30 songs for the 30th

For the 3:30 Project, we thought it would be fitting to commemorate the 30th of each month. For January 30th, we compiled a playlist of thirty songs that reflect our shared memories; songs that lift us up, songs that reflect the different places our lives have taken us, and songs that capture a moment in our life as only music can. We hope you enjoy our songs.

You can listen to it with us on Spotify! 

Leave a comment and let us know what songs have stuck with you; if you enjoy listening to our playlist – you can answer my burning question – do you like it better shuffled or divided between our three lists? -Maggie

Here are the stories behind our songs!



1. “500 Miles” The Proclaimers
Maggie and I sang this song at drama club karaoke once, and when I haver, I’m haverin’ with her.

2. “Sitting Waiting Wishing” Jack Johnson

This song reminds me of driving with Mary Margaret in high school. I’m sure she thinks of me whenever she sings “must I always be waiting, waiting on you?” because I’m always late.

3. “Mad Season” Matchbox 20

This is one of only a handful of my favorite songs from adolescence that is still one of my favorite songs today.

4. “Unsteady” X Ambassadors

Hardly any explanation needed here. I always lean on my triangle when I’m a little unsteady.

5. “Dance in the Dark” Lady Gaga
One of my favorite sisterhood songs, Dance in the Dark is about escaping the male gaze and finding free expression with one another like our lives depend on it. Plus it reminds me of English class, D-d-d-d-daisy.


6. “Not Your Way” Misterwives
Another girl power anthem that always makes me think of my awesome triangle!
7. “Always” Boxer Rebellion
Submitted as my love letter to Maggie and Mary Margaret. Even if you miss the mark. Always.
8. “First Things First” Neon Trees

This is probably my favorite song about the journey into adulthood, and its motto is exactly what I want for myself and my friends: “first things first, get what you deserve.”

9. “Our Own House” Misterwives
I love this song so much, because even though my husband and I didn’t build our own house, we did put a lot of work into it. And in general it reminds me to take joy in having built a life of love.

10. “Just Another Day” Lady Gaga
This is how I know Gaga, in spite of her wigs and heels, would fit right in with us. This song could be about any one of us, and it’s a message we’re going to need to hear over and over again. And hey, I love you.

Mary Margaret

1. “You’ve Got a Friend” James Taylor
We sang this song in middle school chorus, but also what better song to celebrate the depth and beauty of friendship.

2. “Habetak” byFairuz
During my time serving in East Jerusalem, volunteering at a Palestinian school, I came to love Arabic music, and now in New York, it always makes to happy when I hear it blaring from the radios of the guys working at halal carts on the street corners!
3. “My Silver Lining” First Aid Kit
I often play this song when I feel discouraged, and let’s face it, there are some things to be discouraged about right now.
4. “42 Street” from the Musical 42nd Street
A musical about Broadway that we happened to all perform in during high school. Flash forward a few years, and now I work there!
5. “Clocks” by Coldplay
Because this song reminds me of riding in cars in high school.
6. “I and Love and You” by the Avett Brothers
After I left Georgia, Brooklyn took me in.
7. “Spanish Pipedream” by the Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers happen to be one of my favorite groups, but often I long for the kind of simplicity they lay out in this song.
8. “You Learn” by Alanis Morisette
I like to think of her music as “angry girl music”, so not only does this album take me back to growing up, it also reminds me that it’s okay to be an angry and expressive girl. And our triangle has the strength to translate anger into action!
9. “It’s Alright” by Matt and Kim
This song will forever be connected to the birth of my first nephew, since it had the magical property of being able to calm him down- like a re-set button. So it reminds me of the gift of aunthood along with the potential in music for transformation and resetting our moods and minds.
10. “Coffee” by Sylvan Esso
I walked from where I live currently in Brooklyn and saw this band play in Prospect Park, hearing them there for the first time, and instantly loving them. It reminds me of the things you discover when you build a new sense of home. Also, coffee. ‘Nuff said.

1. “Bye, Bye, Bye” *NSYNC
I always wanted to be “too cool” to be swept up in the *NSYNC crazy when I was in middle school, but this song is SO catchy. I still love it.
2. “Changed for Good” from Wicked
My mom is a drama teacher, and much of my childhood soundtrack was from Broadway Musicals. This song will always remind me of my high school years and these two wonderful ladies.
3. “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan
This was always an ironic girl power anthem to me growing up. I loved the beat, energy and passion of the song, and it has come full circle because my daughter loves this movie now, too.
4. “Hurt” Johnny Cash
I’m not sure I can explain why I love this song. I first heard it during my first semester of college, which was a tough transition for me. Somehow, the combination of Cash’s voice and the scoring make me feel hopeful in the darkness.
5. “Sledgehammer” Peter Gabriel
This song reminds me of my husband. I am prone to getting hung up with analysis paralysis in any project, but my husband will just get started – even if he can’t see to the end. I refer to him as a Sledgehammer.
6. “Let it Go” from Frozen
This song has become my motherhood anthem, not just because I’ve seen it a million times, but also because with so much of parenting, the best thing you can do is “Let it Go.”
7. “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
If you’ve seen The Lego Movie, then you know that the context of this song is a little disturbing, but it’s SO catchy. This song has become a go-to pick me up.
8. “Try Everything” Shakira
I know, all my songs come from children’s movies, but it comes with the territory. I love that this song acknowledges that failure will be a reality in your life, but not the end.
9. “Eye of the Tiger” Survivor
This song has had a lot of staying power in my life.
10. “Fight Song” Rachel Platten
When I first heard this song, I felt like it was my theme song. As a Martial Arts Instructor, it’s called “Fight Song,” and it’s a great girl power anthem.

Something Swell on Saturday

img_0448The 3:30 Project is a collaborative blog by three life-long friends: Maggie, Mary Margaret and Jillian. On Saturdays, Mary Margaret posts something from the week that made her smile.

Some of you may have watched our our special video blog post from Maggie’s birthday, in which we made our true confession of the time the three of us got locked in the library after hours while working on a school project (We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging to bring you this important message.). If you missed it, watch it now if you need a laugh! Today I decided to visit the library after hours in a totally legitimate way by attending a very special event at the Brooklyn Public Library: The Night of Philosophy and Ideas! It is a twelve-hour overnight session of speakers, performances, and events at my library! I won’t make it all night, but I do get to be at the library in the wee hours, so my book-loving heart is completely thrilled!

At the library right now as I post, and it’s almost midnight and I’m  watching a modern dance piece!


Thoughts on Turning 30

The 3:30 Project is a collaborative blog by three lifelong friends: Maggie, Mary Margaret and Jillian. We are all turning 30 this year. Since Maggie’s birthday was last week, we decided to share some of our thoughts on this milestone birthday.


  1. There will be no anniversaries of my 29th birthday
    I have no intention of pretending to be 29 for the rest of my life. For so much of my 20s I felt like I needed to be older before I could be credible. That was wrong. I had value then. I have value now. I don’t want to spend the next 10 years wishing I were re-living the last 10 years.
  2. My 20 year old self doesn’t need any more advice
    Sometimes I hear people ask, “What advice would you give your 20 year old self.” My 20-year-old self was doing her best and working hard. She needed less, not more advice.
  3. It’s okay to rock the boat sometimes
    I spent a lot of time in my 20s trying to never upset anyone for fear that they would hate me forever if there were any disharmony in our relationship. Now, I realize that you can disagree with someone and it is not the end of the world.
  4. I’m just going to feel uncomfortable
    I used to believe that in the future, I would feel comfortable talking to new people; I’d feel ready for new challenges; I’d want to go out and do things. This is not my nature. I will always have to make myself try new things, and that’s okay.
  5. We all get older, we don’t all get wiser
    I used to believe that all people who were older than me knew better and more than me. Lots of people have different experiences and different perspectives than me, but that’s no reason to doubt my own compass and my own voice.
  6. It doesn’t take any longer to do things the right way
    I believe that in the future, I’ll have more time to file, run errands, tidy up, and rinse off dishes. But really, it doesn’t take anymore time to put the file away, sort the laundry, or turn the dish washer on now. So, I should just do it.
  7. I’m not always going to be right
    This has been a disappointing realization. I mean, I never thought I was perfect or anything (definitely above average, but not perfect) – I trust my own judgement. But sometimes, I get it wrong.
  8. It’s okay to be wrong
    It really stinks to discover you’ve made a poor choice – I know, I’ve done it more than once. So far, I’ve been able to figure it out and make it work. Life is merciful because things that go wrong offer the most valuable lessons and insights, and I’ve found that I’m increasingly grateful for those experiences.
  9. Apologies matter
    When you’re wrong, it’s important to admit it. It can be tempting to protect yourself with a wall of defensiveness, but ultimately, it’s better for everyone when you admit your mistake, apologize, do what you can to fix it, and do better next time.
  10. When your stuck in a rut, brush your teeth or go for a walk – it will freshen your perspective
    This solves a surprising number of problems.

Mary Margaret

Since Maggie and I became friends in middle school, it has been a source of delight to me that her birthday was my half-birthday, and vice versa. So this January 19 when she turned 30, I found myself at a halfway marker. Six more months.

Six months, and I’ll no longer be a 20-something. Six months, and I’ll reach three decades of living. Six months and…and…

…actually I’m not sure.

Quite naturally our weekly topic honors Maggie’s birthday, but upon reflection I found myself baffled- my mind in an open rebellion against bringing coherent ideas together; I’m not ready! I’m not there yet! I’ve got six months to figure out what this means to me!

That on top of a personal distraction of the week—my anticipation of, participation in, and subsequent processing of the Women’s March on Washington.

With my emotional and mental energies spinning there, though, perhaps it’s not entirely unrelated to the issue at hand? What exactly is the significance to me of hitting 30? Rather, what does it mean to be to unquestionably, undeniably, can’t-get-around-it-or-talk-your-way-out-of-it, an ADULT?

I was initially intimidated—scared, truthfully— by the idea of the D.C. march; I didn’t know the city or what to expect (I like to know what to expect!), and I wanted to examine critically why I would march. But after reading the clear, coherent statement put together by the organizers, poring over the website, securing transportation (plus friends to march with!), then the only thing holding me back was fear of the unknown. Attending the sister march in New York with my church group seemed much more comfortable, and while I believe participating in the NY march was equally important, something finally struck me: I needed to choose to do the scary, uncomfortable thing. I needed to do this very small uncomfortable thing (something I could do from enormous privilege, actually) to prepare myself to make harder choices in the future.

Maybe this is what I’d like to bring into my next decade. Fear is not a compelling reason to not act. Not having control of a situation is not a compelling reason to not move forward. I felt fear before living in the Palestinian territories for a year, but I did not let that stop me when I was 21. I refuse to be paralyzed now by complacency or a clinging to what has become comfortable as I enter my 30s.

We often hear that being an adult means making hard choices. I did something little and largely symbolic this week.

I’m in training, though– to make some bigger, harder, more important choices this decade.

I first learned I’m getting old when I went out to lunch with a bunch of girlfriends and they all started talking about their eye creams.Eye creams? I’m still fighting acne and I’m supposed to worry about crows feet? But sure enough, within a year, half my friends were selling Rodan + Fields on Facebook and flooding my timeline with PSAs like this one:
Get it? You’re hideous, and you’re gonna stay that way until you shell out for some magic wrinkle-erasing serum.
That’s right, ladies. Your days of youthful ease are over, and the only thing more ghastly than an old woman is the prospect of being one. DON’T LET IT HAPPEN TO YOU!

My thirtieth birthday is three short months away, and I’m aware that I’m supposed to have all sorts of feelings about it, not the least of which should be grief over my fading beauty and the end of the era in which I’m young and pretty enough to be the ingenue in my own life story.

Jillian, age 29
Jillian, age 30

But I don’t feel that way. Mainly because Trump is president and I’m too worried about waking up to a nuclear wasteland. But also partly because I’m too intrigued by the thought of how different our lives would be if we valued our own aging process.

Lord knows I’m not the poster girl for self love. I don’t celebrate every new dimple of cellulite and stray whisker I now have to pluck. But gosh am I tired of seeing so many women so miserable and so worried about their faces and bodies. What if, instead, we were grateful for every new phase of life, and accepted the timestamps they left on our bodies?

It’s cliché to say, “growing old is a privilege denied to many.” But more than that, could we have enough faith to believe that growing old is important? That watching our bodies change, feeling new aches and pains, drawing new lists of physical limitations – that all these things have meaning?

If what we’re here for is to learn, then yes, all these things have meaning. If what we’re here for is to cultivate virtues like love, humility and gratitude, then yes, all these things have meaning. If what we’re here for is to prepare for whatever comes after this life, then yes. All these things have meaning.

And yeah, I’m only turning thirty, I’m not on my way to the nursing home. Except, I am. We all are. The skin care commercials won’t let us forget it. And while I’m turning thirty, my mom and my friends’ moms and my aunts and my mentors are turning sixty.

I just want us all to be happy and unafraid and grateful for each new phase. And as I turn thirty, I’ll be doing my best to make that happen for myself.

Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday

One of the first things I do every morning after I wake up is change my daughter’s diaper. As the day goes on, I change diaper after diaper. Sometimes they’re stinky. Sometimes they’re super wet. Sometimes I wait a little too long to change them and they leak. I do this because it is a part of the process of parenting.

I look forward to the day when my daughter will be potty trained, but I don’t begrudge her the diapers she will use today.

What does this have to do with motivation? or Mondays?

We have to handle some problems in our life over and over again. It’s not because we didn’t do a good job the first time or because of some terrible force in the universe – they’re just a part of life.

Sometimes I feel like I’m doing something wrong or failing at life because I keep having a sink full of dirty dishes, laundry to fold and put away, bills to pay and a seeming endless list of things to take care of. I am trying think of these things the way I think about diapers. I don’t judge my daughter’s diapers for being dirty or my daughter for needing them. I am trying to extend the same courtesy towards myself and the other challenges I face in my life.

To sum up, for Motivation Monday – I challenge you to think about the things in your life that are like diapers. Perhaps there is an unpleasant task that you have to take care of on a recurring basis. Try to make it less personal. Just, clean it up, let it go and have a great day!




Something Swell on Saturday


The 3:30 Project is a collaborative blog by three life-long friends: Maggie, Mary Margaret and Jillian. On Saturdays, Mary Margaret posts something from the week that made her smile.

Yesterday, to me, was not a proud day in American history. Today, though, I was part of making history. Or should I say Her-story? Today I participated in the Women’s March on Washington, which was full of energized people of all races, ages, creeds, genders, orientations-and  ALL professing a profound, reverberating message of love and unity. One speaker said, when it gets harder to love, love harder. That might sound cliche. But then I guess we need more cliches.


Alternate Titles for yesterday’s post

We weren’t quite sure how to title yesterday’s post. We found it challenging to sum up our complicated feelings and reactions to the 2016 Presidential election. However, our attempts to title the post are amusing and revealing. We thought you might enjoy them, too.

  • Inauguration Day
  • Throwback Thursday: From November 2016 to Inauguration Eve
  • So This is Really Happening
  • Reality Check
  • Is this one of those alternate universe episodes from Star Trek?
  • We never thought this day would come
  • Is it too late now to say we’re sorry?
  • Is time travel still an option?
  • *Sad Face*
  • Do you want your vote back?
  • Lord Have Mercy
  • God forgive us poor sinners
  • New Reality
  • They knew not what they did
  • The Peaceful Transfer of Power for the Unpeaceful Mind
  • 2017: The year we get to find out just how good our Constitution really is
  • A Bridge over Trump-led Waters
  • Elizabeth Warren, Panda Breeding Programs, Triangles and other things to be hopeful about in 2017
  • I just wanted to say…
  • Twas the night before the 45th President…

There are no words. Except these. Here are some words.

The 3:30 Project is a collaborative blog by three lifelong friends: Maggie, Mary Margaret and Jillian. Following this emotional election season, we each had messages we wanted to share with particular people. So whilst the inauguration is on everyone’s mind, here are our three letters to three important recipients.

Mary Margaret – excerpts from a letter sent to the Trump campaign the week after the election.

Dear President Elect Donald J. Trump,

Perhaps I should start by saying that I did not vote for you. In fact, I was one of the naïve many that found it to be a literal impossibility that you could be elected president of the United States. We were wrong; I was wrong.

Let me next say that I am an Independent, and I was no committed Hillary fan in this disheartening campaign season. Although I was incredibly excited to see a woman achieve that position for the first time, I disagreed with many of her policies…

Aside from a few specific campaign promises, much of your campaign seemed to be about labeling what was done by others in the past as “disasters.” This leaves me full of questions about what kind of president you intend to be. And in that limbo, let me implore a few things as you prepare to take the Oath of Office.

  • No president leads alone. Your campaign glorified your outsider-ness from our political system, and while I have an extreme mistrust of politics, I also have great respect for hard work, knowledge, experience, and dedication. As helpful as a fresh perspective in any situation can be, I ask that you please surround yourself with people who know what they are talking about. People who can offer thoughtful, intelligent, expert advice that is based in fact over emotion. Preferably non-partisan people, preferably people not promoting only one special interest, preferably some people who might not agree with you.
  • You have stated “America First.” I am not particularly nationalistic, so while I agree that a president’s first responsibility is to the citizens of the country, I also believe in governing a nation as my values ask me to govern my life. To me, America can only be great by following Christ’s teaching that we should treat others as we wish to be treated. I measure our greatness in our ability to be in right relationship with the other people in this world.
  • If you honestly intend to be the president for ALL people in this country, you need to vocally and immediately state that you value the lives and rights of the people, many of whom feel vulnerable and marginalized, who have legitimate fears about what your presidency means for them. In upholding the liberties of your citizens, you must emphatically denounce groups that would steal liberties from others— yes, even if they voted for you.
  • Although you have been hailed for candidness and “speaking your mind,” I would ask that you consider the sagacity and value in thinking before speaking. Words are important. What you say will be important. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Do not forget this.

I intend to pay attention to what you do in office and continue my civic involvement by contacting you and my other elected officials on specific issues throughout the coming years. I am grateful for checks and balances—that you are just one, though crucial, part of our larger governing body.  I don’t really have a choice about “giving you a chance”- you were elected and now you must lead. So lead. And please: listen.

Mary Margaret


Dear Secretary Clinton,

Throughout this election season, I have remembered time and again the discussions that happened in school when we learned about the government and history of our country.

Someone would ask, “Why hasn’t there ever been a female president?”

A discussion would follow and someone (usually a boy) would say: “A woman can’t be president because what would happen if there was a crisis while she was on her period? She’d start World War III.”

I hated hearing that. I hated that no matter how smart I was, how many times I did all the img_0774work on a “group” project, how kind I was, how level headed in the face of a challenge – I would always be the irrational and unstable one. That there would always be certain things I shouldn’t do because I was a woman.

For most of my life, I’ve had the general impression that I was supposed to hate you. From comments made by friends and family members, jokes on the internet, political commentary, I got the impression that you were too pushy, that you thought you knew better than everyone else, that you weren’t a very good first lady, that you didn’t seem to know your place.

After the crucible of the 2016 election, I have come to admire you. You are so human. You’re a mother. A lawyer. A senator. A diplomat.

Your career (and the careers of so many women) can be summed up by the criticisms people raise against you. You’ve done too much. You haven’t done enough. You’re too liberal. You’re too conservative. You’re a socialist. You’re on the side of Wall Street. You should have left your husband. If you’d been a better wife, he wouldn’t have cheated. You’re shrill. You’re not passionate enough. You think you know everything. You’re an idiot.

You have been personally blamed for everything that is wrong in our country, yet, despite all the slander, accusations, and investigations, you haven’t given up on trying to do what you could to make our country a little better. Rather than backing out of the public eye, doing good behind the scenes and claiming you weren’t in it “for the credit,” you’ve stepped into the arena again and again and claimed your right to lead.

I know that you are not perfect, and I love that about you. I wish my daughters had more role models like you. Women who’ve faced challenges, made hard choices, owned up to the consequences of their actions, and still tried to make a difference in the world.

I hope that as we embark on the next four years, I can be more like you. I hope that I show my daughters that it’s okay to have big goals, to want a career, to forgive people that I love who mess up, to speak up, to take credit when it is due, and to accept responsibility when I fail. And when I fail, I hope I fail with dignity, dust myself off, and try again.

Thank you,


Jillian’s open letter, as a white woman, to the teens of color in the high school Black Lives Matter club sponsored by her husband, their teacher.

Dear kids,

The morning after the election, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I thought about you, how betrayed you must feel – that so much of your country went to the polls refusing to care that there is no “again” in making America great for you. It was my privilege that had allowed me to believe our people were better than they showed themselves to be that day. It was my privilege, in every sense, to feel my heart break for you. I came to your meeting that afternoon. I needed to tell you – perhaps more than you actually needed to hear it – that my husband and I see you, we hear you, we believe you, and we will stand by you always.

Some of you said that Trump-supporting kids had been gloating and taunting you. You were feeling confused and wounded, and you were so right to feel that way. It isn’t all in good fun to mock someone over a grievous loss. It isn’t acceptable to refuse to acknowledge the deeply personal nature of a political situation like this one.

Everyone feels insulted or spurned or neglected sometimes, regardless of their level of privilege. When a white person like myself thinks they haven’t gotten a fair shake, they may feel slighted and wronged and angry. They may judge those feelings to have arisen from their personal moral compass, that innate sense of right and wrong that they trust in themselves. They may create labels like “reverse racism” to further legitimize their feelings of mistreatment.

But when something is truly, truly wrong in the world, it hits you with a cold, hard shock, something like a smooth, heavy stone landing in the pit of your stomach. You know this feeling – maybe you have your own way of describing it, but you know the feeling I mean. This is the feeling of your moral compass hitting north. There may be anger, even rage, but it isn’t just anger. It comes with a sudden pop of dread, or a chill of terror.

That’s the feeling you’ve got to trust. You won’t always know exactly why you get that feeling. Sometimes you’ll know, but you won’t have the words. Just don’t let anyone try to talk you out of that feeling, because that feeling is one that is always telling the truth.

When you hear the president-elect say that black protesters need a dose of “law and order,” and you feel that cold sickness in your stomach, that’s how you know this isn’t an argument you need to hear out, this a man who is wrong. When a classmate mocks your political loss and you suddenly feel like there’s a new meanness in them, don’t tell yourself to lighten up. These are people who think they know what wrongness feels like. They don’t.

You said that you expect the coming years to be difficult. But trust yourself and be brave, and you will persevere as the many before you have done. Know that my husband and I will be by your side. And after this is over, it will be you and your friends who are making America great for all Americans for the first time.

We are so proud of you every day,

Mrs. W


We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging to bring you this important message.

MAGGIE IS 30 YEARS OLD TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This calls for a special celebration, so we’re delaying our usual 3:30 Thursday post until tomorrow. Today we’ve prepared a special video to honor Maggie’s weird and wonderful 30-year legacy so far.

With the three of us scattered among three cities across the country, it’s not often that we can all three be together. But whenever two of us can get together, we’ll make a special video for the 3:30 Project. We’ll call them Two Out of Three.


Triangle Tuesday

Maggie, Jillian, and Mary Margaret are fond of saying that anywhere we are, we form a triangle with one another. It’s just our way of saying we are connected- always. On Tuesdays we’ll present some of the triangles we encounter in our world! 

A triangle made of triangles made by Maggie.

One of my favorite things about being a parent is getting to appreciate and play with my daughter’s toys. A little pyramid like this can help you really appreciate the stability and depth of a good triangle.


Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday

Today we honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the legacy he left behind. I considered sharing some of his words today, but I have felt myself drawn to Teddy Roosevelt’s ‘Man in the Arena’ speech over and over again this week. I hope you find it as inspiring as I do. -Maggie

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”


-President Theodore Roosevelt