It’s a wrap, 2011!

Here it is! Yet another year has gone by and it’s that time of the year for me to reflect on what has happened, where I’ve been or have achieved, people I’ve met or got to be with. What an eventful and meaningful year this has been, I must say.

Last year I thought that my 2010 has been the most fun year I’ve had in awhile but this year has most definitely surpassed it by far in more ways than just one. After attending more web conferences as I ever had before in one year, I got to learn, get inspired and get motivated to get even better at what I do while doing more traveling. It seems like each year there are more and more wonderful conferences to choose from and this year was no different.

When January came, I already knew that I would be attending Luke Wroblewski‘s workshop in Seattle and An Event Apart in Boston. I was very much intrigued by the lineup of Interlink Conference in Vancouver BC, so when the time has come to register, I sure didn’t hesitate a minute and supposedly I was the first one to register. 🙂

There were some great events taking place in Portland itself and I got to be part of it in one way or another, so I got to take a break from all that packing and unpacking. Prior going to Seattle, I was very happy to welcome Jeremy Keith & his wife Jessica in Portland and show them at least some of its charm on their first visit to the city. After some sightseeing and Portland geek meetup, we drove up to Seattle where Jeremy was speaking at AEA and I was attending Luke’s workshop. I was very excited to see my fellow Spiderwoman and friend Geri who I’ve met at AEA Boston in 2010 and haven’t seen since. This was also where I got to finally meet Sarah Parmenter and spend some time together while showing her a little bit of Seattle on her trip that was cut short due to her bad ear infection.

In April, besides finally booking my flights to go back home after almost two years for two entire months, I also got to be guest on Dan Benjamin‘s podcast show The Daily Edition with his cohost Jen Simmons called Puck Yeah!.

May was most definitely a geek month as well. Attending AEA Boston was a one huge mega fest where for the first time all three Spiderwomen got to meet, hang out and have some fun together.


Spiderwomen with Eric Meyer
Spiderwomen brought Eric Meyer to his knees. Who knew?

Watch the Spiderwomen in first row doing the Thriller dance

In Boston, I got to meet so many amazing people, many of them I have been talking to on Twitter for some time but just have never met in person until then, or there were bunch of reunions there as well. Among the many, there were some amazing illustrators like Anton Peck and Brad Colbow, then got to meet the “other” Brad, Bridget, Gerardo, Kreshnik, Jen Simmons who ended up being also my roommate along with Candi.


With my European friends: Geert Leyseele (also known as “Mr. Trouble”), Andy Clarke and Veerle Pieters


This trip to Boston was most definitely eventful, lot of fun as well as tiring but still fun that I tried to capture through as many pictures on flickr as I could. 🙂

After AEA Boston, for three days, I went to visit my friend Trisha who since my last visit to the city has moved to Providence, RI. Those few days flew by but still managed to have a lot of fun with her friends that I either already got the pleasure of meeting before, or it was my first time. I sure hope to be back in 2012 and continue where we left off.



Dot & Faruk at Ping

Rest of the month of May sure kept me busy in Portland. I got to have two lovely guests stay with me who I also finally got to meet for the first time, Dot and Faruk. Faruk was scheduled to speak at Web Visions that I also got to attend during the day, and then practiced my tour guiding skills in afternoons. Later in the week, Tim Kadlec who was also speaking at Web Visions, joined us for few touristy ventures, as it was his first time in Portland as well. 🙂

After their visit, they headed up to Vancouver BC, where I joined them few days later to attend Interlink Conference. The first day, not only I finally got to meet with the lovely Dan Rubin & Naomi Atkinson but also Simon Collison, Denise Jacobs, Gavin Elliott, Andy McMillan, Jonathan Snook, Elliot Jay Stocks and Frank Chimero, but also got to play Dodgeball where our team of Hot Pink Elephants won.

The winning, “Hot Pink Elephants” Dodgeball team
Naomi, Sarah and me
With Sarah & Naomi

In addition, I also got reunited with lovely Sarah and met her hubby Stu. Yet again, this was a fabulous conference with so many wonderful people, filled with great ideas and sure left me inspired upon my return back to Portland where then later I got to be part of Indie Web Camp. On Flickr you can see more pictures from Interlink or Indie Web Camp.

Our Indie Web Camp gang

In July, I got to be part of CSS Summit behind the scenes as it was broadcasted from old ISITE Design’s office. Organizers Christopher Schmitt and Ari Stiles were in Portland for OSCON conference that week, so they needed a space to run the online conference from. Let me tell you that it was a lot of fun to be part of and can’t wait to do it again in 2012. 🙂 That same week, I got to put my tour guiding skills to test again when Remy Sharp was in town for the very first time to run his two workshops at OSCON. Seeing Remy’s & Jeremy’s tweets made me feel reassured that I did good. 😉

There was nothing else that I was more excited about this year than for my trip to Europe. I sure had an idea of things I wanted to do, places I wanted to go to and people I wanted to see. I had made my wish list that was definitely packed but was trying to stay realistic about how much I’d be able to achieve within those two months. I already knew that I would be making my first trip to UK. I was planning on visiting London & mainly Brighton where I was attending two web conferences: dConstruct and Update. In addition, I also got to see a little bit of Canterbury, Southend-on-Sea and Leigh-on-Sea as well.

However, besides spending some quality time with my family & friends back home, the top of my list was somehow after 13 years making my way back to France and my beloved Chamonix to get reunited with Véronique and her two sons I used to take care of and my best friend, Frédéric. Not only I got to see them all, I also got to travel through Switzerland a bit and even spend few days sightseeing Prague with my friend Zuzana, go see two musicals, theater play and even a concert as VIP.

Véronique and Frédéric
Been there, done that. 🙂
One of the many pictures of Chamonix I took during my visit after 13 years.

With all said and done, I have to admit that seeing my family was truly the highlight of it all. I loved spending any little bit of time I had with my nephews Joshua & Ryan, as well as Lukáško (my cousin’s 2-year old son) and his little sister Simonka, who was born just one week prior me returning to US. I have definitely had some memorable moments with all of them that to this day bring a smile to my face.

Wow, I still can’t believe what a great this year has been. Just by writing this post, it made me realize how blessed I was to go to so many different places and meet or hang out with so many lovely people and make more unforgettable memories that I’ll get to cherish for years to come.

Ryan and Joshua
With Marcela, Lukáško and the latest addition to our family, Simonka

Well, this is it! 2011 you were amazing and have truly exceeded all my expectations, and then some. Many thanks to everyone who made this year for me as special as it has been. However, today is the last day of this year and the one thing I’ll be doing at midnight, I’ll be kissing 2011 goodbye. I’ll be looking forward to see you all in 2012!


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