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It sure has been one heck of a year here at Smells Like Home!  I considered not writing this post because as each year begins to close out, I tend to become very reflective and introspective…and I almost felt like I didn’t have a lot to say here without doing a recipe post.  But the more I thought, the more I felt the urge to come here and type my thoughts to you rather than keeping them inside.  After all, it is because of you, my readers, family, and friends, that I am where I am today.

This year, I feel like I have grown, not only as a blogger but as a person and my experiences have brought me places I never expected to be.   I feel like things have taken off…like I have taken off and am flying amongst the clouds. I have pushed myself harder than any year in recent memory.  Professionally, I took on a new position at the end of 2009 which blossomed into both a stressful and highly rewarding job this year and I’ve lead and mentored a research team like I never thought I could, getting a huge project off the ground and running literally from square one back in January.  Personally, Kyle and I found out that we’ll be moving to a new home early in 2011 after waiting 4 years to hear confirmation of the State of CT’s buyout of our neighborhood. We have been so elated with the prospect of a new home and the ability to take the next step in our lives since the news arrived in our mailbox and we already have big plans for whichever home we choose!

In my blogging world, from the time that I launched the new design of Smells Like Home in May, things have been moving and growing.  I feel like my photography has morphed into something I’m truly proud of since upgrading to a dSLR earlier in the year, then purchasing a macro lens, and recently receiving a Speedlite flash.  It has been a huge challenge teaching myself about the ins and outs of food photography, but it’s a challenge that pushes me each day to learn more and more.

In August, I attended my first blogging workshop, Big Summer Potluck, and made some great connections with other bloggers.  I began to focus on what really matters to me about my blogging: being authentic and staying true to myself.

Later that month, I prepped myself for my interview with the Barefoot Contessa.  Talk about butterflies!

September brought Cupcake Camp New Haven and the start of Project Food Blog.  I really had no idea what I had gotten myself into with PFB until after the results were posted for Challenge #1.  I truly never thought I would make it past the first challenge but ended up making it to Challenge #7.  Talk about a mind-blowing experience!  Project Food Blog definitely pushed me past any conscious or subconscious limits I may have had.  High levels of stress and many sleepless nights were rampant during PFB and whatever feelings of inadequacy and lack of confidence I had were dually amplified and quieted during each challenge.  Striking a balance between fear and inner strength was paramount in pushing myself further than I’ve ever done since I started blogging in 2007.  I haven’t formally said anything here about PFB since the Challenge #7 results were announced but I want to thank each and every one of you for your huge levels of support during what was one of the most stressful and rewarding times of my life. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.



Things started to quiet down after PFB ended but that’s not to say that December was boring.  In fact, Kyle and I took a day to go to NYC for the Barefoot Contessa’s book signing!  Yes that’s right, I met the Barefoot Contessa this year!  The photos aren’t fabulous but I had a chance to personally say hello to Ina and introduce myself.  What a day to remember! I also attended a Virtual Holiday Party with some of my favorite blogging friends! Distance be damned!

All in all, it’s been a truly wonderful year. Thank you for keeping up with me, for reading, for commenting, for sharing.  You have no idea how invaluable you, as my readers, have been to me this past year.  Happy New Year!!

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Leave a Comment

  • December 31, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    Sounds like you’ve had a terrific year. It’s been a joy seeing all your new creations and I can’t wait for more. I can sympathize with what it’s like to get a dSLR and have to teach yourself everything about photography/food photography from blog reading. I got mine a week ago for Christmas and I can’t wait to start to understand the ins and outs in 2011.

  • December 31, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    Sounds like a great year! I’m looking forward to seeing what you have in store for 2011.

  • December 31, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    Tara, this is a great post – I totally agree that something just clicked with your blogging this year and it went from great to awesome! I always look forward to your updates! here’s to a great 2011 for you and Kyle!

  • December 31, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    It seems like you did have a great year! Although I met your blog later on, with the foodbuzz competition, i really feel like I was lucky to find your blog. Better late than never, right? You are indeed a great inspiration. I’m looking forward to see what you have for us in 2011. Happy new year!

  • December 31, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    It sure sounds like you had an incredible year! It is amazing how much growth can occur over such a short span of time. Have a happy new year!

  • December 31, 2010 at 6:14 PM

    Can I say all of those may be favorites? Beautiful photos! Have a wonderful new year, and here is to a wonderful 2011!

  • December 31, 2010 at 6:51 PM

    Sounds like 2010 was a great year for you. How absolutely thrilling that you met Ina – she is my food idol. Congrats on your new job and house. You have a wonderful blog and I enjoy reading your posts. Happy, Happy New Year!!!

  • December 31, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    Happy New Year Tara! (I can say that cause it’s past midnight here!). Wonderful post, I love your blog – in fact we made your orange chicken tonight to celebrate our New Year’s, it was awesome!!!

  • Ann
    December 31, 2010 at 10:13 PM

    This is a great heartfelt post. I am inspired by your blog. Happy New Year!

  • December 31, 2010 at 10:38 PM

    Looks like you had a wonderful 2010! Happy new year!

  • January 1, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    Congrats on a great year!

  • Kristen
    January 1, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    Congrats on a wonderful year with wonderful memories! Miss you!

  • January 2, 2011 at 5:00 AM

    Happy New Year ♥
    Moltissimi Auguri
    per uno splendido 2011

  • January 2, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    Happy New Year! I am glad 2010 was a great year for you and may 2011 be even better!