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30 Questions On My 30th Birthday

30 Questions On My 30th Birthday

Hi, I'm 30 now (!). While it's a little scary to think about how fast life seems to have gone so far (wasn't I just 16?), it's an age I've actually looked forward to. Everyone describes 30 with words like content, settled, secure. I have no illusions that turning 30 flips a magic switch, but I do have a confidence that I didn't at 20. It's a feeling born from experience—venturing outside of that college bubble, failing and getting back up. I'm proud of my experiences, and it honestly feels good not to be that 22 year-old that doesn't know anything. 

my 20th birthday at Los Portales (the fun Mexican place where we could get tequila with just a couple of IDs) in Iowa City #goHawks

my 20th birthday at Los Portales (the fun Mexican place where we could get tequila with just a couple of IDs) in Iowa City #goHawks

For my actual birthday last week, I was in LA for my first work trip! I'm writing a blog post for Evereve about the weekend, and will be sure to share it when it's live! My coworker and I hosted a pop-up shop at a VIP party before attending a women's conference led by Rachel Hollis. It was incredible to hear from so many smart and diverse women, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity (to attend the conference and get some sun!)—but it was also a lot of work and tiring to roll right into the next work week without a day off in between. 

We had planned to celebrate my birthday with friends back in Minneapolis this past weekend, but instead there was a raging blizzard (the worst in 35 years) and roads and businesses shut down, so we cancelled. I was disappointed—Chris had bought those giant 3-0 balloons (in rose gold!), a cake and Ninja turtles plates and napkins for pizza that were "wasted"—but what matters is that I have a fiancé who would venture out in a snowstorm to get all those silly things for me. We ate the pizza and the cake, had a commemorative shot of whiskey (so unlike Chris, so you know he was really trying to make sure I had fun) and watched Kevin Hart on Netflix. And I felt content, settled, secure. 

with my coworker at the RISE garden party in LA

with my coworker at the RISE garden party in LA

To reflect on who I am at 30 (sounds so existential, but hey—reflection is necessary!), big party or not, I decided to do a little questionnaire reminiscent of the ones your mom filled out for your baby book when you were little—milestones you had hit, foods you loved, things that made you laugh. Honestly, sometimes I don't even know my own favorite color or favorite restaurant, and it felt important to sit down and think about these things as I enter an age that is all about knowing and owning who you are. 


But first—a look at the biggest milestones from my 20s that contributed to who and where I am today. 

  • Studied abroad (took trains across countries, took classes with Brits and turned 21 in Salzburg, Austria) and spent a summer interning in NYC

  • Graduated from college, With Distinction & Kappa Tau Alpha

  • Got my first job (at Target headquarters!)

  • Launched my first blog, called THE IT LIST, with the goal of becoming a retail copywriter

  • Lived alone for the first time (and moved 6 more times throughout my twenties)

  • Moved to Madison, WI for my dream job

  • Handled (still handling) my parents' divorce and the crumbling of many of the securities I used to know

  • Financial independence

  • Let go of some friendships and made new ones

  • Met my future husband, moved in together and got engaged!


Note: this isn't a checklist. It's a reminder of all the big moments that happened in the last 10 years, and all those that undoubtedly lie ahead, good and bad. As I look back on my 20s, I'm proud of these experiences—and the person I am now because of them—but not ONE was without hardship. Whether it was homesickness while studying abroad, feeling very off-track with my first job, loneliness in Madison, being pissed and hurt as friendships faded, or battling credit card debt, there were hard spots through it all. And I know that my thirties—despite what people say about it being such a great time—won't be without those same hard spots. 


But I'm a little bit more prepared for it all than I was at 20. So, here we go. #THISIS30

  • Drink of choice: dry wine and key lime La Croix

  • Signature meal to make: chicken avocado salad (this recipe, with chicken instead of tuna) and tortellini kale soup

  • Favorite foods: pizza with artichoke or broccoli, kale Caesar and chopped salads, smoothies, Trader Joe's dried mango slices, and avocado with salt, pepper and olive oil on roasted garlic Triscuits

  • Coffee order: black

  • Ideal Saturday: hitting the gym early or going for a bike ride with Chris, driving up to the lake for the day and going out to Mexican for dinner and jalapeño margaritas

  • Favorite blogs: Cup of Jo, Danielle Moss // Instagram style crushes: Krystal Schlegel, Gaby Burger, @styledsnapshots

  • Currently reading: GRACE: a memoir—my sister gave this to me for my 25th birthday and I put it on my coffee table without ever reading it! Finally diving into it—I love biographies and memoirs.

  • Current workout: walking/jogging on the treadmill in intervals

  • Favorite vacation spot: Minnesota lakes and Mexico // next trip planned: Denver to visit my older sister // place I want to visit: Napa and San Francisco

  • Favorite flower: white orchid

  • Favorite music: Dagny (Backbeat, Love You Like That), Taxi by EXES, I Don't Want U Back by BORNS, Francis & The Lights, The Chainsmokers—and Always Be My Baby will always have a spot in my heart.

  • Favorite piece of clothing you own: black high-waisted skinny jeans and my navy blue crewneck sweatshirt picked up while vacationing in Ogunquit Beach, Maine

  • Favorite colors: white and all shades of blue; orange-red for a pop of color

  • Favorite season: summer! so much more to do in Minneapolis when it's above 60º

  • Must-have makeup item and current scent: foundation/concealer—it's all about the skin!—and Clinique Happy [insert girl shrugging emoji]


  • Morning routine: after snoozing at least once, I'll roll out of bed around 7:00 or 7:15 and turn on GMA. I'll make coffee and a smoothie and check my email, check out any new house listings on the MLS website, maybe work on my bog and scroll through Twitter. Then it's usually driving too fast to get to work by 9-9:15 because I spent too much time on all the above! But I really enjoy having a little time to sit and relax rather than just rushing right into work.

  • How do you treat yourself: manicure/pedicure

  • Biggest vice: nightly glass of wine

  • Nerdiest thing about you: running list of baby names on my iPhone [again: insert girl shrugging emoji]. I'm obsessed with names!

  • What makes you mad: not getting credit for something I did at work, being ignored, unsolicited advice and people who lack social courtesy (i.e. not saying hello/making eye contact when you pass someone in the hallway; not opening up a circle for someone who walks up to the group)

  • Biggest weakness: waking up in the morning, budgeting

  • Last time you cried: last week I accidentally took an avocado to lunch that Chris had been counting on for his dinner. It led to a deeper argument about how much I'm helping with house hunting and wedding planning (hint: not enough)

  • Thing that scares you: not being able to have kids (I have no reason to fear this, but you never know!)

  • Biggest stress: dealing with my parents being divorced in their 60s and the prospect of one or both of them being alone for the rest of their lives

  • Thing that makes you laugh: Chris—in lots of ways. But he does this thing when he brushes his teeth of trying to "help me" brush mine while I'm just chilling on the couch—and it leads to this power struggle and me trying to get away because who wants someone else to brush their teeth? It's weird, but always makes me laugh.

  • Biggest character flaw: indecisiveness and questioning past decisions

  • Last thing you bought yourself: a print by Inslee Fariss (they are so good!). I have been decking out my desk at work, something I've never really taken the time to do, and it feels so good to look forward to where I spend all day! I'll share it on Instagram when it's complete!

  • Life goal: own a cabin on a lake in Minnesota or Wisconsin

  • Calling: write a book

  • Thing you're looking most forward to about your 30s: getting married and starting a family! (whoa.) Also: working to be happy with what is and not always thinking about what could be better (a different job, a different city). Also: giving less Fs!


How did you celebrate 30? Did you look forward to reaching this milestone or dread getting another year older? 

Fall Must: Sherpa Moto

Fall Must: Sherpa Moto

My Birthday Wish List

My Birthday Wish List