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.)

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

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  • Amanda @ Our Humble A{Bowe}d
    July 30, 2010 at 10:13 am

    I recently learned how to make a paper crane. I started with a larger size and perfected the folding, so I started making 1 inch suqares of paper to make mini cranes. Too cute! I’ll show pictures on my blog soon. Make sure you use thin enough paper, too. Anything thicker than average printer paper won’t work… Good luck!

  • Elena @ Breakfast for Dinner
    July 30, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Great list! How did you come up with it all? I just turned 29 and would love to make my own! My #1 is to see Italy, and we’re booking that for the Spring, so I couldn’t be more thrilled!

  • Ann
    July 30, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    The easiest toddler dress is a reversible sleeveless one pattern piece dress from Simplicity. I made some for my daughter 28 years ago. It is Simplicity 8537. I found it again at You can do it in about two hours or less. skip the matching pants. You don’t have to do All the work yourself on your list. You could trade something in your inventory for a person to help you clean out the basement. I’ll bet someone could show you how to make a crane at an Asian restaurant near you. It is not very hard. Start singing and video it for us so we can see you.
    I’ll be 65 (time does fly, I still remember the 60’s very well) in 16 months. I don’t think I could do 65 different things. Maybe 15? I’ve already done so many things, most of what I have left to do is clean up.

  • Rosalyn
    July 30, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Here is an idea for #8:

    Super cute and super easy. Good luck with your list.

  • Heather Espana
    July 30, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Such a great list!
    I might be able to help you with #19 :-). I always get people asking if I can help them learn to shoot in manual, and I did a little blog post on the subject a while back. You’re welcome to read and use it if it helps you. And you can always email me with questions! :)

    Here is the post:

  • Liz
    July 30, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    I would suggest getting a blurb book instead of printing pictures into photo albums. I did it with our wedding and vacation photos and left the books on the coffee table and we (and our visitors) actually look at them.

  • kallie
    July 31, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Wow!!! I just turned 29 and turning 30 was not making me very… excited!!! But with a list like that I might change my mind! Thanks for the idea!

  • bienvenidos « The Thing with Tomatoes
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  • Christina
    August 2, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    23. Make a video montage of Eleanor’s first year:

    use animoto (.com?) it’s very easy and makes wonderful video montages. made one for hubby for father’s day and he adores it.

    :O) Christina

  • Laurin
    August 2, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    I’ve been thinking about trim …. a lot…
    What color would you paint your trim? And does that go for crown moulding as well? In search of the perfect trim color.

  • Staci
    August 3, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Origami cranes are so easy! Good luck with them, I’ve seen them used in decorating in a cute way (hung on a string).
    My birthday is also 9/22! Best wishes with your goals birthday buddy :)

  • ajjah
    August 3, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    i’m thinking of having my own 30 before thirty list too..! yeay

  • Kerry G.
    August 4, 2010 at 12:13 am

    I started making Pad Thai about 2 years ago…here’s a recipe I adapted.

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  • Stefi
    August 25, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    You have inspired yet another 30 before 30 list! Thank you!

  • Tasha
    August 30, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Thank you for your inspiration! Yours was the first 30 before 30 I’ve ever heard of – I’ve now created and published my own at Thank you! Keep up the great work!

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  • Sandra
    September 9, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Today is my 29th birthday. You’ve inspired me to create a list, too! I hope you’re able to accomplish everything you set out to do in these last few weeks. :)

  • Merissa
    September 13, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    You have just over a week left! Great progress! I’m hoping my 2010 New Year’s Resolutions list looks as crossed-off as this!

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  • Pamela
    September 19, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    What a great idea! You’ve inspired me to create a similar list. Thanks Nicole!

  • sarah
    September 21, 2010 at 7:26 am

    hi,im turning 30 tomorrow too..just like from mauritius..happy birthday :)

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  • jodi
    September 21, 2010 at 11:49 am

    happy 30th birthday eve!

  • JacquiBee
    September 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Happy Birthday (im a day ahead in NZ so it is really still your birthday)
    OMG you only have five left, One house project(the trim) the other four are all work related. Well done. I can imagine the basement as a great space thought I know you have limited funds. Maybe one approach is to think about the layout of the room where will you be looking at most while you work and make that really nice and finished. Refinish one wall at a time for example as you can afford it starting with the wall your desk or work space faced. I have carried a pair of enormous ( big enough to cover a wall) 1960’s heavy shot gold and tangerine curtins from house to house for many years and I have hung them to hide many and eye sore area. May be some inexpensive curtins on walls you can’t get to yet. Cant wait to see what you come up with.

  • Rebecca Mellor
    September 22, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Happy 30th Birthday Nicole! Isn’t it weird that I don’t even know you, but have been thinking about the fact that it’s your birthday all morning – have been following your blog for a couple of months now – it’s really inspiring! Well done for achieving so many of the things on your list! Hope you have a lovely day! Rebecca

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    Happy Birthday! If you start your “40 Before 40” list now, think of all the time you’ll have to complete it! :)

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    September 22, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Happy Birthday!! : )

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    October 31, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    This is wonderful! It made me smile! I’m 29, I should do something like this too. Inspiring…

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    December 11, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I love your list! I’m currently working on my 30 before 30 list (I turn 30 Jan. 4, 2012). I used one of your ideas – to organize all of the photos I have printed. So needs to be done!

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    I just made my own list and mentioned you on my site! Thanks, Nicole! Quite inspirational :)

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    January 22, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I am only 19 but you inspire me!! <3

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  • Erikka
    February 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I loved your list…and really most things about your site! The thirties are a WONDERFUL decade for us modern ladies, businesswomen, boundary-pushers and/or do-it-all mommies. I know this because I turned the page to a new decade on 09-22-2010. Enjoy!

    Bonne chance!

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    April 27, 2011 at 2:47 am

    Sjoe…. my list may be longer!

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    June 23, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    I love your list! It cought my eye because Sept 22 is my birthday also!


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    Almost there, Nicole!

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