Tuesday, June 25, 2013

DIY Bride is a Second Full-time Job!

I'm definitely one of those "why buy it if you can make it" kind of girls, and my wedding has been no exception. I've been crafting like a crazy woman for months, with the help of my bridesmaids and family. It's kind of unbelievable how being a DIY bride can take over your life! Every free evening and weekend seems to be now dedicated to scrubbing the labels off of empty wine bottles, teaching myself how to make fabric flowers, playing travel agent for my friends and family, and on and on. It's a second full-time job!

The most recent DIY hurdle was invitations. All of the invitations I was eying online were going to run between $5-$10 each, and I just couldn't stomach paying someone else to create paper goods that I was fully capable of doing myself. It was a lot more stressful and time consuming than I imagined! Trying to get the fonts just right, then the printer margins for the paper just right, and of course the printer jams every few pieces, then make sure you've got the addresses and number of guests just right, then assembling them in a way that is fun but not too far from traditional wedding etiquette... good grief! Thankfully, my mom and sister were willing to give up their Saturday to help, and we knocked out the entire batch in one day. One very long day.

I can't show you the invitations yet because they just went out yesterday, but here's my first stab at DIY bouts for the groomsmen. I haven't decided what I want them to look like just yet, whether I want them to be entirely burlap and lace, or perhaps a mix of fabric and flowers. My sister, mom and I are all brainstorming and plan to dedicate another Saturday this summer to get these done. Thank goodness for my creative family!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Skydiving in Santa Cruz

Last month I surprised the beau for his birthday with skydiving in Santa Cruz! He had been saying for months that he desperately wanted to do it, and I kept insisting he wait until after the wedding, but I started to feel guilty for being such a downer when I've been twice before. 

The place I jumped in Lodi was only $100 a pop, but that's largely because you're jumping over farmland and they get a higher volume of jumpers. The jump in Santa Cruz ran me nearly $300 for the highest possible altitude and photos. We were disappointed to find that they haven't been allowed to do beach landings in a year, but regardless, the scenery is mind blowing - ocean on one side, forest on the other - and it was a great way to experience a first jump!

The beau had never been to Santa Cruz, so after skydiving we headed to the boardwalk and had beers and burritos at a little taqueria. I'd say he was a very satisfied birthday boy!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Camping in Big Basin

Last weekend the beau and I spent two nights camping at Big Basin with a few friends. The two of us left mid-day Friday and made great time, getting to the campsite in under two hours even with a stop for gas and snacks. We set up our tent, went for a walk and got the fire going, so that when our friends arrived around dusk we could get straight to grilling.

If you follow the directions on the website, which are the same as what most navigation systems will give you from San Francisco to Big Basin, you'll wind up on a one-lane, windy road from the 280 through Saratoga and on up to Big Basin. Don't do that. There are two better options - exit 280 at Woodside and take the 35 down to the 9. This will get you out of some of the windy mess but not entirely. Here's the route we took and thought was the best option - 280 to 85 to 17, the same way you'd go as if you were going all the way into Santa Cruz. Exit Bear Creek Road and go left. Follow that until you reach Boulder Creek, and make a left on the 9 South into town. Drive a couple blocks down and just after Johnnie's Market, you'll turn right on Big Basin Way. That takes you right up to the park. I'd also suggest doing your grocery shopping at Johnnie's Market. We ended up buying our wood there too, which seems pricy at $15 a box (6 pieces to a box) but the roadside stands cost more in the long run because they give you smaller pieces of soft wood that burns more quickly. 

The campgrounds have quarter-operated hot showers; $1.25 for 10 minutes. The bathrooms are clean with flushing toilets and have toilet paper. If you want to set up multiple tents on your site, avoid the sites designated for RVs because they tend to have a small area around the fire pit and picnic table for one tent but the rest of the site will be sloped and have more trees and shrubs. Also avoid a site near the tent cabins, as it tends to be a bit loud (read- lots of kids).

For a good afternoon hike, try Sequoia Trail with a stop at Sempervirens Falls, a small waterfall about half way into the five-mile hike. It's pretty but not too remote, and the trail is wide enough to be comfortable for a casual hike. There is also a 12-mile hike to a bigger waterfall but I haven't done it myself. The front office sells trail maps for $5 each.