A Year in Review, A Seasonal Retrospective

by Valerie on January 1, 2011 · 6 comments

Washington, DC 2010 Fireworks

I was resisting the idea of doing a year in review post – mainly because I tend to ease into the New Year.  Last year I started the new year sometime in mid-January emotionally, and I am repeating that again this year.  That said, I had fun scrolling through posts since a year ago and was surprised by many things I had forgotten or that felt like they had happened in 2009 but had actually happened this year.  Here are a few highlights, organized seasonally:

Winter & Identity

Last winter I really felt like the blog was having an identity crisis.  I wanted to write about food, which would have to be allergy-friendly eating, not to mention refined-sugar free and even low in natural sugars, but I wanted to write about yoga and life and mindfulness.  And my blog name (City Girl Lifestyle) no longer felt like it fit, but I was not finding a new blog name I liked either.  I was afraid of turning the blog into a food blog and feeling constrained by it.  My solution was to write about what I wanted to writer without actually changing the name of the blog.


Identity was a big theme for me all winter – I travelled to Switzerland for the first time in several years.  While I was born there and lived there until I came to the States for college, I have never felt like I had much identity as a Swiss person – which was not helped by being Hungarian as well and now living in a third country, i.e. the U.S..     It was also the first time I would travel to Switzerland with my husband, so that carried some stress with it. And it was also a trip where I was keenly aware that my parents have aged.


Overall, though, it was a good visit, even the part where we got stuck there two extra days because it snowed in Washington, DC, despite some sun and fairly mild winter weather in Switzerland. And while I blogged less that winter, it was mainly because most blog posts I would start writing were all about how I could not wait for spring.  Towards the end of winter, I also focused on being present more, which I do not even remember stating as an intention now, but it must have worked, because I generally do feel more present now than I did a year ago.  And I did play around with writing more about food, including writing a food wishlist and some kitchen time-saving tips.

Spring & Vibrance

At some point in January, I had decided that I wanted my word for 2010 to be vibrance, but I only really started feeling it in April – likely helped on by spring. I remember spring this year being particularly magical after such a long winter. 

Cherry Blossoms 2010

The Washington, DC Cherry Blossoms at night definitely helped the magic.

April 2 2010 015

I got very distracted by spring and ramp pesto and a street festival, missing my own blog anniversary in April. I did end up changing the name of my blog right around the anniversary as well – from City Girl Lifestyle to City|Life|Eats.  Despite mulling a name change for months, I kind of changed the name impulsively.  Fortunately, it works – it captures everything I want this blog to be about.  I also dropped the moniker in favor of using my first name.  And soon after, a wonderful reader gifted me with the lovely banner you see above, which was honestly one of the highlights of the year.

Spring was also when I shared my Tuesday Night Yoga promise with you (which has turned into Tuesday night child’s pose in recent weeks, but that is still something).  There was lots of yoga fun in spring, including a workshop with Shiva Rea, and yoga with Shiva Rea on the National Mall.  I remember coming home from that day and feeling so alive and present and starting to feel like vibrance could be a word I could identify with after all.

Yoga on the National Mall
Purchasing a Vita-Mix and all the green smoothies that ensued may also have had something to do with that.  While I had been making smoothies and eating my veggies before having a Vita-Mix, it sure made all of that easier.
Green Smoothie With Collards and Banana

Another thing that helped is that after a year of an elimination diet with numerous reintroductions, I went 100% gluten-free in the spring and stopped reintroducing gluten completely. I never got as sick from the gluten reintroductions as from the dairy reintroduction, which is why I tried several reintroductions.  The third one, however, was when I really realized that gluten did give me real symptoms.  I have not knowingly eaten gluten since, and it has made a world of a difference.  My joint pain is gone, I am no longer losing hair, my stomach feels better, I feel less anxious.  Because most of my symptoms were not digestive, the first two reintroductions felt inconclusive.  The third one, however, was very conclusive as the joint pain hit me very fast and was very pronounced, and I had awful digestive problems.  Spring is also when I went on a road-trip and wrote a post about travelling with food intolerances. 

Summer & Healing

Summer was actually really hard at first – after all the energy I had in the spring, I ended up in the ER with a strange and fairly awful pain down my left side.  On the upside, I wrote many more recipes over the summer which, in hindsight, included many healing nourishing foods.  I also discovered the joys of making sushi at home and finding a pizza place where I could enjoy gluten-free vegan pizza with delicious toppings.

Blog recipes 028

I really felt like the summer was about eating well and healing through food. I loved all the bright colors at the market every weekend:

Market Week 007

Dupont Circle, Washington, DC Freshfarm Market

I shared more recipes with you, which was heaps of fun, went to a friend’s wedding in Baltimore and soaked up sunshine.  Market week was lots of fun too as was getting to know more food bloggers through various blog events, which have become a very rewarding part of blogging this year.
Fall & Building a Practice
While fall technically begins at the end of September, for me, it really starts September 1.  And this year on that date, I stumbled into something that has now turned into a mainstay on the blog: the {Today’s Lunchbox} series.  Here is the first lunchbox:
Lunch Sept 1

When I put up that post, I had no idea that in just three months, there would be 71 more lunchboxes.  Initially it was a week’s experiment, then I thought I should try it for a month.  And it kind of took on a life of its own.  The lunchboxes are also why I think of fall’s them as “building a practice”.  I had a truly insane fall at work – to say I worked all the time would be an understatement, even though I did manage to take a week’s vacation to Switzerland in November (and told you about two transatlantic lunchboxes).

Switzerland Nov 2010 103

Frankly, I think it was because of that week’s vacation I was able to sustain the last three months, but I think the daily practice of a lunchbox had something to do with it too – usually, when I have to work that much, I blog less, but somehow the lunchboxes took a life of their own and kept me blogging, which in turn was very helpful in feeling like I was still creating something, most of the time, not to mention staying connected to the blogging community.  You see, I would have made the lunchbox anyways, but continuing to blog was really key.  There were definitely some bad days in the fall (like, ahem, my birthday, though that was remediated later in October) but I enjoyed the lunchbox series and wrote other posts, like a response to Marie Claire’s article on healthy living bloggers, Thanksgiving gratitude and Festive Lights in Washington, DC.  I also participated in Gluten-Free Holiday.  During week 1, I shared some of my thoughts on staying healthier through the holidays, while for Week 2, I submitted  Pumpkin Ice Cream; for Week 3, I made Chocolate Banana Cream Cups; or Week 4, I waned, but submitted a Festive Chard dish; for Week 5, I made Vegan Pumpkin Parfaits, and finished off with Mexican Chocolate Mousse.

Now that 2010 is drawing to a close, I feel like I am finishing this year on a better foot than I started it which, looking back at the end of year meme I did last year, shows that this is the second year I have felt that way.  I was going to do the meme again, but decided instead to do this little seasonal journey.  Thank you for reading this far.  I have some amazing readers and blogging has brought me a lot of fun this year.  Here is to an even better 2011.

Now, I am off to shop for planner. Yes, I know – talk about leaving it to the last minute – but like I said, I am going to be easing into 2011.

Chat with me on Twitter or Facebook.
Subscribe via RSS or email. 
General Disclosures
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
General Disclosures & Disclaimers

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pure2raw twins January 1, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Thanks for the year review! We look forward in getting to know you more over this new year!!

We love Shiva Rea! I miss doing yoga, something I hope to get back into this year.


2 Tasty Eats At Home January 1, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Happy New Year – whether it slams you in the face or you ease into it. :) What a whirlwind of emotions for you in the past year! I hope that adopting your 2010 word – vibrance – has brought you a lot of positive growth and peace. Here's to 2011!


3 Jenn January 2, 2011 at 9:54 am

Sounds like it was a great year! Love your photo of Lac Léman, it's rare to have the mountains so clear now that it's so gray most days…ah love Winter :)


4 Marty January 2, 2011 at 10:32 am

I don't know how I stumbled upon your blog this fall, but I've been enjoying it and your luscious lunchboxes! I love your story of 2010, not unlike my own finding in April that I was as suspected for a few years, gluten intolerant. I'm vegan, following a anti-candida diet (means no sweets at all but stevia for me) also. Your meals remind me so much of my macrobiotic days…though I've also been following an ayurvedic diet for 5 years. I love your pictures and look forward to reading of your continuing journey as we voyage into 2011!


Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: