30-before-30 project

From October 5, 2011 to October 5, 2012 I completed a 30-before-30 project. I went in to a great deal about the “why” on my 29th birthday post. Every month, on or around the 5th, I also wrote a monthly update post on the state of the project. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). And today (Oct 6), I’m writing the final update, here on this page!

Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s talk a bit about why I did this project in the first place. Last year I stated that “29 is going to be a big year for me, a scary year, a great year, a stressful year, and hopefully the best year so far. And to celebrate this entire year of being 29, I’m going to do a 30-before-30 project!”

And then, like most things in my life, I jumped head first into a list of things to do. Some of them I completed. Some of them I failed at. But all in all, I’ve never been happier and so despite some failures, I’m going to call this year a success!

  1. Start Project The Rest of My Life.
    • This was the single most important thing I did this year. Though you couldn’t really tell on the blog, at this time last year I was miserable. I woke up in the morning grumpy. I was giving up 25% of my weekends to dreading the week ahead. So I did what any crazy person would do, and I left. I want to wake up every morning and be excited about my day. Even if the things I’m doing that day aren’t my fave (I’m looking at you … culling photos … and … tagging our Canadian tax software … ).
    • My most popular post ever, “Something More” goes into great detail about this.
  2. Go to Antarctica, the last continent.
    • Going to Antarctica is actually the very first thing I ever wanted to do before I was 30. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to go to Antarctica before I turned 30. And we did. And it was amazing!
    • You should really spend some time reading and looking at our Antarctica posts. Antarctica was the best.
  3. Photograph my grandparents in a “Love” session celebrating their 60th anniversary.
    • I think I said it best in my Month 10 update: “I’m certainly going to fail at this item. But I realized that this isn’t really my grandma and grandpa’s thing. So, instead I’ve captured some great candids and will be sure to take lots of pictures while in Palm Springs for 10 days this October”.
  4. Book and shoot at least 10 weddings as the primary photographer.
    • Done: Nov 16. New goal: 15 weddings.
    • I had an awesome season this year. I’m way ahead of 15 weddings. I’m so excited about how my photography is progressing. I’m attracting the right kind of clients. I love how 2012 went and I can’t wait for 2013 because it’s going to be even better.
  5. Make a wickedly awesome video application for a CreativeLive course and hope to get selected!
    • I made and shot an awesome application video. I spent HOURS getting it down to the 1-minute time limit. And then they selected all the people who had 3 to 5 minute videos. So that annoyed me. But making the video was a pretty great experience!
  6. Learn to Tango.
  7. Dance like no one is watching.
    • This was a filler item. I do this almost every day in my kitchen :)
  8. Convince my brother to let me plan his wedding.
    • This did not take convincing. It’s pretty fun doing all this planning for them, I can’t wait until their June wedding!
  9. Get back out to the mountains in the winter. I’ve missed it!

      Epic Fail. Ran out of time due to move to Argentina! We had a ski trip all planned, actually, but then we realized that we were moving to Argentina in three days and our time would be better spent getting ready for the move than skiing. But now Whistler is in our backyard again, so we shall ski this year!

  10. Learn basic (or not so basic) web-development skills.
    • I’m kicking butt at this goal. I have a small side business building websites for people. My css and html are in pretty good shape. I learned basic javascript. I’m probably going to do the rest of codecademy.
  11. Improve my Spanish skills.
    • My Spanish got way better while we were in Argentina. I’m a little worried about the state of my French now…
  12. Become a better food photographer.
    • My mom thinks I’m good. In all honesty, this is a goal that still needs a little bit of work. I’m getting a lot better, but I think I need to work on my styling as well as my post-processing. All day long I salivate over food on pinterest, and then I look at my images and they just aren’t quite good enough.
  13. Become a better proofreader.
    • My husband thinks I’m better – and this is a huge compliment. Huge! Read more about that here. That being said, I still make at least 1-2 typos a post. Jenn (the brains behind Fresh Coast Meats) emails me my daily typo alerts. As expected, my proofreading takes a dramatic turn for the worse on days where I’m very busy. It’s better on posts that take several days to write and edit. It varies. This is a work in progress, but I think I’m a much better proofreader than I was a year ago, so I’ll call it a scucess. (jokes people).
  14. Cook something that takes more than one day.
    • I’ve done this lots of times now that I’ve started to bake! All sorts of breads (including my current fave: 30% whole wheat no-knead bread that I’m going to share with you next week) take more than one day. So did Sriracha Pulled Pork.
  15. Clean my oven.
    • This was a filler item! I did it on November 20, 2011 before we moved from our last apartment. Our current oven could probably use some cleaning. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.
  16. Learn how to use stumble upon and spend at least 4-6 weeks trying it out.
      I didn’t do this. After a very successful blogging friend of mine told me that she’s really struggled finding any value out of it recently (and that she gets a lot of value out of Pinterest), I decided to concentrate on the latter.
  17. Master the art (and the manual focus) of my new film camera.
    • First Roll. Second Roll. Third Roll. Fourth Roll. You’ll see by the fourth roll that I’m starting to get it! I’ve got the fifth roll in my camera at the moment, and really should be shooting with it more! Goal for the weekend, more film images!
  18. Be less afraid.
    • This was a big one. I go into a lot of detail about what I meant by “be less afraid” in this post on “Things That Scare Me“. All in all, I think I’ve done a really good job of realizing this goal. I’ve been to several networking events (which scare me more than anything except time travel), I’m better at talking to strangers. I left my lucrative career to become an entrepreneur. I don’t think that I’m any less afraid than I used to be. But am I ever getting better at looking that fear in the eye and saying “f-you”.
  19. Find a friend with a sail boat who will teach me how to sail, so one day I can disappear and sail around the world.
    • Oops. Actually, it turns out we already HAVE a friend who can sail. We’d really like to buy a boat before next summer and learn how to use it.
  20. Figure out a workout regime (hopefully running) that works for me.
    • Like every other human (except possibly my dad). I struggle with finding the motivation to go work out. Whether that be running, or yoga, or at the gym, I’m not doing a very good job of this goal.
  21. Do a 365 project
    • It started off ok, was really strong through the middle, and ended pretty good. You can see all the images in an awesome collage that took like 4 hours to make. Or you can check out my tumblr. Note that I might continue on with this project, so tumblr might be constantly getting updated. I haven’t really decided yet!
  22. Find (or create) a great community of photographers to be friends & colleagues.
    • I’ve done not a great job of this. Probably not even an ok job of this.
  23. Develop relationships with other wedding vendors.
    • I’ve done not a great job of this. Probably not even an ok job of this.
  24. Set up and shoot a styled shoot with awesome wedding vendors.
    • I decided this year that I actually don’t like styled shoots. So I didn’t fail at this goal, I just outgrew it. That being said, I’ve got a really neat idea to do instead of this… I just haven’t done it yet.
  25. Start a series on my photography blog (or this blog?) where I interview influential wedding photographers.
    • I met for breakfast with Tara McMullen (see interview) and I realized that I’m not a journalist. But I tried! And that’s good enough for me!
  26. Get new business cards.
    • Done. A couple of times, actually! I love new business cards!
  27. Come up with a sweet database of lunch ideas, both for home and brown bag style.
    • I’m stuck on a software limitation right now. My eyes are bigger than my abilities at the moment. Once we’ve shipped SimpleTax I’m going to turn my mind to doing this bigger and better than I ever anticipated!
  28. Better arrange my database of dinners.
    • See comment, above.
  29. Post at least one new food post on the blog each week.
    • Ok, so I probably didn’t post exactly one food post a week. That being said, I posted at least 52 food posts over the course of the year. And I was also a finalist for a food blogging competition. So this was officially a success in my books!
  30. Spend more time in Alberta with my family and friends.
    • Doing well so far, see “Christmas Break” post. Then in the summer we went back for 10 days. It was amazing. Once we get our budget worked out, we’ll be able to go visit more.

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