My (not so) Empty Bucket: Throwing Together a Bucket List for my 29th Birthday

Recently while out to lunch with my friend Taryn from Advantage Consulting Services and discussing my upcoming 29th birthday she asked:

“So, what’s on your before 30 bucket list?”

I had to stop and think. I never really thought about a bucket list before; I have things I want to do or goals I have set but I never really put time limits or thought of them as a bucket list. I told her this and she reminded me that I am starting my PhD in the fall, which must be a part of the list. It is. I just never thought of it that way. So now for you my bloggy friends I will create 2 bucket lists: Before 30 and life long (yikes!). The first few items on this list are things I have thought about over the years but never really put down in a list.

Kelly’s Bucket List (Items in purple are on the Before 30 Bucket List)

1. Earn my PhD & become a Professor

I finished by BA in Sociology in December 2005 and my MA in Counseling in 2008. While I was doing my MA I knew that I would someday want to pursue my PhD, I wasn’t completely convinced it should be in counseling (I am now!) but I knew that I wanted it. My first post masters job allowed me to teach courses in addition to working as a student counselor; I knew then that getting my PhD so I could teach at the college level was my ultimate career goal. We can give this item a half check mark because I have been accepted into a PhD program and will be starting the coursework as well as co-teaching a course in the fall. So it isn’t complete yet but it is in progress!

2. Write a book

This has ALWAYS been on my lifelong goal list. For some reason I always thought it would be a fiction book. I have always loved to write, I took creative writing in high school and almost completed an English major in college. I enjoy writing poetry (not sure if it is any good) and I have at least a handful of stories I have started but never finished. Recently, I have noticed that I might be better off giving non-fiction writing a go. I write for my blog and I have written for graduate school – I am good at research- so maybe I will start that book soon just not sure what to write about.

3. Start my own business & work for myself.

As soon as I finished my MA and I was applying to jobs I started a Kids Theme Party business- Fun Parties by Kelly (creative huh?). I wanted to fill the gap between finishing school and finding a full-time job. It was my first try at running my own business since my childhood lemonade stands and babysitting gigs. I booked a couple of parties and then got a “real” job. I didn’t make any money because I spent it on advertising (it really does take money to make money) but I loved doing my own thing. A year or two after that I decided to expand to all event planning, particularly weddings (this was inspired by my own wedding of course) via my business Sharing Beautiful Memories. I paid for advertising, bought a real website from Go Daddy and held my breath. I did several weddings in the NY/NJ area in addition to helping plan my sisters graduation party and her current bridal shower. You can read reviews of the weddings (and see pictures) I have done here. I love event planning. Again, I didn’t really make money but I got my name out there. Then I got pregnant and had to take a break. Once I had my daughter I fell in love with cloth diapering and decided that I wanted to expand my business to include what I like to call Life Event planning (weddings, baby showers, preparing for baby to come home, cloth diapering, etc). This time my business, Hoppy Bottoms, is registered and legit. Here is hoping it can support me while I am pursuing my PhD full-time. I am doing a wedding in August but still no other clients on the horizon.

4. Have kids – CHECK! (I want more but I have the one and she makes me pretty dern happy)

lily in bouncer

5. Get out of debt – (ha!)

This will be a lifelong pursuit. We have about $100,000 in school loans. I consider school loans “good loans” but still it is daunting. Starting in the fall we will have more because I am going back to school. We just paid off $20,000 in credit card debt. We have about $5000 left – not sure how it will get paid off while I’m not working.

6. Own my own home

We will probably be renting for awhile because of our debt.

7. Take a worry free vacation

We have never gone on a vacation where we weren’t digging for credit cards that had just a little money left so we could order dinner. I am very organized and I like to plan – I can even budget your wedding, but ask me to budget my life…not going to happen. It is a change I would like to make. Want to help?!

8. Take my kids to Disney World- It is my favorite place and I want to share it with them.

honeymoon Collage

9. Create my own personal planner and sell it

If you haven’t yet read about my love affair with planners you should. I LOVE planners. I even created a personalized wedding planner for my clients to use – I am going to make it all spiffy and put it in my Etsy shop. Now that I am going back to school, running a business and a blog and have a baby I need a good planner more than ever. There are some really, really awesome planners out there, but they are SOOOOO expensive. So I have been inspired to create my own, that is far less expensive and then sell it. That is definitely on the before 30 list.

10. Visit Europe- CHECK

I did this in 2007 with my Grandmother. It was a combined BA/MA graduation gift. We visited Ireland, England and Paris (for less than a day). It was a lot of fun but I want to go back and I would also like to visit Germany and maybe a few other places. I should mention that I am TERRIFIED of flying. Which could affect the outcome of this item.





Grandma at the Bloody Tower




Lunch in the Eiffel Tower

I’m a lover of Shakespeare (AKA NERD!) so this attraction was a must! Grandma did it for me – she had no interest at all…


11. Take a cooking class

12. Own a professional camera 

13. Get paid to write

This is slowly happening now.

14. Open my own dance studio

My family owned a dance studio when I was growing up. They recently had to close it (stupid economy) but I have always wanted to open my own studio. I love dance, and I love planning so putting on shows and recitals would really just make my day. I don’t know if this will ever happen but it was always on my lifelong goals list.


15. Attend the Opera

16. Grow my own fruits and vegetable

Won’t be happening until I live somewhere with a yard or own my own home.

17. Drive Cross Country

Might be hard to do with kids. I don’t want to be like the Griswald’s or anything but it has always been something I have wanted to do.

18. Have a country cottage

OK. So this one might not be so realistic seeing as my husband isn’t really a country kind of guy (and I am a city girl at heart) but I long to be close to farms. Not permanently I don’t want to live there, I just want to be near the animals. And I want to have a place to relax; the beach is nice but I like the country better.

farm collage












That is everything I can think of for now. 30 is just around the corner…I better get to work on those items in purple!

What is on your bucket list?



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