Thursday, December 29, 2011

December: Upholstery

For the month of December, I embarked upon my first project of re-upholstery! I love the idea behind the concept of taking furniture that needs a little TLC and making it not only usable again, but giving it a whole new life. This fits in very well with my environmental stance of reducing what we consume and throw away. It also speaks to my creative side, my love of puzzles and shopping! It is a very fitting new hobby and I am glad to have finished off the year with something that I hope to continue improving my skills in and embarking upon many new projects in the future!

It was not difficult to find a project to start with - plenty of those around my place event - but it was difficult to find a basic project to start with. I needed a project which only required a skill level I felt comfortable taking on, basically a square. I started with a tall stool with a back. It was a very simple project and made me feel comfortable and excited to take on more difficult projects! I got to experience keeping the fabric taught, folding corners, dealing with a wooden back, working with a thick material, and all sorts of other little things. Now, I think I'll do another one of the stools from the set and start looking for the next level project.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

November: Winchester Mystery House

This month's trip was a long time coming. I knew that this was going to be on the list for this year practically the moment I decided to do a bucket list. This is another one of those things I have wanted to do for years and I am so excited to have finally visited this strange house! I had originally planned on going in October - to add to the spookiness - but had the opportunity to meet up with an old friend from high school and we couldn't find a weekend that would work for everyone until November. So, November it was.

Brian and I attended this awesome trip. We left early in the morning to make it to the house by our tour time. We started off with a tour of the houses. So many weird windows and doors and yet so much of it makes sense - if you keep in mind that she thought she was being haunted by ghosts who told her to keep building forever. After the house tour we also got to enjoy an estate tour (private - just the two of us!) including everything from the basement to the gardens. It was an awesome, interesting and fun trip! The two and a half hours flew by - I'd highly recommend that anyone who visits gets both tours as it is only a few extra bucks and totally completes the experience. We topped the day off with some lunch with the friend and his wife and some good catching-up.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

October: First Apartment!

October was a REALLY busy month including but not limited to: Whitepaper report for Job 1, 4 big events for Job 2, two weeks of pet-sitting...basically, a completely overwhelming month. To top it all off, I decided to move into my own apartment! This was definitely something that I haven't done before and that I'd always wanted to try! Therefore, it qualified for my bucket list this year - good thing too because I am pretty sure anything else added to my plate would have broken my sanity.
I decided a couple of months ago that I was going to move out of my parents house and finally try and be a grown up. With both of my jobs fairly secure, I finally felt like I could take on the financial commitment of living alone.
There was quite a search process as I didn't want to live in a matchbox (had it better at my parents house, for sure!), wanted to bring my cat, and, of course, didn't want to pay too much. I have to give props to my mom, who actually found the wining apartment! Thanks for all the help and sound advice, Mom!
I signed the lease the day before my birthday and brought in my first boxes (technically moved out of the house at 23) and spent the majority of my birthday moving my remaining stuff. This is definitely going to be something I look back on as an amazing experience! Bucket Lists are awesome. What an inspiration this challenge has been to me!

Monday, October 17, 2011

September: CalShakes

For Y-E-A-R-S I have driven by CalShakes and wanted to go. It looks so wonderful, nestled in the hills on a lovely summery evening. Well guess what, I finally did it! That's what I have loved about this bucket list, I am finally accomplishing some of those things *I have always wanted to do*. Special thanks out to Brian as I almost missed my bucket list item for this month. Thanks for keeping me on track! Only 3 more months till my year is up. Crazy how fast this year has flown by.
I took Brian along with a wonderful picnic dinner for before the show started. There was a lovely picnic area surrounded by white Christmas lights, a very lovely way to enjoy a picnic. We ate, listened to the pre-show talk and then settled in for the show. I was smart and brought LOTS of layers, it sure does get cold up there at a quick pace once the sun sets.
We saw Taming of the Shrew, an interesting story that I hadn't read before. By the title, I guess I knew what I was in for. I really enjoyed the performance, it was done in a modern way and really emphasized some of the comedic points that I would probably have missed otherwise. They had lots of interesting touches to the set, costumes, characters and overall performance that I enjoyed. It really was a great evening and a wonderful experience!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August: Fruit Pickin'

Bucket list item for August was done early this month! I wanted to make doubly certain that this month's item would not only get done but get done properly this time, with time to make up for it in case something went wrong! It was great to have accomplished it early but now it is feeling like I have to wait so long until September rolls around! This month, I went fruit picking at a u-pick farm in Brentwood. Brian came along with me, the good sport that he is, and we picked peaches and plums.

All was well until I decided to pick the plum which was hiding a hornet's nest. Yes, out of all the trees in the orchard and all of the fruit on this particular tree, I went for the one with a fat nest lingering right behind the juicy plum. I felt like such a wimp - but hornet stings hurt! My finger swelled up a bit but in the end, everything was fine.

I really enjoyed having the experience and felt good not only knowing where my food came from but seeing it with my own eyes. I have been trying to think more along the lines of eating seasonally and figured that there was no better way than following the local farming seasons!

I was able to make some delicious dishes and have a lot of great snacks too! Sure felt like summer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July: Bonfire on the Beach

So July was another one of those months where a great plan didn't quite work out as I had planned. The plan was to "have a bonfire at Ocean Beach in San Francisco". I have a difficult time trying to be flexible when things don't work out according to my plans, but I do the best I can. This time, my boyfriend was there to help reassure me that even though my plan didn't quite work out as I had envisioned it, he would ensure that the trip out would *qualify* for my 2011 Bucket List. Thank goodness for him! Looking back on it, maybe the last minute struggle will make it even more memorable. Sure is a funny story to tell and definitely something I had not done before! Let's get to the story, shall we?

So, the month was getting close to the end, due to my incredibly hectic work schedule. I had planned out a possible date for my Bonfire but hadn't actually confirmed and got the ball rolling until about a week prior. Then, the majority of the people I invited were not able to attend. Kind of a bummer. So, when it gets down to it, my boyfriend will be there and a couple of people thought that they'd catch up with us later. Yup, four wonderfully supportive people at my bonfire...haha. I decided to pack a picnic dinner for the boyfriend and myself, gather up the necessary supplies for the bonfire and call it a success. I had everything that we'd need all perfectly packed up, I was pretty impressed with myself :)

When we got into SF, the entire place was COVERED in fog, thick - get you wet - fog. Well, we figured that the fire would warm us. We get to the beach and apparently you can only have fires in the six fire pits - something that I recall not being the case prior and something that I did not find in my research. Cops were roaming around shutting down the bonfires that people had started elsewhere on the beach. So, the boyfriend and I decide to have the picnic in the hopes that some group might leave and we could snag their pit. That of course, didn't happen. I start to get really cold and ready to call it a night. In a last ditch effort, the boyfriend suggests we ask those nearby if we can borrow their fire to roast our marshmallows so we can at least have s'mores by bonfire and theoretically have participated in a bonfire at Ocean Beach. They were nice enough to let us, although I am pretty sure they thought we were pretty strange for asking.

I bet some people could have just walked up to a party and joined it, but let's face it, I'm not really that kind of person, haha. The boyfriend swears he saw a couple of people do just that, but I didn't see it so I'm not sure I believe him. So in the end, a bonfire experience was had, even though it wasn't quite what I imagined. Fun none-the-less!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

June: Cake Decorating Classes

For the month of June, I took a Wilton Cake Decorating Basics class at Joann's. It was a lot of fun and I think this is one of the new experiences that I will not only remember, but will be able to utilize for years to come!

Success Number 1: I took the class by myself...didn't even have anyone to go with or lean back on! I am the type of person who is hesitant to do things by myself and am really proud to have taken on this challenge. It was also great to have a fun class every Monday night all month long!

I didn't enjoy the "homework" aspect of the class. Before each class I had to bake a cake or cupcakes and make/color frosting which made it a bit of a burden. Looking back on it though, it wasn't actually that big of a deal (except the first time when my whole cake not only cracked in half but the top ripped off as well). I did enjoy all of the time I spent in class and all the things I learned.

Success Number 2: I learned how to decorate cakes. Several Christmas' ago my mom got me a cake decorating kit which I enjoyed trying to learn how to use. I sort of figured it out but there were always certain things which I could never get to work. After this class, I not only know what I did wrong during my initial trails, I have a much better understanding of cake decorating basics. Even the techniques that I thought I knew, I am now much more capable of...still have a lot of practicing to do! Some of the techniques I learned are simple steps that really make the cake a lot more professional. I am considering taking the second class in the Wilton series but we'll have to see.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

May: SF Bus Tour

I have lived in the Bay Area for as long as I can remember. I have always lived under 45 mins away from the glorious city of San Francisco and yet I rarely enjoy all that the city has to offer. When I go to the city, I go for a particular reason and then depart right after because I don't know enough about the city to go somewhere else and I don't like the idea of exploring the city when I don't know very much about it. This is why I was really excited about a guided Double Decker bus tour of San Francisco.

It was quite a lot of fun. Every time you rode a bus, there was a tour guide telling you about the various neighborhood you were traveling through, facts about the city or corny jokes. The tour guides were informational and pretty good, overall. While I will probably never forget some of the stories I heard 6 times throughout the day, I feel like I understand the city a bit better. I had no idea that China Town was so close to Union Square. It was great to spend some time out and about.

We received an "All Loops" pass from my parents for Christmas. There was a downtown bus loop, a Golden Gate loop, a Sausalito loop and a Night Tour loop. All were really fun and covered a different part of the city. I might have to keep a map of the tour loop when I travel the city so that I can remember what was going on right next to each loop! Immediately afterward I felt like I new the city pretty well but it is funny how quickly I forget things.

The double decker was fun, but a little chilly up top. It did start raining a little as well toward the very end. I was well prepared with lots of layers but still was pretty chilled on the final Night Tour loop. When we finished our last loop, we got some soup and sandwiches to warm us up and fill us up after the long day. Overall, it was a great day and definitely an experience to remember!

Pictures to come.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

April: Volunteer work on Alcatraz!

Well, April brought a little bit of difficulty. My brilliantly thought out and carefully planned schedule of things to do this year turned out to not be quite carefully planned enough. Apparently, other businesses and organizations do not want to operate on my schedule. Psh, what's that about? Luckily, I had a back-up "new thing" this month so I wouldn't falter on my bucket list! Actually, I think having back-ups is a good way to just include more new and exciting things into my life. Hmmm...maybe I should consider this in my plans for future months!

So, for the month of April, I am officially announcing that my bucket list item was to volunteer on Alcatraz! I have been to the Rock on several different occasions (school field trips, bday extravaganzas, etc) but I have never quite experienced the island from this perspective before! Being a volunteer swap day, we met really early, got to SF really early, and left on the staff boat really early! The weather was a tad confusing so I brought everything from short sleeves and a sun hat to a water-proof wind breaker.

While on the island, we were given an introduction to the history of the gardens and the restoration work. Then, we got to spend a couple of hours doing hands-on weeding in the gardens. It was nesting season for the birds, good thing we had gloves on to avoid what the birds left behind! I really enjoyed it. Weeding at home is not quite as nice as weeding surrounded by hundreds of birds and a gorgeous view of the Bay.Can't forget the group photo in front of some plant donations from RBG! Great day for a new experience!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

March: Shooting Range

For my March activity, my boyfriend Brian and I went to the shooting range. Brian's brother (and his girlfriend-who is also an excellent shot) hooked us up with guns, cheap ammo, shooting and safety instructions and even lunch afterward! Having never held a gun in my life, I was glad to have extensive safety training prior to even holding the gun in my hands. It is nice to think that if I happen to come across a gun at some point in my life, I will know how to handle it safely and unload it without accidentally harming myself.

After we were comfortable and ready to go, we went out to the range. Boy was it cold! It was indoors so they had to keep the air circulating. We started with the targets fairly close and moved them out as the morning progressed and we started using larger guns.

We started off with a .22 pistol. This ended up being my favorite gun. I think it was because it was the lightest weight. I found it the easiest to hold and did pretty well hitting the target too!

We actually both did pretty well considering we were newbies. My target here is from the .22 and Brian is with his target from the 9 mm. Not to shabby for first timers!

As the last hurrah, we were able to shoot a rifle. It was difficult if not near impossible to tell if you hit the target or not. I'm sticking to the story that the shots at the bottom of the paper target weren't mine and the one right up near the bulls-eye had to be mine. Brian might disagree however. But, no one knows so that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Overall, it was definitely a really great experience. Couldn't have done it without the good instructions and guidance. I had a lot of fun and great company; which made for an excellent weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

February: Flying Trapeze

Flying through the air with the greatest of ease!

Now, I am not crazy, I swear. I had someone convince me to do this with them. At first, I thought it sounded like fun. Right before going, I thought we were insane! But let me tell you, it is the most amazing experience ever!

I can only do a 1/4 pull-up, I can barely do push-ups, I am not the most athletic person (to put it mildly). However, I can not only fly on the trapeze, I can do a catch too. Anyone can do it. You utilize the force of gravity (and the lack of gravity) in order to accomplish these tricks.

Want to know how to do it?
1. Climb up a really large ladder.
2. Get harnessed in, safety first.
3. Hold on to the bar with one hand, platform scaffolding with the other.
4. Put chest forward, hips back.
5. Put both hands on the bar.
6. At the call of "Ready!" bend knees and prepare to jump off platform.
7. At the call of "Hep", jump off said platform and swing on the bar!

That's about what my first jump entailed. As I did a couple more, however, I managed to get my knees hooked under the bar, let go and extend my arms out above and behind my head. I felt like I was a little kid playing on the jungle gym again.

The most exhilarating part, however, had to be when I reached out and caught onto one of the instructors, letting go of my bar and hanging onto him for dear life. This is called a "catch". It is oh, so, amazing. My friend and I were a mess of excitement, exhilaration and hyperness for several hours after our 1.5 hour session. I almost felt sorry for those who had to listen to us.

Video of my catch to come soon!!!

Beware though, if you do go, you will be sore that night and for the next couple of days. Not only was my upper body sore but my abs were throbbing. It was so totally worth it though! I'd highly recommend it to anyone!

January: Ceramics Painting

For the month of January, I decided to experience the joy of painting ceramics. I have ALWAYS wanted to go to one of those ceramic painting places. The actual making of the ceramic pieces would be fun, but I feared that it might be more frustrating. As I am just getting used to this idea of trying new things, let's start off a little easier, shall we? To paint something in your own design and have it be usable for everyday life? Amazingness.

Let me tell you, I was looking forward to this activity. Is it bad that I had my whole artistic plan for my piece figured out a week before I stepped into the door on the day of ? My artistic vision just somehow came to me and I couldn't resist but to make it become a reality. My mom, one of my friends and her mom all came with me, a mother/daughter event was just what the doctor ordered for all of us.

I have to say, there is no better way to be artsy than to go make the mess somewhere else and not have to clean it up. You are free to utilize their paints, stencils and tools. You just have to supply the creativity. I guess I must clarify though, I did make a mess, wet paint on my sleeves. (it did come out though - success!) One day I will stop being a klutz...I hope. Enjoy some pictures of the fruits of our labors!

It is disappointing to have to wait a week in order to have the final product but well worth it. I might just have to make a whole dining room set...alternating colors for a mismatched but complementary set of round plates and cups! This trying new things is going to make me broke!

2011 Bucket List!

My new year's resolution for 2011 is to do new things. I am sick of talking about something cool and then coming up with some excuse not to do it. This year, I am going to stop putting off those things that I have always wanted to do. I have created a 2011 Bucket List, per se, something new to do each month. Now, these aren't going to be those crazy things like go sky diving or travel to Europe - I don't want to jump out of a plane and I am not really to the traveling to Europe stage (that one I will have to put off for awhile still). I am talking about those little things that I always say "oh that would be cool!" and yet never do. Time to enjoy life, look forward to something new each month and experience those things in life which you look back on with fond memories! So 2011, here I come! I will try to document here, to the best of my blogging ability :)