Happy Monday beautiful friends! I hope you all had a fun weekend and stayed nice and warm. It's gotten pretty cold here again and we've been getting hit with more snow but luckily Kai and I had a fun little mama/baby date with some new friends of ours at the Garfield Park Conservatory on Saturday. I swear that place is my absolute favorite place to go in Chicago in the winter. It's so warm and refreshing in there! We walked around with some fellow babywearing loving mamas and babies. It was so much fun to get to know some other moms who live in Chicago and sport our Wildbirds! Yesterday we just stayed home and snuggled up with some Game of Thrones while it snowed some more. We're rewatching the whole series to prep for the upcoming new season that airs in April!
I feel like I always start off the year strong when it comes to reading. Anyone else feel this way? I was able to make it through 2 books last month and I wanted to share them with you today! They are both non-fictions "self help" books and were a great way to motivate me for the year ahead.
You Are a Badass -Jen Sincero
This was definitely your typical self motivating how to kick butt book with a bit of an attitude twist. The author, Jen Sincero, is very blunt and just tells it like it is, which I really like. When it comes to self help books I'm not in to the fluffy extra crap that authors tend to add as fillers. Sincero gives great tips on how to excel in your professional and personal life, but to be honest it's nothing ground breaking. She hits on having a strong morning routine, meditation, exercise, getting enough sleep, just all your standard stuff that we always here about. She definitely presents it in an entertaining way but I don't feel that I personally learned anything new from this read. However, it did refresh my mind in terms of the things I should be doing to keep kicking ass at life, which was nice! I'll give it a 3 out of 5.
You can buy You are a Badass on Amazon.
Body Love -Kelly LeVeque
Body Love is a guided nutrition and physical fitness self help book. Kelly will tell you over and over again her program is not a diet, it's a lifestyle. Which I appreciate that approach, but if you were to sum it up...it's a diet, sorry Kelly! Her program is called the Fab Four, which is 4 main kinds of foods that you should always incorporate in to breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are leafy greens, fiber, protein, and fats. Kelly states that if you always have these 4 types of foods in your meals then you will avoid blood sugar spikes and drops, which will help you avoid cravings and keep you fuller longer. She is big on smoothies to incorporate the Fab Four and has lots of great recipes within the book. She touches upon exercise and other good habits you should be doing to help you feel like your best self. She also has an awesome sample schedule of meals and workouts and how that all fits in to her normal lifestyle in the book.
I liked this book, but it's not my favorite. I was hoping for something different from it, to be honest. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting from it, but it felt very preachy. She tells you over and over again how her program isn't a diet for like 5 chapters. By the time I got to the recipes it was kind of like "enough already!" It was very interesting to read but it still felt restrictive and a bit hard to follow, which she claims its not. Maybe it's just because we live in the Midwest, but a lot of her suggestions just aren't as easy as she was making them out to be. She kind of sounded like a naive LA girl, ha! Regardless though, I've tried to be more conscious of my meals to see if I feel better by incorporating the Fab Four as much as I can. I'm not 100% buying in to it, but I'm trying my best! I'll keep you all posted on how I'm feeling in any of my wellness posts! I'll give this one a 3 out of 5, as well.
You can buy Body Love on Amazon.
UP NEXT: Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
What are you currently reading? Share with me in the comments below!
Also, for all you parents out there, a friend of mine started a fun baby book club on Instagram! She's putting up bi-weekly baby book recommendations and you can follow along on the fun at @solsbooks!
Woo! It's been a minute friends, huh? Sorry I've been MIA lately...time has just gotten away from me. From planning Kai's 1st birthday party to cleaning out our house Marie Kondo style, I've just been really busy. I hope you all are having a wonderful start to 2019 though!
I finally have another book club post for you all today! About time, right? Well to be fair, I was reading David Copperfield and it's about 1200 pages long. I'm pretty proud of myself for this one especially because I tried once before and gave up real quick back in my college days...
So let's talk about Charles Dickens and David Copperfield. It was really good, I don't know why I gave up on it back in the day. It took me awhile to read but that's because of its length + being a mom + work + life...etc. Basically the story goes along the life of a boy named David Copperfield. It starts out from when he was born till he is middle aged. He goes through so many trials in life and I'm not going to lie, it actually resonated with me a lot from things that were going on within my own life. It's also one of those books that in the end, everything is exactly how it should be and what my heart longed for to happen for this character. So thank you for that, Mr. Dickens! The story goes all through his childhood, teen years in school, marriage, career, just everything that encompasses life. I don't want to give too much away so just trust on it having many exciting ups and downs that are real life problems.
If you love the classics and have the time + mind power to read this one, do it. It honestly taught me so much about life and the importance of persevering. Man did that kid have perseverance. When you didn't think it could get any worse for him, it does, but he was still a kind and loving young man. David Copperfield is honestly a source of inspiration for me! He goes through a lot of loss...I mean A LOT. He was always there for those who depended on him though even in his darkest of times, which I really needed reminding of this past fall when I had a lot of personal trials going on in my own life. It's funny that I chose to read this book during this phase of my life...the universe works in mysterious ways, huh? So anyways, read it, I know you'll love it ;)
You can purchase David Copperfield on Amazon.
UP NEXT: You are a Badass by Jen Sincero + Body Love by Kelly LeVeque
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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!
I hope you all are having a marvelous week! I'm almost done with Christmas shopping...talk about getting down to crunch time, huh? I'm so looking forward to this weekend and Christmas though. Our Papa Joe is flying in tomorrow to spend the holiday with us and tomorrow is my last day of work for the year, too! One more sleep and then it'll really feel like Christmas!
During the Christmas season, I bake ALL the cookies. I love baking so much so Christmas time is like an awesome marathon to me. One kind of cookie I've always struggled with though are gingerbread cookies. I love them but have never been able to get them quite right. I like cookies to be on the soft side and they always turn out too crisp for my liking. Well this year I finally nailed it! I tweaked my recipe a bit more and voila, the perfect gingerbread cookies came out of the oven! So here is my new and improved, delicious gingerbread cookie recipe!
Follow me on Pinterest for lots more yummy recipes, too!
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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