The Official Life List

After weeks of agony, I finally have a complete life list a scant two days before the deadline. I’ve edited the organization a bit to reflect my new blog categories because I’m meticulous that way. The new breakdown did help me come up with a 30 more items, so yay for persnickety.

Nicole and I share the same view on life lists. For me, this isn’t a bucket list. Aside from a few obvious goals, I won’t look back on my life with disappointment if I fail to achieve an item on this list. Also, I expect the list will change as I do. This list reflects, not dictates, my life.

So, without further ado, this is who I am today.


  • Visit all 58 U.S. National Parks: Acadia, American Samoa, Arches, Badlands, Big Bend, Biscayne, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Carlsbad Caverns, Channel Islands, Congaree, Crater Lake, Cuyahoga Valley, Death Valley, Denali, Dry Tortugas, Everglades, Gates of the Arctic, Glacier, Glacier Bay, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Great Basin, Great Sand Dunes, Great Smoky Mountains, Guadalupe Mountains, Haleakala, Hawaii Volcanoes, Hot Springs, Isle Royale, Joshua Tree, Katmai, Kenai Fjords, Kings Canyon, Kobuk Valley, Lake Clark, Lassen Volcanic, Mammoth Cave, Mesa Verde, Mount Rainier, North Cascades, Olympic, Petrified Forest, Redwood, Rocky Mountain, Saguaro, Sequoia, Shenandoah, Theodore Roosevelt, Virgin Islands, Voyageurs, Wind Cave, Wrangell Saint Elias, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion. (Inspired by Leslie.)
  • Go camping and “rough it.”
  • Vacation on a house boat on Lake Powell.
  • Visit all 50 states.
  • Vacation in an R.V.
  • Tour the Smithsonian.
  • Visit the World Trade Center Memorial and Museum.
  • Visit Iguazu Falls. (I did this with my family as a child.)
  • Celebrate Mikey and Nicholas’s 8th grade graduation.
  • Celebrate Nicholas’s 8th grade graduation.
  • Celebrate Mikey’s high school graduation.
  • Celebrate Nicholas’s high school graduation.
  • Celebrate Mikey’s college graduation.
  • Celebrate Nicholas’s college graduation.
  • Make more than enough money to put my husband through school or allow him a career change.
  • Live in Buenos Aires for one year.
  • Establish a “set in stone” family night.
  • Establish a “set in stone” date night.
  • Introduce my grandmother to my husband and our sons.
  • Visit Argentina.
  • France.
  • Italy.
  • Austria.
  • Germany.
  • Sweden.
  • Denmark.
  • Holland.
  • Visit Anne Frank Museum. (I did this as a child. Unforgettable.)
  • Read Chronicles of Narnia with the boys.
  • Read the Harry Potter series with the boys.
  • Visit a farm sanctuary.
  • Go zip lining.
  • Fly in a hot air balloon.
  • Create a life list with my husband. Help him achieve it.
  • Create a life list with the boys. Help them achieve it.

House & Home

  • Have nothing in my home that is not useful or that I do not believe to be beautiful.
  • Create Essential Papers File. (Inspired by 52 Bites.)
  • Fold a fitted sheet Gap perfect without a Youtube tutorial.
  • Grow vegetables from seed.
  • Plant and harvest backyard vegetable garden.
  • Have a paperless kitchen. (Inspired by 52 Bites.)
  • Sew a quilt or bedspread for Mikey and Nicholas.
  • Create a compost system…pile…whatever they are called.
  • Have a collection of effective, nontoxic, homemade cleaning supply recipes.
  • Host a regular dinner and game night.
  • Find and buy the perfect dining room table.
  • Make the house as green and energy efficient as possible.
  • Have a home that reflects our family.
  • Buy a comfortable sofa in an unusual color.
  • Make a fairy garden.
  • Have our home featured in a magazine.

Health (Body, Mind, Spirit)

  • Sleep 8 hours every night for at least 30 days.
  • Become a person who exercises regularly.
  • Compete in a tennis tournament.
  • Run a 5k.
  • Achieve a healthy body image.
  • Spend one day per week offline.
  • Pay off all debt: credit card, student loan #1, student loan #2, mortgage, line of credit.
  • Read the Bible cover to cover.
  • Attend mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica.
  • Tour the Holy See.
  • Visit all four Papal Basilicas: Saint Peter’s Basilica, Saint John Lateran, Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Saint Mary Major.
  • See the Pope.
  • Shake hands with the Pope.
  • Visit the Holy Land.
  • Attend a spiritual retreat or spend a weekend in a monastery.
  • Read Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  • Pray the rosary for everyday 30 days.
  • Inspire someone to make permanent life changes.

Life & Style

  • Speak Spanish fluently once again.
  • Write and publish a book.
  • Appear on the New York Times bestseller list.
  • Attend a book signing.
  • Write a monthly or weekly column for a magazine or newspaper.
  • Have a signature scent.
  • Have a perfume named after me.
  • Develop an all-natural, nontoxic beauty routine.
  • Replace my makeup with all-natural, nontoxic, and green alternatives.
  • Read the Western Canon. (Any suggestion on which source to follow?)
  • Use my camera’s manual settings. Correctly.
  • Read a book series in a genre I normally avoid. (e.g., The Hobbit and the complete Lord of the Rings or A Game of Thrones.)
  • Read my Unread Library.
  • Construct family tree at least three generations up.
  • Have a birthday party.
  • Watch 100 classic movies.
  • Swim with dolphins.
  • Bathe an elephant.
  • Watch a live performance of O Fortuna.


  • Eat a salad made from garden vegetables.
  • Have a go-to pie crust recipe.
  • Can something.
  • Make yogurt.
  • Have a go-to recipe for empanadas from scratch that won’t make me want to poke my eyes out.
  • Have a go-to bread recipe.
  • Make “I must be in Mexico” refried pinto beans from scratch.
  • Eat completely unprocessed for 30 days.
  • Eliminate caffeine from my diet.
  • Attend holistic culinary school or seminar.
  • Make a big batch of green goddess dressing.


Join the List


  1. Being a “live by the seat of my pants type of gal” — you have inspired me to take a broader view and create my own list. As you said – ” not a must do” but a general list of things I would like to see, do and experience before this ride is over. Ever since the movie “The Bucket List” and the publishing of of the book “1000 Things To Do Before I Die (and its ilk) – it has become a very popular concept. I will now take it past the conceptual stage to an action stage. Thank you for your inspiring words. Love the new design of your sight, especially the graphics. Continued success….

  2. Love it! And I agree with your view of a life list . . . being “life” and all, it should change. As a matter of fact, should you live to 100, there should still be at least one or two things left to check off!

  3. Love it! My favorite might be “become a person who exercises regularly.” Me too! Not just to exercise regularly, but to have that be a part of who I am and what I do so that it’s not a constant struggle (not that I even struggle with it constantly – just don’t do it). I thought I commented before but maybe didn’t actually post it – I could never read LOTR because I couldn’t get through The Hobbit. Then several LOTR fanatics/friends told me they hated The Hobbit also and it’s not necessary for reading the trilogy…so keep that in mind. Also, for a science fiction/fantasy possibility, since Narnia is on your list, CS Lewis has a science fiction trilogy that I think is his only other fiction. I loved it – the Narnia books are my absolute favorite and I’ve read them almost every year since I was 8 – and I’m 54 now! I’m Jewish and still love them.

    Anyway – love your blog and appreciate that you take the time to write. BTW, I’m an attorney also – it doesn’t make me grumpy but working for a mega-firm did, so now I work for a non-profit and am much happier!


  4. Oooh I’m with you on the “eliminate caffeine” item. That’s something I’ve wanted to do forever but I can’t seem to drum up the willpower…yet.

  5. Jules-wow! You have some ambition! ๐Ÿ™‚ Let me know how you make it through all the “begats” when you read the Bible through. That’s where I get stuck!!! But that’s an awesome goal to have!!!!! You can do the 5k thing. I can’t believe that after the 30 Day Shred and elliptical I can run 3.5 miles and still speak at the end of the running! And 2 months ago??? Couldn’t have run to catch the ice cream man!

  6. Awesome stuff! Congratulations!
    Love the life list- can’t believe you have bathe an elephant!
    Me too! I’d be happy just to play ball with one!
    Know anyone with an elephant?!
    I’m so jealous- you’re gonna have so much fun at Camp Mighty!

    • I’m actually a ball of nerves and don’t want to go! I’m such a homebody. I decided to force myself out of my comfort zone and here I am, quietly losing my mind.

  7. Why those countries, but not Switzerland?

    Lots of folks go to Lake Powell here, many on house boats. I’d never heard of it before moving here. I’ll have to check it out.

    • No reason. Switzerland should be on there, but I was so frazzled trying to think of what to put on my list that I skipped it. Eventually I’ll group Europe into sections.

  8. For the Western Canon goal I would recommend following with reading list of St. John’s College ( I am an alumnus of the college and the whole program is based off of the Great Books of western philosophy/literature. If you look over the reading list you can see we cover pretty much everything! It’s already laid out in a four year plan but you could shorten it by doing larger readings or skipping some books ๐Ÿ™‚

    hope this helps!

    • Oh! You went to St. John’s??? That is awesome!!I would have hated it when I was 20, but now I’d LOVE to go there! My 14yo daughter has spent the last couple summers at a Great Books summer program at Amherst, which sounds like heaven to me! Wish they had a grown-up version.

    • I’ll second the Great Books program recommendation. I followed a similar timeline during four semesters of undergrad (I was part of a separate university following the St. John’s Great Books ideology) and loved it. It’s a great way to get a grasp on history and philosophy while reading the original sources of it all.

  9. Jules, That is quite the impressive list. A few things I have done and want to do. It is interesting to read because we also get to know more about you. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I am on the 5th book of the Game of Thrones series, and I can definitely say that you won’t be disappointed in the slightest!

  11. Love your list. Love.
    Have you ever read “The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende? I just found my copy at my mom’s house and thought of you. I loved it as a child and am going to re-read it with Sam.

  12. “Have a perfume named after me” sounds like exactly something you would want on your wish list! It totally made me smile. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. email me your address and I’ll mail you my copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, There’s GOT to be a better book out there on the subject.
    Love love love the bucket list. I don’t think I could eliminate sugar for 10 days, nor eat a vegan diet for 5…I think I need to start really small. BUT, you gave me a swell idea for my own list.

    • Oh, I know. I have the little compendium or cheater book. I forgot what it’s called, but it’s in my Unread Library. I might have to take you up on that offer.

  14. I can’t recommend Mark Bittman’s pie crust from How To Cook Everything highly enough! I love this list and was so excited when I saw something on it I might be able to help with! In his book he has variations for sweet or savory, white or whole wheat, and a few others I can’t think of. I have never been disappointed, and the book is available in my library, and has a decent iTunes app.

    Good luck, though I did want to mention clearer-defined goals that you can easily know you’ve reached might make it easier to reach them (“run a 5k” is clear, but how do you know whenyou’ve become a person who exercises regularly?).

  15. You probably already know about this, but Jordan and I just visited some national parks in North Carolina, and we were introduced to the passport program. You get a stamp in your “passport” for every national park you visit; it’s not gimmicky, just a fun way to keep track of where you’ve been and where you’d like to go. Jordan and I are list people, and this is such a neat way to plan trips and actually make visits to the national parks happen. The passport was only $9, and the stamps at each park are free (the parks people are always so obliging and kind; they’re so excited to see people with their passports!). You can also purchase commemorative stamps (colored photograph stickers) from each year the passport has been in place (since 1986). That’s probably something Jordan and I will do — we’re nerds like that — but it’s totally optional, meaning the actual stamp/passport project is about $9. We’ve got four stamps in ours and can’t wait to accumulate more!

  16. Just happened upon your blog, courtesy of John and Sherry at Young House Love. I absolutely love this list! (And as a good Catholic girl myself, I’ve also got celebrating Mass with the Pope and at the four major basilicas on my life-goals list, too.) Seeing someone else write up their hopes and ideas this way is really inspiring. I’m off to do the same myself!


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