I’ll be the first to admit I’ve neglected my blog since going freelance earlier this year. To be fair to myself, though, I like to blame the scarce updates on my commitment to the Pastry Box Project, which had me contributing monthly posts for 2013. If you count my book, too, I’ve actually done more writing this year than any other!
Here’s a look back on other personal highlights of 2013. I hope to make this a yearly tradition — a good way to reflect and set goals for the future!
I travelled to Nottingham in late January to spend time with Simon and finally attend his conference, New Adventures in Web Design, after promising a couple of years ago that I’d make it someday. Good job, as it was the last one, and it was as fantastic as I imagined! A particular talk by Jessica Hische inspired me to finally put the gears in motion to go full-time freelance. When I got home, I made plans to leave at the end of February.
Well, I did it. February was my last full month at the Idea Factory after nearly five years. It was a tough decision, but I can now say it was for the best and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. My co-workers threw me a lovely party and gave me the best, nerdiest gifts! Union Jack flag vintage chest? Lightsaber chopsticks? Stormtrooper tank top? Oh yeah, they know me!
Instead of jumping into freelance client work right away, I took March off to work on personal projects. I signed a contract with UK publisher Five Simple Steps and spent a few weeks writing my book, a Pocket Guide to Colour Accessibility. I also was a guest on Episode 46 of The East Wing podcast with Tim Smith.
Toward the end of the month, we decided a celebration of my newfound freelance life was in the books, and we took a real holiday to New York City where Simon finally got to be a tourist for the first time!
March also had two of the three gigs I attended in 2013, Sigur Rós at Madison Square Garden, and Arkells here in St. John’s. Both were amazing in totally different ways.
My birthday was in mid-April and I turned 30. Eek. A couple of weeks later, I spoke at my first conference of the year, FITC Toronto, and hung out with one of my best friends, Christie, who I hadn’t seen in five years!
In May, I put the finishing touches on my website to prepare for a double-feature launch alongside my book. (Did I mention that it only costs £2, and that you should totally get a copy?)
June was absolute madness in the best way possible! I kicked off the month with a trip to Vancouver to speak at the third annual Interlink Conference. Simon joined me there, and we met up with my friends Mike & Nina who showed us around with a gorgeous day cycling around Stanley Park, followed by some of the best Japanese food ever. Another highlight for us was Capilano Park — totally worth the admission.
Next, we headed back to St. John’s for Simon’s first visit to Newfoundland, where he spoke at Go Beyond Pixels alongside Jeffrey Zeldman, Jonathan Snook, Lea Verou, and others. It was Jeffrey’s second visit to Newfoundland and it was great to have him back again, as brief as it was!
Simon met most of my friends and family, and yes, he did get Screeched In at Christian’s. Natch.
We left Newfoundland and headed straight to Italy, where we spent the next ten days or so eating our way across the top of “the boot.” We visited Cinque Terre, the Vespa museum in Pontedera, San Miniato for a wedding, Florence, and finished up in Venice. Such a gorgeous country.
I stayed in Nottingham for a couple of weeks post-Italy and just got into the work routine before heading back to Canada again, but not without a few weekend trips (like the one pictured above in Whitby).
Compared to June, July was a little dull. I spent it at home here in Newfoundland, zipping around on my Vespa to make sure I got to enjoy the short summer. I worked full-tilt on 36 illustrated badges for France-based Withings and their Health Mate web app.
I kicked off August as a guest on the always-awesome Shop Talk Show with Chris Coyier and Dave Rupert.
Later in the month, I headed back to England again to continue work and take a weekend trip with Simon to what I thought was supposed to be Wales. The night before, he told me that actually, we weren’t going to Wales, and that I should bring clothes for hot weather instead. I didn’t even find out where we were going until we arrived at the airport and he surprised me with a trip to Lisbon! Multiply the surprise tenfold when he proposed to me the very next day! (I said “yes,” of course!)
We broke the news in September and celebrated with friends and family — the first stop being in Brighton when I was slated to speak at Reasons to Be Creative. Later in the week, we attended dConstruct, which has become somewhat of a yearly tradition for us!
Back in Nottingham, we celebrated Simon’s 40th with an awesome house party. So. Many. Cupcakes. I also finally met my long-time friend Dave on a fleeting trip to London, topped off by dirty diner burgers to celebrate Greg’s birthday. So good.
Just a couple of short weeks later and we were off to New York City where I spoke at the Future of Web Design in Times Square – I never dreamed I’d be speaking there someday! Mid-week we moved over to Brooklyn where I finally got to attend my first Brooklyn Beta at both the Invisible Dog and the Navy Yard. I swear the entire Internet was there, and it was wonderful.
After parting ways with Simon for the last time in 2013, I headed home to Newfoundland for a few days before heading to Halifax to give my last conference talk of the year at HPX Digital. During the conference, I was interviewed by Stacy Mulcahy for the BitchCast, and got to see a wonderful gig from The Walkmen.
I signed my biggest freelance contract to date for Simply Accessible, and while I don’t want to give anything away yet, you guys should sit tight and expect some exciting new things in 2014!
To my delight, I was asked for the second year in a row to be a contributor to 24 Ways. I wrote about “Credit Etiquette,” where I explained how and why we should be giving credit to co-workers and collaborators in your portfolio so that everyone benefits.
I was also thrilled to be interviewed by net magazine for their Showcase in the January 2014 issue (#249) where I talked about freelance life and how I made the plunge. What a great way to end the year!
2014 is already shaping up to be another amazing year. We have a few trips lined up back and forth over the pond leading up to the wedding in August, and I’ve got my one-way ticket to the UK already booked for September 26th. I sort of can’t believe it. I’m thinking about doing a 365 photo project to document it all (but on Instagram, because I can’t be bothered to do dSLR shots, and I know it’s going to be a busy year). We’re also thinking about getting a dog, making us both first-time dog owners, and the thought of that is making me way too happy. Oh, and my Pocket Guide is expected to become a real printed book in the first quarter of the year. So much to look forward to, and I can’t wait!
Happy New Year!