For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11 

As another year comes to an end, all I can say to all that's happened this year is WOW. Just...WOW! So much has been accomplished! My love for photography, which started as a hobby, has turned into a profiting, reputable business. This year alone, I photographed a total of 5 weddings, 2 engagements, and 2 families. That's halfway to what my yearly goal of photographing weddings is! I've met so many wonderful, silly, amazing, and loving people through this business and can not wait to see what exciting new adventures next year brings. I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunities I've experienced in the wedding industry as well as being able to pursue my passion without hinderance.

So much has happened this year in my life that are milemarkers in my young life! The biggest one being me moving out for the first time, to a brand new city let alone a completely different state! I have learned so much about myself as a person and as an artist. Things have been challenging yet rewarding, doors have shut yet windows have opened, and the Lord has shown me in miraculous ways how faithful He is in keeping promises in taking care of his children. I have repeated Jeremiah 29:11 countless times to myself throughout this year (For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future) which has been my guiding light and mantra to getting through the obstacles and new, sometimes intimidating paths laid before me. It's hard to imagine how many opportunities and amazing things are coming your way in the future when you're in the midst of storms. But luckily my friends and family have been so supportive in keeping me positive, motivated, and staying secure in my decisions. Thank you to everyone who has been there for me this year! You have no idea how much I appreciate, love and cherish you. 

My goals for this upcoming year of 2013 are ones that I am so motivated to achieve and believe I can definitely do so with relying on God's grace and faithfulness. 
So here we go:

1. Get into graduate school for an MA in Museum Studies/
Curatorial Theory!

I have always had the thought of continuing on to an art-related graduate program once I finished college. However, I didn't really have any idea as to what I would study. Photography is my heart's passion, but what more could I do with it that will make me a well-rounded artist? How could I push myself to becoming a better artist? In college I took several classes on Curatorial Theory (the practices and management of overseeing objects in a museum setting, leading to potentially becoming a curator and/or director of a reputable museum).  This subject greatly influenced me to study more about art history and museum studies outside of a college environment. Eventually I was set on persuing this as a career path! I am very excited to see where this will take me in the next year or two with my own work as well as potentially being in a graduate program setting. 
2. Book 8-10 Weddings in 2013.  
80% of my clients come to me via word of mouth. I can't tell you how many times someone I went to high school with whose sister's boyfriend's aunt is getting married and needs a photographer, and could I be it. It seriously amazes me that how after 5 years of being out of high school and not speaking to or even seeing this person for so long, they remember me for being a photographer and seek me out to do a family session or wedding. So THANK YOU to every single person who has ever contacted me to do a wedding or some sort of photo session for either you or someone you know! It's you who has pushed my business to new heights, and I can not be more grateful for you remembering me and using me for your photographer. You are so awesome!
3. Take the time to travel to destinations to pursue my own passion for nature and landscape photography.
For those of you who know me as more than just a face and name,  you know that weddings are definitely something I am passionate about. However, if you know me on a more personal level, you also know that my heart's true passion is set on photographing the beauty and mystery of the outdoors. Nature and landscape photography has been my heart's first love since I was very young. In the last 4.5 years, I have traveled all up and down and through and around California, photographing everything from San Francisco to the Anza Borrego Desert, to Yosemite (twice) and all over California's coast.  Though I have also ventured into Nevada, Oregon, and Washington backcountry it has not been nearly as extensive and thorough as I would like it to be. There are endless monuments, backcountry trails, mountains, lakes, rivers, glaciers and forests I have yet to wander and photograph! Yet due to being in full time college since 2007 until just this January, as well as maintaining at least 2 part time jobs while in school, I have not yet had the time I would've liked to travel and seek out the wilderness. Until now! So this next year, I am planning on saving up enough to travel to several locations I have not yet visited to pick up where I left off with my own photography, submit work to more magazines, and eventually get picked up by National Geographic!
4. Buy, Spend and Consume LESS.
If you're anything like me or a human being, you might have looked back at how you spent your hard earned money this last year and let out a long, exasperated SIGH at the unnecessary purchases that did not really benefit you from consuming (and no, that burger at World's Best Most Amazing Burger Joint does NOT count no matter how amazing and juicy it was). I have spent more than I saved, and saved less than I spent. Yes there were a few purchases I made that actually benefited my life such as gas to move myself and all my belongings three states away as well as buying my new Canon 7D (early Christmas present to myself!), and Sir Winston the Kitty. But honestly, I would've liked to look back at this year and be satisfied with how I handled my finances. My goal for 2013 is to not spend a dime on any unnecessary purchases. And if I feel inclined to do so, buy it for someone less fortunate. If I feel like I need a new pair of boots, buy some shoes for that homeless man on the corner. If I get hungry and want to stop by Burgerville on the way home from work, instead I'll donate food to a local homeless shelter. This is going to require a lot of selflessness but how hard is it really to put someone else before your own needs, as well as think "Hey this 5 bucks can benefit someone else more than me." I'm also planning on investing my savings into a Bond or Stock group. I'd rather it grow and not shrink!
And last but not least...5. Be more proactive on things I am
passionate about!
Such as joining habitat for humanity. Or running in a marathon (Check! Already signed up for the Shamrock Run in March :] Click the link to read more about it), and just take the time to appreciate and experience life and the world more. I have finally reached a point where I have the freedom to decide where my life will go, rather than being stuck in an endless routine of underpaying jobs and full time school. Whether it be pursuing graduate school, saving up and traveling for my photography, or working at a non retail related job (finally!), it is up to me to chose my next right step in life. With the guidance and wisdom from God and the support of my family and friends, I can achieve anything. Here's to a new year filled with endless possibilities and adventure. Cheers!



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