Thursday, December 27, 2012

Winter Bucket List

As promised, here is my Winter Bucket List! I'm pretty excited about, too. Here's some of my reasoning behind putting each of these things on the list:

Go to a movie by myself - I used to think there was nothing lamer than going to a movie by yourself but then I tried it once and I loved it! It was extra relaxing to have only my own tastes to consult regarding what movie I would see, how early I would get there, where I would sit, and when I would leave. Don't get me wrong - I really enjoy seeing movies with friends, but seeing a movie by yourself is a different type of experience. I haven't done this since last April, so I think it's high time I do it again.

Go on a 30+ mile bike ride - This is more a way of making myself get in at least a little bit of shape more than anything. But also, I live right by a gorgeous trail that runs along a river and I don't get out on it nearly often enough. I'm thinking by the time March rolls around and the sun is out and things start to bloom, I should really take the time to go on a long, relaxing bike ride by myself.

Finish Intellectuals and Society - This book is a monster but I'm almost halfway through and I'm really enjoying it! I'm hoping to finish it up before the school starts again and my life gets crazy.

Start a new book purely for my own enjoyment - I used to love reading. There were very, very few things that could keep me away from a book. Over the last few years, though, most of my reading has been required for school and I've come to view reading as an unenjoyable chore. Lately, I've been trying to make a point of choosing books that I don't have to read so I can remind myself that reading is a truly enjoyable pastime.

Host a movie night - I've been hosting one movie night each month for the past few months and it's been really fun! I'm looking forward to hosting more in the New Year and I think we'll kick off 2013 with The Magnificent Seven - but that's subject to change ;).

Go ice skating - It's been years since I've been ice skating and it's one of my favorite winter activities.

Go wine tasting in a new region - I've never gone wine tasting outside of the Lodi region so hopefully this winter that will change. As much as I love Lodi wines, I really want to see (taste?) what other wine country regions in NorCal have to offer. Some regions I'm considering are the Santa Cruz Mountains, Napa, and the Mother Lode (Calaveras County).

Go to a hockey game - This is another thing I haven't done in years that I really enjoy. Stockton (about 1 hour south of Sacramento) has a minor league hockey team that I've gone to see a few times and it's always really fun (and the tickets are cheap!).

Go to a concert - Any kind of concert! In a large stadium or in a bar, I really don't care. I can count on one hand the number of non-classical music concerts I've been to in my entire life and that needs to change, pronto!

Host a casual dinner party - I did this a few years ago and enjoyed it. I know that hosting another one would be really fun.

Go to a new open mic night - There is one weekly open mic night in Sacramento that I've been to several times and I love it - but I've yet to try out any other open mic nights. I really need to gain more knowledge of the city I live in and I think listening to artists at various open mic nights is a good way to start doing that.

Go swing dancing - I've been swing dancing a few times and I'm not very good at it, so it always makes me nervous. But, this is one of those things I'll only get better at if I actually do it - hence the inclusion on my winter bucket list.

Take line dancing lessons - The fitness facility on my campus is offering Country Line Dancing as one of their group fitness classes this semester so I'm going to give it a try! I've wanted to learn line dancing for a really long time and this is the perfect opportunity to do so cheaply and in a non-skeevy environment.

Try a new restaurant - Again, I need to learn more about Sacramento. This will help me do that.

Meet John & Sherry of Young House Love - They happened to recently schedule a book tour stop in NorCal and my older sister gave me their book for Christmas. Given that and the fact that they're my and my sister's favorite bloggers, this had to be on the list!

Go beer tasting - This is something my friends and I have talked about doing for a long time but have never actually done. Maybe for my 25th birthday? We'll see.

Be a rocking Freshman Composition teacher - I was recently hired to teach English 1A (aka Freshman Composition) at my school next semester and I am SO EXCITED about it! My goal is to be a really great teacher.

Finish thesis prospectus - This has to happen or my whole life will be screwed! Haha, not really...but kinda really. I actually need to get this done within the next few weeks because it has to be approved within the first 2 weeks of the semester if I'm going to start my research this spring - which is my plan.

Start thesis research - This is pretty self-explanatory, but it's one that requires a lot of groundwork beforehand, since I have to get approval from the colleges I plan to do my research on and find teachers willing to let me come into their classrooms to find subjects.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Autumn Bucket List Update

It's officially the first day of winter! Can you believe it? Since that's the case, I thought I'd take a look at how I did on my Autumn Bucket List. Here's what was on it:

And here's how I did:

Overall, not too bad, right? I had a lot of fun doing the things on this list and I'm not too disappointed about not making apricot bread, playing ultimate, or going kayaking. There's always winter, right? Well, not for the kayaking, but maybe for the other two things!

Check back next week for my winter bucket list!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Operation "Deck the Door"

Christmas is coming! And since one of my goals from my Fall Bucket List is to decorate my apartment, I've been setting aside some time here and there to do just that. I LOVE how my door decoration turned out this year:

It's definitely an improvement over last year's door decor!

This is the angle I usually approach the door from. This makes me so happy! It was a group effort between me, my roommate, and a friend of ours who lives in the same complex we do. My roommate did the bow and our friend hung the tiny little ball ornaments because I didn't have the patience to do it!

The ribbon and the "wreath" (it's actually a 12' garland I wrapped around a few times) came from the Dollar Tree. This red ornament came from Michael's last year and the frame is something I picked up last year and spraypainted.

The "JOY" letters came from Target's Dollar Spot and the ball ornaments are also from there, but I got them last year. The silver ornament is from Michael's last year. Notice the little spider hanging out on the "J"? He stayed there the whole time I was taking pictures and as soon as I was done he scurried away to his home!

I crouched down so I could get a child's perspective of our door. I think it's even better from this view :).

Since I already had most of the materials for this project, the total cost was only $3! You can't beat that! If I'd had to buy everything fresh, it would have come out like this:

$4 - two ornaments from Michael's (with 50% off coupon)
$3 - frame from Goodwill
$1 - little ball ornaments from Target's Dollar Spot
$1 - "JOY" letters from Target's Dollar Spot
$1 - 12' garland from Dollar Tree
$1 - red ribbon from Dollar Tree
$5 - blue spray paint (for frame)

That would make the total $16, which is still really cheap, especially when you consider that you can easily spend that much on just a wreath alone!

When I hung up my door decor, I wanted to make sure our peephole wouldn't be covered by it. I was not expecting this lovely surprise, though - the view through the peephole is so sweet! This was taken at night so the lighting isn't great, but you can at least tell what I'm talking about.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Getting into the Christmas Spirit

This is a banner my mom made when we were all really little. It hangs
in my parents' house every year, but I may  "borrow" it this year.

Last year, I think I was working on final papers until just a few days before Christmas and, because I was so stressed out and still recovering from school, I never got into the mood for Christmas. I still had an enjoyable holiday, but that warm, contented feeling that I usually have around Christmas time deserted me. This year, I decided I would do things differently. No matter how stressed I am this month (and it helps that I'm done with school on 12/5 this year), I'm making it a point to get into the Christmas spirit so I can get the most out of one of my favorite seasons of the year. Here are a few of the things I'm doing (and so far it's working!):

1. I'm listening to more Christmas music. In fact, I started listening to Christmas music well before Thanksgiving. I know that's sacrilege to a lot of people, but I felt it was necessary.

2. I'm drinking lots of hot chocolate with peppermint flavor added! Making a cup of hot chocolate every now and then just does it for me.

3. I've started knitting again! Instead of multitasking while I catch up on TV shows, I'm working on finishing a scarf I started over a year ago.

4. I'm making it a point to get up ALL my goal Christmas decor. Last year, I only put up about 1/3 of the Christmas decor in my apartment that I wanted to. This year, I'm purposely setting aside a few hours here and there so that by the time Christmas rolls around, my apartment will be all decked out. My goal date to have everything finished is actually December 12th because...

5. On December 12th, I'm having a whole bunch of friends over to watch White Christmas. And I plan to serve a lot of holiday drinks, including hot chocolate, spiced cider, and mulled wine. Also Peppermint Joe-Joe's. It is NOT Christmas until you've had Peppermint Joe-Joe's :).

I also plan to go look at the Christmas lights in my city, and, if time and opportunity allow, go caroling and ice skating, too! This Christmas is already shaping up to be a lot more spirited than last year's!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall 2012 Bucket List

'Tis the season for creating Autumn bucket lists...or so I've gathered from the handful of blogs I read! So, I decided to make one, too. I'm not putting a lot of major things on this list simply because I'm a busy grad student and I already have lots of things to do. But I figure it's a good idea to make a "to-do" list of fun things to do that will bring me joy and satisfaction. So without further ado:

- Take a daytrip to Apple Hill
- Go kayaking
- Go wine tasting in November (Jeremy Wine Co. is releasing a new wine in early November and I can't wait to try it!)
- Take a daytrip to the beach and have a fire to roast s'mores

Delicious Things:
- Make pumpkin bread (I'll probably use the mix from Trader Joe's)
- Make apricot bread
- Eat mashed potatoes (Thanksgiving!)
- Drink apple cider

Social Activities:
- Host a classic movie night
- Go to dinner with friends
- Go to a pick-up ultimate frisbee game
- Go to an open mic night

- Paint toes with Essie's Head Mistress
- Wear pearls casually
- Make painted ornaments
- Decorate my apartment for Christmas