Reflecting on 2020: What I Learned

 Reflecting on 5 Lessons I Learned in 2020

The year 2020 has been a year like no other. It is the year that changed us all. In spite of the chaotic year, I am thankful for the lessons learned.

Life is nothing without a little chaos to make it interesting.

-Amelia Atwater-Rhodes-

Through every battle we’re faced on earth, there is a purpose for it.

Today I am sharing 5 enlightening lessons learned in 2020 that have changed the way I think and live.

1. Solitude has many benefits

This past year was filled with more alone time than I ever thought was humanly possible. Spending time alone, for some, can feel hard for a variety of different reasons.

Personally, I desire and cherish being alone. I also have the complete opposite social butterfly side when in a comfortable setting.

How do you handle time alone? One study found that it appears to be an unpleasant experience for many.

2020 started with recovering from a painful breakup. Because of this, I wanted to be alone to heal. Then quarantine occurred, so hiding from the world became mandatory. Quite honestly, isolation turned into a habit I fell in love with, and still take part in as much as possible.

Every bit of solo time gave me the green light to dive into creativity. In addition, I discovered more about who and what Kelly wanted to be, as well as forcefully take a good look at this one life I’d been given.

Goals were set. Finally, October 2020 I launched beachcountrykel!

Rest was my best friend. I journaled, read more books, studied blogging. A significant number of photo albums were dug out from storage; precious memories relived.

Country music tunes from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s made a frequent comeback, bringing joy to my soul. Music is medicine. Solo dance parties helped shake all cares away!

I don’t think “I should be out doing something” on Friday and Saturday nights any longer. Instead it’s “Oh a new Dateline and/or 20/20 episode is on tonight.”

Take advantage of alone time when it comes knocking. Distance yourself for a bit. Believe me, you’ll realize a lot. Significant alone time allows you to take back control of your life!

Totally disengaging from the world was an amazing blessing I am thankful for.

2. Confidence is a learned skill

I never thought the day would come when I’d be starring in a self made video, let alone sharing it on a public forum. You see, I was the girl that would cringe at the mere sight of myself on a video camera, not to mention the sound of my voice would turn on the gag reflex!

How many of you have felt the same?!

2020 brought my confidence back, and then some. Looking back, mine was severely lacking due to multiple circumstances over the couple years. If you aren’t careful, the confidence that took half your life to build up, can slip right out from under you.

Confidence is a trust you have in yourself. Confidence (not cockiness) is beautiful. Your best self will naturally be brought to light, as long as the work is put in to make positive changes. This has proven true in my life time and time again.

People with real confidence (again not cocky) look at the world and they see potential. When they see people suffering, they provide love and understanding.

Being  goofy on a video screen allows me to be real and share true, silly things. This might sound corny, nonetheless, bringing laughter to peoples faces is rewarding and something I strive for .

When readers share comments, giving thanks for the entertainment, a smile lights up my face.

Stay tuned to more videos in the future. Great ideas are always flowing and gagging is minimal!

“A day without laughter is a day wasted” -Charlie Chaplin-

3. Your worth is not determined by who likes you

There are several ways people depend on others to give them value. For me, a lengthy list of contacts and a busy social calendar helped me feel important and valuable…in the past. But, I have learned depending on other people to make you feel good, is not worth chasing.

Do you prefer a small or large social circle?

As time goes by, having a smaller social circle is of preference. This keeps the real people surrounding me, more tightly bonded.

I have vowed to stop over-giving, over-pleasing to gain acceptance. Both can leave you feeling used, disrespected.

I’ve been called quiet, shy, along with bashful during my lifetime. In spite of this, making friends was never really an issue. I’m very personable – when in a comfortable setting – with no anxiety/social anxiety present.

Therefore, when I was working a job with a few mean girls, tittle-tattling, and talking smack like a couple of high school girls; I allowed it to get the best of me.

The environment was toxic. Why did I care?

I put my worth into what they thought, to the point they had me believing I was not likeable. In truth, no matter what I did or how hard I tried, they had their minds made up.

To sum up, you cannot control what other people think about you, nor is pleasing everyone all the time obtainable.

When someone doesn’t see the beautiful person you are,  they are not worth even a second of your time.

4Don’t date after a breakup

As the myth goes, the best way to get over a bad breakup is to get under someone.  This very advice was given by some friends during a time I was struggling to get over that breakup mentioned earlier (#1). Respectfully, I am proud for not taking the advice.

Instead, 100% solo was the chosen path. No dating. Friends with benefits wasn’t even an option. I said no countless times to “lets netflix and chill.”

I don’t know about you, but attention from a man is not something I need to feel fulfilled. Undoubtedly, there was times throughout my life, that was not the case.

Focusing 100% solely on Kelly, with no distractions, brought me to the next level spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Without a doubt, the biggest mistake would have been to start seeing guys.

Attempt to stay single after a breakup. You’ll learn what you like and don’t like in a relationship, instead of trying to shape into something your not.

5. The Power of Prayer

This pandemic has strengthened my faith and relationship with God immensely.

Openly, I was always a believer. I talked to God, however, life would get busy. I’d forget to say my prayers for weeks, sometimes months.

My biggest achievements previously endured, undeniably, came after prayer.

Now, time is set aside daily to pray, wholeheartedly. This means down on my knees. I have asked Jesus to come into my heart. To sum up, my life and whole mentality has changed for the better. Life looks different now, not to mention everything has more beauty.

Never let your praying knees get lazy – Lee Brice

Looking for an inspirational book? I read The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale during quarantine. In my experience, this book really taught the power of prayer, most importantly, what having a true relationship with God entails.

Studying the bible has become of importance.

I’ve put all trust in the Lord.  As a result, I have more control of anxiety levels when stressors come knocking. Thank heavens, because for quite awhile, I was a ball of nerves. It was horrible.

The inner  peace I feel better never escape!

The beginning of faith is the end of anxiety

Cheers to 2021…

Everyone was excited to kiss 2020 goodbye and leap into a new prosperous year. 2021 could only be better…boy were we wrong.

Unfortunately, two weeks into the new year, our country is in worse shape.  Who would have thought? Will things get even worse? Gosh, I pray not.

After last year, I feel lucky to just be alive. 2020 wasn’t “all” bad, despite the fact that I’m sure glad it is over.

The main goal of mine for 2021 is to be a person of discipline and self control. Most importantly, focusing on beachcountrykel, giving it my all, and making a name for myself!

I hope and pray for peace and love to each and every one of you in the New Year.

Cheers to the road ahead!

Please continue to visit my blog. Leave a comment. I’m open to suggestions for improvement as well!

Life & Lemons


"And if love (and life) keeps giving me lemons, I'll just 
mix 'em in my drink"

Bluebird/Miranda Lambert

They say when life hands you lemons you are supposed to turn them into lemonade, right?

Well, we all know that’s easier said than done…

And why do they (lemons) always seem to make an appearance just when life is going smoothly? It frustrates the living daylights out of me. The worst is when they all come piling in at the same time!

More recently, it seems like every time I turn around a new lemon is smacking me in the face. Juggling them all has proven difficult.

Mixing lemons in my stress relieving vodka (blueberry) drink, became all too common in 2020. When life hands you lemons, make vodka lemonade!

The house just keeps on winning

2020 is definitely dealing the cards. Every hand seems to be a loser.

I’ve been hit hard with Covid19 since both industries I work in were extremely affected by Covid19- Let me just add that I never expected to have a new job title of Mask Patrol.

Our country is in the middle of a pandemic which has made day-to-day obstacles more difficult to overcome. Throw in a real predicament and it feels like the world is going to come crashing down.

Do you feel me on this?

Many people I know, myself included, are feeling uneasy and out of whack. We all fall asleep with more weight on our minds.

Trying to focus on anything other than the news is minimal at best. I had to throw myself into this blog to regain some sanity as well as limit social media scrolling, debating.

Without lemons we would never grow

Personally, the past few years have been, utterly, some of the most challenging. The past 2 months though; where do I begin?

First, I temporarily lost work, twice, unexpectedly, due to Covid19.  NO warning nor time to prepare.  This, on top of months with significant income loss due to Covid19 restrictions. Living off tips, working from home is not an option. I’m still waiting to be called back to a job I maintained for over 4 years. No events/tastings = lack of work.

Secondly, Tito, my beach cat, was hit by a car resulting in surgery to amputate back leg.  Consecutively, Brandi, my 14 yr old dog, was diagnosed with heart issues. I have no children; therefore, my fur family are my children.

Next, I developed Covid19 symptoms, tested positive, and went into quarantine. Which meant more loss of income on top of battling a potential deadly virus.  Talk about a quadruple whammy!

Because of this, sadly, I had to miss out on a planned family vacation in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

Worst, I was in quarantine over Thanksgiving, my absolute favorite holiday- if you knew my relationship with food you’d understand the extreme disappointment!

There is more, but I’ll spare you anymore details. Honestly, somedays I felt on the brink!

A tornado of thoughts kept reiterating through my mind. Normally, I would have freaked out, transformed into a ball of stress, while fighting  a consistent anxious state of mind.

But, in turn, I spent some time disciplining my mind to not despair and take a more positive, optimistic, can-do-attitude towards every problem.

I am not going to lie and say I didn’t have drowning in my sorrows moments. Frankly, I’ll admit to even possibly enduring a mini mid-life crisis at one point last year, before I really took the time to embrace the lemons life was handing me.

Each one, ultimately, leads to growth… only if you allow it. As they say, if we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.

Here are 5 ways you can throw punches back at those lemons life throws your way

1. Remember what you’ve overcome already.

In life, we are ALL thrown different size lemons. I’ve endured two huge ones in the past that I want to share.

First, was the car accident my mother was in that almost took her life. As a result, she was left paralyzed from the waist down. I was freshly, 21 years old, and had just moved out on my own. I witnessed my Mom, hooked up to machines, fighting for her life in the ICU. The doctors did not think she was going to make it. Thank the heavens she pulled through.

Second, was the sudden tragic death of my father when I was 33 years of age. Watching him take his last breath, as he was departing this life, is a image that will never fully escape me. Furthermore, having to make the decision to end his life… was brutal.

I am able to overcome anything life throws my way when reflecting back on all that heartache and pain. For those reasons, when I endure heartbreak, financial issues, or hurtful rumors filling up peoples ears, etc. – those small lemons life is handing out – are minimal in comparison.

This helps pull me out of the darkness and keeps the light on in my soul.

It does not mean, in anyway, you don’t have the right to be upset/stressed out.  Just try not to dwell on the issue at hand or speak too negatively.  Know when to throw those emotions away.

Have you been dealt serious blows in the past?

Putting things in perspective like this always helps. If you change your mindset, everything will change along with it.

2. Someone always has it worse.

Most everyone has had something hard in their life. That is a given. Therefore, when enduring stressful times and everything feels to be unraveling , I find it beneficial to remind myself what others are going through.

This truly helps me. No, it does not make the problem or difficulty disappear, however, it shines a light a bit more as to how much worse it could be.

For instance, I try to think about that person in a hospital bed fighting for survival, or any person battling cancer.  I think of the homeless begging for money at the local seven eleven down the street.

Think about the fact that you can walk on your own two feet out of bed each morning. My Mom was always very active.  For 24 years now, she has been in a wheelchair, with not even the ability to stand up.

3. Communication

For heavens sake, whatever you do, do not bottle up your emotions. Talk to God. Draw upon that higher power. Call a friend, a family member, somebody, and get it off your chest!

We, as humans, rely on communication. Connecting with others is a big part of life. Humans feed off other souls, off interactions.

Cherish your human connections with family and friends.  Ask them for suggestions. Try not to complain too much. Vent your frustrations and then listen with an open ear to their comments.

Do not suffer in silence!

As hard as it may be, ask for help if necessary. Being an independent woman this part is super hard. But, isn’t that what family and friends are for ? Trust me, in time, you’ll need to return the favor anyways.

4.  Bring on the rain.

Cry a river if you need to! You’ll feel extreme relief after releasing all those pent up emotions built up inside.

Trust me, I have spent many showers on the floor bawling my eyes out, feeling defeated, barely breathing, lost… empty. Sometimes I have just wanted to hide away and lock the door.

Be sure to always get back up though, turn the page, and come out stronger, wiser,  than the last breakdown.

5. Accept that it is what it is. 

The reality is you cannot change or protest tough circumstances. What matters is how you handle what you’re dealt. Face it head on.

Accept, then mentally remind yourself, when there is a will, there is a way.

Start a problem solving list. Lists go a long way.

You are not a failure for coming upon tough circumstances. It is a part of the ride. Sometimes we are dealt bad hands.

Keep a bluebird in your heart

When stressful and difficult times start to arrive, always remember, good news is down the road and you will bloom.

Don’t forget to keep that “light on in your soul and a bluebird in your heart,” like Miranda Lambert sings in her song (link attached below).

Bluebirds remind us to lighten up, let go, and stop taking life so seriously. They represent perseverance, joy, happiness.

Make LemonADE

In conclusion, the more lemons I have juggled through life, the easier it is becoming to turn them into the best lemonade possible. No doubt, the experience/aging is playing a part!

When life throws you lemons, take in that bitter taste, absorb it, and come out glowing.   Kelly Nichols






My Thanksgiving random thoughts

My beach community hung this board up for us all to write down what we are thankful this year
What are you thankful for?

Thanksgiving is a reminder for the things we are thankful for

A neighbor, from the beach community I live on, posted the above sign, attached to a tree, at the beach access the neighbors and I all use. A marker was left for each of us to write down, individually, what we are thankful for.

This was a five-star idea! As a result, every time any one of us heads to the beach for tanning, a walk, sunset, etc., this sign is in our face to give a thankful reminder.

You’ll see waves, sunsets, the beautiful beach birds, family, breathing, among others, written when looking closely at the board.

There is always something to be thankful for, especially after this chaotic year. At this point, you are spoiled if you go to sleep with a roof over your head.

Personally, I am thankful for my family (immediate and extended), dogs, cat, friends, the neighbors. In addition, I am able to walk, talk, hear, smell, see, taste and breathe. I have shelter, food in my cupboards, electric, water, a running vehicle. The ability to dream while walking or biking around this beautiful beach I live on.

Mainly, I am thankful for my relationship with God.

Think about all your blessings that are highly overlooked.

What are you thankful for?

Thanksgiving is not meant to be spent alone or working

Thanksgiving is about being with your tribe. It is about gathering with family and friends.

United bird tribe

This year I will be alone on Thanksgiving. No family no friends. I tested positive for Covid19.

Technically, Thanksgiving Eve, I was given the go ahead to come out of quarantine. Although, I am choosing to err on the side of caution and remain quarantined a extra couple days, due to lingering symptoms.

Having to isolate on my absolute favorite holiday… just plain SUCKS. Obviously, it saddens me.

I have spent many Thanksgivings here in Florida, away from family, with neighbors, friends, and coworkers (the years I had to work) and faired well.

For instance, the first, I was 35 years old, a new Floridian, which was exciting.  I cooked and stuffed a turkey, completely on my own, for the very first time.

First Florida Thanksgiving with Brandi
My very first stuffed turkey

Thankfully, last year my mother was in Florida for the winter, so I was able to spend the day with her.

Being isolated on Thanksgiving, for the first time ever,  will be tough…but the risk isn’t worth it to possibly infect someone with Covid19.

Homesickness never goes away this time of year

Are you spending Thanksgiving away from family and your hometown?

The way I was raised, gathering with family is the only real way to spend Turkey Day. Nothing compares to sitting at the table, reliving old family memories, amongst the chatter and laughter.

Thanksgiving 2014 was the last time I was back in Pennsylvania for the holiday. Cooking and watching movies together with my mom and sisters , while the nieces/nephews played, filled our day.

An added bonus, 6 inches of snow piled up! Of course I had to get outside to join in on the sledding and snowball fight party with the kiddos.

November 2014 snowball fight with my niece

6 years is way too long to not come home for the holiday. Work and/or finances kept me away. This truly has been the hardest part about moving away.

One way or another, next year will be spent in Pennsylvania with the family!

A Covid19 2020 BEACHThanksgiving

In conclusion, tomorrow, in spite of the circumstances, I will embrace the day, embrace being in solitude.

Right after the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade, Christmas movies will be on the tube.

Friends are dropping off a scrumptious plate. A neighbor dropped off a pumpkin pie the other day. I am set, golden. See, two more blessings to add to my list!

Turkey day nap will happen. Food + nap = two of Kelly’s favorite things.

At some point, I hope to take a walk down the beach, and not forget to count my blessings while strolling past that decorative sign I mentioned earlier in this post.

Have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!!

Be safe and Gobble Gobble!

2020 Thanksgiving view







The Goldbergs are reenacting an all-time favorite 80’s movie of mine, Airplane, on tonight’s episode.

Therefore,  I had to share and repost the reenactment video I made a few months ago.

If you just started following this blog, here is a glimpse into my sense of humor!

“What a pisser.” Ted Striker

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” Charlie Chaplin

Born To Fly



“How do you keep your feet on the ground when you know that you were  born to fly” Sara Evans

Born To Fly

Does your life feel repetitive, dull or stale? Do you often dream of skipping town making a new life in a brand new state? If so, have your fears held you back or something else?

Trust me I have been there, and want to share my story, in hopes, it will encourage you to take that leap, spread your wings and fly… because I am living proof it is attainable.

SOLELY attainable!

I achieved my dream of moving to a beach in Florida all by my lonesome. No man, no relative, no friend. Just me, myself and I.  

There’s Gotta Be Something More

It doesn’t seem that long ago I was sitting in a cubicle, back when I was working for Corporate America in Pennsylvania, daydreaming of the days palm trees🌴 would be visible out my window.  Visions of a different life, in a warmer climate, by the coast, consumed me. 🌊

Somewhere deep within my soul I could not shake the feeling something more was out there. 

This song was a big inspiration to me. Sugarland-Something More

Can you relate to the feeling? If you said yes do not ignore that sensation. Your intuition just may be speaking to you!

I know it may seem terrifying to make a huge life change like that. But I am here to show you the rewards far outweigh the risks.

You can produce what you continually see in your mind.

Turns out they were onto something.  I was meant to chase the sun. ☀

3 different views from my former work cubicle

Just Lookin’ For My One Chance To Run

The opportunity for a new journey to start happened when the health insurance company I was employed at(where you would find that elaborate cubicle) for 14 and a half years, had a huge round of layoffs due to a parent company takeover.

I was so young when first hired at NCAS(National Claims Administrative Services) as a temporary Front End Clerk, 20 years old, with minimal college education. When let go, I was a permanent employee, with a Business Analyst title, 35 years of age. 

December 2003 when I received my 5 year star award from NCAS.

It took some time to get the courage to move away after the layoff, 8 months to be exact- 9 years after the dream of relocating to Florida first came to mind. Like many do, I fell in love the very first visit. 

Dreams can take years to become a reality but that doesn’t mean you should give up on it!

Did you ever have an opportunity that you didn’t go for because you didn’t feel like you could do it?

No doubt those negative thoughts crossed my mind continuously. 

Initially, I wasn’t as ballsy. Being super close to family and friends made the decision more difficult. Overall, it was fear holding me back… so it was time to let out the badass buried deep inside. She surely came out swinging, because I left on a whim with nothing planned out.

No job was lined up, nor a place to live.

I literally skipped town with a heart full of faith, plus a packed car with a month full of clothes, and my dog Brandi. Thankfully, living in southern Florida, majority of the year, you do not need much more than shorts, tank tops, bathing suits and flip flops.  😎

The way everything fell into place so easily upon arriving to the sunshine state, there is no doubt it was meant to be. God opened every door.

Always choose Faith over Fear.

The Only BS You Need Is Beach And Sunshine

Now, the beach, unbelievably, is my backyard. Palm tress blow outside all windows from the seaside serenity I call home. Morning runs consist of seeing dolphins, manatees, pelicans. Perfecting my tan and long walks down the beach fill some afternoons. Evenings often end with capturing amazing sunsets over the gulf.

Never, in my wildest dreams, did I imagine being rewarded in this way – that I would find a place affordable-on a small beach- within 100 yards until the sand was felt between my toes.

I am truly a island girl ‘livin’ on island time!

Palm trees blowing outside my bedroom window
Morning run view


I pass this sign everyday when I enter my beach community
I pass this sign everyday I drive through my beach community.
Favorite Beach Hobby = Capturing A Sunset
I Never Said It Would Be Easy

Don’t get me wrong, I have had some major struggles. Emotional and financial plus being away from family and friends has been super tough, especially when those relationships were well built and solid. It is a real bummer when trials, heartbreak, holidays, etc arrive. But it has made me stronger, wiser, braver, and most of all a kinder more gentler woman.

Stepping outside of that Pennsylvania comfort zone, I lost, found myself, and transformed into a person I had only hoped to be. The divine part, the new Kelly, is helping to convert me over to this next phase of life. 

If you crave a new life, do yourself a favor and FLY!

If you want it bad enough YOU too can reform your life! Whether it is the mountains, the beach, a big city or even another country, NO dream is unattainable if your heart is in it. 

Maybe, just maybe, if you are in the position to move, it just may be your time to pack up(heavy or light) whether you plan it out, or  go on a whim(like I did), put your current life in the rear view mirror, hit that accelerator hard, and peace out on an open highway. 

Dream Weaver

Ultimately, my dream is to settle down on a farm, with an abundance of animals that make me laugh everyday. Also I would love to own a beach cottage I can escape to when the ocean calls me.

I surely am a dreamer. One achieved but more to come. Full time blogger, photographer, traveler are all work in progress. 

Never give up on your dreams. Anything is possible if you want it bad enough.

Sometimes the best life changes are NOT planned. 

Now She's An Island Girl
Now she’s an island girl!
I was always drawn to the ocean, since a little girl.  This captured moment is from Ocean City Maryland, where my family and I visited every summer.


Feel free to leave me a comment or question. I look forward to interacting with you and hearing your thoughts!