2014 Year In Review

I've been doing these Year In Review posts for the past few years because I love taking a moment to connect the dots backwards. It also makes me feel less like, where did this year go? and more, wow look at all the things we did!

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January: The year gets off to a great start, setting the scene for lots of baking and memorable meals with good friends. I made a lot of art, and good progress on my 100 Pin-Up project. Ryan and I celebrate our 8 year anniversary, and he gave me this beautiful bouquet from my favorite floral shop, Clementine.

February: I tabled at L.A. Zine Fest for the first time, and the show blew my mind. Highlights were meeting my now dear friend Emi of Pygmy Hippo Shoppe and Matt Groening, who bought my zines and complimented my artwork. February also marked the first time I saw my illustration work (for a ban.do phone case) at Nordstrom!
 

March: March is always kind of a historically dead month for me; this year it was really nose-to-the-grindstone of working in-house, working freelance, and taking occasional breaks for Disneyland and cake club. This photo of the first inaugural cake club is a lie: it actually happened in February.
 

April: Ryan and I exhibit at our first ever WonderCon! It's the biggest show we've ever done, and it was a great experience – we can't wait to do it again next year. We also took a trip up to San Francisco to see the Mary Blair exhibit at the Walt Disney Family museum. It was incredible - my eyes were huge as saucers the entire time, soaking in the over 100 original paintings by one of my favorite artists. We celebrate Ryan's birthday by meeting some of his family at San Juan Capistrano to see the mission.
 

May: Another nose-to-the-grindstone month; we took a hot minute to visit the Mark Ryden exhibit at the Kohn Gallery. It was super inspiring.
 

June: My first book cover with HarperCollins comes out! We went to go see it in store at Barnes & Noble the day it came out. Definitely a major career highlight so far.

July: We took a road trip down the coast of California, marveling at Big Sur for the first time (at least, that I can remember). Definitely planning a trip back there next year. We also explored the fairytale town of Carmel - and visited the Eyvind Earle gallery, which was magical. I just want to rent a cabin in Carmel for a week and paint. I also visit the Alameda Flea Market for the first time, which was awesome. Wish I had a bigger car to lug back all the great big things I found. (I'm still mourning this beautiful hutch.) We also made our annual trek down to San Diego ComicCon for fun and food!

August: After years of wanting to attend, I finally get to go to the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators conference. It was an inspiring learning experience. We also go to Cabo San Lucas to celebrate our first wedding anniversary! It was delicious, though insanely hot.

September: Another month of nose-to-the-grindstone work with working in-house and freelance work. I develop my city love series after a suggestion from my friend Marlo, which has been great fun.

October: I get my aura photographed. It tells me that I'm passionate, creative, and pragmatic. We also table at Long Beach Comic Con. And most notably: I take the leap to quit my day job and go full time freelance!

Photo by Lindsey Kent

Photo by Lindsey Kent

November: A lifelong dream achieved! Around 25, I decided to celebrate my 30th birthday in Paris no matter what else was going on in my life. I made it a reality, and it was the most incredible trip I've ever taken. Everything was magic. It was my third time in Paris, but Ryan's first time – so there was something really special about sharing my favorite city with my love. I went all out and even had a photo session with Lindsey of PictoursParis. We got back and went straight to do DesignerCon, which thankfully was an amazing show.

Photo by Eileen Chai

Photo by Eileen Chai

December: The last month of the year was an insane flurry of freelance work, show prep, and holiday activities. We had the best show ever at Renegade Craft Fair this December - I was so happy to meet so many of you in person! Thank you so much for supporting me at these shows. We also took a road trip to Arizona to spend Christmas with Ryan's mom; while in Arizona, we visited the Time Travel Miniature Museum.

2014 was a great year of growth for me personally and professionally. I worked harder and more hours than I've ever had before, and learned so much - the greatest of which was learning to trust my gut and myself. I took a great leap of faith going full-time freelance this year, and through the grace of all my friends and peers, it has been better than I ever dreamed it could be. We did more shows than we've ever done before (seven!) and I was so happy to meet so many wonderful new people.

I'm so grateful for the new friendships I made this year; people who really inspire and supported me through the challenges I experienced, and who are helping me live the life I dreamed – surrounded by positive, kind people. I welcome a lot more of that in 2015! And finally but definitely not least, I am so thankful for my incredible husband Ryan – for without him, nothing I do would be possible.

Cheers to you, 2014! And cheers especially to you, dear reader!