30×30 – the recap

Hey! I’m 30 now! Sorry for the absence – things have been just a little crazy ’round here – but here’s my better late than never 30×30 recap! I’m fairly pleased with my efforts.

The completed items:

1. Vacation somewhere tropical. Woop! Hawaii! Best vacay EVERRRR.

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2. Host a girl’s night in. Hosted a few of these shindigs.

3. Make that bikini body happen. I’m counting it because I worked my butt off, and wore one in public, but it definitely should go back on the to-do list..

4. Get totally glammed up and go dancing and clubbing allll night. Couple times in Vegas.

5. Attempt snowboarding. Done!

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6. Buy a piece of art from a local artist.

7. Take a dance class. I took belly dancing for a few months – want to do it again!

8. Go on a mega hot date – red lipstick required. Vegas for JB’s 30th!

9. Go ice-skating. It was awesomely dorky.

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10. Take a day off of work, drive somewhere remote and take photos. It wasn’t exactly remote, but it was me, wilderness, coffee and a camera, and it was good.

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11. Get a massage. This was actually phobia-conquering. I was totally freaked about the idea of a stranger touching me for an hour. But now that I know it’s actually awesome and not skeevy, I’ll take one every week, please.

12. Find a charity to donate to yearly. Donating to Farm Sanctuary. They are awesome – check them out!

13. Attempt rock-climbing. Indoor climbing, but I’m counting it!

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14. Finish my Master’s Degree. Graduated in June! Quite possibly the most gratifying moment of the year.

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15. Pay off my student loans. YES. This happened. 7 years after my undergrad was completed, I finally owned it.

16. Grow my hair out as long as possible. It’s stopped growing for about the last year, however… the hell?

17. Strive to find my style. Don’t purchase things I only *kind of* like. Buy things that are awesome. Make things. Thrift things and fix them up.  This is always in progress I guess. 🙂

18. Write my bucket list. I’ve made a good draft, and I’ll post it eventually..

19. Become more self-sustaining for the long-term. This is an ever-evolving project/goal, but I’ve made strides! We have chickens now, a decent garden, and I’m always learning to do some old-timey way to do something. I’ve been making my own lotions, deodorants, body sprays and shampoo. I’ve cut out soda and many processed foods and I’ve been making my own herbal teas. Next up is canning, and herb drying!

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20. Do at least one volunteer project, if not something on-going. Counting it because I started volunteering with Farm Sanctuary, but now I want to find something local.

21. Go to New York. Done! nyc

22. Cook something that involves lighting it on fire. Yep, Valentine’s Day 2013. It was kind of a failure, but at least I made the attempt.

23. Master the Crow pose and Wheel pose in yoga. This is a really big accomplishment for me! These aren’t the most advanced poses, but I have overcome some really prohibiting wrist issues to being able to do some wrist/palm balancing poses I never thought I’d be capable of. There was a time not too long ago I couldn’t type without pain killers!

24. Build a piece of furniture. Not a revamp, but an actual follow-some-plans-and-make-it-myself. Done!

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And the following were not completed, though some are in progress. I plan to do them all at some point soon but didn’t make the deadline:

25. Go to a FANTASTIC music festival. I was planning a Portland/Sasquatch Music Festival trip planned to go for my 30th birthday this year but things got a little messy when I had to take off so much work due to being sick and injured this May/June. Bummer!

26. Take a road trip. See number 25.

27. Go to Portland. See number 25.

28. Buy a fabulously girly head-to-toe outfit and plan a fabulous day wearing it. Half done – I did find a great dress..

29. Hike to an overnight camping destination.

30. Create my own art. Not just crafty.. but actually paint something totally original. This is in progress, but not nearly complete.

I’m ok with my 80% completion, and definitely plan to finish this list at some point. A 40×40 is in order shortly. 🙂 Really! Buh-bye to my 20s. They were great, but I have a feeling my 30s will be even better.

This is 29.

I can’t believe it’s June. I know I say that all the time, but this time more than ever time has really gotten away from me! Here’s a quick recap on the last month or so.

I finished my last class for my MBA in Mid-August! SUCH a relief.

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Sorry about that.

But. I’ve not properly celebrated yet. The immediate weekend after the semester ended I wanted to jump into some projects and began an early AM workout schedule (which for me, is a big deal, waking up extra early). But by the next Tuesday (yeah, day two of my school free existence) my plans were foiled due to a series of unfortunate events. First a throat infection, then an eye infection (that had me stuck wearing outdated glasses for a week). Then the best of all, I somehow tweaked my lower back swinging a sledge hammer at concrete last weekend, and as I’ve been coughing so violently I kept aggravating it. To the extent I was unable to walk on Saturday. I am that awesome at life right now. Three doctor visits, four prescriptions, and one shot in the hip later, and I’m on the road to recovery and I’ve been able to do some work from home. But seriously. Let me recap this for you. At the apex of this really fun ailment combo, I had 90 year old smoker voice/cough, swollen red eyes, glasses I can barely see out of, no makeup, could barely move, and when I did have to walk, it was a 3-inches-at-a-time hobble. Oh, and my back is shaped like an S now. So that’s awkward looking. Not how I pictured my last month in my 20s. I should be out finishing my list, or at least making lots of bad decisions to blame on my youth before it’s too late.

What I’ve actually been doing in my down time is less than exciting, but I’m sharing anyway.

  1. Collecting shiny old things via Ebay. Search “vintage estate jewelry lot” or “wear and repair jewelry lot” and you’ll find tons of great things for next to nothing. Getting an 8lb box of weird and broken mismatched earrings, buttons, brooches and chain is my idea of a great time. IMG_1570
  2. Watching The Vampire Diaries on Netflix. That Damon. Rawr.
  3. Also watching Dive!, a decent documentary by dumpster diving hipsters who delve into America’s food wasting problem.
  4. Reading A Discovery of Witches. I hope it gets better because I do love a good series. Except when they end and you feel like you’ve lost a part of your life and can’t remember what you did before you began them.
  5. Trying out Jamberry Nail Shields. Not toxic like nail polish or as spendy as a manicure or pedicure, they are pretty fun! They take a while to apply, but there’s no dry time like polish so I think it’s a wash. They have some really cute designs. I don’t recommend the glitter styles though – they are thicker and don’t lay flat and bond as well as the others seem to. IMG_1625
  6. Tending the garden. I haven’t spent the time I’ve liked out there, but it’s coming along nicely for early June. The lettuce, kale, peas and turnips especially are taking over the place. I picked my first strawberries today and pulled up about 15 decent-sized radishes!IMG_1626

There’s still time (barely) to work on some other items on my before 30 list and I feel okish about my progress there. Right now I am just trying to get better and start my 30s better than I ended my 20s!

What are you all working on/reading/watching/making these days?

perfect end tables, & a house update

It’s weird because my lack of blogging makes me feel like I haven’t been very productive lately, but I’ve actually been up to tons of stuff when I sit down and think about it. Anyway, I thought I would share my latest project since I’m pretty stoked about it!

On my 30 before 30 list, I included that I wanted to build a piece of furniture, and in my downtime between semesters (and with a few holidays off work), we whipped up some end tables for our living room! We used the plans for Ana White’s Perfect End Table. This is a beginner project, and my husband is capable of way more, but I wanted to learn to follow a plan (refinish and modify I can do, but building takes skillz), and I wanted something easy he’d be happy to help with. My brother-in-law helped us cut the pieces (since we needed his table saw). Jonathan and I build them using brackets and counter-sinking the screws (filling them with putty for painting).

They truly are the perfect end tables, at least for our hulking couches! They are 42 inches wide. Let that sink in a minute. That’s giant. This one contains all the books I’m into these days, those I haven’t read yet or have only started. (Sidenote: I generally have about 3 fiction novels and a couple non-fiction books going at a given time. And then I often stop reading at about the 3/4 mark. I’m weird like that.)

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Do you remember when I revamped that lamp? It’s still one of my favorite big ol’ lamps ever, but I stole it from the entryway. I am in search of a pair for this room but I’ll hit a few junk shops first.

Here’s the other table. Ah, my lovely stack o’ magazines. Books and glossies are a sickness and these tables kind of enable my problem, eh?

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Since it’s been a while since I’ve posted house pics, and I’ve made some other changes, here’s what the main living area is looking like these days. We are still rocking the temporary mantle from before last Christmas (but I don’t mind it). We are still trying to decide what to do to the fireplace. I added those blue curtains (from Target) recently, because the yellow ones were a bit puny. I like it much better.

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Towards the kitchen shot. When we got new bedroom furniture last summer I moved our old dresser into the kitchen, displacing the yellow desk and white bookshelf. This is a bit more tidy looking, but now I need something hanging above it. But I’m undecided so it’s naked for now. The dresser is awesome for storing cookbooks, aprons, candles, etc.

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Since the little nook area was looking a bit boring after the cute yellow desk was gone, I swapped out some chairs. This has seriously confused people who come over, but I like the eclectic look of it.

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That’s about it! Nothing major, but the little tweaks are what make it your own place.

Some things I still plan to do:

  • Put some curtains up on the bay window area in the kitchen
  • Hang something about the dresser
  • Pot a bunch of herbs and grow them on the kitchen table
  • Get a new big rug for under the kitchen table
  • Redo the fireplace area with rock or brick, and build a new mantle
  • Get new lamps for the end tables

What projects have you been working on?

i heart new york.

It is bizarre to think I was in New York just a bit over a week before Hurricane Sandy and the devastation in the east. Watching the news and seeing the flooding in the subway stations, boardwalk, and Battery Park, I was thinking.. I was just there. It somehow solidified the feeling that I left a part of myself there.

The big, pulsing city. Somehow being there, among the art and diversity and culture and the most well-off and the most down-trodden, I felt more American. There’s the symbol of the opportunity in this country mixed with the bleak reminder of the evils of terrorism and the corruption of capitalism. It’s all there: the ugliness and the hope.

And the art. I love being in a place you can see an original Warhol, a limited edition Prada bag, and the best street graffiti in one day {cuz I did}. It’s visual and inspirational overload for an artist’s soul like mine.

We did all the essential things. MoMA, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty. And the quirky things. Off-Broadway, Coney Island (we tried). But I suppose I felt less self-conscious of my tourist-ness than I usually do. Maybe because there’s no “right” way to be in a city that diverse? Or maybe because the city is important enough to warrant photo-documentation.

The city doesn’t need us. It doesn’t care we were there. Except maybe the homeless guy we bought some food for, we left no mark. It felt more like I was understanding rather than observing. It all sinks in and you feel a part of something.

Maybe that’s why the east coast weather these past few days seems surreal to me, all the way back in cozy, safe Utah. You can’t visit New York without feeling how the city has endured. It wears its scars like badges. The “survivor trees” at the Twin Towers 9-11 Memorial were sobering and poetic. In the entire block, a few trees were all to survive the destruction and they were nursed back to health, blocked off and protected as living monuments.

Battery Park was also recently flooded and suffered some damage. This is where we boarded the ferry to Liberty Island. The park is the new home of this sculpture, which was moved from the Twin Towers wreckage during reconstruction to keep it safe. No restoration was done to this statue, so scorch marks, dents and all, this piece of art had a really somber effect on me and I wondered about how it fared the storms.

My favorite part of the trip was wandering around Brooklyn. It’s got that you-know-it-when-you-feel-it soul. I sort of thought I would feel more of that during the trip but every neighborhood really had it’s own atmosphere and to me, Brooklyn felt like it could be home. There is art in its crumbliness.

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is a must-do. You can see everything while still being fully part of it.

We tried to go to Coney Island, but it was closed for the season. I took photos from outside the gate because I love creepy signs. Abandoned amusement parks stuck in a previous time. It’s the perfect setting for a horror flick.. or a really offbeat and awesome wedding reception.

It’s strange, the things about a place that can stick with you the most. For me it was a general feeling of blending. Somehow we all fit in, and it’s hard to remember that in the suburbs. I’m probably meant to be a big city girl, but it will survive without me.

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I’m the worst blogger, and an even worse travel blogger. I have the best of intentions, but when I get back from a trip I generally am exhausted and behind at life (duh) and the last thing I want to do it edit photos and write a blog post. Isn’t that so sad? Vacations deserve documentation, after all. So, I promise I will get around to recapping some of the highlights from our NYC trip last week. It was a great time, and an amazing city.

For now I will post at least some of my favorite Instagram shots (sorry for those of you who already follow me or see them on Facebook).

We rolled into the city at 5:30am on the red eye, and took the world’s spendiest cab ride to Time Square. This was the least crowded we experienced the city the entire time.

We stayed in a hostel called the NY Budget Inn. It was located in a great area so it was well worth surrendering the frills (and hot water). Any legitimate hotel in the city would have cost 3 times more. We barely spent time in our tiny prison-cell room.

We took the subway all over because it was the most cost effective way to get around. I loved that every stop had different art and flavor. This stop had mosaic eyes all over – dozens of them, all different.

The view from the Empire State Building was breathtaking.

Central Park was one of my favorite things. There’s a large area paying tribute to John Lennon. Yoko Ono paid for the restoration of the area and for the cost of the tribute. It was beautiful.

This was one of the lakes in the park.

Pizza everywhere! I loved this vintage-looking signage.

We went to see Avenue Q, an off-Broadway show, that was totally hilarious. It was in a cool little theater called New World Theater that had the best mod art. I liked how this mural looked with my graphic umbrella.

We took the ferry to Liberty Island. So fun! I loved seeing Lady Liberty in person. It really is surreal.

A few of the city from Liberty Island.

The American Museum of Natural History was awesome. We had to skip so much because it’s easily an all-day event if you wanted to see it all. I loved the dinosaurs and the Universe exhibits the most. It made me realize how I need to brush up on my astronomy one of these days.

Brooklyn was my favorite neighborhoor, by far. So artsy, old and full of character. Great buildings. We wandered around all day.

Under the bridge.

We took the subway alllll  the way to Coney Island, only to find it was closed for the season. It made for creepier shots. What a kitschy place.

The MoMA in NYC was a bit disapointing, honestly. The Frida Kahlo pieces were all gone, and there’s a huge chunk of modern art I just don’t appreciate or understand. I was drawn to the really graphic and text pieces mostly, like this one.

Time Square in the daylight. This one actually gives a sense of the crowds everywhere. It was pretty insane as expected.

Fun vacay! And hubby was a trooper as always, for trecking the city and keeping us from getting too lost. Most of the time. Lookit those bags under my eyes! Successful, exhausting trip.

empire state of mind.

We are going to NYC next month!

A couple of years ago, I put the trip on my list of 30 things to do before I turn 30, and heading there when I’m 29 seems like a great (possibly) last trip to end my 20s.

..And not that the end of my 20s means the end of carefree life, but lately I’ve been feeling a little too old for my age. I want to make this trip fun and nonstop and exhausting just because I can. Could I use a relaxing vacation? Hell yes. But the next decades of life are for sleep. 😉

For this trip, we’re keeping it all about experiencing every bit of the city we can, scrimping on the amenities in favor of spending our vacation budget on the fun stuff. We’re flying in on a red eye, so we’ll be starting the trip out with immediate sleep deprivation. We’ll be staying in a hostel! ..Where we rent towels and share a bathroom with European college kids, Korean families and assorted hipsters.  And, we are backpacking it. Carry-on only, for a week, just in case we want to pick up and move locations on a whim, and so it’s just not about the hassle of stuff. Thus the following edited packing list {you know I can’t pass up a packing collage}.

On the agenda:

Empire State Building, ferry to the Statue of Liberty, art museums, Broadway show, Brooklyn, SoHo, rocks shows, vegan joints, divey bars, nice clubs, Times Square, Central Park.. what else do you recommend we try to fit in?

What are your favorite things about NYC?

30 in 365

Back in February 2010 I wrote up a list of 30 things I wanted to do before I turned 30. And as today marks exactly one year til my 30th, I thought I would take a look back at my list and check my progress, and also make a few tweaks to my original list {and write a really wordy post to do it}.

I know, I know. It might seem like cheating to change up the list, but the reason for it is priorities change. Two years ago my goals were slightly different and that means a couple things on the list are irrelevant. And some were, at the time, things I wanted to do just to say I did, but after staring at the list for the past couple of years I know my time can be better spent focusing on some different things I REALLY want to make time for. Which means, some of the items on the list are getting traded out for some new to-dos and it’s my list so get over it.

So, here’s a rundown of my progress and future plans for my last year in my 20s {sniff!}:

These are DONE:

  • Vacation somewhere tropical. {Woop! Hawaii!}
  • Host a girl’s night in {Actually did three of these with three different groups!.:)}
  • Make that bikini body happen. {I’m counting it because I wore one in public, haha}
  • Get totally glammed up and go dancing and clubbing allll night. {couple times in Vegas}
  • Attempt snowboarding.
  • Buy a piece of art from a local artist.
  • Take a dance class. {I took belly dancing for a few months – want to do it again!}
  • Go on a mega hot date – red lipstick required. {Vegas for JB’s 30th!}
  • Go ice-skating.
  • Take a day off of work, drive somewhere remote and take photos.
  • Get a massage.

These are getting bumped off the list:

  • Go snow-shoeing. {I hate snow. Snow is dumb. Maybe I’ll try this one day, but won’t go out of my way to do so!}
  • Get a tattoo. {Maybe on my next list, but I’m still undecided on this one for now. I am pro-tattoo for sure but I don’t know that it’s something I want to do just to cross off a list. I need to be inspired and not have a deadline.}
  • Get a freelance writing/design gig going on the side, if just on a really small scale. Which means… a plan, a website and some promoting. {Writing is no longer a life goal of mine. Bigger and better things? Maybe.}
  • Learn to knit. {Maybe this will be on my next list but I don’t have the attention span for this right now}.
  • Go to a wine-tasting. {I gave up drinking so this no longer interests me!}
  • Purchase a really great article of designer clothing, or a pair of shoes. Even if it’s from Ebay. Even if I have to ration food to pay for it. {Don’t get me wrong – this still sounds awesome. But it’s pretty unimportant to me at the moment. I actually have tried to knock this one out from the list several times only to feel like an ugly over-consumer!}

The rest of the {numbered} items below are yet to do or yet to finish.

These are in progress/on track:

  1. Finish my Master’s Degree {I have 5 classes left. If all goes as planned I will be done by December of this year!!}
  2. Pay off my student loans {I’m sooo close. I should have them paid off this summer!!}
  3. Grow my hair out as long as possible.
  4. Strive to find my style. Don’t purchase things I only *kind of* like. Buy things that are awesome. Make things. Thrift things and fix them up.  {this is always in progress I guess}
  5. Write my bucket list.

These are yet-to-do:

  1.  Do at least one volunteer project, if not something on-going.
  2. Go to a FANTASTIC music festival.
  3. Buy a fabulously girly head-to-toe outfit and plan a fabulous day wearing it.
  4. Hike to an overnight camping destination.
  5. Take a road trip.
  6. Go to New York.
  7. Find a charity to donate to yearly.
  8. Cook something that involves lighting it on fire.

THESE are the new items:

  1.  Master the Crow pose and Wheel pose in yoga. I know I’m capable with more practice.
  2. Visit Portland. It’s been on my list for a long time. Also, I was once told that if I were a city, I would be Portland. I don’t know what that means but if they had said I’d be Raleigh that’d be on my list instead.
  3. Build a piece of furniture. Not a revamp, but an actual follow-some-plans-and-make-it-myself.
  4. Attempt rock-climbing.
  5. Become more self-sustaining for the long-term. This is an ever-evolving project/goal, but I want to put a lot of energy into it over the next year: maintaining a garden, learning to can, improving my sewing, building, and baking skills, and possibly even raising chickens for eggs!}
  6. Create my own art. Not just crafty.. but actually paint something totally original.

19 of 30 yet to do {stay calm}, and it’s a pretty FULL year if I tackle them all. I admit it! But it’s worth attempting. I’m a huge advocate of planning BIG and at least making a dent, as opposed to not getting around to any of it because I didn’t make it a priority. That’s the point of this .. not to say 30 is the end of fun or some sort of deadline in my professional life. Hardly! I will just have a new list for the next phase of my life – never stop growing, planning, reaching, experiencing, learning, creating.

30 in 365..herewegoooo!