31 Day Blog Challenge – Day 12

Share: Your Bucket List

Please, please read the introduction to this blog challenge here. Please also go read BLT’s chocolate bucket list post. She has shared her bucket list in a fantastic way. I love the way she likened bucket lists to boxes of chocolates. ūüôā

I want to preface my bucket list by saying the original list I created in college got lost. I don’t remember everything that was on it. I created a second, newer bucket list with MUCH more on it…several notebook pages of my list. I have only included *most* of my bucket list here.

love – just give it, endlessly

skydive (not the indoor kind!)

scuba dive in the Caribbean

go on a blind date  Spring 2010 РOne bad date turned into a STALKER! In all seriousness, I had to file a sexual harassment claim with my campus police. It was bad.

travel across Texas – visit all the weird names on the Texas list

Russia – photo in hat in the snow


see the Chippendales in person (take Mom?)

drive until the map turns blue (West Coast!)

enclose a porch

learn to play guitar

learn to garden…like a pro!

buy a house

kiss underwater

kiss in the rain

go to St. Cloud

get my Master’s degree

write for a newspaper

get my driver’s license – Backstory: My mother refused to let me, I drove my BFF’s old 93 GMC in San Marcos to learn. Took my driver’s test in July 2011 at age 22, in my aunt’s Explorer with a messed up gearshift. The lady kept telling me I wouldn’t be able to parallel park, I was going to hit the curb, I would fail. That lady had crow for lunch! And not one complaint about my driving.

ride in a hot air balloon

take a photography class

have a badass Halloween costume

convince Mom to get a baby goat – enlist EJ to help annoy and attain goal

have an awesome tan…again

go antiquing – and BUY something

San Diego Zoo

Open Good Time Charlie’s – have Russel, Jason and Joe play there

go camping

don’t waste the pretty! (Thanks Greg!)

live in a beach house

date night on the River Walk¬† Labor Day 2013 – Daniel’s mom was sure he proposed! Shh – that’s our little secret. ūüėČ

learn yoga

go back to Orlando – do it all! ride it all! no time table

join a kickball team

throw a party for my mom – invite all her old classmates, friends, coworkers

attend a masquerade ball

learn to shoot (and get CHL)

carve a badass pumpkin

catch lightning bugs in summer

climb to a treehouse

learn to paint

go on a police ride-along (Joe Hebbe?)


go on a scavenger hunt

spend the whole summer in the pool¬† Summer 2011…but it can happen again!

wear a bikini – at my goal weight (175)

go on a safari

finish the family tree


finish my novel

take dance lessons – with Daniel

I’m stealing this from BLT:

And if I don’t finish everything on my list – that’s okay – I was doing other things to fill my bucket…remember to eat the chocolate!

Book Review: The Next Thing on My List

The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski (Shaye Areheart Books, 2007)

cover art
cover art

Genre: fiction,

I received a digital copy via Smashwords in return for an honest review.

After a car accident in which her passenger, Marissa, dies, June Parker finds herself in possession of a list Marissa has written: ‚Äú20 Things to Do by My 25th Birthday.‚ÄĚ The tasks range from inspiring (run a 5K) to daring (go braless) to near-impossible (change someone‚Äôs life).¬†

To assuage her guilt, June races to achieve each goal herself before the deadline, learning more about her own life than she ever bargained for. (Amazon)

I’d only met her the night she died.¬†

This book has gotten mixed reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. However, I find it quite interesting that reviewers on Amazon didn’t make the same statements (and lower ratings) than those on Goodreads. I think this is due in large part to Amazon being a consumer site for purchasing. Goodreads is straight-up people who enjoy books (and in my opinion, know more about what they’re talking about). I also heard they’ll be turning this into a movie…

This is an incredibly light read, great to take on a trip and a good read for summertime.

First – the promoted reviews of entities (not individuals) doesn’t do this book justice, at all.

June Parker, the main character, is a newbie to a Weight Watchers class – and as she’s leaving fellow classmate Marissa Jones – who just reached her weight goal of losing 100 pounds! – is waiting for the bus. June decides some of Marissa’s luck will rub off on her, and gives her a ride. But it ends in tragedy – Marissa is thrown from the vehicle. June attends the funeral, all bruised and in casts.

The only thing that brought me out of the hole was a soul brave enough to reach in and grab me. 

June is wracked with guilt – mostly, that she lived and Marissa died…and it all stems from a list. Marissa made a list of 20 things she wanted to do before her 25th birthday, and only one item was crossed off. She died before she could cross off “Wear sexy shoes,” June discovered once the items of the scene were returned to her. She gave all of Marissa’s belongings back to her family except for the list, which she doesn’t mention until she bumps into Marissa’s brother, Troy, six months later at her grave.

June admits to keeping the list, and in a panic, spins a heart-felt lie she is then compelled to keep: ¬†complete the items on the list before Marissa’s 25th birthday. In less than six months.

People are living too much or too little, and I wondered if anyone out there is living the right amount.

Try, try again!

And completing the list proves for June that she was really quite boring and didn’t have an aspirations or direction in her life. She was literally going through the motions, not speaking up at work when her boss steals her ideas to pass off as her own (until they fail!) and letting her co-workers torment and humiliate her. Hell if she’s telling them what she’s trying to do, when they’re accusing her of killing Marissa!

Through trying to complete items on the list, June…

  • establishes better relationships with her coworkers
  • enlists the help of her coworkers to accomplish work tasks and list tasks
  • finds the “perfect” guy – Marissa’s brother, Troy
  • sets out to change some lives – her brother’s and his wife’s, and her Little Sister Deedee
  • gets a backbone, takes charge of work tasks, and sells herself to the big boss Lou
  • finds a relationship with an unlikely person
  • realizes how much Marissa set out to do
  • realizes she had no motivation for anything in life
  • tries…and fails

Some of June’s plans go wrong, some are quite hair-brained, and some of the items are difficult. Who is Buddy Fitch? She enlists the help of her blind date, coworkers, Troy, family and Little Sister to complete the¬†list. There is a lot of sarcasm and humor in doing it all.

I’d already done the finger-counting thing and realized the most sleep I could hope for was five hours.

As I said, this is a quick and light read. I enjoyed it for the sake of reading, but was left unsatisfied. June is only the completing the items on the list for sake of completing them because she LIED to the dead girl’s brother. Way to start off on a good foot. And the big boss, Lou Bigwood, is notoriously known for “finding” good-looking women (dubbed Charlie’s Angels) at conferences to manage his company…¬†seriously, Bigwood? Big wood? Come on!Big-Brother-Big-Sister

Throughout the whole book June makes snarky comments about her parents and her brother, who was obviously the favorite…and yet, she writes a letter “expressing gratitude” to her brother to show how much he means to her. Since rules were set down that actions to complete the items on the list had to be genuine, this one doesn’t count. June failed on that one. She sets out on changing a life by signing up to be a Big Sister – who she parts ways with after a difficult last-minute decision and heartbreak for June’s own brother and his wife.

The thing that made me feel any kind of emotion was an incident between June and Troy. He made it quite clear how he felt about June’s efforts to “change a life” Plan A. And yet, she still crushing on him. NO! If a man can’t deal with a non-life-threatening decision, such as wanting a child on your own terms, kick him six streets down! Troy proves to still be somewhat of a friend, and at times it seems they will reconcile, but June discovers something quite unexpected.

The ending was cheap and bland – I expected much more. The one good thing I liked: June decides it’s time she make her own list.

I knew there was something that I needed even more: the truth. I’d been running from it for a long time, and now it was time to face it.¬†

Jill is the author of two other novels, Objects of My Affection and Flip-Flopped: A Novel, as well as several how-to origami books.

Readers: if you enjoy bucket lists, check out this excellent blog post. Maybe some of the items on your list will change, maybe some of them will be borrowed or added by others. You never know.

What’s on YOUR list? Check out mine in an up-coming post.