New experiences to try in 2018

Rather than make a resolution you won’t keep, start off the new year by challenging yourself to try new things in 2018.

Pick one of these new resources in each area of your life, from fashion to fitness, food and family. You may find they make your life easier, tastier and more fun. That’s way better than that resolution you likely will have forgotten by February!

Explore your taste buds 

Blue Apron

That meatloaf and spaghetti meal rotation gets old real quick. With Blue Apron, you skip the grocery store completely and have everything delivered to you in a box with pre-portioned fresh ingredients. The family plan lets you pick two or four meals a week that come with easy directions. A refrigerated box arrives with all the components for the meal. Make it a family event and cook the dinners together. It’s an easy way to get dinner on the table, while also giving your taste buds a new experience. The price breaks down to what you would spend at the store, but you don’t have uneaten leftovers.

Social Table

All parents need a night out away from the kiddos and it doesn’t hurt when good food and wine are included. The Social Table hosts small, intimate BYOB dinner party-style cooking classes in an adorable little yellow house in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. With professional guidance, you cook, drink and eat for a three-hour class and leave the cleaning up for the staff. The Social Table has public classes each month and also offers private classes if you wish to make a guest list, pick the menu and rock your own playlist. Get a group of parents together for food, drinks and fun, while also learning something in the kitchen.

The Dinner Club

The next time the kids ask, “What’s for dinner?” you’ll have an answer. Even better, dinner will already be prepped. At The Dinner Club in La Grange, you assemble meals at stations where all the ingredients are chopped, prepped and ready for you. Then you take home eight to 12 meals to store in your freezer until you are ready to eat them. At about $4 per serving, it’s way less expensive than fast food and much more nutritious. The Dinner Club was designed by two sisters to help create healthy and delicious meals to bring busy families back to the dinner table together.

Revamp your wardrobe 

Le Tote

Bored by your current closet and wish you could constantly try new clothes? Le Tote is like the Netflix of clothing. It rents out apparel and accessories to wear and return. You select styles you love, get sent a box filled with clothing and accessories that you can wear for as long or as little as you want, and then you send the box back for a new shipment. And if you love anything you receive, you can buy it. With free shipping and just $49 per boutique box, your wardrobe can get a total rotating upgrade as often as you desire.

Stitch Fix

Wish you could have a someone else pick out clothes for you? Stitch Fix brings a stylist to you; you complete a personal style quiz online so your personal stylist gets to know you and your preferences. Five pieces of clothing and accessories are then delivered to your door. Try on and keep what you love and send back the rest. You only pay for what you keep and then your feedback makes your next “fix” even better. For only a $20 styling fee (and that amount is deducted from whatever you decide to buy), it’s worth getting your fix on.

Rent the Runway

Nothing to wear for a big black-tie event or formal wedding? You can wear designer dresses and wow the crowd for less than you imagine. At Rent the Runway, you can choose from thousands of designers like Narcisco Rodriguez, Versace, Oscar de la Renta or Vera Wang. Rent dresses and accessories for a fraction of their actual cost, wear and return. Now that it has a Chicago store location, it’s even easier to try on dresses and find the ideal fit. Go big and stun the crowd at your next fancy event!

Make exercising fun

ClassPass

A new year generally means reminding yourself that you should be more active and get to the gym. Add some variety to your fitness routine with ClassPass, a monthly membership that lets you create a workout routine that works for you with access to the largest network of fitness studios. Whether it’s cycling and circuit training or Bikram and barre, ClassPass allows you to attend your choice of group fitness classes all through the city. For $99 a month, with no commitments and the ability to cancel anytime, try that Pilates, yoga, dance or weight class you’ve been thinking about. With ClassPass, you can row, lift, run and downward dog your way to fitness in 2018.

Orangetheory Fitness

Want to burn 500-1000 calories in one hour? Orangetheory Fitness promises weight loss and strength performance with its five zone heart-rate interval training. Each 60-minute session consists of treadmill interval training, indoor rowing and weight room or resistance training. The idea behind Orangetheory is pushing participants into the “orange zone,” which creates excess post-exercise oxygen consumption and continues to burn calories after your workout. With all fitness levels welcome, from power walkers to elite athletes, Orangetheory is gaining a steady following and can kick-start your new year.

Fitbit

Ready to be held accountable to yourself and your fitness? Think you get those 10,000 steps a day that doctors recommend? Start tracking your steps with a Fitbit tracker, which all of your friends are also using. With a variety of products from waist clip-on to wrist trackers, Fitbit monitors your steps, quality of your sleep and calories burned. It syncs to your smartphone or computer. You can track your calorie intake by scanning food barcodes and make sure you’re drinking enough water. Best yet, it allows you to challenge other Fitbit wearers so you can compete with your spouse or friends to keep yourself accountable.

Enjoy family time

Game Box Monthly

Start a new 2018 tradition of family game night that doesn’t involve screens or iPads. Game Box Monthly delivers a new, unique and sometimes hard-to-find board game right to your home each month. You can customize your subscription and list the games you already own so there are never repeats.

Get your museum on

Your family has no doubt visited Chicago’s world-class museums. But have you discovered some of the more hidden gems? Challenge your family to explore off the beaten path and learn about Chicago’s many amazing cultural backgrounds, neighborhoods and museums. Try the National Hellenic Museum for some Greek mythology and stay for gyros in Greektown. Head to Andersonville and the Swedish American Museum or to Hyde Park for the DuSable Museum of African American History. Try dim sum in Chinatown after you explore the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago. Get inspired in Pilsen by the National Museum of Mexican Art and fill tummies at Los Comales.

Attend a show

Emerald City Theatre

Theater should be for all ages, and the Emerald City Theatre makes that happen with fun and entertaining shows for the family. For the littlest family members, try the Little Theatre with plays geared toward ages 0-5. For grade school and older kids, the theater offers productions at the Broadway Playhouse and the Apollo Theater. Sign up for the yearly season subscription pass so the family can return time and time again.

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