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 #23: Disneyland Daze

Summer Bucket List #23: Disneyland


The last time I went to Disneyland, I was 16. I was on a trip with my high school orchestra and justifiably (I think) confused about why we weren’t visiting the beach during our short reprieve from the Arizona desert.

I’ve never really been Disneyland’s No. 1 fan. I think it’s an amazing place full of fun rides and inventive lands, but when the cost easily competes with what I’d pay to go on a trip to one of the real places depicted in “small world,” I have to draw the line.

But despite my ambivalence toward “The happiest place on Earth,” my interest was recently piqued when I remembered I still had this on my Summer Bucket List: “23. Indulge in a local tourist trap.” Even more enticing, my best friend and favorite theme-park companion was in town and my fabulous “cast member” roommate was able to get us in for free! Sold.

Arriving late (for Disneyland standards), we were thrilled to discover it was actually a pretty quiet day at the park and quickly bebopped around from the new Cars Land in California Adventure to Disneyland classics like Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean. We also discovered, after seeing several people dressed in swanky retro attire, that it was “Dapper Day” at the park and spent a good amount of time drooling over the various ensembles. (I was smarting a bit about that one since I love to take any excuse to dawn a retro outfit.) We ended the day with a bang, first watching the fireworks display and then the spectacular World of Color show.

While I don’t think I’ll ever become an annual-pass-holder, I was completely and utterly smitten with my day at the park. I didn’t realize what a treat it would be to experience Disneyland as an adult. Taking moments to consider all the amazing ingenuity and creativity that has gone into the place, I appreciated it that much more. In its own small way, Disneyland may have made a No. 1 fan out of me after all.

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 #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

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}