- My little sister turned 30 in March and to celebrate, my family toured two bourbon distilleries, Evan Williams and Old Forester. I appreciated the history and entertainment, but mostly I am grateful for the time our family spent together.
- I started my PhD in August, and while it wasn't easy, I'm proud to have achieved a 4.0 GPA this semester. I'm grateful for all that I learned this semester, and especially grateful for the friends that I made in my cohort.
- I had the opportunity to visit my friend Linh in October. We spent one day in Philadelphia (my first trip) soaking up our nation's history and of course eating Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. We spent the next day in NYC, and while it wasn't my first time in the Big Apple, I can tell you that I will never forget seeing Lion King on Broadway for the first time. Linh and I also got to celebrate her engagement, and I'm looking forward to spending more time with her for her upcoming wedding.
- "For all those times you stood by me, for all the truth that you made me see..." Jenny and I treated ourselves to our first Celine Dion concert and we were not disappointed. Celine is truly a legend, and she made it seem so effortless as she belted out both classic and new ballads.
- My dad's side of the family gathered to celebrate the marriage of my cousin, Tim and his wife, Annamaria. It's always good to catch up and laugh with them, not to mention breakout the sweet dance moves that my cousin, Angie and I worked on this year in our dance class.
- More bourbon distillery tours happened in June when my Uncle Bart and Aunt Katie came to visit. We spent time at Woodford Reserve and Castle & Key, but Buffalo Trace was by far our favorite stop (Bourbon Cream for the win).
- In June, our Student Affairs team went on retreat, and I was awarded the Pineapple Award for Hospitality. It meant a lot to be recognized by my colleagues, whom I respect very much, especially as a relatively new Student Affairs professional.
- After 89 beautiful years of life, my sweet Grandma Phyllie went to Heaven in April. I know she is at peace with my Grandpa Jack, but I miss her dearly. In August, I was able to visit her home one final time. It is as unique as she was, and such an important part of my life.
- My Uncle Gus' lake house is such a source of joy for our family, and I treasure our times there. In May, Mom broke the perch record, and I caught my first crappie. In August, we celebrated my sweet niece's 7th birthday, and I was able to capture this beautiful sunset.
- Baseball has been a large part our lives, so when our alma mater held its annual alumni event at the Bats Game, our entire family attended. I can't tell you how much it warmed my heart to see my niece and nephew in baseball hats, enjoying the game we all appreciate so much.
- Although we no longer teach together, every July, these lovely ladies and I gather together to catch up. I cherish these annual reunions and our long-time friendship.
- It's not everyday that I find myself in the presence of such important women as Lonnie Ali. It was an honor to attend the Daughters of Greatness breakfast series, and hear from the fabulous president of the University of Louisville, Neeli Bendapudi. It was truly an inspirational day.
- I'm grateful for the time we had with mom's side of the family this Thanksgiving. It definitely wasn't the same without Grandma, but I believe she was happy that we gathered together.
- There is no doubt that I inherited my love for shopping from my mom, and I'm glad that the two of us were able to spend a long weekend together doing just that in Cincinnati. From the outlets to the antique malls, we certainly boosted the economy in the Queen City.
- I'm grateful for my team everyday; we were fortunate enough to spend time together this year visiting the Giants of Bernheim Forest, and escaping from the Mystery Mansion Breakout Room.
- My friends, Erin and Jenny, and I always celebrate Christmas together, and this year was especially festive as we attended the Holiday Edition of Snow White and the Seven Drag Queens, written and directed by our friend, Tony. There were not enough sequins to celebrate the occasion, but then, I can never get enough sequins.
- Unfortunately, I was involved in a car accident in September, in which another vehicle ran into the back of mine. It took until the end of October for my precious CR-V to be repaired, and I couldn't have been more relieved to have her back.
- While we were attending a conference downtown, Joey and I were able to have lunch with my brother near his office. I don't remember the three of us ever sharing a meal like that before, and I'm grateful for the time together with my two brothers.
- I set out to read at least one book a month this year, and I'm happy to say that I was able to meet that goal when I finished my twelfth book in December, Michelle Obama's Becoming. In addition to this book, I really enjoyed One Day in December, Big Little Lies, and Educated. I intend to continue to read as many books as I can, in between PhD program assignments, of course.
Thank you for the opportunities to grow, for the lessons, and for the time with family and friends, 2019. Here's to the 365 days ahead (well actually, 366 days since this is a leap year)! I'm not Barbara Walters, but this is 2020.
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