2019 in Review

Welcome to 2020!

It is absolutely mind boggling to me that another year has already come and gone!  They are going by so quickly now!

I remember how the grown ups would say things like that when I was a kid (along with “you’ve gotten so big!”) and I never really understood because when you’re a kid a year feels like an eternity.  But now that I am an adult I find myself saying all of those sorts of things and understanding them… Which I have to admit makes me a little sad sometimes.  I had hoped to hang on to my connection to childhood my whole life, but there really is pressure to switch to a more “adult mindset” at a certain point (especially once you turn 26 and have to get your own health insurance and are working in an office all day.)

(You’ll have to excuse me, I am in the habit of writing stream of consciousness blog posts right now for my other blog, but I will try to not do that here.  However, if you are interested in my more day-to-day thoughts and much less curated activities, feel free to follow along over at abstractrelationsvi.wordpress.com. I’m not sure how long I will end up doing these daily blogs as they do take up a good chunk of time and mental energy… but for now they have been enjoyable and have reminded me of how much I love expressing myself through writing!)

Reflections and Resolutions

Right here right now, however, I would like to reflect on 2019.  And then think forward to 2020.  I did this last year as well and it was quite a beneficial exercise.  I appreciated the chance to reflect in the moment, as well as having those posts to look back on throughout the year and the ability to reread them now as we are beginning a new year.

Previous New Year’s posts:

2018 Goals
2018 in Review
2019 Resolutions

So before New Year’s Day and the start of 2020 I wrote down a quick list of some of the highlights from 2019:

2019 in Review

(in no particular order)

  • Went to Florida to visit my nanny family! (read about that adventure here)
  • My little sister graduated from UNCW so I took a trip to Wilmington, North Carolina for that – Congrats Nicole!!
  • I attended a graduation at Gallaudet University, a college for deaf and hard of hearing students located in Washington DC. I loved getting such a unique look into the world of deaf culture – the music in particular was unexpected and amazing!
  • Published my second children’s book: Families, Families Everywhere 
  • I volunteered at Glade Road Growing, learned how to plant sweet potatoes, and drove a tractor
  • Was part of a farm share for the first time (also through Glade Road Growing – post here) and tasted/cooked new veggies such as celeriac and swiss chard
  • Went to the Newseum, which was by far the best and most interesting museum I have ever been to!
  • I was part of a small group that read through the book Changes that Heal (I had already read this book in college and decided to reread it with different people, in a different setting and a different stage of life to see what I would take away the second time around. I have quite a few journal entries from this!!)
  • Went on an awesome and memorable trip to Iceland with my family! I got to drive a snowmobile on a glacier, saw a black sand beach, took a bus tour around to some famous sites, and spent a day at the Blue Lagoon spa!
  • Bought reusable ziploc bags and have almost entirely stopped using single use ones.  I also got a sweet bento box that I have really been enjoying.
  • Took a trip to Durham/Duke/Chapel Hill with Tre and explored all sorts of cool places.  I loved the art festival/farmer’s market that we found downtown!
  • Went to a Hokie basketball game
  • Took a trip to Asheville by myself – I saw the documentary The Biggest Little Farm while I was there and absolutely LOVED it!
  • I moved to Annapolis and started working full time for an architecture firm.
  • I went to a workshop at Anne Marie Gardens where we learned about invasive species and then helped de-vine some trees and used the vines to make sculptural pieces.
  • Babysitting! (I wish I could list out the kiddos, but for their privacy I won’t… If any of my babysitting families are reading this though, know that I love and miss you and your little ones and greatly appreciate you letting me into your lives!)
  • Planted a whole bunch of seeds in my apartment/on my balcony. The butternut squash plant definitely got the largest, though unfortunately nothing ended up making it to the point of being harvested.
  •  Took and completed an online course called Early Education Outdoor Learning Environments through the NCSU Continuing Education program. (I should really write a post sharing about this experience and the things that I learned! If you’d be interested in that let me know in the comments section!)
  • Went to Wisconsin for my cousin’s wedding (Congrats to Zak and his new bride!) and got to see lots of my extended family.
  • Continued making pottery at the YMCA in Blacksburg and started selling handmade ceramic palettes in my Etsy shop. I had my own wheel set up in my kitchen for a while which was absolutely lovely! I would LOVE to have my own studio some day!
  • Spent some time in Richmond and visited some great breweries.
  • Other creations and artistic endeavors included more watercolor house commissions and a t-shirt quilt for my dad
  • Started the Not Your Pawn project (So many ideas, not enough time or resources!)
  • I went on a summer trip to Smith Mountain Lake with my family and Grandma (unfortunately Grandpa was able to come because of his back… but he was there in spirit and we definitely missed him!) – Highlights from this trip included kayaking on my blow-up kayak (so peaceful!), boating around the lake with the fam (pontoon boat and speed boat), and getting to spend time with my sis in the loft area of the really awesome house we rented for the week!
  • Going to the Renaissance festival with my family one weekend and with my high school friends another weekend!
  • Spending a couple hours with my sister at a virtual reality arcade in DC called Augment – We did some archery, went skiing, played Fruit Ninja, and more!
  • Just before Christmas I got to hang out with a couple of old friends… Went to Calvert Brewing Company with one and to The Board and Brew (a board game cafe with a great atmosphere) with the other. So fun and such good conversation!
  • And finally, I finished up the year by spending time with my parents – we celebrated New Year’s Eve by going to see My Fair Lady performed at the Kennedy Center and stayed in an adorable AirBnb!

And as I said last year, I’m sure I missed events/people that were and are important… But unfortunately that’s just the nature of the beast. Please don’t be offended if you were a part of my life but not on the list!! I appreciate the time spent together and the memories we made!


This year I also decided to make some other lists (can you tell that I love making lists?!) to help summarize my life in 2019:


Best Books of 2019

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Educated by Tara Westover

Riley the Brave by Jessica Sinarski (children’s book)

The Dark Side of Innocence by Terri Cheney

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo


Podcasts of 2019


Therapists Uncensored

Your Queer Story

Mind Love

Shameless Sex 


Music in 2019


Orla Gartland

Gabbie Hanna



Twenty One Pilots

my personal “Those Lyrics Though” playlist 

an “Ulimate Indie” Spotify playlist 


2019 Goals In Review

Publish my second children’s book  Done! Check! Yay! Will there be another? Who knows!

Bullet JournalingI tried this and did it for a while! And I still incorporate aspects of it into my list-making (especially at work). However, I don’t do it as consistently as I had anticipated.  Which I think is okay! I might pick it back up now that my life feels a little more stable and routinized… but we’ll see.

Physical Health: Does this ever get crossed anyone’s list ever?  I did lose some weight and I did consistently exercise for a while and I do feel more confident in my body than I did a year ago… But let’s be honest, this will probably always be on the list.

Reading list: This was the list I wrote in my post last year and this was how it fared:

    • The Power of Habit 
    • The Bullet Journal Method
    • A book about racial inequality/systemic injustice
    • Something by Henry David Thoreau
    • T.S. Eliot (“The Waste Land”)
    • When Breath Becomes Air 
    • A book about food/health/nutrition (maybe Animal, Vegetable, Miracle?)
    • Another great fiction book

Finances: In some ways this is better… in some ways it stills needs a lot of work and consistency.  Another one of those ones that kind of just tends to stay of my list.  It’s just so difficult to find a system that works!  And to find the time and motivation to actually do it… What is your system for tracking finances?  Any tips or tricks?  I’d love a comment below if you have any advice…

Volunteer: My goal was to volunteer once and I did that!  Thanks Glade Road Growing for an awesome experience!  Now to find more opportunities like that in Annapolis…

Environmental Consciousness: This is another ongoing goal that we all can always stand to make a higher priority.  However, in 2019 I did successfully use silicone mats for my baking trays in lieu of parchment paper or aluminum foil. I bought and consistently used reusable snack and sandwich bags.  I purchased and used compostable bamboo toothbrushes. And I continued reducing, reusing, and recycling when possible. I’m excited to continue to brainstorm more ways to bring environmental consciousness into my life in 2020!


Looking Ahead

Andddd… Like I did last year, I am going to save my 2020 goals for a different post as this was already so long and so much information!

But to finish this post, what were some of your highlights in 2019?  Did you have any goals or resolutions?  If so, how did those go?  What was the best recipe you tried? The best book you read? The best musician you discovered? The most impactful movie you watched?

I always love having conversations about these things so if you have a second and want to share, definitely leave a comment!  I read them all!

As always, thanks for reading!



P.S. The image at the top with all of the dots is from the mood and activity tracking app I use called Daylio. That’s my ‘year in pixels’ from 2019 – the first year that I have logged consistently for the entire year!



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