Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

Fashion Friday

Had a bit of a cold this week, but still did my best to dress up a little.
New Year's Resolution? To wear only dresses and skirts for as long as possible, with the exception of leggings and tights. I'm tired of boring work pants!

You may recognize this black bucket hat from the Target commerical... they soooo sold me! Must be the dreamer in me...

I totally wear hats.

Happy New Year's Eve!

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Travel Year End Review

Travel Photography

(Photo from Amsterdam here.)

I was blessed to have 4 weeks off this year. Although, I didn't make it to Europe this year, I did share lots of my travel photography from years past in this calendar year. But next year should be much different as things are about to change... since I did all my saving and planning for launching PHOTOgraphy Getaways, which kicks off in just 5 months in Ireland, France, & Italy in June... and Switzerland, Germany & Austria in September. The planning has been going on since summer though, and the work never stops. But it's all a labor of love. And hopefully this time next year, I will have an amazing collection to report for my 2011 Travel Year End Review.

My Travel Photography from past travels posted this year:


Read more here...


Read complete post here...

A great post... check it out here!

To read all Switzerland posts click HERE... which also features Zermatt & Lugano posts from 2009. Both gorgeous destinatations as well!

Versailles, France
Read post here...

Rococco Inspired Mansions
Isola Bella, Italy & Vizcaya, Miami
Read post here... and read the Belle Inspiration Vizcaya article here...

Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco

Read post here...

Bath, England
Read post here...

Spooky Travels
Read post here...

Other travel photography of interest:
Scott Rubey's photography of the Northwest, and Lynn Lynch's photography of Canyonland & Morocco.

My footsteps this year:
* Las Vegas * Tahoe Twice! *Tennessee * Ohio * South Carolina 3 times! (Beaufort, Charleston, & Savannah, Ga.)

You can catch my more "down to earth" travel posts in my Adventures posts,  or my Truckee posts, or read all of my MANY Travel posts, which feature anything from my photography to dream destinations to unique inns!
Way too many to list in one post... so if you're a newer follower with a wanderlust heart, you'll enjoy scrolling through them!

Happy Traveling!!

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Culinary Adventures of 2010

A Food Photo Diary

Get ready for a BIG post!

For those of you know me, or have been following for awhile, know that I love to document my culinary adventures. From my own adventures in the kitchen, to Food Network star meet & greets (Giada de Laurentiis & Jamie Deen, and restaurants featured on "Guy's Big Bite" & "Bobby Flay's Throw Down"), my audition for the The Next Food Network Star Challenge this year, my stint as the Fort Lauderdale Ethnic Food Examiner, and ALL my bakery expeditions just to name a few... needless to say this year has been one big Food Diary. So here it goes!!!

That's 80 pics! Just a summary of my culinary experiences...
It's been one DELICIOUS year!

Look forward to more in 2011!

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Wheatfield

An Artist After My Own Heart

So There!


The "Someday" Cottage...

I soooo have one of these too!
My someday cottage
has a quaint English garden outside,
a sunny porch with sun tea,
rustic sanded wooden floors,
a white couch,
a baker's style kitchen with white marble counter tops,
and a writer's table with a sunny view outside.

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2010 Books Reviewed

What I Read...

Well I completed 9 books this year, it wasn't quite my goal of 12+, but it sure beats my record the past couple of years. I'm excited to start my New Year's Reading Resolution of Classics, History, Biographies, and some Cookbook Reviews throw in for good measure.

1. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

The year started off with Dear John, my first Nicholas Sparks book. It was such a great book, but then the movie was released and it turned out the way I wanted to the book to end, but by that time it just seemed ruined and untrue, although I do like Amanda Seyfried and Tatum Channing in the movie. (For those who didn't read or see the movie... total opposite ending!)

2. Garden Spells by Sarah Addision Allen

The cover art of this book drew me to this book when it first came out, and I spent months picking it up and setting it back down at the bookstore, before I finally bought it in an airport and read it on my flight from Reno to Ft. Lauderdale. A tale of empowerment in women, creatively written with lots of food for thought!

3. In the Woods by Tana French

This was my first book for the Aventura Book Club, and I fell in L.O.V.E with the author, Tana French. About the Dublin crime squad investigating the murder of a teen girl, and how it ties in with the disappearance of children decades ago. This book left me frustratingly wanting more... so much so that I had to read Tana French's next book and therefore not participating in book club the next month because I was became so wrapped up in Irish crime.

4. The Likeness by Tana French

Turns out The Likeness was not a sequel to In the Woods, rather a spin-off with a new case, and the best supporting character from The Likeness as now the main character in In the Woods. None of my questions were answered in the second book, but the new undercover case of a college girl left me quickly turning the pages nonetheless, and wanting more from French. (I eagerly waited until July for her third book to be released.)

5. Look Again by Lisa Scottoline

Read for my book club. A quick read, with a predictable outcome. A mother discovers her adopted child looks strikingly like a child who went missing some years back. It was a true, The Face on the Milk Carton take 2.

6. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Surprisingly I struggled getting through this book prior to the release of the movie. All the whining and self-loathing that one goes through in a breakup, leaving you just want to shake the main character, and say, "Get over it already!" But I'm glad I read the book before the movie, because I really did appreciate the movie. Who wouldn't want to travel for a year to "find oneself"?

7. Faithful Place by Tana French

After waiting for it for a few months, it was finally out! But sadly, it didn't really compare the first two novels. This one was a little more predictable, and ironic that yet again the members of the Murder Squad have a past involvement with a case dating decades old. All three books by Tana French show a realistic side to the inner battle it's members go through to protect the emotion of their involvement with each case and how they struggle ethically.

8. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Another book for Aventura Book Club. I read it quick because I was intrigued by the movie due out in 2011 with Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson. The idea of the circus has always been a little entertaining. But the heirachy system and the truth in the way it's employees and animals were treated was what made this story great. You will understand why an "elephant never forgets".

9. Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Pilot by Bruce & Andrea Leininger with Ken Gross.

I loved the concept of this book. And if it really is true, then I love it that much more. Although a struggle to get through the first half, I found it fascinating in the last half. About a WWII pilot who died in combat, and whose soul is reincarnated in a little boy over 50 years later, and the family's quest for answers half a century later. Read more HERE.  

To Read all Books & Hollywood posts again from this year, click HERE.

What were some of your favorite books this year?

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Monday, December 27, 2010

A Year in Review

My Year in 2010

I can't even begin to cram a whole year in one post, but this post contains highlights from this year. It has been a year of extreme highs and lows. I've had days that were harder than anything I've ever experienced in my whole life, ones worthy of the phrase, "don't sweat the small stuff".  But I've also had moments where dreams really do come true, like meeting my long time food idol, Giada de Laurentiis, running into another Food Network Star, Jamie Deen, and starting my own business that combines both my love of travel and photography... PHOTOgraphy Getaways. So here are some of the snapshots...

January - Cuddling in the winter.

February - 14 Days of Love. Ski Lesson in Tahoe.

March -  Work, work, work.
April - Meeting my idol, Giada!

May - Meeting Jamie Deen & Our trip to Beaufort, South Carolina.

June - My 2nd trip to Beaufort, and Savannah & Charleston for soul searching...

July - 4th of July in Ohio.

August - Visiting my family inTennessee.

Launching PHOTOgraphy Getaways.

September -  Weekend Photography...

October - Las Vegas & Truckee.

November - Holiday Planning...

& More Photo Shoots

December - Christmas in Beaufort.

More year-end reviews to come this week!
What are some of your highlights this year?

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Author Interview

I'm very excited to be able to share my author interview with you! Many people have asked questions about my book, 'Running Away to ...