Was weird to wake up today and not write a birthday post on agutsygirl.com. Weird and sad are not always synonymous. Especially not in this case. Love that I’m going to share my 40 before 40 honest review on A Thyme for Milk and Honey.

On my 35th birthday, I wrote a post called 40 Before 40. I don’t dwell on this list on a daily basis, trying to figure out how to “check off more things.” However, each year on my birthday, I re-visit the post to reflect on the past year.

I wanted to republish this list on A Thyme for Milk and Honey with title, “40 Before 40 Honest Review.”

Here’s why.

What I am MOST PROUD OF today, on my 37th birthday is how I’ve embraced being who I am, not apologizing for it, and owning the things I say and do – for better or worse.

If I’m Being Honest

  • Last year I would have never posted this picture of myself. Why? Because it is a SELFIE. And it looks like I spent a ton of time primping and priming. And because I’ve always been self conscious that people think I give two #$%# about my appearance and spend hours getting ready. HA! I couldn’t care less. This took me 15 minutes TOPS to do (Ryan can confirm), but THIS IS WHO I AM. And if the picture makes anyone uncomfortable or desire to judge, that’s on them, not me.
  • I love the number 37 because odd things fit me far more than even. Something about the even gives me the ‘ew’s’. I know, weird.
  • Recently, I took the Enneagram quiz. I was a 98% match with FOUR: “Type 4 is known as The Individualist. Fours want to be unique and to live life authentically, and are highly attuned to their emotional experience.” And, I was a 90% match with THREE: “Type 3 is also known as The Achiever. Threes want to be successful and admired by other people, and are very conscious of their public image.” Yes. Both are me to a ‘T.’ I know myself so well, though, that not only did I call it prior to taking the quiz, but so did my husband and besties.
  • In other words, as it relates to the above, I feel all the feels (for myself and others) while also being highly motivated so get out of my way if you’re in it. 🙂
  • I’m extremely kind and giving until you cross me the wrong way. And I know this is a major downfall, but I can’t help it. I’m tired of feeling like I need to be kind, polite, and always “correct.” And even still, usually I am.
  • Uh-oh. Politics. I’m not on either side of the coin, and I don’t try to align myself because of any one person’s thoughts or beliefs. As Cody Jinks says, “I’m somewhere in the middle.” Where you’ll find me confident on one side of the coin, I’m very confident in those decisions, though. And I do NOT think that makes me better or worse than anyone else. Furthermore, I’m so sick and tired of people who do make me feel like I’m better or worse for having those thoughts. The end.
  • Religion. I used to think I HAD to be Catholic for a multitude of reasons. Today, much to my brother’s sadness (!), I have run far from it. Love God, am tired of religion. There is a God. This I know for sure. And I’ve chosen to focus on Him, the words in the Bible (that I read too seldom), and that everything is beautiful in its time.
  • Nothing is as easy and magical as it looks. And yet, I’m totally right where I need to be.
  • Holy cows, I’m realizing that I could go on-and-on, so I’ll save more for another day. And I also just realized I channeled my Dad.

40 Before 40 Honest Review

Click HERE to save 40 Before 40 Honest Review for later.

Note: Any bolded points beneath each main goal are comments from today, on my 37th birthday. Any prior comments were from previous year(s).

  1. Find my cadence and truly embrace being a mom
    1. I definitely made some big strides here this past year, but didn’t do it alone. I had plenty of help. 
    2. Made even more strides. I’ve also realized that this one will take a lifetime.
  2. Go to Vietnam
    1. Bà Ngoại and I just discussed this again last night. It will happen before I’m 40.
  3. Make $XYZ per year (I’m not totally driven by money, but I am definitely driven by it. If you know me well, you know it’s not so I can buy material things, but for all the other things on this list.)
    1. Nope. Had to cross this one off. Ironically, I will get there, but I no longer care or am striving for a dollar amount anymore. Breaking up with that idea freed my mind and soul; it opened so many more doors.
    2. Hmmmm……yes and no. I actually, un-crossed it off this year.
  4. Be in our forever home
    1. Done. Here we are. And I love it so, so, so much.
    2. Still obsessed. Our home is totally stay-cation worthy, and I’m grateful every single day. Today I’m actually meeting with my friend Abby who is going to help us with some master bedroom and/or master bathroom updates. Stay tuned!
  5. Go to Italy
    1. Done. Italy was absolutely incredible. I’d love to do this one again before I turn 40. Or maybe for my 40th! 
  6. Complete 20 trail races (that’s 4 per year) (I decided today for my birthday, I’d sign up for the first race as the gift to myself. I’m still deciding which one to do!)
    1. Well…..not sure I’ll get 20 in, but this race I signed up for last year, I never got into. I signed up for it this year, and I did! I’ll be doing my first MN trail race this upcoming May. And please don’t be jealous. My BFF’s, Kristi, Kristi, and Meg, got me an entry into the Hot Chocolate 5K in Minneapolis this April. Gosh I love them! Practice race anyone?!
    2. Kind of can’t believe I’m doing this today, but I’ve crossed this one off the list. I’ll tell you why. Priorities. It’s just not one. In fact, you know what just happened? I signed up for Superior again on January 1st (it’s a lottery), and got in. But then found out that the race is the same day as Samarah’s first dance recital. I went back-in-forth with what to do. Eat the cost and not do the race or just understand that there will be more dance recitals? My gut told me exactly what to do. Eat the cost; do not miss her first dance recital. There is zero way I’ll have the dedication for the trail racing goal. So, bye.
  7. Take a trip with only mom
    1. Top priority. This will never go off my list.
  8. Go hiking and exploring in 3 different and unique places with my brother JJ
    1. Totally forgot about this one. Task for today: set a date with JJ for our first one this spring.
  9. Surprise 4 people each year with a gift they were not expecting
    1. Need to do a better job here. 
  10. Have zero SIBO relapses and a gut that’s functioning 100% at least 90% of the time in the next 5 years
    1. Made it so far! Dang it feels good to have thriving gut on my birthday.
    2. YES! I made it ANOTHER year. Incredible!
  11. Continue improving strength + endurance (This one is definitely not a SMART goal, but I know what it means and what it feels like. During this past year, I have focused on less overall running miles, but more strength-endurance training and I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life with all gut issues at Bay. That’s the sweet  spot that I want to keep building upon.)
    1. The gym and workouts aren’t a huge priority for me anymore, but I do very intentional workouts for strength and endurance. These past few months I started working out with 2 guys from the gym. We have been attempting a once-a-week super hard workout together. And my gosh – super hard it is!
    2. In fact, I have a workout with those 2 guys today. They are my gym besties.
  12. Read The Bible
    1. I’ve arrived. I’m doing it this year. And I’m loving it so much. In fact, one of the things I want to do today on my birthday is to spend an hour with my Bible and God.
    2. Need to dive back in again.
  13. Go on a mission trip
    1. Nothing in the plans yet, but I found some trips coming up this year through our church. There is one in November I have my eyes on. We shall see.
  14. Publish The Gutsy Girl’s Bible: an approach for healing the gut 3.0
    1. Done.
    2. Holy cows and then some!
  15. Get licensed in the state of Minnesota to foster
    1. Now that we are settling into the forever home, hopefully within the next couple years!
    2. I would love to do this, but I’m not sure it will be a big priority. We ARE going to foster-adopt a Great Dane, though. Just waiting for the organization to come approve our home.
  16. Get a dog for the kids (we have a breed in mind, but the time is not right yet)
    1. The time is still not right. That said, this past year I have missed so hard having a little dog. Another Fiona is in my future for sure. I will beg, plead, and cry to Ryan if need be. Mark my word; my 36th year. 
    2. YAY! I did this during my 36th year. Have I ever told you the story? Oh good. Saved it for now. It’s brief. I saw Georgie, HAD TO have her, and purchased her while Ryan was on a flight to California. Fast forward to today, we all love Georgie. You’re welcome, Ryan! I bet we’ll have another by the time it’s my 38th birthday. Dogs are life. You must know that.
  17. Read 4 books a year (20 total), any and all topics welcomed
    1. I’ve been reading more this past year than ever before. My favorite book I read this past year was, When Breath Becomes Air. If you’ve never read it, I strongly recommend you do. I think I read it in like 2-3 days. I’d read it again.
    2. I’ll tell you my problem. I buy TONS of books, start them, but rarely finish.
  18. Have my work featured in a magazine or some other national outlet
    1. Not yet. Work in progress.
  19. Be at the Director (or higher) level with Beautycounter and instead of focusing on my own sales, mentor other women to hit their own high levels of sales. (I climbed from Consultant to Senior Consultant to Manager in just a few months due to a wild passion for the product and company, so I’d love to continue climbing on the fast track, and sharing with others how to do it, too.)
    1. This isn’t a huge priority anymore, but what I will say is that I love Beautycounter so much. InStyle  just featured the company, and I am grateful that huge media outlets are starting to pay attention to makeup and skincare that’s not full of complete junk. Try Beautycounter today and/or join team A Gutsy Girl to fly with us.
    2. Beautycounter is still my personal jam (and yes, you should grab something HERE). I’m obsessed. However, I’m crossing this goal off the list because it’s not a focus. A Gutsy Girl and A Thyme for Milk and Honey are where it’s at for me.
  20. Be part of a company that gets bought out by a larger company.
    1. I still believe this will happen.
    2. Crossed off. The only company(ies) I want growing and thriving is A Gutsy Girl (and maybe A Thyme for Milk and Honey).
  21. Run the Ultimate Hawaiian Trail Run
    1. Ummmmm…..Mak?! (Makenzie lives in Hawaii now so this could totally be an option!)
    2. Crossed off. See Trail Running above.
  22. Produce and release my recipe for ‘Instant Pot Bone Broth’
    1. Still haven’t. But now I might be holding out for another hot minute….
    2. Held out so I could put the recipe in my first published book, The Leaky Gut Meal Plan: 4 Weeks to Detox and Improve Digestive Health. So this one is done!
  23. Have or have our plan for our family getaway home in the mountains somewhere (not the West coast mountains, but something closer – it’s a life dream for Ryan and I for us and the kids) 
    1. Still on the list.
  24. Take the kids on a cruise
    1. This will probably happen closer to the 40th year because we are not about to take a 2, 3 and 5-year-old anywhere like that anytime soon.
  25. Go on a date with Ryan once per month – just he and me, no kids
    1. Unintentionally, we have been doing this more lately. But I’d like it to become even more intentional.
  26. Give up something + add in something every single year for Lent (I already know what I’m giving up this year for Lent, but still haven’t decided on the adding in part)
    1. No clue for this year. Better get thinking.
    2. I still don’t think I’ve done this. Maybe this year?!
  27. Meet Mark Cuban (am I crazy?!)
    1. Ha. Not really a goal anymore. I’ll cross it off.
  28. Go to Guatemala with Makenzie on behalf of personal growth and exploration but also Kakao
    1. I’d still love to do this!
    2. I’m crossing this one off the list, but only because I want to go explore the world with Ryan instead.
  29. Produce another e-cookbook (still trying to decide who I’m making it for — SIBO friendly? Paleo Baking? AIP Cooking? etc.)
    1. Again, another thing I’m keeping on the list.
    2. Working on this currently. It’s a Low-FODMAP Buddha Bowl one.
  30. Hire my VA full time (or keep her PT and hire someone in person PT as well)
    1. Yes! She has been so good for me this past year. Her work is helping immensely.
    2. Holly still works with me, and I also have an assistant who is doing other tasks Holly does not do. Her name is Trinity and you can meet her HERE. So this is done.
  31. Try a class (even if it’s just one session) that has to do with something completely new to me (bonus if it’s something with Ryan)
    1. I have not done this yet.
  32. Take several food styling classes
    1. At least one this upcoming year must happen. Anyone know of any great ones in Minnesota?
    2. Crossed this one off the list. Not important or relevant at all anymore.
  33. Go on a weekend trip with just Samarah (not until she’s at least 5)
    1. Maybe this year, now that she’s 5. 
    2. She wants me to take her to California this year. Her New Year’s Goal, “Go to the beach alone with mama and daddy.”
  34. Do a weekend trip with just Isaiah (not until he’s at least 5)
    1. He’s 3. Not time yet. 
  35. Take a weekend trip with just Amiya (not until she’s at least 17 5 🙂 )
    1. She’s 2, and far from ready. Ha. 
    2. She’s 3, and still far from ready.
  36. Getaway trip with Kristi, Kristi, and Meg (my MN besties)
    1. OMG. Yes! We are doing this this week. On Thursday, the 4 of us are headed to Sedona. 
    2. Maybe I should change this one to a yearly trip. We went to Sedona last year. This year, Kristi, Kristi and I are going to Texas. We already have it booked for the end of April. Stoked! Love those girls. (You, too, Meg! xox). This one is done.
  37. Girl’s only weekend in Chicago with Shondra and Missy (my other besties)
    1. Well, I kind of did this last May, but we need an all-out, girls-only downtown Chicago weekend. You guys game?!
  38. Getaway trip with Kim (+ many more weekends like last – duh!)
    1. Yes! Where should we go?!
  39. Create one recipe per year that becomes a staple go-to (like my AIP Bread)
    1. Hmmmm…..I didn’t really do this this past year. Better get to it.
    2. I feel like SO many of the recipes from my book are this. The Salmon Cakes – wow – yes, incredible!
  40. Absorb as much as possible from ADAPT and/or enroll in another Chris Kresser program
    1. Always!
    2. Crossing this one off the list because my goal is no longer to only further my education with Chris Kresser. Instead, I want to absorb myself in any and every gut-health education possible. In fact, today I started a brand new Gut Health Intensive with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Therefore, this one is done.

When I wrote the original 40 Before 40 post, here was the ending,

And last, but definitely not least, making this the 41st goal (and perhaps the best part of this list). My hope is to spend my 40th birthday with family – all of them in Minnesota. My biggest and best wish today, on my 35th birthday, is that on the day I turn 40 and this list is complete, that I find myself clanking glasses with and toasting to my dad who will have kicked cancer in the a#$.

Dammit. I do not cross this goal off this year, nor will I ever get to cross it off. When Dad was well, he would whisper, “Happy XYZ birthday to my little girl/baby.” He’d smile, do a slight chuckle, and poke me in the rib to tickle me. Seriously, that’s what my dad always did.

Sucks that the one thing I’d love to cross off more than anything else, I will never get to cross off.

And this is why I wanted to share that massive list of ‘If I’m Being Honest’ things at the beginning.

While I might never be able to cross off the 41st thing, I can keep growing and living in the ways I’ve also (never) been so bold to live. And I learned that from my dad. It was only through his death, if you want the honest truth, that I think I’ve been able to truly embrace it.

So I’ll clank to him tonight with a dirty fork filled with Peanut Buster Parfait dessert Mom is making.

And call it another year.

Join the magic and chaos, right where you need to be, HERE.




No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *