Hello, 2015!

10299922_10152448988573386_4155779792611196313_nI can’t believe how fast 2014 flew by. It’s been quite a year. When I think of all the things I’ve done, all the obstacles I’ve faced, and all the places/friends I’ve visited, it’s overwhelming.Through all the ups and downs I’ve always felt immensely blessed. God has truly seen me through one heck of a year. Here are just some highlights from 2014.

January:

  • I traveled to Europe for a study abroad trip and visited Budapest, Amsterdam, Hamburg, and London. I absolutely loved my time in these cities and long to go back.

February:

  • My beloved Abuelo passed away. I can’t begin to describe how much his love and support shaped my life. His influence is so present in his children and grandchildren and I strive to have a faith as strong as his.

March:

April

  • Said goodbye to my sister who moved to Japan to teach English. Funny to see that out of the two of us she would be the one to move to another country. But I’m so proud of her and how much she’s challenged herself and grown.

May

  • Successfully finished writing/editing my novel, passed my defense, and then graduated with my master’s degree in Professional Writing.
  • Moved out of my apartment in Oklahoma and said goodbye to my roommate of 2 years.
  • Also said goodbye to the longest place I’ve ever lived: Oklahoma with 6.5 years.

June

  • Moved to Indianapolis, IN.
  • Started my second publishing internship with Pearson. (I also interned with them last summer) It was great to return and work as a Project Editor Intern.

July

  • Had one of my Buzzfeed posts promoted to the FRONT PAGE of their website: 18 Quirky Literary Items You Can Buy On Etsy.
  • Said goodbye to my childhood pet lizard, Kevin, a Blue Tongue Skink. We were tight for 12 years and I was sad to see him go, but I rehomed him because of my uncertain job/living status.

August

  • Moved to BROOKLYN, NY.
  • Started volunteering for the Floating Library, a pop-up literary and public space exhibition. I helped launch their Twitter/Instagram pages. I met so many awesome people during my first few months in NYC because of this experience.
  • Joined a fabulous new Church, Liberty Church, started setting down roots, and embraced a new community.
  • Had a second Buzzfeed post promoted to their front page: 16 Gloriously Zany Temporary Tattoos.

October

  • Started a temp job as a Video Assistant for Pearson. It was awesome to be working with the video team again.

November

  • I scored a ticket for the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and got to be on the show.
  • Met Neil Gaiman. He was as delightful in person as he is on twitter.
  • Traveled to Texas/Oklahoma for Thanksgiving – saw all of my extended family, well, all that were in the country.

December

  • Traveled to Texas/Oklahoma to spend Christmas with my family.

This year has been one for the books. I can’t believe how blessed I am. I had so many wonderful opportunities to see old friends and make new ones. I also traveled SO much this year and that was awesome. It was also a hard year with lots of goodbyes and tough decisions.

I’d probably say the most drastic/biggest change this year was my decision to pack up everything I could carry in my sedan and drive across the country to move to New York. But as tough as that decision was, it’s honestly been one of the best and I’m so excited to see what 2015 brings in this new city.

Here’s to the new year!

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A brief update…life, the universe, and everything.

Since the last time I wrote was 6 months ago, I figured I should give you an update on my life. Who knew these past several months would be so crazy? I mean, well, I guess I should have realized this would be the case. When has life never been full of surprises?

Since November I’ve…

  • written a novel
  • graduated with a master’s degree
  • traveled to Europe
  • traveled to California
  • lost beloved family members
  • watched my sister move to Japan
  • met award-winning authors
  • been published
  • picked up a freelance gig
  • accepted a summer publishing internship
  • seen dear friends wed
  • seen dear friends graduate and move away

Really, it’s been quite a year. And of course, I have loads of pictures.

This was one of the interior courtyards of a building in Budapest. It looked perfectly ordinary from the outside, but once we went inside to visit one of the agencies we were greeted with this view. The only downside I can think is having to carry groceries up several flights of stairs. I would live here in a heartbeat.

This was one of the interior courtyards of a building in Budapest. It looked perfectly ordinary from the outside, but once we went inside to visit one of the agencies we were greeted with this view. The only downside I can think is having to carry groceries up several flights of stairs. I would live here in a heartbeat.

We walked across the famous Chain Bridge that separates the Buda side from the Pest side of Budapest. We traveled up the stairs to Buda Castle. I'm fairly certain I left part of my heart in this city.

We walked across the famous Chain Bridge that separates the Buda side from the Pest side of Budapest. We traveled up the stairs to Buda Castle. I’m fairly certain I left part of my heart in this city.

The Széchenyi Baths in Budapest. Absolutely beautiful. Open 365 days a week. I learned that some men come every day when the baths open and they sit in the water and play chess against one another for hours. You can see the smallest glimpse of those men in the bottom right hand corner of this picture.

The Széchenyi Baths in Budapest. Absolutely beautiful. Open 365 days a week. I learned that some men come every day when the baths open and they sit in the water and play chess against one another for hours. You can see the smallest glimpse of those men in the bottom right hand corner of this picture.

Amsterdam. This place had special significance because I was able to visit the Anne Frank House and it was also featured in The Fault in Our Stars (which is coming out in theaters this June). It's crazy that I visited Indianapolis AND Amsterdam within a year of reading John Green's book.

Amsterdam. This place had special significance because I was able to visit the Anne Frank House and it was also featured in The Fault in Our Stars (which is coming out in theaters this June). It’s crazy that I visited Indianapolis AND Amsterdam within a year of reading John Green’s book.

We saw Wicked in London. It was quite spectacular and I loved it.

We saw Wicked in London. It was quite spectacular and I loved it.

Overlooking London from the very top of St. Paul's Cathedral. My mother had warned me that it would be a lot of stairs...and it was A. LOT. OF. STAIRS. It was quite a work out. But the view was more than worth it. SO worth it.

Overlooking London from the very top of St. Paul’s Cathedral. My mother had warned me that it would be a lot of stairs…and it was A. LOT. OF. STAIRS. It was quite a work out. But the view was more than worth it. SO worth it.

I've been fascinated with this building ever since my first visit to London. The Gherkin (as it's fondly known) is such a glorious structure. I got to the base and toured the art installations that were placed around this area for the 2013-2014 year.

I’ve been fascinated with this building ever since my first visit to London. The Gherkin (as it’s fondly known) is such a glorious structure. I got to the base and toured the art installations that were placed around this area for the 2013-2014 year.

We took a bus ride around the city to see some of the sights. Unfortunately, I had desperately wanted to ride the London Eye, but it was closed for construction the entire time we were in London. I was still able to admire it from afar though.

We took a bus ride around the city to see some of the sights. Unfortunately, I had desperately wanted to ride the London Eye, but it was closed for construction the entire time we were in London. I was still able to admire it from afar though.

One of the best museums I've been to. Such a glorious set of buildings and gardens. Every angle was interesting and engaging. I could have spent days at the Getty Center. So. Good.

One of the best museums I’ve been to. Such a glorious set of buildings and gardens. Every angle was interesting and engaging. I could have spent days at the Getty Center. So. Good.

I loved seeing Frank Gehry's design. He's a fabulous architect and I enjoyed exploring the exterior of this building.

I loved seeing Frank Gehry’s design. He’s a fabulous architect and I enjoyed exploring the exterior of this building.

This was absolutely the BEST FRENCH TOAST I have ever had. It was some sort of egg brioche that was then covered in frosted flakes and came with a vanilla bean sauce that was heavenly. The fruit was also a fantastic touch.

This was absolutely the BEST FRENCH TOAST I have ever had. It was some sort of egg brioche that was then covered in frosted flakes and came with a vanilla bean sauce that was heavenly. The fruit was also a fantastic touch.

My friend took me to this lights exhibit outside the LACMA. It was fantastically cool and I loved it.

My friend took me to this lights exhibit outside the LACMA. It was fantastically cool and I loved it.

One of my loves: the ocean. Even though the water was a little bit chilly, I couldn't help strolling in the water.

One of my loves: the ocean. Even though the water was a little bit chilly, I couldn’t help strolling in the water.

This was on my journey up the California coast, I drove up the Pacific Coast Highway and got to this beach just in time to watch the sunset. The view was glorious.

This was on my journey up the California coast, I drove up the Pacific Coast Highway and got to this beach just in time to watch the sunset. The view was glorious.

Chinatown in San Francisco. I wandered down the streets before most places were open and it was nice to walk down the streets without very many other people. The emptiness was strangely soothing.

Chinatown in San Francisco. I wandered down the streets before most places were open and it was nice to walk down the streets without very many other people. The emptiness was strangely soothing.

Yes, I am a tourist. And it was my first time seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in person. How could I not take pictures from every angle? I also walked halfway across before getting cold and tired and heading back (I had been up since 5:15am and it was already around 3-4pm when I got to the bridge. I was ready to rest.)

Yes, I am a tourist. And it was my first time seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in person. How could I not take pictures from every angle? I also walked halfway across before getting cold and tired and heading back (I had been up since 5:15am and it was already around 3-4pm when I got to the bridge. I was ready to rest.)

Andrés Neuman was the featured guest of the 2014 Puterbaugh Festival sponsored by World Literature Today. I got the chance to photograph the events and I was also invited to the photoshoot for the magazine cover. It was so cool.

Andrés Neuman was the featured guest of the 2014 Puterbaugh Festival sponsored by World Literature Today. I got the chance to photograph the events and I was also invited to the photoshoot for the magazine cover. It was so cool.

Graduated from the University of Oklahoma with my masters in Professional Writing. Next step: NYC and getting a job in publishing.

Graduated from the University of Oklahoma with my masters in Professional Writing. Next step: NYC and getting a job in publishing.

A Short Summary of My New York City Trip

I got the opportunity to travel to New York City last week and it was definitely one of the highlights of my year! I’ve dreamed of visiting for YEARS. So when I joined my school’s Magazine Interest Group and heard they were taking a trip to visit magazine companies in NYC, you can bet I jumped on that band wagon.

It was a whirlwind of site-seeing, magazines, food, and culture. I had an absolute blast. The magazines we visited: Departures, Real Simple, Brides,  Lucky, Harper’s Bazaar, and Sports Illustrated.

I wandered the city, seeing as much as I could with the precious amounts of daylight each day. My feet definitely hurt at the end of the day. But it was worth it. So worth it.

These are some of the photos I snagged during my 4 day trip. Hope you enjoy!

NYC Skyline

 

 

 

One of the first things I did: The Empire State Building. The view was absolutely fabulous. I could have spent hours there.
Atop the Empire State Building

 

 

 

 

 

Such a glorious view. Every angle was interesting. I loved this little viewfinder, patiently waiting to show off the view.

Times Square

 

 

 

 

And I (of course) went to Times Square my first night. How could I resist? It’s one of the first things people think of when they picture NYC. And it most certainly did not disappoint. Especially loved all of the Hunger Games!

The Subway

 

 

 

 

I loved the subway. So many people each going their own way. And contrary to popular belief, I did not run into any mean New Yorkers. Everyone I stopped to ask questions or directions was nice.

 

 

Time Inc.

 

 

Time Inc. One of the major buildings that hosted some of the magazines we visited! It was absolutely amazing to talk with these editors and assistants and hear about how magazines worked and their advice for people wanting to break into this industry.

 

NYC Streets

 

 

 

I couldn’t get enough of the streetscapes. So much movement and color. There was always something interesting going on.

Delicious Food

 

 

 

 

 

My first meal in NYC: Le Pain Quotidien – a french bakery/cafe. I had a Grilled Chicken & Mozzarella di Bufala Tartine and it was absolutely delicious.

Shake Shack

 

 

 

 

 

Another fabulous meal: a burger, fries, and shake from the Shake Shack. Basically the east coast version of In-N-Out Burger (one of my all time favorites.)

2 Bros. Pizza

 

 

 

 

And NYC is famous for having these little hole-in-the-wall $1 pizza slice places. These are THE GREATEST. Probably one of the best deals of NYC. If you have a dollar, you have pizza. AND they’re open late. Double score.The Strand BookstoreGrand Central Station The Chrysler Building  Standing outside of the NYC Public LibraryThe Original Winnie the PoohWhere The Wild Things AreCentral Park Foliage Beautiful Trees in Central ParkCentral Park      

   Sailing in Central Park     The Met

Guggenheim MuseumGoodbye, NYC...I'll be back soon!  

 

 

We also visited The Strand, the largest independent bookstore in NYC. So many aisles of books! They boast over 18 miles of books.

 

 

 

 

 

And how could I NOT visit Grand Central Station? They were celebrating their centennial! So that was pretty neat as well.

 

 

 

 

 

I also stopped by the Chrysler Building. I’m a big fan of art deco, but unfortunately it was closed. My friend told me it had gone bankrupt, so I don’t know what is going to become of it…

 

 

 

 

 

Me on the New York Public Library steps. Whenever I travel to new cities I always try to visit either a library or a bookstore. I can’t help but gravitate towards book-oriented places.

 

 

 

And the NYC public library was running this FANTASTIC exhibit: The ABC of it: Why Children’s Books Matter that featured so many timeless classics and new favorites. This is the original Winnie the Pooh.

 

 

 

 

Inside a playful Where the Wild Things Are cut-out. One of my all time favorite children’s books. Their exhibit was excellent because it had elements for adults and children.

 

 

 

 

I walked through Central Park for a few hours. The fall colors were BEAUTIFUL. I Could not get enough of that fall color hue. It was a lovely day. I could have easily spent my whole day there if I didn’t have other things I wanted to see.

 

 

 

 

BUT SERIOUSLY, HOW COULD YOU EVER GET TIRED OF THIS? I was having a heyday taking all of these pictures.

 

 

 

 

Central Park is huge, expansive and beautiful. I thought I had been walking for miles and I felt like I had gone so far. But when I looked at my phone’s map, I realized I hadn’t even gone a mile.

 

 

 

 

 

They had remote-controlled sailboats and they were fun to watch. I absolutely love this picture. The contrast of dark and light and the darker hues of the reds and oranges in the background. Love.

 

 

 

I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a few hours. It was also SUPER VAST. And I’ll admit that I got lost trying to make my way out. And, fun fact: when I got back home, I saw an article that said Psy (Gangnam Style) had visited the Met the SAME EVENING I was there! How crazy is that?!

 

 

The last place I visited on my free day was the Guggenheim Museum. I’ve seen this building in various movies/places for years. So when I saw they had pay-what-you-want hours from 5:45-7:45pm every Saturday, I had to go. Such a cool piece of architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

 

 

 

One of my last views of the city. The taxi ride to the airport. I was sad to say goodbye, but I know I’ll be back soon.

Slanted Reality

Slanted reality - looking at the world from another direction.

Slanted reality – looking at the world from another direction.

I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long. Here’s a picture I took the other day. I’ve been wanting to try out some of these experimental puddle/reflection/abstract pictures and so yesterday when it rained, I seized my chance. I know I looked weird crouching on the pavement, moving my iPhone one way and then another, but I wanted the perfect angle. A couple of cars drove by, and I wished they’d slow down so I could cheerfully wave my hand and tell them I was in fact, not insane, just a photographer. Still, I like how the photo turned out.

I wish I could freeze time

I’m at Barnes and Noble for an extended period of time because there’s no Internet in my newly acquired apartment. I’m in Indy, btw, so YAY! It’s been a crazy couple of days, that’s for sure. Working on settling in and finding out what’s in the area.

But what struck me as I was sitting in the cafe, was a family of four. I can’t help but look up and gaze at the people around me and wonder, imagine backstories, tidbits of trivia. The writer in me is always dreaming and plotting.

But across the way was that family of four. They entered the cafe, sat down at a table and after five minutes moved to another table. They waited, and eventually their Starbucks drinks arrived. Even though the two children were fairly young, the little boy probably around 8 or so and the girl around 11, they all got Starbucks drinks.

But this is the moment I wanted to capture, the moment I wish I could freeze in my mind, the snapshot of family and love portrayed: the little boy took a drink and made some strange gesture, some noise, some face that alerted the rest of the family to his plight. I looked up to find the mother gently stirring his drink, a small smile on her face, the sister facing her brother and smirking, and the father in the corner, trying hard to suppress his grin. For a tense moment it was quiet, and then the little boy burst out laughing, quietly, but loud enough to draw my attention away from my screen.

It was just as the little boy’s laugh gave way that the mother, sister, and even the father joined in. And that perfect moment, where all four were laughing, their heads leaning towards each other and the center of the table, caught completely in their own mirth and completely unaware of the rest of the world. That was the moment.

And just like that, I fell in love with the family.