30 before 30: 8 to Go

2 months into my 30 before 30 challenge, and another month closer to the big 3-0. So far so good, I think. I've been working on the low-hanging fruit of the list, knocking them off so I can concentrate on the big stuff later (Like that whole lose weight thing. That's gonna be a hard one.) But I've done pretty well so far. I think. Here's where I stand after this month.

#6: Get back into couponing - I finally went through my stack of coupon inserts the other day. I buy the Sunday paper almost every week, and I get coupon inserts in the mail, but I've slacked off actually cutting them out and using them. Well I've got the cut them out part in check finally. Now to keep them organized and remember to take them to the store and use them regularly.

#9: Finish an entire crossword puzzle from the Sunday newspaper on my own (without looking at the answers) - I'm addicted to crossword puzzles now. I still haven't gotten anywhere near finishing a Sunday crossword, but I did get a book of NYT Monday Crosswords (the easiest day of the week), which I've been working my way through, and I actually finished one without any help at all! So there's some progress.

#14: Read 3 non-fiction books- I'm reading a book right now called The Rules of the Tunnel. It's about a writer's battle with depression. Or at least it's supposed to be. I'm struggling with it because more than half of the book has been about people this guy has written articles about for his magazine, and their struggles with depression and bipolar disorder. With a little bit of the author's story thrown in. So far, not my favorite book.

#18: Bake 5 things I’ve never tried to bake before - 2 down, 3 to go! I made graham crackers before my last update, and now I can check Peach Handpies off my list too! And I even made it with from-scratch pie crust! 1 step closer to accomplishing #20 too.

#19. Enter a baking competition (and win!) - At the last update, I had just taken my cookies to the fair to be judged and at the end of the week I was taking my cupcakes as well. Well, I've got the results! Every single one of my cookies placed. And 2 of my 3 cupcakes as well! 5 out of my 6 entries won ribbons!! Here's how they stacked up:
In 3rd place: drop cookies (Mexican Hot Chocolate) and chocolate cupcakes (Mocha Cupcakes)
In 2nd place: decorated cookies (Brownie Cut Outs) and chocolate chip cookies (Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies)
and last but not least, in 1st place, with a blue ribbon: vanilla cupcakes! (recipe to come)
So this one is definitely DONE!

#22: Try 3 kinds of foods I’ve never tried before - I tried Indian food before, which I actually enjoyed, and this time I went for something I literally had to force myself to eat. If you know me at all, you know that I despise any food that's green. Any of it. I hate vegetables with a passion. But I actually, willingly, ate a salad. Well. Part of a salad. Two different times. I have no idea what possessed me to buy a salad for lunch one day, but I did. And I got through about half of it before just giving up because there was nothing but lettuce left. It didn't taste bad, it just didn't taste good. I'm not really a fan of the crunchy texture of lettuce. So I'm still not convinced. But Boyfriend made me try again, so I got a different kind the next time. One with mixed greens instead of lettuce. BAD idea. I hated the taste of most of the greens, not just the texture, and one bite of the one that looked like weeds in the front yard literally made me gag. Like almost lose my dinner kind of gag. At the table. In a restaurant. Not cool. NEVER eating mixed greens again. So 2 down, 1 to go. (I'm throwing guacamole in as a bonus point to this goal. It was part of a sandwich I ordered, which I didn't even realize, so I don't really feel like I can count it toward the goal. But I ate it. Gotta say, not a big fan of that either.)

#27:  Get back into a blogging routine - I've been trying to be better about this! I really have. I think the once a week (each Wednesday) thing is working out better for me. With a small budget and a fluctuating schedule, twice a week in a regular pattern is just too hard at the moment. I've skipped a couple weeks just because I didn't have time, but I'm trying really hard. I even made myself a Google Calendar to force myself to plan ahead and keep me on schedule!

#28: Be more interactive in blogging - I've been trying lately to post a little bit more to Facebook so I can get to know you guys, what you like, and how you bake. You were all great help to me in making pie crust! And giving suggestions on new books to read! Thanks so much! And a couple weeks ago, I held a giveaway for two autographed copies of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer. I love this book and I'm so excited to share it with the winners! I have more ideas for giveaways to come, so be on the lookout. You might just score something cool too! :)

#29: Give the blog a makeover- Done! This one actually came together a lot easier than the previous incarnations, and I think it looks pretty good. What do you guys think? Have you found anything that needs tweaking yet?

Well I can cross off 3 full ones, and I'm well on my to crossing off a few more (hopefully by next update!) But I've got to get cracking on some of the others, like NOW! There's only a short window of time to ride my bike 15 miles before it gets too cold and snowy. And the next 8 months are going to fly by before I'm ready!

The List:
1. Lose a dress size
2. Ride my bike 15 miles (without passing out or dying.)
3. Get my hair cut finally. And actually style it every day.
4. Get highlights
5. Pay off my credit cards (or at least significantly pay down)
6. Get back into couponing
7. Get back into sewing (or another hobby I’ve given up on)
8. Decorate my house and put pictures up on my walls
9. Finish an entire crossword puzzle from the Sunday newspaper on my own (without looking at the answers)
10. Send out Christmas cards
11. Visit a new city
12. Visit another state
13. Get a passport (even if I don’t get to use it right away)

14. Read 3 non-fiction books - 1 1/2 down.
15. Read 3 classic books - 1 down, 2 to go
16. Read 3 Shakespeare plays - 1 down, 2 to go
17. Read 8 books I already own - 3 down, 5 to go

18. Bake 5 things I’ve never tried to bake before - 2 down, 3 to go
19. Enter a baking competition (and win!)
20. Bake a pie
21. Make another tiered, fondant covered cake
22. Try 3 kinds of foods I’ve never tried before - 2 down, 1 to go
23. Cook 3 kinds of foods I’ve never tried making before - 1 down, 2 to go
24. Make pasta from scratch
25. Cook more, eat out less
26. Put together a cookbook of my favorite recipes (even if it’s just for me)

27. Get back into a blogging routine (I've been a slacker lately! Sorry.)
28. Be more interactive in blogging (Giveaways and other ideas I’ve had rattling around my brain)
29. Give the blog a makeover? (I usually end up doing this once a year anyway)
30. Buy a fancy DSLR camera (and learn how to use it)

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Kiesha said...

Guacamole took me a couple of attempts before I enjoyed it. You really have to get a GOOD guacamole. Bad guacamole is just plain gross. I have a good recipe if you ever want to make it at home.

Do you have texture issues with food? I've definitely got them, but mine are mostly with fruit (hate the idea of taking a bite of something and ending up with a seed or pit in my mouth - I have to surgically remove seeds from each bite of watermelon before I eat it) and things that are mostly smooth but have bits in them (like a smoothie with fruit bits or crunchy peanut butter). It suuuucks because there are so many foods I want to eat, but can't get them down.

Danae - The Busty Baker said...

Oh I have TERRIBLE texture issues with food. But it's not universal. The crunch of vegetables freaks me out. Like completely. But not in other things. I can eat an apple just fine. (As long as it's cut up.) But don't bake that apple, cause I have issues with squishy food too. (which I seem to be getting over.) And don't make it into apple juice cause that's just gross. I'm the exact opposite with oranges though. LOVE OJ and orange flavor but hate eating oranges. The segments freak me out. And the stringiness of pineapple. Oh man. I'll throw that up.

Sweet Seahorse said...

I struggle to understand how you made it this long in your life without eating vegetables!

You might find that trying new foods once is not enough. The literature in relation to teaching toddlers to try new foods indicate that they might have to try it up to 10 times before they accept it.

I think your list is a really great idea, and I applaud you for making yourself try things that you find uncomfortable or unpleasant.

Well done for your wins at the fair, you will have been up against ladies who have been baking for decades, so your wins will be that much sweeter. Looking forward to the cupcake recipe!

xXx Helen

Kiesha said...

Yeah, veggies don't bother me for the most part; the only issues I have with them are flavor (sorry, eggplant), although the interior parts of a tomato creep me out a little bit.

I have a big problem with slime; mayo, salad dressing, anything that makes food slimy or slippery is OUT. People are always horrified when I eat my salad with no dressing, but I like it that way!

They say food texture issues are an Austism/Asperger's thing... wonder if we're on the spectrum somewhere!

Kiesha said...

Also, apple juice is weird, but apple cider is fantastic. And I will drink OJ with no pulp, love the flavor of oranges, but there's no way I'm gonna just eat one. Eww, pulpy!

Danae - The Busty Baker said...

That's interesting about food texture issues being part of an Austism/Asperger's thing! I didn't know that. I just looked it up and food temperature is another part of it! As my mom pointed out on Facebook, I used to have issues with hot food too when I was younger. I wouldn't eat it until it was practically cold! And I'd wait til my ice cream practically melted into soup before I'd eat that too. But I don't know if that was because it was too cold or if I just liked to play with it. But that's probably why I still don't like ice cream in a cone.

Jess said...

It's awesome to see you making such good progress!

I've found that getting a little accordion thing - like this, can really help with coupons. The capacity for breaking them down into categories is endless! You could have one per store, or have it just be all bunch of stores in one.

Congrats on your plethora of ribbons!

If you're looking on another good nonfiction book I'd suggest In The Garden of Beasts or Devil In The White City, both by Eric Larson. I loved them both.

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