30 Before 30 UPDATE!

I’m turning 30 this weekend! I know it’s cheesy to say, but I think this has been the best year of my life so far. I’ll be doing a much bigger post on Sunday to kind of break down my 20s and why I’m so excited for my 30s. But before I do that, I wanted to do an update of my 30 Before 30 list.

Now, when I wrote this, I knew I had made some pretty lofty goals to complete in one year. I mean, a list of 30 means that I have to accomplish more than two a month. And some of the things were more daunting than others. I fully didn’t expect to finish everything, but I’m actually pretty impressed with the number of things I did complete AND I’m hoping to continue the list into the next year anyway because they’re all things I would like to do. No need to have a birthday force me to end that quest.

(Also, I know I mentioned that I was going to do a Youtube series on this. I actually filmed four of the things but it got really complicated with maintaining my friends’ privacy and felt too forced so I dropped it!)


✅ 1. Do Karaoke

Done! We did this after a joint bowling birthday party and had a blast. Everyone loaded up into Uber XLs (and a super sketchy limo from the 80s?!?!) and headed from the bowling alley to Korea Town. I knew it would be fun, but it ended up being even more fun than I think anyone was expecting. My Cake by the Ocean performance was… something else and, unfortunately, there is video proof of it.

2. Travel to a new country

Did not do 😞 Mike and I are dreaming up trips for next summer though so maybe we’ll check it off the list then!

Leon Bridges

✅ 3. Go to a concert 

In October, Mike and I went to a Leon Bridges concert at Radio City. I am not a concert kind of girl, so I purposefully picked one that I thought was going to be a little more chill. I thoroughly loved seeing him live! It was a great night and I’m really glad I did it!!

4. A weekend without a phone

I did not do this! 😂 The addiction is real. But frankly, it takes a lot more planning than I was willing to do considering my phone keeps me connected for work.


✅ 5. Run a 5k 

I ran the Turkey Gobble in Tampa back in November. It was a gorgeous morning in Tampa and watching the sun come up over the bay while running is always a special treat. Definitely makes it worth it!! I’m not a runner, at all, so my goal every year is just to be under 30 minutes and made it.

6. Take a dance class 

I still haven’t done this but I still really want to do this!!!

This Must Be the Place

✅ 7. Buy a house! 

O. M. G. We did this!!!! I’m still so, so grateful that we were able to buy our dream home. Mike and I couldn’t be happier– it’s even better than we imagined it would be!

✅ 8. Go on a family vacation 

As you’re reading this, I’m actually on this vacation! Since we were all on the Cape for Nicole’s wedding, I thought it was the perfect time to do a week on Nantucket together. We took the ferry over and I rented my favorite little house again. So excited for a great week together!

9. Road trip somewhere 

My dream would be to rent an RV and do a proper road trip somewhere, so, for now, it remains undone.

Jackson Hole

✅ 10. Consider skiing a black diamond (oh god) 

Okay, I know people are going to find this controversial. But hear me out. I’ve never skied a black diamond or even considered skiing one before. My only ski trip this year was to Jackson Hole, Wyoming though. Which just so happened to be the hardest skiing I’ve ever done. (Honest to god, most of the blues were insanely hard and a couple of them would have been without a doubt been considered blacks on the east coast.) I also really did consider going down a little patch of a black diamond that connected two blue runs– but I got lost and missed the turn. So anyway there is my justification 😂 (All things considered, I have way more fun skiing when I’m totally comfortable and confident and I’m going to be okay with that for the rest of my life.)


✅ 11. Take a photography class

One of my friends does an online photography class which I signed up for. I thought the format was great and let me practice on my own. It even gave me the confidence to experiment shooting with a film camera.

✅ 12. Send a letter to a friend every month 

This is a half-done. It’s actually been a bigger undertaking than I anticipated emotionally. I have almost all of the letters written and will be dropping them in the mail next week. Even though I share my life on the internet, there is something about baring your soul to friends and sharing just how much you love them and appreciate their friendships.

13. Take golf lessons 

I haven’t taken official golf lessons, but Mike and I have been going out to the driving range quite a bit now. I had a mini breakthrough with my swing and feel confident enough to play a round with him on a low-key course. (I’m on the hunt for a new tennis instructor out here near Madison, too if anyone has any recommendations!)

Marie Kondo

✅ 14. Do a DEEP (deep) closet cleanout 

I did this before our move and it felt so good to go through everything. Especially now that I’m entering this new decade, it was time to part with a few things that I had kind of outgrown age-wise.

Mean Girls

 15. See two Broadway shows 

I went and saw Mean Girls with my sister and then went and saw Waitress on my own. I LOVED both.

16. Read three “classic” books 

Ugh, I dropped the ball on this big-time. I did read Emma and ended up hating it, oh well!

17. Make an appointment w/ professional makeup artist for makeup tips/lesson

Did not do this and I’m actually not super interested in this at this time.

Roast Chicken

✅ 18. Learn and nail a signature dish 

This was really important to me mostly because I feel so inadequate in the kitchen compared to Mike. He can cook anything and everything in an exceptional way and, while I can follow a recipe, my skills are not up to par with his (at all). I wanted to pick a dish that I could make fairly easily but that would “pack a punch.” Roast chicken it is!!! I do this a couple of times a month for our dinners and I swear it gets better every time. I don’t even need the recipe or instructions anymore… and I’ve made it on a whim at other people’s houses, which to me is a sign that I have fully mastered it. It’s also a crowd pleaser!

19. Scan all family photos into digital files 

I still need to do this!!

20. Finish writing my book 

I can’t even talk about this 🤦🏻‍♀️ Ugh!

21. Learn another recipe from my grandma

Sadly, my grandma was admitted to the hospital early Christmas morning. (She’s totally fine now!!!) But we, obviously, didn’t get a chance to do this. I’m hoping we get the chance over Thanksgiving or Christmas this year!

22. Be on the Today Show 

This has been a goal for the better part of my adulthood. It will happen someday haha!

23. Go to a comedy show in NYC 

Didn’t go to an actual comedy show but I did go to a comedy club for my friend Grace’s live podcast!


✅ 24. Splurge on something for my 10-year anniversary 

After hemming and hawing over what to get, I found the Chanel bag of my dreams. This was such a big and special splurge for me. The perfect way to celebrate a decade of my blog!

25. Visit Martha’s Vineyard 

We may take the ferry over while on this trip to explore one of the Vineyard’s towns, but I didn’t get a dedicated trip there yet.

26. Go on a meditation/yoga retreat 

I still want to do this! Maybe something cozy this fall?


✅ 27. Bake a perfect soufflé! 

Did the weekend for last! I actually knew I could whip this up before I officially turned 30 so I could check it off the list– I decided to just make it happen. Turns out, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be so it felt a bit anti-climactic. But it’s kind of a fun party trick to (literally) whip up when we have people over in the future.

28. Visit the Grand Canyon with Stacy 

I knew this was going to be a tough one to coordinate with our work schedules, but would still love to do this. We found some cool glamping locations that we thought would be fun for a girls’ trip.

29. Fly first class somewhere 

I have a first-class ticket booked for a trip out west this fall, but didn’t have a good reason to do it this past year.

30. Buy a piece of art

I’m still on the hunt for great artwork for our house. I’m sure I’ll do this 10x over as we start to furnish our house even more. (It’s hard to pick art when without the furniture so far!)

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I love this list! Thank you for sharing and wow for having accomplished so many different things! X


I read How to Break Up with Your Phone by Catherine Price and HIGHLY recommend it! It helped me with my phone addiction.

Congrats on your list! Loved seeing the updates

Brittany Higdon

I loooove this list and wish I had done something similar! If I may recommend a classic book, read To Kill A Mockingbird if you haven’t already. If you have, read it again. I read it yearly and it gets better and better every time! I wrote a post a couple years ago about your 30s being better than your 20s and it’s even more true today. Enjoy 🙂


Loved this post, Carly! Would you mind sharing the details/a link to the online photography class?



Amazing list! Happy almost Birthday Carly! I just turned 29 last week and think I should do something like this as well. Thanks for always inspiring! x Tali

Lucy ♥

Happy early Birthday Carly! This is such a fun idea, and I love this update (and the accountability!). I can’t wait to hear about what the next year holds for you!


Carly – I really enjoy all your posts. You should be very proud that you accomplished so much.

Ally Stuart

I LOVE Waitress. It was one of my favourite movies and I was so excited that one of my favourite singers was turning it into a musical. Since buying the album, I’ve also purchased the cookbook (Sugar, Butter, Flour: The Waitress Pie Book) and the sheet music. I’ve performed ‘What Baking Can Do’ at a voice recital AND a musical theatre competition. I’m so jealous that you got to see the broadway production!!!


I love this post! It’s so refreshing to see some exciting things planned to leap into a new decade rather than the typical dread of getting older. Hopefully you can carry some of these goals over to make your 30s just as fun!

Samantha DiFrancisco

Can you share the link to the house you rent Nantucket. Interested for a fall trip as I live in Boston but have never gone!

Shannon Mahaney

You did pretty good at these! It’s hard to do everything. I made a list like this before I turned 30 and maybe finished slightly less than half of it.


Can we road trip somewhere really Fall-esque in the next two months!? Also I will do a dance class with you #terrified


I really think you did the best and biggest thing on your list of buying a house!! So congrats on that huge life milestone, and happy early birthday!! I just turned 25, and thought about 25 things I want to do this next year, so we will see what happens! Thanks for the inspiration, Carly! Cheers to 30!

xx Libby


im turning 30 november 2020 – eeek! what a fun idea to make a list and revisit it. maybe i’ll do the same!