Wrapping Up 2013…Part Two

Okay, okay…I wrote the first part of this wrap up over two weeks ago, swearing I would write the rest of it the VERY NEXT DAY.

I meant I would write it today.  or something like that.  You see, I got lazy, or busy, or lazy.  It happens.  But honest, I didn’t mean to let this wrap up of my incredible 2013 linger quite this long.  Because really?  September through December of last year was chock full of great things, and I was a lucky, lucky gal.

In case you missed Part One, my January through August 2013 post and want to take a peek – you can find it here.  But this post?  Well, let’s kick this post off with September and go from there.


September was primarily filled with planning, prepping, and working my butt off with Paula trying to get our November Conference, called Mixed, up and running.  We had close to 100 folks to prepare for, and we wanted success, so that involved some long, lonnnngggg days.

Seven had also started back to school, which meant – Mama had to get used to crawling out of bed early to drive him to school.  I had gotten used to those lazy mornings of sleeping in!  But, it also meant that my days were a bit freer, and therefore I could do a little more work. IMG_9266 Lucky me!


One big change for me happened in September – I started doing cooking segments on a nearly NBC talk show – Daytime Blue Ridge on WSLS.  I’ve made some great girlfriends there, and have been back a BUNCH of times now, but that first segment, whoa, was I ever nervous!  Live TV?  Eeek!

Towards the end of the month, I flew off to Chicago for a dinner with the Food Integrity group, learning more about GMOs and other food facts.  Quick trip, but fun and informative, and I got to see my gal Roxi there, so bonus!

IMG_9529At the very end of the month, though, I was in for a treat!  The Idaho Potato group flew me out to Idaho for several days of everything POTATO!  I had a great time with old friends and making new ones, learning about 453 different ways to make potatoes, and maybe even a late night dip in a hot tub full of spud lovers.  Maybe.  I can’t exactly admit any of that.

From Idaho, I flew directly to New York City, which brings me to October…


I arrived after a bunch of delays into JFK, in and of itself the worst airport I have been privy to, and that’s saying a LOT.  A confused cabbie dropped me at an airport hotel close to 2am, I slept, and then found my way into downtown, where I checked in to my NYC HomeAwayFromHome, the Waldorf Astoria.  Sorry if this sounds bratty, but Good Lord after the debacle from the night before, I was so glad to be in such a place!

That weekend it was off to the Greenwich Wine & Food Festival, where I was a “Celebrity Chef” presenter, along with my chef friend Mike Behmoiras, who I teamed up with to make some crazy s’mores for the crowd.  I was also able to see a lot of great friends there in Greenwich – like Sam, Danielle, some buddies from college, and of course, Duff Goldman.  Being a presenter there was kind of surreal, but so much fun!

IMG_9717I wrapped up October with a few things…I turned Seven into a zombie for Halloween – in fact, a Michael Jackson Thriller Video Zombie.  He’s a huge MJ fan ( I swear, I didn’t encourage this, he did it on his own, he has a style and imagination all his own.)  He came home with about 42 times more candy than any one person needs in a year, so I’m guessing 0 success?

  I also celebrated Jon’s big 4-0 with a visit from college buddies who all came in from afar to stay with us for the weekend, tailgate, play, and eat cake, of course!  And, while they were all here that weekend…I had my hair dyed.  Pink.



Oh, November.  I don’t even know if I have the energy to type it up.


November took me back to Vegas for the second time in 3 months, this time for a week.  I was there with Dole to document the World Food Championships, held in DOWNtown.  I’d never been to the Old School Vegas before, and wow, is it ever different than the Strip. Fun, yeah, but different!

Remember Ally, who I helped out at the Dole California Cook-Off?  She was a big part of the WFCs, and came in the Top 10 of her division there, so congrats, Ally!  Not only was I there to cheer on Dole and Ally, I met some great new folks, including Ray Lampe, aka Dr. BBQ, and Matt Pelton, the manliest man I ever ran across who knows what brie is and how to use it!  Matt was also in the WFCs, and his Mac & Cheese was incredible.  He’s shared the recipe with me, and honest?  I’m too intimidated to attempt it.  Yet.


IMG_9871While in town, my new friend Melanie flew in all the way from Boston to play for a few days, so every evening we would taxi off to the Strip for fine dining (beware the “Open Food charge.  Trust me.), makeovers at Sephora, shopping, more eating, and overall big fun.  It was so great to have her there!

Right after returning home, it was time for MixedPaula came in early and we spent a few days getting everything organized on site.  What an adventure!  That Thursday, our speakers and a few sponsors rolled into town, we had some great food, and then EVERYONE descended on site!  We worked and ate and laughed all weekend, catching up with old friends and making new ones…what an awesome time!


IMG_0240A few days later, I celebrated my very first Hanukkah.  Chef Mike and his mother, Linda, are both Jewish, and they invited us to first night, where Mike made doughnuts and latkes – we had a wonderful time, and Seven learned to play dreidel – he loved it!

Thanksgiving was the next day, so we celebrated at my parents and my huge extended family.  It’s a tradition, and over 40 cousins, aunt, uncles an the like were there.  it’s one of the best days of the year!

As a last minute splurge, I bought tickets to a concert for Jon and I two days later…in Las Vegas.  I know!  Crazy!  We jumped on a flight to Sin City and arrived in time for to see Panic at the Disco and Thirty Second to Mars perform in a smaller venue – so amazing!  Just like with Melanie, Jon and I ate very well, visiting Scarpetta, Fix, and others.  Indulgence was the name of the game!  We also saw an amazing show – Absinthe – at Caesars Palace.  I’d do that again in a heartbeat.



Other than work, which I did a lot of, I can’t even remember December.  Yes, I know it was just a few weeks ago, but good gravy, the time flew by.

Christmas with the family happened, of course…so we did that.  Always so much fun – and this year, they didn’t make me make ANYTHING! (Lol, last year they surprised me by having me make a cheesecake, from scratch, no warning.  So I wrote a post about it.  Must’ve worked, haha!)


I wrapped up the month by jetting off to Los Angeles on the 30th – for real! – and finally, incredibly, making Gold Medallion on Delta.  Yay!  I flew out to help with the decorating of the Dole Rose Parade Float – and gosh, I can’t even tell you how incredible that experience was.  You’ll just have to stay tuned, as I have a post all about it coming up shortly.  Fantastic time!

So whew…that was my year.

It was a whirlwind, it was unexpected, and it was one of the best 12 months any one person can ever hope for.  I feel like 2014 will have to be a let down after a year like that, but who knows?

You never know what could be lurking just around the corner.

Happy 2014 to you!!

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