Heading into 2021, I thought this was going to be one of the years in which I blogged the most. A few short weeks later, though, I first spoke a business idea out loud to Dave, and from that conversation on, I’ve been head down pursuing it in almost every spare moment. I truly cannot wait to FINALLY let y’all in on what I’ve been working on…mark your calendars for January 17 ;) The one plus side of having spent the year mostly off of Something Pretty is that I hope this post will feel much more novel or interesting! Emily invited me to join in sharing my “best of” for the third year running, and since they have been so fun to look back on (see 2019 here and 2020 here), I knew I had to join in again. Please do chime in with some of your own answers too!
Best adventure/travel/trip: Until November, all of our travels since Azelie was born had been to visit family. As great as that is, it was especially sweet to enjoy our first real vacation as a family of four. We headed to Charleston for a long weekend and had the best time strolling the beach before 8 A.M., exploring the aquarium, shopping on King Street, and indulging in some new favorite restaurants. Charleston has become such a precious place to our family over the past five years and I already can’t wait to go back.
Best TV show: We were very late to the Ted Lasso bandwagon, considering we finished season two last night, but have really liked it. I’m extremely picky about what I watch (for good reason–high sensitivity doesn’t mix well with anything too intense), so it can be hard to find shows Dave and I enjoy equally, but this has been one of them.
Best album or song: I know it’s cheesy, but I think Cole Swindell’s “Single Saturday Night” is adorable and I did not mind at all that it was played constantly on country radio this summer :)
Best podcast or episode: I joke that I’ve been trying to get a business school education via podcasts, because I’ve been devouring interviews with my favorite female founders all year long. The How’d She Do That podcast has hosted so many of the women I admire most, including the founders of Weezie Towels, Buru, Miron Crosby, Pamela Munson, and more.
Best follow on Instagram: My sweet friend (and branding/web designer for my new business), Sally @roselindco, has the loveliest, most feminine style. I love following her adventures across Europe and the Lowcountry and seeing what wardrobe pieces have caught her eye.
Best kiddo milestone: Considering this year included Azelie starting to walk and starting school, and Charlie learning to swim and ride a two-wheel bike, it’s too hard to choose. All such big ones!
Best faith grower: I did a virtual retreat with the Blessed Is She blog team a few months ago led by none other than Father Jacques Philippe. It was such an amazing gift and completely transformed my understanding of what peace is and what it looks like.
Best trend you tried: I wouldn’t consider this a “trend,” but I bought these at the beginning of the year and honestly don’t know how I went so long without them. The cut and wash completely freshened up my wardrobe after years of relying solely on dark skinny jeans.
Best beauty purchase: Do highlights count? I had never colored my hair until this year, but when the man at the DMV gave me a strange look when I called my hair blonde, I knew it was time, ha!
Best family memory: Visiting my Grandma in Wisconsin a few days after her 91st birthday was such a gift! The odds of going to see her and introducing her to Azelie have felt stacked against us over the last two years, so I’m truly grateful we were able to make it happen.
Favorite blog post written: Reflections on one year with our sweet Azelie–find it here.
Best new recipe: The recipe for barley bowls with crunchy chickpeas, roasted vegetables, and avocado dressing in The Weekday Vegetarians. This cookbook has completely changed the way I think about dinners–highly recommend!
Best life or mom hack: One of my goals this year was to “move from survive mode to thrive mode by addressing our routines and systems.” That goal (coupled with this book) has helped me implement a handful of things that have been helpful, from meal prep nights, to always gifting nieces and nephews books for their birthdays, to packing lunch boxes the night before, and more.
Best date: We rediscovered Capital Club 16, a cozy German-inspired restaurant in downtown Raleigh, this year. After kind of forgetting about it for a few years, we spontaneously had dinner with the kids there one evening and couldn’t plan a date night back soon enough. Cozying up there feels like an upscale, grown-up version of our Austria days!
Best mama moment: Taking Azelie to her first ballet class was one of my favorite mama moments ever! Not only because it is such a joy to share something I love so much with my daughter, but also because it is the first activity she’s been able to do with me, since so many of the baby/toddler activities I loved with Charlie have not been an option. I love seeing her learn and interact with little friends!
Best home improvement: When investing in the business took priority over our kitchen renovation, we made just a few low-cost, high-impact changes–switching to woven pendant lights and satin brass hardware. It’s astounding what a big difference these tweaks made.
Best little luxury you’ve enjoyed: Single-night staycations! Dave and I have stolen away to Guest House for just one night on two separate occasions this year when parents have been in town. Both have been incredibly rejuvenating, even though we’re less than ten minutes from home and gone for about 15 hours.