29 Before 29

in 29 Before 29

Over the weekend, I realized that I’ll be 29 years old in 3 months.  29 years old.  I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Silly Caitlin!  29 is young!”  and some of you are thinking, “Damn, girl.  You are getting old.”   Hah.  It’s all relative, I guess.  But all I can think is… where does the time go?  I feel like I just packed up my bedroom, said goodbye to my mom, and moved from Florida to Pennsylvania for college. 


Is the rest of life going to go by this fast?  If the last eight months are any indication, it’s going to speed up.


I got to thinking… What do I want to do in the next three months?  Here’s my list of 29 before 29.


1.  Go for a run in Central Park, New York City. 


2.  Bake myself a chocolate cake for no real reason.


3.  Take James on a trail walk.


4.  Volunteer.


5.  Watch Dumb & Dumber for the first time ever.  <— I hear I’m missing out.


6.  Eat at an Ethiopian restaurant.


7.  Make Henry’s baby book.


8.  Paint my toenails.


9.  Sort out my financials.


10.  Run in the rain.


11.  Read a ‘classic’ book.


12.  Take a semi-spontaneous day trip to Asheville, North Carolina.  <— semi-spontaneous because the days of truly spontaneous day trips are so over.


13.  Learn how to clean burned bottom pots.


14.  Take a hot yoga class.


15.  Reconnect with an old friend.


16.  Go through the drive-through at Starbucks and buy the next person’s drink anonymously.


17.  Teach Henry how to clap.


18.  Take the dogs on a really long walk and then give them a super bubbly bath.


19.  Do push-ups every day.


20.  Learn how to say “I love you” in five languages.


21.  Flip through my old photos and reminiscence about the last decade.


22.  Make myself a piece of jewelry.


23.  Drink a really great glass of wine while simultaneously eating really great dark chocolate.


24.  Finish landscaping the front yard so our neighbors stop giving us the stink eye.


25.  Clean the car for once (instead of leaving it until the Husband does it).


26.  Take Henry to the water park.


27.  Go an entire day without looking at my iPhone.


28.  Donate to NPR.


29.  Give a genuine compliment to a stranger. 



  • Allison January 29, 2013, 9:29 am

    I love the idea of this list! You will become addicted to hot yoga. Dumb and Dumber will give you such a great laugh. My boyfriend helped me clean out my car this weekend and it’s a wonderful feeling. Great list 🙂

  • LMN January 29, 2013, 9:32 am

    5. uhh, yeah, you are 🙂
    6. Meskerem in Charlotte is ridiculous. My husband and I insist on eating there when visiting friends, we’re from SC.

  • Beks January 29, 2013, 9:36 am

    Personally, I don’t think you’re missing out. I HATED “Dumb and Dumber.” I don’t get the appeal.

    That’s a great list!

    • Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution January 29, 2013, 9:40 am

      I’m with you. That movie grates on my nerves.

      • Amy January 29, 2013, 12:49 pm

        Same! I was going to say “no big deal” if you don’t get to DUMB AND DUMBER. 🙂

      • Maria January 29, 2013, 1:14 pm

        I love Dumb and Dumber. Hard to explain since I’m a French film/indies kind of person, but Dumb and Dumber will make me laugh every time no matter what mood I’m in. My favorite scene is the one with the white owl (bird? whatever…). Dumb and Dumber is so stupid and gross and embarrassing, but there is something so lovable after all about those two guys, I think that’s it. 🙂

  • Lauren January 29, 2013, 9:38 am

    Love this list! It’s funny, as I get older, I realize I sort of feel younger. I’m in a period of my life where I feel like I’m going backwards. In my early 20’s, I was newly married, dealing with an illness, and working in a full-time corporate job. Now, I’m living out dreams and passions I had when I was a teenagers. I truly believe that life is short, and happiness is the root of it all.

  • Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution January 29, 2013, 9:40 am

    Baby laughs!!! The best sound in the world!

    Good luck with your goals, they all sound so nice, I’m sure you’ll be able to fit them all in 🙂

  • Jessica January 29, 2013, 9:41 am

    I can’t tell you how much my heart needed to see that video of Henry giggling. So adorable and a child’s laughter just can make everything okay, you know? As for your 29 before 29, I have something similar for turning 30 (in a couple of weeks…yikes!). Running in Central Park is one of mine as well (I live in NYC and still haven’t managed to schedule a run day there). So when you’re in NYC, we should run it together!

  • Emily January 29, 2013, 9:47 am

    What a great idea…I also love that are mostly simple things, easy things to just do when you can. My favorite is not looking an the iPhone for one day. We could all benefit from that notion every once in a while!

  • Angela Daffron January 29, 2013, 9:50 am

    I love this idea! I just turned 39 and I am going to make a 40 before I am 40 list now!

  • Lauren @ Eat Like An Elephant January 29, 2013, 9:52 am

    Worked on 11 and 23 last night myself…there’s no more relaxing combination. Plus, you feel fancy. I started Anna Karenina recently and it’s really good! A lot of classics are more of a chore, but this one is really worth the read so far!

  • Jessica January 29, 2013, 9:55 am

    I love this idea too! I think I will try this out during my two week break that’s coming up! Obviously it will be a much shorter list.

    Always wondered though, how do you order someone’s drink behind you in the drive-thru? Do you just throw them a $5 and say use this towards their drink? What if they order a Frappuccino with all the fixings and hey they just spent $10 and you only gave them $5!?! What if they are ordering for their whole office?!

    • Caitlin January 29, 2013, 10:01 am

      Maybe I’ll give them $7 cash and tell them to keep whatever is leftover as a tip?

      • TanyaS January 29, 2013, 10:05 am

        By the time you get to the pay window they already have the order entered of the person behind you, they can tell you exactly how much it is.

        • Rebecca January 29, 2013, 11:54 am

          Depending on where you are (some of the places around here only have one window at which you both order and pay), but yes, this is how it usually works. Just tell the person serving you that you want to pay for the person behind you.
          I have yet to actually pay for someone behind me (I rarely go through drive-thrus), but I’ve thought about it. You might be able to do it from inside–ask if you could pay for the next drive-thru order?

        • Jessica January 29, 2013, 12:41 pm

          Ahhh… yes! That is probably true. Thank you!

    • Lisa January 29, 2013, 10:33 am

      I usually just pay with my debit card and say I want to pay for the person behind me too.

  • mindy @ just a one girl revolution. January 29, 2013, 9:58 am

    I love this list!! Sounds like you’ll have an amazing 3 months!

  • Victoria January 29, 2013, 10:01 am

    Trick for cleaning a really badly burnt pan:

    Dawn, water – put pan on stove, let soapy water come to a boil in the dirty pan. The gunk comes right off!

    • Vikki January 29, 2013, 10:58 am

      Also, bleach works. Let a little bleach sit in the bottom of the pot for 10 or 15 minutes, then wash your pot as normal. It works like a charm. (I learned this trick from my brother’s mother-in-law who spent years working as a cook in a school cafeteria.)

      • Casey January 29, 2013, 5:16 pm

        A piece of balled up aluminum foil works too. I wouldn’t try this with a nonstick pan though because it would probably scratch it all up!

        • Kinnereth January 30, 2013, 10:51 pm

          Baking soda with a bit of vinagre works too… sprinkle the baking soda on the bottom & cover with vinagre. Warm it on the stove & let sit. You barely have to scrub 🙂

  • Lauren @ The Homeostatic Mindset January 29, 2013, 10:02 am

    I LOVE this list!!! I am going to do the same for my 23rd birthday on March 19th. I especially love baking the chocolate cake for no reason! 🙂

  • Karli January 29, 2013, 10:03 am

    Great list. Dumb and Dumber is good – a lot of hilarious one liners! I love Jim Carrey.

  • Amanda January 29, 2013, 10:12 am

    I turn 33 in a few months and I’m going through the same thoughts : )

    But I didn’t make a list.

    And I go through this every year :))

  • Christine @ BookishlyB January 29, 2013, 10:16 am

    I turned 29 in November and have been really, really taking it hard. I’m comfortable with every aspect of my life except one thing, which I thought would be resolved by now but is not. If it isn’t by thirty I’m probably going to lose my shit 😉 I like the idea of a reasonable list like this- no crazy Everst climbing and a nice variety. Maybe I’ll do a 30 before 30 to take the sting off.

  • Katie B January 29, 2013, 10:24 am

    “I love you” in Arabic sounds like “A-hebb-eck” if you are speaking to a man. Put emphasis on the ‘b’. If you want to get fancy you can say “A-hebb-eck mote”, which means “I love you to death”.

    One step closer to 29!

  • Natalie @ Free Range Human January 29, 2013, 10:32 am

    Can I just say, for the record, that you missed absolutely nothing when it comes to Dumb & Dumber? It’s got to rank among the worst movies ever.

  • Jessica R @ From the Kitchen to the Road January 29, 2013, 10:32 am

    I completely identify with number 27. I really need to cut the cord between myself and the iPhone. I have a full blown obsession!

  • abbi January 29, 2013, 10:37 am

    Great list and let me know when you figure out #13 – I have some pans for you! 🙂

  • Kim January 29, 2013, 10:38 am

    Great list! #9 reminded me that I need to start getting my taxes in order… complicated this year with 3 jobs + unemployment insurance. Ergh.

    But the rest look fun!

    I turn 29 on Thursday… probably not enough time to come up with and complete 29 goals, haha :p

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action January 29, 2013, 10:41 am

    I love making lists for things to do before the birthday. I remember reading in a magazine once of “30 things to do before you’re 30” and one of them was to live by yourself. I felt so much satisfaction when I checked that item off when I was 24.

    I feel like it’s time for me to make one of those, as my 27th birthday is coming up!

  • Lauren Jamison @ The Barn January 29, 2013, 10:42 am

    My husband and I are from Asheville. I’ve covered quite a few things to do around there on my blog! I call it God’s country 🙂 One of my most favorite places on earth!

  • Lara January 29, 2013, 10:48 am

    I turn 29 in two days and I am kind of freaking out. I never really get bothered by numbers – it should be how we feel not a # that dictates anything – but I am really struggling with turning 29. I guess it stems from the fact that I thought I thought I would be in a different place than where I am at. I am pretty miserable in my career and clueless as to what I really want to do – so I’ve kind of been just stuck doing nothing – which obvs isnt getting me anywhere but more frustrated. I think I will take your list and YOU as inspiration to finally get my sh*t together and figure this out – otherwise another year will go by and I’ll be in the same miserable situation. Best of luck in accomplishing your goals! You are awesome!

  • Carrie January 29, 2013, 10:51 am

    I turn 24 in a few short weeks but love this idea and am going to write up a list of my own!

  • Nicole January 29, 2013, 10:59 am

    #13-lots of baking soda! It works like a charm.

    • Megan January 29, 2013, 6:35 pm

      I like to put in water, salt, and a squirt of dish soap, heat til boiling. Then let cool, works wonders!

  • Wendy January 29, 2013, 11:06 am

    I remember how my mom used to tell me that times go so much faster as you get older and I never thought that was possible. Now that I’m 40, I totally understand what she was saying. I’m always feeling that time just flys by. That is why no matter what kind of day i’m having, or what I have to looking forward to, I try to never wish away time. I try to enjoy every minute of every day. Not that i’m always successful but when i find myself wanting time to go faster I remind myself that is not what I really want at all 🙂

  • Elizabeth January 29, 2013, 11:11 am

    For number 13 try to find this stuff called Bar Keepers Friend. It’s MAGICAL at cleaning things that you think nothing else will get off. I use it everywhere!

  • Rhianne January 29, 2013, 11:13 am

    I work in a restaurant and our trick to getting the burnt stuff off is to put water and baking soda into the pot and boil it on the stove for a long time. It usually comes right off!

  • Jennifer January 29, 2013, 11:13 am

    Sadly time does seem to speed up even more. At 44 I feel like it’s a freight train! Even more reason to enjoy it while you got it. When someone mentions the 90’s, I think of it as about 10 years ago… mentally I skip right over the 2000’s LOL

    This is a great list – have fun with it!

    P.S. Turning 29 was really hard for me, but 30 was a breeze (and a fun party!). Every year thereafter I’ve been fine. I’ve absolutely loved my 30’s but my 40’s have been even better!

  • Becca January 29, 2013, 11:24 am

    I can teach you how to say “I love you” in Chinese!

  • Sonia the Mexigarian January 29, 2013, 11:27 am

    Love it. I am turning thirty this year and I have been meaning to do a list somewhat like that. October, take a while to get here. I got a lot I want to get done!

  • Patty January 29, 2013, 11:29 am

    I sure love you…and you don’t even know me….
    To answer your question about the years flying by….the answer is YES…
    You will blink twice and Henery will be graduating from college.
    I have 3 kids who are all in their 20s (yes, I could be your Mom) and
    I swear…it was only yesterday I was holding them in my arms. 🙁
    I love your list of things to do in the mo this to come. Lao love the pix
    Of Henry in his high chair (love those pudgy arms…wanna kiss um and
    Chew on um, with luv) and of him chuckling…actually brought tears to
    My eyes. I think I need a grand baby of my own..my kids aren’t even
    Close to that yet. Please include your blog family in the 5 languages
    To say I love you. I would love to learn that too!! And I think I’m gonna
    Go thru a drive through and buy someone a meal behind me. 🙂 …
    Our church calls that secret acts of love!!
    And…try using catsup on the bottom of burnt pots.
    Love ya…Patty

    • Caitlin January 29, 2013, 12:22 pm

      You are so sweet and sound like an awesome momma.

  • Chantal January 29, 2013, 11:41 am

    Ethiopian restaurants are delicious and so much fun! I’ve been doing push-ups every day since Jan. 1, adding one each day. I didn’t really think that through, and it’s about to start getting tough…

  • Kristen L January 29, 2013, 11:41 am

    Great list! I’m turning 29 this year too — in July. I thought it would be a long time before I turned 29, and I can’t believe it’s already almost here. Haha. Maybe I’ll make one of these lists too — seems like a good idea.

  • Rebecca January 29, 2013, 11:50 am

    The language one shouldn’t be too difficult–depending on the languages you want to learn the phrase in, anyway. I know it in French, Spanish, and Chinese, and I could probably figure it out in Italian if I thought about it hard enough.

    I haven’t seen all of Dumb and Dumber, but the parts I have seen make me NOT want to watch it all the way through.

    My sister bakes cake and stuff for no reason all the time–I guess I just assume everyone does. Hm.

  • Sweta January 29, 2013, 11:51 am

    Please blog about sorting out your financials. I know you say you’re bad at that stuff but I think it will help people to see how a real person handles that stuff.

  • Tammy Rot January 29, 2013, 11:53 am

    Love Henry’s laugh! A baby laughing is one of the best sounds in the world!

    #27 would BY FAR be the hardest one on your list for me to do.

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats January 29, 2013, 12:04 pm

    That’s a lot to do in 3 months! Maybe print it out and hang it up so you’re reminded of it every day?

  • JenP January 29, 2013, 12:12 pm

    #7 made me laugh. That’s on my list, too. Only my son is 8 YEARS old instead of 8 months! Hopefully, I’ll finish it before he graduates high school.

  • Amber January 29, 2013, 12:15 pm

    I can help you with the burned pot problem – boil baking soda in it and then scrub it immediately afterwards. I can’t believe how well it works!

  • Nikole January 29, 2013, 12:16 pm

    #13 use course salt and cream of tartar or baking powder with a little bit of water and it will scrub off without being abrasive or any chemicals.

    I love the list! Good luck!

  • Ashley @ This Is The Place January 29, 2013, 12:30 pm

    Haha I literally just posted a list like this last night!

    I don’t get Dumb and Dumber…at all.

  • Maria January 29, 2013, 12:33 pm

    What a great list. I love this idea. Henry is so adorable. Cherish every moment, it goes by so fast.

  • Dominique January 29, 2013, 12:55 pm

    I turn 30 in July, but haven’t really been giving it much thought. I turned 29 three weeks after my daughter was born and celebrated by going to bed early. Before I turn 30, I want to have my graduate thesis finished – or mostly finished so I can graduate in August and I want to have a job lined up for after graduation, ideally in Flagstaff, AZ where my husband has a job.

    As far as the saying “i love you” in Chinese, I’m surprised that no one as actually told you yet how to say it. First off, in traditional characters it is written “我愛你” and it is written phonetically as “WÇ’ ài nǐ”. To say it, it sounds like “woah I nee”. With “woah” and “nee” your tone goes down and then up over the vowel and for the “I” the tone goes down sharply.

    Good luck with the rest of your list.

  • Tara January 29, 2013, 12:58 pm

    Lists are great things! My friends and I do a 52 Things list every year and get together a couple times a year to talk about what we plan to do, what we’ve done, and what we want to do next year. You get wonderful ideas from others and we keep each other on track. My 2013 list is still in progress and I’m trying to go things quarterly so I don’t have the whole year to do it…gives me too much of an opportunity to procrastinate.
    Anyway, love your ideas and I might have to steal some to finish off my list.

  • logan January 29, 2013, 12:58 pm

    I’ll run with you in Central Park if you come up to NYC – every time I run in the park I think how lucky I am to have such a great spot to run in this crazy city.

  • Sara @ fitcupcaker January 29, 2013, 1:14 pm

    thats a great list!!

  • Sarah (The Simple Dietitian) January 29, 2013, 1:26 pm

    You have such a wonderful list going! Truly heartfelt and real. I made a list like this about 3 years ago, and I just found it this past week. I was shocked (and HAPPY) to discover that I’ve already accomplished a good half dozen or so of them. I love seeing where life has taken me over the years. 😀

  • Katya January 29, 2013, 1:39 pm

    baby laughter…the absolute best sound in the world 🙂

  • Marissa January 29, 2013, 1:39 pm

    Awesome list!

    If you want a run buddy in Central Park, I’d be delighted to. It’s been a while since I ran there (since, uh, a really painful 10k at the end of the NYC tri this summer), and have been trying to get my tush back there for a while 🙂

  • McLean January 29, 2013, 2:29 pm

    I love this idea. You definitely should come to Asheville. There are TONS of great vegetarian restaurants!

  • Carina January 29, 2013, 2:44 pm

    Ooh, I can help with one thing on your list.

    Ti amo (Italian) — pronounced tee ahh-mo
    Wo ai ni (Chinese) — pronounced woh ai nee
    Je t’aime (French) — pronounced zhe temm
    Volim te (Bosnian) – pronounced voh-lim teh
    Ich liebe dich (German) — pronounced eek lee-bah deek
    Can’t write it with my keyboard (Russian) — pronounced yah tee-beeah lyub-lyu (sounds a little like loo-blue, but with a little more “y” sound)

    I always try to learn parts of a country’s language before we travel there, and “I love you” is one of the phrases I learn and use with my husband all the time before we go!

  • Claire Zulkey January 29, 2013, 2:54 pm

    I’m excited for you to turn 30. I know you don’t want to contemplate that yet but seriously, I think you’re going to love your 30’s.

  • Coco January 29, 2013, 2:55 pm

    Looks like a good list!

  • Jen January 29, 2013, 3:53 pm

    Busy three months!
    Dumb and Dumber is. So. Stupid. (But not in a good way.)
    I turned 30 this month and wished I’d made a list. It was an awkward birthday. Family and friends weren’t sure whether to celebrate (“Yay, thirty!) or not acknowledge that it was the big 3-0. It was weird.

  • Anne January 29, 2013, 3:57 pm

    What a great list! Maybe I should come up with 30 things to do in the last 3 months of being 31 😉

    If you can go a day without looking at your iphone you will forever be my hero. I wouldn’t make it 🙁

  • Nina January 29, 2013, 4:01 pm

    I love your list, especially that it has a lot of “small things” on it! They are what makes life great, right? Also, I just bought a few classic books after watching “Alice in Wonderland”, because I realized that I never read a classic book when I didn’t have to.

  • Nicole January 29, 2013, 4:18 pm

    Wow–I didn’t realize you’d be 29 this year. You are almost officially oldsauce. Isaac and I still think of you as a 26 year-old who acts 35. 😉

    • Caitlin January 29, 2013, 8:18 pm

      I hate you, old lady.

  • Shari January 29, 2013, 4:47 pm

    I love this idea. I’m doing a “30 before 30” and having a blast with it so far. Good luck on accomplishing your goals! 🙂

  • Amanda January 29, 2013, 5:14 pm

    Love your list! My boyfriend tried to watch Dumb and Dumber with me when we first started dating, but I had just finished a 12-hour shift at work (I obviously fell asleep). But… now I want to make a list of things to do before I’m 30 (I like rounded numbers better, plus it gives me an extra year that I’m sure I’ll need).

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More January 29, 2013, 5:36 pm

    Cutest video ever!! Pretty sure you can’t help but smile when a baby laughs. 🙂

    You’ve got a pretty good list and let me help you with one: je t’aime. <- i love you in french.

  • Katie January 29, 2013, 6:18 pm

    “The quiero” =Tay keyero is I love you in Spanish! And buy “barkeeper’s friend”. It will fix your pots! Amazing!

  • ashley January 29, 2013, 6:18 pm

    There’s not much that helps burned pots. Are they stainless steel or have a non-stick coating? I have stainless steel pots. I use Bon Ami powder if I have something I can’t get off. But, I don’t think it would be good for the finish on non-stick pots.

  • Tahlia January 29, 2013, 6:56 pm

    Burnt pots: bring to simmer either coke or vinegar (something acidic) and then that should break down the burnt crap. I’m a cook I’ve burnt many many pots in my time haha

  • Breanna @ reedworthy.com January 29, 2013, 9:43 pm

    Just wrote my 30 before 30 list yesterday! Love your list, good luck!

  • Kathy January 29, 2013, 10:46 pm

    Hi Caitlin,
    I’ve been reading forever but never commented before but just loved this post and wanted to say I really admire the way you’re always “present” in your life and looking for ways to live it fully, recalculating and trying new things. It’s very inspiring! Also, I’ve always been partial to girl babies but My Lord, that Henry is quite possibly the cutest little boy…he’s swaying me!

  • Kathy January 29, 2013, 10:48 pm

    oh, and “I love you” in French is Je T’aime and in German is Ich Liebe Dich..a little help with the list!

  • Kristin January 30, 2013, 2:19 am

    Here is to learning five new ways to say I love you:
    “Jag älskar dig” is “I love you” in Swedish. To pronounce it properly you say “Ja alscar day”.

  • Willemijn @ Fashion Food Travel January 30, 2013, 4:08 am

    I love this idea! I’m turning 25 this year and I would love to do a 25 before 25. But I think this would be fun to do every year!

  • cat January 30, 2013, 6:12 am

    I love you in norwegian is ‘jeg elsker deg’ pronounced ‘yai el-scare die’. Hope this helps knpck one off the list!

  • Em January 30, 2013, 10:33 am

    If you have time in NYC, this is a great Ethiopian spot in Brooklyn : http://www.batikitchen.com/
    Get the vegetarian combo (you can split it with a friend!).

    XO Em

  • FitBritt@MyOwnBalance January 30, 2013, 11:19 am

    I like your list! I made a 30 Under 30 and its fun to see what other people’s goals are and how they are similar or different to mine. I’d love to do this list again at 40 and see what’s changed. I bet a lot!

  • Nina January 30, 2013, 11:38 am

    Try coke on your pot. That’s not a joke, just leave some coke in the bottom of your pot.

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) January 30, 2013, 2:01 pm

    What a great list!

  • Nichole January 30, 2013, 5:26 pm

    Here’s to hoping I get behind you in the Starbucks line 😉

  • Amber K January 30, 2013, 8:28 pm

    I turn 30 in May. I don’t really have a bucket list for it, but I remember when I thought even late 20’s sounded OLLLLLD. My younger self knew nothing 😉

  • Jillian of Baby Doodah! January 30, 2013, 9:43 pm

    What a fantastic list!! I love #29 and have done it many times before, it feels so good when you give that complement and see that person smile.

  • Miranda @ Biting Life February 4, 2013, 3:14 am

    Are your burned-bottom pans burnt on the inside bottom or the part that actually touches the burner? I’ve been wanting to figure out how to make the bottom of my pans nice and shiny again… if you figure it out, you should do a post on it! I had burnt muffin tins and watching THIS VIDEO (http://cleanmyspace.com/clean-food-off-a-burnt-pot-or-pan/) changed my life, seriously… my muffin tins are sparkling now.

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