If I had to give 2011 a title, it would have been "The Year That Kicked My Ass".

If I had to give 2012 a title, it would be "The Year I Got Off My Ass (And Even Whipped It Slightly Back Into Shape)"

As I begin my umpteenth attempt at blogging, I thought it would be appropriate to give you, the readers, a bit of background on me. 2012 has been a year of growth: many changes involving heartfelt good-byes, starting new adventures, and reuniting with my past. As a result, I hope that this partial recap of 2012 personal milestones will give you a decent glimpse of who I am.

January 2012: Hosted My First Swap Party
The last time I threw a party, my car got towed. So, you can't blame me for being a little nervous about the potential disasters that could arise from an innocent swap party. I can happily report that there was a great turn-out with stuff to swap and guests left with some nice finds. (Added Success: No cars were towed!)

January 2012: Fell (Back) In Love With New Orleans 
My first trip to New Orleans was back when I was in college. I signed up for an Alternative Break trip to help with Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. Even in its broken state, the city still proudly expressed its strong community, contagious jazz music, and "good for the soul" cuisine. It was love at first sight and first bite.
Years later, I found myself agreeing to take a last minute trip with my friend Ari where I would be meeting some of her siblings for the first time. I came into that trip very apprehensive of what I would find in New Orleans and expecting to feel like the odd man out. In the end, I walked away with an experience of rediscovering my love for all that NOLA has to offer and an honorary place as an adopted relative into Ari's family. (P.S. Our shared passion for food definitely brought us together!)

Nice Steamin' Pile of Crawfish!
Lost Tourist On a Streetcar - I play that role pretty well!
Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Red Beans & Rice: Trinity of Deliciousness
Me w/ Ari, My Puerto Rican Sister (She's stuck with me for life!)

February 2012: Said Goodbye to Delaware, My "Home Away From Home"
When you hear "Delaware", you probably think about that Wayne and Garth skit from "Wayne's World" ("Hi, I'm In Delaware..."). I'm convinced that this scene was created to keep all the crap people out of Delaware so that they wouldn't find out about how awesome the state really is. Okay, so it's not as glam as New York, and it doesn't even have the same shameless reputation as New Jersey. However, I never experienced so much love and kindness than during my 3 years in Delaware, where people welcomed me into their lives and into their families.
I remember the weeks spent packing up my things and going back and forth from my apartment in Wilmington to my parents' house in New Jersey. During every trip, I drove past at least 3 exits off the New Jersey Turnpike in tears, confused over how I was feeling so sad even though I was going back to what I used to know as home. Eventually, I realized that Delaware had become my home. And even as I write this, I am convinced that Delaware will always be my first "Home Away From Home". 
A Sweet Goodbye From My Coworkers
My Favorite Part of My Cozy DE Home - My Kitchen
A Kind Prayer Served With Peanut Butter Pie From My Church Family
My car packed and Jersey-bound.

February 2012: New Chapter: New Job + Hometown Reunion
At my last job interview, I remember walking out of the elevator and onto the grand lobby with its floor-to-ceiling windows. The view outside was of the Hudson river and that iconic New York City skyline. It was already dark and the lights of the skyscrapers mingled with the Christmas tree lights woven into the tree branches that surrounded the office building. 
"Unless a miracle happens, I'm never getting this job." I muttered under my breath. The job was just too good to be true and it would've brought me back to NJ/NYC - my "old stomping grounds", the home that I left behind 5 years ago.
A miracle happened. I got the job. 
It was the start of a new chapter that is still writing itself. Adjusting back to living with my family, navigating through a whole new set of office politics, organizing my life around a train schedule, and finding a social circle on both sides of the Hudson have all been more challenging than I originally thought. This mantra is currently on repeat:
I'm not telling you it is going to be easy, I'm telling you it is going to be worth it.

View of Downtown NYC From "My Side of The World"

May 2012: Reached Personal Milestones
I always wanted to be a runner. People who run look so strong and fearless. They're like real life running Nike advertisements with that "JUST DO IT" motto in big bold font closely following them. When I run, I'm a steaming hot mess. After 10 minutes, I'm huffing and puffing, with sweat pouring out of all my pores and curse words just flooding out of my mouth every time I gasp for breath. Based on this image, I'm not exactly your cookie cutter running role model. But after running my first whole mile in May there was a small voice inside of me that convinced me to do my first 5K at a local hot air balloon festival with my friend Tara. We both crossed that finished line without having to hop into a hot air balloon to complete it.

Tara and I @ The Hot Air Balloon 5K

2012 In 6 Words: It Was All About The Food
If you're going to walk away from this post only learning one thing about me, know this: Food makes me happy. This year food played a pivotal role in my life where it brought people together. Friendships grew stronger, memories were made, even awkward dates were bearable - all because of food.
 If you don't like food, reading about how glorious food is, or seeing food porn, this blog is not for you. Quite frankly, I don't even know why you're here...

Breakfast Magic @ Ari's Kitchen
Are you drooling yet?
Dinner @ My Apartment - Veggie Lasagna and Homemade Meatballs
(Salad is really just for display.)
Homemade Tortillas Being Made / Wilmington, DE
My First Cooking Class / NYC
My Favorite Barista (& Friend) Heather + My Favorite Breakfast Sandwich / LOMA Coffee, Wilmington, DE
She can run and eat! My Running/Eating Partner in Crime Tara
First Chicken & Waffles Experience (Not The Last) / Amy Ruth's, Harlem, NYC

So, there you have it - my (partial) year-to-date recap/personal introduction. I'll wrap this recap up in my next post dedicated to the eventful month of October, a month filled with adventures in London, my brush with fame at the New York Food and Wine Festival, my very first reiki treatment, and one nasty storm named Sandy. 


  1. and 2012 isn't over yet! loving the blog Mary :)

  2. Fantastic! Great job, Mary!

    I can't wait to help you add more awesome experiences.


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