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:


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.


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.


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.


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 :)


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.


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.


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