Happy Birthday to me! Guys, I am officially within the last year of my twenties and I’m not quite sure how to feel about that. There’s a strong part of me that looks back and is quite proud of the woman I’ve become, knowing there’s always improvements to be made. Then there’s another part of me that still finds the big 3-0 to be a little scary. I suppose it’s the uncertainty of what turning thirty will bring. However, it’s coming regardless of how prepared I am for it and something I do that helps me keep focused are making little goals to achieve before my next birthday.
A couple of years ago I wrote something called 28 Before 28, which was a list of 28 goals that I would like to have accomplished before turning 29. Unfortunately I could only cross off a few things and found, upon closer inspection, that my goals were a touch too broad. I also got pregnant that year so the whole hot air balloon ride thing and traveling didn’t really happen. I knew I had to reevaluate the goals I originally set and adapt them to be more realistic and manageable – especially now with a one year old in tow.
So, in celebration of turning 29 today I thought to take a look back on my old list and be more specific with my new goals as I head towards thirty. This time I reflected on where my life is in this moment and where I would like to be next year. A lot of my goals have a lot to do with travel (we just updated my passport and got Greyson his first one!), creating memorable experiences, and a sprinkle of a few personal little goals in between.
Here are my 30 goals before turning 30!
Live more minimally by ridding of material things once a month for a year.
Take Greyson to an aquarium.
Create more photo books of our travels and milestones.
Travel somewhere outside of the U.S.
Visit/discover Northern California.
Visit/discover San Diego.
Volunteer at least once a month at church.
Join a small group at church.
Create and run a successful linkup on the blog.
Keep up with vegan meals during the week.
Finish the Harry Potter series before the 1st day of Summer (June 21st)
Invest in and use an editorial calendar for both blogs!
Take more photos of Greyson and us as a family.
Print and display photos of us and our travels in our home.
Send more happy mail or letters to friends and family.
Take a picture every day for a whole year.
Have a ‘movie on the lawn’ night once this summer.
Enjoy sip & paint nights often.
Actively put into savings.
Learn to trust my intuition & God when He speaks to me.
Keep weekends as sacred time – unplug and enjoy.
Participate in a local 5k.
Visit/hike The Channel Islands.
Purchase bikes and go riding at least once a week.
Begin a personal journal this year.
Get my nails done and #treatyoself this year.
Watch Casablanca from beginning to end.
Spend less on toys for Greyson and more on family experiences.
Do something spontaneous!
Live each day with meaning and purpose.
After drafting up this list I’m actually pretty excited to see what I’ll be able to accomplish. I know I want to do a lot this year and gain more experience in this life I have. I am grateful that I get to spend it with my wonderfully amazing husband and beautiful baby boy, which makes checking off these things that much more enjoyable. So, thank you for being on this wild ride with me and fingers crossed I can get to all 30!
If you could create a bucket list for yourself (whether it be for a birthday or just overall in life) what would be in your top 5? Share with me in the comments!
I acknowledge that my participation in Bachelor Nation is quite late being that I only began watching the reality series starting with Chris Soules’ season. I tuned into one episode just to see what all the talk was about and I can admit, it was then I was hooked. I’m not quite sure what initially allured me; perhaps the hopeless romantic in me wanting everyone to find true love or just being drawn towards the ridiculous drama between the women (I can’t help myself). I’m also curious about the concept of whether or not lasting love can really be found on a reality show that is taped for 10 weeks at a time. Can it really be done? Are these people truly ready to be engaged by the end of the season and live their lives for better or for worse?
Having followed The Bachelor and TheBachelorette for the past few seasons now, and then Bachelor in Paradise this past summer, I’ve come to get to know Nick Viall a little bit. I admit, I never watched any of his seasons when he was a contestant, but have heard he was quite the villain on Andi’s season. He even called her out, exposing that they had had sex during the Fantasy Suite, which is a taboo thing to do on the show. I’ve also heard that he actually had quite the chemistry with Kaitlyn during her run on her season of The Bachelorette, but alas she picked someone else in the finale.
Nonetheless, I was first introduced to him during Paradise when he came off as the lovable ‘friend zone’ guy who just wanted to find love. It always seemed that whenever he found chemistry with a girl, they for some reason always left him for another option. Poor guy, I thought. I really wanted to root for him. So, when the series broke the traditional mold and picked him, a guy who can pretty much call himself a professional Bachelor at this point, to be their next pick for this current season I was pretty stoked for him. All the guy wanted was to find love…right?
But with all things considered, here’s why Nick is one of the worst picks for season 21 of The Bachelor:
Tuning into the first episode of his season, and getting a closer glimpse into his personality, I quickly realized he is not like the lovable guy I saw on Paradise. He has a few social and character traits that I personally find annoying: the mumbling, talking under is breath a lot, being unsure about pretty much everything, and most importantly, being wishy-washy about what it is he’s looking for in love and in the women themselves. He has the looks, I mean, come on…he’s great looking. However, I had a huge question mark over him the moment he began his season.
Women are attracted to confidence, not uncertainty. We want to be reassured that our feelings are being acknowledged and that the other person gives just as much as we are in a relationship. I love that he is in tune with his emotions, but the crying after a while needs to stop. Seriously, I feel like he’s cried more this season than any other Bachelor to date. But despite his tears, he still manages to be emotionally unavailable to any of the women.
Case in point: Corrine. This season gave us A LOT of her, and she fits the formula for great reality T.V. She’s cute and an entitled daddy’s girl from Miami who managed to create a lot of drama in the house. She’s immature and I’m convinced only on the show ‘to win,’ not necessarily to find lasting love with Nick despite her saying it over and over again. When we were introduced to her, both my husband and I said that Nick would keep her around, but surely he’d let go of her after the first couple of weeks – giving him time to make stronger connections with the other women.
No, he kept her all the way up to the last few episodes. Really?
The fact that he kept her around as long as he did only told me, and even a few girls in the house, that he wasn’t taking this experience all that seriously. She lead with her sexuality, because let’s be honest she doesn’t have much else at the moment, and he fell for it. Every time. He completely jeopardized the other relationships in the house by keeping her around and I’m not even sure anymore if he realizes it.
In just the couple of years I’ve been tuning in to Bachelor I’m disappointed that Nick doesn’t appear to be trying, really at all, with any of the women. He is elusive with sharing anything meaningful about himself and after 10 weeks I know nothing more about him than when the season started. He keeps saying that he’s looking for ‘raw relationships,’ but he sends all the women home who express their love towards him and open up to him with their deepest feelings, experiences, and personal stories. I know more about all of the women on this show than Nick himself. At some point he needs to put forth the effort in these relationships…but that’s just it. When it’s real love blossoming the effort is effortless.
Perhaps The Bachelor franchise wanted to use him as their success story.
We all know that not all Bachelor or Bachelorette seasons end with an ‘I do’ amongst the chosen couples, but there are a few success stories that prove there can be happy endings. (There’s a reason they always bring back Sean Lowe, amongst other Bachelor alums, to prove to the current Bachelor there can be a wedding by the end of this journey).
It’s also no wonder that the franchise needed to change things up this season and with him missing out three (yes, THREE) other times on this show, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were really counting on him being their golden child of a season. Unfortunately for them, he has a dud personality.
Or he’s using the show to boost his nonexistent career.
In the age of the Kardashians where reality stars can make careers out of doing nothing I suppose Nick fits the bill. He’s surely made a career off of the Bachelor franchise and with the news of his participation on Dancing With The Stars (which is pretty commonplace for Bachelor/ette alums) he’s sure to extend those 15 minutes (x4) of fame. Who knows if he’s on the show to truly find love or just use it as a platform to reach another notch higher in the social entertainment world. It’s anyone’s guess.
Regardless of his intentions, I do plan to tune in to tonight’s finale to see whether or not the guy gets engaged to anyone. We all know Rachel is our next Bachelorette, so she’s off our list, so it comes down to Raven and Vanessa. Personally, I’d like to see both women not accept his proposal considering I don’t feel as though Nick put forth the right amount of effort towards any of them. However, I love Vanessa because she seems the type to know what she wants, what she deserves, and will have no problem calling Nick out on his sh*t (I love she had no problems doing then when Corrine pulled out her bouncy house move). So I suppose if there is an engagement I’d like to see Vanessa over Raven – but I surely don’t see a wedding anytime soon or at all.
What are your thoughts about this season? Who did you see getting the final rose? Did you dislike Nick as much as I did?
Celebrating Greyson’s first birthday was an amazing experience even though the prep took all day and I was only slightly stressed at the last minute. However once I saw everyone arrive and enjoy themselves with food, drinks, and conversation I knew everything was going to work out perfectly. Since it’s Grey’s first birthday, and my first time organizing one, I wanted everything to be perfect and my luau theme to come together.
We picked a luau theme pretty early on in the planning process a few months ago. It’s a little homage to when we took our first wedding anniversary to Kauai (and where we believe he was conceived). It’s also a reflection of the beach life we live here in Ventura and since our apartment complex is like family, we wanted his birthday to be celebrated as a big gathering of friends. These people have been so supportive of us ever since we moved in, throughout my pregnancy, and especially during Greyson’s life. They’ve been witness to every stage and it’s truly special and meaningful that many of our fellow residents could make it to his party.
Our one family photo and there’s a sunspot right on my face! Nonetheless, it’s a good picture 😉
Greyson also sported Philip’s outfit from his first birthday in 1982! How adorable is that?!
It’s a LUAU!
No luau is complete until there’s a tiki bar! I made the sign using a banner from Target and a Sharpie. I also got the black tablecloths from Target and the skirts from Amazon. Because we were traveling to D.C. I ordered all of my Hawaiian decorations ahead of time that way all I had to do was set it up the day of the party. I did get last minute things the day before, but was really happy with how well everything seemed to come together!
Some might wonder why the tiki bar at a child’s first birthday party and I would answer, that no child birthday party should be without a little booze for the adults. The first birthday is moreso a party for the adults anyways considering Grey’s too young to even remember this party. So why not make it fun and enjoyable for everyone? I also got fun drink umbrellas and offered everyone lei’s as party favors (it’s in the details!).
Some of the last minute decorations I pulled together was this ‘Chasin’ Greyson’ poster. I wanted to display photos of Greyson from birth up until his first year and browsed Pinterest for ideas. I found this one then made it my own using the beach theme and my best attempts at drawing palm trees. Instead of using photos of his ‘firsts’ like in the pin, I opted for his monthly photos to show his growth since everyone who came to his party knew Philip and I while pregnant and had the opportunity to watch him grow up.
Also, I included a fun slideshow using the option in the Photos app on my iPad which pulls photos from any album and displays them in a slideshow with music. It was a fun little touch and took zero prep – just select the option at the top right of the screen and it plays all on its own.
I also asked our friends to sign his Oh, The Places You’ll Go book as a means of a guestbook. I’d love to have it out for every year up until he goes to school and collect as many messages from our family and friends as possible. Makes for a cute keepsake later on 😉
My mother-in-law has this amazing dip she makes every year for Christmas and when they told us they were flying out for this birthday and asked to contribute something I just had to have her make it! As expected, it was a huge hit and multiple people asked for her recipe. I simply shaped it in the form of a pineapple, arranged almonds for detail, and added the top of a fresh pineapple for a finishing touch. These chargers from Michael’s were on sale, too, so I decided to pick up a few to go along with the Hawaiian beach theme. I can’t take credit for the idea, so you can find the inspiration from Pinterest here.
We did a potluck style luau and our friends from our complex donated a lot of great side dishes. We catered the entrees from a local Polynesian restaurant in town and their short ribs were delicious. Originally we thought to grill, but at the last moment we decided to get food catered that way my husband and I could worry less about food and spend more time hanging out and keeping track of Greyson.
Hanging out with Grandma! Grandpa was there too but somehow he managed to escape the camera!
The Sandcastle Cake
When throwing a birthday party one of the biggest, and most important, decisions to make is all about the cake. I went back and forth in my head as to what I wanted to do: Should I get a custom cake? Should I make it myself? Should I buy a pre-made cake from the grocery store? Again, after some time looking through Pinterest for ideas I found a lot of inspiration for a sandcastle cake!
I bought deep cake pans from Michael’s and simply used boxed cake instead of making it myself (needed something simple to pull together). I also used vanilla icing and to make the sand I used a food processor to grind up graham crackers and toasted coconut. I was so surprised to see that it looked exactly like sand! To make the sand bucket indents on the top I cut large marshmallows in half, coated them with icing and dipped into the sand mixture. I did have leftover batter and made cupcakes with sand topping which we used for the traditional cake smashing and offered them to anyone who didn’t want an actual slice.
Greyson’s First Bite of Cake
It was so sweet that our friends brought gifts for Greyson considering we put on our invitations that there were no need for gifts as their attendance to his party was gift enough. Greyson is so blessed with his grandparents in terms of toys, books, and practically everything in-between, so to see others brought him a little something was very touching.
He makes the cutest growling noise when he sees Cookie Monster!
The Little Red Car
One of the gifts from his grandparents and Philip was the classic Little Tikes coupe. My husband says he had always wanted one as a kid and never received one, so when it was time he wanted to make sure Greyson had one. It was precious seeing Greyson see the car and to know how much it meant to Philip.
How many of you had this car growing up? Did you pass down the tradition to your kids?
Greyson playing in his new car with his cousin who came down from L.A.!
I was so happy that my sister and her family could make it down from L.A. to spend the afternoon with us for his birthday. Greyson and his cousin Shiloh were born 9 days apart so it’s very special to have him here to celebrate with us! My sister is the only family that I have living out on the west coast in California and due to both of our busy lives it’s difficult to see each other often. So when we do I always take it in and enjoy the moments we have together. So happy to have gotten to see them!
This weekend, and party, was a whirlwind but we’re so thankful to everyone near and far who helped us ring in this monumental occasion!
What are the plans for your baby’s first birthday? Or how have you celebrated first birthdays in the past? What themes did you go with or did you do something super simple? I’d love to hear!
Now that we’re a household of three and a half (of course including our Murphy) it’s important that throughout the week I make regular attempts to vacuum, clean our laminate wood floors, wipe up our countertops, and dust my way throughout each room. Living by the beach, we are fortunate enough to always keep our windows open, but the downside to this is the dirt and dust that gets blown in on a daily basis. To stay on top of these bi-weekly chores, and to keep our home fresh and clean, I’ve enlisted the help of many products, but one in particular has helped me maintain beautiful floors without the hassle or mess. My Libman Wonder Mop. Yes, you read that correctly…a mop.
Our WONDERful Mop
See what a did there?
Being a self-described minimalist, it’s important for us to find quality products that help us be more efficient in our every day tasks. From creating a capsule wardrobe, traveling minimally, and cutting down on the material clutter in our home, we’ve been able to focus more on what’s important.
Keeping our home clean is another area in which it’s easy to stock up on products that don’t serve any particular purpose. With our Libman Wonder Mop I’ve been able to invest in one item that will keep our home fresh time and again. And best yet, the mop heads are durable and are machine washable up to 50 times before needing to replace! The Libman line of cleaning products are quality made and have a guarantee to last me through toddlerhood and those pesky pet messes.
The wringing mop head pushes the water out so my floors stay clean and dry quickly!
Tackling Those Floors
Floors are obviously the most used part of any home and our laminate flooring takes a beating from all the dirt, spills, crumbs, and dog hair that occur daily. Also, our laminate flooring makes up 90% of our home with tile in the kitchen and bathroom. I love our Wonder Mop because it’s Microfiber GRIPSTRIPS are specifically designed to clean up to 20% more dirt and works on a variety of surfaces! The wringer also allows me to drain more water so my floors dry faster, which for any mom, time is a super important factor. I can clean these floors quickly while Greyson naps and they’re dry by the time he wakes up.
However, don’t just take my word for it. Try it out for yourself from your local Walmart and better yet, sign up for their newsletter to receive a $3.00 off coupon towards your own purchase (because who likes paying full price?)!
A Libman Sweepstakes!
Also, the Libman Company is hosting a Pinterest Sweepstakes where there are all kinds of goodies a lucky winner can receive which includes an exclusive Spring Cleaning Toolkit or even a toolkit plus and additional grand prize of $1,000! How awesome is that?!