Turning 50 and the List of 50 Awesome Things I did to Celebrate-Part One
I turned 50 just over a year ago and I decided to embrace the BIG 50 by making a list of 50 Awesome Things that I wanted to accomplish during the year. I finished the last of the 50 things on my 51st birthday on New Years Eve, 2019. I’m sharing the list of what I did and a little bit about each item on the list. This is a long post so I broke it up into two parts. I hope that those who come upon this post are inspired to live your best life and go outside your comfort zone. Many of the things on the list were fun and exciting, some were challenging, some were outside my comfort zone, and some were acts of service and helping others. Overall, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I’m so glad I stuck with it and pushed myself to do so many different things. The photos are not the best quality so my apologies for that in advance.
I ended up with more than 50 things on the list, which was a good thing because there were a few things I wasn’t able to do for various reasons. I really wanted to go to Denmark and visit the island of Bjornholm where my family is from, but wasn’t able to make that happen. I also wanted to fly with my son who’s a pilot for the first time but he joined the marines and wasn’t home or allowed to fly while in training so I will have to do that another time.
Having more than 50 items on the list gave me a few things to use as a back up plan which came in handy! I was able to swap out some of the back up plans for those items I wasn’t able to make happen. I’m sharing the first 25 items on the list here. Check back soon for Part Two!
#1 NYC Trip
I’d never been to NYC and really wanted to go to greatest city in the world. My husband and I decided to go for our 27th anniversary in October. It was one of the best trips we’ve ever gone on and we had such a great time! NYC did not disappoint and I can’t wait to go back again!
#2 Summit Mount Timpanogos
Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to climb to the top of this mountain. It’s the second highest peak in Utah’s Wasatch Range. It rises to an elevation of 11,752 feet. This wasn’t the highest mountain I’ve summited (I did Mt. Kilimanjaro four years ago which is 19,341 ft) but it was still a tough hike with the elevation. My brother Brad decided to do it with me and we had a great time doing this together. We left home at 4 am, started hiking around 5 am and made it to the summit after about 4 1/2 hours. We had to go fast because I had to catch a flight out to California later that day. We made it to the top, stayed for about five minutes and then hustled down the mountain in about 4 hours. I made my flight, and by the end of the day I had 48,406 Fitbit steps and and gone 19.65 miles. Let’s just say I was tired!
The next day my brother and I chatted on the phone and we laughed over how sore our calf muscles were. It was a difficult hike, especially since we did it so fast, but the view was beautiful when we reached the top and the day spent with my brother made it all the more special.
#3 Bali Adventure Trip
Bali has always been on my list of places I wanted to go. I checked off a few items on my list when we were there, but going to Bali was at the top of my list! We did so many amazing things on this adventure retreat put on by Great White Buffalo and my friend Evelyn (Nicky) Bruce and her husband Mkristo. What a fun group this was and we had the time of our life.
#4 Row 50,000 Meters (31.06 miles)
Okay, so I should have done this when I was 20 or 30, then I would have only had to row 20 or 30,000 meters. I don’t know what I was thinking, but let’s just say this was the hardest thing I did! Climbing Timpanogos was hard, but this was worse I think! It took me total rowing time 5:43:31. I saved this for last so I could train longer for it but nothing I did to train really helped. It came down to sheer will power and my obsession with never quitting anything. Once I commit to something I have to do it, even if it kills me. Shockingly, I wasn’t that sore the next day, which happened to be my 51st birthday. This was a one and done. I will never do this again but glad I was able to do it once it was over!
I pulled the rower handle one last time trying to get it to land on exactly 50,000 and it stopped on 49,999 and then reset to zero! I almost cried! I wanted to see that 50,000 meters on the rower. Who knew that the rowing machine didn’t go past 49,999! Oh well, I’m calling it good!
#5 Swinging on the Bali Swing at Tegallalang
This was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done! I’m not fond of heights so I was a little scared to do this one but once I was on the swing and flying high over the rice fields it was exhilarating! Definitely something to put on a bucket list!
#6 Visiting the 9/11 Memorial in NYC
This was at the top of our list while visiting NYC and one of the reasons I wanted to go there. It was surreal being there after seeing so many things on TV about this day that I will never forget. I was very emotional, especially when we went into the inner part of the memorial. My husband I both wept for quite awhile. It was difficult, but also a very sacred thing to be able to visit the memorial and museum. We wanted to pay our respects to those that had passed, and as hard as it was, remember that day that changed our lives forever.
I remember exactly where I was when the first tower was hit. My husband was in the US Army and we were stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. We had just fed the kids breakfast and Craig was getting ready to head to the dental clinic and I had a final in my music theory class at St. Mary’s College, where I was attending school and playing soccer. (I went back to college when I was 32 after I had my four kids)
I left to go to the college since I didn’t want to miss my final and I had a soccer game later that day. When I arrived at the school I went to my class and took the final. The professor turned on the TV and we watched silently until it was announced that classes and all athletic events were canceled. It took me forever to get back on base since everything was on lockdown and I finally made it home six hours later. I just wanted to hug my babies and husband. There were MP’s everywhere on post guarding the schools, commissary and the PX. Everything changed that day. I hope we never forget. I know I will not. I’m so grateful we were able to go to the memorial and honor those that were killed in this horrific attack.
#7 Zip-Lining Over the Rice Fields in Bali
This one scared me because of how high it was but we were on an adventure retreat and I said I’d do it! Our mantra on the trip was “YOLO”, you only live once, so we all pushed ourselves outside our comfort zone and tried new things.
#8 Go to a Yankee’s Game in NYC
I’m not a huge baseball fan but, I’ve always wanted to see the Yankee’s play in Yankee Stadium. My husband was extra excited since he’s a big sports fan. I think I enjoyed the people watching as much as the game. The Yankees fan’s are crazy, but in a good way. It was a play-off game too, which made it extra exciting.
#9 Go to a Broadway Show
I wanted to see a broadway show while in NYC. The ones I wanted to see were sold out or a $1000 per ticket so we ended up seeing Wicked, and it was amazing. I did musical theater in college and always loved the theater and this musical did not disappoint. I can’t wait to go back again and see more shows!
#10 Learn Something New
Wow! I learned so many new things this year but one thing I had no knowledge of was SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I launched my blog in July of 2018 and had never heard of SEO. I am not a techy person and when I started blogging, I didn’t know what I didn’t know! I don’t have a photo to show myself learning SEO but rest assured I did all the SEO work on this post so that maybe it will show up on google! I have a long ways to go learning SEO but at least I know a lot more than I did a year ago! Thank you to Summer Adams Designs for helping me with this and teaching me so many things! She’s an amazing friend and a talented blogger and Influencer. You can find her @SummerAdamsDesigns on Instagram and Pinterest.
#11 Play in a Tennis League or Tournament
I played in two tennis leagues and lost almost all my matches but it was still so fun! I always wanted to learn to play tennis and so I took lessons last year and got rated at a 3.0. I can’t seem to find any photos of me playing but I can assure you I enjoyed it. I played so much that I got tennis elbow and had to get a steroid shot in it so I could keep playing! It’s so much fun!
#12 Do 50 Crossfit WOD’s
WOD stands for workout of the day and it’s what every Crossfit workout is called. I did 276 Crossfit workouts (overachiever problems) this past year, along with a bunch of Orange Theory classes and hot yoga sessions. I love being active and having a great community to work out with. I’ve made some great friends at the different gyms I work out at in Washington and Utah.
#13 Attend Suzy School in Colorado
What is Suzy School? It’s a retreat for influencers to connect with other women entrepreneurs and learn how they can be a force for good with the influence they have on Instagram. I went with an open mind and heart and wanted to figure out my why and where. When I started this blogging, Instagram, and Pinterest journey, I never knew it would take off like it has and that anyone would like it. I didn’t have a plan or any idea what I was doing. I was trying to figure out what to do with the next chapter of my life as an empty nester. I was struggling to figure out where I’m going with all of this and what purpose I had. Going to Suzy School helped me to figure out my values and my why (am I doing this) and my where (am I going).
This blog is still a work in progress but, I truly love sharing my ideas and inspiration on how to create a warm and cozy home. I hope that anyone who comes here feels welcome and that the things I share here and on my Instagram adds value to your life and inspires you in some way.
Suzy Holman is actually a real person (@simplysuzys) who’s sharing her knowledge and experience with others in this same space. She’s amazing and I’m so grateful I was able to go to this retreat and learn so many new things about myself. I’m finally feeling comfortable in my skin and have connected with so many amazing people that uplift and inspire me and Suzy is one of those women!
One other thing about Suzy School! I have STRUGGLED my entire life with saying no. One of the biggest things I came away with from Suzy School is the time I had with Jaime Gordon, who is an awesome life coach. She helped me break through some big barriers in regards to this problem I’ve had and how I sabotage myself. This was epic for me and I’m looking forward to working with Jaime more over the next year. She’s incredible if you’re looking for someone to help you break through barriers and become your best self! Jaime Gordon Life Coach
#14 Support OUR (Operation Underground Railroad)
OURRescue is an organization that rescues children from slavery and child sex trafficking. I came across an article years ago in a magazine about this organization. I tore the page out of the magazine so I could save it and hoped I could learn more and get involved. Last November, I received an invite to attend a gathering of influencers in Utah to learn more about this. Talk about the law of attraction!
I was honored that I was asked to attend and even more so, I was happy to share about it on my Instagram and help raise awareness and money on National Giving Day in December for this great organization. This is one simple thing I could do to help get the word out that children are still being sex trafficked and sold into slavery. It’s hard to believe that this is still happening in our world today. I hope and pray we can all work together to end such a horrible thing against our precious children.
#15 Attend the Flower Hunter Flower Workshop
I really wanted to go to a flower workshop this past year and learn more floral arranging techniques. When I found out that Lucy, The Flower Hunter, Max Gill, and Gabriella from La Must de las Flores were holding a workshop in Berkley, California, I signed up immediately. I went with my friend Amy Brown who loves flowers as much as I do, and is the owner of Laughing Goat Flower Farm in Washington. I learned so many new techniques and connected with flower lovers from all over the world. I made an asymmetrical floral arrangement and bridal bouquet. Such an amazing experience! Lucy, Max, and Gabriella are so lovely and incredibly talented and it was such a pleasure learning from them.
#16 Do Live Recipe and Table Styling Segments on TV (Fox13 The Place)
I wanted to share my recipes and ideas for entertaining at home and never dreamed I’d get asked to share that on a local TV station that is LIVE! Yikes! I was so excited when Fox13 The Place reached out to me but, then I realized I would be on live TV!!!! OMGoodness did that terrify me! I did four different Segments with them over the year and each time I did one I got more and more comfortable. I still get nervous but I don’t feel like I’m going to pass out now! I shared my Scones and Honey Butter Recipe, my Mac and Cheese Recipe, Grandmas Jolley’s Strawberry Pie Recipe, Fourth of July Tablescape ideas, and on Halloween, I did my Chili Recipe!(video linked here) (Recipe linked here)
#17 Learn and Memorize a New Song on the Piano
I love playing the piano and I almost always play at night before I go to bed. It helps me wind down and relax and it brings me so much joy to play. My mom was a piano teacher so we always had music in our home. I stopped memorizing music years ago and I didn’t think I still could do it anymore so over the past few years I’ve challenged myself to learn and memorize some new music. It takes me two or three months to memorize a song but on this particular song, I had the first part memorized, but didn’t get the end down until the eleventh hour! I put this one off to the very end but, finally had it memorized the last part of December. I took video of me playing the song I learned but I can’t upload it here so I’m sharing a photo of me playing the piano earlier in the year. The song I memorized is River Runs Through It.
#18 Go to a New England Patriots Football Game
I’m not a big football fan (I’m a soccer person) but I love the New England Patriots. My boys have always loved the Patriots and we took them to Boston a few years ago for a Seattle Seahawks vs. Patriots game. I think I decided I liked football a little more when Tom Brady is on the field. When we were in NYC, on our actual anniversary we went to the Jets vs. Patriots game. The tickets were amazing! We got to go early and go under the stadium and eat the most amazing dinner. They had an ice sculpture of the NYC skyline filled with seafood! Then we got to go out on the field and watch the players warm up right behind the bench and we had great seats. It was so much fun and what made it even more special was how much Craig loved it. He’s a big football fan and he was like a kid in a candy shop. It was so much fun and I’m pretty sure our boys are still mad that we went this that without them!
#19 Work out at Crossfit Wanderlust in Bali
This is one of the best Crossfit gyms in the world. We went there at least five times and wow!! Crossfit is intense, but this was another level with the heat and humidity in Bali! We were all dripping wet after each workout. Such a great experience and we met some really amazing athletes from all over the world! Crossfit Wanderlust, Bali, Indonesia.
#20 Eat at Chez Panisse
I wanted to eat at this famous restaurant in Berkley! It’s the original farm to table restaurant and the flowers are all done by Max Gill, who was teaching one of the classes at the floral workshop I attended. This was probably the best meal I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant. Everything was divine. I can’t wait to go back again! Chez Panisse
#21 Attend Jordan’s Graduation from Marine Boot Camp
My son Jordan, enlisted in the US Marines last May and we all went to his graduation from boot camp at MEPS in San Diego, California. It was such an amazing experience and I was so incredibly proud of my son. Becoming a US Marine is no joke. It was a special experience for our family to be able to go and be a part of such a special thing. I’m so grateful to Jordan and all those other young men and women that are willing to serve in the military and serve our country.
#22 Take a Painting Class
I’ve always wanted to learn to paint and so I took some painting classes from a friend who has a masters degree in Art. It was so fun and I can’t wait to continue learning! I really want to paint flowers and maybe someday I’ll be able to!
#23 Keep a Daily Gratitude Journal
Keeping a gratitude journal daily was a challenge for me. Not the being grateful part, but making it part of my daily routine. I’m so glad I did it though, as now I can look back over the year and remember so many things that happened. It also gave me a chance to slow down each day and be mindful and thoughtful about what I was grateful for. This is something I recommend to everyone. It truly gave me a chance to slow down and reflect on the blessings and goodness in my life.
On top of the journal is a little postcard I have kept inside the journal about gratitude that I received at a conference with Bill Blatchford from Blatchford Solutions. He is one of the most amazing humans on this planet. I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and the Haute Route in the Swiss Alps with him four years ago. He is a magnet of positivity.
#24 Be More Open and Share Reality on my Instagram
I have always tried to be authentic and share the reality and behind the scenes of what I do on my social media accounts but, I know that many people struggle with seeing others posts and get caught up in the comparison game. We all do it to some extent, including me! I wanted to be more open and transparent and share more of the reality of life as I think people want to see that you’re a real person and you have good days and bad days.
It was hard for me to do this in some ways because I like perfection. I like having the perfectly clean house and appear to have my act together but life isn’t perfect and life can get messy, but that doesn’t make you less than anyone else.
As the year went on I became a little more brave and the more I shared reality on my posts, (not just stories) the better the response was from so many people. It felt good to just be me, to be honest about my current situation or day and not apologize if I didn’t have my act totally together.
I want my social media feeds to be a place for inspiration, but also a place where no one feels like they aren’t good enough. Here’s a few pictures that I shared that my followers loved! These were before and after! Click here to see the post on Instagram
#25 Snow Shoeing
This was one of the things I was most excited about. I have a group of friends in Utah that I hike with. We call ourselves the Mountain Mommas. These ladies are amazing and I love surrounding myself with these women. They are funny, a little irreverent at times, beautiful, strong, and lovely in every way! This was the first thing I knocked off the list in January 2019.
We went to the back of Sundance Ski Resort to the Alpine Loop Trailhead. (This is the other trail to hike to the top of Mt. Timpanogos in the summer). It was a beautiful sunny day in the Wasatch mountains and it was cold! It was so fun and we ended the day by sliding down a hill on our bottoms and having lunch at Sundance Ski Resort. Life is never dull with the Mountain Mommas!
Here’s the end of Part One! Stay tuned for Part Two!
Professional photos of me are by HannahQ Photography. All other photos are mine unless otherwise noted.
Suzy School Photos credit: Hannah Elise Magro