By Josh Baez, Client Engagement Manager at Heinz Marketing

2020 has been a rollercoaster year that has felt like a decade. And it hasn’t been easy for most of us. As we close out a year so full of uncertainty and difficulty, we can’t help but feel grateful for what we have. Our families and friends, our business and our clients. We are grateful that even in the most tumultuous of years, we still have so many opportunities ahead of us. And while 2020 has not been an easy or ordinary year – even apart – we’re thankful to have been able to find the resilience, agility, and strength to face it together.

As 2020 comes to an end, what other things helped get us through the year? What were our silver linings?

From music and podcasts, to food and drinks, to TV shows and movies, to hobbies and interests… Here are Heinz Marketing’s 2020 Silver Linings!

Music and podcasts

Josh Baez: While there’re are a few podcasts that have surely helped this quarantine feel a little less remote, I don’t get to listen to as many of them now that I’m not commuting anywhere. Most of the time, my day is spent listening to movie, TV show, and video game scores and soundtracks. At least then I can do my work feeling as if I’m in a Nolan film.

Matt Heinz: VOCES8. A beautiful, British acapella group. Fantastic for the holidays and ethereal music for year-round as well.

Maria Geokezas: The Michelle Obama Podcast is super comforting. It’s fun to hear her reminisce about her childhood or grapple with the same issues us “normal” people are also dealing with.

Sheena McKinney: As someone who overthinks and can overcomplicate things, the lyrics of the song: “Love God Love People” by Danny Gokey caught my ear and heart this year.

Payal Parikh: I don’t get to control music when it is playing inside the house, but (my daughter) Kyra plays Taylor Swift and Louis Capaldi on the radio. I miss listening to podcasts when in my car driving to and from work, but no complaints – I listen to Bollywood songs on Pandora when I am in the car to and from grocery store.

Lisa Heay: I enjoy podcasts, though I miss having time in the car alone on my commute to listen to them. I have managed to catch up on The Office Ladies and My Favorite Murder, though – I particularly enjoy MFM’s Hometown story episodes where people write in with their crazy true crime encounters, family lore, or ghost stories. There is some WEIRD sh!t out there and it’s fascinating.

As for music, I usually don’t get to control the selection. But my kids have recently discovered EDM, so I’ve been on a quest to find them new songs to add to our rotation—I get tired of listening to Sandstorm on repeat (even though I’ll take that any day over kid music).

Brenna Lofquist: Spotify playlists; Chill Vibes, Chill Tracks, Kitchen Swagger, Chill Pop. I enjoy listening to music while I work and focus better with more chill, slow music. It puts me in the mood to be productive and when I need a little pick me up, I’ll throw on something more lively!

Stephanie Carrillo: I listen to a wide variety of music, but my go to is Country. I find myself listening to more Texas Country or artists not usually found on the radio.

Michelle Voznyuk: Right now, Christmas music is in full swing at our place! But I really enjoy any type of genre. Anything that is upbeat is usually my go-to, which is probably why I enjoy a lot of Country music!

Lauren Dichter: Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”: The song is timeless, and really seems to fit the mood that the pandemic has put me in and the areas of my life it has forced me to think about. It’s about time passing you by, and everyone getting older, which I’ve been thinking about a lot as I long to hug or just be near my parents and grandpa again.

“My Favorite Murder” podcast: This podcast may sound like it’s in the True Crime category, but it’s actually in the Comedy category! It’s humor and real-life murder stories mixed into one, which may sound vile, but it’s a lot better than just listening to a serious true crime podcast and trying to fall asleep. It lightens the mood, while still covering interesting topics like psychosis, bystander apathy, and more.

Win Salyards: Stormzy’s “Heavy is the Head” came out right before 2020 and it’s been an album I’ve kept coming back to this year. It’s chill neo-soul and R&B vibe has made it a great listen while reading.

Food and drinks

Josh Baez: On the food side, I’ve been experimenting more and cooking dishes like Filipino adobo, homemade Egg McMuffins and Crunchwrap Supremes, pork chops and gravy, miso-crusted salmon, and Korean-style fried chicken. On the drink side, I’ve found a fruit smoothie and a cup of coffee to be the perfect breakfast combo. And for dinner, a cranberry Moscow mule is just festive enough for this time of year.

Matt Heinz: Kombucha. Finally gave it a try this year and I liked it! Especially the Humm brand, which is a women-owned small business out of Bend, OR.

Maria Geokezas: A salty snack (like Ruffles Sour Cream and Cheddar chips) and Chardonnay. I swear I will give this up once the virus is a thing of the past.

Sheena McKinney: Pre-COVID, my hubby and I used to get coffee provided for us at our respective offices. Now he makes fresh coffee every morning. I love the smell and his thoughtfulness to make it for me. When we all migrated to work at home, the bags of popcorn kernels from the team kitchen came home with me. I enjoy it on occasion in the evening. My dogs get pretty excited about popcorn night too.

Payal Parikh: We’ve started eating a lot of avocados, sandwiches, and homemade cakes by my daughter. I am also glad to see my husband helping out in fixing dinner for the family. I love seeing some newfound skills and tastes – I am so bored of what I cook now.

Lisa Heay: I’ve tried all the quarantine food trends – but I’ve found the most comfort in my pre-COVID staple comfort foods: Jalapeno chips, dark chocolate sea salt almonds (from Trader Joes), kettle corn (from Costco), coffee, and sauvignon blanc (from anywhere).

Brenna Lofquist: I’ve been doing much more cooking in general (follow my Instagram @chefbrenb!), however, I’ve really enjoyed making my own soups from scratch. Popcorn with San Juan Island Sea Salt’s Popcorn Blend. Also, wine! Red, white, rose, champagne, any wine.

Stephanie Carrillo: On Tuesday nights, we take advantage of Papa Murphy’s $9 pizza special. It’s turned into a weekly habit. But mostly, the extra time spent at home has afforded me the opportunity to cook more complex meals. I have loved cooking from On the weekends, the adults in our home enjoy mimosas or a good Bloody Mary. At night, our go-to drink is a good bourbon or wine.

Michelle Voznyuk: Coffee is always my tried and true. Due to the pandemic this year, I haven’t gone out for coffee as much as I used to, so my Nespresso has become my saving grace. However, I still try to get out and support some of our local coffee shops and small businesses whenever I can! That means lots of takeout too. Oh, and we started doing HomeChef this year, so that’s been a fun new project!

Lauren Dichter: RED WINE, Trader Joe’s (hummus, dolmas, authentic Greek feta, dark choc pb cups), penne arrabiatta.

Win Salyards: This year I’m grateful for discovering the joy that is Lao Sausage. Lao sausage or Sai Ua is a lemongrass, ginger, and galangal-based pork sausage and oh is it good. Completely unique from any other type I’ve had in the past and it has a freshness to it you wouldn’t expect from a sausage. Great with Thai chilis, cabbage, peanuts, fresh ginger, and cilantro.

TV shows and movies

Josh Baez: My partner and I decided to watch Survivor all the way from Season 1 – and as of writing this, we’re halfway through Season 31. Other TV shows include Iron Chef America, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Schitt’s Creek, This Is Us, Shameless, Euphoria, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few others.

On the movie front, we’ve been going through and watching nearly every horror/thriller movie we can find (and there are a lot of terrible ones). To name a few faves: Midsommar, Hereditary, It Comes At Night, Run, The Invisible Man, Upgrade, and Annihilation. On the more dumb-and-fun side, we’ve also been watching the Ocean’s series (just finished 11 and 12), caught up on all the Mission Impossibles, and squeezed in some John Wick for good measure.

Matt Heinz: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – finally caught up on this Netflix original “sitcom” and it’s been a fantastic diversion from the world for a while. If you liked 30 Rock you will like this show’s format and humor as well.

Maria Geokezas: Schitt’s Creek is a laugh-out loud release. If it weren’t for being quarantined, I would have missed this gem completely. Now that the show is over, I check out the GIFs for a quick escape. “Eww” is my fave.

Sheena McKinney: My hubby and I have managed to find some good shows on streaming and enjoy the last hours of our evening watching TV together. Some foodie shows: “The Big Family Cooking” show, “Crazy Delicious,” “Five Ingredients Quick & Easy with Jamie Oliver,” and more. My latest home improvement find is “Home Free.” For drama we watched “Alone,” “Bosh,” “Yellowstone,” and now “Endeavor.” We enjoyed “The Repair Shop,” and “Magic for Humans” a lot too. My husband just finished “Lucky Dog.” There’s a crazy amount of content out there!

Payal Parikh: Me and the girls watched Mako Mermaids, The Good Place, Iron Man, Babysitter’s Club, Man with a Plan, The Final Table, Zumbo’s Just Desserts, Crazy Delicious, Home Edit, and I am sure I am missing a lot.

Lisa Heay: We took a dark TV turn with Tiger King, Wild Wild Country, The Boys, and Utopia. But also restored our faith in humanity with The Good Place and Schitt’s Creek (my new FAVE). I also binged every episode of The Home Edit in a single day.

Brenna Lofquist: What haven’t I watched? I’m struggling to finish Ozark (don’t come for me), but have enjoyed the Home Edit, Formula 1, Restaurants on the Edge, and rewatching the OC from the very beginning.

Stephanie Carrillo: I never thought I would say this, but I’m so thankful for football. I have always enjoyed football, but I’m more into it this year. My son and I both enjoyed watching Enola Homes on Netflix and Peanut Butter Falcon on Amazon.

Michelle Voznyuk: I wouldn’t say there’s been one specific show or movie that’s gotten me through the year, but I think Netflix as a whole has! I’ve enjoyed shows like Schitt’s Creek, The Unicorn, Man with a Plan, Emily in Paris, and Gilmore Girls (throwback). My guilty pleasure is also any type of reality show. The Bachelorette, anyone?

Lauren Dichter: Schitt’s Creek, on Netflix: If you haven’t watched Schitt’s Creek by now, you’re doing yourself a disservice! It’s a funny and heartwarming family sitcom for modern times. The mother, Moira, is basically the same glamorous person as my late grandma Edith was, so that’s entertaining to watch!

Family Business, on Netflix: Everyone who likes dramedies with a focus on a close family’s dynamics should definitely watch this! Fair warning though, it’s in French with English subtitles. Even then, it’s SO worth it!

Win Salyards: I really enjoyed “The Witcher” show on Netflix this year, as well as the comedy show “Taskmaster” which left me in fits many evenings this year.

Hobbies, interests, and activities

Josh Baez: Well, I finally built my very own PC! I’ve also continued to cultivate my plant collection and have started purchasing/collecting art prints from independent artists and small businesses as well.

Matt Heinz: Woodworking – measuring twice, cutting once, and still screwing up half the time makes it impossible to think about anything else. From planter beds to small Christmas ornaments on the scroll saw, it’s been a fun diversion for body and mind.

Maria Geokezas: Ever since quarantine happened in March, my friends get together for a Friday 5pm Zoom call. Before the pandemic, we had trouble getting everyone together monthly. It’s the best 90min of my week. I hope this is the one thing that continues once the virus is history.

Shenna McKinney: HOME ORGANIZATION – At first, during the lockdown, I felt locked down myself. After a few months, I made up for lost time and did a crazy clean out and organization of my entire house. I was on a mission to not squander my time and resources. It felt so good to purge a lot of excess “schtuff” and focus on what is important and needed.

LEARNING – Since I was a young adult, I’ve loved to learn and read about health. During this crazy time in history, I’ve been using my spare time to further my learning and went back to school online and just became a board-certified functional health coach. Having beat stage 3 breast cancer, I’m hoping to give back and help others.

Payal Parikh: We did a lot of puzzles – 750 pieces, 1000 pcs, 1500 pcs etc. We play Monopoly Deal almost every single night before bed and have recently started playing Life and Ticket to Ride. I also enjoy dancing with the girls on Xbox. We have developed a new habit since March of going out on walks for at least an hour daily. The girls and I also go out to play basketball. Summer was spent going on bike rides with family in the neighborhood.  It’s been a great year for reading as well! Though I miss my dancing since the studio is closed 🙁

Lisa Heay: I bought my first eReader on Prime Day which has been amazing! I’ve gotten back into actually reading books (vs. listening to them). I’ve also been tackling some home reno and organization projects that have been on my list of things to do for literally years. Most days I feel so unproductive, but when I stop to think of what I’ve actually accomplished over this past year (along with working remotely and supporting online learning) that I wouldn’t have otherwise, it’s not too shabby.

Brenna Lofquist: Virtual bookclub and trivia have really helped me stay connected to friends and family and it’s something fun to do. I’ve read more books this year than I ever have before.
Crafting and woodworking – I’ve made two bar carts, a charcuterie board and holiday decor!

Stephanie Carrillo: Last December, I purchased a mirrorless camera and took up photography. We have taken several day trips to the mountains, a few ferry rides, and went to the countryside where I took my camera to capture those moments. Now that the weather has turned, I will take advantage of the wet weather to edit my photos and post them to Instagram.

Michelle Voznyuk: My husband and I moved this year, so we’ve taken up a lot of new adventures. We love exploring our new neighborhood by finding new trails and green spaces to walk around in. When all you can really do is stick around at home, going for a walk is a huge breath of fresh air (literally)!

Lauren Dichter: Working out virtually with friends, going on walks, reading, cooking, and just chilling w/bae. As humans, when we’re forced into tough situations, we eventually get creative to make the best of it. These activities are how I’ve stayed sane. They connect me with my loved ones, ground me in nature, quench my curiosity, and help me to relax. I definitely plan on keeping up with some of these things as much as I can once things go back to ‘normal.’

Win Salyards: Reading and listening to books has been my biggest personal activity this year. I think I’ve finished a little over a book a month this year. I guess when you have no place to go it gives you a lot of time to read.

What were your 2020 silver linings? Leave them in the comments below!