kristen reNae


Willamette Valley, Part 3

This past July was our fourth time attending the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. The past two years we have flown in a day early to experience their wine region, Willamette Valley.

Now if you have not been to the Portland area, the locals are a little particular in how it is pronounced… Say it with me… Wil-ahh-mit Valley.

As with any trip that involves wine, I start planning a few weeks in advance. We fall in love with new wineries each year, so I mix new vineyards with the option of visiting a couple of our favorites. I mean, wine not?!

Also, this year we had a couple additions to our wine tour. So, that always makes for a good time!

Photo credit Cathy Broadwell,

Here is how our Wine Wednesday trip went down:

Wednesday, July 12th:

Breakfast: Prasad. Recommended by our Airbnb hosts a couple years ago, Sarah and Patrick. The must try: Cashew Parfait. It is light and refreshing after a day of travels and before a day of vino. This year, they happened to be out of them by the time we got there. Major disappointment when that was out and my runner up was also unavailable. I tried one of their morning smoothies and it was really fresh and delicious!

After we all had some food in us, we loaded up and drove approximately one hour from Portland to the Valley.


Penner + Ash – you can find my review from last year, here.

Open from 11-5


Domaine Drouhin – first time here, and we absolutely loved it! Fabulous grounds and views, great wine and service! We will definitely visit this winery again!

Open from 11-4


Stoller – you can read my review here, from our first visit!

Open 11-5


I had a couple more options on the list that we unfortunately didn’t make it to. In between wineries we made a lunch stop at the Red Hills Market in Dundee. After our last winery we headed back to Portland to meet up with our fellow WDSers!.

Photo Credit Cathy Broadwell,

If you have been to Willamette Valley and have any recommendations, please comment below!


2016 Book List


The real purpose of books is to trap the mind into doing its own thinking.

Christopher Morley


Every year, my goal is to continually learn. Whether it be through books, courses, or experiences. In 2014 and 2015, I committed to reading 20 books each year! I was a little over zealous in wanting to accomplish this along with all of my other yearly goals, but I made it happen. Well, at least the first year I did, 2015 didn’t quite make the cut.

2015 was a struggle to get through book after book. I had to force myself to read, instead of actually enjoying and fully comprehending the material I was reading. So, in 2016, I reduced my goal to only read ten books. A number I felt incredibly comfortable with considering my previous endeavors.

However, by December 31st I came up one book short. I could blame it on traveling or maybe another ridiculous excuse, but in the end, I did not fully commit to this goal and I failed.

I failed because I didn’t make time for it, because I wasn’t prepared.

2016 didn’t feel like a chore or a checklist, which was way less stressful than previous years. So, coming into 2017 I’m sticking with the same goal. And I have more confidence that I will make it happen this year.

These goals define a piece of who I am and help me in other aspects of life. So, for me, I need to make it a priority and not a subsequent item to check off at the end of the year. It’s how the words in those books transform my mind that I need to focus on and what I want in the end.



2016 Book List:

  • Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin*
  • Choose Yourself by James Altucher
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  • Born for This by Chris Guillebeau*
  • Will it Fly by Pat Flynn*
  • Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves
  • The Wealthy Freelancer by Pete Savage and Steve Slaunwhite*
  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield*
  • How Full is Your Bucket? By Tom Rath

I would of course recommend all of the above, especially those marked with a star. And take from them what you will. But I would almost guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. How could you be disappointed in something that will only encourage you to think about yourself and the world you live in? What difference can we all make? It’s up to you what you do with it. Enjoy.

The book to read is not the one that thinks for you, but the one which make you think.”

Harper Lee

2017 book list is already under way… I’m thinking of revisiting some that I began with a few years ago. What books would you recommend?

30 Lessons I’ve Learned In My 30 Years


Growing up, you always hear about how much you will change over the years and the “if I only knew what I know now…”, but frankly, it went in one ear and out the other.

In honor of my thirtieth birthday today, I decided to reflect on the pretty incredible life I’ve had so far (including things that went out the other ear).


Here are 30 things I’ve learned to date:

1. I’m still trying to figure it all out. And I have a sneaky suspicion that this will be an ongoing trend.

2. You have two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you speak. However, don’t be a doormat and speak up when you need or want something. People are not mind readers.

3. Your childhood matters, but don’t let it control your adulthood. Shit happens, learn from it/grow from it.

4. Be humble and kind (you know the song). You never know what a person is going through.


5. Giving is better than receiving. By giving your time, money, or any other means, you are making someone else’s life better.

6. Be uncomfortable. Those situations I don’t want to be in, those calls I’m afraid to make, those careers I’m afraid to pursue, will all get me where I need and want to be.

7. Make mistakes. Failing at things are only lessons learned, which make for great stories later.

8. Don’t worry so much. Those moments will pass and eventually be forgotten. No need to worry about the past, the present, and especially the future.

9. To wake up each day and be grateful. It’s important to focus on all the good I do have in my life versus the bad or things I lack.


10. Strive to be a better version of myself every day. As I’ve read books and taken courses, I’ve realized that you really should never stop learning and improving. (Shout out to Duolingo who won’t let me surpass 12% fluency – and knows me all too well)

2016-05-11 08.11.14

11. Music is powerful. It can change the mood, bring back memories, and create new experiences.

12. You never know who is watching. It’s easy to get caught up in all of your own cares and thoughts and not realize that people do see the good and bad you do. Enrich others, even if it’s with small gestures, this will create a snowball effect.


13. Pay off debt. I didn’t have a plan in place to get rid of those horrendous student loans for a while, and with them almost gone, the weight is slowly being lifted.

14. Forgive. Something I struggled with well into my mid-twenties. After letting go and allowing forgiveness to take over, my life has been overjoyed with gratitude.

15. Para Amar e Ser Amado = to love and be loved; for so many reasons. 1 Corinthians 13:4.7-8.

16. Even if it means taking baby steps, a little progress is better than no progress.

17. My attitude and how I react, during good or bad times, is a choice. This ultimately effects relationships, opinions, and also has a domino effect on other life moments. Choose wisely.

18. Not everyone will like you, and that’s ok. Life goes on.

19. Live in the moment. Be present and enjoy the now.

20. Your vibe attracts your tribe: “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with” – Jim Rohn. Again, choose wisely.


21. Minimize. Simple living is a lot less stressful.

22. Write down goals. Something I didn’t take seriously until a few years ago, but since following through with writing them down, the power it has is amazing. Unconsciously my energy goes towards accomplishing those goals, short and long term.

23. Take care of yourself. Through exercise and eating well, this allows me to have energy and be at my best.


24. Always have emergency savings. This safety net allows me to live more freely without worry. Creating financial goals has turned out to be extremely rewarding.

25. Sometimes big changes in life are necessary. (Please see last six years)

26. Be honest with yourself and others; it is the foundation of peace.

27. Have a dream and follow it. I’m not sure at what age certain dreams slowly dissipated, but I now know that a quest is an essential part of a fulfilling life. (Shout out to my fellow WDSers)

28. Experiences will last a lifetime. Choose adventure over material things; I haven’t regretted it thus far.


29. Treasure your relationships. You never know what will happen tomorrow.



30. Remember to always do what makes you happy and be unapologetically you.




To whoever is reading this, thank you for being here and in my life xx