Best of 2019 – with friends!

16 December 2019

Here is a fun thing about writing for fun: I get to do whatever sounds fun! And while listening to the Coffee & Crumbs Best of 2019 episode recently, I thought it sounded fun to make my own superlative list. Then, I had an even more fun idea: I’d invite some of my blogging friends to join me!

And so, here we are! A round-up of some of my favorite things from the past year, alongside some of my favorite friends. Don’t miss their posts today: Lisa / Nancy / Rhiannon / Sam / and Victoria. And in the comments, please share a few of your best moments, finds, and memories from 2019. I can’t wait to hear!

Best adventure/travel/trip: If we’re talking adventure, it would have to be our MS ride. Never did I ever see myself biking 70 miles in one day, but I did! That, plus the training that led up to it, made 2019 one adventurous year. Our favorite trip was finally making it to the Outer Banks for a wonderful week with family (complete with adorable bunk bed cousin convos).

Best book: I officially finished The Coddling of the American Mind this year, and considering how many times I’ve mentioned it since, it probably deserves the top spot. It weaves together topics as wide-ranging as college campuses, political polarization, and how we raise our kids, and I think it’s a must-read for literally everyone. My favorite fiction read was the mammoth Pillars of the Earth (I’m eagerly anticipating jumping into the sequel next year!).

Best movie: While we admittedly watch many more shows than movies, I did really enjoy Always Be My Maybe! The type of rom com that doesn’t get made very often these days :)

Best album or song: Considering John is known to say, “hey, it’s your song!” whenever “Look Up, Child” by Lauren Daigle comes on, I’ll go with that one. As mentioned in this monthly goals post, we also had the Hillsong United live album, People, on repeat since it debuted in April.

Best podcast: Also debuting in April, my girl Nancy’s Work & Play Podcast has remained one of my very favorites – the first I click to every Tuesday! Her bite-size inspiration, range of topics covered, real-life specificity, and authentic faith speak into exactly where I am and where I want to go. This is my favorite episode thus far (and I also loved this interview with sweet Katelyn!).

Best follow on Instagram: As you know, I follow very few people, and even fewer that I don’t know in real life. This year, I’ve particularly enjoyed following my friend Callie Davis (I love seeing how she styles her home, glimpses at her sweet marriage, and her adventures!) and one of my newest team members, the one and only Madeline Wieters. I’m not sure if the humor will translate or if I just find her funny because I know her in person, but her Stories routinely have me (literally) LOL-ing.

Best date: In May, we had dinner outside next to the fountain at Mulino in Raleigh. I chose it not because the food was particularly amazing or the setting was particularly incredible (though both were lovely) but because it was a great example of injecting novelty into our routine. It was a restaurant we had never been to before with a different vibe than we usually choose, and I just remember feeling so tingly and alive that night.

Best kiddo milestone: In the last quarter of the year, Shep’s communication ability has steadily grown, and it has brought with it a marked change in his personality — and thus our mutual enjoyment of each other, ha! It seems like he’s learning a new word every day now!

Best faith grower: Wrestling with reconciliation and forgiveness in two very specific instances, and seeing the Lord sow peace and friendship in the wake of obedience.

Best trend you tried: Wow, I’m probably the last person you want to hear from about trends, ha! This year, I embraced the half-tucked shirt, inspired by J.Crew models and my fashionable coworkers, and just last week I snagged a faux fur leopard coat (!!!) after seeing my girl Julie rock one. I think that counts as a trend, yes? I’ll try to share a pic when I wear it for the first time for John’s work holiday party this week!

Best beauty purchase: I asked Lisa one day what she was wearing on her lips, and this Fresh Sugar lip treatment in Rose was the answer! I promptly purchased my own and it’s an everyday favorite now.

Best family memory: A few different things come to mind. An early-spring walk through my favorite neighborhood of downtown Raleigh, the camellias in full bloom. The train ride June and I took to Charlotte. Racing home through an insane wind- and rainstorm that caught us on the beach in the Outer Banks. A particularly perfect evening on a rocky point in Maine.

Best habit you created: I didn’t do this every night, but every night I did, I was so glad I did: showering right after our kiddos were in bed. There’s something so decadent about padding around in fleecy joggers and no makeup in the evening instead of the jeans I wore out and about that day.

Favorite blog post written: In a year where I often struggled to find the time to write here, I’m grateful to have written several posts I’m really proud of (many of which I’ll highlight in my forthcoming year in review!). For this post’s purposes, though, I’ll go with 10 of My Favorite Purchases. It was a delight to write and your comments were so fun to read!

Best new recipe: This baked chicken orzo was a recent favorite.

Best life or mom hack: Did you know that Melissa & Doug toy organizers make excellent drawer dividers? I use the one from this car and truck set for bobby pins, lip balm, elastics, and lotion in our bathroom!

Best mama moment: Looking out over the glittering fair grounds and watching June’s total awe over her first Ferris Wheel ride. Also, hearing her pray the Lord’s prayer.

Best home improvement: Making over our living room was a 2019 goal, and I’ve been so pleased with the progress we’ve made this year. Our new rug is the MVP, capturing the gracious and classic tone we’re aiming for. I owe y’all a full tour soon!

Best little luxury you’ve enjoyed: Designers swear that multiple points of lighting in a room make all the difference, but I never really understood it until we added a table lamp to our living room (seen here). It completely transformed the feel of the room – so cozy now! – and every evening when I switch it on it feels like a little hug.

As always, I’m ending the year so grateful for the delights, big and small, that filled our year. I’ll be sharing more in my year in review post coming up soon, but in the meantime, please do share: what are some of your “bests” from 2019? Can’t wait to hear!

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December 16, 2019 8:45 am

I never thought I would see the day that you wore a leopard fur coat.. hah!!! It will be SO cute! :) Thank you so much for putting this together!!

December 16, 2019 3:43 pm

Em! Thank you for inviting me to do this, too! Your leopard-print coat sounds fabulous! And I love, love the idea of injecting a sense of novelty into life. Can’t wait to read that post, too!

December 16, 2019 4:32 pm

I love “best” lists. Makes me wish I was still blogging again so I could post my own. For me, the Best Book was Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, about a therapist and her clients (I actually recommended it to my own therapist haha); the Best Podcast I listened to was Oprah’s 10-part re-share of her Super Soul Convo with Eckhart Tolle (also recommended this to my therapist LOL); and my Best Little Luxury (not sure it qualifies as little because it’s $$$) is that I stopped shopping at the mall and get like 90 percent of my clothes from Nordstrom through Trunk Club, their personal styling program. It’s not robots either; it’s real people! I’ve even met my stylist (Christina) and I love her haha

Cathy W
December 16, 2019 9:06 pm

Best moments for 2019
1. My daughter and her family moving home after living in Texas 6 years. They are now expecting baby #2
2. My oldest son and his wife adopted 3 siblings creating an instant family. I’m so proud of them and love those sweet kids!
3. Grandchild count is now up to 5 with another on the way!
It’s been a great year!

December 16, 2019 9:12 pm

Two thoughts: that photo of you in the pink sweater is beautiful. You look so radiant there! Secondly, I loved this fun wrap up with friends and think we should do it again next year to see how our ‘best of’ selections change. I learned about so many new tricks, products, triumphs, and more from everyone. Adore you!

Madeline
December 16, 2019 9:24 pm

Emily Thomas, YOU are the best of the best. Such a true delight to know and learn from you and grateful that 2019 made us friends!

December 16, 2019 9:40 pm

That photo of you and June!! So pretty! More thoughts:
– I now drive past Mulino every day en route to preschool pickup but have never been! How was the food?
– PLEASE send me a photo of you in your new coat! I bet it is fabulous on you :)
– Amen to evening showers–so much more relaxing than rushing in the morning!
This was such a fun link-up to be a part of and to read! Thanks again for the invite! xoxoxo

Callie Davis
December 16, 2019 9:53 pm

Blown away seeing my name listed here! Thank you so much friend! I feel the exact same about you ❤️

December 17, 2019 9:55 am

The Coddling of the American Mind similarly made my best-of list of books for the year (can’t wait to share that post next week) — so, so good and insightful. I, too, find myself quoting it and referring to it regularly. The Pillars of the Earth trilogy is just the BEST!! I may re-read them all next year; it’s about time.
My favorite cookbook/blogger of 2019 is asbolutely Half Baked Harvest! I’m obsessed already: we made her recipes four nights in a row in November, and we can’t get enough. I’m hoping for her newest cookbook for Christmas! xoxox

December 18, 2019 6:03 am

Absolutely LOVE this idea my friend and totally borrowing the idea for a post too.
What a wonderful year for you and your precious family, and I love the way you look back rejoice the wins and blessings x

Kelly Strawberry
December 18, 2019 4:31 pm

Enjoyed reading! :)

[…] Like last year, I invited a few of my favorite blogging friends – Lisa / Stephanie / Nancy / Rhi – to […]