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Tag Archives: 27 before 27

30 Before 30

29 Sep
Don't entirely remember this picture from our bday celebration.

Don’t entirely remember this picture from our bday celebration.

It’s a bit unnerving to see the number 30 as the title of this post and looming ahead of me. But I remember being 26 and talking to my amazing co-worker, Kristina, when she was turning 30. She told me how excited and happy she was about life, her career, and dating. She told me that at that age, she knew what she wanted out of life and had a confidence to go after it that made things so much easier. But me, at that timid, mid-twenties age, I doubted what she told me and looked at my future with anxiety and fear.

But she was so right. And I leave 28 for 29 feeling the happiest and most secure of my life. This last year brought a lot of things that have done wonders for me. I got serious about kickboxing; I buckled down about school and finished my tech degree; I started listening to podcasts by Tara Brach about Buddhism. I went on adventures big and small. From riding horses through the New Mexican desert to stand-up paddle boarding in Maine to learning the Lindy Hop in Lincoln Center. I had an awesome year, and I see no reason why the next one won’t likewise be fantastic. I managed 10 last year, so here’s hoping I can expand that a bit.

THE STANDARDS

  1. Visit a new state 15 down, 35 to go.
  2. Visit a new country 12 down, 183 to go.
  3. Visit a new baseball stadium 7 down, 23 to go.
  4. Read “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion I have writerly friends who worship at the feet of Didion, yet I haven’t read a single book by her.
  5. Watch “The African Queen” I’ve added watching a classic movie to the standards.
  6. Make an Indian meal I order in Indian food quite a bit, and one of the new receptionists at work (who is Indian) likes to tease me that it’s a waste of money, and I could make it just as good at home. Challenge accepted.
  7. Eat a Ramen Burger There’s a place in NYC that serves a burger between two grilled ramen noodle loaves. I’m in.
  8. Visit One World Observatory 

THE LEFTOVERS

  1. Take a Sailing Lesson
  2. Go Scuba Diving I WILL NOT GIVE UP ON THIS.
  3. Go to a Gun Range
  4. Do a Juice Cleanse
  5. Visit a Whiskey Distillery
  6. Go to a Live Taping
  7. Ride a Mechanical Bull
  8. Take a trapeze class
  9. Go to a Monster Truck Show
  10. Sing at Live Band Karaoke I went on a first date a couple of months ago to a live band, rock and roll karaoke. It was amazing, and I regret not getting up and doing it. No chemistry with the guy. But SO MUCH chemistry with Arlene’s Grocery. Proof that dating can be rewarding.
  11. Go Sky Diving
  12. Learn to Play the Ukulele 
  13. Do a Knitting Donation Project

THE NEW CLASS

  1. Go Cross Country Skiing It sounds so New England to me.
  2. Compete in a Crossword Competition I am a nerd. I do the New York Times crossword every day and time myself. I think I’m ready to take my skills on the road.
  3. Take a Flamenco Dance lesson The fan! The little finger things! The stomping!
  4. Go Windsurfing When I was in Canada, I saw a couple of windsurfers on Georgian Bay. It looks terrifying and kind of cool.
  5. Get my aura photographed Sounds like bullshit, but I’m a sucker for these things.
  6. Go on a Ghost Tour I recently signed up for the New York Obscura Society, and they often have graveyard events.
  7. Go parasailing I can’t believe I’ve made it this far into my life without doing this!
  8. Run a 5K My boyfriend is deferring his NYC marathon eligibility to next year and wants me to train with him. But I don’t run. I hate running. I only run when I’m being chased. But he has convinced me that there are some fun 5Ks out there, and he seems to believe I am capable.
  9. Do an Escape the Room There are so many different kinds of these in New York. Ones with zombies. Ones for groups. Ones for couples. Basically they lock you in a room for an hour or two with a variety of puzzles that leads to the key to get out. I love puzzles! See #23 for proof.
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29 Before 29

15 Sep
Birthday girls

Birthday girls

I happen to share my birth date with one of my closest friends in New York, Quincey. A while back the two of us were talking about possible ideas for our birthday. We laughed and said we should do a week-long celebration dedicated to the amazingness that is us. But the more we talked about it, the more it made complete sense.

Our birth date happens to be marred by a national tragedy which over time has affected celebrations negatively. In addition to that, we both moved a lot as kids and spent many childhood birthdays in a new town without friends. So this was the year to make up for it. Cabaret, Karaoke, Softball, $1 beers, Ice Cream Cake, Cupcakes, Shake Shack, Happy Hour, Czech Beer Garden, Dancing. This was a week-long celebration for the ages, and my liver, stomach, legs, vocal chords are still recovering.

Now that life is slipping into normalcy, it’s time to embrace the new year’s list. I dropped some things that just weren’t happening. I brought back some recurring standards. And as far as new items go, I went big and small. Some overly ambitious and some devastatingly simple.

THE STANDARDS

1. Visit a new state- 13 down, 37 to go!

2. Visit a new country- Due to my supposed risk averse nature, I was unable to travel last year. But this year my goal is somewhere in Central America. I have to break in that new passport.

3. Visit a new baseball stadium- I’m so close to so many stadiums, it’s a crying shame that my number is so low. 7/30.

4. Read Catch-22– Every year I dedicate myself to reading one classic that I’m embarrassed about not having read.

5. Make Jambalaya- My new recipe challenge for the year.

6. Eat Ox Tail- My new adventurous food choice of the year.

7. Eat Ethiopian- You really can’t have too many adventurous food options. I’d be happy with doing an entire list of food.

LEFTOVERS FROM LISTS OF YESTERYEAR

8. Be an extra in a TV show or movie***

9. Go Scuba Diving***

10. Go Sailing***

11. Go to a Gun Range***

12. Do a Juice Cleanse**

13. Go to a Dog Show**

14. Visit a Whiskey Distillery**

15. Go to a Live Taping*- My new goal for this is to see “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver. I have such a nerd crush on him.

16. Ride a Mechanical Bull*

17. Take a Trapeze Class*

18. Eat at Serendipity*

19. Go to a Monster Truck Show*

THE NEW LIST

20. Sing at Live Band Karaoke- I love singing karaoke. Some might even call it a passion. A week ago, I delivered a drunken, impassioned performance of “All That Jazz.” I’m ready to step up my karaoke game.

Duet with Quincey

Duet with Quincey

21. Paint Nite- I know this is suburban and faux-creative, but I want to do it. I want to somehow paint a pretty picture and pretend I’m an artiste.

22. Go sky diving- I hesitated putting this on the list. I’ve hesitated putting it on for years. I’m concerned I might pee myself or have a similar humiliating experience.

23. Fencing Lesson- I took an archery lesson a couple of months ago. If the place wasn’t so far from me, I would have considered going back. Something so fun about medieval weaponry.

24. Learn to play the ukelele- I learned that my paternal grandfather used to play the ukelele. It’s a family tradition I’d like to carry on.

25. Go whale watching- I didn’t realize how much I wanted to do this until I missed an opportunity last week. I want to experience the majesty of those mammals.

26. Do a knitting donation project- I took down my “Pay for someone’s meal” item, because I’m just too shy. But I wanted to replace it with something charitable.

27. Go white water rafting- I fear this will go the way of my go scuba diving item. It’ll never happen.

28. Visit a horse ranch- I’ve recently started working with horses, and I forgot how deep my love for them runs.

29. Visit the United Nations- I had to add one New York touristy option.

 

 

28 Before 28: Take a Boxing Class

8 Sep

In my 28th year of life, I’m attempting to do 28 new things. Full list here.

My gloves. They also came in pink, but I'll always prefer black.

My gloves. They also came in pink, but I’ll always prefer black.

A couple of weeks ago, I broke up with my significant other. It was something I knew had to happen and felt confident that it was the best decision to make. Between making the decision and when I actually got to sit down with him to do it, I had a span of four days to stew it over. In classic type A fashion, I spent a good amount of time researching tips to getting over break-ups, moving on, letting go, emotionally healing.

Did you know that science has shown that what happens in the brain of someone who is going through a break-up is nearly the same thing that goes on in the brain of an addict going through withdrawals?! The brain begins to lack the pleasure-inducing endorphins that it was getting from the companionship. It causes depression, feelings of sluggishness and even physical pain. One way to combat this is with physical exercise. So I found a boxing gym close to me and signed up.

My last couple of weeks have been flooded with work and amazing friends buying me booze and listening to be complain/cry. But I have managed to attend two boxing classes. The first one was with five middle-aged Hispanic ladies. I felt right at home. None of them were exceptionally athletic, and we were all sweating profusely and making ugly faces while doing something like 100 squats. It was 20 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of strength training, then 20 minutes of freestyle one-on-one time with a punching bag. The instructor showed me a couple of basic punches, and I worked on perfecting them. The class was perfect. I left exhausted and sore but with a clear mind and heart.

The second class I went to was me and three dudes. It was the same instructor as before and, and he spent a lot of time focusing on helping me while the guys did their own thing. We did a lot less cardio and strength-training and spent over half an hour with the punching bags. I was happy just bouncing around, jabbing and hooking to my heart’s desire. But the instructor honed in on me and lectured me on self defense. At some point it wasn’t even about boxing anymore as he told me to punch with my nail’s facing my attacker so that I could get his DNA under my nails?!?! Whoah! I was just there for stress release, not to learn how to avoid getting dragged into an unmarked vehicle. I found myself biting my bottom lip to keep from laughing as the scenarios got more intense. I mean, I’m glad I have an idea now of what to do if someone tries to stab me from the side, but I don’t expect that to be happening any time soon. I guess no one does though.

28 Before 28: Go to Roller Derby

13 Apr
Melis and I at the free photobooth before the match.

Melis and I at the free photobooth before the match.

In my 28th year of life, I’m attempting to do 28 new things. Full list here.

I’m a huge fan of any form of female badassery. And as an avid sports fan, it does bother me a twinge that women’s leagues are ignored in favor of men’s. Men can be amazing sports gods, and women can just be fans.

Tis not the case in roller derby!

Two of my closest lady friends and I went to our first Gotham Girls Roller Derby bout last night. Other than seeing the movie “Whip It” I had no idea what to expect.

Manhattan Mayhem's Jeer-leaders.

Manhattan Mayhem’s Jeer-leaders.

The pageantry of it was by far the best part. The bout we watched was Manhattan Mayhem vs. Bronx Gridlock. Each team had their own Jeer-leaders who would throw beads into the crowd and helped little kids attending make signs for their favorite players. All of the players adopt incredible names such as Sweets McBacon, Full Metal Jackie, and Mayday Malone. Even the refs had fun names like Ref in Peace and TestosteRON Jeremy. I’ve been brainstorming a name for myself  and have only come up with Whammy Wilson, although it’s a work in progress.

Beginning of the jam.

Beginning of the jam.

The derby itself was a little confusing, and we spent a lot of time trying to figure out why teams were getting the points they were. I also assumed there would be more skating. Most “jams” had one skater called a “jammer” trying to push through members of the other team without getting pushed off the track. Once they broke through, they would skate one lap and be allotted points. So most of the time we were watching the skaters not move much, just pushing each other back and forth. I wish I understood the rules better. I think I would have enjoyed it much more.

Hula hoop halftime show.

Hula hoop halftime show.

But I still enjoyed it immensely and want to go more regularly. I found myself cheering for Bronx Gridlock, because I fancy myself an outer borough girl. But my heart and residence has been in Queens, and I’m looking forward to becoming an avid fan of the Queens of Pain. Maybe one day, even becoming a player.

 

28 Before 28: Join a Book Club

7 Apr

In my 28th year of life, I’m attempting to do 28 new things. Full list here.

I’ve had this on my list for three years now. I searched for book clubs I could join online, finding only stay-at-home moms who read books about parenting. I mentioned it to people in passing, a lot of whom responded that Book Clubs are lame and for…stay-at-home moms.

“Preposterous!” I replied to the nay-sayers. So I started a book club myself.

As a bookish person, I have over the years attracted a number of friends with similar book nerd tendencies. All it took was posting a query of interest on my Facebook page to get together a modest group of six to discuss books about once a month.

Yesterday was our first meeting, and it went well! I was so happy to hear other people’s feelings about the book, their favorite parts, their criticisms. As the de facto leader, I was the one who picked the book, “The Poisoner’s Handbook” (link in caption above for purchase). It turned out to be a fitting book about Prohibition. So we sat together, throwing back Bellini’s and Bloody Mary’s, discussing.

For me, the best part about a book club is the widening perspective as a reader. By reading books other people have selected, it causes me to read books that I might shy away from. In the discussion itself, I got to see the book through five other people’s perspectives. The English major in me felt right at home.

28 Before 28

16 Sep
Red Velvet Cake from my co-workers.

Red Velvet Cake from my co-workers.

Another year, friends. I still haven’t processed that I’m now 27, but the festivities of the last week have made me feel happy and loved which is all a girl can ask for.

This was a tumultuous year for me. I spent a lot of time in self-reflection, trying to figure out where I want to take my life, making peace with the past, and taking deep breaths in the present. A lot of it wasn’t easy. But from where I sit at this moment, I am the happiest, most together I have ever been.

Unfortunately, all this soul-searching and self-reflection left my bucket list out in the cold. I only accomplished 10 things on my list, down from the 12 I managed to do last year. But it’s a new year, and as much personal growth as I’ve gone through, my idea of a bucket list has also evolved, and I’m excited about the next year! As I’ve done before, I rolled over some of the previous items. One asterisk represents things I neglected to do last year. Two asterisks represent things I’ve neglected to do the past TWO years. Therefore it also represents my shame.

  1. Read Slaughterhouse-Five– I have never read any Kurt Vonnegut! Let’s face it. Despite prolific reading, it’s hard to read ALL the classics, ALL the best authors. But I enjoy tackling one embarrassing omission per year. This year is Mr. Vonnegut.
  2. Visit a new state– My grandfather visited all 50 states in his lifetime, and I admire the accomplishment. I’m only at 12. This will hopefully be a recurring item for years to come.
  3. Visit a new country- I’ve hesitated from putting anything travel-related on the list for fear that having something too big would hinder completing the list. But who am I kidding? I only completed 10 last year, so I should be able to dream as big as I want. So many countries I want to see. This will also be recurring.
  4. Visit the top of the Statue of Liberty– Whilst also dreaming big about traveling, I want to likewise take better advantage of living in the capital of the WORLD, New York City. I tried the Tourist Tuesday thing, which I’d like to continue, but putting things on my list will also push me to do them. What could be more touristy than this?
  5. Go to a live taping– This is the point in my list where I must give some credit to my friend Quincey who also does a birthday bucket list, although hers has been more New York City centric, so I’m pilfering a lot of my New York City items from her list. So, yeah, some sort of late night show, or the Daily Show, SNL is nearly impossible, but I’d like to try.
  6. Do Some Gardening**- I live in a city. I don’t just trip over gardening opportunities every day.
  7. Anonymously Pay Someone’s Tab**- I know it looks bad and selfish that I haven’t done this yet, but the majority of the time, this is my life: tumblr_ls5sctFDGt1qm30qjo1_500
  8. Be an extra in a tv show or movie**- I’ve looked into it, believe you me! I just haven’t found a simple way to do this without registering with an agency. I just want to be a witness in a Law and Order scene, do we have to bring my social security number into this?
  9. Take a boxing class*-Again, I looked into it. Just have to commit to a class.
  10. Visit a new baseball stadium- Wasn’t able to do this last year, but now that I’m dating an adorable baseball fan, things are looking up! We’ll definitely accomplish this one…next season.
  11. Do a Juice Cleanse*– Still determined to do this despite the eye rolls I got from people about it.
  12. Go to Lucky Cheng’s- Dinner and a drag show! Sounds like my ideal night out.
  13. Eat at White Castle– The East Coast fast food staple has eluded me. But one night (hopefully after imbibing a few adult beverages), I’d like to find myself there.
  14. Go Skinny Dipping**- I don’t think I’ve been to a beach or a warm body of water this year where this was even possible. Not sure how to rectify this situation.
  15. Go Scuba Diving**- I’m thinking I can accomplish this one if I plan out the visit a new state/visit a new country items appropriately.
  16. Go sailing**-So, who’s got a boat? Anyone, anyone…
  17. Join a book club**- I don’t have enough friends who are nerds. Where are you book nerds? Where do you all congregate, and can I please join you?!
  18. Ride a mechanical bull- Almost did this once. I told my friends I wasn’t drunk enough to do it. So when I finally felt I had the liquid courage, I march up to the bull. It’s then that I notice the room was spinning, I turn back to my friends and tell them that I was TOO drunk to do it. That was six years ago. I will find the perfect balance and embrace the urban cowgirl I know I am.
  19. Go to roller derby*- I wish I had the guts to join a roller derby team, but for now I’ll settle with watching other girls be violent and awesome.
  20. Go to a dog show*- Now that I’m a full-time vet tech, I think I’d really enjoy this, ogling all the breeds.
  21. Do a Circle Line cruise- An uber-touristy item. It’s a cruise around the isle of Manhattan, from which one can see all five boroughs, important landmarks, bridges. It sounds neat!
  22. Visit a whiskey distillery*- I’ve been to many beer breweries, and it’s always fun. And if there’s one thing that I love more than beer, it’s whiskey.
  23. Take a trapeze class- I’m not the most graceful of girls, so this could be interesting.
  24. Go to a gun range**- I want to do this! I want to do it so much! Why haven’t I done this?
  25. Eat at Serendipity- A famous New York restaurant known for amazing desserts. I tried to go once with visiting friends, but the 90 minute wait deterred me.
  26. Get a facial- I liked having the self-pampering list item of massage last year. Going to continue the “treat yo self” trend.
  27. Drink at the Bridge Cafe- The oldest business in New York, it has been open since 1794 and was once a brothel! This nerd loves her history.
  28. Go to a Monster Truck Show– Because why not?

27 Before 27: Eat Pork Belly

17 Jul

In my 27th year of life, I’m attempting to do 27 new things. Full list here.

Spicy Pork Belly Sliders

Spicy Pork Belly Sliders

I thought this would be a little more adventurous than it turned out to be. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious. It just wasn’t as exotic or exciting as some of my other culinary adventures (fermented shark head.) Turns out pork belly is just a type of pork. Bacon is typically cut from pork belly. It’s fatty, and it’s delicious.

Pork Belly is used in a lot of Chinese and Korean cooking. So I went to a tapas style Korean restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen called Danji. My pork belly came in slider form with scallions, cucumber julienne, and gochujang, which is a Korean red chile paste. I also got an unfiltered rice beer, which turned out to taste like carbonated sake.

The sliders were delicious! I love my food spicy, and this did not disappoint. Perhaps that was my failing, it was so spicy, I didn’t get to pay too much attention to what the pork belly tasted like.

Even if it wasn’t the craziest food item I’ve ever eaten, I liked it a lot and will definitely order it again.

27 Before 27: Go Hiking

5 May
Hiking through Glaciers

Hiking through Glaciers

In my 27th year of life, I’m attempting to do 27 new things. Full list here.

Two assumptions about myself that I’ve had to let go of in the last couple of years.

Assumption 1: I’m not athletic. Growing up, I was the runt of the litter. I had breathing issues, I had stomach issues, I was pale, skinny and preferred to read a book as opposed to subjecting myself to the teasing about my athletic ineptitude.

Assumption 2: I hate nature. This goes along with the not being athletic thing. Instead of going outside and being active, I have always enjoyed reading, writing, brooding, all typically indoor activities.

Hiking is something of a breakdown of these two assumptions about myself.

A secret no one tells you about hiking is that it’s just walking. I can do that! I think of myself as something of a binge walker, sometimes wandering the island of Manhattan for hours at a time. Hiking is doing the same thing, but in more serene surroundings and without cabs threatening to end your life.

So I went to Iceland. Iceland’s natural beauty is a huge part of their tourist appeal. It is a country designed for hiking.

Attempted selfie behind a waterfall.

Attempted selfie behind a waterfall.

I spent a full day hiking at the base of volcanos, trekking behind waterfalls, and to top the day off, cramponing my way across glaciers. And it was breathtaking. The beautiful views, the fresh air, the feeling of accomplishment. I loved it. I knew I would. Like so many things I’ve checked off on my bucket lists, I wish I had more time to make them a full hobby. Hiking would be a fantastic one but is especially difficult given my urban location. Oh, sigh, one more reason to miss the Pacific Northwest.

On the bright side, I was so happy that I got to cross off something on my list…in Iceland.

27 Before 27: Go to a Hockey Game

2 Apr

2013-04-01 19.09.58 In my 27th year of life, I’m attempting to do 27 new things. Full list here.

Going to a hockey game was a high priority for me on this year’s list. I like sports, and nothing beats going to a sporting event live. I didn’t (still don’t) know a ton about hockey, but it seemed fast paced and exciting. I panicked there for a while during the lockout, then I panicked because all of a sudden it was April. But, alas, I found my way to a New Jersey Devils game.

I’m an underdog kind of lady. I like the idea of a team that is somewhat hapless, somewhat less funded, more like me. I must admit, though, that I know next to nothing about hockey, but the New York Rangers come off like a Yankees sort of team, all Madison Square Garden and all. The Devils are endearing to me, because they’re in Newark and that seems like an underdog kind of town. Plus the Prudential Center (more affectionately known as the Rock) is a beautiful arena.

The first thing I noticed as the game began was how difficult and athletic hockey looks. I’ve played my fair share of sports and defending, passing, goal attempts, keeping track of who on your team is open are all difficult tasks enough. These guys are doing it on ice! Hockey is an aggressive sport with a lot of fights and slamming into one another, but it is also graceful and impressive. The way they maneuver around one another, pass, shoot the puck. Hypnotizing. I don’t think I ever felt that awe-struck watching hockey on television.

The New Jersey Devils are also a lot of fun. The reason to follow a team is the camaraderie of the fan base. In any sport, players, coaches, championships, controversies will all come and go. The reason anyone stays faithful to a specific team is because of the community that you become a part of. I liked the raucous nature of the Devils fans. They had a chant that went simply, “Ranger suck, Flyers swallow.” They weren’t playing either team that night. Just chanting it to remind themselves.

But, hands down, the best part of the night was during one of the intermissions after period one where they let little league hockey players play. Their jerseys were down to their ankles! Unreasonably adorable. I’m ovulating just thinking about it.

2013-04-01 19.44.28

27 Before 27: Tango Lesson

4 Mar

In my 27th year of life, I’m attempting to do 27 new things. Full list here.

I bought a Groupon for a month of unlimited tangos way back in the beginning of January. The next day I sprained my ankle, because I’m not graceful, not at all. This is part of the reason I wanted to take a tango/dance class. I’m a girl, after all, and I like the idea of being an elegant, graceful one.

Alas, somehow, in the last couple of years, I have evolved into a tomboy. I play softball, soccer, volleyball. Most weekends you can find me at a sportsbar with a good beer. No complaints. I absolutely love my life and love the things I’m involved with. But I do sometimes look at other women on the subways, the ones with perfect makeup, stylish dress suits, giggling with their lady friends, shopping bags draped around their arms, and I wonder why that’s not me. Like I’m missing the girly gene.

So I walked into my first tango lesson in an old concert t-shirt, athletic pants, and my dirty softball sneakers. All the other women (very few men were there) were wearing slinky dresses and stiletto heels. I felt like such a frump! Why did I wear dirty sneakers to a tango lesson? I’m sure I must have a pair of sexy shoes somewhere! I vaguely remember wearing a pair once.

The tango studio was located off of Times Square and is run by an Argentinian couple. The lady who taught my class had an adorable accent. What I really liked about this class was how slow it was, how careful. We started by just shifting our weight from foot to foot, then doing the basic tango step forwards and backwards, then pairing up with someone and going back and forth across the floor. It was a slow progression, which made it feel less overwhelming once we actually did the box step.

This was so much fun. I quickly had images of myself becoming an Argentinian Tango professional. The dance, the people there, the instructors. I loved it. I wish I had more free time to take advantage of the month unlimited that I bought. I definitely wasn’t good at it or graceful. I had to focus really hard on every movement, but I never felt embarrassed or out of place. I’m so glad I did this. I might have to add this into my sports rotation.