Looking Back and Looking Ahead.

2014 hasn’t really started yet for me.

Or if it has, it’s the most fantastic year ever because we still haven’t gotten back to our generally normal routine. School was canceled for the rest of the week, which doesn’t matter because Scarlet doesn’t go to school on Thursdays or Fridays anyway, but we have four house guests and I haven’t left the house in two days. The celebrating and festive eating goes on. The snow is falling so prettily from the sky that we have to bundle up and take photos. At night, we watch new Sherlock or Doctor Who.

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I have lost momentum in the holiday craziness. The traveling and the Christmas plays. The late nights and midnight kisses. The new and old friends. The feeling that I’m on a distant planet because there is no way to leave our driveway, much less our town, and I know you’re all out there and I’m giving you virtual waves. I have lost the rhythm of semi-regular photography, because that’s what you’re supposed to do during the holidays. I was still totally here, but my dreams were put on a two week break.

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And now I’m getting back, and I’m thinking not about resolutions, but about ten goals I wish to achieve in 2014:

– Attend a blogging conference.
– See moose with my kid.
– Participate in another published book.
– Live it up in Disney World, and watch Scarlet’s eyes light up, many times over.
– Organize a few local blogging meet-ups. So many of you are in the northeast, and this can happen!
– Advertise. Market. Sell. I can do photography. I can’t sell myself well. I know that if I just kept taking those next steps, doors could open wider for me.
– Communicate my needs a heck of a lot better. I often need space and time. And many other things.
– Show my friends how much I love them. Cold weather hibernation and low funds, makes me shy away from the true expression in my heart. I need grander gestures. I also need more one-on-one time.
– Book the kind of photo shoots that scare the heck out of me. It’s worth it in the end.
– To have more experiences like this: This was a comment I left on Co-Pilot Mom’s blog today:
“We have house guests and they’ve been here since New Year’s. Today, on our first of two snow days, only two people in this house of eight even got out of their pajamas at all. Or bathed. We took a deep walk in the woods to a llama farm. We talked for hours. There was..The food. The TV. The inter-family snuggling. It’s glorious to have this in life.”

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(Same situation, but this was taken last year.)

Did you achieve great things last year? Looking ahead, and looking back – I’m skipping around a lot this week. There’s a lot to mull over. And that’s why YEAR IN REVIEW is the theme of this week’s Ladies Only Blog Share Link Party. So link up your favorite post of last year, your New Year’s/recap/resolution post, your most popular post, or one you were particularly proud of.

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My spectacular co-hosts:

Michelle from A Dish of Daily Life

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Crystal from Mommifried

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Angela from WriterMom’s Blog

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Kristen from Four Hens and a Rooster

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We are also re-welcoming a cherished guest host, Amber from “City Girl On Hicks Farm“.

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We’d all love to connect with you outside of our LOBS Link Party…Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram…wherever you’d like to connect! My buttons are all at the top of my blog. Write me a note letting me know that you are visiting from the Ladies Only Blog Share or #LOBS, either in the comments below or feel free to send me a tweet or leave me a note on Facebook! I will definitely respond and follow you back! And the rest of my co-hosts would be thrilled to meet you as well!

Now, let’s get started on the link party! Have fun and visit the links below. We ask that you try to visit at least three. Remember to leave a thoughtful comment on the new blogs you’ve discovered and let them know you’re visiting from the Ladies Only Blog Share Link Party! Feel free to pin your blog post to the Ladies Only Blog Share Pinterest board, too! In the URL field, place the link to your post. The name field should contain the title of your post.

Use the hashtag #LOBS when tweeting! Doesn’t it have a nice ring to it?

A few simple requests are…

** Follow and visit all of the hosts and co-hosts

** Link up your favorite post! Please try to stick to our weekly theme

** Please share this link party so others can join

** Visit at least three of the blogs on the link party

And now, party time:


About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer, a mama of two, a Lifestyle Blogger/Social Media Influencer/Brand Ambassador, and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns, the Stigma Fighters Anthology (volume 1), and The HerStories Project: So Glad They Told Me. She is also a proud Community Lead and a regular contributor to the SoFab Food blog, and the Target Made Me Do It blog. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son, dog, cat, and 11 chickens in glorious western Massachusetts.


Looking Back and Looking Ahead. — 120 Comments

  1. OMG I feel like I’ve been in hibernation the past two weeks! From the holidays, then being sick and now a blizzard, I’ve done nothing and it’s almost depressing. I need my routine back!! I love the goals you set and I hope if you get to go to a blogger conference you check out Alt Summit NYC! I went last year and I’m dying to go again this year!! You would love it! BTW, I’m sure you are going to hit all these goals you set!

    • I would love to hit a conference you’re at! And this hibernation feeling is weird! It’s been nearly three weeks since my kid has had school. Yikes! Monday will be a rude awakening.

  2. It’s cool to join a party while I’m just at home feeling the rainy day! LOL. You’ve got really great goals this year Tamara. I would want to have more fun time/one-on-ones with my dearest friends too. All the best! 🙂

  3. I love your goals. And I know you are going to do them! Since I posted that I wanted to do another meetup, I’ve had lots of people say they want to come too. We could have our own conference…JK…but maybe not. Maybe we really could. 🙂 I kind of like those days when you’re homebound and you can’t get out. Those were the days my kids built forts on the couches and mini snow caves. Now they don’t get out of bed till noon. Enjoy your snow day tomorrow!

    • We could totally do our own mini conference/meetup. Seriously. There are so many of us and it’s not far at all. And I know the forts on the couches all too well!

  4. Oh how I wish I could have stayed in my pajamas for a few days during my holiday break. Sounds amazing! It was so hectic and crazy for me that I didn’t have time to breathe or rest or blog (gasp!) I love your goals – connecting and spending time with my friends and family is huge on my list for 2014.

    • It got a little grungy after awhile, but it really does feel like a winter planet or something. Looking forward to leaving the house today! I have $65 in coffee gift cards from Christmas, and I intend to use it!

  5. I’ve been enjoying a lot more days of being home still in my PJs and unbathed since I’ve been sick and fatigued mostly. I usually have to remember to shower when Harroll gets home so he can sit with JR. Our old tactics to keep him occupied while I shower no longer work since he’s big enough to jump out of the play pen. I never put him in the shower with me as a newborn so he doesn’t like it right now. Anyway, lol. The point is, I know the feeling of just staying in. I try to get out once a day like I used to, but I gave up on that this week because I decided I’ll just go with the flow. Perhaps at the end of the month I’ll feel differently when the 2nd trimester hits. Des and Scarlet look like little angels by the way in these photos. I love pictures of snow like this and kids playing in it!

    • Yes, you have that whole element of being pregnant! Scarlet was 2-3 when I was pregnant and I had trouble keeping up. If both of us were dressed at the end of the day, I was shocked!
      I’m wishing for high energy for you soon!

  6. Oh, I’d love to experience that at least once in my life! All we have here is rain! Love your goals, I am also hoping to join a local blog conference this year, which reminds me, I have to check if there’s anything schedule within the first quarter.
    I’m on my first day back to work and the only thing I love about it is that it’s Friday so it’s the last work day of the week 😉

    • Pretty sweet for a first day back at work! I feel like the school district should have just given everyone until Monday anyway! Going back for two days and then getting another small break? Confusing! However, the snow took care of all of that!
      Happy Weekend!!

  7. Seriously number 5 does totally need to happen, but I guess not today, because we also are buried under a ton of snow. But seriously, we so need to make it happen (maybe when the weather warms up in the spring or summer), because you know I would love to finally get to meet you in person! Happy Friday and New Year again 🙂

  8. Those are wonderful goals — somehow just putting them out there makes them seem a teeny bit less scary, don’t you think? I want to go to a blog conference too, but I think I need to wait until I’m not nursing. Otherwise the logistics are just too much of a hassle. It just have to keep repeating to myself — the kids won’t be little forever, this is a stage phase of life, the kids won’t be little forever…

    • A little less scary, yes! Like being held accountable. I didn’t go to any conferences last year or at the end of 2012 because I was nursing. It just seemed..complicated. It still does because the kids would need overnight childcare if it was during the week when my husband worked. It can happen, though, and I hope it does!

  9. I love your goals for the year. And I can’t wait to hear about the photo shoots that scare the heck out of you. In the end, they are all worth it, the photo shoots and anything else that scares the heck out of us. I’m linking up with the post that talks about the “turning point” of 2013 for me – where I decided to go do stuff that I was afraid of. It’s probably my favorite post of the year for this reason. The formatting is jumbled because I wrote it before my blog migration – and never went back to fix the older posts – but the words are all there and in proper order.

    • ha..most photo shoots scare the heck out of me. Well less than they used to, but the ones that take me out of my comfort zone. Well..that’s a whole other post!
      Turning points. Intriguing!! I’ll have to read that! I remember your blog migration well. It inspired me to do my own..and eventually I did!

  10. We have a snow day here today – a bona fide blizzard, actually. So we are retreating back into Holiday mode for another day. It is lovely.
    Thank you for your wonderful comment on my post and for the shout out here. I wish you all the best in 2014 – I feel like it will be a great one!

    • It’s it funny? It seems never-ending. We just heard on the news that we’re getting another potential storm Sunday night. Monday is supposed to be our first day back at work/school! (although I have a potential photo shoot today) Aggh! However. It might be nice to relax and make it an adventure.

  11. Oh, Tamara! The pics of Scarlet and Des in the snow are amazing! We got a dusting of snow last night, but the real story is the bitterly cold temps. The girls’ daycare is on a two-hour delay this morning, so we’ve got the fire roaring and cartoons blaring. The girls are dressed in snuggly layers, and I’m sporting my comfy sweats. I really hope we can find a good blogging conference to attend together this year. How awesome would that be?!

    • Let’s talk together about upcoming conferences because I have a tiny bit saved for blogging conferences and I intend to travel if I must.
      Supposed to be -13 here tonight. Are we having fun yet? Is it Disney time yet? No?

    • Thanks! It feels lucky when we’re in it, but now we have an unplowed driveway and friends supposed to head to the airport! Snow makes everything chaotic, but beautiful.

  12. Those are great goals! Selfishly, I love the one about organizing a meet up. But I also love the one about advertising and marketing yourself. You are so freaking talented, Tamara, and it’s time that more than just those of us who read your blog know that! I agree that putting yourself out of your comfort zone is HARD, but it is often worth it, even if it takes time for it to feel like it.

    • Well I was totally thinking of you when I wrote that! We have some CT bloggers around and I did once meet up with a few before I “knew” you. What you said about my talent? Made my MONTH!

  13. What wonderful goals! They are beautiful, awesome, achievable and things that I have no doubt you have the ability to do. Other than the moose thing. I can’t get my hands around how you’re going to see a random moose. But if anyone can do it…it’s you!

    • Oh, it won’t be random! I mean, that could happen but we’re going to go out and do it. There are parts of Maine (and even around here) in which moose drink at the same lake at the same time daily. It can be done, but it could require a lot of driving and waiting around!

  14. The post I wrote for today is the perfect one to link up, and I didn’t even plan it that way – yay! My kids went back to school yesterday and now we have a snow day today. Sleeping in is blissful. I hope you achieve all of your goals this year, Tamara – 2014 is going to be a great year! (Oh – and I’m only 3 hours from NJ…just sayin’…)

  15. I’d love to go to a blog conference this year too. I love your other goals as well! Hope you’re doing ok with all the snow there. We don’t go back to school until Monday here, so I understand how you feel about the new year not yet starting!

  16. I’ve been thinking about what conference(s) I want to attend next year. Since BlogHer is in San Jose, I think I’m ruling it out. I definitely want to go back to the Social Good Summit. Maybe a Bloggy Bootcamp? We’ll see. Anyway, we’re too close not to meet up at some point. Maybe to spot moose with our kids? Who knows.

    • Ooh, let me know any you’re thinking about as they come! We’ll definitely see each other. I can take you all moosing in the deep woods of Maine. I used to lead informal tour groups – I’m not even kidding. I took a group of four co-workers ten hours from New Jersey into central Maine. And we saw tons of moose.

  17. I think I want to come on vacation at your house and stay in my PJs all day! I tend to be a little legalistic when I make goals, so I’m trying to be more “free flowing” and open to the doors which may open before me this year!

    • It’s sort of all or nothing for me, though. If I’m in my pajamas, I tend to procrastinate in ALL areas of life. And I’m not as great at playing with my kids, because there are other people here doing that.
      Well…I guess everyone needs a break, right?

  18. A mini conference or meet up NEEDS to happen. I know I could just drive over and hang out with you, but to hang out, talk, and dream blog stuff? That would be MAJOR. I was thinking about you a few minutes ago and wondering if we could sled down your driveway.

  19. Great goals! I want to go to a conference too, I was such a dummy last year and missed a bloggy conference 10 miles from my house by not knowing about it until a week after it happened. GRR! And on a side note, your photography skills are incredible. INCREDIBLE!

    • 10 miles from your house! That sounds so great. I can afford the conferences – it’s the flights/hotels that stop me from going. And needing overnight childcare.
      Thanks about the photography!!

  20. I heard about the big snow storm out east. I live in Spokane, WA and it has been unseasonably warm and dry this week. The snow is pretty, but I am hoping that we don’t get a whole lot of it this year. Your photos are beautiful! And I also like your goals. Wishing you all the best in 2014!

  21. Seeing all that snow is so romantic to me, I live in Australia and it only snows on a few of the highest mountains, no snow at my house that is for sure. It is also Summer here now and yet I am hibernating just the same. Lots of lazy, very lazy days by the pool. Love your photos and your goal to take on photo jobs that scare the heck out of you, some ginormous growth happens out in scarey land.

    • Lazy days by the pool? I really can’t imagine. We just had the solstice, so it’s still so, so dark and cold. -13 degrees tonight. I think I’ll imagine what it’s like on the other side of the world right now.
      Thank you for your comment – I’d love me some ginormous growth.

  22. You can do all of this! I’d also love to go to a blog conference but it’s always during the time when my husband can’t get leave or we already have plans. Grr.

    • I’m finding that there are so many out there! The big ones are generally far away, but maybe a Boston one will come about because then I don’t need to get on a plane.

  23. I am having the same issues here. The girls went to school yesterday but not today. Can’t quite seem to get any momentum. I love your goals. I am hoping to go to a blogging conference too- maybe we will meet in person- how fun!

    • That would be very fun! I’d love a good website or link that tells all of the medium to big ones and where they are. I want to do BlogHer but it’s across the country! On my birthday.
      Which makes me want to go.

  24. Well, I don’t lie in he NE but there are so many of y’all who do that I really want to meet!!! I love those days where the weather is too nasty to venture out and you just stay in and snuggle all day – the snow days that require getting out in, on the other hand – not my thing!
    I love your list of goals and have 100% confidence in you achieving them this year!

    • I’ve really been trying to research the one or ones I want to go to this year. I do factor in price and location, and also quite largely – how many awesomes I would get to meet!

  25. I love your goals–they are honest and ambitious and beautiful! Looking forward to reading updates as you tackle them!

    Looking forward to the #LOBS weekend too. 🙂

  26. I have no doubts that you will tick off every single one of those things especially expanding your photog biz and watching scarlets eyes light up over and over! I can’t wait to see that and I’m not even going! 🙂

  27. Totally with you on how the break has messed with my rhythm. We woke up to 6+ inches of snow in our yard, and even though school was still open, decided to keep everyone home. I’ve loved every minute of it (even the frustrating ones). Definitely agree that more moments like this need to be had. I’m also hoping to go to a blog conference this year…if we’re lucky we might actually get to meet!

    • I would love that! Let me know when you have one or more in mind. I just need to find a resource that spells them all out for me. I keep hearing about different ones from different people.

  28. Just this morning, I looked up writing conferences for work, but so many seem so … spammy. A blogging conference would be more fun, I think. I wonder if they’d accept a token dude.

  29. Tamara: I need “grander gestures” too! And I need them to be directed toward my friends. Also my parents and sister. I do pretty good with my husband and children, but anyone outside of that intimate little circle tends to get ignored by me in the busyness of life.

    I’m totally borrowing that phrase this year!

    • Borrow away! I was invited to a friend’s house yesterday for a playdate with our girls, and it was her birthday! I realized I couldn’t ignore it. So I went through the investigative process to find out her favorite treats and then showed up NOT empty-handed. I think it’s so easy to just show up empty-handed (but with two kids) and blame exhaustion/being busy. I was trying out my goal and it worked.

  30. First of all, you have to tell me which blogging conference you’re thinking about or planning on going to. Second, YES to a northeast blogger meet-up. Would love to see that happen. Third, I’m absolutely with you on the moving business forward piece as you know. I’m bad at the advertise/market/sell piece too but we can do this together, yes?

    • Yes, that makes me feel possible. Doing things together or in communication with others on their journeys. And I may do BlogU, may do BlogHer, and will definitely be organizing something up here or in Connecticut!!

  31. I really love your goals. Especially the one about showing your friends how much you love them. That is often overlooked. Happy New Year Tamara! Good luck in accomplishing your goals.

    • Thank you! I sometimes worry I take it all for granted, but these connections are so important to me. And even when I’m poor and anxious and wanting to hide away, I want to show my friends the love.

  32. I’m supposed to start work and the girls are supposed to go back to school, but now we are getting more snow and will be in a deep freeze…I feel like we are in limbo until I know for sure that school will be back in session! At least the preschool where I teach takes the same snow days that my girls’ school district does, so I don’t have to worry about child care. 🙂

    • Oh, that’s so convenient!
      The weather is crazy. We’re not getting what you’re getting but my uncle is on his way to Ohio, and I just hope he gets there without incident!

  33. I love your goals. I need to put mine in writing. I have a feeling 2014 is going to be a year of many changes–good ones! Honestly, 2014 hasn’t really started for me yet either!

    • I guess tomorrow’s really it for us! Work and school.. And then three weeks of “reality” and we go to the “happiest place on earth.” – Disney. Odd year, for sure!

  34. OY! I am adding watch an episode of Doctor Who to my 2014 goals so I can find out why you have a blue police box thingie in your yard and because it seems to have quite the following. Where do I begin?

    • Hm…well I started with the 9th doctor in his first episode, “Rose.” That’s where it all picked up again after years off of BBC and a movie that bombed. You could start 50 years back..but they’re honestly a bit boring, and who has time for that??

    • Ooh! I’ll keep you on the list of interested bloggers! I’d make widespread announcements on that so no worries.
      And..er..I may or may not still be in my pajamas right now. At 2:00 pm EST.

  35. The year surely did fly by didn’t it? I can’t believe it’s 2014 already. We’re back from vacation and boy do we miss Canada and all the fun we had there. I know you’ll have fun in Disney this year and can’t wait to see all the pics. Hope you’re having a fantastic new year.

  36. First of all, your post has inspired me, and i am so glad that this is the theme for LOBS because I’ve been contemplating a post along these lines! Second of all, who cares if you can’t cook or clean, those pictures you take are AMAZING. You don’t have to sell yourself, the pictures will do it for you! I would fly you down here if I could to take pics of my kids. And Yay for Disney!!

    • Why, thank you! Luckily my husband goes easy about the cooking/cleaning stuff. He often says, “I knew this before I married her and I still wanted to marry her!” He’s a very good cook/housekeeper. I do bake, and care for kid (very impatiently) and take photos..it all evens out, or will.
      I would love to fly down and do a southern tour of Tamara Camera Photography! One day.

  37. You write so well Tamara. You’re like a “capturer”—both with photos and words, you capture the moment and the feeling. I truly wish you the best of luck this coming year and seriously think you can rock it on the blogging and photography front. And yes I totally know what you mean about not being able to sell yourself. I work in marketing yet I shy away from doing anything crazy with my blog for fear that it won’t go as I had hoped for.

    • Ooh, could that be my superhero name? The Capturer! I love it and what a compliment.
      You must have such insights working in marketing! And I’m really good at telling others to sell themselves, but not myself!

  38. I have felt totally off kilter and quite frankly, frazzled. I am ready for schedule and routine, and yet I was just informed school was already cancelled for tomorrow, so there goes my TIME to write so many different posts I need to get done and CATCH UP reading all the blogs I have neglected because of the crazy-ness that ensues in my home with two kids and my hubs and visitors and family in town and lots of GOOD times, but really? I need more quiet… I love people and enjoying the moments we spend together, but I NEED my quiet desperately, which means I have been up many nights incredibly late and I am TIRED.

    How’s that for a bit of a rant? I would go rewrite it, but I am too tired.. LOL

    Your pictures were breathtaking as always. AND I am so so glad you embraced the beautiful moments in front of you!!

    Go for those goals- baby steps… and big leaps are ahead of you. I just know it Tamara… I can sense it in your writing that you are building more courage and confidence. YAY!!! As you should, my dear friend.

    • We have a delay this morning! I am so ready for routine again. I don’t know if winter can really make this possible. Over it!
      I love your rants. I need more peace and quiet badly. I need some of my 2013 life back – the part where I get to work for 2-3 while one is in school and one is napping.
      And thank you for what you said about seeing confidence in my writing!!

  39. Pingback: Welcome 2014... goodbye 2013 - No Holding Back

  40. No snow here, but we have been staying indoors a lot due to the rain and high winds which are battering this side of the UK. We had flooding around the river in the city centre and there are lots of villages in the surrounding areas which are cut off by flood waters. People are paddling out in canoes for supplies from supermarkets. I’m feeling rather lucky to be living at the top of a hill.

    Now…talking of watching Sherlock…yesterday’s episode…we had our wedding reception in the same place as John! It was so much fun to see Goldney Hall on TV again, even if they didn’t show off the amazing–but very distinctive–grounds.

    • I took my thoughts on this comment straight to twitter. SO awesome. I nearly didn’t wait for my husband to come home to tell him, because I wanted to call him at work and tell him. I exclaimed during the whole episode! It was a gorgeous place, inside and out.

  41. I love those goals. Blog conference – YES! Another book – YES!! Blogger meet ups – YES! (Though I am not in the NE and will be totally jealous!) Personally, I think you photography markets itself because it is always absolutely breathtaking. I wish you huge success with it in 2014! (Thanks for linking up with our Tuesday Ten! So glad you did, because I’m not sure how I missed this post before!)

    • Well I bet I’ll meet you this year! There are many travel events on my mind. And Baltimore is a big one.
      That means so much what you said – about photography marketing itself.

  42. I can definitely relate to expressing (and at times TAKING) what you need to keep you sane. I also would like to go a blogging conference this year. I certainly hope you are able to book the shoots you’re shying away from. I know they’ll be amazing photographs.

    • Thank you! I have booked three this year and I’m SCARED but hopeful it will go well. Winter shoots can be tough. I’m a natural light junkie.
      Hope you make it to a conference!

  43. i could spend all week in my pajamas reading literature in bed! i would totally love that. tamara, i’m so excited for your 2014 and looking forward to reading about all the great experiences you have!

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