Hello friends! I’m back for day two of my 2019 review. Yesterday I recapped the year’s most defining moments, memories, and adventures, and today I am sharing my ‘Best of 2019’ list. I saw a couple other bloggers do this, and I instantly loved it. It’s a mix of highlights from the year and recommendations for things I’ve tried and loved. I hope you enjoy!
Best adventure/travel/trip: In November we too a week long vacation at an all inclusive resort in St Lucia. It was the perfect trip full of relaxation, with some adventure. We had been saving up for a vacation like this for a long time, so to finally go on it and to enjoy it as much as we did was incredibly satisfying.
Another outstanding adventure was our hike 8.5 mile hike to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a perfect day in the mountains, and the entire trek was nothing short of a fairy tale.
Best book: Three books stand out to me as total game changers for my heart and life this year:
- You Are the Girl for the Job: Daring to Believe the God Who Calls You by Jess Connolly
- Something Needs to Change: A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need by David Platt
- Imperfect Courage: Live a Life of Purpose by Leaving Comfort and Going Scared by Jessica Honeggar
Each of these books were laced with the right balance of truth, encouragement, and a total kick in the pants. Each of them were a call to something more. Each of them spurred me on in my faith journey in ways I didn’t realize how badly I needed. Each of them are going to be books of lifelong worth to me (I’m already on my second read through of You Are the Girl for the Job since it released in September – it’s just that good).
Best movie: I mean, there couldn’t possibly be another winner for this category other than Avengers: Endgame. Just absolutely epic.
Best album or song: I think this category can best be summed up with the help of my Spotify Wrapped. According to the stats, my sound changed with the seasons (which is usually the case) and the four top songs for each season it identified had me nodding my head in agreement.
If you’re interested, you can listen along to what was on repeat for me in 2019 here.
Best podcast: The Balanced Life Podcast with Robin Long. Each week Robin interviews women who appear to be “doing it all,” and she talks with them about what they do AND don’t do to find their own unique sense of balance. Balance is a fairly consistent buzz word in my life, so I have found myself incredibly encouraged and inspired by the conversations in her first season.
Best follow on Instagram: Jess Connolly has been a consistent source of encouragement and truth on my instagram feed for years now. If it’s possible to be discipled by someone you’ve never even met, then she’s certainly done that for me. I’ve also followed Elise Cripe for years now and I find myself loving her real-talk attitude about goal setting, balance, and just living your life in a way that works for you.
Best date: We’ve had a conglomeration of date days that revolve around heading down to Fort Collins to explore or adventure. They’ve included going to the rock climbing gym, browsing REI or Trader Joe’s, wandering around Old Town, landing at some yummy restaurants with nice ambiance, and usually finishing with either Insomnia Cookies or Churn ice cream. Every time we have a day like this, I find myself enjoying the adventures with the company of my husband. Also noteworthy: we’ve never gone wrong with going out for a hike or doing an escape room.
Best faith grower: Two things stand out to me this year, each having to do with our jobs.
The most recent has been the gym I worked for going out of business, and then determining what my next steps would be. The road leading to closure was bumpy and challenging, and I found myself falling at the feet of Jesus each morning as we navigated through it. As a result, He provided me with so much peace and hope in His faithfulness amidst the feelings of turmoil, and He took it even further and revealed His plans for me in this next season. I dive more into this story here.
The other would be deciphering the right steps with an opportunity Adam could have had in his career. The decision making process had us going back and forth over the course of a year as we took our logistics, preferences, and past experiences that affected the decision into consideration, and for awhile we weren’t getting a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from God. It not only drew us towards each other to process the decision together, but amidst the uncertainty of what to do, I again spent a lot of time handing it all over to God and trusting Him to lead us to the best decision. In the end, Adam decided to not pursue the opportunity and we both have been united and at peace about the decision.
Best trend you tried: This summer I gave intermittent fasting a try during our staff fitness challenge, and it was a total breakthrough for me in my health journey. I’ll likely be sharing more about my story with it here in the future.
Alternatively, I don’t know if you’d consider this a trend, but since it’s been a popular TV show for the last 10 years…despite my strong distaste for reality TV, Adam somehow got me hooked on Survivor this spring, so I decided to start from the beginning and watch all the way through. I’m currently on season 21, which is just past the halfway point as season 40 will be airing in February. Needless to say, I got into a much bigger commitment than I realized.
Best beauty purchase: I think I technically started using this in 2018, but I will still rave about my favorite dry shampoo more than any beauty product I use. This one actually makes my fine hair look and feel clean on days that it certainly doesn’t start out that way.
Best family memory: There’s not one specific day that stands out, but some of my favorite moments have been the simple, mundane ones. The evening summer walks we’d go on with the dogs, laughing hysterically at one of the dogs for something ridiculous they did (usually it’s Rizzo), playing in the snow – which just led to the dogs eating the snow. I think of those times and think of how one day I’m going to look back on moments like that and think “those were the days.” I love this simple little family of mine.
Best habit you created: Slow, quiet mornings with Jesus. I have usually spent my time praying, journaling, or reading my Bible in the mornings, and I have tried different routines to really maximize that time. What seems to work best for me is starting my day with Jesus before anything else. This led me to start getting up even just a little bit earlier to make sure I’d have time to take it slow before I jumped into my day. Even now that I’m not working, I have continued with the habit of starting most of my days with downing a glass of water, and slowly sipping a cup of coffee while I pray or read.
An honorable mention that I can’t quite claim as a habit because I don’t do it consistently enough – but definitely want it to be – is phone/scroll free days at least once a week. On those days I avoid time wasting habits on my phone (usually Instagram and Facebook), so that I can actually do the things I think about doing. Each time I do it, I’m always very glad I did.
Favorite blog post written: In honor of 10 years having passed since I graduated high school this year, I wrote a letter to my 17 year old self. It was cathartic to look back upon my younger self with grace and tenderness, and it was fun to reflect on how much I’ve grown and how much my life has changed since receiving that diploma.
Best new recipe: This instant pot chili recipe has been on repeat since the weather turned. An easy, hearty meal that we usually pair with some honey cornbread.
Best life hack: Two words: Pizza Friday. Most nights I’m not overly thrilled about the process of cooking dinner, but at the end of the work week, I was all the more over it. So on Friday nights we started spending the night in with two Jack’s pizzas and a couple TV shows (& usually some Ben & Jerry’s to go along with it). We started doing this sometime in the summer, and basically haven’t stopped. I’ve dubbed it my “Sabbath meal” because it allows me to rest from the work of planning and preparing a meal. It’s become a time of rest that we look forward to every week.
Best home improvement: This summer I got an outdoor rug and some string lights for our back patio, and it made my summer days even more joyful, and my summer nights even more magical.
Best little luxury you’ve enjoyed: On Amazon Prime Day we took the plunge and got ourselves a robot vacuum. While at times we both can have mixed reviews about the one we have, I’m thankful to have a little help at trying to keep the dog hair tumbleweeds at bay.
And that’s a wrap, on this post and on 2019 – though some reflections may trickle into the new year as I discuss goals for the year ahead. It’s been a good year in the real life Pruim life, and I hope that 2020 has some beautiful things in store for you all!
Happy New Year,
P.S. I’d love to know – what are some of your “bests” from 2019? Let me know in the comments!