30 by 30 – Second quarter update.

Tomorrow marks the halfway point of my 29th year on this glorious Earth.  Every year, there is the nicest display of fireworks to celebrate my half birthday.  Or maybe those are for ‘Merica….  Happy Independence Day!

I am continuing to work my way through my 30-by-30 list.  Read about quarter 1 here.  During quarter 2, I read a good number of books, cooked from quite a few new recipes, and was even an overachiever on some items, like taking tea.  (My goal was once; I have gone twice this year.)  I hosted a murder mystery party, attended a concert, and bought a few things (like red lipstick and a purse).

Many items on my list include specific quantities to meet in order to complete the item.  In the language of percentages, here’s how that’s going:

30 by 30 2nd Quarter Update Graph

1. Find a flattering (key word) red lipstick.

With the help of an expert lipstick consultant, Leann, I discovered Brave Red at MAC.  The name is quite fitting, and I love the color!


2. Sit at a floor table for dinner at Pars (a Greek restaurant). 

Kevin and I met up with two of our good friends at Pars for dinner in January. Not only did we sit at a floor table, but it was also a belly dancer night.  Kevin and I find the belly dancer nights to be a bit awkward, so we try to avoid them.  But it seemed appropriate that we had the full experience at the floor table.  I love Pars, but I’ll stick to regular tables.  I’m not an especially tall person and my legs were aching by the end of dinner, crammed under that low table!


Pars with K & N in January 2014.

 3. Buy a designer purse for myself.

I bought one.  And I love it.  But I’m also struggling with a case of buyer’s remorse.  It is just so expensive.  Thus far, its life with Amy has been spent in the closet, tags and wrappings still intact.  I reserve the right to return and find something, umm, less pricey.  Like a wallet.


4. Fund IRA for year.

5. Plan and execute a surprise date.

6. 52 hours of volunteer work. 15/52

4 hours – El Ranchitos de Los Ninos

5 hours – Chocolate Fantasy gala

3 hours – Charity Cruise gala clean up

3 hours – JL rummage sale to benefit Henderson House

7. Read 24 books. 20/24

1) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – 4 stars

2) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – 4 stars

3) Anne of Windy Poplars – 4 stars

4) The Fault In Our Stars – 4 stars

5) Devil In The White City – 4 stars

6) Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – 5 stars

7) The Silver Star – 3 stars

8) Princess Academy – 4 stars

9) Divergent – 4 stars

10) Roots of Empathy:  Changing the World Child by Child – 4 stars

11) Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister – 3 stars

12) The Husband’s Secret – 4 stars

13) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – 4 stars

14) Breakfast at Tiffany’s – 4 stars

15) Me Before You – 4 stars

16) The Paris Wife – 3 stars

17) The Other Typist – 3 stars

18) The Last Summer (of You & Me) – 3 stars

19) Her Fearful Symmetry – 3 stars

20) Heart and Soul – 3 stars

8. Take Kevin to an OK State football game.

9. Send 24 just-because letters or gifts to friends. 13/24

10. Go on a blate – with a blog friend that I have not yet met in person.

11. Complete the Photo-A-Day challenge following Fat Mum Slim’s prompts. 181/365

12. Run a 5K.

13. Host a murder mystery dinner party.


Some of my favorite ladies post-murder mystery party – 6/14/2014.

14. Visit the Grand Canyon.

15. Weekend trip with my mom and sister.

16. Attend three theatre events or concerts. 2/3

1) Jim Gaffigan – 3/13/2014


Pre-Jim G. smiles on 3/13/2014

 2) Avril Lavigne and Backstreet Boys – 6/2/2014

Pre-gaming on the lawn before BSB and Avril hit the stage!

Pre-gaming on the lawn before BSB and Avril hit the stage on 6/2/2014.

17. Attend one of Meta’s weekend yoga retreats OR attend one yoga class a day for seven consecutive days {just in case the weekend retreat options don’t work out}.

18. Take a train ride.

19. Spend a morning shooting guns (including the one I inherited from my dad) with my friend Tom C.

20. Take a dance class.

21. Go see Vanilla Pop play.


Vanilla Pop with the ladies – 6/6/2014.

22. Cook 15 new recipes. 12/15

1) Melt-in-your-mouth baked chicken – recipe

2) Spaghetti squash in the crockpot – recipe (if it can even be called that)

3) Swiss chard with honey roasted garlic – recipe

4) Slow-cooker beef brisket – no real ‘recipe’ but I’d never made this before, so I’m countin’ it – just cooked a beef brisket (seasoned with ???), a can of cream of mushroom soup, a chopped onion, sliced mushrooms, and four cups of beef broth in the slow cooker on the low setting for 7 hours

5) Dairy free pesto – recipe (the first time I made this, it was a complete FAIL because I over-toasted {read:  burned} the pine nuts and the pesto tasted burnt and gross)

6) S’mores treats – recipe

7) Mediterranean Orzo salad – no official recipe to share (cooked whole wheat orzo, kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, spinach, olive oil and lemon dressing seasoned with salt and pepper, and feta cheese)

8) Jalapeno cheese dip – recipe (slight variation from recipe:  I used a different brand of jalapeno dip seasoning.  It was still a hit with the family at Easter.)

9) Slow cooker brown sugar glazed pulled chicken – recipe (I didn’t have soy sauce so I used a Hickory and Brown Sugar BBQ sauce instead.  It was still good.)

10) Asparagus and ham sandwiches – recipe

11) Greek chicken – recipe (we did bake rather than grill, unlike the recipe)

12) Slow Cooker Ground Beef Lasagna Soup – recipe

23. Go on twelve date nights. 8/12 (This one has proven difficult to track because Kevin and I go out to dinner at least once a week and every dinner out feels like a date!  But for the purposes of this 30-by-30 list item, I’m counting the nights out that felt especially special.)

1) Dinner on Season’s Rooftop – 3/1/2014

2) Jim Gaffigan performance – 3/13/2014

3) Dinner at The Chophouse – 3/14/2014

4) Anniversary of first date dinner at Jasmine – 4/7/2014

5) Double date at St. Clair with B & D – 5/3/2014

6) A patio date at Flying Star after anniversary pictures – 5/14/2014

7) Double date at Holy Cow with K & N – 5/16/2014

8) Spa appointments and anniversary dinner at Indigo Crow – 5/24/2014

24. Enroll in a continuing education class.

25. Send twelve More Love Letters notes. 4/12

26. Take tea in a tearoom – topped off (haha!) with a fancy hat, naturally. 2/1


Tea with new work friends at Figments on 3/22/2014.



Tea with Joy at The Phoenician on 4/25/2014.

27. Journal 52 times. 16/52

28. Assemble a framed travel map.

29. Attend a festival. (Jazz Fest, Lavender Fest, etc. – whatever I happen to stumble into.  The sky’s the limit when it comes to fest-ing.)

30. Explore a city I’ve never visited before.


Seaside in San Diego!


10 thoughts on “30 by 30 – Second quarter update.

  1. Do not return that purse. DO NOT. Because it’s beautiful. And you deserve it. And I know you….because I’m the same way….are frugal on so many other things that you deserve a purse splurge. And it’s so pretty. Did I mention that already?

  2. Glad you shared your stars for these books! I added Princess Academy to my to-read list! Love hearing how intentional you are being with this 29th year of life! Naturally those fireworks ARE totally in honor of your half birthday. ;)

  3. You are doing SO great with these!!! :) (And that purse is absolutely adorable, but I’m the same way when it comes to spending a lot on one item. So I completely understand). I’m also loving the red lipstick!

  4. I’ve always thought having a designer purse would be fun, but I agree that they are so expensive I might have had buyer’s remorse too. Looks like you’re doing really great with your list, though! Awesome!

  5. your posts are always chockfull of adventure that i want to put the computer down and get to doing all the awesome that you’re doing, stat. also- keep the purse- it’s so, so gorgeous. and, small fact, i bought my very first lipstick last week. i’ve always wanted one, but never found the right color until… MAC costa chic :)

  6. Pretty sure you’re killing it! What are your reflections so far on setting up so many goals for yourself? Are you enjoying it or feeling the pressure or sometimes both? Has it occurred to you that any of the items are no longer important to you and you want to switch things up?

    I’m extremely curious because this is the first year that I didn’t set annual goals. That’s huge for me. In some way it’s been good and in others, I’m not sure yet. But I turn 29 in two months and I’m thinking about a 30 before 30 list so pleeeease share your experience/thoughts/advice/tips!

  7. Pingback: Recently on Instagram. | A Desert Girl

  8. Pingback: 30 by 30 – Fourth {and final!} quarter update. | A Desert Girl

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