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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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Change is Good

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As the new year approaches, I can't help but reflect.

Over the last several years, and even more so in the last several days, our world has become so...loud. The constant stream of opinions, judgements, facts, misinformation, deeply personal stories and meaningless drivel I've opted in to (and, yes, participated in) has become overwhelming.

I find myself less interested in turning on this big, beautiful hunk of an iMac to write due to the noise I find just one browser tab over.

So, I'm opting out of certain things. I won't cut all ties, but those of you interested in following this blog on Facebook after the new year will be out of luck. I'll be deleting my account completely in the coming weeks.

While Facebook is an amazing tool for some businesses, I'm finding it less and less effective for sharing blog content. Sure, I can post a link, but very few people actually see it in their news feeds. Pictures generally elicit a response, but garnering "likes" on a photo stored within the Facebook platform has done very little to grow readership on this blog.

If you follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook, you may have seen my (and a TON of others, I'm sure) early concern regarding the new Instagram Terms of Service. While they've attempted to quiet the masses, I'm still not sure it's the right platform for me anymore. I know they have to monetize their business and have always figured that advertising would be part of that. My personal preference is usually to pay for a service, rather than have my content sold against without recognition or compensation. So, I'll wait to see what Instagram has to say about their "confusing" language (which, let's face it, was actually quite clear) and decide whether or not to move on. The good news is that we have choices. We always have choices (thank you, tireless app developers). I'm checking out the newly updated Flickr app and EyeEm. Feel free to join me here and here, respectively.

That said, I'll still be sharing blog goodness and other fun stuff over on Twitter, Pinterest and Everplaces. As always, you can follow this blog and get new posts sent directly to your email like so:

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You can also subscribe to my RSS Feed.

As far as content is concerned, I'm excited about the possibilities.

I purposefully titled this blog People + Places + Things so that I could cover a variety of topics. Admittedly, I've been really focused on the places as of late. The bottom line is this: I've had the unique opportunity to travel more over the last year and I took full advantage of that. Thus, the blog reflected my trips and adventures more than it did the people who inspire me. That will definitely change in 2013. As for the things... well... we'll just have to see how I address that part of the blog in the new year. I wouldn't expect an abundance of gift guides and the apocalypse will surely come before you'll see a "what I wore" post. There are bloggers who do that well (exhibits a, b and c). I am not one of them.

I look forward to the changes in store. I also look forward to having much more peace and at least a bit more quiet in the months to come.

I'll catch you on the flip side, friends.

Happy Holidays.

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Northern California for Nature Lovers: The App!

When Everplaces reached out to me earlier this year to propose a partnership that would combine their amazing app development and design skills with my recently discovered wanderlust and (apparently) app-worthy content creation skills, I was elated. Naturally, I said yes without much hesitation.Who could say no to such a venture? Not this girl.

So...I traveled, explored my favorite spots, spent time researching a few new-to-me places, wrote reviews, researched a bit more, edited many, many photos and dug into my archives for favorite spots that I know and love, but couldn't visit this year.

After all was said and done, I was presented with this:

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Say it with me now: "ooooooh.....aaaahhhhh."

The app is aptly named Northern California for Nature Lovers and you can download it for the low, low price of $0.99 right here.

As you've probably guessed by now, the app is currently only available for Apple products. I'm hoping it'll be available on other platforms in the near future. If you're searching the App Store on your phone, just type in "California Nature Everplaces," and you'll get a screen that looks a little like this:

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{I'm still not over having a 'curated by' line, by the way. Not sure I ever will get over it.}

So, there you have it. I've created my very first travel app with some of the coolest, nicest people I've ever had a chance to meet over the internet. If you want to read up on Everplaces, you can see a few previous posts here and here. You can also check out the Everplaces app here. Obviously, I highly recommend it.

Finally, I'd like to give a little shout out to my friends and family who have been incredibly supportive as I try new things and say yes to opportunities such as this. You. all. rock.

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Happy Wednesday, all!

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Feeling the (Travel) Love

I have some fun news to share!Last week, I excitedly accepted an invitation from Everplaces to become a featured contributor. It turns out they select ambassadors (folks with interesting places to share) to highlight on the Explore page and they wanted the go ahead to share my growing collection!

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Picture me saying "YES!" rather loudly to my computer screen.

Let me just point out that I am in good company on the Explore page. Their ambassadors include travelers with hundreds of entries from across the globe, so it's really inspiring to peruse their profiles. If you don't already have a major case of wanderlust, you will.

As you may remember, I reviewed Everplaces a few #FollowFridays ago and I've since spent a bit more time getting to know its potential.

I still have a wish list of improvements, but overall I really do find it useful. Plus, the process of adding recommendations from some of the trips we've taken reminded me just how much fun we've had traveling.

I'm hoping more people start using the app to save and share their favorite places. Many spots here in the U.S. don't have entries yet, so I'd love to see a better representation of what we have to offer.

The goal of Everplaces is to create an online space where you can get real-world recommendations from people you trust and I know I have readers with amazing experiences to share. Care to join me?

Don't worry, I'll be right here adding new recommendations as travel plans allow.

Happy Wednesday, all!

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