Reflecting On 2019 And Planning For 2020

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Wow, I can’t believe another year has come and gone. It seems like just yesterday I was cracking open my new 2019 bullet journal and setting it up for a successful year.

What were my 2019 goals?

My #1 goal for 2019 was to start & keep a bullet journal throughout the year. I even wrote a post about this (Journaling Through The Year). Since setting this goal, I have gone through 2 different bullet journals.

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My 2019 bullet journals

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I have discovered my passion for bullet journaling over the course of the year. Not only has keeping a journal given me a creative outlet, but I also feel more organized and productive.

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Books Read in 2019

My goal was to read 25 books over the year. I didn’t get anywhere near that number, but I did read a few that I really liked.

My review: 

What drew me to this story wasn’t the story line—I’d guessed what was going to happen a few times before it actually did.  No.  What drew me in was the fluency of Holland’s prose.  The way she differs her sentence structure and the way she uses words was mesmerizing.  Although the story had a good plot, there were no unsuspecting twists or turns.  The suspense was minimal and the love interest sheer to none.  This story was about revenge and one girl’s struggle to learn the truth.

To read the full review see Book Review: Everless by Sara Holland

My review:  

This story drew me in right from the beginning. It was hard for me to put it down. I love the slow smolder between Miriam and War. He is a true born strategist with little love for humans but she is the essence of human life. One has never experienced emotion while the other has had more than her fair share.

Although the story was slow in some parts, for the most it was a high action adventure cutting straight to the point. There are zombies and religious references written throughout the book that give the reader a deeper look into the tender culture of the Middle East.

To read the full review see Book Review: War (The Four Horsemen Book 2) by Laura Thalassa

My review:  

Although short, this was overall a good story. It didn’t grip me right from the get go but the characters slowly grew on me until I became curious to find out what happens to them.

Stephen is not my favorite character. I feel his character is lacking and his personality is a bit dry. Duty before passion should be his catch phrase.

I would give this novella 4 out of 5 stars. It was an easy read and a quick romance. Sasha was kick ass and has a wit that made me laugh. By far, her character was the most developed. Her story is what kept me interested.

To read the full review see Book Review: Into The Darkness by K. F. Breene

My review:  

Stefan’s character has become more developed in the 2nd novella of this series. I can see why Sasha would be drawn toward him. He is like an over grown teddy bear wrapped in scary man clothing.

Charles has also become like Sasha’s big brother. He protects her like he would a member of his family. There were parts of this story that I found hilarious and other parts that dragged on for a bit.

Just like my review on the first novella in the Darkness Series, I would give this novella 4 out of 5 stars. It was an easy read and a quick romance. By the end of this book, I am starting to get a bit bored of the lacking romance between the two leads and the brotherly love relationship between Sasha and Charles.

New characters were introduced, but they didn’t draw me in. The hilarious scenes and Sasha’s blunders as she tried to learn how to control the elements, on the other hand, had me reeling.

To read the full review see Book Review: Braving The Elements by K. F. Breene

And, although I haven’t yet written a review:

This particular book has inspired a lot of my posts over the past year. It has helped me to better understand the woman I am and the woman I want to be. Some of the posts inspired by Mildon are:

Empowered Woman Makes A Conscious Change For A Better Life

The Astrological Ages of Man and What They Mean

Balancing Yin and Yang Energies Within You

The Evolution of Goddess is a walk through time with the women of the past. There were parts of the book that were a bit too fluffy for me, but they were intended to inspire and confirm my own inner goddess. With a strong connection to ancestral bodies and spiritual planes, Mildon inspired the beautiful woman living within me to surface. I spent more time on self care over the past year than I have in the past, and I can honestly say that it was a good thing for me. Depression didn’t sink in as it had in the years prior and I enjoyed life more fully, experiencing the small moments as well as the big ones more openly.

Memories Made and Places Visited

Another of my goals was to make some memories and get out of the house. This one was hard to achieve as money is always an issue. I have 2 teenagers that can eat me out of house and home, so going on a vacation seemed impossible.

However, I was blessed with a good husband, who somehow figured it out and we were able to take a mini-vacation (day trip) and a long vacation to the northern US.

Day Trips 2019

We visited Hendersonville, NC in February 2019. The photos were lost on my broken phone…..sorry.

It was a very fun trip though. I found I love mystic shops and incense sticks! There was also a winery in the basement of one of the stores in Hendersonville that was awesome. I also found it entertaining to try and get a picture of all the different bears in town.

Hendersonville is “bear country”. Each of the stores have a full size cast bear that is decorated according to their store’s theme. My favorite one was the bear with the ice cream cone and the top hat.

From Hendersonville, we went up to Asheville. I wanted to visit the mall as I’d never been there before. The mall was not impressive, but the two story Barnes & Noble was awesome. I could have spent an entire day in there.

We ate at the Red Stag for dinner. I have never had such an expensive meal, but for this event we splurged. I picked the three course meal with the wine pairing. It was delicious and a memory that will stay with me for a long time.

Poinsett Bridge & Trip To The Mountains

In July, we took a trip to Poinsett Bridge, Caesar’s head, Devil’s Kitchen, Stumphouse Tunnel, and Issaqueena Falls. We were all over the place, but it was a day worth remembering. I even devoted a full page in my bullet journal to the day trip.

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Vacation Day 1 in my bullet journal

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Poinsette Bridge

  • Constructed in 1820
  • Oldest Surviving bridge in SC
  • Designed by Robert Mills who designed the Washington Monument
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Poinsette Bridge

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Caesars Head State Park & Devil’s Kitchen

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Caesars Head and Devils Kitchen July 2019

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Stumphouse Tunnel

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Stumphouse Tunnel July 2019

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Issaqueena Falls

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Issaqueena Falls July 2019

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North Eastern US

The biggest trip of the year, by far, was the trip to Maryland and then up to Niagra Falls, NY. I took 14 full days of vacation for this trip. It was wonderful. This was the first time I’d ever gone up north.

First we visited Mechanicsville, MD. It was a long drive. I posted about it in Vacation 2019: A Trip To Mechanicsville MD

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Mechanicsville, MD

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Annapolis, MD

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Annapolis, MD

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Chesapeake Bay

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Pictures by the Bay

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On The Road To New York

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Driving to New York

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Niagra, NY (The House We Stayed In)

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House in Niagra,NY

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Niagra Falls State Park

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Niagra Falls State Park

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Solomon’s Island

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Solomon's Island

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Spend More Time Socializing with Family and Friends

Over the year, I have put a large focus on spending more time with my family instead of at work. I went out with friends to some great eats and discovered some new places while exploring local areas like Liberty, SC and Clemson, SC.

Bradley (My Youngest Son) and I Hiked To The Top of Table Rock

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Table Rock Hike

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In Summary

It has been a wonderful, busy and productive year! I have made a lot of memories, written more than 50 blog posts, visited places all over the north east, and eaten a lot of new foods.

Overall, I feel this has been a great year! I hope 2020 looks just as good.

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Author: Cynthia Brandel

Published author and founder of https://cynthiabrandel.com, Cynthia has captivated the world with her works of fiction including The Sanctorian Series and her latest work, The Revenant City Series. Lover of young adult reads and fantasy reads, Cynthia has transformed her passions into a full-time career.

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