StellaBella 2012: A Year in Review

In StellaBella's 2nd year of blogging - 2012 for me, was a year of transition.  Baby Stella was almost seamless in her weekly recipe & food posts throughout the year, and Nicole is doing a wonderful job in Madrid, raising bi-lingual Violetta!

I thought I would take some time before the end of the year, to reflect on my own achievements and adventures.  Initially, I felt like all I wanted was for this year to end already, and get on with the next; but despite all of the hardships of 2012 for my neighbors, my city, and for me personally - there were still some worthy moments to remember and reflect upon.  It sure wasn't the year I had in mind for this blog, but it was a year full of changes, lessons learned, farewells, and building and saving toward a brighter future.  I hope to be writing more home stories in 2013, and with another BIG move in January - I think I will have a lot to talk about!

January:  After attending a Sloan Research Fellowship Committee Meeting in Boston, MA - Ronnie & I took the drive from there to Portland, ME to visit Baby Stella!  My first trip that far north...

February:  I was on TV!  On February 16th, 2012 my episode of NY Ink aired on TLC, and I was very happy with the outcome.  I received alot of positive feedback from the community, and an entire post was written about my story on Catsparella.  During the final episode of the Season, Megan Massacre named my "cattoo" her favorite!  At the end of this post, is my own bootleg youtube clip of the segment.

March:  My greatest achievement at The Pari-Stella Love Loft - the Before & After project.  I tried so hard to make this tiny loft a place where we could dwell, but circumstances were beyond my control.  This post reminds me that we put our best efforts forth, learned lessons along the way, and fell even more in love with each other.  No matter how small our living quarters were, and no matter how many problems the building had - it brought us closer, and taught us what is really important - LOVE.

April:  I tagged along on one of Ronnie's business trips for the first time; this conference was held in Orlando, FL.  We had the opportunity to stay at Michael Graves' Dolphin Hotel, and I had a relaxing day at The Mandara Spa.  You can see my suitcase choices here.

May: StellaBella got her 1st official photo credit!  After volunteering our catering services at Metropolis Magazine's 2012 Game Changer Event, Kim Taylor invited me to photograph a lecture at Steelcase with two of the 2012 Game Changers:  Ruth Finkelstein & Katie Salen.  The 2012 State of Design event was hosted by ELF, Steelcase, Metropolis Magazine and ASID NY.  The full slideshow can be seen here.

June/July:  I posted here and there throughout the summer, and believe me, I enjoyed myself when I could - (pictured below with my summertime cigar ladies at The Grand Havana Room), but this past summer was an organized and aggressive search for a new JOB.  I had worked for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for 10 years on June 2, 2012, and that motivated me to make a change!  But it wasn't going to happen overnight, and not the right way if I didn't put the hard work in.... and I did!

August:  Ronnie and I celebrated my 34th birthday in our favorite local vacation spot: Asbury Park, NJ.  This town is so full of music history and beach bum tradition.  The locals welcome you with open arms, and we plan to go back for years to come!  No hurricane can keep the Jersey Shore down for long - they are working hard to rebuild, and hope to be ready for another great Season in 2013!

September/October:  After interviewing all summer long, I accepted a new position!  I gave notice, and my co-workers gave me the best send off I could have asked for.  I spent my last days saying Good-Bye to the everyday beauty of Rockefeller Center, and to my friends and colleagues I had the pleasure of working with over the years.  At my farewell party, I was granted the first ever "Honorary Sloan Research Fellowship", for my hard work and dedication to the SRF program!

November:  I started my new career move with The Ellison Medical Foundation.  I was the first strategic hire in the NY office, and accepted the title of Program Manager: Grants Administration and Scientific Review.  Before a recent trip to Maryland to visit my new "remote" co-workers - Ronnie's mom & I put together a little "Greetings from NYC" gift bag for each of them.  After Hurricane Sandy hit my town hard - I was happy to spread a little NYC cheer!

I also posted another "Interview Time" with the fabulous Jessica Bartley.  I have really enjoyed doing this series on StellaBella; conversations with awesome women doing exactly what they love, and getting it done their way.  I have a few lovely ladies in mind for the next installment, so stay tuned!  Jessica, thank you again for being a part of my blog project, and the StellaBella family!

December:  After weekend, after weekend of apartment hunting, Ronnie & I finally found a lovely new abode!  He is pictured below during one of many day-long hunts, (which has spawned a new series on my Instagram "Big Ronnie & Street Art").  We are currently packing up the loft, and getting ready for lots and lots of more space in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn!  The new home has a deck and backyard, so Ronnie can finally have BBQ's and an impromptu herf anytime he wishes!  For me; high ceilings, 2 bay windows, gorgeous hard ward floors, and a real dining room.  The kitchen has more room than I've ever had in NYC, oh and I won't mind the dishwasher either!  I am so sad to leave my most favorite neighborhood of Fort Greene, but I will make sure we use our BAM membership often, and continue to visit our favorite local restaurants, (The General Greene, Olea, Habana Outpost, and of course Graziella's).  Also we will be sure to come back for the BK Flea, and catch a Nets game whenever we get the chance!

A BIG Happy New Year to all of our readers - let's make 2013 the year where we get things done our way, love the ones close to us with everything we have, and laugh as much as possible!  But let's make sure that we also enjoy this time of reflection; you can't go forward, until you look back.  We write our own history everyday, I know I want to tell my greatest story ever - tell your story in your own special way too!

La vita è bella,

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