What’s on Your Bucket List?

Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, the day I toss out a thread of something I’ve learned in the labyrinth of life.

"Forty is better than 30." - quote from Brooke BurkeSometime ago, I wrote about making a “bucket list” or “life list.” In my case, I turned 40 years old and took stock of what I still wanted to do in my lifetime. That list became my 40 After 40–with forty items of things I wanted to do after turning 40.

One recent day, I was sitting in Café Express with my best friend and we had our laptops open to work. The restaurant WiFi started having problems (uncharacteristic for them, by the way), and we weren’t getting much done. Suddenly, my fabulous BF looked at me and said, “Let’s take you to try on wedding dresses!”

You see, I got married over 20 years ago and wore my mother’s dress. While I chose and loved wearing the dress that she had stitched herself, when I was writing my 40 After 40 list, it occurred to me that I missed that experience of shopping for a dress. So I added “shop for a wedding dress” to my list and moved on.

My best friend remembered that item from my list and prompted me to play hooky and cross it off. Within a half hour, I was at the local bridal shop pulling long dresses with beading, lace, and layers off the rack. I didn’t want to waste the salesperson’s time, so I told the truth about why I was there and fessed up that she wouldn’t be making a sale off me. She thanked me for my honesty and suggested trying three dresses. She helped us pick, and I made my way to the dressing room.

I asked a lot of questions as I tried on the dresses. Perhaps I can use what I learned as novel research someday. (For instance, did you know that the dresses are based on European sizes? So order up a size, American gals.) The saleswoman was wonderful*, and each time I emerged from the dressing room, my sweet friend snapped a pic on my camera.

It was a little like being a princess for an hour.

But I can honestly say I got it out of my system. Trying on wedding dresses was a lovely experience, but I don’t think I want to go back and wear 15 pounds of dress to walk down an aisle. Being married for 20 years (happily, by the way), I’m content with the dress I wore, the vows I took, and the husband I managed to snag.

But I can’t do all of that teasing without sharing, right? So here you go.

Wedding Dress 1
An Oleg Cassini
Wedding Dress 1
The one nobody liked (looked good on the hanger)
Wedding Dress 3
The favorite

And now for crossing items off another list!

ROW80 Update


  • Read 8 fiction books. Halfway through The Sleeping Doll by Jeffery Deaver.
  • Read one craft book: Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson.  Actually finished reading the craft book I started last round and now ready to read this one.
  • Visit and comment on ROW80 blogs as a Round 2 sponsor. Yes indeed! Some great reports out there.


  • Finish writing GOOD & GUILTY, YA mystery. Added 5,447 words and finished the first draft. Done!
  • Complete first round of edits of GOOD & GUILTY. Starting Revision Hell/Deep EDITS this week.
  • Write one short story.
  • Edit two short stories–one needs a final polish, the other a full edit. Marked up the short story that needs a full edit.

Additional Goals

  • Exercise twice a week. Question: How long should one’s knees still hurt after stopping the running plan?
  • Prepare for and attend DFW Conference in May. Received my business cards and worked on pitch; got my agent appointment notification; working on pitch.
  • Prepare for and attend Immersion Master Class with Margie Lawson in June.

So what’s on your “bucket list”? What items have you already crossed off? What item will you be crossing off very soon? (Hint, hint: Get busy.)

*Note: I tipped the salesperson as I left. She had taken quite a bit of time with me and was very sweet about the whole experience. Moreover, I will keep that shop and that saleswoman in mind if I ever need a fancy dress of any kind.

46 thoughts on “What’s on Your Bucket List?

  1. Love that! You’re beautiful. I also love that were honest…it’s so much more enjoyable then.

    I was incredibly practical when I tried on wedding dresses. My instructions to the bridal people were, “I want to try on a dress that falls flat on the floor when i take it off.”

  2. Julie, what a fab way to play hooky! So glad your friend took you – it’s way more fun that way. Shopping for a wedding dress with my mom was one of the coolest parts of the process for me. And look at you go, with the ROW80 goals?! Good for you!

    Best of luck on the agent pitch! 😀

    1. Thanks, Kathy! My best friend’s daughter was there too (one of the awesome teens who sometimes beta reads for me), and I think she was getting an education for her future. 🙂

  3. How fun!!! What a great friend you have. So glad you got to play in the dresses for the day. Which one will you be wearing to DFWCon for your pitch? 🙂

  4. I love all the pictures, even the tight one, but I love your smile in the last. So pretty. I have a short, unofficial bucket list. I probably should spend a little more time on it and make sure the hubs knows what’s on it, lol.
    Done! <- well done, Julie!! Happy dances some more 🙂 Have fun with the edits this week.

    1. By the way, if I lived close, I might ask you to help me cross off another item on my list: horseback riding. I haven’t been on a horse since childhood, but I remember loving the experience.

  5. Every girl looks beautiful in a wedding dress! I’m so happy you got to try some on and I agree that the middle one is not you. But both the first and the last looked great. What a wonderful memory and how wonderful to cross this off your bucket list. Good for you!

  6. Julie, you are so beautiful! Inside and out! I love that you did this! My favorite one is the first one. What else is on your list? Maybe we can cross some out at DFW?

    1. Oh, thank you so much! Let’s see (*looking at list*): Ride in a limousine; sing at a karaoke bar; host a costume party; learn to tap dance; participate in a musical;…

  7. What a cool way to burn a few hours of daylight. If I had the “getting married” thing to do again, I’d go to Vegas. Loathed wedding planning. But…I did spend only $1000, dress included. You know I’m a tightwad at heard.

    1. Yes, it was fun! My wedding was small and probably cost as much as that whole get-up in the last picture. I also couldn’t see spending $10k or whatever for a two-hour event. If I had it to do over again, though, I’d probably get married on vacation somewhere–probably not Vegas, but some tropical location. Clearly, none of those dresses above would work for that.

      1. Oh, I went to a destination wedding in Cancun! It was very neat. The couple paid to have it in a gazebo overlooking the ocean. I can definitely see doing something like that.

  8. What a great way to spend some time with your best friend! I don’t have a 40 after 40 list, but I do have a few goals. Speaking of goals, you are making tons of progress on your own. See you soon at DFWCon!

  9. That sounds like a lot of fun! Sometimes my step mom and I like to go to art galleries and play “rich art collector” and feel like we are shopping for art. Pretend shopping can be just as much fun as real shopping! The last dress was my favorite, too.

    I love how you have all your goals spelled out. I need to work on that. I would love to know who you plan out your writing time so that you can work on short stories and a novel at the same time. Please share!

    I had what i thought were knee issues when I got back into working out. It turned out that my quads were so tight (from not stretching) that they were pulling on my knees. I started stretching and getting massages, and now I feel so much better. Obviously I’m no medical expert, but do make sure you’re streching and treat yourself to a massage! 🙂

    1. I love art galleries! Of course, I can never afford that beautiful original art either.

      As to the short stories and novel, Emma…Usually, I can write on one and edit the other pretty easily. Plus, they are in different genres, so I can keep them straight okay. The hardest thing to switch back and forth with, to me, is POV.

      Stretching & massage–on it!

  10. You look so pretty, Julie! What a great idea. If I could do-over I’d tell myself to enjoy the shopping for a dress process. I remember being far too stressed! Chalk that up to being young. I’m way more relaxed about that kind of stuff now. 🙂

  11. I was told not long ago that I was too young for a bucket list, bless that man’s heart… so, I call it a “Life List” now. And most of my “life list” consists of TONS of travel. Italy. France. Germany. Australia. Canada. England. Ireland. Scotland. And back to New Orleans. New York. Oh, I could keep going on and on…

    1. I don’t actually like the phrase “bucket list,” but it’s easily understood. Life list does sound better! Can you believe I’ve never been to New Orleans? Living in Houston? *sigh*

    1. Thanks, Jennette! I lived in Albuquerque (home of the Balloon Fiesta) for 2 1/2 years. You’d think I would have taken a hot air balloon ride at least once, but I didn’t. It’s not cheap, but I’ve heard it’s marvelous.

  12. Bucket Lists must be in the air! Or water, LOL. Those dresses are beautiful. You made a lovely bride 🙂

    My MIL bought my wedding dress, more cocktail dress than wedding, because she had all boys and wanted that shopping experience. Fun bonding day.

    Now, see, my knee injury is due to running. So I don’t anymore. Therefore, no advice. Wishing you a speedy recovery. Great work on your ROW List 🙂

  13. Altogether inspirational, lovely, and impeccable progress! I hope you do use this experience in your writing. Who could resist a bride? I also liked the goal of reading craft books. I too have several in my to-read pile and still haven’t, despite ROW80 goals! Persevere. Nicely succinct reporting on all the goals, especially those writing/editing achievements. Excellent! May your week go well.

  14. I love this. I L-O-V-E the Calvin and Hobbes twitter article.

    Why in the heck did it take me so long to sign up for your blog? *thunks head on desk*

    See you at DFWCon in four sleeps! WOOT!

  15. Oh, what fun! I don’t know if I like the first dress better or the third one. They are both beautiful. And the one in the middle…I don’t dislike it, I just think it looks more like a cocktail dress than a wedding dress.

    I’m not really sure I have a bucket list. I’m pretty content with life. I guess there are a few places I would like to visit, like Scotland and Ireland. And maybe meet Stephen King….

  16. I love that first one!! That’s so great that you got to cross it off the list, spend some fun time with your friend, and had a good experience with a person who didn’t have to give you the time of day, but did anyway.

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