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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.

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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!!