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I’m going to be honest… as of late, I’ve felt pretty negative about 2019. It was a hard year! But last week, I saw Carly’s roundup of her 2019 favorites, and I decided I’d like to start doing similar posts on an annual basis, just like she does.
And you know what? I’m so glad I did. As soon as Sean and I started reminiscing about all the things we did this year, I felt so much more positive about 2019. It was definitely a lesson in gratitude!
Let’s recap the best parts of 2019.
Hamilton in Chicago
In May, I took the train down to Chicago to celebrate Angela’s birthday. It was the best time! I got to see Angela for like the fifth time IRL (even though that doesn’t even begin to explain how close we are), I saw Randi for the last time before she moved to Ukraine, and I made two new friends, Rafa and Carolina.
We did all the Chicago things, and then saw Hamilton and went to Hamilton: the Exhibition. I pretty much haven’t stopped listening to Hamilton since.
My Birthday Celebration
This year was my first birthday back in Michigan, where most of our college friends also live. We decided to do a big weekend to celebrate, with a sushi buffet, candle making, rock climbing, tacos, hockey, bingo, and brunch. It was the best time—so good we actually replicated it for Friendsgiving last month.
We did so much traveling this year. I actually joked that my unofficial theme for the year was “a short trip to _______.” In addition to Chicago for Hamilton, we went to LA for my cousin’s wedding, Traverse City for my friend’s wedding, South Carolina for my dad’s birthday, Chicago for a random get-together with college friends, and Florida to visit Sean’s parents. It was exhausting but so amazing.
We can’t really talk about 2019 without mentioning my obsession with Queen. It all started last year when we saw Bohemian Rhapsody, and thanks to Amazon Music Unlimited, I listened to a lot of Queen this year. It’s a good thing Amazon Music doesn’t do the Year in Review recap that Spotify does, because… I’d probably be embarrassed at how much Queen and Hamilton I listened to this year.
In fact, I’ve gotten to the point that Sean will barely listen to Queen any more, even though they are (used to be?) his favorite band. Whoops.
If you’re curious, my favorite songs are ’39 (a folk song about space and time travel! Gotta love astrophysicist Brian May) and Killer Queen.
Our New Fireplace
On our second anniversary, we had a local company come out to install an electric insert into the fireplace we found in our bedroom! It has made the room so cozy. It was a bit of an investment, but we absolutely love it and legitimately use it every day. We’re planning to build a mantel for it as soon as we finish the porch. Which brings us to…
Making Little Improvements to Our House
2019 will always be known as the year of the porch in our household. If you haven’t heard, we were doing touch-ups to the external trim on our house, and in the process discovered that our back porch walls were rotten and needed to be replaced. That was over the 4th of July, and we’re still not done…
That’s not one of my favorites from the year. But all of the other little improvements we made definitely are some of my favorites! We got new lighting in a bunch of rooms, did some unglamorous-but-necessary work to the front door and window frames outside, redid our office with built-in bookshelves, and got a full-sized Christmas tree (finally!). They’re small changes that are helping us feel more ownership of our house, which I love.
Passion Planner Daily
I’ve been using a Passion Planner for a few years now, and while I’m a devoted user, I’ve been feeling… uninspired as of late. I was going through the motions, logging what I had been logging in the past, and not using all of the features. When they announced the Passion Planner Daily, I was skeptical, but warmed up to the idea enough to print out the sample pages and try it out.
After a few short days, I pledged to their Kickstarter, and received 4 Passion Planner Dailies earlier this month. I’m now obsessed. It’s helped me get excited about planning again, and I feel so much more organized.
Redoing My Swimsuit Collection
After our trip to South Carolina in July, I was feeling… weird about my swimsuit collection. I had a one-piece that I bought in 2016 before a work event, and the rest had all been purchased in high school or college. They didn’t fit super well, I didn’t love them, and, most importantly, I didn’t feel confident in them.
I spent a bunch of time on the Aerie website as soon as we got home from South Carolina, and came up with a streamlined plan for my swimsuit collection that I’m now so happy with. I got this one piece, this one piece, this top, this top, this top, and this bottom in both olive and black, in addition to the bright pink bottoms I already had.
Now I just need more opportunities to swim! Lake Michigan, I’m coming for you in 2020.
My New Nail Polish Obsession
This is the year my Essie obsession came out in full force. I blame Randi and Elsbeth for introducing me to Seche Vite top coat. I’m currently up to 54 bottles of nail polish (51 shades, plus a base coat and two top coats), and I have no shame about it. I even started an Instagram account just for nail polish photos!
I did a full post about this earlier this year, but 2019 is the year I fell in love with the Kalamazoo Public Library. Back in January and February they hosted their Overdue Brew series, a series of events in partnership with local breweries that were 100% free. Sean and I went to several and loved all of them. I’m so sad they’re taking a break from the series in 2020!
I also learned we can request books if the library doesn’t already have them, and if they end up getting it, they’ll automatically put it on hold for you when it comes in! So far I’ve requested two books and they’ve ended up purchasing both.
And, as if I couldn’t love them more, they announced this fall that in 2020, they’re going fine-free, because late fees are a very small part of their operating budget and they know that they disproportionately affect low-income people, discouraging them from utilizing the library.
In short, KPL is the best.
AMC Stubs A-List
We technically signed up for AMC Stubs A-List back in August of 2018, and I feel like I under-utilized it in 2019, but it’s still one of my favorite things from this year. For $20/mo (higher in some areas), you can see up to three movies per week at any AMC theatre. For whatever reason, that’s a much easier cost for me to stomach than $12 every once in a while. Plus, it’s fun to randomly say “want to see a movie?” and know that we could do it without having to spend any more money! I even treated myself to a movie, ICEE, and popcorn earlier this month, and it was the best form of self-care ever.
Chopping My Hair Off
Why is finding a new hairdresser the absolute worst? I had a hairdresser I loved back in Bellevue, and I put off finding a new one in Kalamazoo for so long. Well, it all worked out for the best, because I found Dani at Drue Salon, and she’s the absolute best. I set up a color consultation with her before my actual appointment, and when I was explaining what I wanted, I asked if she had ever seen Schitt’s Creek. Her face lit up and she was like “OH so we’re doing Alexis’s hair? Got it.” That’s when you know you’ve found the one.
But it’s more than just finding a stylist—I’m so happy with the cut itself, too! My hair is definitely a security blanket, and when my hair is long, I always rely on putting my hair up in a messy bun, even though I feel most confident with my hair down and styled. With shorter hair, it’s harder to put up (though still totally possible if needed), so I’m much more likely to have my hair styled now, which in turn has led to better overall hygiene.
I’m feeling so grateful for 2019. Was it hard? Absolutely. Do I want to do it over? Hell no. But a lot of really good things came out of 2019, and I’m just so thankful to all of my friends and family who helped me make these amazing memories. ♥️