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Auld Lang Syne: Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013

Thank you for being a part of my 2012!!
Like many of you, I received an email from WordPress today with a statistical review of my past year blogging. In 2012, my most popular post was my rant reflection on the then recently-published book, The Manhattan Diet. In the running for almost-as-popular were my posts on how to cook juicy pork chops, how to choose a cutting board, and how to make crustless quiches.

Most visitors came from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Absolutely no guests came from China. Not a single one.

This can only mean one of two things:

A) Either WordPress is blocked by Chinese censors for being a corruptive Western influence.
B) Or I have been shunned by the entire nation for being of Chinese descent and not knowing how to steam rice or use a wok.

Yeah. I bet it’s probably B too πŸ˜‰

All these tallies have inspired me to do my own end-of-the-year wrap-up, especially given that 2012 was an eventful year for me.

First and foremost, I finally got my PhD after years of reading, writing, teaching, and kvetching. Finishing the dissertation marked the end of a seemingly endless road and the fulfillment of a long-held goal. This year, I don’t think that I have ever pushed myself harder. I also don’t recall being more miserable, scared, panicked, anxious, lonely, or queasy in my life.

At the same time, I never felt prouder, stronger, more independent, and confident.

Above all, I felt loved.

So as 2012 fades to black, in this post I would like to take this opportunity to extend a heartfelt thank you . . .

To my family.

Mom and Dad, even though 2012 has been a difficult year for you too, you never wavered in your support. Thank you for always believing in me. I love you both so much.

Grandpa, you were my rock. You saw me every Sunday for weekly dim sum. You kept me grounded and fed me dumplings. So many dumplings . . . You also gently reminded me that it’s not a given that a Baconbiscuit win her first Bacon Takedown. Thank you, Grandpa πŸ™‚ I love you so much!

I am also thankful for my extended family of cousins, aunts, and uncles. You never failed to make me laugh at myself. For that, I am grateful. Much love to you all!

To my friends.

Does a body good?I reached my limit 36 hours before my dissertation defense. I was still writing. I was also delirious, going on about six weeks of minimal sleep and three weeks of no sleep. I was mentally, emotionally, and intellectually drained. I was hopped up on caffeine and nicotine too. Just when I was about to fall apart completely, Laura arrived at my door with this glorious pile of junk food.

She made me laugh out loud with this wacky assortment of things that must be part of a pregnant woman’s dream. I was so overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the gesture that I burst into tears. Thank you, dearest Laura. You are so treasured!

Sharon and Joseph, how amazing are you for surprising me on my birthday with cupcakes, Italian cookies, and sparkling water? I don’t know how you maneuvered all those candles up my building’s stairs without setting off the fire alarms. You two made me cry too!

Maritess, you always picked up the phone when I called, even when it was a 4 in the morning. I love and miss you, Babe. You are the best Bestie!

Thank you to Tina and Bob MacCheyne from High Point Farms for your friendship and loving support. Your kindness fed me both spiritually and physically.

Giant hugs to Astrid, Ben, Banki, Beth, Birgit, Brie, Niki, Dave F., Oliver, Carol, Ron, Kerri, Anne, Dan, Chantale, Chris, Deb, Clarissa, Ipek, Darya, Jason, Dave C., Joyce, Dave L., Jenn, Dave M., Donna, Emma, Ted, Emmy, Eri, Eryn, Eve, Gideon, Deena, Guillaume, Laura P., Helen, Heather H., Hilary, Jamie, Jas, Preeti, Jennie, Jessica, Peter, Jill, Jimmy and the crew at Jimmy’s 43, John B., John M., John T., Kalay, Katherine, Kelly, Kie, Maggie, Manya, PΓ€r, Margaret, Matt, Megan, Melanie, Melissa, Michelle, Steve, Mike, Nicole, Sebastian, Siobhan, Spencer, Susan, Sylvie, Tanya, Tomoko, Victoria, Zach, and Heather M.

I feel so fortunate to have met you. I would never have made it through 2012 without your friendship. Much love to you all!

Of course, I could never overlook all the wonderful people that I have met through blogging. Thank you for inviting me into your lives and your kitchens. Your stories sustained me as I ate vicariously through your photos. You were my other lifeline when I was living like a hermit in the library basement. Some of you even came through New York and lured me out of my cave πŸ™‚ Thank you for checking up on me and for keeping me sane!

Special blog shout-outs to Ruby and Wheaky, Emmy Cooks, Ugly Food Tastes Better, SybariticaHumble Feast, Cauldrons and Cupcakes, Expat EdnaAmy Glaze’s Pommes d’Amour, Unbrave GirlSouthern Food Scrounge, Gourmandistan, Live2EatEat2LiveHappiness Stan Lives Here, Susan Eats London, Garden Correspondent, Frugal Feeding, Cooking in Sens, Kolpona Cuisine, Bunny. Eats. Design., Paintbox KitchenMon chat m’a ramenΓ© un chipmunk!, Belle Grove Plantation, Mixer Upper, Going Dutch, In Her Chucks, 17 Bites, Inherit the SpoonMama Miyuki Easy Pantsy, Rabbit Can Cook, The Hungry Egghead, testerfoodblog, and Back Road Journal.

To the kind bloggers who nominated me for awards.

When I first started blogging, Adele at Artistry by Adele nominated me for the The Versatile Blogger Award. I was flattered and very touched by the nomination. Unfortunately, the follow-up post to Adele’s languished in WordPress limbo (aka Draft Status). Why the paralysis? At the time, when faced with the prospect of nominating 15 bloggers in turn, I realized that I didn’t know 15 bloggers!

Since then, Tanya at Humble Feast has nominated me for the Liebster Award, Nicole at Cauldrons and Cupcakes and Mixer Upper have nominated me for the Sunshine Award, and Tahmina at Kolpona Cuisine has nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award again! I got picked for the Versatile Blogger Award by John at Sybaritica and Cendriani for the third and fourth times. Mama Miyuki nominated me for the Family Bloggers Award, and Rabbit Can Cook reached out and awarded me with the Inspiring Blog Award.

All I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart. I feel so honored and touched that you thought of me and my blog. Thank you so much!

Now, after two and a half years of blogging, I can certifiably say that I know more than 15 bloggers πŸ™‚ However, I have to admit that being tasked with having to nominate bloggers in return is rather intimidating. I quite honestly don’t know where to begin; there are just too many deserving writers out there.

Therefore, I am going to deviate a little bit from the norm. If I gave you a shout out in this post, I am nominating and re-nominating ALL of you for ALL of these wonderful awards πŸ™‚ If I have left anyone out, please know that it was not intentional.

Thank you for your support and congratulations to you all!

As per the rules of some of these awards, here are:

Seven things about me:

1. I learned how to carve wooden sculptures when I studied abroad in West Africa. You know the ones you see in stores or on the street? Of abstract men and women? I can make those.

2. I was a vegetarian for almost 12 years. I didn’t do it for ethical or moral reasons. It was a dare that got out of control.

3. One of my most prized possessions is an autographed photo of Mr. T. He was doing an event with Mary Lou Retton at Planet Hollywood. His brass knuckles spelled 1-800 CLCT. It took him three tries to get my name right.

4. My favorite flower? I love peonies. They are just beautiful. I love daisies too πŸ™‚

5. My favorite book is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. No, it is not French literature πŸ™‚

6. My favorite words in the English language are dumpling and ampersand.

Ampersand is actually quite fascinating. Did you know it was once the 27th letter of the alphabet?!

7. All the countries I would most like to visit start with the letter “I”: Israel, Iceland, India, and Indonesia. It wasn’t intentional!

To my fellow perfume lovers.

As some of you may know, I have a bad perfume habit that rivals my bacon addiction. I have always loved perfume, but it wasn’t until this summer that I gave what I wore as much thought as what I ate and drank.

I knew in the lead-up to last summer that I wasn’t going to have a vacation this year. Traveling, preferably abroad, is one of the things that I look forward to the most each year. It was too sad to think that I would be spending my time squirreled away in the sub-basement of my university library instead.

So, I thought, if I couldn’t physically travel, maybe I could travel through perfume. I dug out all the decants and samples that I have accumulated over years and wore them all this summer. I went to fragrant India, filled with incense and spices. I traveled to jungles bursting with lush foliage, coconuts, and hot, sweaty tropical flowers. I even went to space with more abstract and futuristic scents.

In the process, I learned so much and met so many wonderful perfume bloggers along the way.

A special thanks goes to Birgit at Olfactoria’s Travels, Victoria at Bois de Jasmin, Undina at Undina’s Looking Glass, The Candy Perfume Boy, The Black Narcissus, Freddie at Smellythoughts, Lucas at Chemist in a Bottle, Lanier at Scents Memory, Portia at Australian Perfume Junkies, The Alembicated GenieThe Scented Hound, and Ari at Scents of Self.

Thank you all for writing so well that I couldn’t help but join the conversation πŸ™‚

To everyone:

As I am spending the new year back home with my parents and brothers in Indiana, it is only fitting to send off 2012 with Straight No Chaser‘s version of Auld Lang Syne.

Here’s to new adventures in 2013!

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51 Comments

  1. jaspreetksingh

    Here’s to 2013 and another fantastic and growing year of coolcookstyle!
    Happy New Year!

  2. Since my library took over my life, your blog is the one I most miss keeping up with! I am still cooking a fair amount, but snapping photos and writing up recipes and reading everyone’s lovely food writing is something I’ve had to take a break from, at least for now. Thanks very much for the sweet shout-out. Hope to be back again soon!

    • Tanya! I’ve missed keeping up with you and your blog too! I totally understand having to take a break though. Blogging can be a big time commitment, both in terms of writing and posting and in terms of keeping up with the community. I had to take a big hiatus during the diss, and I still feel like I am playing catch-up.

      In any case, it’s great to hear from you! Many thanks to Fleet Machine too. Your music was on repeat for the last days of writing! It made me feel like you guys were there cheering me on!

      • So glad Fleet Machine could help out, and so glad you’re all done with the dissertation! I got to a point where balance was becoming a challenge and I needed to step away for a bit, but I do hope I’ll be back in the food blogging game soon. Happy New Year!!

        • Looking forward to your return! Loved the New Year’s post. The tradition of eating black-eyed peas is something I should bring into my Yankee kitchen! Do you know how it started?

          And many thanks to you all for making amazing music. XO, Daisy!

  3. Mr. T? Hell, yeah. He rocks. Keep blogging! You’ll win a Takedown soon and the United States of Bacon will ask you to be the lead producer on their show.

    • I pity the fool who keeps me from my dream job of producing a show on bacon πŸ™‚

      Thanks for all the support and encouragement! Looking forward to 2013!

  4. Steve

    I pity the fools in the PRC! Who needs China when you have Gourmandistan? Sharing dinner with you in NYC was one of the highlights of our year. We look forward to more blogging/baconing in 2013!

    • Yeah! Who needs their mammoth economy and poorly-made, yet cutthroat-priced goods and services! China, boooo!

      Sharing dinner with you and Michelle was one of my highlights as well! I just went back to the Bowery Hotel for breakfast hot toddies. Thought of you πŸ™‚

      Looking forward to more blogging, eating, boozing in 2013. Hopefully, in person πŸ™‚ Happy New Year!

  5. brie

    Congratulations on all that you have accomplished this year! It was a great pleasure having met you and discovering your blog.Your risk taking inspires this “non-risk taking” person to take more chances with food and life in general πŸ™‚
    All the best for 2013 Daisy! I look forward to future posts!

    • Thank you for the kind comments and all the support, Brie! I’m so pleased to have met you too! I’m sending you many big hugs from the Midwest, and look forward to giving you a real one in person in the new year!

      And congrats on the post on Γ‡a fleure bon!!!!! I saw it pop up last night before I went to bed. I can’t wait to read it! You are an inspiration too! Congratulations again πŸ™‚

    • You’re welcome! And thank you! I have had the absolute best time reading your blog and following your adventures in the kitchen. Looking forward to more in 2013! Happy New Year to you and Darlene!

  6. Pingback: Inspiring Blog Award | Mama Miyuki Easy Pantsy

    • Reading your blog and getting the chance to hang out in person was so much fun πŸ™‚ It made me really happy to finally meet πŸ™‚ We have to do more eating and chatting in 2013!

      Can you believe we’re still bickering over how to cook it? My dad just got home from Houston yesterday at midnight (is that cruel or what?), so a decision on how to cook it will be made soon!

  7. This post made me a little sniffly. It also made me feel smug, because I have had ONE hit from China. Hah! But you have Mr. T’s autograph. *Crestfallen* BTW, I just got your Christmas card. Your Christmas package will be a January surprise, because I’m terrible at sending things on time. This comment is all over the map, isn’t it? Well, happy New Year! See you in NYC again SOON!

    • Yep. It is exactly as I suspected: I have been blacklisted by China!!!!!!

      One day I will take my genuine autographed photo of Mr. T and wave it triumphantly outside of a Foxconn factory! Let’s see if the Sleeping Dragon can ignore me then πŸ™‚

      So pleased to hear that you finally got my card! Mail out of NYC has been so slow post-Sandy 😦 I am relieved that it at least arrived in time for the New Year.

      Which brings me to a very personal, “Happy New Year, dear Susan!” Looking forward to seeing you and eating together again soon!

    • Thank you, Robin! It still feels surreal. There are a lot of behaviors that I am slowly trying to unlearn like saying things like, “I’m a grad student!” and using my student ID for discounted movie tickets.

      Baby steps in 2013!

  8. Fab post! I think this is how all doctoral thesis ‘acknowlegements’ pages should look! Well done for getting through πŸ™‚

    • Aw! Thank you! It finally feels good to be done. A friend describes the post-diss period as a kind of baby blues, which I totally understand. You just reach the end and think, “Now what?!”

      But thank you again for the kind comment. I hope that you had a wonderful New Year’s eve and day!

      • I finished mine in september and still havn’t really registered that it’s over, seems to be a good way of avoiding those blues. BUT I think the come-down is kinda inevitable! time for some more blogging!
        Happy New -Thesis-free Year to you! πŸ™‚

        • Congratulations to you! It is a wonderful accomplishment, as you know, but isn’t it funny how long it takes to decompress afterwards? It still actually doesn’t feel real!

          Blogging has been a good way to get out of the blues πŸ™‚

          Happy New Thesis-Free Year to you too!!!

  9. First of all a big heart felt congratulations on making it through the PhD process – Whewhoo!!! That is awesome and I’m super proud of you (even though we’re only internet buddies) I know that’s a helluva lot of work and quite an accomplishment. And somehow you had time to post about cookie competitions and more in between?!?! Amazing. Secondly, I hardly consider pickles and salami and yogurt junk food so maybe your friend was sneaking in some good stuff amidst the cookies and kisses? I love peonies too and I love your fragrance fascination – I can’t wait to explore those sites you posted. Congrats! Now it’s time to celebrate! You’ve earned it!!! And now you know for sure that no matter how tough it gets, you will find a way to persevere, dominate, and thrive in style with grace aplomb!

    • Thank you so much, Amy! That means a lot to me πŸ™‚ You know, I actually started reading your blog right after I moved back from Paris. I should have commented sooner instead of just lurking for years! But I really felt like I was keeping up with the ‘hood I left behind through your posts πŸ™‚

      Thanks as well for your kind comments and all your support! I finally just made plans to celebrate with friends. January 20th at Pouring Ribbons. Any chance you’re in town? πŸ™‚

  10. Loved this post. Wishing you all the best in this new year. May it be filled with laughter and love and not nearly as many challenges.

    • Thank you, Karen! I wish you the very best in this coming year as well! And thank you for giving me a wonderful little window to New England and the world. It made me feel like I was traveling through your words and photos!

      Here’s to more good food, good drink, good blogging, and good friends in 2013!

    • Merci beaucoup, Marie! Happy New Year to you too! You are right: it’s warm in New York! Hope that you are having an equally mild winter in Paris. :-*, Daisy

  11. Thank you for joining me on my perfume adventure!
    By the way, I loved the wordpress summary for 2012 blogging.

  12. Congratulations again on your PhD!! And thanks for the shoutout πŸ™‚ I love that you are so full of gratitude — your grandfather sounds especially cool, I’d love to have weekly dim sum with my family! And as for the vegetarian dare, that sounds crazy. What’s the story behind that?

    • Thank you, Edna! And you’re welcome!

      My grandfather rocks. He is so darn cool. He showed up to dim sum in sherbet colors. The man is already stylin’ for spring!

      As for the vegetarianism, I think that it started as a way to annoy my mother. Awesome challenge, I thought! Then I found that it was easier to explain it by just telling people I was a vegetarian. But once I told people that, well, I just had to keep up doing it. Then it just spun out of control . . .

      That’s ridiculous, right? It sounds even more ridiculous now!

  13. MAJOR CONGRATS on your PhD!!! That is fantastic! And don’t feel bad, I cannot steam rice either and my wok skills are sub-par. I burn both repeatedly. Weird. Perhaps your dissertation should have been on the comparison and contrast of cooking complex foods with ease and the horrific attempts of steaming rice and wok cooking. LOL!

    • Thanks, Jen! Good to know that I am not alone πŸ™‚ When I use a rice cooker, I just end up with paste 😦 I don’t own a wok, but my stir-frying attempts in a skillet have all ended in failure too 😦 Can you imagine what my mom thinks of that?

      In any case, it’s so great to see you back! Thanks for dropping by and I’m looking forward to more Fresh and Fabulous this year!

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