I posted this last year too and I dont care!

I posted this last year too and I don't care!

Remember that time I thought it would be an awesome idea to give away stuff on my blog for 12 days straight? Well, it was an awesome idea, and nearly 300 of you agreed – but I kind of underestimated how much work promoting the giveaway, choosing a winner, and coordinating prizes was going to be. Oh, and then I got sick so I was emailing winners with one hand and torturing my face with a Neti pot in the other. Will I do it again sometime? Um… yeah, probably. I’m kind of dense, for one,  and I had fun doing it when I wasn’t in a Niquil coma. Anyway – thanks to everyone who played along – and big, fat thanks to all the sponsors who made it possible. I hope you guys got some use out of the gift guide as well!

There are a few big things coming up so I thought I’d ride the coattails of my last post and get you kids up to speed on the Baking and Destroying headed your way.

First of all, I’ll be on the panel at the Cook, Eat, Blog event at Whole Foods South Loop this Thursday, December 10th. You can read the details and register here, but in short some Chicago bloggers will be talking about food bloggin’ in Chicago, sharing our favorite snacks and hanging out. It’s from 7-9pm – I hope to see some of you there!

On that same day, my soul mate Melisser (The Urban Housewife, of course) will be landing in sweet home Chicago to enjoy sweet birthday hang outs with me, make vegan marshmallows, get bro tats, possibly get kicked out of Dragonlady Lounge and attend a vegan deep dish pizza cheese-off. (You’re just going to have to read about that on her blog after it happens.) Needless to say, I am very excited to see her. I see Pee-Wee’s Christmas Special and soy nog in my future!

Oh, have I mentioned that December 12th is my 30th birthday? The closer it gets, the more people have been asking me what I want. What do I want? I’m 30 years old (or at least, I will be in a few days.) At this point, what could I want? I have everything I need – a family that loves and supports me, a posse of smart-mouthed girlfriends, a pretty bitchin’ apron collection… But when I woke up this past Saturday morning I actually did think of something I’d like for my birthday. I’d like to raise as much money for Grind for Life as I possibly can. I got to work on Facebook early Saturday morning – bugging my friends and family via status updates – and by Sunday afternoon I’d already surpassed my original goal of raising $400. At this very moment my fundraising is up to $575 and it’s still going.

If you’re wondering what gives, Tony and I (and half of Chicago) lost someone recently. After a tough battle with cancer our friend Mat Arluck left this world – leaving behind, literally, thousands of friends and fans with tears in their eyes and smiles on their faces. Tears, because we can’t believe he’s gone – and smiles because Mat lived his life, up until the very last day, his way. I’m raising money for Grind for Life because they work with people with cancer to help cover their travel expenses. I’ve been overwhelmed with the generous donations my friends and family have made already – and I’m hoping that by posting this I’ll reach a few of you, too. Even if you can’t afford a donation (you can give as little as $10) you can post the link to my birthday wish on your Facebook page (or where ever!) and help me spread the word. I’m also donating 100% of the profits from my Tiger Lady tote bags to Grind for Life.

Tiger Lady tote for Grind for Life!

Tiger Lady tote for Grind for Life!

Aaaaand my birthday cake will be a pink leopard print malted milk cake from my favorite bakery – Angel Food Bakery! You can read my interview with owner Stephanie here.

Random fact: If you happen to be enrolled in Advanced Magazine Article Writing at Columbia College I will see you on Wednesday the 16th when I will be speaking to your class, along with some other people who I do not know yet, about how I got to be so dang fabulous. (Which is awesome, because I was in that class two years ago and I still remember the night people came and talked to us about how they got to be so great. It’s come full circle!)

In other news, I just posted my last Slash and Dine column over at Brutal as Hell. As you can see, my life is getting nutty and I didn’t think it was fair for my column to continue to play second fiddle, so I asked my friend Shannon to take my place. I can’t wait to see her first post in January! Oh, and I have some veggie Thanksgiving recipes posted over at Time Out Chicago. I know it’s almost Christmas now, so throw a Santa hat on those recipes and off you go.

Finally, I have a confirmed date on which Food Network’s Cupcake Wars will be airing – December 27th! I don’t have a time yet, but you know I’ll let you know as soon as I do! If you don’t know why that matters to me, you should probably watch this and this and read this. I am excited and totally nervous to see the edited results of what was for sure the weirdest thing to happen to me in 2009.

That’s all for now, folks. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next time!