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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