Year in Review $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway – Ends 1/31/17

Food and Travel Blogger Year in Review - Where I went, where I slept, what I ate and what I did!

Are you ready for 2017?

Each January I reflect upon the previous year and make plans and set goals for the new year. A business and personal goal for 2016 was to go on at least a dozen trips, and I’m happy that I made it happen! I had a great time exploring my local Southern California area and also traveled out of state and internationally on sponsored media trips.

I write about my food travel, restaurants and other foodie adventures on Mama Likes To Cook. My articles about travel activities, destinations and accommodations can be found on Valerie Was Here.

Food and Travel Blogger Year in Review - Where I went, where I slept, what I ate and what I did!

I traveled quite a bit in Southern California. Even though I’ve lived in the area my entire life and have been to all of these cities before, it was a great to stay in hotels and experience them in a whole new way as a traveler. I loved it!

Palm Springs is a great spot for a desert getaway with culture, nature, food, shopping and fun. Long Beach has a museums and outdoor art, family activities, excellent restaurants, gorgeous views and a rich history. I visited the trendy Hard Rock Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego and the beautiful Marriott Coronado Island across the bay. I enjoyed the relaxing vibe of the San Jacinto Valley and the tall trees of Idyllwild.

Closer to home, I stayed at The Ranch at Laguna Beach that has captured the relaxing essence of the SoCal lifestyle and the luxurious Fairmont Newport Beach. Also had fun at Disneyland.

Food and Travel Blogger Year in Review - Where I went, where I slept, what I ate and what I did!

I also explored the Northern California coast with an road trip that covered a lot of miles from Sonoma County up to Little River, Mendocino, Fort Bragg, Redwood National Park, Eureka, Trinidad and almost up to the Oregon Border. On another road trip, I spent time exploring Carmel Valley, Carmel by The Sea, Big Sur and Monterey.

This was also a year for using my passport. I went to the Dominican Republic for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed learning about the culture and meeting locals. This was a cruise and I made some great friends on board and also went to Miami for the first time.

Since Mexico is so close, I’ve been many times over the years. In 2016, I traveled by car to Tijuana and Rosarito Beach. I also traveled by air further south to Puerto Vallarta. Looking forward to going back to Mexico again soon, since I always have a great time.

Food and Travel Blogger Year in Review - Where I went, where I slept, what I ate and what I did!

My goal for 2017 is 20 trips. Do you think I’ll make it?

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Food and Travel Blogger Year in Review - Where I went, where I slept, what I ate and what I did!

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Food and Travel Blogger Year in Review - Where I went, where I slept, what I ate and what I did!

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186 comments for “Year in Review $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway – Ends 1/31/17

  1. DeeAnn
    January 12, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Ever since the kids were small, on a Saturday or Sunday we’d pack the cooler full of food, grab a bag full of toys, games and such, and head down a road we’ve never been on before. You’d be surprised what you run into, and the sights you see. My kids are much older now, but I think I’d like to start doing the day trip think again.

  2. Darren Scrubb
    January 12, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Great giveaway to start the New Year.

  3. Valerie Mitchell
    January 12, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    DeeAnn – At any age, that sounds like a wonderful tradition!

  4. Karen
    January 13, 2017 at 4:29 am

    I travel through some of your adventures. Love taking road trips though. Been up and down the east coast. Good luck on hitting 20 trips this year.

  5. Kristie Wendland
    January 13, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Hey there! I absolutely love Southern California! Disneyland is truly the best place on Earth!

  6. Janice Wright
    January 13, 2017 at 10:19 am

    I have a Pinterest page entitled Iowa Bucket List. These are short little road trips fairly close to my residence.

  7. Valerie Mitchell
    January 13, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    What a great idea, Janice!

  8. Heather!
    January 13, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    20 trips for this year? Heck, yeah, you can do it! It’s a lot, but you can do it! :)

  9. Valerie Mitchell
    January 13, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Thanks, Heather! Working on it :)

  10. Katie Ellis
    January 14, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    I have never been to California but would love to visit there someday. I have visited different places in my state but there is still a lot I haven’t seen.

  11. January 15, 2017 at 9:41 am

    I wish you the best of luck for this year’s travels! My New Years is full of goals as well.

  12. Valerie Mitchell
    January 15, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Thank you, Stephanie! Hope you reach your goals, too!

  13. Julie Lundstrom
    January 15, 2017 at 11:22 am

    I don’t get to travel so seeing and reading about your travels makes me feel like I have been there too.

  14. polly
    January 15, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    When you were in Northern California you were close to where I live…so many beautiful places to see! Have fun with all of t=your travel adventures!

  15. Valerie Mitchell
    January 15, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Polly – Love visiting Northern California and plan to explore more this year!

  16. Kelly
    January 15, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    I think that you will make it. It certainly looks like you have a blast no matter where you are :) I used to travel a lot and I miss it. I think I will join you in making a goal of going on more adventures.

  17. Valerie Mitchell
    January 15, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks, Kelly!

  18. Victoria Scott
    January 16, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    I’m hoping that 2017 is the best year yet!!

  19. Mary Mac
    January 17, 2017 at 5:09 am

    I live on the East Coast and don’t make it very often to visit the West Coast, I love reading your fun stories and adventures.

  20. January 17, 2017 at 6:08 am

    Time to visit a travel agent. Everyone’s photos of their experiences in travel makes me want to see a pretty sunset or taste a new cuisine.

  21. Valerie Mitchell
    January 17, 2017 at 9:58 am

    Ruth – Hope you have some wonderful adventures this year!

  22. Valerie Mitchell
    January 17, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Thank you, Mary! NYC is the only place I’ve been on the East Coast, so far. Hope to explore your area more.

  23. almavidrio
    January 17, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    This would be an amazing win. I would use it to buy a tortilla press because I love to cook Mexican food! Thanks!

  24. katklaw777
    January 17, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    20 trips…I bet you go over! Well at least you will have a heck of a lot of fun trying…lol
    Happy and healthy New Year to You!

  25. Laura Collins
    January 17, 2017 at 10:57 pm
  26. Valerie Mitchell
    January 17, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    Thank you, Katklaw! Happy New Year to you, too!

  27. CHRISTY G.
    January 18, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Wow, that’s a lot of trips. Congratulations! Thanks for the giveaway!

  28. Andrea
    January 18, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Hope to win! I LOVE Amazon! Thanks for the chance!

  29. Stephanie
    January 18, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post! Looked fun!

  30. Valerie Mitchell
    January 18, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Thanks, Stephanie!

  31. Carissa Joslyn
    January 18, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    That’s great that you were able to make your goal happen! and they look amazing. the views and the food!

  32. Valerie Mitchell
    January 18, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Thanks, Carissa!

  33. Rhonda Grisham
    January 19, 2017 at 2:37 am

    Great post! I’ve always wanted to visit Mexico. Who knows, maybe this will be my year?

  34. DEBIJOT
    January 20, 2017 at 3:46 am

    Love shopping Amazon.

  35. patricia skinner
    January 20, 2017 at 7:14 am

    I am also a goal setter. I like having a plan to enter the new year in and I do evaluate the plan as the year proceeds. Many times, I have had to adjust my goals as things unplanned do emerge in our lives.

  36. Valerie Mitchell
    January 20, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Patricia – Great point! Good to set goals and also be flexible enough to adjust as needed.

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