Chicago

New Year’s Traditions

2015 flewwww by. And it was a good one.

I love the idea of a new year for a lot of reasons: I like the number one. I like fresh starts. I like new beginnings. I like reflecting. This has somehow become one of my favorite holidays, and I think it’s primarily because a few year-end traditions I’ve come up with. And no, they do not involve getting drunk and blacking out. Here are my favorite new year’s traditions that I’ve done for the past couple of years.

1. Eat at a Michelin rated restaurant.
This tradition started as an accident, but now I always look forward to it. A few years ago when I lived in Chicago, I saw an article for next year’s Michelin starred restaurants and spontaneously made a reservation at Blackbird. It was a couple of days before the new year started, and the boyfriend (now husband) and I had the most amazing meal. And so began an annual tradition. I love the thought of saving the best meal of the year for the very end. It’s just the perfect way to cap off another year because you can never go wrong with good food.

We went to Longman & Eagle last night so the tradition lives on!

2. Do laundry. All laundry.
One of many things in my life that I got from my mama. I always remember my mom frantically loading and unloading the washer and dryer in the days leading up to the new year (including new year’s eve, of course). Now that I’m out on my own, I’ve decided to follow in my mom’s footsteps and wash anything and everything that can be washed before the clock strikes midnight. Dryer noises are murmuring in the background as we speak. 2016 can’t start without fresh sheets.

3. Write a letter to myself.
This is my favorite tradition for the new year, maybe even out of all holiday traditions I’ve ever had. I started doing this awhile ago, but I’d have to some serious digging to figure out exactly when. Every year on December 31, I write a letter to myself. It can be about anything and everything, and often is. It’s a reflection about the year and who I am in that moment of time, and it’s probably the most honest I ever am with myself. Then I seal it in an envelope, not to be opened until January 1st of the following year (not the next day…). It is always a surprising, humbling, and inspiring experience for me to read those letters on the first day of each year. I’m excited to see what’s in store tomorrow as I read last year’s letter.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year, full of adventure and love and everything good in life.

 

Zoo Lights

To get into the  holiday spirit, I decided we should do something festive each weekend in December. This past weekend we headed downtown to Lincoln Park Zoo for our first ever Zoo Lights.

I love the zoo because a) it’s free and b) animals, duh. Zoo Lights, however, was a bit of a different experience than your typical summertime zoo outing. 

The weather was unseasonably warm for a December night in Chicago, so it seemed like everyone had the same idea as us. We headed to the city around six and parking was a nightmare, so we sucked it up and paid the ridiculous $25 lot fee for the sake of our friend’s baby.

Once inside, it was what I expected: the zoo. With lights. Glowing animals and trees everywhere. Real animals? Not so easy to find. It did do its job to put me in the holiday mood though. Here are some pics so you can join me in the Christmas spirit: