Libertine Brewing Company SLO’s *TACO TUESDAY!*

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I’ve written about the Libertine Coffee Bar… well, Libertine Brewing Co. (right next door to the coffee bar) is a whole experience. I’m a legal alcoholic drinking American citizen now and I’m out and exploring the many breweries and wineries that we have been blessed to be able to enjoy in the SLO area. And Libertine’s “Taco Tuesday” has been on my list for a while…

Taco Tuesday at the Libertine means $2.50-3.50 each a taco and happy hour all day. If you’re looking to save a buck: take advantage of taco tuesday. My veggie and chicken tacos were amazing. I got four. No regrets.

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YUM

This place is the kind of place that I see myself meeting up with friends to celebrate making it through a day or work (whether it be schoolwork or work-work) and winding down with hearty conversation and yummy food and drink. The atmosphere is fun, and the eats are good.

The San Luis Obispo Libertine location hosts over 76 taps including beer (of course!), wine, kombucha, and cold brew coffee. Libertine is most known for their trendy “sour beers,” but if you’re not into that, it feels like they really do have everything to make a beer, wine, or even a non-acloholic drink lover satisfied.

Check out more information on their website, here!

 

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The Coolest Classes I’ve Taken at Cal Poly

Every quarter when registration comes around I wonder what the most interesting classes are to take at Cal Poly, that students might not necessarily know they can take. We spend a lot of time and effort in academic classes which go toward our major and are required, but the truth is that we only get to do college once.

Why not enjoy it a little bit?

These were some of the most fun classes I took at Cal Poly, and *GASP* most of them counted for absolutely nothing toward my degree… I had the opportunity to take some fun classes in my college experience because I did summer sessions every year and AP credits earned in high school, so I had some wiggle room to indulge in an enjoyable class or two (or eight) before graduating.

Some of the classes I mention actually can count for general education credit if you haven’t fulfilled that specific requirement yet or are great if you need elective credit. People would ask me why I was putting more work on myself by taking extra classes that “didn’t count for anything,” if I could just have a lighter course load or just even have graduated early. I always responded in the same way:

Money < Knowledge

I’m lucky enough to be paying in state tuition, so it doesn’t matter how many credits I take here at Cal Poly as long as I’m a full time student, because it’s the same amount of money per quarter whether I take 12 units or 20 units. I took these extra classes to learn  because I love learning and I’m not going to have the opportunity to take a class on “branded wine marketing” virtually for free (or at the same cost as my schooling would have costed anyway) anytime soon in my life. I wanted to take advantage of all the opportunities I had to learn in college, about as many things as I possibly could. 

And there’s one thing that all of these classes had in common which made them especially fun for me to take: the teachers were overflowing with passion about what they were teaching us. All of these teachers truly enjoyed what they were doing and this joy connected with us as students in a special way because their interest in the subject translated into making the class fun and interesting.

So here they are, the most fun classes I’ve gotten to take at Cal Poly:

AEPS 215 “Floral Design 1”

This class was a class I had wanted to take ever since I heard about it when I was a freshman but could never get into because of bad class registration times. I finally got to take it as a senior and it was everything I hoped it would be. I learned a lot about the industry of floral design, as well as a lot about well… arranging flowers. It was so much fun and the professor was so enthusiastic about what she was doing with her life that it made me excited to learn. Be warned: this class does require a decent amount of studying for the midterm and final. Lots of memorizing. But there are great quizlets out there to help you study 😉

 

 

 

 

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The class usually takes place fall and winter quarters in the evening, from 3-7 and 4-7 and although you rarely have to spend the entire time in the lab, it does end later at night than other classes, depending on what kind of schedule you prefer.  If you like Floral Design 1, Floral Design 2 is offered Spring quarter and features more advanced techniques, giving you the opportunity to take your knowledge to the next level!

WVIT 343 “Branded Wine Marketing”

The only prerequisite for this class is an Econ class (ECON 201, 221 or 222) which you can most likely take to earn your “D” general education credit anyway. This class taught me information about marketing which I’m interested in as a career, with a specific product twist: WINE! It was interesting to hear the professor’s experience in the wine industry (and just about her life in general… I took the class with Marianne Wolf and she has just had a very exciting time on this Earth so far). I will warn you that this class requires a lot of work with multiple midterms and group projects, but it’s also very fascinating and I came out feeling like I had a new connection made with the WVIT industry.

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Who first decided to ferment grapes, and then drink the juice?

KINE 109 “Bowling”

Aww jeez, this is the classic senior class. It’s one of the most capstone right of passage classes for seniors to take at Cal Poly just for the experience at “the only bowling alley in SLO” which happens to be located on campus. And why not?! Since it’s credit/no credit and it’s only an hour session twice a week all you have to do is have fun. And now that you can DRINK ALCOHOL from Mustang Station next door attached to the bowling alley (only after 2pm) how could you not take this class if you have the chance? No joke, my bowling average went from 65 to 145 in the course of the ten weeks in class. They say practice makes perfect so take bowling and grab a beer to go with it just because you can. You won’t regret it.

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Comin’ at ya

PSY 202 “General Psychology”

This was an actual academic class which is normally taken for class credit, and I actually had to try to study for it even though it was a course I just decided to take for fun. It was an enormous lecture style class once a week, and then meetings with a professor in a smaller class workshop setting during week as well. I learned a lot in this class. It was by no means an “easy A” but if you need D4 credit, and you’re interested in the way the human mind operates, I would definitely recommend taking this class. Also, DO go to the lecture, because the professors choose very specific lecture questions to test on the midterm. And also just because it’s cool to learn about the human mind.

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DANC 132 “Beginning Modern Dance”

I haven’t danced formally since I was seven, when I took Irish step dancing. You can imagine how much my Irish step dancing teacher loved that my name is Molly O’Brien (it’s a very Irish name). This class was a good experience for me because I felt really out of my comfort zone. I didn’t know what modern dance really was until I took this class…

We learned fitness techniques and vocabulary for certain dance moves. We even put on a performance with the rest of the upper level dance classes at the end of the quarter. For this course we didn’t have any huge scary scantron exams, but I did have the requirement to go to a Cal Poly dance show and write a paper about it, which was honestly a really great experience because I had never taken the time to appreciate the beauty and effort it takes to create an entire dance performance until this class. I would recommend it if you like to move and have an interest in trying something new. 

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Definitely me dancing

BIO 123 “Biology of Sex”

This class counted for my general education credit in the “B” science area. Despite its provocative name it’s not a dirty class by any means… in fact it’s a very factually driven scientific class on the topic of reproduction. Our professors for this class were so passionate about the process of reproduction and so excited to tell us all about the multiplication of cells when snails (or really any other animal for that matter) are making babies that it was interesting on a deeply molecular level. I learned so much about reproduction that I would not have been taught in any “health” or “sex ed” class. This class does require a level of maturity, respect, and understanding. You’re not just going to be sitting there talking about sex for two hours twice a week, you’re going to be learning about all different ways animals on our Earth reproduce and it’s fascinating. You’ll also be taught the valuable life lesson of how to a sense of humor and laugh at yourself during uncomfortable moments.

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Giraffes fight each other with their necks. Ouch

GRC 377 “Web Print and Publishing”

This class supported my minor and counted for area “F” general education credit. It was a class where we learned how to use the Adobe Suite including Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver, even using the programs to code and build our own website. It challenged me and my patience (building a website is hard!) but gave me skills that I can use to market myself for a huge range of jobs now in the future that I wouldn’t have had access too if I didn’t know basic coding. I also learned more than I ever would have guessed possible on typography. 

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My own built website

DANC 210 “Active Wellness”

This class doesn’t really have much to do with dancing despite the official course name, it’s about general physical well being, health, and fitness. It teaches everything that high  school health class should have but didn’t. I just started taking it this Spring quarter of 2018, so I’m still learning what it’s all about, but basically every class we have a lecture on different aspects of health such as fitness and exercise, and then we do a series of exercises which teaches us about the fitness in our own body. We learn about muscles, bones, and the way our bodies work in a healthy, noncompetitive, and judgement free environment. It’s a great class if you’re passionate about health and wellness or just want to learn more about how to be a generally healthy person. 

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I do this pose literally everywhere

Flame-working

This wasn’t an academic class, it was through the Cal Poly craft center. That means that we didn’t have to worry about grades or exams! It was $85 to take and we met 6 times during the quarter in two hour sessions with a student instructor. I learned so much, burned myself a couple times, and made some really beautiful creations like marbles, pendants and even sculpture pieces. Now, I’m hooked! I bought a “propane card” pass for use of the torch and propane outside of class time, as well as many more colors of glass to experiment with.

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If I had more time here I would have taken ART 102 (which seems kind of impossible to get into but fun, WVIT 210 because yes I would love to help pick grapes and make wine in a vineyard, FSN 121 which is cooking class, and the chocolate making class because cooking is fun and getting class credit for it is even more fun, BRAE 141 because why wouldn’t I need to learn how to drive a tractor, the equestrian horse riding class, and SO much more. Let me know if there are any fun classes I forgot especially if they don’t have prerequisites!!

 

Impending Adulthood (For REAL This time, though…) + Upcoming SLO Restaurant Guide

I haven’t written a reflection post in a while. This blog has really evolved into something special since I started it the Summer before my sophomore year at Cal Poly SLO. It’s given me the opportunity to express myself, grow and improve in my writing, and get some exposure (I’m talking hundreds of views a week, now for some posts, WOW!). It’s never been “work” for me. It’s been somewhere that I can write what I want how I want in my own voice without an editor other than my own self. I have had schoolwork, and assigned work of writing for internships but this blog has always been something special to me because it’s me writing what I want, on my own time.

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Sunrise hike up Bishops Peak

In less than four months I’ll be graduating from college at Cal Poly and leaving San Luis Obispo. I can start to see the graduation caps and gowns coming into focus in the near future. For this reason, I’ve kinda been going a bit crazy (yes I’m always crazy, but right now more than usual!) and I’ve been packing into my life trying many new things here in SLO, before they make me leave (I guess graduating college is a huge accomplishment and what not but come on, it’s been a  great time).

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Valencia Peak

I know that when the time comes in June it will be hard, but adulthood for real will be a new challenge and a new adventure and the opportunity to move on to something new. I’m just really going to miss writing for this blog. Because it hit me the other day that I can’t write an “adulthood in SLO” blog, like, if I don’t live in SLO anymore… But I’ve crossed of a LOT of stuff off my bucket list these last few years. It’s been amazing being able to live life to the fullest.

And I’ve really packed in a lot of new stuff to my SLO bucketlist for these last few months of University at Poly. I’m trying a new restaurant every week here in SLO that I haven’t tried before and oh man has it been such a great experience. I didn’t eat out at all as a freshman (no car to go off campus and we had dining plans with the school) and I rarely ate out as a sophomore or junior, but now I’m trying to make up for it. I know eating out is expensive, but I hadn’t really appreciated the amazing amount of eatery options available in San Luis Obispo and the surrounding area until I started to go out more.

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(Trying to) Sandboard on the MDO Dunes

The coffee shops here in SLO are amazing, too. I probably spend more money on coffee than I do on food… I know that wherever I move is going to have to have to have some great coffee shops. 😉  And the breweries and wineries in SLO, WOW. I wasn’t 21 until 8 months ago so I’m still trying to catch up with the amazing amount of breweries and wineries to visit in the area.

Anywho, I’m starting a restaurant page on this blog too because even though I’m no “Yelp,” I really love sharing my experiences with everyone of my adventures on the Central Coast. So stay posted for my new “restaurant bucketlist” page.  And keep updated for the remaining craziness as senior year continues…

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Finding new hikes every day

The Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove

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The Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach feels like a place which is straight out of a fairytale. Every year from October to March, tens of thousands of colorful butterflies flock to Pismo Beach, fluttering gracefully between the trees and awing spectators young and old.

These butterflies come from the North as far as Canada, seeking warmth and shelter here on the Central Coast on the limbs of the eucalyptus trees on the Coast of Highway 1. The grove is one of the largest in our nation, and has seen over the last 5 years an average of 25,000 butterflies.

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The trees appear to be covered in orange leaves, because the butterflies form a sort of shingle type shelter, painting the trees in their dense vibrant clusters. Each single butterfly hangs its wing down over the one it below to provide warmth and protect themselves from the rain. The  heavy weight of the entire cluster on the branch help keeps it from whipping around in any sort of wind that may come along the coast which could dislodge them.

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The Monarchs which migrate to Pismo are a special type of Monarch, which have a lifespan of six months compared to common Monarchs which only live up to six weeks. This could be attributed to a unique fat storing system that these particular ones have developed.

To learn more about these butterflies, you can visit the docent trailer at the grove from 10am-4pm daily. There are daily talks given at 11am and 2pm, and telescopes out for closer viewing of the butterflies in the grove. It’s best to go on warmer days, as the butterflies can’t fly if the temperature is under 55 degrees.

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The Grove is located on the Southern end of Pismo Beach near the Oceano Dunes and the North Beach Campground.

The Annual Cambria Scarecrow Festival: “Where Whimsy Runs Rampant.”

This past weekend Conner and I drove to Cambria which is 35-40 minutes North of SLO on Highway 1 to admire some of the best home made scarecrows that I have ever seen. The Cambria Scarecrow Festival is an incredibly unique event which happens annually during the month of October along the Central Coast in the towns of Cambria, San Simeon, and Harmony.

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The festival began in 2009 with only 30 scarecrows on display, and has since grown into a nationally famed event with hundreds of scarecrows created by local students, businesses and residents. The creativity and variety of the scarecrows is incredible.

The displays range from tributes to past heroes including Teddy Roosevelt and his rough rider pal, and Frida Kahlo and Diego painting. There are movie characters like the famous duo from “Up” and Cinderella when she misses midnight… there are scarecrows that MOVE such as the New Wave Riders which can be seen biking on Main street in Cambria and Lucia grape stomper outside of a wine cellar stomping on her grapes.

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This photo of Lucia is courtesy of the Cambria Scarecrows Facebook page

The Festival is more than just a showcase of scarecrows, it also includes extra activities on weekends. On the official opening weekend there’s wine, music and a silent auction at the Cambria Nursery to kick off the celebration. On the fourth weekend, there’s a 5k run/walk which awards prizes to runners dressed up as the best scarecrows. The final weekend closes off the festival with an Oktoberfest celebration featuring local beers wines brats and music.

If you want build a scarecrow but your crafting skills are a bit rusty, the festival has workshops for helping participants who are interested in building the scarecrow of their dreams. There are design workshops, and workshops to help you restore past creations you have made that you’d like to enter in, again.

And if you can’t participate, there are other ways you can get involved such as becoming a volunteer, a sponsor, or even renting out a scarecrow for your business property. The the rental money will go toward helping fund local art programs.

Oh, and the best part is that the festival is not only a fun way to bring together the community through building decorative art for the city, it’s also a contestThere are a variety of categories for the contest including “Most Imaginative,” “Best Group Installation,” and “Best Animation.”

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This particular scarecrow won the blue ribbon in the “most humorous” category. You can’t see it too well in this picture, but it’s a robber cat, with a dog stuck to the back of his leg, trying to stop him from stealing valuables from this jewelry store. It’s called “Doggie Catcher.”

We thought this scarecrow was pretty funny, too. His name is Wally and he’s outside Cambria Mimosa… hence the enormous mimosa he’s holding. But it’s okay, because he’s really good at sharing.

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Conner tried to look grumpy to pose with Grumpy in the winning entry for the “group” category which included Snow White and all of the seven dwarves. You can tell he’s not as grumpy as the pretty realistic scarecrow he’s impersonating, but it’s a good impression.

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Groot won second place for “using the unexpected” by incorporating the use of pool noodles into his design. So crafty!

You don’t have to be a resident of Cambria to enter in your scarecrow.  All you need is to register your entry by September 15th, and to have a business who will display your entry outside their location in certain designated areas around Cambria from 8am on October 1st through October 31st.

The scarecrows will be taken down after October 31, but if you can’t make it to the festival to admire them in all of their glory in person before that, you can check out my slideshow below and a gallery of some of the most memorable ones on the official website by clicking here!

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Pinnacles National Park: Old Pinnacles Trail to Balconies Cave Loop

This past weekend I went caving… Kinda. Conner and I went on a day a trip from San Luis Obispo to the Pinnacles National Park for one of the 10 free days that the National Parks Service offers every year. 

We had been to the park once before last year on another free day (yay free National Park days!). That time, we had entered through the East entrance to hike the High Peaks trail  which was absolutely gorgeous, and I highly recommend. Below is a slide show of when we hiked the High Peaks trail.

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FYI for a Pinnacles trip: There is no road which goes straight through from the East entrance to the West entrance of the Pinnacles, so make sure you know what entrance you want to visit BEFORE you go. We decided to drive to the West this time which was more developed than the East entrance. It had campgrounds, a large visitor’s center with camping supplies, and even a swimming pool.

Since we hiked up to the peaks last time, this time Conner and I decided to explore the caves! There are two separate caves at the park. There are the Bear Gulch caves and the Balconies caves. Whether or not the caves are open depend on the time of year, because there are some resident BATS that colonize in the Bear Gulch cave and raise their young there during the Summer! For more information about which caves are open and when, check here.

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The type of caves at the Pinnacles are called “Talus Caves.” Talus caves aren’t traditional  caverns which travel into the side of a mountain. Instead they’re formed when water eroding the rock of the landscape’s boulders combined with the movement of the tectonic plates at the nearby San Andreas fault line over thousands of years time cause chunks of rock to break off and fall to tumble into a gorge inbetween them. This creates a closed off cave with a ceiling.

Conner and I chose to explore the Balconies caves. There’s more than one trail to the Balconies Caves, we chose a 5 mile out and back moderately challenging route with an added loop which started from the Old Pinnacles parking lot.

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The walk was flat but there was some rock scrambling once we got into in the cave. Climbing through the boulders was exciting. Pro tip: remember to pack a flashlight/headlamp for when you’re in there, because it’s completely pitch dark.

When you’re rock scrambling you’ll also preferably need both hands for climbing which holding an iPhone as your flashlight could interfere with, so a headlamp is the smartest option for optimal visibility and movement.

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This is the route we followed from the parking lot and through the caves, looping back toward the trail entrance.
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We came from the Old Pinnacles trailhead and headed toward the Balconies caves

After we explored the Balconies caves, we backtracked and hiked upward at this sign toward a loop trail with a higher path which featured beautiful views of the enormous surrounding rocks. There were many faces to rock climb along the loop trail too, if you’re into that…

Many varieties of geological formations are observed in the park, but the most prominent are by far are the reddish gray appearing spires which dominate the skyline.

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These pinnacles are the rocky spires remaining from millions of years of tectonic plate activity and lava flows in the ancient volcanic field which is the landscape we know today as the jagged landscape of the park. So cool! Read more information about the different types of rock formations at the park, here.

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Pinnacle spires in the background

In addition to the bats in the caves, we encountered many other types of animals on the trail including bats, hawks, vultures and more.

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One type of animal we encountered..

I enjoy visiting the Pinnacles because it feels smaller and therefore more accessible compared to some of the other national parks, but there is still so much to explore. I know that I’ll be back soon to check out the Bear Gulch caves or hike the High Peaks trail again sometime soon.

Here’s a video I made of our cave exploration!

Vino and Vinyasa- Practice Yoga at a Local Winery then Drink Wine…For Free

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I did something really cool, yesterday. I practiced yoga at a local SLO winery, and I then got to drink wine after the class, for free. Dreams really do come true.

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Sound too good to be real? It’s not! This activity is organized by Lululemon SLO and is held every Thursday in September from 5pm-7pm at Clairborne & Churchill Winery in San Luis Obispo.

Starting at 5:15, Lululemon ambassador and experienced yogi Niccola Nelson instructs a refreshing Vinyasa class on the grass outside this beautiful winery. As you practice your balance and appreciate the energy of the yogi’s around you, you also experience a sort of spiritual connection with the Earth. You watch the sun set below the background of rolling hills, illuminating the space around the trees of surrounding vineyards.

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Spots in these classes are pretty limited because there’s only a limited amount of space on the patio outside, so be sure to sign up on Eventbrite before you go. Taryn and I didn’t know we were supposed to sign up, so we waited for space to open up and were given spots in the class after a few people didn’t make it.

It was a powerful experience to feel the warm sun on your skin and breathe in the fresh air all while looking forward to enjoying wine afterward.

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Immediately following the class is complimentary wine tasting on the patio courtesy of Clairborne and Churchill. You can try for your favorite taste, and buy a bottle to enjoy later. There are also local food venders rotating weekly, such as The Neighborhood Acai and Juice, selling yummy treats to refuel you and give you the chance to treat yoself after the workout.

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It’s a really great opportunity to get your sweat on with a friend, meet other yogis who also share your appreciation for wine, and enjoy the last bits of the Summer sunshine here on the Central Coast. So, invite a friend and come join us next week… I know that I’ll be there! 😉