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Oh What A Year!

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Wow…A year. And what a year…Hard to sit down and reflect on the whirlwind that 2010 has been because my whole body, mind and soul are still twirling from everything that’s happened and is happening. Gratitude sinks in. A sense of accomplishment. Hopes fulfilled. Goals simmering. I hope it’s not too long. There is some photo talk, some cookbook talk, some love and friendship talk, some travel and food talk. I want to write it all down to make sure I did not just dream 2010, it was so incredibly wonderful.

Tulips


You guys have made this year special with your words, both online and off, sharing your thoughts with me as I came here each week to share some food and a few stories. With this post, I also wish to show the most important persons in my life, my parents and my husband that their patience and support, unconditional love pushed me harder. And the close friends who have shared many a "shoot meal" to help out!

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I love reading everyone’s end of the year posts and I especially loved this quote from Matt Armendariz from Matt Bites: "I realized that everything I’ve ever done has led me to this point of my life, even when I hadn’t a clue. I realized the best is yet to come." He is so right! The hours I have spent working and honing my skills have given something that make me whole and thrilled to share with you. I am forever changed by the people I have met this year and the relationships I have fostered.

Chocolate Rice Pudding


The year started with a bang setting the tone for the rest of the year. Traveling, teaching, meeting, learning, working. I flew to Atlanta to meet my favorite peeps and delve into a Sugar Coma experience culminating by teaching a macarons workshop.

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I came home to start photographing my first cookbook for Carrie of Deliciously Organic (available next week!). Not only did I learn a lot about books, publishing, logistics, etc…I also gained a close friend in Carrie and fell completely in love with her personality and the way she is in life as she is on paper. Honest, genuine and patient. We loved working so closely together that we are co-authoring a cookbook together in 2011. I can’t wait to get started!

Peaches


Right after, I flew to L.A to teach more macaron workshops as well as some on photography, all so cleverly and perfectly organized by three amazing ladies I miss everyday, Rachael, Jen and Gaby. Why is this country so wide? From L.A, I flew to Seattle to teach more workshops on macarons and photography this time organized by Viv, the hostess with the mostess (no seriously) and I was eccastic to be able to visit with my favorite peeps: Anita, Jeanne, Jen, Shauna, Danny and Lu. Dang that was a good time!

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I came home right on time to pick up my parents at the airport and take my mom inside the airport bookstore to show her the first magazine cover I had styled (!) I wanted to show her that all the time and patience they invested in believing and supporting my endeavors was paying off. I thoroughly enjoyed the 3 weeks we spent together this Spring. I was thrilled to be busy working on several magazine shoots to show parents how my job goes on a daily basis whether for clients, charity or events that friends were organizing. Volunteer to go beyond what is asked of you. Always.

Kumquat Cakes


The summer was looking just about as busy and quite frankly I was just about to burst at the seam from gratitude having this much work and being able to contribute my fair share of experiences to the household. In late June I flew to Utah to speak at Evo 10 and finally met lots of bloggers I had know online for years. From small group gathering to big room lectures, I finally met in the flesh authors and photographers I had been admiring for years and from too far. They reinforced my belief that I was on the right track, that being authentic and vulnerable is the way to open yourself to incredible experiences. From Utah, it was on to Colorado and the Food&Light Photography Workshop. I wish I could have stayed longer and enjoy the beauty of my surroundings but there was more work calling back home.

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In one week, I had cleared my head and met some of the most gracious people out there. It would be hard to top. Oh wait! Flying home to celebrate my grandfather’s 100th birthday was seriously THE event of 2010. Forget work, forget deadlines, pending contracts and bills. Forget it all. The man is my Superhero. I wish I could have taken him on the road trip I took shortly after his birthday, heading down to the Alps and my native Provence. I bet you he would have had 100 more stories to tell. It was an amazing trip but there was more work awaiting at home.

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Pretty much the day after I landed back in SC, I started doing the photography for another cookbook, this time written by the talented Holly Herrick and all about tarts. I know! One of my favorite topics! It was a ton of work cooking, styling and photographing but again I was teaching myself and learning so much in the process that it made the experience that much more fulfilling. I was looking to a little break during the fall and was thrilled to go back to San Francisco to speak at BlogHer Food once again and give back some of what I had learned. I really re-discovered and fell in love with the city again. Not to mention spending quality time with dear friends again.

Pumpkin pie


I went home and started on my biggest project yet to date with Wiley Publishing and before I could realize I’d do the bulk of it during the holiday season, Thanksgiving rolled around, marking the start of what B. and I label "End Of The Year Craziness". Being able to spend time with both friends and family as much as we have been able to this year has been the key to keeping us grounded. And going. And energized. And peaceful. And grateful

So what’s in store for 2011? I am looking forward to having my friend Taylor here for a few days in January and then driving to Alabama together for the FoodBlog South conference. I’m looking forward to meeting creative people I have been following for years and seeing friends again. I’ll be meeting for the first time celebrated author Virginia Willis, whose cookbook I will be photographing in February. I am also working on finalizing plans and dates for other jobs, shooting more cookbooks, writing my own (I know! That part is crazy!)

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See, there is much known and much unknown to 2011 but you know what? I am looking forward to it all. Blog, friends, family, work. They make me whole. I try to take everything as a possibility for growth, good or bad and the kind words, support and frienships you have extended to me this year have made me do this move (from Love Actually) a thousand times over.

cupcake


This year has been nothing short of feeling like Christmas mornings most days. So to you dear readers, I wish you a lots and more of these moments for 2011!

Happy New Year!

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Comments


Steph (desserts for breakfast) December 31, 2010 um 5:15 pm

"being authentic and vulnerable is the way to open yourself to incredible experiences" –> Here, here! That's a motto to live by! 🙂

Happy 2011!


Rosa's Yummy Yums December 31, 2010 um 5:20 pm

Gorgeous! I'm happy for you…

Best wishes for 2011!

Cheers,

Rosa


Michelle Stiles December 31, 2010 um 5:27 pm

I love your photography, what a great roundup. I have truly enjoyed your writing, photos, cooking and inspiration. I look forward to an exciting year.

Cheers!


Hallie @ Daily Bites December 31, 2010 um 6:10 pm

Great recap of your year! It's been such a joy to read your posts week in and week out and to scroll through your amazing photos and recipes. Have a wonderful 2011!


The Iconic Blog.com December 31, 2010 um 6:51 pm

What a fab year of fab food!x


Salt Lake Sugar December 31, 2010 um 7:33 pm

Wow, when you write it all down in one post it is an incredible year! Much luck and fun in your new projects!

Cheers to you and yours.


Lisa (With Style and Grace) December 31, 2010 um 7:39 pm

Such talent, it's {all} absolutely stunning! You're truly an inspiration to me and I wish you the very best in 2011. Cheers!


Aimee @ Simple Bites December 31, 2010 um 7:54 pm

Helene, what a year! I so enjoyed your recap (although I *should* be getting ready for tonight's party!).

Congratulations on all your many successes of 2010. I'm thrilled for you.

All the best for 2011. Will you be at BlogHerFood in Atlanta? I just bought my ticket!

Warmly,

Aimee


Amanda @ Playing with Food December 31, 2010 um 8:24 pm

Your blog has been an inspiration in my kitchen and with my camera for the past 3 years, especially this past year. Congratulations on your successes this year, and best wishes to many that's coming in the year to come! Happy New Year!


Irina@PastryPal December 31, 2010 um 9:54 pm

What an incredible year you've had! Congratulations on all your accomplishments — you more than deserve them. I've seen your blog change and evolve, and it only keeps getting better. Here's to a great 2011. I know it will bring so many more amazing rewards.


marla@familyfreshcooking.com December 31, 2010 um 10:24 pm

Helen…..I am gonna do that "move" now too – I am so happy to know you & to have seen you so many times this year. LOVE viewing all of your success & can't wait to see more down the road. I look forward to getting to know you better through the years. You rock girl 🙂 xo


Anonymous December 31, 2010 um 10:24 pm

can't wait to see what you will cook up for 2011!


Y December 31, 2010 um 10:29 pm

What an amazing year it has been for you! Here's to more fantastic experiences in 2011 🙂


tj December 31, 2010 um 10:34 pm

…*goosebumps* You are such a dear and thank you for all that you do for us – it is appreciated more than you know!

…I want to take this moment to wish you & yours a very Happy New Year filled with love, laughter, prosperity and joy!

…Many blessings too… :o)


creampuff December 31, 2010 um 11:23 pm

It's been a tremendous year for sure Helene! Congratulations and all the best for you in 2011!


Chris December 31, 2010 um 11:30 pm

Perfect round up. That Love Actually clip reminds me of when you told me about the cookbook. So cute! So proud of you. Your work ethic is tremendous and you deserve every happiness. Congrats! Can't wait to see you in B'Ham!


Dinners and Dreams January 1, 2011 um 12:57 am

Meilleurs voeux pour 2011, Helene! Je te souhaite autant de succès qu'en 2010(sinon plus)!

Nisrine


christelle is flabbergasting January 1, 2011 um 1:12 am

C'est superbe de lire ton résumé de l'année 2010! On dirait bien que 2011 va être l'année de toutes les réalisations ! Une très belle année à toi et tes proches !


Aparna Balasubramanian January 1, 2011 um 5:38 am

Love the photographs in this post. Think I like them better than your recipes. 🙂
Can see its been a great year, Helen. Wishing you an even better 2011.


Ankita January 1, 2011 um 6:21 am

Happy new year!!
your posts are super delicious to look at..

love,
Ankita
xx


Siri January 1, 2011 um 6:39 am

Everything about this post – from the gorgeous photographs to the move from Love Actually is just so perfect & adorable. I hope 2011 would bring you the same (if not more) happiness & joy than 2010 Helene. 🙂

Cheers,
Siri


Elena January 1, 2011 um 9:20 am

Helen,
che meraviglia… tanta fortuna e ancor di più sorrisi per il nuovo e i prossimi anni!
Grazie, affezionata lettrice.

Elena da Brescia (Italia).


Amber January 1, 2011 um 10:10 am

Gorgeous!
Happy 2011!


Bea January 1, 2011 um 12:27 pm

C'était effectivement une année très réussie! Je te souhaite que la nouvelle le soit encore plus 🙂
Et j'attends impatiemment le livre!

Meilleurs voeux!


Victoria January 1, 2011 um 2:10 pm

Wonderful pictures with such a warm love to life and food )))


linda January 1, 2011 um 2:10 pm

what a beautiful journey we had with you!
looking forward to 2011!

happiest of new years to you & your family…all the best!


Botacook January 1, 2011 um 2:26 pm

Un petit coucou d'Alsace pour te dire que j'adore ton blog, mais aussi je trouve que ce que tu fais est génial, tes projets ont l'air ultra intéressants, et je suis sûre que tu t'éclates! J'aime particulièrement ta "patte" au niveau cuisine et photos, et je trouve que tu es une formidable ambassadrice de la France aux Etats-Unis! J'ai hâte de voir ce que tu nous réserves pour 2011!


Helena January 1, 2011 um 2:58 pm

Simply amazing pictures!!


melopapilles January 1, 2011 um 3:51 pm

Je ne laisse jamais de commentaire ici (par peur de l'anglais ? c'est idiot tu es française !), mais en voyant toutes ces photos réunies que j'ai découvertes petit ) petit en suivant assidument ton blog depuis bien longtemps, je ne peux m'empêcher de te remercier pour toute la beauté, la douceur et la sensibilité qui s'en dégagent. J'ai hâte de découvrir tous tes projets pour 2011 !


Anonymous January 1, 2011 um 4:14 pm

Bonne Année!
Die Fotos sind sehr-sehr schön!


SMITH BITES January 1, 2011 um 4:17 pm

Beautifully written, beautifully photographed Helene; your talent and spirit are present in all that you do. My wish for 2011 is to meet you IRL – I don't know how the universe is going to work that out, but am looking forward to the moment that happens. Happy New Year Helene – let the new adventures begin!


Barbara Bakes January 1, 2011 um 4:40 pm

You had an amazing year! Congratulations! I love the quote you used – "I realized that everything I’ve ever done has led me to this point of my life, even when I hadn’t a clue. I realized the best is yet to come." I lost my Mom a few weeks ago and I've been dreading the new year without her. I'm going to try and keep my mind focused on that quote. Wishing you a new year filled with more great things.


Fragolina January 1, 2011 um 5:26 pm

Wish you all the best. Happy New Year!!


Shelby January 1, 2011 um 7:50 pm

What a beautiful recollection of your year.. So inspiring, and accomplished, well done! Thank you for sharing your time, lessons, experience and talent with all of us who grow and learn from this beautiful blog. Happy New Year!


Merry Jennifer January 1, 2011 um 9:59 pm

Such a beautiful roundup of photographs and memories. I've loved reading your blog for the past year. It's been such an inspiration and source of beauty in my day. I hope I get to meet you in person at Food Blog South in just a few weeks. It would be an honor.


Damaris @Kitchen Corners January 1, 2011 um 11:00 pm

may 2011 bring you pure joy. with your talent I can't imagine it going any other way.


Joyce January 2, 2011 um 12:22 am

The past year was a good one, but wishing you a bigger, brighter and golden 2011!! xo


Cristina January 2, 2011 um 2:05 am

Hi Helene: You've had an incredible year and are an inspiration in so many ways. With the anticipation of your new book on food photography "Foodography", will you be doing any workshops this year re the same?

Happy New Year!


The InTolerant Chef ™ January 2, 2011 um 9:03 am

What an amazing year! And with all the great stuff already lined up for 2011, I think you'd better get an early night!


Cool Chic Style Fashion January 2, 2011 um 9:24 am

Happy New Year ♥
Moltissimi Auguri
per uno splendido 2011


maragda January 2, 2011 um 12:57 pm

Happy New Year ♥


Gosia January 2, 2011 um 3:32 pm

What an impressive round-up. Love your work and cheer for your many successes in 2011!


Ilke January 2, 2011 um 4:49 pm

What a busy yet satisfying year you had! I wish you many of these in the future. I am hoping that you will also come to Atlanta for BlogHer Food conference in May. I would love to meet you in person as you are one of the bloggers that I have been learning a lot as well!
Wish you a wonderful and exciting 2011!


Kiki January 2, 2011 um 6:04 pm

Bonsoir,

Je vous souhaite une très bonne année 2011 qui s'annonce pour vous déjà très chargée ^^.

J'ai découvert votre blog il y a un an et j'ai toujours autant de plaisir à vous lire, mais aussi à admirer vos photos et essayer vos recettes.
Je tenais à vous remercier. Sans votre blog, je n'aurais jamais eu l'idée de m'essayer à la photographie culinaire et ne me serais jamais doutée de l'étendue de ce métier et de la vivacité de ce milieu! Tous ces ateliers, ces séminaires, ces cours… ce doit être vraiment enrichissant!

Bonne continuation!


Rachelino January 3, 2011 um 7:55 am

Happy New Year! Thank you for everything you share here, providing inspiration to all of us! And it was truly an honor and a pleasure to meet you this year at BlogHer Food.


WSAKE January 3, 2011 um 10:08 am

thank you for this year of amazing posts, most beautiful pictures and the best recipes!
i´m looking forward to 2011!


Anna {Sugarized} January 3, 2011 um 1:48 pm

Wow! You had a pretty busy year. =) Congratulations on your up-coming cookbook! =) Will be looking forward to more great posts this new year. =)


Unknown January 3, 2011 um 4:59 pm

what a year you had! All the pictures look amazing. I remember many of them… so delicious. I look forward to reading more posts in 2011.
Your own cookbook? how exciting!


Darina January 4, 2011 um 3:37 am

What an incredibly busy yet exciting time. I look forward to your book and following you on your journey in 2011. happy New Year and all the best!


Lindsey January 4, 2011 um 12:44 pm

Happy New Year! Here's to a fantastic 2011!


Cindy January 4, 2011 um 4:13 pm

writing your own cookbook sounds like a no brainer to me! your photos are so gorgeous and i'm glad to see all the success you've had in 2010. you certainly were busy. happy new year!


showfoodchef January 4, 2011 um 8:31 pm

Definitely meeting you was a highlight for me this past year. Wishing you and yours an adventurous, loving and successful 2011! 😀


Helene January 4, 2011 um 9:54 pm

Cathy: same here darling! I miss your contagious awesome energy and smile!

Thank you everyone!


El January 4, 2011 um 10:02 pm

Congratulations Helene. You found success under challenging circumstances and made a beautiful life for yourself. Peace and happiness to you both in 2011.


Anonymous January 5, 2011 um 12:27 am

Amazing photos! Your food looks so good that it makes me want to eat my computer screen. 😛


Maria January 5, 2011 um 12:50 am

So beautiful! I hope you have a wonderful New Year!


Anonymous January 6, 2011 um 6:57 am

A beautiful round up of the year. Love, love your photography. Look forward to hearing about all your new adventures in 2001. Thanks for sharing.


Mairi January 6, 2011 um 6:58 am

A beautiful round up of the year. Love, love your photography. Look forward to hearing about all your new adventures in 2001. Thanks for sharing.


ecikej January 7, 2011 um 7:40 pm

I am SO happy for you.
God bless you and your beloved ones.
wish you all the best, forever 🙂

love from Serbia!


my little celebration January 22, 2011 um 12:12 am

Hi there, I'm a new reader and I have a quick question. What is the name of/recipe for that chocolate mousse-like cake in a medium-sized ramekin about halfway down the page on this post? I tried to find it on your recipes page but couldn't locate it. It just looks so good I'd love to know what it is and how to make it!

Thanks,

Dana


Haven June 15, 2011 um 11:38 am

Excellent images.


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