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My 2012 Highlight Reel

In response to this WordPress prompt, I thought I'd take a look back at some highlights from the last 12 months. In all honesty, I feel like this entire blog has become a highlight reel of sorts. Every person, place or thing I've posted about has held a special place in my year, so picking just one photo and post for each month is a tough task! Regardless, I'm always up for a trip down memory lane... so here it goes:



Last year at this time I was secretly driving from Helena to Missoula, MT to surprise my best gal pal, Jamie, for her 30th birthday. We got to ring in the new year and celebrate her birthday all in one SUPER fun visit. Just looking back makes me grateful to have started 2012 with some of my favorite people on the planet. You can read more about the trip here and here.



In February, I started looking for recommendations from friends and family for local electrical companies that could help us remove this unsightly beast from our kitchen. More on the lovely results in a bit.



In mid-March, I happened to read this article reviewing a new app called Everplaces and was so excited about the app that I launched right into my own review. That review led to amazing opportunities on the content creation front (I'll cover that in a bit) and created what I can only hope will be lasting friendships with the crew at Everplaces.



In April, I posted an interview with the lovely people behind the {now} well-known Gypsy Mobile Boutique. If you were anywhere near Sacramento this past summer, you probably caught a glimpse of Gypsy around town. That truck is everywhere! You can read the full post here to learn more.



In late April and early May, I wrote a series of posts about a wonderful weekend trip to Pescadero, CA with my mom. The trip was equal parts fun, adventure and relaxation and we can't wait to have many more excursions like this in the future! Read more about it here, here and here.



Okay, so we actually took our road trip to Montana in May, but I was so busy with all kinds of real life goodness that I didn't get to post about it until late May/early June. Ahhh, the life of a working blogger. The trip was short, but incredibly sweet and we covered a lot of ground. Have I mentioned that after about six hours in the car, my husband and I get a bit loopy? Well, it's true. This trip was full of loopy, good times, which you can read about here and here.



In July, we finally finished our kitchen lighting project! We found a great company here in town to set us up with beautiful lighting and we've been enjoying our kitchen ever since. You can read more about the project here.



In August, this here blog was a bit quiet. I was super busy enjoying not sharing every. single. thing. I even posted about not sharing. Ironic, right? :)



In September, I hopped right back on the over-sharing train. Just in time too... I was able to capture and share what can only make me a huge nerd: the Space Shuttle Endeavour flyover here in Sacramento, CA! Luckily, I was far from being the only nerd in town. You can see more snaps here.



In October, I was incredibly excited to announce the launch of my first travel guide app in partnership with Everplaces. I've since launched another travel guide app for the U.S. Northern Rocky Mountains. I couldn't be more thrilled to have the opportunity to create content, work with such talented developers and designers and share my favorite spots with people all over the world.



In November, I met up with friends for a fun-filled weekend in San Francisco, CA. The trip started with concert tickets to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and turned into 72 hours of amazing times. Don't you love when things work out that way?



This month, I've had way too many highlights to truly pick just one. Wrapping up the year surrounded by close family and friends has been perfect in so many ways. If I had to pick one defining post for this month, however (since that is the task at hand), I'd say it's the post about changing things up on the social media front. As a former marketing and PR junky and all-around lover of the internet, I started my involvement in social media loooong before anyone even called it social media. I'm always checking out the newest websites and apps, but I often forget to let go of what's no longer working. That's going to change in 2013. The most notable change for me will be saying goodbye to Facebook. It's been a handy tool over the years, but I'm finding it less and less useful. Even more so, I'm finding it to be less of a positive experience. I'm not alone in this, either. This post from the New York Times is pretty right-on in terms of how I'm feeling about the social media giant. We'll see if I can really give up Instagram, though. I'm sticking with it for now, but I'm guessing the ad-integration that is sure to come will be clumsily executed and rather annoying. As always, I'll keep posting this blog to various platforms and see what sticks!


Anyone else taking the challenge of summarizing your year in one post? If you are, please feel free to link up in the comment section!

Happy New Year's Eve, all! Be safe!

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Recipe: The One With All the Rum

When most people smell rum, they probably think of tropical drinks. You know, the ones with those tiny umbrellas? Well, when I catch a whiff of rum I think of Christmas at my Nana and Papa's house. Yes, the deliciously strong smell of alcohol synonymous with pirates (yo-ho-ho, anyone?) conjures up fond memories of my British grandparents.It's not as strange as it sounds. You see, my family, both immediate and extended, show love with food. For generations, we've been offering up goodies in times of great joy, terrible sadness and everything in between. My Nana and Papa were no different.

At Christmastime, they would get to work in the kitchen creating goodies like peanut brittle, mince pies and Christmas pudding. The standout for me, however, was the simple rum ball. Some people in our family love them, some don't. For those of us who do, the rum-laden treats are like gold.

Now, I know it seems early to start sharing favorite Christmas recipes, but stay with me. These goodies are best if made well in advance and kept in the refrigerator to... ahem... cure.

The best part of this rum ball recipe has to be that it only involves 5 ingredients: walnuts, vanilla wafers, honey, rum and cocoa.

Recipe for traditional rum balls via Jennifer E. Snyder

We recently scored a huge bag of walnuts from my in-laws, which is awesome. Walnuts can be a bit pricey at the store, so we're always grateful when we can get them for the low, low price of a hug. :)

Let's break this down:

The walnuts and vanilla wafers act as the base for the "cake." This time around, I used my pathetic little dorm-sized food processor (a grown up food processor is definitely on my Christmas list this year), but I've also just chopped the walnuts and used a rolling pin to grind up the vanilla wafers in a plastic zip lock bag. As far as consistency goes, it's really up to you. I like processing everything to a fairly fine consistency (think cookie crumbs), but some would rather have large chunks of walnuts in their version of the recipe.

Recipe for traditional rum balls via Jennifer E. Snyder
Recipe for traditional rum balls via Jennifer E. Snyder

Once you've chopped everything, it's time to add the honey and rum. The honey acts as a sweetener (obviously) and helps bind everything together. The rum adds moisture and, of course, flavor.

Recipe for traditional rum balls via Jennifer E. Snyder
Recipe for traditional rum balls via Jennifer E. Snyder

Once you mix everything together, it's time to get to rolling. If you're like me, you're cool with just estimating the amount dough you need to make a nice golf ball-sized rum ball. I'm sure there are folks out there worried about each treat being the same size. You could probably use a melon baller or small scoop to ensure consistency, if you're interested.

After rolling comes the final touch: a coat of cocoa:

Recipe for traditional rum balls via Jennifer E. Snyder
Recipe for traditional rum balls via Jennifer E. Snyder
Recipe for traditional rum balls via Jennifer E. Snyder

When you're done, you'll be left with dozens of delicious holiday treats ready for the festivities!


Holiday Rum Balls:

  • 3 cups crushed vanilla wafers
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup rum
  • Cocoa to coat

Mix first 4 ingredients well. Shape into balls and roll in cocoa. Keep in an air tight container in refrigerator.

If you're planning on giving these away for the holidays, you can easily double or triple the recipe. I also find that I end up adding a bit more honey and rum to this recipe at the end, so adjust according to your taste.


The second best thing about this recipe is that there are substitutes for every ingredient. Prefer graham crackers to vanilla wafers? Go for it! Have an affinity for almonds? Use those instead of walnuts. White corn syrup can be used in place of honey to help keep it all together and, believe it or not, you can trade out the rum for brandy or sherry. Even the cocoa can be swapped out if you have Nestle's Quick on hand (in fact, some prefer it).

'Tis the season to work with what you've got, so it's no surprise just how many variations of this recipe exist. I say experiment and make them with whatever sounds good to you.

Me? I'm sticking with rum. :)


Anyone else have fond holiday memories associated with alcohol-infused treats? Spill it, people. Link up in the comment section if you have a tasty recipe to share!

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