Archive for the ‘30 Before 30’ Category

New Adventures: 13 of 30 – Shoot arrows at random shit.

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Time is ticking by. I’m behind on documenting my 30 by 30, and I’m falling behind on actually doing 30 by 30. To make excuses, I’ve been traveling alot. Like I haven’t slept in my own bed at least 58 days out of the first 5 months of this year. That just ain’t right. So I’m in Amsterdam, trying to figure out how I’ll be able to complete the goal that I’ve set for myself. I’m walking through a carnival set up in Dam Square, which was right next to my hotel. There are a bunch of food vendors selling any type of meat on a stick that your heart could desire, as well as sweet fluffy confections, and sugary, chocolatey waffles that you wish that your parents would have made you growing up and hadn’t cared about early onsets of childhood diabetes. There are also a bunch of rides that look about as shady as the carnies running them, as well as some games of chance that looked kinda weak-sauce. And then I came across the Bow & Arrow Game.

Yes. I havent touched a bow or arrow, probably since I was a summer camp counselor, 12 years ago? And I didn’t shoot arrows as much as try to prevent my campers from shooting other campers in the face during their archery class. I didn’t learn much, so much as act like a bouncer for a group of 7 year olds, who made sure that noone ended up with an arrow through the face for 40 minutes twice a week. Before that my only experience with bows an arrows was when I was 7 or so, and a camper at a sports focused summer camp. During which I dont remember shooting tagets with arrows, but rather how I narrowly avoided shooting my archery instructor as well as my fellow campers. So yeah. I don’t really know what the hell to do when I pick up a bow and arrow, i mostly just know what not to do.

So, I walk past this carnival booth, where you get 6 arrows (probably dull and totally not straight) to try to break 4 balloons at a target 20 or 30 feet away. This sounded slightly dangerous, the regulations seemed really loose, and the girl working the booth seemed totally bored and uninterested in policing us goofing around, so Bam! a 30 by 30 adventure just popped into my life. Devon and I slap some euros down & I go first……
1st shooting attempt

I have no clue what I’m doing…. I was aiming in the right direction at least….. But I think I originally(before this first picture was taken) had the bow turned around or something…It was a shit show. After some helpful pointers from Devon as well as the booth girl, I was good to go!

Elbow up looks way better…. And Honestly for it being a rigged carnival game, and the first time that I’ve actually shot a bow & arrow since I was 7, I think I did pretty well, and shot 1 out of the 4 balloons on the target. And no innocent bystanders, which I consider to be my greatest achievement…. :) And I got a stuffed tiger!!!!

Poor Devon, the boy from Vermont (who basically spent his entire youth filled with target practices of all types and styles) popped 3 out of 4 balloons, but didn’t do well enough to get his own stuffed animal… Bummer. Must be hard to deal with having such a talented wife who excels at everything and always wins the awesome prizes at carnival games.  ;) (Thanks babe!)

Alrighty, 13 of 30 Completed!!!!

 

New Adventures: 12 of 30 – Learn how to braise a huge delicious monster hunk of beef.

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

I love meat. I’m actually currently on a quest to eat my way through the animal kingdom. I particularly love red meat. Beef. The meat of kings, heros and champions. (Although, I don’t actually have any real proof to back that up…) Unfortunately I suck at cooking beef. I can grill a steak up pretty decently, but Devon doesn’t eat meat other than poultry and fish, so I really don’t have a ton of opportunities to cook up some fileted cow. But oh my christ do I love eating that rich juicy goodness. So it’s been a goal of mine to learn how to braise beef. I love how, if done correctly, it just melts in your mouth, and hell, if I feel so passionate about the deliciousness of braised beef, then learning how to recreate that myself is a very important life skill that I ought to learn.

Luckily my big bro, Seth is a super awesome chef, who is totally experienced at this sort of thing. I provide a kitchen and raw ingredients, and he teaches me how to make magic happen. First things first. You gotta have a huge fricking hunk of meat. We went with a cut of brisket. Brisket is perfect for this type of cooking. Generally pretty tough, but breaks down nicely when braised. Lots of fat (FLAVOR!!!) and one of the most reasonably priced cuts of meat out there (without getting into the freaky-deaky offals).

Season liberally with salt and pepper. Then sear the meat on a super hot nonstick pan until crisp and golden brown on the outsides.

You’ll know that you’re doing it right when you smoke out your kitchen and make the smoke detector in your kitchen start screaching. (FYI: its at this point when your kitchen will start smelling like “OMFG beefy-delicious get-in-my-face-now!!!”)

After the meat is done being seared on both sides, take them off the heat to let them rest. In the same cooking pan start sauteeing a mixture of mirepoix. Then throw in some fresh chopped herbs, like rosemary, parsley, bay leaves, etc…

Then add some red wine and a bunch of of beef stock, and add back in the seared brisket. Pour yourself a glass of wine (because not only is it crucial to the cooking process, but also -hey!- you deserve it!) and pose for a picture.

Bring meat to a low simmer and then throw it in the oven for an hour or 2. Drink more wine. When you take it out of the oven it should look like this:

Take out about half of the liquid, and boil it down in a sauce pan (as shown). Try to reduce it by about half. Let the meat rest, but always keep it in the cooking liquid and veggies, because the beef will get dry out and get tough if its not kept happy in liquid. While you’re boiling down the sauce, you can roast an assortment of root veggies in the oven, and whip up some blue cheese mashed potatoes. You know, easy peasy. And slice up the brisket, slicing against the grain, and of course returning the meat to the cooking liquid to keep it moist and happy.

Put a pile of mashed ‘taters on a plate, top with a few sliced of the braised beef, throw on some roasted root veggies, and sauce liberally with some of the reduced juices, sprinkle some fresh herbs on top and BAM!!! The delicious, delicious result!

I ate so much that night, it was just obscene. But oh man, was this one of the best meals of my life, and now I (and you!) know how to recreate this magical meal of beefy goodness!

You can tell from my hair color (that has changed about 4 times since these pictures), that this all took place a few months ago.  But it’s still winter, and a fantastic time to make a great warm filling meal like this. Thanks to my big bro for just being awesome in general, and also, for being a really super chef, and sharing a few tricks of the trade with me.

12 of 30 completed!

 

New Adventures: 11 of 30 – Model in a Fashion Show.

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

I believe that I’ve always been somewhat fashion forward. One time in high school I was wandering through an alleyway in Southie (South Boston for you non Bostonians) and I came across a crumpled up  paper bag on the ground. Upon picking up the bag and opening it (don’t judge me!!!) I found 3 cloth napkins in a really rad red plaid print. I had been wanting a plaid mini-skirt for a while and the napkins looked relatively clean enough, so I took those puppies home, stitched them together and sewed in a zipper. The skirt barely covered my derriere, but that thing looked so punk rock deluxely awesome and I rocked the shit out of it. (Until a few months later when I acted like a typical out of control asshole teenager, broke some house rules and my mom shredded and trashed it as my punishment.)

From a very young age I was super particular about the clothing that I wanted to wear, much to the chagrin of my mom-dukes. Mini-skirts, faux fur jackets and anything with sequins is my idea of a dream outfit. I’m wicked into the costume aspect of clothing. I’m not really a huge fan of Lady Gaga, but I’m all about the idea of wearing costumes for daily wear. In the past my friends have enjoyed shopping in my closet for Halloween costumes. For a hot minute I was a fashion major during my time at Mass College of Art.

I’ve never really had a huge classic designer fashion affinity, but, I always dig watching runways shows and whatnot. I’ve always thought that it would be totally awesome to be a runway model.  People cheering as you prance in the limelight? That sounds pretty cool, right? I mean, I’m not particularly proud of that, but whatever. And then one day stuff randomly started falling into place. Through Facebook, I came across an open casting for a fashion show called Catwalk for a Cure that would be taking place at the State Room.  I figured at the very least, it would be fun and get me out of my comfort zone. I arrive and there’s about 200 other ladies auditioning. I turn in my application and head shot, get my photo and measurements taken, meet the Catwalk for a Cure  organizers and do a little runway strut for them. They say they’ll call me if they’re interested. Ok….. After about a month, I figure that they’ve passed on me, and almost a month later, I get an email on  my 29th birthday saying that they’ve chosen me along with about 20 other women.. Holy crap! Out of 200! What an ego boost when I was bumming about entering my last year of my wild and crazy 20s. :) Some time goes by, and I do a fitting with my designer, which is cool to meet her and some other models. See what I’ll be wearing and what one of the collections look like.Another models awesome hair. @CatwalkforaCure on Twitpic

On October 13th (I know, I’m still really behind in updating!!!) I show up for hair and makeup before the show and am assigned to a hair team from Dellaria Salons. My team was the alterna team or something because they had the most tattoos and piercings and were rocking the skinny jeans, and they were psyched to be doing hair for “the pink haired chick”. They were awesome and made me look like a million bucks! Thanks guys!! (The picture on the right was taken by fellow model Jill, who was super nice & friendly! Click on the pic to make it bigger.)
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The  venue, The State Room in Boston was absolutely gorgeous. The venue is huge. 2 Stories of open space on the 33rd floor of a building in the middle of downtown. The windows are floor to ceiling and you have an amazing view of the city and the harbor. Big space. Lots of people….

Luckily all my immediate family had come out, as well as a bunch of my close friends, so I was feeling the madd love which made me less nervous. The models were able to practice a run-through, which also helped, but I was still a pretty jittery… The fashion show go-ers were seated after a delicious sounding cocktail hour. The models lined up, and then the music started and after a few moments I standing on the platform, making my way down the runway. It’s weird. I was super nervous before hand. But as soon as the spotlight hit, I had to do my thing. Fight or flight, baby. And then I heard my people cheering me on, and that was totally awesome and amazing and I love them so much for that. They always know how to make a scene. I had to do them proud, so I worked it as best as I knew how, lol. Here’s my “blue steel”.

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I made it to the end of the runway, did my spiffy model turn, and then walked back to the start and stepped off… And then I had to do that 2 more times. So yeah. It was pretty awesome. A bunch of fun. A huge burst of adrenaline. And the event was a benefit for a great charity: The Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a breast cancer education and research group. No wonder they didn’t ask me to change my hair color. :)

My friends and family had a great time, I was super happy to be part of such a great event! Although I am bummed to have missed out on the free samples from Pinkberry, one of the sponsors for the event.

Hopefully I’ll get the chance to work with Catwalk for a Cure again!

11 of 30 Completed!

New Adventures: 10 of 30 – Visit a new continent.

Monday, December 5th, 2011

I’m part homebody, part nomad. I get itchy, twitchy and bitchy and yearn to travel if I’m home for longer than 2 months. (And then I’m generally ready to be back home after 2 to 3 weeks.) A decent portion of my friends are pretty vocal about their hatred of modern air travel and they generally try to avoid it whenever possible, but honestly if I could get somewhere interesting by flying cargo with donkeys and chickens or whatever with 30 layovers, I’d totally do it, no ifs, ands or buts. Sometimes airplanes suck, but the amazing experiences that they make possible have always made up for a few hours of discomfort.

This year my parents totally spoiled us & decided to take us to South Africa for our family vacation as our Birthday and Christmas presents for the next 127 years.. . I guess the nomadic thing kinda runs in the family. My parents visited the country last year, had a totally amazing time and thought that we would love it as well. Luckily I’m related to these awesome generous people so I was in for the trip of a lifetime!

So in September (I know I’m WAY behind in updating this blog) after about 36 hours of air travel, layovers in multiple countries, and car travel, we ended up in a swanky guest house in Marloth Park on the Southern edge of Kruger National Park, and Northeast-ish region of the country.We stayed in an awesome house/lodge? called Kahya Umdami that was owned by some super friendly people from Cape Town. There was a ton of wildlife that roamed the area & could come around looking for handouts. Guinea fowl (who looked like they would make delicious hot wings!), kudu (only try to feed the young ones, fyi) ,warthogs (omg, so cute!!!), giraffes, bushbabies (the itty-bitty tweaked-out speed freaks of the animal kingdom), hoards of banded mongeese, and tons of crazy looking colorful birds were just some of our regular visitors.

Luckily we had brought a huge crate of fresh papaya or papaw, so the critters loved us, and we got to hand feed a ton of warthogs and kudu. I actually ended up with the nickname Angelina Jolie for threatening to smuggle/adopt half of the visiting warthogs.

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New Adventures: 9 of 30 – Run a 5K.

Monday, October 10th, 2011

So. Let’s talk running. If you’re a runner, you’ll probably experience runner’s high, or a rush of endorphins during and after workouts. You’ll lose some weight and you’ll probably drop some cash on proper footwear and/or running clothes. So, feelings of happiness & invincibility, weight-loss, and money-loss. And just putting this out there: There is a way easier, less painful way to get exactly the same results: a severe cocaine addiction. Probably not the healthiest way to achieve those goals though. For some reason, I’ve decided to take the more difficult route & take an interest in my cardiovascular health: I’ve become a runner.

It all began one day in July, when I decided that I was going to run a 5K. 2 months and 1 svelte body later, that became a reality for me. Total insanity, for many reasons that I started to explain in this blog post. My friend Alan, owner of do52new, came across my blog & mentioned that he was running in a 5k, (the Tavern to Tavern 5k in Cambridge, ma) and suggested that I give it a go with him & his friends. So i worked and trained really hard, and taught myself how to run. Well maybe I should call it jogging….. or shuffling? Whatever it’s called, it’s not particularly graceful, but it seems to get the job done. Being able to run for a mile kinda blew my mind, but gave me a great starting point for running a 5k, or 3.2 miles.

The Tavern to Tavern 5k was supposed to occur on August 28th, but got delayed for a week because Hurricane Irene came sweeping up through New England. While I was still game to run in a hurricane, it was probably a great thing that the race got postponed. It gave me an additional week to train, and I think it greatly improved my odds of finishing. Going from running 1 mile to 3.2 miles is no easy feat, and honestly, I was only able to run the whole distance one time before the actual race. My parents were actually planning on running too, but they couldn’t make the new date. Also, Alan, the dude who initially told me to run this race, wasn’t able to make the rain-date, so it ended up being just me & Devon, and 600 other wicked hardcore strangers. :)

Here I am closing in on the finish line with a bunch of dudes. (I’m the -only- chick on the right with the gray & pink short shorts)
Me running.
I didn’t know that people sprint at the end, so guys that I had been running next to for most of the race ended up finishing a bit ahead of me.. In fact, that kinda reminded me of this one time when I was 8 & was at a swim meet racing against a 14 year old boy & he beat me by a hair, and I was royally pissed. lol.

About to finish my 1st 5k
Well, kinda. Actually, I was just pretty much amazed & totally jacked up that I had actually finished & was able to run the entire race without stopping. That had been my main goal and I was totally in shock that I was able to do that. So cool! 33 minutes & 34 seconds of running straight up!

Here is Devon about to finish with a HUGE smile on his face:
Devon finishing his first 5K.
He was super happy that we didn’t have to continue training for a 5k for another couple months. :)

And here we are with our finishing metals!

Yeay! Pretty cool stuff. And I believe that this is going to be the beginning of doing something like this regularly. We’re planning on running 2 5K’s a year, one in the spring, one in the fall. So, its pretty awesome that one of my 30 by 30 has resulted in a bit of healthier living.

9 of 30 Completed!

New Adventures: 8 of 30 – Take part in a beach bonfire.

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

This adventure is what happened immediately following adventure #7. Basically Juice & I had been surfing on the Cape, it had gotten dark, we went on basically a fruitless (ha!) search for local organic food, and then hung out on the beach near a place that played the worst reggae music ever while we pondered our next steps. I wanted a bonfire, and we needed to figure out where we were going to camp for the night. We could camp on an ocean beach, but we’d probably be woken up super early by tons of people & the sun rising directly into our faces. Or we could find a beach on a pond that Juice had a vague recollection of… Somewhere off the beaten path, not on maps, super small, pretty secluded where the trees would surround us and let us sleep in past 5am. He called it the “secret spot”. Immediately, that piqued my interest, and we head in that direction. Keep in mind that its about 1am, totally dark. I’m sleep deprived. Juice doesn’t remember exactly where we’re going or how to get there, and the roads are all screwed up and covered with debris after a storm that had passed through recently.  Luckily, we needed some firewood, so as we drove through these dark unlit side roads, we were able to stop & scavenge enough firewood to make a good size (and free!) bonfire.

We keep turning onto smaller and smaller roads. And then we get to what seems like a dead end, but it’s not, it just turns into an unmarked & unpaved road. Driving down a super narrow dirt road through the woods in the middle of the night sounds kinda scary, but oh ! it gets even better. We then come to fallen trees in the road?/path that we had to get out of the car to move….in the dark…… And a few terrifyingly steep and washed out embankments that I had to drive down, with faith that Juice knew where we were going & hoped that I had cell phone service in case I needed to call AAA to tow us out if I got stuck. But damn, you gotta love Audi’s and their all-wheel drive! Eventually Juice said that we were there & we unloaded the wood & some blankets. And alcohol. Because I certainly needed it after that terrifying drive of doom, and also, you can’t have an authentic beach bonfire without open containers of alcohol.

It was a new moon, so there was nothing lighting our way other than thousands of stars, and a tiny flashlight on my key ring.  The beach was only about 20×20 feet, and there was a still silence. We were the only signs of any light or noise, so it felt like we needed to respect that serenity, talking in whispers & shutting off the car’s lights. Juice built an awesome bonfire (with my super helpful and totally appreciated guidance of course!) and we set up our respective blankets on both sides of the fire. That way, we both got a front row seat & we could also poke at the fire & bask in its warmth.

We stayed up for a few hours, talking, listening, feeding the fire. Talking about all of those wonderfully random things that only start to come up in conversation when its super late, you’re half asleep and in a chilled and relaxed state. And then the birds started getting noisy, and the sky started turning that light grey/purpleish color that it turns, right before the sun rises. That was our cue for bedtime. Right before I feel asleep, Juice said something like “Just wait till you wake up; the beauty of this place will blow you mind.”

And the next morning I awoke to this serene setting.

We spent the morning swimming in the lake and catching frogs.

And then we packed up our gear & then headed out to try for another surf session. Trying to leave the “secret spot” as pristine as we had found it.

For a bonfire experience, I had expected something much closer to a beach bonfire scene from a 60′s beach party/surfplotation movie like Gidget or Beach Party. But this was really awesome in a relaxing and chilled out sort of way. I got to experience the bonfire & appreciate the setting (even if I couldn’t really see it until the next morning), instead of having to concentrate on navigating social scenes. Good times, good times. I can’t wait to do it again.

New Adventures: 7 of 30 – Watch a sunset.

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Watching a sunset on the East Coast is easier said than done. The sun sets in the west, however the ocean is generally to the east, so finding a good vantage point to check out the dwindling daylight is key. I thought that this would be one of those easy things to do during a boring week so I could check something off the list: Drive up some hill, watch sun set, go home. Nothing life changing, Easy peasy. Luckily this adventure was way more than that, unplanned, not well thought out and wonderful in its randomness and spontaneity.

So I have this friend who I hadn’t seen in 8 years, let’s call him Juice for the sake of some semblance of anonymity on the interwebs. I met Juice back in 2001 when we were both riding the Red Line from Braintree into Boston pretty late on a Sunday night. Normally I don’t strike up conversations with strangers on the T late at night (in fact, generally I advise against it), but he was carrying a surfboard and since there is no beach near the Braintree train station I was curious about what the deal was and what his story was. I struck up a conversation and the rest was history. Anyways. He moved to Californina around the time that I moved to Seattle and we kinda lost touch. Until recently that is.  I’ve been on the lookout for surfing buddies & his name popped into my mind, so I decided to see if his cell phone from 8 years ago still worked. Shockingly it actually did, and he was east coast bound again, and he was looking to reconnect with adventuresome folks like myself. Funny how stuff works out like that.

Fast forward a few months. After some misfires on hanging out, I gave Juice a ring last Tuesday morning & was like “Yo. The fun time waves of awesomeness are here. I wanna go surfing. Let’s do this.” And then he was like “I’m in, but it’s all about making a trip out of it and going down to the Cape. Screw a day trip to New Hampshire. You drive and I’ll provide stimulating conversation and knowledge of the Cape geography where it relates to surf spots and illegal camp grounds.”

It was relatively early in the day, so I figure we could make it down to the Cape’s National Seashore and into the water by 4pm, and hang out in the water for a while. But I had forgotten how time flows differently around Juice, and how stuff always seems to take forever. When I got to his place he was still working on packing & he was very meticulous about it. (Somewhat randomly, I was also thrown off my game by the huge fricking beard that he had grown since we last saw each other, but that’s neither here nor there.) I just wanted him to throw his gear in my car so we could get moving, but it didn’t quite work out like that…. Although looking back at it, that’s probably for the best, since we ended up camping under the stars, so all that random shit like blankets and bio-degradable hand soap totally came in handy. My board was very excited, because it was the first time that it got to spoon with another surfboard on top of my car….

Our surfboards spooning.

Anyways, so we finally get to the beach around 6.30pm, but then drive to 3 different beaches to find the best conditions. Finally, it’s about 7.20 and its starting to get dark, so we settle on the last beach, Nauset Light Beach in North Eastham. We throw on our wetsuits and carry our boards down the stairs to the beach, passing about 5 other surfers who are done for the day. There are only 2 other surfers in the water & then they too call it a day a couple waves after we get in the water.

It’s solidly dusk, and Juice and I are alone with our boards out in the water. (Well, alone if you don’t count the Gray Seals that were hanging out with us, swimming around us and popping up every now and then to see who we were and what we were doing in their ocean.) You can actually see the waves on the horizon way better when it starts to get dark, which is pretty cool. Looking towards the shore, the sun was setting over the sand dunes. It was a bit cloudy, and all of the fluffy white clouds had become neon shades of pinks, purples, oranges and reds. It was really magnificent. And then the lighthouse on the beach came on and added a whole different level of beauty to the setting. In fact, the sunset was so beautiful, that I had to keep forcing myself to turn around & keep an eye out for good waves to surf. It definitely wasn’t my best surf session because I was pretty distracted & in sensory overload. But, it was definitely the most beautiful view I’ve ever had while surfing. We ended up surfing till it was so dark that we could barely see the beach anymore & then we decided to call it a night & figure out the eating/drinking/camping situation. It was really a remarkable sunset. The view, the location, the vibe. I couldn’t have imagined a cooler situation to just sit & watch a sunset.

Me (Emma) & Juice

Thanks to Juice for taking so long to get ready that our surfing at sunset was a necessity, his senior surfing expertise & advice and also for the awesome company.

New Adventures: 6 of 30 – Drink out of a Fishbowl.

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Alright, so title standing alone, this entry already has a lot of WTF in it. I should state for the record that I’m talking about a touristy alcoholic beverage, not some sort of crazy ass stunt that you’d see on a CKY video, or an episode of Jackass. It’s pretty darn random, but it kind makes sense when you look at the big picture. It begins to balance out Adventure #3 of me not drinking for a month and the idea is something that I’ve been fascinated by for a while.

I have previously proclaimed my love of fro-fro technicolor concoctions. The more plastic do-dads attached to my adult beverage the better. A few years back I came across a super awesome party-fun-times picture of my friend Kay-Shee drinking some kind of booze out of a fish bowl at a place in Miami, and I knew that some day I needed to get all up in that. Unfortunately I had no idea that any place in Boston was awesome enough to serve drinks out of an aquarium. That was until the day that I received word from my Scorpion bowl drinking partner, Andrew, that there was a place along the Boston Harbor waterfront that was only open during the warmer months, but that actually served these mythical beverages. And so, this went on my list of things to do.

1st things 1st. Drinking fishbowl drinks require drinking partners. So I tracked down my friend with possibly the lowest alcohol tolerance out of all of my friends that drink (Brendan) and made plans. We decided to meet up at the Landing on a Thursday afternoon in August. Perfect. Mid-week, mid-day, so the bar wouldn’t be packed, but with enough tourists in the vicinity to make it hilarious for people watching. The Landing is pretty awesome. It’s an open air establishment with an awesome view of the harbor and all the boats arriving & departing. When we went it was pretty low key, with just your typical mid-day bar-going alcoholics & tourists looking for somewhere to cool their barking dogs.


We decide on an aqua-blue colored, vodka based drink called the The Blue Lagoon. When it arrived at our table it was totally color-coordinated to my sunglasses, so I knew that it was a sign that this was all meant to be. Since there were only 2 of us, we were limited to the “Guppy Bowl” size drink, for a minimum of 2 people. It mainly consisted of vodka, blue curacao, raspberry vodka, pineapple juice, more vodka, sprite, and of course more vodka. Once you get past the teeth rotting sweetness, the flavor actually wasn’t too bad. Totally a sugar fest, but I dig that sort of thing once in a while. And the drink actually tricks you because it’s so sweet which confuses you flavor-wise because although it has a boat load of vodka in it, all you can taste is sugar.

Luckily Brendan & I weren’t in any sort of rush. We had a bunch of catching up to do and creeping people watching to take part in & so the Blue Lagoon took us a while to pound. By the time we reached the bottom of the Guppy Bowl, although the bartender offered us a refill, the last thing we wanted to drink was another 32 ounces of sugary alcohol.  That would have been a very poor (pour?) decision, but that afternoon I decided to go the -somewhat- responsible adult route. So we called it a day and stumbled went on our merry way, and I was able to check this off of my list of random stuff to try.

6 of 30 completed.

New Adventures: 5 of 30 – Run a Mile.

Monday, August 8th, 2011

I’m not your typical athletic person. Apathetic is more like it. I dislike competitions. I’m not big into dripping sweat or huffing & puffing like one of the 3 little pigs. Buying clothes for function over form makes me cringe. I got a bunch of curves that are built for admiring, not moving quickly. I’m the kind of person that attracts a strong hunter type to fend off the lion that wants to eat me, instead of me running away from the lion…..

Now granted I’ve had a few forays into athletic territory. I was on my high school’s swim team. But that team was kind of like a non-competitive sisterhood, where they never cut anyone from the team, and everyone cheered for everyone (even people like me, who finished a lap or 2 behind everyone else). As far as sporty stuff goes, I also love to surf, but that’s also very different. I like prancing around in a bikini while checking out other hot surfers and then splashing around in the water, catching waves and pretending to be an tall Amazonian version of Gidget. I’ve been doing it for a couple years, but I don’t get to go that often, so I’m not super awesome at it, and I think that because of my lack of madd skills, I don’t feel like I need to really kick ass at it & impress anyone.

I think my inherent distaste for exercise can be traced back to a super depressing exercise related moment  in 6th grade when we had to do the President’s Fitness Challenge, or test or whatever horrible thing they called it.  We were required to run for a 1/4 mile & then our results were posted for everyone to see. I couldn’t run most of it, and ended up finishing somewhere in the bottom 10 students, along with the kids that had broken legs and were on crutches and asthma sufferers.   Another failure in running was the time that I tried out for my high school’s volleyball team with my mindset being “I’m a foot taller that all these other girls. I’ll be doing the volleyball equivalent of dunking on these chicks… Oh, I soooo got this.” And then they made us run laps around the gym…..Or rather, one lap for me, and then I was done. It was all about the cardio & I had none.

And until a little while ago, I’ve had none. About a year ago, I started walking in the woods near my house as a cold season alternative to summer surfing. As I got better I started interspersing little sprints in my walks. And everyday I pushed myself a little bit more. Around that point, I decided to make this 30 by 30 list & was thinking, “Oh yeah, run a mile. Yeah it will suck, but that will be quick and easy…..”

Since I also want to do a 5k, I figured I could just find a running iPhone app, and along the way I’d end up running a mile in training for that…. So I ended up stumbling upon Couch to 5k. C25K is a really awesome app. It’s $3 and plays your own music & then will pop on to tell you to run or walk. Its like having a personal trainer who only does cardio. It pushes me slightly past where I’d normally stop running on my own. Also the schedule makes it so you only have to run 20-30 minutes every other day, which is super easy to find time for. If you can’t spare a half hour every other day, your life needs some serious re-adjusting. The workouts get harder and harder, so I’ve really felt like I’ve been accomplishing something with every session. Also, since it’s an iPhone app, the technology aspect totally sucked Devon into doing the challenge with me…. Now, THAT in itself is a miracle, because normally he’d probably rather wrestle poisonous water snakes than go running. (I’ll refer back to the 1st paragraph where I mentioned that I was built for attracting strong hunter types.)

I started the program on July 7th and it had me alternating 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking. I thought I was going to pass out because it was so hard to catch my breath, and my leg muscles were burning. Over the last month, I’ve had great running days, and really horribly terrible days, including one where I almost puked. But today, just one day under a month after I started, I ran a mile for the first time in my life without stopping. Actually it was more than a mile, I just figured I’d keep going as long as I could.

But yeah, running a mile!!! It was hard to imagine being able to actually do that, especially only 1 month after I set my mind to it. I also don’t feel like I was pushing myself super hard. 3o minutes of not-fun, every other day really isn’t too bad. Also. It’s July and August. What idiot starts running in the middle of the super balmy and muggy summer in New England. This gal apparently. :) But if I can go from not running to running a mile in August, anyone can totally do it. And now I’m psyched for the 5k in 3 weeks. I’m going to be slow as hell, but it is definitely doable!

5 of 30 Completed.

New Adventures: 4 of 30 – NASCAR!!!

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Every month, my family tries to get together for a family dinner or activity. I’m not exactly sure how we all agreed to it, but the Turnbaugh’s activity for the month of July was going to a NASCAR race!! Now, I’m not particularly into car racing, however I am into activities where I can veer full throttle into white trash territory, so as soon as we bought our tickets and  before you could say “redneck”, I had started planning my outfit for the day.

Since NASCAR is about as quintessentially American as it gets, I decided to go the high class route with a stars and stripes themed ensemble. I found a delightful belly shirt crop-top with a distressed American flag print, that was accented with some rhinestones (hand stitched, I’m sure) that highlighted the stars, and showed off just enough of my gut midriff to be striking but not entirely trashy. I then paired the shirt with some jean ghetto-booty-hot-pants  cut-off shorts with peek-a-boo linear patterned front pockets and a star pattern on my ass the rear. Topped off with a hunter’s camo print ball-cap accented with American flags, I was ready to roll. Behold, the classiest family portrait ever.
IMG_1197So some things that I learned…..

IMG_1200NASCAR is big…. Like really big. Bigger than Jesus, or the Beatles for that matter. The race, Lenox Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, took place at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which is largest venue for any type of sport in the whole general area…. Which is kinda insane to think about. Over 100,000 people jam packed into a huge outdoor grandstand. It’s in the boonies of NH Loudon, NH, so there’s no public transit of any sort and everyone has to drive there & park, which leads to kinda a logistical driving and parking nightmare. There are seas of car and RV parking lots. The picture on the left is a pic that I took of maybe a tenth of all of the RVs that had camped out there for the weekend, and that’s not even including cars/SUVs/trucks etc…  And there’s only 1 major road in and out of there… So after the race ends plan on some post-game tailgating, for a while, cuz it’s going to be at least 2-3 hours before you can even get your car out of the parking lot (on top of the 45 minutes that it will take you to walk back to your car)…. Unless you’re awesome like us and drive through some bushes and find a semi-illegal unpaved back road out.

Things to bring, because there won’t be any, or it will run out fast: Toilet paper, Water (crucial on a 95 degree day), Food (the food stands and vendors seriously ran out of food & water halfway through the race!?!?!?!), sunscreen, ear protection.

IMG_1207NASCAR is white trash. Like, really, for-serious white trash. Not like this is ground breaking news or anything, but going to see the race in person just reminded me of what I already knew. Half of the dudes there were shirtless. Now don’t get me wrong. I love me some sexy shirtless man action. However the guys here were bearing their man-boobies regardless of if anyone would even want to see that horror show. And of the men that were wearing shirts, most were wearing shirts with the sleeves ripped off. (Along a similar vein, when did tramp stamps of Disney characters on DUDES become socially acceptable?!?) As seen on the right, the lemur decided to get in on the NASCAR fashion & root for his favorite race car driver.

The women weren’t any better. I had been a bit nervous that my outfit would stand out for being too over the top and/or trashy. Luckily I fit right in with the chicks walking around in bras, pregnant women smoking (I shit you not.) and ladies (and I use that term very loosely) with race car number arm sleeve tattoos. Yeah. It was a scene. A scene that I just don’t really get… But hey, if you’re into that, you go on with your bad self. Fashion is one thing, but manners and friendliness are another. And boy, were those fans friendly. The row behind us shared a ton of their spilled beer with us….. and their cigarette ash. That was pretty cool. In fact all the chain smokers in our section made sure that I got my daily dosage of second hand smoke, so that was incredibly helpful.  Other than that, people were generally pretty happy and friendly, and I got a couple salutes, hand shakes and toasts in honor of my outfit by some fellow fans of America.

IMG_1204All in all, it was quite impressive. The cars are sooo loud and beefy sounding that even a non-gear head like myself found it to be a thing of beauty. The cars go sooo fast. It’s hard to really get how fast they’re going if you just watch it on TV. I’ve always been like “Oh, yup. Moving cars…. That turn left……. For hours… And this is fascinating why ?”. But those little buggers fly & it’s pretty jaw dropping.

Even in the oppressive heat of mid-day July the fans really got into it, and stayed into it for the entire whole 4 hours. And it’s really hard to not get into the spirit of the moment when you’re surrounded by super enthusiastic fans who are cheering & standing up to wave every time their favorite driver goes by or passes someone or takes the lead, or if another car crashes, spins out or catches on fire. Cool stuff.  Not sure if I’d want to go to another NASCAR event, but it was definitely unlike anything that I’ve ever experienced before and I’m glad to have had the opportunity.