year-in-review

this was 2019.

Sorry, sorry, I had to do it. ;)

Well folks, 2019 is in the bag. What a year.

Was 2019 a good year for you?
2019 was straight up kooky-dukes. Between breaking my knee, author and writer events, cancelled flights, time with BFFs, my debut novel getting published, becoming obsessed with Frozen II, stressing about money after I lost my job due to the broken knee, having the prettiest Christmas setup at home… it’s been something! A lot of bitter with the sweet. But I’m here. I made it.

What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?
– BROKE A BONE
– physical therapy
– #MMC30
– stayed at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
– stayed at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
– saw wild horses
– drove a golf cart
– moderated panels! (one at c2e2)
– had my novel published!


– had my novel selected as a YA Book of the Month selection


– cut off nearly ALL my hair (not by choice, but by necessity)

Did anyone close to you give birth?
No.

Did anyone close to you die?
We lost our dear Crookshanks in June. 🙁

What countries did you visit?
I stayed domestic this year. But in the U.S., I visited Florida, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Washington (and Texas and Washington D.C. if you count layovers!)

What date(s) from 2019 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 27, 2019: the day I broke my knee
May 1, 2019: the day I moved into a new apartment
November 12, 2019: the day my book released

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Honestly? Making it through without a nervous breakdown.

What was your biggest failure?
– not keeping up with my gratitude journal as regularly as I’d have liked.
– not eating enough leafy greens.
– not keeping up with my PT exercises.
– not finding a new job.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
– broken patella/knee
– migraines
– depression + anxiety

Where did most of your money go?
bills, books, travel, author events

What song(s) will always remind you of 2019?
– June by Sage Charmaine
– Nothing by VÉRITÉ
– Say OK by Lewis Can Cut f. Tigarah
– My Enemy by CHVRCHES
– How You Want It by Teyana Taylor
– Don’t You Cry for Me by Cobi

What do you wish you’d done more of?
– ***writing***
– yoga
– journaling
– spending time with my mommy

What do you wish you’d done less of?
– procrastinating
– being lazy
– being afraid
– needing to stress and worry so much

What was your greatest musical discovery?
– Billie Eilish
– cinematic covers of classic songs

What did you want and get?
– 2 trips to Disney World
– to go to YALLFEST as an author
– to go to the Anderson’s YA Conference as an author
– my book to be in Barnes & Noble
– a nice review from Kirkus
– to see the Nutcracker
– to visit Buttercup

What did you want and not get?
– MORE AIDAN TIME (there is never enough)
– the perfect permanent part-time, work-from-home job
– to hit the NYT Bestseller list
– for my book to be nominated for awards
– starred reviews for my book
– a trip abroad
– long hair
– to save loads of money
– feeling like I matter to people other than my family and friends

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 45. I slept in. Then I got up and showered, and opened presents. I saw Frozen II, and had a steak dinner! It was a relaxing day.

What kept you sane?
– therapy
– friends
– The Sims

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Not fancy exactly, but I do admire Penn Badgley. He is so good in YOU, and he seems like a good person in general.

What political issue stirred you the most?
😡

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019.
If the Universe is throwing you signs and you try to ignore them or explain them away, she will just get more aggressive with it. So take heed and take action!

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019?
at home: PJs, yoga pants, leggings, tops
out and about: skinny jeans and tops or sweaters

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

Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? happier
ii. thinner or fatter? fatter
iii. richer or poorer? poorer (for now)

In 2020, I’m looking forward to:
That’s another post!

Till next time….

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year in review: 2018

Was 2018 a good year for you?
2018 started off rough, not gonna lie. I got sick twice, I lost my sweet Fi, and some publishing things didn’t work out like I’d hoped. My day job ended in April, and while I needed the break I did worry about money. I got frozen shoulder. Too many migraines. Depression was right there all the time, just waiting to take over. Sometimes it did. I felt lonely and exhausted and like all I did was mess up and disappoint people. I had to take a major break from social media and the writing community because my head was a mess.

Lots of tears and frustration in those first months.

But then on May 1, I had a spa day which included a chakra balancing. And suddenly, I felt a shift. Things started changing. I started feeling hope and strength again.

I visited my mommy. I took the time off to rest and enjoy playing The Sims. I started meeting new people. I started getting more interest in my book.

Summer came and things completely shifted! Adam and I celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary, and he asked me to plan a trip to Disney for later in the year! We went to Atlanta and Jekyll to visit family and see friends. I started seeing a chiropractor. I got to go to Tennessee and I saw a baby bear!

In the fall, I got a new job which was OK, but then I landed a better job, with a reverse commute and a great team and more pay. My son turned 16!

But my BIGGEST NEWS is that my book sold. My first novel is going to be published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers, my dream publisher. November 12, 2019, my book will be on shelves, but I’ll let you know when you can pre-order it.

My BOOK SOLD. To my DREAM PUBLISHER. I’ve been pursuing this seriously since 2005. Thirteen years. And I still can’t believe it’s happening.

What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?
– SOLD A NOVEL!
– stayed at Disney’s Coronado Springs resort
– rode Slinky Dog Dash
– saw a baby bear in the wild!
– rode a chairlift
– had a chakra balancing
– had a real photo shoot
– attended YALLFEST

Did anyone close to you give birth?
No.

Did anyone close to you die?
I lost my dear Fi in February.

What countries did you visit?
I stayed domestic this year. But in the US, I visited Florida, South Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, and Wisconsin

What date(s) from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 24, 2018: the day I lost my dear Fi
May 1, 2018: RESET
June 13, 2018: the day I got THE CALL that my novel had sold!
July 27, 2018: 10 years!
September 18, 2018: When I got to officially announce my book deal. I got SO MUCH LOVE I cried!
November 27, 2018: the day I started the job that (so far) I really, really like

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I SOLD MY NOVEL!


(ashton: linneart.tumblr.com | devon: alexiscastellanos.com)

I’m so happy you’ll get to meet these two dreamy teens this November!

What was your biggest failure?
– keeping the apartment clean. EPIC FAIL on that one.
– not keeping up with my gratitude journal as regularly as I’d have liked.
– not eating enough leafy greens.
– not doing enough yoga or barre.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
– frozen shoulder (started in April, seemingly “thawing” now)
– the flu (January)
– migraines, ugh

Where did most of your money go?
bills, books, travel, gaming

What song(s) will always remind you of 2018?
– thank u, next—Ariana Grande
– God is a Woman—Ariana Grande
– All The Stars (f. SZA)—Kendrick Lamar
– Never Fall In Love (f. MØ)—Jack Antonoff
– Warrior—Chloe x Halle
– I Like that—Janelle Monet
– Sober II (Melodrama)—Lorde

What do you wish you’d done more of?
– ***writing***
– yoga
– moving my body in general
– learning
– traveling
– journaling
– connecting with my friends
– spending time with my mommy

What do you wish you’d done less of?
– eating junk food
– procrastinating
– being afraid

What was your greatest musical discovery?
– EXES
– MØ
– King Princess
– Ariana Grande (I know I’m so late but she’s a QUEEN)

What did you want and get?
– a trip to Disney World
– an upgraded computer for gaming
– a BOOK DEAL!

What did you want and not get?
– MORE AIDAN TIME (there is never enough)
– a visit to Morton Arboretum
– a trip abroad
– long hair

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 44. I worked, then came home and collapsed. But to be fair, I’d been at Disney just recently, and wore the birthday button, and had many mini-celebrations, and that was fun!

What kept you sane?
– therapy
– friends
– The Sims

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I guess no one this year 🤔

What political issue stirred you the most?
😡

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.
I NEED to find a viable work-life balance! My family and leisure time is important, and I have to find a way to not work all the time but still make decent money. I’m tired, the place is a wreck, and I am doing stuff all the time but I don’t feel like any progress is being made. Something’s broken and needs to be fixed soon!

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?
at home: PJs, yoga pants, leggings, tops
out and about: skinny jeans and tops or sweaters

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

Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? in the middle
ii. thinner or fatter? fatter, definitely fatter
iii. richer or poorer? poorer (for now)

In 2019, I’m looking forward to:
My official debut year! I’m so excited (and nervous) about what’s in store! 😱

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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year in review: 2017

Was 2017 a good year for you?
On a personal level, I cannot complain. Yes, I had some ups and downs, but that’s normal, right? When I look back through my photos, I feel immense gratitude at the people I’ve met, the things I’ve seen, and the stuff I got to experience.

What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?
– went ziplining!
– stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Resort
– rode Avatar: Rite of Passage
– watched a solar eclipse
– rode a chairlift
– visited Utah
– flew business class on an intercontinental flight
– attended a gala
– hired a life coach
– attended the Once Upon a Time convention
– had a spa day

IMG_2606

Did anyone close to you give birth?
No, but a close friend of mine is expecting!

Did anyone close to you die?
I lost my sweet Helena.

What countries did you visit?
Italy, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway
(with layovers in Iceland and Germany)

What date(s) from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 10, 2017—the day I got all my girlie plumbing removed
February 17, 2017—the day I got an offer of rep from my agent Caitie Flum!
May 25, 2017—the day I brought Charlotte home
September 5, 2017—the day I left Chicago for a month abroad with my BFF Jennifer Niven
September 18, 2017—the day I visited Copenhagen, Denmark and FELL IN LOVE
September 26, 2017—the day I visited the ABBA museum and became a fan
October 1, 2017—the day I few into Iceland and saw rainbows upon rainbows
November 9, 2017—the day I met Jason Segel
December 6, 2017—the day I saw Hamilton

IMG_2419

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
1. signing with a literary agent!!
2. spending almost a month abroad!!

What was your biggest failure?
1. keeping the apartment clean. EPIC FAIL on that one.
2. not keeping up with my gratitude journal as regularly as I’d have liked.
3. not eating enough leafy greens.
4. not doing enough yoga or barre.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
got a couple of colds

Where did most of your money go?
travel, clothes, purses, makeup, toys, books, and gifts

What song(s) will always remind you of 2017?
– Just Say—Extreme Music
– How Far I’ll Go—Auli’i Cravalho
– This Night Is Ours—The Funshiners
– Issues—Julia Michaels
– The Louvre—Lorde

IMG_2423


What do you wish you’d done more of?

– ***writing***
– yoga
– moving my body in general
– learning
– traveling
– journaling
– connecting with my friends
– spending time with my mommy

What do you wish you’d done less of?
– eating junk food
– procrastinating
– being afraid
– wasting time on twitter

What was your greatest musical discovery?
– The Moana soundtrack

What did you want and get?
– a trip to Disney World
– a trip abroad
– an agent
– a Fjållråven backpack
– a (mini) home office

IMG_2537

What did you want and not get?
– MORE AIDAN TIME (there is never enough)
– a visit to Morton Arboretum
– a book deal

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 43. (bish whet) I slept in, then spent the afternoon getting pampered at The Spa at The Four Seasons. Then I had dinner at a French restaurant that didn’t have great service but the food was amazing! Adam gave me a Tiffany bracelet.

What kept you sane?
– therapy
– friends

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Theo James

What political issue stirred you the most?
*angry face emoji*

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.
Sometimes you just have to say “yes” and make it work. You never know what amazingness is waiting on the other side of it!

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
skinny jeans, cute tops

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
getting a book deal

Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? in the middle
ii. thinner or fatter? a bit fatter (thanks, Italy)
iii. richer or poorer? richer

In 2018, I’m looking forward to:
So much! But that’s for another post!

IMG_2605

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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a look back at 2016.

Was 2016 a good year for you?

The world had a rough 2016. A lot of sadness, loss, and pain. I grieve with the rest of us over the hard things that have happened, and hope for healing and love. Sadly, I have a lot of fear for what’s to come, but since this post is about looking back, I won’t go into it here.

For me personally, I cannot complain. I worked a lot, but I never worried about money. I was able to have once-in-a-lifetime experiences (although I’d like to, and plan to, make some of them happen a lot more!), and I got to travel to New York City, Disney World, and Scotland, make new friends, and improve my writing.

What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
– flew first class
– attended a red (black) carpet event
– attended a movie premiere
– attended a celebrity-studded after party
– attended the New York City Teen Author Festival
– traveled out of the United States
– visited a castle (other than Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, although I did visit Cinderella Castle this year as well)
– slept in a mansion
– went on a writing retreat
– got hypnotized
– attended a con party
– spoke on a con panel
– attended chambanacon
– got a mammogram
– ROLL PODS!

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Well, I don’t know her that well yet, but the new wife of my cousin gave birth to the most adorable baby boy.

Did anyone close to you die?
No. Thank God.

What countries did you visit?
– Ireland (for a layover, 2x)
– Scotland

What date(s) from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 14: I got to talk to Theo James I got to talk to Theo James I got to talk to Theo James!!!!
Ronni asks Theo a question (AOL Build)

March 14: I met Jordan Rodrigues!!! I loved him on Dance Academy and on The Fosters, and he was sooo amazingly nice and great to talk to. He’s a really cool guy and I wish him the very best.
Me and Jordan Rodrigues

March 14: I attended a movie premiere and all sorts of cool stuff came with that experience
The Divergent Series: Allegiant World Premiere, Red Carpet, and After Party

May 13: I finally made it out of the United States
Off to the UK on Aer Lingus

August 15: Got to fly first class for the first time and loved it, of course
#firstclassflight

October 8: The day I met the lovely Jennifer Niven and we discovered we were friend soulmates forever. My world shines brighter because she’s in it.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Finally making it to another country! And I did it all by myself, only had one panic attack and got lost once, but I survived and loved it. So excited to do it again someday soon.

What was your biggest failure?
Keeping the apartment clean. EPIC FAIL on that one.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
– got a couple of colds, but they didn’t last very long
– depression and anxiety got a bit out of control, so I started therapy and being much better about taking my meds
– fibroids grew a lot, necessitating the need to schedule a surgery (for early 2017)
– anemia (due to the fibroids)

Where did most of your money go?
travel, clothes, purses, toys, books, and gifts

What song(s) will always remind you of 2016?
Sorry – Beyonce
Formation – Beyonce
The Greatest – Sia
Revolution – Diplo
Gasoline – Halsey

What do you wish you’d done more of?
– ***writing***
– yoga
– moving my body in general
– learning
– traveling
– journaling
– connecting with my friends

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Spending time on social media. It’s a great way to network and make friends, but it also takes away from my writing and productivity. I need to find a better balance.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
– Halsey
– Låpsley

What did you want and get?
– to talk to Theo James :)
– a trip to New York City
– a trip to Disney World
– a trip to Scotland
– a new Prada purse
– a Kate Spade bag (I got 2 actually)
– LuLaRoe leggings
– a new computer
– new writer friends, near and far

ChiYA December 2016
(I love the striped sweater OK?)

What did you want and not get?
– MORE AIDAN TIME (there is never enough)
– to talk MORE to Theo James
– to see the Statue of Liberty, the Cloisters, and the High Line in NYC
– a major book deal
– a visit to Morton Arboretum

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 42. (Seriously, how am I 42?) I spent the day working, then I went out to dinner at Sakura with Adam and Aidan.
If the rest of 42 (oh god how am I 42) is like today, I'm gonna have a great year!! #yay #happy 😊🌈⭐

What kept you sane?
– writing
– therapy
– friends

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Theo James

What political issue stirred you the most?
– Black Lives Matter
– the election
– the Dakota Access Pipeline

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Change comes slowly and painfully, and resistance is real and strong, especially when some people think they’ll benefit more from the status quo no matter how much it’s actually hurting everyone.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
– Yoga clothes: leggings, tanks. The brighter the better.
– Skinny jeans and boots.
– Denim jackets, yes please.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Signing with an amazing literary agent

Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? happier
ii. thinner or fatter? the same
iii. richer or poorer? richer

In 2017, I’m looking forward to:
– being recovered from my surgery
– the Writing Cross-Culturally Workshop
– domestic travel (mostly to visit friends)
– international travel
– another Disney trip
– writing a new book
– more yoga, and getting back to barre
– new music and books
– seeing Aladdin on stage
– seeing The Nutcracker for Christmas
Beauty and the Beast in theatres
Everything, Everything in theatres

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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in review: the year 2015.

Untitled

Was 2015 a good year for you?
It was pretty good. Had a few sad parts but I can’t complain. I got to take Aidan on an epic 3-week vacation which included Disney World, I got to see Ginger Doss in concert twice!, I made new friends, I “finished” my novel (still revising), and I got a job that I generally enjoy with good teammates and that pays well. I also got asked to blog for Theologians Net, a fan blog for Theo James. Radical.

What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
– drove in Florida
– visited Daytona Beach
– bought Uggs
– visited LEGOLand
– drank blk. water
– saw a ballet (The Nutcracker)
– saw The Lion King musical
– took a ballet class
– got a keratin treatment for my hair
– rented a car

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes.

Did anyone close to you die?
My stepfather Greg. :(

What countries did you visit?
Still none. But next year, for sure!

What date(s) from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
June 15–July 4: 3 week epic vacation, just me and Aidan

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Finishing my novel. Still needs revisions, but it’s done! Finally!

What was your biggest failure?
Still not being *there* with the novel.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing other than the normal. Praise God.

Where did most of your money go?
travel, books, clothes, rent, bills

What song(s) will always remind you of 2015?
– Elastic Heart – Sia
– anything by Annelise Collette
– It’s In Her Eyes – manicanparty
– Better Days – RIVKA
– Out of Mind – Tove Lo

What do you wish you’d done more of?
– yoga
– barre
– long walks
– retreats at Stonehouse
– traveling
– interpersonal interaction
– personal reflection and spiritual work
– journaling
– taking more photos

What do you wish you’d done less of?
– being afraid
– hiding
– wasting time on social media
– messing around on the computer/iphone

What was your greatest musical discovery?
– Annaliese Collette
– Tove Lo
– RIVKA
– manicanparty

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 41. :O I went shopping at Target, put lights on the Christmas tree, ate lunch at Sakura (yummy) got a cupcake from Molly’s, and relaxed at home, chatting with Rena on Google Hangouts and playing TsumTsum on my phone.

How did you spend Christmas?
I spent it at home with my family. We opened gifts, then I read and napped and watched Aidan play video games the rest of the day. It was very relaxing and much needed.

How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?
Most likely at home with Aidan and Adam. Maybe watching Dance Academy or Punky Brewster.

What did you want and get?
– a trip to Disney World
– a chance to meet Huntley Fitzpatrick and loads of other amazing authors
– critique partners for my book
– a new good friend

What did you want and not get?
– MORE AIDAN TIME (there is never enough)
– a flat stomach
– a trip out of the country
– to meet Theo James
– to see the Statue of Liberty, the Cloisters, and the High Line in NYC
– an agent

What kept you sane?
– books, books, books
– yoga
– as much sleep as possible
– regular massages
– lots of blankets to keep me warm

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Theo James

What political issue stirred you the most?
I won’t even mention his name here. Ugh.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
The work never stops.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
– Yoga pants and long tee-shirts or tank tops.
– Skinny jeans and boots.
– Leggings. Lots of leggings.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
– Disney World
– Anderson’s YA Lit Conference

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Meeting Theo James. That cheeky bastard.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? About the same.
ii. thinner or fatter? Fatter. I’ve been eating like crap. Still look good in the skinny jeans and leggings, though.
iii. richer or poorer? Richer. :)

In 2016, I am looking forward to:
– breaking out my new Happy Planner
– finishing revisions on my novel and getting it ready for submissions (eeeee!)
– starting a new novel
– discovering new music (thank you, Spotify!)
– travel
– making new friends
– getting back into my yoga practice

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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