I have to say this has been one hell of a year. One of the biggest years so far in my life. So many major life changes happened over the span of the last 12 months and I have to thank you for being there for me every step of way.
Here is a quick recap of the highlights of the year:
- James Beard Foundation Awards Semi-Finalists Announcement: One of the greatest accomplishments for me during my tenure at the Charleston Wine + Food Festival was receiving a call from Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation, about potentially hosting their annual Semi-Finalists Award announcement in Charleston. The foundation’s awards are THE “Oscars” in the national culinary community and over the years, I have worked hard to develop an ongoing relationship with the organization. Izabella Wojcek, Mitchell Davis and Susan Ungaro became big supporters of Charleston, the Festival and are people I now call friends. So when Susan called about hosting the event, I did everything I could to make it happen. It was another amazing event for the Festival and for Charleston (thanks to my partner in it all–Randi Weinstein, aka Ms. Incredible), and was the last official event I was a part of with the Festival. It was a proud, incredible day and one I will always remember.
- “Retiring” from the Charleston Wine + Food Festival: People still think I was crazy to leave a job like director of the Festival. Sure it was a great salary, was a high-profile and somewhat powerful position and was a lot of fun to see come together every year after all the preparation and planning. But it was a lot of hard work, most of which was never appreciated or recognized. There was so much criticism, so many egos and so many heart and headaches. It was just not something I planned to ever do and I never wanted to do forever. Don’t get me wrong, I loved (almost) every second of it. I will never forget the initial planning meetings in many homes around town, will always cherish the amazing and long-lasting friendships I have with people all over this country, and will always be a supporter. I do greatly, greatly miss my two co-workers and partners in crime, who I now call my “sisters”, Randi and Sara and if I could have anything back, it would be spending almost every day with the two of them. They will always be the greatest memory and “gift” I gained from the experience.
- Reopening Home Team Public Relations: I knew I missed working in PR but I did not realize how much I really missed it. I am a connector and I love to help build relationship, to promote great movements and efforts, and to be in constant conversations with people. Having a 10 year hiatus from working in the field was also a great thing. It made me really appreciate what I missed doing for a living and hopefully makes me better at it. I have surrounded myself with the best clients and can’t wait to “take them to the next level” in 2014.
- Writing for The Daily Meal: I may not be the best writer, but I love doing it. It is something that provides an outlet to express myself and to share all the things I love about my life. So when The Daily Meal asked me to be their Travel Editor (and now their City Editor) for the Charleston section, I jumped to the chance. As you know I love this city and getting the chance to share it with the over 2 million people who follow and read the food and beverage site, is such a cool thing. I have tried to mix it up and not cover the same ole stuff everyone else does. More exciting things are in the works for the section in the future so please be sure to continue to follow.
- Turning 40: No one gets excited about getting older, and turning 40 was one of those occasions I was not overly thrilled about. But it could have been worse. I got to spend it in the British Virgin Islands with my family and then came back to a series of crazy night out with friends (some of which I do not remember all of–I blame Randi and Sara). I am embracing my age and it makes me really remember that life is short and to enjoy each day to its fullest. This is my mantra and the only way I will live each moment.
- Celebrating 10 years of marriage: Being married to the same person for over 10 years is a pretty big feat nowadays. My loving and supportive husband will be one of the first to admit it is not always easy being married to me, and that marriage in general can be hard work. But as long as you are with your best friend and support and love one another, it is one of the most important relationships you will ever have. We got to celebrate where we originally got married (in the BVIs) and I was beyond grateful that my dress still fit me. I feel like every day that has passed since our anniversary has just gotten better for the two of us and I hope I will be writing in another 10 years about hitting the next big milestone. Thanks RAP II for loving me so much!
Thanks again dad for being a part of this year’s major events and I look forward to sharing another amazing year together. And to all my friends and supporters, I love you all more than you will ever know. I am lucky to have you in my life and cannot wait to celebrate life together in 2014!