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Inspiration + Goal Refinement

I have to tell you all, I've spent the first 9 days of this year completely inspired. How, you ask? By whom? Well, mostly by people just like you. I'm inspired by the community that comes along with blogging and {some} social media interaction. I'm inspired by so many of you who reach out in the comment section or through various other channels to say thanks or share your experiences. My friends and family members are also incredibly inspiring. I'm surrounded by creative people and that can only lead to good things.

I've also recently stumbled upon several different indie publications, of both the online and print variety, that take my breath away. I'm not being dramatic here folks. I get goose bumps while devouring the delicious articles, interviews, essays, videos, recipes, photography, short stories and more. We have some seriously talented people on this here planet.

Seeing the world through the artwork of others -- through their perspective -- makes me so excited to go out and create more, collaborate more and share more high-quality work. I desperately want to create as much beautiful, helpful and engaging content as possible this year. I'm on track so far thanks to my pledge to explore my creative side at least a tiny bit each day. You've all been holding me accountable and offer up regular encouragement, which keeps me both motivated and humble at the same time. Thank you for that.

My small daily exercises have resulted in a few beautiful moments, including the making of the photos below:

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I looked out my front window a few mornings ago and saw droplets on our tree out front. The sky was a bit hazy with low clouds, which led to nice, post-sunrise light. Not caring what my neighbors might think, I bundled up, went out front and started snapping away. I'm so glad I took the time to notice the tiny droplets and seize the photo opportunity. If I hadn't, I may have missed out on much-needed practice time and photos that make me happy.

Thanks to the focus on small moments of creative time, I've even been motivated to organize my thoughts a bit. It's tough to truly visualize success through a vague lens, so I've refined my creative goals based on different types of content:

  • Write and submit at least 10 articles and/or essays to publications both near and far
  • Take more thoughtful and well-composed photos specifically for my Society6 Shop
  • Create at least 5 well-shot and edited videos for various outlets {and, let's face it, for practice!}
  • Blog more about the region I know and love: the Sacramento Valley

That's a good start, right? I hope? Just writing these goals so close to a button that screams "Publish!" is making me nervous. However, I know that putting it out there in the universe will help me see my goals through.

Thanks again to all of you who have continued to read and participate. I'm thrilled to be doing this and you all make it so worthwhile.

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If you have any tips on nurturing your creativity, finding inspiration and refining your goals, please feel free to share in the comment section below.

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My 2012 Highlight Reel

In response to this WordPress prompt, I thought I'd take a look back at some highlights from the last 12 months. In all honesty, I feel like this entire blog has become a highlight reel of sorts. Every person, place or thing I've posted about has held a special place in my year, so picking just one photo and post for each month is a tough task! Regardless, I'm always up for a trip down memory lane... so here it goes:

January:

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Last year at this time I was secretly driving from Helena to Missoula, MT to surprise my best gal pal, Jamie, for her 30th birthday. We got to ring in the new year and celebrate her birthday all in one SUPER fun visit. Just looking back makes me grateful to have started 2012 with some of my favorite people on the planet. You can read more about the trip here and here.

February:

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In February, I started looking for recommendations from friends and family for local electrical companies that could help us remove this unsightly beast from our kitchen. More on the lovely results in a bit.

March:

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In mid-March, I happened to read this article reviewing a new app called Everplaces and was so excited about the app that I launched right into my own review. That review led to amazing opportunities on the content creation front (I'll cover that in a bit) and created what I can only hope will be lasting friendships with the crew at Everplaces.

April:

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In April, I posted an interview with the lovely people behind the {now} well-known Gypsy Mobile Boutique. If you were anywhere near Sacramento this past summer, you probably caught a glimpse of Gypsy around town. That truck is everywhere! You can read the full post here to learn more.

May:

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In late April and early May, I wrote a series of posts about a wonderful weekend trip to Pescadero, CA with my mom. The trip was equal parts fun, adventure and relaxation and we can't wait to have many more excursions like this in the future! Read more about it here, here and here.

June:

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Okay, so we actually took our road trip to Montana in May, but I was so busy with all kinds of real life goodness that I didn't get to post about it until late May/early June. Ahhh, the life of a working blogger. The trip was short, but incredibly sweet and we covered a lot of ground. Have I mentioned that after about six hours in the car, my husband and I get a bit loopy? Well, it's true. This trip was full of loopy, good times, which you can read about here and here.

July:

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In July, we finally finished our kitchen lighting project! We found a great company here in town to set us up with beautiful lighting and we've been enjoying our kitchen ever since. You can read more about the project here.

August:

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In August, this here blog was a bit quiet. I was super busy enjoying not sharing every. single. thing. I even posted about not sharing. Ironic, right? :)

September:

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In September, I hopped right back on the over-sharing train. Just in time too... I was able to capture and share what can only make me a huge nerd: the Space Shuttle Endeavour flyover here in Sacramento, CA! Luckily, I was far from being the only nerd in town. You can see more snaps here.

October:

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In October, I was incredibly excited to announce the launch of my first travel guide app in partnership with Everplaces. I've since launched another travel guide app for the U.S. Northern Rocky Mountains. I couldn't be more thrilled to have the opportunity to create content, work with such talented developers and designers and share my favorite spots with people all over the world.

November:

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In November, I met up with friends for a fun-filled weekend in San Francisco, CA. The trip started with concert tickets to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and turned into 72 hours of amazing times. Don't you love when things work out that way?

December:

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This month, I've had way too many highlights to truly pick just one. Wrapping up the year surrounded by close family and friends has been perfect in so many ways. If I had to pick one defining post for this month, however (since that is the task at hand), I'd say it's the post about changing things up on the social media front. As a former marketing and PR junky and all-around lover of the internet, I started my involvement in social media loooong before anyone even called it social media. I'm always checking out the newest websites and apps, but I often forget to let go of what's no longer working. That's going to change in 2013. The most notable change for me will be saying goodbye to Facebook. It's been a handy tool over the years, but I'm finding it less and less useful. Even more so, I'm finding it to be less of a positive experience. I'm not alone in this, either. This post from the New York Times is pretty right-on in terms of how I'm feeling about the social media giant. We'll see if I can really give up Instagram, though. I'm sticking with it for now, but I'm guessing the ad-integration that is sure to come will be clumsily executed and rather annoying. As always, I'll keep posting this blog to various platforms and see what sticks!

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Anyone else taking the challenge of summarizing your year in one post? If you are, please feel free to link up in the comment section!

Happy New Year's Eve, all! Be safe!

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A Very NorCal Holiday

I hope you all had (or are still having) a wonderful holiday season surrounded loved ones. This is such a festive time of year and I can't help but feel grateful and full of love. For the holiday, we visited family in Crescent City, had a chance to see some old friends, ate and drank waaaaay too much (p.s. I'm totally making this soup to bring on the veggies) and enjoyed our time on the road. We're feeling pretty fulfilled at the moment and we still have a few family gatherings to attend!Here's a little photo snippet from our trip:

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{If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen a few of these. In case you're wondering after reading this post, I've decided to keep using the app for two reasons: 1.) the founders appear to have listened to their users (at least for now) and 2.) Instagram really does have the most user-friendly platform and the best filters (at least for now). :) }

The past week has been filled with good times and the peace and quiet I had been looking for. I hope to take a few more days off from this blog and return to bring you fun, helpful and engaging content in 2013.

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Happy Friday, all!

Looking for recommendations for a trip to Northern California? There's an app for that! I've collected all of my favorite places to explore the great outdoors in Northern California into one app, which you can download from iTunes right here.

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