Mighty Summit + Mighty Lists

I think it’s taken me two weeks to post about Mighty Summit because, really, I don’t even know where to start. Also, heads up, this longest-post-ever is entirely unrelated to weddings, so please don’t feel obliged to read on, or skip to the end where I share some goodies that might apply to a wedding. If I could add a page break here I would, but for some reason my blog won’t let me.

photo from Design Mom



Blogging is one of those jobs that is largely a solo endeavor, and when you tell people what you do, they ask things like, “Now what’s a blog?” and “But how do you make money?” and sometimes “So you do that for your job?” with “job” in air quotes. So to spend a weekend with a) other people who b) also have blogs, was a huge treat.

Unlike other social media events, Mighty Summit felt like a weekend I would plan for myself and some of my best girlfriends if I had a generous budget. Except that I didn’t have to plan it, or pay for it, and instead of my girlfriends it was a bunch of the most inspiring women I’d never met. We stayed at the delightful Boon Hotel in the Russian River wine country, ate delicious food, went wine tasting, got massages, told inappropriate stories around a campfire, and discussed ways to love our butts. I mean really, if you were going to plan an awesome girl weekend, wouldn’t it include at least most of those things?

And in the midst of all this relaxing and laughing, we shared and talked about our life lists, or Mighty Lists. As the Mighty Summit website says, “Each attendee is invited to bring her own Mighty List — a list of all the things she’d like to do with her life. We get together to relax, share our lists, and figure out how we can help each other cross a few things off.” Yep.



Not sure if any of you have created life lists, or bucket lists, or 30 before 30 lists, or anything like that, but I know that for me, though I love the idea of it, I didn’t really know where to start. Of course, there are the things that immediately come to mind, like places I’d like to go (Versailles) and experiences I’d like to have (swim with dolphins), but beyond that I felt a little overwhelmed by the task of making a list of things I wanted to do in my life. So I started where anyone would start: by spying on what other people had done. There are some awfully clever and thoughtful women out there making life lists, and I came across some brilliant ideas for thinking about my own, and how to get started.


Tidbits and questions I found helpful for life listing:

Make a list of things that make you happy and spend your life ticking things off the list.

– Get your goals out of your head and put them on paper.

– What have you already done that would have been on your life list if you’d started it years ago? Put those down and cross them off.
I always wanted to take a flower arranging class and calligraphy class, and did both of them before I started my life list. I put them down anyway, then crossed them off, as a reminder that my life list was real and doable.

– Don’t worry about what other people might think of your life list. It’s just for you.
Maybe you want to share your life list with the world, or maybe you don’t want to tell anyone you’ve even created one. I posted two of my life list items a few weeks back, thinking maybe I’d share the whole thing at some point. But when I received a nasty comment about them, I decided to keep it out of the interwebs. I might change my mind, but for now I want to make sure that others’ opinions don’t prevent me from creating an authentic life list.

– Ask yourself the right questions. Martha Beck’s 20 Questions are a great place to start (thank you Maggie).

– What do I want my life to look like, and how can I make it look that way?

– What do I love, but don’t make time for?
For me this included things like reading and flowers, so on my life list I put “Read 500 books” and “Grow roses.”

– What are the big words you want to define your life?
One of my big words is Joy, so I thought about how I could cultivate more of that in my life. It inspired a number of life list items for me, including “Wear more color,” “Let people know when I’m thinking of them,” and “Sloppy kiss my husband every day.”

– Steal ideas from other people’s life lists.

– Think both silly and serious, big and small.
As much as I want to visit faraway places and do good works and grand things, I also wanted to make room on my life list for silly and small things. Things like “Blow more bubbles” and “Frame our wedding photos.”

What would you like to do many, many times?
I love baking, but tend not to do it often, and generally stick with chocolate chip cookies or fruit crisps, so I put “Bake 1000 delicious things” on the list. Who knows if I’ll ever actually bake that many different things, but why not give it a go?

– Your life list isn’t set in stone; add and remove items as your priorities and goals change.

– Let your imagination be your guide; if you can dream it, it can go on your life list, even if it seems impossible.

I promise, once you get going, it will get easier. I’ll find myself in the car or making dinner and think of something out of the blue that I want to add to my list – maybe it’s crossed my mind before, but now that I have a place to put it, it makes me notice those kinds of thoughts more. So I’d love to know – do you have a life list, or something akin to one? Are you thinking of creating a life list, or not interested in the slightest (I’m thinking that if you’ve read this far, maybe you’re a little interested)?



This is the part I promised, with the possibly-wedding-related things. The best part of the weekend, certainly, was the people. But the place and the food didn’t hurt, and then there were the goodies. Here are some of my favorites, starting with the goodie bag. I mean, the bag itself was rad. I think it’s my new go-to personal carry on item: it holds a laptop, a camera, keys/wallet/etc., and it actually looks good (all of their bags come in super fun colors, too; mine is hot pink). Honeymoon accessory maybe?

Each bag was hiding a pretty turquoise box with a pair of Tieks in it. When I tell you about these, you’re going to wonder why you never heard of them – they’re adorable fold-up shoes. Yes, we’ve seen fold-up ballet flats before, but these come in the best colors, they’re comfy, and they have enough of a sole to feel like real shoes. Mine are Paradise Blue, and now I want a pair in Tangerine (I also wish I’d had a pair at my wedding, since the flats I changed into were less comfortable than my heels). I’ll tell you what, if I got a pair of these as a bridesmaid gift, I would not be sad.

Breakfast on the first morning included white chocolate lavender scones from Big Bottom Market (owned by the folks who own Boon). These are something you need to try, and reason enough to host a brunch wedding reception.

This isn’t really a tangible goodie, but it’s wedding related. On our wine tasting excursion, we visited Arista Winery, and someone needs to get married there because it’s beautiful. And the drive is beautiful, so your wedding guests will be happy to make the trip. And then someone else needs to get married at the Boon Hotel, because it’s understatedly lovely and the food is incredible.

One night, we found copies of The Happiness Project on our pillows. If that’s not perfect for a life list weekend, I don’t know what is. Plus, author Gretchen Rubin was one of the attendees, so it was extra perfect. Not really anything to do with weddings, but read it anyway because it’s good. (And might be helpful for thinking about your life list.)

On the last night, at a yummy dinner at Applewood Inn, everyone received a charming little necklace, with five tiny gold rings on it, which represent the five things on our life list that we commit to doing in the next year. Such a lovely reminder! The necklaces are by Lemonade Handmade, who makes all kinds of reasonably priced pretties for brides, bridesmaids, birthdays, holidays…

And then there were a slew of other fun things that I haven’t had a chance to use or try out yet, but when I do, if they’re awesome, I’ll be sure to share.


Throughout the weekend, I found myself feeling so grateful to be there. Thank you to Maggie and Laura for inviting me. Thank you to Intel and Lands End and the other sponsors who made the weekend possible. Thank you to all the wonderful ladies who attended, for making it what it was. And if you’ve gotten this far, thank you readers for reading, and have a happy, happy weekend! Oh, and if you’re interested in other Mighty Events, check out Camp Mighty, which launches this November in Palm Springs.


  • christine says:

    if you haven’t already, read “The Happiness Project” by Gretchin Rubin. Talks about improving your life in simple ways and doing things that make you happy, and how to make sure you make them happen. I love lists!
    One of my goals for the year was to read 2 books per month…I’m on track and have just 3 more months to go!

  • That sounds AMAZING! Thannks for sharing with those of us who weren’t there. I think I need to make a list, and attending something like this would definitely be on there (as is a girls weekend in San Fran!). I only wish it was a 30 before 30, but I’m almost 3 years too late for that one :) Sounds like such a lovely time!

  • MeitMo says:

    Brilliant!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to verbalize your experience so that all your readers can gain from it! I’m so glad to read that you had the opportunity to find community. You share and give all day long, balancing the needs of your faithful readers, vendors, post-submitters- I know it must be rewarding, but its exhausting. A job with no boss looking over your shoulder is great, but most driven people are their own worst boss (read their expectations of work and hours are higher and longer)! Good for you for taking time to look back on what you did and what you want to do-and good that you felt heard and inspired! I’m totally dedicating an hour tomorrow to answering the questions you provided, thank you for sharing!!

  • Sounds like quite the weekend! I read The Happiness Project earlier this year and loved it- how fun that Gretchen Rubin was one of the attendees! Thanks for sharing your tips for making lists! I’d love to spend time coming up with words that I want to define my life- what a great concept.

    My boyfriend and I made a 30 by 30 list when we were 22 (three years ago!) and have had quite the time checking things off our list. Our friend, Li, is going to calligraph it (with little check boxes) so we can frame it somewhere in our house!

  • the weekend sounds like a dream! love the happiness project – bought it a couple years ago to try to put a little more happy in my life.

    i am such a list person – but lose my lists faster than i make them. i’ve been keeping mini bucket lists as i’ve lived my life, trying to put a couple of them on my blog. for some reason i feel the need to categorize my lists – it just makes them seem a little more reachable: like “places i have to visit. local restaurants i have to try. recipes i have to make. pictures i have to take, etc”
    i love the idea of calling them mighty lists instead of bucket lists. the thought of having to squeeze something in your life before you die is a little depressing – i’d much rather call them mighty lists and be happy if a few get crossed off as i live. i think that’s why i lose my to-do lists and such – sometimes its much more exciting to imagine & dream the possibilities than rush through life & accomplish them. am i crazy? maybe. soaking up every minute of life – mundane and insane – that’s the life for me. maybe i’ll frame my lists and just be proud of my imagination- check marks hidden from view by the frame….

    i will start making my lists mightier though. ;) thank you for such an inspiring, feel good post!

  • Kelly H says:

    Sounds like a wonderful retreat. I just bought the book “the happiness project” on amazon- cna’t wait to read it.

  • Best comment of the post: “So I started where anyone would start: by spying on what other people had done.”

  • April says:

    Love the advice for making the 100 Life List – thank you! I’ve got 38 things on my list thus far, and sort’ve hit a brick wall on what else to put on it… now I’m inspired again.

    And it sounds like you scored some fun treats at the Summit! What’s not to love about a bag with shoes in it?!?! Altho: I wandered over to the Tieks website, thinking I’d snag myself a pair of those flats since I travel so much. Yeah… um…no. I don’t event spend $145 on REAL shoes, like work shoes, sneakers, pumps and the like. :( Bummer they are so ridiculously expensive.

  • Rachel says:

    Loved this. A friend sent me the link to this post and she was right…I needed this. For those of us that feel a bit lost right now, this is helpful. Thank you for posting this. I hope that this helps.

  • Jenny Dawson says:

    It sounds like a wonderful retreat and wonderful experience. Next time don’t forget your bathing suit.. Surf Outfitter has a wide variety of options for every woman. Check them out at http://www.surfoutfitter.com.

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