I Wanna Get Better Wednesday, Dec 3 2014 

Two nights before I turned twenty-four I curled up on my bed, put on my dream glasses, and wrote a bucket list. For many years it was posted on this blog and I even managed to cross a few items off of it. When I took everything down to reinvent this blog, and start fresh, I knew that revamping the bucket list was also inevitably going to happen.

In twelve days I will turn twenty-eight, and recently my bucket list has been on my mind. I’m tired of saying I want to do things and then pushing them off. I can’t guarantee that having them written down again will somehow magically make me less of a procrastinator, but I do know how much I love crossing things off a to-do list. I also know that I want a different kind of list than the last one. It fit who I was at twenty-four, but not who I am now. We change as we grow, and I want a list that represents the person I am today.

The girl I was at twenty-four wanted romance, adventure, and to find a way to be happy with herself; and her list reflected that. It was a good list for me at that age, and I respect the items I had on it; but it can be better. I still want adventure and most of my list will include places I want to visit, as well as a few challenges for myself thrown in. It will not however include romance. Maybe because my heart is still a little bruised, but also because I don’t think you find love by putting it a list. I think sometimes it happens in life, and sometimes it doesn’t, and I want to live a beautiful life that makes me smile, whether or not I have somebody by my side.

So here it is, not written in stone, and always open to my own editing, but I think I made a good point almost four years ago:  I’m not getting any younger, and I can’t expect to whittle away at a list that I haven’t written…

Making Ordinary Moonlight’s Life Extraordinary

* Follow up my 5k by running a 10k and a half marathon

* Write and publish a novel (even if I have to do it myself)

* Take a solo road trip every year

* Live in a foreign country

* Save an animal from the shelter

*  Mush a dog sled

* Sleep in a castle

* Drive Route 66

* Attend the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and ride in one of the hot air balloons

* Visit the following places: Scotland, Ireland, Greece, Venice, Spain, London, Washington D.C, New York

* Travel through all fifty states

*Learn to speak another language fluently

* Adventure through my gorgeous state of Montana taking photos – specifically beautiful old barns

*Take a photography course

*Throw a dart at the map and travel to wherever it lands

*Take a cooking class in Italy

*Send a message in a bottle

*Build a tree house

*Take a picture every day for an entire year

*Learn to play guitar

*Visit a volcano

*See the Northern Lights

*Stand on top of a mountain

*Attend Mardi Gras

*Race a sports car on a real race track

*Send in a postcard to the Postsecret project

*Hike most of the Glacier National Park trails

*Stay the night in a haunted hotel

*Go rock-climbing

*Drive down the California coast without a care in the world in a car with a convertible top

*Visit Niagara Falls

*Go on a roller coaster road trip – hitting the biggest, fastest, scariest, and everything in-between

*Change a life

*Dance under the stars to ‘Moon River’

*Plan an epic road-trip with friends

*Learn how to surf

*Stand in Times Square as the New Year’s Eve ball drops

*Get a tattoo

*Go to the airport and take the first plane out of town

*Visit the Smithsonian

*Buy myself something gorgeous from Tiffany & Co.

*Learn how to ballroom dance

*Take a horseback ride along the beach

*Go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade & The Rose Bowl Parade

*Go skinny-dipping

*Ride an elephant

*Learn how to make macaroons

*Plant a garden

*Dance in the rain

*See a play on Broadway

*Eat a Voodoo doughnut in Portland, OR

*Return to Europe with my best friend to celebrate a significant birthday

*Take my Mom on the vacation of her dreams

*Learn to knit

*Go scuba-diving

*Open my very own bakery

It’s not complete, and probably never will be. For every item I manage to cross off I am sure I will manage to add two more in its place. That’s the beauty of my bucket list – it’s a place to compile all the big and small dreams I hope to achieve before I kick the bucket. I don’t care if they are cheesy and sometimes ridiculous – they are things I want to do.

Because in the end, all I really want is to build a beautiful life full of endless adventure and incredible memories.

I think this is a good place to start…

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Thankful Wednesday, Nov 26 2014 

Growing up my family always had the tradition of sharing what we are thankful for before we were allowed to devour our delicious Thanksgiving feast. I think it’s a fairly common practice, but it always stressed me out. Going first you have the home field advantage, you can say pretty much anything and everyone will nod along in agreement. Get selected last and you spend all that time mentally cursing out everyone else for stealing your brilliant speech while still trying to come up with something amazing and original.

This year I wanted to express the things I was thankful for with more than just my family – plus, then I’ll have a whole handful of well thought out ideas for tomorrow afternoon when it’s my turn at the dinner table. Thanksgiving may be the somewhat forgotten holiday between the Halloween shenanigans and Christmas cheer, but taking the time to be thankful for the wonderful things in our life should be the most important thing tomorrow.

Sorry in advance for any corny mushiness – I’m about to get very appreciative of my life:

-I am thankful everyday that I get to start my day with a hot shower and a cup of coffee – I do believe it keeps me from murdering people on a daily basis.

-I am thankful for all the acquaintances that have turned into life-long friends.

-I am thankful to have a job that makes me enjoy getting up and going to work. To finally be working for a company that values their employees and is willing to invest in them. Not to mention working with a group of ladies that understand we can accomplish so much more when we work together as a team.

-I am thankful for my three vices when I am stressing out over something completely ridiculous: long drives with the music blasting, baking, and photography.

-I am thankful for my incredible family – my Dad randomly texts me to tell me he loves me, and my sisters and I consider our Mom a friend as well as a parent. I am blessed to have a family that lives nearby and loves spending time with each other.

-I am thankful for texts, phone calls, and any type of communication that makes it possible for me to keep in touch with the friends who no longer live close enough to visit on a regular basis. It’s not the same as being able to see them, but it helps.

-I am thankful for the amazing Instagram community that has introduced me to some fabulous people and also allowed me to share my work through my own page, and through the sharing of some larger accounts.

-I am thankful for the adventures I have gotten to take this year and the places I have been lucky enough to explore.

-I am thankful for my health, and a body that is strong enough to take on the challenges I have given it this year.

-I am thankful for my best friend – the Christina to my Meredith – AKA my rock. She has been there for all the major events and has known me the longest. I wish there were fewer miles between us, and more visits – but I am grateful for every minute we do manage to have together.

-I am thankful for the beautiful state I call home, and the gorgeous views I get to see on a daily basis.

-I am thankful for the roof over my head and the food on my table.

-I am thankful for my partner-in-crime, who has helped me through the struggles I have faced this year. She has been there first hand for the laughter and the tears. Always willing to listen to me try and sort it out with a glass of wine and some sage advice. I can count on her for the last minute adventures and the inevitable shenanigans that will occur.

-I am thankful for the people who are no longer a part of my story. At one point they provided some lovely memories, and while those can be tough to remember, I am thankful that I had those moments with them. People wander in and out of our lives, and when they do it’s important to remember what their leaving taught you, while still embracing the happy memories they gave you.

-I am thankful for the extra ten months we were granted with our family dog Scooter. We thought we were going to lose him last January, but he put up a good fight until earlier this month. It still never seems like enough time, but I am thankful for every extra day he had with us.

-I am thankful for all the nights that have ended with a stomach that hurts from laughing too much.

-I am thankful for the time I got to spend with my Grandpa this May while road-tripping. I don’t get to see him enough and spending a few days with him was one of the top highlights from that vacation.

-I am thankful for all of you and your support.

Honestly, I could probably stay up all night and never think of everything that should be added to this list. You never really think about how much you have to be thankful for until you truly examine your life and realize how lucky you are to live the life you lead.

Remember to be thankful for all of it tomorrow, and try your hardest to appreciate it all everyday.

Wishing you all a safe Thanksgiving full of delicious feasts and happiness!