This post contains affiliate links that I could make commission off of. All opinions are my own. Learn more.
Well, the joke is on me for starting a series of Annual Favorites in 2019. 2020 was definitely rough. My grandma died, work anxiety increased more than tenfold, my mental health has never been worse… but despite all of that, there’s still so much good to be found this year.
I’m really glad I started this series last year, because I definitely wouldn’t have taken the time to make this list if I hadn’t. And when everything else seems to be going to shit, a little bit of gratitude goes a long way.
So without further ado, here are my favorites from the past year.
Back when it was still acceptable to do things in person, I started a ceramics class at my local art school. And I loved it. I’ve always been interested in pottery, and it felt really good to invest in a new hobby. I’m bummed that we never got to finish the course (the final two classes were cut because of COVID), but overall it was definitely a highlight of the year.
Traveling to St. Louis
Lololol I can’t believe I traveled to St. Louis to sit in a room full of 700+ people back in February. And ate at a buffet. And sat around in small groups drinking and laughing together. Inside.
But seriously, it was a blast. I went to the MarComm and Membership Conference for work back in February, and it was such a positive experience. I got to meet my counterparts at other Girl Scout councils (including the council that’s right around the corner from my house!), learn more about where the organization is going, and even saw some family when I was there!
Furnishing the House
I still laugh when I think about November 2019 Caitlin deciding my word of the year for 2020 would be “Home.” But you know what? I crushed it. 2019 was a rough year for our house, and I wanted to spend 2020 making it feel more like a home. New furniture, decorations, and all of the little improvements that help you feel more settled.
And we went hard on that theme. Just a few highlights of investments we made in our home this year:
- Furniture for the porch
- New living room furniture
- A desk, sunroom, and lounge chair for the sunroom
- New bedroom furniture and mattress (which allowed us to create a guest room with our previous bedroom set)
- New washer/dryer set
We’re incredibly privileged that we were able to spend money on these luxuries, and I remind myself of that every day. I’m so grateful!
Nintendo Switch / Ring Fit / Animal Crossing
My Nintendo Switch was my savior this quarantine. We received it for Christmas in 2019, back before The Great Switch Shortage of 2020. I used it so much. (So much, in fact, that when Switches became available again, we bought a second one so I don’t hog it all the time.)
One of my favorite memories from The Before Times (ie January and February) is when we decided to get Ring Fit, a fitness game for our Switch. Sean stopped at six stores after work trying to find it, and bought the last one in all of Kalamazoo. Sean came home with the game and we were like “lolol it’s hard to find because factories are shut down from coronavirus.” Oh, how naive we were.
Then of course there’s Animal Crossing. I just checked my switch and I’ve played it for 430 hours this year. 😬 It’s been a great distraction, and a fun way to connect with friends virtually. (Plus, dinosaurs!)
Removing & Trimming Trees
Another big investment we made in our house was removing two trees (a pine tree from the front of the house and another tree from the backyard) and trimming back the maple we have in our backyard. They helped the house so much.
The pine tree was slowly dying and dropped pine needles all over out front walkway. and the maple in the back had branches that constantly scraped against the roof and siding. The work was long overdue, and having it done really decreased both mine and Sean’s anxiety. Plus, it helped the curb appeal!
Starting a New 101 in 1001 List with Angela
My second 101 in 1001 list ended in October, so when my new list began, my best friend Angela started a list with me! We had so much fun coming up with our lists together, and we keep each other on track. I wish we had done this sooner!
Paying Off Our Student Loans!
Omg we did it. When we moved to Cincinnati in 2016, we combined all of our finances and set a goal to pay off our student loans before either of us turned 30, and in November, we accomplished that goal. Holy shit that was hard.
Our budget was tight for a few years there, but the feeling of paying off those student loans was so worth it. Now our only debt is our mortgage!
I’ve followed Senita for a long time on Instagram, and this year I finally decided to purchase some of their leggings, bike shorts, and sports bras. And wow I wish I hadn’t waited so long. Everything has pockets! One of my outfits, a matching set of leggings and a sports bra, has four pockets. Amazing!
Office Ladies Podcast
I started listening to Office Ladies on the drive to St. Louis in February, and I was hooked. I really liked The Office before, but now I’m obsessed. They go episode by episode and recap everything that happens, plus fun behind-the-scenes stories. Once I got back from St. Louis, I started watching episodes along with them. It’s been so fun!
Reading 60+ Books
At the beginning of the year, I set my reading goal for the year: 52 books, which works out to one book per week. And holy cow, I blew it out of the water with 62! Quarantine definitely helped, but I also just made it a priority. And I loved it. I’m upping my goal to 75 for 2021, and I hope I can cross it off next year!
My Hamilton obsession started after my trip to Chicago in May 2019, and wowza did it continue this year. I remember arriving in St. Louis to the news that Hamilton was going to be released in theatres in October 2021, and I literally jumped up and down screaming. My coworker Chrissa thought I was nuts. 🤷🏼♀️
Then, of course, they moved it to Disney+ in July, and I watched it 3 times that weekend. I’ve been listening to it Non-Stop (heh) and have no regrets.
Joe Biden Winning the Presidential Election
And finally, the best news of the year. Joe Biden was elected president of the United States. Thank god. The election was so stressful, and holy cow those five days watching results come in were basically a never-ending panic attack. But it was also so communal. I loved constantly texting friends and family with updates and memes. And I can’t wait for January 20.
So yes, this year was a lot. But there was also a lot of good in it, too. And I’m so grateful for how easy it was to make a list of favorites from the year. Here’s to 2021. ♥️