Welcome to the best of The Sophisticated Life Blog 2014! I am sure everyone is enjoying this Holiday season. The year has gone by so fast to me but then again I say that every year 🙂 Looking back on my website/blog this year I am so proud of my accomplishments! Although I developed the original website in 2012 with a different concept in mind (not even knowing what a Blogger was!) I committed myself to being consistent with posts this year and extending my reach into the blogosphere. I am proud of my blogging accomplishments which included-my first all access media pass to a film festival, making connections in Atlanta that provided me with access to great events an giveaway prizes, revamping my site with a fresh new look, launching a collaboration with fellow Travel Bloggers to bring you the best travel posts on the internet AND winning the Black WeBlog Awards for Best Travel Blog of 2014! I am truly grateful for all your support! I put a lot of time into sharing this passion with all of you and I hope you enjoy it! As the year closes I decided to highlight some of my favorites posts of the year! I hope you will share yours with me in the comments!
TRAVEL: How do I choose which from so many great posts?! This is my favorite topic to blog about since I love to Travel! I decided to highlight the bucket lists places I went to this year.
1) Martha’s Vineyard: Although I went to Martha’s Vineyard when I was 18 years old, I have been on a mission to get back there ever since. Why? Because it is absolutely beautiful with many things to see and do on the island as well as having the perfect summer weather!
2) The French Riviera: AKA The South of France known to locals as Cote D’Azur has been on my bucket list ever since I was an adult! Remembering the glamour and beauty of Princess Grace Kelly and her life in Monaco, imagining the beaches in Nice and the city of Cannes where the film festival is held-it was all as dreamy as I thought and I can’t wait to go back!
3) The Ancient City of Pompeii in Italy: There are so many things I love about Italy including the ancient history and ruins. I learned about Pompeii in school then after my Mother visited there years ago I knew from the way she talked about it I had to get there. As I discuss in my blog post, the ruins are simply remarkable. If you are a history buff you will marvel at the preserved city and artifacts in Pompeii.
4) My Mother: Speaking of my Mother…I dedicated a post to her since she has truly been my Travel inspiration. I was so touched by how it was recieved by my friends and readers who insisted it make it to the “best of” list-of course it would!
5) Guest Travel Posts! As you may know, one of the things I love about my Blog is that I include guest posts from travelers, foodies and wine enthusiasts like me! Not only do I accept them but I have been known to seek them out when I notice any of my friends or bloggers doing something fabulous! There have been some great ones this year including my fellow travel blogger discussing cities to visit in Europe with Kids, my Jetsetter friend Joy writing about her amazing experience in Australia, my Facebook friend Terri ( I call her that since we have never met but it feels like we have!) who wrote about the beautiful tropical island of Grenada, my college friend Jessica who shared her family’s adventure in Egypt and my friend and coworker Lydia who described her epic journey hiking up the Inca trail to Machu Picchu!
FOOD: Yes I am a major Foodie! I seek out the best restaurants everywhere I go and by that I do not mean the fanciest or most expensive but the good ones with quality and unique dishes! Lucky for me Atlanta is a foodie town so much so I cannot keep up with all the restaurant openings! But, I was able to attend great food events this year and discover delicious eats around town. My favorite Food posts are…
1) The Best D*** Food & Wine Event Ever! Well the official name is “Les Dames d’Escoffier Annual Afternoon in the Country”. This outdoor event in the Atlanta area held at the Inn At Serenbe in the fall is not to be missed!
2) West Midtown Restaurant Guide-Part 1 and Part 2: People are always asking me where they should eat in Atlanta. I love my neighborhood of West Midtown partly due to all the great restaurants concentrated in one area. You will find everything from Southern, Mexican, Seafood, Gourmet ice cream and the top rated Bacchanalia!
3) Red Rooster Restaurant in Harlem: Are you familiar with the celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson? He is currently on the TV Show “The Taste”. I have been a fan of his for years and one of the reasons I attended the South Beach Wine & Food Festival on Miami Beach this year was to finally see him in a live cooking demonstration. In the fall I had the pleasure of eating in one of his restaurants! My only disappointment was that he was not at the Red Rooster while I was there!
WINE: This year I decided to start a wine tasting series! This has been one of my most enjoyable experiences! Not only do I love discovering new wine shops but I also love learning more about wine and getting my friends together for this fun activity.
1) Riesling @ Vine &Tap: This wasn’t my first wine tasting post in the series but so far it is the most highly ranked wine tasting post! I will say the food was as delicious as the wine and the owner Ian Mendelsohn is such a gracious host.
2) Napa Valley: A Tasting of Napa Valley with Hall Wines and the The Novice’s Guide to Napa Valley. I had the pleasure of meeting Kathryn Hall of Hall Wines at the release party for their 2011 signature Cabernet Sauvignon. I also learned about Napa Valley Appellations which is very interesting. Napa Valley is one of my favorite places to visit but encompasses a large area with many wineries and vineyards. It can be difficult to organize and navigate a trip there. Therefore, I wrote The Novice’s Guide to Napa Valley.
3) South African Wine Tasting @ Perrine’s Wine Shop: This was my last wine tasting of the year and it has become my favorite! I have never been to South Africa but I already have a list of wineries and vineyards to visit based on this tasting. Perrine’s is now my neighborhood wine store and I look forward to other events there.
1) The Harlem Fine Arts Show: I was able to attend the Harlem Fine Arts Show not once by twice this year-in Atlanta AND Martha’s Vineyard! My coverage of the arts show in Atlanta is one of my most viewed posts. I discovered wonderful new artists and definitely recommend this annual show which travels from NYC to Atlanta to Martha’s Vineyard to Chicago.
2) The Ballerina Misty Copeland: If you have not heard of Misty Copeland this year you have been living under a rock! (no offense) This post discusses Misty’s rise to fame. It also commends her for living a dream of women like me while encouraging little girls of color that they too can be a ballerina.
3) The Film Dear White People: Did you see this movie? The title caused a lot of controversy. People assumed it was a film directed in a negative way towards white people but it was truly a film about finding your own racial and sexual identity and being comfortable in your own skin. In this post I tell my story of how I too had difficulties fitting in in college and how I found my true identity.
4) The Oscar Winning Actress Lupita Nyong’o: 12 Years A Slave took my breath away. Directed by Steve McQueen it was difficult to watch but such an interesting true story of our past. It also introduced the World to the stunning and educated actress Lupita Nyong’o. She quickly became a fashion icon and role model as well as a symbol of Black beauty around the World.
5) Oprah’s The Life You Want Tour with Celebrity Chef Carla Hall: The excitement was palpable across social media as Oprah went from city to city to spread encouragement and empowerment across America. Although I was not able to see Oprah speak, I was able to attend an exclusive breakfast Power Meet Up with celebrity Chef Carla hall! She is well known for her participation on Top Chef and as a current host on The Chew. I was able to meet and interview Carla Hall and that video is included in this post.
I hope you have enjoyed my recap of my Favorite Blog Posts of 2014! Do you have a favorite? If so share your thoughts with us below! I cannot wait to bring you more and better posts in 2015!! Happy New Year!
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I love looking at your food and travel. I live through your adventurous and yummy posts.
Thank you Aimee! I am glad you enjoy them!
Nadeen, your blog post has definitely inspired me to make more time for me. That means less work and more traveling and experiencing new things. Thank you for sharing your adventures!
Thank you for reading and commenting Kiki! So happy to hear you inspired to Travel more from my posts! Please keep me updated on your plans!
Looks like you had an amazing 2014 – hope 2015 is the same! I’ve also been to Pompeii – it’s such an amazing experience!
Hi Ashley! Thank you! That’s great that you have also been to Pompeii! it is so interesting!
I really enjoyed reading your recap Nadeen. Congrats on all your achievements this year. Looking forward to watching you grow even more in 2015.
Thank You for the kind words Vashti! I look forward to working with you more in 2015 and hopefully we will actually meet!
You did quite a lot this year Nadeen and it looks like you had a great time 😀 Cannot wait to keep up with your writing in the new year!
Thank you Chanel! I am so glad we connected this year and I truly enjoy your blog posts as well!
Excellent post and year!! Very happy for you and proud that I have had the chance to get to know you and work with you this year! Congrats on all of the success and best of luck for 2015. It’s going to be a great year ;-).
Thank you Nicole! I look forward to our collaborations in 2015 and wishing all the best next year as well!
Here’s hoping that 2015 is even better than 2014! You certainly accomplished a lot. Travel, food, wine..what’s not to love ??? 🙂
Hi KemKem! Thank you! It has been a busy and fun year! I am happy to have discovered your blog and look forward to more European posts!
Travel, Friends, Family and good Food…. Now that’s living the life, You inspire me to make travel a priority in 2015! Thank you!
Thank you Simone! I do believe in living life to the fullest even if it exhausts me! lol I hope you get to fit in some travel next year!
You’ve grown so much and I’m very proud of you Nadeen! I see great things happening to you in 2015! I’m happy I got to know you this year and hope to finally meet you in person next year.
I cant believe we still have not met Lou! it feels like we have. Thank you for your lovely comment! I look forward to collaborating with you next year!
So glad that we’ve been able to connect this year, Nadeen. Since I’m still a newbie to your blog, I have tons of reading to catch up on! But from what I’ve read so far, you’ve had an incredible 2014. I’m especially interested in your Misty Copeland post (I’m such a ballet fan!) and reading about the Red Rooster in Harlem – I’m looking forward to visiting his restaurant in the near future. In any case, I’m wishing you much more success and prosperity in 2015!!!
Dana-Thank you so much!! I am so glad we have connected this year and I look forwarding to reading more of your blog as well. I am glad you enjoyed the Misty Copeland post. She is such an inspiration!
I love love love all the places you have been! I’ve been to Pompeii once when I was 14 and have been trying to get back every since! And even though I’ve never been to Martha’s Vineyard, it’s on my own travel bucket list! Maybe next year! Can’t wait to see where your adventures lead you next year!
LaShawn that is great that you were able to travel to Italy so young! I am sure Pompeii was a memorable experience! I defintiely recommend Martha’s Vineyard during the summer. It is so lovely!
Oh I love this recap! Nadeen, I truly enjoy your blog, your travels and your foodie adventures. As soon as I can get out more, I will definitely check out the local
Places you recommend. And as for Les Dames, I am so there in 2015! Will be a great getaway for the Hubs & I.
Thank you MJ! So glad you enjoy them! I look forward to working with you more in 2015! I will also let you know as soon as Les Dames tickets go on sale!
I am definitely living vicariously through your travel posts. Within the next few years, my husband and I want to start traveling the world with the kids. I love seeing places that other people have been and their take on them. I visited Italy for the first time last year (Rome, Tuscany, Florence) and loved it. Congrats on an amazing year and I look forward to seeing what’s on your 2015 bucket list.
Isn’t Italy wonderful? I have been twice including to those cities and it is a great place to Travel With Kids! Thank you for your kind words Christine! I am working on my 2015 bucket list now!
Wow. What a great year for your blog. Congratulations!
Sayid Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I hope you follow along in 2015!
Wow, how amazing, to see so much! I am a little bit green right now, thank you for sharing your adventures, its inspiring, and I cannot wait to get to the point when i can do that…In 17 years when my youngest will be off to college, but I can plan now 😉
Nancy I hope you do not have to wait that long! There are many places that great for traveling with children. Keep me posted!
I love all of the photos…makes me feel like I actually get to travel. 🙂
Hi Jamie, I am so glad that you enjoy the pictures!
Loved your blog post. It gave me some great ideals for my blog. I going on a cruise in January it will be fun to tell my adventure in my post. Look forward to following your adventures.
Roxanne I am excited for you! I love cruises and have to two cruise posts coming out this month! Please keep me posted on your cruise!
interesting blog I’ll keep reading cheerssss
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