Abby Lacey

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3/4 of the way there!

The other day, someone asked me in the school playground “How many days?”. I replied perplexed, “How many day ’til what?” and of course what she meant was until I’m 40. I’ve been so busy lately, I had lost track and so I’ve worked it out: today I am 39 & 3/4.

I feel like The List has been left behind a little, so here an update (for me as much as for my readers!):





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GUEST BLOG: “40 B4 40: Yes, Yes, No” by Kasmira Kit

For some time I’ve wanted to have a guest blogger on here; not to take the burden off me, but to share what others are doing for their 40 before 40 lists.

A few weeks ago, whilst searching Twitter and Googling the phrase, I came across Kasmira Kit from Sacramento, California. As well as challenging herself with 40 things, Kasmira already has a super-successful blog called ‘What I wore Today‘. Upon reading I immediately fell in love with her style AND we have a few similar items on our ‘lists’.

So, in the spirit of a challenge, I tweeted Kasmira and outright asked her if she’d like to guest blog for me. She came immediately with a resounding YES, and so here we are today.

Kasmira used the following at as her 10th (yes 10th!) Toastmasters speech (no. 28 of her list).

Enjoy x

Kasmira Kit going pink!

On November 2nd, 2014, almost one year ago, I began my 40 B4 40 project. A sort of last gasp of my youth, I chose 40 adventures to complete in my 39th year. Some were activities I enjoyed in my early years, but had neglected later, like sailing. Some were things I’ve always wanted to do, but couldn’t seem to find the time for, like taking a sewing class. Others were feats I was afraid I’d soon be too old to do, like skateboarding. I said “yes” to 40 adventures. And along the way, I found that I said “yes” to much more than 40 adventures. I said “yes” to expanding my comfort zone. I said “yes” to experiences beyond my list. I said “yes” to life. And I had to say, “no,” too.

Early in my project, I came across a quote by Neal Donald Walsch: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” I took that to heart. Some of my adventures were obvious stretches of my comfort zone. I jumped out of a plane. I rafted down class IV rapids. I learned to stand-up paddle board. The physical stretches, though, were predictable. I never would have expected that my one of my 40 B4 40 adventures, a 365 photo project, would challenge me to get out of my social comfort zone.

A 365 photo project involves taking at least one photo each day for a year. Ideally, this photo is well-composed, meaningful, and represents the day. I’m 344 pictures in and I wouldn’t say that every picture in my set meets this criteria, but on day three of project, I was still feeling ambitious enough to try something out of my ordinary: capturing the old men playing bocce ball at East Portal Park.

I’d seen them at it before. The fenced and locked courts belong to a private club, seemingly made up of only aged men. On a warm, Tuesday afternoon in early November, I was sure to find some of the retirees lobbing balls down the court. I was hoping to snap a few action photos from behind the fence and then beat a hasty retreat before actually having to interact with the strangers.

Bocce ballWhen I arrived, though,the courts were quiet. One man sat on the bench and a second was spinning in circles. I wanted to leave, but I pretended I was someone less socially awkward and asked if they were planning to play. The spinner insisted he only refereed and then the benchwarmer invited me to play. My first instinct was to refuse. The only thing I like less than talking to strangers is playing games. However, duty called, so I said “yes.”

I’m sure I looked silly and I KNOW I played badly. Octavio was well on his way to beating me when two more gentlemen arrived to gawk at the crazy lady playing bocce ball in high heels and short shorts. They gave bocce advice that I didn’t take and I explained my 40 B4 40 project to Octavio. He laughed at my concerns at turning 40. He was 89 and it was the best age he’d been so far. I embraced his live-in-the-moment attitude and belly-flopped in the court to get a close up shot of the bocce balls, looking like like planets on a field of gray, for my 365 photo. I lost a little of my dignity on the bocce ball court, but had a meaningful experience far beyond what I had expected. Saying “yes” to a simple game of bocce ball makes it more likely that I might say “yes” to something even more uncomfortable in the future.

I only listed 40 adventures for my year, but I found that adventure leads only to other adventure. It’s as if each “yes” opens the door to a room with ten more doors and ten more opportunities to say “yes.” Sometimes it was a literal trail of “yes.” My saying “yes” to Toastmasters has so far resulted in a string of “yes” that most recently led to the judges saying “yes” to my husband’s humorous speech in the area contest. The “yes” connection isn’t always that obvious, though. My 40 “yes”s seem to have echoed into the universe and opportunities have reverberated back. Out of the blue, in late February, one of my blogging idols, Indiana Adams, emailed me and asked if I’d like to speak at the final Texas Style Council conference.

Texas Style Council

The Texas Style Council is one of the best loved blog conferences around and I was ecstatic and honored to not only be invited, but be invited to speak! I’ve been blogging for over nine years and had never been to a blog conference. I’ve always wanted to go, but found excuses not to: I had to work or I didn’t have the money or I didn’t know anyone else going. This time, though, presented with Indiana’s “yes” to me, how could I say “no?” I could take two days of vacation and all I had to pay for was the plane ticket and not knowing anyone was an opportunity, not an obstacle. So I went and I spoke and I met amazing women and came home with a notebook of ideas and connections for future adventures of exponential “yes.” I started the year with an idea that these would be my last 40 adventures before I retired to middle-age-hood. Instead, I found that adventures beyond my ken will come to me as long as I keep saying “yes.”

As the “yes”s began rolling off my tongue and echoing back to me, I eventually got to a “yes” capacity. Perhaps the most important lesson I learned over the year is that every “yes” is a “no” to something else. At first, my “no”s were easy. I simply cut the unproductive activities. “No” to television. “No” to manicures. “No” to evenings spent online shopping. I didn’t even realize I was saying “no.” I was too busy saying “yes.” And I said an enthusiastic “yes” to starting a photography business with my husband, Dan. This past spring, we created the LLC, built the website, ordered business cards, bought equipment and planned to spend all our spare time building our photography business. My neighbor, Jessie, was growing her pet grooming business and we partnered on a booth at Petapalooza. She did airbrushing and nail trims. I did complimentary “after” photos of her clients and offered discounted pet portrait sessions. I gathered at least a dozen other names for our mailing list. A couple even approached me to photograph their wedding. We were a success! Next, Dan and I spent an afternoon with his actress coworker, taking headshots. She loved the results. Jessie asked me to work another event. Dan lined up another headshot client. And I realized that I couldn’t work full time, complete my 40 B4 40 project, AND start a photography business. I had to, regretfully, say “no” to Jack Spur Photography. I like to think of it as not really a “no,” but more of a “no for now.” The optimist in me would like to think I could say nothing but “yes,” but the realist knows that I must make choices and that, sometimes, that choice is “no.”Photography

I’m almost 40 and I’m almost done with my 40 B4 40 project, but I’m not done saying “yes” to adventure. I intend to continue some of my 40 B4 40 activities and start “new” ones. I want to compete in a memory contest. I want to take a road trip every month. I want to write a book (or two). I want to start a mobile hair salon. I want to landscape my yard. I want to change careers. I want to be a Big Sister. I want to spend a summer in Yosemite. I want to go back to school. I will say “yes” to some of these. I will say “no” to others. And “no for now” to the rest.

I encourage you to say “yes” to adventure, whether it’s an ambitious bucket list or just a push for one new activity a month. You’ll find exhilaration and satisfaction as you redefine your comfort zone. Your adventures and changed attitude will lead to ever greater possibilities. And you will find your life so enriched that you’ll have your pick of opportunities. Say “yes” to the best and be your best. Yes!

To find out more about Kasmira, please do visit her blog, What I Wore Today (a great read!), follow her on Twitter and check out her 365 Project on Flickr.

yogi - white back

#40b440 – Check out my daily updates on Twitter and Instagram, plus see the full list in pictures on Pinterest.

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1 week down, 51 to go!

It’s a week since my 39th birthday and I’m rolling with my #40b440 list.

At first I confused myself with what I needed to do when and how I was going to fit everything in, so being the list-maker that I am, I searched for a project management type software thingy-majig and came across Wunderlist. It’s pretty, has good reviews and can be shared, so from there you (and I) can track my progress:

Speaking of progress, I haven’t defaulted on any of my daily tasks. The easier ones, like posting a pic every day, have come naturally; the harder ones, like taking the stairs, less naturally! At work I have so far climbed the 66 stairs to my office, about 12 times (over 3 days), which isn’t bad going!

#ttmms #40b440Surprisingly, complimenting someone every day has been pretty easy, and more to the point, genuine. I’ve not been consciously telling people they’re gorgeous (well, apart from one friend!) and it feels really good!

The other one I’m loving is adopting the 10 second rule. I thought I’d apply it only to exercise, but actually, it’s nicely working its way into work and home life too.
10 second ruleSo, all going well but I’m conscious that I need to start planning as there are some big items on my list that can’t be done in a day. And that’s where the hard work starts…

For all my latest #40b440 antics, follow me on Instagram and Twitter




Here I am on my 39th birthday and I have finally finished my #40b440 list.

#40b440I thought this was going to be easy, but actually I have spent the last week thinking of not much else. So much so, I’ve even thought about ditching whole idea!

My original intention was to make each and every item on the list SMART and exciting, but 1 year/52 weeks/366 days (yes it’s a leap year next year) is actually not that long when you’ve got a normal life to lead too, so some items on the list may appear to be a little menial, and not exactly mind-blowing (and a couple are in progress or completed already)! I have to remember that this is NOT a bucket list; it’s a 40 list.


  1. Change a bike tyre
  2. Build a campfire
  3. Hot air balloon ride
  4. Go to the opera
  5. Visit Buddhapadipa Temple
  6. Take a photo every day of something that makes me smile
  7. Take part in a charity bike ride
  8. Adopt the 10 second rule:  “You can stand anything for 10 seconds,” says Kimmy Schmidt. “Then you just start on a new 10 seconds.”
  9. Write 40 blogs over the year
  10. Visit 12 different places in Britain that I’ve never been to before
  11. Go on a girly holiday – booked
  12. Learn all the functions on my camera – half way there!
  13. Give at least £10 to a different charity per month
  14. Finish tattooing my back
  15. Practice yoga every day, if only for 5 mins
  16. Sew an item of clothing, using a sewing machine, from scratch
  17. Go to Studio 42 and join a hot yoga class like a pro – done
  18. Master Pull ups
  19. Roller skate to school
  20. Unplug for 24 hours… at least (not including hols)
  21. Go on a yoga retreat (even for just a day)
  22. Compliment someone every day
  23. Buy a sari
  24. Finally learn French
  25. Drink champagne at Searcy’s St Pancras
  26. Add a lock to the love lock bridge in Paris
  27. Karaoke!
  28. Watch Episodes from the start
  29. Visit an art gallery at least once a month
  30. Read a novel in its entirety, before watching the film
  31. Once a week, make a meal from one of our many cookbooks
  32. Do the Banksy walking tour in Bristol
  33. Have a flying lesson
  34. Take the stairs
  35. Do the splits
  36. Make a mentos/coke bomb
  37. Start saving
  38. Learn archery
  39. Have lunch in Little Venice
  40. Do less with more focus

So there you have it. I will, as no. 9 says, be blogging throughout the year to update the list’s progress, and will be updating my Twitter and Instagram with no. 6, plus you can also check out my list on Pinterest.


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40 things to do before you’re 40 (#40b440)

It’s only 4 days until I turn 39. That’s 4 days until the last year of my thirties and I’ve been thinking, as many nearly 39 year olds seemingly do! I’m not depressed by the thought, but I do think it’s a good time to make a list (as I do so well – my nickname is Monica after all!) of things I want to do before the big 4-0.

I’ve done loads of research (and there is loads out there on Google and Pinterest) and in comparing what I want to do with what others are wanting to do, I have found that:

a) I’ve been very fortunate to have done lots of things already in my life, including go on holiday alone, fly a plane, visit the Grand Canyon, win and lose in Vegas, celebrate New Year in a foreign city, go on safari, etc.


b) I don’t want to choose things that cost money – I’m trying to work myself out of debt, not into more of it!

c) I don’t want to be obvious – I don’t want to kiss a stranger, I’ve fallen in love so don’t want to do that again and I don’t really want to appear on TV!

Everything on this list must be SMART:


So, watch this space. By Thursday, 7 May, my 40 list (#40b440) will be live – wish me luck!