Every December, I welcome the opportunity to reflect on the year. 2023 was an incredible year full of adventures, triumphs, and challenges. It was the year of VIETRI’s 40th anniversary, the launch of Italy on a Plate, family joys and sorrows, and connecting with so many of you on the road for my book tour. Here’s what I’ll always remember about this year. 

Meeting, talking with, and learning from so many VIETRI customers and book readers across the country. Introducing Italy on a Plate to the world meant that I got to travel for speaking engagements and book signings from North Carolina to California, to Texas, to Florida, to Maine, and to most everywhere in between. I was humbled to find how many people read the book, and even more touched by the fact so many said they related to my story or found some inspiration in it. As someone who has always been told I’m too nice, too positive, too enthusiastic, too ANYTHING, it was both a shock and a gift to realize (at the ripe age of 72!) that I’m exactly who I’m meant to be. The people for you will find you. 

The world is small. My father used to tell us this as an encouragement to be brave and to explore, and I think it is also true in the context of connecting with people. Social media has made it possible to keep up with friends from far away or from decades ago, and I have had the pleasure of resuscitating friendships from my college days 50 years ago. Reach out on Facebook to someone you haven’t talked to in a while! It might make their day, and it will add to yours. Also, geography is not a barrier to a close friendship. My European friends are just as dear to me as my local friends, so take advantage of technology’s ability to connect with those beyond your immediate world. 

Family is everything. My brother Page is moving from Virginia to a house just down the road from me, so now both my siblings and I are within a mile of each other. What a blessing! My mother always told us that no matter what happens, love and support for our siblings was the most important thing. She was right, and I’m so glad that this year brought the three of us to the same place. 

Watching the inner workings of VIETRI has been a great privilege this year. The team leading the company is young, passionate, and focused. They have fun together, and they work hard. Their mission is clear, they have goals and plans for accomplishment and that leads to personal confidence, and they communicate openly. I am prouder than I ever could have hoped, and I look forward to seeing to what new heights they take VIETRI next year. 

How about you? Any great learnings of 2023? 

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