Beer making class!

Two weeks ago, Michael and I headed out of the city and into the Santa Cruz mountains for a beer making class. My lovely aunt Deb bought two spots in this class for me and Michael, and we’ve been SO excited to go.

The class was held at Love Apple Farms. Nestled up in the Santa Cruz mountains, it was maybe the most visually stunning farm I have ever seen. 



Well, the pictures don’t do it justice. But still. Beautiful.

So the beer making class. Given that I’m trying all these new beers for my 100 beers challenge, learning about how they are made is so valuable.

The brewmaster teacher was awesome. Maybe the most knowledgable and charismatic hobbyist I have ever come into contact with. The whole lesson I just kept thinking this guy needs to be interviewed in one of those discovery channel docs about beer. He’s like this guy about the ancient aliens: 


So here is the teacher, showing us how to make beer (notice the shirt! Lols.)







He showed us how to make a California Common beer, which I learned, is what Anchorsteam is (Michael’s favorite beer!). While I won’t go into detail about the beer making process (lots of science-y words I haven’t heard since high school!) I will say that I learned it’s not that hard. Once you get the equipment and the hang of it, it seems like a lot of experimenting with ingredient levels and timing. This, I can do. Once I live out of the city and I have space to spill without flooding my and my downstairs neighbor’s apartments, I am doing this thing. 

But the best part of this beer making class? The teacher brought a bunch of beers for the class to try! This was the true learning experience for me. He’d have a certain beer poured for all of the students, and then we’d talk about how it tasted. This is how I really learned what “hoppy” tasted like. 


So, here are beers #24-31!


24: Josephs Brau PLZNR Czech-Style Lager

25: IPA home-brew by our talented teacher

26: Boulder Creek Dragon’s Breath IPA

27: Trader Joe’s Hofbrau Bock

28: Seabright brewery’s Oatmeal Stout

29: Mission St. Anniversary Ale 2012 (This was described as a Strong Brown Ale.)

30. Our teacher’s friend’s brew: Wee heavy Scottish Ale (this was delish!)


And for good measure, this is a picture of Michael at Love Apple farms petting the fuzziest bunny you’ve ever seen. ‘Til next time, folks!


 Thanks for this awesome sponsored trip, Aunt Deb!!! 

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The blog has moved!

You can now read it at it’s new location:

Thanks for visiting!

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House Project: The Mirrored Window

There is no failing in a journey, right?

This week’s project was part of #43: Having my home or a creation of mine featured on Apartment Therapy. This will ultimately boil down to me doing a ton of home projects. So this week, I started one of those projects. I had recently read about this awesome spray paint that makes windows become mirrors. Seriously? Yes, seriously. It kind of set my mind all crazy-like with ideas. I decided I was going to make an old window into a modern mirrored piece above my fireplace mantle in the bedroom. Below are the steps I took.

Finding a free beat up old vintage window on craigslist was pretty easy. I cleaned it up, which took about two hours and some serious man power.

Making this process as cheap as possible, I decided to use some old grey paint that I already had. The shade was a tiny bit lighter than my dream color, but it would work.  I taped up the cleaned windows, and dove into the painting process.

Finally it dried even though it started to hail on it while it was drying outside. Note to self: check the weather forecast before you start painting something next time.

My Krylon Looking Glass spray can finally arrived in the mail, and I immediately got to turning the old windows into hot trendy mirrors. I figured it would really open up my room and bring in the light from the bay windows.

That’s me thuggin out with my spray paint.

But the sad truth is….two things: 1. This is the first time I have spray painted anything. I had no idea it would clump up like it did…hmmm, maybe clump isn’t the word for it. I imagined it would go on as a super smooth coat, but if you don’t keep your hand moving constantly when you’re spraying, it looks all….lumpy like. Lumpy, clumpy, you get the idea.

But still, five coats later it was….blah.  Super blah.  The ‘mirror’ effect ended up looking more like ‘reflective dirtyness’. I thought the mirrors would update the look of the old window, but instead it just made it look older. A little bit too antique-y.

It would be kind of cool if I had a shabby chic look to my house, but I would say my house is a little more clean and modern than shabby.

Furthermore it was way too big for the space above my mantle. It just didn’t look right.

So after looking at it from every angle, propping and re-propping it, and finally bringing Michael in for a second opinion, I have decided to send it back to the land of craigslist. Someone else might have a house with a style that this is perfect for. Or maybe someone has a better idea of how to refurbish it.

And since I’m blogging about my home projects for the first time, I’ll tell you this is not the first time something like this hasn’t worked out. For example, if I had to count, I think I might have brought four different coffee tables into our house in the last year. Trying things out and sending them back onto craigslist isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a process of trial and error until ultimately the house has evened out into a place full of awesome perfection. This, what I’ll call my “Antique Looking Glass Window Piece,” cost me ten dollars and three hours. I’ll sell it for $20 and be happy that it was time fun spent.

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What Can I Start Now?

Given my obvious recent inspiration, I would like to start in on this list pretty much now. Obviously some things I won’t get to until I’m a real adult and make a real amount of money (I’m looking at you #38 and #39).  But, broke as I am, there are still some things I can start in on now.  They are below:

47. Eat 100 new foods

They don’t have to be fancy foods! And I have to eat even when I’m broke, right?  I think I am going to try to make a habit of buying one thing I’ve never had before every time I go to the grocery store.

46. Take a picture of every single thing I love in SF

My friends and loved ones know I have a penchant for analog film, but 35mm film costs money.  So bring on the digital!  Also, digital will be easier to post on this here blog of mine.

43. Have my home or a creation of mine featured on AT

It is my opinion that it doesn’t take expensive designer furniture to have a sweet house tour on Apartment Therapy.  Most of the best ones just have awesomely refurbished junk and cool colors.  And I can totally do that.  In fact, I’m in the middle of a project right now.

32. Make a list of my top 10 favorite foods in SF

I’m just now realizing this will be an ever-changing top ten since I’ll always be going to new places and other places will inevitably close.  Maybe I’ll start it now as the top ten foods I’ve had in SF.  That means it’s already been paid for! Boo yeah!

23. Read Anna Karinina

I’ve owned it for seven years now.  Sitting on my bookshelf, it’s ready and waiting to be cracked open again despite my difficulty in grasping the ridiculous amount of characters.

So here I go!

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Welcome to my new life journey

Hello World.

When I was a freshman in college I read a quote somewhere that said, “life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself.” Sure it was written in an overly flashy bold black and white font, but it stuck with me for more reasons than that. It stuck with me because with all the talk of finding yourself in college… I was feeling hopeless. Looking and looking for myself. Like some class was going to put a lightbulb over my head and all of a sudden Life would make sense. I would know Why We Are Here, but mostly Why I Am Here.

Yeah. That’s a losing battle. Will anything ever make that much sense? Probably not. The world and our brains are too vast. But you can waste a lot of time looking. So back to the quote. It stuck with me because, well I’ll admit it… It put me in control. And I like that. I don’t have to find myself like it’s lost somewhere and I’m not sure if I’ll ever find it. Nope. I get to MAKE myself. And that is incredibly empowering.

And isn’t who you are kinda what you do?

So it’s been eight years since I’ve read that quote and I’ve done little about it other than think about it. A lot. Recently, I’ve stumbled upon a blogosphere trend of the so-called Life List. So many women are making these lists of 100 things they want to do before they die.  Things that are small (wear red lipstick) and things that are big and scary that you don’t even want to put on paper (write a novel, live abroad, donate a gajillion dollars to charity). Initially, I scoffed. I thought, WOW. Way to set yourself up for disappointment ladies. But then, slowly, it started to seep in. I’d be walking down valencia and see a girl with red pumps on and think “that would be on my life list if I had one.” So after about fifteen of those the-cosmos-is-infiltrating-my-brain incidents, I took the hint.

Life is full. I’ll rephrase that. Life can be full. I want to make mine full. Sometimes we get into a routine, a rut, a life full of habits, and we need reminding of what we’re capable of. I need this. I am a creature of habit and yet I crave more. And finally I realized, all of the things on my list don’t need to be crossed off in order for me to feel accomplished. I won’t feel disappointed in myself when I’m on my death bed because I only got to 94. No way. I’ll be all like, “I did 94 awesome badass things! I’m out!”

So here, I will keep track of my journey through my life list. I’ve only got fourty-something now, and the list might fluctuate throughout my life, but I’ll always be working on it. If you can help me with anything on my list please leave a comment so we can get in touch. I can help you with the following or something like it if it is on your life list~

1. Have a rediculously awesome weekend in SF; 2. Go out in the Castro District; 3. Hike Mt. Tam; 3. See the Pacific Ocean; 4. Make a killer Latte; 5. Eat weird chocolate; 6. Cutely furnish your apartment; 7. Learn how to make really good food of some kind; 8. learn how to use microsoft Publisher (I know….); 9. I always have new music for you!…etc….

So thanks for coming with me on my journey. Looks like I officially get to cross of #21!!

(Note: The List is in the menu above the first post.)

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