Monday, September 30, 2013

30 Before 30: Thirty & Guest Post

Here we are again at the end of a month and an end to a theme! Its almost sad as they end, yet full of excitement for the new month. I feel like number 30 on my list should be something amazing. I feel like a let down since I can't make it that amazing. The goal listed below is also on my life list but its a big and costly one!

30. Buy a house.

The reason for this is obvious. I have kids, too much junk, and no place of our own. It is one of those "needed" things for adults with families.

However, better than my goal is five goals from my guest blogger today. I am glad to welcome back Roger from A Daily Dose of R&R. I trust you will enjoy his goals and perspective as much as I did!

Here he is...

Hello! It’s Roger again, you might recognize my name from a post a while back about long distance relationships. As for a quick update, things are still well on that front. Still miserable, and still well worth it. But that’s not the point of my being here today. Amanda asked me to stop by and talk about the five things that I would like to do before I turn 30. Well, I’m 24 now, so I like to think that time is on my side…  But it’s also moving much faster than it once did, so many of the things on this list are already in the works to get done. So, whether you wanted it or not, here’s a chance for you to learn a bit more about me.

1. I’d like to get a book published. 

Who hasn’t fantasized about writing a book at least once their life? I can’t speak for everyone, but as an avid reader, having my name on a book was definitely something I knew I wanted to do before thirty. And, I am quite pleased to say that this goal is very close to becoming a reality, only not in the sense you might think. Starting earlier this year, my girlfriend and I collectively began working on editing an anthology to raise money for a non-profit organization called First Book and fulfill our dream of attaching our names to a published work. That book, Neverland’s Library, is scheduled to release in March of next year. In fact, I’ve been so successful in achieving this goal, that I now have plans to release not one, but four different books.

I’ve not given up on publishing a book entirely written by me, but editing is definitely a unique way of achieving this goal. I can certainly live with my name being attached to a book with fantasy genre authors that I read and love.
2.       I’d like to move from having a job to having a career.

Sometimes the early twenties can feel a lot like being that lanky kid from school who hit their growth spurt before everyone else. Your arms are hairy, you’ve got that terrible eighties whisp-stache and you’re about a foot taller than everyone else in your class.   Okay, I lied. I’ve almost always been about average and on the lighter side of hairy, but I understand not quite fitting in. I’m ready to move past working an hourly job and begin working toward a career. While I know some people are able to jump straight from college into these types of opportunities, the large majority of us experience some growing pains in this aspect of life.
Adult bills tend to catch up on us a lot faster than our adult paychecks. I’d better get a real career soon before I’ve got a wife, kid and mortgage. I’m ready for that monotonous day-in and day-out penance to hurry up and begin so it can end before I’m too old and decrepit. 

3.    I’d like to visit Europe.

If money was a moot point, I would see the world and get lost in it. My bushy beard would hide my carefree smile as I travelled from country to country while honing my terrible American accented version of whatever native tongue I try to speak. I’d stay in hostels, take a million photos that will never make it onto my facebook and just get exposed to the vast world that I’ve only seen in pictures!
The twenties are meant for exploring. Our youth should be fun! Before I turn thirty I want to create some memories that I can embellish on and impress and inspire my one-day kids.
4. I want to go to the Olympics.

Rather than mentioning Europe and the Olympics, I should just ask to be rich, shouldn’t I? Yes, a great many goals come with being rich, but that’s life we live in. It’s a shame that the lovers of sports and common men and women who fill the streets and fields to play these games can’t afford to go watch them live when they grow up. While I would love to do this, it’s not something I expect to do before thirty. That’s okay though, not all goals are attained. Sometimes it’s just fun to dream big.
Instead, I’ll settle for a close-knit group of friends gathered around the TV and stuffing our faces with a less than athletic assortment of *Ahem* dietary foods. 

5.   I want to learn to be happy with what life gives me.

Now don’t take this to mean that I don’t have dreams and ambitions, but I know that there will be things that I will want and desire, but I know that’s not always possible. So rather than waste all five of goals for before I turn thirty on selfish desires, I’d like to step back and work on being appreciative for the things I do have. I’m a selfish, idiotic, mid-twenties fool who wants it all, but I have a feeling if I actually got everything that my black little heart wants, I’d just find myself wanting a new set of unattainable goals.
If I ever end up getting it all, I think I’d like to make a few other people’s goals come true instead of just mine. Sometimes making something possible for another can be more enjoyable than doing so for personal gain.
So there you have it! My five things I’d like to achieve before I turn thirty. They’ll probably partially change before the day ends, but that’s okay. I’m young, or young at heart at least, and I’ve got time to make a few more mistakes before old age comes back to bite me.

Roger Bellini

Sunday, September 29, 2013

30 Before 30: Twenty-nine & Guest Post

29. Create (or be a part of the founding leadership) of a blogger network.

Yes, this one may be a bit on the bold side. Dare I say, nearly impossible. I want to form a group of bloggers who's main purpose is to learn about themselves and others through blogging. Basically, I believe writing and the arts tell a lot about a person.

Speaking of which, today I have a guest blogger! One of my very favorite 20 somethings in fact! Let me introduce you to Andrew the founder of " A Study of Sherlock" society and the author behind its blog, A Study of Sherlock. If you haven't yet guessed, he is also my sweet and handsome hubby. As my hubby states, "[his] group is dedicated to discussing the original Sherlock Holmes stories, as well as discussing new authors who share [the] interest in this great fictional character." If you would like to get connected please check out his blog and Facebook page! You can also join him monthly at the meetings! 

Now, he would like to share with you a small portion of his list of things to do before 3o. I hope you enjoy getting someone else's perspective. I also wanted to get the opinion of someone with more of the world left to see!

If I Could...

Hi, I'm Amanda's husband. Here are five of my desires to do before I turn 30.

1. Go to Ireland. 

I would like to go there because my family line comes from Ireland. I love everything Irish. 

2. Go to Egypt.

I have always had a fascination with ancient Egypt and other ancient civilizations. Plus, I'd like to get a picture of me next to the Sphinx. 

3. Visit the Sherlock museum. 

No true fan could ever pass up the chance to see the museum on Baker Street in London, England.

4. Go to Ellis island and look for information on my family.

I like genealogy and I would love to find out more about when my family crossed over to America from Ireland. 

Last but not least...

5. I would like to go to Switzerland to see the hadron collider.

I would like to go there because science is cool and anyone who loves science like me would enjoy seeing the awesome power of a giant particle accelerator. A modern marvel of science! 

I picked these things because, to me they are amazing places that hold vast amounts of knowledge, history, science, and other subjects that I am very fond of. Plus, they would make great vacation spots! My wife asked me to post because of her on going love for blogging. As she supports me, I feel like I want to support her dreams and hobbies. I encourage you all to read and comment on her previous posts (mine as well)!  Thank you and good bye.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

30 Before 30: Twenty-eight

Alright, for this one I am going to show how truly geeky I can be!

28. Attend one of the country's largest Renaissance fairs.

I love events where you leave everyday life and get immersed in a whole new world! For this reason I would probably love those geek created conventions as well. I'm not really an avid history buff or a comic book fiend, I just love going all out. I am blessed that my city has provided me an outlet for nerdy desires. They do hold a local medieval fair and we have a few "cons" that stop in. I would just love to go to a big one, where my crazy love for that kind of thing is normal.

So, if you know of a good one... let me know!!

Speaking of that, today the family went to the local medieval fair! I have a few photos to share.

Friday, September 27, 2013

30 Before 30: 26 & 27

26. Study Songs of Solomon.

I have wanted to study this book of the Bible for some time. I just cant seem to find some good study help. It would be even cooler to take a class on it like I did with other books in college!

27. Get a new camera!

As far as cameras go, mine is on the verge of ancient! I would love to have a good quality camera to use for family and blog photos. I would also be beneficial to have a good editing program to go with it. (Unfortunately the editing program would have to with lessons, I've never used one!)


Looking Forward

We are nearing the end of my list! Its crazy how fast September has passed! Next month is a time for self discovery! I hope that many of you will join me in completing some of the ideas I provide. I may even do a weekly link up, so keep your eyes peeled!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

30 Before 30: 24 & 25

24. Go to the second chance prom.

In my area a local radio station does a "prom" for adults. My husband and I were far from together in high-school. (I was home-schooled, he was not.) It would be so awesome to relive that event together. Andrew never went to prom in high-school anyway!

25.  Buy a decent mattress, maybe even a Sleep Number.

I don't get a lot of sleep as it is, it ought to be a good bed I sleep on! Beyond that, I have terrible back problems and I suffer daily with pain. A good bed may reduce some of that and help me be a nicer person during the day.

On a Side Note

I have been working faithfully on number sixteen from my list! Every time the kids have to hula hoop in gym I make great efforts to figure it out. I even practice with them. Although embarrassing, the kids find fascinating.

Monday, September 23, 2013

30 Before 30: Twenty-three

23. Go on a couples only vacation.

It seems that since my husband and I had children, time for "us" has dwindled away. Although I have aware of all the things your "supposed" to be doing to keep a relationship healthy, its a lot harder to live out. The last time we took a couples only vacation was out honeymoon and that seems light-years away now. I'd love to go back where we went for our honeymoon actually!

Speaking of which, I'd love to share more about it with you.

Cove Haven Resort in the Pocono Mountains

Located in the mountains of Pennsylvania, its secluded and perfect for a romantic getaway. This all inclusive couples' resort provides entertainment, dining, and a location for romance!

My husband and I got married in January so I was able to get a great view of their Winter activities. Activities and entertainment range and will have something to fit every personality! Below is just a few of the Winter activities and entertainment I experienced.

Horse drawn carriage rides
Snow tubing
Skiing and snowboarding

I am also aware that Summer time activities include things like:

Row boats
Water Skiing
Outdoor Pools

The rooms are clean and romantic in the cheesiest way! Depending on your room of choice, rooms can include:

Hot tubs for two
Round king beds
Mirrored ceilings
Personal pool


You can also get breakfast delivered to your room every day. Its heavenly!

Ok, so I'm daydreaming now...

For rates and more information check here!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

30 Before 30: 21 & 22

21. Set up an account for retirement.

No, I don't have one. Yes, I know I should. No, I cant do it yet. Ok, that is not completely true. I am a part of my employer's retirement. I work for a school so its government retirement. I just don't add anything extra to it. Knowing is half the battle, thats why its on my list to do before I turn thirty.

22. Set up and start putting money in savings accounts for the boys' futures.

I do have an account for Benjamin, but its lacking funds. My hope is that we would teach them to put half of everything they get as gifts in the account. I also hope to make small monthly "donations" to each account as well. I have student loans coming out the whazoo from paying for college. I'd like to lesson their burden.


Friday, September 20, 2013

30 Before 30: Twenty

I won't lie, this has been harder than I thought it would be. It seems that I've either done too much already or everything good is already on my "life list".

20. Go on a road trip for the sake of the journey rather than the destination.

I've always talked about doing that but never have. I would love to eat at off the road places and see odd attractions. I want to buy knick knacks and road side stands! I'm not really sure when I'd be able to do this... With two young kids this seems like a long shot, but its worth hoping for!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

30 Before 30: Nineteen

19. Write a letter to every major person who influenced my life and thank them.

That would be a long list. I might do a few in November that I will post on the blog. However, I'd really like to give each one a handwritten copy. There is something truly special about handwritten letters.

On another note, I am taking entries for people interested in doing guest post over the next two months!

 This month's theme is obviously "30 things to do before 30". I would love for someone to share their goals and ideas for before a milestone birthday. Next month's theme is not titled yet. We will be discussing and considering methods and ideas for self exploration and discovery. Basically, getting to know yourself!

If you are interested in joining me for either topic OR for future adventures, please contact me. I can't wait to have some wonderful guests!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

30 Before 30: Eighteen

18. Find the perfect bra!

Yes, I'm airing my delicates in public! (Verbally that is!) Being one of those women with beyond store sized bust, I struggle consistently. Too small cups, not enough lift, bulges, bumps.... oh the horror!!! I hate shopping for bras too. Once upon a time, before kids I could wear the pretty things. I didn't even mind going to try them on. I typically came out pleased. That was such a short lived phase of my life! Now I'm doomed to choices I am less than happy with. I sometimes wonder if my smaller sisters suffer so?

Whatever the case, I want to find that magical bra that will make everything better before my 30th. I'll take suggestions....

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

30 Before 30: Seventeen

17. Return to a somewhat normal sleep pattern.

I. AM. DONE. MISSING. SLEEP. So, will someone give my boys the memo?

As I sat here too tired to remember the good ideas I formulated to write about yesterday, I decided honesty was best. I am tired! Although my husband has gladly taken on many hours a night with our youngest, I can't seem to catch up. The months of missed sleep have caught up with me. Someone tell me this gets better... please.

Monday, September 16, 2013

30 Before 30: Sixteen

Before I give you today's addition to my list, I have a confession to make... I hated gym in school. I don't really like being told HOW to be active and I have no desire to wear too tight of gym shorts because its cheaper than offering my actual size. Needless to say, I wont claim I learned much in my years of physical education. (However, since working in schools as an adult, I've learned a lot from the gym teachers.) This leads me to number sixteen.

16. Learn how to hula hoop.

I won't lie, I'm kind of a little jealous when the kids are hula hooping. Is it as fun as it looks? I really want to figure it out. No matter how hard I seem to try, I seem to fail. Are my hips too big? Am I too slow? Too fast? Am I using the wrong kind of hula hoop?!

If children can master this, surely I can by the age of 30! I'm sorry I didn't make a greater effort Mr. and Mrs. Gym teachers of the past.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

30 Before 30: Fifteen

15. Volunteer outside my comfort zone.

One of my very dear friends suggested this one and I am totally on board! I'm already pretty active with church and schools, but I am open to helping others in any way that I can. Since children are my comfort zone, I have a lot of choices of things outside it to do.

Truthfully, I would like to make it a priority in my life to volunteer regularly. I desire to teach my sons the valuable lessons my mother taught me. I want to show them how to give, how to sympathize, and bless the lives of others. I want those values to be so much a part of our lives that they find it odd one day when the realize not every one is like that.

The world would be different place if we made it a point to see everyone else's life changed for the better with every encounter.

What great values are you trying to install in the future generations?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

30 Before 30: Fourteen

14. Buy an actual piece of art.

Not a print or duplicate, but a true straight from the studio work. I want to have the original, totally unique piece. I think it's because I feel like its a sign that you are truly an adult and you know the "worth" of the finer things. Don't get me wrong, I love my prints and Wal-mart art! However, I cant say that nothing I own is truly unique. During my years of traveling (which you can check out more- here), I did pick things up from street vendors and side shops.
Something I DIDN'T buy from a street vendor

I have a great love for the truly unique. I appreciate things with a little flair! When I shop its the measuring stick for jewelry, clothing, and decor. I also love things with an International inspiration. This likely comes from my traveling years and my passion for missions. I figure picking out a masterpiece should be a great experience for me.

One a Side Note:

I have been doing research.... "A dangerous past time...." "I know" (Beauty and the Beast) Its a pretty good bet we will be starting a journey into true self discovery soon. Topics and ideas include things like "women who inspire and intrigue me" and "a true life time line". So, this may be the topic of the month of October. We shall see!

Friday, September 13, 2013

30 Before 30: Thirteen

You guys are going to like this one!

13. Take an "exotic" work out class. Ideas include: Pole dancing, burlesque chair, belly dancing, etc.

Recently a coworker suggested a Pole fitness center in my area. I'm tempted to take a free introduction class. Sounds like a blast! Sometimes I get good ideas from the strangest places! I won't lie, what could be better than a workout thats sexy to make you feel sexy?!

Do you think I am getting a bit too crazy yet?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

30 Before 30: Twelve

12. Own a Gun

So after a length of time bouncing ideas off a good guy friend of mine, this suggestion popped up. It is in fact something I desire to do. I actually have a very specific idea in mind. I would like a small handgun, preferably with a purple handle. It also should be pretty quiet with little kick back. Once I own it I plan to go to a range and get good with it. Who knows when that may come in handy!

I think it is beneficial for a woman to be able to defend herself. I have always been independent, so it was just a natural part of me to be able to take care of myself. I'm not saying every woman needs a gun, far from it. I think every woman should know HOW to defend themselves. Karate? Sure. Taser? Ok. Whatever it is, be prepared.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

30 Before 30: Eleven

11. Have my ill-fitting clothing tailored.

Its not that any one piece of my wardrobe is worth a lot of money, but I have read so many times of the benefit of great fitting clothing. I really just want to know what that is like. Not even my wedding dress was altered for me! I want to look and feel like a classy woman.

On a side note, I have learned the great blessing that foundational clothing can be for fit. The use of slimming and smoothing slips, camisoles, and pantyhose may have changed my life. Beyond that, it a smoothing camisole covers that unneeded cleavage during work hours and when you want to show a little something off, they make slimmers for that too! They are a tad on the costly side. Places like Lane Bryant, Spanx, and Cato can offer s varied selection of slimmers!

Life Update

I know I haven't been sharing my fashion or book reviews recently. Partly because I am not sure if its something my audience want to read. I you would like to see a little more plus size fashion, let me know. If you are interested in learning more about my recent reads, please feel free to share. I wont lie, I adore self help style books and I am more than willing to share with you my honest review.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

30 Before 30: Ten

10. Find and stick to an exercise routine.

I think by the age of thirty I should have at least that part of my health taken care of. Truthfully, I doubt I will give up sweets. I do not believe I will become vegetarian and I can feel little guilt in promising you that I will never be a fan of "green" smoothies.

This leads me to ask: Do you know any good exercise routine ideas? I mean for a chunky girl who doesn't run?

Probably my first step would be to get a gym membership... yes?

My children and husband deserve a happy, healthy me. Its about time I start working on that!

Monday, September 9, 2013

30 Before 30: Nine

Number nine on my list is kind of unusual, but its something I've wanted to do for a while. I would like to have professional portraits done that showcase my personality.  I have several reasons for this, but mostly I like to dress up! No, really... I think I want to show my sexy, creative, motherly, etc. aspects of myself in the form of photography. As a young person I desperately wanted to have glamor shots done. This is my adult version!

Life Look

Sunday, September 8, 2013

30 Before 30: 7 & 8

7. Throw a dinner party.

 Yes, I believe throwing a proper dinner party is a mark of adulthood. I don't mean a pizza party for adults either! I mean, full out, Martha style, with a theme party! I'm guilty of looking longingly at the rows of home and ladies' magazines, wishing  I was THAT woman. I dream of the perfectly decorated home and the lovely chicken and carrots roasting in my oven. That being said, if you have a pile of these magazines sitting around, I'll be glad to give them a good home.

8. Finish writing my book.

I'm ashamed to admit that I have a half finished romance novel waiting for completion. I can never seem to just sit down and get it done. However, I think its fair to say that if I don't complete it by 30, I'm on the verge of ridiculous.  It would be even better if I could get it published by 30!

Life Update

Remember when I said I need a dentist before 30? I have one now! After breaking a molar, I was quick to have it taken care of. I had little option than to have it pulled out. This in itself has brought me to a small crisis of self. If I am anything like my mother, I am on a sad track to lose more at a young age. I don't think I was mentally prepared for mix caused by emotions and pain.

Friday, September 6, 2013

30 Before 30: Six

This very special goal on my list of must dos before 30 will not shock anyone with children.

6. Find a good non-family babysitter.

It is such a blessing to live close to plenty of family. I frequently call on them to watch my two boys. However, I think it would be nice to give them a break and have a back-up plan. Beyond that, it would help my kids learn to behave for other adults! This makes me think... what do you consider the most important thing about a hiring a new babysitter?

On a Side Note

I have been thinking lately... is the "typical" time table for seasons in life? I mean is there a name for that "quarter-life crisis"? Is there a title for the time you spend raising you kids? If there is, what is the schedule look like. I'm curious to see if I'm right on course or if I took my own path. I'm sure some psychology major, teacher, professional out there can help me. I'll even take your personal thoughts. Tell me, what does the "time table" of life look like?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

30 Before 30: Five

This number has been my hardest to think of yet. I started thinking out of my comfort zone. So, number five is:

go skinny dipping 
take a Japanese style group bath.

Weird? Yes. However, I wish I was brave enough to do so when I was actually on Japan. As for the skinny dipping... it may be the closest American equivalent. I'm not sure who I'd trust for this adventure. 

What can I say? I am one weird cookie. If you would like to get to know me better, you can check out my Life ("bucket") list at the bottom of the page. This includes my more serious, personal goals. Thankfully, Ive seen the list shrink over the years and someday I hope to live a life where I finish the list and have to create another- "What to do when you've done it all". 

Please look it over, give me suggestions. I have a strong belief in living to the fullest. I make an effort to do so. Sometimes I need to be shaken from my rut and remember that life is short!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

30 Before 30: Three & Four


I think I need to get a dentist by the age of thirty! In fact, I think I need one right now. For a week or two now a few of my molars have bothered me. Tonight, while eating dinner half of one of my molars broke! So now I'm losing chunks of my tooth every few minutes. I think I will making an appointment immediately!


I really want to have a day long spa excursion. I don't mean an hour or two! I want the works! Massage-yes! Wax-Yes! Nails- Yes! Hair- Yes! Makeup- Sure! On that day I'm thinking, "if you offer it, I want it!" I like the idea of being pampered, but I don't know if I could ever spend that kind of money on myself. I guess it might just have to be a gift. Will someone please tell my hubby?

I owe you an apology for the missing post yesterday. Since Monday I have been oh so sick. Until I broke my tooth today I thought it was a cold or something, but I know this tooth of mine is infected. I may be going to work tomorrow, but if a dentist will take me, I'm leaving!

Monday, September 2, 2013

30 Before 30: Two

Idea Two: Read a book on understanding and improving sexual health.

We are all adults here, so please understand me. By the age of thirty I think it is a pretty good idea to understand yourself, know what you like, and be creative. So long as you are in a loving and secure relationship (Marriage), I see nothing wrong with being open and free in this area. I also think that many of us never really got a good understanding of ourselves or the intimate world. I grew up with a personal choice to be conservative, but it also means I never had an opportunity to learn prior to marrying my husband. Now as the years inch closer to 30, I might just make up for lost time!

I read a book by Patty Brisben called, " Pure Romance- Between the Sheets" I learned a lot. However, don't think thats the only option out there. Even your local library should have a few options! (That's where I got that book!)

What other books do you think its important to read before you turn 30? Are the self help like the one above, classics, romances? Share with me!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

30 Things Before 30: One

As I mentioned a few days ago we are starting a new theme this month. After waiting for votes, I decided on the topic of 30 things I think I want to do before I turn 30. If you don't already know me well by now, I have done quiet a bit in my short 26 years of life. So, most of these things are not going to be too serious, but I do think all of them would help you to learn yourself. Today we start with my very first idea!

Idea One: Find a True Friend

This one is hard to complete as a lone endeavor and honestly its taken me a lifetime to find anyone I would even closely consider a "good" friend to me. If you are blessed enough to have one, take good care of them. I am rather guilty of trying to make someone grow close to me. I put a lot of effort into making and keeping friends. If you dont have a good friend (or two) I recommend you reconsider your priorities. My husband is my best friend, but this is not the kind of friend I'm talking about. Its best to have someone to help keep you from losing yourself to being completely just mom, wife, grandma, etc.

I want to take this opportunity to thank those of my friends who have been there for me.
From my mother to college buddies and adopted siblings to church family, I am very blessed.