2017 Reviewed By Your Friendly Neighborhood Blogger

Welcome to the post every blogger writes, yet most readers don’t give a shit about: my year in review (sorry for the swearing, mom).

Being a travel blogger has been one of the most amazing adventures of my life, but sometimes I still look back at pictures and wonder if I really went there, or did that. Whose life is this? 2017 was a wild ride because I got to travel to eight…yes, EIGHT, different countries.

While I usually only take one big trip per year, I somehow fit two in, and it was an absolutely incredible privilege to check off big list items like Morocco and Denmark (two places I’ve been DYING to go). This year also took me from one of the most traumatic experiences, to some of the most beautiful I’ve ever had. I’m leaving some things behind in 2017 that I’m really going to miss but that’s part of moving forward, right? The end of a year always seems to close a chapter on some things you aren’t quite ready to let go of.

Such is life, I guess. This year has made me stronger, wiser, and as my mom says, “someday it won’t hurt so much.” Until then, let’s live a little stronger, a little more passionate, and really pursue the things that set our hearts on fire. 2018 is going to be such an amazing adventure. I’m already starting to plan some pretty epic road-trips, and I cannot wait to share all of the savory details with you guys. Until then, here is my blogger contribution to the madness of 2017. Happy New Year!!!

Backpacking trip: Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Belgium

I started out this year with a solo backpacking trip that was one for the books. Not only did I love going to Loch Ness and Inverness (Outlander fans!?), but I also just loved seeing the highlands of Scotland. During this trip I also had, singlehandedly, the best 48 hours of my life in Denmark (and made some amazing new friends!).

Cosplaying Rufio at Emerald City Comicon
I’ve only been cosplaying for a couple of years, but I’m so obsessed with it that I don’t know if I’ll ever stop. I love being able to represent characters that I love, and I love gender-bending (taking a male character and giving them a female twist). My Rufio cosplay was so fun to take to Emerald City Comicon. Honestly. I live for conventions.

Becoming a Schwinn/ R.Riveter ambassadorThis year I got to be an Ambassador for two different brands: Schwinn Bikes and R. Riveter bags. Both of these brands have a strong backing of supporting people who are out there really living their lives. Whether it’s taking city adventures with my bike, or traveling across the world (or to another world) with my R. Riveter bag, I’ve loved every minute.

Going to my first Renaissance Faire This was one of those last minute things where you’re less than prepared, but more than a little excited for an event. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, to be perfectly honest, but getting to experience my first joust (and ax throwing) was a pretty special event in my life. I also got to throw an axe…so that was cool. In 2018 I’m really looking forward to going again, and this time cosplaying.

Doing a live painting at BumbershootI’ve told this story a few times, but I was told a lot (growing up) that I wasn’t meant to be an artist. I wasn’t “called” to it. Well, this year not only did I continue painting shoes with my Etsy shop, but I got the amazing opportunity to do a live painting at Bumbeshoot, which is a huge music festival in Seattle. Even better? My painting sold!

Creating some super nerdy art projects (Sherlock + Jamie Fraser)There has seriously been so much nerding this year and I’ve loved it so much. From getting connected with my favorite podcast “Three patch problem” to crocheting little nerd dolls to send to friends, it really has just been the best. I’m also almost finished with all of my Harry Potter house scarves, so keep an eye out for those in my Etsy shop!

Going to the Skagit Valley Scottish Highland Games The Skagit Valley Highland Games has become a tradition that I don’t think I ever want to break. It’s so fun to go celebrate my Scottish heritage, eat amazing food and enjoy traditional Scottish dancing and music. It really is food for my soul and this year was great because I won my tickets for having the best photo from the 2016 Highland Games!

Dislocating my shoulder… the third day of summer campThis year was a year for injuries. This must mean I’m getting old. Not only did I dislocate my shoulder (resulting in weeks of physical therapy), but I also got pneumonia, sustained a 102 degree fever for a week, got my heart broken, and had my first ER visit. This year was kind of a constant progression of healing, but it taught me a lot about patience and about how amazing my little tribe of badass women is. Thank you every single person who held me up this year, despite the crazy.

Cosplaying Aquaman after months of planning I started planning this cosplay after ECCC in March and it came together beautifully. I loved being able to think of something and then actually see it materialize. Also, having a faux shoulder sleeve tattoo was pretty badass. Cosplay brings so much happiness to my life, I don’t even know how I ever went without doing it. Cheers to new ideas and great conventions in 2018! 2nd Photo credit to Aubrey Rebecca Photography.

Getting a new job…my dream job!2016 and 2017 I worked 60 hours a week (6am-6pm…every day) to build a resume that could get me my dream job. I’ve always been a writer, and what started as watching Mad Men resulted in me pinning down that ad agency work was the absolute ringer for what I wanted to do with my career. In October, my hard work finally paid, off thanks to some amazing women helping me along the way. I absolutely love my job, and I feel so incredibly thankful for it each and every day that I’m there.

Backpacking trip: Spain, Morocco, England, Iceland
I ended this year the same way I started it: with travel. 2018 will mark my five year anniversary of backpacking, and I can’t believe I ever let people tell me not to do something that brings so much life to my being. I love traveling, and visiting friends around the world added so much value to 2017. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to jump on planes and live out my passion. I don’t take this privilege lightly. For me traveling is the gateway to every other part of my life being inspired, and I can’t wait to see what adventures 2018 brings my way. 

2016: The Year of Grit

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2016. I really wish that I could be one of those people who said that 2016 was great, despite the obvious turmoil, but it was actually a really hard year for me. One that has tested this ‘ole girls grit to the extreme. If I had to use an analogy for 2016 if would be me being a cage fighter with barely any training, locked in the pen with the world champ. I may have survived, but I definitely took a beating.

2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 were some of the most difficult years of my life, so I was expecting 2016 to get in shape, but life hasn’t quite got the memo. That being said, there were some highlights that were fun moments in my year, and I’d like to focus on those rather than dwell on the overall stress that 2016 has brought.

January

I went on a backpacking trip with two of my friends to England, Scotland and Ireland. It was a feat in itself because I had never travelled with multiple friends before. We ate some great food, learned some history and explored the limits of strong personalities under pressure. But we survived! And the end result was some awesome pics. During January I also got to go to San Francisco, which is one of my favorite US cities, and that trip was just a dream.

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This is us in Edinburgh, Scotland right next to the castle.

February

Deadpool came out, and we took advantage of that for our Valentines Days day, which ended up being awesome. February was also the 2 year anniversary of this blog, which is insane. I never thought I’d be able to keep something up this long when I first started it, but now I can’t imagine life without it. This month was also when I moved into my now house, which was such an amazing upgrade (literally God sent) from my former apartment location and situation. I also got to have high-tea with my grandma and I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic” which changed a whole lot on my perspective as a creative. Apparently I have no pictures from this month, so here’s one from my January trip, in front of Shakespeare’s house.

 

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March

My little Irish Step Dancing obsessed child self would have been so envious of the fact that I have now seen (in person – not just VHS) Lord of the Dance. If you don’t know what it is, you can click here to see a clip. Basically it was my childhood obsession, and I was in love with Michael Flatley. I was a weird kid, what can I say? This was also the month when my long lost (moved to California) brother came home for a visit, which was such a surprise that I swore in front of my grandmother. Yep, that happened.

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April

This past year was my first ever Emerald City Comicon experience and I LOVED every minute of it. I did my first kind of serious cosplay effort, made some new friends and geeked out in the extreme. This was also the month and me and my boyfriend rented a cabin on Camano Island for a weekend and left the world behind. The place purposely didn’t have wifi and it was super nice to just get away from it all.

 

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Sometimes you need to take vacations a few hours from home.
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Me being a geek with other geeks at a Doctor Who fan meetup.

May

May was when I went to Colorado for the first time, and learned that I don’t like Colorado. Say what you will to try and convince me otherwise, but it’s just not the state for me. 2016 was the year I went twice and both times were just brutal on my respitory system. I did have some fun at the art museum, though. This was also the month that the EMP (now known as the MoPOP) hosted its Star Trek opening exhibit, where I met Spock! Okay, it was just a cosplayer, but I mean, that’s the closest I’m probably going to ever get…and it’s pretty darn close.

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June

In June I started working at the Boys and Girls Club again, and boy was that a good decision. I was working part time retail before I started up again, and while it was filling my wardrobe it was simultaneously sucking out my soul. I was so happy to join back with my BBGC family and get to work with all the kids, again. This was also the month for the Eurocup, which I watched obsessively and which I loved every minute of. France may not have won, but I was cheering for them every step along the way. June was pretty packed to be honest. There was a Sounders Game packed in there, and Pride weekend and then I went to my first JMSN concert, which was an experience in itself.

 

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Old school photo booth where we were definitely not ready for the first set so we had to do it again. But now these are some of my favorite pictures.

July 

During July we had a great party for the 4th and then we flew out to Colorado again to explore the mountains, go four wheeling and celebrate some birthdays! We got some pretty amazing photography shots and it was our first trip out of the state, together (next up – out of North America!). We also got to go to the Scottish Highland Games up north of Seattle, and that was one of the best days of this year. Oh man. I’ve never felt so proud to be Scottish, before. It was so amazing!


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August 

To celebrate our 1 year anniversary we hopped off the grid and went to Canada. This trip was a very welcome break from our day to day and we had the nicest Airbnb host ever. It was such a great way to celebrate a great relationship. We also went camping at Banks Lake in August, with a bunch of friends. Besides being eaten alive by mosquitos (he had 70 bites!) it was a super fun trip.

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We really need to get better about asking people to take pictures of us, as a couple.
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Jumping off rocks is not for me, but I’m all about the photography and sun bathing.

 

September 

I’m a firm believer in celebrating my birthday for the ENTIRE month of September. Don’t ask my why, but I love doing it, and I don’t plan on doing it any other way. This years birthday was such a good day and I loved being able to spend time with just the two of us. I didn’t really have a party, and I think I understand now why people don’t really do that as much, as they get older. My little introvert self is just not into it anymore. The hermit life for me (+1)!

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Right before we went out to my birthday dinner.

 

October 

I went to two conventions in October, one for Lego and one for Geek Girl Con. Both were fantastic and I’m so happy to be a part of the con community. Making friends at cons is such perfection because you already know you’re probably as geeky at the other person, so you don’t have to worry about geeking out over something too hard. This was also when I debuted my Rufio cosplay, which I’m pretty excited to wear to ECCC in 2017. It went over so much better than I could have imagined, and I’m so excited to dress up again in March!

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I dressed up so many times in October that by the time the 31st hit I was at the point of impromptu Minnie Mouse.

November 

James and I had an awesome photo shoot with Chelsea Bree Photography, just for fun. It was such a great experience and I’m still so in love with each of the photos. They are just so beautiful. November also hosted one of the best Thanksgivings I’ve ever had. We kept it small and simple at our house and I don’t think I’ll ever do it any other way, again. I loved just being able to hang out with friends. The only one that it tied for first place was the time we had Thanksgiving in France.

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December 

We went the magical route and went to Harry Potter World. It was just the best. Even though it was smaller than we thought, we rode the rides a million times and waved our wands around like 9 year olds. This is also when my roommate tricked me into going onto a huge roller coaster ride…and let me tell you how much I hate Roller Coasters. Christmas was fantastic, we watched movies all day long and opened presents and visited my family. I love keeping holidays small, and I think that’s the way I’ll try to do it for the foreseeable future. It’s just so much more fun to just have a few friends, or even just the two of us.


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All in all 2016 kicked my butt. But I kicked back, and I have a feeling I’m going to be going into 2017 kicking, as well. Trying to reach goals, and really make a difference in your life is not an easy path, but if you’re willing to fight for it, it’s something you can achieve.

If there was one quote I would state for 2016 it’s this:

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