Happy New Year, world!!  Take a deep breath.  Can you smell it??  Can you smell that new year smell?  That smell of new beginnings, new opportunities, new projects, new adventures?!?  It’s here!!

I’m a lover a new beginnings.  I’m one of those people who will wait until a Monday to start something new, like a habit or a diet or a new schedule, because it’s the beginning of a new week.  So you can imagine what the beginning of a new year feels like.  Complete BLISS!  I’ve spent the last 2 weeks hibernating in my house, preparing for and organizing for the tornado of life that will be coming at me again starting this week.  Lists and schedules and menus, oh my!  Even now, the new year has started.  It’s January 4th, 2016.  BUT, since today is Monday, this is the official “start” to my new year.  I’m so excited I can barely stand it.  Happy first Monday of the year!  I encourage you all to be kind and loving to yourselves!

As a lover of new beginnings, and a despiser of endings,  I’m not always fond of that “looking back” part of the end of the year.  I’m usually day dreaming and planning the next year.  But this last year, 2015, it’s had a particular glow to it for me.  And I found myself fondly reminiscing on the ups and the downs of the year, and all of the things I learned about myself and my life and my relationships.  It was truly an incredibly year for me as a woman.  And that’s something I have to stop and appreciate, and then daydream about how I can make next year even more incredible.

It’s hard to put my finger on what made 2015 so incredible for me.  I’m already blessed with a loving husband, 3 charming girls that keep me on my toes, and a small but supportive family and group of friends.  What can you really ask for outside of that?  I am so grateful.  But I had some extreme internal growth this year that has been undeniable.  I know the catalyst of this change for me was the incredible books written by Brene Brown.  If you haven’t checked her out before, and you’re not afraid to talk about vulnerability and shame, I would highly suggest putting hers on your book list this year!  You will not regret it.

I was also incredibly blessed to happen upon a friend in the past year and a half that has been a catalyst for change in my life.  Sometimes I say she’s the friend I needed when I was a kid in school, we probably would have been besties! But there’s a reason I wasn’t allowed to meet her until now.  I think we feel equally as lucky to have found each other in this journey of life.  At this phase of life.  And now we are working on a project together that has led us on a fantastic journey I’ll never forget.  We began I Heart Costa Mesa at the beginning of the year, tooling around Costa Mesa, interviewing all sorts of people and businesses.  What you learn about life from embarking on a project like that with someone else is innumerable.  We’ve met so many people who have some piece in the growth I have experienced this year.  People who have opened their hearts and shared with us vulnerably and honestly.  And let me shoot them in the same way.  I am forever grateful.

We started a new part of the project just in the  past few months. Hearts of Costa Mesa.  Our first interviewee gave us a quote that I won’t ever let myself forget.  Here he is, as a reminder for 2016, as well as some of our other shoots from this phenomenal year.  Here’s to another life learning year on this journey called life!  Thanks for following along with me.  Happy New Year, all!

 

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“I love that you guys are doing this project. The very act of stopping and paying attention to someone – choosing to photograph them in their best, most human light and to just let them tell their story – well, I would say that’s a holy act. It’s a life-affirming and loving act.

“It’s not that the hatred and the judgement don’t still exist in the world, but you are purposely choosing to focus on the love and mercy.

“It’s like when you watch The Sopranos and people say,’That glorifies the mafia, that glorifies violence.’ Well, no. It just humanizes a person who happens to be doing really awful things; so you end up loving him on some level even if you also really hate him. You’ve been privileged into seeing the humanity of the person, and all of a sudden you find it really, really hard to hate someone when you see their humanity. It’s just difficult.

“How do I hate someone who is human just like me? Through my eyes, it’s impossible.”

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Model trains chugging away at Fairview Park

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RC flying at Fairview Park

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Finding kombucha at Fermentation Farm

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Beautiful events at Grey Matter Museum of Art

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Watching instructors get gritty at Grit Cycle

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All in a day of WTF design at Davis Ink

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Cool dudes of Location 1980

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High notes at OC Music Factory

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Fun times at Open House Creative!

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Making friends at Pitfire Pizza

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Last interview for Grants for Guns before going out with a BANG!

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Beautiful, wool art memories with Castle of Costa Mesa

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Always painting her Art and Soul

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Taco goodness at Taco Asylum

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Listen to vinyl at Port of Sound Records

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Meeting some neighbors with Village Green Real Estate

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Beautiful barre skills with babe at Meraki Barre

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31 Bits of incredible love

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Sidecar Doughnut LOVE (maple bacon bar please)

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Yogurty goodness with endless toppings at America’s Cup

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Father son board shaping at Uhuru Sportscraft

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Gelato fun at Vitaly!

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Learning how to really decorate at Where’s the Party?

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Locking up volunteers at the Costa Mesa Historical Society

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Found some new faves at Love Bags

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Making friends at Mother’s Market

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Grace, love and acceptance at New Directions for Women

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Hanging out with my friend, having all sorts of fun!

Wow, what a year we have had!  We are even missing a few since those articles haven’t published yet.  2016 is slated to be pretty rockin’, so stay tuned, read up, and follow along!  And thank you to everyone who helped me learn my lessons of 2015.  I am forever grateful.

Hello 2016!