A Rosy New Year’s Day

Today is the first day of 2014 and I’m smelling roses. Both figuratively and literally.

For the past two decades I’ve spent this day more or less the same way. Probably my most continuous New Year’s Day tradition is watching the Rose Parade with my mom early in the morning, bemoaning that we’re stuck inside our home in snowy Michigan rather than outside in the beautiful California sunshine “ooo-ing” and “ahhh-ing” at the floats in person. We whine, complain and say, “next year, we’ll be there. Michigan State will play better. We’ll save more money. We’ll do this. We’ll do that. We’ll have all of those things we don’t have now.”

Well believe it or not, two decades later I’m at that Rose Parade – my first trip ever west of Chicago.

This trip is a big deal.

I don’t travel much. I don’t have a lot of cash. I don’t have a job. I don’t have a lot of things. But I am at the 100th Tournament of Roses – something that last year, although I may have resolved with my mom that we would go, I thought would be another unmet resolution.

Each year I reflect on what I want to change about my life – what’s left me restless or disappointed. I spend all of this energy focusing on how to improve the bad but I very rarely ever make it a reality. This year if my trip to the Rose Bowl will have taught me anything it’s that I’m better off focusing on the “making” part. Rather than reflecting, which I think us writers too often have a propensity to do, I’m going to take action this year.

I’m going to go out and get that job. I’m going to write that novel. I’m going to travel. I’m going to do all of these things rather than think about doing all of these things. And then I’m going to write about them.

Ashley HaglundAshley works in corporate, health care and non-profit communications. She loves starting new writing projects; is a media junkie; enjoys studying science, technology and patent law issues; and has a love/hate relationship with semi-colons. To see her face and be her internet friend, follow her on twitter.

It’s Almost a New Year

A lot has happened this year, not just in my life, but in the lives of all of us at VALCANA. Leaving old jobs, finding new jobs, moving, big life changes, and essentially a whole lot of growing up.

A new year never used to be a big deal to me. I never made resolutions. I didn’t care about big New Years parties (let’s be honest, that’s only because we often had family Christmas in Canada around New Years).

Entering into 2013 was different. I was out of school. The New Year wasn’t just a gateway to another semester and to more school—it was the start of a new year of work and a new job, of trips, of beautiful friendships to be made (and lost). I entered into the age of 23. I actually made resolutions for the first time ever (well, writing goals, to be exact). I did some scary, exciting, and just plain fun things. A New Year is such a great time to look back at life, and to think about all of the wonderful places that you want to go and will go.

Highlights of 2013

I baked a cheesecake for the first time.

lavender earl gray cheesecake

Lavender cheesecake!!!

People came and visited me in Greenville.


From left to right: Mom, Oma, Dad ❤

Went on my very first vacation with Jacob to Savannah, GA.

savannah georgia

We’re awesome.

Finished (almost) an 8 year old project with my best friend, Heather and WROTE A WEBCOMIC.

autumn faces of time

Our main character, Autumn.

I know wonderful people who make my life happy.


My lovely fwends (sorry to those I didn’t include in this collage, I love you just as much)

And, finally, I learned so very much about myself and others. I hope that is always a highlight of every year of my life.

Aw look it's half of my face

Aw look it’s half of my face

Things I can’t wait for in 2014

Being in Paris, France, with my best friend Katie during the month of April.

Photoshop is fun

Photoshop is fun

Vacations with Jacob—more to come on this.

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 1.16.24 PM

Cutie in Asheville

Simply getting to be around these wonderful people that I know, and spend time with them, and through knowing them more know myself more.

What are some of the highlights of your year? What do you look forward to most in 2014?

Vanessa is a digital media coordinator by day and a writer, novelist, and badass cook by night. She loves used bookstores, is way too serious about tea, and doesn’t give a damn if she wears the same outfit 2 days in a row. She totally wants to be your friend, so you should follow her on twitter & maybe check out her writing blog.