30 Before 30

Even though the change in Official List Name Style makes me cringe a little, I wanted to make this year’s list a little different. Three years in a row of birthday lists means three years of accomplishing some pretty awesome stuff, but I think I can go one more list-driven year, and then I’ll be ready for something different. The previous two lists were spontaneously written on the eve of my birthday, but I’ve been working on this list in draft form since the beginning of June, trying to come up with concrete, fun, perfect things. I’m really excited about the year to come, and I think 29 will be full of some pretty great things. Isn’t that the whole point?

  1. DO NOT start another daily photo project. (Really. I mean it.)
  2. Add some colors to my converse collection, and take pictures of the adventures I have in them.
  3. Go swimming.
  4. Play miniature golf.
  5. Shoot more film. (Or, stop being afraid to try the Polaroid.)
  6. Make homemade pizza. (Making my own pizza dough is extra credit.)
  7. Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  8. Go through my clothes and shoes really honestly and donate what I don’t, won’t, or can’t wear.
  9. Enjoy now instead of worrying and planning for things that aren’t here yet.
  10. Cook something (or several somethings!) in my newly inherited crock pot.
  11. Get new glasses.
  12. Make garlands or paper flowers to hang in my apartment.
  13. Keep learning how to cook new things.
  14. Work on organizing my grandmother’s old photos.
  15. Decorate the blank walls in my living room and bedroom.
  16. Go on a fancy date.
  17. Spend at least one day at the beach (and not the kind of day where I’m wearing jeans).
  18. Go on a picnic.
  19. Play with sparklers.
  20. Try to tame the mess contained in the Black Hole Closet.
  21. Make a photo book out of Project 365 photos.
  22. Get a tattoo.
  23. Make a change.
  24. Knit something.
  25. Don’t spend the year worrying about turning 30.
  26. Eat at Harold’s.
  27. Do something completely touristy. Extra points if it’s local and therefore embarrassingly touristy.
  28. Wear heels more often.
  29. Bake something just for me, without an occasion.
  30. Consume beer samplers as often as possible.

(28 Things To Do While I’m 28)
(27 Things To Do While I’m 27)

Things I Want To Tell You About

  • Gold Bond Hand Sanitizing Moisturizer. I work with the public. I wash my hands a lot. I use a lot of that alcohol-based hand sanitizer. My hands are always, always, always crazy dry. I wash my hands, I put on lotion. The non hand sanitizer style Gold Bond lotion has really saved my hands from true horrors this winter. So I finally tried this new stuff, and I know this is super geeky, but it just makes me so happy. It gets the job done (while preventing me from thinking too much about how germy my workplace is), smells good, and it feels like I just put lotion on afterwards. Awesome.
  • Every few months, my lips get monstrously chapped. Sometimes I blame it on my allergy medicine, but that’s just a guess. It’s horrible; not your standard-issue chapped lips. They feel tight and then they crack and peel and flake and when it gets really bad, it’s like it spreads around the perimeter of my lips. And I have tried Every. Damn. Lip Balm. There Is. Burts Bees, straight up Vaseline, the new Neosporin super healing one, everything. And nothing really works, and I’m left just waiting it out. Well! I finally found the answer. And I am sharing it not because I think you care about my chapped lips, but this has been such a magic solution that you might want to know, too. It’s Aquaphor Healing Ointment, and I bought it in a pack of two 0.35 ounce tubes that are more chapstick-sized. My lips got really bad on Monday, and by Thursday they were back to normal. This is unprecedented. And amazing. And not even expensive! Also, it’s not medicated so it doesn’t sting, and it doesn’t smell or taste like anything. Hooray!
  • I finally joined listography, after long coveting the books and just loving that they even have a website. I added a link to the sidebar with what lists I have going now. Since writing lists features heavily on my 28 Things To Do While I’m 28 List, I thought it would be fun to have them over there. I may actually transition my books read/to read/movies seen lists over there exclusively, but I’m not sure yet.
  • And finally! I added the most current links from my delicious page in the sidebar, as well. I used to just star items in Google Reader, but I am not fond of the methods Reader offers for getting back to the items. Plus, I like that delicious allows me to just tag any site on the web. I’ve been using this for links I want to refer back to – recipes, craft ideas, wishlisty things, but mostly things I actually want to do or make or try, rather than just things I think are pretty. So in case you’re interested, that’s over there too.

Confessions Three

(Confessions One) (Confessions Two)

  • As a music fan, I feel like I am incorrect somehow because I don’t like Radiohead. Or Pink Floyd. (And don’t even get me started on the NJ superstars of music.)
  • My favorite pasta shape is rigatoni. Because I secretly love spaghetti best, but am embarrassed to eat it in public because I still cut my spaghetti.
  • I listen to AM news radio almost always in the car. As a twenty-something, this makes me feel like I’m rushing the aging process. But I like to know what the weather will be. Every ten minutes. Because sometimes I forget to listen the first time. (Sometimes I do listen to sports radio, but this is much less frequent during the baseball off-season.)
  • I strongly prefer meals that can be eaten out of bowls.
  • I’m still not interested in learning how to cook meat. Unless it can be mixed in with rice, chili, pasta or other such stew and I don’t have to touch it or do anything to it beyond stirring. And I can eat it out of a bowl.
  • Piles on desks and tables bring out my compulsive need to straighten said piles. In a department meeting last week I was strongly tempted to line my boss’s inbox tray to be parallel to the corner edges of her desk. I refrained. It was hard. I straighten piles in stores, often without realizing it until afterwards.
  • I drink too much diet coke. I don’t buy it for my apartment, thinking I’ll drink it less if I don’t have it, but that just leads to buying it in 20 ounce bottles when I’m out.
  • I still look at the pictures from my car accident sometimes. To remind me that I’m so lucky.
  • I spent a lot of time thinking philosophically about shoes. Like, if I were going to spend $300 on a perfect pair of Frye boots. which pair would I get? Or what my shoe “style” should be. Am I casual and funky? Brightly colored? Converse all the time? Should I transition to wearing cool heels with jeans and blazers now that I’m an “adult”?

Books Read in 2009

Books Read in 2009:

  1. Paper Towns by John Green
  2. The Stupidest Angel: A Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore
  3. Double Whammy by Carl Hiaasen
  4. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
  5. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
  6. Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty
  7. Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty
  8. Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty
  9. What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
  10. Wake by Lisa McCann
  11. Fool by Christopher Moore
  12. The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton
  13. The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke
  14. Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty
  15. Fade by Lisa McCann
  16. Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  17. The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  18. It Sucked and Then I Cried by Heather B. Armstrong
  19. The Ticking by Renee French
  20. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson
  21. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
  22. Deadline by Chris Crutcher
  23. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  24. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  25. Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
  26. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  27. The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker
  28. Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
  29. Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
  30. The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
  31. The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman
  32. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
  33. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
  34. Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
  35. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (again)
  36. All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
  37. From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
  38. Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
  39. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  40. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

So apparently, last year, I resolved to read 52 books this year. I might have come closer if I didn’t read so many giant, hulking books (see: the Martin series, and Harry Potter #7). But I suppose that’s not much of an excuse. Looking back, it seems I powered through (or re-powered through) several entire series. There were some books in there that I enjoyed in spite of them (Charlaine Harris’s books), some that took effort to get through (Octavian Nothing, the Amulet of Samarkand, and the Angel’s Game), and a few stunners I’d recommend in a heartbeat (the Martin series, and Life As We Knew It). Honestly, this list doesn’t look like much to me now that I’m looking back at it. Maybe my resolution for 2010 should be to read more than 40 books, and to read some of those books that everyone recommends but that I haven’t gotten to yet. But really? Just to keep reading. Always just that.

In Previous Years…
Books Read in 2008
Books Read in 2007
Books Read in 2006
Books Read in 2005

Christmas favorites, a list in photos

Carlos O'Connors bokeh!

Christmas lights, everywhere. Christmas light bokeh.

my very, very, very favorite part of Christmas.

Stockings, handmade by my grandmother as we three were born. I have to learn how to knit so I can make them for our future children.

Nutcracker lineup, 2008

The growing nutcracker collection in the window, arranged by size.

December 18, 2009

Wrapping presents. Using real ribbon instead of that crappy curling kind. Even if it’s a bit indulgent.

December 16, 2008

Making shortbread with Dad. Eating shortbread.

December 7, 2008

The advent calendar my mom made when we were kids, still kickin’.

Christmas tree, side view

Big, fat Christmas trees. The icicles we hang once the tree’s decorated. Towering piles of presents.

blue bird ornament

Starting my own Christmas collections and traditions.

Things That Make Me Happy

  1. the CLICK of the shutter and the the kerCHUNK of the film advancing on a film camera
  2. the smell of wet leaves on the ground
  3. bagels
  4. sunshine in the morning
  5. holidays with my family
  6. making apple pie with my mom
  7. converse
  8. composition books
  9. Coke Cherry Zero
  10. waking up to discover a text message arrived while I was sleeping
  11. planning my outfit around my patterned socks
  12. being in the middle of a really good, really long book
  13. lazy Sundays watching football and tv shows on dvd all day
  14. watercolors
  15. the promise of a full scale Thanksgiving dinner

Discovered While Sorting Through Dusty Boxes (In Anticipation of Moving Next Week)

  • Yoda and Ewok pez dispensers
  • Lenses (just lenses) from the glasses I broke at least five years ago
  • A compass. No, not that kind. The kind you use in geometry. It stabbed me.
  • The lava lamp that was my most prized birthday gift when I was 14? 15? That I don’t necessarily want but feel guilty getting rid of.
  • Awkward college student ID to match the awkward high school student ID I found last time I moved.
  • 35mm film camera with film in it; 3 pictures taken who even knows when?
  • 12 floppy disks, all labeled with just my name and a number. Helpful!
  • The shower curtain we had in our bathroom in college. (Why?)
  • Massive key chain collection
  • Three sets of caps and gowns. (Again, I saved them because it feels wrong to throw them away; but why on earth would I ever need them?)
  • Light purple barrettes with my name on them.

Twenty Eight Things To Do While I’m 28

  1. Take pictures in a photobooth. (done!)
  2. Visit local breweries. (Defiant and Triumph)
  3. Complete the Couch to 5k program for real this time. (finally)
  4. Learn how to knit. (with only days to spare!)
  5. Bake cupcakes. (Carrot cake cupcakes for Dan’s birthday)
  6. Relax. The real way other people do, instead of the way where I force myself to.
  7. Take more pictures of people.
  8. Go on a trip.
  9. Write a list of 365 things that make me happy. (in progress)
  10. Have people over.
  11. Watch some of those movies everyone thinks I should have seen but I haven’t. (done)
  12. Have plants. Don’t kill them.
  13. Finish those damn cross stitches for my mom already! (done)
  14. Take a good picture of me and Dan.
  15. Go to as many baseball games as possible.
  16. Make my new apartment feel like home without spending too much money.
  17. Don’t let my handwriting go to waste.
  18. Write 28 lists. (working on it)
  19. Spend more time outside.
  20. Banish my beer-sponsored belly and fit into those skinny jeans after all.
  21. Learn how to cook at least three new things. (roasted sweet potato salad, three-bean super stew, pasta with tomatoes, mozzarella and chickpeas)
  22. Say what I think. Ask for what I want.
  23. Love the people who matter to me.
  24. Go on interesting photo-taking excursions. (the balloon festival, Coney Island, the Met, Princeton, crafts in Philadelphia, Asbury Park, the Museum of Natural History)
  25. Take a risk or two.
  26. Work toward completing a rainbow of shoes. (Love it.)
  27. Lie in the grass, look at the sky, and feel the wind.
  28. No really, age is just a number. Grow up. Stay young. Be silly. Talk a lot. Take pictures. Hug more. Be happy.

(27 Things To Do While I Was 27)

Completed: 27 Things Minibook

So back on my 27th birthday, I wrote a list of 27 Things to Do While I Was 27. Yesterday, I finished the minibook I’ve been working on for a few months documenting my progress through the list. Having a list of goals for the year, some silly, others more serious, has been a lot of fun. I didn’t finish everything on the list, and that’s okay. I’m really proud of this little book, and I’m sure I’ll love having it when I’m older as a time capsule chronicling my 27th year.

Because it’s more fun to see the book in person, I’m only posting photos of my very favorite pages here. I blogged about the minibook a few months ago, though, and you can see a few more pages over there. These minibooks are quite possibly the most fun thing to make ever.

27 Minibook: complete!

04. Wear more wacky socks. 05. Give vegetarianism a solid go.

16. Go to as many baseball games as possible.

16. Go to as many baseball games as possible.

16. Go to as many baseball games as possible. 17. Finish that cross stitch for my mom.

19. Do something scary. (film photography!)

21. Love my old friends, and my new ones, too.

21. Love my old friends, and my new ones, too.

22. Go somewhere I've never been before. (Brooklyn) 23. Swing on some swings.

26. Find more bad jokes. 27. Grow up. Don't grow up. Age is just a number. Be confident, and humble, and patient, and kind. And nerdy.

27, I sure liked you. But here's to an even better 28.

27 Minibook: back cover.

Plus, Minus



  • Dry, dry, DRY itchy skin.
  • Unbearably chapped lips that are impervious to all manner of chapstick.
  • More photos of the dismantling of Shea Stadium.
  • Baseball season, you are SO FAR AWAY and I spent my evenings pining for you and the hot stove is just not fulfilling my needs any longer, SIGH.
  • Sweating the small, insignificant shit, even when I try not to.
  • Salt on the windshield.
  • Rooms that oscillate between stifling and freezing.