Happy holidays and
thank god it's finally 2017
🎄 💩 🎄 💩 🎄 💩 🎄 💩 🎄

please enjoy the highlights of my crazy year,
one month at a time.

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2015 Recap

So, there was no newsletter for 2015 because my life basically turned into a crappy country-music song.

I lost my home in SF of nearly 4 years—a lovely rent-controlled apartment. I lost my health. I lost my job. I lost my way. It was bad.

But » phew! « I never lost my dog, Jake. I owe my life to that sweet, cheerful little dude. "Rescue dog," indeed!

Slowly, we picked up the pieces and put them back in an order that suited us much better. Soon, we found a new place in Oakland to call home, I finally had the kick in the butt I needed to take my consulting business full-time, and my health slowly improved.

January 2016

Taking care of business. Thanks to my talented professional photographer (aka brother, Will), I completed a full rebrand of my consulting business. Success!

The best outtake from the photo shoot.

I'm a Brand Mechanic. Jake is Director of People Operations. He's a good boss.

Bonus family photo with the photographer himself.

Tiki time! 🍹

February 2016

Giving 31 the boot. Hurray for 32! 🎈

Had a lovely weekend celebrating with friends and family, from getting tiki drinks with Hoho, to binge-watching the final season of Downton Abbey with my mom.

March 2016

Partying like the Golden Girls. Last year, my BFF Liz asked me to be her maid of honor (and the only bridesmaid).

When the big day came, we went all out.

I'm talking about her three-day Bachelorettaway, of course. 😜 Road trip to Palm Springs for a spa day, then to Vegas for a fountain-view suite, old-lady gambling, a fancy dinner, and Cirque's "O."

Also, Jake turned 3! 🎈

Poolside preparation for proper pampering.

Having matching wine-glass sippy cups seemed to be a given.

Sipping Bellinis while waiting to be seated at brunch. Oh darn.

Needless to say, we did not have a traditional bachelorette party in Vegas.

I look forward to replicating this picture with her when we're actually old.

My aunt with one of her first doxies.

April 2016

Saying farewell. Growing up, my aunt Lisa was like a second mom to me. She adored her dachshunds, helped rescue thousands of shelter dogs, and was never prouder than the day I adopted Jake.

She was a rare person who made terminal lung cancer cry uncle for nearly five years. There will never be a feistier person.

I've lost other relatives before, but not in such a personal way: I was at her bedside when she passed away. It wasn't easy saying goodbye, but I'm honored to have been there for her final days.

May 2016

Witnessing the best day ever. My BFF Liz married the love of her life, and I had the honor of being in their wedding. So many feels!

These two couldn't be more perfect for each other.

Couldn't be happier for them—like, seriously, my face can't keep up.

June 2016

Celebrating love and inclusion. Thanks to some awesome motorcycle-group friends, I've been able to ride in the SF Pride Parade every year for the past four years.

Ironically, I won the costume award the one year that I put the least amount of effort into handcrafting my outfit. 🙄

Also, did you know that you actually CAN get a fishnet-patterned sunburn? True story.

I'm apparently some weird hybrid of a unicorn and a disco ball.

Waiting at the start of the parade route.

I finally won! 🏆

July 2016

Watching fireworks. Made the annual 4th of July pilgrimage to LA. Escape rooms and pool parties and so many dogs, oh my! Jake and I had the pleasure of Miss Mokiee's company while her pup-parents, Deanna and Alex, were on vacation.

Mokiee and Jake, ready for takeoff.

Jake loves a good beach day. And being in a cool beach tent.

Enjoying a sunny beach day in Malibu.

Mokiee hamming it up at the pool party.

We made it! Figured out the escape room before we ran out of time. Possibly with a couple hints. We also learned that we're so smart at puzzles, we're kinda stupid.

August 2016

Moto-camping in the woods. Year Two at the Dream Roll in the Pacific Northwest. Not only did I ride to Portland in one day (again), I rode about 2100 miles total over five days. Worked out to three days of riding, at 12 hours and 650-ish miles per day, plus two lazy days of "only" a couple hundred miles. Made some wonderful new friends and ran into some great folks from the year before. We even found a swimming hole to soak in and, more importantly, cold Cheladas to bring to it!

The trusty steed and all my camping crap.

I went to OR/WA to make some awesome friends... who live in the Bay Area. 😂

Finding a swimming hole on this trip was like trying to find the holy grail. In the tiny town of Trout Lake, a block away from the ranger station and where Guler Road dead-ends, there's a creek. And if you follow the creek around, you'll find a lovely lagoon encircled by tiny waterfalls, where you can drink beer and forget you're sore from riding. Victory!

Sailing the not-so-open seas. This was also our second time going kayaking, again to McCovey Cove. For those not in the Bay Area, McCovey Cove sidles up to the Giants stadium, AT&T Park in San Francisco. Jake maintained his adventurous streak from the first time we went. He ended up in the drink about 3 times, including one time where he tried to do the Van Damme splits between two drifting kayaks and failed. 😜 💦

Val fishing him out of the cove.

Erin helping pass me a very soggy, unapologetic dog.

Someone's happy about his sea legs!

September 2016

Official photo.

Re-investing in my career. I loved having my own consulting business and working remotely with a variety of clients, but an amazing opportunity came along that was too good to pass up.

I decided to move forward with a full-time job as the Director of Creative Services (and unofficial head of IT) at a boutique consultancy in Sebastopol. I adore our team, look forward to going into the office every day, and get to contribute my 10 years of tech and creative experience toward setting—and raising—the bar for a new industry.

This is the first time I've ever been willing to relocate for work, and it was a good decision!

October 2016

Moto-camping in the desert. Year Two for me at Babes Ride Out 4 in Joshua Tree. I got my new four-season adventure suit just in time for the rally, and it worked wonders in all kinds of weather—it stayed cool and breezy during hot Indian Summer afternoons, and warm and dry during a cold, drenching rainstorm on the way home! Made some incredible friends, got to lead two wonderful group rides, and enjoyed the last bit of heat in the desert.

Loving the ride down through the Central Valley / Coast backroads.

Being silly somewhere in Joshua Tree National Park.

We were fortunate to have a fantastic photographer along for the ride! Talented Spanish photographer, Kristina Fender, rode cupcake and took action shots like this one. Squee!

Moving back to the North Bay. We finally found a nice house to rent in Rohnert Park, between Santa Rosa and Petaluma, and we moved house the very next weekend. Thank god for movers. Totally not a busy month or anything. Sure beats driving over an hour each way to go to work, though!

Grateful for a new place to call home and for a bucolic, 20-minute commute to the office now.

Can't wait to start cooking in this fantastic kitchen!

Jake posing in front of the family-room fireplace.

Jake surveying his new en suite bathroom.

Jake helping me take a selfie in my new en suite bathroom.

November 2016

Celebrating Thanksgiving. I had the pleasure of hosting Thanksgiving this year at my new house. The year before, I built myself an 8' dining table, and I was so stoked to see it brimming with family, friends, and food!

Yes, I have Thanksgiving decorations.

Pretty proud of my first turkey.

Pumpkin pie with a foxy homage to Mr. Jake!

Obligatory Thanksgiving selfie.

December 2016

Celebrating the holidays. And this brings us to now! We're having a cozy, family Christmas at my house, and then I'll be having a bunch of friends over for the week running up to New Year's. I'm very lucky that our office closes down that week, and I hope to make the most of it!

Dapper dog.

It's Jake's 3rd Christmas!

Being silly.

Much love, 

Julie 'n' Jake

6383 San Simeon Drive, Rohnert Park, CA 94928  »  415.602.0901  »  jmeickhof@gmail.com