I’ve always loved spending time reflecting. I think it has a lot to do with my introvert personality and the way I get caught up in my head thinking of everything and anything until 3 a.m. So naturally, I tend to start reflecting even more by the end of the year.
2019 was a rough year for me. Actually this whole decade has been. I’ve experienced some personal hardships and have struggled to stay positive in an ever chaotic world. With that said, I’ve also experienced some pretty good moments. I want to share some of these moments from 2019 with you below.
When I created this blog it was with an immature idea of becoming a “lifestyle blogger” and living the “IG Dream.” But as I grew so did my intentions behind this blog. In 2019, I wanted to focus on what really mattered to me: my struggle with self-love, my love of fashion & travel, my wish to make a difference in others’ lives & my new constant yearning to write the truth: what my life and struggles and thoughts and feelings really were. While I wasn’t nearly as prolific as I had hoped to be, I’m happy that I wrote posts that I loved and that came from my place of truth. This coming year, I’m hoping to expand on this. I just want to write about what I love & care about. I want to write for me again.
Jan – Mar 2019
The first three months of this past year were filled with the everyday & the not so every day. I celebrated my mom’s birthday in January and spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s as my mom continued to care for her while she slowly passed away from Alzheimer’s disease. My grandmother did get to “meet” my new niece Aubrey even though she wasn’t fully awake. I know that she was still present in that moment.
February had a first for me. It was during February that I traveled solo for the first time. I was playing with the idea of traveling with my mom on a trip, but we realized quickly it just wouldn’t be feasible for my mom to leave my grandmother for that long. So, still wanting to travel, I decided to take a trip to Charleston, SC. It wasn’t my first time traveling by plane solo (I’ve flown to Boston and back while I was in graduate school), but it was my first time being a tourist in a brand new city all alone. I’m pretty comfortable being on my own, but this was definitely a new (& empowering) experience. I toured, traveled & ate out on my own and fell in love with the quick trip to warmer climates.
In February I also turned 28. I spent a lot of time reflecting on the previous year, but I also took time to set sights on how I wanted this year to go. I didn’t reach a lot of my goals, but I did continue to gain confidence and worked more on doing things for myself (aka #selfcare) as well as trusting myself more. I had a delicious cake from my favorite bakery with family and then later with friends had a nice evening in celebrating. I also had some fun photoshoots both for my birthday and for valentines day. I also got to spend time ice skating with a dear friend.
March featured mainly time spent with family. We tried to do some more local visits to favorite haunts and my parents were big sports in helping me accomplish some photo shoot ideas. Professionally, I was also given the opportunity to attend a conference in Madison, WI which allowed me to do some extra traveling that I might not have been able to (or chosen to) do.
Apr – Jun 2019
April brought Easter and some visits from family. I filmed my first IGTV outfit inspo video. I took lots of photos of my kitties and spent time hanging with my friends. My good friend Courtney and I took a trip out to Terrain Cafe and had a mini photoshoot after brunch. I tried doing that whole fitness thing again and started bonding more with my dad over some brews. My dad ended up getting laid off from his job, so things were different. My parents were both now out of work and while they are definitely doing okay, it was still a major adjustment for them both. My mom was still living full-time with my grandmother taking care of her and so my dad was working on adjusting to being home more while he navigated unemployment and job-hunting.
In May my bestie Court turned 25 & we celebrated in true 90s fashion! I ate some more eats, drank some more brews & continued to take lots of photos of my kitties. I also continued to travel around town for some photoshoots for the ‘gram & my parents tried their hands at community yard sales. My friends and I participated in the first ever hAMBLERger Crawl which allowed us to sample about 8 different sliders and vote on the best one (we’re very much hoping they’ll do this again this year!). The days got warmer & was here for it! I also did a big adult thing and bought my first car during Memorial Day sales. It was everything I wanted in a car & I’m so in love it!
June began the Visit Bucks County Ale Trail event that my dad and I decided to complete. (spoiler: we did get our t-shirts!). Besides bonding over brews, my dad and I also took some time to go strawberry picking. I also went to my first ever Union game and don’t know why I haven’t gone to more (2020 goal!). I went one some hikes with friends, celebrated birthdays, ate some ice cream, did some shopping, had some photoshoots for the ‘gram & continued to take photos of my cats. Our Summer Kick-Off for my library’s summer reading program also took place in June. As a youth services librarian, summer is EVERYTHING when it comes to our programming, so it was the start to a busy 6-8 weeks for me.
Jul – Sep 2019
As the summer months rolled around, I was very busy at work. I was looking forward to my vacation with friends to Virginia & honestly just getting through these stressful months.
July was busy at work, but I still took time to try and enjoy things. My friends and I spent the 4th of July swimming & soaking up the sun (before the rain, lol!). Luckily, we were still able to catch some fireworks! I got see my niece again and watched as the U.S. Women’s National Team won the World Cup.
The first week of August was rough. My grandmother ended up passing away. It was hard on all of us, but especially my mom. It was something we knew was coming over the past two years, but it still hurt like hell. She was an angel in life and now is one in death. We miss her.
I did make it down to Shenandoah Valley, VA for about a day & a half. I got to explore the caves and spend sometime in the homeaway house we rented. But I made the decision not to go back down after my grandmother’s funeral. While I was extremely excited to hike in the National Park and hangout with my friends, I knew I wouldn’t be able to truly enjoy the trip after losing someone so important to me and my family. I decided to take the time to rest, to grieve and to heal. I’m so thankful for my friends who were so supportive of this decision.
August also held more brew tasting & shopping. I also got to watch my brother finally graduate from college (& experience the Penn State cult, haha…okay but seriously hearing a stadium of alumni & graduates yelling ‘We Are, Penn State’ seems kind of culty in my book). Anyway, it was nice visiting the little college town that was predominated by the college itself. I honestly loved the drive up the most. I drove and it was so nice seeing the landscape the closer to state college.
Other things in August: rainbows, sunsets, lots of ice cream, field trips with work, and the perfect Saturday in the city with one of my besties.
In September, Courtney and I took a girls trip to Lancaster City. It was SO MUCH FUN! We got to do photoshoots in this beautiful Airbnb & explore the city. I’ll have to do another travel guide for all the places we love once I go up again (another 2020 to-do). It was the perfect girls weekend of food, shopping, exploring, laughter & fun!
I also ended up doing a day trip with my mom back up to the Lancaster area. It was fun spending a whole day with her which we hadn’t been able to do outside of my grandmother’s home in over two years. I also spent time with my mom looking for family members in certain graveyards around Philadelphia in our efforts to work on family ancestry research. We discovered where my mother’s grandparents were buried and that my dad’s father had an uncle or cousin we were unaware of. Cool stuff!
Oct – Dec 2019
These last few months have been about living a new normal. My mom moved back home & we began organizing and purging and continuing to grieve from our loss. We took time to be together again as a family and I began to really look at what I want to accomplish with my life. I want so much more and want to continue to do more to grow and to give back. I’m seriously excited for 2020 because I’m going into this year with a brand new, confident attitude.
October was one of my favorite months this year because 1) Fall is my favorite season & 2) I really worked on creating more moments and experiences with family & friends. We did pumpkin picking with my niece Aubrey, I did apple picking with my parents, I spent a night at a very local farm’s Fall festival with friends and of course tried all the brews with my dad. I also had the awesome opportunity to assist at our local BookFest where I had been on two committees: the KidsFest committee & the Books ‘N Brew committee. It was a long day on Oct. 12 as I was on-site at 7am to set up for KidsFest which ran until 2pm. Then, I had a small break after cleanup before needing to be back & ready to go for that night’s Books ‘N Brew event. I was site lead and the emcee for one of the locations for the event. My friends & family were super supportive and came out to the event. It went so well & I was definitely exhausted, but I was out on Sunday afternoon as well to help out at the book selling tent.
October also included some work outreach events & bonding with my mom. We went to Bowman’s Hill Tower & took in the scenery. Honestly, I’m super super close to my mom, so it was so nice to hang out with her over multiple days & for the whole day. We shopped, explored, ate & caught up with each other. We also ended up making my first pie! I haven’t baked a pie before, so it was super fun doing so (even if I didn’t make the crust from scratch just yet!)
November included the first snow fall of the season (you could barely see it!) and my niece’s first birthday! I celebrate my friend’s birthday by doing a sky diving simulator and also attended my cousin’s bachelorette party. November was pretty quiet until Thanksgiving which is when I ate all the food & started my holiday shopping—Black Friday for the win!
December is all about the holidays for me. I filmed Vlogmas for my 4th year running (stay tuned for the last week that I’m way behind editing) and tried my best to fit in all the holiday things. My mom and I visited Philly for the annual Christmas Village at Love Park. We walked through Macy’s A Christmas Carol display & my mom showed me the things she used to do with her family during the holidays in the city. I also decorated my tree & my room (so much earlier this year!) and did some shopping. We visited Peddler’s Village to see the lights. We baked all the cookies & a delicious gingerbread cake from scratch! I took all the photos! I had a great Christmas Eve & Christmas morning with my family. I ended the year with friends and family after a really long week between Christmas and New Years at work. Man, it was rough! But so worth it for the kiddos at my library!
While this year was a genuine struggle for me both emotionally and sometimes physically, it still had a lot of good moments that I’m so blessed to have had. While I’m excited to leave 2019 behind, I know this year, like all the others, has impacted me and changed me and allowed me to grow. I’m excited to see how I can move forward in 2020 as I continue to grow into a better version of myself.
Thank you for sticking out with me on this really long post (even if you just skimmed it or looked at the photos). It really means the world to me that you stopped by & took the time to be here with me. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to write on this platform and share my life with you all. Thank you.
xx Nicole Lynn