A year in review: 2021

Wow, where did this year go?

Besides 2021 being much more disappointing (in many regards) as expected, it also disappeared in a blink of an eye, right? I know I say that so often that I can’t believe how fast the time goes, but this time it is really, really true. We all had such high hopes for 2021 and then… not much happened.

Well, that is not true. Things happened this year. Some good (a new president, vaccines and boosters, a Peloton!), but also some bad (an insurrection, conspirarcy theories, democracy in peril). Sigh. I am really a half-glass-full-kinda-person all the way, but sometimes it’s hard to be hopeful when the world around you seems to crumble, and when there is hope and then that hope is crushed again repeatedly.

It’s been extremely weird to live through the second year of a global pandemic, to say the least. I haven’t seen my family (and friends) in over two years, I am trying to stay safe and vigilant. I am vaccinated, boosted, and continue to mask and social distance (and sometimes feel like I am the only one), and I have only made it through this year by sweating my heart out (exercise is saving my sanity) and constantly reminding myself how lucky I am in so many regards. But you guys, I am tired and I know I am not the only one.

As per usual, I do a little round-up at the end of the year on my blog. It’s a nice way to reflect on a year, as screwed up as it might have been, and I am really, really hoping that 2022 shapes up to be everything we hope it to be (and more)!


In January, I recapped the things I wanted to do in 2020 and was surprised by how many things I accomplished despite the outbreak of a pandemic. I picked a new word for the year and clung desperately to it. I shared a few things that I learned about myself during the pandemic. We witnessed an insurrection on the US Capitol, but then finally inaugurated a new president and all exhaled a sigh of relief.


I don’t “do” New Year’s resolutions, but in February, I posted a new list of things I wanted to do in 2021. I also shared 15 things that I didn’t hate about 2020, half-glass-full-kinda-girl that I am. I showed you my new Fringe Planner, and also posted our 2020 pandemic spending report. It was interesting how spending had shifted during that first year of the pandemic.


In March, I celebrated my first pandemic birthday. The first lockdown in 2020 hadn’t happened until mid-March, so I got lucky. I recapped another year around the sun with my favorite moments and how I spent my birthday, the highlight being a brief visit from a dear friend. I also couldn’t help but share my thoughts on the anniversary of the day when we went into pandemic lockdown. In more exciting news, I let you in on the recipe for loaded mashed potatoes. Comfort food at its best.


In April, I was finally able to reveal the packages that were swapped for the 5th annual Secret Santa Mug Swap 2020. It had been a bit of a chaotic undertaking pulling this swap off during the pandemic when the postal service was seriously disrupted, but everyone eventually received something in the mail. The most exciting news in April was that Covid vaccines were finally available and that I didn’t get just my first, but also my second vaccine shot within the month.


In May, I posted about who I (was) at the moment. I shared some confessions, and also told you how I stay motivated during a long run. We had our first (and only) visitor (Jon’s Mom) since things felt temporarily a bit more normal. I also met up for some much needed girltime and an outdoor hike with my friend Susi. At the end of the month, Jon and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary.


In June, I joined – as always – into the celebration for Global Running Day by pledging some miles. I also decided to tell you about some current favorites, a feature post that had fallen by the wayside in 2020. I shared another “blogging through the Covid-crisis”-update and talked about how I felt the drop of the mask mandate (that didn’t last long, did it?). I shared a recipe for potato salad with Greek yogurt dressing & cornichons and did a mid-year (athletic) review.


In July, there was news of bad flooding in Germany. The devastation was not too far from where I grew up, but luckily my family and friends weren’t directly impacted (although I really felt for all the people who were!). I also shared my thoughts about the benefits of running solo, as I am a solo runner through and through. I talked a bit about hot summers, BBQs, and the California wildfires, and how I went to try out my friend’s Peloton.


In August, I shared my home gym with you (which is not a gym at all, but a small area in our living room where my spin bike and exercise equipment lives). And while we were at it, I told you about my favorite quick workouts. I also posted a snapshot of my day. I always find it fascinating to get a glimpse of the “day-to-day” life of other people, don’t you? I had a little staycation (as I had to use up some annual leave – which has never happened before) and later that month, I admitted that when the world goes to hell in a handbasket, you (and with “you”, I meant “I”) caved and bought a Peloton. Best decision ever!


In September, I posted some tips for beginner runners (as I used to be one myself!) and then proceeded to get a bit nostalgic when I reminisced about the time when I came to California, 20 years ago! This still seems crazy to me! I shared a couple of recipes for homemade Tzatziki Sauce (great for dipping!), and German Plum Streusel Cake. At the end of September, I had signed up for the (virtual) Seawheeze half marathon and I was not prepared. The wildfires and my new toy (the Peloton) had seriously thrown me off my running schedule, but since I was signed up, I attempted to run the half marathon anyway. And to my huge surprise, ended up with another sub-2-hour PR. How’s that for keeping your expectations low?


In October, I reminisced about the day I met Jon. I started my first Peloton Power Zone Challenge with Tanja and had a presentation at work (via Teams) that went really well (what with me being nervous and all). I posted another list of current favorites, and some tips on how to save some money on running gear & races. I took another week of staycation for Jon’s birthday week (all that “use or loose” leave that I had built up due to the pandemic), my niece turned 13 (WHAT?), and we officially started “soup season” in our house.


In November, I participated “semi-hosted” NaBloPoMo for the 15th year in a row. I have not gotten tired of this blogging challenge and got a few awesome people to join me this year. I started the month off by sharing a few things you might not know about me. I shared some of my wisdom for best practices for a successful NaBloPoMo challenge and invited people to the 6th annual Secret Santa Mug Swap (that I’ve been hosting for the last few years). I explained what Peloton’s Power Zone Training is all about, and told you about some of my most-used apps.

I talked about meal planning (which I do) vs. meal prepping (which I don’t) and my best strategies to reduce food waste. As always, I also shared a few recipes for authentic German Goulash, creamy Tuscan Argentinian Shrimps, and a traditional German pastry called Weckmann (sweet yeast man).

I wrote another Covid update, shared some pet peeves (don’t we have them all?), and a holiday wis + gift list for some holiday inspiration. Shortly before Thanksgiving, I got boostered. I also started re-reading the Outlander series, my favorite book series of all time, again.


In December, I posted a holiday gift guide more specific for runners. I joined my blog friend, Erin, at The Speckled Palate, for her annual The Sweetest Season Cookie Exchange and shared the recipe for German Spritz Cookies. I wrote a little holiday to-do list, and shared a few things that were happening in December. I traveled for the first (and only) time this year to see my friend Tanja when she was back in SoCal for a visit.

I was able to post the round-up of the 6th annual Secret Santa Mug Swap (as all 13 participants in three countries had received their packages on time this year!) and recapped our quiet Christmas 2021.

And now we’re ringing in yet another new year, safely from the comfort of our own couch, hoping that 2022 will turn out to be a great year, a better year. For real this time. 

As always, thanks for being here. I love the blogging community so much.


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  1. I’m so glad I found you during NaBloPoMo and I hope to continue to read your blog into the coming year!!

    1. Same! I’d love that :)

  2. Despite its ups and downs, this sounds like a pretty fantastic year! I am so pleased to have found your blog! Happy New Year!

    1. It wasn’t all bad – that’s for sure. So glad to have found your blog too!

  3. I’ve been loving all these round-up posts, especially since I’m such a newby to the blogging world. Your blog is one of my absolute favourites to read – authentic and inspiring and relatable.
    Cheers to 2022!
    P.S. Your Christmas card arrived in the mail today and what a boost to my lingering holiday spirit. A great way to start the New Year!

    1. Thanks Elisabeth, I’ve been so happy to have found your blog as well :) What a great new connection!

  4. 2021 was a weide year. It felt by in a blink and at the same time it dragged on forever. And while I also feel – like most of us – nothing happened I was surprised how much living I was able to do. It looks like reading through your recap that you also had happy moments and that not all was bad. I am still hoping 2022 is a bit more fun and has less disturbing world happenings up its sleeve.

    1. Definitely surprised how much living happened despite all of it!

  5. Happy New Year, San! I’m tired too. I’m having a hard time with this newest wave of the pandemic, but we’ve been through it, and we can still get through it. Right? Right.

    Yay for Peloton, it has saved my sanity too.

    1. Thank you, Nicole. We’ll get through all this together (on our Pelotons LOL).

  6. A lot of ups and downs, but I feel like you really tried to make the best of these trying times. That Peloton must be such a dream to ride! I’m so very glad you treated yourself to that bike.

  7. Happy New Year! Your “glass half full” attitude really shines though on your blog :)

  8. 2021 was really a blur for me. The days are long but the years are short… A lot of days feel like groundhog’s day. But it was a good year all in all. It wasn’t as great of a year as I had hoped for since covid keeps us on our toes with new variants. But I was happy to see more family than I did in 2020.

    Here’s hoping 2022 is a better year for you and that you can finally see some family this year!

  9. San, you already know how much I want you to be able to see your family in 2022. Holding onto that hope…
    I share your hope for improvement this year and despair at the state of our country and our increasingly fragile democracy. (And I admit to a bit of envy for those with dual citizenship, or who live in other countries… because I honestly do not know if I will recognize the US after next November…)
    I’m still holding on to a shred of hope, though, knowing that you are out there, doing the same. <3

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