#62- Holly’s Keepsake

Back when I was young, with disposable income that went to nothing important and just OODLES of time, I liked to Scrapbook.  I thought I was pretty “crafty,” in general and am still pleased with the books I DID scrapbook from start to finish, but then one day I walked into a Scrapbook store. I realized at that moment, that Scrapbooking was like Cakepops, puffpainted sweatshirts, stamping, stenciling, jazzercise, the RonCO Food Dehydrator, hot glue guns and now Mason Jars with burlap and shabby chic chalkboards-  just. plain. RIDICULOUS. (And I’ve never used Bold Font in a blog before). The amount of time, money, and effort that women will go into to create a FULL 9×12 page that displays ONE photo…. it’s crazy.  Upwards of $200. I cut myself off, determined to dwindle my supply and spend my money elsewhere.

Thankfully, several years ago as I was scrolling through my MacBook Pro (this is relevant info) I discovered Mac “Keepsakes.”  Real books, real photo albums you create yourself simply by clicking, dropping, and typing what you want where you want.  Fantabulous! And 100% QUALITY!  I now own 4 keepsakes and they look so tasteful lined up on our bookcase, ready to show off to any houseguest wanting to see photo albums.

It’s still a time-consuming task.  I decided I didn’t want to be the mom who had unfinished baby books that haunted them for years (Natalie’s is a scrapbook and, though technically presentable, still needs to be finished- that’s #37) so I set out to create, complete and purchase Holly’s album right away.  Sooner rather than later because, my MacBook Pro was starting to become my MacBook Slo after giving me a good 8 year run.

In fact, I completed Holly’s album, went to order it and kept getting error messages… Yikes! At this point I discovered that Apple has a customer service hotline that is NOT automated (real live people!) and they are NOT a phone bank in India! Ah-MAZ-ing!!! More amazing is that I could go 8 years as a Mac owner and never have had to call them.  It was ultimately recommended that I take my Mac into the Apple store, where I got prompt service… ordered Holly’s album within minutes and then reinstalled the Mavericks software so now I have a like-new laptop that costed me ZERO dollars. I love you Mac. And I love iMac Keepsake albums.  I highly recommend them to everyone. Especially Scrapbookers everywhere.

#96- Food Coma

If I lived anywhere near a Street Food Truck Park, I’d be grotesquely obese.  Street Food Truck Parks is the equivalent of Mall Food Courts, only outdoors and strictly kept to Small Business/ Local Owner and truly original infusions of ethnic yumminess of every kind.

We’ve passed one in particular in SF on several occasions and regularly vowed to be back one day with cash in hand (hence it landing as #96 on myl ist).  And judging from this experience, I will be back many more times.

We visited almost every truck- ordering Peruvian Calamari, Greek Gyros, Burmese chicken noodles and Korean Nachos, topping it off with some beers and ginger mint ice tea infusions to go…. I’m so hungry all over again!

This place is really well organized and well run.  I’m not sure if this is the case at other locations, but if not I think other big cities could take note and create an awesome street culture of food using this model.  Open seating, lots of variety, music, shade trees, and the feeling that you’re really part of something cool.  I’ve seen versions of this on Food Network/ etc. and I think it’s awesome!

#41- Under the Sea

I have this habit of painting blank walls where ever I go.  My childhood bedroom, the darkroom of my high school Photography class, the sound wall on the side of my college house, every room of the same said college house, and every classroom I’ve ever taught in.

As a disclaimer, I don’t fancy myself an artist, I’ve never taken an art class, nor tried to do anything professionally. I have enough respect for those who are skilled Painters to know and openly claim that I am of amateur status, and will likely always be.  It’s a hobby I have fun doing and simply shrug it off if one day it’s all painted over.

In 2012, I painted a mermaid on my girls’ bedroom wall.  We liked it, but over time it felt pretty plain, and lacking a few friends.  I knew I wanted to add to it, but until it got put on my list, it seemed like dream without a deadline.

So here it is,  my latest fascination:  Sea Turtles.   Ever since I spontaneously swam with one while snorkeling in Belize, I have decided they are my new favorite creatures…

Sea Turtle Mural

The Girls little quiet corner 🙂

#66- “Room Mom”

I really enjoy volunteering, I really enjoy working with kids and I really enjoy making great memories with Natalie.  For her 6th birthday, we decided to do a project in her classroom to celebrate- also #66 on my list.

I blog about most of it   { here }  on the girls blog that I keep for them.

As a teacher, I’ve always appreciated parent volunteers- whether the task be big or small, I think people being involved in a child’s education is one of the most valuable investments one can make.  It’s by far the only one I’ve seen return my efforts and hardwork 100 times over.

Natalie wanted to bring sugar (aka cupcakes) in to share with her class for her birthday, I reluctantly agreed to sweets- but with the stipulation that it would be educational.  So, we picked out a Donut theme, to go with our coveted “The Donut Chef” book, sang and acted out a counting song about Donuts and ended with decorating our own donuts.  I’m pretty sure I will go down in Pescadero Elementary Kindergarten history as the most Awesomest mom ever. Later that same day, when I picked Natalie up from school, most of her classmates wanted to hug me goodbye and asked when I would come in again. I’m hooked!

#56- The Barlow

I spent much of my childhood with summers and weekend getaways in what I now know is the North Bay/ Sonoma Coast.  When something is so common in your upbringing, who knows how much you truly value it in the moment.  But as an adult, I have such clarity in my memories of roadside monuments, quirky homes, eclectic businesses and the overall feeling of being part of a very unique cultural movement of community.  So much of how I experience moments today is drawn from these moments, specifically these Sonoma Coast moments, I had as a kid.

Sebastopol, Freestone, Occidental, Bodega Bay, Stinson Beach, Dillon’s Beach, Valley Ford, Point Reyes, and Kayaking the Russian River.  How blessed would I have ever thought I was? This region is gold in my opinion, far more economically advanced than where I am at, although I am hopeful my town will soon follow suit.  Anyway, one of the things I regularly do is keep up on Sonoma Coast happenings, and I caught wind of a project that is working to embrace everything the region has to offer- a Community Artisan/Craftsman collaboration of sorts, with a feel of Shopping Outlets/ Upcycled-manufacturing-warehouse layout.  Shopping the Barlow quickly became one of my bucket list items…

The Barlow used to be an Apple processing plant, from what I had learned. Similar to the remaking of the Pier market in San Francisco, this place is a cluster of old barracks (in a sense) that got divided up into rentable spaces for locals. Coffeeshops, bakeries, clothing, tasting rooms, grocery market, breweries, toy store, art galleries, distillery and so much more, I wish I was a local! The place was pretty busy and only half the spaces have been rented out so far. I might have to make another trip back in a year to see what else has moved in.  But for now, what was there I fell in love with.

#77- DIY Home Decor

Two years ago I was really ambitious, and set out to recreate our Master Bedroom.  It has been the last room in the house that has been left untouched for the most part, but on my original Bucket list, I had put on there to purchase a piece of art from my friend Leslie.  This motivated me to at least paint the room and get it ready for the art installment, and thanks to Leslie’s advice I found a nice soothing, neutral color that I have yet to regret.  But after hanging Leslie’s Art, the other 3 walls were left empty, although my mind was full of ideas.

I’d like to say I did NOT Pinterest the crap out of this project. While I admit to having a (rarely used) Pinterest account, I refused to look to it for inspiration.  Instead, I looked to craigslist, Ross and garage sales. I found a dresser I liked at a garage sale for $10 cause someone thought it was junk….. I “shabby chic’d” the crap out of it using the left over paint from the walls and some primer with sandpaper…. replaced the handles and voila! An instant Pinterest hit! Next came mirrors from the thrift shop and some decorative mishmash from Ross and I finally have a wall I can fall asleep looking at.  It only took 2 years and a second Bucket list to get it done 🙂

Take that Pinterest! I'll see your Shabby Chic and raise you a distressed antique with renaissance-era knobs.

Take that Pinterest! I’ll see your Shabby Chic and raise you a distressed antique with renaissance-era knobs.