25 by 25

It seems like so long ago that I posted a 21 by 21 list. And though I did accomplish some of those goals (sang karaoke in public, graduated on time, discovering new places - Southern California in my case), most of the list flopped. So I figure with just a little over two years left until my 25 mark, I'd take on another list.

1. Earn another stamp on my passport. Let's just say this is what inspired this list, because my always wanderlusting sister is trying to plan a Paris trip for next February. Or May. Or just sometime next year. And I say, why not?

2. Get a tattoo. Just a small ampersand on the inside of my left wrist. (It's basically the infinity sign for designers. And I just love them a lot.) But I have to work up the courage to face the pain. And pick out the perfect font, of course.

3. Call another new place "home" for a while. Indiana will always hold a special place in my heart. Born and raised there, I will always think of it fondly and miss it every day. But Southern California has treated me well, and I can't wait to see where else life takes me. Knowing me, I won't stay still for too long.

4. Pay off all debts. Credit card. Loans. I don't have much, so it's totally doable.

5. Complete a reading list. The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge may be a bit too ambitious for this time frame, but I know there are plenty of other lists with great literature out there.

6. Road trip up the Pacific Coast. Stole this one from my sister's list a few years back. But really, a nice (looong) drive up the PCH? A dream come true, I tell you.

7. Hike to the top of Saddleback. Part of this depends on whether I stay in Orange County for a while or not, but it's the major peak in the Santa Ana Mountains near where I live. But I'm definitely not in the right kind of shape to hike it now. (I hear it's about 16 miles round trip.) But someday, guys. Someday.

8. Volunteer. I miss the mission trips I used to take in high school. And it's not something I have time for now (as sad as that is to say). But I could definitely make time to volunteer at the animal shelter or something every other weekend.

9. Start building up savings. And not just an extra hundred bucks. Real savings.

10. Confront a fear. Maybe my sister is right. Maybe we should bungee jump off the Stratosphere next year...

11. Learn to drive a stick. I tried this a couple years back and got frustrated because I just couldn't pick it up quickly. But I will learn.

12. Get fit. Because health is important.

13. Apply for a job I think is out of my league. I'll never know unless I try, right? And who knows what could come of it.

14. Learn to surf. Because seriously, it sounds like so much fun. And I live on the coast.

15. Go to a movie by myself. As independent as I may be, I hate going most places alone. Or showing up to places alone. And I just really need to get over it.

16. Learn to say 'no...' I still have a tendency to make my life full of extra commitments that take up so much time and energy. I need to choose my battles and remember to leave time for me.

17. But also know when to say 'yes.' I don't like asking for help. And sometimes I feel like accepting help when offered is the same as asking. But sometimes you just have to realize the act is just out of love and generosity, and accepting it is not selfish. Just so long as you accept it with love and gratefulness.

18. See the northern lights. Alaska or Canada could be a cool trip.

19. Be an audience member at a talk show taping. I live in Southern California. I need to take advantage of it while I can. One day, Ellen. One day.

20. Become a morning person. I love being up early. I feel like I get so much more accomplished. I just have a bit of trouble waking up. It's all about forging a new routine.

21. Take a class. Cooking. Ballroom dancing. Something.

22. Visit a vineyard in Napa Valley. Beautiful landscape. Wine tastings. Northern California. (Remember when Hallie Parker's dad owned a vineyard in Napa in The Parent Trap? Yeah, that has nothing to do with this. Nothing at all.)

23. Run in a 5k. Major challenge, but I'll get there.

24. Complete a 365 challenge. Most likely of the photo-a-day variety. I figure it could help me discipline myself into blogging more.

25. Pick an instrument back up. I loved playing the piano. I should really take the time to reteach myself.

Challenge accepted.



If there is one thing I didn't expect to miss about the Midwest, it was weather. Sometimes it would just get too cool too quickly. Rain usually ended up being a pain instead of a relief. And it isn't until the sun reappears in late March that you realize just how long the gray skies of winter had been hanging around.

But now I live in sunny Southern California where the weather is usually flawless.

Well, four months in and I'm here to tell you that perfect weather gets boring. At least in my humble opinion. Which is why I was grinning like a maniac and taking multiple afternoon breaks outside today. BECAUSE IT RAINED.

Full on drizzle, you guys. Not just a few sprinkles, but actual, substantial rain. Not to mention it was accompanied by cool 50s temperatures. 

It was awesome. 

Now if only we could get some fall foliage out here, my October would be made.