2017 Accomplishments & 2018 Goals

new years

Yes, this is how I spent New Year’s Eve 2017, and it was awesome!

Though time is a uniquely human construct, there’s something beautiful about the idea of a new year. It’s like a crisp dollar bill, fresh and full of possibility. I use the turning over of one year to the next to celebrate achievements and either reinforce or set new goals. Here’s what went down in 2017 and what I’m hoping to accomplish in 2018.

2017 Recap

In 2017, I published five pieces: one harrowingly personal essay (Shapeless), my first erotica piece (Begin Again), a politically charged (but funny!) vampire romance novella (A Taste of Revolution), and two horror shorts (He Smelled Like Smoke and The Promise). With this motley smattering of writing, I’ve realized that I’m not comfortable boxing myself into a single genre or style. I’ve embraced the fact that I write what I want to when I’m inspired to create it. And I love that approach. It seems to be working for me.  

I read 45 books this year (hitting my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal – whoo hoo! – albeit just barely). My top 7 reads were (in no particular order:

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong bite somebody else

Losing It by Cora Carmack

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

The Dinner by Herman Koch

Joyland by Stephen King

Bite Somebody Else by Sara Dobie Bauer

rocket raccoon

 

Graphic novels I loved reading this year include:

March: Book One by John Lewis and Nate Powell 

Paper Girls: Volume One by Brian K. Vaughan 

Rocket Raccoon #1 by Skottie Young 

 

 

 

I crafted over 100 comic book flowers for my upcoming wedding.

I survived my first hot yoga class (which got up to 106 degrees, thankyouverymuch).

My fiance and I made our wedding bands. Like, mixed-and-melted-down-the-metals-and-cranked-the-metals-through-a-rolling-mill-and-soldered-them-together-and-beat-them-into-circles-with-mallets made them.

I took the stage in an amazing production of The Vagina Monologues. wookie

I learned how to hand stamp metal.

I rediscovered my love for baking pies.

I bought my first onesie and dressed up like Chewbacca for Halloween.

I did a water nymph photoshoot with one of my oldest and dearest friends.

I climbed to the very top of an exceptionally tall indoor climbing wall (six stories!).

I snuggled with an alpaca (which is the perfect way to end a list of accomplishments, right?).

2018 Goals

Read 45 books. I’m keeping this one consistent. Not gonna lie, I read some really short books on December 29th, 30th, and 31st in order to hit my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal. This year, I want to cruise into December confident that I’ll hit my 45-book goal – and then some.

Write one story or piece a month. This one is going to be a challenge. I’ve fallen out of the habit of writing regularly (it’s like I’ve convinced myself I don’t have time because I’m planning a wedding or something!) I lost a little bit of my love for writing in 2017, and I don’t know whether to blame stress, poor planning, a lack of inspiration, a lack of self-motivation, or the monster that hides out under my bed. Whatever the case may be, I want to challenge myself to meet a deadline every month in 2018 to see if I can re-spark my desire to write consistently. Whether flash fiction, a sprawling novella, or a personal essay, I need to write something every month. And I’m going to be gentle with myself. The pieces don’t need to be ready to sell or the best thing I’ve ever written. They just need to be complete.

yogaContinue to cultivate a regular yoga practice. When Bryan and I were living in Phoenix, I was really good about going to yoga at least twice a week. There’s something about yoga that makes me feel incredibly strong and incredibly calm, which I’ve found to be a really powerful combination for me. It’s also a great way to give my lower back and other chronic injuries the TLC they need. I started working toward this goal in 2017, and I’m hoping to build upon it to keep the momentum going in 2018.

Revive my blog presences. My personal blog and the blog I share with my fiance (2geekslife.com) have been grossly neglected. Again, I’ve fallen out of the habit, and I’ve also self-sabotaged a bit. There were times in 2017 when I thought my regular musings were too mundane or too boring to publish. Time to kill that self-doubt and trust that I always have something valuable or funny or thoughtful to say. Time to trust my voice.

Okay, those are the big goals. I’m sure other goals will pop up throughout the year, and I’ll go after them with vigor and an eye for self-improvement and cultivating accomplishment and happiness.

For those of you who create resolutions or set goals each year, I hope you’re off to a great start. I believe in you! Go get ‘em!

 

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It Takes Two

Tiffany and Nicole LP-22

So, every bride-to-be does a vintage fashion water nymph photo shoot with their maid of honor, right?

A few weeks ago, while Nikki and I were back in Phoenix for my bridal shower, we synced up with my good friend and bad-ass photographer Kristy of Kristy Velesko Photography for a photo shoot. Nikki and I braved water spiders, sinking mud (seriously, we were shin-deep at times!), the Arizona sun, and the fishes of Lake Pleasant to channel our inner mermaids.

And I think the resulting images are pretty spectacular, which is fitting since our friendship is, too!

Tiffany and Nicole LP-1Tiffany and Nicole LP-4Tiffany and Nicole LP-9Tiffany and Nicole LP-11Tiffany and Nicole LP-12Tiffany and Nicole LP-14Tiffany and Nicole LP-20

Tiffany and Nicole LP-21Tiffany and Nicole LP-23Tiffany and Nicole LP-25Tiffany and Nicole LP-26Tiffany and Nicole LP-33Tiffany and Nicole LP-37Tiffany and Nicole LP-40

Lessons From the Deep End

You guys, modeling underwater is really, really hard…but it’s also hilarious and completely worth the constant cardio workout and inevitable water up your nose. Here’s what I learned during my two-hour foray into the deep (end of a pool):

1. You gotta shoot with a cool crew. Underwater modeling is awkward as hell. Unnerving. Sometimes uncomfortable. But if you have people working with you who are willing to crack inappropriate jokes and play with kung fu poses (see below), the frustration of fighting buoyancy and billowy costuming and hair in the face will seem trivial. (A huge shout out to Kristy Velesko of Kristy Velesko Photography and my studly merman, Ryan Haringa, for being rad partners in crime during this shoot!)

2. For photographers, weight belts are wonderful. For Kristy, they helped her get into position and stabilize her camera those precious milliseconds before Ryan and I hit our mark.

3. Chlorinated water makes me burp.

4. You have to find the light. Water bends sunrays in strange (and gorgeous)  ways, and it’s easy to get lost in the shadows. Just like modeling on land, you gotta know your angles and find the light.

5. The shoot was way more exhausting than I anticipated. Sure, I knew it would be somewhat strenuous, but I can’t remember the last time I had to tread water for extended periods of time. Holy cardio, Batman! (Of course, Ryan was a show-off and went to the gym after our shoot, while I went home to eat a huge dinner and pass out.)

6. Relaxing your face is difficult but essential. There are a few pictures from this session (not included) where I straight up look like a wet chipmunk. Not cute. You have to learn how to hold your breath…without looking like you’re holding your breath. Which is difficult and something I need to work on.

7. The majority of our shots were unusable, but when we found those still, beautiful moments, they were magic. Observe…

Photos courtesy of Kristy Velesko Photography. All rights reserved.

Down By the Shore

View More: http://kristyveleskophotography.pass.us/tiffanylajollashores

When I met Kristy of Kristy Velesko Photography at La Jolla Shores for a shoot a couple weeks ago, our session got off to a bit of a rough start. The dress Kristy had ordered for me didn’t fit. She endured a bee sting on the bottom of her foot while we walked to our location – far, far, far down the shore, because the beach was crowded with recent college graduates and their celebrating families. And the June gloom we hoped would paint the beach with moody lighting wasn’t cooperating. It wasn’t cloudy and moody. It was bright and warm.

But even when things don’t go as planned, magic is possible. And magic is 100% what Kristy captured during our session. All we needed to turn this shoot out were a couple clips, some salt water, and lots of laughter.

http://www.kristyveleskophotography.com