Every year I like to document my most pivotal moments and favorite places and then compare my answers with the previous year. What can I say about 2020? It was quite unlike any other with it’s fair share of highs and lows, and lots of staying indoors. When I look back, I’ll remember it as the year Billy and I decided to leave our lives behind in L.A. and move to New York City. I’ll remember it as the year my parents bought a beach house at the Connecticut shore and I enjoyed spending my summer mornings waking up to the stunning sights and sounds of Long Island Sound.
Then of course, there were the not so great moments. There were political, racial, economical, health, and climate issues our country and the world battled. From individuals getting killed by police and cities lit on fire to people dying of Covid-19 and stay at home orders becoming the norm. Then, there were multiple devastating wildfires affecting various parts of the world which killed millions of animals. If you’re interested in a recap, here’s a list of good and bad events that defined this year. As we get closer to midnight, I’ve never been more excited to enter a New Year. Here’s hoping that 2021 brings good health and happiness to all!
Worst trend of 2020: Mini bags the size of your hand (what’s the point)? Maxi skirts paired with sneakers and scrunchies.
Trend revamped: The 70s; I love pairing bell bottoms with platforms.
The most ridiculous thing you bought: I spent an absurd amount of money back in February or early March on N-95 masks. It was for more of a “just in case” scenario, but we all know how that turned out.
Best gift: For Christmas, I received a Gray Malin photo of the Hamptons from my parents, and I can’t wait to hang it up!
Favorite overall purchase: I just bought an acrylic bar cart that I’m excited to decorate. Then this year, Billy bought us a new Tempur-Pedic mattress with a remote control base and it feels like you’re sleeping on a cloud. He also purchased a royal blue couch for our new living room, and I’m obsessed with it.
Celebrity style: Hailey Bieber, Zoe Kravitz, and Vanessa Hudgens.
Your ideal outfit: Right now, because I’m fully embracing the East Coast winter, it would be my chunky AllSaints boots, a pair of mom jeans, and an oversized sweater.
Shopping website: Revolve.
Endless beach days are the best!
At my dad’s Birthday/retirement party.
My favorite summertime jewelry.
Summer essentials: bodysuits, denim shorts, and kimonos.
70s vibes: bell bottoms, fringe and oversized sweaters.
These striped bell bottoms by Show Me Your Mumu were one of my favorite clothing purchases this year.
My go-to is an effortless sundress on a hot summer day.
Beauty buy: It was a gift, but the Superstars Kit from Sunday Riley.
Hair care products: I just started using Oribe. This summer, the salt water and chlorine wreaked havoc on my hair and Oribe helped restore it. I also love using Olaplex; I do steps 1-3 at home every so often.
Beauty trend you became obsessed with: Using my LED face shield.
I used this LED mask regularly during lockdown and noticed a huge difference in my skin tone and texture.
After adding violet dye to my hair which I mixed with conditioner (although it looks more purple here.)
My new favorite skincare products.
Pop Culture, Books, Music, and Movies
Documentary: Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez.
Online Magazine: Nylon.
Music Artist: Post Malone, The Weeknd, Megan Thee Stallion, and Travis Scott.
Band: The Strokes or Tame Impala
Youtube video: I don’t have a favorite video, but the channel I discovered (and watched the most) this year is Soft White Underbelly. Mark Laita is a photographer who interviews his subjects near Skid Row in Los Angeles. They are often homeless, drug addicted, prostituting to survive, or suffer from mental illness. They all have one thing in common though—a tragic story to tell.
Top 5 songs you listened to on Spotify: FTP by YG, After Hours by The Weeknd, Patience by Chris Cornell, Borderline (Blood Orange Remix) by Tame Impala, Too Late by Washed Out, and Nights by Neon Trees.
Game: Totally 90s Trivia game.
Pop culture moment: The tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant and Gigi.
Most influential voice: The people of all ages, races, and ethnicities that took to the streets to demand change with policing, the criminal justice system, climate change, and equality. (Here are some of the positive things that have happened since the marches.)
Saddest moment: The murder of George Floyd and the countless others who lost their lives because of police brutality. Then, of course, all the deaths from Covid-19.
Instagram account: A few of my favorites are @travelandleisure, @graymalin, @newyorkornowhere, and @thehomeedit. I follow a ton of accounts that are filled with inspiration and unique content. You can see them all here.
How do you feel about the direction the country is headed in?: Heading into 2021, I feel a lot better than I did going into 2020. Knowing that we’ll soon have a new president and with a new cabinet gives me a sense of relief. I’m also hoping on January 5th that we flip the senate. If you live in Georgia, go vote!
Marching for police reform in Times Square.
Biggest career challenge you overcame: After moving to New York City, I changed my website name from A Girl in LA to A Girl in NYC, but that was the easy part. There were many things that had to be done and I had to plan accordingly and do them in a specific order. I ran into a lot of issues along the way so at times it was very frustrating.
New skills you learned: I continued to boost my SEO skills.
Favorite blog post you wrote: Either Why I’m Leaving Los Angeles After Almost 10 Years or What I’ll Miss Most About Living in Los Angeles. As I wrote them, each brought back a ton of memories so it was definitely a bittersweet moment.
Your most time-consuming project: My Simple Approach to Creating an Impressive Jewelry Display.
Fitness, Health, and Self-Care
Recipe that you mastered: It was pretty simple, but by far my favorite. Beyond Meat Sausage dogs with grilled onions in a Brioche roll, then topped with ketchup and Gomasio.
Meal delivery service: Territory—Which delivers healthy already prepared meals made by local chefs. If you want to give them a try use the code AGIRLINNYC and you’ll $25 off your first two deliveries.
Biggest fitness accomplishment: As soon as Covid hit and gyms closed down, I was afraid that I was going to have a hard time keeping up with my fitness regimen. At first, it was a big adjustment. I had to take the movements I was used to doing on machines and find creative ways to do them in my apartment. I purchased a treadmill, dumbbells, resistance bands and other fitness-related equipment and turned my entryway into a mini gym of sorts. Even though it wasn’t “pretty” it definitely motivated me to keep pushing myself. Months later, I have to admit I’ve slacked off (I blame moving and the holidays). With the New Year approaching, my number one goal is to get back to working out regularly.
What did you do to stay sane during lockdown?: There were a few things that helped. 1) Going outside and taking daily walks helped with cabin fever. (This was something Billy and I made a point of doing daily.) 2) Working out regularly. Being told I couldn’t go to my local gym was hard at first, but keeping up with my workouts gave me a sense of control. 3) Planning for the future. In the spring, my parents began discussing buying a beach house at the Connecticut shore (a place I grew up going to). Looking at the homes for sale online and thinking about the summer helped a ton. It provided me with a mental vacation so I was able to escape what was going on around me to a certain degree.
Beyond Meat Sausage dogs: A mouth-watering, simple summer recipe that I mastered this year.
When I turned our entryway into a mini home gym.
Biggest challenge you faced: When we moved, I was in a rush and hired a moving broker (I should have done more research). They hired a company to pack up our things and ship them across the country. Once they arrived, there was over $9,000 in damages! As of now we’re in the process of taking legal action, but that won’t bring back our one-of-a-kind items.
The most important goal you achieved: I had a goal of moving to New York City for a few years now, but I assumed when Billy and I were ready that we would plan everything out. We did the exact opposite of that and it was extremely messy, with hurdle after hurdle. After what took months, we’ve finally moved into our new place, celebrated our first Christmas here, and we’ll begin 2021 in a new state!
How did you grow or change this year? I think that lockdown forced me to become more patient.
The most important lesson you learned: Not to be selfish. I’ve heard so many people complain that being forced to wear a mask infringes on their personal freedom. Well, but not wearing one you’re infringing on mine and others so it’s probably best that you just stay home.
Your biggest regret: Taking the little things for granted. I never thought twice about going out to a bar, or meeting up with friends at a crowded concert venue. These small everyday occurrences were a way of life, and now that they’re not, I can’t wait to have them back and appreciate them a ton more.
What do you miss most about life pre-Covid?: Not having to wear a mask when I leave my apartment and seeing people’s faces as I walk down the street.
Did you make any big decisions this year?: Yes—to leave L.A. was probably the biggest decision I’ve made since I moved there in 2011.
Ten years from now when you look back on 2020, how will you remember it?: For me personally, 2020 will be the year that Billy and I left our life in L.A. behind and moved across the country. I’ll recall it as the time my childhood dream came true; when my parents bought a beach house at the Connecticut shore. But I’ll also remember it as being a surreal time in history met with much political, economic and racial turmoil. Also the most prevalent memory I will have was of COVID 19 and how it took so many lives and changed how we communicate with one another.
The gorgeous view from our L.A. apartment that overlooked DTLA.
The day we arrived at my parents’ beach house; it felt like home right away.
Billy and I’s first (real) Christmas tree!
How do you plan to end 2020: Ever since I was a child, I’ve wanted to spend NYE in NYC. Just once I’d love to watch the ball drop from Times Square or get dressed up and head out to a nightclub. This year won’t be that year. Billy and I will stay in, drink champagne, and watch the festivities from our apartment. I also plan on making h’orderves and baking cookies for us to snack on.
What do you hope is different about 2021?: I hope we can heal as a nation; that this racist rhetoric coming from a so-called leader will end. I hope that these vaccines work and people will stop getting sick and dying and our lives can return to normal. I hope that we can continue to make progress when it comes to equality. For me personally—I can’t wait to do the things I took for granted. I’m excited to explore New York City and experience all four seasons here. I’m excited for everything to be open and back to normal.
What goals will you set for yourself next year?: Drink more water, get back to working out regularly, explore NYC as much as I can, visit my parents at their beach house, produce unique content on A Girl in NYC, and use my voice to stand up for what I believe in.
From restaurants to bars, to museums to shopping, and everything in between…I can’t wait to discover this amazing city in 2021!
Because I moved to NYC in the middle of a pandemic and still have about 95% of the city to explore, most of my favorite places are going to from my 9 and 1/2 years of living in L.A. However, if they aren’t located in L.A. there will be a * next to it.
Bookstore: The Last Bookstore.
Flea market: Rose Bowl Flea Market.
Food truck: None stand out in 2020, so I’m going to go with my 2019 choice, which was the Hello Kitty food truck in Las Vegas.
Farmers’ market: Strawberry Hollow Farm* (for pumpkin picking and fall produce).
Beach: Westbrook, Connecticut*.
Brunch spot: Water’s Edge Beach Resort and Spa*.
Go-to drink: Moët & Chandon
Restaurant that delivers: By Chloe.
Virtual workout: I didn’t do any virtual workouts. Instead, I took my gym workout and adapted it so I could do it in my apartment.
Outside workout space: My parents’ backyard because I can get fit with a view of the ocean.
Out of the office work spot: It used to be the rooftop pool at my L.A. apartment, but I haven’t found an East Coast spot yet.
Billy took me to The Greens at Pier 17 for my Birthday. We had our own rooftop cabin and virtual fireplace.
A beautiful summer sunset at the Connecticut shore.
Favorite Photos of 2020
My family at my dad’s Birthday/retirement party this summer.
Summer days at the shore.
Billy and I took many trips into the city to find our apartment. On one of them we came across this message and it sums of 2020 quite well.
I took this photo on one of our even walks in Connecticut. The autumn foliage was absolutely stunning.
I was lucky to be able to visit Amoeba Records before it relocated. It had been in that same building since the early 2000’s.
A view of our beach house from the sand.
My mother, sister and I hosting a cookout.
The theme of our Christmas tree was rainbows and shiny things.
Billy, waiting for dinner.
The last place I visited before the Pandemic hit. Little did I know in about a week everything would be shut down.
My adorable cousin Kendall and I taking selfies.
I may just cry when we take our tree down tomorrow.
This questionnaire is an end of the year tradition at A Girl in NYC. It’s a fun way to measure our personal growth and see how much we’ve changed from one year to the next. You can take part by copying the text, erasing our answers, and filling in your own. Xx.Kristie
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