Random Thoughts

2012: A Year in Review

My New Year's Eve wedding on a beach in Baja

You may have noticed a lack of consistent posting these past couple of months… and that’s because I was barely balancing the demands of working, blogging, renovating, road tripping, wedding planning, wedding crafting, and holiday entertaining all at once! (And by the way… yes, it can be done without going mad!)

On New Year’s Eve, under a cloudless blue sky on the Gold Coast of Northern Baja, I married my partner in crime and partner for life in a beach ceremony that I’ll never forget.

(More to come once we wade through the 8,000-plus pictures taken last weekend!)

After an already amazing year with Garden Betty, 12.31.12 was the perfect send-off for 2012 and an incredible start to 2013. I mean, how could you go wrong with this surreal sunset to top off the first day of the new year?!

First sunset of 2013

Now that I’m home and settled from a whirlwind week in Mexico, I’ve many things to look forward to in the New Year when it comes to family, friends, life at home and life abroad (in my new bungalow in Baja!). But I also look back to the highlights of these last 12 months, which went by entirely too fast!

On September 9, Garden Betty celebrated not only its second anniversary, but also its second significant honor (after last year’s Country Living award) — this time with a full-page feature in the September issue of HGTV magazine! As a bonus, last summer I was chosen as 1 of 50 bloggers in 50 states for a Country Living feature to represent my home state and recommend a must-do destination in California. (I hope I did us Californians proud!)

The Garden Betty brand further made its rounds by adding a Pinterest and an Instagram account, and all my Instagram images were collected into a Tumblr blog (for all you non-Instagram users), which you can bookmark at This Is La Buena Vida. Last year was quite the social media storm, with over 1,400 likes on my Facebook page and over 1,200 followers on my Twitter account.

In 2012 alone, I uploaded 83 posts and 760 images.

I introduced you to the lovely ladies who run my homestead (Kimora, Iman and Gisele!) and wrote about more eggs-citing stuff, like the first egg of the bunch, what I did with that first egg, why I don’t refrigerate my eggs, and how to make the perfect hard-boiled egg!

I went on a citrus spree and showed you a few different ways to preserve your lemon harvest, like freezing fresh lemon slices, lemon juice and lemon zest, brewing your own Italian limoncello at home, and canning preserved lemons, both Moroccan and Vietnamese style.

I was honored to host the founder of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Jere Gettle, in my garden last spring, and grew a variety of Baker Creek seeds all year long, including Chantenay Red Core carrots, Romanesco broccoli, Dragon’s Egg cucumbers, and Black Futsu squash.

And last year also kick-started the first of many fun giveaways on my blog, from an Icebreaker merino wool hoodie to a pair of rubber boots by Bogs, which I hope to continue this year!

Below are a few of the most popular posts — plus my personal favorites — from 2012.

Choose Your Adventure

Garden Goodness

In the Kitchen

The growing support from all my readers, new and old, this past year has been overwhelming. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving this humble little blog a real purpose.

Here’s to a bright and beautiful New Year full of life’s simple pleasures, at home and in the wild!

Linda Ly About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »


  • Avatar
    January 8, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Amazing year for you Linda!  I am positive 2013 is going to be even better!

    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      January 9, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      Thank you B! And Happy New Year to you and J, and to the baby with the coolest b-day ever. 😉 Hope you’re settling in well as a sexy new mama!

  • Avatar
    Lisa M
    January 8, 2013 at 7:49 am

    congrats to you!!  How exciting!  I wish you endless years of happiness and love with your wonderful husband.
    I have enjoyed your blog very much. have learned so much.  Thanks to you, I have a drawer full of seeds from Baker Creek just waiting to be started for the garden.  Black Futsu was the first seed I bought from them after reading your post about how wonderful that squash is.
    I look forward to learning more from you as the year progresses.  Thanks for the time and energy you put into your blog and for the information you share.
    Happy New Year!

    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      January 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      Thank you Lisa! Happy New Year to you as well, and good luck with that squash! (I’m still eating my harvest from this last season!)


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