Oops! I meant to only take a few days off after NaBloPoMo. Ah well. What can I say! December flew by. I blinked and here we are at the end. The end of December and the end of the year.
Looking back, I tried to take on many different things here in 2013- French Friday’s with Dorie group, Tuesday’s with Dorie Baking group, Photo 365, the Gratitude project, NaBloPoMo, a host of book reviews (does that count towards my ‘read a book a month’ resolution I made at the beginning of the year?), new recipe development and a few product reviews. Some things I succeeded at keeping up with and sadly, a few I left by the wayside. Life gets in the way like that.
There were conferences and travels- I attended Food Blogger Connect in London and to Eat, Write, Retreat in Philadelphia. I flew back and forth across the pond to England three times this year- each for nearly three to four weeks at a time- and then had the pleasure of explaining to a UK border agent that 12 weeks is not nearly a majority of a year. (Math must have eluded that one.) I was also lucky enough to get to Paris by way of the EuroStar Chunnel. A fantastic, though too short of a trip. (It’s in the plan for a long weekend again soon.) Then there was a really great trip with the kids to Disney World and Universal Studios for a week. All produced terrific memories with the exception of the nightmare of packing, unpacking and multiple loads of laundry that each trip generated. But we’ll just forget about that part.
I also got to be a tourist in my own city as friends came to visit from Brazil and from England. We saw lots of sights, took in some shows and did a lot of shopping. Of course we ate, drank and talked until the wee hours too.
There was learning too. I participated in Monica Bhide’s incredible Food Writing course. The exercises were both challenging and thought provoking. I highly recommend it if you have the chance to take it. Her feedback is invaluable and her talent immense.
There was lots of baking and cooking and eating in at home. But I also tried many restaurants- some awesome ‘hole-n-the wall’ places and some with Michelin stars even. A lot of wine and cocktails passed through these lips over the year and there were opportunities to attend wine and Champagne tastings too, expanding my fondness for drink even more.
Thankfully, there were several work projects, but not enough to make any kind of substantial living, but I am grateful for the ones I had. I designed several websites and managed a few client’s social media accounts. I learned a lot more HTML and CSS this year too! Then there was my own social media, I opened my Google+ account and I am still trying to remember to post there too- a task I am still working on. Forget Instagram. My oldest had to fill in the past few months for me because I didn’t remember to post- instantly- as the name implies I should (per her-“but what about #latergram?” I begged, only to endure a silent eyeroll. ). Ah well, so I am sorry for spamming you with photos over the past few weeks in an attempt to catch up. And Vine? Well, I have it on my phone but have not made one video. Yet. (I hate how I look in photos (no selfies!) and forget video- yikes!!!!
Speaking of social media, I did manage to streamline my Facebook pages all into one- I closed Kitchen’s FB page and now only add friends to my personal profile. After all, it’s just me and food is always the topic of choice (plus a few kid’s shots now and again). It was a pain being redundant in my posts. On the flip side though, I still have three Twitter accounts, two Flickr accounts and two Instagram accounts. Those I can’t decide whether to merge into one or not. I think I won’t since I post more family stuff on one vs. on Kitchen. But you never know! I also started a couple of other blogs but they are in the design phase and have been for most of the year. I am not sure whether they will ever actually surface but they are waiting in the wings if I chose to bring them to life. I have a love of buying up URLs and kicked myself recently for letting one go and now, it’s considered a Premium URL and I’ll never be able to afford to get it back. Lesson learned. Have a good one. Keep it.
All in all, it was a pretty good year.
Of course I could stop right there- and let it be all rainbows and unicorns…but… that wouldn’t be very truthful now would it? As with real life, there were some pretty crappy moments too. There were illnesses, a lot of legal and financial crap to deal with and there was a ton of family drama too. There was really, way, way too much (children look away) shit to deal with. But I trudged through the muck and in spite of it all, I made it to December relatively unscathed, wiser and with more of a sense of resolve. Next year I get make it even better.
One of the things I am going to attempt to resurrect from this year is cooking with the French Friday’s with Dorie group. I loved it and was sad when I stopped. Travel and life stuff that consumed my time and I just could not keep my commitment up for this group. I already have the full month of January’s menus on my editorial calendar.
And that’s another thing- I have an actual editorial calendar in place. It’s not totally finished yet, but this simple, often overlooked, document will make it so much easier to keep up on what needs to be posted when, and laying out much of the content ahead of time will take the guessing out of what am I going to write about this week. Organization will be the key to success in ’14.
And lastly, this is the year I hope to return to full time work and lean back in to the career I once had. That’s a huge goal that I need to accomplish for many different reasons.
I won’t be traveling as much this year, although there will be a few trips here and there, they won’t be as long or as frequent. But that is okay. I will have more time to focus on building and rebuilding the here and now. Although England and Paris will be soon.
Not only do I hope to continue to grow as a writer and a photographer but as a human in general. Learning, growing and being grateful, expressing love and kindness and empathy in every part of my life is what I strive to achieve. Being a nurturing friend and a cheerleader for my peers. Letting go and being happy.
So look out 2014, I’m on fire!
May you all have a blessed New Year full of love, family, friends, good health, prosperity and excellent food and drink!
From my Kitchen to Yours,