Gimme Some Oven

31 Things

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31 Things |

31, we’re a few days in and I have to say — you’re lookin’ good.

I have no idea what this year will bring, but I do know that I love making lists. So I came up with 31 things that I would love to make happen this year. Nothing major. Just a random collection of ideas that seem quite perfect for a 31st year of life. So for anyone interested, I thought I’d share them with you today. Feel free to follow along this year on Instagram at @gimmesomeoven, and with the hashtag #gimme31. And hey, if you decide to create a list for your birthday, be sure to let me know too. I love reading other people’s lists!!

Alright 31, let’s do this.

31 Things On My List For Age 31

1. Buy 31 stamps and send 31 cards
…in the actual factual mail. To friends. Just for fun.

2. Learn how to use a hair wand
My hair is the longest it has been in years. As such, I figure it’s high time to try the “beach waves” look (in Kansas, yes). Although, hopefully not like this girl.

3. Decorate my bedroom
Note: not redecorate my bedroom. Just decorate it. Because somehow I still haven’t gotten around to that in the 6 months I’ve lived in my loft.

4. Write and record an original song
I’m a pro at starting songs, not so much at finishing them. So I’m hoping to see at least one through to completion this year.

5. Conquer gluten-free cinnamon rolls
I have a stellar 1-hour cinnamon rolls recipe for regular cinnamon rolls, but I am still tweaking my GF version for my friends who don’t eat zee wheat.

6. Sponsor a child in another country
Years ago, I used to sponsor a child with Food For The Hungry, and then stopped when she graduated and sadly never picked back up. But this year, I would love to make that a part of my giving again. And after doing some research, I’ve decided I would love to partner this time with the organization Unbound. They offer sponsorship for children, youth, and aging adults (which I love), and I really respect the work they are doing in the world. More to come on that.

7. Teach my pup how to “sing”
Or if that’s a massive failure, at least teach him how to shake. This 5-year-“old” dog needs a new trick.

8. Take a nap at least once a week
I am sooooo not a natural napper. If I have extra time in my day, I fill it. But man, on the occasional Sunday when I nod off for an hour after lunch, I feel like a different (and much better) person. So whether it’s a power nap on a Tuesday, or a long nap in the sunshine on a Sunday afternoon, I’d love to try and at least catch a few extra zzzz’s once a week. Preferably with my snoozin’ dog by my side. :)

9. Plan a trip to visit my old host family in Costa Rica
Thanks to Facebook, I still get to stay in touch with the host family I stayed with in high school and college. But it has been far too long since I’ve seen them and the country that captured my heart. Need to brush up my Spanish and remedy that.

10. Perfect a recipe for perfect homemade flour tortillas
Not decent flour tortillas. Perfect flour tortillas. I like them thick, I like them chewy, and I like them a little buttery. I’m hoping this can be accomplished sans shortening/lard.

11. Buy a fiddle leaf fig tree (and hopefully keep it alive)
I have a mega brown thumb and kill every single plant that has ever had the sad fortune of living in my home. BUT. I have fallen in love with fiddle leaf figs and have high hopes that if I resolve to make it my one and only house plant, I might stand a chance at keeping it alive.

12. Read more essays by Marilynne Robinson
Gilead, is my favorite book of all time. But regrettably, I still have never made it all the way through one of Marilynne Robinson’s books of essays. So I’m excited to dive in this year, beginning with When I Was A Child I Read Books.

13. Visit at least 10 new Mexican restaurants in Kansas City
I get in ruts with my favorites, but there are so many Mexi restaurants in town that I still have not tried. Ok, ok, this is basically an excuse just to eat more chips and salsa. ;)

14. Tap into my inner Julie Andrews
…and belt out, “the hillllllls are aliiiiiive”, when crossing The Sound Of Music Tour off my bucket list this summer in Austria. I’m so going to be “that tourist”. ;)

15. Sew a maxi skirt
Little known fact on the blog: I have absurdly long legs. Like, I have to order extra-long jeans from the GAP because I have a 36″ inseam (at only 5’7″ tall!). So maxi skirts? Well, I buy them because I love them, but they’re more “medi”-skirts on me. So this year, I want to pull out my old sewing machine and see if I can actually sew one of my own. It can’t be that hard, right?? (#famouslastwords)

16. Learn to play a new Chopin prelude
I rarely pull out my classical sheet music anymore, but would love to work on a piece by Chopin this year. His preludes are my favorite (and are also plenty challenging), so I think that will be a lovely project.

17. (Finally) watch Sherlock
Yes, I am the last person in the world to watch that show. But Benedict, this is our year.

18. Spend a weekend retreat at a local Benedictine monastery
For years, I have wanted to get in the routine of spending an annual retreat (or even more often) at a beautiful Benedictine monastery outside of Kansas City. I keep waiting for a “free weekend”, but of course those rarely just pop up. So I’m going to set a date on the calendar, hopefully in the summer or fall when I can also enjoy spending some time outdoors on the Kansas plains.

19. Ride a roller coaster
Dude. I realized recently that it has been a decade — a decade — since I’ve been on a roller coaster. Time to finally visit that theme park 10 minutes from my house that promises “worlds of fun”.

20. Learn how to make homemade ginger beer (that’s up to my standards)
I am verrrrry picky about my ginger beer, and only like about 3 brands in the store. But I really want to see if I can develop a homemade recipe that I like. It may take 30 rounds of recipe testing, but if that means I can enjoy it for the next 30 years, then bring on the ginger.

21. Conquer QuickBooks
Ok, this is the only “business-y” one on here. But good grief, I want need to learn QuickBooks, stat. I feel like getting a good handle on it will be a life-changer.

22. Use a budgeting app for my personal finances
On the financial note, I’d also love to get in the habit of using an app to track my personal expenses in life (outside of Gimme Some). I’ve been good in the past with just keeping a close eye on the bottom line, but would love to be even more intentional about knowing where all of my purchases are happening.

23. Teach myself how to make cold brew coffee
I know drip, I know French press, and I know pour-over. But I’ve never tried cold brewing. Summer seems like a lovely time to learn.

24. Read through the New Testament
I’ve been slacking on reading my bible all that much the past few years. So if nothing else this year, I’d love to spend some solid time in the New Testament, especially with Jesus. I dig Paul. But I really want to just immerse myself in the stories of Jesus again. And again. And again.

25. Buy a hammock for our loft building
I have a few ideas for where we might be able to put one. But I would lovelovelove to have a hammock somewhere outside where my neighbors and I could hang outside and soak up the sunshine.

26. Spend more time with my grandma
I only have one grandparent still with us, and she happens to be a pretty cool one. Would love to be more intentional this year about calling or visiting her in person (she lives 3 hours away), and especially hearing more stories about her life.

27. Watch the Pride and Prejudice BBC miniseries
I’ve watched the Kiera Knightly version 100x (and have mixed feelings about it), but have never watched the 1995 miniseries, which my friends say is a must. No twisting my arm to spend that much time with Colin Firth!

28. Get in the habit of painting my nails at least once a month
I rarely paint my nails, mostly because I’ve always kept them short for piano/guitar and tend to tear them up cooking in the kitchen all day. But, on the rare occasions that I do paint them, I’m amazed at how that tiny touch makes me feel a little more girly and happy. So this year, I want to try and paint my nails at least once a month. They may only last for a day or two, but even still, those one or two days will be a little bit more lovely.

29. Host a clothing exchange
Every now and then, my friends get together and organize a big clothing exchange where we all swap pieces that we no longer wear that often. If you’ve never done it before with your friends, you must. It’s an awesome reason to clean out your closet, and also a great opportunity to find pieces you love from friends you already know and love. (All the better if there’s a story behind that piece.)  I’m convinced that my friends and I don’t do this often enough. So this fall, I’d love to host a big exchange going back into cold weather attire.

30. Do something that really scares me
Yes, yes, I know this is the most cliche item on a bucket list. But it’s still a good one, and I’ve lived life long enough to know that this is the one that will make you grow.

31. Write a cookbook
Dum, dum, dum…big one. I’ve had zero desire to write a cookbook since I began blogging, but I recently was bitten by the cookbook bug. So stay tuned…31 may be the year. ;)

What are your goals for this year of life? Did you make a list?

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33 comments on “31 Things”

  1. So fun!! I’m a list girl, too, and this is such a fun idea. Here’s to a great 31!! (PS – I just made the Bacon Fat and Buttermilk Flour Tortillas from the new Homesick Texan cookbook – they were probably the best homemade tortillas that I’ve made. I think there is something to that bacon fat and buttermilk combo!)

  2. 10 + 13 + 30 + 31 = you’re going to ROCK IT, girl! :)

  3. This is such a fabulous list! I can’t wait to see you accomplish all of these…best wishes for 31!!

  4. Umm this list is awesome! Best of luck to you!

  5. This is a MARVELOUS list!!! I just found myself nodding along at so many of them. I’m rounding the corner to 30 and am so thrilled to start a whole new decade of my life – it’s a blank slate! empty pages! ready for the taking! I’m sure this list will be one I reference when I’m needing some Carpe Diem reminders.

    Happy birthday!

  6. #22

  7. 23. Pioneer woman has an EXCELLENT recipe for cold brew coffee. I’d say go check that out and just scale down the recipe to one pitcher’s worth. Her recipe is big enough to supply the whole ranch for a month!
    21. will help you to achieve 22. I HATE budgeting and all that jazz, but when I started my business, I had to learn Quickbooks, and web design and all sorts of things I not only had no experience with not a talent for, I didn’t particularly like …
    If you get Quickbooks online, you can link it to your bank account and start categorizing your personal expenses, then once a month go in to accept and categorize and pretty soon you should have a clear picture of what’s going where.
    11. I have a great tip for keeping your fiddle head fig alive; have more plants! I was the same way, slowly killing every plant I layed my hands on until (counter-intuitively) I bought a few. You start to learn what under watering looks like, or over watering and you see the direct results of fertilizing and when you have a few, not only is it harder to forget about them but you get excited and enjoy seeing their growth! I recommend starting with a few herbs, grab like 4 inch plants from a local garden or hardware store and maybe a determinate tomato plant as well. They won’t take up much space (for apartment living) but you’ll really enjoy getting to see their progress, it feeds the interest. Get thyme, rosemary, basil, maybe cilantro (for salsa of course) and sage, safe so the key here, it is my indicator plant when it’s watered and happy it grows like crazy and it’s leaves are perky but once it’s thirsty the leaves start to droop a little, that’s when I know it’s time to water everything. It’s always an added bonus for me when I know I now don’t have to make a trip to the store and I get to just walk out in the backyard.
    3. When I lived by myself my bedroom was always the last thing I would decorate too, funny how that works.
    2. Adore my hair wand ( curling irons NEVER worked for my hair), it helps me hold a curl better than anything else and I found it at Target for pretty cheap. I’ve used a combo of Oscar Blandi volumizing mousse (Ulta or Amazon) and tutorials from Kate at The Small Thing Blog to achieve a lasting style that holds!
    Sorry for the long response, it surprised me too!
    I’m a big fan of lists and I look forward to finding out how you accomplish these!

  8. I LOVED this post! What a fabulous idea! I turn 30 in a few days so maybe I’ll need to do one of my own.

    Please don’t burn off your hair – that would be tragic. Let me know if you’ve got questions about Quickbooks! #itsasbadasitseems

    And for the record, you are not the last person to watch Sherlock…I must, I must!

  9. Sincerly adore this list — best of wishes for your (upcoming day o’ birth), and for conquering this list! I must make one — how fun, thanks for sharing :)

  10. Let me know which budgeting app you use. It sounds like something I could use, too – much easier than sitting down and working out my own budget, right?
    My 29th birthday is coming up in a month, and you have inspired me to make my own list of 29 things. If I do, I’ll share :)

  11. I love your list & admire that you can do so much & plan to do even more! That is really something. Although I enjoyed all you wrote, the one that jumped out at me was spending time at a Benedictine retreat. Prior to Katrina destroying our coast, I knew one of the men at the one in Bat St Louis. Now I have forgotten his name but have been thinking of having a weekend of silence there, but need to find whether they rebuilt.

    One of the special parts of your blog is that you are a believer & that touches me. Thank you for your transparency.

    I have teetered on the edge of making a list but my ADD sidetracks me every time. This year, no, now, I will make my list. I know I want to go to the elephant sanctuary in Tenn. (or is it in AK?). I admire their faithfulness & obvious caring of each other, their intelligence, and love of the couple that rescues them. There is something so profound in the natural love in animals that, as humans, we sometimes forget how to simply love each other. I am as guilty of this as anyone else, but I want to look in the eyes of their love & see God staring back.

    Must go or nothing will be done today! Thank you for your yummy recipes! I sometimes copy pages & mail them to my incredibly busy friend in another state…..she loves them! She has often been the sole support of her family when her husband is laid off due to this economy. I live too far away to cook for her but the best I can do as a replacement is send easy recipes to her! Thank you again for your site!

  12. Fun post! Thoughts, re:

    11) I bought a fiddle-leaf fig at Soil Service. It was beautiful and it died a long, sad death. I think one might do well in your sunny loft, though!

    13) Need company on your Mexican restaurant tour? I also love chips and salsa.

    15) Dang, we’re the same height and your legs are five inches longer than mine?! I’m impressed.

  13. Haha #1 already reminded me that I need to send my mom her mother’s day card. I managed to remember to buy one yesterday but now to get it in the mail!

  14. Have you tried Dos Reales at 75th and Antioch? That’s our favorite Mexican in KC.

  15. I occasionally read your blog but I think I just became a bigger fan!! I turn 30 in a month. I think I need a list. We sound so much alike. I have the BBC series of Pride and Prejudice. It is so good! I just love it b/c it lasts hours and hours and as opposed to a movie that is over in 2 hours. I also want to do the skirt thing, the Austria thing, just picked up the piano again, I love to bake and cook and I also need to spend more time with my grandma- who lives 2 hours from me. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. I love lists and I especially love this one for the next year! Great way to celebrate a new year of you!

    Also, I have a fig tree, and it is still alive, after quite a few years…but has never, anywhere near produced any figs.

    Not sure what kind of a thumb that makes me.

    I do get limes and really bitter oranges though.

  17. I am a huge fan of the Budgt (no e!) app. I used Mint for awhile, but I did not like it as much. I just wanted a way to track my spending, not have someone set a budget for me. The Budgt app is clean and easy to use!

  18. I love reading posts like this, makes me stop and “smell the roses” or realize which roses I want to go and smell!! I need to spend more time with my grandma too!! Life is so precious, and your number one sound so fun and would make so many other peoples day too!

  19. I LOVE this. I also love lists. I also love the idea. Great stuff on your list. Was it difficult to write? I am not even sure where I would begin on my own list.

  20. Have you looked for maxi skirts at Target? They have some that fold over at the top like yoga pants, but that are finished in a way so that you could wear it folded down or unfolded. Unfolded, they’re pretty crazy long- like 44″ (I just awkwardly measured mine ’cause I’m wearing it right now!)

  21. Happy Birthday Ali,

    Great list, hope you can do it. You will be a busy gal for sure.Love your blog.


  22. Hi Ali,
    Happy happy birthday! I love your list and applaud every step of your way achieving it. Brava!

  23. Happy Happy Birthday! I hope you had a lovely day. I just turned the 3-1 myself and I think I’m going to make a list myself. I absolutely love your Mexican restaurant one. :) I might have to use that in my own list…

  24. As a fellow 31 year old you MUST watch the BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries. It is by far the BEST Pride and Prejudice movie ever! I actually watch it once a year at least! Love your list! I think I may have to do one of my own…I turn 32 in August. Love your blog! I am also single and I love your perspectives on the single status (b/c we are obviously amazing people! just haven’t found “the one” yet) and I recently signed up for Stitch Fix! I live just accross MO State from you in a small town on the Mississippi and can relate to the midwest islife as well. Great blog, def. one of my favs :)

  25. Happy Belated Birthday, Ali! I love this list! I want to get and figure out a hair wand too!

  26. Hello there..
    Another thing to do this year : Do not stop writing on your blogs, I live in Toulouse ( South-West of France ), and I read you everyday since I discovered ” Gimme some oven “. And I love all that I see/read !!

    Even if the recipes are a little bit difficult for me to understand or translate or whatever, because of bizarre things like ” teaspoons “, “cups “, etc… ( I have to go on google just for knowing what the hell is ” Cilantro “.. ( Coriandre in France ) ( and I loooooove Cilantro / Coriandre by the way).

    Anyway, just keep writing and making me ( and not only me of course ) dreaming across the Ocean.

  27. ughhhh I can’t BELIEVE you haven’t seen that Pride & Prejudice yet. It is soooo good. #colinfirth

    Also, I would love to get in on this maxi-skirt-making action. I have the same long-ness issue, obviously, and I am wanting to start using my sewing machine this year, so…you know where to find me.

  28. This is inspiring and I now want to make my own list! Thanks for sharing!

  29. ok – WHEN you come up with the Ginger Beer Recipe I will be waiting – My FAVORITE was called Blue Ginger – but have not seen it around for a long time :(

    AND as far as budgeting – look at YNAB (You Need A Budget) REALLY well done – truely a BUDGET, not just a reminder of what you’ve already spent!

    • Thanks Kathleen – and oooh, Blue Ginger, we haven’t tried that but we’ll have to remember that!