You Only Live Once, This Is How I’m Doing It!

Tag: 30 by 30 Page 1 of 2

It’s all about the journey

Hm, blogging… let’s see if I remember how to do this.

First of all, thank all of you for your kind comments here and on Twitter about my dad. Things could have been so much worse than what they were. He’s not all better yet but he is recovering and for that I’m so thankful.

So much else has happened since I fell off the blogging wagon I don’t even know where to start so I’m just going to skip to current time. I may eventually try to recap things but my current adventure is way too exciting to bother with that right now.

Yesterday Joel, Phoebe and I began Epic Road Trip 2011. We’re in the process of completing number 27 on my 30 by 30 list. Driving across the country on Route 66.

Or getting our kicks on Route 66 as they say.

This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been on more road trips than I can count. They’ve always been to get somewhere in particular, as most road trips tend to be. Because they’re destination focused it doesn’t leave time for the random things in between.

Like the word’s largest rocking chair.

Every time I’ve taken a road trip I’ve always said that someday I want to take a trip where I get to stop at every strange and stupid thing. Just for the heck of it.

This is that trip.

And it’s even better than I hoped it would be.

It’s unbelievable how true flexibility makes things so much more enjoyable. Any time-table? Ours. Any rules or guidelines? Ours. If we decide something looks cool, we stop. If not, we don’t. If there’s a particularly dull stretch of road we may hop on the interstate for a few miles to save a few minutes that we can later use on something interesting.

We stopped at that ridiculously large rocking chair.

I kissed Mater.*

We’ve laughed and talked and joked and dreamed out loud and just had the most amazing time ever.

There’s no rush to be anywhere because here is exactly where we’re going.

I often have a hard time living in the moment because I’m so focused on my goals and where I want to be in the future. This trip is exactly what I need to remind me that there’s really nothing more important than right now because right now is my life.

It’s all about the journey.

*Oh hi Disney/Pixar, obviously I meant a Mater-like tow truck. Don’t sue me.

One year down

Five more to go. Until 30.

Yep, that means today I’m 25.


I’m firmly in my mid twenties. I held onto “early twenties” even this past year. Now there’s no denying it, I’m officially mid.

Again, yipes.

Despite what all the yipes may suggest I’m actually feeling good about turning 25. I’ve been slowly but surely crossing things off my 30 by 30 list and that is exciting.

One of the most major goals (at least financially) I crossed off was traveling to India. So incredible. It was everything I was hoping it would be and so much that I never expected.

The other major one I crossed off was keeping up this blog every day last year. I’m still kind of in shock that I did it. Especially when you consider how many days I just skipped blogging (ten, by the way. Although of course you know that already. You’ve been counting right?). I tend to be an all or nothing kind of person so it shouldn’t really surprise me that skipping “just today” turns into days of nothing. I need to work on that. Anyway, sticking with things isn’t my forte so the fact that I accomplished this the first year is a big deal.

In August I halfway crossed off my goal of dying my hair something other than it’s natural color. It was my own fault for chickening out and not going for it 100%. I had her add just a little red to my natural color plus I had her only use semi-permanent hair dye. The results were less than exciting. So this time I went all out. I couldn’t be happier. That will teach me to do things halfway.

The last thing I crossed off my list this year was joining a book club. The girls I met there were so fun and I had a great time. Unfortunately life happened, people got busy and stopped showing up to meetings. So, the club stopped meeting altogether. I’m disappointed because, like I said, I felt really connected to some of the girls. On the other hand, I work so much now that I doubt I’d be able to make meetings myself now. It was good for what it was at the time. Hopefully I can get back in touch with some of the girls I was closest too. Making that one of my mini goals for this year.

So, 4 things down, 26 to go. In order to finish I should have technically crossed off 5 things from my list. I’m not too worried about it though. I’m well on my way to crossing several things off. I’ll just have to make it a point to get 6 or 7 things done this year. I’m 25 and I feel ambitious!

Other exciting news? You probably noticed the new theme. Complete with a custom header designed by the incredibly talented love of my life. I’m loving it.

And last but probably most exciting was my birthday present……


I’m so excited I can barely stand it. I’m such a nerd.

So yeah, this past year was great but I expect 25 to be even better.

Now, who wants to be my Blogher roommate?


When I dyed my hair for the first time I wanted it to be striking. I loved it and it was pretty but it was basically an enhancement of my natural color. Even my mom didn’t notice a difference. I got together with my family a few days afterward and the one who said something? My brother-in-law. Then my mom and sister were all “Oh yeah, it does look different.”

Not the reaction I was looking for.

So this time I told my stylist I wanted something drastic. I wanted red. I wanted people to notice.

Mission accomplished

The cut is pretty hot too, don’t you think?

Or at least that’s what I was told my way too many people.*

I have never felt so beautiful in my life.

I could tell it was a little much for some people. That’s ok. I’m a little much for some people. But for the most part all I heard was how gorgeous it looks.

I never get called “gorgeous.” I get “cute.”

Have I talked about levels of attractive before? Well, in my mind there are levels. It’s not an exact science and, depending on who is saying it and in what context, they can move around but basically there’s:

Nice, cute, pretty, adorable etc. Then, there’s hot, beautiful, sexy and gorgeous.

In my mind calling someone gorgeous is one of the highest levels.

Cute? One of the very lowest. It’s something you’d call a puppy or a toddler. It’s definitely a compliment and I’d rather be cute than ugly. But gorgeous? Something I never saw myself as and definitely never thought others saw me that way.

But, gorgeous or not I think this color suits me. It’s fiery, as am I. I don’t want to blend into a crowd. With this hair I can’t help but stand out. It’s a statement about who and what I am. I’m not just another boring, average person.

I’m me.

And with this hair? I’m just a little more fabulous.

*I say too many because holy ego boost. It’s going to go to my head if I’m not careful.

Made it

Three hundred and sixty five days. Three hundred and sixty five posts.

I freaking did it.

I’m kind of in shock actually. I stuck with something every single day for an entire year? I don’t think that’s ever happened before. Unless maybe it’s sleeping.

Or breathing.

But yeah, I can’t believe that I somehow managed to blog daily. It was often a struggle and now that I’ve done it I’m done. Nobody panic, I’m still going to keep blogging but it will be nice to be able to skip a day if I have nothing to say.

This year was definitely full of ups and downs. It wasn’t all bad but I have to say I’m glad 2010 is over. There were definitely more downs than ups.

For 2011 I’m very optimistic though. Last year I was unemployed and my days consisted of watching hulu endlessly and playing with Phoebe. Now I have a job that keeps me incredibly busy. It’s fun and rewarding. It can be frustrating but that’s part of what keeps it interesting.

So here’s to 2011. I’m interested to see how this year goes. I have a lot of big goals. I’m not one to make resolutions but I’m excited to keep working on my 30 by 30 list. I crossed off four things on my list this last year and I’m well on my way to crossing off several more.

Happy New Year everyone!

Brain exercise

I can’t believe it’s 13 December already. In thirteen days Christmas will be over. In less than three weeks 2010 will be gone.

That’s kind of insane, am I right?

What’s even crazier? I’m 18 days away from my goal of blogging every day for a year. That’s 347 blog posts so far. I don’t think I’ve stuck with anything this long. At least not every single day.

I’m the type of person who gets really excited about something and invests in it 1000% and then burn out and abandon it after awhile. I’m a hot or cold kind of person. I do nothing halfway. If I’m in I’m in. If I’m not I couldn’t be less interested. It can be a good quality.

It can also be a real pain.

When I started blogging last year on 1 January I don’t think I expected to last a year. I knew it was going to be one of my goals but I had six years. Or five I guess since I had to actually blog for a whole year before I could say I completed the goal. I tend to put things off until the last minute and I didn’t have any reason to think this goal would be any exception.

Somehow I made it a whole month of blogging daily, almost without meaning to. I even blogged from Cancun which is kind of a big deal because it wasn’t easy to find internet access.

Looking back I realized part of what helped was giving up my perfectionist tendencies and allowing myself to post about “nothing”. I used to only post big important things. Each post had to be perfect. This past year I let that go a little.

I try to make my posts as interesting as possible. Let’s face it though, interesting things don’t happen every single day of the year. Sometimes days are just dull. Or sometimes you have a million things on your mind but because you’re not anonymous you can’t write about those things honestly. Or at all.

Those days are my brain exercise.

Forcing a post out on those days can be as easy as 100 crunches. Maybe for someone who is super awesome that’s not a big deal but for me and my flabby abs it can be real work.

It’s such a satisfying feeling when I’ve completed another post though. Especially if I felt like I had nothing at all to say and somehow managed to end up with a pretty fantastic post. Or at least fantastic in my opinion. I’m kind of biased.

Some of my best, most honest posts have come from sitting down and just letting my fingers move across the keyboard. Letting my brain and heart spill onto the page can be uncomfortable. Being open and honest doesn’t come easy for me anymore. Letting the world into my soul is hard.

But when I make magic on these pages it’s worth it.

When someone responds that they know exactly what I mean because they’ve been there too it’s worth it.

Every day is a post that gets me closer to my goal and that makes me feel amazing.

The fact that I actually can set a goal and stick to it? Worth it.

Today was another brain exercise. I don’t have any writing prompts to set me up. No memes to play along with. No big events are going on in my life. I don’t have a silly video or picture to share.

It’s just another writing exercise for my brain. I’ve come way too far to give up now.

I have a feeling the next two and a half weeks are going to be tricky.

Holidays make for easy blog content. But minds that are full of work and feelings far too personal to share with the world do not.

I know I’ll continue blogging after my year of every day posts is complete. I doubt I’ll continue to post every single day though. It would be nice to have a break every once in awhile. I do want to set some sort of goal that pushes me.

Because these brain exercises are tough but they sure are rewarding.

A different list

So, I’m not quite a year into my 30 by 30 list and already I’m making changes. Not a huge one though.

A long time ago a friend of mine linked to a list of 100 books on Facebook. They were all classics that (in my opinion) everyone should at least know about if not have read. It was fun seeing which ones I’d already read and I was a little ashamed at the amount that I have yet to read.

When I started my 30 by 30 list I knew I wanted to give myself a reading goal. I love to read but lately I’ve been too occupied with mindless television to pick up a book. I tend to like to do 5 things at once (Joel always gives me grief about the number of tabs I always have open. Apparently it slows the computer down. Whatever.) and I can have a show playing in the background while I chat on twitter, check my email and read blogs. If I read I have to give the book my full attention. Focusing on just one thing is actually something I should work on more often. I’m quite the scatterbrain lately.

So, when I googled top 100 books and top 100 movies the best ones I found were Time’s. I read through the entire movie list because I added all that I could into my Blockbuster queue. However, I just basically copy and pasted the book list. As things went along and I tried to start going through the list I realized that it wasn’t the list I had been thinking of. I tried searching for the other list but other than reading through a year or two of my friend’s Facebook wall (um, stalker much?) I couldn’t figure out a way to find it.

The thing is, I didn’t just want a list of novels. I’m sure the novels on Time’s list are fantastic but I only recognized a handful. My goal wasn’t to read a bunch of books that I’d never heard of, my goal was to catch up on all the books I thought I should have already read.

So, I finally found the list I was looking for thanks to my resident Google guru. I swear Joel is like the search engine whisperer. I can search for hours and find nothing and in 3 minutes he has what I was looking for and more. It definitely is never annoying.

I don’t consider this cheating since this was the list I intended to read in the first place. I’m still going to cross a 100 books of a list, it’s just a different list than I originally posted. I think this particular list is a lot more comprehensive. It includes non fiction as well which I very rarely read.

I already have read a few of the books. Others I’m almost positive I’ve read but I’m leaving them uncrossed because I want to be sure. I read quite a few abridged books growing up so I want to make sure I read the full versions.

I’m actually excited about this list, much more so than I was about the other one. I feel like I’ll be a much more well rounded person when I finish.


This evening I saw Peter Pan at The Lookingglass. They never fail to put on an amazing show. This particular show was special to me because of the connection I feel to the story of Peter Pan.

When I was younger I truly believed that happy thoughts could really get you to fly… if only I had pixie dust. I spent many days trying so hard to fly, thankfully the highest point I tried from was the living room couch. Once my best friend and I put glitter in our hair to see if that would help things. Perhaps it was a good substitute for fairy dust. Turns out, not so much. Also? Very, very difficult to wash out of hair. Our mothers were not impressed.

I’ve always had an obsession with flying. No surprise I guess considering the career I chose. I love being in the air. I would love to feel the wind on my face and the icy clouds whip past as I soar. I want to feel lighter than air. Have you ever stuck your hand out of the car window when you’re driving down the highway and just let it glide along? I want my whole body to feel just like that. When I’m working on the plane there are moments on descent where the plane makes a relatively sudden drop in altitude. If I’m walking down the aisle at those moments my tip toes can barely touch the ground and I almost feel weightless. Incredible.

Anyway, back to Peter Pan. All growing up I firmly believed in Neverland. I never believed in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy or any of those mythical figures like a normal child. Neverland however was different. I really believed in it. If only I knew which one the second star to the right was and if only I could find a pixie to sprinkle it’s dust on me I could find it and fly happily away to a land of rainbows, mermaids and eternal childhood. I’ve always been a little afraid of growing up.

And now, I suddenly find myself grown up.

When did that happen? When did I go from daydreaming about castles and horses and strong, independent heroines captured by evil villains to thinking about bills and car maintenance and how well my pants fit? Things used to be so simple.

When I was watching the play I realized something. There’s still a tiny part of me, deep down that believes. I still feel like I’m waiting for a fairy to come to my room and give me the ability to fly away into the night.

It’s not that being a grown up is all bad. There are great benefits like choosing my own bedtime… and other night time activities of the married variety. Maybe I just miss my imagination. It used to be so vivid. Now even when I imagine it gets stuck and I start thinking about cost or logistics. Or where the story is headed. I need to remember how to let go, let my brain dream without trying to structure it.

Maybe if I can find a balance between child and grown up I’ll create a world for myself that’s even better than Neverland.

*I’m taking a break from blogging about India for the weekend. I’ll be back to posting about it on Monday.

A Celebration of Day Dreaming

I joined 20 something bloggers in order to find some online people who were in similar places in their life. I found some neat people but one of my very favorites was Jade who writes Now That I’m No Longer 25. Jade has an ambitious list of goals she wants to accomplish before she turns 30 just like I do.

Another bonus to her blog? She’s Scottish which means I get to read her blog with an accent in my head! Yes I seriously do that. Try it, you’ll love it too.

My favorite thing about her though is she’s not afraid to dream big. One of the most exciting things about life is the ability to dream something up, make it a goal and go after it 100%. Whether you accomplish it or not isn’t the point. The point is not being afraid to reach just above what seems possible and she definitely is a good example of someone who does just that.


All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney

I’ll admit it; I’m a dreamer, kind of like JD from Scrubs but with longer hair. I’ve loved day dreaming since I was a child, my parents received numerous report cards noting my inability to concentrate on a task and the amount of time I spent day dreaming in lessons. I loved getting lost in my own world of faeries, detectives and dusty mansions. One of the best things about childhood is the ability to dream and imagine

Dream your dreams with open eyes and make them come true. – T. E. Lawrence

It took me a long time to become confident in my abilities and to realize that I was accepted by others, once I did though my dreams changed to a different type of dreams – to more attainable dreams; dreams of careers, houses, hospitality, connections, a house filled with laughter and traveling the world. There really is no end to the possibilities while we’re on this planet.

Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them. – John Updike

Challenge is important to me; that’s part of the fun in dreaming, setting yourself a challenge, thinking about what you could change or achieve if you really set your mind to it. For dreams to become a reality you really need to have confidence in yourself; in your abilities, in your personality and in your aims.

Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Not all of my dreams will become realities, my dreams and aspirations change over time. They’re my dreams and I can chose them, change them or even abandon them. I’ve discovered that I need to dream in order to achieve and that having aspirations really helps spur you on and try things out. That’s why I’ve also made a 30 things to do before I’m 30 list – to give me something to work towards and to give me the drive to achieve some of my dreams while I have the opportunity. So really there’s nothing wrong with a little day dreaming!

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

Make sure you follow Jade on Twitter: @JadeDickinson

And keep up with her working through her 30 by 30 list at

Stamps in my passport

I have quite a few of those. Before you think I’m bragging remember when I was stuck in The Netherlands? And then I ended up getting home via Brussels? Yeah, that added a whole lot of stamps. The rest are mostly from Germany because they’re very picky about knowing exactly when you entered and left the country.

One time, as a working crew member, they apparently didn’t stamp my passport. I found this out as I was trying to leave because the customs officer starting yelling at me about the fact that I didn’t have one. I wasn’t aware I was responsible for supervising German immigration. ::eye roll:: Thankfully he let me leave since I was standing there with a crew badge in uniform. And I said I’d only been there for 24 hours. Likely a liar would say slightly longer. I assume. I’ve never lied to immigration. Really.

Since, in my first six months of working, I was assigned trips to Frankfurt no less than 9 times you can imagine how boring it is to look through my passport. A whole lot of AMS and FRA, a French and Chinese visa and a few US stamps just for good measure. This has left me with very few pages left. Thankfully I have just enough room for my Indian visa which I will be applying for next Wednesday.

Yep, you read that right. I’m 90% sure this trip is actually going to happen. I’m in shock and shaking from excitement at the same time. Despite the fact that I’ve been hoping and praying to go on this trip since I was 12 years old I still feel completely unprepared. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that we didn’t raise enough money to buy tickets from the US to India. We’re going to have to fly standby to Europe and fly out of there.

Considering my last standby experience to Europe that kind of scares the crap out of me.

The cheapest tickets we found were out of Frankfurt which as I mentioned earlier is a city I’m quite familiar with. The only concern I have is I realized it’s right smack in the middle of Oktoberfest. Now, Oktoberfest happens in Munich but it still worries me that we might not be able to make it.

Our next option is Amsterdam which should be a breeze to get in and out of. The only problem is it’s going to cost like $700 more. ::sigh::

We have to decide soon but we need to get visas before we buy non-refundable plane tickets because the last thing we want is to be denied visas and just throw money away.

And now you can see where I’m stressed.

Not to mention I have barely any room in my US passport.

There’s plenty of room in my Swiss passport but something about the fact that I live in the States means I can’t use it. Lame.

We thought we could get extra pages put in but it turns out it costs almost as much to do that as to get a new passport. Super lame!

But we’re going.

I think.

I want this so bad it makes my heart ache. I wish we had raised enough to buy our plane tickets all the way from ORD but I guess that makes it even more about faith.

All I know is I’ve already heard about the children we’re going down there to help. And it makes me want to cry thinking about them. I can’t wait to play with them and read them stories and make their home a better place.

We’ve already sent money down to the home ahead of us. Today I found out what they’re using it for.


They’re putting in toilets so that they’ll have them when we arrive.

I told Joel I don’t need a toilet! I’ve used a squatty-potty before and we’re going to be in the middle of the jungle, I honestly didn’t expect anything other than a hole. Joel said it was already part of the improvement plans so I don’t feel guilty.

Imagine being exited about getting a toilet.

I can’t tell you how badly I hope to make it there. They are anticipating our arrival already and I know they will be very disappointed if we can’t make it for some reason. This is one of my biggest life dreams and it just seems unreal that it may actually happen.

Please send good vibes as we apply for visas and finally purchase plane tickets.

I’m so nervous but I’m starting to think we’re actually going to make it.

As always you can find out more about our trip at our HelpSend.Us site.

Virgin hair no more

I finally did it. My hair can no longer wear white to it’s wedding. Instead, it will be wearing red.

Because red? So much better than white. Or brown for that matter.

Today I took the plunge and completed number 23 on my 30 by 30 list. I dyed my hair red.

I go to the Aveda Institute in Chicago to get my hair done. Their prices are lower than even a place like Super Cuts but I feel comfortable with the quality of the products and I’ve never had a bad hair cut there. The last several cuts I’ve had done by the same girl and I heart her. She’s fantastic.

It was fun when they were discussing my color because they kept referring to my virgin hair. They actually use the words virgin hair which of course made me giggle inside. I’m clearly twelve.

Anyway, the process of the dye and cut took over four hours. Apparently my hair is quite thick.

This was part of the way through the process. She had to get more dye. For the third time. Ha!

Side note, I tried cucumber water for what I’m pretty sure is the first time. Not delicious. I like cucumbers but I think they’re better suited dipped in hummus than as a water flavor. The flavor is actually kind of nauseating. Blech.

The whole time my stylist was as giddy as I was about how good the color was going to look. Once it was done I seriously had so many students and instructors come up and say how gorgeous the color was. And they see a lot of dye jobs so you know it was good.

Oh, here’s a question. How do you react when someone tells you you’re pretty? Like, a matter of fact statement, not a guy hitting on you. One of the instructors came to check my hair at one point in the process and after she introduced herself was like “You’re very pretty.”

Hello, ego boost.

At the same time though it’s so hard to just say thank you. I always feel the need to justify compliments. I resist, but I always want to. It’s probably a whole other post on body image and self esteem but it surprised me and made me think. More than anything though it kind of made my day. Because who doesn’t want to be told they’re pretty?

After my appointment I tweeted about how much I loved my new ‘do and planned to post a picture shortly after. Except I hit traffic… on the way to Aunt Becky’s house to hang out. First Twitter friend I actually got together with. It couldn’t have been a better first tweetup. Because Becky? Every bit as awesome in real life as she is online which makes me so happy. Anywho, her and her adorable munchkins totally distracted me from Twitter (ironically) or posting pictures of my hair. I’m officially a giant tease. Sorry.

So, without further ado, the new hair.

It’s not shockingly different and my stupid cheap camera doesn’t do the color justice.

Perhaps tomorrow I can get a better picture in the sunlight. But you get the idea.

Bonus! I got my headband in the mail today from Krust


I’m very happy with it. I think next time I’ll go even more red.

I think the whole fiery red head thing suits my personality very well.

*double bonus, cleavage shot! You’re welcome.

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén