As someone who is now officially in my 30s (31, in fact!), imparting wisdom upon 29-year-olds about to make the plunge has quickly become one of my favorite things.
Most of us probably had (or currently have) a mental list of things we wanted to do before we turned 30. From sky diving to spending a year traveling around the world, that early 20s bucket list is one we all know and love. But, we’re not just about bucket lists here at Brit + Co. We’re about keeping it real, creative and smart. So with that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 30 things you should be able to make by the time you turn 30. From poached eggs (get fancy with that break, yo!) to martinis (I guess fancy things are a theme?), here’s our list.
1. Eggs in Every Style, Including Poached: We know you know how to scramble an egg. You even know about adding shredded cheese and a tablespoon of salsa to give that batch of scrambled eggs extra oomph. But it’s time for an egg upgrade. Learn to fry (over easy, over medium and over hard), learn to hard boil and learn to poach. Soon enough, you’ll be making your own eggs benny from scratch! (Oh and psst, our book Homemakers has our tried-and-true tricks for making perfect eggs, every time.)
2. An Animated GIF: Though animated GIFs tend to skew on the younger side, you best make sure you know how to make one if you want to take your photo game to the next level. There are apps that make this extremely easy, even from your phone. But if you really want to be a boss, you’ll learn how to make one in Photoshop, even if you didn’t shoot photos specifically for animating. Case in point is the GIF you see above from my wedding. Once I scrolled through those photos, I knew a GIF had to be born ;) GIF pronunciation is still up for debate, but I stand by the hard G.
4. Cookies from Scratch: A homemade batch of chocolate chip cookies goes a really long way. And here’s the thing: They are really easy to make and even easier to customize to give ’em your special touch. Throw in a few walnuts, a peanut butter chip or two or even a handful of crushed up Oreos. And don’t forget to sprinkle sea salt on the top! Love cookies but hate the cals? Check out this batch of Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies made with a totally crazy cookie ingredient: CHICK PEAS. What?! Yes.
5. An Entire Apartment Out of IKEA Furniture: By the time you turn 30, it’s pretty likely you will have amassed a formidable collection of IKEA furniture. At this point you should be able to build all that on your own. From there, the key to taking your collection to the next level is hacking all of those IKEA pieces, so your apartment doesn’t look like it’s 100% IKEA. Check out our archive of clever IKEA hacks to get inspired.
6. Your Halloween Costume: Togas need not apply. Whether you’re going creative, pop culture, funny or punny, making your own Halloween costume is the only way to go. And yes, sourcing a bunch of elements and hacking them to create a costume totally counts as DIY.
7. Your Entire Thanksgiving Dinner: Or any multi-faceted meal, for that matter. If you’re hosting friends and family for a big dinner, forget the takeout and frozen stuff. Take the time to try out a few new recipes and prep them accordingly for your meal. We’ve even got a handy how-to for cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner in 60 minutes flat.
8. An Updo: Lifetime member of the #longhairdontcare club? I’m personally guilty of going the “I’ll just let it air dry” route every single morning. Though a fancy updo isn’t a must for every day, mastering a few key styles will make the art of getting ready more fun and creative. And if you’re in the near-30 age group, we’re guessing you’ve been invited to a wedding or 10 this summer and fall — bring your A-game with a fresh new ‘do!
9. Your Bed, Correctly: I have to admit, I’m definitely one of those over-30s who is still fake-making the bed. There’s no excuse, and it literally takes only a couple extra minutes to do right (and there are even sheets that make it easier). Maybe it’s time to splurge on a dust ruffle and headboard while you’re at it ;)
10. A Killer Playlist: Putting on three Girl Talk albums in a row does NOT count! A killer playlist has a different definition for each occasion, and it’s up to you and your years of dancing-your-face-off experience to know how to read the situation. Musts include throwbacks to the ’60s and ’70s as well as the obvious ’90s, obscure tracks by musicians your artsy cousin told you about and never forget those crowd-pleasers as well.
11. A Plain T-Shirt Better: In search of the perfect graphic tee? Make it yourself! You can use iron-on transfer paper, stencils and fabric paint or even your phone (hello Snaptee!) to customize your tee. And don’t forget, Sharpies are WAY more difficult to wield on a t-shirt than they were on your high school study hall desk.
12. A Layer Cake: Even if you still use cake mix, the days of poorly frosted cupcakes or a cake that doesn’t pop out of the pan need to be behind you. Stock up on a couple round caking pans and check out our Spring Lemon Cake for inspo.
13. The Perfect Centerpiece: At this point, you should know your way around a grocery store flower section or, better yet, a flower market. A little bit of this and a little bit of that, and you’re on your way to the perfect floral centerpiece in a matter of minutes. No idea where to start? We’ve got a Flower Arranging E-Class for that! :)
14. A Website: We’re not asking you to learn code (though you should probably add that to your list as well), but we are imploring you to make a personal website using one of the hundreds of easy and beautiful tools that’s already out there. WordPress and Tumblr are solid go-tos and don’t always have to look like a straight-up blog.
15. The Time to Exercise, Because It’s Good for You: Gone are the days of exercising like crazy for a month just to look bangin’ for spring break. Making the time for exercise can feel totally impossible, especially with balancing work, your social life and necessary trips to the ASPCA to see if you’re ready to adopt a puppy. But here’s the thing: Regular exercise will actually help you find that balance, and you’ll feel more energetic and self-confident as a bonus. Keep in mind, finding the best form of exercise for you can definitely involve some trial and error — so go into the task with an open mind. And never underestimate the power of an ’80s aerobic video.
16. A DIY Statement Necklace: To DIY enthusiasts, this may seem like a no-brainer. Those of us who love to make tend to see necklaces at places like Anthro and J.Crew and scoff at the high price tags and opt for the DIY version instead. Of course, that’s often easier said than done. Find a necklace you love, and task yourself with hacking it. You’ll be surprised by what a little patience, flat-back gems and E6000 glue can do, and you’ll probably end up with something even cooler than what inspired you! Creep on our archive of DIY necklace tutorials and stylish necklace roundups for inspiration.
17. Beach Waves: Unless you’re heading to a holiday party, wedding or black tie event, there’s NO reason to hit up your stylist for beach waves. There are SO many ways to get this look on your own in as little as 10 minutes! From flat ironing your braids to using a diffuser to sleeping with cut-up t-shirt strips in your hair, try a few different methods to find one that works for you.
18. A Knitted Scarf: It’s finally time to learn to knit, just like your grandmother tried to teach you back in the day. We teamed up with Jade Harwood, founder of WOOL AND THE GANG to create a Knitting 101 E-Class that’ll teach you everything you need to know. You’ll even come out of the class with your very own hand-knit infinity scarf.
19. A Family Recipe You’ll Pass on to Your Kiddos: You have your dinnertime staples, but are they heirloom-worthy? We’re talking modern shepherd’s pie, veggie-packed skillet mac and cheese, a mean pot of chili and the like. Try your take on one of these recipes and we’ll get you one step closer to your new favorite dish.
20. A Gorgeous Cat Eye: Still have no idea how to do anything except a sort-of-passable smokey eye? Cat eye to the rescue! Our tutorial on graphic eyeliner is a great place to learn and experiment with more extreme versions of the everyday winged look.
21. Party Decor (Without Leaving It Up for Weeks After the Party): We’ve all been there. You had a birthday/holiday/Halloween party and you loved your DIY decorations so much, you decided to leave them up for a few days… weeks… wait, months? Really? While we fully support parties on any day of the year, take that decor down the next morning, people!
22. Classy Nail Art: Nail art is a thing, and it’s not going anywhere. An accent nail on each hand is a good start, but it’s time to go full on in the nail art department. Half moons, stripes and polka dots should all be fair game.
23. An Accurate and Awesome Photo to Put on Your Online Dating Profile: Yes. Accurate and awesome can be best friends, even when it comes to your online dating profile. We’re too old to be faking any aspect of our personalities or looks at this point. Be confident, and that confidence will come through, even over the interwebs!
24. A Piece of Clothing: Never had home ec in high school? That’s what we’re here for. Basic sewing skills are essential, whether you need to mend a piece of clothing or make something from scratch for a costume ;) Taught by Brit + Co DIYer Roxy Taghavian, our Sewing 101 E-Class will have you sewing up pillows, tote bags and tea towels in no time. And your very own maxi skirt!
25. A Salon Wall: You’ve seen ’em, you’ve swooned over ’em and now it’s time to make one for yourself. We’ve laid out four simple steps for creating your own salon wall, from curation to installation. If you don’t know what a salon wall is, it’s time to get in the know. “Salon” or “gallery” describes a certain way to hang art, photos and other wall pieces in your home. It embodies the art of ordered chaos because it’s all about mixing and matching the different shapes you’ve collected. It’s a great way to combine photos, art and other random things you deem frame-worthy.
26. Breakfast for More Than Two People: Breakfast in bed is sweet and all, but getting breakfast right for an entire house of family, friends or roommates is downright amazing. We recommend fluffy scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes (fry ’em at the last minute if you want more flavor), bread or pastries that don’t need to be toasted and plenty of bacon. I also always whip up a veggie hash with a mix of peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli, potatoes and whatever other veggies I’ve got in my fridge. (photo credit: Food52)
27. A Consistent Signature: Does your signature still look different every time? Like different enough that people look at you funny when you sign receipts? Stop that. Commit to the perfectly cursive sig or the straight up squiggle and call it a day.
28. A Pom Pom: Sure, this may be a summer camp throwback, but you’d be surprised just how far your pom pom skills can take you, even as a thirty-something. You can use pom poms on beanies, to create wall hangings and rugs or to decorate for your entire wedding!
29. A Handmade Card That Looks Totally Professional: Handmade cards are not just for kids. Learn yourself some calligraphy skills and you’ll be hand-lettering your own profesh-looking cards in no time.
30. The Decision to NOT Take that Lemon Drop Shot: And last but not least, turning 30 means it’s finally time to be able to make the decision to NOT take that lemon drop shot. Can’t say I’ve fully subscribed to this item on the list, but the photo above is from when I was 29 :)
Stay tuned for more in our 30 Before 30 series!
Let us know know what is (or was) on your list by leaving us a note in the comments below.