30×30: One new thing every day until I turn 30

When I started college, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish by age 30 – things like take an around-the-world trip, run a marathon, travel cross-country, learn a new language, go on a big trip all by myself, and get a graduate degree (amongst other things).

Bucket list items: visiting the Taj Mahal [2007], running my 1st NYC Marathon [2009], climbing Machu Picchu [2011], getting my MBA from Columbia Business School [2013]

Bucket list items: visiting the Taj Mahal [2007], running my 1st NYC Marathon [2009], climbing Machu Picchu [2011], getting my MBA from Columbia Business School [2013]

In 30 days, I turn 30.  What now?  The Mundane list!  In the 30 days leading up to my 30th birthday, I’m attempting to do one new thing each day.  I’m not  talking about big, bucket-list items, rather (mainly) small life-hacks:  things like finally enrolling in Global entry, figuring out a good personal contact management system, and seeing the snow leopards in the Central Park Zoo.  30 items, some mundane & others more exciting; when I turn 30 next month, I’ll start the decade knowing that my personal finances/communications/apartment/health/life are organized & ready to rock.

One new  thing per day , for the next 30 days until I turn 30.  30 by 30.

  1. 30×30 DAY 1Enroll in the Global Entry travel program (wish I had done this before traveling to 50+ countries).  TSA pre-check, here I come!
  2. 30×30 DAY 2: Get my digital life organized with a personal assistant app (EasilyDo)!  Between email programs and apple contacts and calendar invites & maps, it’s tough to keep everything straight, so I installed EasilyDo, a personal assistant app.  For example: it automatically posts birthday messages to friends’ facebook walls (I  select who), merges duplicate contacts,  keeps track of my boarding passes and flight information (ready to go day-of – no more searching through emails!), and many, many more tasks.  Check the website, but I’m totally obsessed.  It has saved me 59 minutes and 30 seconds since installation (it keeps track)!  That’s nearly 2 full Kardashian episodes!Screenshot 2013-12-18 10.33.29
  3. 30×30 DAY 3: ‘Un-baby’ my Facebook feed.  If yours is anything like mine,  your Facebook feed been hijacked by overzealous new parents who treat you to the details of every diaper change.  No more! Rather is a plug-in that will replace babies (or anything else you want -I  didn’t actually choose all babies, but rather  “sponsored posts” “movember,” some baby-related things, and “politics”) and will replace it with kittens (ok, I chose kittens, you can choose anything i.e. “bacon” or “beaches”).  Check out the first successful replacement [Goodbye, Progressive Insurance ad!  Hello, Kittens!
  4. 30×30 Day 4: The lazy person’s guide to cleaning out their closet.  Every so often, I go through my closet and get rid of an item or two here or there; I drop off too-tight work pants at Salvation Army or put a pair of old boots on Ebay  but there are always that require more thought or work  than the average sweater & so it just sits in my closet for years. Here are some solutions I love: For the truly lazy amongst us who want our stuff sold for us  Thread Flip has an amazing White Glove Service that will  send you a UPS label & then take care of all the rest (photographing, researching, listing)!  It’s free to do and you receive 60% of the sales price.  Have an ugly bridesmaid dress taking up real estate in your closet?  NewlyMaid will send you a prepaid mailer & will donate (to Clothes4Souls), recycle, or upcycle dresses – ecofriendly & easy!  And lastly, for some reason, I always hold on to bigger ticket items such as coats, but the last few frozen days in NYC reminded me how little good those coats are doing sitting in my closet.  For those of you in NYC, New York Cares has an incredible Coat Drive every year, with locations on nearly every block.  Sure, it’s not a prepaid label, but going the one block  in winter weather to donate my old coat reminded me why it was worth the walk to do so.
  5. 30×30 Day 5: Get drinks with The Cutest Boy from high school.  You all know who I’m talking about.  Everyone had one.  Most likely, he was the cute upperclassman when you were a freshman,  the captain of a varsity sport, and your 14-year old self ‘like, totally’ swooned over this ultimate teenage crush.  I like to think of catching up with this friend as a present to my formerly smitten 14-year old self.  And no, dear readers, there’s no app for that.  
  6. 30×30 Day 6: Digitally backup & securely store the contents of my wallet. I’m in a constant battle to not leave my credit card at the bar, my wallet in the cab, etc.  Until now, luck has been on my side, but I’ve been wanting  to backup the contents of my wallet: everything from my credit cards to driver’s license & health insurance card – just in case.  I bought oneSafe, the rave-reviewed password manager, which not only saves passwords (how many times have I had to reset a forgotten Twitter account or search for my airline miles login??), autofills, and syncs across devices, but also will scan credit, ID, and other cards…I downloaded it this morning & within 5 minutes I had a digitally backed-up life.  Oh, and security?  It’s not only double (or triple) passworded-, but it’s literally unhackable.  
  7. 30×30 Day 7: NYC Photo Booth Bar Crawl for the birthday of a friend who loves cocktails & paparazzi , we’ll be starting at the Ace Hotel and working our way through some of NYC’s best speakeasies, dive bars, and lounges that have photo booths…stopping in for some photographic evidence at each. [Full credit to RW for the idea & the itinerary!] .  We made it to 6 of the stops: The Ace Hotel (Flatiron), The Tippler (Chelsea Market), The Standard (Meatpacking), Crocodile Lounge (East 14th Street), Otto’s Shrunken Head (East 14th St) – photo booth was out of order, PDT (ok, ok, there was no photo booth there, but it was a great place to end the night)Photobooth bar crawl
  8. 30×30 Day 8: Visit the 9/11 Memorial For a variety of reasons, I just haven’t gone .  So it’s my plan to  finally  visit this evening. However, they make it very easy to visit.  Visitor passes are available online for $2 a person for a specified entry time – no worrying about waiting, timing, or cost. And this week (through December 31st), the memorial is open late for extended holiday hours.  
  9. 30×30 Day 9: Send out holiday cards  I’ve never been ‘grown-up’ enough to get my act together for holiday/new year’s cards.  And let’s face it, it would probably just be pictures  of me & my cat anyway.  Thanks to Paperless Post, it’s not too late for me (sitting here on Xmas Eve) to send out beautiful New Year’s cards online.  I love how easy it was to import my contacts from gmail as well as the beautiful designs (many are free!).  And no, the cards are not  of me & my cat.  
  10. 30×30 Day 10: Unplug on the first day of vacation.  One full day: internet free.  No email, no googling information, no online weather, no spotify, no apps, and certainly no instagram or facebook.  I’ve been unplugged before, mainly on vacations in countries that have limited/no internet (ahem Burma! Cuba!), but rarely by choice, and never with the intention of making a vacation truly a vacation from the start.  Great reminder to be a little less connected for the remainder of vacation.  Except, of course, to post this.
  11. 30×30 Day 11: Learn to play tennis!  That’s it, first tennis lesson in the books!  Absolutely loved it & can’t wait to take another!2013-12-27 15.24.51
  12. 30×30 Day 12: Compile my travel Wish List 
    Having recently realized that I have enough miles to book a true “bucket list” trip in the next year-ish, I’ve started thinking seriously about where the next adventure should be.  While I haven’t booked anything yet,  here’s the  list (and I can think of dozens more!) in no particular order:

    • South Africa
    • Tanzania (Mt. Kilimanjaro, Serengeti, & Zanzibar)
    • Balkans: Bosnia & Herzegovina/Montenegro
    • New Zealand
    • Costa Rica
    • Central Asia: Russia & Uzbekistan
    • Laos
    • South of France
    • Egypt
    • Rwanda
  13. 30×30 Day 13: Go to a pro football game  Dolphins vs. Jets!
  14. 30×30 Day 14: Back up all my photos (past & future!). After losing all my photos from my around-the-world-trip (aside from the ones on this blog!) by getting hit with a double-whammy failed-external hard-drive + laptop crash, I vowed never to let my photos go un-backed-up again.  Fast forward, and here we go.  I wanted to ensure that I not only backed up my photos from the past 2.5 years, but that going forward, any photos I add will automatically be backed up.  Combining two apps that I already frequently use [Dropbox + iPhoto], here is the genius blog post showing step-by-step instructions so that I will never lose my photos again.
  15. 30×30 Day 15: NYE in Miami!
  16. 30×30 Day 16: Use the 1 Second Everyday app to capture…wait for it, 1 second every day.  My friend posted a video of his last 130 days of business school, with 1 second every day stitched together with this app.  And it was awesome.  So, cheers to capturing 2014.
  17. 30×30 Day 17: Financial Check up Part 1:  Organize my finances.  New year, new goals and one of mine is to get my finances in order before turning 30.  From the basics of creating a good monthly budget based on my income, fixed costs such as rent and discretionary spending (restaurants, travel, & shoes!)  to figuring out the best way to pay down my business school loans & maximizing debt payoff in relation to retirement savings, I started using Learnvest.  Learnvest has an amazing dashboard.  Today, I started with the basics of importing my financial information (credit & bank accounts, student loan accounts, etc.), which automatically files each transaction into appropriate folders (so I can easily click and see what i spent at, say, Cafe Grumpy, last month).  I also began to input some big picture monthly budget items as well as some of my big picture goals for the next few years (payoff graduate school loans, appropriately save for retirement and life).  Tomorrow I have my free call with one of their financial planners which will be a great complement to my amazing financial planning team @ Gassman Financial Group.  Once I have some plans in place, the dashboard will help me see in once quick glance, where I am, what I need to be doing, and how to stay on track.Screenshot 2014-01-02 15.18.33
  18. 30×30 Day 18: Finances Part 2: Start making plans for  retirement, savings, mba student debt.  Now that my financial dashboard is set up (and I have a great snapshot of all my accounts as well as awesome auto-budget based on filed purchase), I began a few of the LearnVest free bootcamp programs including the 10 day “retirement in style” plan and the 3 day debt bootcamp.  Each day I get an email with a few steps that take about 15-20 minutes.  Will keep everyone posted on how it goes!
  19. 30×30 Day 19: Track my activity & sleep  Using the Jawbone UP (thank you Kate H for letting me borrow yours for the day!), I’m tracking my levels of activity as well as my sleep patterns (particularly given that I get an average of 4-5 hours per night)…stay tuned for the report!
  20. 30×30 Day 20: Ask a career ‘crush’ to coffee.  There is one person I’ve always aspired to meet &  today I shamelessly tweeted at him to try and get 20 minutes on his schedule…(@yaelsnyc)
  21. 30×30 Day 21: Learn to filet a fish.  
  22. 30×30 Day 22: Learn to code. Since I began tinkering with my company’s website a few months ago (easier to make changes myself than continuously go to the web developer!) I’ve wanted to begin to learn to code.  Using Code Academy, in 30 minutes, I learned the basics of HTML & CSS & made my own website.  (Ok, so it’s not so pretty, but you get the idea).  Really easy, really fun.
  23. 30×30 Day 23: Sit in an audience for a live TV show!  Today we’re going to one of my favorite cooking shows, ABC’s The Chew with Mario Batali & Carla Hall (and others!).
  24. 30×30 Day 24: Sound like a grown up. Stop using verbal fillers. When it comes to these verbal viruses (e.g. like, um, uh, right, you know), I’m especially  guilty of using “like” to indicate what someone has said, to modify adjectives, and to make approximations.  These speech disfluencies not only break the flow of speech, but they undermine the speaker’s credibility and authority, weaken messages, and distract listeners.  I’m only halfway through the day, but I have committed myself to being more conscientious than ever of my speech – this article is helpful in identifying alternative phrases to use & tips to stop using verbal fillers.
  25. 30×30 Day 25: Tackle a new recipe: make my Mom’s Challah.  Growing up, I came home to a house filled with the smells of baking challah every Friday afternoon.  Between the baking, the braiding, the everything…I’ve never attempted to make it.  Until now.  And now my kitchen smells delicious.  My Mom’s recipe, braiding instructions, and bracha here: challah copy
  26. 30×30 Day 26: Actually learn how to use Evernote. I’ve been using Evernote for a few weeks as a notetaker.  I love being able to search through notes and the auto-syncinc between  the version on my computer and iphone, but I still didn’t quite get the “Evernote-is-the-best-thing-ever” obsession that many people have.  What I realized is that I hadn’t even scratched the surface of what the productivity app has to offer.  Here are the two best articles, one with some tips and tricks from Business Insider and the other is how “stop using Evernote wrong” and make it “stick.”
  27. 30×30 Day 27: Get my fortune told.  Neon signs for palm reading, tarot cards, and astrology readings are as ubiquitous in Manhattan as the Duane Reades and Starbucks cafes that adorn every corner.  And I have been curious.  I figured there were two ways to go about this: one was to treat “discovering what my future has to offer” as a serious matter, making the proper investment of research and money as I would a big electronics purchase.  Instead, I decided to go the “under $20” route of the place I pass every day on my way to get coffee.  Oh, and it was awesome.  Is it bad luck to share your fortune like it is to share birthday candle wishes?
  28. 30×30 Day 28: Try a new cuisine: Laotian! Thank you to everyone who gave me restaurant suggestions on Facebook.  We went to Khe Yo in Tribeca which had fabulous food, drinks, and ambiance.  And now I have many other places to try in the coming weeks (including Malaysian, Uzbek, Serbian, Singaporean, Filipino, and a few others!).
  29. 30×30 Day 29: Switch to online banking!  If nothing else, my Learnvest bootcamps on savings and retirement (see Days 17 and 18) have taught me that I’m missing opportunities by leaving my money in a Citibank account.  After checking bankrate.com for the different rates and fees, I decided to open an online savings account with Barclays, which has one of the highest APYs in the country (11x the average savings account), and will be opening several other sub-accounts to separate out different savings goals.  And now, I feel like I’m almost a grownup!
  30. 30×30 Day 30:  Say “yes” all day on my 30th birthday!  What an amazing day with people I love.  And aside from a last-minute invitation to Sundance, which I just couldn’t make happen (although I tried!), I said “yes” to everything else, all day.

And thus concludes the 30×30 project as well as my almost-year of living publicly (since enlisting the help of my online community and social media  to overturn the insurance ruling about my cancelled spinal fusion in June).

Stay tuned for more adventures…

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