Tag Archives | Plans

Thirty Before Thirty 1/2 Birthday Check-In

Thirty Before Thirty 1/2 Birthday Check-In  | kaileenelise.com - image via Death to the Stock Photo

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
(Henry David Thoreau)

My half-birthday was last Monday, September 29. I didn’t do anything specific to celebrate, although we did arrive in Paris that day and ended up with some great memories to mark the occasion! When I created my thirty before thirty list 3 months ago, I only included things that were exciting, possible, and felt like a celebration. Now that I have reached the half-way mark, I am more excited than ever about this project.

Thirty Before Thirty 1/2 Birthday Check-In

Here are the items I have crossed off my thirty before thirty list so far:

  • Plan a great 30th birthday for my Mister – We had a wonderful time celebrating in Charlotte with his buddies from college.
  • Have a picnic in the park – We went to Blues on the Green in Zilker Park earlier this summer with my Mister and a group of our friends. We packed a picnic dinner and sat under the Austin sky hanging out and listening to music.
  • Buy a pair of designer jeans – Before we left for Europe, I went to Nordstrom and picked up a pair of Paige Denim jeans along with a few other items for our trip. Love the way these feel!
  • Travel to at least 1 new country – With our Europe trip, I was able to check Germany and Austria off the list!
  • Run in a race – I ran a 10K last month, and finished much quicker than I was expecting! While I would love to set my sights on another half marathon, I’m sticking with shorter races for now. I just registered for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K in Austin the weekend before our wedding.
  • Go paddle boarding – My friend Jen took me out on Town Lake for my first paddle boarding experience this summer. I also went out a few times on Lake Norman when we were visiting family in Charlotte. I was always nervous about paddle boarding, but it’s much less scary and way more relaxing than I thought it would be!
  • Have a makeover for the first time – When I went to Nordstrom for the shopping trip mentioned earlier, I also booked a makeup lesson at the Bobbi Brown counter. It was a great experience! Special thanks to Chelsea Bea for encouraging me to give this a try.
  • Drink all of my tea before buying more – I’m going to consider this done even though I didn’t technically drink all of my tea. Instead, I gave some away and threw the rest out. Many of the teas I owned had sugar and other ingredients that are not Whole30 approved. Instead of forcing myself to drink them, I have decided to start with a clean slate and be more conscious about the teas I buy moving forward.
  • Learn how to curl my hair – I purchased my first curling iron and brought it with me to Europe. Forcing myself into the new habit while on our trip turned out to be a great plan (since it was my only hair styling option). It took some practice, but it was was easier than I thought it would be to style and I love the way it looks curled!

So, that’s 9 things down and 21 to go in these last six months before my 30th birthday. Looking at the items that are complete, it’s interesting that several of them were things that I was nervous about, but really wanted to do. The lesson here is that I need to go for it more often… no matter what “it” is!

Looking ahead, there are a few items already in the works, like a mini-moon in Vegas just after our wedding and a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras! There are also other items like cultivating a daily meditation practice that I need to spend some time on. I’m excited about what’s left on the list, and I am looking forward to sharing another update in 3 months!

Image via Death to the Stock Photo


September Recap + October Intentions

September Recap + October Intentions | kaileenelise.com - image via Death to the Stock Photo

You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings.
(Elizabeth Gilbert)

Hello, friends. I hope you are having a very happy start to October. It really does not feel like a new month since I’m in a travel time warp. We’re traveling from Paris to Edinburgh today, then home to Austin on Sunday. When we step back into our apartment, things will start feeling a bit more real.

Similar to how the start of October has been eclipsed by our travels, September was magical, strange, disorganized, and amazing. Everything considered, I am quite pleased with how my intentions for the month turned out.

To review, my intentions for September:

  • Make two playlists – Easy, fun, and done! I put together this playlist for my 10K and another for our travels (that I’ll share in an upcoming post).
  • Run in my first race since back surgery two years ago – Yes! I ran faster than planned and had a blast with my Mister.
  • Buy some new art and finishing touches for our bathroom – No progress. Preparing for our travels took priority, so I’m planning to revisit this in October.
  • Read one fiction book – I went on a bit of a fiction binge this month, reading: Big Little LiesThe Husband’s Secret, and Me Before You. All three were great.
  • Read one non-fiction book – I am still working on Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism
  • Finish my Whole30 with total commitment – Done! I am really happy with how this went and I’m planning to start another Whole30 when we get back from our trip.
  • Go on our 21-day trip with 2 pieces of luggage + 2 carry-ons – Did it! Here’s how.
  • Write & pre-schedule some blog posts to go live during our travels – Sorta, not really.
  • Take at least one solo-trip during our Europe adventure – Nope. Our travels have been busy and I’ve dedicated my solo time to working, resting, exercising, and reading.

Since it feels like the stakes are high, I am trying to keep my October intentions realistic. I want to use the next few weeks to become reacquainted with our normal, non-travel routine. I want to do what I can to be proactive and strategic with my time.

Here are my October intentions — what are yours?

decorate the “empty corners” of the apartment
eat clean and exercise often because there’s just 7 weeks until the wedding now!
put together weekly meal plans + make some freezer meals
work on our wedding to-do list: vows, songs, gifts, seating arrangements, etc.
post the remaining Europe trip recaps (like these highlights from London)
order photo books from our last 2 international trips
finish Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism and Daring Greatly before starting another book
share a thirty before thirty check-in

Image via Death to the Stock Photo

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click + purchase I will receive a small commission. Thank you for reading & supporting An Extraordinary Adventure!


August Recap + September Intentions

August Recap + September Intentions | kaileenelise.com - image via Unsplash

One new perception, one fresh thought, one act of surrender, one change of heart, one leap of faith, can change your life forever.
(Robert Holden)

Another month down, another fresh page on the calendar. August came in like a drippy popsicle, then washed away like a quick summer rain. Our wedding is in less than 3 months, and I’m trying not to wish the days away. I want to savor these moments. The final weeks of our engagement, the wedding planning, the last days of summer, and the first hints of fall.

I was thinking that my goals for August were a complete disaster. In my mind, I failed at every last one of them. This is definitely not the case, and I’m grateful to have these monthly posts to remind me that I’m doing just fine.

To review, my intentions for August:

  • Go on a date night with my Mister – Complete! I surprised him with dinner & a movie.
  • Exercise daily (even if just for a short while) – Not even close. I’m starting to think that I should do away with “daily” goals for now. It seems like those are too far out of reach.
  • Plan out editorial calendars for the rest of 2014 – Nope, but I have been thinking about this. I want to get on it because these next few months are going to fly by.
  • Make a dent in our wedding plans – 100% yes. Our wedding planners have everything on track and we’re thrilled with how it’s turning out.
  • Finish reading one fiction book – Yep! I finished The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. This was the first fiction book I’ve read in awhile… my last one was Twilight or Fifty Shades (same thing, right?). More thoughts to come in a book review.
  • Read one non-fiction book – Yep! I finished It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig yesterday, but since it was a holiday I’m counting this for August.
  • Start my Whole 30 on Sunday, August 17th – Yes… today is day #17 and I’m feeling good! Read my recap of the first 12 days here.
  • Hang our engagement pictures over the bed – Yep! Here’s a picture of how they turned out. Our photographer, Taylor Lord, is super talented. We know she’s going to do such an amazing job documenting our wedding day!
  • Make time to do absolutely nothing – I did not do this as intentionally as I would have liked to, but our trip to North Carolina had some lake-side “nothing” moments.
  • Ask my two little sisters if they will be my flower girls / junior bridesmaids – Yes! I went with a ring pop proposal and we spent the day shopping for their dresses.
  • Celebrate my Mister’s 30th birthday with friends – Done! He has some amazing college buddies in Charlotte who hosted us for a special two-part celebration. On the first night we hung out, ate ice-cream cake, and played Cards Against Humanity. On the second night we enjoyed a fancy dinner at 5Church (I really wanted to go after reading this review on Peanut Butter Fingers). We finished the night at a 90s dance club. Yes, there is such a thing. Yes, it was amazing and it made us feel old.

September is sure to be a full month. I have a few thirty before thirty things planned, my first dress fitting, and my Mister and I will be in Europe for the last 2 weeks. He’s going for work, and I’m tagging along. We are so excited about the adventures ahead, but we also have to be super productive before we take off.

Here are my September intentions — what are yours?

make two playlists: one for running & one for travel
run in my first race since back surgery two years ago
buy some new art and finishing touches for our bathroom
read one fiction book – title TBD
read one non-fiction book – Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism
finish my Whole30 with total commitment
go on our 21-day trip with just these 2 pieces of luggage + 2 carry-ons
write & pre-schedule some blog posts to go live during our travels
take at least one solo-trip during our Europe adventure

Image via Unsplash

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click + purchase I will receive a small commission. Thank you for reading & supporting An Extraordinary Adventure!


Heading Back to North Carolina

We're Heading to North Carolina - image via Death to the Stock Photo | kaileenelise.com

Unless you move, the place where you are is the place where you will always be.
(Ashleigh Brilliant)

Hello, sweet friends! I hope you are having a delightful week.

It feels like my Mister and I just got back from our trip to NYC + Philly, and today we are traveling to North Carolina. We will be in Raleigh for a few days to visit with friends, then we’re heading to Lake Norman for time with family, and then off to Charlotte for my Mister’s 30th birthday weekend!

It will be a full and fun trip, but I have plans for productivity too. Our wedding is inching closer (3 months and 16 days now) and I’ve been working hard to slim down & get stronger for the big day. In hopes to not lose my ground, I am planning to make healthy eating choices while also mindfully indulging in some vacation fun. One of my intentions for August is to exercise daily (even if just for a short while), so I packed my running shoes, heart rate monitor, and GPS watch. Of course, I’ll be wearing my Fitbit to encourage extra steps!

In addition to health-related aspirations, I would like to finishing planning my 2014 editorial calendar for this blog and Happy Living. Knowing where the blogs are heading helps me stay focused and enjoy writing more. I downloaded some great resources from CoSchedule and The B Bar to inspire and guide me on this project. I am also pushing myself to write, write, write, and write some more. The next few months are going to be busy, so I would love to have a few weeks of content drafted and ready to go.

We haven’t been back to Raleigh since last winter, so I am eager to visit a few of our favorite restaurants, and catch up with old friends. I am especially excited to hang out with all three of my younger siblings for a week. It will also be nice to escape from the 100° Texas heat!

Do you have any final summer trips planned? Let me know if you have any tips or tricks to staying productive when you’re not in your normal routine!

Image via Death to the Stock Photo

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click + purchase I will receive a small commission. Thank you for reading & supporting An Extraordinary Adventure!


Creative Weekend To-Do List

Creative Weekend To-Do List - image via Death to the Stock Photo | kaileenelise.com

I don’t believe you have to be better than everybody else.
I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be.
(Ken Venturi)

Happy Saturday, friends!

Last night, my Mister and I had a date night. I surprised him by not being at the apartment when he came home from work. I hid away at a nearby coffee shop (to do blog things, naturally) so he could relax and watch his favorite sports show (Pardon the Interruption) in silence. I read about a similar idea on Cup of Jo and I’ve always wanted to try it. I planned the entire date night and didn’t give him any details beforehand. It was fun to surprise him and a great way to start the weekend!

It’s been two years since I posted a Creative Weekend To-Do List, but several of you have asked me to bring them back. So without further ado, I hope the following list inspires you to do something special, sparkly, and fun for yourself this weekend. No matter what’s on your to-do list, try to infuse a little creativity and joy!

  • go for a long run, then treat myself to mani/pedi
  • start a packing list for our trip to North Carolina + use a few of these travel ideas
  • create a meal plan for the next 5 days, then take a quick trip to the grocery store
  • update my desktop wallpaper with one of these beauties
  • work on a photo book for our trip to Japan and South Korea
  • look through my home decor Pinterest board + pin some inspiration for our bedroom
  • make returns from my J.Crew and Nordstrom sale shopping binges
  • have an easy Saturday evening so I can feel good at 9am yoga on Sunday
  • lounge by the pool with a good book

Image via Death to the Stock Photo

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click + purchase I will receive a small commission. Thank you for reading & supporting An Extraordinary Adventure!


July Recap + August Intentions

July Recap + August Intentions  - image via Unsplash | kaileenelise.com

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.
(Sam Keen)

The final day of July is here, yet it feels as though the month just arrived. Our July began and ended with weekends full of friends, great food, and a few too many drinks! Last week, we went on a quick trip to NYC + Philadelphia for my Mister’s work and to visit friends. We had the most delightful time in both cities.

My intentions for July were motivating, but perhaps a bit too ambitious:

  • Have a fun + relaxing 4th of July – Complete! The weather and water were perfect. We had an amazing time with great friends.
  • Go to 15 yoga classes – Complete! After being in a yoga funk for years, I’m finding my groove.
  • Try 3 more Barre3 classes – Just one, but I purchased a 3-class pack so I’ll try again in August.
  • Make 4 new recipes – Just two. These fish tacos + this Mexican zucchini dish are both weeknight winners.
  • Meditate daily – not a daily habit yet, but I am still loving LucentApp.
  • Journal often – more often than never, but I would like to keep working on this.
  • Finish The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg – Complete! Highly recommend giving it a try. I’m planning to share a book report next month.
  • Run/walk a total of 50 miles – Complete! My Fitbit motivated me to pick walking over riding in cabs while in NYC and Philly. Plus, we got to run up the “Rocky steps” which was really awesome.
  • Give #30EarlyMornings an honest try – Not even close. Attempting this did help me realize I’m much better at life when I get an early start.
  • Spend time by water – Complete! Our 4th of July was spent on Lake Austin + I went paddle boarding with my friend Jen on Ladybird Lake.

Our plans for this month include a lot more summer fun. My Mister and I are heading to North Carolina next week for 11 days to work and play, to visit friends and family.

Here are my August intentions — what are yours?

go on a date night with my Mister
exercise daily (even if just for a short while)
plan out editorial calendars for the rest of 2014
make a dent in our wedding plans
finish reading one fiction book – The Signature of All Things
read one non-fiction book – It Starts With Food
start my Whole 30 on Sunday, August 17th
hang our engagement pictures over the bed
make time to do absolutely nothing
ask my two little sisters if they will be my flower girls / junior bridesmaids
celebrate my Mister’s 30th birthday with friends

Image via Unsplash

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click + purchase I will receive a small commission. Thank you for reading & supporting An Extraordinary Adventure!


Packing Tips for Multi-Purpose Trips

Packing Tips for Multi-Purpose Trips - image via Unsplash | kaileenelise.com

To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is
to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position
in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.
(Bill Bryson)

Hello, sweet friends! Remember when I said we didn’t have any travel planned for July? Well, that was true until my Mister had a work trip pop up. He’s heading to Philadelphia and New York for meetings, and I’m tagging along so we can meet up with friends and make a weekend of it.

We love traveling together and now that I can take my work with me, it’s hard not to find a reason to join him. While he’s away on business meetings & lunches, I will be writing, blogging, social media-ing, and exploring two delightful cities.

Last summer we went to Europe for 19 days with just 2 carry-ons, a backpack, and large purse. For this 6-day trip, we were determined to keep our luggage light. The warmer months make it slightly easier to pack less, but keeping our luggage lean for several days with various occasions was not easy. We have business attire, casual clothes, things to wear out, and workout gear, all bundled together in one bag each.

Here are a few of my favorite packing tips for multi-purpose trips:

Start with shoes and work your way up

As much as I want to bring cute heels, I know we’ll be walking a lot. I’m wearing black flats and packing my new Sperrysbrown sandals, and light-weight running shoes.

Build outfits, make a plan, and roll-up

I know this is super nerdy, but I keep an Evernote to plan out what I’m wearing each day. It’s not that I have to stick with the schedule, but it helps me to see things in writing.

For this trip, I’m wearing a more business-y dress on the first day because my Mister will be traveling in a suit. I have a few other dresses that will transition from day to casual nights, depending on the accessories. I also have a pair of running shorts, yoga pants, and two tank tops. It’s easier to get a workout in while traveling if you arrive prepared!

I started rolling my clothes for our Europe trip last summer and I haven’t looked back. It reduces the amount of wrinkles, helps my suitcase stay more organized, and it seems to help me pack less.

Travel-size your toiletries

I love shopping on Sephora.com because they send free samples with every order. I hold onto my samples, trials, and travel sized toiletries for trips like this one. It makes getting ready on the go just a little sweeter. A few of my recent discoveries are Drybar’s Detox Dry Shampoo and Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil by Fresh — both available in smaller sizes.

Remember the essentials

Are there things you rely upon every day? For any trip, I know I will need my headphones, laptop, iPad, Kindle, and chargers. I’m hoping we will find time to work out 2-3 times, so I’m bringing my Fitbit and heart rate monitor. Since our schedule will be largely dictated by my Mister’s meetings, I packed some tea, EBOOST, and Kind Bars… in case I get caught without lunch or coffee. I also packed our vitamins, a notebook, my favorite pens, and sunglasses.

I hope you find these packing tips helpful for your next adventure! I’ll be sharing some pics on Instagram and of course would love any NYC or Philly recommendations!

Image via Unsplash

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click + purchase I will receive a small commission. Thank you for reading & supporting An Extraordinary Adventure!


June Recap + July Intentions

July Intentions - Sunset in Austin, TX | kaileenelise.com

Life is available only in the present moment.
(Thich Nhat Hanh)

Hello, lovelies. I hope you are well and enjoying a great start to July! The turning of a new month always delights me. A fresh page on the calendar, the completion of 4 weeks, and the beginning of something new.

But first, I have to say that June was a total blast! My blogging bestie visited and we finally shared stories face-to-face. The next weekend, we drove up to Dallas to see some friends and I ate my bodyweight in queso. Perhaps as a reaction to over-eating chips, My Mister and I started going on long Saturday morning runs.

We went tux shopping and found a band that matches my engagement ring! I started wearing a Fitbit, took my first Barre3 class, and went to rooftop yoga. We enjoyed happy hours, brunches, dinners, and soccer games with friends… and we even went tubing down a river one Saturday.

June was also my “testing ground” to decide if I wanted to start blogging again. I posted every Thursday for 5 weeks, and really loved it. Thanks to all of you who shared support in the comments, on Twitter, and by email. Posting my 30 before 30 list gave me a fresh feeling of commitment and excitement about blogging, which is all I can ask for!

In July, I am looking forward to staying put. We don’t have any travel on the calendar (at the moment) and I have my sights on enjoying weekends around town. Austin is such a fun and active city. There are tons of sporty things to do, and just as many delicious restaurants to try. And staying in is fun too. This past weekend confirmed that my Mister & I are very content on our balcony with some margaritas, chips, and salsa. Yum!

This month I want to continue focusing on gratitude and the things that make me happy. I have been eating healthier, working out more often, and (trying) to sleep more. Ultimately, my goal is to have fun this summer while still pursuing a healthy, active lifestyle.

Here are my July intentions — what are yours?

Have a fun + relaxing 4th of July
Go to 15 yoga classes
Try 3 more Barre3 classes
Make 4 new recipes
Meditate daily
Journal often
Finish The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Run/walk a total of 50 miles this month
Give #30EarlyMornings an honest try
Spend time by water

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you for reading & supporting my business!


My Thirty Before Thirty List

Thirty Before Thirty List | kaileenelise.com - image via unsplash.com

When you arise in the morning,
think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive:
to breathe, think, enjoy, and to love.
(Marcus Aurelius)

This Sunday is my 1/4 birthday! I had to visit timeanddate.com to know for sure, but now that I do it feels like something worth celebrating. My 29th year is nearly a quarter complete, and there’s a lot of exciting times ahead.

Whenever I come across a thirty before thirty list on the web, I think about how fun it would be to have one. (Check out this one from my blogging bestie, Chelsa Bea.) A countdown to my 30th birthday + a list of fun things to do? Yes, I want in!

Thirty Before Thirty List | kaileenelise.com

I’ve been collecting ideas since my 29th birthday on March 29th. Before putting together the final list, I looked through each item and asked myself three questions:

Is this exciting? Is this possible? Is this a celebration?

Each item that got yes yes yes, stayed. Anything that got a no had to go.

There are things I’m pretty certain will happen. Getting married!!! Relaxing honeymoon!

There are other items that might be a challenge. Learning Photoshop has been a back-burner goal of mine for 10 years (seriously). So, that would be an accomplishment.

There are travel-related things. I have a serious case of wanderlust… what can I say!?

And there are items just for fun! Like getting a makeover and buying designer jeans.

This list has me smiling from ear to ear. It will take effort and time to accomplish, but that’s ok! I love lists — and this one will add some focus + fun to my 29th year.

On my 30th birthday, I want to look through my thirty before thirty list with gratitude for all that’s behind — and excitement for all that’s ahead.


Images via Unsplash + Kaileen Elise


Good Eats & Gratitude – #WLActionPlan Week 4

Image :: 316/365 - Third World Baby

Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.
(William Feather)

It can be awkward or downright scary to break free from comfort zones, but it can also be energizing to try something new. Making sweeping changes or small alterations to our lives lifts us out of ruts. New experiences have the potential to reveal pieces of ourselves that would otherwise go unnoticed. This how I feel about my experience with Whole Living’s 2012 Action Plan.

It was disorienting and difficult at times, but what I gained in return was worth every ounce of sacrifice. Eliminating processed food and drinks, added sugar, dairy, gluten, caffeine, and alcohol from my diet for 4 weeks was eye-opening. I discovered juicing, learned a bunch of new recipes, and started working out regularly.

Week #4 Highlights:

  • Making it! I proved that I can achieve an ambitious goal I set for myself.
  • Five workouts strong. That’s two weeks in a row and I’m excited to keep it up.
  • Spa day celebration. On Sunday I indulged in a massage + mani pedi. Bliss!

Favorite Meals:

They say it takes 21 days to establish a new habit. Over the next three weeks I hope to incorporate what I’ve learned into sustainable, healthy habits for my everyday life. Specifically, I’m planning to maintain a diet that is 90% vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, and low in processed foods and added sugar.

Thanks to all of you who have shared your wisdom and support through these past few weeks. It definitely helped keep me motivated!

Whole Living Action Plan Recap Posts:
Week #1 / Week #2 / Week #3

Image Credit: 316/365 – Third World Baby via Helga Weber


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