An update on “24 before 24”

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Last year, when I was young and overly ambitious, I decided I would make a list of 24 things to accomplish before I turned 24. You can read my thought process on that here.

It’s been a month since I turned 24, so I decided to go ahead and see how I did with this list, even though I was over it about 6 months in. Here goes:

1. Try sake. 
This was one of the first things I checked off.

2. Read 14 books.
Nope. Not even close.

3. Have a mentor.
Still working on that.

4. Redesign my blog. 
Yes, I did it! It’s time to update it again, actually.

5. Go on a double date. 
Yeah, and it was a pretty cool date.

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24 before 24: Make something knitted

I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of girl who takes up knitting every two years. Liz in 30 Rock is too! Raise your hand high if you get this!

Well, this summer I finally made something knitted that came of the needles. I made a something. It’s bit much of a something, but it’s something.

I present to you, a square piece of yarn.

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When I was in Boise, my aunt Cathy very patiently taught me how to knit and fix my mistakes.

With knitting, you can unravel everything and start from the beginning, go back one or more stitches to fix a mistake, decide the mistake wasn’t a big deal and continue, or even continue doing the “mistake” to make some sort of pattern.

Once I decided that it was fun and stopped stressing so much, it became more fun.

Isn’t life kind of like that? Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up thinking about where we should be or what our future should look like. I know I do! But as long as we’re working hard and having fun, then why worry so much?

Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. Well, the cool thing with knitting (and perhaps life too) is that there could always be a new project.

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The yarn my aunt gave me reminded me so much of a blanket I had as a child. I used to carry it around with me everywhere until Kindergarten. The blanket’s name was Nunny.

Now my bunny has her own Nunny. Yes, I have a stuffed bunny and I’m 23. Sue me. She’s also my boyfriend’s, as I made her at Build a Bear for him.

Say hello, Honey Bun!

This post is part of a series on the 24 things I want (or just wanted) to do before turning 24 in February 2015.

24 before 24: Redesign my blog

I finally did it!

If you’ve been to this blog before, you may notice a few changes. Yes, I redesigned my site! I’m seriously so excited about the new look! It feels even better because I did it myself! It turns out that it wasn’t even that hard! Guys, this is a big deal! Exclamation marks all day every day! I was inspired my this post and decided that if I put in some work, I could change my blog all by myself.

With the help of WordPress, a free theme and a day’s worth of work using custom CSS and the WordPress forums, I was able to make my site look the way I wanted. I’m sure I’ll make more changes later on, but for now, I’m happy.

Here’s what Modern Notebook looked like before I started making changes:

Modern Notebook 1.2

And here’s what it looks like today:

Modern Notebook 2.2

Can you see the changes? It’s like one of those Spot the Differences challenges. Mainly, I wanted to make the site look more like my own and less like the theme because it is really common. My favorite colors are pink and gray, so I used those throughout the site. Even though I love pink and I feel like it goes with Modern Notebook, I wanted to minimize it while keeping it on as an accent color.

Let’s geek out about those details!

I upgraded from a free WordPress account to WordPress premium back in April, when I changed the blog’s name and URL. The upgrade comes with great options, such as the ability to customize with CSS. But I was lost and honestly, I didn’t even bother with it. I just figured I would have to take a class in CSS or do a ton of research before I could make any changes. That’s simply not the case though.

CSS can be really fun, especially if you have a customize tool and theme to work with. With the way my blog is set up, I just had to look at the framework of the free theme I was using, figure out what I wanted changed and make adjustments from there. It would have been a lot different if I was working from scratch. Knowing a little bit about how HTML works helped too, since CSS is different but similar.

Using CSS, I finally hid the pink polka dots that are signature part of the free Adelle theme. I also snipped off the end of he navigation bar, which looked  more like a ribbon before, and I changed it from black to gray. Adelle normally has squiggly lines between each section in the sidebar, but I changed them to straight lines. To make a cohesive look, I made the post date the same color gray as the navigation bar and changed it from an oval shape to more of a circle.

By the way, CSS stands for cascading style sheets. It’s often used to style web pages and interface with HTML. Or something like that.  read about it on Wikipedia and got a little lost.

Most of the work came down to Google + copy + paste = :) Add some critical thinking for a job well done.

Some of the changes didn’t even require CSS. For example, I added a new header to give it a signature touch, thanks to the help of my amazing boyfriend. We made the header together in Photoshop. (But it could be done using any free photo or design software instead.)

Then I worked on the sidebar to make it look special. I added in my blog’s categories with a text widget and HTML, only after going through all my posts to make sure they were each in the right categories. Then I added in an image to link to my summer playlist, which I plan to change out occasionally.  Finally, I used free social media icons from Carrie Loves Design and took out the old social widgets. To top it all off, I changed out my profile photo from last summer to a more recent one.

That about did it!

If you have any questions about how I made my site look the way I wanted, let me know with a comment or email! I’d love to help. If you have any advice or critiques about my redesign, please let me know! I’m totally new to this.

P.S. I’m trying to do 24 things before my 24th birthday in February, and this one is on the list. I know, I’m crazy. See the rest of the 24 before 24 list and then judge me.

24 Before 24: Double date

As silly as it sounds, I’ve been wanting to go on a double date even before I ever had a boyfriend. The idea of it just sounded so cool and grown up to me. Besides, I’m a romantic and thought about dating too much before I had such a thing at age 19.

I’ve been in the dating world for five years now and finally had a planned out double date that came through.
My boyfriend and I went to dinner/late lunch with my oldest sister and her husband last month. They were kind enough to help him move a couch into his new apartment in Santa Monica. My pregnant sister was craving sandwich, so we went to a nearby Jewish deli after that.

I wish I had pictures to show but they are camera shy and I didn’t think to take any of our food instead until it was gone.

I love Katie and Eric and I want them to get to know my boyfriend, especially because we plan on being in each other’s lives forever.

It was really nice to be able to spend time with another couple for a few hours. But I realized that in that since Paul and I have had a ton of double dates with another very special couple and I hadn’t counted those.

We hang out with his sister and her boyfriend fairly often. The four of us have seen a lot of movies together. Over the past two years, we’ve had
breakfast, lunch and dinner. I can’t remember, but we might have had all three meals together in the same day before. Yeah, that probably happened during FYF weekend this past summer.

I feel lucky to have such wonderful people in my life that I can call my family and friends.

*This post is part of a series that goes along with my 24 Before 24 list.

How about yourself? Do you like double dates? Do you have a few favorite couples that you and your SO call best buds?

24 before 24

It’s my birthday on Sunday and I’m turning 23. Woo hoo! Hurray!

Actually, I’m not quite as excited as I used to be about birthdays and that sucks. I used to hear people complain that it’s all down hill after 21 when it comes to birthdays. I used to think, “That’s never going to be something I say.” Maybe I’m just feeling that way because my birthday is the same day as the Superbowl this year and some of my favorite people have plans. Oh well. I’ll get over it.

So, I’ve been seeing these lists of X before X, so I thought I would do my own. I wrote the list in a journal a few days ago and thought I would share it on here.

I need more adventure in my life and perhaps this is one way to add it in. It’s not entirely spontaneous and it is a little forced, but I think I’m okay with that.

1. Try sake. (Did it!)

2. Read 14 books. (Books 1-3 are done.)

3. Have a mentor.

4. Redesign my blog.

5. Go on a double date. (Did it!)

6. Watch all of Titanic.

7. Make something knitted.

8. Do a photo scavenger hunt.

9. Learn how to make latte art.

10. Take a horse back riding lesson.

11. Make apple pie with my mom’s recipe.

12. Organize my room and get rid of stuff.

13. Take a trip with friends. (Possibly a road trip)

14. Dye at least some of my hair a crazy color. (pink or blue, perhaps?)

15. Complete an internship and officially graduate college.

16. Join a professional organization.

17. Correspond with a pen pal.

18. Go past Tijuana in Mexico.

19. Go to a batting cage.

20. Go on a 10 mile hike.

21. Go to a karaoke bar.

22. See a UCB show.

23. Make tamales.

24. Go to Vegas.

I wrote them in a different order, but then had some fun making them into a triangle shape. The order doesn’t matter, really.

These are all things I’ve never done before. Some are easy and odd, while others will be more of a big deal. After I complete something, I’ll be sure to post about it.