Organ donor recipients and friends are fulfilling donor’s bucket list

Learned about this story today, and wanted to share it with you. Kristina Chesterman died in a car accident last year, and donated her organs to many people, who are now (along with friends, family, other supporters) doing the things on her bucket list that she didn’t get to do, like fly first class.

Poppy field near Langton, North Yorkshire-7. By Thomas Tolkien (tomtolkien) on Flickr. Used unmodified under CC-BY 2.0 license.

“Run through a poppy field” is one of the things on Katrina’s bucket list.
Photo Credit: Thomas Tolkien (tomtolkien) on Flickr. Used unmodified under CC-BY 2.0 license.

The story caught my attention because she wrote a bucket list, with several things that are also on mine. I hope that the recipients, her friends, and her family are successful in accomplishing her list and in raising money for the memorial nursing scholarship and medical clinic in her name.

Read the article in the San Jose Mercury News. (Be sure to read to the bottom of the article to see her bucket list.)

Cut someone’s hair (2011, 2012)

"Haircutting" Photo Credit: Alan Turkus (aturkus) on Flickr

Photo Credit: Alan Turkus (aturkus) on Flickr
Used unmodified under the CC Attribution license

Apart from cutting my own bangs when I was little, I have no experience cutting hair. So why would anyone let me cut their hair?

(It surprised me that after I showed people my new haircut and told them I did it myself (and that it was on my bucket list), at least 3 people said, “I would have let you cut my hair.”)

Maybe because my mom used to cut our hair, or because I heard of people getting their hair cut by their friends, one day as I was getting my hair cut, I decided I wanted to cut someone’s hair too. When I told this to the person cutting my hair, she encouraged me to practice on wigs and then eventually on family and friends. She even offered to give me some of the wigs she used to practice, but I never followed through with that offer, because I was so nervous about making a mistake and ruining the wigs, which felt like a waste to me.

In 2011, assuming I would never find a willing volunteer (and very glad I left this list item vague–”someone’s” which includes my own hair, vs. “someone else’s”/”a friend’s” which does not), I searched online and found the video at the end of the post, which showed me how to cut my own hair. After viewing it at least 20 times, I practiced (without scissors!) making my hair into the cone shape and sliding the hairbands, etc. (see video to see what I’m talking about). When I decided I had the idea, I committed to this haircut, figuring I’d cut it a little longer than I wanted. That way, if I messed it up, I could go to the salon and have enough hair left to get it fixed and not have it end up too short.

I was so nervous when I actually did this, but I remembered I could get it fixed and went for it. At first, I did use the kitchen scissors she mentions in the video, but in future attempts, I found that smaller scissors and not attempting to cut all the way through the entire ponytail works best. (When I tried to cut through the whole thing at once, it wouldn’t work and the hair tie slipped a little, and I had to spend extra time evening out my haircut. When I cut through only part of the ponytail at a time, going in little sections by giving more space between the two hairbands so I could get the point of the scissors in the ponytail, it worked way better–no more hacking through.)

So far, most of the times I’ve done this it’s turned out pretty well. Exception: one time I had to shorten the longest layer using a second technique for cutting your own hair (put ponytail in nape of neck without twisting, pull hairband straight down toward tailbone, trim hair using same method in the video) because I pulled the hair funny when I was doing the cone, making the last layer so much longer than the others that it looked funny. Other than that, it’s been really nice to decide on a whim that I’m ready to cut my hair (and donate to Locks of Love), and I save money to use for future bucket list items!

Have you ever cut your hair? How did it turn out?

Want to cut your own hair?

Below is the video I mentioned in the post. While there are many YouTube videos out there showing you how to cut your own hair, most of them are on straight hair. This one is really good for curly hair.

Got Tips and Must-See Attractions for Vegas? Let me know

Las Vegas Photo Credit: Ruthanne Reid (thisreidwrites) on Flickr, Used unmodified under the CC Attribution license

Photo Credit: Ruthanne Reid (thisreidwrites) on Flickr
Used unmodified under the CC Attribution license

This spring, I’m going to Las Vegas, NV with some friends (going to Vegas is on my list). Here’s the status of the trip so far:


  • We don’t drink that much alcohol (I don’t like the taste of alcohol at all, so I don’t drink alcohol at all)
  • I don’t really want to gamble (it seems like a waste of money)
  • We want to save money (but still have fun)

Plans So Far:

  • Cirque du Soleil show (on my list)
  • Fremont Street Experience
  • Walk through the themed hotels and casinos
  • M&M’s World

Here’s where you come in:

What would you recommend we do?

Have you been to Vegas before? What did you enjoy? What would you avoid?

If you haven’t been yet, what would you want to see or do when you go? (or what have you heard of other people doing?)

Leave your thoughts in the comment section!

Resource: Free Attractions in Vegas

“The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.”

-Ben Stein

Become an RD (February 2014)

Shelly Najjar passed the Registered Dietitian exam

Part of the results printout after taking the test

Yesterday I passed my registration exam for dietetics and am now an RD (Registered Dietitian)!!

That means I have done one more thing on my list! (…and that I am now credentialed to provide nutrition therapy and specific dietary changes to help with special medical conditions, etc, and hopefully can find a job).

The story of this list item starts back in 8th grade, when we had to do science fair projects every year (looking back, I’m glad we did, I learned a lot of things like presentation skills, communication, familiarity and comfort with science, etc).

My science fair project that year was about how cooking method affects the vitamin C content of vegetables. I was reading nutrition textbooks to get information about the project, and my dad noticed I was reading information I didn’t need to read for the project. Nutrition was new to me, and I was excited that it was connected to everything.

He suggested I look into jobs in nutrition, so in high school, I did a few job shadows and took a Food Science class (slightly better than a class you could take in your sleep). When I started the college search/application process, I looked at colleges that had accredited programs in nutrition.

I’ve mentioned in the post about finishing college that I went to Washington State University (earned a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition, Dietetics option), and University of Washington (earned a Master of Public Health in Public Health Nutrition, through the Graduate Coordinate Program in Dietetics). These programs met the requirements for the nutrition degree and 1200 hours of supervised practice in dietetics.

In the month since graduating, I have been studying on and off for the registration exam, and took it yesterday (Feb 12). I thought it would be something that I was pretty happy about, but it turns out that the emotional reaction just wasn’t there. (I’m distracted by other things right now and was pretty tired, so that was probably why.) This goal has taken a really long time to accomplish, with many unexpected turns in the road (maybe I’ll expand that into another post later), but I have learned so much and I am grateful that I had these educational opportunities. I’m sure that as time goes by, I’ll be even more grateful when I do something in my job that I remember I learned during this time.

Many people have helped me in a variety of ways to accomplish this goal, in financial support, through prayers, emotional and social support and friendship, practical help, advice, and more. I am so, so grateful. Thank you.

If you want to be a Registered Dietitian, the best place to start is the website for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. They have a Become an RD/DTR page that helps you figure out your next steps, depending on your situation (career change, high school student, international student, etc).

If you’re looking for study materials, click here.

You can also contact me if you have questions about the experiences I had.

In progress: Become an RD

Study Materials for RD Exam, Photo by Shelly Najjar at The Goal LIst

Only some of my study materials

Today is the second-to-last day that I have left to study for the national registration exam for dietetics. Passing this exam is the last thing I need to do to become a Registered Dietitian.

I’ll be taking this exam on Feb 12, at 8am, and I’ll be sure to update you shortly after on the outcome. I’m praying this will be one more Goal Accomplished!

Study materials for the RD exam:

Is this on your list too? Are you studying for this exam? If so, the 2012 (updated 2013) RD exam study outline is available online for free from the credentialing agency that makes the exam.

You can also look for study materials from other publishers. Here are some links to materials my friends have used and recommended, as well as some textbooks I reviewed as I studied: