A Look Back At 2023

And just like that, the year is coming to a close and it’s time for my 2023 recap. Sometimes I look at the year from afar and think, “Hmmm, what even happened over the past 12 months?!” I like my yearly recap blog post because it forces me to break down each month and see all that I accomplished and shared here on The DIY Playbook.

2023 Recap: A Year In Review

Casey and the kids walking

This year was definitely an interesting one for me. It involved slowing down, a lot, which is certainly new for me. I ended up taking the entire summer off (more on that below) and it was the best thing I’ve ever done for my physical and mental health. Even with that time off, I still managed to accomplish a lot on the blog and around my home. Let’s dive into it!

Finishing Up The Basement (January)

My best paint sprayer tips

During the fall of 2022, our entire basement flooded with sewage water, which meant we were starting from scratch on that entire level of our home. I started off this year with lots of basement projects. I painted all of the interior doors down there and then used a professional paint sprayer to spray all of the walls. Between the caulking, prep work, and painting, it took me many many weeks to get every inch painted and finished.

The new wallpaper in our basement. Part of my 2023 recap

Once it was painted, I then added this gorgeous mural to the space. It adds so much life and color and I’m so happy I went bold with that piece down there.

Our new basement furniture from Castlery

Finally, we were ready to bring some furniture into the space and the new sofa and TV console have served us well. You can read all about our basement furniture here.

Kicking Off The Basement Bathroom (February)

How to use a demo hammer to remove floor tile

With the main portion of the basement complete, I switched gears and started focusing on the basement bathroom. I ended up renovating the entire space by myself over the month of February and into March. I demoed the bathroom (and that tricky floor tile), prepped the floors for tile, and then laid this fun penny tile down in the small space.

Sharing my 2023 holiday gift guide

I also revealed my new “theme of the year”. I dubbed 2022 “The Year of Casey” and decided 2023 should be “The Year of Us.” Finn and I started couples therapy, dedicated ourselves to a monthly date night, and started the Fair Play method for our marriage. I wrote all about our plans in this blog post.

Finding My Style (March)

My favorite room transformations

In March, I celebrated 10 years of The DIY Playbook! It’s wild to think that I’ve been running this website for over a decade now. I shared a behind-the-scenes blog post answering your questions and revealing what I’ve learned over the past 10 years.

The best non-skinny jeans to buy

I also did a huge jeans shopping haul during March. Wanting to tip-toe out of the world of skinny jeans, I tried on over 30 pairs of non-skinny jeans and reported my findings to all of the other millennial moms out there. In the end, I found my new favorite pair of jeans (they are seriously so good) and gained a little confidence along the way.

On the health front, I started seeing a functional medicine doctor and shared my experience right here. I’m still seeing him today! I do blood work every three months and we tweak my supplements so that I’m feeling my best.

very proud of my new stairwell accent wall with wood

In terms of projects, I completed my stairwell accent wall. This was a project that was on my to-do list since we bought our house but the scale of the wall always intimidated me. I bought scaffolding and made it happen and I’m so happy that I did!

Basement Bathroom Reveal (April)

Our new dark green bathroom in our basement

By April, the basement bathroom was complete! I added beadboard, painted it all a moody green, and revealed the new space right here on the blog. It is the swankiest bathroom in the house.

Our basement transformation sources

I also revealed the rest of our basement and how far it had come since our fall flood.

My Italy Trip (May)

Our amazing group of women in Italy

May was a difficult month for me. I had an amazing trip to Italy planned with a group of Playbook readers and ended up having to leave the trip early due to insomnia, which is something I had never experienced before. It was a very rough time for me and I shared the entire experience in this blog post.

Dining in Bellagio

While my trip wasn’t quite what I thought it would be, I still wrote this recap blog post if you’re traveling to Milan, Lake Como or Venice. Plus, here are my best packing tips for a spring trip to Italy.

Summertime Fun (June, July, August)

So many splash pads this summer!

My insomnia episode prompted me to do something I’d never done before…take a break. It started as just taking a few weeks off and turned into the entire summer. I shared a mid-July update right here and then another one when I came back in August.

The kids during summer 2023

I chronicle my experience with anxiety, seeking help from a therapist, and doing my best to tame my Type-A personality and go, go, go mentality. I was unsure if I should share all of that with this community, but it ended up being the right choice. I always say that vulnerability builds relationships and community. The best way to help others is to share your own struggles.

My out of office for summer

I ended up having an amazing summer with my kids and it was very nice to put the phone and computer away for three months straight!

All About Family (September)

Using the Fair Play method for our family

In September, I discussed the “Year of Us” again and how Finn and I have implemented the Fair Play system in our household. It’s been a great way to divvy up household duties and share the load. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in a partnership.

My best living room coffee table ideas

We also discussed a somewhat controversial topic about creating a home for the entire family. Should you consider your kids when making decorating choices? It was a really interesting topic and I loved hearing from so many of you.

Sharing the sweetest shared boys' room makeover

I also shared this adorable boys’ room reveal and tackled a lingering DIY project of painting our side door.

DIY Bootcamp (October)

Our new hallway board and batten DIY project

DIY Bootcamp kicked off in early October when I taught my sister how to do her first DIY project. Together, we added a wall of board and batten to her hallway and it turned out amazing. Plus, she learned a lot along the way.

This chalk paint furniture DIY project turned out great

I also shared a list of projects that I think everyone should know how to do (Can you do them all?) and teamed up with a local charity to makeover the cutest vanity and chair.

DIY On The Fly (November)

My 2023 recap sharing the best posts of the year

Last month, I kicked off a new series called “DIY On The Fly.” I’ll be helping people from this community with their quick design dilemmas and answering their home questions. I’ve already received so many awesome submissions and I can’t wait to continue to share over on Instagram stories every other Friday.

Making a plan for a collected gallery wall

I finally fixed our unraveling stair runner, got a headstart on my next gallery wall project, and shared these tips for window treatments.

On the personal front, Finn and I had a nice getaway to Puerto Rico at the beginning of the month. It was a wonderful way to recharge and reconnect after a busy year.

Holiday Cheer (December)

My 2023 holiday gift guide

The past few weeks have been full of holiday content. I released my 2023 Holiday Gift Guide and it may be my favorite yet! I hope you had a chance to peruse it. You can find it right here.

How to tie the perfect bow for presents

My mom shared her best tips to make a “fancy” bow for your presents. If you still have some wrapping to do, this is definitely a post worth checking out.

Come check out my new stairway gallery wall in our basement

Finally, I revealed our new basement gallery wall. It makes such a statement in our home and I’m so happy that I finally have a place to hang so many memories that are special to our family.

Have A Wonderful Holiday Season

My simple holiday home tour 2022

As always, I’ll be taking some time off to spend some time with my family over the holidays. It’s always nice to unplug and be off my phone and computer for an extended period of time. Plus, it gives me a chance to start thinking about 2024 and the content that I want to bring to you in the new year.

I’ll see you bright and early on Monday, January 8th. Have a wonderful holiday season, my friends.


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.