When we were out in Utah for our early Christmas with our family we had family photos done up in the mountains! They turned out so incredible and I will cherish them forever.
*Photos courtesy of Hanna Roberts Photography
I know I said yesterday how I don't make goals or resolutions at the start of a new year but I always have some goals that I am trying to focus on in my life! After having Kai, I really started focusing on health and wellness for myself. Our bodies do amazing things and in return they deserve to be treated for how amazing they are. I mentioned a little bit in my post about My Postpartum Fitness Journey how I have a list of wellness goals that I have been trying to master. I came up with these goals back in the fall and was doing so well with them, but then my dad took a turn for the worst and I really struggled to stay on track. I've tried my hardest to get back to where I was back in September but I just haven't gotten there yet. Well now that the holidays are over and we're off to a fresh start in 2019 it's time to focus on them whole heartedly again!
The way I believe it is best to master any kind of fitness or lifestyle goal is to take it slow. They say it takes 14 days to break a habit and 21 days to make a habit. So if we try to create 10 different habits all at once, we're going to fail. Plain and simple. Now I don't want to drag my goals out super long so I settled on 1 week at a time. I'll explain this part in more detail down below.
I have 10 goals on my list. These goals are things that I want to become natural habits within my life. There's no end to them and I allow myself grace when it comes to them because life does happen and it's not always perfect.
My thought process for making it through this list of healthy lifestyle goals is to take 1 goal and focus on that each week. So for instance, next week I am aiming to complete my 3 workouts per week goal. Remember when I said though that I'm giving myself grace when it comes to these goals? So this goal is a perfect example of how sometimes life doesn't go as planned and I'm not going to beat myself up if I miss a workout. If I'm really sick or if it's a holiday or if we're on vacation I'm not going to stress about working out. But I'm also not going to use those things as excuses for missing workouts when I really am able to get a workout in. Working out is something we really need to make time for in our lives because our mind, body, and souls deserve it.
Then the next week I will pick a new goal to focus on if I completed the previous week's goal. So if I do all my workouts next week then the week after I will focus on drinking all my water every day. If I don't meet that goal then I will just try again the following week. Get where I'm coming from? It's not about failing and giving up. It's simply just about being the best you can be. Some times I know I won't meet all these goals in a week and that's ok. Just because I missed a work out or went to sleep late one night doesn't mean I should just completely toss out the idea of getting 8 hours of sleep all the nights after. I know how hard it can be to set your mind on something and then when you mess up you just throw your hands up in the air and say forget it...you ruined it. The thing I love about this list that I've made for myself is it has no end, they are habits I plan to create and keep for myself forever. They are lifestyle changes and not something that I just check off of a to do list.
So here's to being healthier and happier in 2019. Let's give our bodies, minds, and souls what they deserve because we as human beings are remarkable. What is one of your health and wellness goals for this year?
Hellooooo 2019! I absolutely love the start of a new year. There's something so light and amazing about the week of New Years. I hope you all had a relaxing holiday yesterday and are ready to take on this year!
So for the last few years I've ditched the idea of resolutions and goals. I use to make a nice long list of things I wanted to do and accomplish each year but the problem I use to have with that is that life changes over 12 months. Sometimes a little or sometimes a lot. So when I would go back to reflect on the year I'd look at my resolutions or goals and think about how I didn't really accomplish them 100% because I either forgot about them or they just aren't relevant anymore. I settled on this idea of picking a word or phrase at the start of the year that I feel like my life needs more of and I concentrate on applying it to my life all year long. Last year the phrase was 'go with the flow.' I'm sure you recognize it because I mentioned it all the time. I still plan on continuing to incorporate that mentality in my life but with the start of a new year I'm adding a new word to my life and that word is 'REFRESH.'
I know you're probably thinking, "wow Diana, new year, yeah it's refreshing...how groundbreaking." But stay with me here. We accumulate a lot of clutter in our lives in all areas from things in our homes to emotions we feel about past events. I had a heavy year in 2018 and it's not that I want to just forget about all that happened last year but I do feel the need to purge and at the same time not let 2019 build up on me. I don't want to purge all that is weighing down on me from the past just to replace it with what might happen in the future.
This idea of 'refresh' for me is starting out by quite literally getting rid of what I don't need and use from things, people, emotions, thoughts, etc. I spent my whole winter break purging unneeded things from our house. I've started meditating again to get in touch with my emotions and thoughts. I want to concentrate on things that serve me and keep me motivated to be the best human I can be. I want to stay in touch with what is important to me and let the rest go. I plan to continually check in with myself on all aspects of life to 'refresh' all the time. Just the thought of this word makes me feel light and happy, which I've been needing for awhile now. I am so excited to be on this journey in 2019. I hope you feel just as hopeful for 2019 and can't wait to hear all your words, goals, and resolutions, too! Happy New Year, everyone!
Happy New Years Eve, everyone! I hope you all have the perfect plans for ringing in the new year! Whether it be at a big party or cozied up at home, do whatever your heart calls for. For us, we'll be cozied up at home, eating Chinese food, and having a game night. It's our favorite way to bring in a new year.
I've done a lot of "reflecting" on this past year this whole month of December. The best way to describe this year is that it was very complicated. It was the best year and the worst year. You might be asking, how is that even possible? Well I was blessed with the greatest gift of my life in 2018, the birth of Kai but was also stripped of one of the most important people in my life in 2018 by the death of my dad. If that doesn't make a year complicated, I don't know what does. The ultimate up and down. I've had many people say man you've had a rough year or this was the worst year ever, but I will never say that. Even though the passing of my dad was the hardest thing I've ever had to go through, Kai being born is still the biggest shining star of the year...my life really. So in a way, it's still the best year.
As much as I'm looking forward to 2019 beginning, I'm actually scared for it. New Years Day is probably my favorite day of the year. I love that feeling of new and fresh. You get to "start over," right? While I'm still so excited for that and all the new goals and accomplishments that will come in the new year, I'm also sad to leave 2018. I'm not ready to start a whole new chapter without my dad. When the clock strikes midnight tonight, we'll be in a new year where my dad will never be. But that's life. You have to roll with the punches and make the best of the situation you're handed. I'm trying to hang on to the thoughts that he's not going to be forgotten...ever. But it's still scary to think that a new year is starting tomorrow without him. It makes all this even more final. I'm so ready for the pain and hurt to go away from his passing, but I'm not ready to say goodbye. But life is forcing me to wave goodbye to 2018 and move on a little more.
The other thing that 2019 brings is Kai turning 1. Which is so exciting! But it's also another point of sadness for me. I plan to stop breastfeeding at the 12 month mark and for some reason this is so hard on my heart. It's such a special bond we have together. He's literally lived off of me for almost 2 years now and to think that he no longer will need that brings a lot of sadness to me. There is so much to look forward to with him turning 1, but on this last day of 2018, I am going to hold on to his babiness as much as I possibly can.
As for my 2018 mantra of going with the flow, I think I rocked this. I use to be such a stringent planner and I look back and laugh at myself. I started the year out real strong with going with the flow. I allowed myself to slow down, go in to labor naturally even though I wanted so bad to be in control and know when Kai would arrive. I went with the flow of that historic day in my life too of becoming a mother by trusting my body, my doctor, and the universe to safely bring Kai in to this world no matter what it took or how long it took. I allowed myself to enjoy his newborn stage so well and really bond with him with no expectations of being super mom or adventuring too much. I had a small hiccup mid-year with my bout of PPD, but I give myself grace when I think about this period because it's not my fault. My brain literally was not working the way it needed to in order to function properly and I needed help. Thankfully I got that help and was able to move past it fairly quickly. Most importantly though, I did my absolute best with my dad. I was there for him whenever he needed me, but I was able to keep rolling with life of being a mom, a wife, kicking ass at my job, and still took care of myself. I wouldn't have been able to handle all of it if I wasn't able to let go of things and go with the flow of each and every day. I didn't care if I didn't fold the laundry that exact day or if I didn't finish tidying up the house before bed. There is always tomorrow for those things and that mentality allowed me space for the things that really mattered. Kai, Caleb, and my dad.
I am very grateful for this year of growth and I am also thankful to all of you who are here. Whether you joined me on this journey in 2018 or if you've been here all along and stuck around through this complicated year. Thank you. I hope you all can look back on 2018 with a smile, too and I wish you all the best in the new year!
Metra - This train takes you to and from the suburbs of Chicago in to the city as well as along the lakefront within the city. It's one of the easiest ways to get in to the city if you are staying out in the suburbs and a great way to avoid the awful Chicago traffic.
CTA - This train primarily runs within the city limits of Chicago, but there are a few lines that run out in to the suburbs...the most convenient one being the Blue Line that will take you to O'Hare International Airport. It's only $2.50 to ride one way on the CTA with free transfers to each of the different lines. There are stations all throughout the city. This is the easiest and cheapest way to get around Chicago. You'll need a Ventra card to ride the CTA, but they are easy to get at any of the stations.
Pace - This is Chicago's bus system, which also runs on the Ventra card. There are bus stops all over the city and will take you just about anywhere you need to go, including the suburbs. This is a slower option of transportation though since you'll have to deal with traffic. But it's still better than driving yourself! The cool thing about Pace is they have special buses that will take you to Cubs games, Sox games, and Bears games from the Schaumburg and Lombard hubs if you're out in the suburbs.
Art Institute of Chicago - Chicago's amazing art museum. General admission for adults is $25 and children under 13 are free. They have special admission prices for teens and seniors, as well, which is $19. You can see some amazing pieces of art here including A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, American Gothic by Grant Wood, and The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso. They always have special exhibits going on, as well.
The Field Museum - This is Chicago's museum of natural history. Basic admission is $24 for adults and $17 for children 3-11 years old. There is so much rich history at this museum including a massive dinosaur exhibit, history of the Pacific, and Ancient Egypt. This is home of Sue the dinosaur, who now has her very own exhibit! You can also see Lucy, the famous Australopithicus.
Shedd Aquarium - Chicago's aquarium! General admission for adults is $39.95 and $29.95 for children ages 3-11. Experience all the amazing fish and sea creatures including penguins, dolphins, and sharks. There is a fun dolphin show that runs all day long as well as many special exhibits.
Adler Planetarium - Chicago's space museum. General admission for adults is $12 and $8 for children ages 3-11. Explore the wonders of space through shows, exhibits and events. A big highlight of this space museum is the Mission Moon exhibit that is currently open!
Museum of Science and Industry - This is Chicago's science museum. General admission for adults is $21.95 and $12.95 for children ages 3-11. This museum is so great for kids because it is very interactive and a fun way for them to learn. They always have amazing extra exhibits and IMAX shows, too! A couple of the permanent exhibits that are worth noting are the spinning vortex, the model train, and the U-505 submarine.
Navy Pier - This fun attraction is a pier out on Lake Michigan. There are tons of restaurants, shops, mini golf, and a Ferris wheel that you can ride to see some amazing views of the lake and city. They also have massive exhibition halls that always have something going on in them, too. Whether it's a sports tournament or a special exhibit, it's worth checking out.
Millennium Park - This park is where The Bean is! It's an iconic spot in Chicago and fun to take pictures at. There is also a beautiful garden to walk through, a great cafe, and ice skating during the winter months! Ice skating is free and you can rent skates for $12. They also have a big lawn area where you can sit and relax to enjoy concerts that go on at the amphitheater and there is a fountain area in the summer for kids to run around in to cool off on hot summer days.
Sky Deck at Willis Tower (aka Sears Tower to us Chicagoans) - The Sky Deck is located at the top of the Sears Tower and offers incredible views of Chicago. They installed The Ledge a few years ago where you can walk out in to a glass box that hovers 100 stories above the city. You can look straight down and see the Chicago River.
Lincoln Park Zoo - This free zoo is located right in the heart of the city and is a fun one to do with the kids! You can walk around and see all the animals and it's the perfect size. During the holiday season, they have a special event every night called Zoo Lights, where the whole zoo is lit up to celebrate the holiday season.
Garfield Park Conservatory - This indoor botanical garden is fun to walk around in, especially in the winter. It's a nice break from the cold + it's free!
where to eat + drink
breakfast + brunch + coffee
The Doughnut Vault ( 401 N Franklin St.) - The best doughnuts in Chicago! They have a simple menu + specials every day.
Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits (2051 N California Ave.) - Great biscuits for breakfast, great pies for later. Delicious coffee + amazing jams.
avec (615 W Randolph St.) - A perfect spot for Sunday brunch serving Mediterranean style food. The bacon wrapped dates are a top 5 food item of all time for me.
Miller's Pub (134 S Wabash Ave.) - A Chicago institution serving the best burgers. Standard American fare done so well.
Lou Malnatis (1120 N State St.) - Best pizza joint in Chicago. The original spot for deep dish pizza. Sausage deep dish is our favorite!
Cindy's (12 S Michigan Ave.) - A swanky rooftop spot overlooking Michigan Ave. Amazing views of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. What's even more amazing is their food...especially the lobster roll.
Tortoise Supper Club (350 N State St.) - Our favorite dinner spot in Chicago. A traditional American fare spot with a nice intimate feel. The food is the best in the city, especially the Berkshire pork chop.
Quartino (626 N State St.) - The best Italian food in the city. All served family style for sharing. There's nothing on the menu that isn't a 10 out of 10. All their pastas are made in house and I honestly can't pick a favorite!
Frontera Grill (445 N Clark St.) - The famous Rick Bayless Mexican restaurant. Their enchiladas are mouth watering and their margaritas are perfection. + the chips & salsa & guac are phenomenal.
Garrett's Popcorn (4 E Madison St.) - The best gourmet popcorn you'll ever have. Get the a large bag of Chicago mix and walk over to Millennium Park to sit and enjoy. Be careful though...the whole bag will be gone before you know it!
Original Ferrara Bakery (2210 W Taylor St.) - This 100 year old Italian bakery is the real deal. I personally think they are better than what you'll find in Italy! The tiramisu and canolis are the best we've ever had.
Alliance Patissere (615 N State St.) - A little French bakery with great macarons. They serve Collectivo coffee and is a fun little spot to pop in to for some sweets any time of the day.
cocktails + bars
Andy's Jazz Club (11 E Hubbard St) - A jazz club with a full bar and menu. Enjoy some drinks and listen to some spectacular jazz music.
Three Dots & a Dash (435 N Clark St.) - A fun little underground tiki bar! They serve some elaborately decorated drinks that are so yummy. It's worth booking a reservation to get a table so you can check out their food menu, too. The pork sliders are amazing.
Watershed (601 N State St.) - This basement cocktail bar is our favorite in the city. It's located underneath Pops for Champagne...another great bar, but they serve all local Midwest spirits, beers, and wines. It's a swanky local watering hole of sorts. It's nice and intimate and the perfect spot for great drink and conversation with good company.
where to stay
The Palmer House (17 E Monroe St.) - A beautiful Hilton hotel located in the Loop. Just a few steps away from Michigan Ave and Grant Park.
Sheraton Grand Chicago (301 E N Water St.) - The perfect spot to be if you love to shop. This hotel is right off the Magnificent Mile.
I’m Diana; curator & author of Tiny Dapper Fox. Here you’ll find posts on motherhood, home life, travel, & fashion/beauty as well as City Guides for places all around the world. Make yourself cozy and let’s be friends!
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