Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category



September 22, 2014

So. Here we are. Five years later. I turn 30 tomorrow. I’ll admit, I haven’t been doing the greatest job of updating this blog; life kind of got in the way and this sort of fell to the bottom of the priority pile.

I have actually crossed quite a few more things off, I just haven’t written about them yet. All in all, I’m pretty pleased.

So what didn’t I do? Well, I never wrote that novel. I started work on one, so I guess that’s a gray area, but completion was the goal, so… not quite. I didn’t learn to drive a stick shift, I didn’t get backstage anywhere, I didn’t make it to Broadway, I didn’t get to hold a koala, and I never did master the cherry-stem thing. But I did a whole ton of other things that I never even thought to add to the list. I even expanded on some things that I did check off – not only did I run a 5K (multiple times!) but this past weekend I ran my first 10K.

The interesting thing about lists like this is that your mind can change so many times over the course of a project. I’ve revised the list a few times; I’ve got many more things that I came up with later that I didn’t even bother to add. You can’t contain life to a list of bullet points. It will change in awesome, unexpected ways. And things that used to seem novel or important can fade away sometimes.

I’m not going to make a new list, but my next “big” goal is to visit all 50 states before I turn 50. I’m a little over half – I’ve got somewhere between 28-30 (I need to update my map!) and I’m not going to stress about it. It’s just a fun little thing to have in my back pocket.

All in all – I’m glad I made this list. It gave me things to strive for, and it made me think of some things to do outside of my normal comfort zone. And it was awesome. So for those of you working on your lists: good luck, have fun, and don’t worry if you don’t cross everything off. The whole point is the journey, anyway.


T-Minus 1 Month + 3 Days

August 20, 2014

After ignoring this blog for a few years, it’s time to swing by and make a few updates. Because I am going to be thirty next month. (!) 

It’s become apparent that I will not accomplish all of these things. The likelihood of getting to NYC to see a Broadway show before September 23 is next to nothing. Financially, it’s just not on the table anymore. I’ve got a trip booked for Seattle the weekend before my birthday and a trip to the Denver/Boulder area for a wedding the weekend after. I cannot justify trying to squeeze in a third trip between now and then – if I even had time for it. Instead, I guess I will have to settle for seeing a musical theater performance somewhere much more locally. 

On the flip side, I have accomplished a few things on this list that I forgot were even on there, or that I might have forgotten to write an update for. So once I get around to those entries, I might have fewer things left dangling.

Another thing I have considered doing is extending this list – perhaps 35 things before 35? Why not, right? 

All in all, I can’t really say if this was a failed experiment or not. As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten a lot more laid back and less concerned with deadlines and “list items”- it’s a fun idea, yes, but with any luck, I’ll have lots and lots of years ahead of me to try new and exciting things. Why limit it to just thirty? And why pretend like it’s all over when the clock ticks over next month? (Perhaps this is merely my justification for the fact that I have nearly forgotten about this list and/or have fallen a bit short of these items. Who knows?)

Anyway: stay tuned, I’ll be brushing the cobwebs off this site shortly and will have some new posts coming your way!



Year Three: Revisiting the List

September 23, 2012

Oh, this poor neglected blog. The last time I revisited the list was on my 26th birthday. I didn’t even bother with it when I turned 27 because I hadn’t done anything. Well, no, that’s not true… I had knocked the formidable #12 off my list, or was very close to it at the time, but didn’t write about it. (In fact, I went a full year without posting. That’s kind of embarrassing.)

What’s kind of ironic to me is that I’ve actually managed to accomplish some of the things that I have removed from the original list. I’ll be honest… some things I took off simply because they weren’t things I could include pictures of. Catchphrase of 2012: “Pics or it didn’t happen!” Others, well. This is supposed to be a fun project. No use setting myself up to fail.

So, as I celebrate my 28th birthday, and thus, the 3rd anniversary of this blog, let’s take a peek at things and see where they stand…

(Original rationale and descriptions are here. The current list as it stands is here. I’m updating the descriptions, because, well, it’s been three years. It’s time. Hell, it’s probably time for a site redesign, too, but let’s not get too carried away here.)

1- Fall in love
I’ve almost removed this one so many times. Not just because it seemed impossible, but also because it’s a stupid thing to put on a list. I don’t want it to be something that I just check off. But I didn’t want to say something like “get married” because I don’t want to put a timetable on something like that. Hell, I wasn’t sure I wanted to put a time table on falling in love. In hindsight, it’s ridiculous, but I feel like it would be a poor show to remove the #1 item. Besides, what could I possibly put in its place instead? That’s where I struggle. What deserves the #1 spot? Publish a novel, probably. But that’s also not likely to happen before I’m 30. Maybe it will never happen. I suppose I could say “write a novel”…. ? Anyway, putting it on a list like this feels cheap. But I don’t know if there’s a graceful way to backtrack. I suppose I could just cross it off and be done with it.
Update: 😉

2 – Earn my black belt in TKD
Update:  complete!

3- Visit Las Vegas
My original plan was to visit Las Vegas for my 30th birthday. Since that time, I’ve attended not one but two blogger meetups in Sin City, which far exceed any possible experience I might have in Vegas on my own. Will I still go for the big 3-0? Undecided. It’s an expensive city, y’all.
Update: complete

4 (originally)- Kiss someone at midnight on New Year’s Eve
Though I don’t suppose I necessarily have to have achieved #1 for this to be viable (what I should have said was “kiss a stranger on New Year’s Eve” – that would have been far more interesting!), it helps to have a significant other for something like this. It would probably also help if I had done anything for NYE over the past few years. Mostly… I’ve been going to bed early. Because I am old. And lame.
Update: canned… though I do hope that this upcoming New Year’s will be a little more favorable for me.

4 (updated) – Attend a midnight premiere of a movie
This is something I’ve always been curious about. It seems like an experience that everyone should participate in at some point or another, and obviously it will be easier to pull off the younger I am. I’m not saying that people over 30 can’t do it (because they do!), but I’ve been watching my sleep habits slowly shift and, y’know, I just can’t stay up like I used to. There are a few movies that I’ve had my eye on that would be perfect contenders for this.
Update: complete! Twice!

5- Sell a piece of artwork
This was one of the cheaty ones that I had on my list but managed to knock off before the blog actually went live. I’d always wanted to see if I could profit off of my creative endeavors, but I’ve always been too afraid to try.  Maybe I could add a Part II to this and try and open an Etsy store or something.
Update: complete

6 (original) – Photograph a new city 
I have a fascination with cityscape photography. I used to be really into taking pictures of whichever city I found myself in, but I went on a really long travel draught, and so I kind of figured that this wouldn’t be happening. Either that, or I just didn’t care so much anymore. Which is too bad, because since then, I’ve been to a multitude of cities, always with my camera in tow.
Update: I’ve totally done this. I finally made it to Chicago (which really should be on the list in and of itself…. Maybe I’ll add it as a bonus item.) I took some great photos.

6 (revised) – Run a 5K
I added this one solely so I’d get off my lazy bum and DO IT. It’s feasible. It’s not expensive. And it’s good for me. (Shall I refer to bullet #12 again?)
Update: partially complete… I participated but didn’t run the whole thing. I’m trying again in October. And I will keep trying until I am able to do it.

7 – Learn a foreign language (or enough to be mildly conversational)
Either French or Spanish. French cause it’s pretty, Spanish cause it’s useful.
Update: this was removed due to the difficulty level and the time frame and the fact that I don’t have the resources to achieve it right now. It’s something I still want to do, but I’m not sure how to go about it. I know, it’s a copout. I could take a class or something.

7 (revised) – Sing karaoke (sobriety optional)
I’ll be honest… I’m surprised this wasn’t on my original list. Or maybe it was, and I just moved it up. Either way, it seems like a logical thing to have on here. Though technically, thinking back, I kind of did this at a leadership conference that I went to while I was in college. I don’t think anyone was listening to our terrible, terrible screeching rendition of “Baby One More Time” and it wasn’t in a “real” karaoke setting. Even so… I’m wondering about the legitimacy of this one. Oh, hell. Maybe I could change it to “drunken karaoke” and then it will be a completely brand-new item.
Update: still not done, though it should be pretty easy to knock off. Just need to commit to doing it.

8 – Get a tattoo
The idea has always been to get something in memory of my friend Michelle, who was killed in a car accident in 2006. I want something meaningful (obviously) but also that I won’t regret having permanently inked into my skin (obviously). I’ve been working on sketches for the last five years and still haven’t hit anything I love. It has to be perfect before it can be permanent. 
Update: still tossing ideas around.

9 – Visit a winery
Another one that I prematurely accomplished. I could spinoff and “tour a brewery” or something. I don’t know. What I do know is that wine is delicious and this item is DONE.
Update: complete

10 – Pay off my credit cards
Update: I was wrong. 2011 was not the year. But 2012 will be, I am almost 100% certain of it. I’m so close I can taste it. I’m watching the balance fall and it’s only a matter of months now.

11 – Find the perfect little black dress
Found one, then found a better one. I really should write and update post about the newer one, because it’s amazing and I wear it often (at least when a LBD is called for!) and have gotten many a compliment on it.
Update: complete.

12- Lose 30 pounds
This is the white whale, the magical unicorn, the seemingly impossible task. I didn’t think I was ever going to accomplish it, or even get close. And then I did. (Granted, I gained about 20 of it back, but I’m working on it again, and I didn’t specify that it had to STAY off.)
Update: complete, with a bonus 2 pounds gone too. Working on a repeat performance.  Maybe I will check back in again when I hit my final goal weight.

13 (original) – Sing karaoke
Aha! I thought I’d had this one originally. I must have promoted it when I adjusted some things.
Update:  moved to #7

13 (revised) – Make a dramatic change to my appearance (non weight-related)
Every girl needs to do this at least once in her life, right? For most people it means chopping their hair completely off, and you know what? KEEP YOUR SCISSORS AWAY FROM ME. I know there will come a day when I will probably cut it off (I think there is a rule in the handbook or something – I know very few older ladies with long hair), but that time is not yet upon us. Instead, I opted to do something that a lot of people are curious about: I dyed my hair red. Also, it’s important to note, that this was not a breakup-related item. That’s when most people tend to do their crazy appearance changes. Me? I was bored over Thanksgiving week and decided “why the hell not?”
Update: complete!

14 – See a Broadway show
… on Broadway. In New York City.
Update: this… this might be one of the last things to get crossed off. I need to find some funds to make a trip out to NYC. This is slightly easier now that I know more people out on the East Coast, but even so. It’s one of the more cost-prohibitive items.

15 – Learn to drive a stick shift
My dad tried to teach me once. It ended in epic failure.
Update: haven’t gotten to this yet… need to find someone willing to teach me!

16 – Go out to the middle of nowhere and watch a meteor shower
Update: Tried to do this last summer but we didn’t quite make it out as far into the nowhere as was necessary. Also, I’m not sure how to provide a proof picture for this one, because my camera’s good, but it’s not THAT good.

17 – Visit a haunted house
I feel like I was coerced into this one. It was definitely an interesting experience. Obviously it was done around Halloween.
Update: complete, with no pictures. I don’t want to talk about it.

18 – Travel outside state lines and buy fireworks
Yo, Missouri – what’s up?
Update: complete!

19 – Learn the Thriller dance
One of those things I’ve always wanted to be able to do… though I have to admit, I’m losing my skill on this. I need a refresher, because nothing makes me sadder than hearing Thriller come on and drawing a complete blank on the moves.
Update: complete, WITH VIDEO.

20 – Get a manicure/pedicure and/or a massage
I was deprived for many years, to the point where I decided that I wasn’t going to cross this off until I did all three things.
Update: Thanks to the technology of Groupon, I acquired a massage. Thanks to my friend getting married, I FINALLY got a mani/pedi. Both are things I would do again, though maybe not regularly, because I am cheap.

21 – Go to the Iowa State Fair
I came, I saw, I ate something on a stick. And deep fried Oreos. And totally almost lost my car in the parking lot. It was fun. 
Update: complete.

22 (original) – Go campaniling
This only makes sense if you are an Iowa State student/grad. One of the traditions is to kiss under our campanile (clock tower) at the stroke of midnight. They say you’re not a true Iowa Stater until you do it. I never did it! : ( For as into ISU as I was, this makes me feel kind of like a failure…
Update: the good news is, I’ve done it! The bad news is, I’m really not sure how to make any sort of post about it. Therefore, it’s no longer an official item.

22 (revised) – Hold a koala bear
Ok, I know they’re not “technically” bears, but whatever, it sounds weird to just say “koala.” They’re cute and adorable and I WANT TO HOLD ONE.
Update: sounds like this can be accomplished at the Omaha zoo. Which is only a couple hours away. This is doable, people.

23 (original) – Take a ballroom dance class.
It’s glamorous and looks like it could be fun. I’m just not sure how feasible it is ‘round these parts.
Update: as I indicated in my last list update, this one was probably going to get the axe. And it did.

23 (revised) – Get backstage at a concert
So, I went ahead and replaced it with something also fairly questionable on the feasibility scale. Moreso because I don’t go to nearly as many concerts as I used to. Maybe I should start playing radio contests.
Update: uhhhh, not so much. Trying to figure out the logistics of this. I’m going to be embarrassed if I have to come up with a third #23.

24 – Participate in a cancer fundraising walk
My original text: “I will never be able to run a 5K, but dammit, I still want to participate.” OH SELF, YOU ARE SO FUNNY. You are also so very, very unkind to yourself. Because you CAN do it, and you ALMOST did do it, and you WILL do it. Even so, when I was at my most out of shape, this was kind of a big deal because walking a 5K can be (almost) as daunting as running one.
Update: completed, twice.

25 – Go Tailgating
Can you believe I never went tailgating in college? Ok, I went once, but I was 19, and the thought of getting a MIP charge wasn’t cool. There was no beer involved. And it wasn’t fun. So I finally went, as someone of legal age, and it was everything I hoped it would be. Except I didn’t get fed. Maybe next time I can tailgate with people who will grill some burgers. 
Update: complete

26 – Write a short story. Send it in to be published. Frame the rejection letter.
I am terrible with rejection, so this is mostly intended to be an exercise in accepting that rejection is a part of the game. It’s also supposed to be a kick in the pants to start writing things and actually DOING SOMETHING with the things I write.
Update:  wrote a story, sent it in, got rejected… just need to print off and frame that rejection email. It’s kind of like how restaurants frame their first dollar. Except backwards.

27 – Walk a dog
I’ve never done this. We’ve always had cats…  
Update: complete

28 (original) – Go to a casino
I’d never been, seemed like a thing to experience. However, it seemed silly to have this on the list while also having “Visit Las Vegas” on the same list. Because if you do the second, you’ll probably do the first.
Update: I won $4 on slots on my first trip to Vegas, and I won $30ish at a local casino near my sister’s house. I’m not a huge fan of gambling, but I am a huge fan of quitting while I’m a head, so I’m going to take my beginner’s luck and call it a day. But it’s no longer a list item.

28 (revised) – Ride a motorcycle (briefly, and with a helmet)
Because, you know, it would be bad-ass. And I really want a picture of myself on a motorcycle. It’s amazing how many fun things you can accomplish simply by disclaiming “it’s for my blog.” People are surprisingly willing to accommodate.
Update: I sat on a motorcycle. It was running. I got a picture. I’m calling it good. I never really actually wanted to ride it. My safety sensibilities kicked in and kind of took over. I’m okay with that.

29 – Learn to parallel park
Cause, seriously? I would park blocks away just so I didn’t have to.
Update: complete! I still get slightly nervous about it, but I’ve parallel parked so many times since that first one, I kind of feel like a champ.

30  Learn to tie a cherry stem with my tongue
I have a friend that can do this and she tried to direct me on how to do it one time, but I failed miserably. Just something fun and silly to round out the list!
Update: this is just silly enough that I’m keeping it on the list. I just need some practice!

You’ll also notice that I’ve got some bonus items on the List page. These are things that either randomly occurred to me that I listed as alternates, OR things that have come up that were just too good not to blog about. They’re more for enjoyment than crossing anything off a list, but this project has always been flexible, and as long as I have 30 new things completed by the time September 23 2014 rolls around, I’ll be a happy camper.

3 years down, 2 to go
19 completed goals
11 remaining


#6: Run a 5K

July 23, 2012

Date of first attempt: July 2012

I should have listed this as “participate in a 5K” but that’s not really what my ultimate goal was, so that would have been a copout… which is a pity, because I participated in my very first official 5K recently. Unfortunately, I began the Couch to 5K training far too late in the game and wasn’t able to complete it… which meant I walked a good bit of the 5K. However, it was a very laid back race – more of a run, than a race, really – so it’s not quite the failure one might assume.

Let me backtrack.

Quite a while ago, thanks to my Pinterest addiction, I learned of The Color Run – a 5K where they throw paint on you every kilometer, so that by the time you’re done, you’re a human rainbow. “Self,” I thought to myself, “that sounds like a lot of fun. You should look into this.”

I’m not a runner. I participated in track & field in high school, simply for lack of anything else to do in the spring, but I hated every second of it. I have always been slow and I’ve only gotten more and more out of shape since then. But I’ve been wanting to get back in shape (see: goal #12!) and this seemed like a fun way to do it. I found The Color Run’s website and searched for a nearby city in which to participate. Minneapolis, Chicago, and Kansas City were the closest, originally. Of these, Kansas City was the date that worked the best, even though the thought of running multiple miles outside in the Missouri heat in the middle of summer wasn’t particularly appealing. No matter, I was going to do it anyway. Together with my sister, brother-in-law, and fellow blogger and IRL friend Calee, we trekked down to KC in the middle of the biggest heatwave the Midwest has seen in quite some time, and prepared to get doused in rainbow powder.

I was able to run the first twelve minutes without stopping, then it was off-and-on walking/jogging the rest of the way. Not shabby, considering I had started at Level Zero only a month prior (I thought the Couch to 5K program was 6 weeks, so I thought maybe I could squeeze it into 4… nope, it’s 9 weeks. FACEPALM.)

Luckily, due to the overwhelming number of requests, they opened an event right here in Des Moines, Iowa, scheduled for the beginning of October. Obviously, I couldn’t resist signing up for it, because they brought it to my own backyard.

Which means I will have a second chance to complete this goal, in a fun and colorful manner.

I’m calling this goal half-complete. I signed up for a 5K and I completed it, but I didn’t run the whole thing.



#28: Ride a Motorcycle (briefly, and with a helmet.)

July 15, 2012

Date of close-enough completion: July 2012

The more time goes by, the less this one is appealing. Motorcycles are dangerous as hell, and I’ve long since lost my youthful illusions of being indestructible and immortal. I know all too well that I’m not. Even so, I left this one on the list. Maybe I could just, like, ride down a driveway or something and call it good.

I’m going to do you one better (or worse). I’ve sat on a motorcycle, parked safely on a driveway, while it was running. I revved the engine a few times. I was not wearing a helmet, to be sure, but I did get my picture taken. I’ve felt the power of it, I’ve breathed in the exhaust, I’ve gotten close enough that I’m going to check it off.

I mean, all I really wanted was a cool picture of me on a motorcycle. In that sense: mission accomplished.



#18: Go outside state lines and buy fireworks

July 13, 2012

Date of completion: July 2012

Fireworks are illegal in my state. I mean, the big ones are. We can buy sparklers and other feeble pyrotechnics, but if you want to buy anything more exciting (see also: dangerous), you have to go to a neighboring state. I think a lot of our other neighbor states also outlaw firework sales, so Missouri is the common destination for those wishing to light up the sky.

I’ve been through Missouri several times lately, and no matter which highway you take, there is a gigantic firework warehouse to greet you not far from the border. Each time, it vaguely occurred to me that we should stop, because I had it on my list, after all. On our way back from Kansas City earlier this month, my brother in law decided that he really wanted to buy some fireworks, and I seconded the motion for a pit stop. The giant red building, plastered with “NO SMOKING!!! OMG FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NO SMOKING!!! signs (okay, I might be paraphrasing), was fairly busy, given that it was mere days before Independence Day, which is prime firework time.

It’s also your best bet to be able to shoot them off without drawing too much interest from the authorities. They tend to let you get away with a little more when it’s the 4th of July. It’s quite patriotic of them, really.

I picked some small ground-based pieces (ground blooms! Glitter bombs!) that set me back about $2-3 (hey, it’s merely the act of purchasing that constitutes a successful checkmark on the list). Because it was pre-holiday weekend, they were giving freebies with purchases. My BIL joked that I wasn’t going to get any because my purchase was so small.

The bag girl smiled and gave me something anyway. Turns out, the freebie I got was worth more than my total purchase price. Go figure.

There was only the slightest of thrills crossing back over the border with our contraband. I mean, it’s not like there are customs officers on the state lines or anything. Also, the stuff I ended up with was pretty tame – to the point where they might even be legal here at home. Ah, well. I guess I’ll have to save my act of rebellion for another time.


#4: Attend a Midnight Premiere of a Movie

July 10, 2012

Date of completion: March 2012 & May 2012

I’ve always been slightly jealous of the people that had the foresight/stamina/dedication to attend a midnight movie. I always liked the idea, both of being one of the very first people to see something, and of the inevitable camaraderie that must certainly be associated by that dedicated of a fan base. Or just by the collective willingness to be crazy enough to stay up late to watch a movie.

I’m not really a bandwagon jumper. Being interested in something merely because it’s popular, well, doesn’t interest me. Yet I got wind of the Hunger Games trilogy right as it was starting to really hit the mainstream and absolutely devoured it. If it hadn’t been officially greenlighted yet, I knew it was a matter of time… this was most certainly going to be a movie.

And I was going to be one of the first in line to see it.

I followed the casting updates and behind-the-scenes looks at the filming, holding my breath that they wouldn’t make a mess of my beloved books. I ordered a ticket for the 12:01 showing as soon as they were available (our theater ended up having showtimes staggered all the way up until 1, 1:30 in the morning as they all sold out and opened another one. I don’t live in an exceptionally large town, so it was pretty impressive.) We were part of the first batch. The hardest of the hardcore.

We had to swing by the theater at 10am to pick up wristbands, which would give us our numbered spot in line. We had to wait a half hour in the rain to get those, and there was an obnoxious group of people that kept cutting in line in front of us to join their friends, but we were relatively polite about it. Us being part of the very first showtime meant we had to get there at around 8:30pm since we were the first group to be corralled into our theater.

We sat inside the theater for about three hours. They even turned the house lights on so people could chat or read their books/magazines. It was a loooooong wait, but it was exciting to feel that palpable energy in the air.

I decided to not waste any time off and went to work the next morning. That was… probably not smart. But it was totally worth it.

A few weeks later, I decided to go ahead and buy tickets for the midnight showing of The Avengers. I knew that I was capable of surviving a late-night movie experience, despite my ripe old age of 27, and I was so excited for this movie. It didn’t have quite the same crush of people as The Hunger Games (partially because it was during finals week for the university located in town, so a lot of the students had already left town) so we didn’t have to be there quite as early, and there were no wristbands.

I promised myself that THAT WAS IT, no more midnight movies… at least, not until the second installment of the Hunger Games trilogy comes out. I might consider another midnight show for Catching Fire and Mockingjay. It’s the only fandom I’ve really subscribed to, and I know I’m going to get impatient waiting for them, and I’m going to want to see them as soon as possible.

I’ll just know enough to take the next morning off so I can sleep in/recover.


#20: Get a Manicure/Pedicure And/Or a Massage

June 15, 2011

Date of completion: January 2011 & May 2011

It blows people’s minds when I tell them I’ve never had a manicure or a pedicure. I’m twenty-six years old and fairly vain, and yet, I’ve somehow never managed to enter a nail salon.

To be fair, I think I might have had a manicure when I was six at a birthday party at the local cosmetology school, but that doesn’t really count.

I decided a professional massage was something I also needed to experience in my life, so I tacked that on to the end to make sure I’d do it. Ironically, that was the part of this “task” I accomplished first. I snagged a half-off Groupon in early January and took a day off work to do absolutely nothing except get a message and relax. (I’m not good at relaxing). It was nice, even though I have far too many self-esteem issues for some stranger to be touching my skin in all the parts I don’t like to look at in the mirror.

The mani/pedi just hung out in the back of my mind as probably the easiest thing to knock off the list, but there are so many other things I’d rather spend my money on. Bad haircuts, shoes, coffee, books.

So when my friend scheduled us all an appointment to get our nails done before her wedding, I was excited and oddly a bit anxious. I don’t know the etiquette or protocol for having one’s nails done, and I was a bit concerned that I was going to look like an idiot. I’m a big advocate of the “fake it til you make it” philosophy.

The ladies at the salon were as astonished as everyone else that I’ve made it this far in my life without having either of the ‘cures, but they were very nice and it was very relaxing and I couldn’t stop staring at my nails when I was done. They looked like they belonged in a nail polish ad.

To be fair, I barely made it out of the salon before I smudged one of them up. Check that, I didn’t even get out of the salon before I messed one of them up. (This is why I can’t have nice things). Even so, I was enamored with how they looked and for the days after the wedding, planned my outfits accordingly so they would match my dark fuchsia nails. Then, inevitably, life happened, and they chipped, and I had to remove the metric ton of polish from my fingernails and go back to life with boring nails.

My toes still look good, though.


#13: Make a Dramatic Change to My Appearance

June 12, 2011

Date of completion: November 2010

I apologize for getting these out of order. And also for subbing this one in. It was kind of on my mental to-do list if not my written one, and I decided that I do not have the time or capacity right now to try to learn a foreign language, so I had to pull a substitution. My blog, my rules.

Besides, dramatic makeovers are always fun, right?

Basically: I’ve been a blonde my whole life. From when I was a wee youngin’ to the time I went to college. Granted, as I got older, I was largely aided by various chemicals and discount store hair dyes. My freshman year of college, it got so out of control blonde that it was scarily close to being platinum. At one point, I had considered inching back toward my natural color (which at that point, I assumed was either kind of an ashy dark dirty blonde or a very light brunette color)… and then there was an Incident in which various chemicals from one color to the new didn’t play nice and it turned a very distinct shade of lavender. Sadly, no pictures exist.

Gradually, I kept trying to color it darker and my hair, being as stubborn as I am, kept lightening itself up. Finally color began to stick and I did a short bout as a brunette before going back to a blonder color. I noticed something, though, around the time I went brown… it had settled into an almost auburn color, instead. And when I went blonde, it went strawberry-blonde. I didn’t even notice until the first time someone called me a redhead and it caught me completely off-guard.

Then I began to ponder to myself: what if I dyed my hair red? Like, actual redhead red?

First of all, I knew I had the skin tone for it. I’m very fair-skinned and sometimes it actually helps to have a darker color so I don’t look so washed out. Second, both my grandmother and my mother have a red hue to their hair… now, I know we all alter our color, but even so, it wouldn’t look genetically out of place or anything. My grandmother has had red hair the entire time I’ve known her… it wasn’t until I was probably a pre-teen that I realized it was fake.

Thirdly: the idea was exciting. It was a bold, bold move. It would attract a lot of attention, for starters. It wouldn’t be a subtle change. Also, redheads are kind of stereotyped as being sassy and feisty and fierce – would I be able to live up to that image? Was I worthy of becoming a member of that elite group?

Ten years ago, even five years ago, I would have said no, and I would have recoiled in terror at the thought of making such a dramatic leap.

Last November, though… I went for it.

I have never gotten so many compliments on my hair color in my life. Even now, as I’m going on almost seven months with this color, people still stop, tilt there head a little bit, and announce how much they love it. Even our Director of Sales one day stopped mid-train-of-thought and commented on it.

At first, I was a little shy of it… but I’ve gotten used to it, to looking in the mirror and seeing something darker than I used to. It’s not RED-red… it’s more of an auburn, especially right after I retouch it. But I like it.

I contemplated going back blonde again but a friend of mine tried to go from red to blonde recently and it took five hours (!) to strip the color out of her hair. No thanks. Plus there’s the fear of it going orange. It would have to be a professional project, and that’s expensive.

I was also looking through some old photos and I was surprised to find that I didn’t love the blonde as much as I used to. It didn’t look right.

So, I guess for the time being, I shall stick with where I am.

Behold, a before and after photo:


#3: Visit Las Vegas

June 11, 2011

Date of completion: May 2011

Las Vegas always seemed to me to be one of those cities that one must visit, especially in one’s youth. I did not quite expect to fall in love with Sin City quite as much as I did, but from the instant I got there, I knew I was at home. (I mean, I wouldn’t want to live there, but I want to go back as often as possible.)

I loved everything about it. I loved the ridiculousness and the randomness and the excess. I loved the glitter and the lights. I loved how everything is intertwined and close together on the strip. I loved that we wandered around and not once did I not feel safe. (I did NOT love how expensive everything is, but I guess anywhere I go will be more expensive than the middle of Iowa, so… I won’t hold a grudge.) I loved the sounds of the casinos and the people-watching.

I loved the fact that my Vegas experience was rather atypical: instead of going with my group of local friends, I took a giant leap of faith and went as a part of Bloggers in Sin City. (In hindsight, I should have had “attend a blogging function/meetup” on my list, but if I add it now, it will probably just be cheating.) The whole experience was surreal and I would do it again in a heartbeat. In fact, I want nothing more than to do it again next year.

You can read more about the Vegas trip on my other blog, if you so feel inclined.

Sadly, though, the one thing I regret from this trip, even more so now as I went to put together an image for this post… I did not make it to the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. I guess I will have to be sure to do that the next time I go…