31 things to do before I’m 32

Ofia 31 things

Ofia is thrilled for this year’s goal list!

It’s my favorite time of year!  That month where I get to cumulate all of the exciting adventures that I have always wanted to do and create a goal list to do before my next birthday. Last year for my 30 things to do before 31, I was able to get a lot done, but was more lackluster than usual about actually posting.  It was not out of apathy, but more out of the (joyful) fact that I did not have the time. I was too busy enjoying life and whatever adventures it led me on, to stop and write it down.  This year, I did the responsibility thing any list maker would do in this situation, and I put this blog as a focus on my goal list for this year.  Enjoy!

31 things to do before I’m 32

  1. Get strong
  2. Sleep above ground
  3. Climb outside
  4. Go off the grid
  5. See an icon live
  6. Learn self defense
  7. Make GoPro videos
  8. “Adult” as a verb
  9. Volunteer regularly
  10. Learn a new language fluently
  11. Backpack in Canada
  12. Build something with my hands
  13. Do something crazy for love
  14. Fall asleep beside the ocean
  15. Can jam
  16. Ice skate on a lake
  17. Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge
  18. Read all of the my books, then promptly give them away
  19. Under 100 wardrobe
  20. Backpack with a cat
  21. Beat Legendary Wings on NES
  22. Needles and Thread daily
  23. Adho Mukha Svanasana
  24. Enter 5 art exhibitions
  25. Mother-Daughter tattoo (it’s happening Mom)
  26. Skydive
  27. Go fishing
  28. Camp as often as possible
  29. Say “Yes” for an entire month
  30. Be a better writer
  31. Continue journey of minimalism




Visit as many breweries as I can…

IMG_0157This year, as part of my 30 Things to Do Before 31, I am on a the journey of exploring as many breweries as I can and what better place to live in than Denver for this reason along! So here is my ongoing list:

  • Copper Kettle Brewing Co. (Denver)

  • Great Divide Brewery (Denver)

  • Declaration Brewing Co. (Denver)

  • Wynkoop Brewing (Denver)

  • Dry Dock Brewing Co. (Aurora, CO)

  • Riot Brewery (Denver)

  • Lost Highway Brewery (Denver)

  • Ratio Brewery (Denver)

  • Grandma’s House (Denver)

  • Second Street Brewery (Santa Fe, NM)

  • Renegade Brewing Co. (Denver)

  • Oskar Blues Brewery (Lyons, CO)

  • Upslope Brewing Co. (Boulder, CO)

  • Dillon Dam Brewery (Silverthorne, CO)

  • Stem Ciders (Denver)

  • Moab Brewery (Moab, UT)

  • Vernal Brewing Co. (Vernal, UT)

Leaf peeping in Crested Butte…


Crested Butte, CO

I have now lived in Colorado for almost three years and I still had not managed to get up to the mountains when the colors are changing and all of the Aspen are vivid golden. This year I planned accordingly, did some research, and timed the weekend perfectly.  I grabbed the dog and my dude for an adventure out towards the Western Slope.  We were headed to Crested Butte, Colorado for a lovely weekend of leaf peeping at the end of September.

Colorado Cider Company's Glider Cider

Colorado Cider Company’s Glider Cider

Crested Butte was a days drive from Denver, but well worth it.  We camped out on Irwin Lake, drove along Kebler Pass at roughly 10,000 feet in elevation, did some hiking in beautiful landscapes, quietly observed a few vast open meadows, stood in awe beneath the bright yellow Aspen trees, drank some local Colorado Cider Company’s hard cider by a campfire, and snuggled under the stars lit by the Harvest Moon.  

Harvest Moon over the lake

Of course, all of these activities were splendid in their own right, but the main purpose to camp out in the mountains was to go leaf peeping and experience the seasonal color change at its peak time, as part of my 30 Things to do Before 31 list.

Standing beneath Aspen and overlooking larger Aspen groves, I could not help but be enraptured by the rustling of the small oval leaves.  The sound may not have been exceedingly loud, but it was a uniquely soft sound like paper fluttering in the wind.  Stepping back and looking out at an entire grove, it is baffling to think that all of the trees are linked to just one (ancestor) tree that has spread its seedling to create an entire grove.  Aspen are alike my favorite tree, Willow, in this way as well as in the way that they grow small catkins, or flowers, and shed their leaves with the season changes.

Beneath theses golden giants

Beneath theses golden giants

What I was not prepared for, was how alike Aspen were to giant Sequoia that I grew up under.  Looking up, one is easily reminded of how small they are with these trees standing 49-98 feet tall.  Needles to say, I was overwhelmed with a sense of nostalgia and peace being amongst these breathtaking wonders.   

Our last day in Crested Butte, we headed into town and meandered around the Farmer’s Market.  We picked up some locally brewed pumpkin ale and giant oyster mushrooms for some roasting at home.  I would say the timing could not have been more perfect for the season change and look forward to returning next fall. 

Why October is the best month…

Hello October

As part of my #bepresent October Photo Challenge, I am experiencing the next 31 days with a deeper focus and appreciation.  October is my favorite month for so many reasons, including the special holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries that occur. In general terms, there are 13 things I love about October:

1. Weather

The night air cools down to a crisp breezy temperature that creates the ultimate snuggling atmosphere, during the daytime hours it is not too hot and not yet too cold which inspires everywhere to bring out the sweaters, boots, and vests from their closets.  

2. Leaves

Not only do the leaves turn into brilliant colors, but then they fall to the ground and leave behind a blanket of crunchy sunsets beneath your feet.

3. Pumpkins

Pumpkins are everywhere at pumpkin patches, on front stoops, in lattes, in beer, and best of all pie! 

4. Haunted Houses

It is not only socially acceptable to play dress-up as a monster and act out in a haunted house, but it is also socially acceptable to talk yourself through the terror that is lurking behind the next corner, or wall, or field while creeping through one. Of course, all the while holding the arm or hand of the person beside you.

5. Apples

Apples come in the form of apple butter, apple pie, scented candles, and even candy apples.  This is a great time for apple picking and canning. Apples are also the symbol to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees.

6. Scary Movies

Cuddle up on the couch, grab some pumpkin beer, pull on some cozy knitted socks, and endure the terror of choosing to scare yourself. 

7. Zombies

Not only does The Walking Dead return to TV, but this is the time to experiment with makeup like you’ve always wanted to and join the community of zombies.  Check out your city’s informational page for a Zombie Crawl near you.

8. MLB World Series

The last month {sigh} of baseball before football season is in full swing.  MLB World Series is always enjoyable, even when your team next makes it.

9. Colors

Who doesn’t love a good sunrise or sunset? Nobody.  Therefore who wouldn’t enjoy seeing the colors or a sunset all month long in the sky, on the ground, in the trees?

10. Disguised Animals

A dog disguised as a bumble bee? A cat disguised as a devil? Well, I guess that one isn’t quite a disguise.  None the less, any animals in costume is good a smile or giggle.

11. Playing Dress-Up

It is the one time it is socially acceptable to dress up as whatever you want in the most outlandish costumes you can imagine. 

12. Candy

It is everywhere. 

13. All Hallows’ Eve

 However you celebrate it, it is a majestical time when the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead become blurred and the ghosts of the dead return to earth.  It can be a time of remembrance, of celebration, or simply just good of trick-or-treat fun!

October: Be present with a photo a day…

#bepresentSeptember’s almost over, and Fall is officially here!  After enjoying the Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse this week, I am inspired to embark on another Photo Challenge.  This challenge will be throughout the month of October and will be celebrating all things Fall and all things October. It is only fitting, as October is my favorite month{more to come on this topic} and so many good feels occur during those 31 days.

Unlike most Photo Challenges, I will not be making a list of various photos that I want to capture. Instead, I am going to focus on being in the present and capture whatever moves me each day.  To be in the present, means to slow down and focus on what is happening in that precise moment without thinking of the past nor daydreaming of what will come.  It is to focus on the emotions, the sounds, the smells, the tastes, the weather or landscape, and really feeling all of the senses in their entirety.  By making a list of photo ideas, I would be creating a preconceived set of photos that I would be aspiring to capture throughout the month.  That is the exact opposite of what I want to accomplish.

I am looking to do one thing this month, to fully experience October.  This Photo Challenge will be in conjunction with my Being in the Present, both of which are on my list of 30 Things to do Before I’m 31.  Join me on instagram using hashtag #bepresent or just follow along!

30 Things to Do Before I’m 31…

30 Things

Turning 30 was not life changing.  Turning 30 did not make me feel older or wiser or grown up.  Turning 30 was the closing of a chapter in my life only to open the next.  The last year of my twenties taught me so much about myself, how strong I am, what I value, what I want to become, and most importantly how life can change in the blink of an eye.  It taught me forgiveness, and how to let go of an idea or plan for what was and to instead accept the unknown.  It showed me that the past is gone, the future is unknown, but the present is what I make of it.  Turning 30 is my chance of a new beginning and I know it will be the best year yet.

30 Things to Do Before I turn 31:

  1. Yell at the top of a mountain
  2. Photograph a Great Migration
  3. Live in the present
  4. Feel the wind of a train on my face at midnight
  5. Solve a murder-mystery dinner
  6. Get caught in a rain storm
  7. Learn a new sport
  8. Swim in a natural swimming hole
  9. Have a Girls’ Getaway
  10. Travel more with Ellie
  11. Write more poetry
  12. Disconnect
  13. Stay up all night watching b+w films
  14. Hear the Dalai Lama speak
  15. Go on a blind date
  16. See a sunset in Santa Fe
  17. Do a Color Run
  18. Visit a Planetarium
  19. Throw a dart at a map and go
  20. Make the perfect latte in the backcountry
  21. Surprise someone
  22. Go to a water park
  23. Complete a photo challenge
  24. Attend a concert/show of someone I have never heard of
  25. 3 new stamps in my National Parks Passport
  26. Visit as many breweries as possible
  27. Sit in a hot spring in the dead of winter
  28. Experience the color change in an Aspen Grove
  29. Continue journey of minimalism
  30. Complete my 29 Things to Do Before 30

The last books of my twenties…half way point…


Back in March I made my yearly bucket list of 29 Things to do Before 30.  On that list was to read 50 books.  Since September 1st has come and gone, I thought I would share my half way point on that list of 50.  

My beloved Nook at the Denver Botanic Gardens

My beloved Nook at the Denver Botanic Gardens

As I am reading my way through my last year of my twenties, I am obviously drawn to titles, themes, and thoughts on the great classics, self-reflection and growth, history, psychology, economics, and lots of fun fiction.  There wasn’t a single one that did not teach me something or allow me to transport myself into another place and time of fantasy.  I already can’t wait for the remaining 6 months of reading…

  1. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
  2. Mary Coin – Marisa Silver
  3. The Tea Room – Jennifer Donnelly
  4. The Great Gatsby – Scott Fitzgerald
  5. Ada Rules – Alice Randall
  6. The Paris Wife – Paula McLain
  7. 13 Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  8. Freakanomics – Steven D. Levitt, Stephan J. Dubner
  9. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Kim Edwards
  10. Finding Alaska – John Green
  11. A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials – Ann Rinaldi
  12. The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin
  13. The Awakening – Kate Chopin
  14. The Light Between Oceans – M. L. Stedman
  15. A Most Dangerous Method – John Kerr
  16. Wedding Cake for Breakfast –  Kim Perel, Wendy Sherman
  17. Everything That Remains – Joshua Fields Millburn, Ryan Nicodemus
  18. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
  19. An Echo in the Bone – Diana Gabaldon
  20. The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
  21. The Longest Ride – Nicholas Sparks
  22. Capitalism and Freedom – Milton Friedman
  23. Perfect Match – Jodi Picoult
  24. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  25. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness – Susanna Cahalan
  26. Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer

On a side note, I only physically purchased two of these books in paper form.  The rest were all books I had previously acquired, or more importantly are ebooks.  Thus my continuing journey of minimalism. 

29 Things to Do Before 30

00I just entered the last year of my twenties.  Do I feel any differently?  Not at all.  Will I in 12 months? Doubtful.  One thing that helps with aging is to have goals to look forward to instead of dwelling on the past.

The most exciting thing about my birthday is the fact that I get to start a new bucket list for the year.  I get to daydream of all of the adventures I am about to embark on and the obstacles I will undoubtedly overcome.  Reflecting on last years 28 Thing to Do Before 29 list, I was disappointed in the few things I was unable to get crossed off.  This year I took more time.  I spent about a week just planning.  Looking over my all time life bucket list and fantasizing about things that I have always wanted to do.  Then I narrow things down to a realistic list for the coming year based on my state of mind, how much vacation time I will have, what our financial state is, and what are the most important things to developing myself as an individual.

So here it is…

29 Things to Do Before I Turn 30

  1. Overcome a fear
  2. Live in a cabin for a week
  3. 100HappyDays
  4. Do something out of my comfort zone monthly
  5. Complete my own Happiness Project
  6. Enjoy a Hot Spring
  7. Hike often.  Bike often. Walk often.
  8. Send snail mail letters
  9. Transform into a yogi
  10. Watch the sunrise & sunset in the desert
  11. Attend a festival
  12. Maintain a drop-in ready home at all times
  13. Take a ride in a hot air balloon
  14. Make a quilt
  15. Attend the ballet
  16. Interview my grandparents
  17. Discover the South
  18. Watch a meteor shower
  19. Take a class
  20. Obtain 3 new stamps in my National Parks Passport
  21. Rediscover my banjo
  22. Snowshoe to a yurt for an overnight trip
  23. Type something on a typewriter
  24. “Live” in my neighborhood for a month
  25. Become a “regular” somewhere
  26. Cook more ethnic food
  27. Give blood
  28. Read 50 books – Half Way Point
  29. Tour a whiskey distillery
  30. Continue my journey of minimalism

2013 in review…

I know that I have been incognito for the past year or so, but not due to lack of adventures.  On the contrary, my world has been hectic, exciting, and at times a struggle.  Here is 2013 in review to explain:

Here is the long and short of all that I have accomplished, completed, grown through, and enjoyed!

  • Went on my first Cruise to Belize and Cozumel where I met up with two of my favorite people and rode of a horse for the first time
  • Attended the Colorado Rockies’ Opening Day
  • Felt how small I really am while hiking at Garden of the Gods
  • Built and planted my first garden (I was successful with mostly squash)
  • Supported Wendy Davis with my pink running shoes while she filibustered for women’s rights
  • Witnessed two amazing people get hitched in San Diego
  • Hung out with the hippos at the San Diego Zoo with great peeps
  • Went camping at RMNP
  • Took my bachelorette party to the river – literally, while white water rafting
  • Frolicked about at my first Renaissance Fair
  • Prepared, created, canned, and then some for my best day ever
  • Go Married to the Mr. at the Arbor Day Farms
  • Hung out on the beaches of Dominican Republic
  • Grew a window herbs garden with mason jars in our kitchen
  • Carved our first pumpkins together
  • Took the Mr. to his first ever haunted house
  • Watched the Nuggets dominate
  • Visited NYC and enjoyed a ghost story tour
  • Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Hiked in the snow in RMNP with my family
  • Photographed the entire month of December
  • Learned the heartache of losing of a loved one
  • Was reminded of all of the love and compassion in the world thanks to Nelson Mandela
  • Loved.  Loved every single day.
  • Oh yea….and ignored my blog for too long!

28 Things to do Before I’m 29…

28 Things to do Before 29

   I just celebrated my 28th birthday and honestly don’t feel any older.  That seems to be a common theme with each passing birthday.  I’m creeping towards 30, but before I get there I feel as though there is still SO much that I want to accomplish while in my twenties.  Looking back on this past year, I am nostalgic for all of the huge changes that came along and all of the adventures I sought out.  Although I only completed roughly half of my list of 27 Things to do Before I’m 28, there was so much more that I did that wasn’t on my list!

   Not only did I pack up and move across the country to a small town in Pennsylvania, I packed up and moved once again to Denver, Colorado in the same year!  I quickly obtained those 3 new stamps in my National Parks Passport camped with Ellie Mae in Acadia National Park.  Actually, not only did I visit Acadia National Park, but I also saw the sunrise before everyone else in America while getting engaged!  I visited out National Naval Academy in Annapolis.  I went on a cruise for the first time in my life where I overcame a fear and almost eloped. =)  I made Christmas dinner for my family AND cooked them a big, juicy pig (which obviously I ate none of).  We can’t forget my visiting NYC not once, but three times.  That is where I had the great fortune of seeing my first broadway musical, Once.  All in all, there was a lot that I did accomplish on my list, and even more that I didn’t imagine I would be doing!  And I did all of it happily, merrily, and as minimalistic as possible.

   So now looking forward to the upcoming year, I am excited and eager for all that will come.  My biggest goal for this new year is to focus on myself more.  I want to explore; myself, my thoughts and feelings, my goals in life, my spirituality, and face even more fears.  I want to live as positively as possible while remaining to stay in the moment.  Keep present.  After all, I’m only 28 once.  I better make it awesome!

I might not love the idea of getting another year older, but I do love the idea of having another year to fill with the 28 things on the list below.

  1. Get married
  2. Plant a garden
  3. See a big Broadway musical production
  4. Run a 5K
  5. Go winter camping
  6. Join a book club
  7. Volunteer
  8. Visit a new country
  9. Cook a new recipe every week (maybe not every week but quite frequently)
  10. Kiss on top of a 14er (after hiking it)
  11. Bake the perfect cheesecake
  12. Explore spirituality
  13. Can on my own
  14. Love on my yoga mat until it wears out
  15. Get 3 new stamps in National Parks Passport
  16. Do a coffee tour of Denver in a day
  17. Carve a pumpkin
  18. Attend a midnight premier of a cult movie
  19. Learn to crochet granny squares
  20. Have a picnic in all 4 seasons
  21. Take a class
  22. Dye. More than once.
  23. Write a children’s book
  24. Kayak in a new ocean
  25. Complete a photo challenge
  26. Attend an opening day
  27. Keep on loving the Future Mr. and critters
  28. Continue minimalism

So here goes…