2014 year end reflection

scott-nancy2014 was a complete game-changer on so many levels. Starting off the year, my husband and I had been married for a little less than 48 hours, and were planning our move across North America from little ol’ university town of Waterloo Ontario, to smack dab into Silicon Valley, Amurica.

Never in my wildest dreams, had I ever thought about, or even imagined that I would be living in the United States, let alone breathtaking Northern California. Nevertheless, I must say 2014 was the best year yet — although it went by in such a blur I cannot believe we moved down here 11 months ago. We’re no longer newly weds, and we’re no longer new to being in California! Crazy!

My main goals when moving to the USA was to push my introverted self out of my comfort zone and say yes to more things, speak up to strangers and meet new friends (check, and check!), and overall embrace the change. It wasn’t scary to move down to California if we’re going to be honest. Especially easy since we moved during a Canadian winter. I wasn’t overly fond of living in Ontario, because I was stuck in a rut. I didn’t have many friends, and I certainty didn’t like the place we lived. We were already a 4 hour flight away from family, what’s another 6 added on top of that?

Okay okay, before I get all mushy let me walk you through all last year had to offer, shall we?

surpriseJanuary was full of panic and packing. It was when we came back to work, told our bosses we would be leaving our amazing wonderful jobs to pick up and move to the USA. I still miss my co-workers so much. I continue to e-mail all 30 of the staff on a weekly basis (every Thursday as a matter of fact), to keep them updated. I’m not sure if everyone is on board with my random ramblings, but for the most part a lot of them seem to be enjoying the updates. We skype, we BBM video, and we chat as though I am still part of their team. I loved that I was completely caught off guard by my going away/wedding/surprise party thrown by some of my co-workers, while I was at the mall with Aimster (who just so happened to be my bosses daughter and my co-worker).

imageFebruary was the time we took the swift 3 day drive from Canada to California in our 17 foot u-haul with my little Mazda on top of a trailer attached to the u-haul. I’m surprised we weren’t pulled over and asked for a truckers drivers license. That thing was a beast to drive, and so scary — I definitely white knuckled driving that monster. I looked back on my archives and it looks as though I blogged just the once. Guess that goes to show how busy we were driving across the continent, looking for places to live, and having our internet hooked up. Luckily we found a spot in no time, thanks to Jessica a hundred times over for helping us out from driving me to all kinds of apartments to me leeching off her internet to find apartments to look at. Couldn’t have done it without her help. By the way, can you not get over how amazing California looks in February?!

MonksMarch was another fun month. I got the chance to have a complete makeover at the Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara at MAKE UP FOR EVER which was pretty sweet. I walked around Santa Row a lot, checking out all the stores readily available just waiting for me to whip out my pocket book. Man, the shopping is excellent here. We drove out to Lake Tahoe for a day trip so The Guy could get in some last minute cross country skiing done before the season ended. I had enough of the snow at this point, I wasn’t about to get on a set of ski’s especially after leaving the wretched cold winter up north. I was ready for some sun! So I got some at Capitola Beach when our friends from Ontario came down to visit their in-laws. My old co-op student from my previous job in Ontario was in San Francisco on a work term, so I visited him for a day and we were treated like celebrities, it was fantastic.

Golden-Gate-JumpApril I stepped out of my comfort zone as Ellen, a blog reader e-mailed me out of the blue one day mentioning she had been reading my blog for some time, but has never left a comment. She is also a climber, and suggested we meet up some time for a climb at the local rock gym. Of course I’m going to say YES. It was awesome, and I hope to continue to climb with her again this year! Our first Easter in California was a success, and pret-tee delicious if you ask me, gotta say… I’m a great cook ;) This was also the month my blog received a complete overhaul and re-branding, I love how it turned out. April was pretty memorable because Jessica took me out to see the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time in my life!

birthday-bannerMay ah my birth month, where even my local pizza place delivered me a heart-shaped pizza for my birthday, sweet. I got a membership to the local rock climbing gym and climbed more with Ellen. On Mother’s Day The Guy and I went to the Golden Gate Bridge to take some photos so I could make some Thank You cards to send out to our wedding guests. Not only that, I got to eat breakfast at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay!

June I bought a pretty sweet gym bag and bouldered a V4 for the first time in years, pretty happy about that. I visited Google for the first time, that place is so fun! I swore during yoga class. My husbands younger sister came by (and the older one came in July as their trips overlapped). The Guy and I finally have a grown-up bedroom, with a headboard and all. Now we just need to upgrade our bed from a double to a king.

BlogHer-BloggersJuly is when I went to my first BlogParty in San Francisco and met so many awesome Bay Area blogging buddies. I also attended the BlogHer conference where I spotted Khloe Kardashian in person, kinda fun. My two sister-in-law’s (husband’s sisters) came down for a visit and we totally bonded, froze are buns off in San Francisco on the Fourth of July, and had a laugh, it was amazing having them both here. I cannot wait until they both come down again, hopefully SOON!

BlogHer14-Day2-005August was a slow month in the blogging world. Jessica and I teamed up and hosted a giveaway together, and I posted the outfit photos (here too)that she took of me at the blogging conference. Total fav. Then there was a whole whack of talkin’ and reviewing of some Dior products. Nothing much to report in August, really!

Swimming-IMTahoe-2014September The Guy made his featured appearance on the blog and starting reviewing running shoes. I was back to Newfoundland for most of August and a little bit of September. I still haven’t recapped our non-wedding wedding reception that we flew back for, in August. I didn’t take many photos from the day, so there isn’t much to look at really. But I did take you around to the little fishing place called Petty Harbour, and then showed you the most easterly point in North America, Cape Spear. I blogged about going to the annual Flatrock Festival (climbing fest) too. The Guy was going for his 6th Ironman in September, out in Lake Tahoe but it ended up being cancelled due to smoke from forest fires, and we came face-to-face with a bear at our hotel. Scary stuff.

Alfie-shower-cap-1October onto my husband’s birth month. For his birthday I surprised him with a two day honeymoon to the romantic village of Carmel, an hour or so south of us. The views from Point Lobos had to be my favourite spot of our trip. October is when I introduced Pomeranian Friday’s to the blog, which seems to be a huge hit with the readers. Glad you’re enjoying Alfie as much as we are!

Bloggers-at-UniqloNovember was a fun month because not only did I received a ton of lip glosses to play with courtesy of bareMinerals, I attended a pretty fun event for the grand opening of Uniqlo in the Milpitas mall. I also started exploring coffee shops, which I’ll continue to do as a feature throughout 2015. The Guy, Alfie and I hit the trails one afternoon, and then I showed you what my “uniform” looks like on weekends. Then I did a flashback to the summer where I  talked you through beautiful Conception Harbour, Newfoundland.

napkins2December is my favourite month of the year! For our first American thanksgiving (although in November but blogged about in December) we hosted our first dinner guests, ever ever!  We invited our Canadian friends to join us as I cooked us a feast! I attended a really cool event in San Francisco and received the utmost royal treatment getting there. I ended up taking my hair dye woes into my own hands and doing an at-home dye-job, how did it go? In December we hosted some more family and friends, and after they left I showed you how I like to unwind after a long day. I visited another great coffee shop! December was pretty awesome, we got to fly home again to be with our family. Although arriving later than expected with many airline troubles, we still enjoyed our time in Newfoundland.

If you’ve read this far, thank you! That’s the end of my 2014 recap. I’m feelin’ good about you, year 2015. I sure am.

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BlogHer14 Recap: 1 sentence per picture

Absence certainly does make the heart grow fonder. I don’t get to see too much of The Guy, because during the week day of course I’m home alone as he works — but we both have our own fitness schedules. He has to train for his upcoming triathlons, and I’m always climbing, going to the gym, or doing yoga. The only time we truly get to spend together is on Saturday and Sunday, and this past weekend I headed off to BlogHer’14. It was a great event, but I definitely missed my husband. How cheesy do I sound right now? Tell me. C’mon.

I have a boat load of photos to show you from the conference, so instead of writing about it, I’ll show you mainly in photos with a sentence or two underneath each picture. That’s cool, right?

BlogHer-EppaSangria1 Eppa sponsored a yoga and sangria event outside the San Jose Museum of Art. White sangria is tasty.

BlogHer-EppaSangria2Whole Foods sponsored a bit of cheese, crackers and nuts. Also got a ton of Soybu hair ties. These ribbon hair ties are the best, so I got as many as I could.

BlogHer-EppaSangria3Sarah, Jessica and I showing our hair tie arm party. The event was hosted outside the San Jose Museum of Art, so it was a pretty nice area, downtown.

BlogHer-day2San Jose palm trees lit up. Photoboming Jessica’s selfie. A flower given to me by Yoplait. Hanging out in the Hairfinity booth.

BlogHer-Famous-PplSaw some famous people: Blogger – Jenny Lawson from The Blogess, and Actor – Kerry Washington.

BlogHer-Khloe-KardashianOh. Khloe Kardashian too, that was cool.

BlogHer14-Khloe-KardashianI was pleasantly surprised at how small she was. Tabloids must photoshop her larger, because she wasn’t bigger than me by any means. I didn’t line up for a photo with her, as I’m not a huge fan or anything. But still wanted to take a snapshot of her. I mean, she IS famous afterall.

BlogHer-CuisinartTruthfully, I’m more excited to see people I’ve made friends with throughout the conference. Including Dan, from Jersey. Having someone you can talk to, connect with, laugh and crack jokes with is far more fun.

BlogHer-Found-My-CanadiansI found my Canadians! Julie, Tiffany, Me, Christine and Sarah.

BlogHer-CDNsMore Canadians! Katie and I had a ton in common. Both lived out east (Her in Halifax, I’m from Newfoundland), both lived in the same area of Waterloo, Ontario. I mean – in 2010 we were living one street away. I know. Get out of town. Small friggen world.

BlogHer-More-CanadiansAnd Katie’s colleague, who is also a Canadian who I forget his name. I do recall it begins with a P. I get so excited when I see people from back home, even if we only met!

BlogHer-foodSome of the food I ate at BlogHer. You wouldn’t believe how many times I went back for a slush from Sonic. I won’t tell.

BlogHer-SonicMy outfits for one of the days. Sonic guy and I. Smiling for Skype.

BlogHer-SelfieBlogHer’14 is in its tenth year, which calls for a Selfiebration. The theme of the conference this year.

BlogHer-Red+WhiteI felt fancy. I’m excited to bring you a blog post soon, about my outfits I wore to BlogHer.

BlogHer-Outfit-shotsTook photos of Jessica too, along with our matching shoes.

BlogHer-McDonalds-SmileMcDonalds sponsored the closing party. Happy Meal face made out of roses? You betcha I was excited about this.

BlogHer-McDonaldsYes, I may have had more than one McDonald’s Happy Meal. I love McDonalds!! I’m yelling that out in the last picture.

BlogHer-McDonalds-ClosingPhotoboming Kelly, Sarah and Marissa‘s selfie. McDonald’s food truck x2, then Sarah and I posing again.

BlogHer-RevRunRev Run from Run DMC DJ’ed, taking us back to the 80’s and 90’s.

BlogHer-McDonalds-PartyMeeting new friends, thanks to McDonalds.

BlogHer-McD-eventModelling my new dress. Decorations. Carla & I (who I met at the Blog Party a few weeks ago).

BlogHer-McD-Jess-NancyJessica and I enjoying Rev Run DJ’ing.

BlogHer-BloggersNew blog friends Sarah, Kelly, Karen, Carla, Ashley, Alyssa (who lives in Tokyo!) and Jessica.


Alyssa and Carla, Jessica and I.

BlogHer’14 was a fun, and I’m so glad I met a few more local bloggers, network with companies, oggle at celebrities, and explore new-to-me products.

This post was created in partnership with McDonald’s. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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7 Things I’m Bringing to BlogHer’14

The tenth anniversary of BlogHer starts on Thursday. Being that it’s my 4th blogging conference, and 2nd time attending BlogHer, I’d like to share my thoughts with you on what to bring to a blogging conference.

This time, I don’t have to fly anywhere, or drive out of town. Luckily, BlogHer’14 is in San Jose — right in my (new) home town.

I try not to get too worked up, overwhelmed or anxious over the thought of a blogging conference. I’m going this year, to meet some local bloggers to become friends with, to chat with a handful of brands I’d ideally like to work with, and enjoy the experience.

Comfortable shoes1. Comfortable shoes — so important. I think that’s pretty self explanatory as you’re going to be on your feet for most of the days at the conference, so wearing something you can easily walk in, for hours. That, or bring a back up pair of flats.

nancy-button22. Business cards — No doubt you’ll be exchanging business cards with new blogging friends and of course, brands. I’m bringing my buttons, want one?

3. Battery charger — You don’t want to run out of cell phone, or camera battery!

4. Camera — I’ll be using my BlackBerry Z10 for taking pictures.

5. Dressing in layers is key — I tend to get warm and cold easily, especially in conference rooms if you’re attending sessions. Places like that tend to crank the a/c. Clearly I like to be overheated and dress warm at all times.

6. Gum — I like it when my breath smells nice at all times.

clutch7. Cash — Never know when you want to grab a quick bite outside of the sponsored meal times.

Bonus tip: Heard this one from my friend Jessica. Bring pre-filled out personal information (name/blog/twitter or even street address) for dropping into raffle/door prize boxes.

Ideally, less is more. Most likely you’re going to be carting around your expo tote bags filled with samples and goodies all day, so make sure to do multiple trips to your hotel room to drop it off. Of course, those coming from out of town would probably want to bring your laptops/ipads etc, for blogging on after you get back to your hotel room. However, last time I went to a blogging conference and stayed at a hotel, I didn’t update my blog until I arrived home.

And that’s it. I’m stoked about McDonald’s being the sponsor for the closing party on Saturday night. HOOOO Boy. Love me some McD’s. Remember that time the marketing rep for McDonald’s Canada said I was their biggest fan? He was 100% accurate on that.

Questions for you:

Are you going to BlogHer?

What’s your favourite fast food restaurant?

Have you met another blogger in person?

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