should be (it’s finally in a good place) and that I was severely deficient in vitamin D (I’m working on getting that where it should be now). Both of these things could and did play a factor in my weight loss efforts and almost immediately after changing up the medication routine, I started to finally see results. I’m hoping that having this sorted out and keeping up with the lifestyle changes I made in 2013, I’ll finally have more success where my weight loss goals are concerned in 2014.


7. Baking – Boy did I ever! No, seriously, one month I tracked just how much “creating” in the kitchen I did and in the end it was a whole 7 days worth. That doesn’t sound like a lot in comparison to a 30 day month, but when you think I lost an entire week to just baking – that many hours spent solely in the kitchen – it actually is quite significant. I baked pies and cookies galore, with a few other interesting desserts on the side. I even tried my hand at a few dinners, which is completely out of my realm since I’m not much of a cook, but found myself successful with those dishes as well. Overall, I think I nailed this. My cookies this year were a HUGE hit and my pies were so loved by others that someone actually paid me to make them pies for their holiday celebration. It blew my mind.


8. Productivity – I’d say that I definitely made better use of my time in 2013, but it came at a cost, for sure. While I was able to squeeze in a workout regimen with my work schedule (a work schedule that involved more overtime than I’ve ever worked before) and be a writer, reader, baker, photographer, and you know, still spend time with the people I love, IT. WAS. HARD. Not just hard mentally, but physically. I feel like I was more tired this year than ever before (and partly that could have been the medical issues weighing me down, too). I found myself really regretting using the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” because what good was I to anyone and myself if I felt dead already anyway? None at all. So while I definitely did make the best of my time, I think this year I’ve gotta find a better balance of that use of time and remember that it’s perfectly okay (and necessary) to take a day off for nothing sometimes. I saw Sevenly post the quote, “If you’re too busy to smile, you’re too busy” at the peak of my busiest moments and it hit me hard. I was miserable because I had too much going on, like ready to break down and cry. I don’t want to reach that place again in 2014.


I’d say as far as resolutions go, I’m pretty pleased with my achievements in 2013. Sure, they could have been better, but they were already worlds better than anything I achieved in 2012 and I’m proud of myself for mostly sticking to my goals. I know resolutions aren’t for everyone, but they are a good way to guide me and so I’m sticking with them!


Now… what exactly do I hope to accomplish in 2014? 😉



2013 In Review: Writing

Last year I resolved to finish a first draft of any of my novels. I even went as far to say that if I didn’t finish one, I’d throw in the towel.


It was a foolish resolution.


Not necessarily because it’s unachievable, because it could be, but to just give up writing altogether over not finishing a first draft in a year was just stupid of me to say. Writing will always be a part of me, no matter how long it takes me to produce a final product. And I shouldn’t put such ridiculous limitations on myself so that I feel like a failure when I don’t meet them.


I refuse to feel like a failure.


So, what did I achieve in 2013 writing wise, if I didn’t complete a first draft? Lots, actually.


First, I wrote two short stories this year, just like the year before. And I sort of like this “habit” of writing two a year. It’s a good way to remind myself that I can in fact close a story and in less words than feels necessary for a novel. If by some chance you missed those short stories this year, you can find them below.


In Pursuit of Jenna Mae 


The Christmas Ban 


Also, that last short story became a sequel to a short story I’d written back in 2010 and I’ve already got a third and final installment to this Christmas collection planned for next year. I might even try to publish them all together for real. I really might.


Overall, I wrote 51,798 words this year. That’s more than the last two years combined. This might not seem all that impressive to all those writers who can churn out 90K manuscripts a year, but it’s big for me, that I wrote so much more than I have in the past two years combined. That’s quality progress.


Also, about those 51,798 words, with the exception of the short stories, almost all of those words were for Dreamsters, which I had started in the beginning 2012 and sat aside for the rest of the year. This is the first year I’ve successfully overcome my seasonal writer status and worked every month of the year on the same project. I miss my other stories, I do, but Dreamsters will be the first one I actually finish. Now that I know I can stay focused on the same story, regardless of the weather, I refuse to stop working on this one until it’s finished now.


I owe a lot of my accomplishments to a writing group I’m a part of on Facebook – Grapemo – hosted by author Jeannine Garsee. Not only are the weekly check-in’s about our writing progress a motivator, but the Teaser Tuesday and Thursday Specials have really opened me up and encouraged me as a writer. I’m grateful to be surrounded by so many like-minded folks.


I also gave Victoria Schwab’s star technique a shot towards the end of the year (and not just for writing) and found that seeing my daily success on a calendar really helped keep me focused. I plan to practice this again in 2014 for sure.


So my goals for 2014… well, I just hope to keep writing. I’d love to kick out another two short stories and I do have two ideas brewing, but I won’t punish myself if they don’t happen. That takes all the fun out of writing. And ideally it would be nice to finish Dreamsters in 2014 because technically I’ve already written more than half the book, but again I won’t punish myself if this doesn’t happen either.


I will write in 2014, that is all I’ll hope for. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll report an even more successful year to you next January.



2013 In Review: Music

Usually I break my music review into two posts because there’s so much to say, but sadly this year it seems like all the people I found great music from in the past few years stopped talking about the music they loved so much, leaving me to find new music on my own (and I sort of didn’t). I didn’t necessarily need to this year, though because there were so many great bands I already loved releasing new content!


Fun Fact: I added 517 songs to iTunes in 2013!


Best New Band of 2013 (New to me)


Of the new bands I did manage to discover on my own this year, I The Mighty easily wins best band of the year. In my top 20 most played songs of the year, I The Mighty owns 6 of them. They’re a band I listened to a ton while writing Dreamsters and a band I don’t see myself growing bored of anytime soon. If you somehow missed all the posts I made dedicated to them this year, now’s your opportunity to hear what they’re all about. Check them out!




Top 10 Most Played Tracks of 2013


And now, some of these tracks might be predictable if you’ve followed Music Friday at all, but here are my top ten most played tracks of 2013! (Titles are clickable)


#10: Secret & Whisper – “Lovers”

#9: The Material – “Skin & Bone”

#8: Hands Like Houses – “Fountainhead”

#7: I The Mighty – “Speak to Me”

#6: Everything Everything – “Cough Cough”

#5: Dance Gavin Dance – “Doom & Gloom”

#4: The Neighbourhood – “Sweater Weather”

#3: letlive. – “That Fear Fever”

#2: Family Force 5 – “D-I-E- 4 Y-O-U”

#1: 78violet – “Hothouse”

I’m always up for music recommendations so what were you listening to in 2013?


2013 In Review: Books

Last year I set a resolution to read 60 books. I’m not exactly sure why I decided that was a doable number, or why I thought reaching that number would make me feel more accomplished, so I’ve decided to not even try to set a goal this year outside of just reading and putting a dent in my TBR pile. As it turns out, I did not reach my strange goal last year, though I did come close. Overall, I read 56 books in 2013 and they are listed below mostly in the order I read them. If you’re interested in which books I considered my favorite, all of the titles are clickable to my GoodReads where I’ve rated and reviewed each.


Touched by Cyn Balog

The White Rabbit Chronicles by Gena Showalter

(Alice in Zombieland & Through the Zombie Glass)

Red Run: A Short Story by Kami Garcia

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Easy by Tammara Webber

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Carrie by Stephen King

Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi

(Shatter Me, Destroy Me, & Unravel Me)

Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan

(The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, & The Last Olympian)

Reasons I Fell For the Funny Fat Friend by Becca Ann

Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter, Book 1) by Jeff Lindsay

Dead River by Cyn Balog

Inferno (Chronicles of Nick, Book 4) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Breathless: A Firelight Novella by Sophie Jordan

The Walking Dead, Book 4 by Robert Kirkman

Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy

The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee

The Dead & the Gone (The Last Survivors, Book 2) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

From Baghdad, With Love by Jay Kopelman

Ascendant (Killer Unicorns, Book 2) by Diana Peterfreund

Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris

(Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, & Definitely Dead)

Chelsea Chelsea, Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Raven Cycle Series by Maggie Stiefvater

(The Raven Boys & The Dream Thieves)

Glimmerglass (Faeriewalker, Book 1) by Jenna Black

Fathomless (Fairytale Retellings, Book 3) by Jackson Pearce

Styxx (Dark-Hunter, Book 23) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Boys that Bite (Blood Coven, Book 1) by Mari Mancusi

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Necromancer, Book 1) by Lish McBride

Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, & Lauren Myracle

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it by Scott Kelby

The New Language of Toys (3rd Edition) by Sue Schwartz

Comics/Graphic Novels

Jinx by J. Torres

The Dark-Hunters: Infinity Vol. 1 & 2 by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Afterlife with Archie No. 1 & 2 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Francesco Francavilla


What did you read in 2013? Anything I should know about?