Summer Bucket List #2: Firsts

Summer Bucket List #2: Go to Catalina Island

Summer Bucket List #2: Go to Catalina Island

Summer Bucket List #2: Go to Catalina Island

Summer Bucket List #2: Go to Catalina Island

 

I was starting to think I might give in to this whole, “it’s technically fall now” idea, but it seems at least in Southern California, Mother Nature isn’t quite ready to accept that idea either. Summer is still here, my friends – and so is my Summer Bucket List.

My latest adventure (Summer Bucket List item No. 2) took me for the first time to the shores of Catalina Island. While I’ve spent many a lazy beach day staring at the island from afar and even taken several SCUBA diving trips to waters just off of its coastline, in my 10 years as a SoCal resident, I’d never actually set foot on shore.

Being that it was the boy’s and my anniversary, we opted for the quieter Two Harbors side of the island and spent the day kayaking (which I’m happy to report went swimmingly despite my tendency to be overbearing in kayaks), checking out the scenery and eating at the only restaurant in the town.

At dusk, we hiked up to a viewpoint above the back side of Two Harbors’ two harbors. The sun began setting over the mountains and I whipped out every camera in my possession while the boy tried to usher me up another hill to a second lookout area. After two dozen photos and many more urgings from the boy that we climb to the higher lookout, I relented. We climbed to the top – me singing “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria” the whole way (this isn’t as weird as it sounds if you consider that the epic scenery pretty much forces you to go straight to “Sound of Music” references) — and then this happened :)

I said yes.

Summer Bucket List #2: Go to Catalina Island

Summer Bucket List #5: Beach Blanket Bingo

The best ladies ever!

Me and the boy

Jimmy, Stephanie and Mason with a "vintage blur" via the Photojojo Scuba Suit for iPhone

Keith (Tony) ("Skipper")

Utterly Smitten ladies with an utterly smitten friend Mary

Jimmy and the boy with more of the "vintage blur" :)

The group!

Last weekend, for one of the first times in my life, I threw myself a proper birthday party. Generally, I have some grand idea for a party that after a couple failed attempts at organizing turns into a quiet dinner with the boy or something similar. Last year, I pawned off the planning on the boy and I must say he did a bang-up job – with a Twitter account and everything! But this year, given the theme I had in mind, I knew I had to make things happen for myself.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the beach. And I’ve loved vintage clothing for just about as long as that. I can still remember pining for one of those silly retro swim caps adorned with brightly colored daisies throughout most of my childhood. So when I started to see retro swimwear popping up, even at pretty mainstream stores, I knew it was time. I had to throw a retro beach party.

As usual, I had grander plans in mind that what panned out (i.e., renting a beach house in Malibu with a semi-private beach), but plan B just out front of Crystal Cove’s Beachcomber Café turned out to be a good one. Equipped with some games, towels, umbrellas and, of course, vintage swimsuits, the boy, me, and some amazing friends – including our very own Celeste — frolicked on the sand all day long. We got lots of compliments on our suits and the party theme. But the best part was all the great photos we got to take (highlights above).

So that does it for Summer Bucket List item No. 5 – but not for retro beach parties altogether. I’ve still got my eye on one of those Malibu beach rentals for next summer ;)

Hammock Dreams

Me napping in a hammock at the Red Sea in Egypt

All my life I’ve loved hammocks. My all-time dream is to travel to a beachy destination that stays nice and warm through the night, sleep in a hammock right on the beach and then wake up in the morning, grab my surfboard and hit the waves! I’ve had some experiences pretty close to this in Egypt and Colombia, but so far, I’m still waiting for my full dream scenario to come true. In the meantime, I’ve decided that I need to quell my hammock obsession by taking a nap in one at some point this summer (thus Summer Bucket List item No. 18). But even that poses a bit of a challenge as my apartment, while nestled in a nice little courtyard, isn’t quite set up for a permanent hammock. And my other option – sneaking into a hammock display at the local World Market store – doesn’t sound too appealing or relaxing.

So I was very excited to see this DIY hammock idea from Design Sponge, which not only gives me an excuse to buy some of those fancy towel/blanket/things I’ve been seeing around lately but also a fun way to check No. 18 off my Summer Bucket List.

Summer Bucket List #9: U.S. Open of Surfing Safari

U.S. Open of Surfing 2012

I may have had a wheezy cough and I may have only stayed for a little more than an hour, but I finally made it to the U.S. Open of Surfing! I’ve been several times in years past and while it can be a bit hectic, it’s always a good time. This year, the sponsors – which included Hurley, Converse and Nike — and the always hilarious commentators really upped the ante. The waves even put on a decent show (which isn’t always the case) and the boy and I saw a couple surfers do some amazing aerials and 360 turns. And of course, I couldn’t leave without getting a little swag on the way out – free Hurley hat included!

That does it for Summer Bucket List item No. 9, but I still have a long way to go before the summer is officially over. Perhaps, I’ll just have to make summer last just a little bit longer …

Summer Bucket List #19: A Plant Even I Can’t Kill?

Air Plant Terrarium from Terrarium Shop - $10 with stand

Terrarium care instructions

I did manage to make it to one event on my whirlwind weekend list, even if it was for the last hour of the last day. I just can’t stand to miss the Renegade Craft Fair — or manage to leave without buying a thing or two. In addition to finally purchasing an adorable narwhal portrait from one of my favorite illustrators, Ryan Berkley Illustration, and discovering the stunning and whimsical work of Lela Shields, I figured out how I’m going to complete Summer Bucket List item No. 19 (buy a plant and keep it alive all summer long): by purchasing a premade mini terrarium containing a plant with no roots that can essentially be carried around like little pet succulent and only needs to be watered once a week! It was only $10 from Terrarium Shop — with a cute little stand to boot.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “Kim, you must be able to take care of a plant that’s higher maintenance.” Nope (Chuck Testa). It has to be just a step away from artificial for it to survive me. I think me and my epiphyte (that’s what it’s called according to Wikipedia) will be very happy together.

Summer Bucket List #1: Paddling Pretty

Summer Bucket List #1: Go Paddleboarding

On Sunday, the boy and I ventured out to Newport Harbor to try our hands (and feet) for the first time at paddleboarding (Summer Bucket List item No. 1!). Thanks to a paddleboarding Groupon, which seem to pop up almost daily, I bought us each a $20 2-hour session at Wayward Captain Paddleboards, headquartered in a small stand easily missed among a giant trampoline bungee apparatus, the iconic Balboa Ferris Wheel and dozens of shops and pizza joints at the Balboa Fun Zone. We were told the best time to rent the boards is between 9 and 10 a.m. before the tourists are out in full, so we arrived promptly at 11:30. As such, it was a bit of a wait for some boards to become available, but the beach is right across the street and Wayward Captain will text you when your turn is up. Perfect.

After a short, five-minute lesson on the rules of the road and some paddleboarding essentials, we were off! And it was pretty awesome. And definitely not as difficult or taxing as I imagined. In fact, it was quite relaxing. With a nice sea breeze on our faces and the mostly calm waters of the Harbor gently rolling by, we were zipping around, from the Peninsula to Linda Island to the mouth of the Back Bay and back again. The hardest part for me was picking up enough speed to not get a little anxiety at crossing the busy harbor turning point to get from here to there. But we made it in-tact — with only one fall in the water. (My lips are sealed on who that was :) .)

If you’re thinking of venturing out yourself, I highly recommend it. Unless you’re planing on getting barreled during your outing, no need for a lesson either. The five-minute spiel was plenty. Wayward Captain charges $20 per hour and offers a punch card with a free rental on the fifth visit! And, of course, you can always find a deal by pursuing Groupon.

(Also, for those of you wondering, I found out I just may have a free moment to visit the U.S. Open of Surfing during my favorite time next Saturday morning, so I held off for this weekend. Report to follow next week!)

Whirlwind Weekend Ahead

U.S. Open of Surfing from Nikeblog.com

You guys, there are just too many fun things happening this weekend, especially outdoors. As much as I would love to get to them all, I just don’t think it’s physically possible!

Since my Summer Bucket List says so – and I must abide – I’ll definitely be making my way to Huntington Beach (probably via bike) to see the start of the U.S. Open of Surfing. While I prefer to catch the tail end of the event next weekend when all the pros are out in full, I have something ultra important to attend to for work: our rover Curiosity is landing on Mars! (If you’re not privy to all the excitement with THAT little chestnut, watch this. And I’ll post more on how to watch all the landing excitement next week.)

Here are some of the other fun, outdoorsy things happening this weekend – and beckoning me to do some major multitasking/commuting.

  1. Renegade Craft Fair – July 28-29, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Los Angeles Historic Park, free
  2. Cinespia presents The Big Lebowski – July 28, gates: 7:30 p.m., movie: 9 p.m., Hollywood Forever Cemetery, presale reservations sold out
  3. Eat | See | Hear presents The Princess Bride and band State to State – July 28, doors: 5:30 p.m., movie: 8:30 p.m., Brentwood’s Paul Revere Charter Middle School, $10-$20
  4. Downtown Grand Park partial grand opening and National Dance Day Celebration – July 28, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.,  Between Grand Avenue and Hill Street along 1st Street, free
  5. Shakespeare Under the Stars presents As You Like It – July 25-29, 8 p.m., VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center Campus, $12.50-$20 on Goldstar

Sounds fun, right? Which one of these events or others will you be attending this weekend?
{Photo via Nikeblog.com}

This Will Be My Summer

One of the many candidates for that "cool graphic" I was telling you about. Still ... not quite right.

My goal was to post this on Wednesday, the official first day of summer, but that didn’t quite pan out. (Not a good start to my jam-packed, goal-filled summer.) I have an excuse, though: I wanted to find the perfect background picture with which to create an awesome graphic that would surely inspire me to zoom right through my 30 summer bucket list items. I’m still working on that part, so in the meantime, I’m making this official …

I’m doing a summer bucket list!!!

Summer has a way of biting me in the butt and making me want to go on a thousand adventures. I think it’s the extra sunshine. I pretty much run on solar power. So I decided to create a list of all the fun things I have in store for myself  this summer. The best part is I’m planning to blog about all of it, so you’ll have a front-row seat to my adventures and, I’m sure, misadventures. And maybe you’ll even create a bucket list of your own and post it in our comments. Wouldn’t that be just delightful?! Before I use any more exciting punctuation, let’s get to this list:

  1. Go paddle boarding
  2. Go to Catalina Island
  3. Take a SCUBA diving refresher course
  4. Learn to windsurf
  5. Host a retro beach party
  6. Find a cute retro swimsuit to wear to said beach party
  7. Go sailing
  8. Ride my bike somewhere new
  9. Wake up early to see the pros surf at the U.S. Open of Surfing
  10. Go surfing
  11. Read these books: Girlchild, The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir), The Violin Face, Atlas Shrugged
  12. Become a better photographer
  13. Attend at least one outdoor cinema and one beach concert
  14. Start writing a story (or maybe write a whole short story)
  15. Do something with that canvas that’s been sitting against my wall all year
  16. Check out some local markets
  17. Make some of Real Simple’s fabulous-looking summer cocktails
  18. Take a nap in a hammock
  19. Buy a plant – or create an herb garden – and keep it alive all summer long
  20. Give back
  21. Try as many of Los Angeles Magazine’s “Cheap Eats” as possible
  22. Give an unexpected gift
  23. Indulge in a local tourist trap
  24. Learn a new skill
  25. Figure out what to do with all my travel photos
  26. Take a spin in some new car possibilities
  27. Start learning a new language
  28. Write a letter to someone special
  29. Spend an entire day disconnected from all technology, and see what happens
  30. Blog about it all …

Sounds pretty cool, right? I think so. Let the summer officially begin!

In Search of a New July 4 Tradition

This was our old July 4 tradition: Watching fireworks along the strand in Redondo Beach. What are your favorite July 4 activities/lookouts?

I’ve decided. The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. It’s like the confluence of all the things I love in life: being outdoors, good food, good company, fireworks, magical sights …  independence. Ever since I moved to Southern California from Arizona – and gotten closer and closer to the beach – my love for July 4 has grown even more. (For me, add the beach to anything and you pretty much have it made.)

Up until last year, our July 4 activities were a no-brainer. The boy, whose birthday is on that very day, lived in Redondo Beach so we’d invite a bunch of friends over, have some food and drinks and then walk to the beach to see fireworks go off all along the coast. Now that the boy lives downtown, we’ve been thrown off our game a bit. We’ve adapted to life in the city and grown to enjoy it immensely, but on July 4,  the city doesn’t quite cut it for me.

But what to do? Drive to the beach and try and wade through the crowds for hours to find parking? No thanks. Stay in the city and try a find a cool rooftop somewhere? Maybe. What I’m getting to here, is that I want to hear your ideas, readers! Do you have special lookouts or activities you do for July 4? Where are the best places to go? I implore you, help us find a new July 4 tradition. I know you’ll make at least one birthday boy (and me) very happy :)

{Photo by me}

Summer Lighting

© Tulipanka Photography (Glowing Jar Project - From Panka With Love}

As silly as it sounds, there’s very little that makes me more excited for summer than the thought of sitting outside under a canopy of Christmas lights with a glass of wine and good company.

I’m beginning to think that these amazing little DIY jar lights from From Panka With Love might be even better. I stumbled across them on Pinterest this weekend, and I immediately had a flashback to the summers I used to spend chasing fireflies around my grandma’s neighborhood in Indiana.

The jars sound relatively easy to make, although like one commenter said, five hours for the larger jar seems like a bit much. Even if you just stick to the small variety, these would be such a beautiful addition to any evening summer hangout, don’t you think?

{Photo © Tulipanka Photography}