I’m Back – Let’s Review My Summer!

Hello, friends! I’m officially back to work and I am really excited about it. I wasn’t sure how I would feel coming back to work after almost three months off (Would I be ready? Would I dread it?), but I’m actually thrilled to be back in my element and chatting with this community. I missed you guys big time!

In case you missed it, after suffering through a terrible bout of insomnia, I took a few weeks off of work back in May. That time away prompted me to re-evaluate my life a bit (I was putting work ahead of my health) and I decided to take a three-month sabbatical to focus on myself and slow down. I shared an in-depth blog post about this and managing my anxiety in this post from July.

I’m Feeling So Much Better!

My time away was so good for me and I am feeling so much better. I find that I’m a lot less anxious and more mindful and present. At first, I was very worried about taking time away from work. As a hardcore Enneagram 3 Achiever, I wrapped up most of my identity in my never ending to-do list. Would I feel complete without being productive every minute of every day? The first few weeks of slowing down were tough, but by July, I was a pro. Here’s how I spent most of my time…

I started going to a yoga sculpt or hot yoga class at 5:45 am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I had been wanting to get back into a workout routine since having the kids and never prioritized it. Getting a good workout and stretching to start the day has been amazing and I’ve made some new friends in class.

Ellis playing soccer during summer 2023

On those same days, Ellis and I would walk Rory to pre-school and then he and I would spend the days together. We had so much fun exploring various parks, farmers’ markets, splash pads, and pools. We were outside pretty much all day and had a blast together. As a second child, he hasn’t gotten a ton of one-on-one time without Rory around, so I was delighted to spend so much time with my special guy.

Hanging with Liz by the pool
At the pool with my sister

The kids both go to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I spent that time with the adults that I love. I made lunch dates with my parents and all of my siblings, got coffee with old friends, hung out at the pool with my mom and sister, and even went to a movie with my bestie. (The Barbie movie was so good!)

Summer 2023 hanging in the backyard

I also really devoted myself to weekly therapy, both individual and couples therapy. It’s been cathartic to have a professional to talk to about the big and little things going on in my everyday life. I highly recommend therapy for just about everyone.

As for my sleep, I am sooooo happy to say it has been fantastic. I’ve really committed myself to the same sleep routine all summer long, rarely skewing from my 8:30 pm bedtime and 5:00 am wake-up. I’m sleeping so well and feel energized throughout the day. Honestly, looking back, I’m actually pretty grateful that insomnia hit me back in the spring because it forced me to make some necessary changes to improve my overall health.

Unplugging Is Good For The Soul

I’ve gotta say, it’s been really freeing to not be on my phone all the time. In fact, I rarely even kept it with me and often had it upstairs in our bedroom during the day. With this job, I’m constantly checking email, responding to comments, and posting continuously on Instagram stories throughout the day. It can be pretty draining to be constantly available to people.

I’m not completely sure how I will navigate this as I transition back to work, but I’m going to aim for a much healthier balance than I had before. Obviously, social media is a large part of my business, so there’s no removing it from my life completely. It will take some trial and error over the next few weeks to find a working balance as I get back into my groove.

Trying To Gain Clarity About The DIY Playbook’s Future

My time away also forced me to really think hard about where I want to take this business. Do I really see myself as an influencer in 10, 15, 20 years? I’m not so sure. I don’t have any plans to stop any time soon, but I have been noodling on some new ideas for The DIY Playbook and new directions I want to veer the business. I’m not quite ready to share just yet, but having some space to think this summer was very helpful.

Summer 2023 Shenanigans

We made a family bucket list back in June and slowly ticked off lots of fun activities together over the summer. Here’s a peek at summer 2023 and the fun we had.

Enjoying summer 2023
We went to my sister-in-law’s farm and had a blast swimming, riding the golf cart, and fishing, and we even did a family tie-dye session!
So many splash pads this summer!
We hit up all the splash pads this summer
Going to a movie
Finn and I had a cool date night at an outdoor movie theatre on a rooftop in Chicago. Highly recommend!
Visiting with LaTanya
We had brunch with our friends Yellow Brick Home and LaTanya
Visiting Beverly Shores during Summer 2023
We spent a weekend at my dad’s house in Beverly Shores, Indiana for some beach time, kite flying, and time on the boat.

What I Read/Watched/Listened To

Since I wasn’t working, I had a lot of time to listen to podcasts, read books (always on our chaise lounger in the backyard), and watch TV shows. Here’s what I loved over the summer 2023.

Things I Bought

My new Birkenstock sandals
Outfit Details Here

Pink Workout Top & Leggings // $23 Body Suit (so good!) // Comfy PJs // Purple Jumpsuit (wearing this to a bridal shower & wedding) // Blush Sweater & White Jeans

  • I plan to talk more about this steam cleaner on Instagram stories soon and show you all the crazy places I’ve been cleaning with it, but just know that this little machine is so satisfying to use!
  • We finally added a coffee table to our living room and I went with this one. I’m planning a whole blog post all about it and the other ones I considered, but wanted you to get a sneak peek at it here.
  • I updated our old address sign to this modern and sleek one. We have a red brick exterior, so I went with a white backdrop and black numbers so it really stands out against the brick. A super easy update.
  • Here are a few recent Amazon buys…this eye cream that is really depuffing my undereye area, a new blush apple watch band, and my favorite night face oil.

What’s Ahead?

Enjoying summer 2023

It feels good to be back to work and into a more regular routine around here. I’ll be easing back into my workload and projects around the house. On Wednesday, we’ll review my 2023 home goals and chat about our long-term plans for selling our home and finding a new place for our family! Next week, I’ve got a few outdoor projects up my sleeve and a kids’ room makeover that my assistant, Lindsey, is finishing up! Lots of fun content in store for you guys this fall.

Thanks for sticking with me and supporting me every step of the way. I’m grateful for each and every one of you!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.