Joy is a look ahead…

As I have gotten older, I have stopped making resolutions. I have even stopped thinking of the New Year as a time to really reflect on the person I want to be. I am trying to do that more throughout the year rather than just on the first of the year. I feel like it has more staying power that way.

One thing I did learn last year…late in the year at that is that I super over schedule myself. I love the feeling of having a lot going on. I love trying to eek out every last morsel of my time on this planet. It is limited. I know that very keenly. However then I get myself to a point where I need to go into hiding for a while to recover from all of my activity. I suppose in 2016 I want to find balance.

A few weeks ago I was lamenting that I had nothing to look forward to in 2016. I was really stressed out and really pretty sad. The weather in Illinois has been whonky at best and it has messed with my head and heart a little bit. So I finally decided to sit down and write out the things that my husband and I or my friends and I or just I talked about doing in 2016. It turns out I have been plans for the year and that is exciting.


In no particular order than when I added them to the list:

  1. Two more shows at the Paramount Theater (Hair Spray and West Side Story). I have never seen either of these shows and I am excited to have a planned date with my two best friends twice this year.
  2. Later this month I am doing a weekend photography outing with my pal Keith French. I have no idea where we are going, but I know it will be awesome. The page on the website shows pictures of eagles, which would be cool. I am super excited that my good friend, Kim is going to be joining us as well.
  3. In two weeks I will be going to be the wedding of one of my most amazing former students and her partner. She was my student early on in my career and she made an amazing impact on my life. I am looking forward to seeing her marry the love of her life.
  4. I hope to do lots of work with my new homemade light box that I got for Christmas. Stay tuned for a video on how to build one for yourself on
  5. For years, I have heard about Wolf Park in Indiana, where you can sign up to do up close photography with the wolves. I really want to do this trip in 2016.
  6. I will coordinate another Cubs-Brewers outing for this year. May the result be better than last year!
  7. With our long road trip last year, I did not bother getting a garden membership. This year, I am going to get one for Cantigny and hope to get in a bunch of trips this summer.
  8. I subscribe to the Enjoy Illinois page on Facebook and this link came up one day. It looks beautiful.
  9. Last year I went hiking with one of my besties and we had the best time at Starved Rock. Totally want to do that again this year. Would love to go to Mississippi Palisades near the river.
  10. We missed the chance to see the Lion King Chicago, but it is coming to Madison this spring. Must get tickets!
  11. I really want to do the Chicago riverboat architecture cruise again this summer. There is a lot being built along the Chicago River– especially the new Riverwalk should be completed soon.
  12. For YEARS I have wanted to the Chicago Food Planet Chinatown Food Tour. I am going to have to do it on my own since I can’t find anyone to do it with me.
  13. I have heard about this fried chicken place from various different sources. Sounds like a good short day trip for some fun food!
  14. Lake Geneva School of Cooking. We just did a class on New Year’s Eve. Stay tuned for a blog on that experience. We will do it again this year for sure.
  15. My husband and I want to sign up for a long distance bike ride. No idea which one, but we will do it.
  16. I want to get out riding with my best friend, who loves to ride. We got a late start last fall and school started. No excuses this year!
  17. I still would love to get to a Hawks game, but not sure that is in the cards for this year.
  18. Lots of state parks I want to visit…Matthiesen, White Pines and others.
  19. Galena River Trail would be beautiful to bike.
  20. Every year (except last year) my best friend and I take a mini road trip to a zoo. This year we are going to the Omaha Zoo, which is supposed to be one of the best in the country. So glad we figured out the details of how to make the seven-hour trip more do-able.
  21. My husband and I are hoping to do a left-coast road trip this year. Not sure it will pan out, but we had so much fun last year, we want to do it again.
  22. My sister-in-law has been telling us about Rustic Road Farm near us and the amazing veggies etc they have there, but also the fabulous vibe. I want to check them out and see if getting into their CSA will work for us.
  23. I have never been to the Field Museum in Chicago. How is that possible?
  24. After a most amazing experience of high tea at the Ritz Carlton (stay tuned for a blog post), I am hesitant to try tea anywhere else for fear of being disappointed. However, I have had my eye on this tea room in Oswego for some time and would love to try it.
  25. Game night with friends and family. Telestrations was recommended by a family member. Jungle Speed Expansion Pack to make that game even more insane!  Spot it sounds fun, too!
  26. I am so excited to continue work on my Many Faces of Elgin book as well. The interviews that I have done so far have been fun and inspiring. Many more hours of conversations with great people in 2016.


I am sure that there will be many more adventures with friends and family. Stay tuned for blogs on all of these and more adventures throughout 2016!



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