2019 Year in Review + Thank You

Well, 2019 has come to an end. Another year has come and gone. It’s crazy, but the older I get, the faster the years seem to go by. It’s kind of scary to be honest, but I’m so excited for my future and to simply live my life that I don’t let it scare me too much. Today, I wanted to share my 2019 year in review with you all. I only created my website and started blogging in August of this year, so I didn’t get to share some other big moments that occurred earlier in 2019 with you.

Before I discuss my highlights for 2019, I wanted to mention that these are just my highlights. This year was not perfect, and I definitely had some bad moments, but overall this was a pretty great year for me. I always want to be 100% honest with you all, and I believe that vulnerability is what connects us. I don’t want those of you who had a difficult year to read this post and think that ONLY good things happened to me because this is not true. I am human after all, so my life is in no way perfect, but I wanted to share some moments that I am most proud of, as well as moments that simply made me happy. If this was not your best year, try to look back and celebrate your victories, no matter how small. Even if you didn’t accomplish every little thing you wanted to do, it is OK! Be proud of where you are today, and try to do better in 2020!

When 2019 first started, I had no idea what my life would look like when it ended, and although nothing absolutely insane happened, I feel different in the best way. I completed many of my goals, one of which was to go hiking once a month for twelve months. My uncle and I decided to do this together since we both enjoy hiking and he is very outdoorsy and adventurous so he was the perfect person to do this with. Our hikes were not always very strenuous (most of them were fairly easy), but being outdoors for a bit and using this time to exercise made me feel good and I always looked forward to those Sunday morning hikes.

Another thing that I have accomplished this year is something I am extremely proud of. On February 23rd, I celebrated three years of weight lifting! I truly cannot believe that I have been weight lifting for almost four years now! Time is going by so fast, and honestly, when it comes to the gym, it hasn’t always been easy. If you’ve been keeping up with me for a while now, you would probably know that I got a bit off track with the gym and with eating healthy this year, but I refuse to let this stop me from continuing my fitness and health journey. I fell in love with weight training so quickly thanks to my dad who taught me everything when I was sixteen years old. I am now twenty and so much stronger and more confident than I ever have been and the gym has played such a major role in my life. I have learned so much about myself because of it, and I have realized how easily motivated I am as well as my loyalty and dedication to reaching a goal that I really wanted to reach. In January of this year, I also celebrated two years of (mostly) healthy eating. I changed up my diet in January of 2018, and even though it has been difficult this year, I’ve stuck with it pretty well.

This year, I got to cross quite a few items off of my bucket list, one of which was going to Nashville! I had been to Tennessee a couple times before, but I never got to see Nashville until this past spring! I loved walking down Broadway and hearing the live music everywhere we went. The food was great, and although it rained most of the time we were there, I didn’t let it ruin my time. I had so much fun and I was able to see The Grand Ole Opry and The Parthenon.

My family enjoys traveling often, and we usually go somewhere new every year. This year, we were surprised with a trip to Alaska! I had always wanted to go on a cruise, and I was able to check this off of my bucket list! In June, we spent one week on the Norwegian Jewel, and then we spent another week in Alaska traveling on our own. The cruise was so much fun, and Alaska was absolutely beautiful. We got to see Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Anchorage, Denali, and Fairbanks. I am incredibly grateful that I get to travel often and see such breathtaking places with the people I love most.

This year, I turned twenty which was very exciting for me. I am no longer a teenager, and I feel both excited and nervous for the next decade. It’s crazy to think that in ten years I am going to be thirty! My life could completely change in these next ten years. So much could happen. I am proud of who I am today, and I am really looking forward to blossoming into the woman I am becoming. I know she’s going to do amazing things.

I had been wanting to create my own blog/website for so long now, but to be honest, I wasn’t sure how or where to start. I wanted to find a way to get my writing out there, but the idea of other people reading my words made me anxious. I obviously got over that fear, and I absolutely love blogging and being able to write about my passions while helping others. I feel like I am already fulfilling my purpose in life, and I am so excited to continue blogging in 2020.

This year, I started my junior year of college. College is definitely not easy, but I feel that it is rewarding and exciting. As a junior, I am finally getting to take more classes related to my interests and I really feel like I am learning so much information that is going to be very useful to me and my future career. I am proud of what I have accomplished in college so far, and I am looking forward to finishing my junior year strong.

Another highlight of this year is something that I never thought I would have the guts to do, and that is get a tattoo. My best friend and I had been talking about getting tattoos together for a while, but we never ended up doing it. Finally, in September, we went to get our first tattoos together and I am still so in love with it. This was another item on my bucket list and I was really excited to check this off with my best friend by my side! I am already planning my next tattoo, but I don’t want to go crazy! I want my tattoos to be mostly dainty and feminine.

Lastly, I was able to attend another concert this year! I had been to a few concerts before, but I definitely think that this one was the best! One of my best friends and I went to see the Jonas Brothers in November. I grew up listening to their music and watching them on TV, so seeing them live was like a childhood dream come true! I am so glad that they are back together and their new music is amazing.

2019 was a really great year for me. I really wanted to focus on growth and self-love, and that is exactly what I did and plan on continuing not just in 2020, but for the rest of my life. The purpose of my blog is to share my passions and to help me gain confidence in myself, but it is also about you, my readers, because I hope to help you gain confidence in yourselves as well. I want us to walk this journey of self-love together, because it is not easy, and sometimes you need someone to help you along the way.

I also wanted to say thank you to those of you who come back to read my blog posts every week, and to those of you who have supported my website since my first post. I am very proud of what I have been able to do with my website so far. I get so excited when I see a like or a comment from you guys, and I hope to get to know you, my readers, a bit better as time goes on. I plan on sharing a bit more about myself with you all, and I have some exciting posts coming up in the new year. (If any of you have any recommendations or posts you would like to see me create, let me know in a comment below! I would really appreciate it if you shared my blog with your friends and family as well!)

I am so excited to head into 2020 feeling the way that I do. I am feeling more positive and confident than I ever have, and I want to share it all with you. Thank you so much again. You don’t know how happy writing makes me, and being able to share it with you feels like my dream is coming true. That little girl with her diary in hand would be thrilled to see her future self living her dream. I’ve always been scared to share my writing with the world, and maybe that’s why I held back from creating a blog, but I’m not scared anymore. Two of my biggest goals in life are to write and to help others. I truly feel that this is what I am meant to do in my life, so nothing is going to hold me back. I hope you all have a Happy New Year, and I’ll talk to you all soon! Thank you!

(I wanted to briefly share that in 2020, I plan on changing up the look of my website just a bit. This is going to be a gradual change. The whole concept of my site is going to stay the same, but the look of it may change a little. I wanted to let you all know so that there wouldn’t be any confusion!)

The Holidays in My Home

There is no denying that this is my favorite time of year! I love it for so many reasons, but one of the biggest ones is that I get to relax and be with the people I love the most. I get to enjoy fun holiday treats that I may not eat at any other time of the year, and my room is decorated with Christmas lights and garland. Today, I wanted to chat a little bit about this time of year, my family’s traditions, and how we celebrate the holidays in my home!

I’m not going to lie; it can be difficult for me to get into the holiday spirit when I am still in school! I am in my third year of college and I am currently studying for finals, which can be pretty stressful. I am trying to get into the holiday spirit, but I feel like I will fully get into it once the semester is over (2 more finals to go)! During the holidays, I love to just be at home, watching Christmas movies and wearing cozy pajamas. I used to drink hot chocolate almost every day because I was so obsessed with it. Now I really only drink it occasionally, but even more so around Christmas time!

My family has quite a few little traditions that we follow every single year. Most of them are small, but they’re meaningful to my family. Every year, my mom will get us Christmas pajamas and fuzzy socks on Christmas Eve (they’re usually matching in some way), and we have a little party for my immediate family. We always do our own version of “The Feast of the Seven Fishes”. My Grandma and Mom will always make clams, shrimp, and sometimes lobster tails and we will also have cheese plates, fruit and vegetable plates, bowls of chips and dip, and all of the desserts including cookies, ice cream, and pie. We’ll play some Christmas music and just hang out in the dining and living room for a bit. After this, a few of us will sometimes play a bored game like Pictionary (my uncle and I are always a team and we always win). This is actually a more recent tradition, but my siblings and I will also play Mario Kart or Mario Party before we all go to bed on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Even though I am getting older and some of that Christmas magic is no longer with me, I still end up waking up early on Christmas Day. I still get excited. My parents have actually told me that before me and my siblings were born, they used to open presents on Christmas Eve, but I never really liked the idea. On Christmas, once everyone is awake, we will start to go through our stockings and open gifts. Christmas music will be playing in the background as we open our gifts one by one. Every year we end up laughing so much because my family will sometimes write “To: (insert embarrassing or random nickname they call us here)” on our presents. There’s nothing better than seeing your loved ones reactions when opening gifts that you picked out for them and with my family’s sense of humor, there is bound to be some weird/funny gift exchanges!  I feel extremely grateful to receive gifts on Christmas from my family members.

After this, we will just spend some time together and I’ll definitely be eating all of the chocolate in my stocking! Every Christmas dinner has been the same for us for quite a while now: stuffed shells (because you can never go wrong with pasta)! My Mom usually makes the shells with ricotta and mozzarella cheese with marinara sauce. It is so delicious and I always look forward to having it! Then a little while later we will take out some of the leftover cheese plates, fruit, chips, and desserts from Christmas Eve! We also have a variety of drinks out on the table.

For New Years Eve, we celebrate later on in the day. Once again, we will put a few snacks out on the dining room table, and we will have the TV on to watch the ball drop in New York City at midnight. We’ll take some photos and get our noise makers and whistles ready. At this point, I am already in my pajamas. We also follow another tradition on this day: before the stroke of midnight, my family needs to eat 12 grapes for the 12 months ahead, and if you finish all of your grapes before midnight you will have good luck in the New Year! I am not sure where this tradition really came from, but we’ve been doing it all our lives. Once midnight hits, my family goes around the room to hug each other and say “Happy New Year”.  On New Year’s Day, we always go to one of our favorite Italian restaurants for lunch, and after this, the celebrations come to an end and we begin the New Year with each other, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about me and my family and how we celebrate the holidays! Leave me a comment below, and tell me how you celebrate the holidays or if you have any traditions you follow! Thank you for reading!