The last week of the year is when I really notice all that I have to be grateful for. Taking stock of the year’s accomplishments, triumphs, and fun (and making a mental notes of where my weaknesses could be strengthened) helps me set new goals for the year ahead. 2011 got off to a spiritually sound start with Marianne Williamson’s retreat in San Diego based on her book, A Course in Weight Loss. Marianne was

Marianne Williamson’s Retreat with Tracee Stanley, Grace Gedeon, and Tal Ronnen

her usual incredibly inspirational self while Tracee Stanley guided us through basic yoga practices throughout the weekend, Grace Gedeon shared amazing insights, and Tal Ronnen worked his vegan magic.

Eau de Vie Julie Anne grappa

Certainly the most flattering event of the year was the release of  Eau De Vie Julie Anne, a limited edition bottle of grappa named after lilol me, by Simini Catering in conjunction with Antica Grapperia Bosso. Available only in Italy and France, I may not drink alcohol anymore, but I do cook with it, and I still like to get my party

Parties

on! These are just a  few of the many great ones this year; the Red Tie Affair with Josh Duhamel and Tatjana, Nile Rodgers book launch party, another birthday, Mother’s Day brunch with Tatjana at Amanda Eliasch’s, Frances Fisher’s birthday party with Jimmy Demers, and the girls having fun at Soho House.

The biggest undertaking of the year has been launching my own lifestyle brand and website, making my Personal Chef Approach™ (PCA™) to getting delicious and healthy dinners on the table a possibility beyond the economic and geographical confines of my typical Hollywood clients.The PCA™ really is the next best thing

Bringing the Personal Chef Approach™ into homes around the world

to my cooking for you personally, but at a minuscule fraction of the price. With just a few hours on the weekend, even a novice cook will be rocking dinners from fridge to table in as little as five minutes the rest of the week. All you have to do is print, shop, and cook. Everything is planned and organized for you, leaving

Concerts

plenty of time for enjoying family, friends, shows, and maybe even some shopping with all the extra money you’ll save once you learn to shop, cook and eat more efficiently.

Seeing Duran Duran concert at the Mayan Theater gave me the opportunity to catch up with old friends, while an ongoing series of Prince concerts meant I got to share my own idol, and then a dear friend’s artwork with my daughter. The Art in the Streets exhibition at the MOCA soon started spilling into the streets of my

Art

neighborhood, turning my daily walks with Daisy into a cultural treasure hunt. Little gems from local artists started popping up in the most unexpected places, as did fabulous neon’s of the seven deadly sins at the Lead Apron Gallery, fabulous photos by Charley Gallay, and Tim Burton’s show at LACMA.

Fashion

Of course, a little wholesale and retail therapy never hurts  either. I had so much fun playing dress up at the Stefanel penthouse when they visited from Milan! Plus, Tatjana (like her father) loves to shop until we drop.

First eBook

You can even purchase my first mini eBook, Party Accomplished Hosting the ladies that lunch while being one, too released on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and my shop last June. One of my top goals in 2012 is to finish writing Dinner Accomplished the Personal Chef Approach to fast, fabulous, meals consolidated into one reference. I know, I’ve been promising it for a long time, but creating content for the blog and membership got me a little sidetracked this year – as did a desperately needed break in Bali to celebrate

Bali

Tatjana‘s 25th birthday, and a cause that moved me to tears, then into action. First we raised enough money to help quite a few children through the worst drought the Horn of Africa has seen in decades, by “feeding your family and theirs.” Then jeweler Jodi Zueleta helped us save many more by generously donating 100% of all proceeds from Jodi’s Jewels for Jewels to Save the Children‘s – Children’s Hunger Crisis Relief Fund. My hope

Save the Children

is that people will continue to use the Personal Chef Approach™ to help those in need both at home and abroad, so please do visit Supporting the Children’s Hunger Crisis Fund for more information about how you

Recipe development and food photography

can. In the meantime, I will continue to develop recipes as well as work passionately on how-to videos and perfecting my food photographic skills. I’m pleased to announce that about a dozen photos were picked up on both Tastespotting and Foodgawkers this year, so I am making progress.

Friends

It hasn’t all been a bed of roses. Major thanks goes to my family and friends for being there through some tough health issues, to my amazing membership community who totally surprised and overwhelmed me with extravagant gifts and messages that make me feel so completely and utterly appreciated, and to The Cooking Channel for highlighting The Roving Stove® on Food(ography). What were the highlights of 2011 for you, and what do you look forward to in 2012?

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  • December 27, 2011
    9:35 am

    What a phenomenal year you’ve had and thank you for sharing it with us. My year has been made much easier with your help and the members help. There have been many times when I’ve been so down but a read of your blog or words of wisdom from you have turned it all around. You deserve every ounce of praise and love. You’ve earned it. Happy New Year

    • December 27, 2011
      5:30 pm

      That really is a two way street Rachel, you have no idea how many times you and the others have turned an otherwise overcast day into a sunny one! I’m thrilled the PCA has helped ease your load, and given you more time with those two little angels and husband.

  • December 27, 2011
    11:51 am

    Um, GRAPPA NAMED AFTER YOU??? That’s amazing, Jewels!! What a lovely tribute to you!!

    And I’m up there with Rachel – you’ve made my year tremendous. You’ve changed the way I cook and the way my family eats.

    May the new year bring you much happiness and health.

    PS: Tell Tatjana that the photo of the two of you in Bali (the one with the flower in her hair) is GORGEOUS.

    Two beauties!!

    • December 27, 2011
      5:33 pm

      Thank you so much Jodi for making it possible for so many people to eat, that might otherwise not have with Jodi’s Jewels for Jewels!

  • December 27, 2011
    1:08 pm

    A PCA-related highlight for me was making and then giving my in-laws about a dozen meals using many of your recipes and techniques! Their feedback? “Yum!!!” And, because the meals are pre-cooked and frozen, it’s so easy for them to get dinner on the table.

    One personal highlight was April 16, when I started my day at a fantastic family reunion and ended it amongst friends (and your ex!) at a bar after Duran Duran’s show at the Fillmore. Earlier in the day, I met Roger and JT at a signing event, and at the end of the show, Roger gave me his sticks! Definitely a fun day I’ll always remember.

    Of course, I’m grateful for my healthy baby girl, son, and husband, as well as all my wonderful friends and family. Next year, I look forward to spending more time outside with my family and less time in the kitchen, thanks to the PCA!

    • December 27, 2011
      5:55 pm

      I LOVE that you used the PCA to do something so loving for your in-laws!

  • December 27, 2011
    2:06 pm

    haha Suzanne you reminded me of a highlight for me too… After waiting 30 years, Kendra finally got to see them live. I had seen them in 1993 but life happened and she never got to join us. She was WELL overcome when they started and being the picky creature I am said “what the he** shoes is he wearing with those pants??” (about Simon) I don’t think she heard me or cared. Friends of ours ran into him later and said he was very nice. I couldn’t get over the shoes LOL Weren’t you the one who brought the sign “it’s little RED corvette, not PINK”? I was SO tempted to do that too LOL

  • December 27, 2011
    9:38 am

    I hope 2012 will be just as and even more successful and spiritually fulfilling for you as this past one has. I hope that you achieve what your heart desires whilst all the while your life will be filled with the deep love & affection of family and friends and the continued admiration of you on-line fans.
    Thank-you for your thoughts & insights and long may you continue to inspire and encourage us all.

    • December 27, 2011
      6:31 pm

      Wishing you all the best too Lorraine!

  • December 27, 2011
    5:58 pm

    Hahaha – Nick is now denying he made the bet!

    • December 28, 2011
      2:21 pm

      Denial is not just a river in Egypt then LOL All he has to do is quietly settle up and we’ll stop with the signs LOL

  • December 28, 2011
    4:56 am

    This year was a pretty wild ride for someone who tends to like things on the quiet side. Selling my flat before I had bought another was a bit of a nail biter but led to me moving after 18 years and setting up an art studio. I think the most satisfying thing this year was you proving to me that I could cook. I always thought that I just didn’t know anything about cooking or that I could actually pull off cooking a real meal. I’ve progressed big time from using your PCApproach and even managed to do an Indian Masala rub on a chicken yesterday, roasting it until it was golden brown and delicious. Never would have tried that if you hadn’t taught me so much and made me believe that even I could cook a healthy, good tasting meal. Health issues have been a problem for the past few months, but I’m determined that 2012 will be a better year. It has to be! You’ve helped and motivated me so much this past year and brought such a sense of family to this community. It’s such a good feeling to have an online family such as this. You brought us all together in 2011, can’t wait to see what you pull out of your sleeves in 2012. Sending you lots of cyber hugs m’lady – Happy New Year!

  • December 28, 2011
    10:12 am

    Here’s to good health in 2012 for all of us Ruthee!