A Lovely Life List

This isn’t a bucket list. These aren’t things I need to cross off before I die. Will I ever accomplish everything here? Probably not, but that’s not the goal. This list exists simply as a collection of things I would like to do in my lifetime. If writing them down helps me focus, and in turn helps me achieve some of them, the list has served its purpose.

A life list should never make you feel guilty for not accomplishing something! It should serve as a compass, opening you up to experiences that you may have discounted otherwise. I started this list in 2010, inspired by Maggie. My hope is that by sharing this publicly, I will hold myself accountable and achieve more than I would otherwise. I tend to do well with public lists.

I come back and edit this post as I cross things off, and I fully expect this list to change as time goes on.



Just Plain Fun

  • Make a dollhouse for Eleanor
  • Finish a paint-by-numbers painting
  • Wear a ridiculous hat to an event
  • Dress up with friends for a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Experience weightlessness
  • Beat the classic Super Mario Bros. game
  • Learn how to solve a Rubik’s cube
  • Wear a sequined dress to a party
  • Have the Thriller dance in my repertoire




  • Only wear lovely undergarments
  • Ruthlessly edit my closet down to only my favorite things
  • Find my perfect shade of lipstick
  • Sew a dress for myself that I would actually wear
  • Wear perfume regularly again


Professional / Career

  • Publish a book
  • Be a keynote speaker
  • Have a monthly column in a magazine
  • Start a charitable creative movement (like a chain letter but more fulfilling)
  • Do/create something worthy of being nominated as a MacArthur Fellow
  • Meet Martha Stewart
  • Meet Jonathan Adler
  • Redesign Making it Lovely
  • Sell my designs through a nationwide store
  • Art direct a photo shoot
  • Name paint colors
  • Design wallpaper
  • Judge a design competition
  • Create a proper portfolio for myself
  • Decorate someone else’s home from top to bottom
  • Make enough money to support my family
  • Make an appearance in five forms of media (book, magazine, television, radio, internet)
  • Have my home featured in a Domino-like magazine or book


  • Take a photo every day for a year
  • Start a family tradition
  • Choose a good cookbook and cook every recipe in it
  • Give only handmade gifts for a year

137 Responses to “A Lovely Life List”

  1. Jenni (Museum Diary) October 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    What a great list, so many inspiring ideas. Since I blog about museums, it made me smile to see the Art Institute of Chicago up there. I noticed you also had it on your ’30 before 30′ list (though I’ve not been to that particular museum yet myself, as I have never been to Chicago). My little boy is not quite 2 and he has already been to over 20 museums in 4 different countries :-)
    Best wishes & #museumlove, Jenni (via BYW)

  2. Melissa Corre December 30, 2012 at 2:27 am #

    Hi Nicole, this list is truly inspirational, I am definitely going to start my own. I like how you talk about the guilt sometimes associated with not completing a list, I’ve definitely been there before and it’s not a good feeling to have nothing to cross out! I will definitely create my new list with an open mind and gentle understanding that I may not meet every goal. The fun is in dreaming, right? :) Thanks for being lovely.

  3. Misty Dawn December 31, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

    I just posted my Life List today (in honor of the new year). Believe it, I’ve had it as a draft on my blog for months… I was afraid people my laugh at some of my items. Guess maybe I should add “get over my insecurities” to my list, huh? haha

  4. Raul January 2, 2013 at 2:57 am #

    I really like it whenever people come together and share
    thoughts. Great blog, continue the good work!

  5. Holly April 29, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    Just re-reading your list as I start thinking about how to have a non-celebration celebration for my 50th. Lots of great ideas, and I’m thrilled to realize there are a bunch I’ve already done (Rocky Horror Picture Show, renovate an old house top to bottom, have a house with an exterior as cute as the interior, see Paris from the Eiffel Tower.) But there is still so much more!

  6. Lorinda April 19, 2014 at 6:45 am #

    this is so inspiring and I am motivated to do my own life list! I just hope I’m brave enough to make public because I think it really puts things into perspective and helps you achieve more of the goals. Thanks for sharing :) x

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