All the Best in 2012!

December of 2011 was full of joyous celebrations with family, friends, parties, and laughs.  What a truly wonderful way to end an amazing and adventurous year.  It is remarkable the amount of things that one can accomplish in a year, and I am blessed to be able to look back at 2011 and have nothing but smiles.  I am equally excited to see what accomplishments and memories 2012 will bring.

With such a beautiful end to the year, I couldn’t help but want to share some of it with all of you.  The first among my December holiday events was a trip to see the holiday decorations at The Grove with my granddaughter Scarlett.

Scarlett at The Grove

My granddaughter, Scarlett, admiring the holiday décor at The Grove of Los Angeles.

Here are some close up shots of The Grove’s 110’ annual Christmas tree during assembly.  It is quite an extravagant assembly – requiring one very tall, bare tree trunk with large branches “screwed” into the pre-drilled holes along the trunk.

The Grove Christmas tree

If you have never seen the assembly of the tree, I strongly urge you to try to make it next year to get a real feel of the before and after of the transformation.

The Grove Christmas tree 2011 at night

The final product — a dramatic view of The Grove’s 2011 Christmas tree.

I chose to spend Christmas in Aspen this year with some dear friends.  My time there was filled with warm, sunny days – on some of which I spotted people wearing shorts!  I celebrated Christmas Day with my friends Peter and Patty Findlay in their “Magic Mushroom House.” Built in the early 1970’s by architect Andre Ulrych, the home’s nickname is inspired by the exterior profile, as well as the hallucinogens that were so popular during that era.  The architecture of the home consists of strictly organic curves – there is not one angular line!  It is definitely something to remember!

Magic Mushroom House in Aspen, Colorado

A sunken living area in the “Magic Mushroom House.”

Magic Mushroom House

Magical forest of trees at the “Magic Mushroom House.”

For Christmas dinner, we feasted on Buffalo and Bordeaux, homemade peach cobbler, and visions of sugar plums danced in our heads…

Christmas feast

Friends Peter and Tom slaving away in the kitchen for our Christmas feast!

My time in Aspen seemed to just fly by with so many friends, social events, and – of course – Après Ski at the Terrace Bar of The Little Nell Resort.  The spectacular view of Aspen Mountain and unique Global tapas menu make the Terrace Bar the perfect Après Ski scene.

Terrace Bar at The Little Nell

Terrace Bar at The Little Nell, photo courtesy of

Donna Livingston at The LIttle Nell

Donna, Marianne, and Catherine Anne at The Little Nell.

In closing, I’d like to say that it has been a pleasure sharing my travels and joyous occasions with you over this past year, and I look forward to many more.  All the best to you and yours in 2012!