16 Things for 2016


It’s New Year’s Eve 2015 and, I have to be honest, I’m pretty ready to say goodbye to this year. As I’ve shared, it’s been a challenging one and when I think back to 12 months ago I can’t believe what can happen in a year. New job, new city, new life. Now, moving on.

While many are cynical about New Year’s Resolutions, I sort of secretly love them. That’s probably because I love making lists, setting goals and working toward something. But I’m a fan of realistic, attainable goals – why set yourself up to fail? When my girlfriends and I made our 30 before 30 lists we had one rule: it has to be something that’s actually possible. So, with that in mind, I’ve made a list of 16 things for 2016. Some of them are big, some of them not so big, but all of them are entirely attainable.

  1. Read more. I probably read about 25 books in 2015 and I’d like to increase that to 35 books in 2016. Reading makes me a better writer, a more eloquent speaker, a smarter person and a more creative individual.
  2. Move. I’ve tried it – Charlottesville is not for me. I do have ideas and there is a bit of a plan. Suffice to say these wheels are in motion on this one…
  3. But first, visit other areas of Virginia. Other than Charlottesville, I’ve seen very little of Virginia. Before my farewell, I’d like to visit Richmond, Williamsburg and DC.

    Diving in Grand Cayman in 2014.
  4. Go diving. I love diving and I don’t get to do it nearly as much as I’d like. My sister, Beanie, and I are already talking about a dive trip this spring, either to Cozumel or Belize.
  5. Go on a trip with my Chicago girlfriends. We’re already talking about it and I really hope we can make it happen. 2015 was a big year for all of us – new babies, new jobs, new homes and a significant loss. I’ve missed these ladies.
  6. Become more of a minimalist. After years living in a small studio apartment, I’m pretty good at this, but there’s always room for improvement. I want to sell or donate clothes, equipment, furniture – things that I don’t use.
  7. Take more photos for me. For so long, I was reliant upon shooting for clients, capturing what they wanted. Now that I have another source of income, I can actually afford to shoot more for me. Basically, I want to rediscover why I love photography.
  8. Blog more. Sorry, that means you’ll be hearing me on a more regular basis. But it’s all part of my plan to…
  9. Become a better writer. Reading and blogging more will help with this, but I want to set aside more time write longer form narrative and possibly challenge myself with a workshop or two.
  10. Play more guitar. My “resolution” last year was to take guitar lessons and, for a few weeks, I did. I registered at Old Town School of Folk Music in an adult group class and loved it. Unfortunately, I had to go back to playing solo when I took my new job but I kept playing and plan to continue in 2016.

    After completing the 10k at Run Charlevoix in 2014.
  11. Run Charlevoix. I love this little Northern Michigan event and have participated 3 times since 2010. Whether it’s the 10k or the half marathon, I plan to be a part of it again this year.
  12. Manage stress better. This has been a stressful year and I’ve started to see the impact it’s had on me. I’d like to get better at managing this stress, whether that’s yoga or meditation or simply taking a break.
  13. Use all of my vacation days. I know this seems like a no-brainer but, in 2014, 249 million vacation days went unused by Americans. That number breaks my heart. This was my first year with limited vacation time and, though the circumstances are a bit complicated, I wasn’t able to use all of my allotted time in 2015. With my carried over days, I will have a total of 27 vacation days in 2016 and I plan on using taking them all. Every. Single. One.
  14. Learn and speak more Spanish. This is an ongoing one for me, and one that I haven’t been great about in 2015.

    Smiling through the pain, snowboarding lesson in 2013.
  15. Hit the slopes. My job takes me to some pretty amazing ski areas but I haven’t been on skis for over 20 years. I tried snowboarding as part of my 30 before 30, but I don’t remember skiing being quite as painful. I’d like to take a couple of ski lessons this winter and relearn this skill.
  16. Go mirrorless. I’m in the process of selling some of my lesser used camera equipment (minimizing!) and, while I will hold on to my Nikon D800 and a selection of lenses for professional shoots, I’ve made the decision to start building a mirrorless kit. After much research I’ve decided upon the Fuji XT1.

So there you have it! I look forward to seeing what’s in store for 2016.

Happy New Year – what’s on your list?


  1. My list so far……
    1.stop stressing
    2. More exercise
    3. Give more
    4. Pilates……uhm
    5. Tackle lower back pain (see 4)
    6. Be more organised (like your list idea)
    7. Remember to breath!

    Happy new year
    Thank you for the blogz

  2. Jenn, love your writing and your enthusiasm for where you are NOW in your life. You relocated to expand your expertise and now to look beyond and search new horizons…awesome!! May all your 2016 goals bring you peace and happiness…you are a talented young lady and love that you follow your passion…

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