Lists My Life

30 Before Thirty

I will turn thirty on September 22, 2010.

That gives me a little more than six months to do all of the things on this list…

  1. Visit the Modern Wing of The Art Institute of Chicago. (Done!)

  2. Dye my hair red. (Done!)

  3. Finish redesigning my Smart & Lovely portfolio.

  4. Launch my design service.

  5. Stop drinking soda. (Done!)

  6. Lose 20 pounds. (Not drinking soda should help.) (Done!)

  7. Repaint my office. (Done!)

  8. Sew a dress for Eleanor. (Done!)

  9. Clean out the basement. (It’s getting scary down there.) (Late, but done!)

  10. Donate some of our books to the library. (Done!)

  11. Cook Pad Thai from scratch.

  12. Organize the catch-all closet in my office. (Done!)

  13. Get good at applying liquid eyeliner. (Done!)

  14. Print the bajillion photos I have stored on my computer and put them in albums. (Done!)

  15. Alphabetize our CDs and finish putting them into sleeves. (Done!)

  16. Landscape the front of the house. (Done!)

  17. Make an origami paper crane. (Done!)

  18. Visit the Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe. (Done!)

  19. Learn how to use my camera in manual mode. (Done!)

  20. Find my perfect shade of lipstick. (Done!)

  21. Decide for good whether I want a tattoo or not. (Done!)

  22. Pay off my credit card. (Done!)

  23. Make a video montage of Eleanor’s first year. (Done!)

  24. Have a date night with Brandon at least twice a month. (Done!)

  25. Grow tomatoes. (Done!)

  26. Have an adorable family photo taken. (Done!)

  27. Sing along perfectly to “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”. (Done!)

  28. Take Eleanor to the Shedd Aquarium. (Done!)

  29. Reduce (or eliminate) my reliance on paper towels. (Done!)

  30. Paint all of the trim in our house.

(I’m crossing them off the list as I complete them.)

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299 Comments

  • Reply
    julie green
    March 1, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    great list, nicole. i used to make one of these lists each year. don’t know why i stopped. i think you just inspired me to start again (although i might have to wait… i turn 31 in 23 days… not sure i can do 31 things before then!)

  • Reply
    jen
    March 1, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    thie is a serious list! but if any taskmaser can do it, its you!

    good luck.

    ps. 30 is really good, in case you were wondering.

  • Reply
    Bridget
    March 1, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Love your list! I’m turning 40 this year… might have to come up with a motivating 40 for myself!

  • Reply
    andrea
    March 1, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I just had to laugh at number 27. Not even Michael Stipe can sing all those words without help. I was about 10 rows back at at REM concert once and when he got to that song, he pulled out a little sheet of paper, unfolded it and explained that he sometimes forgets the words.

  • Reply
    Emily S.
    March 1, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    My 30th birthday is exactly 10 days before yours! I don’t have a list, but looks like I better get going if there’s only 6 months. For now let’s enjoy being in our 20’s for the last time!

  • Reply
    Kendra
    March 1, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    This is a great list! I love that you have little odd things on it like “cook pad thai from scratch” and “sing along perfectly to “it’s the end of the world as we know it” (I love that song btw!)

    I think you have inspired me to make a 20 before 20 list (I’ll be 20 next January) :)

    Good luck achieving your goals!

  • Reply
    Tanna @ Complete Organizing Solutions
    March 1, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Love the list! There are a few things on there I would like to do. Stop drinking soda for one! :) We stopped using paper towels and instead used baby wash cloths for a long time. They seemed to be the perfect size. We had an over abundance of them after my kids were out of the baby stage.

  • Reply
    Valerie
    March 1, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    I say it’s totally doable :) I’m turning 31 in 89 days, not sure if I could pull this off!

  • Reply
    Emily
    March 1, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    That is a lofty list, but there are som seriously fun things on there!! Have fun!!

  • Reply
    thewatergirl
    March 1, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    That’s an awesome list! You can do it!!

  • Reply
    Brigite
    March 1, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    This list would terrify me! But I know you can do it!

    Ps. I have a friend who is a wizard at taking family photos, because her full-time gig is teaching fourth grade! I’m happy to send you her info if you’d like. Don’t want to be too spammy by posting it here.

  • Reply
    Emily
    March 1, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    What a list! You’re definitely going to be my inspiration. I, too, am looking 30 in the face and think this would be a great way to ensure I get the most out of what little is left of our twenties. Best of luck to you!!!

  • Reply
    iris
    March 1, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I had no idea you took your photos in auto-mode! They’re always so lovely! But I suppose you have a good eye, and that’s probably why :)

  • Reply
    lori
    March 1, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    wow, that’s quite the list! hope you’ll update here often to let us know how you’re doing on it. did i know that our birthdays are only one day apart? mine is the 23rd!

  • Reply
    Jane
    March 1, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Revlon liquid eyeliner is the best and a great price for learning. I have used it for years in Blackest Black (there are a variety of colors but being a child of the eighties I cannot seem to stray from Black eyeliner!!). You can use one hand and don’t even need to pull at your lid once you get the hang of it!! Good luck with the list! I hit the thirty mark two years ago and it has proven to be the best decade yet!! Next on my list: babies..whoops think my husband just hit the floor!!

  • Reply
    ClistyB
    March 1, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    I was reading this on FB and thinking the whole time, “hmm, this girl is practically copying Nicole’s entire life!” Then I realized it was you!!

    You will be amazed at how much you can lose just by ditching the soda. I lost 20 just going to diet. Of course now Im trying to get off that :)

  • Reply
    Sugar
    March 1, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Wow. What a list. Turning 30 was hard enough- I don’t think I could have tacked on a list to it too.

    By the way, being 30 is easy and great. I highly recommend it.

  • Reply
    Allie
    March 1, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    We have the same birthday!! Birthday twins!

    Good luck with your list!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    March 1, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Awesome list! Perfect mix of “quirky” and “practical,” if you know what I mean. I have no doubt you’ll accomplish all of those things… can can’t wait to see you with red hair and the “perfect” lipstick! :)

  • Reply
    Ashley
    March 1, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    That is quite the list. I’m currently painting my trim right now, and it’s the never-ending process. Good luck.

    PS – We are birthday twins. :)

  • Reply
    Emily
    March 1, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I love this list, I need to make one of these! Perhaps we need to take your family photo at Farnsworth :) We have been there, it really is beautiful. Just cross your fingers for no floods this year!! Seriously, would be awesome.

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 2, 2010 at 9:36 am

      I know – I had to check the website to see if they would be open this year. I remember reading about them having to shut down for a while to repair flooding damage.

      A photo at Farnsworth… sounds pretty awesome!

  • Reply
    susan
    March 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    You certainly are quite a gal for still being under 30!!! I just turned 30 in December and I can honestly say that this has been my best year yet! I wish you the best :) What a great list! I am slowly working through my list of 31 things before turning 31 :) It’s been fun!

  • Reply
    Lauren
    March 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I turn 30 on September 19th 2010! Fortunately, our house turns 100 this year and we’re having a dual b-day party so I won’t feel so old. =)

  • Reply
    Allison
    March 1, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I recommend checking out Aveda for the lipstick. I am not much of a lipstick girl, but I have 3 Aveda lipsticks that I love (Fossil, Sutra, and Sheer Roseleaf). I’m pretty pleased that I’m hitting one of my life to-do’s this year (also my 30th), which is to living in another country. I think having these lists is fun, as long as you don’t give yourself a hard time if you don’t get to them all.

  • Reply
    Kelly
    March 1, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Great list!

    My 30th is exactly 6 months before yours. I never did come up with a 30 Before 30 list. I wonder what I can get done in 21 days.

  • Reply
    Erika
    March 1, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    That’s a good list, but I think all those things are very “doable” if you just carve out the time.

    PS – Giving up sodas will definitely help with the weight loss, plus, you’ll feel so much better!

  • Reply
    em
    March 1, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    That is a great list. I’ve been working on the no soda thing for awhile. I have no will power.
    I find it so funny that a) Eleanor’s birthday is exactly one month after my daughter’s. I like to compare them! And b) now I see that your birthday is exactly one day before mine. Though I’m a year older! :)

  • Reply
    Hil
    March 1, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    What a great list! Pad Thai is surprisingly easy… I tackled it for the first time just a few months ago. One of my all time favorites!

  • Reply
    Diana
    March 1, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Getting rid of the paper towels ins’t too hard. I bought a bunch of small towels at Costco and I rewash them. I have my cute kitchen towels and then my paper towel replacement towels.

  • Reply
    Mandi
    March 1, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Hey, I turn 30 on Sept 24th. :) Well, actually I will be turning 29 for the 2nd time. ;)

    I made a list like this about a month ago. I haven’t been brave enough to post it yet. Maybe I will.

    I gave up soda in Nov. I was hoping for a dramatic weight drop, which i haven’t seen. I have lost about a lb a week since then… so it all adds up in the end. Whether that is from giving up sodas I don’t know. Just don’t expect a sudden drop of weight. It was easier then I thought it would be.

  • Reply
    Eva
    March 1, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Great List!! I am always inspired when I read other’s to do lists. This week I am painting the trim in my house and the doors as well.

  • Reply
    Meredith
    March 1, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    30 for 30 I LOVE IT!

    I’m actually turning 30 on the 26th of September and I love this idea!

    As for the losing weight – if you haven’t tried Weight Watchers you should! I lost almost 30 lbs on the program while eating ice cream. Who can beat that?

  • Reply
    Kate
    March 1, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I’ve been making paper cranes since I was a kid, and now that I’m a teacher, I’ve taught a lot of students how to do it. And I must say, the paper/written instructions aren’t really helpful. But this Wiki (with photos AND a video!) isn’t a bad option… http://www.wikihow.com/Fold-a-Paper-Crane

    Good luck with the list!

  • Reply
    Kristin
    March 1, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Great List!!! It shows so much of your personality; I love the range!

    I highly recommend getting a cherry tomato plant. For years I would get one in the spring and put it on my deck. You just get a large pot, one of those cage thingys to support the height of the plant and it does the rest! Keep it watered and give it lots of light and you’ll get to pick away at these beautifully delicious baby tomatoes. I have anything but a green thumb and I was able to pull it off!

  • Reply
    Abbie
    March 1, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    I wish I had written a 30 before 30, but I got so sidetracked with wedding planning (I got married a month before turning 30) that I never got around to it. A few of those you could knock off in a flash!

  • Reply
    Meredith
    March 1, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    I wish I had done this!! I am getting ready to turn 32 in a few months! Maybe I can do 33 things before I turn 33 and I will have a whole year to do those!!?? I better get started on the list!!!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    March 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Love your site- and your list.

    How about Clinique’s “almost lipstick” in black honey? So many people swear by it. It is REALLY REALLY awesome.

    http://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P122751&cm_mmc=us_search-_-GoogleBase-_-P122751-_-70680&_requestid=42976&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=70680

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 2, 2010 at 9:41 am

      I’ve always heard good things about that color, but I’ve never tried it. I’ll have to give it a go!

      • Reply
        lala
        July 8, 2010 at 1:55 pm

        It’s amazing. Looks horrible in the tube but great on everyone. It was my wedding lip color.

  • Reply
    custardbydesign
    March 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    i’m turning thirty in august…

    but i didn’t make a list…

    should i…???

    do i need too….???

  • Reply
    Ashley
    March 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Excellent list. Now comes to the hard part… making a point to stick to it! Obviously you will succeed because you’re amazing- but I say figure out which tasks are on-going and which are experiential. That way you can enjoy the process without feeling bogged down. Maybe you wouldn’t but I know I always have a running list of what to do next. When I figure out practical ways to achieve my goals then I enjoy the process more. xo

  • Reply
    Kate
    March 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Great list! I think that just writing things down is great motivation… that is why I did this:
    http://fascinating-kate.blogspot.com/2010/02/during-my-25th-year.html

    Can’t wait to hear about your progress :)

  • Reply
    chrisbean
    March 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    I’m pretty certain that you can check off #26; that eyeglasses-and-argyle picture is the cutest family photo I’ve ever seen in my life!!

    Also, the secret to eyeliner is NOT using a pen or pencil.

    I wear contact lenses AND I’m a spaz, and there’s only one way to do this successfully: Get yourself a pot of creme/gel-based liner (I like clinique & bobbi brown). Then get yourself a narrow eyeliner brush. Your artist’s instincts will take over.

  • Reply
    John @ Young House Love
    March 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I did #27 in high school, but now any attempt at repeating it sounds like that scene from Tommy Boy. “Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn, world serves its blah blah bleeds, mumble… mumble… mumble…”

    Good luck with the list!

    -John

  • Reply
    rachel
    March 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I loved reading your list! I turned 30 last July and decided to get my one and only tattoo: a small hot pink heart with a sewing needle running through it. (it’s my logo that my husband designed for me 5 years ago). It’s just to the right of my right hip bone so no one can see it even if i’m wearing a bathing suit. It was a little memorable gift to myself about why i love being creative and why I love my husband. Haven’t regretted it yet! Good luck!

  • Reply
    Betty
    March 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I am EXACTLY 10 years older than you. Also married, with a daughter (now 4). If you want some advise from an old lady who’s been around the block and shares your birthday, don’t get the tattoo. Just, don’t.

  • Reply
    robin
    March 1, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    i just realized that today marks 6 months before i turn 40! should i do a 40 things before i’m 40 list? sounds daunting.

  • Reply
    robin
    March 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    and i agree with betty. as another soon-to-be 40 year old with a 4 year old daughter, i also advise against the tattoo.

  • Reply
    Sarah S
    March 1, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    I like your list! We’re trying to wean off of paper towels as well. Not completely off them yet, but getting there. I turned all my bathroom and kitchen towels that were getting less soft, or worn, or stained, cut them in half, and used those for rags. (Then I got to go shopping for new towels!). The thing that really helped break the paper towel habit was to then have a convenient place to put the dirty rags after wiping something up. I used an old cloth tote bag, hung on door, that I could throw in the laundry with them. (I actually have two of these bags, so that I still have one in use when the other is in the wash.).

    Hmm…maybe that was too much info on my rag system?

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 2, 2010 at 9:44 am

      No, I’m so glad you mentioned it because I never thought of that! We’ve just been tossing bibs and towels on the counter and it’s been driving me nuts. That’s a genius idea!

  • Reply
    Melissa M.
    March 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Gosh, I turn 30 in exactly 180 days. I should make a list like this too! Although I’ve never been great at crossing items off to-do lists, so maybe I shouldn’t.

  • Reply
    Joy_UK
    March 1, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Great idea!

    The only I’d say is: you don’t need to lose weight. i think you look gorgeous the way you are. But hey, I am a woman too and always tell myself I need to lose 20 pounds…lol

    good luck with all the ticking off your list! :)

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 2, 2010 at 9:45 am

      Thanks. I’m happy with the way I look, but this is a health goal for me, not just a ‘look better’ goal.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    March 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Great list! I will be turning 30 in 11 months and I’ve decided that I’ve got a lot of growing up to do before it happens. I’m terrified of driving, but I’m going to get my license. I’ve finally figured out something I’d like to do and think I’ll be good at so I’m going to start the ball rolling by enrolling in community college in the fall. I just got my second tattoo for my 29th birthday (so I’d say I’m in support of you getting one, ha). All of my doctor’s are now taking my new health insurance so I just this afternoon made all the calls to get a full health workup done. Woohoo for motivation!

    P.S. Used to dye my hair red too. Go for it.

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