29 in 29

This upcoming Saturday is my 29th birthday. Sean and I are heading to Burlington, Vermont for the weekend to celebrate both my birthday and our anniversary in a place I have never been before. 28 was such an incredible year for me, both professionally and personally, so it’s bittersweet to see it end. I traveled, bought a house and a new car, got promoted, and figured some things out along the way. So… what’s next?


Being a lover of lists, creating this “29 in 29” list was the perfect outlet for all of my birthday week thoughts as I enter the last year in my 20’s. So here are all of the things I’d like to do while I’m 29.

In no particular order:

1.Read 12 books. I’m sure for some people, this probably seems like a low number but if I’m being 100% honest, I really only read while I’m traveling or on vacation. Otherwise, I’m more likely to watch Netflix for 6 hours than read.

2. Volunteer.

3. Hike a mountain. Sean and I hiked Mount Monadnock a few years ago. It was fun and really challenging. I’d love to do it again or find another New Hampshire mountain to hike.

4. Update my wardrobe. Donate what I no longer need.

5. Keep an herb garden. I’ve been talking about having one for years now. I’m currently keeping a basil plant my aunt gave me alive so that’s a good start.

6. Explore 5 new places.

7. Run a race. My last one was in 2015. Time to dust off that Couch to 5K running plan.

8. Donate blood. Ask me about the one and only time I donated blood sometime.

9. Find/attend a new church. 

10. Change my hair. For someone who’s never dyed their hair and keeps it pretty much the same trim after trim, this should be an interesting one.

11. Send a care package just because.

12. Host a fancy dinner party. I’ve had dinner parties in the past but now that we own a home, it’s time to bust out the beautiful china and crystal stemware we got for our wedding and do a full-blown Torto-family-style dinner party.

13. Try a new/difficult recipe. I try new recipes all the time but I want to step outside my comfort zone and try something really tough. Thoughts?

14. Go camping. This one’s a stretch but I’m sure Sean will be happy it’s on the list.

15. Break a bad habit.

16. Be genuinely happy with my appearance.

17. Pay it forward. Even something as simple as buying the person behind me in line their coffee.

18. Take vitamins daily. I never should’ve stopped taking those Sesame Street vitamins as a kid….

19. Visit a new state. What is the place I just have to go to?

20. Commit to yoga. I love yoga and the way it makes me feel but I tend to practice in spurts. Even if it’s just a 10-minute yoga flow 3 mornings a week, a consistent yoga schedule would be great to have.

21. Go on a legit road trip. (And not sleep through it.)

22. Learn to play the piano. Sean started teaching me when we first started dating but I didn’t keep up with it. We have a keyboard in his office so there’s no excuse not to at least try.

23. Make a rotating cleaning schedule and try to clean for 15 minutes a day. Sean will also be happy that this one made the list. #ihatecleaning

24. Attempt Whole30. Bonus points if I convince Sean to do it with me.

25. Fully decorate our main living spaces. This includes the front room, kitchen, sun room, hallway, main bath, and laundry closet.

26. Surprise someone in a big way.

27. Dance regularly. Teaching and coaching (while I love both) only partially count. I need to be a student too so finding outlets with drop-in classes is an immediate priority.

28. Walk. For exercise, for charity, for fresh air. Get outside more.

29. Unplug. This one will be particularly challenging for me given that my professional life revolves around social media. But even the other night, I found myself next to my husband mindlessly scrolling through the same apps over and over again. Time for a change.

And just for good luck, like an extra candle on a birthday cake, I’m including one more item on my 29 in 29 list, making it a true “30 Before 30” list.

30. Thoroughly enjoy 29.

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Our New Home


Back at Easter, Sean and I were just starting the journey to buy our first house. We got pre-qualified, talked about what we would want and need in our home, and narrowed down the towns we’d be happiest living in for at least 5 years. Up in New Hampshire (and I’m pretty sure all of New England right now) it’s definitely a seller’s market; new listings would be up and off the market in a matter of days, sometimes before we could even get in to see it. Cue all the curse words.

Everyone kept saying “the right one will come along.” (UGH, WHAT IS PATIENCE?) I actually joked with Sean on more than one occasion that we should forget the whole thing and go on vacation. Luckily he’s much more level-headed than I am so we continued to look at what was available, which wasn’t much. I had my naive first-time homeowner heart set on a colonial, but realized very quickly that it was not the style we were going to end up with. When I was finally able to wrap my head around potentially getting something along the lines of a split level, Sean found “the perfect raised ranch” with not-so-great listing photos. When he swiped through the photos and landed on the image of the kitchen, I didn’t hold back a very loud “EW!” Poor guy. He convinced me to just go look at it and I obliged knowing full well in the back of my mind that there was NO WAY I was going to want, nevermind love, this ranch house.


Long story short, he was right. The right house did come along and I knew it was that ranch the moment we stepped inside. It felt right. (I don’t think Sean will ever get tired of saying I told you so.) I’m now a firm believer that buying a house is like being in a relationship; you can’t force it. It has to fit.

The scary part of the whole process came soon after. Once we fell in love with the house (after being there all of 10 minutes), we knew we needed to put in an offer immediately. With the help of our wonderful realtor, we were able to put in our strongest offer and beat out six others all within three days of the house being for sale. Our situation, from first showing to close ended up being 28 days altogether which is definitely not the norm for the whole home buying process, but for a girl was zero patience it was a welcomed surprise.


So, here’s a quick (and empty) tour of our new house! I can’t wait to get in there and start on the projects we have lined up: staining the kitchen cabinets and putting up a backsplash, painting all of that wood trim and the walls throughout the main space and then eventually getting to bigger things like finishing the basement, cutting down a few trees, painting the bedrooms, etc. I’ll be sure to update the blog to not only document the changes but also what worked, what didn’t work, and our favorite brands along the way.

Side note: I can already envision a GIANT Christmas tree the back sun room with the high ceilings and large windows. Sean thinks 7 feet is good. I’m thinking 12…







I can’t wait to see how it all turns out as we move in, get settled and really start to decorate. Here’s to this next chapter!

What are your best tips for brand new home owners? Anything you did or wish you would’ve done as soon as you moved in?