Monday, December 31, 2012

2012, you’ve been good to me

First there was the book. The parties, readings, signings and visits were definitely the highlights of the year. So many wonderful friends, old and new, who showed support and shared the sweetness, from New York to New Jersey, Kansas City to Denver. Thank you!

(And I can't forget the Portuguese translation!) 
  And then there were the travels. Zip-lining in Park City…

… hiking and mountain biking in Colorado, it was an adventurous year.

But also peaceful and rejuvenating.

 I loved getting to visit my beloved cities, San Francisco and Paris…

 … and also spending time in New York and Brooklyn. After all, home is where the heart is.

Speaking of home, I got back to Connecticut tons (and wrote about it), where I spent QT with my dear dad as well as cousins, aunts, uncles and friends.

I even got back there with my mom, when she came for a girl’s weekend in the city, and we visited family to watch the $20,000 action on Family Feud (oh yeah, Family Feud, baby!)

My 40th birthday turned into a week-long soak on the beaches in Grenada, grace à Hurricane Sandy (pas mal)…

…Followed by the culinary highlight of the year: dinner at Eleven Madison Park. 15 courses of brilliance, which included not only sturgeon, smoking on the table, and carrot tartare, straight from a tableside meat grinder, but this humble little picnic course.

Not to say the rest of the year was slim pickings. Cupcakes, lobster rolls, Manhattans… and as many meals at Buvette as I could manage.

2012 gave me happy times with my man…

(My man!)
Plus all the little moments. Minor league baseball…
Friends getting married...
 Friends, being together...

2012 was very good to me. I can only hope 2013 is equally fun, fulfilling, relaxed, productive, delicious, adventurous and filled with family, friends, love and health.

Most of all, I’m wishing the same for all of you! Happy New Year, everyone! Bon année!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry everything, to everyone!

I learned a new phrase in this past Sunday’s paper: Chreasters. People who go to church only on Christmas and Easter (love it!). I’ve never been an organized religion girl but like to take this time of the year to spend time with family and friends, do good for others, reflect on the past and look forward to the future. It’s the wrap-up of a whole year—a great excuse to be with those you’ve loved your whole life, to make gestures grand and small, and, of course, indulge in champagne, chocolate and decadent meals. Whatever the holidays mean to you, however you spend and honor them, I hope they’re bringing you happiness, peace, fulfillment and a pause from the norm. 

On the note of thinking of others, I want to thank you all! To every Francophile, chocophile and reader of books and blogs. To Jessica and Shana, April and Heather, and every blogger and tweeter I've met literally and virtually. To all the bloggers who participated in the blog tour last February and to everyone who’s reviewed Paris, My Sweet ever since (even to those who ripped it to shreds on Amazon). To Books, Inc. and Booktowne; Posman Books and Boulevard Books; Talking Leaves and GoodReads; White Bliss, Chelsea Market Baskets and Bread & Cocoa. To Three Tarts, Bosie Tea Parlor and Christopher Elbow Chocolates. To all the most incredible bakers and chocolatiers in Paris, My Sweet. To the Hentry Waldinger Memorial Library and the Ferguson Library. To the Joan Hamburg Show and KPAM in Portland, Oregon. To USA Today,, Parade and the New York Post. To Seymour and Le Citizen; Lola’s and Sugar Daze; Click Representatives and Paris on the Platte. To my Paris family, my dear, old friends in San Francisco, and my homebase in NYC who are my world... 

... to all of you, thank you for a most incredible year. It's been filled with challenges and success. And it's because of your support, enthusiasm, encouragement, love, appetite and curiousity that it will forever be the year I realized a dream. Thank you! Happy holidays! Merci! Joyeuses fetes! xo

Friday, December 21, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Vegan Mondays

It's been an unabashed couple weeks of eating, on the heels of a gluttonous couple of months. This weekend, I started trying to clean up my act (am I hedging there? Just a little bit?). I got a Whole Foods salad. Eschewed hot cocoa. Got the ingredients to start making green juices again. And went to yoga this morning. Bit by bit, I'm balancing my hedonistic desires with my healthy desires (along with my wheat belly, ich). Bit by bit, I'll get there. It's almost a new year, after all.

Coffee with almond milk (I switched it up from soy milk... but I think I prefer the soy)
Green juice (kale, green apple, cucumber, frozen banana, lemon juice)

Steamed veggies, roasted potatoes

Mixed nuts
Cocktails at the Ritz. But lest you (we) think all Ritzes are created equal, know they are not. My friend Cheryl and I have a wonderful holiday tradition of having cocktails at one of the swanky New York hotel bars. We've been to the Plaza, the Palace, the St. Regis and the Peninsula. Last year, we went to and loved the Ritz on Park Avenue South. Seemed logical that the Ritz Battery Park would be a safe deviation from midtown. It wasn't. The staff was nice enough, but the vibe and service felt tinny and generic. There was no charm or decadence, which was unfortunate.

This, on the heels of a similar dining experience over the weekend. Even though I haven't been blogging as much about food lately, you know I like my restaurants and sweets. It gives me infinite pleasure and satisfaction. So I looked at an opportunity to dine uptown, somewhere near Lincoln Center, as a fun and creative challenge. I researched and inquired and landed on A Voce in the Time Warner Center. But it was not great, not at all. The pasta was lovely. But the rest of the food was just okay. Our server clearly just wanted us to be done so he could get on with his Saturday night. And it was just the most unspecial dining experience I've had in a long time. Thank god I'm going to mom's this weekend, where I'll get homemade cooking... and cookies. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lasting visions

My last day in Paris, the weather gods finally said, "Let there be light!" et voila, sunbeams struck through the grey.

Otherwise, it was a damp and moody week. But beautiful all the same.

 The details and little moments...

...hidden corners and artistic displays...

Everything that makes Paris, Paris is what I can never get enough of.