35 Before 35 – January 25, 2019 -Update 4

I was putting these straight onto my website, but it takes a lot of time and I dread it every month. That’s NOT how I want to be feeling about this project! I really enjoyed making my monthly updates to my 30 before 30 project here on WordPress so I’m back to give it a go!

You can find the first three updates (and all future ones too, of course!) gathered here: https://www.rachelakelso.com/35before35-updates

The full list is here.

  1. 26/105 new recipes

I got a good deal on some Hello Fresh and thought it would be fun to try through December. And it was. A little too fun! We’re not Vegan, but normally I cook completely plant-based at home so it was a lot more dairy than I was used to! It was also really my first experience cooking with dairy, since I have been cooking mostly plant-based since I was 19. It was so much fun that we decided to do it one week a month until we stop being interested in the recipes/they get too repetitive.

12. Curry-Spiced Cauliflower and Squash over Zezty Ginger Rice with Lemon Crema (Hello Fresh) Mine was not as pretty as the picture! It was tasty, though, and very veganizable. I actually like Vegan sour cream more than the real thing!
13. Harissa Sweet Potato Pita Pockets with Cucumber Dill Salad (Hello Fresh) Oh I loved this. The sweet potatoes were delicious and I loved dilly cucumbers.
14. Pasta Parmesan (Hello Fresh)
Got to use the broiler in my new oven for the first time and it was so much better than my old one.
15. Sweet Potato Fajitas (Hello Fresh)
I think my favorite Hello Fresh recipes have been the Mexican ones.
16. Chickpea-Powered Mediterranean Couscous with Zucchini and Grape Tomatoes (Hello Fresh)
This was a lot like stuff I make all the time, but I really liked the roasted grape tomatoes!
17. Creamiest Mushroom Ravioli with Zucchini and Heirloom Grape Tomatoes (Hello Fresh)
Usually not a fan of creamy sauces, but it was really good.
18. Chickpea Tinga Tacos with Monterey Jack Cheese, Poblano Pepper, and Lime Crema (Hello Fresh)
So good, ugh, so good.
19. Za’atar Crusted Grilling Cheese with Sumac Roasted Veggies over Couscous (Hello Fresh)
Ah, I burned this a little! But there was enough cheese and Za’atar to have it again the next day and it was good! I also bought Za’atar shortly thereafter to try and make some kind of tofu with it, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet!
20. Vegan Sweet Potato Pie (Healthier Steps)
Oh my gosh! Best pie I have ever made.
21. The pie crust! That was from The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook.
22. Vegetable Minestrone Soup with Parmesan Garlic Bread (Hello Fresh)
Really tasty and the bread was the best.
23. Chickpea Fesenjan (The Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking)
This was tasty. I’m a bit hmmm about sweet savories sometimes and I need to think about the amount of cinnamon in it, I think, but I really liked the pomegranate molasses.
24. Creamy Dreamy Mushroom Gemelli with scallions and Parmesan (Hello Fresh)
So NOT a fan of any white sauce pasta I have ever had UNTIL I made these Hello Fresh ones. It’s actually kind of irritating. It was tasty as heck.
25. Salsa Verde Enchiladas with Poblano Pepper, Black Beans and Monterey Jack Cheese (Hello Fresh)
Ah dang, Too tasty. Want them again right now.
26. Grilled Cheese with Veggie Jumble with Cilantro Chimichurri (Hello Fresh)
The veggie jumble was SO MY THING. It had avocado it it! Definitely want to try the recipe with tofu instead of cheese.

2. Bullet Journal 2019

I worked on my 2019 layouts in December and ended up doing all of my weekly layouts for January at once earlier this month when I didn’t feel up to doing much else. I’m already enjoying it a lot more than I did the premade planner I used in 2018. I think it will help me keep on top of these updates here, too!

3. A Weekly Effort

The past couple of months have been kind of hard, honestly. Not feeling myself much. I’ve been sick a few times and have stayed home a lot! I got fancied up for a Christmas Party and a funeral and that’s about it.

4. Saturday Night Movies

We got a projector in the bedroom a couple of weeks ago, so movie night feels extra special now!

9. The Santa Clause
10. The Santa Clause 2
11. The Land That Time Forgot (MST3k)
12. Big Hero 6
13. Into The Woods
14. The Mummy
15. Solo

5. Finish 5 TV Shows

I actually haven’t been thinking about tracking this one. I’m not sure if I’ve made much progress, but I have been watching The Vampire Diaries and The Originals lately, two series I never actually finished when they were first airing.

7. Keep My Patreon Up to Date!


I took a few weeks off for the holidays, but I have half of my December content up and another week or so to get the rest done before I would count it as late, so that’s something. I also FINISHED my 52 weeks project and got it uploaded right away! I need to update the Patron-Only website somewhat desperately, though!

10. Take Breaks

You GUYS, I let myself have the first couple of weeks of the year completely off from my internalized pressure to create and share (I still did a little, but I never forced myself) and I feel relaxed a bit but also confused. I love having challenges and deadlines, I don’t know what to do without them, but that’s kind of the point of forcing myself to take some breaks, I suppose.

13. Play more Video Games

This one went well with take breaks! I beat Dragon Age: Inquisition again! So many feelings, I can’t handle it. And I’ve been playing a little solo Super Mario Odyssey. I’m very very very excited to get into Kingdom Hearts III when it comes out. It’s the first time we have gotten a KH game at launch.

17. Monthly Date Night


We went to India Palace for dinner & walked around Utica Square looking at Christmas shops and lights.

18. Work on the House/Yard

Because I was ~taking a break~ I didn’t get any before shots, but I have rearranged the bedroom and cleaned the kitchen this past month. I emptied out cabinets! laid new contact paper! got rid of all of the stray tupperware lids!

20. Yoga Goals

I’ve been doing the new Yoga with Adriene 30 day challenge Dedicate. I’m feeling super good about it, I haven’t missed a day!

22. No strict daily photo projects for 1 year

I massaged this a little to allow for my 100happydays but I’m all into this one for really real the next 8 months and it was hard for me to stop myself from starting a project on January 1. I think I’ll be glad I took the break, though. I’m feeling very thoughtful about it.

25. Read 10 fiction books

3. The Scarlet Lion (William Marshal, #3) by Elizabeth Chadwick

26. 100 happy days

I did a full 100 phone photos of things that made me happy through January 1. It was nice and relaxing to just take some phone photos for a bit, but I feel really out of practice with my dSLR now! You can find all the photos and captions @the.happy.snaps.


Twelve Months into 30 before 30

30 before 30

1.   Cook 30 new recipes 94/30  ✔ I made 8 new recipes this month!

lentils and quinoa with butternut squash and broccoli three bean rice salad Spanish Quinoa black bean and avocado rice salad
Dragon Noodle Salad Three-Hundred & Fifty-Two tvp chorizo chorizo and sweet potato enchilada casserole

87. Quinoa and Lentils with Butternut Squash and Rapini (One-Dish Vegan)
88. Three-Bean Rice Salad (One-Dish Vegan)
89. Spanish Quinoa (The Vegan Slow Cooker)
90. Black Bean and Avocado Rice Salad (One-Dish Vegan)
91. Dragon Noodle Salad (Isa Does It)
92. Pickles with no canning necessary (here)
93. TVP Chorizo (here)
94. Chorizo and Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole (The Vegan Slow Cooker)

2.   Shoot 1 roll of film per month. 12/12  

My last roll of film is in my Kodak Cameo. I can’t wait to get all of these rolls developed and scanned. I will be posting them here when I do!

3.  Write 9th NaNoWriMo novel.  

(check out the nanowrimo tag)

4. Hardcore cull my wardrobe. 

I didn’t do quite as much as I had wanted to, but my wardrobe is undeniably culled! I donated a giant trash bag full of things I didn’t wear anymore!

5. Save money for a new camera.  

I love my new camera a lot. It’s super easy to carry. I want a better portrait lens, for sure, but I have really enjoyed the freedom to only carry a cute-mid-sized purse, as opposed to my camera bag which was occasionally mistaken for a diaper bag.

6. Finish afghan. 

It was hard to work on this one after it got hot. Everything is done except for weaving in the ends, though, and we used it on our bed through spring. It’s practically done, it’s a functioning blanket!

7. Reach Advanced Level yoga with Erin Motz’s DoYouYoga course

#journeytosplits 07265415-01 07275425-01 splits, almost

dancer Three-Hundred & Forty wheel, bridge Untitled

When I started I was afraid that this one was impossible. Or that I would “do” the classes, but they would actually be too exhausting for me. However, I have actually reached an advanced level of yoga this year! I can’t do everything in these classes, most “flying” poses are still beyond me, but I no longer collapse in the middle of the advanced classes, and I managed to do all 49 of them to my satisfaction.

8. Beat (Finish?) 5 video games. 5/5  5: Kingdom Hearts: RE:Chain of Memories, both the Sora and Riku paths!

Day 79:

9. 30 self portraits in 2015. 


Three-Hundred & Thirty-Eight




Three-Hundred & Forty-Four


Three-Hundred & Fifty-Six



10.  Fill my first Smash journal. 

(Smash Journal tag)

11. See a play.

This just didn’t happen. I really wasn’t paying attention to what plays were going on and so nothing I was particularly interested in was playing during my last month rush to get things done, I wasn’t going to go and see whatever just because it would check a box for me. This is ostensibly an “easy” one, which is probably why I kept putting it off. File this under the list: Things to do WHILE I’m 30, because these things undone are still goals for me. The “end” of the challenge doesn’t mean I’m never going to go to a play!

12. Day trip to Norman.  

Blogged here.

13. Go bowling.

Could have done this one, I guess, but we’re trying to save money. Maybe it will be a treat during an upcoming school break!

14.  Try 5 new cocktails. 5/5  

This happened pretty easily. Whenever we ate somewhere that had fancy cocktails, I’d try something new. Shaun filled my advent calendar last year with tiny bottles of liquors I’d never had and we found cocktail recipes for some of them. Finally, this summer, we had a good amount of sangria. Sangria just kept falling in my lap.

15. Learn the math I skipped.

This is a pretty personal goal that I haven’t updated along the way. I definitely made progress, using Khan Academy, but I didn’t meet the mental goal I had set for myself. I’m still glad to feel like it’s something I COULD do, though. It was fun to feel like I was really learning something. If you know someone struggling with math I really recommend Khan Academy!

16. Veganize 10 of my family’s recipes. 0/10

There are less family recipes than I thought, I guess! Maybe someday!

17. Make canned pickles!  

Altered this one to get it done! I used this non-canning recipe.

Three-Hundred & Forty-Eight

Each jar has different seasoning. They’re all super delicious!! I’m on my third jar, ahahahaha.

18. Print another photo book.

Since this is expensive (looking at $70+ for the book I am currently working on,) I had mentally altered my goal to: Finish editing photos from 2007 for the photo book. And I still didn’t get it done! I took more photos in 2007 (16,000+) than any other year. I do have a lot to show for this goal, though, I have edited and culled my folders from 2007. I’ve deleted about 7000 photos and have edited around 900 photos that I’m really happy with. I have 2 more months of photos to go through.

19.  Try 5 new ways to style my hair. 5/5 

I thought I would get pictures of each style, but the fishtail braid was really the only one that I liked well enough to photograph at all. My hair isn’t super easy to style. I tried, though!

20. Get everything boxed or bagged to donate.

Well. We took about 10 boxes and a large bag of clothes to the donation center. We have 4 boxes left that wouldn’t fit in the car and I haven’t even started in the library or library closet. This is huge progress. I don’t think I realized quite how much I was holding onto things I didn’t need. I’ve gotten much better at letting things go this year. I haven’t gone through everything I want to go through yet.

21. Start a 365 photo set on my 29th birthday. Finish it! 

I’m pretty happy with this project, as a whole! Here are my favorite shots from the last month.

Three-Hundred & Forty-Five Three-Hundred & Fifty-ThreeThree-Hundred & Sixty-One Three-Hundred & Sixty-Two Three-Hundred & Sixty-Three

Three-Hundred & Sixty-Five
Day 365!!

22. Finish watching 5 of the TV series we’re currently working through on Netflix. 5/5  

In the end, I think we watched more than 5 of the series we had in our streaming queue. One of the things that makes me painfully anxious is unexpected/embarrassing/tense moments on TV shows. It’s a silly anxiety, but most of my anxieties are. We got into a good routine with these shows on Netflix and my anxiety about watching TV has lessened a lot this year.

23. See 5 movies in the theater. 2/5

We saw 2. We had planned to go once a week the last 3 weeks but we had car trouble, which both kept us home and added an expense for the month. There are lots of movies that came out the past year that I wanted to see in the theater. It’s my favorite way to see movies. But I had a great year and we saved money by staying home, which I  was able to put towards other things on this list, like getting my camera.

24. Scan my mom’s family photos

I worked on this at least once a month, really. It was hard to make myself do it in the summer, when I would much rather be working on, say, my video game goal! I will try to keep this pace, anyway, and eventually I will get it all done.

Grandpa Jack
My mom & sister Jenny at Big Springs in Missouri
Hanging with my dad in my Voltron jammies.

25. Organize all of the closets.

I got some of the laundry room closets taken care of. The office closet is basically untouched this past year, though I have organized it before, I’m not happy with the system I used.

I did get a whole lot done in the bedroom!




26. Write in a journal once a week.

I switched from my paper journal to something saved on my computer after the new year, but I have written something about every day so far, and I will continue that private project through the end of the year.

27.  Design & Print a 2015 calendar of my photos. 

I designed two, and gave them as Christmas gifts!

28. Write a list of major cleaning projects and do them all!

This list is about half done. Lots of important progress, though!

  • move all furniture and clean behind/under it. (fridge, dressers, couch, entertainment center.) (Progress: Calling this done. Kitchen, bathroom, living room done in month 6. One half of bedroom done in month 7. Library is still such a work in progress that I doubt I’ll get it finished, but all of the rooms we use regularly are looking good. I just need to do a little more in the bedroom and some of that requires getting rid of furniture. It should get done in the next year) 
  • clean the fridge out. (Progress: Fridge done. Still need to hit the freezer!)
  • take ALL THAT RECYCLING so the cozy system can start working. (Progress: Done.)
  • take everything to Goodwill. (Progress: One carload done, only have a few boxes left to go.)
  • finish each room. If I still have to have stuff piled in a corner, at least let it be stored in a plastic tub. (Progress: Living room: Done. Laundry room: Done. Dining Room: as done as it will get. )
  • closet overhaul. (Progress: Started the bedroom closet. Made a lot of hanger space, so far, need to work on the stuff that’s on shelves next!)
  • Springtime Garden Tidy. (Progress: I managed everything by the back lot, and now it’s summer and unbearable. Major progress though! Calling it done. Everything else is maintenance.)


29. Do a sewing project with my mom.

My mom comes over every Monday to work on a painting and have dinner with us. I thought we would have plenty of time to add in another project, something simple like placemats or curtains, but time just got away from both of us!  I failed this goal partly because my mom has been painting paid commissions while she’s here, instead of just for fun things like when I set the goal. I’m super glad that my mom has had so many commissions, and I still got to spend the time with her.

30. Shoot a day in photos on my 30th birthday! 

Here it is!