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

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fall is for Wine Tasting (but Wine Tasting is for Any Season)

For the month of September, the wineries in Lodi, CA offered a special deal called the Roadtrip Passport to Lodi. For $15, you purchased this booklet that gave you complimentary wine tasting at 27 wineries and access to numerous winery events, some of which are normally only open to wine club members. I took advantage of the deal and went wine tasting in Lodi three times over the past couple weeks. It was a blast! Here are some of the photos from the trips:

First stamp in the passport!
Michael David makes my favorite red and white wines

Grapes hanging from an arbor at Borra Vineyards

Went wine tasting with some of the girls from church
Also went wine tasting with my friend Leslie
And ALSO went wine tasting with my friend Kelsey. It was a busy month!

Especially when "all" involves wine ;)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Literary Baby Shower Gift

One of my sister's and my favorite gifts to give to babies and young children is books. At baby showers, especially, people seem to receive lots of clothes and toys - both of which are important, but the first won't last long because babies grow so fast and we prefer books to toys because we're both bookworms :). Recently, I visited my sister a few days before she was to attend a baby shower for a woman at her church and we put together the shower gift together.

First we went to the store and bought some classic baby books. Goodnight Moon and The Very Hungry Caterpillar were two of our personal favorites growing up.

Then we went to Marshall's and tried to find a basket that would look cute with all the books in it. We failed. But then we were walking down the aisles and I had the brilliant idea to buy this metal "S", which happens to be the baby's last initial, and stick it on top of the books, all tied up with a bow. Ashton loved it so we bought the letter. It was only $6, totally gorgeous, and about as decor-neutral as you can get with it's lovely dark silver finish.

Ashton had some ribbon at home that we used to tie the books and letter together and I think it turned out really cute!

I talked to my sister after the shower and she said her gift was a total hit. Success!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Two Days 'til Autumn!

It will officially be Fall on September 22nd, but I'm already in a very Autumnal mood. This is my very favorite season. Today I thought I'd write down a few things I'm enjoying right now. In no particular order:

1. Starbucks iced coffee with hazelnut syrup. Delicious! And perfect for the pleasantly warm NorCal transition from summer to fall.

2. Essie's Head Mistress nail polish. It looks dark pink here, but it's more of a deep, blue-red with pinkish undertones (kind of a dark cranberry). I love it! I really think it's the perfect shade of red for all year-round. But especially late summer/early fall, and I plan to wear it a lot during the holiday season.

3. Reading for fun. I recently started reading Intellectuals and Society by Thomas Sowell and so far it is excellent! I've ALSO been enjoying all the reading I've done for school so far, so I think I can count it as reading for fun.

4. Wine tasting! I went last Saturday in Lodi with some friends and it was a blast. Lodi, CA has a special Roadtrip Passport to Lodi event that runs from September 1-October 6 and it only costs $15 for the booklet which gives you access to numerous winery events and free tastings at 27 wineries (which works out to to about $0.55 per tasting!). I'm going again on the 29th with some gals from church and I'm sure it will be just as much fun as last Saturday was.

5. Foyle's War. I recently started watching this show on Netflix and it's really good (ok, the first 2 episodes are really good - I haven't watched the rest yet!). Something about Autumn just makes me want to make a cup of tea and delve into all things British.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Inside a Grad Student's Bag

School started this week, so I decided to organize the bag* I bought last summer before my first year of grad school. I put it through a lot last year, but it has held up really, really well. Since I was emptying everything out anyways, I thought it would be fun to take a look at what's in my bag for this first week of my second year of grad school. I *might* do this at the end of the semester, too - as long as the contents aren't too embarrassing. My bag is always full of junk by the end of every semester, so we'll see.

In the zippered exterior pocket, I keep my keys and a flash drive along with a few snacks. Today, it happened to be a bag of raw almonds, a larabar, and some baby carrots. My arms are long enough that I can reach the contents of this pocket whether I'm wearing the bag off one shoulder or cross-body, and it's nice to have these specific things within constant reach.


The two end pockets are very straightforward: My Nalgene bottle and my cell phone.

Under the flap, there are 4 main pockets, 2 zippered and 2 pouch-like.

In the upper right zippered pocket, I keep replacement lead and erasers for my mechanical pencils, a deck of cards, and a headband. In the lower right pouch pocket, I have a variety of pens, pencils, highlighters, and markers as well as sticky flags and a small notebook that I use to track daily assignments.

In the upper left zippered pocket, I stow a set of earbuds, EOS lip balm (love those things! The mint is my fav), a baggy of advil, and yet another flash drive. In the lower left pouch pocket, I keep a package of Orbit peppermint gum (best gum ever!), a black notebook for jotting down random stuff, another small notebook for brainstorming topic ideas for papers, and a small bottle of hand sanitizer.

Inside the main compartment, there is a padded section where I keep my laptop when I need to have it and a narrower pocket in the front that I usually don't use.

When it's not holding my computer, the padded pocket usually has some empty manila envelopes, lyrics I've written that my brother has put music to, and whatever pieces of mail I just picked up from my parents or want on hand for easy reference.

The main compartment of my bag holds my tutoring and volunteer work notebook, my class notebooks and folders, my wallet, and, because I don't have any book reading assigned for my classes yet, my Nook with the awesome Jonathan Adler cover I bought for it, Intellectuals and Society by Thomas Sowell (a book I just started reading), and Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey (a book I'm almost done reading). Not pictured because I was using it to take these pictures: my camera, which is usually in one of the elastic side pockets inside the main compartment.

It'll be interesting to see what this bag looks like come December 6th. I'd be willing to bet money it has at least one empty Hot Tamales box - my go-to study snack during finals every semester.

*Here's the current model of my bag. It's on sale for $67, which I consider an absolute steal! I paid full price ($90) for my version of it, by far the most I've ever spent on any bag, and it has been worth far more than every penny. I'm crazy about the current one, though. The color scheme and monogram are so awesome!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Finished" Art Wall

Wooo! I FINALLY finished the art wall over my desk in my bedroom. I use the term "finished" a bit loosely, since it's still not 100% where I want it to be, but for a good while at least, any changes I make will be minor ones. Here are the photos and sources of it all.

This is the view from my doorway. I'm not sure putting that frame below my light switch was the greatest idea I've ever had, so it might be one of the things to get moved around if I do any tweaking.

Clockwise from top left: 1) This is a collection of 4 sunset photos I've taken over the past year. The first was taken in Prescott, AZ, the second was taken from the top floor of one of the parking on my college campus, and the bottom two were taken last fall on my way back to Sacramento from my parents' place. 2) I purchased this print from Mae Chevrette and the frame came from Target. 3) I purchased this "&" print from Milk Box Prints and this frame also came from Target. 4) This photo of my and my siblings was taken about 5 years ago. 5) This is a simple little hand-me-down frame and I cut a piece of scrapbook paper to fit. 6) A small whiteboard that I purchased from Target. Currently it has some lyrics from Mumford & Sons written on it. 7) This is a frame I picked up at Goodwill and then spray painted a while ago. I stuck in some miscellaneous photos that'll be pretty easy to change out if the mood strikes me.

 Clockwise from top left: 1) This collage frame was a hand-me-down from my older sister. I put some older photos of my four younger siblings in it. 2) Another hand-me-down frame, this time with some photos taken during my 2009 Grand Canyon backpacking trip. 3) This "&" print came from Cursive Art. Frame from Target. 4) This is an engagement photo I took for my sister and her husband 4 years ago. Frame is, you guessed it, from Target. 5) Small corkboard from target. 6) Photo of the cross at InterVarsity's Campus by the Sea on Catalina Island. I'm fairly sure it's a law that if you go there, you have to take a photo of the cross. 7) Silver-toned tray I picked up at Goodwill for about $2 that I've been using as a magnet board. I love it! 8) Photo of my mom and dad at my sister's wedding and two notecards from Target's dollar section. 9) Another frame from Target with a photo of my family at a time trial we all rode in about 6 years ago.

And here's the whole thing, including my desk. The left edge needs some work. I'm not thrilled with how even things are compared to the right side, so that'll most likely get changed within the next couple months, if not sooner.

Overall, I'm really happy with how this turned out and I can't wait to keep adding to it and improving it! If my roommate agrees, there's another spot in my apartment that I think would be great for a gallery wall. Now to find some inspiration for it...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Favorite Children's Books

As a former English major and future English teacher, I (Adri) love to give books as gifts to my friends' children. I feel like kids always have an abundance of toys, but good books can sometimes be hard to find and I feel that good books are vital to developing a love of reading in children. Here are a few of my and my siblings' favorite books from when we were little. Most of the books here are fairly unique, so the odds that a young one in your life already has one of these books are pretty slim and would be a safe bet for a gift, in my opinion.

We absolutely loved the Max & Ruby series. The stories and illustrations are cute and fun and the fact that they're board books makes them appropriate for even the youngest kids.

My younger brother couldn't get enough of this book when he was 3-7 years old. We went to the library at least once a week back then, and every other time, he would check out  Airport. Everyone in our family had it memorized because we read it so many times!

Pretzel is a great story about a really long dachshund and his search for love. This was one we read over and over...and over again.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel is another great story. It's been so long since I've read it, that I don't quite remember what it's about. But, I do know that we kids and our parents loved it.

Ice Cream Pie

I love ice cream pie. But I hate that some recipes make it so complicated. Let's face it, on a hot day you want an easy and successful dessert that requires very little thought or planning. Here are some of my favorites:

Mocha Heath Pie:

This pie only requires four ingredients: An oreo cookie crust, mocha ice cream, chocolate sauce and a heath bar. This could easily be adapted by changing up the ice cream flavor and candy bar - the options are almost limitless!

Fresh Fruit Ice Cream Pie:

My two favorite things, combined into one delectable dessert :)

The World's Largest Ice Cream Sundae:

So yes, this isn't an ice cream pie....but this takes out a few steps and would be so delicious! Plus everyone can choose multiple flavors, no need to settle on only one :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Things I'm loving

I'm finally back!! After about seven months of being absent due to a variety of life events (including but not limited to my computer being broken for two months, moving, and months of being sick) it's nice to sit down to compose a blog post. I think writing is like anything, the more you do it the easier it becomes but if you stop for awhile it can be tough to regain your momentum. But I have always loved writing for our blog, so hopefully I will be back to posting more regularly now :)

Since it has been so long, I thought I would start by listing a few things that I have been loving lately. These are all pretty random, which shouldn't come as too much of a surprise ;)

1. We moved into a house with a stainless steel sink. I found this step by step process on how to clean it to be amazing, seriously the sink is blindingly shiny now.

2. I am obsessed with plain greek yogurt! I love that for around 100 calories I can get 20 grams of protein. I like to layer it in a cup alternating between yogurt, a bit of honey and fruit parfait style. It's surprisingly sweet and refreshing.

3. I recently started reading the John Reacher novels by Lee Child. The one I read so far was very clean, fast paced and made me want to read another. It is currently being made into a movie. John Reacher is described as a 6'4" blonde hair blue eyed 250 pound guess who they are casting to play him? Diminutive Tom Cruise. Really?!?!

4. It's been hard to find a good TV show to get hooked on this summer. I recently started watching Design Star and love it! So many good decor ideas this season. I would love to hear what you are watching - I need a few more good shows :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

High Five for Friday 7/6/2012

1. I got to spend some time with my older sister last weekend. We had so much fun we forgot to take pictures! We ran errands together, went window shopping at Home Goods, Anthropologie, and Urban Outfitters, indulged in salty snacks, and then met up with her husband and our two oldest brothers for dinner and Coldstone!

2. One of my best friends recently started a Bible study for post-college 20-somethings in the style of InterVarsity Bible studies. I can't even describe how good it felt to be manuscripting again. Sadly, I can't attend regularly because my credentialing classes are on Tuesday nights. I plan to attend whenever I can, though!

3. I got to hang out with Mom and my brother Joe while we watched our youngest brother race the 4th of July criterium in Davis. He's one of the guys in the front of the group here, lined up at the start line.

4. After watching the crit, I then went to a friend's house where I got to hang out and relax with my two best friends and a couple guys we were all on IV leadership with. It was so great to see them again and catch up and just have a relaxing 4th of July. We bbq'd kabobs, drank Newcastle (something I drew an inordinate amount of amusement from), and set off fireworks in the street.

5. I was worried about how Cora would do with all the fireworks going off, but she was just fine! I brought her with me to my friend's because I didn't want to leave her alone, not knowing how she would react to the fireworks, but she was completely unfazed. In fact, she even took a nap while everyone in the neighborhood was setting off legal (and some illegal) fireworks. What a dog!

Lots of 4th of July doings in this week's High Five, but I really wouldn't have it any other way. My whole week was great, but these were the highlights. Hopefully next week's edition will include some good news about me passing the CSETs!

And here's a song (with an admittedly bizarre music video) that I haven't been able to get out of my head:

My friends and I have had some extensive discussions about the meaning of this song. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment below. I'd love to read some different interpretations!

Linking up with From My Grey Desk.