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. January 4, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    I hope you hit your goal. Travel to new places is the best!

  2. Emily R.
    January 4, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Beautiful photos! Hope you have a wonderful 2017!

  3. Adriane
    January 4, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    What an exciting and colorful year!! And I KNOW you can do 20 trips :) I miss traveling – maybe this year I can take a trip

  4. Valerie Mitchell
    January 4, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Adriane – Would be great for you to travel this year!

  5. Valerie Mitchell
    January 4, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Thank you, Emily!

  6. Valerie Mitchell
    January 4, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    Thanks, Richard!

  7. Claire M
    January 4, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    I hope we BOTH get to travel a lot this year!

  8. Valerie Mitchell
    January 4, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Me, too, Claire!

  9. Cynthia L Mercado
    January 4, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    I can always use an Amazon gift card for our homeschooling supplies.

  10. FRANK
    January 4, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway

  11. Leela
    January 4, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. Kelly Nicholson
    January 4, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    always need amazon cash thanks

  13. YVONNE WOODSTOCK
    January 4, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    I-would-love-to-hear-your-experienced-opinion-and-advice-about-traveling/visiting-Mexico…Growing-up-I-always-assumed-I-would-visit-someday-but-then-in-more-recent-years-when-I-can-fiinally-afford-to-and-have-time-to-do-so…I-noticed-on-the.U.S.government’s-passport/travel-site-(last-time-I-looked)..that-Mexico-was-one-of-the-places-they-had-travel-advisories-suggesting-it-is-not-safe-to-visit-there-and-heard-so-much-from-various-news-sources-after-the-last-so-many-years-about-the-danger-and-violence-even-sometimes-randomly-in-otherwise-lovely-tourist/resort-areas-due-to-the-drug-cartel-and-such?—Ever-since-then..I-stopped-entering-giveaways-to-win-trips-there-or-anything-because-now-I’m-afraid..but-I-see-your-experiences-have-been-numerous-and-good-so-I’d-love-to-hear-your-perspective.-Thank-you.

  14. January 4, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    I’ve never traveled to Mexico before….maybe one day. Hope you have a prosperous and fun-filled 2017.

  15. Renee Walters
    January 4, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    Happy travels and thanks for the great giveaway!

  16. Anita E
    January 4, 2017 at 11:49 pm

    I’m addicted to Amazon so, yes, I need this win. Happy New Year everyone!

  17. Julie Lundstrom
    January 5, 2017 at 12:01 am

    I would love this to help me organize my home.

  18. Mary Beth Elderton
    January 5, 2017 at 2:10 am

    We are just a few years out from retirement and are looking forward to travel! I hope everyone here has a great year.

  19. Maryann D.
    January 5, 2017 at 2:31 am

    I would love to win this Amazon.com $50 Gift Card for my daughter who loves shopping on Amazon.

  20. January 5, 2017 at 4:13 am

    Oh lordy, totally jealous of all the traveling! :) Well, most especially of going to Disney… me, definitely none except of the many geology field trips I had to do in my state for my classes, but definitely not the same by any stretch of the imagination – you didn’t have to get graded on the reports and maps. ;)

  21. Linda Svarovsky
    January 5, 2017 at 5:36 am

    I would use this to buy my mom a gift.

  22. vickie couturier
    January 5, 2017 at 5:47 am

    enjoy the traveling while you are still young enought to enjoy it,now that i have some time and im not physically able to go as much as i would like

  23. Michelle S
    January 5, 2017 at 6:55 am

    We did quite a bit of traveling this past year – Bahamas/Virgin Islands cruise, Disney World, and Door County. This year we are going to New Orleans and possibly Denver this summer for a wedding.

  24. Valerie Mitchell
    January 5, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Michelle – Your 2016 travels sound like lots of fun. I’m hoping to head to New Orleans this year, as well!

  25. Valerie Mitchell
    January 5, 2017 at 7:03 am

    Vickie – Hope you are able to find some great experiences that will work for you this year!

  26. Morgan Stewart
    January 5, 2017 at 7:05 am

    Love your stories! I am hoping to travel this year as well.

  27. Valerie Mitchell
    January 5, 2017 at 7:05 am

    Lois – School is definitely work, but your geology trips sounds fascinating!

  28. Valerie Mitchell
    January 5, 2017 at 7:06 am

    Very exciting, Mary Beth! Hope you have fun dreaming and planning for your retirement.

  29. Valerie Mitchell
    January 5, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Thank you, Yona! Have enjoyed each of my Mexico trips, but there is still a lot more to see in this large country!

  30. January 5, 2017 at 7:21 am

    All the food pictures look delicious! Thank you for the chance to win! :-)

  31. Valerie Mitchell
    January 5, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Thank you, Kristie!

  32. Marlene V.
    January 5, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Thanks for the chance to win.

  33. Lesley F
    January 5, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Happy New Year!

  34. Sheila Russell
    January 5, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Travel opens up a whole world, great to hear that you hit your goal in 2016, hopefully you meet all your goals for 2017

  35. Valerie Mitchell
    January 5, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Thank you, Sheila!

  36. luc
    January 5, 2017 at 9:16 am

    win

  37. Jan Lee
    January 5, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Happy 2017! Hope to see more recipes and giveaways in the new year!

  38. clojo9372
    January 5, 2017 at 9:21 am

    How exciting it must be to have the opportunity to travel and see exciting places. Wish I could! I hope you can meet your goal! :)

  39. Michelle
    January 5, 2017 at 9:31 am

    What a great giveaway!

  40. Ashley M
    January 5, 2017 at 10:38 am

    I have never been on a vacation as an adult! I think it is wonderful that you get the opportunity to do so! I think it would be so much fun to travel and try new foods! Thanks for the chance to win <3 Happy New Year!

  41. January 5, 2017 at 10:56 am

    It looks like you had a great year! I’d love to visit some of these places too.

  42. Valerie Mitchell
    January 5, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Ashley – Perhaps, this is the year you will start a new trend for yourself! :)

  43. Debbie F
    January 5, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Wow I’d love to be able to travel as much as you do!
    I hope you get to travel to many more places in 2017!

  44. Cathy French
    January 5, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    What an exciting year you’ve had and with 20 trips this year, I think you can do it, you’ll have a banner year 2017 as well.

  45. January 5, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Gorgeous pictures! I wish my pictures came out half that good!

  46. Valerie Mitchell
    January 5, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks, Minta! I use my Samsung mobile phone and love the picture quality.

  47. Valerie Mitchell
    January 5, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Thank you, Cathy!

  48. Sarah B.
    January 5, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    I use Amazon waaaaay too much. Seriously, I’m on there almost daily! $50 would certainly help, thanks for another great giveaway

  49. Calvin F.
    January 5, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Some very nice photos you put together.

  50. Kristi F
    January 5, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    20 trips is a big goal but certainly a great traveller can do it. There’s nothing like traveling for experiencing the world and meeting new people.

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