I was bummed that unfavorable weather prevented my hot air balloon ride in Sedona, but I wasn’t willing to throw that item off the list in favor of something easier to check off. Sure it was a setback, but this was something I could and would do. For years I had wanted to experience a balloon ride, perhaps even ending up in the Land of Oz. Hell, I would have been excited for a trip down a yellow brick road.
I turned 30 on a Thursday in May. The day was a typical spring day in Southern California. I stayed in bed a little longer than usual since I took the day off. No one should work on their birthday and especially not a milestone birthday. Nope, I had big plans for the day. I would spend the day alone to get a little pampered and treat myself.
Nine hours and several scattered downpours later, I arrived in the gorgeous town of Sedona. Other than the airport in Phoenix, I had never really been in Arizona and with many of my friends recommending this particular town, famous for its red rocks and metaphysical qualities, I knew that this was the perfect place to explore the Grand Canyon State.
They say that there is nothing better than to give to someone and never expect anything in return. I can assure you that the sentiment is entirely true. One of the things I love about volunteering is the ability to come into people’s lives and be remembered for spreading joy. To be a messenger of happiness is an amazing responsibility and honor. I am blessed to work with other like-minded individuals who seek a life filled with helping others and making even the smallest difference in someone’s life. Though I am a full-time wish granter, I wanted to do something else, something more, before I turned 30. Continue reading
After last year’s successful resolution of running a 5K event every month, I decided to up the ante and double the distance. It was my last-ditch effort to feel like a real runner. I signed up for a 10K the weekend before my 30th birthday and was determined to get my ass back in shape and get ‘er done. My last running event was December 21st and come January, I was determined to start training for my next event. And I did!
When I wanted to attend a new festival, I had so many options to choose from and not enough at the same time. I began my festival search a little late into my 30-Before-30 challenge and I found myself with a million festivals that I wanted to experience and a year in which to wait for them. That’s right, most of the festivals I envisioned going to had already passed by the time I started looking. Apparently, the prime season is the summer and there aren’t many in winter and spring. I thought about revisiting one I’ve already been to, but I figured that would be cheating myself out of what I set out to do which was find a new one to enjoy.
So I kept looking.
There are some writers that are revered among literary circles the world over. They have written classics that have changed the way readers view the written word, provoked the thoughts of the masses, and become beloved stories in personal libraries everywhere. As an English major, I have read many, many celebrated authors. Some, I quite enjoyed; others, not so much. The thing about famous works or writers is that they are often overrated. I’m looking at you, Shakespeare.
It’s fair to say that I love wine. Though I’m by no means a wine snob and my palate rarely detects the “subtle notes of cherry/hickory/peach/etc,” I do enjoy celebrating the return of the weekend with a bottle. Or two. Whether it be a pinot grigio on a warm afternoon or a cabernet sauvignon on a stormy night, those fermented grapes are darn delicious and have been an integral part of many a fun night or heartfelt chat. And more than one game of Guitar Hero has been played with my mom while sipping vino.
When coming up with my 30-before-30 list, I knew I wanted to incorporate some time in wine country. Luckily, California has quite a few wine countries to choose from. I toyed with the idea of going up to Napa or Sonoma, but those proved to be too far away for a weekend. I briefly entertained the idea of going to Temecula or Paso Robles, but neither panned out. So I ended up revisiting the old standby: Santa Ynez Valley. Though I didn’t spend a complete weekend there, I figure one overnight plus another full day more than count for checking the item off my list.
One of the great things about living off the coast of California, aside from the impeccable year-round weather and proximity to the Happiest Place on Earth, is the annual migration of gray whales as they make their way down to the breeding grounds in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. For years, I’ve been wanting to witness these mammals in their natural habitat and a few weeks ago, thanks to a Living Social deal and a willing friend, I made it happen.