best of 2019

My Favorite Moments of 2019 (List-cember #9)

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it approximately 600,000 times: this year was busy!

But within the confines of our crazy calendar, there were so many good moments. And I don’t just mean big, fancy moments. Some of my favorite parts of this year were the small but meaningful bursts of joy. The cozy, perfect moments that I’ll undoubtedly be thinking about when that ball drops tomorrow at midnight.

For me, these were those moments:

1) Meeting Lyra

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I have long been afraid of holding babies. They are just so fragile and so perfect and so little, and the thought of holding something so important in my hands (especially when it is not even my something) has always terrified me. But in January of this year, one of my lifelong friends had a baby, and she encouraged me to overcome that fear when met her little one for the first time in the hospital. That moment inspired me to write this blog post and I will remember it forever.

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2) A Ball at Spring Training

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My family went to Spring Training in March for the first time this year (which you can read about here.) and easily one of my favorite parts of the trip and of the year was when my friend Mel, after trying for innings on end, got a baseball from one of the players. Not only was it a joyous celebration of perseverance, but the resulting footage includes a look of fuming jealousy from her neighboring fan, which makes for an all around perfect video.

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3) Finishing the Marathon

There are many moments of the marathon that I would deem “defining,” but perhaps my favorite was crossing that finish line and seeing my 6 foot 2 brother standing among the crowd. I was so proud and relieved to be finished, and seeing a familiar face to welcome me to the otherside of that journey was truly great.

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4) Mom Scores a Goal

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Some of the best memories I have of my family are the slow, ordinary days where we are just spending time together, which is why this moment from May stands out. My mom, sister and I had gone to visit my cousin Brittney and her family in Arkansas, and we spent one afternoon sitting outside, drawing in sidewalk chalk, and playing soccer. At one point we set up a challenge between my mom and my little cousin Landon. While Landon won in the end, the crowd (of me, Natalee, Brittney, and baby Nora) went wild for this goal scored by my mom.

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5) A Circular Celebration

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In June my family got the opportunity to go to Europe, and among the many jaw dropping, awe inspiring moments of that trip, was this one. My cousin Taryn (which, if you didn’t read the blog I wrote about our trip, is the whole reason we went) finished writing a long tedious essay that would complete her study abroad program, and we did what any family would do when they’re in England and about to head to dinner but need to take a moment or two to celebrate this accomplishment: we formed a circle around her and and jumped up and down, chanting, “We are proud of you, say we are proud of you! Hey! Hey! Hey!”

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6) That Eiffel Tower Sparkle

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Upon arriving in Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time, my most prominent and low key embarrassing thought was, “oh my gosh, the Eiffel Tower is actually real.” It’s not that I thought we’d been lied to all this time, but the realization that I was really, truly seeing it in person was so unbelievable that I was having trouble accepting it all as reality. This shock and awe only multiplied as we sat on the grass in front of the tower and watched as the sun set, the tower glowed gold, and then started to sparkle.

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7) Axe throwing in Vegas

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For my brother’s 21st birthday, a group of us went to Vegas with a list of things we were looking to accomplish in order to properly celebrate his milestone. Among the items on that list was throwing axes. After almost an hour of learning and practicing, we decided  to document our newfound skills, and showcase our ability to hit the target. What makes this moment one of my favorites, is that the video recording is almost four minutes long, (three of which we fail miserably) but when we finally do all hit the target at once, we all threw our arms up and yelled, “first try!”

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8) You’ve Got Ice Cream

About two years ago, on a visit to Arkansas with my mom and sister, I discovered the magic of Blue Bell ice cream. Upon arriving home however, I was very disappointed to discover that it is not sold in California. But for my 29th birthday, I was floored to find a box from Blue Bell waiting for me. My parents had all of my favorite flavors (including the holy grail, Salted Caramel Cookie) shipped to me and it. was. EPIC.

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9) Pop the champagne

Last year my cousin Cory married my now cousin Amanda, and this year they were able to purchase their first house! I was so happy and honored to be there when they popped champagne in their living room, that at the time had little more than a table and some folding chairs, but is now a beautiful, cozy home.

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10) The Dodgers Take Game 3

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For a Dodger fan, the 2019 playoffs were rough to say the least. But before we had our hearts broken, we had our hopes up, and on the night of Game 3, me, my sister, my cousin Taryn, and my best friend Allison were walking into a concert at the Honda Center as the Dodgers entered the 7th inning. As we made our way to our seats, I was streaming the game through the TBS app on my phone, which I’d downloaded while waiting in line, and we asked multiple employees if they could turn on the game, all of whom turned us down. So as we went to the 8th inning and then the 9th, the four of us stood out in the hallway, crowded around my phone to watch us close out a victory.

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11) The Frozen North Lake

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In November, my family made one of our annual trips to Bishop to squeeze in a weekend of fishing before the season closed. On the Saturday of the weekend we were there, we parked our car and hiked in to one of our favorite fishing spots, only to find the lake frozen solid. While this obviously prevented us from fishing, it did little to deter our fun. We spent a solid half hour throwing loose pieces of ice onto the lake and watching them shatter and glide across its surface.

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12) Sending “The Hulk”

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On the same trip to Bishop, my brother, who is an avid rock climber, had his sights on a boulder at Happy Boulders known as “The Hulk.” After spending a few hours attempting the climb on Friday, he was determined to return, so on Sunday afternoon, me, him and my sister headed back to Happy Boulders on our way home, where we watched him try time and time again until he finally reached the top!

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13) Eli’s Last Game

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To cap off the year, at the beginning of this month my family took a whirlwind trip to New York to see our favorite football team (the New York Giants) play for the very first time at their home stadium. We went the week they played the Dolphins, which wound up being one of only 4 games we won this season, and on top of that, it was our longtime quarterback, Eli Manning’s, probable last game with the team. We couldn’t have picked a better game!

Note: Please leave all Giants hate at the door, thank you.

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14) Coming June 2020

At our annual family Cookie Baking day, my cousins Spenser and Ashlynn gave my grandpa (and all of us, really) a very special gift: the news that we have a new member coming in June 2020! On Christmas Day we found out that the little one is a boy, and while we already know his name, I’ve taken to calling him Meatball for now.

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15) Meeting Luca

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Since I started this list with a baby, it seems only logical for me to end this list with a baby! And in true bookend fashion, I got to meet one of my best friends’ new baby, Luca, just this past week, and even though he is handsome and perfect and practically impossible not to want to hold, it was still a big deal for me to do so without fear. And as I looked down at him and his big curious eyes, I couldn’t help but feel every good moment of the year capsize in this one moment. It was a busy year, but it was a good one. I got to do so many great things and love and be loved on by so many great people. I’m very thankful for the life I live and I feel so honored for the opportunity to live it.

Here’s to 2020, I hope it’s full of wonderful moments, big, small and everything in between. Happy New Year!

My 2019 Rec Roundup (List-cember #5)

Nothing has ever qualified me to tell you what the best books, movies, music, etc., of the year are, but that has never stopped me from giving you what I believe to be a highly educated opinion.

I mean, who needs all the fancy words and validating credentials when I can just tell you, hey, this didn’t suck and I think you should check it out. 

So that’s what I’m here to do today.

Here are all of my top recommendations from 2019, just in case you’re looking for something good to kickoff your 2020.

Books

  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Historical Fiction)
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (Fiction)
  • For One More Day by Mitch Albom (Fiction)
  • Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis (Self Help)
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (Mystery/Thriller)
  • Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Historical Fiction)
  • My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing (Mystery/Thriller)
  • Where the Crawdad’s Sing by Delia Owens (Fiction)
  • Beautiful on the Outside by Adam Rippon (Memoir)
  • Over the Top by Jonathan Van Ness (Memoir)

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Podcasts

  • ESPN 30 for 30
  • Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet
  • Dr. Death
  • Duolingo Spanish Podcast
  • The Trypod
  • The Clearing
  • My Dad Wrote a Porno
  • The Dropout
  • How I Built This
  • Homecoming

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Movies

  • Free Solo
  • The Dawn Wall
  • Booksmart
  • Unicorn Store
  • Someone Great
  • Frozen 2
  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

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TV Shows

  • Fleabag (Amazon Prime)
  • Single Parents (ABC)
  • The Politician (Netflix)
  • The Act (Hulu)
  • Killing Eve (AMC)
  • Modern Love (Amazon Prime)
  • Dead to Me (Netflix)
  • Euphoria (HBO)
  • Four Weddings & a Funeral (Hulu)
  • When They See Us (Netflix)

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Music

  • Heard it in a Past Life by Maggie Rogers
  • GIRL by Maren Morris
  • When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go by Billie Eilish
  • Daylight by Grace Potter
  • Lover by Taylor Swift
  • Cheap Queen by King Princess
  • The Highwomen by The Highwomen
  • Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent by Lewis Capaldi
  • Free Yourself Up by Lake Street Dive
  • Happiness Begins by Jonas Brothers

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Misc

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Hippeas:  THESE. ARE. SO. GOOD. I truly cannot stress this enough. Their one and only flaw is that they come in relatively small bags UNLESS you want to brave Costco for the monster bags. I personally am not always in the mood to brave Costco, which is why I found…

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…White Cheddar Cheetos Puffs! These are the perfect sister snack to Hippeas and are also delicious. Who knew I had such a thing for white cheddar this year?

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Duolingo: I downloaded this app to learn Spanish and have genuinely loved using it! They are always adding new challenges and new ways to learn and I look forward to going on each day.

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Birkenstocks: I waited a long time and listened to a lot of hype about these before I finally pulled the trigger but I am so glad I did. Believe everything you hear. These are wonderful and I will miss wearing them in the winter months. (find this pair here)

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Old Navy Leggings: I am constantly on the hunt for good leggings that aren’t one million dollars, which according to most retailers, is a big ask. But I bought a pair of leggings from Old Navy early in the year and loved them so much that I bought 4 more pairs. They are so comfortable and just the right amount of thick, AND, most importantly, they have side pockets, which is the real game changer. (find this pair here)


Check out more List-cember posts here.