2014 was rocky for me. I was sick very often, which has never happened before. I felt complacent in my work –measured its quality by the reactions of others instead of its own merit. I also went nowhere, which my wanderlust heart cringed at. So when 2015 rolled around, I made myself a promise: do more. I was going to break out of my box both personally and professionally.

And as 2015 draws to a close, I like to think that I did just that.

Las Vegas, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, and Kyoto. I got a plane every chance I could. Sometimes alone, oftentimes with friends. When my best friend of twenty years told me she was eloping with her boyfriend and could I get on a last minute flight to Vegas, I said yes. When my other best friend asked if I wanted to accompany her to a grad school interview in New York, I said yes. When my coworker asked whether I wanted to spend my birthday outside of LA, I said yes. And we flew into her hometown of Chicago together. When a group of friends I recently met invited me along on their Japan trip, I said yes.

Because why not?

If it’s not obvious by now, I prefer taking my own photo rather than having someone else take it for me. But in 2015, I relented and collaborated with one of most talented people I’ve ever met. I met Lauren through Instagram and found not only someone I respect as an artist, but someone I could count as a friend. 

An ex of mine told me that I was the most guarded person he had ever met and he hopes one day I would be able to let someone in. In 2015, I let thousands in. It was through Instagram that I allowed my walls to be lowered. In 2013, fresh off a breakup, I had begun a 365 project to reflect upon my past relationships. The entirety of the series is posted exclusively on IG (with a select few on my website); but in 2015 I kicked it up a notch – pairing imagery with words to create true, visual stories. I didn’t really expect anyone to listen or even like, but the response was overwhelming. People not only responded positively to my story, but came to me with stories of their own – their own tales of love, loss, and growth.  

And it was through Instagram that I received one of my coolest inquiries to date – the opportunity to shoot Ashley Tisdale. A few other notable names in my book this year include: actress Kelli Berglund (of Lab Rats), singer Cailee Rae, actress Katherine McNamara (of The Maze Runner series), and actress Lana Condor (Jubilee in the upcoming X-Men movie). 

And as 2015 draws to an end, I can only say: box? what box? 2015 has been incredible. 2016 won’t know what hit it. 

photo by Lauren Naylor.

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