My bracelet set is Taudrey and you can get it here. Use the code topknot10 for 10% off.
When we all think of 2020, we initially think "Good Riddance!" But last night, while having dinner with friends, we talked about how for us (and we recognize that many people had terrible years in many senses of the word), 2020 wasn't really all that bad in hindsight. Was it hard? YES. Did it push every button it possibly could? Also YES. Did it challenge us in ways we didn't think we would be challenged. HECK YES. But 2020 has given us a lot of good things too.
This morning I listed all the accomplishments I felt I had achieved in 2020, and the list was longer than I thought it would be. The accomplishments weren't all huge, but they were all significant to me somehow. Some of the highlights of 2020 have been big - Eddie started a new job and smashed it right out of the gate, I won the 2019 Best Parenting Blog by South Florida Bloggers, I secured partnerships with some household names, started a podcast with my friend Leci, and I reached 10,000 followers on Instagram. But some of the highlights of 2020 have been smaller - Caleb lost a couple teeth, Chloe started school, we got to know our kids so much better. We grew more intimate relationships with friends because we limited our circle.
In 2019, I did a Word of the Year for the first time, and I felt like it was so successful that I decided to do it again in 2020. I'm not sure I ever shared my word of the year this year, but it was Consistency. I applied the word to everything - my sleep schedule, my diet, moving my body, the kids' schedules, and how I worked. It was definitely a year where it was hard to keep consistent some days, but in the end, it was worth the effort.
So while 2020 definitely challenged us, it won't go down as the worst year ever in my book. And at the stroke of midnight, things won't magically be "normal" again. But the new year always brings the promise of a fresh start, new goals, and new dreams.
Cheers to the end of 2020 and to a happy and healthy 2021!
I've talked over and over again about how I have always been an avid reader. After having kids, reading definitely got put on the back burner and I have been going through books way more slowly. But this year, between a pandemic (and a lot more time spent at home), the kids finally getting on a good, synchronized schedule, and putting all the boundaries in place when it comes to working from home, I finally managed to meet (and surpass!!) the reading goal I had set for myself. I set the bar low at the start of the year - one book a month. And I ended up reading that amount from June to August alone! I ended up reading twenty books this year, and I am pretty proud of myself!
Some of the books I wrote reviews for on the blog, others I didn't. If I wrote a review, I'm linking it, if I didn't, the link will take you to my affiliate link on Amazon. I'm listing them all below - my top three are the first three, everything else is in no particular order!
So I'm setting a new goal - 21 books in 2021! Send me your recommendations so I can meet that goal! You can also follow me on Goodreads to see what books I've read in the past.
I know most of us are in Christmas prep mode, but I've managed to find enough downtime in the last few weeks to finish up my 20th book of 2020! Plus, we are headed off on a road trip after Christmas, so I know I'll have a little more time to read then, too. Last night I finished Lisa Wingate's The Book of Lost Friends. She is the author of Before We Were Yours, and this popped up as a recommendation for me to read.
Louisiana, 1875: In the tumultuous aftermath of Reconstruction, three young women set off as unwilling companions on a perilous quest: Lavinia, the pampered heir to a now-destitute plantation; Juneau Jane, her illegitimate free-born Creole half-sister; and Hannie, Lavinia's former slave. Each carries private wounds and powerful secrets as they head for Texas, following dangerous roads rife with ruthless vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a war lost a decade before. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, the journey is one of inheritance and financial desperation, but for Hannie, torn from her mother and eight siblings before slavery's end, the pilgrimage westward reignites an agonizing question: Could her long-lost family still be out there? Beyond the swamps lie the seemingly limitless frontiers of Texas and, improbably, hope.
Louisiana, 1987: For first-year teacher Benedetta Silva, a subsidized job at a poor rural school seems like the ticket to canceling her hefty student debt—until she lands in a tiny, out-of-step Mississippi River town. Augustine, Louisiana, seems suspicious of new ideas and new people, and Benny can scarcely comprehend the lives of her poverty-stricken students. But amid the gnarled live oaks and run-down plantation homes lies the century-old history of three young women, a long-ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything.
I really enjoyed this book. Hannie and Benny are strong female characters who persevere despite having many roadblocks placed in front of them. As a former teacher, I related to Benny's character in several ways, and I loved seeing her come into herself with her students and the people of Augustine. Hannie was a girl who knew what needed to be done and was willing to do it. I can't imagine the things she went through, but her character was a force and I appreciated that for sure. I haven't read many books set in the post-Civil War era and I'm glad I stepped out of my usual categories to read this one, because I liked it!
I've mentioned before how it's important to me that all of these stories be told, not matter how hard or uncomfortable it is to hear these truths, and that's what this whole book is about - carrying these stories on for the generations that come after us so that we don't repeat the same mistakes!
Get the book.
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Hey you... yes, you.
The one mentally running through her to-do list every hour to make sure she’s not forgetting - just one more gift.
The one bouncing from store to store to make sure she has all the ingredients for the kids’ favorite recipe.
The one vacuuming crumbs for the 4th time today because the kids couldn’t wait to dig into their gingerbread houses.
The one trying to find safe and fun ways to celebrate the holidays with the kids this year.
The one who ordered three more rolls of tape, only to come across seven unopened rolls in the gift wrapping bag.
The one who jolts out of bed at 3 am because “I forgot to move the elf!”
The one who still hasn’t started shopping.
The one who thought she was done shopping and just realized she forgot someone.
I see you.
You are what makes Christmas magic.
And I invite you to take a break from whatever is stressing you this year. Cuddle up on the sofa with those little munchkins - who you swear were experiencing the wonder of Christmas for the first time just yesterday, but here they are writing their own lists to Santa. You’re so busy creating the magic for everyone else, but make sure that you soak up some of that magic for yourself.
Stop thinking about the next thing on your list for a few hours.
Snap the photo and come back to it later.
Put your phone away. Your e-mails can wait a few hours, and so can the texts.
Because while you are the one making the Christmas magic, you should also be lucky enough to experience it.
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