birthday · travel

31 is the new 30

Last year was my 30th birthday. It also happened to be my golden birthday (turned 30 on the 30th) which means you are supposed to do something spectacular. As a 20-something I had big dreams of traveling somewhere exotic and drinking delicious beverages on a mountain top or something. Instead, I gave birth to my daughter. This was definitely spectacular, but I’m not gonna lie, I still felt pretty bummed I didn’t get to have the 30th birthday from my 20-something’s dreams. When you have to double up on breast pads and wear a diaper to your 30th birthday dinner, I think you are entitled to a redo.

Thankfully the hubs has agreed to let me turn 30 again this year and this time I don’t have to wear anything to catch various leaks and instead of dinner down the street, I get TWO back-to-back baby free weekends in two of my favorite wine countries! The weekend before my birthday will be spent on a couple’s getaway to Fredericksburg, TX and the weekend after my birthday I’ll be in Napa Valley, CA with one of my best girlfriends. I’d say that’s a pretty badass redo!

I’ll be sure to post details from both trips in another blog, but in honor of birthday month I wanted to share this list I created my senior year of college. I found this when we moved to Austin last year and it made me a tiny bit sad I hadn’t completed everything. Sure some of these were pretty ambitious, but having ambition and dreams and things to look forward to is one of the best ways to live life and I’m not ready to give up on this list! I also realized I’ve accomplished a good deal of these already so why not keep going? Check out the list below for updates on things I’ve been able to cross off and new things I’d like to add to the bucket list as I re-enter my third decade of life. Tell me, what’s on your bucket list?

30 things to do before I turn 30

Things to do in life period

1. Be committed to a relationship that makes me believe in love

When I wrote this list, I had just ended another failed long-term relationship so I was feeling a little pessimistic about love and relationships, but unbeknownst to me the greatest love of my life was waiting just around the corner. See #2.

2. Meet my husband

The day we actually met is an on-going debate. If you ask my husband, he’ll say we met at a mutual friend’s wedding where I apparently snubbed him, but seriously, that never happened. It’s all in his head. We officially met on a trick blind date at Hula Hut (Austin, TX) in the Fall of 2007. His version of the story includes me ordering a round of red-headed sluts which apparently just made the man smitten. Then after dinner and drinks we played Pictionary where I ended up drawing a penis (the word was come-back). I know gross, but it was the first thing that popped in my head. And I guess between sluts and penises the man just had to see me again and asked for my number. The rest is history. See #3.

2007 ben and i met

From our blissful early dating years. 

3. Get married and remain committed to making that marriage last forever

We got married on May 30, 2010 and not too long ago I wrote an entire blog about how we’ve stayed happily never after.

weddingHe’s probably thinking about that penis I drew.

4. Finish my Master’s Degree

In May 2009, I crossed the stage and received my Masters of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin! Hook em!


With two of my favorite SW’s.

5. Pay off my credit cards/student loans  Become debt free!!!

This has definitely been a work in progress over the years. I paid some things off, then incurred more debt along the way (cars, houses, things to go in houses, babies, etc.), but now this is a joint goal for both my husband and I. And not just to pay off credit cards/student loans, but to become debt free all together so I’ve edited this item accordingly.

6. Travel, live, and/or work in Africa

In the Spring of 2009 I had the privilege of living and working at Botshabelo, a community in South Africa that cares for families and children in need, especially those orphaned by poverty and HIV/AIDS. A piece of my heart stayed behind and there isn’t a day since that I haven’t thought about that journey. I actually kept a small blog while there, Austin to South Africa, so feel free to check it out if you want to read more about the experience.


Botshabelo means “a place of refuge”.

7. Take a photography class (again)

I definitely still want to accomplish this. My dad is a photographer by sheer talent, not as a trade. He takes some of the most stunning photos I’ve ever seen, but he does it on his own terms. Don’t ask him to take a certain picture for you or to send you a particular image you like cause he will be stubborn and say no. I like to pretend I inherited his good eye, but I’m sure he’d disagree. He hates a lot of the photos I take. There was a time though when he did believe in my skills. In middle school, he passed down one of his cameras, enrolled me in a photography class and bought and developed all the film to my heart’s content. Yes, you heard that right, this was before the digital age. He actually still has one of my photos from that era framed and hanging in his home, a sure sign of my talent that once was. With all that said, I’d like to take a class again and re-learn the passion I know is hiding somewhere deep inside of me.

8. Travel to Europe Travel to Europe again!

I get to cross this one off the list cause I have in fact traveled to Europe, but I don’t want to completely take it off the list cause I’d like to travel there again in my lifetime. The next destination I’ve been drooling over is Ireland/Scotland. The hubs has promised a 10 year anniversary trip so we’ll see what happens between now and then. Until that happens, I’ll just have to reminisce about the places in Europe I have already visited. These include England, Greece, and Italy. I jumped at the opportunity to plan these adventures when I was already across the ocean in Africa and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to make this dream a reality.



9. Go white water rafting

This was actually planned, but never happened. My husband and I traveled to Washington State and booked a white water rafting adventure during our stay, but the day of the trip the company called to cancel because the river was too low. I was so sad! I’m not giving up on this dream though so it’s staying on the list. And even though we didn’t get to risk our lives in fast moving water that time around, we did get to explore Washington wine country. I wonder why I didn’t put drinking all the wines on this list. Good thing I’m editing it!

washington grapes

Washington grapes.

10. Go scuba diving Go shark cage diving!

Clearly I wrote this list before I’d ever seen the movie Open Water. Today, I have no desire to willingly dive into the deep blue sea only to surface and find out the boat left me to be eaten alive by sharks. I did however have the opportunity to go power snorkeling in Mexico and I’m gonna go ahead and call that a win for this life dream. On a different note, when in South Africa I really wanted to get in a cage while a Great White swam around me, but it was the “off season” so I think I might edit this item accordingly. I know, how can I be scared to scuba dive in open waters, but not to swim with a giant man eating beast? It’s the cage people. The cage makes all the difference.

power snorkeling

Can we take a second to mourn this pre-baby bod?

11. Travel to fifteen cities I’ve never visited before Travel to fifteen more cities!

I’m gonna have to think real hard about all the new cities I’ve visited since 2007. Well the first was my graduation trip to Cozumel up there in #10. Then in 2008 I traveled to the wild wild west when I went to Abilene and Odessa to meet all my husbands extended family. I definitely would have never visited either of those cities if it weren’t for falling in love with my lumberjack. That same year my husband introduced me to the amazing Fredericksburg, TX and I also attended a friend’s wedding in Birmingham, AL. The only bama I’d been to before that was Flora-Bama. 2008 was also the year my husband and I took that Washington trip from #9. That trip included a few cities in the state – Wenatchee, Leavenworth, and Chelan. Then of course came all the cities I visited in South Africa and Europe in 2009. Those included Johannesburg, Magaliesburg, Soweto, Durban, Cape Town, London, Athens, Mykonos, and Rome. Then for my 25th birthday that same year my husband took me to Montreal, Canada where he proposed! In 2009 we also traveled to Pagosa Springs, CO with the hubs fam for Christmas. I think that might have been my first time in Colorado period. Then in 2011 I got to travel to San Francisco, Napa, and Calistoga for our honeymoon! In 2013 we took our first vacay as a family of 3 to visit friends in St. Louis, MO and later that year got our baby a passport to visit Canada again. That included time in Whistler, Vancouver, and Surrey. That’s wayyyy more than fifteen cities! Despite seeing the crazy amount of new cities I’ve visited in the last 8 years, I don’t want to stop there so I’ve edited this item to include 15 MORE new cities!


Pagosa Springs, CO.

12. Learn another language Drink all the wines!

In 8 years, I never got around to accomplishing this goal. Although now that I’m older and wiser, I think I might need to nix this one. That’s too much work. Drinking all the wines sounds easier so we’ll just replace vocabulary with alcohol.


Ernest Hemingway was a smart dude.

13. Buy a house Buy a bigger house!

In 2012, this dream came true when we bought my most favorite home I’ve ever lived in. At the time we were living in Dallas and it was nestled out in the country in a quiet suburb. This was the house we started a family in and I miss it every day. But life had bigger plans for us and in 2014 we moved back to Austin for an exciting opportunity in my husband’s career. We are currently living in a much smaller and older bungalow that my husband purchased during his single years (we kept it as rental property when we lived in Dallas) and are trying our hardest to save a down payment for our dream house. So that means I’ve updated this item accordingly. They say everything is bigger and better in Texas right? Hopefully our next home fits the bill.


I miss this beauty.

14. Make lots of babies Maybe make one more baby

There’s a debate in our household on what constitutes “lots of babies”. My husband thinks this means we should have at least six kids. I think one kid feels like six. So far we’ve had two. Rory Trimble Edwards was born November 20, 2012 and Rowan Caras Edwards was born July 14, 2014. My uterus is currently closed down for business, but no matter how hard I try to deny it, it still feels like someone is missing from our family. With that said, I went ahead and edited this item to a maybe, but who knows what life has planned for us.

Edwards Family Photos

A family of four works for now.

15. Adopt a child

This dream hasn’t happened for me yet, but it’s still something that weighs heavy on my heart. Maybe children 4 thru 6 can happen via adoption cause my body definitely can’t handle that many humans taking up residency. Whatever the case, I’m keeping this on the list.

16. Learn to play golf

This is something I most definitely still want to do in my lifetime. My husband has gone golfing numerous times in our relationship and he has never once invited me along. Rude. Maybe now he’ll get the memo.

17. Try out for American Idol

This isn’t scratched off because I accomplished it. It’s scratched off because I’m pretty sure I’m over the age limit now. I’m also fairly certain I’m the only one that watches it anymore and that’s just because Keith Urban is a judge. Plus, I’m 99% sure I read somewhere the show is ending for good. No one wants to hear a 30-something mombie sing anyways. Seacrest out.

18. Learn to play my guitar

When I was 16 I begged my dad to buy me a guitar for my birthday. You see I may or may not have had a slight obsession with Jewel and delusionally believed I would grow up to be her. My dad got me that guitar, but the only playing she ever experienced was a few violent strums as I looked in the mirror scream singing “Who Will Save Your Soul” While I don’t aspire to be Jewel any longer, I do still want to learn to play so this one’s staying on the list too.

19. Take dance lessons

I really pushed to try to do this before our wedding, but the hubs was a chicken. Then I also bought a groupon for ballroom lessons that I gifted him for our first anniversary and the dude still wouldn’t make it happen for me. Today, I might be slightly obsessed with Dancing with the Stars and would kill to shake it like a Polaroid picture with Val or Derek. A husband would be sufficient also. Either way, it’s staying on the list.

20. Adopt a dog

In 2009 we adopted a corgi-mix that we named Gumbo. We have a love-hate relationship as he’s kinda moody. He’s not the best family dog and has snarled at both our kiddos, but he’s starting to come around slowly but surely. You don’t think about those things before you have kids so if we ever adopt another dog we’ll definitely make sure he or she likes kids haha!


This was before tiny humans took his place in our hearts.

21. Travel to Vegas baby!

I’m pretty sure this was our last child-free/prego-free trip. We went in the Fall of 2011 with close friends and it was sooooo much fun! I guess this is another new city I forgot to mention in #11.


The Bellagio Fountains.

22. Sing in a band

I still haven’t had the opportunity to cross this one off the list. I have sung karaoke a few times, but that doesn’t count. I need like musicians behind me and a legit stage. A girl can dream!

23. Get in shape

If you know me well, then you know I don’t do fitness. Or that’s at least what I always used to say out loud to my friends so that was probably my motivation for including this on the list way back when. I mean, it’s still true, but I’ve at least finally found a workout I enjoy and can motivate myself to get out and go do. It’s called barre3 and it’s so addictive. It’s a mixture of ballet, pilates and yoga and lots of people mistakenly think this means it’s a bunch of stretching and breathing. Just try one class and you’ll quickly learn it’s way more than that. It’s a whole body workout that leaves you feeling some burn!!! Most studios let you try your first class for FREE plus they have CHILDCARE! Winning! Even though I’ve become a barre3 addict, I still don’t go as often as I should so I’m leaving this on the list so I can continue to challenge myself to stay healthy and fit!


Power leg.

24. Begin investing in the future

Um yea, this goal was never achieved and it’s still something my husband and I both need to make a priority. Our current retirement funds are dismal.

25. Learn how to cook really well

Seeing this on my list made me laugh out loud. My step-mom is a professional chef so you think I’d be a little further in the game here, but sadly I’m not. I’m gonna keep this on the list and make more of an effort to steer clear of cooking items like chili mac. On another note, my step-mom owns and manages a badass spice shop and you should all check it out. It’s called Red Stick Spice Company and you can also join the newsletter to receive monthly recipes and ideas on how to use her products!

26. Travel to and explore wine country, preferably in a convertible

I got to cross this off the list on our honeymoon! Well the wine country part, not the convertible. We did get to ride in a hot air balloon though so that can count for cruising with some wind in our hair right? I also still can’t believe I get to go back to this stunning location in just a few short weeks!!!!!

balloon ride

Trying not to shit my pants this high in the sky.

27. See the Grand Canyon

I still desperately want to do this! Maybe this can be something we enjoy with our kiddos one day.

28. See Niagara Falls

Another one I’m itching to scratch off the list! I guess this and #27 will help me keep adding to my list of new cities, but these items are honestly probably lower on the totem pole as far as completion goes. Traveling with tiny humans is hard so it’s probably in our best interest to wait a few years until those guys are a little more self-sufficient. But then #14 might happen and life as I know it will come crashing down.

29. Meet Keith Urban

Meet my man crush. I’ve traveled all over the US to see this man in concert. I’m a die hard fan and given the opportunity I would definitely be one of those crazies that would jump up and down and shriek with delight should I ever get the chance to stand close enough to smell him. I know this one will probably never actually happen, but what’s a bucket list without a few outrageous dreams? Until then, I’ll just keep watching him from the nose bleed section of his concerts.

keith concert

Don’t worry, he doesn’t have a restraining order against me just yet.

30. Register to vote, learn about politics and give my voice to something I care about Raise decent humans who care about everyone!

Yep, believe it or not I didn’t register to vote until grad school. I know, shame, but better late than never right? Politics still make my brain hurt, but I definitely know where I stand on various issues and I’ve given my voice in more ways than one. Starting this blog has been a great outlet and I know some of the things I’ve said have created necessary conversations along the way. No matter what, I’m glad this goal has been achieved and I will make it my new mission to inspire my own tiny humans to give their voice to things that matter too.

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