I don’t know about you guys but I kinda-semi-almost believed that the world was really going to end on December 21st.
That night, we were having a small dinner party at home with some of my closest friends from college. And I thought, if the world was really going to end tonight, then there is nowhere else I’d rather be – than be at home surrounded by my family and friends.
The world did not end, but that Mayan Apocalypse did give me even more reason to appreciate what I have and how truly lucky I am.
I’ve been writing yearly recaps and I made yet another list of the year’s highlights. I have many to choose from but I’m sticking to a dozen things that I’m thankful for this year.
12 Things in 2012
1) My Night in Paris – at the world’s most romantic city, I felt alive and happy.
2) Spain Summer Vacation – I went to Madrid, Cordoba, Sevilla, Ronda, Costa del Sol, Granada and Toledo with my good friend Fe and we had the time of our lives eating churros and jamon iberico, sight-seeing, shopping, and eating more churros.
3) The Best Thanksgiving Side Ever aka Channing Tatum of side dishes – sweet, spicy, easy to love, and with a propensity for wearing tight white tank tops. (Okay, maybe not the last one.)
4) Mohegan Sun Girls’ Weekend – I felt very special to be invited to spend a 3-day weekend at Mohegan Sun, complete with luxurious VIP treatment. Read about Part 1 and Part 2 and tell me if it’s wrong to want a Beluga whale as a pet.
5) Blogger Events – I attended and was part of a lot of fun events this year, including Taste of the Nation, Boston Bakes Charity Bake Off, Chile Olive Oil dinner party, a blogger party for the Boston Wine Expo (stay tuned for a giveaway next month!) and Sushi and Sake 101 at Haru, where I learned that I’m a better sake-drinker than a sushi-maker. I also went to a few opening parties; Georgetown Cupcake and Fogo de Chao were my favorites.
6) Spending a Sweet Afternoon with My Friends at an Ice Cream Picnic – during the summer, we had a small picnic along the Charles River, which is one of my favorite places in the entire world. We had such lovely weather, and it was really nice just relaxing with my friends, eating little snacks, and trying different flavors of ice cream.
7) Proof that Kale Really Is a Super Food – this year I ended up naming Mei Mei food truck’s magical kale salad (local kale dressed in a red wine vinaigrette, topped with feta, crispy panko, and a slow poached egg). I also got asked out by someone ten years younger.
8) Recipe Features – I was very flattered to have a couple of my recipes featured at some of my favorite food sites, including my Lemony Shrimp Linguini at The Kitchn and Mini Quinoa Patties at Gourmet. It was also very heart-warming to receive emails and messages from readers telling me that they made these and other recipes and how much they liked them.
When I moved to Boston eight years ago, I hardly knew how to cook (I didn’t even know how to boil an egg). I never thought I would have a food blog and that my recipes will be featured in other publications, and that other people will actually like them! So I am incredibly grateful and also proud. I know that with a new year coming up, most people are all about looking forward and new beginnings and anticipating all the things to come. But it’s also a great time to reflect, look back, and see how far you’ve come.
9) Embracing Kitchen Fails – I’ve also come a long way in letting go of (a little bit of) my control freak nature, and learning to accept things as they come. These include recipes that don’t always end up as I thought they would, like chocolate mousse that ended up turning into a ganache, and cookies that fell flat.
10) Giving Food Gifts – I loved all the big smiles and warm hugs and squeals of delight when I presented my friends and family with homemade goodies. This year, I made different kinds of cakes, multiple batches of cookies, and I even filled a dozen jars with Double Coconut and Cherry Granola to give away to friends during the holidays.
11) Spending the Holidays with my Family – I turn into a giant sap during the holidays, and this year I am so happy to spend Christmas at home in the Philippines with my family. Sure, we end up having funny self-timed photos, and I never stop complaining about the heat and humidity, but being home for the holidays makes for the sweetest ending to the year.
And last but not least…
12) YOU GUYS.
It is extremely humbling to know that there are thousands of you all over the world who read my blog, make my recipes, consider my restaurant suggestions, and spend time over here at my little place on the internet. This blog has become an integral part of my life, and you guys are a huge part of it. From the bottom of my chocolate-coated heart, thank you.
Though the holidays are (almost) over, I still wish you this: may all your days be merry and bright, and your lives filled with peace and love. Cheers to a New Year filled with Gratitude!