Sitting down to write this post feels a bit different than writing its counterparts for the last few years. Thinking about everything that happened and everything that we did, 2015 felt long... and parts of it feel years away at this point. And it was a bittersweet year-- filled with some truly wonderful events and some heartbreak as well. You followed me along for it all, so here's a quick look back at the year in review...
I spent much of 2015 on the road, checking new-to-me sites off my US (and in one case, global) bucket list, returning to a few familiar destinations, visiting with friends and family, and spreading my professional wings. I kicked off the year with a trip to Las Vegas for work (and then a little pleasure), followed by business trips to Indianapolis, New York, Hilton Head, Vancouver, British Columbia, Pittsburgh, and Omaha.
On top of all of that, Alex and I jetted off together to celebrate the weddings of some great friends in Los Angeles, Charlottesville, Virginia and Bonita Springs, Florida this year. In addition to some much needed family time spent in northern Michigan (where I'm currently blogging from), I also spent a wonderful long weekend with my mom, sister Emma, and cousin Lisa drinking and dining our way through Napa Valley and San Francisco-- a truly unforgettable experience.
After a year spent at O'Hare (or so it seemed), I've never racked up so many frequent flyer miles in one year and-- after being home on the ground in Chicago for the past 2 months-- have never been so happy to not use them! I know the travel bug will bite me again soon enough because it always does. But for now, I'm happy to be at home relaxing and nesting for a while.
One of the greatest things about living in Chicago-- especially as a food blogger-- is having the opportunity to attend incredible events and take part in some once in a lifetime experiences. 2015 was full of them: The first annual Chicago Food + Wine Festival, Windy City Smokeout, Midsommarfest in Andersonville, the grand opening of Latinicity, a star-studded (but intimate) dinner for the launch of CookGirl, cooking classes, a virtual wine tasting, lessons in gardening, and the grand opening of one of Alex's biggest projects to date.
|c/o Kelly in the City|
On the personal front, 2015 brought a new kind of reality to my family as we said a sudden and unexpected farewell to our baby nephew Flynn this summer. It's still hard to rationalize the loss of someone so very young-- especially now, during the holiday season. I can't thank all of you enough for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers for our family when this tragic news was announced this summer. And we're especially grateful and inspired to see the kind of impact that little Flynn's short life had on the world with the green balloons launched and candles lit in his memory along with the charitable donations and random acts of kindness that are still being performed all over the country to honor him. Just check out the #FlyHighFlynn hashtag to see what I mean.
And just as the universe was hitting us with the worst kind of news, it also surprised us with some of the best when Alex and I found out we were expecting our first baby. The news came shortly after the loss of Flynn, which was a bit bittersweet and certainly tough to process/understand at first... but the past few months have definitely been some of the most exciting and overwhelming of our lives. And the best is still yet to come-- in 2016!
Our baby girl is due this spring, which means some big changes for our little family-- and likely for this blog too. If you're a regular follower, you've probably noticed the posts becoming more sporadic. And my apologies for not addressing it sooner. I was so exhausted in my first trimester that I could barely put on pajamas and brush my teeth after coming home from work at night, let alone create new recipes, attend events, and write 4 new posts per week. At that point in time I contemplated stepping away from blogging completely. But as this pregnancy has gone on and I have regained (most of) my energy, I've felt inspired to cook and to write again-- not as aggressively as before-- but enough that I have found some need to continue being creative. So while 2016 won't see A Squared go away completely, it will definitely be a shift in how this blog works. Some weeks you'll hear from me 4 times. Others, you won't at all. And once the baby arrives, all bets are off! I hope you'll understand and that you'll continue to check back in and follow along with my new recipes and updates from mommyhood.
And that was 2015. Thank you all for following along and for being part of this blog adventure with me-- it wouldn't be the same without all of you and I'm certain that these amazing opportunities wouldn't continue coming my way if it weren't for all of your support. Wishing you a safe and happy new year and looking forward to sharing big events and delicious food with you in 2016!