I’ve always loved writing “year in review” columns.
Before I sat down to write this year’s recap, I took a look back my top 14 moments of 2014. Last year, I wrote it was the best year yet for Pretty Southern; clearly, I had no idea what this year would have in store.
Here are our top 15 moments of 2015 on PrettySouthern.com
1. Breaking the internet in Charleson – I’ll go ahead and say it: I’ve never had an adrenaline rush like this before. Our contributing blogger, Jenn Ciccarelli, wrote a post about her experience living in Charleston as a 30-something single girl. Her story gave us the biggest traffic day in the history of this blog. We got more than 43,000 hits in one day! We had 80,000+ hits for the week plus reached readers in all 50 states and more than 100 countries. We ended up having to take the post down. I went on Charleston’s local radio, Mix 96, to talk about the experience.
2. Our “home block party” with Tex’s Tacos – this event easily makes one of my top food blogger experiences…ever! Earlier this year, the lovely Katherine Kimbrell reached out to me asking if we’d do a post about her food truck, Tex’s Tacos, for the blog. We got the Atlanta Food Bloggers Society involved to host a tasting at Pretty Southern headquarters. Having a food truck parked in my own front yard is definitely a highlight of my time as a food blogger.
Check out my Tastemade video of our event
Editor’s note: Before continuing, quick shoutout to Mara Davis and Hilary Harmon for the opportunity to collaborate on launching Tastemade in Atlanta!
3. Brunch with Hugh Acheson – Thanks to Erica Key and the team at Yellow Pages (YP), we had the opportunity to brunch with renowned chef Hugh Acheson at his first Atlanta restaurant, Empire State South. “Being in Georgia has meant a ton to me, and Atlanta has really come to terms with itself,” he told our group who gathered to celebrate his new book, The Broad Fork.
Hugh Acheson with yours truly
4. UGA vs. Alabama – Granted this football game was literally a wash for the Dawgs, but we had a blast partying in the rain. Kudos to Lynn Lilly and her team at Craft Box Girls for hosting the perfect #GameDay tailgate with Georgia Beef Board. Check out this awesome recap video with us tailgating in the rain!
5. Trying to lose #15in15 – this year started off with a goal of losing 15 pounds in 2015. By spring, I’d lost 8 lbs. thanks largely in part to spinning at Cyc Fitness. Huge shoutout to the Cyc Atlanta team, Kelsey Walker, and Liz Lapidus PR for letting me participate in the #SpringIntoChange challenge.
Cycologist Annie Czarnecki and yours truly after a ride
6. The first-ever Shaky Boots festival – The inaugural Shaky Boots festival rocked Kennesaw like no other music festival has in North Georgia ever before. Katy Ruth Camp and I had a blast covering this two-day event. We even shotgunned a beer with the guys from Eli Young Band!
7. Tori Allen’s Monthly Meetups – Talk about a mover and shaker in this town, Tori Allen is a lady-in-the-know. She’s doing fabulous work representing Atlanta’s drinking and dining establishments, plus working her tail off to raise awareness the Atlanta Community Food Bank. In addition to all her PR efforts, every month she hosts a networking mixer for our group of writers, editors, bloggers, and social media mavens. Here’s my favorite pic from our September meetup at Gypsy Kitchen.
8. Georgia Grinders Dinner – The lovely Jaime Foster, founder of NaturAlmond prepared a multiple-course dinner featuring her products for the Atlanta Food Bloggers Society. Thanks to Jaime and Debbie Rosen of The Rosen Group for this opportunity. Check out this recap from Roger & Eve at Friday Date Night. From left to right: Lia Picard, Debbie Rosen, Jaime Foster, Roger Strauss, Linda Carmical, Jennifer Harris, Denise Romeo, and Eve Kofsky
9. McKendrick’s Media Dinner – We named McKendrick’s to our list of the Top 10 Atlanta Steakhouses, and were tickled pink (or should I say medium rare?) to attend their VIP media dinner. The first course was an oyster trio, followed by a seafood sampler of crab, shrimp, and lobster. The salad course was a tomato, basil and mozzarella salad drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. Our entree was a perfectly cooked filet mignon, for dessert we had chocolate & peanut butter pie. Did I mention the wine pairings with each course? Thanks to Noelle Jackson and the McKendrick’s team for the best meal I had in 2015!
10. Grady College Centennial – my beloved journalism school, UGA’s Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication, turned 100 this year! The #Grady100 was a huge success. At the black-tie gala this year in Athens, Governor Nathan Deal attended as keynote speaker. Big shoutouts to Diane Hill Murray, Karen Andrews, Dr. Parker Middleton, and Dean Charles Davis for this amazing year celebrating our college.
From left to right: Dave Perez, Brooke Stevens Perez, yours truly, and Kevin Patrick
11. Chama Gaucha opening – another fabulous foodie outing this year was the opening of Chama Gaucha in Buckhead. Thanks to The Reynolds Group for inviting us to the VIP opening dinner. Check out our Tastemade recap.
12. Taste of the Nation- This annual event has been on my Atlanta blogger bucket list for awhile. Ever since I worked at Jezebel magazine in 2008, I wanted to attend Taste of the Nation. This incredible evening benefits Share Our Strength and No Kid Hungry. This year more than $740,000 was raised in hopes of bringing an end to childhood hunger. Thank you to Denise Romeo for letting me be your plus one!
Denise Romeo of We Like 2 to Cook and yours truly
13. Jeffrey Fashion Cares – This is another event which has been on my blogger bucket list for years. Jeffrey Fashion Cares is one of Atlanta’s biggest charity events of the year benefitting both the Atlanta AIDS Fund and Susan G. Komen Atlanta. It was one of the best nights of 2015. Thanks to Caren West PR and her team for including us.
14. Taste of Atlanta – Since we launched Pretty Southern in 2011, the team at BRAVE PR has kindly partnered with us for promoting #TasteofATL. For Taste of Atlanta 2015, I was part of the #FoodPorn patrol! You can check out all of our delicious pictures here.
15. Working with y’all! Pretty Southern wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for you, dear reader! I have to take a moment to highlight our contributors: Kate Robertson, Katy Ruth Camp, and Mandy Morgan. Double kudos again to Jenn Cicarelli for breaking the internet in Charleston. I also want to introduce our newest contributor, Rachel Perkins! A senior at the University of Georgia, we’re excited to feature Rachel’s stories about life in Athens. Check out her first post here.
Thank you once again to our public relations partners at BRAVE PR, Caren West and Lauren Klopfenstein of Caren West PR, The Reynolds Group, Baddish Group, Morgan Dyches and Emily at Melissa Libby PR, Noelle Jackson, Tori Allen, Pineapple PR, Liz Lapidus, Kelsey Walker, Kitsy Rose, Lorrie Dixson, Jody and Debbie Rosen of the Rosen Group. Granted 2015 isn’t quite over yet, but we can’t wait to see what 2016 has on deck!