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I know a lot about stress and coping and making the best of what hand is dealt to you.. I learned it at a very young age. When I was seven years old, I went through a very traumatic situation that miraculously only scared me in small ways. I don't talk about it and very few people beside my own family know it... and I'm fine with that. I don't want to remember it, I was immensely lucky and I survived it.

Six years ago, I went through a different and very personal situation, when once again, I had to dig deep and cope. I came out of it with a deep sadness but knowing how strong and resilient I could be. A couple of years later, I lost my dearest of friends to suicide. The pain of his loss was excruciating; I grieved and I missed him and I learned a lot about myself in the process. When I came the other side, I made changes in my life and, selfishly and stupidly, I thought that was it, I thought I had gotten my fair share of trauma...

Until the phone rang at 2:30 am a few days ago and I heard the crying voice of my sister letting me know that my brother Pepillo had passed away. The shock of that phone call will never wear off. My mother's cries in the background, the urging question I had to ask... was it a violent death?... these days Mexico fights a cruel drug war and sadly, violent robberies and kidnappings are at the order of the day. I breathed a sigh of relief when she said it was not. It took a few hours to find out that my barely 53 year old brother, the oldest and only boy in the family, had died of a massive heart attack. Pepillo never smoked, never drank, went to bed early and worked hard, he was never sick, had rarely been in hospital and was, generally speaking, a very healthy man.

When I look at the last four years of my life, I feel amazed at all the stuff I have managed to cram into 1,460 days: a full time job, a blog I'm super proud of, plenty of cooking demonstrations and classes, family visits, an online business, a market stall, a bricks and mortar shop, a couple of TV segments and very slowly but surely the writing of my first cookery book... how did I manage all that? I'm not entirely sure. We live a day at a time and we try our best to live it well.... some days give us a great sense of accomplishment, others we're just happy to get through... it's all about moving, advancing, keeping momentum and learning in the process.

As I reflect today on the year just gone, I cannot believe that is going to be a year old next week! This time last year we were preocuppied with shop fit outs and today it's been all about the phasing out of My Mexican Shop and the cementing of Picado. We are so excited to have finaly merged our online home of 4 years () together with our bricks and mortar shop, Picado Mexican!

These four years of hard work have helped us define who we are and where we want to go... they have given us confidence, and defined our identity. That identity has now been imprinted in our online presence too. Hop in and take a look. I hope you all like it as much as we do.