On the final Friday of each month, I take a look back at all the things I loved and put together this list of recommendations for you: the Friday Finale. It might include the best book I read, a particularly impressive recipe I tried, or the best thing I streamed this month. I hope these standout moments from my month inspire you to make some time for yourself looking forward!
The final Friday of 2020 just happened to land on Christmas Day, which is why this Friday Finale is a few days late! It’s been so fun to share my monthly favorites with you throughout the year, and I hope it’s given you some ideas to bring joy to your own life.
It’s been a difficult year for everyone between the pandemic, racial injustice, and the election. I’m trying to work up some faith that 2021 will be brighter, but until that happens, here are a few things that made December a great month. (Not included but a very likely contributor is the two and half weeks I took off from work!)
My college roommate wrote a book, and it’s the perfect way to finish out a difficult year! In September of 2017, Leigh began her Peace Corps service as an agriculture volunteer in Cameroon. Her story is funny, sweet, remarkable, and inspiring AF, so if you’ve also spent the last few months thinking “How will I make it through this pandemic?,” might I suggest giving it a read?
Nothing Works But Everything Works Out is the kind of memoir that doesn’t hide the low points or try to sugarcoat things. It tells the full, true story of a young woman surviving a two-year Peace Corps experience within a completely foreign culture and in a language she didn’t speak before receiving her assignment. I’m so incredibly proud of Leigh, not just for taking such a selfless detour in the path of her life, but for keeping a record of it and being brave enough to share it with the world!
If someone in your life is considering applying to the Peace Corps, I would absolutely recommend this book to them. As Leigh explains in the book, every Peace Corps experience is different, but I believe her story gives a great account of the expectations and surprises that comprise life as a volunteer.
I did quite a bit of research into what features I needed, how “hands on” I wanted to be in the process, and which bits could be customized to my own specifications. The main things that caught my attention with this 17th Avenue theme were the clean and simple design and that they run on the Genesis framework, which I waxed poetic about after switching over to a compatible theme in 2015. They’re also very affordable, and setting everything up was a breeze using the comprehensive tutorials included with the theme.
A big thank-you to my parents for gifting me this blog theme for Christmas this year! If you’re in the market for a new look for your blog, I could not recommend 17th Avenue enough.
Does anything say “the holidays” quite like a creamy, boozy cup of eggnog? I was first introduced to this recipe by a college friend who made it for us a few New Years ago. In my opinion, Martha Stewart’s recipe is the perfect combination of creamy and light, likely due to the fluffy, whipped egg whites. This is very much a true eggnog with raw eggs, so if that weirds you out, this might not be the recipe for you.
We had a big bowl of it ready in the fridge throughout Christmas, and I’m making it again tonight to enjoy on New Year’s Eve!
Yes, I’m sure you’re all so surprised. After including folklore and its Disney+ documentary on two different monthly favorites lists, I couldn’t not put evermore on this one. I still haven’t decided which 2020 album I like better, but this one was certainly a pleasant surprise and a perfect way to end out the year.
My current favorite songs are ivy, champagne problems, marjorie, and willow. And in case you missed it, I think evermore is an absolute winter album.
How has December treated you? Are you ready to kick off 2021 in less than two days?
P.S. If you also have evermore playing on repeat, I’d love to hear your opinions on my post of the seasons as Taylor Swift albums.