30 Things: Open my Roth IRA

30 things before 30
As you may know,
I’ve made a list of 30 things that I want to do before I’m 30. Some are silly, some are hard, some are super easy, but no matter, they make for great fodder for the blog and for life!

Number 8 on my list is to open my own Roth IRA or similar type of retirement fund.

With a husband who is a real estate agent you meet a lot of people in the client service businesses, including financial planners and advisors. One week The Guns told me he wanted us to meet with an advisor that he’d met who is part of Edward Jones Investment. Joel C. Morgan met with us and spent a lot of time talking about financial planning… for now, for emergency, and for the future. Most of it we were already pretty familiar with, but having never worked for a corporation (except as a contract employee) the big miss in our financial plan was my retirement fund.

Which of course is really fun to think about at 28, but whatever. Anyway, after 2 meetings and a lot of talk about my comfort level (which pretty much amounts to “I’d rather not think about it, use your expertise, please”) with investing, now I have a Roth IRA… and the plan is to not really think about it for about 35 years and then be super impressed with my 28 year old self.

And of course that’s another item off my 30 list! Which is really, incredibly satisfying.

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30 things: sell old electronics

30 things before 30

As you may know, I’ve made a list of 30 things that I want to do before I’m 30. Some are silly, some are hard, some are super easy, but no matter, they make for great fodder for the blog and for life!

Number 26 on my list is to sell/trade in old electronics before they become unsellable.

I don’t know what to tell you except that I did this, and I highly recommend it. No you won’t find a use for that random laptop/iPod/old smartphone, so just see what you can get for it. Usually at least a Best Buy gift card for your next tech purchase.

If it can’t be traded in or sold you get extra points for finding an environmentally responsible way of disposing them. Here is the EPA page on where to find programs like that.

30 Things: Host a Party

30 things before 30
As you may know,
I’ve made a list of 30 things that I want to do before I’m 30. Some are silly, some are hard, some are super easy, but no matter, they make for great fodder for the blog and for life!

Number 9 on my list is to host a non-sports-related and non-housewarming party at my house

Again, just like last month’s entry, I have no proof of this thing that I’ve done to help complete this list of things that I apparently really want to do but refuse to provide proof that I did it beyond some nonsensical lines on a personal blog.

But whatever.

We did it. We had a party on my birthday, but it wasn’t a birthday party. Happy Birthday was sung, and some people brought gifts (though I told them not to), but really it was just a time to get together with friends. Here are my random thoughts on the subject:

1) ask people to BYOB and ask good friends to bring an easy dish. This is perfectly acceptable and makes preparations way easier.

2) have some background noise going. Old HIMYM episodes streaming off Netflix is more than appropriate

3) When your dog starts being mean to small children, put him up. This is not his party.

4) Wear your favorite outfit and then just say thank you when people say how much they like it. “This old thing?” is no longer an appropriate response.

5) Do not put on sports unless it is a sports party. This is a surefire way to divide the crowd quickly.

6) Talk to everyone and be cool when everyone is talking to each other and you can just sit back and marvel at what awesome friends you’ve assembled in your life.

30 things: choreograph a new work

30 things before 30

As you may know, I’ve made a list of 30 things that I want to do before I’m 30. Some are silly, some are hard, some are super easy, but no matter, they make for great fodder for the blog and for life!

Number 23 on my list is choreograph a new work.

I have been choreographing since I was 10 or 11. There is a GREAT version of Jellicle Cats that premiered in my parent’s basement in 1998.

I made my first major dance in high school (a neo-classical ballet to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue because there is NO BETTER PIECE OF AMERICAN MUSIC EVER!), and then continued to go nuts in college as a dance major and major movement nerd.

And then I traveled for 3 years and made nothing.

But now I’m dancing in 2 different local companies, teaching for 2 different studio/programs, substitute teaching, and hoping that I can somehow add an inch to my hamstrings so that I can keep doing this without embarrassing myself.

I digress.

So I needed to make something new. And ideally, I will make lots of new things, but for now, I’m just glad I made something.

I have no proof. I don’t have photos. I don’t have videos. But it was a nice 3 minute dance that my students performed at a professional benefit concert.

IT HAPPENED ok!? I wasn’t thinking about the blog when it happened and how if you don’t have a photo it didn’t happen.

But anyway, just take my word for it. Number 23. Check.

30 Things: Get Rid of Clothes from High School

30 things before 30
As you may know,
I’ve made a list of 30 things that I want to do before I’m 30. Some are silly, some are hard, some are super easy, but no matter, they make for great fodder for the blog and for life!

Number 6 on my list is get rid of any clothing that I have that I bought while I was in high school.

I should say that, while I’m so happy I did this, I’m worried I didn’t do it right? Certain things are hard to remember if I bought it in high school or college. And I’m pretty sure there’s at least one dancewear item that I’ve had since high school that I can’t part with.
That being said, I definitely got most of it out, along with many clothing items that have gone unworn for years and it feels SO GOOD! And I think I will continue to cull my closet over the next year until I’m left with pieces that I truly love. 

Right now it’s hard because I worry about the what ifs, (What if I go to a garden party, this dress will be perfect! What if I decide to dress up in 70s garb for Halloween? These ridiculous white bell bottoms will be so groovy!)  but the more I get rid of, the better I feel. Plus, I’ve been having a lot of trouble getting dressed for work lately. And I think it’s partly because I need some new, very specific items (some to replace worn out items, some because my style is changing now that I’m no longer cruising and no longer in my early 20s) but mostly because I have too many choices.  

I have so many choices that I might embark on a 30×30 challenge like Kendi used to do. But that’s for another post.

The point is, I want to love my clothing choices, all of them, and hanging on to stuff “just in case” really doesn’t work. Stuff does not make me happy. And my new rule is one thing in, one thing out.

Do you still own clothes that you bought while in high school?

30 Things: Host a Guest

30 things before 30
As you may know,
I’ve made a list of 30 things that I want to do before I’m 30. Some are silly, some are hard, some are super easy, but no matter, they make for great fodder for the blog and for life! 

Number 2 on the list is “host a guest, not on the couch.”

Until we bought our house The Guns and I had 2 tactics for overnight guests:

Tell them they’ll have to sleep on the couch

or

Don’t have them

The couch thing is fine for siblings and our 20 something friends, but not so awesome for say grandparents or other actual grown-ups.

So I am really excited to have a guest room now where we can host our guests.

We’ve already hosted 5 different people in our guest room. So basically I’m a guest hosting expert! Just kidding.

But seriously, here are my recommendations for hosting guests (some lovingly stolen from people who were particularly great hosts of us):

  1. Obvious, but change the sheets before and after they leave. Do it right away so you don’t forget.

  2. Set out there other linens (towels and wash cloths) on the guest room bed or dresser

  3. Collect hotel shampoo and bath items. Store them in your guest bathroom. Extra points for storing them in a pretty bowl or vase and setting it out on display so your guests can find it easily.

  4. First thing: give your guests your WiFi network name and password. Also, a tutorial on your remotes and TV inputs.

  5. If you can, stock their favorite drink or snack in your fridge or pantry

  6. Leave some sweets out on their pillow. They’re not at a hotel, but you might as well make them feel like they are!

Those are my tips- what do you do special for your guests that you’re hosting (not on a couch)?

30 Things: Record a new outgoing voicemail message

30 things
As you may know, I’ve made a list of 30 things that I want to do before I’m 30. Some are silly, some are hard, some are super easy, but no matter, they make for great fodder for the blog and for life!

Number 20 on the list is record a new outgoing voicemail message.

Admittedly, this is a lame one. I mainly put it on there because 1) it needs to get done, and 2) not every 30 thing can be amazing or I won’t finish them all. Nothing wrong with some throw aways to keep up a goal momentum.

I had not changed my outgoing message since college, I think. My name has changed, my voice has change, so my outgoing message needed to change. Here are my tips:

1) change your message every no more than once a year, no less than once every 5 years. Exceptions: got a new business or new name? Change it.

2) Smile while you record your message.

3) Write out your message before you record it. You’re just saving yourself some time and some unnecessary “umms.”

And that’s it, friends.

When was the last time you changed your outgoing voicemail greeting?

30 Things: Have a Signature Drink


(yayimages)

As you may know, I’ve made a list of 30 things that I want to do before I’m 30. Some are silly, some are hard, some are super easy, but no matter, they make for great fodder for the blog and for life!

Number 4 on the list is “have a signature drink.”

This is on my list because I hate going to a social gathering where there’s a bar and not knowing what to order. Also, this is the only way I can relate to James Bond.

But really, doesn’t it just seem adult? To have a certain drink that you order all the time. To go over to a friend’s house and have them say, “So you want me to make you a [fill in your favorite drink here].” To have a standard, rolls of your tongue, answer to the question “what’ll you have?”

So my signature drink is…. A dirty martini.

Now, let me explain.

I have no intention of drinking dirty martinis all the time or multiple dirty martinis.  But when I’m in a situation where I need a drink order, this is my new go to.  My favorite alcoholic drink is actually a bloody mary, with a mimosa in a close second, but those are daytime drinks that are often not appropriate.  They are also guaranteed to be overpriced.  There are also many more complex and specialized drinks that I’ve had before that I like more than a dirty martini, but I also thought it best to pick something that I could get at pretty much any bar.

I also don’t plan on using my signature drink to overdrink. The perfect signature drink is one I can get anywhere, drink with a variety of foods, drink at (almost) any time, and that is strong enough to be worth the cost. I also like the dirty martini is a drink that encourages you to sip it slowly… a martini is generally strong enough that you really could nurse it all night and look sophisticated without things getting messy.

And, oh yeah, I do actually like dirty martinis.  It’s like drinking an olive, and that salty taste cuts the strength of the vodka just enough to be a little less like drinking fire, but it’s still strong enough to encourage slow sipping.
cheap red wine
$3 wine from Aldi… my actual signature drink.

In actuality, the signature drink I enjoy at home is a cheap red wine. Because The Guns and I enjoy wine, but do not enjoy spending lots on it. Plus we know that the second we start drinking fancy $50 (ok $20… ok $15) wines we will become wine snobs and won’t be able to drink the cheap stuff any more. One day we will move past the cheap stuff… until then, we’ll just dream about red wine that doesn’t give you a dull headache.

But if you’re looking to make a dirty martini (or if you’re in Greece and have to explain to a bartender how it’s made- true story), here’s your recipe:

Ingredients: Vodka (or gin), vermouth, olive juice, olives

Fill a cocktail shaker up halfway with ice.

Pour vodka (or gin), vermouth, and olive juice into cocktail shaker.

Gently shake the mixture into the shaker for 8-10 seconds.

Pour into martini glass.

Garnish with olives (several if you’re like me).

Sip slowly!

Do you have a signature drink?

30 Things: How to Tie a Tie


As you may know, I’ve made a list of 30 things that I want to do before I’m 30. Some are silly, some are hard, some are super easy, but no matter, they make for great fodder for the blog and for life!

The above video shows you that I now know how to tie a tie. For some reason I thought that should be on the list. And for some reason I decided that I should be doing one of these things on my list every month before I turn 30, and I didn’t have anything for January, so I thought “tying a tie shouldn’t be that hard.”

1 hour and 3 different YouTube videos later, I got it right and rushed to get this video up in time. Hope you enjoyed it!

Here are the videos I used to learn:
Half Windsor Knot
Pratt/Shelby Knot

Do you know how to tie a tie?

30 Things before I’m 30 – buy a home

IMG_8158
As you may know, I’ve made a list of 30 things that I want to do before I’m 30. Some are silly, some are hard, some are super easy, but no matter, they make for great fodder for the blog and for life!

I put “buy a home” on this list, and I kind of cheated, because by the time I wrote and published the list, the house was already bought.  We started thinking about buying homes a little over a year ago.  It was the right time for a lot of reasons: We didn’t know how much longer we wanted to work on ships, if we were going to continue on ships for a year or 2 more we were ready to have our own space for our vacations (we had essentially been living with friends and family in guest rooms during our 2 month vacations, which was great, but we were starting to wear out our welcome and we were ready for our own space), we were debt free (of course we’re not any more) and we had a considerable sum in our savings account for our down payment.

I don’t want to get into financial details, but if you’re wondering how we felt ready I’ll say this:  We had enough in our savings account that we could put down a 20-25% down payment on a house in our price range and still have about half of our savings left over for an emergency/furniture/new homeowner fund.  We were ONLY able to do that because we saved lots of money from living 3 years with little to no living expenses, we have very generous parents that have helped us out financially in various ways over the years, we sold a car and lived with one car for 2 years, and I had a small “inheritance” that I’d received when I was young that I finally cashed out and put into savings to start our house down payment fund.

I’m proud of how we managed this purchase, that being said we both still felt sick when we talked out our loan and closing costs with our mortgage lender.  Gah!  But we are fine and it was all worth it.

So we looked at a couple of places last year, then we went out on a 4 month Caribbean contract, and when we got back to Texas we jumped into looking again.  We found our new house and I fell in love right away, although I did have my reservations: it’s fairly small, which I love because I don’t want a lot of extra house to care for (especially after living in a 10X10 room for 3 years!) but there’s not a ton of storage space, there’s a GREAT, HUGE backyard that we love but we have no experience with yard care, there are BEAUTIFUL trees, but what about tornadoes?, and there’s this super cool looking shed that is neat but really needs to come down and be replaced by a garage because oh yeah there’s no garage.

But we learned that the house was built in the 50s but completely remodeled new (our inspector told us that it was like inspecting a new build), we realized how many of those new features (energy efficient windows, stainless steel appliances, spa shower, deck, completely new plumbing and electric) were important to us and good investments, and we realized that the area was actually pretty cool.  So we did it.

Well Jacob did.  I was on the ship for my second day of work when he went to the closing and signed all the papers, twice since I wasn’t there and he had my power of attorney.  Apparently that was a lot of fun.

So we’ve had the house for 6 months, but I’ve really only lived in it for one, which is why I’m just now getting to blogging about it.

We love our new home, and I’m sure I’ll blog more about it as we get it set up.  I’m excited to actually use my home Pinterest boards instead of just daydreaming about when my home would be more than guest rooms and storage units and ship cabins!

Click below to see photos of our (empty) home.