Looking Back at 2013

This year was a BIG one.

It was a year filled with change and travel and great moments. I made a conscious decision to be more grateful this year, to take a few short moments every day and reflect on what I am thankful for – and I have plenty.

Even though 2013 is not over yet, I’m already recapping my Year of Gratitude. I’ve been so very fortunate this year, and as always I’m making a quick list of my top moments of the year. (You can see similar yearly recaps for 2010 , 2011, 2012.)

I have a few themes this year:

CAREER CHANGES

I made two big job moves this year. As some of you may remember, earlier in 2013 I left the ad agency that I have been part of for 7 years, and moved to a new advertising technology company. But I made another move again fairly recently, and now I want to share it with you guys guys: earlier this month I quit my job so that next year I can focus on finishing my masters and working on this blog! I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while now and didn’t really think it was possible, but I decided to take a risk and jump! I’m going to miss my company (and Beer Fridays) but I’m VERY excited to start 2014 as a full time student again and to continue growing Confessions of a Chocoholic. I already have a blog redesign scheduled for Q1 and I’m looking forward to spending more time here.

TRAVEL

I was able to visit a lot of new places in 2013, making it one of my favorite travel years. I checked off something from my bucket list (visiting New Orleans), went to cities and states that I’ve never been to before, and took in some beautiful views and delicious food.

Some of the places I traveled to this year includes: New Orleans, San Diego, Dallas, Vermont, Chicago, and New York. Now I am currently in Manila, Philippines.

BAKING AND COOKING

I cooked a lot more this year, resulting in more recipes on the blog. I really enjoyed it, and judging from your comments, emails, and social media posts (thank you!), you guys liked them too. Some of my favorite include these chocolate desserts:

Double Chocolate Crunch Bark – this involves things I am crazy about: creamy milk chocolate, smooth dark chocolate, a little bit of Nutella, smoky sea salt, and feuilletine, or broken pieces of crisp crepes.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Rice Crispy Cookies – THE BEST Peanut Butter Cookies I’ve ever tasted! Make these. Trust me.

Dark Chocolate Nutella Cherry Truffles – These are no bake, silky, decadent little truffles, studded with dried cherries that plumped up from being soaked in Cointreau. You read that right: cherries soaked in orange liqueur.

Of course I ate proper meals, too, and made some savory dinners as well:

Sangria Chicken – I meant for this Sangria Chicken recipe to sound fancy, but it’s not.  It’s really just a hop and a skip away from regular roast chicken. Or more specifically, it’s red wine and orange juice away from regular roast chicken.

Linguini with Pumpkin Cream Sauce – an indulgent tasting dish with a pumpkin sauce that was creamy and velvety, almost like an Alfredo sauce.

I also made a bunch of appetizers this year, or “appetizers that turned into dinner” – two of my favorites involved little pieces of toasted baguette slices:

Goat Cheese and Avocado Bruschetta with Hot Pepper Jelly – Beyonce was wrong: you are ready for this (hot pepper) jelly. It makes this goat cheese-topped avocado toast sublime.

Strawberry Ricotta Crostini – inspired by the pintxos I had in Spain, these sweet bites boast flavors that are slightly reminiscent of chocolate-strawberry cheesecake.

KITCHEN FAILS

Of course I had my share of kitchen fails again. I didn’t document them all, but some were beyond saving, like the burnt mini chocolate croissants…

… while I was able to salvage others, like these failed mini ricotta cheesecakes that turned into Mini Upside Down Ricotta Cheesecake Cups

These kitchen adventures taught me to make the most of what I have, and to never give up :)

GROWING STRONGER

Everyone has heard of the horrific Boston Marathon bombing, and even if I personally did not run the marathon, I was still shaken to my core. But while it was an unforgettable tragedy, it has also spurred so much love and hope in everyone. As a runner and Bostonian, this year has been an extra pensive and emotional one for me. I grew a lot this year, and I can say that I’m definitely a stronger person.

FAMILY & FRIENDS

I’ve developed a lot of friendships this year, and most of my friends are people who already feel like family. Of course I am also extra grateful that my family and friends in the Philippines were spared from the devastation of the deadliest typhoon on record, which hit the country last month. Being here in Manila for the holidays, seeing everyone healthy and happy, feels like the best gift. I am even more appreciative of everyone this year – for family and friends who live all over the world – and to me, that is the best way to close out a year.

THANK YOU so much for reading my blog, for all the comments, emails, Facebook likes, tweets, repins, Instagram likes, and so much more. You guys make my chocolate-covered heart grow a little bit bigger each year.

Have a wonderful, love-filled New Year, everyone! I just know that 2014 will be delicious.

   

24 Responses to “Looking Back at 2013”

  1. #
    1
    Monica posted December 30, 2013 at 9:25 am

    What a lovely post to round out to year, Bianca. Much luck with those major changes of going back to school and focusing on the blog. 2014 is bound to be exciting and rewarding…and there’ll clearly be more scrumptious food ahead. I’ll keep an eye out. ; )
    Happy New Year!

  2. #
    2
    Alaina posted December 30, 2013 at 10:42 am

    What an awesome year you had Bianca!! Here’s to a wonderful 2014! And I hope to see more of you within that year. :-)

  3. #
    3
    Shannon posted December 30, 2013 at 11:29 am

    What a great year! And it looks like there is much to look forward to in 2014 as well :) Looking forward to all it has in store!

  4. #
    4
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet posted December 30, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Happy New Year, Bianca! Congrats on the big career change, what an exciting way to end the year. Can’t wait to see the site redesign.

  5. #
    5
    Nancy posted December 30, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Bianca – miss your energy, smile and friendship here at the Q! Much luck at school and safe travels – :-)

  6. #
    6
    Happy Valley Chow posted December 30, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Looks like you had a terrific 2013! Can’t wait to see what 2014 has to bring :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  7. #
    7
    Samantha Angela posted December 30, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Congrats on going all in with your schooling! That takes a lot of guts. I hope that it works out well for you in 2014 :)

  8. #
    8
    yummychunklet posted December 30, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Great retrospect! Happy New Year!

  9. #
    9
    Vicky and Ruth / May I Have That Recipe? posted December 30, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Beautiful posting and recap. Risks often pay off in a good way. Good luck in this new coming year. Happy New Year!

  10. #
    10
    grace posted December 30, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    pretty super year for you, eh? i hope the last of it is just as good, and that 2014 brings even more excitement! :)

  11. #
    11
    christinaorso posted December 30, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    You are killing me with all these sweets! And I def want some grapefruit soda in my life!! Hope you have a wonderful new year!

  12. #
    12
    Megan posted December 30, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    So excited for you and what 2014 brings!

  13. #
    13
    Joanne posted December 31, 2013 at 8:17 am

    I am SO excited for you and your job change!! That is great. I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!

  14. #
    14
    Layla @ Brunch Time Baker posted December 31, 2013 at 9:06 am

    beautiful photos and beautiful food! Hope you have a Happy New Year!

  15. #
    15
    Kammie @ Sensual Appeal posted December 31, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Ohhh I love these posts – Its nice to see how much was accomplished in a year in terms of favorite posts, so much goodness! Happy new year 2014! xo

  16. #
    16
    vanillasugarblog posted December 31, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    It was a long year for me.
    I’m really looking forward to 2014; it’s going to be good.
    Right? :-)
    Happy New Year to you!

  17. #
    17
    the Squishy Monster posted December 31, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Still salivating over the sangria chicken!! A VERY Happy New Year to you and yours, Bianca!!!

  18. #
    18
    Kumar's Kitchen posted January 1, 2014 at 8:26 am

    A VERY VERY HAPPY & PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!!! :-)

  19. #
    19
    Liz posted January 1, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    What a yummy year! I’m eyeing those peanut butter cookies :) Happy, happy New Year!!!

  20. #
    20
    Molly Galler posted January 2, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Congrats on taking the leap! Can’t wait to see what 2014 brings for you and your delicious blog. Cheers to you, Bianca!

  21. #
    21
    Amy @ Elephant Eats posted January 4, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Wow, what an awesome change for you, Bianca! Congrats on taking the leap…I can’t wait to see what you do with this wonderful blog of yours now that you’ll be able to devote even more time to it. I’m so excited for you!!!

  22. #
    22
    honeywhatscooking posted January 10, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    What a great post and year you had. SO much great food… I need to visit NOLA soon. The Boston tragedy was the worst that happened.
    I have bookmarked your Pumpkin Linguine, looks awesome.

  23. #
    23
    Amy @ Elephant Eats posted January 28, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    So sorry I’m late to comment! I’m finally trying to catch up on blog reading. Wow, you really did have quite a year! Let’s hope that 2014 is just as awesome :)

Leave a Comment