2019 Awesome List

Welcome to my 2019 Awesome List, where I detail all the awesome things I did throughout the year.

You know I like data, so let's start with the numbers:

Time with my parents: >45 days
Times I went to Maine: 7
Times I went to Florida: 4
Flights: 45
Miles flown: 30,000+
Months I took a trip: 12
Countries: 6
Continents: 3
Time zones in one week: 4
Most days flown in one week: 6
Instagram stories: ~2,000
Times I use the word awesome in this post: 81
Dreams that came true: so many!

Dear Readers,

I want you to know that creating this list took a LOT of work. Like, a LOT.

I spent over fifty hours compiling, writing, and editing down this post.

That doesn't even include the time it took actually doing the things that made the list!

Why am I telling you this? I want you to appreciate my efforts, obvi!

More importantly, I want to inspire you to create your own awesome list. And, I want you to be aware that you're gonna have to work for it.

Making a list like this takes effort, even if you don't intend to blog about it.

Disclaimer: This is a really, really, REALLY long post. If you do read all the way through, thank you. I really tried not to bore you!

Welcome to an awesome year in the life of Jennifer Lourie.

First of all, I need to give a shout out to my friend with benefits.

No, not the kind you are thinking!

We are just friends but by generously treating me to two of my trips and gifting me two of my hotel stays with his points and miles, this friend with ACTUAL benefits helped make my year awesome and I am very grateful.

Let's fondly call him my fwAb.

New York City - my first trip of the year. While there, I got awesome pictures and got to stay in a nice hotel for free, thanks to my fwAb!

Baltimore: Though I don't know if it counts as a trip since it is so close, visiting my friend Jason there is always awesome. Nothing is better than local tour guides who take you all around and show you the best spots!

Being a guest on a syndicated radio show was awesome!

It was so awesome that my sweet and generous best friend Manal made one of my dreams come true on Valentine's day when she sent me an Edible Arrangement. I had wanted to receive one of those for so long!

Getting to have the prettiest, spontaneous Valentine's date with Ari when she asked me last minute to be her Valentine was awesome! Spontaneity, invitations, and not sitting home alone on Valentine's Day are all awesome!

Naples: Visiting my parents there is always awesome and I am grateful I got to do it again this year.

Providence: Exploring with my best friend Kim from Massachusetts was awesome!

Being invited to speak at this book club was SO SO SO AWESOME!!

Miami Beach: Being treated to a weekend there with my fwAb was awesome!

I loved finding this empty parking garage with an awesome view:

I just love the architecture in Miami Beach:

Discovering the rooftop of the 1 Hotel was awesome and so was getting this photo!

Being allowed to sunbathe topless is also awesome.
#freethenipple #downwiththepatriarchy #palebreastsarethebaneofmyexistence

The Miami Edition is so awesome and, spoiler alert, little did I know I was actually going to have two of my dreams come true when I got to stay there in October with...

My fwAb getting this shot of me, one of my favorites of the year, was awesome:

Doing my "Spring Inspections" on my exercise walks is always awesome - my phone is full of flower pics! Getting to to do them in three countries this spring was even more awesome!

Catching the cherry blossoms right on time this year was awesome.

After the sun set on the cherry blossoms, I snapped one of my favorite photos from the year.

My biggest trip of the year was awesome:


What was really awesome about it was:

1. I was in Prague just in time for lilac season. They were everywhere and I LOVE lilacs!!

2. I loved my hotel in Prague! It was my favorite thing aside from the lilacs!

3. I got to go to my friend Marie's beautiful wedding in Bohumin, Czech Republic and feel like a part of the family! I have now been to weddings in five countries (United States, Argentina, Russia, Lebanon, Czech Republic)!

4. Marie's wedding was right on the border (literally) of Poland so I have now been to both the Czech Republic and Poland like 5 times! I just kept walking back and forth!

5. Her awesome wedding included a seven course meal and lasted from 1 PM to 2:30 AM!

6. Back to Prague after the wedding, I got some awesome photos:

7. After the wedding, due to unforeseen circumstances, I ended up booking myself a spontaneous trip to Amsterdam and got to visit an additional country!

8. My hotel room in Amsterdam was awesome!

9. I loved Amsterdam and walking around all the canals taking photos.

10. It was awesome when the sun finally came out and I finally got a picture with blue sky!

11. One of the things I found most awesome in Amsterdam (aside from pretty much everything) was the Pulitzer, a gorgeous hotel that is made up of "an intricate maze of 25 connecting Golden Age canal houses." I explored every nook and cranny of that awesome place and took one of my favorite pictures of 2019 there:

12. Back in Prague for a few more days, I got a lot more awesome photos.

When I travel somewhere new, I like to use an actual map and mark up everywhere I walk. Prague above, Amsterdam below, the black lines show how much I covered - awesome!
One of my most awesome moments of 2019 happened on my way home from Prague:

I was Marta's (and her sisters') au pair in Venice when she was five. She and her mom live in London now and they took the tube an hour each way to spend less than two hours with me! That made my vacation! It was so awesome!

Dallas: How awesome is it that I am not even halfway through the year and I am already up to eight trips?

Why did I go to Dallas?

It has to do with me really wanting to replace my 15 year old dining room chairs from Ikea, hating online shopping, and needing to make choices in person!

What do you do if, (you are me) and the chairs you want are in an online store with only one location that happens to be in Dallas?

You go to Dallas, obviously.

Personally, I think that is pretty awesome.

What was also really awesome, was that when I asked my fwAb if he wanted to go with me and be my chauffeur on my chair shopping mission, he not only agreed to accompany me but he also treated me to the whole trip! It was so nice! How awesome is that? I am so grateful!

What an improvement, right?

(I don't know how I lived with those Ikea chairs for fifteen years that I never even liked in the first place.)

Maine: Trying to go home for my family reunion but ending up taking a trip to nowhere yet still making it the next day was pretty awesome.

Of course, being in Maine in June is awesome!

July is when my year turned from just looking awesome to me actually feeling awesome and it is all thanks to my visit from my friend Robert, who also made me the most awesome meal I had this year:

Maine again: I am so lucky that my parents like to take me on sightseeing drives to explore all the pretty places in our beloved state.

I love my early morning bike rides in Maine and capturing awesome photos which showcase Maine's beauty.

Being invited to do another podcast was totally awesome!

Maine AGAIN: Getting to go for a third time this summer was awesome. I made myself very proud biking 15 miles the first day, 20 miles the second, and 36 miles the third!

I am so lucky to be from Maine.

Another dream came true in August when my brand new couch was delivered! I wanted to have two couches facing each other since I was 18 years old (see Chapter 23 in my book)!

Um, finding this dress was awesome!

Buenos Aires: Going for the wedding of my host sister from when I first lived in Argentina was awesome.

What made my trip even more awesome was that my fwAb made yet ANOTHER dream come true this year by gifting me two nights at the Palacio Duhau, a five star hotel.

This was awesome (I am such a sucker for enthusiastic all caps!):

Other things (among many) that are awesome in Buenos Aires (from left to right):
1. That I can afford to get blowouts because they are so cheap and that I didn't have to wash my own hair once while there!
2. The malls and the shopping
3. The ham and cheese croissants
4. The ice cream!!

Splurging on my own fancy hotel for the second half of my trip was awesome. So worth it!

One of the most awesome things I got to do this year was fly business back from Buenos Aires to DC (Yes to American Airlines frequent flyers program!!). Let me tell you, flying business makes the travel part of traveling SO ENJOYABLE. The first class lounge, the service, the comfortable seat on the plane... it's so awesomeeee.

This is just some of the food in the first class lounge at Miami International Airport!!

After my long bike rides in Maine, I decided I'd see if I could make it all the way from Chevy Chase to Alexandria. Accomplishing the thirty-three mile round trip was awesome!

I love this photo I took on the way, one of my best this year!

Maine AGAIN (!!!): Getting to go to for the fourth month in a row was awesome.

Another one of my favorite photos from 2019:

Call me conceited all you want but I think it is pretty awesome that after all that bike riding and treadmill, this is how I look at 45 years old.

Montreal: My fourteenth trip of the year was awesome - visiting Manal.

Some of the awesome things I did in Montreal included, from left to right:
1. Spending time with Manal
2. Eating French pastries
3. Getting all you can eat dessert buffet (for $9!!!) at the rooftop of the Four Seasons
4. Going on a major coat shopping spree at Mackage (which also happens to be from Montreal, thus making my new coats count as souvenirs!)

Miami Beach (again): Two more dreams came true this month when out of the blue (and miraculously), I got there for the weekend with my One True Tinder Love (OTTL) AND we stayed at the Miami Edition!

The hotel has a bowling alley and as we bowled, these were the words facing me, "What if this is all real?":

At least it was real right then and there for that moment in time. And that was AWESOME.

I don't think there was a happier person on the planet than I was at the moment that I took this picture - out before the sunrise, walking on the path along the beach, ocean and palm trees in view, humid Miami breeze blowing, knowing my OTTL was back in the hotel room and I was going to get to spend two full days with him.

Like, even if someone won the lottery AND was gifted five kittens and five puppies AND a pony at that very same moment, they would not have been happier than I was.

On top of that, I felt so lucky to get to be in Miami again for the second time this year. It was so awesome.

Back to reality, having my mom come visit me for the weekend was awesome!

Orlando: I got to go to Florida AGAIN for a work conference - it was so awesome they sent me! It was also awesome that I got to see Robert again and do some sightseeing with him.

Newport: Visiting my friend Kim for the second time this year was awesome and so was spending a day exploring Newport with her. Here I am in my new Mackage coat, keeping me perfectly warm in 26 degree weather.

Maine/Boston: Exploring our way down the coast to Boston for the weekend after being in Maine AGAIN for Thanksgiving was awesome. The two hour drive took us seven hours as we stopped at Newburyport and Ipswich and Salem along the way.

The most awesome part was getting to try the amazing desserts at Jonquil's which taste just as good as they look!

December was probably my most awesome month of 2019 and the things I did enabled me to end the year feeling quite proud, accomplished, pleased, loved, and happy!

As I explained above (April/May), Marta and her mother both live in London now but so do two of her sisters. They're always posting Instagram stories of all their brunches and it gives me major FOMO. I want to be at brunch with them in London!

So, naturally, I booked myself a ticket to visit them and I got what I wanted!

London: I got to go to a beautiful restaurant for a beautiful brunch with the loveliest people!

Though my trip to London was just a long weekend, so much awesomeness was packed into four days that it might have been my best trip of the year. My favorite part, aside from the meals that we shared, was that each of the girls wanted alone time with me. That made me feel so loved and special!

What made me end the year on such a high note was resolving something that was driving me nuts.

I knew that after my trip London, I was going to be sooo close to qualifying for gold status on American Airlines. I didn't want to be that close and not get it! I just needed one more trip and time was running out!

I had to go somewhere that was going to be about 5,000 miles round trip and all the flights to Europe or Buenos Aires were way too expensive.

Lamenting about the situation to my friend Mike, he said, "Why don't you go to LA?"

I hadn't even thought of that! LA was not far enough but, it was way more affordable than Europe.

Soooo, naturally, I booked a trip to LA AND a trip to Maine.

Here is my week that got me to gold. Are you ready?

Thursday 12/12 fly to London
Monday 12/16 fly back to DC
Tuesday 12/17 fly to Maine (and surprise my dad for his birthday - awesome!)
Wednesday 12/18 fly back to DC
Thursday 12/19 fly to LA, via Chicago (miss connection in Chicago)
Friday 12/20 fly to LA
Sunday 12/22 fly back to DC

I did it! Another dream come true! I always wanted to get to gold status and I made it happen! That felt so awesome. Plus, taking those extra spontaneous trips and doing all that travelling in one week even though I hate flying made me feel proud and accomplished and strong.

Los Angeles: About a month before my trip to LA, I had seen some stories on Instagram about the brand new Edition Hotel there and I thought to myself, "Gosh, I would really love to see that hotel but when will I ever go to LA?" And then, all of a sudden... there I was! That is so awesome!

Other things that were awesome in LA were:

1. My hotel (I loved it so much)

2. The rooftop of The Restoration Hardware. That store is my favorite place in LA. I think that is my favorite photo of 2019.

3. Meeting one of my readers who brought along his copy of my book that is filled with underlines and highlights and notes!

4. Seeing the Atlantic and the Pacific in the same week.

5. Just being able and confident to travel all by myself!

6. Ending my Gold Status travel week on the rooftop of the Waldorf Astoria actually feeling on my insides all the awesomeness of this year:

It all comes down to this:

So, that was my awesome year.
I can't even believe everything I did.

Top that all off with my proudest accomplishment of having 125 reviews on Amazon...

...and having received so many great photos and kind words from readers throughout the year.

But, just like every year, for me, being with the people I love is the most awesome part of anything.

I hope your year was awesome! Tell me what awesome things you did in the comments!

If you like this post, please share it, like it, subscribe, comment on it and read my book!!

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  1. Always interesting and fascinating at the same time as usual!
    Jen you continue to prove you are one of a kind!
    Please don't ever change!

  2. Hi! I haven't read this whole post, Ive mostly looked at beautiful pictures of awesome travels, and Im jealous! You are SO lucky!!!!

  3. Hi, me again, just thought Id say that Im Bridget from A2, MI :)


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