2019 In Review – The Ups and Downs

2019 was actually a really great year for me. It had a few low points but for the most part it was jam packed full of wonderful experiences and great times with friends.

In February I spent the weekend in Asheville celebrating my friend Megan’s Bachelorette Party. I had tons of great microbrews and the most delicious vegan donut that I still think about to this day.

Our Airbnb was in the mountains and had the most gorgeous view. It was a truly magical backdrop to a really fun girls trip.

In early April I got to see my younger cousin in his school’s product of The Wizard of Oz, which was amazing! He did a fantastic job!

At the end of the month we hit the road heading south for Megan’s wedding. On the way we pit-stopped in Bristol, mostly so I could get a picture with this sign. It’s peak Americana.

Megan’s wedding was fantastic. They hosted the wedding at the Knoxville Botanical Gardens, which was a magnificent hidden gem. I love her and Brad together. They just make sense.

From there we drove a couple hours over to Nashville. It was my first time there and Austin’s first time there not on business. We saw all the sights and ate a ton of fantastic vegan food. And, of course, I hit up all the cheesy Instagram spots.

A few weeks later we were living it up in Aruba. We spent so much time laying on the beach and relaxing.

We took the day long Jeep trip from De Palm around the more rugged terrain of the island and I cannot recommend it enough (unless you have back issues). We saw so many of the beautiful natural wonders of Aruba.

Austin and I had booked a private beach cabana moonlight vegan multi-course dinner about midway through our trip. The food was amazing and the beach at night was the definition of romance. As if that wasn’t enough of a romantic evening, a huge mama leatherback sea turtle had chosen to come on the beach right where we were to dig a hole for her eggs. Seeing one of these animals in person was so striking. I’ve never been more grateful to witness an amazing act of nature. It was really a once in a lifetime experience and a night I will never forget. I want to cry every time I think back to how wonderful it was.

At the  end of our trip we took a sunsuit cruise on a catamaran where we witnessed another amazing act of nature when a pod of dolphins began to ride along with the boat. I was sitting right at the netted area and could see them swimming along with the boat for quite a long time. They look so different than the dolphin you see off the coast of Ocean City.

In early June I met Matt Iseman at a work conference. He was super nice and we gushed over our mutual love of Niecy Nash. Yes, I am very short.

In mid-June we hit up the Honfest with friends. It was the first time in 5 years that we weren’t hosting a kegger in my mom’s front yard so there was definitely a different vibe. That said, it was really nice to get to actually explore the festival and not be on host duty all day.

A few days later we went to the Orioles Pride night game with friends. They were giving out special edition Oriole rainbow hats which were super cute and who doesn’t love a good summer baseball game. The Orioles sucked this year but I think having a bad team actually makes it easier to make the game itself a social activity.

On July 2nd we hit probably the lowest point of the year for us as a family. Our poor, beloved Kitty was no longer thriving in life and was in a lot of pain so we had to say our final goodbye to her. She was such a loving cat and so snuggly. She had struggled for several months so I was happy she could finally rest easy.

Given the timing of Kitty’s passing we took a few extra days off work and headed to Ocean City for the 4th of July holiday weekend to visit Austin’s mom and grandma. Kitty was originally his mom’s cat so she too was mourning the loss. Austin and I both find the beach to be very restorative and calming so the trip really helped us through the passing.

In late July I went out on the girls night to end all girls nights. We saw 98 Degrees and they were amazing! They all still sound really good and the show was a perfect mix of their hits, a 90s pop mash up, and everyone’s favorite Disney songs. I was so impressed with how good they still are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went to a few of the Ravens preseason games, which honestly are my favorite games to go to because they are way more chill than actual games.

At the end of August after a brunch with friends we ran into Stacy London, just walking around the neighborhood. She was the definition of delightful. And she liked my lipstick!

A few weeks later I was back with these same bitches in California. Suz and I flew over to help Anne move/get in a girls weekend. Also, plenty of delicious vegan food was noshed.

I flew home with just enough time to get in a nap before heading to Hershey for the BackStreet Boys concert. They put on a spectacular show.

The next weekend we checked out the Hampdenfest. We had missed it for several year so I’m glad we got to stop by and explore the vendors. Also, I’m not even gonna be modest, I freakin love this picture we got with one of the bands’ van.

October came and I chopped off all my hair.

For our one year wedding anniversary we took a trip to a vegan bed & breakfast in Shepherdstown, WV. The B&B was beautiful and the food was amazing. We took the Shepherdstown ghost tour, which I highly recommend, and visited the Battle of Antetum war sites. It’s honestly a perfect place to take a weekend trip.

Then Halloween and the reason I chopped off my hair came along. I was Eleven from Stranger Things. Kids knew who I was, old people were confused and worried about the faux-blood.

The weekend after Halloween we adopted our little baby Fran. Here she is being super silly with her tongue sticking out. She’s such a spunky little kitten and is super sweet.

This was the first year Austin and I had our own private Thanksgiving at home. It was honestly the most relaxing Thanksgiving I think I’ve ever had. We made a small vegan feast and stayed in our PJs all day. I couldn’t have asked for a better, more restorative holiday.

We always put up our tree right after Thanksgiving. That’s when we realized keeping Fran out of the tree would be a battle.

November 30th was Austin’s 30th birthday! We celebrated with friends at Urban Axes.

That night I went with my friend Miranda to see the Jonas Brothers! She picked us out crazy good seats and they played all my favorite songs!

Austin received a medical diagnosis (nothing life threatening) that threw him a bit off so we made the trek to Ocean City and took our little Fran with us. She was an absolute angel in the car and just napped the whole time. When we got her we wanted to make sure she was very comfortable in the car so she could travel with us if needed.

A couple weeks ago I got two new tattoos in a charity flash sale, the grinch and the heat miser. I love them! It was a pretty spontaneous decision, but I’m so glad I got them. And, they were done by Creepy Jason from Ink Master so that was pretty neat too.

That brings us to present time, the end of our 2019 recap, and one last low point. We’re all sick! Me, Austin, his mom, and his grandma are all sick. Not the best way to spend Christmas and end the year, but it could always be worse so I’m not that bummed about it. It’s just inconvenient.

Doing this recap made me so happy about how well 2019 treated me. I really appreciate the wonderful experiences I’ve had and can’t wait to see what 2020 will bring.

 

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