30 By 30

30 things to do before my 30th birthday.

1. Have babies.

2. Take an Alaskan cruise. ✓ // Part I, Part II, Part III
May 2017 – visited Seattle, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, and Victoria! Plus, we got to take our anniversary pictures in Juneau (SWOON) and hang out with the Hightowers in Seattle. Dreamy, amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

3. Pay for someone’s dinner anonymously.

4. Go on a big adventure. ✓
Gosh, where to start?? I kind of killed multiple birds with one stone on this one. (1) We paddled (nonstop, in freezing rain, 45 minutes one way) across Mendenhall Lake, hiked on top of the glacier, and explored the gorgeous ice caves underneath. (2) We hiked Chimney Rock National Monument and whitewater rafted the San Juan River in Colorado. (3) Robyn and I went on a sister trip to Six Flags on what was arguably the hottest Texas summer day in 2017….!!

5. Throw someone a surprise party. 
Jeremy Burns’s Stranger Things surprise birthday party in October 2017, on the exact day that the new season of Stranger Things came out on Netflix. It was EPIC! I also had the privilege of throwing a surprise “30, Flirty & Thriving” birthday party for Courtnie Whitley.

6. Read 10 new books. ✓
Bossypants by Tina Fey, 2016
The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon, 2016-17
The Defining Decade by Meg Jay, 2016-17
Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown, 2017
Wild and Free by Hayley Morgan and Jess Connolly, 2017
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller, 2017
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, 2017-18
Wait and See by Wendy Pope, 2018
From This Day Forward by Craig & Amy Groeschel, 2018
— Safe in the Arms of God by John MacArthur, 2018

7. Learn how to curl my hair. ✓
Big thanks to Jen for the curling wand! :)

8. Make a complicated recipe.

9. Complete the 52-Week Money Challenge.

10. Participate in a Color Run.

11. Deliver meals to new parents. 
2016 – Kelli, Blake, & baby Elijah
2017 – Courtnie, Andy, Owen, & baby Abigail
2017 – Tiffany, Cole, & baby Éowyn
2017 – Jennifer, Stacey, & baby Cole

2017 – Brianna, Dillon, & baby Mallorie
2018 – Kaci, Tyler, & baby Theo
2018 – Dara, Les, & baby Laeklyn

12. Get serious about MONAT. 
I did get serious, but not in the way I had originally planned. :) Although MONAT gave me the chance to do some really cool things (like going to Vegas for free, taking our Alaska pictures, etc.), I reached a breaking point in 2018. I experienced some very time-consuming and emotionally draining personal issues, and honestly, I reached a point where I was sick of social media. I still wanted to enjoy it, but I was tired of trying to keep people *engaged* all the time, and I felt controlled by it. Due to both of those things, I made a choice to stop pursuing the business side of MONAT. But before you get uppity about network marketing, just know that I am still a Market Partner, I still think MONAT is a fantastic company, I still love their hair products, and I’m even still earning income! However, I decided that taking a step away from MONAT was what I needed, and I have not regretted that decision. For now, I am enjoying this season of trusting the Lord, spending time with people I love, dreaming a little about the future, and learning more about myself.

13. Host a backyard dinner party.

14. Plan a “stay-cation.”

15. Take Fitz on a trip. 
He went on a two-week vacation in east Texas with a little hussy named Scarlett, haha :) And they made the cutest puppies alive! Plus, he goes with us to see my in-laws all the time. It’s my favorite place to take him because they live on 75 acres of gorgeous land, and he can run as fast and as far as he wants to.

16. Create a new annual family tradition. ✓
Watching the entire Harry Potter series every fall.

17. Make a map of places we’ve visited. 
I got a cute map tea towel from Colorado with the United States outlined on it, and I’m in the process of coloring in each state we visit!

18. Take anniversary pictures with Daniel. ✓
5-year photo shoot with the talented Catie Bartlett in Juneau, Alaska – what a dream.

19. Spend a long weekend tucked away in a cabin.

20. Update my home decor. ✓
– New print/wreaths above the couch, 2016
– Wooden Oklahoma from Mom, 2016
– New Brooklinen bedding, 2017
– Changed up living room bookcases, 2017
– Gallery wall in master bedroom, 2017
– DIY “BATH” letters in guest bathroom, 2017
– “Be Our Guest” sign in guest room, 2018

21. Make our backyard fun. ✓
– Globe lights on the back porch, 2017
– Wildflower planter, 2017
– Hanging lanterns on the fence, 2017

22. Grow the blog. ✓
I increased my views and follows, posted more frequently, wrote about things because I really wanted to and not because I felt like I was ‘supposed’ to, and made peace with the possibility of Embracing the Chaos being little more than a life journal of memories + an opportunity for the Lord to speak to me years later through my own writing. ♥

23. Take a group vacation. 
Jamaica with the Hendricksons, May 2016
Colorado with the Simmas, June 2017
Florida with the Simmas, June 2018
– Caribbean cruise with the McCains, Sept. 2018

24. Give away a few blessing bags.

25. Have a “Favorite Things” party.

26. Visit 5 new states. 
Washington – 2017
Alaska – 2017
Colorado – 2017
Nevada – 2017
Arizona – 2018
Florida – 2018

27. Go on a fancy dress-up date. 
We went on a couple! (1) While on the 2017 MONAT Vegas trip, we fancied up for the special dinner and gala. (2) For our 6th anniversary, we dressed up and went to Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House – easily one of the best meals either of us has ever had. (3) On our 2018 Caribbean cruise, we put on our finest for the two formal nights. (4) We celebrated NYE with the McCains, Wesberrys, Burnses, and Walstons, and I dug out a form-fitting, gold, vintage wrap top I found at Goodwill years before and had never worn, and paired it with some tight dark jeans and my new strappy black heels from Isaiah.

28. Really establish a cooking/cleaning routine.

29. Publish my book.

30. Take a road trip. 
Colorado with the Simma clan, June 2017

*Bonus: Each year, visit a new place I’ve never been before.

  • 2016: German colony in Muenster, TX; went to Chicago and Jamaica again, but stayed in different places and did new things (like ice skating in Millennium Park, cave diving, and cliff jumping!)
  • 2017: Seattle, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, and Victoria; Pagosa Springs, Colorado; Las Vegas
  • 2018: Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; St. Augustine; Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World; Costa Maya
  • 2019: _____
  • 2020: _____

To see my full post about why I decided to do “30 By 30,” click here!