No More Looking Back.

“Walking along a crowded street
I see thousands of faces before me.
Then I see a face that I used to know
Long ago in my life story.
It starts me thinking about the things you said
For your image is still inside me.
The past is gone but in my head
You’re still walking along beside me.
Is it something playing tricks with my eyes
Or just an illusion deceiving me,
Or is it someone in a disguise
Or visions of things that used to be?”

Here I am again. Not taking any kind of blogging break. Trust me when I say that there will come a day (not long from now) in which I will really need a break because I will be riding the Peter Pan ride at Disney World and I will be wearing a sundress and there will be three highly capable and amazing people here in this space for me. So you’ll still come visit then, right?

New Year's Eve

It won’t be long now.

Last year, I got this “Year in Review” post idea from Melissa at Home on Deranged and I’m happy to do it again, just changing all the questions from 2013 to 2014. Feel free to play along! I remember it being both fun and reflective last year. Diving in!

What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I flew in an airplane with two kids. (to Florida)

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I went on a ride that was CALLED a roller coaster even though Cassidy claimed it wasn’t.

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I visited the Northeast Kingdom.

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I met a TON of blogging friends in person – at my first conference and at other places.

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I became the mother of a five-year-old.

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I fell in love with real estate photography.

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I photographed a wedding!

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And a two-day-old baby! I will have photos for you.. but not yet. Shhh…

I became a dog owner for the first time as an adult! Yay!

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And a cat owner too! Boo! Don’t hate – I don’t like cats.

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I had to let my kids go a little more than ever before. It hurt, but I had to do it.

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I found myself married to a giant tree.

New Year's Eve

And many, many, many more. I have loved, lost and missed a LOT this year. Mostly, I have loved.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I did, actually! I had two goals – one was to see moose. Obviously. The other resolution was to be credit-card free by the end of the year. I’m happy to have achieved that in April. It feels nice to go into a new year without credit card debt. For 2015, I feel like I have more emotional resolutions. And there are more moose resolutions – to see moose WITH the kids.

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Did anyone close to you give birth?

My sister-in-law gave birth to the ever-smiley/gushy/amazing Sophia! My first niece. I’m hoping for some great births in 2015.

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Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, my grandmother passed away on June 15th – which was my father’s birthday. He passed away in 1984. I got the call on the way to Six Flags and Cassidy knew, but I had to go through a theme park while hiding it from the kids. I just didn’t want to ruin the Father’s Day outing for them. It was a lot of crying in bathrooms or behind Looney Tunes statues. She was 100. I miss her every day. She just ran out of time. I went through life forgetting that I’d ever have to say goodbye.

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What countries did you visit?

Wow, not even Canada. One day.. sigh..

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

More moose! More love! More Canada. More other countries too.. I’d like my writing career to somewhat catch up to my photography career. That was more of a thing in 2013. They will probably only be evenly matched in my heart, but I can try.

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What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory?

June 13, 2014. It happened to be Des’ second birthday AND Scarlet’s preschool graduation. We had all six grandparents with us to celebrate both things and I was a real mess, but not too bad considering. I came to the graduation with a rented lens, and a feeling of slight panic, and then Des fell asleep on me and we brought him home and celebrated. It was a few days after I had gotten back from Baltimore for BlogU and it was two days before my grandmother passed away. I think back to it with innocence because I feel like life was easier then. Warmer. Lighter. I was braver. And maybe it/I will be again.

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What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Oh, I don’t know! Any of the things in the first question. I did a lot of photography this year, but not just families (my specialty). I did fine art photography, and a wedding, and a few newborns, and some corporate products, and real estate. Ultimately a lot of things speak to me. I think the biggest achievement is probably emotional, though. There are still many days in which I am afraid I’m disappearing. Fading out. I guess the biggest achievement would be realizing I’m still here and needed. I have gotten rid of some of those awful thoughts I have sometimes that my family would be better off without me.

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What was your biggest failure?

I couldn’t let go of enough fear, pain and anger. I’m in a better place than I was last year, or even a few months ago. I have let one or two toxic people go, not only from my life, but from my daily thoughts. Poof.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had a 12 day cold in January, but got better in time for Florida. Then I had another cold in November, but got better in time for Thanksgiving. Two in one year is actually rare for me. I blame kindergarten germs. And winter. (Des’ Grumpy Cat face:)

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What was the best thing you bought?

Probably just a bowl of great soup that I split with Des. Actually, it was our king-sized bed. Last year I answered that it was Scarlet’s bed! Glad we got a brand new bed too. You never really know who you’ll find on that bed, or in dreams on that bed.

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Whose behavior merited celebration?

The dog! She’s the most wonderful dog – sweet and patient and protective. We can bring her anywhere and almost forget we did, because she’s neat and quiet. She’s playful too. And did I mention that she’s totally adorable?

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Also, while I was writing this answer, I sneezed and Des said, “Bless you, Mama!” He also says “Thank you” when a stranger holds a door open for him, and once a guy said, “Man, he has better manners than most adults I know!” He’s two.

Where did most of your money go?

Food, for sure. The new bed. Disney World. Gifts for loved ones. I’d love to say I blew it all on a full-frame camera, but alas, it wasn’t my year. The same goes for a 24-70mm lens. Or a 10-22mm, while we’re at it. I love those..

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What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The new bed, the Disney trip, the puppy, the blogging conference, Christmas.. the photo jobs.

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What song will always remind you of 2014?

Last year I said “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities. I think that was probably a reflection of the tail end of the year. I think I’ll say the same this year and give two more by the same band: “Patience Gets Us Nowhere Fast” and “Tell Me How To Live.”

Compared to this time last year, are you:

Happier or sadder? Sadder.
Thinner or fatter? Thinner by about 6-7 pounds.
Richer or poorer? Richer.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

All of it. All of those great life gifts we get – the physical and the emotional. And the moose.

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What do you wish you’d done less of?

Um.. eating processed foods? Being anxious?

Did you fall in love in 2014?

Yes. You have to fall in love with everyone you love. Platonic or not. There is a falling. There is a minute or hour or day in which you realize that someone fills your heart. There is an ache. There is a concern for their well-being.

How many one-night stands?

Like I said last year, none in 2014. None ever, actually. Well.. sorta.

Who were your best friends?

My sisters. My kids. New friends. And many others. I can’t narrow you friends down. I just can’t. You’re all best friends.

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What thing did you do that was meaningful to others?

I guess it’s just what I do happily – open my heart here and share writing and photography. I want to do it more.

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What were your favorite TV programs?

Once Upon a Time, Nashville, Modern Family, New Girl, Jane the Virgin (yes, seriously), Doctor Who, Parenthood.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Elaborating from last year: There’s no room in my heart for hate (as well as time for it!), for people in my life, but when I hear stories on the news about cruelty and abuse and murder..my blood boils with something I’d rather not talk about.

What was the best book you read in 2014?

I very much loved This is Where I Leave You.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

Hmm.. maybe I just discovered that I really love Capital Cities beyond “Safe and Sound.”

What did you want and get?

More jobs. Some relief from anxiety. A heck of a lot of new friends, wonderful moments, and laughter.

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What did you want but did NOT get?

As usual, a moose in my yard. A luxurious night in a hotel ALONE. (think Kevin at the Plaza in Home Alone 2)

What was your favorite film of this year?

Guardians of the Galaxy! Honestly, I haven’t seen much. Was Iron Man 3 this year?

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What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 34. My mom was staying in town which was awesome. Cassidy got me my favorite cookies from my favorite place, as well as pizza for dinner. I didn’t feel that well. Just off. We went to Six Flags the next day and had a blast.

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What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Maybe more breaks. More beach breaks! It’s my own fault for not taking them! Although school/daycare has helped.

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What kept you sane?

Ever more tools to combat situational anxiety. Music. People. Chocolate? Popcorn.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I’m a big fan of sexy Daniel Grayson on “Revenge” but I think he died in the fall finale. Boo!

What political issue stirred you the most?

Like I said last year – I will offend at least half of you. People sometimes…their brains…? Not engaging.

Who did you miss?

If I love you? Chances are I missed you.

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Who was the best new person you met this year?

There’s quite a few! People who make my daily life easier, richer, and with more laughter. In person or through blogging. And I met a TON of blogging friends in 2014. I’m overwhelmed with how many. They were all real and spectacular.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

Just one? I’m not really feeling like I’m ending the year very well. I feel weaker than last year, for sure. I know that it comes and goes. I know that the pain passes. I know that I’m a survivor. That most of us are.

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Quote that sums up your year:

I feel like I need Tom Petty to handle this one:

“I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing”

Honorable mention because of the people in my life:

“Out of a dream, out of the sky
Into my heart, into my life
And you were just a face in the crowd
You were just a face in the crowd
Out in the street, thinking out loud
A face in the crowd”

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.

Comments

No More Looking Back. — 121 Comments

  1. Aww, I just loved your year end post from start to finish. Is it wrong that I couldn’t pick just one part of it, though? Seriously, you constantly amaze me and hope I can add meeting you very soon to my 2015 recap next year now for sure! Happy New Year my twin!! 😉

    • Oh we can make it happen! In fact, I’m meeting a blogger in just a few minutes. Christine! It makes me think about how it’s only the first of the year and it’s happening. It will happen because we don’t live that far from each other and we will make it happen!

  2. Oh my gosh, all this – wonderful, emphatic out-pour of someone I met – virtually only – this year and love to follow along, and then you end this post with one of my favorites ‘Learning to fly’ – didn’t I just link that lately myself?
    We are going to meet – someday, Tamara 🙂
    Happy New Year!

    • Why, thank you! It was a hard post to write. I didn’t remember it being so long.
      2014 was a good year for us! 2015 will be even better.
      Learning to Fly is in my top five songs of all time so I will mention it a lot, probably. I even wrote a guest post with that name, but with credit to dear Tom.

      We will certainly meet!

  3. I just bought airplane tickets to Orlando today! We are going to Disney World in March, for my first time ever. Love these questions, and I may have to answer them! I stole questions from you for this week’s Spin Cycle already…

  4. I think this is the best end of the year post that I have read thus far. You nailed these questions and then some! I can’t wait to see what happens in 2015 and I am so excited that a small fraction of it will include me! Does that sound stalkerish? I don’t care if it does! WEEEEEEE! Happy New Year, Tamara!

    • Thank you! This was the one I loved the most of all of the recap posts. And I don’t mean what I wrote, I mean the survey itself. And it doesn’t sound stalker-ish at all!
      It sounds just right.

  5. I love the answer to the question about falling in love. I feel the same way this year! I found so much love. I also love that we met up more than once in 2014. We’ll have to break that record next year! And maybe we’ll see a moose too.

  6. Oh my dear Tamara – your family would not be better off without you. Heck, I’ve never even been able to hug you and my own world would be worse without you. The voice which speaks this nonsense to you is a LIAR! Do not listen to it. I will beat it up for you!

    I always feel weakened on this day of the year – it’s the day (five years ago) we lost our dear Victoria. “It gets easier” is a lie. I ca breathe most days now, but it’s not easier. Not really.

    • I never really knew the story about Victoria. I know I have looked through the blog. Instead of just getting the guts to ask you about her. Who was she?
      Thank you for offering to beat up the voices for me. Maybe this will be the year that you get to do it for real. I want a hug!

      • Victoria – She dated my son. She was like my own third daughter. We took her lots of places with us and she was always cheery and sweet. She was the kind of girl who would sing with you in the car, at the top of her voice. She knew how to be in the joy with you. Those people, when we come across them, are so special. The whole family adored her. She has the best parents and little brother. She, however, really meant the world to all of us. I thought one day I would get to share her babies with her. I thought… so many things.

        Victoria got in a car accident on a sunny winter day – Dec 30th, 2009. She died at the scene. It’s the most heartbreaking thing in my life, I think. Because when people disappoint you and break your heart – they didn’t care. But she broke my heart. Not because she didn’t care. It is so difficult to describe. I am so lucky in so many ways. To have known her, to have had all the experiences we got to share, and to have had such a nice last meeting, even though we did not know it would be our last.

        Doesn’t matter though – my throat still tightens up and I still have tears streaming down my face right now.

        I know one day she will be one of the first to greet me. But it is very cold comfort for now.

  7. What a great year-in-review, Tamara! So many things to say here. Well done on being credit card free and on managing your anxiety, and so deeply sorry for your losses this year. Looking forward to a 2015 and hoping yours is filled with love and joy!

  8. I love this! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Tamara. I think you are one of the most beautiful people I know in the blogging world. Inside and out. Imperfections and all. And I also think you are such a strong woman. You acknowledge your fears and uncertainties in life yet you don’t let them stop you from living a meaningful life. I am lookinh forward to more of your posts next year! Cheers to 2015!

  9. Amazing! I didn’t even know you were going to be doing a recap post, but I’m so happy you did. It looks like you had a great year, full of so many amazing things (wedding, blogging conferences, Disney!). Even with some of the unfortunate things that may have happened, your light still shines so bright! I know the losses were hard, but its even more amazing how you have been able to deal with them, all the while be so positive and motivating us. You are truly a trooper! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2015! 🙂

    • You know, I didn’t know I was going to do this either! I think I’ll probably do it next year too. I love the way the questions are set up.
      Thank you for your take. I feel stronger when I read comments like this.

  10. Can I please borrow that baby for a week or so? I promise to give her back… nothing is better than new life!! Congratulations on shedding the credit card debt – that is the BEST feeling. Debt is like a heavy, wet blanket that smells bad. And yes, chocolate and beach breaks are indeed fabulous ideas:)

  11. I love this review! Years are so filled with mixed things – things we are satisfied with, things we’re not; what we want more of or less of; highs and lows. I love looking back at it all. Happy, happy new year, dear Tamara. Come to Canada and I will hire you for our family photoshoot and more importantly, give you a giant hug:) xo

    • More importantly, that sounds like a dream! It’s not even that far. My husband drove to Montreal in less time than it takes to get to my parent’s house in New Jersey. I know that you’re not in Montreal, but still.
      And it’s funny how years are a mixed bag so much. It’s like you expect them to be all good or all bad, but there is way too much life for that.

  12. So many new things in 2014, and I’m so glad I was able to share one with you. I’m sorry you feel like you’re not ending the year well, but the “I’m a survivor” statement is so true. You’re surrounded by so many people (and trees) who love you! Happy New Year, my friend.

  13. I love this. Love your thoughts & your pictures as usual, just beautiful!! 2014 has been a really changing interesting year for me… in all good ways, I’m looking forward to 2015 to put all I’ve learned into practice 🙂

    • France is definitely on the list! When Cassidy was younger, he spent a whole summer in France. It wasn’t Paris either. It was the countryside. My dream!
      And what a lovely comment from you!

  14. A good year indeed! For whatever reason, real estate photography sounds really fun. This year was kind of a going-through-the-motions year; I didn’t really get anything done this year I focused more on my health and finding a routine which I’m still working on perfecting but getting better. This year I’m going to take by the horns and get ish done so it’ll be good. 🙂 Hope you and yours have a wonderful New Years celebration Tamara!! Hope to see you in 2015 too 😛 Take Care love! -Iva

    • Real estate photography is really cool. Especially when you have a good thing going with the realtor, and they just give you a key to the house and you get to work alone. Picture that. Doing what you love. Alone. And a whole house. To yourself. It’s magical.
      I think I would’ve preferred a going through the motions year, because this one was just so up-and-down.

  15. This was a great post. I feel like I ate a lot of bad food in 2014
    (but a lot of it was homemade cookies and cakes that I made for my kids). I’m hoping to do a better job of making myself healthier snacks so I don’t eat the ones I make for my kids.
    I hope you and your family have a great year in 2015!!!!

  16. What a year!! I really do think your kitties are going to grow on you. That is coming from one non cat person to another. I feel terrible saying this, but my least favorite cat has become my best little buddy in the house. I took care of her when she was sick about a year ago and brought her to bed with us because I was so worried about her, and now my husband says often when he wakes up in the middle of the night, she is snuggled under my arm. Athena looks like she is an absolute sweetheart of a dog! I love all your pics with her and the kids…she just was such a seamless fit into your family, it seems. Happy New Year, my friend!!

    • That’s such a sweet story! I do love them when they are snuggling in my arms, but mostly I find them to be more trouble than they’re worth. I’m such a dog person.

  17. Wow. Your year has been pretty dang awesome. I’m putting it on my bucket list to meet YOU in person one day. The magical bucket itself will ensure that it somehow happens. BOOM!

    • Magical bucket lists are good like that. I don’t know where you live but I’m in New England and I do travel a bit!
      I think I would love to meet you, if you’re not too world-famous by the end of this year. Your videos are top notch.

  18. It’s been quite a year you have definitely been through a lot, both good and bad. I do hope that 2015 starts and ends on a more positive feeling/note than 2014. But yay for going back to Disney World! I hope to go somewhere interesting and warm in 2015. I hope these last few hours of 2014 pick up for you!

  19. Ah, so much in 2014 and these questions are great to reflect on the stuff that mattered, not just the stuff we did (though that matters too). Happy 2015! (And I’m pretty sure Iron Man 3 did not come out this year but I could be wrong)

    • I think you’re right! I just think I probably saw it this past year. It seems like it would’ve been a summer blockbuster from 2013.
      It is really fun to reflect on the things that matter. That’s why I loved this survey. I’ll probably use it next year too!

  20. Okay, I HAVE TO ask.. what kind of camera / lenses do you use?! I am so smitten with your photos!!!! Also, your cat looks kind of a like a Maine Coon.. which just happens to be one of the coolest cat breeds on the entire planet. No joke. Hehe. Looks like you had a LOVELY 2014.. can’t wait to see what visual art and memory making 2015 brings! Happy New Year!

    http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

    • Thank you so much! I usually use my 50 mm 1.4. It’s just my favorite. However, in these photos, there is a variety. In some of them it’s a rented 24 -70 mm or a 10-22 for real estate. I only use a Canon 60D. I want a full frame eventually, but money is tight..

  21. What a great way to recap the year. This Is Where I Leave You topped my list too. Wishing you new countries and photography experiences in the upcoming year! Happy New Year.

  22. I used to always think the saying, “What a difference a year can make” was kind of trite. It isn’t. A year can change everything. Growth, love, loss, life all of it makes us who we are. The person standing on the other side of that year looking back. I kind of like looking back, briefly and seeing how all of that made me who I am today.

    Happy New Year Tamara! I am happy we are friends 🙂

    • I like that too. And I have had the same journey with understanding the meaning of how different year can be.
      I am so glad we are friends too! 2014 gave that to us.

  23. Tamara, your 2014 looks amazing 🙂 Your grandmother was beautiful, too. I want to become a dog owner for the 1st time as an adult…maybe 2015 will be my year for that! Congrats on getting more gigs, I think your photos are awesome! Love the one of everyone dancing/jumping 🙂 happy new year

  24. Such a big year! Can’t believe you had to be sick twice! Im sure that definitely had to be the kindergarten thing. I enjoyed reading this year as I enjoyed reading last year. I hope you get all you hope for and more this upcoming year. 🙂

  25. From now until the end of time, when Safe and Sound pops up in my playlist, I will smile and think of this awesome lady I met this year. Who battled anxiety alongside me and prompted me to have better photos with my writing. Who made me dream about the Northeast and delicious chocolate coated cookies.
    Happy 2015 lovely lady. May it be filled with all the happiness and wonder, and none of the yuck <3

  26. Oooh, love this list! You really had quite the year! I’m glad we’ve “met”, even if it hasn’t happened in person (yet). And I completely agree with you on falling in love even with friends. To truly be friends you have to want good things for them, right? Cheers to a wonderful 2015! May it end happier than even 2013 did!

  27. Gosh – I just love reading other people’s year end review posts; but I never can quite get my act together to do one of my own. There is probably some psychological reason behind that worth exploring, but that would probably also require some kind of deep review. I guess I am just a looking forward kinda gal — but not in an unsentimental way. I’d like to think all the warmth, joy and love that got me here, just keeps propelling me forward and I guess I’d rather that be my fuel. Just like you said: no room for hate or bad/nagging thoughts in this tank.

  28. I’m glad that I have gotten to know you better this year. 2014 sounds like it was a great year for you. I hope that 2015 is even better. We have the exact same Minnie ears! They went over very well for Christmas! Ears for everyone!

  29. Jane the virgin! huh. If its one of your favorite shows then I need to give it a try. 🙂 You had a wonderful year, my most memorable part of YOUR year was definitely the Scarlet preschool graduation/Des’ birthday time. That was a lot to manage!

    • That sure was! Thank you. I feel like that’s when everything went downhill with my mental health.
      If you don’t have a lot of free time, I’m not sure I recommend the show. It’s totally bizarre. I love it.

  30. Tamera – I love this post! Can I “borrow” it? I love interviews, and this is a perfect way to sum up the year.

  31. I hate that you’re sadder this year. 🙁 Looking forward to seeing that say “happier” in 2016. You’ve had an amazing year, despite the downs. Your pictures, as usual, leave me breathless. And little Sophie. Precious!

  32. Oh yeah, processed foods…that’s a weakness. I don’t even want to eat them but why must they taste so good? I know I can do better….okay I have made a realization, you need to move to california so that you have a bearable winter. I think you’re a sunshine girl and the light feeds your soul. Though I did like reading you are happier than last year and dare I say congrats on losing 7lbs? Skinny people don’t tend to like compliments on they frame, especially when it’s a skinnier thin, but I think you’re a hottie with either way! 2014 was good but 2015 will be even better

    • Whoa. This really made my day. The 7 pounds went away because in the last year or two, I stopped nursing completely. I guess that’s what it was. It must be that because this is pretty much what I always weigh and that was extra.
      I am absolutely a California girl, and the thing is, I’ve always known that. It’s just so hard to be away from family.

  33. Are you going to another blogging conference this year? I hope to attend at least one, so maybe I’ll get the pleasure of meeting you! Can’t believe you have a 5-year-old, it’s bittersweet. Also can’t believe you got on a plane with two kids under 5! You are one brave mama.

  34. Wow! I was teary-eyed! I feel like it’s gonna take me a week to create a post like this. It’s full of emotions. I guess it’s not yet too late for me to have a year in review?

  35. The porch? I feel like I need to be there, to write, to read, to nap. With cookies.

    I think we rightly put a lot of emphasis on Jan. 1 and the change of years, because its transformative. But it’s also just a date. The corner can be turned on Jan. 17 or April 11 or even Sept. 27.

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