Saturday, July 10, 2010

101 in 1001

Hello, world!

So one of my friends has been on my case to start a blog. I went back and forth on the idea, but one day I stumbled across the personal blog of Heather from Go Fug Yourself. She had a list of 101 Things to Do in 1001 Days. I don't think the idea was hers originally, but I'm giving her credit for inspiring this first entry. As I finish items on the list, I'll update you on how it's going and anything else that crosses my mind in the meantime.

So first to explain the name of the blog: "Il faut profiter" is a French expression that has pretty much the same meaning as carpe diem. But it stuck with me because I often heard it used for little things as well. Like, oh it's sunny for the first time in days - il faut profiter, we should go to the park, etc. It's something I try to say to myself often to get me out of a lazy rut. I've been fighting a pretty big bout of laziness lately, which is another point of the list: to make me go out and do things instead of just sitting around.

I set some small guidelines for myself and tried to stick to them as much as possible. Primarily, this isn't a bucket list. It's not a list of everything I want to do in life. 1001 days is just over two and a half years. Specifically, it means I have until April 7, 2013 to complete these things. While I don't think it's certain that I can do all of these things in that time, I at least wanted to make it possible. I'm going to be in grad school until May 2012, and working full time too. So once I had about three or four trips on there, that had to be it. I can't then decide I also want to go to Australia and back to Paris and everything else under the sun I'd like to do in life that would never be financially feasible at this point. I also tried to make the entries quantifiable. These aren't New Year's resolutions. If I write something like "be more patient," how do I know when to check that one off the list? It wouldn't work. I also decided it doesn't count if it's something I absolutely have to do anyway. Pass all of my MTEL exams? Yeah, they won't let me be a teacher in the state of Massachusetts without having done that so that's definitely happening; it's no fun to put that on the list. I also gave time limits to some of them, some I only have to do once, some I have to maintain for a month. I thought it was unreasonable to try to do each of these for the entire 1001 days.

Finally, you'll notice a lot of these follow trends. Once I thought of one trip, I thought of three more, same with food I want to cook, etc. So you'll notice a lot of clusters of like entries.

Enough chattering, here's the list:

1. Start a blog.

Ha, done!

2. Buy natural peanut butter.

I'm trying to be more healthy, and this is one of the things I want to do once I finish my current jar of peanut butter. I'm a die hard Jif fan all the way, and the last time I had natural peanut butter (when I was about 14), it was the worst PB&J I've ever had, and I've refused to buy it ever since. So we'll see.

3. Perfect the new margarita.

Another nod to healthy eating. My current margarita recipe includes a bunch of things that are terrible for you. The new margarita will be all alcohol all the time, no sugar and corn syrup-filled mixes.

4. Go to South America.

This is an idea floating around in my head right now. It's going to depend on a lot of things, namely how much money I have come next summer and whether I think taking two weeks off of work is something I can do. It has to be summer so I don't miss school and it has to be early summer before work gets busy. But I'm coming up on a year in Massachusetts now, which for my life means I should be moving soon. But I can't (see: grad school), so I feel like the only way I won't go nuts is if I take a pretty kickass trip sometime soon. South America works nicely because I've always wanted to go there, it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to get there, the exchange rate should take me far, I can backpack, and there's a great variety of places to see and things to do. Plus I have friends traveling there now so they can help give me tips to plan my trip well.

5. See a Broadway musical.

Daniel Radcliffe's supposedly doing How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying next year, so I'm sure that'll take care of this one.

6. See a Broadway play.

Might as well while I'm there.

7. Buy a digital SLR.

I was going to do this around my birthday this past March, but I was supposed to research it more, my dad was going to talk to his camera people, and it never really came together for me to pick one out.

8. See a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

I've been to Chicago twice, and the Cubs have been away both times. Sad.

9. See a post-season game at Fenway Park.

This one's not entirely contingent on me. It's also contingent on the Sox getting a playoff berth sometime in the next 1001 days and me getting a place in the ticket lottery to purchase them. I was supposed to go see an ALCS game last season (Sox/Yankees even!). Had the tickets, had my sister-in-law flying in to go with me.... had the team that lost to Tampa Bay in the ALDS and blew the whole thing. Jerks.

10. Buy a copy of Mastering the Art of French cooking and make boeuf bourguignon.

Okay I realize this is the clichéd thing to make from that book. But it's a stew comprised mostly of beef, bacon, and red wine. I want it.

11. See a Sox game from the Monster seats.

2012 is the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. I graduate in 2012. Graduation present, anyone??

12. See New York at Christmas.

I've always wanted to do this and every ridiculous touristy thing that goes with it. We were supposed to do it last Christmas, but a big snowstorm hit and I was too chicken to go on the crazy Chinatown bus in a blizzard so it didn't happen.

13. Get my second tattoo.

I know exactly what I want, but I really would like to get it in all white ink and that can either take really nicely on your skin, or really poorly. I need an artist who's willing to really work with me, give me advice, maybe do a small part in white, see how it takes, and if it sucks, can incorporate it into the finished tattoo without losing the overall quality. It's just a lot of effort I haven't been able to work up yet.

14. Find a French class or actively work with Rosetta Stone or the Foreign Service Officer program.

Because I studied it for years and even studied and lived in France for a year. I opened a bank account, rented an apartment, dealt with lost metro passes and missed trains, and now I have to think forever to form the simplest sentence, I can't remember genders or conjugations as well as I used to, etc. I live in fear of my French students finding out I speak French and cornering me and trying to talk to me and then laughing at me behind my back. This can't happen.

15. Do a marathon of all three Lord of the Rings movies.

One of those things I keep saying would be fun to do and then make no effort to actually do it.

16. Go with Daley to Austin and New Orleans.

We're supposedly going to Houston for Christmas, with a detour to New Orleans and hopefully a day in Austin. Daley's been to none of these places. I just really want to find a way to make both New Orleans and Austin happen, but who knows how much time we'll really have.

17. See if I can get credit for all my Korea Air flights.

I flew a lot of airlines while I lived in Asia that it turns out are partners with Continental Airlines, and I could have gotten frequent flier miles for all of them. This really annoyed me because I want free plane tickets, so I wrote them and they said to just send in ticket stubs to get credit. But that was forever ago, most of my stuff was e-tickets through the Korean travel agent, or stuffed in a "scrapbook this" box so I've made absolutely no headway on it, and now it might be too late. But I really should at least try. I kind of hate Continental now, but I've been accumulating these miles since I was 5, so I would really like to get a great free trip somewhere. And I'll take free even on a crummy airline.

18. For one month, get all homework done on weekends so on my breaks between work and class I can go outside and do something.

On days where I have class I work until 1 and then have class at 3:30 or 4. I usually have a million reasons why I do nothing during that break: I have homework to do, my backpack's too heavy to lug around somewhere, it's too hot out, I want to watch Criminal Minds, it's too cold out, etc. No more! For a month at least!

19. Find good Moroccan, Greek, Indian, French, and tapas places in Boston.

Boston has Restaurant Week twice a year so there's really no excuse not to get this one done.

20. Go to Ray's fish restaurant.

Another one that's contingent on people other than me. Namely, Ray needs to open this freaking seafood restaurant to go with his amazing steak place and burger place in D.C. I also like any excuse to go visit my brother and sister-in-law.

21. Take another nap in the Common/Public Garden.

When Daley was still living in L.A. he went to Rhode Island for a weekend to visit a friend, but he flew into Boston. He was exhausted from flying, I was exhausted from life, and so we took a nap in the middle of the Common on a sunny September day. Best nap ever.

22. Go back to Newport for a day.

My friend was married in Newport last September and I had hoped to spend the day just wandering around before the ceremony, but rain put the kibosh on that plan. Still, it was a lovely city and I'd really like to see it on a nice day.

23. See a Patriots game.

I've seen the Sox and the Bruins, but I should make it out to Gillette sometime I feel.

24. See a Celtics game.

Same. Why not? There are cheap Groupons for this sometimes.

25. Go to an 'SC football game.

Not living in L.A. means no easy access to Trojan games, and I miss them. Preferably I'd go to a bowl game, but that one would have to happen waaaay at the end of the 1001 days since we're banned for two years. Womp womp.

26. Go to the Harry Potter park .

How did I already get to 26 without this one?! I want to go yesterday!

27. Go back to Disney World.

I haven't been since I was 14, and I can drink at Epcot now!

28. Go on a cruise.

Daley and his family have been on a ton of cruises so he is a 'frequent cruiser,' which means he and, by extension, I get cheaper cruises. He loves them and I like food that feels free and tropical destinations. Win win!

29. Go to Sox spring training.

These last four could really be summed up a "go to Florida for a really long time." But spring training hits just near both of our birthdays and my spring break, so it would be fairly easy to work out and a good time to treat ourselves.

30. Wear my hair down every day for a week.

Only a week because this is going to suck enough as it is. I don't have time for this.

31. Re-read all of the Ender and Bean books.

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game and all of the following books that follow Ender and Bean are fantastic, and I really want to read them again. Might as well now.

32. Get a massage and facial all in one day.

I've gotten these before, multiple times, but never together. I think it would feel ultimately decadent to do it. Much like Shelby in Steel Magnolias, I would like a full day of beauty.

33. Send Christmas cards one Christmas.

I always mean to and never do, but I LOVE getting them. I should do my part to spread the love.

34. Volunteer for a political campaign.

I would especially like to do this during the 2012 campaign. Daley and I considered doing it during 2008, but the nearest state to us that would have been right for the kind of campaigning we wanted to do was Arizona, and well, McCain's from Arizona so there really wasn't much point in trying to convince them to vote Obama. Come 2012 we'll be in a blue state surrounded by blue states, so I'm not really sure what we can do, but we'll find a way. I suck at cold calling so I'd like to do more of the 'volunteering at rallies' kind of volunteering.

35. Send care packages to Heather and Zach.

This sort of breaks the rule in terms of not being specific or quantifiable. But I don't know how much it costs yet to send packages to Russia or how often I'll be able to do it. But I'll check it off once I feel like I've hit a good number. Then I'm going to send more because getting mail is fun. And because maybe if they're good ones then Heather will find the Russian equivalent of Artbox and send me awesome stationery.

36. Put effort into one Halloween.

I live in Salem for crying out loud. I need to think of better costumes.

37. Go to happy hour at least once a week for a month.

I've tried many times to establish a happy hour routine and stuff always gets in the way. Not this time!

38. Have champagne brunch every Sunday for a month.

Same here!

39. Finish scrapbooks.

This one's going to be a doozy. These scrapbooks go back to studying abroad in Paris in 2004 (my god, six years!). I saved everything, and I hardly know what any of it is anymore, which is the danger in waiting forever to do a scrapbook. I also need to finish the St-Malo photo albums (October 2005 - April 2006) and putting something together for Korea (June 2007 - July 2008). Plus the Paris and St-Malo stuff at least is all in boxes in my parents' house in Houston. So this one's gonna be tough.

40. Exercise 3 times a week for one month.

This might sound pretty de riguer for most of you and probably clues you in to just how lazy I am. Really it's not so much that I won't exercise, but that I pretty much don't do anything with any measurable regularity. I just do it when I remember or think of it or have the energy. Which usually doesn't work out to any regular schedule. So for one month at least, I'm going to try to have a schedule.

41. Go bungee jumping.

I'll be honest, I have no insatiable need to bungee jump. But I also don't hate the idea. I won't be sad if this doesn't get done, but if the opportunity arises, I'll jump at it. Heh. I would prefer it to be somewhere scenic though. I went skydiving in nowhere, Texas, paragliding in the Swiss Alps, and parasailing in the Philippines. Guess which one wasn't pretty to look at? It didn't take away from the experience by any means, but it certainly would have added to it.

42. See a Billy Joel concert.

This one is just a tease. Again, it's contingent on Billy to tour anywhere near me in the next 1001 days. And seeing as how he went to Vegas when I was in Korea and Korea when I was in Los Angeles, I don't think he wants me to see him. But I want to see him. So. Badly.

43. Send prompt thank you notes for all Christmas and birthday presents in one calendar year.

Because I should stop reflecting poorly on my mama.

44. For one month, buy nothing but nice wine.

I come from a wine drinking family. I drink wine everyday (enjoying a nice Malbec as we speak). But because I drink it everyday and because (it's a common refrain, sing if you know the words) I work and go to grad school, I have no money. I buy what I can, try to keep it above two buck chuck levels, but it's certainly not nice, though I'm leaving the definition of nice a bit up to interpretation. It doesn't have to be $30 a bottle. I'd like to do some research, ensure it has flavors I tend to enjoy, a recommendation from friends, maybe find some bottles I used to love when I worked at a wine bar and would treat myself. I'm going to enjoy the hell out of this month.

45. Compile a liquor cabinet.

I have a bottle of wine and half a bottle of tequila in our house right now; that's it. I'd like to institute a cocktail hour in the vein of my sister-in-law and her family, but I need a better selection. This is also something I'm surprised I haven't done earlier. Laying out the money for this yields big dividends for me because it takes me forever to finish. I had a bottle of sweet tea vodka for five months once.

46. Go on a double date.

This has nothing to do with preferring to hang out with couples, but more to do with us getting to the age where a lot of our friends have serious significant others/spouses that we don't know very well and I'd like to get to know them better.

47. Learn how to cook a perfect medium to medium-rare steak.

Really I should just buy a meat thermometer because then I don't have to cut into it or learn the hand test. I've tried to learn the hand test. My hand doesn't feel like meat.

48. Back up both computers.

I live in constant fear of my computers crashing and taking all of my photos and music with them.

49. Visit Canada.

Because I have friends there, I wanted to go when I was driving out from L.A. to Boston, and because it's right there! There's no excuse.

50. Go sledding.

I built my first snowman last winter, but I still haven't checked this one off.

51. Go to Nantucket.

I've been to the Cape and Martha's Vineyard multiple times, but never Nantucket.

52. Learn how to make one vegan soup.

I've had some great vegan soups with broths so rich you'd swear they were chicken. I just need to learn how to make one.

53. Make my own infused vodka.

This will probably be blackberry or a limoncello of some sort. I also want cute infusion jars.

54. Make my own vanilla extract.

This goes hand-in-hand with 53 actually because you have to soak vanilla beans in vodka. But the fun part is you seal it up tight and store it in a basement or attic for two months and shake it periodically. For some reason, I'm obsessed with the idea of ferreting a bottle away in the attic and then furtively tending to it in the dark like it's a secret and I am its Gollum.

55. Plant an herb garden.

Inspired by my list before I even published it, I bought a basil plant today! He smells delicious and will hopefully not die in the Boston heat.

56. Get bread pudding at Commander's Palace.

I love bread pudding. I love nice restaurants in New Orleans. I love spending money on bread pudding and nice restaurants in New Orleans.

57. Do the Freedom Trail.

I am a nerd for Revolutionary War history, and I've done certain spots on the Freedom Trail already, but I've never formally followed the trail, gone on the tour, etc., and I'd like to.

58. Attend a Boston Massacre reenactment.

They do this every year on the anniversary of the Massacre, and I'd love to see it.

59. Rewatch Battlestar Galactica.

Because it's awesome and now that I know the end I'd like to watch it all over again with the endgame in mind.

60. Learn how to whistle.

I swear it can't be done.

61. Try a KFC Double Down.

Trying to be healthier only works if you get to cheat sometimes.

62. Try a Friendly's burger melt thing.

Or two times.

63. Make S'mores with Reese's cups instead of Hershey's chocolate.

Or three times. Come on, how good does this sound?! My friend did it once and I see it in my dreams.

64. Make a cheese soufflé.

I love cheese soufflés and I want to learn how to make my own so I can eat them whenever I want.

65. Make a mince pie. Or better, many mini mince pies.

Mince pies and mulled wine are my favorite Christmas treats, but i usually just buy a box of Walker's and am done with it. I want my own. Definitely minis because much like I like any food that comes in pockets (pasties!), I also like mini versions of things I can carry around.

66. Go to Maine.

Eh why not? It's there.

67. Watch all the classic DVDs I bought in Korea.

So many bootlegs of AFI 100 movies, so little time.

68. Subscribe to a magazine and read each issue in a timely manner.

At my old office in L.A., we used to get Newsweek delivered though no one knew why, and I had fun reading it so I decided to subscribe. Once they started coming to my house, I never read a single one. I like getting magazines, I just need to figure out which one will have the highest likelihood of me keeping up with it.

69. Go to four different Boston/Salem museums that aren’t for class.

I've been meaning to go to several Boston museums for a while now, but I tend to use living in Salem as an excuse for not having done a lot of things in the city I want to do, even though it's a weak excuse. There's no real reason not to have already done this.

70. Go camping.

I used to do this a ton with my family as a kid and I loved every second of it. I went once in L.A., to Joshua Tree, and had a blast again. This needs to happen soon.

71. See a meteor shower.

California deserts were great. I will find a place where this can happen in New England.

72. Go to a vineyard and do a wine tasting.

As I said I love wine. I've done this before, but it was a looong time ago, and I'd like to find some cute little New England wineries (there are some!) and see what they have to offer.

73. Fly a kite.

Something else I loved as a kid and haven't done.

74. Have a picnic.

Danielle gave me a cute little picnic set and I still haven't gotten to use it!

75. Find really good salted butter.

When my friend and I lived in northern France we used to buy the best butter with big chunks of sea salt in it. Now every block of salted butter I buy here has no visible/tastable salt. It's full of lies, and I do not accept it.

76. Eat more vegetables that aren’t covered in cheese or mixed into a dish that is mostly cheese.

Sigh, yeah, I'm that person.

77. Go to a BC game of some sort.

This one's kind of a cheat. Daley's whole family went to BC, he grew up going to games, and he really wants to take me, so I kind of know this is going to happen. However, since he wore BC stuff to the 'SC game I took him to, I'm totally doing the same to him. Fight on!

78. Take a spontaneous, last minute trip somewhere.

Damn straight.

79. See the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

Again, Revolutionary War nerd.

80. Eat pulled pork and fried clams in Newburyport (not together).

I have friends who live there, and I really want to see it. Plus I love fried clams and the pulled pork sandwich at my friend's restaurant is supposed to be the best I'll ever have so it's for science.

81. Have Crumbs cupcakes again. They will be mine. Oh yes, they will be mine.

I'm either going to have to get these shipped or go to CT or NY.

82. Go to Hell Night at East Coast Grill.

I want to see if I can make my tongue bleed.

83. Go to a PostSecret Event.

I'm afraid karma's punishing me on this one because there was an event at 'SC while I was still living in L.A., but no one wanted to go with me and I didn't want to drive into downtown and go see the show all by myself so I skipped it. Since then, there hasn't been one anywhere near me.

84. Eat lunch at the café at the Boston Public Library.

Every time I walk by, it smells so good and the courtyard is so beautiful.

85. Have a crawfish boil. If I get effed over on this one, it’s BP’s fault.


86. Take my phone to the Verizon store.

This is a boring housekeeping one, but since I've needed to do this for a while and haven't gotten around to it, let's see if I can manage it in the next 1001 days.

87. Figure out how to remove PDFs from phone.

There seems to be no delete button and one of these PDFs is a massive, 150 page Batman thing my brother sent me and others are menus for L.A. restaurants that I don't need anymore. Gotta clean up.

88. Read the rest of the Hitchhiker books.

I've only read the first one and would like to finish.

89. Read at least two of the biographies sitting on my bookshelf that I’ve never read.

I have several great biographies sitting around and books of letters written by famous couples to each other and other things I'm excited to dig into, but haven't.

90. Paint a wall somewhere.

This requires me to either move somewhere where I can paint or for one of my friends to move somewhere they can paint and invite me to help. So let's work together on that one, shall we?

91. Find slam poetry in Boston.

I went to this from time to time way back when I was in college and I always loved it so much. I want to find a good group here to go see regularly.

92. Make my own sorbet.

This started when I was watching the Magic Bullet infomercial the other day and they made sorbet using just frozen fruit, ice, and juice. I really want to do it now because I love sorbet, have tried buying a few different brands, and they're all full of sugar and high fructose corn syrup and taste gross. I want mine tart and to taste like fruit, damn it.

93. Perfect Italian gnocchi.

I tried to make this once and the proportions were so off. It was supposed to be pesto gnocchi, but as soon as it was in the bowl, the dumplings fell apart and it was basically garlic-basil mashed potatoes. Bless my friend for eating it anyway. I have a feeling this might involve me buying a ricer, which I don't really want to do, but we'll see.

94. Go paintballing.

Because there aren't enough welts on my body?

95. Find a good farmers market.


96. Find a toy that Nemo can’t start destroying in a week.

No matter what it is, he chews it up or disembowels it. I just put him a tough little toy. It has a tennis ball head, a tennis ball body, and very stiff rope appendages. He's had it for a week, and the fuzz on the tennis ball body has already been ripped to shreds.

97. Try escargot.

This is one of the few foods that Daley has tried that I haven't, which needs to be fixed just on principle. Also, he loved it which is shocking because he doesn't like a lot of things. I have nothing against escargot, I was just told it's crucial to go to a place that has a reputation for making great, fresh escargot. Well, when I lived in France, I had no one to turn to for such a recommendation and I was also a broke student with no money so it just didn't happen.

98. Watch every James Bond movie with themed cocktails to match.

I saw my first James Bond movie the other day, Casino Royale, and to go with it my brother made the vesper cocktails Bond creates in the movie. I think this should become a thing.

99. Build or refinish a piece of furniture.

Way more fun then buying everything already done and not perfectly in my tastes. I like projects.

100. Go in the Atlantic Ocean.

I've been to the beach just never in the water. It looks cold.

101. Go to a fair or carnival.

I want fair food!


  1. There were at least ten of these I wanted to comment on, but the only thing I can think of right now is: it took you MONTHS to drink a bottle of sweet tea vodka?! The first bottle I bought of it last summer was 3/4 gone in a few hours. (Um...what does this say about me? Don't answer that).

    I totally support this idea! I think it's great and encouraging and I kinda want to steal it! Maybe once I'm out of RI I'll have more motivation. I'm totally going to add this to my follow list so I can keep up with your progress.

    Oh! And you should definitely go see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Philly is great! It's currently my favorite city in the northeast.

  2. Oh man so many of these are on my list, too. I am checking off one today in the Crumbs cupcakes category.

    I am very proud of you for starting this blog but even more so for jumping in with both feet as you have. All of those items, for me, would have been broken up into shorter, ten items per, postings to make it look like I write more than I really do. So I'm very impressed that you were able to sit down and work on it all at once. You set the bar very high; now keep it up!

  3. Jaime - I know, it's nuts, but as soon as things are in the freezer they become out of sight, out of mind. What's your blog; I want to follow it!

    Danielle - Thanks! I had to come up with the list over several days and I considered doing it that way, but then I wanted it to be all one entry. I don't know if I can make them each this long though - no one would want to read it!

  4. PS: I would have totally come with you to that PostSecret event! And if you do come back to LA, for an SC game or Billy Joel concert or Crumbs, you can paint a wall in my apartment. I really want to do my bedroom and the wall behind my couch but I'm lazy. And do not like manual labor.

    I like how many of yours are food related. :D

  5. Haha that would knock out many items in one trip. And of course many of them are food related :)

  6. I especially love number 35. Awesome! I am so on a mission to find the Russian artbox! I love your list. I did something like it, though not as grand, when I did the Artist´s Way. Excellent stuff!