A couple weeks ago, some of my Philly friends and I went to New York for a day trip. I went to college in the Bronx, and a lot of my college friends still live in and around the city. For work, I also commuted from Philly to New York pretty frequently. So it had been a long time since I had gone to New York without any obligations — just to walk around and explore with friends.
The day was good for the soul. It’s always nice to have some quality, offline time with girlfriends. It also reminded me what I love about New York, and brought back a ton of memories from my early 20s.
It’s easy to feel sentimental and nostalgic at the end of the year, and even more so at the end of an entire decade. The 2010s also coincided with my 20s — I was 19 at the start of 2010, and I’ll be turning 30 in the fall. So much has happened over the last 10 years.
Taking cues from some of my blogger friends, I thought this was a good time to share an “anti-bucket list” — basically a look back at what I did accomplish over the last decade:
Started this blog! (2010)
Went on two Global Outreach trips (2011, 2013)
Visited Italy & France with my family (2012)
Graduated Fordham (2013)
Moved to Philadelphia (2013)
Adopted two dogs: Zamboni (2013) and Arya (2015)
Was a bridesmaid for high school friends (2015, 2016)
Helped plan the PHLblogger’s Blog Connect Conference (2017, 2018)
Went to the Home Run Derby (2017)
Fostered senior dogs (2017, 2018, 2019)
Got my first tattoo (2018)
Bought a house! (2018)
Saw Dwyane Wade’s last game (2019)
Did a reading at my friends’ wedding (2019)
It’s crazy to think about how much has changed, how much hasn’t and what stands out years later. Not every year was great — like, I’m sure cool stuff happened in 2014 (I just can’t remember what) and 2016 and 2017 were particularly hard years as well. The last decade had its share of highlights and lowlights, but I can confidently say I’m happier now than I was ten years ago. I’m grateful for that, for the lessons I’ve learned and friends I’ve gained along the way.
Hello friends! I can’t believe fall is almost here, but a pretty great way I get to end summer is by celebrating my birthday. I turned 29 on the 13th, so I guess I can’t deny that I’m in my late twenties now! It’s pretty wild when I look back and see how different my life is now compared to a year ago. I loved being 28 — it was a landmark year in a lot of ways, and hopefully 29 is just as wonderful.
Because I a) love lists and b) I’m a blogger who has to overshare, I decided to put together a list of things I want to accomplish before I say good-bye to my twenties. Why 13 instead of 30 before 30? Well, I couldn’t come up with 30 things and also Jenna Rink.
In no particular order, in the next year I hope to…
Get a tattoo. I got my first a week before 28, and another one after I moved into my house. I’ve been itching for another one since!
Pay off my credit cards. Or at least a credit card? Post-closing expenses add up quick. I don’t even want to talk about this, being a responsible adult can be annoying.
Visit a new city. Getting settled in a new place and going to a lot of weddings meant there wasn’t a lot of time for exploring this last year. Hopefully this will change soon!
Go abroad. I try to get out of the country once a year — I just feel like it’s good for me! Chances are though if I manage to visit another country this year, it’ll be one I’ve been to before though, like Canada or Costa Rica (where my dad lives).
Go camping. So I’ve never been camping, but it’s something my partner really loves. I don’t come from an outdoorsy family, but I’ve grown to like hikes so maybe I’m ready to sleep outdoors?
Foster a dog. We fostered a sweet senior pup this summer, and we were close to “foster failing” and adopting him. Luckily, he found a great home and I’m sure we’ll foster again once things slow down.
Have a girls’ weekend. This is actually my plan for my 30th birthday. I’d love to celebrate with my friends who are across the East Coast and have them all in one place.
Donate blood. I hate needles and I hate blood, so I always told myself if I got a tattoo, I’d have to donate blood first. Well, that didn’t exactly happen (see #1), but better late than never right?
Learn how to ride a bike (again). Listen, whoever said you never forget how to ride a bike did not go 15+ years without riding a bike! My new neighborhood is less walkable, but I’d love to learn again so I wouldn’t have to rely on my car so much. (It’s a Prius, but I still feel guilty every time!)
Get a facial. In the words of Donna Meagle, “treat yo’ self.”
Go to the shore. I went once this summer, and no boardwalk ice cream was involved. A travesty that must be corrected.
Be a bridesmaid. One of my dear friends, Cortney, is getting married next August, and I’m lucky enough to be a bridesmaid. I’m very excited to be a small part of this special day!
Celebrate 10 years blogging! Dude, I don’t even know where the last decade has gone! I’m awful at keeping up hobbies, and my interest blogging has definitely ebbed and flowed. Still, ten years is a big deal!
And that’s it! We’ll see how this year shapes up, but I think this list is pretty doable. I’m all ears for any advice though — being in your twenties is a total roller coaster, but I’m excited about the next chapter.
As summer hits its halfway point, I’m mentally preparing for the peak of wedding season – two weddings down, five to go, plus the bachelorettes and showers on my calendar.
I’m not complaining – every time I get invited to a wedding, I’m touched that my friends thought to include me on their special day. Still, without being in any of the bridal parties, it’s a lot to keep track of between dates, locations, gifts and outfits. (Honestly, I’m surprised that I’ve only lost one RSVP card so far.)
To stay on top of everything, I’ve relied on a spreadsheet. I’m not exactly known for my organizational skills, so this is a big deal to me. You can even download it here, because no one wants to be that friend who forgets a wedding gift, or worse, the actual wedding.
I keep my spreadsheet organized by date, instead of events related to a couple. For me, the key to actually using a checklist or spreadsheet is not having too many categories. Here are some of the ones I’ve found most helpful:
Website: because no one has time to figure out if a couple is registered on The Knot, Zola or elsewhere every single time they need to look up wedding info.
Where: this will help determine if you need to book accommodations, transportation and other details.
Gift Purchase & Value: If you’re looking for advice on how to determine how much to spend on wedding gifts, I can’t help you with that. Sometimes I do write out a check, but when I buy off a registry, it can happen months in advance. I mark this down, along with the value of a gift. I find this important in case you buy something on sale, you’re buying multiple, smaller gifts or even gifting a service.
Dress Code: When you have three black-tie optional weddings in a row, you might want to make sure you’re not wearing the same dress back-to-back. Or maybe that’s just me 🙃
Next up, I have a bridal shower and then two weddings in August! There is some constant spreadsheet updating happening. I hope it was helpful for someone – you can download it here, no email address required! Tell me, are there a lot of weddings and celebrations on your social calendar?