Archive | August, 2011

#1 Go skydiving

19 Aug

With experience number 1 under my belt, we set out this past Sunday to check number 2 off the list. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to go skydiving, so Jonny Dangerously (appropriately named), Logan Cromwell and I met in Orange County for a nutritious breakfast and started our trek to San Diego to jump out of a plane. There are several places to go skydiving in Southern California – Santa Barbara, Perris, San Diego (there may even be others) – but we chose San Diego because of the amazing views we knew were in store. (Nothing against the lovely town of
Perris, CA.)

The drive to SD was pretty quick…probably because we were all as excited as little kids on Christmas. We arrived at  Skydive San Diego in plenty of time to use the luxurious porta-potties, watch a disclaimer video from 1972 and sign our lives away. We then attended a “training” session. I use the word training loosely here because the only real instruction we got were to arch our backs and bend our legs up trying to kick our instructors in the butt. Armed
with this knowledge we were ready to go.

After a short wait we were assigned to our instructors. I was paired with the same guy who had given our training – André. We chatted a bit as he was strapping me into the harness and I found out that André is from Brazil and only skydives part time, working for Southwest the rest of the time (mainly to get the free flights 🙂 ). Most of the instructors do this full time – jumping about 15 times per day – but André wants to be sure he doesn’t lose the passion for it, so cut back to only three days per week. Next we met Matt, my photographer. The three of us had a quick consultation about what faces to make and what hairstyle would result in the best photos (I’m sure you can guess whose idea this little meeting was).

Trained and fully acquainted with the man who was soon going to be responsible for my life, we headed out to the field and hopped on the plane. As we started to climb I was getting increasingly excited. I checked in with André to see how high up we were and his response was, “halfway.” This was the only moment that I got a little bit nervous because “halfway” was REALLY high up. I got over that quickly though and the excitement took over once again. Looking around the plane, people were starting to sit on their instructors laps to get attached and ready to jump.

Before you knew it, one by one the plane was emptying out. I was the last to jump and it felt like only a matter of seconds before it was my turn. Now, that moment everyone thinks they’re going to have skydiving – the one where you are staring out the door of the plane down to the earth below and think “I don’t know if I can do this” – didn’t happen. Smartly, the instructors don’t allow time for self-doubt. By the time you get over to the door, you are jumping out.

We jumped from 13,000 feet and freefell for approximately 60 seconds. The exhilarating feeling of falling from the sky was amazing and something that I don’t think I can even get close to accurately describing here. We spun in circles and posed for photos…it was amazing! What is even more impressive is the photographer. Without being attached to you, he stays right there, only a matter of feet away, capturing every moment of likely the most
adventurous thing you’ve ever done in your life.

At 5,000 feet André pulled the cord and the parachute opened up. The speed and rate at which you are falling toward the earth changes significantly at this point. You go from the force of the wind pushing back and distorting your face to a peaceful floating feeling. Personally, I liked the face-altering freefall part the best. With the parachute deployed everything is so calm and peaceful that you can now talk to your instructor and enjoy the view. Andre let me steer for a bit (super easy) and we got to spin in some fast circles as well. After about 8 minutes of floating back down to reality we came in for a smooth and easy landing.

At this point the exhilaration and amazement of what you have just done takes over. I ran over to my friends for a big group hug and we all exclaimed with excitement about how awesome the experience was. We had such a great time that we immediately started planning our next trip. Unless you are deathly, paralyzingly afraid of heights, I think everyone should try skydiving. It was an incomparable experience that provides an ultimate rush. I am so happy that I got the opportunity to do it and so thankful that my amazing friends Logan and Jonny were there to experience it with me.

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#11 Go horseback riding by the Hollywood sign – Yee Haw!

15 Aug

This weekend got off to a great start with plans to check the first thing off my list. I should kick this off with a little bit of background on how this item actually made it to the list. A couple of years ago one of my best friends, Anita Singh, and I were watching an episode of “The Girls Next Door,” a great show from the masterminds at E! Entertainment, that featured the girls horseback riding up by the Hollywood sign. It looked like so much fun that we vowed to go on the same adventure sometime soon (see the video below for a taste of how we got convinced). After talking about doing it for several of my birthdays to no avail, I decided it needed to be added to the list to actually get accomplished.

To get our adventure started Anita and another one of my closest friends, Heidi Loera, met at my place in Marina del Rey. We got decked out in our best horseback riding/cowgirl outfits (Heidi even Googled it to be sure we were dressed appropriately) and headed out to Hollywood. Note that we definitely would have been wearing cowboy hats if we weren’t provided with those stylish white helmets. As we were climbing the hill with the Hollywood sign getting bigger and bigger right before our eyes, we knew we were almost there.

Despite being located right in Hollywood, Sunset Ranch is no sissy horseback riding attraction. It’s a real ranch and you can smell the horses from a mile away. After a short wait and several photo opps, we were matched up with our horses – Anita with Trigger, Heidi with Patches, and me with Ace. Now they mention in the “Girls Next Door” episode that the horses are matched to their riders personality – I’d say that mine was a little pushy and stubborn, Anita’s was well behaved aside from stopping to eat a lot, and Heidi’s was a bit rebellious – take from that what you want. 🙂

The ride was really fun. We went through the hills and up to the top where we were able to get an amazing scenic panoramic view of Los Angeles (so you know we took at least 100 photos…especially with Anita there!). The only disappointing part was that we didn’t get to be closer to the Hollywood sign, but I think that’s a preservation thing, so I’ll get over it.

The website warns that “you will use muscles that you may not have known you had,” and boy were they right! My knees were hurting by the end of the ride and today my butt and legs are a little sore. I guess that’s what happens as you start getting older! My only other warning/suggestion would be to bring a bandana to cover your face. While it looks ridiculous, it will protect you from breathing in all the dirt that gets kicked up on the ride (just don’t take any photos during that part).

Overall, it was an amazing experience that I’m so happy I was able to share with two of my closest friends. We checked the first thing off my list and I will remember it forever!

THE LIST

9 Aug

Today is the big day! I’m no longer in my 20’s and can’t blame any of my mistakes on being young and dumb (here’s to hoping there aren’t many more…). After a lot of thought, consideration and input from some of my closest friends, here it is…the list of 40 things I want to do before I turn 40. I’ve already got a couple of things lined up for this weekend, but if you see anything here you also want to do, let me know and we can check something off our lists together!

  1. Go skydiving
  2. Learn to use my toe edge snowboarding
  3. Ride in a hot air balloon
  4. Run a 10K
  5. Pay off my credit cards
  6. Bask in the sun on the Greek islands
  7. Become actively involved with a charity
  8. Keep a plant alive for more than three months
  9. Fly an airplane
  10. Ride a gondola in Venice, Italy
  11. Go horseback riding by the Hollywood sign
  12. Go to a fashion show at NY Fashion Week
  13. Watch the sunrise on a deserted beach
  14. Try my hand at class 4 white-water rafting
  15. Walk on the Great Wall of China
  16. See a Broadway show
  17. Start my own business
  18. Weigh the weight listed on my driver’s license
  19. Go to the Magic Castle
  20. Learn to speak Spanish
  21. See an opera at the Sydney Opera House
  22. Buy a new car
  23. Learn to change my own oil
  24. Start taking dance classes again
  25. Learn how to cook a signature dish
  26. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge
  27. Buy a condo/house
  28. Watch a futbol game in Spain
  29. Go to the Kentucky Derby
  30. Stay in one of those bungalows over the water in a tropical location
  31. Research my family tree
  32. Go on an African safari
  33. Learn to play golf
  34. Get an adorable dog named Roxy
  35. Learn to meditate
  36. Study various religions and explore my spirituality
  37. Swim in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland
  38. Take an epic road trip
  39. Find my soul mate, fall in love and get married
  40. Have a baby (after getting married)

30 Amazing Things By 30

6 Aug

As I’m preparing for my birthday party tonight and my actual birthday on Tuesday, I started thinking about all the cool things I’ve already done and experienced in my life. I’ve done a fair amount of traveling and shared some special moments with some of my favorite celebs, so in anticipation of the “40 before 40” list I’ll be posting on Tuesday, I thought I would put together a list of 30 amazing things I did before turning 30. I’ve had the privilege of sharing these experiences with some awesome people, so I’m sure this will bring back memories for some of you reading this. Enjoy!

 

  1. Went swimming with the dolphins in Grand Cayman
  2. Met and shared a longing gaze with George Clooney
  3. Flew over glaciers and then landed on the ocean in a seaplane
  4. Ziplined through the trees in Alaska and Puerto Vallarta
  5. Saw the Mayan ruins in Tulum
  6. Went snorkeling with sea turtles in the Bahamas and Hawaii
  7. Took an oyster shooter in Vegas
  8. Flew right next to Mt. McKinley in a prop plane
  9. Bought a “designer” purse from a sketchy man in a van in NY
  10. Talked about playing the banjo with Dave Matthews
  11. Lived on Kauai for a summer
  12. Danced in a parade in Paris
  13. Sponsored a family for Christmas
  14. Traveled with a professional cycling race
  15. Attempted to take a photo of the Mona Lisa
  16. Got a tattoo that was specially drawn for me
  17. Went parasailing in Puerto Vallarta, Hawaii and Cabo San Lucas
  18. Took a photo in 4 states at one time
  19. Walked through a real castle in Versailles
  20. Held a monkey in the rainforest in Honduras
  21. Drank a Duck Fart with the locals (and a group of rowdy travel bloggers) in Alaska
  22. Walked through Central Park in stiletto boots
  23. Jumped off the top of a waterfall in Hawaii
  24. Got into the communications major at UCSB and graduated in 4 years
  25. Waited on Jack Johnson and then reminded him I had been his server when I met him for the second time (very smooth)
  26. Took Jell-O shots with my mom in Vegas
  27. Cheered at the Big West tournament as a UCSB Gaucho cheerleader
  28. Hung out with Egypt’s head of antiquities at the King Tut museum exhibit
  29. Danced at the halftime of a Clipper’s game
  30. Started a blog

40 Things I Want To Do Before I Turn 40

1 Aug

As my 30th birthday kept creeping closer and closer, everyone started asking me what I would be doing to celebrate. Now this is a logical question, especially considering the bashes I’ve thrown the past couple of years – rooftop pool party in Manhattan Beach when I turned 28, golf-themed pub crawl complete with costumes and scorecards for my 29th – but this year was different. I hadn’t put any thought into my birthday and I honestly just wasn’t very excited about it at all. That was until the morning of Wednesday, July 27.

While getting ready for work, in the shower to be exact, I had an epiphany – I didn’t want to get drunk and crazy for my birthday; I wanted to start doing some of the things I had always wanted to do…start checking off my bucket list. In general, I’m not a fan of the term “bucket list” because it sounds way too morbid – and let’s be honest, I’m getting old, but not THAT old – so I decided to create a list of 40 things I want to accomplish before I’m 40.

I’m still working on creating the actual list, but I plan to post it on my birthday (Aug. 9). So far some of them are pretty simple, but I somehow have still managed to put them off, and some are a bit more complicated and will take a little planning. I’m hoping that when I turn 40 (or hopefully even before then) I’ll be able to look at this list and know that I had an awesome 10 years doing the things I have always wanted to do. And then it will be time for 50 things to do before I’m 50!

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