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30 Things To Do Before Turning 30

For Christmas, one of my stocking stuffers from my husband Zeb (oh yeah, I’m married! I suppose we do have a lot to catch up from since my last blogging phase from 2011-2018!) was a cute rom-com fiction book called “Love, Lists and Fancy Ships.” The main character is a 29-year old yacht stewardess who created a list of 30 things to accomplish before she turned 30. While reading the book, I was 28 and about to turn 29 myself. The number “30” startles my gag reflex. It’s an age that sounds so much farther in the distance for me than it really is. I feel like I just finished college still. I know I’ve hit the major adult milestones in my 20s – bought a house, got married, and found out I was pregnant with my first baby. But I still don’t feel “adult” enough to qualify for the 30s club just yet.

To make the new decade more palatable, I decided to copy the main character from this novel and write my own bucket list to make the most of the rest of my 20s.

The morning of my 29th birthday, Zeb and I went to brunch together at a local spot here in Idaho. I started a new note in my phone and began listing activities I hoped to do before my next birthday. By the end of our brunch, I had 17 items I would commit to doing over the next 365 days. We brought the note back out at dinner with my parents that night and rounded out the 30 items.

And here it is:

30 Things To Do Before Turning 30

  1. Visit a National Park
  2. Stand-Up Paddle Board
  3. Run a Half Marathon
  4. Visit a Museum
  5. Sing Karaoke at a Bar
  6. Do 30 Push-ups in a Row
  7. Officiate a Wedding
  8. Read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
  9. Try Caviar
  10. Fit Back into my Wedding Dress
  11. Volunteer at an Event
  12. Plant a Garden
  13. Catch a Fish
  14. Practice Calligraphy
  15. Watch All of the Harry Potter Movies
  16. Give Birth
  17. Make Homemade Bread
  18. Sled Down the Bruneau Sand Dunes
  19. Attend a Concert
  20. Swim in an Ocean
  21. Learn New Winter Sport
  22. Hike a New Trail in Idaho
  23. Visit a New Country
  24. Make a Coffee Table Scrapbook
  25. Ride a Roller Coaster
  26. Take a Dance Class
  27. Play 18 Holes of Disc Golf
  28. Jump in a Pool with all my Clothes On
  29. Go Tent Camping
  30. Travel to 3 Different States

Zeb says its cheating to add “give birth” since I’m nine months pregnant as I wrote this list (oh yeah, another catch-up moment for those blog readers that haven’t heard from me in 3 years. Surprise!) but I think it’s a pretty momentous occasion during my 20s that I should get some kind of credit for on this list of activities!

I plan to create a journal/blog entry for every item on this list as I cross it off and document the year through the photos and stories this brings up. So stay tuned to see how we work our way through this list before I turn the big 3-0 on February 12, 2023!

Stylizing the Senior Year Apartment

Today brings…a lil’ sneak peek inside my casa. I’ve been working so hard to make my personality shine through! I’m very happy with how bright and fun everything has turned out. :)

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My thoughts on decorating: Invest some money to make yourself happy and comfortable with your living space! Just because you are a “college student” doesn’t mean your style has to suffer. By the time you are in your 20’s, you might want to replace the thumb-tacked posters and beer bottle tower with actual items like, you, candles, pictures in frames, books.

DIY and apartment decorating on the blog! (

My mom and I found this elephant shelf in Sedona last spring, which I use to hang my costume jewelry. The hardest part about decorating was finding simple and inexpensive ways to fill up so much empty wall space! Target, Wal Mart, Bed, Bath & Beyond and most other home decorating stores have simple canvases with pictures and quotes to spruce up a bare wall, and I found several to play up the blank spaces in my room.

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DIY and Decorating (

Pinterest craft #7345: Map boxes. My room majorly lacks STORAGE for odds and ends like cords, chargers, random papers, loose change. Solution: I used empty shoe boxes wrapped in maps like Christmas presents! The boxes are displayed on my book shelf and storage bins. Little does anyone know that they contain 3 Target receipts, a stack of post-its, a pack of pens, some gum, chapstick, hair ties, paper clips and my electricity bill. ;)

Map-covered boxes and exercise shelf ( of course I have an “exercise shelf” ;)

Clothes Pin pictures are also all over the Pinterest page (what would I do without that site?) and I made my own version to fill up some wall space. It reminds me of a mobile, since it’s vertically oriented. But this is the spot where I lay out my zebra-print yoga mat to stretch out after a good long run and I love looking over at my favorite pictures of Montana, Idaho, Washington, Arizona, New York and SoCal. Having a ton of pictures around the room is also really fun for when new people come visit. Sometimes there’s an awkward lull in conversation, but pictures tend to bring up stories. Instant conversation starters. :)

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My dining room is the second most used room in the apartment, because I like doing my homework and work there. I bought this table and assembled the set (50 minutes each chair = not my favorite day) but I’m proud of it now. The beautiful wildflowers outside of our unit will serve as the centerpiece until winter kills them off and then I’m sure a pumpkin-something-or-other will replace them.

Upgrading apartment style // dining room and coffee cart (

The picture on the right is my coffee cart. Another awesome way to clear up counter space and fill up space in the empty room. I haven’t decided yet how to use the bottom two shelves or the hooks on the sides but something tells me Pinterest will solve that problem fairly soon.

So that is a glimpse into my home. It feels good to be here. Mostly I just feel like living here has made me feel like an adult when I’ve felt like a kid thus far. (I installed my own door knob! HGTV here I come!)

DIY and Apartment Stlye (

My point with all of this? It’s 100% worth it to invest at least a little extra in your living space, whether that be a shared dorm room, a new apartment or your first house. Your room is a representation of YOU and your whole mood will improve if you create a positive place reflective of your personality. Just my thoughts :)

P.S. I considered making this a true “Cribs” experience with the what’s-in-my-fridge segment, but you guys already see enough of what I eat ;) Ha!

Stronglikemycoffee.comI love that my evening walks around the apartment lead me to views like this. Senior year is so drastically different than my previous three years of college…..and I like it. :)

Lincoln knows what’s up.

I’m not sure how the subject came up, but my boss began talking about Abraham Lincoln last week. He referenced a memorable book, and had it on my desk by the end of the day. I’ve enjoyed reading the short chapters in Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips, particularly because the character that Lincoln models is so rarely seen in today’s generation. Abraham Lincoln was kind, inviting, patient and wise. He did not allow his actions to be guided by animosity, vengence, or spite (yes, even through the Civil War).

Lincoln on Leadership Blog Post on

He garnered support and respect by raising up those around him, offering compliments and considering the perspective of others when making decisions.

I highlighted several passages, most of which spoke to the power of an amiable personality and genuine compassion.

Passage from Lincoln on Leadership (

Not only do I want to be more like Abraham Lincoln’s character; I want to surround myself with people who value the same character. I want friends who are kind and inviting and raise up others. Relationships that grow from patience and understanding. People who don’t need attention for validation and self-worth. I respect those who have developed a strong sense of gratitude and who prioritize relationships over superficial habits.

I want to have friends who express genuine gratitude. My parents have enstilled in me the habit of noticing the generosity of others. Consequently I can appreciate an extra-friendly cashier, a kid with manners, a sweet message, a sincere compliment. And when someone remembers a small detail I mentioned? IT MAKES MY DAY. It seems like many fellow millenials feel entitled to the kindness and generosity of others. Sometimes its hard for me to understand how a friend can expect attention and understanding….and offer none in return. I can’t help but feel sorry for a generation who has replaced gratitude with entitlement.

Lincoln on Leadership // Blog Post on

I’ve learned that the sooner we come to terms with the following, the better off we are: “We cannot change people and their habits; we can accept them.” I’m learning to accept them.  In our busy world, it takes actual work to sustain a relationship beyond social media. I’m willing to put in the work if they are too. There are cases, however, when it’s a one-sided effort which makes me wish I was born decades ago when social etiquette was not such a rare thing. Sometimes (and I think Lincoln would agree) a forced relationship is a hopeless cause.

For the sake of avoiding being vague and coy, I’ll give some specific examples.

I onced dated a guy who liked to throw himself pity parties. As an empathetic person, I immediately jumped to “pep talker” mode. I would point out his good features, bring him compliments, remind him of all of his best qualities. I became his source of a verbal ego-boost…and that was it. Days would go by without so much as a word, and the moment he felt insecure he called for some Kenzie-compliments. Once I gave him enough to feel sufficiently confident again, he disappeared.

I am not stupid. I’m not a fool who believes that he cared about me whatsoever. All along I was aware that he would bring me nothing but self-pity and I would give kindness and compassion. There is no balance for a relationship in that, and it felt like I was being “mean” when I eventually stopped responding. But the one-sidedness had to end.

A different offender was always less-than-enthusiastic to make plans beyond Netflix. He would use any lame excuse to get out of a hike, scenic drive or something else I enjoyed, including my Christmas party because he “didn’t want to pay for parking” (it was $5.)

Even a friend of mine once crushed on a classmate until the entirety of their relationship amounted to Snapchats. And for some reason that didn’t seem to be a problem to him. #lame.

*Don’t worry; none of these people know about my blog. I’m not passive-aggressive enough to write about someone who will find it.

The standard pattern: what starts as new and exciting grows comfortable. Comfort leads to laziness. Laziness loves convenience. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect someone to make an effort beyond convenience.

That’s another thing I’m learning. EXPECTATIONS RUIN REALITY. Unfortunately my high expectations lead to disappointment, more often than not. And to be fair, it is not someone’s fault that I had previously anticipated their reaction to be larger than life. It is far more beneficial to expect…….well, NOTHING. I’ve tried and tried to understand why someone can’t muster a simple “thank you” for a kind gesture or a surprise. I haven’t come to a conclusion. But I have learned that wasting MY energy on this only results in my own frustration. Instead, I can take the satisfaction knowing that I did something for someone with good intentions. It made me happy. And leave it at that.

Sadly, today a successful life has more to do with the number of followers on Twitter or the number of “likes” on a photograph. Don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram and Facebook! They are convenient and entertaining (and sometimes addicting.) But that’s it. They are not measurements of a successful person. Success is being incredibly happy with your life regardless of how “perfect” it appears or how many people validated it on social media.

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My dad says that posts like this look like I’m dabbling in the “Advice Column” department. I’m not hugely attracted to that label because it implies that I am qualified to offer answers and advice. In reality, I am a 21 year old girl with high expectations and certain opinions on what it means to be a “good person.” A blog is a pretty appropriate platform to speak on these, so I’m not opposed to expanding my content beyond running and recipes from time to time.

All I’m sayin’ is Abraham Lincoln may have been considered one of the ugliest presidents, but I bet he was a pretty great boyfriend. ;)

Well I just dropped a monster of a rant on you, didn’t I? You know you can vent to me if you need it, too!

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