The “Year of Casey” – Halfway Point

At the start of the year, I shared my idea for a “Year of Casey” and my desire to find myself, reignite old passions, and spend time feeling physically and mentally nourished. Honestly, I’m so happy that I shared this resolution here on the blog because you’ve kept me accountable! Plus, it’s been eye-opening to hear from women of all ages about their struggles to carve out time for themselves. My three-month recap has some really interesting insights from my community. Definitely worth another read, especially if you at all feel guilty for taking time for yourself.

Casey headshot 2022

I have to say, I think I’m doing a pretty good job at my “Year of Casey” and we’re only six months in. Physically, I feel better than I have in a long time (more on that below), and mentally, I’m feeling a lot less isolated and more in tune with my friends/neighbors/community. Let’s dive into what that’s looked like over the past three months since our last update…

Cleaning Up My Diet

First, a disclaimer. I’ll be sharing information about weight loss. If that’s a trigger for you, skip ahead. Also, this is what works for me. Talk to your doctor to figure out what’s right for you!

It has been many years since I’ve physically felt good. I had multiple years of fertility treatments and then two pregnancies back to back. I still had about ten pounds of excess weight on me after having Ellis and I didn’t love the sluggish feeling it was giving me.

May 2022 brunch with Jan

Since January, my mom has been following this diet from the Mayo Clinic. It’s a diet backed in science with a heavy focus on fruits and vegetables, tracking your meals, and moving. It’s not a fad diet at all, but instead just focuses on the basics. She has since lost eighteen pounds since starting the Mayo Clinic diet and is feeling better than she has in years!

Feeling Healthier

The Year of Casey

After seeing her success, my sister and I started on the Mayo Clinic diet at the end of April. While I consider myself to be a pretty healthy eater, it was insightful tracking my daily meals and really seeing what I was putting into my body day in and day out. I’m now eating more vegetables than ever before and drinking a lot less alcohol. I’ve lost about ten pounds and I’m feeling really good.

I still haven’t gotten into a regular workout routine. The diet encourages 30 minutes of movement every day and I’m certainly getting that, chasing after my kids and taking them on walks. It’s just a busy season of life for me and I haven’t prioritized getting into a specific workout routine just yet. But this post has some good workout ideas from this community if you’re interested!

Time with Old Friends

Our Dallas girls' trip

I shared a bit about my recent trip to Dallas in last month’s Break Room post, but I wanted to talk a bit more about it here. In May, I had a long weekend of fun with my best friends from college. We ate, drank, and laughed until our cheeks hurt. It was one of the most fun weekends I’ve had in a long time. Was it easy to make happen? Nope. Between the four of us, we were leaving six kids at home. But, we managed to get it on the calendar and get together after too many years apart.

Our girls' trip to Dallas

Being with old friends made me feel like me. Even though we hadn’t seen each other in years, it was like no time had passed. We joked, talked about old times, and had no agenda except to spend time in each other’s company. We’ve vowed to make it an annual trip.

Time With New Friends

Since moving to this home, I haven’t been great about making friends in the neighborhood. I blame the pandemic, cold winters, and back-to-back pregnancies. But again, in true “Year of Casey” fashion, I vowed to change that.

Our book club

Earlier this year, I went out to dinner with a friend who lives on my street and we discussed the idea of starting a neighborhood book club for other young women on our block. We followed through with our idea and we now have a monthly book club with twelve women on our street. Honestly, I didn’t even know that many women lived here! Most have kids around Rory and Ellis’ age and it’s been extraordinary getting to know these wonderful people who live close by.

We just had our third meeting and book club nights have been known to get a bit rowdy. Lots of wine and lots of late bedtimes! I’m hosting next month’s meeting, so I’ll be sure to share some behind-the-scenes of our little backyard setup.

Weekend Staycation

staycation at the hoxton in april 2022

I also already spilled the details about my birthday weekend staycation back in this blog post. For Christmas, I asked my mom for one weekend of babysitting so Finn and I could get away and reconnect. She happily agreed and we set the date for April. Finn and I had a glorious weekend staying at The Hoxton in The West Loop of the city. We ate, drank, and had a wonderful time, just us two.

Feel Good Makeover

Our dream team crew for the LaTanya makeover

I’ve been sharing all about our Feel Good Makeover for LaTanya for the past month now, but it has been a pivotal part of my “Year of Casey”. As a blogger, who works from home by myself, it’s easy to feel isolated. This feeling of loneliness was what sparked my desire to do a collaborative project with Kim and Scott from Yellow Brick Home. It then grew into something that gave back to the community and helped the most remarkable woman.

Our team to do our feel good makeover reveal

You can read more about the origin of this idea back in this blog post, see the room reveals here, and watch an inspiring video about LaTanya in this blog post. My mom, Kim, and I are actually heading to LaTanya’s house in a few weeks for brunch. I now consider her to be a dear friend.

Lindsey helping out with our makeover

Oh, and one more thing. I finally got to meet my assistant, Lindsey, in person! She came in for the whirlwind makeover weekend and was the best addition to our crew. That girl works hard!

Finding a Babysitter

A peek at my assistant who helped me during the hardware install

Another task on my agenda was to find a go-to babysitter. With Jan watching Ellis three days a week, I’ve always felt bad asking her to watch the kids on a weekend so we could work on a home project or go out for a date. And oftentimes I want to do something with my family, so who would watch the kids then?

Rory in her robe

After hearing good things, I signed up for this babysitter agency here in Chicago and it has been a fantastic experience. I’ve had a few different sitters come over to watch Ellis when my mom has been out of town, and another sitter who has watched both kids while we’ve gone out to dinner. I can book dates well in advance, which has been incredibly helpful. It’s a little pricier than just hiring a traditional babysitter because you have to pay an agency fee, but you can’t beat the convenience and every sitter is beyond qualified to watch my kids. Dare I say, more qualified than me?! Ha!

What I’ve Read/Watched

Finally, let’s chat about the entertainment I’ve consumed in the last few months.

  • Grace & Frankie (Netflix): I binged the final season and it’s just so good. Gonna miss this one.
  • Love on the Spectrum, US Edition (Netflix): This will give you faith in humanity. A feel-good show.
  • The Good Place (Netflix): I watched this when it first came out and liked it. I just binged all of the seasons over again and it’s a nice happy one before bed. I’m a big Kristen Bell fan.
  • The Nightingale (Book): This was our May book club pick. So good and also a tearjerker.
  • No-Drama Discipline (Book): I just finished this book about how children’s brains work and how to look at discipline. Wow, a game-changer for me as a parent.
  • Lessons in Chemistry (Book): This is my July book club pick. I haven’t started yet, but can’t wait to dive in.

Halfway There!

Halfway through the year of casey

I’m feeling great about my progress halfway through my resolution. What will the rest of the year bring? I’m hopeful for more time spent connecting with my husband (lazy nights on our patio, please) and a low-key summer with more rest and relaxation than ever before…


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.