gapmuse year in review: best of 2019

Collage of beautiful for the best of the year for our blog and social.

Wow! We can’t believe it’s the last day of the year AND decade! What an honor to be alive and well for yet another year and to live through the past 10 years! There are not enough words to describe our gratitude for making it through this far with our health intact. It is not lost on us that there are so many who have not been as lucky. We redirect our thoughts to them today, send them our best wishes and a better year and decade ahead.

As we reflect on the past year, we can’t help but be in awe of everything that happened in our lives. It was a year of adventure, discovery, building community, volunteerism, purpose, unimaginable experiences, and as always some challenges along the way. 

From visiting two of the most spectacular places, reading amazing books and attending books tours of two of our idols, to building and nurturing our own Facebook group of inspiring women, and volunteering our time and skills to an awesome organization that invests in women, we were reminded of the beauty of things and people around us and importance of sisterhood. 

We’re most proud of fulfilling our 2019 goals of sharing at least one blog post per month with you, extending our gapmuse community beyond our blog by creating our Facebook community, gapmuseWomen, giving back to women who are less fortunate by volunteering to an organization that invests in women, and providing feminine hygiene products to homeless women through our first-ever “Quarterly Period Products Drive.”

Through it all, we relied on our gratitude, courage, hope, optimism, and positivity to guide and sustain us. We’ve come out on the other end feeling more empowered, knowledgeable, and inspired. We hope you have felt the same way too.

Here are our best of 2019:

Best Blog Posts

1. gapmuseBookshelf: 14 Profound Takeaways From “Becoming” [+Book Tour]

Image of Women reading Becoming in bed while having a glass of wine.
Becoming was a book worthy of celebration and admiration! I could hardly contain my excitement!

Do any celebrities make you lose your cool? You know, the ones who make you feel all sorts of giddy! Those who would cause you to mumble your words, trip over and probably embarrass yourself? Go ahead! You can admit it. There’s no shame or judgment here! I confess to two! Prince (RIP) and Michelle Obama! The thought of being in their presence gives me the kind of childlike excitement I recall having as a kid when two things happened typically during the Christmas holiday. First, finding out I was going to get new shoes or clothes, and second, the house would be stocked with European chocolates or cookies. Yeah, I’m pretty easy to please and we’re going way back! Read on…

2. gapmuse Quarterly Roundup: Phenomenal Women, Investing Like A Boss, Building Community & More

Collage of images of food, drinks, beautiful landscapes, women's march, spring blooms

Breathtaking blooms, beautiful butterfly sightings, lush greens, rain, clear skies, fresh air, happy people…I can smell the spring, even taste it (okay maybe that’s extra) but I love this season. It gives us a lovely sense of renewal, compels us to step outside, open our windows to breath some fresh air, and clean out our homes after the long and cold winter months. What’s not to love!

So bye-bye first quarter of the year and welcome spring! We can’t help but be intrigued by how fast time went by, how much we’ve accomplished, and how much we’ve learned. Read on…

3. Finding Peace, Laughter & Healing In Mother Nature [+Stunning Video & Photos]

“Why isn’t this one of wonders of the world I pondered?” as I sat atop a rock three quarters away from the top of the majestic Bridalveil Fall at Yosemite Valley. I get it, the 7 Wonders of the World are man-made. But why not give Mother Nature her due? After all, how many places can you visit and unsuspectedly have a spiritual experience? Maybe the wonders of the world do elicit the same feeling. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t been to any of them. I’m left to wonder and hope that maybe one day we will have a list of the “7 Wonders of Mother Nature” and Yosemite Valley will be one of them. Side note – there is an unofficial 7 Natural Wonders of the World but Yosemite Valley still didn’t make the cut. Read on…

4. Why Every Mother Should Have a Life Outside of Her Children [Without Guilt]

It’s back to school again (can you believe it!) and you’re busy juggling your kids’ schedules, last-minute shopping, transportation, lunches, and anything else that needs to happen for a successful school year. Some of you may be sending your kids to pre-k or kindergarten, some to elementary, while others to middle school or even high school.

For moms in the latter category, you’re probably starting to grapple with the idea of becoming empty nesters. Yikes! And if you have an 8th grader or high schooler, you might even be feeling like one already since he or she may have declared their independence and spends less time with you. Read on…

5. Why You Must Never Give Up On Your Dreams [Pictorial Edition]

“What are we doing for spring break, my little one asked?”  As a parent, you’re accustomed to hearing this question, especially from your younger kids. Truthfully, I hadn’t really thought of something to do. Spring break had come later this year and was coinciding with Easter.  In my mind, I envisioned we would do what we always did during Easter weekend – chill, decorate some eggs, have an egg hunt, and enjoy a nice homemade brunch and dinner.

Here we were with my little one eagerly anticipating an answer. “I don’t know, the usual, chillaxing and doing what we always do for Easter,” I responded. “We should go somewhere,” she declared. Knowing she wouldn’t let it go until she had a satisfactory answer (yeah, she’s stubborn like that), I said: “Let me think about it.” Read on…

6. 36 Valuable Financial & Investment Resources for Women

Image of 3 women with different hair types smiling

Did you know that women live 5 years longer than men? This longer life expectancy has two key implications for us:

  • We will need more money and healthcare, and
  • We have to prepare differently for our future

According to a women’s and financial wellness report by Merrill Lynch, women not only live longer than men but also end up being the caretakers of their spouses/partners.

Keeping this information in mind, we compiled an ultimate list of 36 financial and investment resources to help you better manage your finances and prepare for retirement. They include websites, blogs, podcasts, online newsletters, and online/offline classes. The good news is the majority of these resources are free and easily accessible online. Read on…

7. Coffee & Cash: 6 Key Learnings From Our Personal Finance Workshop

Image of woman and man having a discussion at a personal finance workshop

Did you know that women make better investors?

Why? Because we’re not afraid to ask for directions.

In this spirit of asking for help, we set out to find out how we can gain our financial independence.

With the help of a dear friend and a superb financial expert, we organized a personal finance workshop for an amazing group of women. It turned out to be insightful, informative, and quite fun!

Let’s face it, finance and investment discussions can be a bit dry and somewhat stressful so why not make it fun! With a coffee and cash theme, a fitting event name “Caff n’ Cash,” and a lovely coffee shop setting for our meet up, we set out to answer the following personal finance questions that matter most to women in an enjoyable way: Read on…

8. 10 Things We’re Most Thankful for This Thanksgiving

“Last night I tossed and turned all night!” my hairdresser declared while braiding my daughter’s hair a couple of weeks ago. I love going to get our hair braided with my sister (as we refer to each other.) Since I see her every 3 to 4 months, it’s a time for us to catch up on life. We laugh, cry, and chat about all kinds of stuff going on in our lives. It’s somewhat of a quarterly therapy session with someone I trust and love dearly.

So this outburst was not out of the ordinary. “So sorry to hear,” I responded.” “Does that ever happen to you?” she asked? “No, not anymore,” I replied.” “How did you fix it?” she asked. Read on…

9. Happy Anniversary gapmuseWomen! [Amazing Moments from Our Community!]

Unbelievable! Has it really been one year since we started gapmuseWomen, as an extension of our blog? One year ago, it dawned on us that we needed to create a safe community for women to connect, collaborate, engage, and thrive together. Fast forward to today and we’re flawed by how much has happened ever since. From growing our community and engaging in empowering conversations, to going on spectacular adventures and learning from workshops and group resources, our community has far exceeded our expectations and reminded us of the power of sisterhood. How time flies! Read on…

10. Why It’s Important for Everyone to Understand and Care About Gender Equality

Collage with photos of Melinda Gates and Mandy Moore at her Moment of Lift book tour, gender equality statistics, Gender Equality book What Works Gender Equality by Design, and me at the Melinda Gates Book Tour.

“I thought y’all wanted to be equal!”

This was a response from a friend sparked by a conversation where I said one of the reasons women take longer to leave the house is because they have to carry more. (There are perfectly logical reasons why we have to hurl more stuff but we’ll leave that conversation for another day.)

Jolted, my first reaction; surprise, then anger (more infuriated) and finally saddened. Why?  Because at that moment, I realized the following misconception about gender equality to some (and maybe the majority of people, especially men):

  • Women have to be exactly the same physically and mentally to be treated equally – same physical attributes, same behaviors socially, and same biological and reproductive systems. Did this mean because men can’t be pregnant and give birth they should be treated differently? Are they inferior to women for their inability to carry and bring a child to life? Do we have to produce both estrogen and testosterone to be treated equally?

I was so taken aback by this statement and the realization when most boys and men (both young and old) hear “gender equality” they think that women are asking to be physically, emotionally, biologically, socially, and physiologically the same. Even more troubling was by having this view, they’re more likely to tune out anything they hear or read about gender equality because in their minds women could never be like them. Read on…

Best Video

This Yosemite Valley, Bridalveil Fall video was also one of our second most downloaded. Not surprising since it was spectacular!

Another favorite, this video was our third most downloaded video.

Most Downloaded Video

Our New Year’s video was the most downloaded video of all! Again, not unexpected since it was amazing and exciting to watch!

Best of Instagram

Best of Facebook

Best of Pinterest

Best of Twitter

Thank you for hanging out with us! Without you, there would be no best of anything. Whether you’ve connected with us by reading our blog or by engaging with us through social, you’ve enriched our lives in more ways than you can imagine and inspired us to continue doing what we do – share our musings and discoveries along the way. We hope you’ve been inspired, empowered, and learned a thing or two.

Here’s to a successful 2020 and a fantastic decade ahead! Only we can make it better…and we will.

“To transform the world, help people, lift others up, change lives.” – Matshona Dhilwayo

Happy New Year gapmusers! 

Be inspired. ❤️

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