10 life lessons

Last week I celebrated a birthday! Twenty-four?? Time sure does fly.

So, I guess this post is a little late, but we’re doing it.

Eric and I spent my birthday weekend in Michigan at a cabin with friends. We went a year ago, so it was a blast all over again. Throughout the post, you’ll see pretty photos E snapped.

10 life lessons

As I turned another year older, I couldn’t help but get sentimental and reflect on the lessons I’ve learned something about in the past twenty-four years. Especially after such a big one last year.

Now, I know what you might be thinking  – Dayna, twenty-four is not that old. 

I totally agree, and that’s not what I’m saying at all. Regardless of age, I think we can grow wiser each year as we experience the world. That makes me really happy, and nostalgic.

So after sorting through these thoughts, below I’ve gathered the 10 life lessons I’ve learned at twenty-four.

1. No one has it all together.

I used to look around and think the peers, friends, and families I saw had their whole lives together. The truth is most of us are figuring out this life thing as we go along, and no one is perfect. Everyone has faults and struggles. We all fight battles. You’re never alone and you’re never the only one who feels this way.

2. Traveling does wonders for the soul.

I’ve been lucky to visit some really amazing cities growing up, but it wasn’t until I backpacked Western Europe in 2015 that I realized how eye opening travel can be. Traveling exposes you to new points of views and cultures. It feeds your sense of curiosity, wonder, and keeps your mind open. It is a must.

10 life lessons

3. Things that matter now might not be such a big deal later.

There are times when it seems like something in that moment will affect everything forever. I can be very indecisive and over analytical. I’ve had to learn to take a deep breath in these moments and ask myself if whatever it is will truly matter down the road. Often it won’t and it isn’t worth worrying over.

4. Never stop learning.

Learning looks different for everyone – formal education, reading self-help books, keeping up with a certain news publication, finding online how-tos, etc. The point is it’s important we don’t get complacent and we stay hungry for growth. I think this mentality and knowledge feeds into our relationships, passions, and helps us to be our best self.

10 life lessons

5. Be grateful for hard times. They make you stronger.

These past few years have taught me this lesson for sure. Hard times can show us heartache like we’ve never known, but it can also bring out our most determined selves. They’ve made me braver and stronger. They’ve brought me closer to God. They’ve showed me how I can be better moving forward.

6. You can have it all, you just might not be able to have it all at once.

I’ve written about this topic before here. We juggle a lot. Between family schedules, work, a social life…and oh, of course our own passions and health, it can easily feel like we have to pick and choose what to pursue. The truth is you can totally do it all. Just know you won’t always be perfect and excel at everything, at the same time. That’s okay! We have to cut ourselves some slack and pursue balance.

10 life lessons

7. Be bold and weird and whatever else you want.

Basically be unapologetically yourself. In our younger years, this can definitely be a challenge. Freshman year of college, I realized pretty quickly we should 100% feel comfortable to be ourselves. Always. Everyone’s human. No one’s perfect (see lesson #1). Our talents and our differences make us special (corny, but you know it’s true). So take the risk, speak your mind, and go out there and S L A Y.

8. Take it one step at a time.

I get stressed very quickly if I let an idea bubble up in my mind into a seemingly impossible task. I’ve learned to take a deep breath and break whatever it is down into smaller bits. When you take a step back, it becomes a lot more manageable and can put things in perspective.

10 life lessons

9. Passion + persistence pay off.

Those things that make us happy? Inspire us, motivate us, give us big dreams? Yeah, those are the things that deserve our time and effort. Investing in our passions might not always be easy, especially with all the busyness life sends our way. It takes time, money, and self-discipline, but it’s worth it. We love these things and we owe it to ourselves to pursue them.

10.  Always be thankful.

Life isn’t perfect, but wow, aren’t we lucky for all we have? There’s times when things are going amazingly well, and others when we’ve been thrown a curveball. I’ve learned that in both circumstances, and everything in between, it’s important to be thankful.

What are some of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned so far? I’d love to hear below!

Days By Day

P.S. Want to see more of Eric’s photography? Check it out here.

As I sit here looking back on 2016, I can’t help but feel overwhelmingly nostalgic and thankful. I know the year had plenty of wins and challenges for us all, but it was without a doubt my favorite year yet.

There are some pretty obvious reasons I guess:

Marrying Eric, the most wonderful human, was the best ever.

looking back on 2016

My Bachelorette Party in Austin, which consisted of dancing and sunshine for three days with my best girls.

Austin Bachelorette

E & I moving into our first place together, a cozy two bedroom apartment where we love hosting others. I’ll have to share more once we’ve got all the wall decor up!

looking back on 2016

Visiting a new country – Jamaica for our Honeymoon –  and getting my scuba diving license (more of this to come next week).

looking back on 2016

This year, I also loved discovering new hobbies in crafting, like hand lettering and creating some unique pieces for our wedding.  Relaunching Days By Day with a fresh new look was also an exciting milestone.

looking back on 2016

looking back on 2016

Blogging was sporadic at times when wedding planning took over, but I just love it so much and did the best I could throughout it all. According to the numbers, here are the top 5 posts from 2016:

  1. Married Life Rocks // My first post after the wedding, where I shared some of the favorite pictures I had so far.
  2. Our Store + Celebrating Four Years! // I’d written about E & I’s incredible Parisian engagement, but never the classic “our story” post – this was finally it.
  3. Happy Anniversary, Chicago! // Reminiscing on one year in The Windy City + my top moments.
  4. Changing My Last Name // Real & raw thoughts on what a new name meant for me.
  5. How to Plan a Wedding From Far Away // Living in Illinois, getting married in Texas – my top tips for  planning a long distance wedding.

I love getting to share thoughts and moments with all of you, and am so thankful for the opportunity to do so. So a huge THANK YOU. For real, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for checking out my little space on the internet and all your support.

I’ll be honest. I’ve got some goals in mind for the blog in 2017, but the everlasting busyness of life and the feeling of not knowing what the heck you’re doing can seem overwhelming.

I always push people to pursue their passions and take it one step at at time though, so I need to do the same!

Well, what a year, friends! I truly am thankful for 2016. For my husband, my home, my loved ones. For all the incredible moments, and for the challenging ones that helped me to grow.

Wishing you and your loved ones the Happiest of New Years yet. See you in 2017!

Days By Day

last name

Ok, so my last name is still legally my maiden name, but we all know once it’s Facebook official, it’s the real deal.

A couple weeks ago I finally made the switch. I was, and without a doubt still am, happy to have Eric’s last name! That was never a question. I just didn’t think changing it would feel or look so strange.

When I logged into Facebook, I was grinning from ear to ear and squealing at how more real it was going to be. First though, I wanted to ensure my maiden name wasn’t totally gone and still searchable.

After doing some research on how I could still keep it in my profile (sharing how below), I was ready for the big update.

last name

I, of course, could not remember my password, which delayed the whole thing. You also can’t change your name for 60 days if you mess up, so it says double check for misspellings. Double check for me became check 100 times, because suddenly, I had no idea how to spell anything.

E confirmed everything looked right and I submitted my new last name.

After a moment, I went from squealing in my seat to watery eyes and sniffle central. I felt like a total weirdo. Why was I about to shed a tear all of a sudden out of no where?

I knew what was going on with the suddenly conflicting feelings. I had it a new last name and it like really hit me. One of the most defining aspects of myself an individual was no longer the same. Staring at my photo, and this new name next to it just felt overwhelming in the moment.

I quickly explained the surprise I was feeling since poor E was definitely a little confused. Next thing I knew, just looking at him had a giant smile on my face. We couldn’t help but laugh away at the newness and hilarity of the whole situation.

I was completely at peace knowing this new last name symbolized the incredible husband I had and the little family we now make up. It made me appreciate my roots and family even more too.

last name

^ Paris in Summer of 2015 – the trip where we got engaged! It’s the best story ever – see here.

***It should be known that E is a real life gem and said I could hypen my last names if I wanted to be like Beyonce. This is why I married him. Hehe.

Oh, and if you’re looking to change your name on Facebook, but still want your maiden name (or any name for that matter) tied to your profile, it’s easy! Just go to your About section > Details About You > Add Name.

Here’s to these random and little moments that make us human and relatable, right? I couldn’t help but share because I know this little glimpse in time was real and raw, and that’s what being true to yourself is all about.

Time to go wrap some gifts, because I’m running behind as usual. How is Christmas already this week??

Days By Day

P.S. Thanks to our dear friends and photographers over at Feather & Twine for a couple of these wedding pic sneak peeks!

counting down

Two posts in one week, what what! Life is a little chaotic right now and that means I just gotta do the best I can – because not everything is going to get done all the time. Whether that be laundry, blogging, cleaning, etc. Anyone with me??

Even though life is chaotic, it’s also very, very exciting! 44 days left until Eric and I get married – eeeek!!! Now that we’re almost a month out, it seems like we’re at the turning point where we are bouncing around everywhere and talking about how time can’t go by fast enough.

Now, it’s just a matter of staying calm and making sure we’re ahead of the game in as much of the final stuff as possible – and continuing to freak out about just how dang close we are!

Aside from all this wedding shenanigans, here is a scoop of life Currently

{Cooking // More in general…}

Ok, well mostly I am being the chef’s (aka Eric’s) assistant. This guy is cookin’ up fresh salmon, cajun dishes, baked pasta, the list goes on…

This week though, I whipped up some of my own goodness. Granted nothing I make is the fanciest of dishes, but hey, everyone’s gotta start somewhere! How about some freshly seasoned chicken, veggies, and whole grain rotini pasta for ya??

counting down

{Wearing // Still summer clothes?}

I think everyone’s been a little weirded out that we’re almost to the end of September and we’re still hitting up the 80s every day. I think everyone is also trying not to complain. As much as I want fall here (it’s my favorite!), I know after fall comes winter…and winter can mean polar vortex here in Chicago.

For now though, we’re still rockin’ the shorts, tanks, and dresses! You might’ve caught this white Target maxi on Instagram yesterday. I found it on sale for $12.99 in the Junior’s section and it’s pretty much my favorite sale find ever!

It was the perfect wedding shower dress and now I’ll keep wearing it until the weather says no.


{Counting down // to a VACATION.}

As mentioned earlier, E & I are obviously beyond ecstatic about the wedding. Can it be November tomorrow? We are also sooo pumped for a real vacation and to be able to travel again!!

Without a doubt going home to Texas always makes us so happy, but this year we’ve missed exploring out of the country since we’ve saved up time and money for the big day. The morning after though, we’ll be jet setting off to Jamaica and we can’t freakin’ wait.

counting down

The wait will totally be worth it and much needed after all these busy months. I remember people having said they needed the honeymoon after all this wedding stuff, and I used to be like oh sure, but it’s probably been so fun, they’re probably exaggerating. And it is SO FUN (I’m going to miss it so much!!!), but it’s also just tiring and can feel like a lot.

So I get it now…you really do need the honeymoon. It’ll be a well-deserved getaway with my best friend to celebrate our next chapter as Mr. & Mrs. WAHOO!

counting down

And maybe most exciting of all?? We’ll get to add another pin to this pretty vintage market find. Ok, not most exciting, but it’s up there.

Days By Day


date ideas

When we all have lots going on in our schedules, it can be tricky to not get stuck doing the same thing. When your finally notbusy, being tired makes it hard to break from the usual too!

With this in mind, I crafted a list of twenty-five date ideas that Eric and I either love doing, or have on our list. Hoping this generates some inspiration for your upcoming plans – whether it’s time with your S.O. or some gal pals!

  1. Tour de Noms, a twist on going out to dinner – pick three new restaurants and try a dish at each for courses of a meal!
  2. Search for a class on Groupon you can take together.
  3. Try out a new recipe. // Eric and I love doing this Sunday nights for dinner. Make extras and you have a couple lunches for the week!
  4. People watch and create backstories. // Airports or parks make the perfect setting.
  5. Hammock outside on a nice day, while reading or jamming to some tunes. // Eric has an Eno perfect for this.                                          date ideas
  6. Attend a comedy show. // The Second City is our favorite here in Chicago.
  7. Redbox + Pizza night –  an easy hit that you can change up by making your own pie!
  8. Exercise together – this can range from a racquetball competition to just taking a really long walk with no destination.
  9. Take a local brewery tour.
  10. Go on a photo booth hunt and collect all the strips you can – Photobooth.net is a good resource!
  11. Wake up early for a Farmer’s Market and grab a fresh breakfast.
  12. Try a new coffee shop – no technology, just books, caffeine, and conversation.
  13. Visit a thrift store or garage sale.
  14. Attend a themed party. // You can see Eric and I got really crafty for Becca’s  Harry Potter Halloween event…                             date ideas
  15. BRUNCH. // A repeatedly tested and true favorite that I had to include.
  16. Volunteer together. // I’m trying to find an animal shelter Eric and I can go help out at.
  17. Check out a local fair or amusement park. // One of my favorite things about a Chicago summer?? All the street fests.
  18. Search for a free concert, play, or sporting event in your area.
  19. Get hooked on a weekly reality show and make brackets to guess the winner. // We probably have too many…Survivor, The Amazing Race, and I may or may not have gotten Eric hooked on The Bachelor drama.
  20. Picnic on the lake…or ocean, or at an overlook, or in a park. Don’t forget seasonal drinks!                                                                            date ideas
  21. Go out to a dueling piano bar. // Eric had a favorite back in Austin – Pete’s!
  22. Double, even triple, dates for trivia night at a local bar.
  23. Rent a couple of kayaks or paddle boards and get on the water.
  24. Taco Tuesday. // So many taco places around town have delicious specials for this night.
  25. Fondue night at home – create your own with assortment with cheese, chocolate, and all sorts of dip-worthy snacks.

Have some date ideas I should add to the list?? Share ’em in the comments, friends!

Days By Day