Happy Friday, Readers! Today is my birthday and since I have already posted more reviews this month than usual, I decided to do something different for this post. I am turning 25, so I challenged myself to share 25 of my favorite things from this past year. It’s an extremely random and eclectic list, but that is an accurate reflection of my life, so it fits!
25 of My Favorite Things from 2019
- Getting a full-time job at a library. This is a dream come true; I have worked part-time in two other libraries, but being able to get up and spend all day at the library helping people and surrounded by books is the best career I can imagine.
- Discovering that I have a low sugar tolerance! This may sound crazy but it really is something that I am very happy about. I have dealt with chronic headaches and migraines since high school, and learning that when I don’t eat sugar I have significantly fewer headaches is literally life changing.
- Open Flame Coffee Company & Roastery. This place has become my absolute favorite coffee shop, and I can be picky about my coffee! They make the most amazing sugar-free drinks, and are willing and able to modify nearly anything. The customer service is incredible, the drinks are amazing, the location is super convenient, and the atmosphere is comfortable. If you see me raving about coffee on Instagram, there is at least a 50% chance I got it here. I love it.
- Yarn Along linkups with Ginny @ Small Things. I’m still not sure what happened to December’s linkup, but Yarn Along posts have been some of my favorites to write this year. I spent a good chunk of 2019 working on knitting a sweater, so I enjoyed sharing my updates and reading those shared by others.
- Hosting a giveaway for the first time! To celebrate reaching my Goodreads goal for 2019 I ran a giveaway for a Barnes & Noble giftcard and bookmark packet, which was fun! Depending on how life goes, I might make this an annual tradition.
- Sarah Gracy Grzy’s book Live Without You. I read and LOVED this book early in 2019. It is easily in my top 3 books that I read this year! You can read my review here.
- Since we’re on the topic of good books from 2019, a favorite new-to-me author from this year is A. M. Heath. I participated in release blog tours for two of her books this year, Dance With Me and Project Scrooge, and I enjoyed both books very much!
- Adding turmeric to iced chai. I discovered this through Open Flame, but it is good enough that it deserves its own slot! It doesn’t really seem to have much flavor on its own, but it makes the chai spice mix flavors stand out more.
- Creating fun, artsy(ish) displays on the return desk at the library. This is something I just started doing a few months ago, but I really enjoy it! My November owl especially seemed to be a big hit.
- Seeing other libraries in the county system that I work for. My library is a part of a system that has around 20 locations, and this year I visited 13 of them! Before this year I had been to 5, so 8 of the 13 were first-time visits. I love seeing how other libraries work; even though we are all part of the same system, each branch serves a unique community and is equipped with it sown set of strengths and struggles.
- The Signed, Sealed, Delivered movies by Hallmark. I brought one of them home from the library on a whim, and they quickly became something my family enjoyed watching together.
- Also on the topic of movies, the best movie I watched this year has to be How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. I know, not exactly the height of film, but I really enjoyed it! I like light, fun movies.
- Peanut butter protein bars. Honestly, these are a lifesaver! I used to think that protein bars were only for people who are really into working out or are professional athletes, but I started taking one to work, and eating it partway through my shift definitely helps keep my energy up til the end. I’ve gotten into the habit of taking a quick afternoon break about 2 hours after lunch and eating it then, and on the days that I do this I am much less likely to crash or be grumpy when I get off.
- My car. I bought a new (to me) car last January, and the peace of mind that comes from being able to rely on my own transportation is such a relief. Also, as an unexpected bonus, I get to enjoy spending occasional Saturdays with my dad changing my oil or otherwise taking care of my car.
- Trying out new knitting patterns while making a sweater for my nephew. I would have preferred that the first pattern I read had been perfect, but there has been a lot of trial and error instead, and I am thankful for the process!
- Having the confidence to try new things outside of my comfort zone, such as joining Staff Association and then accepting the nomination to be Chair (president, basically), playing ukulele in a staff talent show, and visiting churches on my own to find the best fit for me.
- Yoga on days off. I have had a lot of different exercise routines in different seasons of life, and this year what has worked best is doing yoga via YouTube videos by SofaBar. Since it’s on YouTube, I don’t have to schedule a specific time or go to a gym, I can just roll out my mat whenever is convenient for me! I spend a lot of time at a computer, so this is a great way to stretch out after work or on a less-busy day off. It’s also super easy to accommodate to whatever I want to work on that day, and to how much time I want to spend on it. Also, I do not think there is a way to make solo yoga stressful or competitive, which is an extra benefit for me.
- The Girl in Space podcast. This is an amazing sci-fi audio drama. It’s a fun (if somewhat suspenseful) adventure filled with dystopian elements, a heaping dose of sarcasm, and humor about coffee. This is what I wish for every time I am disappointed by a post-apocalyptic story.
- Working with indie authors. I reviewed quite a few indie books this year, and I love knowing that my words actually have an impact on the author and readers! Maybe it’s selfish of me, but I really like the personal interactions most. I like getting to know new authors and writers who pursue less traditional paths.
- Chamomile tea. Why did it take me so long to realize how good and calming this tea is??? It has become my frequent (not quite constant) companion during evening reading or writing sessions.
- Creating a budget. I know, this one might sound even sillier than the rest, but it’s true! I have made extremely simple budgets in the past, but this year I spent a lot of time looking at where I spend money most, where I need to spend money and where it’s optional, and how I can use what resources I have (money, time, etc) to make my life as efficient, comfortable, and functional as possible. I haven’t quite found the perfect balance yet, but I’m working on it, and in part due to this I should be able to move into a pretty nice place in the next few months. At that point I may have to give up my almost-daily coffee runs, but it is worth it.
- Making new plans for the future and discovering a career dream I didn’t know I possessed.In the past few years I have had a lot of plans and expectations that didn’t pan out, but I never really had a dream. Now, I know that the library is my dream job. I love everything about it (well, nearly everything), and I am excited to go to work every day. This wonderful experience has led to actual, measurable career goals and a path that, Lord willing, I intend to run down enthusiastically.
- Watching my nephews learn new things. It would be impossible for me to leave them off this list! I may not see them on a daily basis anymore, but we still have a lot of fun and I love seeing them learn and grow!
- I think the biggest life-lesson I learned this year is that you don’t have to be in a romantic relationship to love. In the past I brushed off platonic love as somehow lesser, but since I joined this library system I have seen love displayed in so many different ways and contexts. This topic might deserve its own post, but the bottom line is I have felt so strengthened by the genuine support and appreciation of people around me. Even as I have struggled to form close friendships, I have somehow fallen in with a band of people who I know have my back and who tell me when I need to hear it that I am capable of doing big things.
- Last but not least, I am so thankful for all of you who read the things I write here, and you have been a big part of this year! I love knowing that there are people out there who enjoy reading what I have to say. I don’t do this for numbers, but it is nice to receive the validation that a follower count provides. I have made a couple of good friends through this blog, but even if we have never directly interacted, know that I am thankful for you.
Full disclosure: it was much harder to write this list than I expected, and it took significantly more time than I planned! I had to think more deeply and personally than I intended. 25 didn’t seem like a big number until I got to about 12 and realized I did not have many more ideas to include! I think this is one of the most personal posts I have written here, so please be kind to my vulnerability😅!
I hope you enjoyed this peek into my world! Do any of my favorite things from this year resonate with you? Share some of your own favorite things from this year in the comments, I would love to celebrate with y’all as well!
Until the next chapter,