2013 Highlights and Reflections

2013 came and went extremely quickly. Like all other years, it had its ups and downs but I enjoyed and embraced every moment, learned some precious life lessons, and looking forward to what 2014 has in store for me. Have a beautiful holiday and happy new year to all!

Here’s a look back at my 2013:

Kicked off 2013 with a family vacation in Lake Tahoe, followed by my big 30.
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Tried out different cake decorating techniques, and FINALLY learned how to make epi bread along with batards, rolls, and etc.

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A restaurant sliced and plated a zebra cheesecake I made so perfectly!!! Completed with vanilla anglaise and chocolate pieces.

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Annual tea party! Made some new treats and old favorites.
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With all the ups and incredible journey I experienced in 2013, there were lots of hardships and heart-wrenching incidences. Just got to learn to be stronger and pick myself back up quicker. Here are a few important lessons I learned this year-

If you don’t have anything good to say, then don’t say anything. Not everyone is ready for honest criticisms and constructive feedback. Sometimes a big smile is the best response one can give.

Today’s a new day and adventure for everyone. We are all out there trying to survive and overcome our daily craziness and obstacles. When you are having a bad day, someone else could be having a worse one, so always be kind to others.

Last but not least – don’t burn bridges because you never know if it’ll come back and bite you in the rear later.

Ok that’s enough of being Debbie Downer! I’m learning to live in the moment, life is short so treasure every minute and celebrate everything. If I want to do and accomplish something, there is no better time to do it than now. So as you can see, there were lots of FIRSTS for me in 2013!

Rode a horse in the Arizona desert, and also attempted to do some off-roading on a modified segway. Also threw tomahawks, shot pistols, and learned to lasso.

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Attended my first Giants baseball game.

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Learned how to make mozzarella and burrata cheese, and enjoyed meal after meals of mozzarrella madness!

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Attended both the Dickens Christmas fair and the Renaissance fair. Had a blast at both! And yes, I did dress up, because that’s part of the whole experience right?

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Obsessed with making mason jar salads. At one time, I had it everyday for lunch for 10 days straight.

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Mini vacation to celebrate our anniversary in the beautiful Santa Barbara.

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Explored Sonoma and loved Kunde Estate.

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My favorite kind of weekend getaway – NAPA! Fine dining and wining, all day, everyday. Wishful thinking, I know. My wallet was hurting.

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Short trip to Vancouver for a family wedding with day trips to Whistler and Victoria.

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Enjoyed the high tea at Fairmont Empress in Victoria, and saw some baby bear just hanging out on the side of the road in Whistler.
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Had my first LIVE Alaskan King Crab. 9 lb giant, with the legs spread out, it was almost as big as my carry-on suitcase.

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Very happy to be a part of beautiful weddings of our dear friends.
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This wedding took place at the SF Zoo.
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We got to feed to giraffes in our wedding cocktail attire, and petted iguanas and other exotic animals.

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Portland!!! Nonstop eating, a perfect culinary vacation. (Rose garden and Voodoo doughnuts)

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Visited the Tillamook factory and enjoyed tons of yummy cheese and ice cream. Also hit up several breweries.

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Andina in Portland downtown. A feast for our eyes and stomachs. Strolling in the forest along the Oregon coast was wonderful.
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Straight No Chaser concert at the Mountain Winery. Love them!!!
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Home improvement projects. Painted frames and set up a beautiful gallery wall in our dining room that makes me happy every time I walk by.

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Started doing seasonal juice cleanses and felt great. Also started to experiment with gluten-free baking.

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First time working with fondant as well as making a cupcake display. This was for a baby shower and it’s the famous “hungry caterpillar.”
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We closed 2013 with an incredible trip to Alaska, where we experienced an extreme -45F weather (note the frozen eyelashes and hair from being outside for just minutes. Quite the change from the beautiful 65-70F California winter), went on dog sled rides, rode snowmobiles, enjoyed caribou and reindeer meat, waited for Aurora Borealis for hours (but no luck!), visited an ice museum, sipped appletinis in hand-carved glasses, and enjoyed a 145F outdoor natural hot spring.

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I’m not big on making resolutions for the new years because most of them usually fall through by February or March. But I hope to stress less and smile more in 2014, live a healthier lifestyle, volunteer and do something meaningful to give back.

Here’s to the adventures ahead. May your 2014 be the best year yet!

xo

Emily

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