The holidays are in FULL swing! So unbelievably festive in Chicago! This blog is simply bits & bites of whatever comes to my mind. Sometimes doing a writing 'riff'' is really fun (aka writing whatever comes to your mind at that very moment - I am already repeating myself - ha).
Today is #GivingTuesday! I am encouraging all of my readers to give at least $5.00 to Beagle Freedom Project today! They are MATCHING whatever you give which is wild! Please go to Beagle Freedom Project to read more!
This year has blown-my-mind sideways - rocked me to the core in the best way possible. Ooooo it's been so so so tough but spectacular! Wow. Intense growth are the two words that come to the forefront. I feel closer to God then I ever have since giving my life to Him (closer then I knew was even a possibility). And I've changed into the woman He has called me to be. What a way to end the year.......coming fully 100% into my own. I am definitely in the best place of my entire life (thus far). I never (ever ever ever) thought I would arrive where I am today. Never. This doesn't mean life is without trials, utter brokenness or difficulties. It is BECAUSE of my difficulties that I am where I am. By far, the most brave thing I did this entire year was allow myself to heal in ways that I needed to. Allowing wounds to heal and using them as fuel to become the best version of myself took courage - bravery - commitment and consistency. And P.S. it took allll year long....worth it (0: I always thought 'healing' was a lifelong journey but I've learned through experience that healing can actually lead to HEALING and you can move on. And it is a feeling of being FREE. What have you healed from this year? Keep going through the muck, it's worth it!
On a much lighter note, this year I grew my hair longer then I have ever had it my entire life as of this month (haha -fun stuff), gave up grains, wheat, dairy and processed sugar (yep, I cheat sometimes but it's very rare), dove head first into a minimalist lifestyle, embraced community like never before, walked away from people that were not safe (read Safe People by Cloud & Townsend), got my heart broken which ended up being one of the BEST things to happen to me ever (God will use heartache in ways you didn't see coming if you let Him), became much more safe for others (again, refer to book), found my confidence entirely, realized my worth in Him and acted on that, stopped using facebook much (other than 30 minutes a day - yes, I time myself - and yes, I just started this) & finally offered myself as much grace as I offer others, relearned my favorite hobbies and celebrated life like never before. What did you do this year for your own self care???
Due to a combination of my own evolution, God stretching my vision & Donald Miller's Life Plan, next year, my life will be entirely (drastically) NEW (it already is in a lot of way). And it will be a drastic change for the site as well. I think it's fun to see how a blogger's life evolves because as they change/grow, so does their writing. I was reading a blog post of mine from three months ago and I couldn't believe I wrote it - I didn't really recognize the girl writing (that's growth). I feel like it's a great exercise to go back and read your own journal - blog - whatever it is. Sometimes you don't realize you are growing until you look back.
I am holding to the vest where I am headed. I think surprises are fun and frankly, as of now, I am not sure - after 2015 - when I will announce any changes in my life via this site. I will be taking months (many) off of blogging at the start of the new year. It's hard not write about what is going on in my life but - for now - I want my life out of the public eye entirely (aka blog, social media, etc.).
This also means that 2015 will be my closing year for product reviews, etc. I am doing ONE MORE product view this year. It's a goodie. Look to SW the week of Nov. 18th. And think 'yum'.
So, that's all I have to say about all of that. Hmmm, what else have I got for ya'll?
Let's switch gears entirely......
If you are in the city of Chicago over the holidays, I have some personal recommendations for where to stop by!
I highly recommend stopping by Balena if you are out shopping in the Lincoln Park neighborhood (P.S. Balena is also a great date night or group dinner with friends). My friend Darcy introduced me to this restaurant (aka she organized a party in my honor here - amazing) and I am kinda sorta in love with the vibe. Balena has thoughtfully combined urban with elegance. I think the feel at this restaurant personally suites me. And the food is magnifico! It doesn't matter how long you live in this fab city, you're always stumbling upon restaurants you've never been before (Oh Chicago, I do love you)!
Also, I don't think you can come to Chicago this winter and miss out on The Museum of Science & Industry's 'Christmas Around the World/Holiday of Lights'. Head over and spend a day immersing yourself in the beauty of themed Christmas Tree's from all over the entire world!
And finally, spend a day strolling w/ someone (or multiple people) you love w/ hot chocolate through Christkindlemarket!
If you do the latter, make sure you bundle up! Anddd if you do not like crowds, this is NOT the place to be! The enormous crowd can be polarizing to some. Otherwise, it's so beyond festive and will get you into the holiday spirit if you weren't already!
It's pretty amazing that you can be snuggled in your condo in the city one moment and at one of these places 15 minutes later. City living is dreamy.
Well, I think I covered a variety of bits & bites for you! I hope that you are taking in this season (believe it or not I actually like winter this year minus the getting dark early) & focused on what is most important in your life. I am extremely grateful for all of you tuning in -it's quite kind.
I will not be in Chicago for awhile so, no blogging until the week of Dec. 18th. Let's all go find the beauty in this day!
Created and curated by Kelly, Snapshots of Wellness encourages all of you to cultivate your 'joie de vivre': Compassion for Animals via food, style & lifestyle.