I’ve been a loyal Coffee + Crumbs podcast listener since I became a mom, so when Emily invited me to join in sharing my “best of 2019” inspired by this recent episode, I couldn’t say yes quickly enough. One of my very favorite things about blogging is connecting with and keeping up with so many kindred spirit friends, and today, I feel especially excited to be linking up with a group of women I know in real life! I can’t wait to read these posts from Nancy, Sam, Victoria, and Rhiannon, all of whom are just as wonderful in person as they seem on the internet :)
I’ve mentioned before that 2019 has not been our easiest year. Along with spending most of it pregnant and at least a little bit sicker/more tired than usual, we’ve also traveled more than ever, spent WAY more time in the trenches of potty training than we were mentally prepared for, and moved somewhat unexpectantly. On the other hand, we’ve had the complete joy of seeing Charlie thrive in school (and open up much better work/life balance for me in the process–win-win!), the chance to witness four beautiful weddings, so many sweet moments as a family, and most of all, the incredible blessing of another baby following our miscarriage. It’s a year that has felt important to process and reflect on, and I hope you enjoy this first peek back!
Best adventure/travel/trip: We did SO MUCH traveling this year. The best trip, though, was to Austin for my sister’s wedding. So much more to come about this special day in the new year, once I finish narrowing down their gorgeous photos! :)
Best book: I read a lot of fun fiction this year for the first time since college, so I enjoyed that a lot! When it comes to the best book though, The Heart of Perfection left me with takeaways and inspiration I go back to almost daily. I can’t think of a better indicator of a good book than that!
Best movie: We kind of spontaneously saw Yesterday in the movie theater (side note: we saw a record number of movies in theaters this year…two! ;)) and it was delightful. Light-hearted, whimsical, and funny, with great music to boot.
Best album or song: Oh gosh, I am really not a music person. I did love listening to Thomas Rhett all summer though!
Best podcast: I’m sure I won’t be the only one of us who says this, but Nancy’s podcast, Work and Play with Nancy Ray, has been a wonderful addition to my drives each week. She is so wise and thoughtful, not to mention, she has a very calming voice :) A few of my favorite episodes have been Rule of Life (no surprise there!), 3 Habits to Put Social Media In Its Place, and Balancing Life as a Working Mom with Emily Ley.
Best follow on Instagram: Oooh, this is a hard one! Narrowing it down to a few accounts I started following specifically this year: @annaliesemeyer for motherhood tips and encouragement, @apostolateofholymotherhood for spiritual wisdom and inspiration, @madelinerosetaylor for style and beauty, @ashleybrookebookclub for fun book recommendations, @hanwestby for overall lifestyle loveliness and beautiful photography.
Best date: The first full day of our babymoon was heavenly. A leisurely hotel breakfast, exploring the Biltmore Estate, reading and sipping coffee in the lounge for two hours, a delicious dinner…perfection.
Best kiddo milestone: I’m really, really proud of how well Charlie has adjusted to preschool. He loves it so much, we have literally never had a hard drop-off! Seeing him thrive in a new environment has been a total joy. I’m so grateful for his wonderful school and teachers who have helped make the transition so positive.
Best faith grower: I shared more about this here, but I was surprised by how impactful these simple prayer journals have been! I’m sticking to the six-month journals next year, and at only $15, they make a sweet little Christmas gift!
Best trend you tried: Love, love, love all the fun hair accessories available right now! For someone who loves when their hair looks “done” but isn’t willing to wake up earlier to style it (ahem, hand raised), pieces like this headband and this pearl barrette set are a game-changer.
Best beauty purchase: I made a bunch of beauty product switches this year (still using and loving all the makeup I shared in this post), but my favorite has been the eye cream I’ve now raved about multiple times ;)
Best family memory: Once again this year, I think our spring trip to Charleston takes the cake. A few of my favorite memories from the trip are when Charlie played on the Hampton Park playground while Dave and I enjoyed iced coffee from The Daily, seeing Charlie’s joy running around the beach, and a delicious, allergy-friendly brunch at Basic Kitchen.
Best habit you created: I fell out of the habit of waking up early when I was fighting first-trimester fatigue and needed all the sleep I could get. Over the last few months though, I’ve been getting back into that routine and I’m so thankful for it. Getting some prayer and blogging time (plus at least half a cup of coffee) in before Charlie wakes up makes such a huge difference in how my day goes.
Best new recipe: I only made this Half-Baked Harvest pasta salad once at the end of the summer, but it was SO delicious. I’m not usually a big pasta salad fan (if I’m going to eat pasta, I’d much rather enjoy it hot), but this is definitely the exception. I can’t wait to make it again next year when all those tasty ingredients are in season.
Best life or mom hack: GROCERY DELIVERY. I will give the disclaimer that Dave and I are a little crazy and shop at three different stores regularly in order to get the most bang for our buck (Costco, Lidl, and Trader Joe’s). We only go to Costco once per month, so that’s not a big deal, and I love Trader Joe’s so I don’t mind going weekly-ish. Lidl, on the other hand, stressed me out to no end, mainly because their stock can be super unreliable. We started using Shipt for Lidl and it has not only saved me valuable time driving/shopping, it also saves me lots of frustration–I just place my Lidl order the day before a Trader Joe’s or Target trip, and if an item is out of stock, I pick it up at one of those places without having to make an extra trip. Apparently, our new house is outside of Lidl’s delivery zone, so we need to come up with a new plan, unfortunately!
Best mama moment: Finding out that baby was healthy at our anatomy scan. I was literally sick with anxiety in the days leading up to the ultrasound—after finding out we had lost Felicity during an ultrasound, I felt almost zero confidence that this baby was going to be okay. Hearing not only that she looked healthy and on track, but also that she’s a girl, was one of the most precious moments of the year, if not of my life!
Best home improvement: Does buying a new one count? We are so grateful for more space to grow our family and welcome others in!
Best little luxury you’ve enjoyed: It sounds a little silly, but alone time! Having Charlie in school every day means I’m alone in our house a lot more than I have been over the last three years. I’m an introvert through and through, so a few quiet hours to myself (even if I’m working) or a solo errand helps me recharge more than I realized. The little things, am I right? :)
I am so anxious to hear: what are some of your 2019 bests? Let me know below!