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While 2020 brought its fair share of turmoil, there were still pockets of joy that are worth celebrating. As we look forward to 2021, with a lot of hope and good vibes, we can’t help but reflect on all that 2020 has taught us. To end the year on a positive note, we followed up with all of the FACES we featured in 2020 (from Birmingham and around the South) and asked them to share their favorite positive moment from the past year. Enjoy!

Katherine Mason, January 2020 FACE of the South.

“My favorite thing about 2020 has been witnessing the endless opportunity with e-commerce. When we were forced to shut down our brick-and-mortar locations in March, we pivoted to offer our customers an online shopping experience with our athleisure selection, and it has been such a huge and wonderful opportunity for growth. It is so exciting to see orders coming in from all over the country and to see that our brand has no boundaries online.” — SculptHouse owner Katherine Mason | Image: CatMax Photography

Callan Childs, January 2020 FACE of Birmingham

“It’s not surprising that one of my favorite moments of 2020 was with my family, but given just how much time has been spent in our home this year, I was surprised that when I really thought hard about it, one of my favorites times with them was in the streets of Pepper Place. We gathered our daughters on a blanket to watch Coco on the big screen during Eat in the Streets in Pepper Place. They both had huge smiles as they introduced their cousins to their first taste of Jeni’s Ice Cream, and with the glow of the newly hung string lights over 29th Street framing the Day of the Dead altars to the north, and the wonderful film about family and remembering our loved ones to our south, I felt warm on that first cold evening of the fall.” — Pepper Place’s Callan Childs | Image: Eric & Jamie Photography

Carla Youngblood, February 2020 FACE of Birmingham.

“My favorite positive moment of 2020 happened over the past eight months. I have learned to value the people I have in my life. Open to understand the point of view of others. Pivot in the time of crisis and allow myself to be vulnerable and open to love.” — Director of Compliance and Special Projects at Urban Impact, comedian and motivational speaker, Carla Youngblood | Image: Eric & Jamie Photography

Human trafficking survivor, Lexie Smith, January 2020 FACE of the South.

“In 2020, I am grateful for the choice to choose my responses and by doing so, I always have more power and control over my circumstances than I think or feel.” — Human trafficking survivor, Lexie Smith | Image: Leila Grossman

Marika Austad, January 2020 FACE of Birmingham. Image: Eric & Jamie Photography

“A highlight for me in 2020 is that recently my best friend and partner of 10 years got married. Because of COVID, we didn’t feel it was safe to have a celebration. We took our kids, went to the courthouse, and celebrated with family at home afterwards. It was such a happy, exciting day for our whole family. [I’m] looking forward to a time when we can have a celebration safely!” — Small-batch ceramic artist, Marika Austad | Image: Eric & Jamie Photography

Lauren Pearson, February 2020 FACE of Birmingham. Image: Eric & Jamie Photography

“2020 has taught me many things, but the most important is to be gracious with myself. I have never allowed myself to work from home, mainly because I am a woman in a male-dominated industry and thought I wouldn’t be taken seriously. I realize that no one put that pressure on me except for me, and during quarantine, I was able to effectively run and grow my practice working from home. That doesn’t mean I will work 100% from home because I love our beautiful office, but that I just needed to give myself a little grace when life happens.” — Founder and Managing Director of HighTower Somerset Advisory, Lauren Pearson | Image: Eric & Jamie Photography

Emma “Funmi” Ford, August 2020 FACE of Birmingham.

“One of the highlights of my 2020 was giving birth to my second son. His name is Solomon, which means ‘peace’, and he is the epitome of it! 2020 has been hectic, stressful and sad for so many, but even through it all, there have been pockets of such joy. He is my joy.” — Stylist, lifestyle and fashion blogger, Emma “Funmi” Ford | Image: Emma Ford

Laura Lea Bryant, February 2020 FACE of the South

“My favorite positive moment of 2020 was the day I launched the Simply Balanced Meal Plans. I created them to help people who struggle to feed their families affordable, accessible and nutritious food. Seeing how the plans truly fill a need and save members time, money and mental energy (the most precious commodity of all) gave me an incredible sense of hope and purpose.” — Holistic chef Laura Lea Bryant of LL Balanced | Image: Leila Grossman

Charlotte Evans Russell of Charlotte's Happy Home, March 2020 FACE of Birmingham. Image submitted

“My favorite positive moment from 2020 was the moment we decided to buy a 1901 historic fixer-upper in downtown Gadsden! We are planning to expand our family, and this house was crying out to be revitalized and restored. Perfect timing! We are having a blast bringing back the beauty and charm as we document it all on my Instagram. Be sure to follow along!” — Charlotte Evans Russell of Charlotte’s Happy Home | Image: Charlotte’s Happy Home

Heidi Elnora, Birmingham FACE March 2020

“2020 has definitely been a year of reflection and an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. I would have to say feeling called to lead the charge of making masks, at the beginning of the pandemic, was pretty incredible. With the help of over 300 volunteers across the state including seamstresses, masks delivery teams, teachers, local businesses, and churches, we were able to make and donate over 25,000 masks in order to protect those on the frontline. We did all of this within just a matter of weeks. Talk about a Rosie the Riveter moment. A special thanks to the Christian Service Mission (CSM) who do acts of compassion every day without really getting noticed and for finding me some leftover N-95 masks that were just in need of some new elastic. Watching the human spirit rise to the occasion, people stepping out of their comfort zone to help a fellow man, and the selfless love for others will forever remain one of my favorite memories from this year.” — Heidi Elnora of Heidi Elnora Atelier | Image: Heidi Elnora

Vanderbilt athletic director, Candice Storey Lee

“While being named the athletic director for my alma mater was the most incredible moment, the most special part of that was attending Vanderbilt’s first athletic event of the fall season in this role. The trials and tribulations of navigating through this pandemic were all worth it to give our student-athletes the opportunity to compete, and watching them do what they love was a great feeling.” — Vanderbilt Athletic Director, Candice Storey Lee | Image: Leila Grossman

Sandi Eubank Gregory, May 2020 FACE of Birmingham.

“There have been a lot of favorite positive moments despite COVID-19. A recent favorite, though, was my husband and I had dinner with friends on the back patio of Chez Fonfon. We followed dinner with ice cream from Jeni’s. It was the first time seeing our friends in person since March, and it was a lovely night!” — Sandi Eubank Gregory, family law attorney | Image: Eric & Jamie Photography

Ashley Foster of Hand in Paw, June 2020 FACES of Birmingham

“My favorite positive moment of 2020 was when I received a call from my vet telling me my dog, Allie, did not have cancer. She was misdiagnosed right when the pandemic started, and we thought she only had weeks to live. She just turned 14 and is doing great!” — Ashley Foster, Development Director at Hand in Paw  | Image: Eric & Jamie Photography

Country music singer, Tiera

“2020 has honestly been a highlight year for me. I signed my first publishing deal, started hosting my own radio show on Apple Music Country, released new music and got engaged! I’m so blessed to have been able to experience all of these amazing things in the midst of the craziness of 2020.” — Country music artist Tiera | Image: Kam Studios

Liz and Lindsey of Weezie Towels

Liz: “2020 brought us two exciting birthdays worth celebrating! My family added a second girl to our girl gang (my second daughter, Eadie). At the same time, my other baby, Weezie [Towels], had its second anniversary — and we were blown away by the customer response to our birthday sale!”
Lindsey: “Despite its fair share of uncertainty and challenges, the past year has been one of growth, both personally and professionally. My husband and I welcomed our first daughter in March, and we were also fortunate enough to grow our Weezie fam to over 30 employees, all of whom have provided incredible support for our growing business over the past year.” — Weezie Towels founders, Liz Eichholz (left) and Lindsey Johnson (right) | Image: Weezie Towels

Beverly Erdreich, June 2020 FACE of Birmingham

“My favorite positive moment of 2020 was when I last saw our kids in New York City in early March. Little did we know at the time that it would be another year before we would be together again. Come on 2021!” — Artist Beverly Erdreich | Image: Beverly Erdreich

RELATED: 5 Southern Art Forms Making a Comeback

Gina Hurry, July 2020 FACE of Birmingham.

“My favorite memories of 2020 have been made at home with our family and closest friends. I’d have to say I’ll always treasure the unexpected slow days and long conversations and meals together. Professionally, I’m super proud of an unexpected book project, The Beloved City, an invitation to engage the holy imagination. The book was birthed in this quiet year based on the mystery of faith in the messy, creative process of our lives and is flooded with images of dropcloths and the mess of my studio paired with promises of future hope. The messy process is beautiful. Life is hard, and I think hope is needed now more than ever.” — Artist Gina Hurry | Image: Gina Hurry

SB Birmingham July FACES, the women of Dorm Decor

Carolyn: “One thing I would not trade about 2020 is having all of my children home. I had one that was a senior in college and two out in the workforce. They all were home for two months for the first time in 5 or 6 years. We laughed often and realized how lucky we are to have been given this extra time together.”
Jennifer: “Early in the quarantine, 25 of my best college friends from all over the country started a weekly Zoom hour, “Quarantine Cocktails.” Although we aren’t still holding a weekly remote gathering, the text thread has stayed active. It’s been so fun to reconnect and the frequent posts have provided a constant source of amusement.” — Carolyn Greene & Jennifer Cope of Dorm Decor | Image: Dorm Decor

Rosilyn Houston, August 2020 FACE of Birmingham.

“2020 has been an unimaginable year filled with uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and even unrest. Through it all, my favorite positive moment this year was when my big sister called to tell me to share the news that the results of her surgery revealed that they removed all of the cancer, and that her prognosis was excellent for a bright and healthy future from the dreadful breast cancer diagnosis!” — Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Talent and Cultural Executive at BBVA, Rosilyn Houston | Image: Rosilyn Houston

Alyssa Rosenheck, FACE of the South

“Every year comes with a few memorable moments for me; however, 2020 has been world- (and life-) changing. The highlight for me was bringing my book, The New Southern, into the world this year. Was it easy with a pandemic raging and racial tensions roaring? No, it was very difficult. However, I did it with grit, determination and great meaning, which made it worth it. Also, witnessing the first Madam Vice-President elected into office brings a sense of hope as a woman in this country who continues to dream. Representation matters, and we matter.” — Author and photographer Alyssa Rosenheck | Image: Alyssa Rosenheck

Casi Ferguson, September 2020 FACE of Birmingham.

“My daughter completed her studies in receiving her Ph.D. – no party, no fanfare – but a wonderful moment for her and her accomplishments. This year on Thanksgiving Day, my dad turned 100 years old. My mom died on May 25, 2020. They had been married for 79 years. So, you see the year 2020 will be a year my family will always remember.” — Birmingham Area Development Director at the United Negro College Fund, Casi Ferguson | Image: Casi Ferguson

Cecilia Pearson of Babypalooza, October 2020 FACE of Birmingham

“My favorite memory of 2020 is from the early days of the pandemic. Social distancing has been especially hard on seniors. Pre-COVID, my 81-year-old mom had a full week of days at the Senior Center playing poker with friends, at the Knit Shop with the girls, and at church making mats for the homeless. When the pandemic hit that all went away. So for fun while restaurants were still closed to indoor dining we decided to order curbside and have breakfast in the Cracker Barrel parking lot. It was a beautiful day, and my mom enjoyed all the folks that would drive by and say how they wished they were out dining with her. Her smile is everything.” — Cecilia Pearson of Babypalooza | Image: Cecilia Pearson

Cecilia’s mom enjoying her Cracker Barrel meal in the parking late early in the pandemic | Image: Submitted

Jack Daniel Distillery's, Lynne Tolley

“My favorite positive and most special moment of 2020 was opening a box in the attic that turned out to be a treasure chest full of things that I had never seen before. It was a collection of things that were important to my mother, who died at 98 years old, in 2015. There was her baby book from 1917 with precious photos of her as a baby, the elementary school report cards for my brother and me, a daily journal of a family road trip in 1957 to New York, written by Mother and Daddy (whoever was not driving wrote about the sights and stops we were making), a war ration book full of unused stamps during World War II, a high school essay I wrote as a senior where I made an A+, Daddy’s boyhood stamp collection book, a page from a 1974 Saturday Evening Post magazine featuring a photo of my cousin’s antique car parked in front of Cheekwood, and my grandmother’s 1908 college certificate from Linwood Female College in Gastonia, NC. And I am only halfway finished with reading everything! I just discovered this box a few weeks ago, and it is so amazing to our family. I advise everyone to be careful while cleaning out the attic; who knows what you will find!” — Jack Daniel’s premier whiskey taster, consultant and brand ambassador, Lynne Tolley | Image: Jack Daniel Distillery

Hannah-Kate McFadden

“My favorite moment of 2020 was when I was able to tour the Tennessee State Capitol. As I walked through the tunnel leading to the elevators that took me to the Capitol, my heart was pumping fast with excitement! This year has been filled with so much sadness and anguish … We have all been through a lot in this tough year, and we need to look for the positive things. So, as I was in the elevator, I focused on all the hard work I put into making positive election changes. As the elevator door opened, I was awestruck by the beauty of the Capitol. When I walked onto the floor where laws are made, I knew that all the negativity and sadness of 2020 is bringing change to our country. As I stood on the floor and looked all around the room, I knew that this was just the beginning, and I had more work to accomplish.” — 13-year-old founder of The Candidate Pledge, Hannah-Kate McFadden | Image: submitted

Donna Woodfin (left) and Alex Hechart (right) of Home With Hechart, November 2020 FACES of Birmingham.

“My favorite moment from 2020 was when I decided to take the leap and start Home with Hechart, a dream I have had for a very long time. Despite the craziness of 2020, I felt certain this was the year to start my business and I am so grateful I did.” — Alex Hechart (right), pictured with her mom and business partner, Donna Woodfin (left), of Home With Hechart | Image: Mary Margaret Smith

RELATED: A Home Renovation That’s Both Stylish & Functional

Bernadine Birdsong of Michael's Restaurant, November 2020 FACE of Birmingham.

“My favorite moment was the grand opening of Michael’s Restaurant on August 3. Surrounded by family, friends, the mayor of the city of Birmingham, the director of the Negro Southern League Museum and so many well-wishers was a dream come true.” — Bernadine Birdsong of Michael’s Restaurant | Image: Bernadine Birdsong

DeLynn Zell, November 2020 FACE of Birmingham.

“We were a week away from moving to our new office when we sent everyone home to work remotely due to the pandemic. I’ll never forget the joy and excitement of our team members the first day we reopened our office. Not only were they excited about the new space, but you could also see the pure joy on everyone’s faces just to be together again.” — CEO and co-founder of Bridgeworth Wealth Management, DeLynn Zell | Image: Cameron Carnes

Rashada LeRoy, November 2020 FACE of Birmingham

“The day the Essence Festival canceled was my breakdown day because that’s a huge event for us. I don’t know what’s happening. I don’t know the state of events. Is my company going to survive? All of these thoughts started going through my head. That night we produced a virtual event on health. Someone else from the team moderated so I joined the call. I was a mess. One of the counselors from UAB, Herbert Wilkerson, made the comment, “It’s okay to not be okay.” That was a turnaround moment for me. The next day I put together our virtual event strategy and it has skyrocketed from there. I have carried that statement with me throughout 2020. It’s okay not to be okay — but it’s going to be okay.” — Rashada LeRoy of LRY Media Group | Image: Rashada LeRoy

Crystal Renee Hayslett

“My favorite positive moment in 2020 was having the time to really focus on things I’d neglected, and in that time, I also found new things that I really love to do. I’m not sure if that would have happened otherwise.” — Actress Crystal Renee’ Hayslett | Image: Kayla Madonna

Delia Folk and Alison Bruhn of The Style That Binds Us

Delia: “I think one of the positives is we just got to get rid of all the stuff that seems so frivolous and doesn’t matter. And we have somehow met a lot of new people this year, and I feel like the people that you meet during COVID you build such strong relationships with.”
Alison: “The most positive thing has been taking time to re-evaluate what’s working and what’s not working in my life and making a plan to fix those things.” — Delia Folk (right) and Alison Bruhn (left) of The Style That Binds Us | Image: The Style That Binds Us

We hope these insights have been uplifting to read through. Here’s to an amazing 2021!

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