January 30, 2015

Happies and Crappies...

Stephanie used to host a link up called 'Happies and Crappies' and as I sat here on my lunch break trying to come up with a post for today (nothing like leaving things until the last minute...) it came to mind and I decided to go with it

'Happies' from this week

1. I spent 3 1/2 hours at a Beginners Sewing Class last night that was put on by the EFC and led by a wonderful lady.  The most I'd done with my sewing machine before last night was sew lines on scrap pieces of fabric just to get used to the machine. With being on a spending freeze I haven't spent any money buying fabrics or other necessary items so haven't been able to actually make anything. I had tried to make my dogs bandanas out of some scrap fabric but ending up making them too small (whooops). BUT at the class last night I was ahead of the field having already known how to thread a bobbin (go me! And also, thanks for teaching me Kels!). We each made a pillowcase and a miniature pillow and they all turned out looking so good and now I want to make all the things!  I'm hoping to pick up some fabric this weekend so I can start some more projects that I've pinned on Pinterest. And everyone at the class had so much fun that we decided to make it a once a month thing and I can't wait for the next project! I never would have thought that I'd be joining a 'sewing club' or that I'd actually enjoy sewing!

 I obviously would have chosen different fabric that matched my comforter if I were making it on my own but we just used whateve was available to make ours. I can't wait to make more!

2. I'm heading out on a mini road trip with my sister after work tonight for a weekend getaway to see our friend Scooby (also crossing something off of my 28 Before 28 list!) in Yorkton. We've been talking about going up there for over a year so this has been a long time coming. When we finally confirmed that we were coming Scooby's response was "You know there's nothing to do here, right?'. Apparently having lived away from O-town in the last 10 years has dulled her memory that there is absolutely nothing to do here. AT ALL. At least Yorkton has restaurant options, shopping options, etc. 

3. I FINALLY got my #TenDaysInTexas post up! (Still doing a happy dance over here). I will NEVER wait that long to recap a vacation again. Like, ever. 

4. After recapping our Texas trip I started to really, really miss it. I jokingly texted my brother and SIL that we should move the planned Vegas stag/stagette to Texas (we had talked about it while floating the river when we were there) and they are actually in favour of the idea. Hopefully we can iron out some details soon! I'm also still hoping that Toni, Scooby, and I can do Vegas in July for Toni's 'Dirty Thirty'. Some exciting things are in the works and its definitely helping to alleviate my Winter Blues a little bit!

5. I've been really on the ball with replying to blog comments lately and that makes me SO happy! I got so behind in the last few months of 2014 - it was terrible! The best part of blogging is the interaction with other bloggers and I really let that slide in the last part of the year. BUT I have been doing pretty good with posting and replying to comments lately so I'm hoping that setting that tone in January will carry through for the rest of the year. If you haven't received a reply back from me PLEASE check and make sure you aren't a No-Reply blogger - that's no fun! 

'Crappies' from this week 

1. My chocolate brown Ugg boots that I got for Christmas in 2008 and have worn every.single.day of winter since then have almost bit the dust. Theres a huge hole in the one side - like you can see my sock through it. I'm going to stick it out for the rest of this Winter but then I think its time to say goodbye :(  Does anyone else get ridiculously sad about things like this?! Please tell me I'm not the only one! 

2. I was super motivated at the start of the week to finally get a fitness routine in place. I hopped on my elliptical on Sunday night raring to go - only to have to suffer through the loudest and most annoying squeaking sound EVER for the entire 30 minutes. I usually do an hour on the elliptical but even watching YouTube videos on full volume couldn't drown out the squeaking. It was terrible! I need to figure out a way to get rid of it so I can finally get on track. It may end up just getting a huge douse of WD-40 over the entire thing...

3. Krickit had another 'episode' while I was at home on my lunch break on Wednesday. She was vomiting, lethargic, and I was scared it was going to be a repeat of the last time I had to rush her to the vet (September).  Luckily (knock on wood) the last two times she's had 'episodes' they've been  minor and I've been able to warm her back up and she has been back to normal within an hour. I honestly don't think I could handle (or afford!) another emergency vet trip so I'm hoping we've got this under control

4. I only managed to get about half of my January Goals completed so far and considering tomorrow is the last day of the month and I'm going to be away I'm thinking I won't get them 100% completed. I do plan on getting a few things finished off on my lunch break though and even crossing one thing off is better than nothing!

Wahooo to a week of more happies than crappies! I hope everyone has had a great week and has some awesome weekend plans in place!

January 28, 2015

Ten Days In Texas (8 Months Later...)

The day you have all been anxiously waiting for is here (please note the sarcasm people) - my #TenDaysInTexas recap is FINALLY complete!
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I've put more time and effort into this post than I eve put into studying for finals in College. Blood, sweat, and tears people! I may have to consult a doctor for carpal tunnel, but its DONE! I deserve a million mimosas for actually getting this done

If you haven't read Part One of #TenDaysInTexas then start here

To quickly recap: Days 1 and 2 were spent driving. We arrived IN Texas on Day Two and it took almost the entire day of driving to get to our final destination of New Braunfels.  We arrived on River Road around supper time on Saturday May 17th. After chatting with our Aunt and Uncle we walked a few doors down to the Floathouse (another river business) where I had one of the best burgers of my life (seriously, you have to check it out if you're ever in the area).  I still think about those burgers 8 months later and I'm not even a fan of burgers!  After filling our bellies we headed up to the house to unload all of our suitcases and settle in. We called it an early night due to the long drive with little sleep so we could be refreshed for the days to follow. 

Day Four (May 19th)
I left off the start of my Texas recap on Victoria Day, and we were just about to leave for our first day of floating the Guadalupe. But first, this happened:



His (her?) name is Meeko and he/she was my new best friend! My aunt and uncle feed the stray cats in their yard (Texas rodents are no joke people!) and imagine our surprise when we look out the front door and see this funny looking 'cat' eating out of the cats dish. I somehow managed to get a smile out of him (and about 50 other photos...)

After our adventure with the racoon it was time to head down to the store and get ready to go floating. We packed our cooler full of drinks (the alcoholic kind, obvi), lathered on the sunscreen, and then hopped in the shuttle to head to another 'camp' up the river, with plans to float back to Bezdeks for about 3 1/2 hours. Because it wasn't yet Memorial Day in the states, which is usually opening weekend ofr all the river businesses, we basically had the river to ourselves (aside from the turtle - they were everywhere).

We drank. We floated. We burned. We laughed. We saw turtles (so.many.turtles!). It was a great day and one of the best days of 2014 in my books. Theres just something about being on the river with no cares in the world (other than a turtle biting your bum...) - I was in my happy place. 




Day Five (May 20th)

Before heading out on the river for the day we first headed into New Braunfels to stock up on essentials (ie: booze and Starbucks). Once we got back to River Road we headed back to the Float house for another amazing burger, before once again getting shuttled to another 'camp' up the river. There were quite a few more people out on the river this day than on the previous day, and while we floated a group of 3 girls followed along behind us. 

At one point  I thought we were headed towards a turtle (I thought I could see its head just poking up above the water) and gave a heads up to Kels (she freaks out if the turtles get anywhere near her).  The closer we got I realized it was not a turtle and the panic started to set up. The reason for the panic? It was a snake swimming across the river! And not the teeny tiny garter snake that I'm used to here in Saskatchewan. No, this thing was twenty feet long and came straight from my nightmares. It swam right in front of us (I could have reached out my hand to touch it - thank GOD for having bottoms on our tubes!) and when it reached the shore it started climbing a tree.  Kels and I completely freaked out. We were ready to ditch the tubes in our hysteria - somehow swimming made more sense to us than staying in our tubes. We were in full on panic mode and obviously not thinking straight. The girls behind us, native Texans, told us that it was a copperhead snake and that they are venemous


Our reactions x 2,000,000

Oh, and I named him Nagini

Kels and I both agreed that if we had Nagini on the first day that there is no way in hell that we would have gotten back in the water on the second day. Especially after our aunt and uncle had told us on the first day that our odds of seeing any snakes our entire time in Texas were 1 in a million. We should have bought lottery tickets that day...

Luckily the copious amounts of alcohol that we had consumed helped calm us down and we were able to finish out our float. We definitely drank way more than the first day after the snake incident. The upside to the day after the snake incident? Just as we were heading in from floating as we arrived near Bezdeks Kelsey asked me to be the Maid of Honour at their wedding! 





  

Once we were back on land we quickly dried off in the sun and then it was a mad rush to get ready for supper. Our aunt and uncle took us out for supper in New Braunfels at a cute little German restaurant that they go to quite often. The chicken fried chicken was ah-mazing (why isn't chicken fried chicken a thing in SK?!). As we were leaving the restaurant we found a stray kitten in the parking lot and I tried really, really hard to make it come home with me. I think I named it also but for the life of me cannot recall what (I guess thats what I get for taking 8 months to get this recap up...). Then we drove around New Braunfels a bit and they showed us some things (like a really cool water park that we are totally going to next time we go!). After supper we headed back to the house and watched the finale of The Voice and then it was time for bed. You wouldn't believe how tired you get after doing nothing but laying in a tube on the river all day!

Day Six (May 21st)

The next morning we packed up for our next adventure in Texas - heading to Gruene for a night.  Kenton and I had been to Gruene on our first trip in 2001 and absolutely loved it. Its an old fashioned town, on the National Registra of Historic Places and is so quaint and I just love it so much! 

Before we left we said our first round of goodbyes to our aunt and uncle since we were heading to San Antonio to the River Walk after leaving Gruene. The Budweiser rep was at the store finalizing the order for opening weekend and he gave us a bunch of free merchandise and some new drinks to try. Score! I also took a bunch of pictures of the store since everything has changed SO much since the last time I was there.

My aunt and uncles business has been completely destroyed by flooding at least two times that I know of (but I'm sure its even more). The building that I remembered from my trips to Texas in 2001 and 2001 was a completely different building than the one in 2014. Part of the new building includes a bar top that they had custom made. It has US and Canadian coins sealed in it and one of the coins (in the middle in the picture below) is the Oxbow Centennial coin from the Centennial celebration in 2004. My Grandma had sent the coins to my aunt and they used them in the bar top. I thought that was a pretty special way to show my Aunt's Canadian (and SK) roots


After our goodbyes it was time to hit the road to Gruene. It is literally about a ten minute drive (if that) from our aunt and uncles place on River Road, so we could have stayed with them another night but the Gruene Mansion Inn was SO cute that we couldn't pass up staying a night (even though it is quite expensive). We also didn't  want to have to worry about figuring out cabs since we would obviously be drinking. When I say that we drank our way through Texas I meant it...

Our first stop when we got to Gruene was Adobe Verde for lunch. One of the best things about Texas is all the options for Mexican food. In SK my options are ZERO so I was loving life while there. We enjoyed our food and drinks while outside on the deck. The weather was tolerable since it was only May - there is no way us Saskatchewanites could handle that heat in the Summer without A/C - we'd melt!


 

After lunch it was time to check into our room at the Gruene Mansion Inn. I had done extensive research trying to find the perfect room for us. I LOVE Bed and Breakfasts and old houses so this was right up my alley. We picked the Carriage Haus out of all the rooms and it was PERFECT. It was located right behind the main Mansion, had a deck with chairs that overlooked the Gristmill and Gruene Hall and everything about the inside was to die for. I loved the old style of the house and if I were to ever get into the 'tiny house' movement it would look exactly like the Carriage Haus. 

We settled into our room, and enjoyed a few drinks out on our deck before we headed off to explore Gruene and show Kels our favourite places


We went into the cute little shops, showed Kels the Gristmill (where we planned on eating supper later on), went into Gruene Hall, etc. After walking around we headed back to the room for a few more drinks before heading to supper at the Gristmill. Kenton and Kels slipped out for a little bit to go get old fashioned photos taken at a business next door to the Mansion, and I sat on the deck and enjoyed a glass of wine. I was definitely (once again) in my happy place



We were still full from our lunch at Adobe Verde so we didn't head over to the Gristmill for supper until after 7:30. Going back to the Gristmill and Gruene Hall were pretty much the two things I was most excited for about our entire trip. You know how you think so much about something that you build it up so much, and then it ends up disappointing you? Well that definitely didn't happen. They were both everything I remembered and more. The outdoor patios of the Gristmill have awesome views of the river, and the coolness factor of the entire building being the old three story brick boiler room of a Cotton Gin  is a 10+. The chicken fried chicken (that I've been dreaming about for over ten years) was even better than I remembered. The margaritas were to die for - it was a perfect night. 

After lingering at the Gristmill, trying to make the most of our only night there, we headed over to Gruene Hall (just a few steps away from both the Gristmill and our 'home' for the night'. A band called Poor J. Brown was playing that night and considering it was a Wednesday night there was a decent crowd. Fun fact about Gruene Hall: its the oldest dance hall in Texas and the movie Michael (with John Travolta) filmed the dance scene in Gruene Hall. The Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks, George Strait, etc. have all played. The inside of the Hall is small-ish but theres a large outdoor beer garden area. I'd LOVE to go back on a weekend in the Summer (maybe this Summer...?)


Day Seven (May 22nd)

The next day we spent the morning in Gruene, before heading to New Braunfels and then on to San Antonio. We started off our morning with breakfast on the outdoor patio at the Mansion. They definitely know how to put out a spread! We enjoyed some mimosas on our deck after breakfast and then it was time to pack up and say goodbye to the Carriage Haus. After checking out we explored the town a little more and popped back into a couple of shops to get some souvenirs, and then took some typical tourist-y photos around town








Just as we were about to leave Gruene (we had left the Mansion where the vehicle was parked and were literally heading out of town) we remembered that we hadn't went to any of the wineries, so we turned around (Kels and I couldn't miss out on that!). We went to the Grapevine and tested three different wines. Both Kels and I fell in LOVE with the Texas Southwind Blackberry wine (if there weren't rules about how much alcohol a person can bring back into Canada we each would have bought a case - so good!) so we ordered a glass and went outside to the cute little patio area to enjoy it. Take note, it was barely noon and the guy at the bar filled our glasses SO full we could barely walk outside with them we were so afraid of spilling. We may have both ended up drunk by noon that day after the mimosas on our deck and then the wine (don't worry, Kenton was responsible and driving us to San Antonio). 


Even though we had said our goodbyes the day before we stopped back at the store to say one last goodbye before we headed on to San Antonio and to thank them again for letting us crash there right before their opening weekend (a busy time!). We got a couple photos taken in front of the store, and I had Kenton recreate a picture from twelve years earlier in front of the old store (before the flooding and rebuild) in front of the new store






After our final goodbyes we headed down River Road one last time, on our way to San Antonio. We got to San Antonio mid afternoon (its only about an hour away, even less depending on traffic). After driving around in circles trying to figure out how to get into our hotel (it was right on the River Walk so a little hard to navigate) we finally were able to park and check in before heading out to explore the River Walk. For the life of me I cannot remember what hotel we stayed at (I guess I should have gotten around to finishing this a LOT sooner) but it was right on the River Walk, we walked out the doors and booom we were there. 

We walked, and walked, and walked that day. The River Walk has so much to see/do but its hard to navigate with all its twists and turns. We stayed at a hotel quite close to the spot on the River Walk with the most dining and bars options - the only part of the River Walk we had really explored when we went over 12 years earlier. We had a late lunch of a few appetizers at Dick's Last Resort and I got another Beergarita cup to bring home with me.  We went to the Rainforest Cafe for supper that night and then went back to our room to have a couple drinks and get to bed early in preparation for our full day on the River Walk the next day



Day Eight (May 23rd)

We ate lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe and that started off our day of drinking. After our lunch we went to visit the Harley Davidson store, the Alamo, and a few other stores and a mall that were above the River Walk but within walking distance. I got an awesome wine glass that fits an entire bottle of wine (because really, who doesn't drink the entire bottle at once?) at a store in the mall and was one of the best purchases I've ever made. We headed back down to the River Walk after that, dropping off our bags in our hotel room and having a few drinks from our handy dandy cooler while we were in the room. Then it was time to bar hop. We checked out SO many different bars along the River Walk. I love that there are so many different ones within walking distance



 

While at Durty Nelly's, an Irish pub where you get unlimited free peanuts and throw the shells on the floor and a piano player plays all day long, we came up with the BEST idea to open our own pub similiar to Durty Nelly's at home in O-town. The rest of the day, at each bar we 'hopped' to, we came up with even more ideas for our own bar (named Puzzles, obvi). I think the official count of bars we hit that day is 7 (Kenton or Kels correct me if I'm wrong please)


We had a late supper at a delicious Italian place with ah-mazing margaritas to round off our day

   

Day Nine (May 24th)

The next day it was sadly home time (it was also our Dad's birthday and our niece's dance recital that we unfortunately had to miss). It was a struggle getting out of bed due to the bar hopping from the day before, but alas, it was time to head home. Fun fact: it takes almost an entire day of driving just to get out of Texas. It's that big y'all! We stopped for lunch in nowheresville Texas for Sonic (one of our favourite things when we were kids visiting Texas was going to Sonic). They now have one in Minot, ND, only a couple hours from here, but we HAD to go to a Texas Sonic to relive our youth. Then it was driving, driving, and more driving

Day Ten (May 25th)

We tried stopping around 2:00 am at a hotel but there were no rooms so instead we drove a couple more hours then stopped in a parking lot somewhere in the middle of America and got a few hours sleep. Then once again it was driving, driving, and more driving. We stopped for breakfast at Burger King and I have to say, they make a delish iced coffee! Finally, after about 30 hours we  arrived back in O-town in the early evening on Sunday the 25th. Ten days flewww by on us

So, if you were counting, we were actually only IN Texas for 8 days, the other two were driving through other parts of Canada/America, but #TenDaysInTexas sounded so much better #eightdaysinTexas and we were technically gone on our trip TO Texas for ten days so we'll go with it. 

I'm SO happy (imagine me doing a happy dance right now) that I FINALLY got this post up!If you are still reading to the end I applaud you and if we ever meet in real life I will buy you a mimosa! It's definitely a long winded post, but like I mentioned in my January Goals I am doing this post more for me than anyone and I wanted to include as much details as I could remember

If you're ever going to be in the New Braunfels area let me know and I can give you even more recommendations for what to do/see! After finishing up this post I am missing Texas like crazy and may even be trying to convince my brother and SIL to move the planned Vegas trip for their Stagette/Stag to Texas, like we had drunkenly talked about while floating the river the second day. Wish me luck!

January 26, 2015

28 Before 28...

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Last year, around this same time, I realized that in just 6 months time I would be turning 27 and I freaked out a little bit. 27 is closer to 30 than it is to 20 and I had a little bit of an 'Oh my god when did I get old?!' moment.  That freak out led me to create and post my 30 Before 30 list, as I had seen many other bloggers do. I made my 30 Before 30 list and then pretty much forgot about it for the rest of the year (whooops). One of my monthly goals for January  is to update my 30x30 list with my progress, and I'm happy to say that I have a few things that can be crossed off or will be crossed off within the next few weeks (stay tuned for an update next week!)

Yesterday, while sending out a Snapchat (and also IG'ing) a picture of my Christmas tree with a countdown to Christmas 2015, I realized that in just 6 short months I will be turning 28 (July 24th for all y'all that want to get shopping for my present early... HA). The fact that I don't feel any different today than I did at 21 has made the thought that I will be turning 28 a lot easier on me than the realization of turning 27 last year

Since quite a few of the items on my 30x30 list are things that are not going to happen within the next 6 months I decided to make myself a 28 Before 28 list of smaller things that I know that I can accomplish before July 24th. Here it is:
  1. Make a t-shirt quilt
  2. Make plans for a weeklong summer getaway (before wedding madness begins)
  3. Grow my blog to 500 readers 
  4. Send out 28 forms of snail mail
  5. Re-read the entire Harry Potter series 
  6. Organize my Pinterest boards
  7. Complete 28 Pinterest projects
  8. Procure 28 items for seasonal capsule wardrobes
  9. Throw an epic Bachelorette/Dirty Thirty party in Vegas
  10. Master 10 yoga poses
  11. Purchase a full length mirror
  12. Purchase and set up a bar cart
  13. Complete 2012, 2013, and 2014 Project Life albums
  14. Rent a dress from Rent Frock Repeat for Vegas
  15. Completely declutter and reorganize my life
  16. Create a media kit for le blog
  17. Try 5 new wines
  18. Have Erin makeover KUWK
  19. Visit my high school BFF
  20. Stay out until the sun comes up
  21. Get another tattoo 
  22. Attend a wine/painting event
  23. Take a spontaneous road trip
  24. Learn 5 phrases in French
  25. Spend an entire paycheque at Target
  26. Read 5 books off the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge
  27. Complete another round of the Whole30
  28. Feel comfortable in a bathing suit
What would you put on your 30x30 list?

January 20, 2015

Reverse Bucket List...

I've had a 'Bucket List' Pinterest board for awhile now - some of the items on it are really silly, some are probably just pipe dreams, and some are items that I had already seen/done. I am a BIG dreamer so I have a lot of goals/dreams for myself  (most of which involve travel). 

Yesterday Cassie posted a list of 15 Blogging Prompts for 2015 and one of the prompts was Create a reverse bucket list of the 15 things you have ALREADY accomplished. Her prompt inspired me to go take a look back at my Bucket List board to see the items on it that I have already accomplished, and to also think up some of the others things I have seen/done that haven't made the board yet. And thus, a post was born

I have...

Petted (is that a word?)  a sting ray. April 2011
At the Mandalay Bay aquarium in Las Vegas. The fact that it took a 5 year old 10 minutes of convincing me that it was ok is beside the point...


Taken a gondola ride through the canals in Venice. April 2003
The movies always make gondola rides out to be so romantic - considering I was in the gondola with 4 friends from school it was anything but that


Visited Auschwitz Concentration Camp. April 2003
A very sobering experience, and something that I will never forget

Swam in the Pacific ocean. December 2012
Ixtapa, Mexico. I had never swam in the ocean until the trip to Ixtapa for a friends wedding 

Dug in the sand for sanddollars in the Gulf of Mexico. April 2001
Corpus Christi, Texas. We spent hours combing the sand and in the water searching for sanddollars. I still have a few of them in my jewelry box. I also got second degree burns from the sun that day - cloudy days are the worst days for sunburns people!

Floated down the Guadalupe River in Texas. April 2001/2002 & May 2014
New Braunfels, Texas. My aunt and Uncle own a business on the river that rents out tubes/rafts and we take advantage whenever we visit


Photographed Juliets balcony in Verona, Italy. April 2003
I'd have to do a lot of digging to unearth the picture but I strongly recall how much grafitti there was all over the place, which I found quite odd

Visited the Central Park Zoo. August 2012
I have to admit that as much as I loved NYC I was a little disappointed with the zoo. There weren't very many animals to see and the way everything was set up was pretty confusing. We spent so much time at the zoo that we didn't have a whole lot of time to explore other parts of the park, so next time I go I want to make sure to have lots of time to explore the park (and also go for a run through Central Park  - total bucket list item)

Rode the subway in NYC. August 2012
Almost everyone I told couldn't believe that I actually rode the subway (and survived!). The perception of NYC that most people have ist totally different than what I experienced. I felt safer in NYC than I do in Regina, SK

Been a bridesmaid. August 2012
I was a bridesmaid in my friends/cousins wedding. And I'm totally not bitter that they are now divorced. Yes I am

Gotten a tattoo with my sister. August 2011
Toni and I got sister tattoos (the quote: We do not remember  the days, we remember the moments) at Vince Neil Ink in Vegas 

Traveled by train. August 2012
To NYC from Hershey, PA. Traveling by train is so not the norm around these parts (most of the railway in the GWN is used for transporting goods, not people) so it was an exciting new experience for me. Arriving at busy Penn Station was my first reality check that I wasn't in SK anymore

Held a baby only minutes old. September 2010
I was at the hospital the night my second niece, Graycie, was born. I waited in Toni's room while my Mama and Dustin (the girls Dad) were in the delivery room with her. As soon as Graycie made her appearance I was allowed in the room to take pictures and hold her. I was there as she was weighed and measured and while she got her very first 'bath'. I even got to pick out the colour of toque they put on her teeny, tiny little head 


Ridden a gondola car up Mount Pilatus in Lucerne, Switzerland. April 2003
I am terrified of heights. Standing on a ladder gives me the heebie jebbies and yet I've been up the Swiss alps and ridden the SkyTram in Jasper, AB and seen the Canadian Rockies. Go figure

Seen a Broadway production. August 2012
While in NYC with my friend Scooby we went and saw 'Chicago' and it was every bit as good as we had hoped it would be. I would definitely go back and watch if I went back to NYC with someone who had yet to see it. It was that good

What items would you put on your 'Reverse Bucket List'?