1. Bear dog—Over quarantine we somehow, someway, convinced my parents we needed another puppy. Winston—or bear dog, or Wini, or Winifer—is an interesting addition to our family. While supposedly hypoallergenic, we still love him despite the copious amount of black curly hair that has found its way all over our house.
2. A movie watching partner—It all started with Nicholas Cage, and now we watch an insane amount of Criminal Minds because one of us—not me—couldn’t wait for the other to watch Vampire Diaries.
3. A crazy amount of Snapchat memories—As an avid believer that quality time with my friends is important, FaceTime calls were an everyday thing for the longest time, and I’m so thankful for them. I’ve gotten even closer than I was with the most incredible people on the planet—although I may be biased—and I have video recordings to look back upon.
4. FFF—Forced Family Fun was an every night activity in this house for a while. We would all curl up onto the couch and watch movies or play games for a few hours. It was nice to have a bit of a routine during such long, boring days.
5. The gold necklace that has made my neck its home—I rarely—if ever—take it off. It holds too much importance to me, just like the giver of the gift. When I do take it off, it rests in its original box along with a rock that makes me think of you and that yellow origami paper heart you made out of a scribbled-yon sticky note.
6. Lots of money spent on yarn—I taught myself how to knit—with a little help from a family friend, but by myself nonetheless. I spent an impossible amount of money on yarn and needles and blanket needles, which I didn’t know were a thing. I spent most of quarantine knitting a plethora or scarves for loved ones to keep my hands busy.
7. My driver’s license—I finally experienced that “high on life” feeling that the main character in a coming-of-age movie experiences. You know the one with some upbeat music playing in the background and the windows rolled all the way down, except mine was my siblings screaming Tik Tok songs on our way to get slushies.
8. A late-night decision—covering my closet door in dainty butterflies was an impulse decision, but it brings me joy to look at no matter how childish it may seem.
9. Skribbl.io—A quarantine staple if I’ve ever seen one. My friends and I spent hours on FaceTime playing this game; none of us were very good at drawing the words, but Brynn and I would always kill the competition on the Harry Potter rounds.
10. Candles—lots and lots of candles mysteriously migrated from the cabinet downstairs to my room… sorry mom. I just am infatuated with the vibe they provide.
11. Tango—Even though he barks at me, I love him to pieces.
12. I painted my room—with lots of help—my once obnoxious turquoise walls are no more, they’re now a purplish-grey color that I love. Shoutout to my sister for helping me for several days.
13. The copious amounts of hilarious pictures I screenshotted—my camera roll is now full of “bad” pictures of my favorite people, but I cherish each and every one of them. They put a smile on my face.
14. My 47,657 minutes spent listening to Spotify this year—I have this year to thank for my favorite songs and the memories I associate with them.
15. A weird bowl of rocks—The sunflower painted bowl on my desk holds my favorite rocks of all time; they’re from different vacation spots and they help me remember the fun I experienced.
16. The notes from staff—I was on a mission earlier this year. I, along with some help, cut pieces of paper out and handed them out to each writer to write notes to each other. We then put them in a cute mason jar in the room and passed them out. At the time, I loved writing them and showing everyone how much I appreciated them, but now, I love reading them because they remind me of the room and help to fill a little bit of the TCT room-shaped hole in my heart.
17. Gingerbread house competitions—You let me drag you around Target for an hour with minimal complaining. We walked up and down the aisles gathering things for our houses. You couldn’t help but throw marshmallows at my house, but it was ‘against the rules’ for me to do the same; in the end, I won, though, with the better gingerbread house.
18. Rides in a truck bed—The ice cream shop isn’t called Mel’s anymore, but we still call it that. Our destination was that ice cream shop, but my favorite part was the ride there. We all packed into the back of my dad’s truck, with my cousin on my lap, as the wind blew through our hair.
19. Petoskey—I decided this year there is little else I love more than a chilly morning on the beach sifting through rocks.
20. 4th of July—It’s always been my favorite holiday. And while our plans were a little different this year, my cottage, boat rides, and fireworks will always be the perfect combo.