Despite Covid, There Were Many Moments in 2020 I’ll Cherish

Let’s face it…at first glance, it’s pretty easy to wonder if there were any good moments in 2020.

The pandemic changed our lives in ways none of us could imagine. The lack of physical contact. The loss of in person human connection. The unemployment. The struggles of small businesses. The exhaustion of our health care workers and the stress on our healthcare system. The labyrinth of students learning online and their teachers trying to keep education afloat. The ever increasing number of daily cases and the heart wrenching tallies of total deaths.

None of us will ever be the same.

But despite all of the challenges 2020 represents, there were also some bright spots along the way. I’ve always been a glass half full kind of gal, and so I try to keep that perspective, even in the darkest of days.

Just hanging out in Palm Springs…a wonderful moment from 2020.

So, I thought I’d share some of my favorite personal moments from 2020. For me, I like heading into the new year with an eye on the positive. See? Glass half full.

I hope you are able to find some bright spots in your year too. If we’ve learned anything in the past months, I hope it’s that even the little things really do matter!

A Wonderful Way To Start 2020

Oliver and Carly at their beautiful wedding in Seattle, WA.

I ended 2019 and started 2020 at the wedding of my niece, Carly and her husband, Oliver.

It was a beautiful wedding in Seattle on New Year’s Eve. The wedding was an elegant evening filled with lots of love and a great way to start the new year!

My family in Seattle, WA.

My husband, Doug, and our children, Kylie and Trevor, along with Doug’s brother and sister and their kids made the trip from Philly to Washington. We had never really spent this kind of time together, and it made for a great visit.

We did a lot of sight seeing around Seattle, checking out Pike’s Place Market, the Dale Chihuly museum and of course, the Seattle Space Needle.

It was the first time Doug and all of his siblings had all been together in Seattle (where his oldest brother lives) in almost 30 years, so it was a really special trip.

It was wonderful to reconnect with our family while celebrating such a happy occasion!

Making The Most Of Mom’s Weekend 2020

How fun is it that my daughter, Kylie, not only goes to the same University that I attended (University of Missouri) but that she is also in the same sorority? In fact, she actually lived in the same room that I did in the Theta house!

I loved being able to head out and spend Mom’s weekend with her in February.

Kylie and I always have so much fun together. We’ve always had an ease between us.

For those of you who don’t know, technically, Kylie is my step-daughter. But I have been in her life since she was 9 months old, and I consider her my daughter in every sense of the word.

Biology may tell you different, but our hearts will tell you that we are mother and daughter. She is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and she taught me how to be a mom.

Being with her for Mom’s weekend was really special. We went out with her friends, watched movies together, and just hung out. It’s so fun that we share a love for Mizzou, are sorority sisters, and could be together for a great weekend.

Altitude Summit 2020

One of the best things I did for myself in 2020 was take the leap to attend Altitude Summit.

This large convention is dedicated to women who are creative entrepreneurs and influencers. I’m not overstating when I say it was a life changing 4 days for me.

I didn’t really know what to expect, but I thought going to Palm Springs to attend this 4 day convention was the best way for me to connect with women who might be able to offer guidance on how to pursue the influencer path.

This might surprise you, but I can be an introvert. So putting myself out there with complete strangers is not always easy for me.

It’s one thing when you’re recognized because people know you from television…but in this arena? I was just another gal trying to make her way.

These are some of the amazing creative and smart women I met during my time at Alt Summit.

But, I pushed myself to say hello to everyone I sat next to. I went out of my way to interact and engage. And the end result was 4 days of learning that has catapulted my whole Just Jill strategy to the next level. I made some wonderful friends and trusted connections.

It’s been so exciting to see some of these women pursue their dreams. Like my friend, Dr. Addy Wissel, who I met while walking from the parking lot into the keynote on the first day.

My friend, Addy and I in Palm Springs, CA at Alt Summit.

Addy and I clicked immediately and have been great cheerleaders for each other. Her goal was to start a podcast for women addressing issues like burnout. She did it! Be sure to check out her podcast, That Green Dress!

Oh, and that being recognized from television part? Imagine my surprise when one of the featured speakers, Cyndie Spiegel, recognized me from my days at QVC and called me out in front of hundreds of women!

Me and Cyndie Spiegel

She told everyone that she had watched me on QVC for years and studied my approach, delivery, and the way I connected and shared information with an audience. Cyndie told the crowd that watching me for years made her better. I was blown away. It’s a moment of recognition I’ll never forget.

Quarantine At The Beach

Celebrating family in 2020.
Working at home at the kitchen table in 2020. You too?

Unlike a lot of people, I didn’t have to shift much to work from home during the pandemic. I’ve basically been working from home ever since I left QVC in June, 2019.

We are very fortunate to have a vacation home near the beach in Delaware and that is where our family quarantined for much of the early weeks of Covid.

It’s also where I’ve spent a lot of time creating content for all of you. With Trevor’s school in online mode during the pandemic, he was able to “go to school” while at the beach house.

The beach house became my work studio! I had a lot of fun creating here!

I’ve had the opportunity to spend so much more time at the beach house in 2020 and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. I’m a southern California girl who has always loved the vibe of a beach town. And while we’ve had our home for many years, it was never a place we could go for more than a week here or there. My dream was always to live at our beach house for a month or two in the summer (or anytime!).

We enjoyed some beautiful sunsets on the bay in 2020.

We’ve really been able to do this in the past year and it has changed my life. My mind is in such a peaceful place (and so is my heart) when I’m at the beach. It calms me. It inspires me. It’s where I really feel at home.

How lucky that the beach was my office during 2020.

I finally feel like we really had the chance to make the most of this home. I realize we are blessed to have this luxury and our whole family is so grateful that we had a little escape when other travel options were limited.

Baseball Didn’t Strike Out

We are a baseball family. My son, Trevor, has played ball since he was 3 and we love to watch him play.

Trevor up to bat at a tournament this summer.

We are so thankful that both our local league and Trevor’s travel team were able to play ball this past summer.

Everyone followed guidelines for social distancing. Coaches wore masks, temperatures were taken, the players did their part with sanitizer and no shared equipment, and in the end, we had several months of really good baseball.

The best part was just seeing the kids have SOME kind of social interaction with each other. There’s a big difference between in person and a zoom classroom or a face time video call.

There were days when Trevor had 3 games with 3 different teams in 1 day. He didn’t care…he told me, “Mom, I don’t care how tired I might be. I want to play as much as I can in case it all shuts down again.”

And so, we drove the hours and miles and he played and played and played. It was a highlight for me, but it was the brightest spot for Trevor. No doubt.

Brosky And Wilbert Should Be Therapists

What is it about dogs that they just KNOW when you need attention or a cuddle?

Our cuddle and lovebug, Wilbert.

I can’t tell you how many times I said to Doug, “having these dogs during the stress of this time is the best medicine!”

Being with the dogs constantly gave me some really fun insight into their personalities. They are both such goofy dogs! They love to play hide and seek, keep away, tug of war and chase!

Our noble protector, Brosky.

They both have the sweetest dispositions and love to cuddle. The comfort of those cuddles is worth its weight in gold.

I’ve always loved our dogs, but I fell in love with them in a different way during the pandemic. If you want to learn more about our boys, you should check out my blog about them HERE.

Happy New Year!

Yes, 2020 was filled with angst, stress, worry and fear. But it was also filled with some joyous moments that I hope to recognize and appreciate without always associating with the downside of 2020.

Moments of true appreciation, gratitude and recognition shouldn’t come with caveats and counterpoints. Let’s just be happy to find and see those silver linings, without always describing the dark clouds around them.

I hope whatever your circumstances during 2020, that you found a positive and happy place to land here at Just Jill. I think of all of my followers like family and want you to always know I’m here to share a recipe, a tip, some inspiration or a smile.

I’ve been working on a lot of fun things for Just Jill in 2021 and I can’t wait to share those things with you in the months ahead. I look forward to continuing this journey together. Thank you for your support and friendship. You inspire me to keep going.

Happy New Year!

From my home and heart to yours,

Jill