2021 Reflection

2021 came and went in a flash. It wasn’t the beautiful recovery from 2020 that the world collectively dreamed. It was hard, scary, unpredictable, had some losses, broken but it was also joyful, brave, loving, beautiful, full of magic and delights.

My favorite memories include: Em laughing hysterically on the boat on a particularly bumpy day, she loved it. Being in the room when my niece took her first breath. I get to witness this miracle moment for so many families but there was nothing like being there with my sister and brother-in-law. I get to be there for all the others right?!?

One of my favorite purchases from 2021 was a cordless vacuum. It was on sale for around $100. Is it as good as a Dyson, I don’t know but it works well for us. Granted we have no pets or children in our home on a daily basis.

These Vuori joggers are magically soft. They also have pockets so they are my go to airplane pants now.

I didn’t reach my goal of 52 books this year. I think the uncertainty of Ryan’s job applications made it hard for me to focus in the fall. Then I was packing like crazy the last month. Hopefully this year I’ll hit 52. I follow some people that read over 100. PS don’t let comparison still your joy and reading in general is the joy.

Books Read 2021

1. Jan: The Authenticity Project- Clare Pooley:a
2. Body Love- Kelly LeVeque
3. The Cafe by the Sea- Jenny Colgan*:a⭐️
4. White Fragility- Robin DiAngelo*
5. Feb: The Invisible Life of Addie Larue- VE Schwab:a⭐
6. Once We Were Here- Christopher Cosmos*:a 🧅
7. Be the Bridge- Latasha Morrison
8. Quench- Dana Cohen MD, Gina Bria
9. A Return to Love- Marianne Williamson
10. March: Feels like Falling- Kristy Woodson Harvey*⭐
11. The Girl from the Channel Islands- Jenny Lecoat*:a
12. Dear Carolina- Kristy Woodson Harvey*
13. My Oxford Year- Julia Whelan*⭐️
14. The Paris Library- Janet Skeslien Charles:a⭐️
15. Growing Boldly- Emily Ley:a
16. April: The Lost Apotecary- Sarah Penner:a⭐️
17. Get Out of Your Head- Jennie Allen
18. The Rose Code- Kate Quinn:a⭐️⭐️
19. May: The Gifts of Imperfection- Brene Brown:a
20. The Huntress- Kate Quinn:a ⭐️
21. June: The Book of Lost Names- Kristin Harmel*⭐️
22. Bookshop by the Sea- Denise Hunter*
23. The Last Train to Key West-Chanel Cleeton*
24. A Rather Lovely Inheritance- CA Belmond*
25. Essentialism- Greg McKeown
26. July: The Summer House- Lauren K Denton*
27. Hurricane Season: Lauren K Denton*
28. The Ten Thousand Doors of January- Alix E Harrow*a⭐️⭐️(reread)
29. Royal Holiday- Jasmine Guillory*
30. Act Your Age, Eve Brown- Talia Hibbert:a
31. August: Slightly South of Simple- Kristy Woodsen Harvey
32. People We Meet on Vacation- Emily Henry:a
33. The Last Bookshop in London- Madeline Martin*a⭐️
34. The One Your With- Lauren K Denton*a
35. September: The Bride Test- Helen Hoang*a
36. The Off Limits Rule- Sarah Adams*a
37. The Temporary Roomie-Sarah Adams*a
38. Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice- Brene Brown*a ⭐️
39. October: On Ocean Boulevard- Mary Alice Monroe:a
40. The Summer of Lost and Found-Mary Alice Monroe:a
41. The Secret to Southern Charm-Kristy Woodson Harvey
42. The Southern Side of Paradise-Kristy Woodson Harvey
43. November: Christmas in Peachtree Bluff- Kristy Woodson Harvey⭐️
44. December: Written in My Own Heart’s Blood- Diana Gabaldon (reread)
45. The Endless Beach- Jenny Colgan*a⭐️

a is an Audio book
*means read for free via Libby, Hoopla, library etc
⭐️is a favorite or better than others
🧅 didn’t love/like, tolerable but not for me

My favorite books were The Rose Code, Christmas in Peachtree Bluff, and The Book of Lost Names.

Despite Covid we were able to travel to California and Hawai’i. Luckily both trips happened in the in between times of Covid waves. We visited Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park. The trees were spectacular. We apparently were on an 8 hour whale watching tour with Obama in Monterey. We saw two blue whales and many humpbacks. We were able to watch some incredible feeding behaviors of the humpbacks- lunge feeding, breaching and tail slapping. We had some beautiful produce and I had some roasted garlic and goat cheese from Nepenthe which I had been dreaming about since we visited Cali with Alyssa and Ian in 2015 I think

In Hawai’i we visited Maui and the Big Island. Maui was pretty but the Big Island was definitely our favorite. We drove the Road to Hana one and a half times. This was our favorite thing on Maui. We watched sunrise on Haleakala which was a spiritual experience.

We saw molten lava in an active volcano for the first time ever on the Big Island. Hawaii reminded us of Iceland just obviously tropical instead of Arctic. Volcano National Park was incredible. We did too much hiking one day and exhausted ourselves. Covid and staffing shortages made eating a bit trying at times but it was ok. We saw tons of sea turtles and of course I was in heaven. One morning we grabbed breakfast and ate at a random park by the water. We saw a turtle within touching distance (but of course we didn’t touch!) just having breakfast. Also we saw Banyan trees which are beautiful. They drop roots to support their branches which made for some impressive displays as well as wonderful metaphor about giving yourself the support you need. They spread laterally. It’s really inspiring.

I fulfilled a lifelong dream of being a turtle prober. It was exhilarating. I know it may seem odd to some but I love my sea turtles and conservation.

I made many cheese boards and a few pounds of homemade pesto pasta salad. I also continued to try homemade bread.

We moved to Alabama for Ryan’s job. Thankful he is much happier at this job. I miss the ocean and my Beaufort friends something fierce but it’s also nice to be closer to friends here and family. I’m excited for 2022!

We were able to spend Thanksgiving with Ryan’s family and for the first time in years Christmas with my brother and sister. Emilee visited after Christmas. We had a fun day with Anna, visited the Tinsel Trail, had some deep conversations, Watched Christmas movies and snuggled. Her elves also came to visit.

A New Adventure

Phew! I can’t believe this is real. I am terrified and excited. Sad and happy. We are embarking on a new adventure. In 2019, we will be moving to Beaufort, SC. For those of you that do not know it is about half way in between Savannah and Charleston. It is where my beloved Hunting Island is. It was voted Southern Living’s Best Small Town in 2017. 

I grew up going to the area as my maternal grand parents had a beach house on Hunting Island. Ryan and I have continued to visit the area and he loves the area as much as me, maybe. He is much better equipped for the move since he has lived all over.

This is a huge adjustment as it will be the furthest I have ever lived from my family and outside of the state of Alabama for longer than a summer at camp Aunt Amy. Oh, and there is that blue eyed blonde headed girl that I can not even think about her and moving without nearly vomiting, so needless to say Birmingham you will still be seeing a lot of me back and forth. Luckily, it has been instilled in me that when it comes to love the miles don’t matter.

We are going to place our home in Birmingham on the market to sell. We will rent in Beaufort just to get a lay of the land and make sure living at the beach feels right and good. Because vacationing at the beach and living at the beach are two very different things.

This has been a huge decision and I have gone back and forth on and made myself physically sick over but essentially it boils down to not wanting to wonder what if. Every desicion in my life  have thought but what bout Em? What about Ry?  What about my mom? What about my dad? What about Teddy and Tare? And I feel like for maybe one of the few in my life I said BUT what about Anna Kate?

At the beginning of November I quit my job in the NICU for various, different reasons. But that seemed to be the knock on the door that threw open all the other doors. Ryan and I have talked about moving there but hadn’t because of said blonde headed girl. But he got a call out of the blue from Wal-Mart asking if he was still interested in a job there and well everything slide into place rather easily.

The doors just seemed to fly open so we are giving it a go. Luckily, like most things in life a move is not irreversible. Granted a pain in the butt but not something we are committing to for forever. We will see where the tide and salty breeze takes us over the next few years. 

I cycle back and forth between I am excited and OMG I am going to puke. I’m constantly reminding myself on the other side of terrified is growth and magic. I constantly wonder if I am actually brave enough to do this because change is hard. But so are the rewards.

Please pray and send us love and good vibes for a smooth transition, a good profit on our house, a smooth transition for those we love, blessings of new friends, a new flexible job for me and transportation to and from the people we love. 

Thanks to everyone for their love and support. Here is to new adventures, many house guests, sandy feet, shrimp, Lowcontry magic and a changing of the tides.

Roasted Sausage and Veggies Sheet Pan Meal

There is nothing revolutionary about this recipe. In fact you can find tons of variations on the internet. But if you are like me and get stuck in a dinner rut and need some inspiration I hope this inspires you! The possibilities are endless and I LOVE the one pan thing. You definitely can make this recipe Whole30 approved. Just check your ingredients in your sausage, spices and oil! Continue reading “Roasted Sausage and Veggies Sheet Pan Meal”

Books are Better Bought Locally

When you read a great book, you don’t escape life, you plunge deeper into it.   ~Julian Barnes

From holding a job for a few hours a week during college to working a full-time job and flexi job for six years to now working a part time job and a flexi job I have worked hard to earn my money, and I want to give it to people that work hard and deserve it. I am not saying that large corporations do not employ mommies and daddies and sons and daughters that do not work hard. In fact three large corporations pay our bills. And I am so grateful for the opportunity to work there and bring home a pay check. But I want to put my money where my heart is. Continue reading “Books are Better Bought Locally”

Towel Refresh


This is something that is all over Pinterest and the Internet. Our towels recently have had a slight mildew-sour smell despite regular washing, so I gave this a whirl. First I washed my towels using bleach simply because mine had makeup, dirt and maybe some hair dye on them. If your towels are not white or don’t need bleaching just skip this step. The second step I used hot water white setting and one cup vinegar. Third step, wash again with a hot water setting and one half cup baking soda. Then dry. You need to have time enough to do all three washes in a row and obviously not when you will be needing hot water for showers. The towels came out soft and smell free! I have read on some sites that it helps with absorbency but our towels didn’t have this problem. Enjoy fresh towels!

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