Putting a Big Pink Bow on 2013

Why pink? Why not!

2013bowed

A highlights post seems to be just the right way to wrap-up the year, so let’s take it month by month, shall we?

January was quiet on all fronts as I took a hiatus to plot out the rest of the year. I did some spiffing up of individual sites and spent a lot of time plugging content into my Editorial Calendar.

The tan is for published posts.
I used a Google Drive template to build my calendar.

While it’s tempting to take a similar month this year to plot and plan, having just taken most of November off for the wedding and honeymoon I wouldn’t want to leave another big gap so soon.

February was a record month for the blogs, a total of 29 posts among all my different sites! Picking a favorite is tough, but we did refinish the antique school desk (or at least start it). It was the first fix-it project that Todd and I truly worked on together, side-by-side, and it was so pleasant I wanted to do more projects like that. We make a good team.

Antique Wooden School Desk Stained but not Varnished
Before the varnish went on, but it was still looking pretty spiffy!

We finished it just in time to use it to hold our programs at the wedding.

In March it was one of my cocktails that took center-stage. I’m certainly not alone in my love of the Samoa Girl Scout Cookie, nor am I the first to create a cocktail in it’s honor. I’m entirely biased, of course, but I love my Coconut Dream cocktail, created in honor of Girl Scout Cookie Week.

jwalker_coconutdreamcocktail

At the beginning of April I was accepted as a blogger for WeddingBee.com and was just over the moon over that. I’d pretty much wanted to blog for that site as soon as Todd and I decided to get married (I’d first found WeddingBee.com when searching for outdoor lighting options a year before). Of course, the day after I chose our Road Trip moniker I got my first speeding ticket in years. The Universe has a funny way of balancing the ups and downs, doesn’t it?

roadtrip

 

We introduced ourselves to the hive with a song parody. (No worries, I didn’t actually sing!)

As part of the Jewelry and metal arts, May saw me complete a project I’ve had on the to-do list for quite some time.

jwalker_beach_glass_ring_collage

 

I get more compliments when I wear this ring out than any of my other jewelry (well, except for maybe my engagement ring). Now just to make time to make more from my collection of beach glass.

In June I finally finished all the “research” that went into reviewing Meals in a Jar. Still one of the more fascinating books I’ve had the pleasure to review, it also got me to try pressure cooking and canning for the first time, as well as thinking much more about putting up food stores in case of emergencies.

jwalker_nb_jarmeals_mixes

 

July was another stellar month for reviews. In fact, it’s probably my most-commented-on review of all time, not just last year. You see, when I agree to post about a book–or any other product, for that matter–I insist on expressing my honest opinion. Since I’m a human being with lots of opinions (which I try to make sure are well-founded, as much as I can at any rate), there’s no way I’m going to like everything. One particular author was not at all happy with my opinion of her book. It made for an interesting evening reading comments, if nothing else!

shecooksshescores_cover1

 

By August things were really heating up on the wedding front. Since finding out a Low-FODMAP diet makes for a much happier tummy, we were particularly keen to make sure our brunch menu for the reception could be accomplished in a way that would be safe for me to enjoy while still satisfying our guests and not making too much extra work for the kitchen staff at Honey Lake Plantation.

jwalker_ttb_hlp_tastingmenu

Writing about our menu tasting was almost as fun as actually being there!

While I’d love to say September blogging revolved around things other than the wedding or food, it just wouldn’t be true! But an opportunity came knocking, that month, and I answered the door with gusto! My small fete for National Guacamole Day was a hit not only with the guests but also with the judge and out of the 10 or so bloggers invited to participate in the Dip & Sip Challenge, my Guajito recipe was declared the winner!

jwalker_nb_guajito_cocktail_preview

 

With the ups come those downs, though, and October felled me with an early cold and a case of pneumonia to boot! Having just enough energy to make it from the bed to the couch a month before the wedding didn’t make for scintillating blog content, nor did it make for much getting done. Thankfully I had a few small projects I could finish up while being otherwise still and quiet.

jwalker_ttb_diycorsage_boutonniere

 

And I got better just in time to finish up the last of the pre-wedding must-dos and get married in November! Todd and I then spent a fun and fabulous week at Disney World for our honeymoon. Blog content might have been scarce, but we made up for it in pretty massive honeymoon posts upon our return.

Our totally staged "getaway" | Photo by Pink Shutterbug Photography
Our totally staged “getaway” | Photo by Pink Shutterbug Photography

That was also the month that I pulled all the content from my food, cocktail, and wedding blogs and combined them over here with the craft and creativity posts. Now that nearly everything (there’s still the site for my cookbook, What to Feed Your Raiding Party, that stands alone) is on one site in December, I’m looking forward to getting back into a regular posting schedule for 2014, catching up on the backlog of reviews, and creating more fun projects to share.

My mini-tree is the most decorated part of our home, so far.

In addition to the reviews, recipes, foodie observations, and wrapping up our first pass through the 64 Arts, I’m also looking forward to incorporating some creative business posts and, if things go well/work out in our favor, perhaps some old-house renovation as well!

2013 was a pretty good year, all things considered, and I don’t know about you but I’m looking forward to what 2014 has up its sleeves!

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