Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

December 28, 2020

2020 in Review: Highlights From My Year.

     It's finally the last week of the year that I've been ready to say goodbye to since March. As tough as 2020 was, there were still moments of joy and blessings in every season, month and week. Let's recap 2020 in my personal life outside of the blog! (As always, I'll be sharing a separate blog focused year-end recap post later this week.) 

2020 Summary:

     WHAT A YEAR!! I know I speak for probably almost every single American when I say that this year did not go even remotely close to how I planned. The days have all been long and monotonous, but the months have flown by. Some days I still feel like I'm back in that fateful third week of March... how is it almost the end of the year?

     2020 was a quiet and reflective year. A year filled with much fear and anxiety, but also moments of sheer joy and delight in the little blessings. It was a year that I absolutely failed at living up to my chosen Word of the Year and most of my original 2020 resolutions, but was able to cross off new goals instead. 

     I think the theme of the year for me was grieving. It came out in different ways. Grieving for myself- for the dreams and plans I had for this year that absolutely disappeared. But I also spent much time grieving for others. For my friends who had canceled or postponed weddings, travel, graduations (a whopping five of my close friends finished their masters degrees in 2020 and not one got to have a graduation ceremony), etc. Grieving for those who lost their jobs this year, or lost a loved one to COVID. Grieving for those who felt even more isolated during COVID than they were prior to, such as the elderly.      

2020 Accomplishments:

     ...Can I say surviving? 😂 For real though. What a year like no other! It seems like an amazing accomplishment that I stayed healthy through all of 2020! Not only did I stay COVID-free this year, but my roommate and parents did as well, which is all that I could ask for. Earlier this month I was quite certain I might become ill when we started having our first COVID positives happen at work... but amazingly I stayed healthy the last few weeks of this year during all of that craziness! I should add it was also a blessing from the Lord to also stay employed at my radio job through the entire year, in a year that was filled with lay-offs for radio stations across the country.

     For some non-COVID accomplishments: one big one would be leasing my new car in May! I was hoping to make it until December 2021 with my first car (I got it in December 2011, so that would've been 10 years!), but it reached the end of its life this spring. Car shopping unexpectedly is stressful to begin with, and doing it in a pandemic added a whole other slew of stressors. But I made it happen! My parents were really encouraging me to buy used (like my first car had been), but I ended up going in a different direction, and leasing a brand new 2020. It's now been about seven months with my new car, and I am obsessed with it! It's a huge upgrade from what I used to drive. 

     My other big accomplishment of the year is this was my most profitable year of blogging yet! I made around 30% more from my blog in 2020 then I did in 2019. I am so humbled to share that! I worked hard on the blog this year with all of the extra time at home, and it paid off.

     One smaller accomplishment- with all of the extra time spent at home in the kitchen, I finally perfected two things that I'd always struggled with making in years passed. I can now proudly make a delicious from-scratch pie crust, and I've finally gotten good as mashed potatoes as well! 

2020 Travels: 

    My 2020 Word of the Year was "Wander".... hahaha! Oh goodness, I'm chuckling just writing that. To think I thought at this time last year that 2020 would be my biggest year of travel yet in adult life! You can read about all of the places I didn't end up going in 2020 in this blog post from last week. But the good news? I still got to take three fabulous weekend trips pre-COVID, and was able to travel a few places on the East Coast during the summer and fall, with COVID precautions in mind. 

Richmond, VA - February

Maine - February

New York City - February

Columbia, SC - May

Mathews, VA - July

Chesapeake Beach, MD - July

Maine - August

Winchester, VA - September

Greensboro, NC - October

(A rare weekend trip where I really tried to stay off my phone- and I didn't take any pictures!! I was visiting a girlfriend and we had a super chill weekend.)

2020 Visitors:

     I love hosting, and having friends visit me in Charlottesville certain weekends is always a highlight of the year! Unfortunately 2020 brought only two visitors, both before the pandemic. Neither of my parents were able to visit at all this year, which was a bummer. My mom actually still hasn't seen my current apartment in person. But I am thankful for two wonderful weekends hosting friends pre-COVID!

Perrin - January

Caroline - February 

2020 Winter Memories:

    Winter is normally my least favorite season of the year, but for 2020 it was absolutely my favorite! What I wouldn't do to go back and relive the sweet two and a half months of normal life before mid-March. I am so glad that I made the time in January and February to host two out of town friends, go to my roommate's grad school formal for the second year in a row, go out to lots of dinners, take weekend trips... etc! 

2020 Spring Memories:

     And then in mid-March... life as we knew it came to a screeching halt. The spring plans I thought I'd have disappeared, and it became a season of staying home every weekend, at-home workouts in the living room, socially distanced walks with friends, Netflix, and anxiety for the future. But even amidst all the changes and uncertainty, there were still so many little spring moments of beauty and peace. 

2020 Summer Memories:
     The worst part about summer 2020 is that my apartment complex pool was closed for the entire year! I am a huge pool enthusiast in the warmer months, and this was a huge bummer and change for my normal summer afternoon routine. However, some positives for this summer were that certain businesses began re-opening again, and the warm temperatures provided lots of safe opportunities to socialize again with friends outdoors at parks, wineries, outdoor restaurants, etc. And starting at the end of May I got really into playing tennis again, which was a highlight of the year!

     2020 Fall Memories:

      We were so lucky in Central Virginia to have gorgeous fall weather this year! It stayed mild into early December, which still allowed for ample opportunity to do fun things outdoors with friends and socialize safely. I celebrated my 26th birthday in September with a winery afternoon with friends, and a kayaking trip with my roommate the next day. 

     Other 2020 Happenings:

     Normally I use this space to share the weddings and concerts/special events I attended... but there weren't any of those for me this year. 😬 I was originally supposed to attend my blogging friend Gentry's wedding in May, but sadly I wasn't able to! 

        TV Shows I Loved:

     Gilmore Girls, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, You, Love is Blind, Cheer, Sweet Magnolias, Emily in Paris, The Home Edit, Selling Sunset, Superstore, Selena the Series

Five Favorite Memories from 2020:

  1. The most perfect first day in NYC on a girls' trip with my Charlottesville friends, just two weeks before the world shut down for COVID-19.
  2. Watching the sunrise for the first time on my favorite hometown beach in Maine.
  3. My drive down and first day in Columbia, SC visiting my friend Caroline.
  4. A really fun weekend back in June that was one of the few "normal" feeling weekends since the start of the pandemic: I got my hair done, did some shopping in Richmond, and went to Polo at King Family Vineyards with friends. 
  5. Being on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay beaches in Mathews, VA over 4th of July weekend with my friend Mercedes. 

Highlights From My Year posts from years passed:
2019 // 2018 // 2017 // 2016 // 2015

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 



  1. What a year! Glad we were able to meet despite all the chaos of this year.

    What Nicole Wore

  2. Wonderful recap! I totally related to the days being monotonous, but the months flying by. In some ways, I'm not even sure what exactly happened between March and today. Yikes! Cheers to you for evading Covid and finding so many things to enjoy about 2020!

  3. Oh 2020, what a year!! I did chuckle when I read your word for the year! So ironic. It does seems like you got to do a lot at the beginning of the year at least. I know I will personally never take traveling and spending time with friends for granted in 2021 (if/when it's safe that is!)!

  4. I do hope the members of your office who did contract COVID recover well.


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