A Year to Remember: 2020

JUMANJI!

When I launched “Coffee & Chiffon” on New Year’s Day this past January, I had the best of intentions and the most ambitious of goals. This year was the start of both a new decade and a new chapter in my life that I was excited to document on a brand new blog. I had travel plans, important career milestones and collaborations/partnerships I was ecstatic and eager to get underway. Had I known what 2020 had in store for me and the rest of the world, however- I would have probably better prepared myself for the inevitable heartbreak and frustration as life as I knew it not only came to a standstill for extended periods of time- but irrevocably changed forever.

I think it’s a safe assumption that this year was not easy on anyone. 2020 just felt like the year that we all experienced such profound and tremendous loss: Loss of precious time with the people we cared about and from doing things that brought us joy and/or made us feel safe. Loss of life in overwhelming numbers. Loss of our sense of normalcy and security and- in many ways- loss of our collective mental/emotional well-being to some degree.

But if you’re reading this, that means you’re still here. You made it through this year- and although accomplishments may seem scarce or hard to recall when looking back on 2020- you still being here is an accomplishment all in itself. I’m so sorry for whatever you’ve gone through and for the things you’ve lost these past twelve months- because I know we’ve all gone through and have lost something. Each and every one of us.

While the very beginning of my year had looked promising- with time spent with one of my dearest friends I had been dating for some time as well as plans with other close friends and family, celebrating my birthday, and getting this blog underway with a set posting schedule and plenty of ideas to keep me busy- by February things had started to unravel. My relationship had ended when my friend moved across the country for a career opportunity, and just a couple of short weeks after he’d departed New England- my best friend Kelsey passed away during a surgical procedure. When her funeral had to be postponed at the beginning of March due to the early stages of COVID-19 travel bans/quarantines and restrictions- I knew the rest of the year was probably not going to get any easier- and I was right.

Everything came to a screeching halt, but I kept posting regularly to have some small sense of control over what was happening around me. And, for the record- developing content three days a week during a pandemic is not the easiest thing. My outfit posts gradually transitioned into more comfy (and less dressy) loungewear while my bi-weekly recipes quickly became more about comfort foods and desserts since there wasn’t much else to do apart from eat my feelings. Where I had wanted to share some of my favorite local businesses, annual events and hangouts here in the Pioneer Valley and beyond- I instead wrote about abandoned buildings and unusual roadside oddities around New England as many places had closed and all gatherings had been cancelled. I also did it in order to safely socially distance from others who may not have thought strange monuments or dilapidated houses were exactly good places to congregate in large groups.

And while I previously had access to more professional equipment and incredibly skilled photographers and artists to assist me in my blogging and creative endeavors- this year saw my ability to make magic with those people and things become extremely limited up until recently. A lot of my posts and the content contained within them were documented with my phone and nothing else under the ever-changing circumstances, and there were some posts that I wasn’t quite as thrilled about as others in terms of quality- although I’m looking to improve that in the coming year- but I’ll get to that a little later on in this post.

I started working from home for my full-time job in March, and am still doing so now as I write this. Although I don’t necessarily miss being in an office for hours on end every day (and my apartment is quite cozy, after all!)– I do miss being able to participate in some of my side gigs- like hosting my weekend show at Indie617. I’ve been off-air for about nine months now- and it’s unclear when I’ll be able to safely return.

But, 2020 had some bright spots, too. Far and few between, sure- but bright nonetheless. With working from home I was able to save more money than I anticipated given that I wasn’t commuting to and from my office as frequently. I was also able to develop a diet/exercise regimen from the comfort of my apartment that had me feeling and looking pretty good by the Summer (enough to show it off, anyway!)

Since saving money and getting into better shape/feeling healthier were right near the top of my “2020 Resolutions” list- I’m pretty satisfied and optimistic I can carry that momentum into 2021, as well.

May of 2020 marked one year since I’d moved to the Pioneer Valley, and even though I couldn’t commemorate the milestone with friends and acquaintances I have in the area and around my neighborhood because of the pandemic- looking back on the significant changes in my life, my progress as an independent woman living far from what I’d considered home for many years- and my growth and development since I first arrived here in the Spring of 2019 was a pretty empowering and enlightening experience.

And although there were all sorts of precautions and restrictions in place- I was also able to do some travel this year- and not just limited to around New England. In August, I visited with Kelsey’s family for a week split between Las Vegas and San Diego. I returned there again for another week this past October for her birthday/memorial service- where I got to see longtime friends and extended family for the first time since before the pandemic had started.

And now, with just a little more than a day left of this unprecedented and unpredictable year- this would typically be the part of a reflective post where I talk about my hopes, aspirations and resolutions for 2021. But first- I gotta’ talk about everything that happened- and I mean everything. The insane headlines. Coronavirus. The election. Shocking deaths. Historical pop culture incidents and scientific breakthroughs- because if this year delivered anything at all- it was one jaw-dropping, “did that really just happen?” moment after another.

This was 2020.
(Image via MSNBC)

So… We had a plague. A legitimate one.: Kicking off this recap with anything OTHER than COVID-19/Coronavirus is just not an option. I wish more than anything it could be- but it’s not. This pandemic, *still* ongoing and seemingly not slowing down anytime soon- changed the course of the year, the lives of every single person in the world, and history- forever. A potentially fatal, easily spread respiratory illness with a lengthy list of ever-changing symptoms of varying degrees of seriousness that has claimed the lives of 336K+ Americans (as of the date of this being published since the numbers continue to rise each day) and more than one million worldwide- COVID-19 was the global catastrophe no one saw coming or prepared for.

At the beginning of 2020, the illness, still relatively unknown at the time, had quickly swept through parts of China and Italy- and as mandatory lockdowns went into effect and the rest of the world was told to brace ourselves for possible outbreaks in our own countries as we looked on in confusion- it was too late. By March, it was spreading through the United States like wildfire and resulted in everything being shut down, cancelled or closed. Businesses and schools switched to remote capabilities when able. Sporting events, music festivals, weddings, graduations and any large gatherings were postponed (or scrapped all together.) Social distancing and masks were encouraged if not required outright to attempt to slow the spread- and the country saw a surge in both unemployment as many small businesses/venues/restaurants/etc. had to close permanently- and in hospitals reaching capacity, with many facilities having to build field hospitals in order to provide care for incoming patients or use refrigerated box trucks to house bodies when their morgues became too full.

Things inevitably became apocalyptic levels of bad- with repeated shortages of food, water, cleaning supplies and toilet paper in stores, a government that failed to provide continued and adequate relief to it’s people after issuing a one-time stimulus check in the amount of $1,200 in the Spring- and the wave of anti-maskers that purposefully defied rules/regulations. A special kind of stupid and selfish, these conspiracy theorists believed the whole thing was/is a hoax and refused to cooperate at the behest of the equally stupid President they’d elected- even when he’d caught COVID-19 himself and spread it around the White House for good measure.

If there was any sort of silver lining to this ordeal- anything at all- it would be the absolute genius and creativity demonstrated by so many who were stuck at home for long periods of time and looking for ways to not go completely insane. From TikTok dance trends, bread-baking classes via Zoom, or sharing interior design tips in “Animal Crossing: New Horizons”- people still found ways to have fun and make each other laugh- and it was SO appreciated.

As I write this, attempts to mass produce and distribute vaccinations are underway- And continued mask wearing, staying six feet apart, and quarantines are encouraged. It all still looks very grim right now, with no light at the end of the tunnel in sight anytime soon- but all we can do is hope for the best and look out for one another while we wait it out and gradually move forward.

(Image via ABC)

Is it finally over?: I’ve never made any attempt to hide my hatred for Donald Trump, his narcissistic family of complicit criminals, his cabinet- and the flurry of white supremacists, misogynists, bigots and violent, moronic sociopaths he’s emboldened within the past four years as he simultaneously turned the United States into his own personal piggy bank/playground and made us the laughingstock of the world with his limited vocabulary, inability to understand basic procedures and due process, and his absolutely botched handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He is a colossally stupid, selfish, cruel, racist and sexist conman who never should have been given an unwatchable reality show- let alone access to the White House. When he was impeached earlier in 2020 I was elated. When nothing came of it- I was furious- only to feel such an overwhelming sense of relief (the first time in months, really) when it was announced in November after a particularly grueling election season that he had been defeated in a record turnout of voters by Joe Biden- with soon-to-be-Vice President Kamala Harris in his corner.

Although Trump continues to argue the election results while his rabid and delusional fan base are starting to realize that they’ve been ousted and are in panic mode- there’s no denying the facts. He’s a one-term, impeached imbecile and in a couple of weeks- he’s gone- and I can only pray that prison is waiting for him and all the shady characters he surrounded himself with.

And while I know Joe and Kamala don’t have perfect track records (I don’t think any politician ever does or ever will)– and they’ll both have their work cut out for them given the last four years- it’s going to be SO nice having someone in charge who understands compassion and empathy and believes in both science and medicine again. Maybe- just maybe- the United States can become a little more respectable again.

(Image via CNN)

Say their names…: I feel like I can go back to any of my previous End-of-The-Year recaps from prior blogs, pull a police brutality story that made headlines and sparked outrage/protests that year, change the names to accurately list the most recent victims, re-post it and *still* have it be relevant and up-to-date because sadly- this is one injustice that keeps happening over and over and nothing changes- similar to the weekly mass shootings we’d grown accustomed to seeing in this country.

In May of 2020, after being confronted by police in Minneapolis for reportedly attempting to use a counterfeit $20 bill (which ended up not being counterfeit at all) and subsequently arrested- 46 year old George Floyd was eventually pinned to the ground by multiple police officers who prevented onlookers from assisting when it became visibly apparent that Floyd was in distress and in need of medical attention. One of the officers, Derek Chauvin- knelt on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes- despite Floyd stating on camera that he could not breathe before he slipped into unconsciousness. Chauvin can be seen on camera continuing to kneel on Floyd’s neck until paramedics arrived while witnesses are screaming at him to get off. Floyd was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

The footage is horrifying- and sparked nationwide protests, rioting and calls to defund the police- which were only amplified when the relatively unknown stories of the February 2020 shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man shot to death by a former police officer while jogging and the March 2020 shooting of Breonna Taylor, a black woman shot to death by police who forced their way into her apartment in the middle of the night with a no-knock warrant while investigating her ex-boyfriend- who did not live there- made it into the national spotlight. These stories, compounded with the names and victims that have come before them- resulted in international support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

While there has been no jail time for any of the responsible officers in any of these incidents (yet. anyway)– some departments have seen their over-the-top funding get cut significantly in light of recent events- proving that taking to the streets really can produce some results sometimes.

But it’s still not enough. Not even close.

(Images via numerous outlets)

We lost a lot of incredible people. Like, a LOT.: Without fail, we lose some notable and beloved people/figures every year- but 2020 felt like those losses were even more frequent and substantial. From the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash in January of this year, to the July drowning of “Glee” star Naya Rivera and the death of “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman to cancer in August- it seemed like the hits just kept on coming- and the grief extended far beyond sports icons and actors/actresses.

2020 also saw the loss of political powerhouses John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the passing of the latter resulting in a bitter dispute over who would take over her emptied seat on the Supreme Court.

And this year tragically brought an end to the legendary lives of guitar prodigy Eddie Van Halen, and one of the last icons from Hollywood’s “Golden Age”- Olivia de Havilland at age 104 (!!!)

There were so many more- too many to list- but all deserving of recognition for their contributions to cinema, sports, civil rights and pop culture.

(Image via New York Times)

This was the completely batsh*t distraction we all needed: Meth? Murder? Memes? “Tiger King”- released on Netflix right at the beginning of COVID-19 lockdowns/shutdowns and quarantines earlier this Spring was the train wreck nobody knew they wanted until they started watching it.

Focusing on the bitter and growing feud between the eccentric “Tiger King” himself- Joe Exotic, and his arch nemesis (and cool cat and kitten) Carole Baskin- the docuseries chronicled the rise and fall of Exotic through his gradual transformation from popular zoo owner, to over-the-top musician (with insane music videos!), to failed politician and finally- to convicted felon for his role in a botched murder-for-hire plot and multiple counts of animal abuse.

There are, unsurprisingly, no “good guys” in the series- no people to really root for- as almost everyone shown is pretty terrible in their own unique and disturbing ways. But, it made for must-see TV and the resulting hilarity on social media- the insane catchphrases and the inspired costumes long before and leading up to Halloween- helped make the pandemic just a little more fun and bearable for a while.

(Image via New York Times)

This was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen – and I watched “Tiger King”: In early August, a large warehouse fire had broken out by the port of Beirut, Lebanon that quickly escalated when the spread of the flames ignited stored fireworks in the area. As nearby residents began filming the fire from their homes/businesses- what they didn’t know that *also* stored (improperly) near the port was a considerable amount of highly explosive ammonium nitrate.

When the ammonium nitrate ignited, the resulting explosion- caught by multiple cameras- made it look like an atomic bomb had been dropped on the city. The blast was felt and heard up to 150 miles away- and when the smoke cleared, 204 people were dead, nearly 8K were injured- and property damage surpassed 15 billion dollars.

An investigation was immediately launched amid rescue/recovery efforts- and tensions rose as previous, ongoing protests against the government increased significantly- resulting in the Prime Minister’s gradual resignation just days after the incident. The storage of ammonium nitrate was also re-examined by multiple ports around the globe- with some new safety protocols implemented in an attempt to avoid a possible repeat of the disaster somewhere else.

(Image via Huffington Post)

Everything was cake. EVERYTHING: At the height of pandemic-induced insanity- with everyone baking bread, busting out their best dance moves for social media, perfecting trick shots, etc.- the foodies and chefs going stir crazy at home decided to take things to an extra sinister level and thus, “everything is cake” was born.

Using impressive (and downright scary) decorating skills, as well as a LOT of fondant icing- photos and videos of what appeared to be common, every day household items being cut open to reveal a delicious dessert, instead- were suddenly everywhere. As the designs became more and more intricate- people started to wonder what isn’t cake and, more maybe a little more pressing- are we all just cake, too?

Regardless of your thoughts on sweets- some of the finished products were pretty amazing and definitely inspired me to try making my own concoctions in the kitchen.

(Image via CNN)

Well, well, well- if it isn’t the consequences of your own actions: After his arrest in 2018, disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein finally stood trial in January of this year for an extensive list of sex crimes including rape and sexual misconduct. It took the jury only five days to return a verdict of guilty for two of the five charges- but it was enough to result in a 23-year prison sentence- providing some sense of closure and a little justice for countless victims who have continued to come forward.

It has been reported that Weinstein had tested positive for COVID-19 while in prison, and that his health had been steadily declining since his incarceration- all while he waits for another criminal trial in California to begin for a series of additional rape and sexual assault charges he faces.

Although there wasn’t much to celebrate in 2020- one powerful, devious predator getting his comeuppance was surely a reason to feel a little joy.

(Image via ABC)

A foiled kidnapping plot shocked the country: With conspiracy theorists, anti-maskers and COVID-deniers frothing at the mouth over their rights “being taken away” by being asked to do the bare minimum to help reduce the spread of a highly infectious and airborne disease- vitriol towards elected officials who had ordered much-needed mask mandates and/or mass closures within their states/jurisdictions reached a breaking point in 2020.

That vitriol, which had the possibility to lead to potential violence, was never made more evident than in October when it was announced that 14 individuals had been charged in both federal and state courts after their elaborate plan to kidnap and murder Gretchen Whitmer- the Governor of Michigan- had been discovered and thwarted by authorities.

This brush with danger had not been the first for Governor Whitmer this year. Back in April, heavily armed protestors- goaded by President Trump- stormed the Michigan State Capital and essentially threw a temper tantrum over the lockdown and stay-at-home orders in the midst of the rising coronavirus case/fatality numbers until they were eventually dispersed.

Given the pandemic, many legal proceedings have been delayed significantly- but indictments have come in on the federal charges, while the state charges gradually move forward at different paces.

(Image via Twitter)

This year, we had a much-needed conversation about a formerly “taboo” subject: I don’t have kids, and I don’t see myself having them anytime soon. I live too much of a “spur of the moment”, up-and-go-on-a-whim lifestyle- and I never really thought it would be fair to drag a child into that or expect my mother to watch them for days/weeks at a time while I took off to travel or visit friends whenever I wanted.

But I love the children in my family- my niece and cousins- and I dote on my friends’ kids as if they were my own. All of my friends who have children are such phenomenal parents- but I also know a few of them have experienced what no parent should ever have to endure- the loss of a child.

I’ve watched friends from my teens struggle through the loss of a child to illness, others to horrible accidents- but the ones that no one ever really talked about were the miscarriages and stillbirths. It was as if those losses somehow didn’t warrant public expressions of sorrow or showings of grief the way others did- even though it devastated the parents and loved ones just as much.

My best friend, for example- had lost her daughter very far along in her pregnancy a few years ago. It crushed her and her husband- as it did all of us who had been so excited to welcome her into the world- and it’s something that stayed with her, even when she had her other beautiful children. It was still a significant and traumatic loss in her life.

So, in September of this year, after model Chrissy Teigen publicly shared her grief and struggles in a series of candid photos and writings following the stillbirth of her third child- multiple women who had been through something similar shared their own stories of pregnancy loss and the ways they had felt compelled to not talk about it openly as it felt like too much of a shameful topic in what was a powerful and emotional showing of solidarity.

Additionally, Duchess Meghan Markle revealed she had also suffered a miscarriage during the Summer of 2020- penning a touching article about her experience and discussing the statistics of pregnancy loss to keep the conversation going and help spread both awareness and knowledge so that the grief doesn’t have to be kept a secret and so that it doesn’t have to be something to feel ashamed about.

It was women-supporting-women energy I think we all desperately needed this year.

(Image via CNN)

Don’t be a Karen…: On the same day George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, another racially-motivated incident was occurring in Central Park. Christian Cooper, a black man and known birdwatcher in the area- after seeing Amy Cooper’s (they aren’t related) Cocker Spaniel without a leash in a section of the park where it’s required- asked Amy to follow park rules. She reportedly refused, and when Christian proceeded to try and give the dog a treat while it was running around- Amy was caught on camera calling the police.

Her 9-1-1 call, filmed in it’s entirety on Christian’s phone- depicts the white woman who is no danger whatsoever- struggling to keep a hold on her dog to the point where there’s possible injuries being inflicted to it, all while screaming at the dispatcher that an African American man is threatening her life and to send police to the scene immediately. Given how a lot of cops tend to respond to a white woman in distress- it was no stretch of the imagination that the call was made to purposefully put Christian Cooper’s safety at risk.

The video went viral, and resulted in charges being brought against Amy for filing a false police report. She lost her job, and briefly lost her dog when the shelter she had adopted it from retrieved it pending an investigation into animal abuse.

The incident sparked plenty of memes, sure- but the conversation primarily centered around “Karens” (white women who use their whiteness and privilege to get their way) and the fact that this was not the first time the black community had authorities called on them simply by sharing space with white people- and it also wasn’t the first time such an incident had been filmed, either.

In New York, where this incident took place- legislation was passed in the wake of the confrontation to make falsely reporting a crime specifically to target/endanger protected groups of people- a hate crime.

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And while those were, in my opinion, some of the biggest moments/memories/headlines of 2020- there were a few other things that deserve some recognition, too- from royals breaking away from the “norm,” to scientific oddities and potentially dead dictators to the movie everyone was talking about this year. It’s time for some Honorable Mentions – 2020 Edition!

– Harry & Meghan Peaced Out: Long before her 2018 wedding to Price Harry, Meghan Markle was the target of nonstop harassment by paparazzi and racially-motivated hostility by the press. Even with joyous occasions like the wedding itself and the birth of the couple’s first child- she was often torn to pieces for the mildest of mannerisms or wardrobe choices. Having seen the worst case scenario of what the press was capable of when looking back at what happened to Princess Diana- it came as no surprise to anyone (apart from the paparazzi themselves, that is-) that the couple opted to step down as senior members of the Royal Family in January of 2020 to seek financial independence and privacy.

While Meghan was, of course, blamed for the decision- it was Prince Harry who came forward to release a statement that the idea was ultimately his and a means to protect his family before they proceeded to put as much distance as possible between themselves and the British news cycle by moving to California.

– “Parasite” swept it up and made history: Although it was released back in 2019, the dark comedy/thriller “Parasite” received a lot of attention and a ton of new fans in 2020 after it swept the Oscars- winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay- and Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards back in February.

The win of the Best Picture award was historic- as it marked the first time a non-English language film had won in the category.

Hulu, sensing the impending interest in the film- managed to get it on their platform for streaming- and I know a lot of people got to see just how great it was during the early stages in the pandemic when all we could really do was binge watch the movies/shows we had saved up in our queues.

Did this guy die or not?: There was a few weeks in April of 2020 where North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, disappeared from the public view entirely- resulting in speculation that he was either in poor health (possibly due to COVID-19) or had outright died. When he still hadn’t emerged for any kind of statement/appearance- and the news coming from the country was rarely reliable- further rumors hinted that his younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, was preparing to run the show in his absence.

Jong-un eventually returned to the spotlight where he went on to order executions of his opposition and falsify information regarding the number of coronavirus cases reported in North Korea in usual, not-surprising-at-all dictator fashion- but it was a bizarre few weeks nonetheless.

Murder Hornets? MURDER HORNETS.: As if 2020 wasn’t bad enough- the Summer of 2020 saw a new threat to our safety and sanity enter the gauntlet. The Vespa mandarinia, AKA “The Murder Hornet” and the largest hornet in the world- made an appearance in the Pacific Northwest this year. Nearly two inches in length and with a stinger packed with a potent venom that is strong enough to kill a small rodent- these hornets can destroy entire honeybee hives in a matter of hours.

Although the “threat” was short-lived (it turns out that efforts to date have been fairly successful with getting rid of the occasional nest that pops up and research shows the hornets would have some difficulty with sweeping across the country as predicted-) it still felt pretty on-brand for 2020 to bring us colossal, killer bugs, too.

Go Buccaneers?: In news that probably only upset me and maybe four other people- 2020 saw both Tom Brady AND Rob Gronkowski say adios to the New England Patriots and head down to Tampa Bay to join the Buccaneers for the 2020/2021 NFL season- and while The Patriots haven’t exactly been great this year- The Bucs have been a lot of fun to watch.

I didn’t want to become a Tampa Bay fan- I really didn’t- but at this point I don’t think I have a choice.

And that’s a wrap!

To close out 2020, I’ve opted to spend New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day/New Year’s Weekend with some much-needed rest and relaxation away from my apartment for a few days. I’ll be heading down to Newport, Rhode Island for a solo, socially-distanced, and very-much masked getaway in a secluded room by the ocean where the only thing I plan on indulging in is some takeout food and some wine while I count down the final minutes of this most wretched of years and await the arrival of 2021.

Of course, I’ve made some resolutions as well- because even though a lot of my plans were shot in 2020 and the future remains uncertain- it’s nice to set some goals and try your best to accomplish them.

Here’s what I’m striving for in the year ahead:

1. Continue Getting More Healthy/Fit: If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s the importance of maintaining a healthy body and mind so that if I do get sick- my chances of a faster and fuller recovery will be better. While I was able to lose some weight and get into better shape during quarantine as I was working from home and therefore prepping all of my meals (and working out daily to get some fresh air!)– I still have a little ways left to go to hit my newly-set targets post-holiday slacking and gluttony.

No shame. It happens to us all.

Additionally, “getting healthy” doesn’t just mean physical fitness. It can mean mental health, as well- and in 2021 I’d like to practice better self-care in terms of participating in more meditation and taking time to truly center/calm myself when I start to feel anxious or upset- be it at work, in quarantine, while driving, etc. It’s all connected, and if I’m stressing out or having a manic moment- I’m more inclined to neglect my physical health as a result.

I want 2021 to be the year I not only look good- but feel just as good (if not better,) too!

2. Save More Money/Pay Off Bills: I know these two things can sort of cancel each other out- but during this pandemic my budgeting has gotten much better (mostly because I haven’t been commuting back/forth to work and paying for gas or car upkeep all of the time.) I’ve been able to save money and, more importantly- pay down some of those loans that always seem to feel like they’re hovering over my head. I still owe a little on my car loan and student loan, unfortunately- but in 2021 I’d like to finally pay them off so it’s one less thing to think about every month.

I feel like if I keep up the momentum I’ve been building in terms of my finances in 2021, that goal is one I can easily attain without depriving myself of the occasional small luxury or trip.

Speaking of…

3. Cross A Few Things Off of My Travel Bucket List: This one is the most difficult goal to accomplish because of COVID-19 and all the restrictions that come with it, of course- but I’m really, really, really hoping that in 2021 I’m able to scratch a couple of things off of my travel/sight-seeing bucket list- even if I have to keep it on a national level until international borders open back up again.

I’m waiting to head down to New Orleans for a week at some point this coming year, and- if possible- spend some time in both Memphis and Nashville. While I have trips all planned out- with what I want to do and see and where I want to stay and eat- it really comes down to when it will be safe enough again to book anything and board a plane. I have to think of my safety and the safety of anyone I may encounter before I take off anywhere.

4. Blog Better: I’m quite proud at the first year I’ve had here on “Coffee & Chiffon.” While I had all sorts of brilliant ideas for this little blog that could- 2020 had other plans for me. Nevertheless, I kept writing and creating content- and while some posts didn’t feel as satisfying as others in terms of quality or their topics given I was significantly cut off from valuable resources- I stuck with it.

Now that I’ve been able to reconnect with artist and photographer friends (safely, of course!) I’m hoping that in 2021 my content will be more polished and professional-looking, I have so many things I want to do here- and people that are excited to help me- so I can’t wait to get started again!

And finally…

5. Find “Me” Again: This pandemic has affected all of us in so many ways- physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. I’ve found that with being cut off from my family, my friends, my hobbies and routine for as long as I have been- coupled with losses/trauma that were not related to the pandemic that I’ve endured in 2020- I’ve started to feel a little lost and disconnected. Because of this, I’ve clung to routines and relationships with friends/acquaintances that feel “familiar” but may not necessarily be the healthiest things to hold onto- and may actually be having a negative impact on my happiness.

These things could be as simple or as minor as checking my e-mail even when I’m off the clock at work (a bad habit of mine) to more serious things like allowing people to take advantage of me or project their own traumas from this year onto me.

In 2021 I’d like to focus more on reconnecting with myself again- and re-establish my personal “code” and boundaries so that I can protect myself and my sanity- but without building walls that are too high.

I like making new friends, after all.

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And there it is! 2020 in a very long, and what I would describe as a very thorough review. This year was definitely one for the history books- and one we’ll be talking about for years to come, I’m sure.

I’m going to be taking the rest of this week off to recuperate and zone out- but I’ll be back next Monday to resume posting normally. I know this New Year’s Eve isn’t going to be like any we’ve experienced in our lifetimes- but I truly hope you all have an amazing and peaceful night and a great weekend to start the new year off properly.

And If you’d like to share some of your own resolutions, or discuss what you think should have made the “2020 List” in this post- feel free to drop me a line!

I love you all and I’ll see you in 2021!

xo

– Ashley –

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Hi! I'm Ashley. I'm a blogger and a radio personality with a makeup and shoe addiction based out of Boston and the Pioneer Valley. These are my (mis)adventures.

2 thoughts on “A Year to Remember: 2020

  1. I just wanted to say thanks for this blog. I really only “know you” from Indie617 and your Twitter, so I hope this doesn’t come off as weird (which I KNOW is weird in me typing that), but this blog has been a nice bit of normal in the craziness of this year. It was nice seeing the “new post alert” in my inbox from WordPress, something that, to be honest, I typically turn off pretty much right when I get the first one. But your writing has been a much needed reminder that others are having an absolutely insane year like all of us. I changed jobs in 2020, which was much needed as it’s been a huge positive change for me, but that was legit the ONLY good thing this year (except for Trump losing, of course). Sometimes I feel like my GF and I are the only ones who are taking this whole thing seriously, but I’m glad there are others out there who feel the same. Also, super glad you decided to do your little solo getaway too.

    Hoping 2021 is a much needed improvement for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

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