My Five Favorite Things of 2019
2019 brought me a baby, making our family of two a family of three, our house a little bit messier, and our time a little bit preoccupied. Naturally, my son is my favorite person of 2019, but along the way I have found five things that I am totally digging now, and I would love to share with you. These things are perfect for being a new parent but are for anyone who likes having fun, working out, learning, and giving back. I am from the Raleigh area, so I will be adding some links on where you can find these things in the city. Otherwise, I would suggest searching your hometown for these things, so you can enjoy alongside me.
1. The Shop Forward
I am a big fan of the Bobby Bones Show, and one of the co-hosts on the show actively works for The Shop Forward which is how I got into this company. Every product bought goes to an organization or charity that helps others around the world. They have supported St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, breast cancer, animals, oprhanages in Haiti, food banks, etc. Not only do you feel as if you are doing a good deed by purchasing one of their products, but their items are super cute.
Some of my favorite products from the store are the following:
- The "4 Things" Tote Bag - you can buy a pre-made bag or you can personalize your own. I have bought one for myself plus sixteen other ones for my friends and family for all occasions (Mother's Day, bridal and baby showers, bachelorette parties, birthdays, Christmas, graduations, or just because).
- Mama Collection - Being a new mom, I had to have one of these shirts. They are cute, comfy, and the money supports single, pregnant women. I have been buying them all for my mom friends. Can you say win, win, and another win!
- Cool Mom - Another mom collection, these items come with an adorable cropped, fleece hoodie that is on my Must Buy list.
- Choose Joy - Take time to research the back story of these items, and you'll see why I love these shirts and sweatshirts. They come in a variety of colors and styles and are a great gift to give to someone just to say, "Thank you," or "I'm thinking of you."
2. Free Fitness Classes
My workout of choice has always been running but every now and then I like to spice it up. However, I am a tad bit cheap and refuse to pay for a workout when I know I can just run or walk for free (there are some rare exceptions). Lucky for me, there are a number of fitness classes popping up in the area at local parks. These get togethers are a great way to get outside and meet people without spending a chunk of your paycheck on them. I tend to go to mostly the yoga classes, but I have seen anything from barre classes to boot camp style workouts. A quick Google search should tell you in no time if they are in your area.
Raleighites here is what I have found:
- Get Fit at Dix - yoga every Wednesday from 6-7 PM at Dorothea Dix Park
- Get Fit at Dix - core and strength training Mondays from 6-7 PM at Dorothea Dix Park
- Wellness Wednesdays - classes vary every Wednesday from 5:30-6:30 PM at North HIlls
- Fitness Series at Pullen Park - dates and classes vary
- Wellness Wednesdays at the Dillon- a variety of classes on the sky terrace at The Dillon from 5:30-6:30 PM.
3. Wine Walks for Charity
Want a cheap date night or a night out with the girls? Wine Walks are the things to do! For only about $10-$15 you can buy a "passport" to travel to participating shops that offer you some wine and often treats (pretzels and dips, chocolates, finger foods) to go with it. I went to one recently and only made it to half the shops and probably had already drunk two glasses of wine and was feeling pretty good and also pretty satisfied from all the food. A dinner date would easily cost about $15 just for your food alone. That's excluding apps, drinks, and dessert. With wine walks you pretty much get all that plus a chance to walk outside in gorgeous weather and explore shops and mingle with friends. And the money goes to charity! I cannot recommend these events enough.
Raleigh people listen up. Try these wine walks.
Yes, yes, I know libraries are not a new concept. They have been around as early as the 17th century. But they are seriously underrated. You can get all kinds of books in all different types of formats from the library....FO FREE! I have reserved all of the latest books and fly through them. I haven't had to spend money on a book in so long. While on maternity leave I really started to appreciate how great these places are. People can read there, use the computers there, print there, copy there, relax there, eat there, take their children to all the free programs there. I can't stress this enough: Take advantage of your local libraries!
For free programs at the Wake County libraries click here.
5. Exploring Small Towns
The year of the baby has become the year we also revamp our vacationing. Instead of taking weeks to fly out west or trek all over Europe, we changed things up a bit to include more day trips to small towns with cool vibes around our state.
To me a perfect day in one of these quaint towns or up and coming cities looks like this:
- Exploring the downtown area and seeing all that it has to offer. Normally, this includes window browsing the shops and walking around.
- Finding a place to eat at a local restaurant. Goodbye chains and places where I can eat anywhere. I like to find cuisine that matches the area and then eat outside while people watching.
- Partaking in a recreational event whether that be seeing a minor league baseball game, taking a hike, or strolling the grounds of a vineyard.
- Topping off the day with drinks and/or desserts. I like to look up the best breweries or local ice cream shops in that area and then indulge in a treat.
My top choices of places to try out if you live in North Carolina and don't want to travel exceptionally far: