Year in Review: OK, 2019, That Was a Lot

Monday, December 30, 2019


It feels like a looooot of work to put together a decade-end recap and a year-end recap at the same time, but I've done a year-in-review post every year since 2011, so I guess this can't be the year I don't.

I've already told you what I'm most proud of this year & how I did on this year's goals/resolutions, & there will understandably be some overlap in this post. So let's jump right into it, shall we? Here are some of the highlights of 2019.


I traveled a lot.

No joke, I traveled at least once a month in 2019 - usually more.

I went on vacation to Miami, FL, with one of my best friends. I traveled to Delaware, Wisconsin, & Maryland for friends' weddings. Mike & I vacationed in New England, & we went to South Carolina for Thanksgiving with my family. And I went to Pennsylvania twice, too, for a a solo writing retreat & a weekend at a cabin.

I also visited NYC three time for work & staffed conferences in Chicago, Dallas, & D.C. (which I also turned into a bit of a personal trip). And this list doesn't even include all the weekends in Columbus, Cuyahoga Falls, & Cincinnati!

Truth be told, it was probably too much travel for one year, but I won't complain. I feel lucky to have gotten to see so many great places - & even more importantly, to have spent time with so many great people in them.


I was diagnosed with multiple sleep disorders... & got them under control.

Last December, I did a multiple sleep latency test, & at the start of 2019, I was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia, a neurological disorder that basically means I'm always tired. I was simultaneously diagnosed with delayed sleep phase disorder, a.k.a I'm nocturnal, & later with sleep inertia, meaning my brain takes an extra-long time to wake up.

But I also started taking wakefulness medication, which has treated the hypersomnia, at least - the biggest of the three problems - & I'm taking non-medication-related steps to try to address the other two disorders. It has been truly incredible to finally feel awake.


I wrote monthly dining reviews for Cleveland Magazine

In the spring, I was asked to start doing monthly dining features, 1,200-word pieces that are part restaurant review, part chef profile. The magazine's editor-in-chief had been doing them for the past few years, so it was huge that she chose me to take them on.

Twice a month, I take my husband & a few friends out to dinner not once but twice, always at a new(ish) & much-buzzed-about, Cleveland-area restaurant. It's been a challenge of my writing skills, my interviewing chops, my mental thesaurus, my tastebuds, & so much much - & I've been loving it all.

Wanna read 'em? Check out: Lindey's Lake House, LandmarkWild Mango, OssoMichael's GenuineGood CompanyRood Food & PieElement 41, & Thyme Table. More to come in 2020!



I did other cool freelance work.

Two big ones: I interviewed Kevin Love about mental health & talked to Sen. Sherrod Brown about his new book. Just this month, the two people I interviewed for Cleveland Magazine's Most Interesting People issue - Nwaka Onwusa, Rock Hall curator, & Jeremy Umansky, the foremost koji master in the U.S. - were featured on the cover of the issue.

I also wrote my second piece for Ohio Magazine (a write-up of the wonderfully weird Cleveland Curiosities), & I did two pieces for Edible Cleveland, including a feature story about Heinen's, a local generational grocery store chain. That one was a huge deal, & to date, it's one of the pieces of which I'm most proud.


I won a state-wide writing award. 

Speaking of proud, this summer I learned that I'd taken place in the Cleveland Press Club's Excellence in Journalism Awards' in the Single Essay category for my summer 2018 essay about my mental health struggles.

While I wasn't proud at first - because I was too bummed about coming in third - I later realized that it was a huge honor to have placed at all, given that this competition took into consideration essays from publications across the state. That's huge, guys.


I contributed to an anthology that will be published in 2020. 

Also huge: In may, Book Riot's Kelly Jensen, the editor behind popular Here We Are: Feminism For The Real World & (Don’t) Call Me Crazy, emailed to ask if I'd be interested in contributing to her next anthology. Body Talk, a collection about the physical and political nature of the human body, will be published in Fall 2020. 

I wrote & submitted an essay about my childhood experience with debilitating idiopathic scoliosis, which I sent off while quite literally holding my breath & saying a prayer. But the process went smoothly, Kelly was a gem to work with, & I even got paid for it! I can't to see the book in print.


I spoke at a conference.

In June, I spoke at the Ohio Travel Association's The Perfect Pitch event, which brought together tourism bureau staff for a one-day media training workshop dedicated to teaching them how to communicate with those who tell their stories.

One of the editors at Cleveland Magazine invited me to participate as a blogger/influencer in the roundtable portion of the event, with attendees rotating around the room asking questions of me & other "experts." It was a really cool experience to chat with representatives from some of Ohio's coolest locations. What an honor!


I hit my 100th Harness Cycle ride. 

Yeah, yeah, you know all about this by now...

 In the spring, I hit 100 rides at my spinning studio. I was super proud, & it was incredibly fun. Four friends joined me for the ride, & my instructor created a playlist based off of my favorite pop jams. Afterward, Mike brought me cupcakes.

I've kept riding since then, but I really want to step it (back) up in 2020.


I got a promotion (& a raise!)

After many years as the digital communications manager for a large nonprofit based in Manhattan, this fall I stepped into a new role as assistant director of communications in messaging & branding. I manage a small team (two full-time people & two part-time people) & serve on a senior MarComm team of four.

It's been challenging but exciting so far... & although it's very weird not to do social media anymore, I've loved passing off that work to other colleagues & watching them put their own spin on it. I'm looking forward to seeing what the new role brings in the new year, especially now that our big December conference has passed, giving me space to really focus on the new work.


I went on some truly excellent adventures. 

I did so many things this year that can't be categorized in any other way! It was a busy but fun year.

I helped my husband's friend facilitate a surprise visit to the CLE. I sat front row at a fashion show. I took a cooking class. I saw the tall ships sail in & spent a (free!) night in a fancy downtown hotel. I took a behind-the-scenes tour of Mitchell's Ice Cream.

I recorded a couple of podcast episodes with a friend. My exchange student sister visited Cleveland from Portland, OR. I was an extra in the filming of a Cavs commercial. I appeared in a local video for #GivingTuesdayCLE. I was a witness at my aunts' long-awaited wedding.

One of my best friends came to town for The Starting Line's anniversary show. Another best friend came home for a month & brought her new baby. I went to The Color Factory with coworkers-turned-friends. I went onto the field before a Browns game.



It was a busy one. A really busy one. Sometimes it felt so busy that it was, frankly, terrible. But I fit in a lot of adventures & activities & exploration & achievements in 2019, & for that, busy-ness be damned, I am damn proud.

But let's slow it down a little in 2020, shall we? Resolutions coming soon!

Want to read past years-in-review? Check out 2011201220132014201520162017, and 2018, along with my overall recap of the decade

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