I hate it when people repeat the same old tired phrases, but I have to say it: The last two years of pandemic life have felt blurred together. What day is it? What time zone am I in? It’s just true! But when I take the time to pause and thoughtfully look back, there were actually a lot of ways in which 2021 really stood out. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy doing my annual year-end superlatives posts – it’s nice to take a moment to reflect and remember all that happened in the last year!
In previous years I have done 11 superlatives, but I took it down to 10 this year. I eliminated the “Favorite Gift Received” category because I always felt stressed about hurting someone’s feelings if I didn’t choose their gift. No more!
Without further ado, here are my superlatives for 2021:
1. Biggest Milestone
This is a nerdy blog milestone, buttttt….finally monetizing Fairly Southern! Well, to be fair, I monetized a couple of years ago, but this was the first year I actually made more than I spent. A big milestone to cross, and I’m very pleased! I always want my work on the blog to be more fun than business, but it’s nice to be slightly compensated for hard work put in, too.
Runner up: Not getting COVID-19 like nearly everyone else. Ha!!
2. Hardest Challenge
In December, I lost a dear friend. As her health care power of attorney, I had to make some difficult medical decisions for her in the end, including questions of sustaining life support. I am confident in the decisions made on her behalf and at peace with her circumstances – sometimes, it’s just someone’s time to go. However, I cannot deny that it was one of the biggest challenges of my life. It is agonizing to have to make those kinds of decisions for someone else in a way you can’t truly appreciate until it’s happening. At the end of the day, we all do the best we can do. Rest in peace, sweet friend.
3. Most Memorable Trip
Sorry to do this, buttttt I can’t pick just one! After not traveling far in 2020, we definitely packed on the miles in 2021. In August, Wes and I took a bucket list trip to Hawai’i that was truly amazing. Everything was so gorgeous, so delicious, so perfect in every way. Black sand beaches, sunset cruises, waterfalls, surf lessons, hikes on incredible vistas – I will never forget all of the natural beauty and fun adventures. Even the not-so-great parts were definitely memorable, like getting woefully ill on a helicopter tour.
Then just two weeks later, I flew to the other side of the world to Scotland for my best friend’s wedding. It was also gorgeous, delicious, perfect in every way….not the least of which was finally getting to celebrate such a much anticipated occasion with the dearest of friends! These are both trips I will never, ever forget.
4. Best Bite
Gluten free French onion soup at Cote Brasserie in London. I love French onion soup but haven’t had it in over seven years since becoming gluten intolerant. What a special, special treat! It was a blowout big meal on our last night of our travels, and the warm, cheesy soup accompanied by a crisp Kir Royale was just to die for.
5. Favorite Photo
I think it’s got to be this photo from Hawai’i because it reminds me of what an incredibly PERFECT day we had that day. We were in Hanalei on Kaua’i – this particular photo was at Tunnels Beach. It was our last full day of fun on the trip, and so relaxing and beautiful. I wanted to bottle it up and save it forever.
6. Inspiring Read
“She Said” by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. This is the story of the breaking of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations, told by the two journalists at The New York Times who reported it. The care with which they tell the stories of the women involved, as well as the care that went into their investigations and reporting, are truly admirable. I found every part of this book fascinating and inspiring!
7. Most Valuable Lesson
You can’t outrun your problems. Still digesting and learning this one in my own unique way. But it’s been a big lesson for me this year.
8. Favorite Raleigh Spot
My new house!! Ugh, I have been talking about it to y’all for over a year now, and you’re probably so annoyed to have not seen the the finished product yet. Unpacking is taking longer than expected. But I can’t wait for you to see it! I’m so excited to be living in it! And grateful for the opportunity to create this home.
9. Warmest Fuzziest Moment
Visiting the church where Wes’s grandparents got married during WWII. This was a bucket list item for Wes, and we checked it off while in the UK for my friend’s wedding. It was really touching to visit a place that means so much to our family and imagine a young Grandmommie and Granddaddy walking the same streets during such a different time.
10. Things I’m Most Looking Forward to in 2021
I’m not one to lie or pretend, so I’m not going to make up something for this one. There is something I am most definitely looking forward to, but can’t share about just yet. Wes and I have been working on something big and exciting! I can’t wait to share with you soon!
BONUS: Things That Didn’t Get a Superlative, but are Worth Remembering from This Year
-Welcoming a nephew to the family!
-Saying goodbye to Wes’s quarantine man bun.
-Getting the most anticipated vaccine of the century.
-Visiting the 4×4 section of the Outer Banks (yep, I drove us over the dunes!) and seeing the wild horses for the first time.
-Discovering the Outlander TV series and falling hopelessly in love.
-Getting to spend more time with friends and family than last year.
-Visiting my sister and brother-in-law in California (and tacking on a quick visit to Carmel-by-the-Sea as well)!
-Three sweet foster dogs: Harper, Vanna, and Sadie. And making vet appointments for about a billion others through a dog rescue volunteering gig!
-Some amazing blog partnerships! While I haven’t been as active on Fairly Southern as in previous years, I still hit some major milestones and got to partner with some amazing companies to bring valuable content to life.
That’s a wrap, friends! Thanks for being here this year and sharing in life with me! Cheers to 2022.
(And if you’re curious to read my superlative posts from previous years, check them out here.)
P.S. – I’d love to hear about your highs/lows of 2021 in the comments!
P.P.S. – This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase a product using a link from this post. Read more here about my disclaimers/disclosures.