20 New Things to Do This Year

This list of 20 New Things to Do This Year will hopefully give you some ideas to bring a bit of health and happiness to your 2020 and beyond.

Hello, 2020! This is not just a new year but also a new decade. What better time than now to add a few things to your life instead of the typcial resolutions to remove things! Such a positive way to look at your goals, isn’t it? This list of 20 New Things to Do This Year will hopefully give you some ideas to bring a bit of health and happiness to your 2020 and beyond.

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New Things to Do This Year

New Things to do This Year

1 – Take an art class.

In 2019, I rediscovered my love for crafting (of course after I basically got rid of all my supplies at a yard sale). But with art classes popping up all over there is definitely something in your area to attend, not need a ton of supplies and a place to store them, and you don’t have to come up with the idea. Canvas painting parties are big (I happened to have one for my thirtieth birthday, a few years ahead of trend). Pinterest isn’t going anywhere but up. And new concepts like “board and brush”, planting parties, and more are all over your Facebook feed. Give one of them a try!

2 – Travel somewhere you’ve never been.

Google Maps just emailed me my annual summary of my travel and I went to 22 new cities last year. Among those were Raleigh, Nashville, and Waikoloa Village. But when I look at my 2020 calendar, the only place I am scheduled to go is my go-to Myrtle Beach. There are so many more places to discover and I’m thinking Minneapolis just might need to be added this year.

3 – Sit by a campfire.

There is something soothing about sitting outside on a cool evening with friends and family around a campfire. I grew up camping and would spend hours around a fire telling stories, starting silently at the stars, and just enjoying life.

S’mores shown are optional but oh so good for a treat! The s’mores makers are a great gift for the campers in your life!

4 – Enjoy Nature

Similar to sitting around a campfire, just being in nature has a great calming effect. Even though I seem to attract all the mosquitoes, I won’t deny the fact that a sunny afternoon in the forest is actually pretty relaxing. Better yet if you combine 2 + 3 + 4 and enjoy a day in nature somewhere you’ve never been then end the night by a campfire.

5 – Check out a live production

Where I was emotionally in September might have had something to do with it, but when Greg and I got to attend The Lion King in Pittsburgh last fall, I was all the tears. The production was that good and is something I want to be sure all of my kids get to experience some day. Any live production will do – if you’re in Pittsburgh, Cultural Trust always has amazing offerings that will pull you away from your cell phones and into real life through a play, musical, or comedy act.

6 – Tour Your Hometown Like a Tourist

There are so many things to do in my hometown of Pittsburgh that I always feel like I am taking it in like a tourist. Last May, we actually stayed downtown for a weekend. I ubered places, we took the T. We slowed down and enjoyed the architecture around us and tried a few new places to eat. It was really enjoyable to appreciate what the city had to offer even though I was working right in the heart of it every day.

7 – Play in a Sprinkler

Yes, you. Adult you. There is something fun about running through a sprinkler and remembering the carefree childhood that really wasn’t all that long ago. Bonus points if your love or bestie join you.

8 – Start the Day with Gratitude

When you start the day with even three things you are grateful for, it makes the tough moments just a little easier. There are plenty of gratitude journals set up and ready for your thoughts, but any notebook would do.

I find that I am more apt to journal if I have some fun pens to do it with! These are my favorites because you can erase and start over if you don’t like the way you wrote something!

9 – Have a “no spend” day or weekend or month

My blogging pal Skye recently took on a “no spend month” and had some positive impacts to her family’s financial life. I wish I could have that patience and determination, but with four kids and work that sometimes needs me to travel and all the other excuses, I just just haven’t tried it. Maybe a day or a weekend could help just by cutting back for a few days.

10 – Make an Emergency Kit

My aunt and uncle gift a car emergency kit like the one shown here for weddings and let me tell you it is something you’ll wish you had when you didn’t. It is super simple to grab at a big-box store or on Amazon, but you can also add to it with things like heated blankets, snacks, and a gallon of water. Throw it all in a large utility tote and tuck it away in your trunk. You never know!

11 – Turn Your Phone Off for a Day

Do I need to say more?

12 – Volunteer for a NEW Charity

I get in the “mode” where I just keep giving my time and talents to the same places and then it starts to feel like work. If you don’t volunteer already, find a place to serve. If you do volunteer, find a new one to give your time to. Your eyes will be opened to new challenges, you’ll meet new people, and you’ll step away from your comfort zone. These are good things!

13 – Go Bowling

It’s probably been awhile, but there are still some really amazing bowling alleys around. Pittsburgh, we’ve got Zone28 which is the top of my list! \

14 – Cook Dinner for a Friend

Ok, so this was a dinner I bought at Party Fowl in Nashville, but it is dinner nonetheless!

When I was recovering from surgery, two friends made sure that we had dinner. Another time, I was alone on a holiday and a friend ran a plate over from her family gathering. Each of these times were super special and meant a lot. It was great to taste another cook’s creations and to get a little spoiled. But your friend doesn’t have to be going through something for you to do something nice. Just a random “hey, I’ve got your dinner tonight” will definitely make their day.

15 – Buy a Plant or Bring Fresh Flowers Inside

Don’t they just brighten your mood?

16 – Try a New Workout

If you’re new to working out, anything new is going to be easy. If you’re already on a path of wellness, then try something new. When I started crossfit in 2016, I was scared scared scared. But it turned out I really liked it! I’ve also given spinning and yoga a try, both are on my list to get certified to teach when I’m back to my healthy-selfie.

17 – Play a Board Game

Again, I’m sure you’ve played a board game before, but try a new one. I have a few that we got for Christmas that need to be played. We’re even thinking about having some game nights because we miss nights spent as kids playing Phase 10 a whole bunch (no sarcasm)!

18 – Have Ice Cream for Dinner

Even if you’re like me and have an eating plan, you probably have some space or alternative to ice cream. Have it for dinner…or even breakfast!

19 – Go Somewhere Dressed Up

Even if it’s to a local coffeeshop or fast food place. Mama just recently got herself some heels that aren’t being worn sitting around working from home, so you best believe I’m going to just get dressed up fancy one day and go out wearing them!

20 – Start a new gig

Maybe completely starting a new job is out of the question (it would be for me unless I got news like I did in 2018), but consider starting something new on the side that will bring you joy and a little extra money this year. Blogging is obviously a suggestion from me, but I also can’t tell you enough good about having a Thirty-One business. Greg has done Uber and most recently will be giving Instacart a try. There are so many things you can do that bring in a little extra that you’re probably already doing.

What Will YOU Do This Year?

So now that you’ve read through my list of new things to do this year, which ones will make your list? What would you add to it? What goals do you have for 2020 that these support?

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2020 Word of the Year: Strength

This year, my word of the year is going to be STRENGTH. Did you hear about the year I had in 2019? It is time to get spiritually, physically, and mentally strong. I thirst for it, and God has it for me. I’m open and ready for what He has in store for this year!

My 2020 Word of the Year

Strength. I’ve used this word for a few years now in my Instagram posts – #strongnotskinny especially. I want to be have strength in so many ways though, not just when it comes to the endurance of my running (cause that’s making a comeback), but in who I am as a whole. And when I don’t hit those running goals or have setbacks like in 2019, I want to remember who is my strength, God.

Through your story
Is My fingerprint
In the valley, there is confidence
In the shadow,
I will be your strength
One things for sure,
I am your Lord

Good and Loved – by Travis Greene (ft. Steffany Gretzinger)

2020 Strength Goals

So here is what Strength as a word of the year is going to look like for me:

  1. Be strong, happy + healthy. I know that not working out and eating junk leads me down a bad path. Showing up for myself in my workout plans and sticking to eating plans that work for my body will allow me to give back to my kids and husband in ways they deserve.
  2. Stop comparing. I didn’t really think I did this, but I recently put a 30-minute time limit to my Facebook use and I’d find I was hitting it pretty early in the day. I was too busy scrolling and comparing my life to others’ lives to enjoy my own. Right now I run a 16-minute mile. WHO CARES. If I am busy scrolling Facebook for thirty minutes and seeing what other people are running today, that’s time I could’ve been out at the trail running two miles. Humph.
  3. Be comfortable financially. I want to dream big and pay off our debt, get a Suburban and put in a new bathroom, but those are all things that can take time. I want to not be so driven by money that I can’t enjoy the amazing things we already have. Financially strong.
  4. Get over my fears. Okay, not every single fear like my fear of spiders and snakes but the fears that keep me awake at night. I’m going to surrender them to God and let him take care of them.
  5. Say NO more often. I am a YES person and I need to be brave about saying no to the things that I don’t really want me (or my family) to do.
  6. Love my body regardless of a number. I stopped weighing myself. The last time I did was my post-op appointment in August and I could care less what I weigh. I want to look at this body and see it as strong. It’s birthed four amazing kiddos, ran five half marathons, and is something worth loving.
  7. Make my brain stronger. Getting three new certs in 2019 was great for work, and I’d like to get two more in 2020. I’d also like to read a book a month (thanks, Alexa for that challenge) and learn some new things.
  8. Be in the Word. I have been a daily Bible reader for a few years now, but I want to really be in it. The past six months have been such a spiritual battle, I know there is more for me if I am just open to what God has planned but I can’t get there if I don’t listen to what He has to say.

So that’s what I have set out as my STRENGTH for 2020. What have you set as your word this year?

DIY Craft | Let’s Get Cozy

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.** It’s official. I am back in a mood to craft! This is a really good sign, considering how the last few months have been for me. Last weekend I did some crafting with my best friend and her family/friends and was inspired by a big box print that said “Let’s Get Cozy”, but I didn’t want to spend the $$ on it and decided to make one of my own from DOLLAR TREE items!

Let’s Get Cozy

Isn’t it just adorable? Bonus, it is THREE DIMENSIONAL! Here’s what you’ll need to grab from your local Dollar Tree (or use their free ship to store option) to make your own version.

The Supplies

  • 2 6×6 photo frames
  • 1 pack of Christmas trees
  • 1 wooden pain project – I love this little car, so on the “red truck” theme!
  • 1 roll of wrapping paper (you’ll have a TON left)
  • Modge Podge (YES, they sell mini bottles!)

I did use some craft supplies I had on hand that I don’t think you can get at Dollar Tree, so you might want to check out the best places to get them (though mine is Amazon if it isn’t at DT!):

The Steps

  1. Cut the wrapping paper to the size of the glass in your frames.
  2. Adhere wrapping paper to the glass using modge podge.
  3. While you’re waiting for that to dry, paint your wooden craft.
  4. When the paint dries, hot glue or E-6000 to adhere the tree to the top of the wooden craft and then adhere craft to one frame and tree to the other (you might need to do some squishing of the trees’ backs).
  5. Paint “Let’s Get Cozy” or another themed phrase on the other frame.

Are you inspired by this craft? Go ahead down the rabbit hole that I found last weekend and ask to join the Facebook Group “Dollar Tree DIY Projects” and share your favorite crafting from DT!

What I’m Reading: October 2

Disclaimer: I received a copy of one of the books in this post from HarperCollins Leadership. All other books shown here were bought or gifted by me. When you shop through links on this page, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you – thank you for shopping things I heart!

What I’m Reading: October 2

Maybe you found this “What I’m Reading” post on Instagram today – welcome to my blog! This will be a little repeat of what you read over on my profile, but this version includes links to add the books shown to your own library. Enjoy!

What I’m Reading…If you know me, you know I like words and that I have a goal to publish a book. But you also know I have A L O T on my plate, so inspiro thru reading is not easy to put into my day. I currently have all of these books in progress:

  1. The Bible – I LOVE this journaling Bible (currently only in LARGE PRINT on Amazon)
  2. If It Makes You Happy” – Claire Kann – This was my #bookishintheburgh Blind Date with a Book so I’m diving into it. Trying to keep up with what the kids will be reading!
  3. It Wasn’t Supposed to be This Way” – Lysa TerKeurst – She and I just might be connected, just sayin’ (have you read my post about finding therapists?!?) AND BY THE WAY — who would be interested in doing a STUDY of this with me?
  4. Praying Circles Around Your Marriage” @prayingmarriage (because see 3)
  5. Dare to Lead” – Brene Brown – yes.
  6. Stories That Stick” – Kindra Hall is AMAZING yinz. I’ve met her and am so inspired. She’s changing how I’m using my words here, on the blog, in work, and with the family.

So share! What are YOU reading this week?

Disney’s THE LION KING: PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh

Disclaimer: In exchange for sharing details about theupcoming Disney’s THE LION KING Performance coming to Pittsburgh through Disney Theatrical Productions and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, I received tickets to attend and review the show. All opinions are 100% my own.

“It means no worries…” – a song I so needed to hear on Thursday night. The past few months have not been normal and to be honest, taking time out of a busy week to go to a show was a little crippling for me. But hearing that song during Disney’s THE LION KING musical in Pittsburgh was absolute perfect timing.

Disney’s THE LION KING: PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh

For all the details on how you can attend a performance of Disney’s THE LION KING, head over to my Pittsburgh family-focused blog, ‘lil Burghers

Let me just throw this out here right away.

Every single detail covered – even the STEPS to the stage!

When the cast opened the evening with “Circle of Life”, I cried. Like big drippy tears. Yinz, it took until the last season of “The Parenthood” and “The Office” and “How I Met Your Mother” to cry. Although I do bawl every single episode of “This is Us”. But I cried big ugly tears in my symphony level seat at Benedum Center listening to “Circle of Life”. There, I said it!

But for real, who wouldn’t? This opening number was pure magic. The sounds, the lighting, the costumes. I really can’t explain it other than I felt right there at Pride Rock and was on the edge of my seat for the rest of the night hoping I’d again get to feel the whisk of the elephant costume brushing past us or see the puppeter who brought Zazu into the theater or feel the breath of the singers (yes, four seats in I could feel their powerful voices on me). And I cried.

If you were alive in the 90s, you know the story so I’m not going into details on it, but what you do need to know is that if you know the story, the songs are in your heart and will be so loud in your head – try not to find yourself singing along if you don’t want the others in your row to hear you singing. No shame here, I definitely sang “Hakuna Matata” and even “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” along with the cast. But what you will find is that you lean in close to hear the voices of Mufasa, Scar, Nala, and Simba as they have solos that are not part of my memory of the movie I loved as a child. This is part of the magic – I promise! 

Greg went with me and experienced his first Broadway show. He also had all the feels about the cast, dynamics, and orchestra. It was really a wonderful production and the perfect way to have a date night with my husband (though I’d totally go back with the older kids – the show is recommended for ages 8 and up).

Thank you for bringing this beloved tale to Pittsburgh, Cultural Trust!

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As the world’s #1 musical, Disney’s THE LION KING comes to Pittsburgh as a presentation by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Broadway Across America as part of the 2019-2020 PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh Series. The production will be at the Benedum Center from September 4-29, 2019. For tickets and more information, visit TrustArts.org.

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About THE LION KING

After 21 landmark years on Broadway, The Lion King continues ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world.  Since its premiere on November 13, 1997, 25 global productions have been seen by more than 100 million people.  Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), The Lion King has made theatrical history with six productions worldwide running 15 or more years.  Performed in nine different languages (English, Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese), productions of The Lion King can currently be seen on Broadway; London’s West End; Hamburg; Tokyo; Madrid; Scheveningen, Holland; on tour across Japan and North America, with a separate production touring internationally, for a total of nine productions running concurrently across the globe.

Having played over 100 cities in 20 countries on every continent except Antarctica, The Lion King’s worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.

The Lion King won six 1998 Tony Awards®:  Best Musical, Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan) and Best Direction of a Musical.  The Lion King has also earned more than 70 major arts awards including the 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.

Source: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Friday Favorites: March 22

This post contains affiliate links. My Friday Favorites series is designed to share things that I love and in return when you shop through my links I might earn back a small commission as a thank you for promoting the items or services. All opinions are 100% my own.

Friday Favorites: March 22

Balega Socks – Now that I am finally back into my running groove, I’m realizing how much wear and tear I’ve put on my favorite Balega running socks since getting my first pair last year. I have a love for these socks not just because they have South African roots (like my previous company) but they are so soft and make my feet feel amazing when I run. I’d show you my pairs but you have to trust me – they are dirty and worn and time to be replaced!

Whole30 Snacks– I’m back at my Whole30 journey, stripping my addiction to dairy out before I cycle back to Keto again. This means that I get to start bringing back some of my favorites like coconut Larabars and almond butter (not together, of course). Check out my mistakes from my first round if you’re considering this lifestyle.

21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – For the past three months, I’ve had the pleasure of learning about John C. Maxwell’s Laws of Leadership at my local church. We have four more laws to cover next week, but I’ve already connected with the 17 we’ve gone through so far. The concepts are simple, yet powerful. Haven’t read this book yet? Grab your own copy on Amazon here.

Norwex– One of my friends had an in-home Norwex party this week and while I wasn’t able to attend, I shopped online (you can still shop her party here today if you’d like to help her meet her goals!). I’d bought a few things in the past – an optic rag and a kid’s dusting mitt (which Evan LOVES), but still haven’t been to a party. But my pal was amazed by the window cloth and because we’re going to be getting new windows soon (YUP!), I decided I needed to try it out myself. Motivated, I snuck Evan’s dusting mitt and cleaned up my printer yesterday. I think I’ll be hooked!

A Personal Shout-Out – On a professional level, I achieved something pretty awesome this week and it has to make one of my favorites for the week! On Wednesday, I earned my Salesforce Advanced Administrator certification and was over the moon. It propelled me to get a 2.2-mile RUN/walk in and had me smiling super cheesy. Give me a moment to shine?! 😉

Thanks for checking out this week’s favorites! If you would like to be featured in an upcoming round-up, please check out the “work with me” page found here.

Friday Favorites: March 8

This post contains affiliate links. My Friday Favorites series is designed to share things that I love and in return when you shop through my links I might earn back a small commission as a thank you for promoting the items or services. All opinions are 100% my own.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared with you some of my favorite things and I’m excited to get back into this routine. I’ve been busy testing some cool products (especially running gear and faith-related items) and checked out a few cool local things, too! Time to share the things I love with all of you. <3

Friday Favorites: March 8

Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show – This one is an act fast favorite, so if you need to run off and take advantage of it and then come back to this site when you’re home, fine! The Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show is at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center through Sunday, March 10. Hours are 10-10 today and tomorrow and 10-6 on Sunday. All the details can be found here and you can see our friends from Rent the Chicken doing chicken races (a favorite!).

First time holding a chicken!

Girl, Stop Apologizing – Rachel Hollis has done it again and captivated us with another book that cuts right to how to stop being apologetic and start achieving our goals (now that we’ve washed our faces). You can get this one on Amazon (here) as I did or listen to it on Audible. Either way, be prepared to take notes and put things into action.

Behave-Aid from Kiss Your Cravings Goodbye – This lip moisturizer helps reduce the junk food cravings. I have been testing out the “No Regret Mint” flavor as a behavior modification tool as part of my attempt to get back on track after a rough six months of not eating right. It helps, but I admit that I found myself applying a little more often than necessary because I am a sucker for mint’s taste! You can get this on their site (linked above) or when you shop on Amazon with Prime shipping (here).

Spring/Summer Thirty-One Catalog – This just launched last Friday and if you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for? Mermaids, Flamingos, Llamas, and Crabs made the print options as well as some amazing florals and classic prints. I’m so ready to do some summer traveling (can’t wait to spill the beans!) and the March Special is going to be perfect for getting all your travel bags ready to go. Check out my Independent Senior Consultant site, read the catalog, or book a party with me to get your items for FREE!

Thanks for checking out this week’s favorites! If you would like to be featured in an upcoming round-up, please check out the “work with me” page found here.

2018 Word of the Year: The Wrap-up

As 2018 comes to a close (gosh, we are so close), there are so many feelings going through my head. Between thoughts of reflection on 2018 and expectation for 2019 (thoughts my church family affirmed yesterday), there is this space. This space here that I launched last year and a space where I proclaimed my 2018 Word of the Year would be worthy.

I wrestled with taking the time tonight to sit with my computer in my lap and write this wrap-up. Truth be told, sorry Mr. Greg Willis, writing is where I feel most me and while I know you are anxious to get us to watching a movie before we turn into working adult pumpkins, I want to reflect on this year! #LoveYouForeverLikeYouForAlways

What better time than in the quiet of the last hours of the year to write! 

Oh, 2018. Admittedly, I cried way more tears this year than I had expected, way more tears today than I’d hoped. But as we enter 2019, I know that this year was all part of the amazing plan that God has in store for our family. And honestly, things weren’t as bad as my head likes to make them. I’m ending the year with a job that I love, a motivated husband, and healthy kiddos. It really wasn’t that awful in the end. So let’s take a look back at what made 2018 for me and how I made it worthy.

Shall we start with my “Top Nine” from Instagram

A Worthy Decision: Food and Fitness

Looking at my top photos of the year, it is clear that fitness played a big part in my year. Yeah, I’m a little sad that none of the photos of the kids or Greg made it, but when you look at that collage hopefully you see a woman who has changed for the better for those kiddos and their daddy. A woman who started the year heavier, a woman who planned on running one, not two half marathons.

2018 was full of moments fueled by healthy food (I’ve found that Keto eating is best for me – going off it the last three months has wrecked my gut and body) and committed fitness. I chose to be healthy for my family and we made it through two training cycles that led to PR’s in both races. My kids got to watch both Greg and I cross the finish line in Myrtle Beach and be inspired by our accomplishments. We started to go to the chiropractor as a family (thanks to my 2017 Christmas WOD injury) and are all feeling the advantages of these life changes.

Total Miles Ran: 450.23

Races: Pittsburgh Marathon: 5k, Pittsburgh Marathon: Half Marathon, Richard G Synder YMCA 10K, Myrtle Beach Mini (Half) Marathon, EQT 10-MIler

Worthy: Family and Fun

As a family, we pulled through a lot of things together, ending the year together and smiling. Highlights included:

  • Arianna’s spring softball season; Evan’s spring soccer season; both played fall soccer
  • Our pond
  • Monster Jam
  • Glamping at Yogi Bear
  • Ava and Isla started Pre-K
  • Family vacations to Myrtle Beach and Virginia
  • Running the Kid’s Mile with the Bigs
  • Running the MB Mini with Greg
  • Mom’s getaway with Missy to Williamsburg
  • Dreamforce (and yeah, that includes seeing Metallica and Janet Jackson and running the Golden Gate Bridge)
  • New jobs – yes, it was sad to see the end at Excel4apps but starting a new job at M&S led to positive changes too! Greg enrolled in and graduated from a CNA program and has started a job at a local care facility – no more long nights on the road!

It really has been a year where we had to pull together for each other!

Worthy: Faith

Without faith, this year would not have ended as well as it did. There were a lot of hours on our knees that led to rejoicing and thankfulness. It was a big year of faith for us – Arianna was baptized in January, Greg saved in February, Evan baptized in April, then Greg and I baptized in August. I joined the worship team and the Bigs kept at Girls’ and Rangers. I gave my testimony at Women’s Ministries and then spoke at our women’s conference.  We’re a family with souls on fire for God and it shows through our tests and difficulties and then blessings. We are counting every blessing and so thankful for our faith, our church, and most importantly God.

How to Climb from the Bay to Full House

Hey, 90’s kids! I’ve got a must do for you when traveling to San Francisco. You need to go from the Bay to Full House! I know, they didn’t really film in that house, but the iconic front is all the things for us kids who grew up in the 90’s, am I right? [this post contains affiliate links which earn this site a little bit of cash at no extra expense to you when purchasing through those links]

bay to full house

How to Climb from the Bay to Full House

Yes, I said climb from the Bay to Full House. There is no judgement if you just Uber over (unless you’re brand new to Uber and you don’t sign up to ride with my link and save yourself some money, ahem) because San Francisco is full of hills.  I had been two times before I took on this adventure and I admittedly thought the city was just one big hill – nope, it is rolling steep hillsBut if you are adventurous like me, you’ll want to get down to the Bay then climb up to Full House. It will be fulfilling, I promise!

Starting by the Bay, you’ll want to be about halfway between Ghiradelli Square and the Golden Gate Bridge, actually right in the middle of Yacht Harbor! There you will find Broderick Street which goes straight up a hill back toward the city and is the street where you will find the house that was used as the front doorstep of Full House.

It’s about one mile and yes, it is all up-hill. I took this hill on right after I ran ten miles including the Golden Gate, so I might be about to exaggerate how steep it is, but it is worth knowing how I felt with strong legs because you need to be prepared. If you are a sweater like me, do it in workout clothes (you’ll thank me). And no matter who you are, wear your sneakers. If you haven’t noticed, my sneakers of choice are New Balance 880gb7‘s which you can find at a nice price on Amazon!

My walk up Broderick started with a video chat home to my kids. I was panting but doing okay. After 3 blocks, I had to be honest with them and tell them good night – time for mom to climb some hills! About 0.6 miles into the walk, you’re going to come to a place where Broderick turns slightly to the left but isn’t actually a road for a block. This is where it gets real. The sidewalk is steep as all get out but so worth the burn if you are feeling up to it. Seriously, here it is from my view:

broderick street san francisco
Hey there, random stranger! You made it halfway!

I felt pretty accomplished after getting to the top of that hill and now I see on Google Maps that it is actually a “View Point” – well no wonder! I didn’t take the time to look but I had to do a selfie to prove I was able to climb from the Bay to Full House!

But wait, you aren’t there yet.

Finding Full House and What to Do When You Get There

I’m not going to give you the exact address of the house because well, one you can see it here but two it is someone’s (ok, the producer’s) private residence and I’m not all about linking addresses here on my page. Don’t make them say, “How Rude!”! Once you climb the hill, you’ll start downhill. I recommend approaching the 1700 block of Broderick on the left so you can get a view like this (especially as the sun is setting!) :

Do you remember the doors were actually red? As of the end of September 2018, there is construction going on, including painting the doors a light green.

Do you notice those signs and construction fencing? Obey them and be kind. No, you can’t sit on the steps right now. I felt a little underwhelmed at first but then thought about how we’d feel if people were always on our porch and I get it. And the neighbors – they don’t need you to be a nuisance. Take a selfie, take a photo for others who have stopped by too (because they will) then move on and take an Uber back to your hotel or a Starbucks for a pumpkin spice frap blended. You earned it. (Mine was less than a mile away and I did it, yes the uber and the frap!)

What iconic landmarks or buildings are on your travel must list?

Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Fun for Mom!

Disclaimer: I was provided with tickets to visit Busch Gardens Williamsburg in exchange for this review of my visit. All opinions are 100% my own. This post also contains affiliate links.

As a parent, have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit an amusement park you loved as a kid as an adult without the kids? No shame – this is a perfectly fine thing to think and do! Greg and I have done this at a few parks over the years. This summer, I decided to take my best friend with me to visit Busch Gardens Williamsburg, a park we went to on a high school band trip. It gave me a chance to ride a few rides that I might not have with the kids, really check out the kid space without having the kids running in four different directions, enjoy a show, and indulge in some food without paying for six people to do so. It was pretty glorious.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Fun for Mom!

As part of my girls’ weekend away with my best friend Missy, a trip to Busch Gardens Williamsburg was a must. We stayed at my timeshare about 2 miles away and grabbed an Uber to the park after a morning of treating ourselves to a mani/pedi.

As soon as we got into the park, a show was starting in their England area.  Britmania™ was a musical revue that charmed us with music from the 1960s to today (the Beatles to Adele). The dancing was what really wowed us in this show. Mom tip: This is a great family show for those moments when you need a break out of the heat!

Busch Gardens Bier Fest
Kicking off the Bier Fest experience with my passport and a Rosemary Lemon Wheat.

Psst! Love my backpack? It’s a MUST for enjoying theme parks (it’s a THERMAL!) and you can get yourself one on my Thirty-One shopping page! <3

After the show, I decided to grab a Bier Fest punch card ($22) to sample 10 different craft beers from around the globe while we walked through the park. My favorite was the Buskey Tart Cherry from Richmond, Virginia (found in England and true to the name, tart and cherry, and full of a red cherry color). And, to fully disclose, my least favorite was the Ballast Point Bonito Blonde (found in the Germany area). (I thought I’d try it because I have a co-worker by that name, but the beer was skunkier than I expected.)

The Bonito deserved this face.

In between stopping for my samples, we enjoyed the landscape (Busch Gardens has 134 acres of lush landscaping), watched rides that were a HECK NO for me (I am not a coaster fan but LOVE the thrill of watching them WHOOSH by – there are seven coasters here), and rode a few rides.

The Trade Wind has always been my favorite ride (the one that goes in a circle up and down a hill with really upbeat music), so that was a must. It was fun taking in the birds-eye view of the park from Skyride (which goes from England to France to Germany and back as one-way stops). We even found a new pal while waiting in the England line.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Skyride
Skyride with a coaster running RIGHT behind me!

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Yak
It’s a yak!

Missy enjoyed a plinko-style game in Oktoberfest and we had to indulge in pretzels and slushies, too!

Of course, I had to put in some “mom time” and stop by Sesame Street®
Forest of Fun™ and see what my littlest kiddos would have enjoyed. We got to meet one of Ava’s (and Missy’s) favorites, Cookie Monster!

Would I go back and do this again? ABSOLUTELY! Here are some ways to enjoy the rest of 2018…

Events happening at Busch Gardens Williamsburg this Year

While there is only today to enjoy Bier Fest as I did, there are some great events in store for the rest of this year at Busch Gardens Williamsburg (information provided to me via the Busch Gardens Media Room):

Busch Gardens® Bier Fest (Aug. 17-Sept. 3) 
More than 200 years of Oktoberfest traditions come to life this fall at Busch Gardens® Bier Fest. Raise a glass to toast the end of summer with a variety of craft beers from around the globe. Sample traditional German food, listen to live music, and experience all this unique Bavarian celebration has to offer. Prost! (details)

Howl-O-Scream® (Sept. 15-Oct. 28)
Fill fall nights with fright at Busch Gardens® Howl-O-Scream®. Celebrate 20 years of fears in this special anniversary year, with more haunted houses, Terror-tories™ and scares than ever before. At the stroke of
6 p.m. Busch Gardens becomes home to a host of creepy creatures that lie in wait for unsuspecting victims. Fear abounds in the Virginia theme park’s collection of elaborate haunted houses, immersive themed scare zones and darkly entertaining live shows. Busch Gardens becomes a seriously scary place  at 6 p.m. when the haunts come out for Howl-O-Scream. Guests should consider the park’s elevated scare factor when deciding whether Howl-O-Scream is appropriate for young children. (details)

Count’s Spooktacular (Oct. 6-Oct. 28)
Come celebrate silly, not-too-spooky, family fun at Busch Gardens Williamsburg this fall. Every weekend in October, children 9 and younger are encouraged to come dressed in their best Halloween costume to
dance and play with their favorite Sesame Street® friends Elmo, Cookie Monster and more at The Count’s Spooktacular. Kid-friendly rides, family activities and trick-or-treating will be offered around the park for kids to celebrate the fall season. You won’t want to miss a special show featuring The Count, dance parties for the kids and a parade to end the day for families before the haunts and scares of Howl-O-Scream start in the evening. (details)

Christmas Town™ (Nov. 17-Jan. 1)
Christmas shines brightest at Busch Gardens® Christmas Town™. One of the largest light displays in North America grows even bigger in 2018 with over 10 million lights to commemorate the family-friendly winter holiday event’s 10th anniversary. Festive food and drink, holiday shopping and heartwarming shows make the spirit of the season come alive. Come for the biggest and brightest Christmas lights event and illuminate your children’s holiday season with a visit to Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland and Sesame Street® Forest of Fun™. And don’t forget to stop by the North Pole to see Santa Claus. Complete your Christmas Town experience by enjoying exhilarating rides, dazzling shows, hearty holiday dining and festive shopping. (details)

Personally, I have experienced Bier Fest, Count’s Spooktacular, and Howl-O-Scream and as a parent, I recommend enjoying Bier Fest and Howl-O-Scream without the kids (unless they are teenagers). 

Budget-Friendly Ways to Visit

don’t recommend doing as I did and only enjoying the park for part of the day. If you are a rider or bringing the kids, you want to leave plenty of time to enjoy. As I was on my girls’ weekend and trying to experience several things in the area, it’s what worked for me. To get the most out of your money, there are a few ways to save on your visit:

  • Get a Membership – starting at $12/pp per month, you’ll save 50% on parking, enjoy both parks, and get to experience Christmas Town at no extra fee. I met a local family who purchased this and they were raving about the savings and benefits it gave them.
  • Fun Cards – These are like a mini membership. Not as many perks but great for those of us who aren’t local but close enough to visit a few times a year. Save on return visits with these options.
  • Pay ahead for things like your photos, food, or parking (save $2) here. If you’re staying close and going for an adult day, I suggest taking an Uber. That’s what Missy and I did. It was a first for both of our drivers but the process was smooth and they met us right at the gate. Total cost to Uber was about $15.  First time using Uber? Sign up here with code 4j85u to get $5 toward your first ride.

To learn more about Busch Gardens® and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment®, visit buschgardens.com.  “Like” Busch Gardens on Facebook, and follow @BuschGardensVA on Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.