What I Did in 2021

in , by Lavender Elizabeth, February 04, 2022
Happy February, all!

Now that Lavender Elizabeth is officially back, it's time to catch you up. I don't know about you, but I feel like 2021 went so quickly. My year was filled with friendships, travels, promotions, parties, and new experiences.  It was a whirlwind, but so incredibly memorable. Keep reading to learn all about how I spent my year away from LE, experiencing as much joy as I could throughout 2021.

Me: January through December

All About my 2021

A couple years ago, my best friend (Dana) moved to Tampa to start a new adventure, but this summer, she came back to Chicago! The remaining six months of the year were some of my best. Dana is always down to try something new, spontaneously plan something, or just hang out and drink wine. We sat through rain/snow/hail during a soccer game, sang our hearts out at the Jonas Brothers concert, jet skied in Michigan, saw Kaitlyn Bristowe live, and cheers'd our way through TBox. It's amazing how one person can change your whole life just by being there. I'm so thankful for this girl's friendship and all the fun we had through the year.

These ladies came into my life last year and continued to be such a big part of my 2021. We've now survived two years of a pandemic together, so we are bonded for life. This year we tried new restaurants, watched beach fireworks, danced downtown, watched the sunset at Shedd Aquarium, had a basic fall day at Jack's Pumpkin Pop-up, and dressed up for Halloween. But best of all, we spent quality time together, learning, growing, and supporting each other through major milestones.

My friendship with Justin and Ghea turned out to be the biggest blessing this year. We reconnected in February and ended up planning a camping trip together a couple months later. Since that camping trip, we've hiked national parks, RVed during a meteor shower, and kayaked through caves. They, along with Anil, pushed me out of my comfort zone a lot this year and reminded me just how much I love being in nature.
For the first time ever, my family is living in different states. Back in July, my sister and brother-in-law made the move to New York; and in December, my parents headed to South Carolina. If you've been around the blog for a while, you know how incredibly close I am with my family, so this is an adjustment for sure. Thankfully, I was able to soak up my parents for most of 2021 before they moved, spending weekends with them, playing games and cuddling the pups. The highlight, however, was a trip the five of us took to New York City. We spent the weekend looking at apartments for Bethany and Kenneth, walking through Central Park, and exploring different neighborhoods. My sister also joined the company I work for, so we've been loving IMing during the day and attending some of the same meetings. She also came to visit and I went to South Carolina to see her (before they moved), so had plenty of sister time.

While our family was in New York City, we unexpectedly lost our sweet pup, Whinnie. She was coming up on 13 and had been battling a heart condition for many years, so while we were away, she decided it was her time to go. Whinnie had the sweetest personality. She loved cuddles, deli turkey, sleeping, walks, rolling over for treats, pawing us when we stopped petting her, and her big sister, Kinchie. This was the first pet I've ever lost and it hit me really hard. I miss her every day, but am so thankful for all the love and joy she brought to my life while she was here. 

Apart from my two camping trips, I spent more time outdoors this year than I have in years - and it was amazing. I went canoeing on Harpeth River, hiked the Smokies and Max Patch, and spent 36 hours exploring the Grand Canyon. I also went rollerblading, biked along the lake, did a jeep tour in the desert, and paddle-boated in Michigan. This year reminded me of all the things I can do when I step outside of Chicago and go exploring, and I loved it.
This summer, I joined a kickball team (affectionately known as Balls Deep) and man am I glad I did! Our weekly game became one of the highlights of my summer and blessed me with some truly wonderful friends. Over the course of the season we went to a Cubs game in the rain, played many rounds of Wingo Bingo, drank countless beers at our sponsorship bar, and celebrated our second place win. 

This is something that started a few years ago, right around the time I was becoming friends with Dana, Betty, Anil, and Emily. Fast-forward to 2021 and it's become a tradition. We had our first Steak Night of the year over St Patrick's Day weekend, complete with Irish Car Bombs, and the second when Betty visited in August. I love it because everyone brings something, whether it be sides, desserts, or drinks, and Anil makes his sous vide steaks. It's always a night filled with friendship, reminiscing, and an obscene amount of laughter.
This coming May, Betty is getting married, which meant wedding festivities were in full swing throughout 2021. In June, I helped her pick out her wedding dress in Nashville; July we celebrated at her engagement party in Chattanooga; and October went to Scottsdale for her Final Fiesta. I'm so glad I was able to step into my bridesmaid role and make it to so many events to celebrate her upcoming wedding.
Five days before Christmas, I tested positive for COVID. I was supposed to fly to New York to spend Christmas with my sister, then Nashville for New Years, followed by a trip to see my parents. I didn't get to do any of it, because boy was I sick. I had full-blown symptoms for almost three weeks and didn't see another human for 21 days. I spent the holidays on my couch, alone, watching more TV than I thought possible. Thankfully, I didn't have pneumonia and started feeling better the third week. Other than a slight lingering cough, I'm now back to feeling normal (thank goodness). (*Yes, I'm fully vaccinated, my body just hates me ha.)

1. Visited Bethany and Kenneth (and Lambeau) in South Carolina 
2. Celebrated my 29th birthday sledding in Chicago
3. Re-connected with my old roommate, Emily
4. Spent quality time with Dana and Anil through dinners and bonfires
5. Betty and I visited Dana in Tampa before she moved back
6. I was promoted and started my new role as a Talent Engagement Manager
7. Said goodbye to my parents and their beautiful home
8. Stayed connected to my college best friends through countless Zoom dates

Bonus: My Apartment View from January - December

My 2021 was filled with friendships, new experiences, and lots of traveling. My 2022 will hopefully be filled with more of the same, as well as pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I can't wait to take you on the journey.
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