30 Questionable Things I've Done in 30 Years

November 20, 2015

happy birthday to me!  indeed, november 20th, today is the day. 31 years.  that's totally crazy to me.  so while i'm off celebrating (read: getting a cavity fixed at the dentist, working 9 hours, and then going to see the hunger games, what's up adulthood), i decided to collect these gems for you - 30 questionable things i've done in 30 years.  i even got friends' input for this one.  unsurprisingly, very few are from childhood, and most are from college.  nope, nope - most are from law school.  it was a long 3 years guys.

 the year my best friend chris threw my 25th birthday.  and got me the crown.  he's good people.

1. became a cubs fan (#1 because it was the very first - it's a birthright and because it's a horrible disappointment every year and i'm over them.)

(after you check #30, you're going to wonder why i pose like this so often.  i wonder that too.)

2. chiditarod.

3. went to law school.  don't do that.

4. dated a guy from said law school.  don't do that either.  fish bowl.  (but he did have a dale jr. nascar blanket and i don't find that aspect of it questionable at all.)

5. ate m&ms out of a garbage can.  i was a solid... 10 years old.  maybe 11.

6. went to a foam party.

7. spent most of college buying clothes instead of doing laundry.

8. hung out at republic nightclub.  in tube tops no less.

9. tried to get a ride home from a guy driving a pink street sweeper at 3 am.  my friend jeff stopped me.  jeff is posh spice in the above photo, so we're all surprised he made a good decision.

10. played edward 40 hands.  repeatedly.  and after college.  and as a recently as the last time tara was in town.

11. joined a sorority.

12. made my college roommate, manager at burger king, throw me a burger king birthday when i turned 21 and get me all the stuff the little kids get. #chickenfries (p.s., this is the only photo i think i look incredibly young in. and also a little like jamie lynn spears circa zoey 101.)

13. had a shot contest with a frat boy with uv blue and bicardi o.  i still can't even drink orange juice.  (i won by a landslide, in case you're wondering.  and aced a final at 9 a.m. the next day.)

14. had an aol hometown pages webpage and a myspace.  i was born to blog.

15. dance class.

16. skipped summer school macroeconomics and hung out on the lake with cathy until boys we didn't know picked us up on their boat.

17. dressed for halloween as a sexy raccoon.  because that makes sense.  although, the story behind it was because i had wandered off one night and texted tara and that i was in an empty lot and found a cat.  it was probably a raccoon.

18. went snorkeling in the bahamas, like 2 feet from a jellyfish.

19. drove to the university of illinois from iowa, to tailgate with strangers.  i only know the girl to my left.

20. seriously befriended a girl for a summer who was on dr. phil for being a nympho.  she was a lot of fun though.  and had a lake house.  holler, kelly.

21. made 1000 jello shots one new year's eve.

22. and hosted tour de franzia.

23. said yes every time someone's asked me to be a bridesmaid.

24. wore a footed onesie to the tbox bar crawl.  because eventually you outgrow sexy costumes in the cold.  but never bar crawls.

25. tried to pet a opossum.

26. drank massive amounts of surge and then rode my bike with no hands.  scar on my chin will let you know how that one ended.

27. tapped ben wallace on the shoulder in a bar to ask if he played basketball.  (also told jay cutler to his face allll of the mean things i say about him online. #nofilter.)

28. fishbowls.  so many fishbowls. #cantstopwontstop

29. had 13 shots of jameson, that i know of, the day after the bar exam.

30. and everything that led to all of these photos of me, courtesy of betsy.

happy birthday to me indeed.  cheers to still being alive.

Quit Your Job to Blog: A Review

November 17, 2015

 photo courtesy of helene in between

you've heard of it by now, no?  the online course from the blogging guru helene of helene in between.  the e-course is titled 'Quit Your Job to Blog,' which is of course catchy but maybe (a) not true and (b) not for everyone.  those were absolutely my first thoughts so i wanted to review it from the standpoint of a semi-skeptic as well as someone who's been blogging for awhile and has already had months where they've made around $1,000 from blogging.  (and i don't even sell any products.)  not quit my job level by any means, but also not newbie level either.  could i benefit from the course or is it all basics?  the other thought i had was that i didn't want to quit my job.  i don't love being a lawyer every day but i also don't hate it and i know that under no circumstances do i have the self-discipline to work from home.  home = hawkeye play time, all day e'ry day.  work from home self-employment is simply not in my wheelhouse, and i can admit that.  so would i benefit from this course as someone who doesn't want to spend all my days blogging and taking pictures?  i substantially limit my online blogging time, especially compared to someone like helene who does this for a living, and i'm really not looking to increase the amount of time i spend.

so many thoughts, right?  maybe some of you have the same questions.  because it's not chump change.  it's an investment for most people, and you want to know if it's worth it to invest.  that's what i hope to tell you in the following pros and cons:

- about the instructor: helene is a really great speaker.  sometimes i just do not like a person's voice or find it hard to follow, but she has a very calm and easy to understand style.  she also actually has a background in this topic, which i like.  sometimes bloggers just got lucky or don't have info that applies to a wide range of blog topics.  at least helene has a degree in this and has worked many years in this area, for other clients besides just her own blog.  i want to learn from someone with a wide variety of knowledge to share.

- about the set up: it's set up on a website (teachable.)  it tracks where you are in the class, as you can see from my screen shot, so you can leave and come back (even mid video).  perfect for watching at your own pace.  it flows really nicely from one section to the next.  the steps actually make sense, which is good for newbies but also good for vets to skip over stuff they already know.  you can re-watch any thing, any time.  and you get life access, it's not like it's limited.  not like that course on instagram i took that i couldn't see any more after like a week.
- about the content: it is not just what you'd find other places.  some of it is, for sure.  you could search for some things on pinterest and get the answer.  but here, it's all in one place plus a great amount of the content is not intuitive or available elsewhere (personally, i've never found something that tells you specifically what you should charge based on views, twitter followers, etc.)  i think this is because the premise is that you don't need thousands of page views or a niche fashion blog to make money, which is different from the other schools of thought out there on successful blogging.  oh and the downloads!  so many good downloads.  she shares everything she uses so you can just copy and use it too.  like wording for e-mails to sponsors, lists of all her most helpful tools, business plan worksheets - it's a lot.  honestly, a good chunk of the price is worth it just for those.

- there are basics included in this class.  to anyone who's had a blog a year or less, i think this will be  a pro for you, but for me it's a con.  i already knew the info.  just my honest opinion!  but i'm not sure that's totally fair, since i don't think you could have the class at all without putting in some basics, since every person watching will be at a different skill level.
- you may have a little trouble on an older computer.  it was easier for me to access everything at home on my mac.  on my dinosaur work computer, i couldn't open the word documents.  they're in .docx version, which is the newer version of word, when my computer generally only works with .doc versions.  probably won't be an issue for anyone else but i thought i should mention it.  but you can contact helene for versions you can work with, she's very good about that.
- i don't think this is a con with the course but as someone really into finances and loving debt free life, you need to focus more on your income and needs/wants before you just quit your job.  helene is passionate about blogging and she does offer a section on the financial aspect and knowing when you can start blogging full time, but seriously, you need to do more.  that's bossy of me to say, but it's the truth.  do not just walk in next week and say i quit and think you're going to instantly make 5 grand a month from blogging.  that's not real life, and she doesn't tell you to do that anyway.  but just in case.  since this is a course on the blogging aspect, i think it does give you a good overview of the finances (what you can expect to make, how you can increase that number, etc etc) but i would go even further if you want to make that leap.  finances are really important, have a good handle on it.  get realistic about what you spend.  get realistic about how much time you're going to put into your blog.  use the blog business plan that's provided and then do more than what's recommended in the course.

with all that said, there is something i want to note: there are more offerings than just this particular e-course  if you follow helene and sign up for her newsletter, you'll get alerts when she releases something new.  she offers free webinars regularly and just put up a free e-course on how to build a successful blog.  this is a great way to get started if you're not sure you want to spend they money.  you'll get an idea of helene's teaching style and info that she offers, so you'll be able to better decide if you want to go the full course mode.

that was way longer than i anticipated.  hopefully you made it this far and found at least something here helpful!  if you have any particular questions, i can answer them for you.  but i can still sum up the main reason you're here: do i think the course is something useful and something i think you should spend your money on?  yes.  ask for it for christmas, buy it herei think it's info you can't find elsewhere, i think it's helpful downloads and worksheets, i think it's personalized advice and an instructor you can contact always, and i think it's a step by step guide to getting you more money.  i don't know that i'd ever put in the time like helene does and do this blog thing full time, but even as a seasoned blogger i found a lot of things i could implement to help this blog make more money without putting in a ton more time.

*she does offer an affiliate program.  if someone buys through your link, you get a part of the profit.  i did not use my affiliate link anywhere in this post.  i wanted to share my thoughts without there being any sort of bias, or anyone thinking i just shared because i want to make money.

101 in 1001 (Round 2)

November 16, 2015

i'm offically starting my next 101 in 1001 list.  well, starting it on january 1.  technically my first list isn't over until march, but the things left on it that i think will get crossed off are mostly just 'wait and see' so i decided to get started on my next list a bit early.  because i love goals, and i love crossing things off lists.  to see the list as a whole and the start and end dates, or keep updated on progress as i go, you can check here or the 101 in 1001 tab along the top at any time.

even though i have a page dedicated to the list, i did want to throw up a post about it as well.  sometimes people are curious about what you picked and i wanted a place to share some insight into a few of them.  not all, so if i missed something that isn't self-explanatory, ask me in the comments.

also as a side note, i got so busy the last few weeks that i never responded to comments on at least 3 posts.  sorry guys.  i thought about doing it today but.... i'm not going to.  i will resume with this post and the other 3 posts coming this week, promise!

001.  Pick which yearly party to host - it's a thing in john's family, having parties for every holiday.  he wants to take over hosting one of them.  as long as it's one that's more focused on the drinks than the food, i'm happy.
002.  Eat at a cajun restaurant for Mardi Gras
003.  Make Easter baskets for the dogs to find - oh yeah, i'm that person.  once we get our house, john's (family) dog thor is coming to live with us too.  and dogs hunting for easter baskets is freaking adorable.
004.  Make red, white, and blue jello shots
005.  Decorate our house for Halloween
006.  Go to a haunted house
007.  Go to Fright Fest at Six Flags
008.  Host Legends of the Hidden Temple Halloween - this is for sure happening for halloween 2016 in case you live in chicago and want to attend.  john and i are team silver snakes, and blue, green, and purple have been called as well.  orange and red are still up for grabs.  what?  you don't make your friends plan their holiday 11 months in advance?  well you're crazy.
009.  Decorate our house for Christmas
010.  Start a new Christmas tradition
011.  Pay for Christmas one year using only Swagbucks
012.  Start a New Year's tradition

013.  Go to the 4 main Chicago museums - i consider these to be the shedd aquarium, the planetarium, the field museum, and the museum of science and industry.  people argue that the art institute would be one, but i loathe it there.  i loathe standing around looking at art in general, to be honest.  i like to touch stuff.
014.  Spend a day at Northerly Island and stay for the fireworks
015.  See a stand up comedy sho
016.  Spend a day at Arlington Park
017.  Try 5 new Chicago breweries
018.  Get drinks at 95th - the john hancock building has a bar on the 95th floor, which i both love and am terrified of.  it's fun.
019.  Go to Lincoln Park Zoo (when the polar bears and penguins are back) - they were building a new habitat the last time we went, so we missed them and they're two of my favorite animals to see.
020.  Do a dive bar crawl around my current apartment
021.  Get drinks at the Trump with Mom
022.  Spend the day on/around Michigan Avenue shopping at Christmas time
023.  Visit the Botanical Gardens
024.  Visit the Brookfield Zoo

Food and Drinks
025.  Eat at SuperDawg
026.  Eat at Omega diner and get peppermint ice cream - i used to go here a lot in high school (with john actually, after his football games) and i swear they have the greatest peppermint ice cream in the world.  we have to go back!
027.  Try 101 different bars and restaurants - it seems ambitious now, but considering we'll spend a day in wrigleyville and hit 6 different bars without trying, it won't be that hard.
028.  Try 101 different beers - there's an app i can track this with.  untapped, i think.
029.  Make alcoholic granita
030.  Come up with a meal planning strategy
031.  Drink green tea daily for 1 month
032.  Be vegan for 1 month
033.  Do the full 6 weeks on the Eat to Live plan
034.  Make (or delete) every recipe on my Pinterest board
035.  Get grocery budget down to what it should be - $100 to $150 per person, per month.  people have said it's $150 now, but $300 a month for two people for groceries seems like a lot to me.
036.  Learn to make iced coffee I like

037.  Declutter everything before moving - i plan on going through each area and filming before and after videos for my youtube channel.
038.  Decorate our home
039.  Paint every room that needs it
040.  Get a new bed
041.  Set up a successful cleaning schedule
042.  Get a 'J' door wreath or hanging initial
043.  Create an organized solution for each area in the house
044.  Set up annual home maintenance calendar
045.  Build a pretty and functional laundry area
046.  Build a cute entryway and front yard
047.  Fence in the back yard
048.  Meet our neighbors

049.  Get parents' VHS tapes onto DVD - i can't even believe they still have some, but they do.  vhs tapes degrade over time so i don't know that they'll even still work, but if they do i'll make sure to get them on dvd.
050.  Go to the mall in Rosemont with Mom
051.  Watch Dad's favorite movies with him
052.  Have a planned date night at least once a week for a full year
053.  Go on a vacation with John
054.  Watch John's favorite TV show (The Shield) and top 5 movies
055.  Have a fun celebration for John's 30th birthday
056.  Have a yearly blog day with Betsy
057.  Film at least one vlog with Tara
058.  Get breakfast food at Ronnie's with Ida
059.  Find one really good present for John's dad
060.  Go to country night at a bar with Megan

061.  Get dog stairs for Hawkeye
062.  Buy a full length mirror
063.  Work a regular cleaning service into the budget
064.  Find my holy grail in each makeup item - i started working on this, just by sorting what i currently own and also testing new primers at sephora and this is going to be harder than i thought.  i don't have many i consider holy grail status!
065.  Find holy grail skincare and hair care products - this may be easier, as i'm really picky about my hair and skincare stuff.  i do already know what i like in a lot of products.
066.  Get Hawkeye's teeth cleaned - i asked my vet and it's like $400+ to get her teeth cleaned.  are you kidding me?  jesus.
067.  Get a treadmill
068.  Order blog business cards - erin designed me super pretty cards and i have yet to actually get on vistaprint or a similar site and order them.  i need to.
069.  Get a fall/winter purse
070.  Find sunglasses I actually like - why is this so hard?  where do you get yours?
071.  Buy a new vacuum
072.  Don't acquire anything new without discarding something in it's place for 1 year

Trying New Things
073.  Renew my passport - i have no idea when this expired, but the last time i left the country was for a cruise post-law school graduation (2010.)  and before that to india in 2005 and the bahamas in 2001.  i didn't get it updated in that time frame, so i assume it's expired by now.
074.  Hit 10,000 steps on 101 different days - as told by the health app on my iphone, because i don't have a fitbit or anything.
075.  Have a $10k untouchable emergency fund - we have a lot in savings, unlike apparently most americans (according to studies i read.)  but i feel like it's all earmarked for something, whether it's retirement or house updates.  i would feel better knowing there's an account with $10k in it, that will be used for nothing but a real emergency.
076.  Get my FOID card and go to the shooting range - firearm owners i.d. card.  i don't know if that's what it's called in other states too, but just so you know.
077.  Completely use up or otherwise get rid of 20 lipsticks - i would like to be at around 15 or so lipsticks and glosses.  which would require me getting rid of about 35.  yikes.
078.  Go one week without wearing a plain ponytail
079.  Go one month without using heat on my hair
080.  Perfect morning and night routines
081.  Try at least 5 money saving DIY projects from Pinterest
082.  Create and use blog and social media editorial calendar
083.  Learn my favorite phrase in 5 new languages - which is 'two beers please, my friend will pay.'  this was on my last list, and i can now say it in spanish, french, italian, german, and vietnamese.  i'd like to add polish, irish, urdu, and maybe greek and swedish.
084.  Work on the Rory Gilmore reading challenge - never heard of it?  check here.  i'd be happy checking off at least 3 new ones.

085.  Pete Wilt 5 crack machines
086.  Make a date night box or jar
087.  Go to a country concert (ideally Florida Georgia Line)
088.  Visit Wisconsin Dells
089.  Write 20 blog posts in 1 weekend
090.  Play glow in the dark mini golf 
091.  Tailgate in Iowa City
092.  Set up a new vanity area with makeup and jewelry storage
093.  Make Hawkeye paw print art
094.  Cull and organize my Pinterest boards
095.  Play trivia at Corner Bar
096.  Make homemade food for the dogs

The List
097.  Help Betsy complete one goal on her list
098.  Donate $1001 to animal shelters over the 1001 days 
099.  Photograph and blog/vlog about at least 50 completed goals
100.  Complete 90% of this list without editing any goals
101.  Celebrate completing the list and potentially make a 3rd

i think it's a good mix of harder and easier goals, cheaper and more expensive, shorter and long term, etc.  fingers crossed!  i'm not worried though, i did well the first time around.  what do you think?  anything i should change before the officially start date?  do you have a 101 list or some other sort of goals list?  link it in the comments i'd love to check it out!

Wait, What, It's Tuesday?

November 10, 2015

it's tuesday, november 10 and i have no idea how that happened.  i swear i just celebrated halloween on saturday, no?  somewhere, i lost like a week.  i blame daylight savings.  or something.  where did my time go?

i guess i have been productive, outside of this blog.  put up a post?  nope.  respond to comments?  nope.  plan my 2nd 101 in 1001 list to start january 1?  yes, almost ready.  get all my christmas shopping done and about half the presents wrapped?  you bet!  i have an odd sense of priorities, time-wise.  i'm good at planning things pretty far in the future, but planning the next two days seems to be outside of my wheelhouse.  i have no idea why this is.

[i also bought tickets to the hunger games movie next friday, anyone else?  which also happens to be my 31st birthday.  31, that's crazy.  i am currently working on a post for that day - '30 questionable things i've done in 30 years.'  you're welcome in advance.]

i have been updating instagram, so you can follow me there for your regular dose of hawkeye.  apparently i can't focus on more than 1 social media thing at once - it's either this blog, or instagram, or twitter, or pinterest, but never more than one at a time.  since they all tie together i think that makes me a bad blogger.  in real life i can multi-task, i swear.

although... not really during the fall.  the weather has gotten a bit cooler (a bit, chicago, it's still 50 degrees.  put away the winter coats and scarves, jeez), and when that happens i like to snuggle on the couch with the dog and sometimes john and watch netflix marathons.  i go out more in december and january when it snows and is cold, since i love winter, but fall... it's like spring, it makes my sinuses hurt and makes me tired.  so i guess that's where my nights have been going - get home from work, walk the dog, light a candle, sit on the couch with said dog (+ john if he's not working) and watch ncis.  yep, it's pretty good actually.  sorry online life.  you've been neglected.

Three on Thursday

November 5, 2015

welcome back to three on thursday, a post of my weekly (and all time) top three favorites.  

1. nars satin lip pencil in bansar.  my perfect fall color.  i think it would work for a lot of people though, so i think you should try it.  i get compliments and what is it where can i get it questions every single time i wear it.  all their satin lip pencils are great though, whatever color you choose.  they're creamy and long wearing, easy to touch up and wear off nicely (because we all know the lip ring look is not cute.)

2. crockpot lemon rice soupi always order this at greek restaurants, but then i found just how easy it is to make at home.  thanks pinterest.  make this!  so good for the colder weather.

3. voluspa maison candles at nordstroms.  they are pricey, but worth it.  on par with bath and body works, both price wise and in quality.  well, let's be honest - better quality because of the adorable tins and glasses and the burn time.  they burn longer than bath and body works candles, i've tested them.  they all smell amazing, filling the whole house with scent, and make adorable christmas gifts because they come in (at least?) 3 different sizes.  i love the trio to get the best deal, but nothing beats the crisp champagne scent or the laguna scent.

anyone else christmas shopping yet?  or even better, done already??  i'm getting close.  (i got that lip pencil for john's sister actually, since she liked it so much.)  hopefully you get some inspiration from this post.  december is creeping up quickly, friends.

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