Bucket List #25: Graduate, Get a Degree and Live Happily Ever After

I graduated on Saturday. When I first started this blog, graduation seemed like a million years away. But the day inevitably came, and now I could write an entire book on the things I learned in my four years of college (maybe someday I will!), most of which weren’t even taught to me in the classroom. I managed to narrow it down to only five.

Here are five of the most important lessons that I feel that I got in my time at Cal Poly… without opening an overly priced textbook.

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1) You will need to work your booty off: College is HARD. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone complain about how they “never studied in high school and got straight A’s” then came to Cal Poly and had to actually study to get a passing grade on a test or essay, I could’ve used it to pay my entire college tuition, So, work hard (and play hard), and don’t give up just because you’re facing a new challenge. For example, I studied a lot for my botany class but I do not remember any of the information from it when we’re hiking and my mom asks “What plant is that, Molly?!”

2) But don’t work too hard: because you only get to enjoy college once. Finding a balance between getting the kind of grades that satisfy you, and having the best overall college experience (yes, pint night $3 beers on Tuesday nights downtown is an extremely important experience) is by far the most important thing that I learned in my time at University. You’re going to remember the nights out with your friends making legendary memories together more than you’ll remember what you got on a grade in Calc 2 second quarter your first year. Hopefully.

3) Because there’s NOTHING glorifying about sacrificing your mental or physical health for a grade:  Eat food and get adequate sleep. Seriously, there’s nothing that annoys me more than someone who is attempting to *brag* about how they haven’t eaten since yesterday or only slept for 2 hours last night. In the long run it’s habits like these that are only going to hurt you. Yes you will inevitably have some late nights studying or make some decisions which may impact your health in a negative way (college kids CAN get hangovers contrary to popular belief), but no one wants to make a negative impact on their health for the entire rest of their life by permanently damaging their body/mind by repeatedly making poor decisions while they’re still in college, right? Yes you’re young, but get some rest, fuel yourself properly, and you’ll thank yourself later.

4) Don’t be afraid to fail: Okay so don’t go failing your classes and say “Molly said don’t be afraid to fail” because what I mean by that is you shouldn’t be afraid to try something new out of the fear of failing. Failure is how we learn. Learning is how we grow. Failure is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently. So go ahead and try the intramural soccer team even though you haven’t played since you were seven. Put yourself out there to do something out of your comfort zone. And don’t take anything too personally if it doesn’t work out.

5) Friendships may come and go, but you’ll always have your own independent self to rely on: I’ve enjoyed making friendships with a lot of amazing people in my time at Cal Poly. Some of these friendships have faded or been outgrown, but some of them I know will last for the rest of my life. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by these amazing people. But one of the most important lessons I have learned in college is that you need to learn how to take care of and count on yourself. There are going to be times that you will have to learn how to be alone. And being alone doesn’t mean “lonely,” it’s an opportunity for growth and self discovery. 

Peace out Cal Poly! I’ll be back to visit, soon ❤

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Lincoln Market Deli: Loaded Tater Tots, Delicious Sandos, and Local Groceries

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I can’t believe I waited until my last week in SLO to visit Lincoln Market Deli. Because I liked it so much that on that day, I went twice… (once to get a sandwich and once to get some locally sourced charcuterie meat and cheese for a beach picnic 😉 )

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YuMMMMmmmm

Lincoln Market Deli has a prominent history in the city of San Luis Obispo. It was originally built in 1941 and known as “Ellsworth’s Market,” the San Luis Obispo’s original grocer and butcher. Nowadays their market features delicious make-and-order hot and cold deli sandwiches, refrigerated products including bliss cafe desserts, beer and cider on tap, and so much more.

If I were to have to pick my favorite part of Lincoln Deli it would be challenging. But I think I would have to go with the lazy/funky and chill atmosphere which is so truly a local “San Luis Obispo” feeling. Even their craft beer and wine selection is incredibly diverse and primarily local. In fact, the market is mostly locally sourced items from their meats, to their cheeses, to their cal poly eggs, even to the wine from the Edna Valley. Locally made artwork is displayed for purchase.

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One of Lincoln Deli’s unique features includes a “tater tot” nacho menu with a generous selection of tot nachos buried in toppings like bacon, jalapeños, onions, cheeses of course, and so much more. As if that’s not enough to choose from, don’t forget to check out their SECRET MENU 😉 

There are usually plenty of seats available at tables to eat inside, as well as on their outdoor patio to soak up the sunshine on a warm SLO day. Taryn and I ate outdoors and watched the bustle of the busy intersection on the corner. I enjoyed a turkey sandwich with all the fixin’s and added avocado on marbled rye… it was stuffed full. I couldn’t even finish the whole thing. We also got Golden State hard ciders which are available on tap and they came out in really cute mason jars to drink.

The deli is located in a residential area, right on the corner of Broad and Lincoln Street off the 101, at the base of Madonna mountain. It’s open from 8am-7pm Monday-Saturday and closes at 6pm on Sundays.

Hearst Castle: Upstairs Suites Tour

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If you want to take a trip to a life experience straight out of The Great Gatsby, visit and tour the Hearst Castle. It’s a National Historic Landmark and a California Historic Landmark perched high atop a hill in San Simeon on the Central Coast of California with an incredibly interesting history behind it. It’s no wonder that this estate is the Hearst “Castle” because it does feel like some place from fantasyland.

I recommend that you make reservations before you go, because at peak tourist times time slots for tours can fill up. Also bring an extra layer because our tour guide told us that the temperature change between the top of the hill and the bottom can be pretty drastic!

The estate was designed by a close friend of newspaper owner William Randolph Hearst’s, architect Julia Morgan, between 1919 and 1947 as a whimsical residence for Hearst himself. In its prime in the 1920’s and 30’s it was a highly coveted place to receive an invitation to, for Hollywood stars and political figures because lavish parties and debauchery were the norm every night on this mountain, safe up away from the real world down below.

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The estate is adorned with magnificent historic art pieces from all over the world and features 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a movie theater, an airfield, and the world’s largest private zoo which was once a home to exotic animals as well like lions (sometimes they startled the guests…). Zebras can still be seen roaming the grounds even today. The estate was never fully complete in Hearst’s lifetime due to his innate perfectionism, of design. For example, the famous Neptune Pool was rebuilt three times before Hearst was satisfied.

For going on the tour, park at the big lot at the base of the grounds and go into the building with a multitude of stores and gift shops (even a professional photo taking opportunity) before you head up to the castle. A group shuttle bus will drive you up from the visitor’s center to the castle itself and during the 5 mile ascent you listen to a recording of Alex Trebek explain the history of the Castle and what you’re viewing on the mountain. The view of the ocean and the central coastline is impeccable.

Conner and I chose to take the “upstairs suites tour,” rather than the traditional “grand rooms tour,” because I did some research online and learned that it was a more intimate experience with a smaller tour group which even showed off Hearst’s own bedroom. In this 60 minute tour we were able to see Doge’s Suite, the Library, The Gothic Suite, Duplex Bedrooms, Celestial Suite, Gardens, Neptune Pool (which at this time June 2018 is empty of water) and the Roman Pool. The guide was incredibly knowledgeable and had so much passion for the history of the estate which made the experience enjoyable. Below is a slideshow with photos of every room we saw:

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My only regret is not doing the tour earlier in the day so that we could have more time to enjoy the gardens and the grounds. We did one of the last tours of the day at 4:10pm, and we didn’t have much time to explore the grounds or watch the included movie afterward since the “twilight” experience tours started soon after our own and we had to leave.

My favorite part of the tour was the absolutely incredible view 😉 I also really enjoyed the Roman Pool, which was unreal in its level of beauty and intricate detail.

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To book your tour for Hearst Castle, visit their website. Tours are currently 25 dollars per person for adults and 12 dollars for children, with an 8 dollar reservation fee. Check out the rules of the ground here and be sure to appreciate every second of your experience perched atop the mountain with the best view on the Central Coast!

The Challenge of Transition is What Builds up True Strength

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Movin’ on and movin’ up

It’s my 22nd birthday. It’s a birthday which doesn’t outwardly mean anything exciting like the 13th, 16th, or 21st does in our American culture but it is still another year of life to celebrate. I made it another 365.25 days of creating new experiences, meeting new people to form new relationships, and developing myself through education/overcoming a variety of personal challenges. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the exhausting amount of effort that it feels like life expects from us and the anxiety of facing the outside world with its roughness can make me feel like I’m being buried alive. When I feel like this, I turn to my steady practice of yoga.

When I practice yoga it makes me feel grounded because it lets me focus on one thing at a time and forces me to breathe in a steady rhythm without becoming distracted by the chaotic world outside of the four walls of the studio. This is a conscious choice: to let yourself become completely enveloped in the practice. You must temporarily release the grip you have on your personal problems and become in synch with the positive supportive energy in the room of your practice.

When you successfully rise up into a pose, you hold it with the strength of your legs,  arms, core, whatever is stabilizing you to keep you up. Believe it or not, that’s the “easy” part. The challenging part and the part that we don’t always think about when we think about doing a yoga practice, is the transitions.

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Life requires a certain level of “flexibility” from your expectations

The in-between transitions of shifting from pose to pose is what takes the true strength of your muscles and your mind. Likewise, the transitions in our lives are what give us the true challenge and the strength to grow.

The in-between state of not knowing what you’re doing with your life after university, or the emptiness of your days after leaving a bad job (even if you know you’re better off without it) is the scary part that no one talks about because it’s uncomfortable.

But a peak yoga pose can’t be achieved without the pain and uncertainty of attempting to rise up on one leg into bird of paradise for the first time. And even if you fall, at least you tried. You gained muscle memory from trying to reach the pose and have garnered more strength for the next time you attempt to rise up. It will take practice and failure but eventually with perseverance you will be successful.

When you work to strengthen your muscles physically in your body, you are literally  tearing apart the fibers in your muscles to start a cellular process in which they will rebuild to form new and stronger muscle protein strands. The discomfort of physically exercising these muscles is actually just breaking them down which will rebuild them back to become stronger than they were before.

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The view from the top is always worth the pain of the climb

Likewise, this is the same process as we face in our lives to make ourselves develop as people. By becoming uncomfortable we force ourselves to ourselves grow.

Turning 22 is just the beginning of a multitude of change and uncomfortable transitions I’m going to have to face in the next coming months. Graduating and moving away from my safety net of a college town San Luis Obispo, to Los Angeles which is a massive city full of chaos (and also great opportunity), will inevitably force me to grow… even if it does not feel like a comfortable situation in the moment.

Yoga has taught me that in order to achieve balance we must first fall out of line and learn how to recover, and that therefore in order to succeed we must learn how to overcome failure. Because if we came into life already knowing everything and having everything else handed to us without working for it, what would be the point of living?

In conclusion, here’s the mantra I’ve made for myself as I complete my 22nd rotation on the Earth around sun: “Find comfort in the discomfort… Because discomfort is how we truly make ourselves grow stronger than we ever were before.” I want to share this mantra with you so that you can take it and make what you want of it, hopefully creating some uncomfortable change for a better future in your own lives ❤

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Insider’s Guide to the Famous SLO 21st Birthday Bar Crawl

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If you’re a legal aged SLO college student and haven’t done your bar crawl are you even 21? Well, yes, but not officially 😉

The 21st birthday bar crawl of San Luis Obispo brings fond and crazy memories (or lack of memory?) of having a night on the town where you are required to fulfill specific “tasks” on a sign that your friends so generously craft for you to decide your adventurous fate for the night. The drinks vary per person, and are different for males and females, but generally follow a pattern as certain bars offer “21st birthday specials” for the birthday girl or boy. So (try to) stand up and prepare to get some stuff smashed into your forehead.

Most bar crawls begin at Bull’s Tavern on Chorro, where the famous “bull sweat” drink gives you the chance to stand on an elevated surface and take a shot of hot sauce. YUM. And the best part is that you get to chase it with beer. In reality, it’s not that bad and only takes about 15 seconds and everyone cheers for you as the bartender rings a very loud cowbell. Plus, you are ALLOWED to stand up on a bar which is a rare experience in itself, so it’s one that I highly recommend for any bar crawl. On my senior bar crawl with my sorority the beer chase was knocked out of my hand as I stood up on the bar and I still did it. #rightofpassage

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From Bull’s you can head to Creeky Tiki for a ski shot which is fun for all and requires some group coordination among participants. There’s a 4 person and a 6 person ski shot, so decide who your best friends are and make sure you’re properly in synch 😉 Creeky Tiki used to offer their famous 2 for 1 special from 10-11pm EVERY NIGHT (yes it was awesome) but the city shut THAT down and now it’s 50% off drinks from 10-11 which comes out to literally the same price and you can even get two different drinks now instead of 2 of the same… so it’s even better.

Next up is Black Sheep where the guys will have to face the “silver slipper” which if you haven’t heard of it guys, I’m not going to “break” it to you…. you’ll just have to find out yourself. Girls can take on the “angry balls” here which is what I think did me in on my crawl (chugging two types of alcohol at once can do that to you…) so take caution and drink some water afterward.

After Black Sheep head to SLO Brew located on Higuera with the main drag of bars to do the “blowjob shot.” This yummy tasting contraption is a shot of baileys topped heavily with whipped cream which you kindly have to take by only using your mouth and from in-between a friend’s legs (don’t spill!) It’s a nice break from hard alcohol and a good place to stop and do some dancing before getting back out into the party lines.

Frog and Peach is nextdoor to SLO Brew. This European pub style is where you’ll take on the Guinness race. How fast can you drink a Guinness? Hopefully faster than the bartender, and ten of your closest friends one of whom is actually a stranger and inevitably buys the round for everyone? How generous! Take a picture in the English phone booth on the back patio of Frog and Peach and get some air. Even if you don’t remember taking the photo, it’ll be a nice momento of when you were inspired to start speaking in an English accent, whether or not it’s actually a task you’re supposed to check off on your bar crawl sign.

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From there you can head to The Library across the street to study alcohol, and do the statue of liberty shot (now that Marston’s is closed, for the guys version, try the 6 shooter here? This drink includes 6 shots, three of which are clear alcohol, and three of which are water but you HAVE NO IDEA WHICH IS WHICH and at this point maybe you can’t taste the difference anyway so it doesn’t matter). Meanwhile, the statue of liberty is three stacked shots colored red, white, and blue, which you have to do in ten seconds as you hold your hand above your head… like the statue of liberty! Then it’s time to start the “USA chant” (optional).

In between the Lib and MoTav, do something in the bubblegum alley. I did yoga in the alley and the combination of (lack of) balance and wearing heels I do not recommend.

 

Finally head to the inevitably long line at Mother’s Tavern, affectionately referred to as “MoTav” where you can try out the “sexy alligator” shot or end the night with an AMF (buh bye!) and some dancing. This is my favorite part of the night because who doesn’t love unnaturally colored neon blue drinks with four different types of booze in them. Just kidding, I like MoTav for the dancing. Share the AMF with one with your friends though, and you might make it to your final destination: no, not home…

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That is not a natural color blue

Taco Bell. Taco bell is where the night ends and the people watching peaks. A person’s 2am chalupa order can, after all, make or break their night. And make sure to get that baja blast in there as your last drink and some well needed hydration. 😉

Well, there you go: a somewhat female biased synopsis of the SLO 21st birthday downtown bar crawl. DISCLAIMER: This is in no way a strict guide for drinks or activities (but do snag a photo with a cop in front of MoTav, because it seems like they just kinda hang out there. He will pretend to be mad but really will just be entertained by the entire debauchery).

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What a homie

Make sure you stay safe (you can say no to any drink at any time and end early if necessary), drink lots of water the day before and the day of, (as well as some Pedialyte because it’s not just for babies anymore) and do EAT FOOD that day before you go out.

Have your friends carry some cash on them, because although you’ll be granted a free golden ticket pass into every bar with just your sign and the use of your forehead as a stamping pad, your friends unfortunately will still have to pay cover charges. And remember to put someone you trust with your unlocked phone in charge of your snapchat story so that everyone who isn’t legal or out of town can join in on the fun!

Lastly, select a legendary outfit to match your beautiful sign, strike some attractive poses with friends and strangers, and let the night go down as a legend. Because it’s YOUR night in the spotlight birthday star! And congrats on finally being legal in America, because you know that it’s ABOUT TIME. 😉

 

 

“Seeds” Health Food Cafe in San Luis Obispo

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“Seeds” on Garden Street in downtown San Luis Obispo is a health food cafe featuring delicious acai bowls, juices, paninis, and even fun alcohol infused juices like “frose’s” and “pressed mimosas.” They also offer a variety of different kombuchas on tap and an assortment of yummy snacks (I didn’t even know some of the Rx bar flavors they had existed).

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The shop has a wonderful (but a bit small) garden patio out back with a few tables and plenty of seating on the street to soak in the sunshine. You can also sit inside at the wall bar or underneath their insta-worthy neon sign which you will be compelled to take a photo of your food with (talk about quality free marketing).

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I ordered the #8 bowl which was blended almond butter, almond milk, bananas, maca, and spinach topped with bananas, raspberries, almonds, and cocoa. If there’s something more you’d like to add into your bowl, there are a variety of extra toppings and mix in’s like hemp protein powder, chia seeds, and Nutella.

My almond butter maca bowl was HEARTY! It kept me full for hours. The fruit topping was incredibly fresh and blended combination of delicious healthy ingredients was overall creamy and satisfying.

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I know that I’m going to have to come back to try their one of their toast options like peanut butter with fruit or savory avocado and sprouts, because they all looked and sounded delicious.

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“Seeds” is located on 1133 Garden Street in San Luis Obispo and is open from 8am-6pm every day. It’s a yummy treat any time of the day for a snack or meal that will leave you feeling good on the inside.

What’s YOUR SLO Bucket List?

I’m almost done with my time in San Luis Obispo and fulfilling my bucket list, but this blog will continue to live on forever and share insight to the many amazing activities to do in the area.

There are so many wonderful experiences I have gotten to enjoy on the Central Coast, and although I wish I had time for more, I have to move on… But now I want YOU to tell me what your favorite Central Coast spots are and if I haven’t written a blog about the spot already, I will post your story as a guest submission! It can be a coffee shop, a secret hike, or a day trip adventure you’d like to share. 

Send me your stories at mollyobrien1996@att.net. I’m looking forward to hearing about your adventures!