2017 What A Year

What a year it’s been! 2017 included lot’s of travel, three WordCamps, exploring Oregon & Washington, entertaining friends, trying new things, and spending as much time as I can with the hubby! At first I didn’t even realize how much I packed in this year. Here is a little insight to what my year was like.


I kicked off the year traveling to Dallas for the SEO BootCamp, Rebecca Gill taught! It was so exciting to find out I had won free admission to the four day class! The SEO BootCamp was fantastic and I am so glad I had the opportunity to learn more about SEO. I also was able to take some time exploring the great city of Dallas! What an interesting city! The architecture, the food, and it was pretty cool to wear flip flops in the middle of January.


Exploring Dallas, TXIt was my first time in Dallas and I had no idea how complicated the Dallas Ft. Worth airport. Unfortunately I found out the hard way. Shared a ride with a fellow student to the airport and ended up at the wrong airport. Grabbed another ride to the Dallas Ft. Worth airport and then it was one fiasco after another at the airport, read my post Social Media Customer Service is a Powerful Tool.

Bay Area

Bay Area In July we traveled to the Bay Area for our friend Jeremy’s wedding. Not only did I get to attend the wedding, I was able to visit with my daughter Ariel & granddaughter Ava, and my friends in Truckee & Reno. It was great that Ariel and Ava came down from Sacramento to visit with both Eric and I at the hotel. There was lots of play time in the pool and running up and down the hallway!


Sacramento The girls and I headed up to Sacramento to spend a couple of days together. We played with Legos, ate pasta together, and hung out in the backyard. When it was time to drive up to Truckee it was tough to leave our little monkey. I enjoyed every minute with her.


At The Lake With Lana SueTruckee always feels like home to me. My friend Lana Sue is the best hostess ever! We had a great time hanging out at Camp Richardson, taking a tour on the water, walking around Truckee, and of course swimming in Donner Lake! We packed in good food, good conversation, and took in the beautiful view of the lakes and mountains.


Reno Art SculptureLana Sue and I met up with my friend Rob and headed to the Food Truck Friday’s to enjoy food truck food and enjoy the summer evening. It was such a great night that we walked to downtown and took in the city, the Truckee River, and explored. The best part of our time together was hanging out around the fire pit at Rob’s that night making s’mores!

Las Vegas

IMEX America 2017 - VegasThis was my first trip to Vegas. It was a quick trip but I was able to get a feel for the Vegas Strip. My purpose was for business. I was an exhibitor for MeetGreen. Manning the booth and meeting with people that wanted to know more about MeetGreen Services.

My days were mostly spent in the booth at IMEX America but I was able to see a some of the Vegas Strip. My first impression was everything was HUGE! I felt like an ant with all the large sculptures and the large architecture. I was able to see the Venetian and the Disneyland like atmosphere with the Gondala rides, the singing in the square, and faux outdoor eating. It was definitely an experience but could never compare to the real thing.


I attended three WordCamps this year WordCamp San Diego, WordCamp Portland, and WordCamp Seattle! They were are all great camps! I was an attendee for San Diego & Seattle. I was the social media manager for Portland. I love attending each camp and wished I could have attended more.

WordCamp San Diego

San Diego CaliforniaIt was great to visit sunny San Diego! We enjoyed every minute of that glorious sunshine. Attending WordCamp San Diego I got to hang out with my WordPress friends, Women Who WP, and learn some new things. WordCamps are great for networking, meeting up, and learning!

WordCamp Portland

WordCamp Portland 2017 When you are an attendee you get to attend sessions and learn, network, and get together with old friends. As a volunteer and the social media manager it’s a different experience. It’s the responsibility of the social media manager to make sure that there is live tweeting and engagement with the attendees, speakers, and volunteers. I am in a different world when I am in that role but that didn’t mean I didn’t have fun! Robert Nissenbaum came down from Washington and we had a great time! I saw Rachel Cherry and Adam Warner as well. I even had the opportunity to meet Shawn Hooper one of the speakers for WCPDX. It was great camp.

WordCamp Seattle

WordCamp Seattle 2017Originally I had planned to go to WordCamp Seattle and stay the weekend. Plans changed and up until the last minute I wasn’t even planning on going. Everything lined up for me to drive up for the day and it was worth it! I showed up and just by cowinky dink I ran into my favorite person from SoCal Bridget Willard! It was fabulous!

I attended some great talks, hung out with Bridget and Robert, and met some new folks. The day went by quickly but it was worth the trip!

Exploring Oregon & Washington

My husband Eric and I like to explore. We’ve lived in Portland for 2 1/2 years and the Pacific Northwest region has a lot to offer for exploring. We’ve explored from the coast to the mountains this year. We hit the road as often as we could. Sometimes in the car and sometimes on the motorcycle.

Haystack Rock & Cannon Beach

Justine & Eric - HaystackEarly in the year we got up really early in the morning so we could see the sunrise at the coast. We went to Cannon Beach and walked the beach and enjoyed the sherbert colors of pink and orange come up paint the sky around Haystack Rock.

Multnomah Falls

Eric & Justine - Multnomah FallsThe first motorcycle trip of the year for me was to Multnomah Falls. It is a famous tourist attraction here in Oregon but it is a spectacular site to see in person.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival 2017We discovered the tulip festival 2 years ago and it’s one of the most colorful experiences. Depending on the weather you have to be prepared to tromp around in your rain boots because it can get REALLY muddy out there amongst tulips!


Mt Bachelor 2017For Eric’s birthday we went on a road trip to Bend, Oregon. I was very surprised at the size of Bend. It was much bigger than I expected it to be. We went on a brewery tour, traveled around the area to explore, and enjoyed Mt Bachelor.

Mount Adams

Mount Adams 2017Mt. Adams is in Washington and it is beautiful! We went exploring through dusty trails where people stop to pick blackberries and take in the views like Mt. Adams. Stopping off for lunch and enjoying Mt. Adams was heavenly.

Mount St. Helens

Mount St. HelensMount St. Helens is the famous volcano that erupted in 1980. It no longer has a tip of the mountain. It’s funny looking because of the missing top but it sure does make it recognizable from any view point. We were able explore all around the area. Waterfalls, ice caves, and beautiful fields. Unfortunately the day didn’t end on a very good note but Eric has a souviner that will be with him always.

I rarely go off trail but that day I did. Eric wanted to make sure I was safe and he went to turn around and step off the bridge and he slipped and fell down. When he fell he cut open his elbow. The crazy part about all of this there was no cell service and we couldn’t find an urgent care until we were almost home. He ended up with stitches and the scar has healed up nicely. We were lucky we were in the car that day. Before we go exploring again like that we are definitely going to pack a better first aid kit.

Crater Lake

Eric & Justine - Crater LakeThe last big trip of the year was to see Crater Lake! If you know me you know my favorite lake is Lake Tahoe but I have to say Crater Lake is just as a majestic! It was late September when we went and it was long trip. We broke it down into a couple of days to get there which worked out really well.

Our day included several stops around the lake taking in the view and enjoying the magic of this beautiful lake. If you visit Oregon you should definitely make the time to see Crater Lake.

Friends Friends Friends

We had lots of opportunity to entertain out town guests this year! It was great to have our friends spend time with us while they were here in Portland.


Robert NissenbaumOur first guest Robert Nissenbaum stayed with us when he attended WordCamp Portland. It was whirlwind visit but we had a great time taking him to the McMenamins Kennedy School for dinner, hanging out at the house, and then of course at WCPDX!


Eric, Rachel, & Justine - Portlandia StatueRachel is one of my WordPress friends and she was a speaker at WordCamp Portland. So naturally we had to seize the day and take her out and about before she headed back down to southern California. We did the touristy thing by taking her to see the Portlandia statue, Pioneer Square, La Petite for breakfast, and the Paul Bunyan statue. We had so much fun!

Jeremy & Marisol

Eric, Marison, Jeremy, & Justine - Mills End ParkOur friends Jeremy & Marisol came for a visit and we showed them around Portland. We hit downtown and had take what Eric calls a groupie with the Portlandia statue. We also swung by the tiniest park Mill Ends to feel like giants. We went by the Willamette River to take in the view as well as the PSU Farmers Market. A great time was had by all!


Justine, Pirate, & RobOur friend Rob came to visit Portland and we had a blast. Rob is a photographer so he and I grabbed our cameras and went downtown to do some street photography. It was fun to go out together see the city through our lenses. We also had a great time at Cathedral Park and downtown near the White Stag sign with his drone that took photos and videos.

It was really nice to have our friends come and visit and show them Portland. I hadn’t realized how much we know about Portland until we played tour guide.

Trying New Things

I’ve been on a journey for the past couple of years to incorporate healthy foods and activities into my life. Two years ago that journey started with the Whole30 Challenge. In 2017 it was time to incorporate exercise. I have never been athletic. I never really knew what I was doing at the gym so I would use the machines until now. I found the FitGirls Guide Challenge and I love it! It’s a 28 day challenge with a meal plan and exercise plan.

I found the FitGirls community to be supportive, helpful, and a learning resource. I am excited to say I took on my first challenge on November 28th and completed it! I feel stronger, confident, and healthier. I am currently on challenge number 2. If you are looking for a community to support you while you discover what works for you on your journey, I suggest you check them out!

What a Year

2017 was full of adventure, laughter, and some challenges. Above I highlighted how busy the year was. What I didn’t mention and I will now is how challenging it was with the Portland winter that was the most depressed I had ever been. I am working on being more proactive to prevent the blues from hitting me and Eric this year. Taking vitamin D every day exercise, catching the sunshine when it’s here, and I am going to try out my HappyLight I got for Christmas.

Our boys Buddy & Samson were also very challenging this year, especially Buddy. In the Fall Buddy came down with an infection in both of his elbows that has taken months to heal. He is doing better but we have had to adjust to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The house is not carpeted and that caused Buddy to wear down his elbows which got infected. So we have dog beds every where on the first floor of the house and we keep both the boys downstairs so Buddy doesn’t have to deal with the stairs. The poor guy still has to where his cone at night to keep him from reopening his wounds.

Samson has always been a challenging dog but he has come a long way since we first adopted him. He is our baby but he can never get enough love from us.He is the black hole of love. Since he doesn’t get to sleep upstairs with us any longer he is our needy baby (I say that with love). When Samson feels anxious he acts out by eating things like a whole stick of butter wrapper and all. We try to give him all the love but there never seems to be enough but that won’t stop us from trying.

Anyway, I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t skip over the challenges and that it’s not all rainbows and sunshine here in Portland!

Looking forward to the exciting opportunities for 2018 so stay tuned!

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