Saturday, August 9, 2014


Can you believe it?!  I am THIRTY years old.... am I old or still considered young? Haha!  Guess it doesn't really matter, because it's happening (or happened) and just like on past birthdays since beginning Hammers and High Heels (click to see 27, 28, or 29), I am going to share my birthday list-  Not a to-do list, or a list of goals, or things that I want, this list is focused on the positives in life.  I know everyday life isn't completely perfect and I don't have everything figured out but... 

This is a list of the 30 things that I am happy about and thankful for in my life as it is right now- on this birthday.

At Thirty Years Old...

1.  I understand that I spent my 20’s figuring out and sort of setting up the kind of life I wanted to have.  I’m thankful for all of those experiences, everything I learned, and how hard I worked during those 10 years and in a way, I am very thankful to leave that time behind and move into my 30's with the knowledge I've gained.

2.  “Let’s see if Carla can fit in this”…. I’m still known for my hidden roadshow talent at work.  I suppose it’s always good to provide entertainment for coworkers.

3.  My dad set a record number of visits to Minneapolis, 3 visits already and more to come.  Glad to see him living more life and having more adventures throughout the year.

4.  Along with my dad, we've had just about everyone from our immediate family visit Minneapolis already this year.  Even with all the crazy prep for guests, I always love every second I get with our family, especially on our (new) home turf.

5.  I am named as an inventor for three patents filed with the US Patent Office.  I know many of my fellow co-workers have like 20 or 100 of these, but getting the news that these were filed felt pretty cool.  Maybe I'll have the real deal plaque on a future birthday list?!

6.  I really love my role as auntie to these kiddos.  Despite the long distance, I think they like their auntie too :)

7.  After a 7 year strong hold against it, my husband finally joined the social network know as Facebook. 

8.  Thirty feels like a  kick-in-the-pants sort of, and I mean that in a good way, for me at least.  I've had this feeling about it that "well, no more excuses, you aren't in your 20's, time to REALLY get moving on all the things you've wanted to accomplish in life before you are too old to enjoy it."  I realize that some of you will think this statement sounds nuts since yes, I've got plenty of life left and I'm only at 30, but I hope you understand what I mean.  It's a different feeling than when you turn 20, 20 doesn't really kick-you-in-the-pants.

9.  As you get older, it's easier to laugh at yourself and heck, you get more comfortable being a weirdo in public... especially if it makes a friend laugh
How I entertain myself when I can't find any cute shoes.
10.  Alex started a new role at work that allows him to travel quite a bit.  Although I miss him when he is gone, I understand how exciting it can be when typically work becomes an adventure in some ways.  I am incredibly proud of my husband.

11.  I worked through the most challenging year in my career.  I learned a lot and also realized that in good times and tough times, one of my greatest strengths is to never give up- No matter the stress or struggle, I'm the kinda gal that wants to see things through to the end.

12.  I learned that #11 means I have "Grit"- a trait showing "passion for a particular long term goal or end state coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective."  Never knew that before, but damn right I do.

13.  Rocco and Sadie.  Sure, they drive me crazy and are often a source of guilt when Alex and I are crazy busy, but I love these two pups so incredibly much.  They are my family and I can't imagine life without them.

14.  My latest business trip marks my 6th visit to China.  Funny to look back  at my 27 birthday list to see that was when the first one happened.  Always thankful for the experience travelling abroad for work and hope I continue to get these opportunities. 

15.  During my Michigan Spring Break visit earlier this year, I saw my (ex/old?) step-sister for the first time in over five years (our parents divorced, ex/old might have sounded confusing, you get it right?).  The 1 year old little girl I met 18 or so years ago is a beautiful young lady that is beginning her sophomore year in college.  It was amazing to see her and I hope to see her again and again.

16.  A Dammit Doll comes in handy when a project goes awry.

17.  I picked out my own car for the very first time.  Might sound strange, but the couple before were either from my parents or jointly decided on between Alex and I.   I've always wanted to pick out my own car and finally got to do it!

18.  Now that I am four years into doing this birthday list tradition, I think it's the first time I'm seeing how fun it can be to look back at what I was thankful for at each age.  Sure, twenty-seven wasn't that long ago but looking back today I think some of what I said then was kind of silly :) I suppose that will keep happening year after year, but it shows you've learned more and you keep evolving.  I'm thankful that I'll keep seeing that.   (click the links if you are interested in reading previous birthday lists-  Twenty-Seven, Twenty-Eight, or Twenty-Nine).  

19.  My husband lived one of his dreams and got to see the Tour de France grand finale in Paris.  It is an amazing feeling when you get to see someone you love experience something they've always dreamed of doing.

20.  I finally realize that I shouldn’t always worry or think worst case scenario because if something bad does happen, you still won’t be prepared for it.

21.  With #20, I’m beginning to see the power of more positivity or keeping a positive outlook in all thinks in life.  If you envision things that way, they will be.  I'm going with that theory for this decade.

22.  Tombstone pizzas are still as good as they were when I was a kid.  No matter how many times I burn the roof of my mouth eating them, they are always delicious.  I repeat DELICIOUS.

23.  I have mastered the art of making the perfect dirty martini.

24.  Thanks to a gal named Marjorie finding Hammers and High Heels, we have a fun project that’s been in the works for a while now and we hope it will come to fruition during my 30th year. 

25.  I cut my hair for the first time in 5 years.  This was funny to me when I went back to read my 27 birthday list because I talk about how bad my hair looked when it was short...  still think I like the long look better but hey, change is always good and when's a better time than when you're turning THIRTY :)

26.  Alex and I moved away from Michigan and all of our family 7 years ago.  For the first time in 7 years, we now have family in Minneapolis.  My cousin Kerry and her husband Nick just moved here from California and it's been refreshingly wonderful to remember what it is like when you could just call/text family to randomly hang out.  I hope the Minnesota winter doesn't scare them away!

27.  Kerry and Nick have two dogs- Walter and Uno.  Needless to say, Rocco and Sadie are also excited about their cousins moving to Minneapolis too!  The pup-playdates are pretty b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

28.  I spent my big 3-0 with my husband in NYC.  A big scary birthday couldn't have felt more perfect and special.  Thankful my husband made that day so special for me.

29.  With #28, I still love blogging but I've allowed myself to enjoy being in the moment more and not pressuring myself to keep up with blogging when I real life fun is happening.  Hence posting this more than a week after my actual birthday :) 

30. I received this text from my dad on my birthday…  “Being 30 isn’t bad so enjoy it because you have a great life and there’s nothing you can do about getting older.”

Simple advice on a big birthday.  Wise words dad, thank you!
Sort of fuzzy, but a couple pics from my actual birthday while out with Alex in NYC
Here's to starting 30 from where I am right now, cheers!


  1. Happy Birthday. I am so curious about the patents - what have you helped invent, if you can share?

  2. Happy Birthday! Thanks for sharing. Mary in NY

  3. A late Happy Birthday to you... And take it from someone who is MORE than 30 years older than you.... The best of your life is yet to come!!!!!


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