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Creative New Hobbies to Get You through Winter

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By , January 12, 2016 4:36 pm

The “winter blues” affect the best of us, even when we try to exercise, eat healthy, and catch a few rays of sunshine each day. And if you’re feeling cooped up in the house while all your friends are hibernating right now, you’re not alone.

January can be a long and dreary month, but it’s also the perfect time to get creative and pick up a new hobby! Before you start counting down the number of days until spring, consider picking up a new hobby to make the most of your time and learn something new. These are some creative hobbies that you can discover on your own or with a friend who needs pulled out of a seasonal rut as well.

Guitar and Bass Lessons

Whether you’ve ever played a musical instrument before or not, this is a great time to pick one up and give it a try. Our La Jolla guitar and bass lessons are aimed at beginners and teach you the basics of acoustic and electric instruments with chords and songs that you know and love. For more advanced students, get ready to learn improvisation, soloing, and various scale patterns. Lessons typically last 30 minutes per session.

Photo credit: Emily Mills via Flickr

Photo credit: Emily Mills via Flickr

Beginner Sewing Class

Sewing isn’t just for grandmas and fashion designers anymore! It’s a fun hobby to pass the cold weather months and a great way to make wearable fashion and gifts for birthdays and holidays. Our Dallas beginner sewing class is designed for people who have never touched a sewing machine before and seamstresses who are out of practice. Classes run year-around and typically last for 2 or 2.5 hours.

Glass Fusing Class

Did you know that you can learn the ancient art of glass fusing in a three-hour workshop in Los Angeles? Our introduction to glass fusing class will teach you the processes of layering and assembly to create unique tiles. You’ll also learn glass-cutting, shaping, and collage techniques to refine your craft and create beautiful kiln-fired projects. All the materials you need are included in the cost of the class, so just bring yourself and an open mind and wear comfortable clothing.

Photo credit: Jeff Youngstrom via Flickr

Photo credit: Jeff Youngstrom via Flickr

Perfume Making Class

Have you ever wondered what exactly makes up your favorite scent? In Atlanta, you can attend a perfume making workshop and begin a new hobby of making your own unique scents at home. French-trained master blending artists will teach you how to create products that are pleasing and reflect your personality. The workshop runs year-around and lasts for about an hour.

Jewelry Making Class

If you love wearing jewelry or are always on the lookout for creative gift ideas for loved ones, then a jewelry making class could be an excellent choice for you this winter. Our Seattle-based introduction to designing jewelry experience is a two-day course that runs year-around. You’ll learn the basics of silver-smithing, and how to saw, file, texture, and form metals in beautiful ways. This is a great way to learn about how to work with metals, soldering, and setting stones. By the end of the course, you’ll complete two pieces of jewelry and be prepared to make more on your own time.

Summer in Chi Town: Don’t Miss Out on These Experiences!

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By , June 3, 2015 11:00 am

With brutally cold winters that seem to last a little longer each year, Chicago is a city that lives for its beautiful summer season. So now that summer is here (finally!) why not try something new to soak up the sun and make the most of it?

Chicago Jet Boat Experience

One of the best ways to see Chicago is from the water, so kick back and feel the wind in your hair on a Chicago Jet Boat Experience. This is a half-hour tour that combines an adventurous ride with the beautiful view of Lake Michigan and the sprawling Chicago skyline. The boat leaves from Navy Pier, and the captain will tell you all about the city’s landmarks, architecture, and hot spots. Jet boats run daily between 11 am and 7 pm, May through October.

Photo credit: acuestareig via Flickr

Photo credit: acuestareig via Flickr

Introduction to Kayaking

To get a little more active on the water, take our Introduction to Kayaking class with the experienced guides of Kayak Chicago. This is a beginner-friendly class that’ll teach you everything you need to know about paddling, boat types, proper gear, safety techniques, and rescue strategies. This expereince lasts about four hours and runs on Saturdays and Sundays from June through September.

Sailing 101 Chicago

Another great water activity to try in Chicago is sailing! Our Sailing 101 Chicago class is beginner-friendly, yet challenging and comprehensive. To complete the course, you’ll need to take four sessions, and each lesson last four hours. So this is a great experience for locals living in the city! Sessions run daily between April and September.

Chicago Shopping Tour: Bucktown and Wicker Park

If you’re more in the mood for a little retail therapy, why not let a shopping expert help you focus and guide you through the city’s trendiest shopping district? Our Chicago Shopping Tour: Bucktown and Wicker Park experience will take you to unique boutiques and introduce you to fashion trends and the creations of top designers. You’ll meet your guide and fellow shoppers at a cafe and then head out to receive VIP treatment and the guidance of a personal shopping stylist. The experience lasts about two hours and starts at 1:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Devil’s Lake Day Rock Climb

If you’re willing to venture outside of the city to explore the surrounding area a bit, check out our Devil’s Lake Day Rock Climb experience in southern Wisconsin. This is an ideal climbing destination for beginner climbers, and experienced guides will provide you with all the gear you need. The day begins around 9:00 am and runs until about 4:00 pm. There are more than 2,000 climbing routes here along the picturesque cliffs that overlook Devil’s Lake – perfect for taking a summertime dip after a day of climbing!

Photo credit: stewie811 via Flickr

Photo credit: stewie811 via Flickr

These are a few of the other summer-centric attractions that are must-dos in the city of Chicago:

  • Lollapalooza
  • Cubs game at Wrigley Field
  • Sox game at US Cellular Field
  • North Avenue Beach
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Chicago Air & Water Show
  • Navy Pier Fireworks

For a list of Chicago’s exciting 2015 festivals, take a look at TimeOut’s 2015 Summer Festival Guide and browse through FunSherpa’s Chicago experiences to find one that’ll make your summer unforgettable!

Funsherpa Expands to Three More US Cities

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By , September 18, 2013 5:24 pm

(Sept. 5, 2013) — Representatives with Funsherpa, LLC announced today that it has expanded to three new cities: Seattle, Boston, and Miami.

 

Raquel Rausch, Principal Experience Officer of Funsherpa, LLC, said the expansion will allow more people across the nation to have unique experiences through its gift certificates.

 

“Funsherpa began selling experiential gifts in Chicago and we are excited to expand our online market to other major cities across the United States,” Rausch stressed, before adding, “We have been working hard with vendors to provide the best experiences that capture the essence of each city we serve.”

 

Rausch went on to explain that the company provides unique experience gift certificates – from skydiving to cooking classes, which she says are all guaranteed to be the perfect gift for anyone’s loved one.

 

The company, which has been featured in Fox News, Thrillist, Daily Candy and Chicago Now, is an “experience gift” provider, which, according to company representatives, has been delivering alternatives to boring gifts since 2009.

 

“Customers are no longer pigeonholed into buying tired and predictable gifts,” Rausch pointed out. “Experiences provided by Funsherpa range from skydiving to $200,000 flights in space.”

 

The company has 2,000-plus experiences in major cities including San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles.

 

“Unlike other experience providers, we focus on providing the most unique and thoughtful experiences on our site,” Rausch noted about the company that’s geared toward adults looking to give memorable and unique gifts experiences.

 

One customer identified as Melissa, of Chicago, gave the company two thumbs up based on her experience.

 

“I proposed to my now fiancée through a Funsherpa private sail and it was just amazing,” she recalled.

 

Another customer identified as James of Evanston, Ill., said he found the coolest wedding gift on the company’s website.

 

“My friends couldn’t stop talking about it for days,” he said.

 

For more information, please visit: http://www.funsherpa.com/experience-gift/ and http://blog.funsherpa.com/

Think Outside the Box When Choosing a Birthday Gift for Boyfriend

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By , September 18, 2013 5:22 pm

There are two categories of people in the world who are particularly tricky when it comes to giving gifts: people you don’t know well enough to choose a perfect gift for, and people who seem to have everything already! In fact, even when you know someone very well, sometimes you just feel like you’ve run dry of inspiration when their birthday rolls around. This is especially frustrating when it’s someone that you care about very much and would especially like to get a really awesome birthday present for! Boyfriends are notoriously difficult to shop for, whether you’ve just gotten together or whether you’ve been together for a long time. If you’re having a hard time finding a birthday gift for boyfriend this year, here are some things to keep in mind.

gifts for boyfriends

First, you should already know that you needn’t feel obligated to spend a ton of money. The quality of a gift is much more important than the quantity of cash you spent on it! “It’s the thought that counts” isn’t just a saying for when someone doesn’t like the gift you gave them. It also has a positive meaning: the thought, caring and time you put into choosing a gift are as much a part of the gift as the item you end up wrapping and giving away. When buying a birthday gift for a boyfriend, remember that he loves you for who you are, and anything you give him will be extra special because it comes from you.

 

Next, remember that not all gifts are the sort that can be put in a box and wrapped up. There are plenty of ways to let someone know you care without having to go gift shopping. You can cook him a special dinner just for the two of you, or if cooking isn’t your thing, a special night at his favorite restaurant may be a perfect gift all by itself. You can take him to one of your favorite places that he’s never seen before, like an art gallery or a beautiful hiking trail. The best birthday gift for your boyfriend will be the time he spends with you, doing something you both love.

 

If you’re really feeling stuck for a good birthday gift for a boyfriend, you can always give him an extra bit of responsibility—let him choose his own gift! Gift cards are extremely popular, and with good reason. You’re giving someone a small shopping spree with the flexibility to get exactly what they want. There’s nothing like a guarantee that they won’t end up with something they don’t like.

 

Buying a birthday gift for a boyfriend can be tricky, but remember to have fun with it. Don’t give yourself a headache. Remember that he loves you and that it’s a birthday gift, not an exam! If you think about what you know about him, and what he likes, and what the two of you like doing as a couple, you’re sure to come up with something wonderful and if you can’t…well we may have a few idea for you. Most importantly, remember that you can never get him a gift he loves as much as he loves you!

Exploring Sydney, Australia

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By , September 6, 2013 12:13 am

With incredible beaches, great shopping, and an eclectic clubbing scene, Sydney is a must-see city for anyone visiting Australia.

While Sydney is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live, it can be a surprisingly affordable place to visit. This vibrant, multi-cultural city is full of things to see and do that won’t break the bank:

 

Take the ferry across to Manly Beach.

The ferry departs from Circular Quay and you’ll be relaxing on the beach in half an hour. This beach is one of the most popular in Australia, and filled to the brim with surfers and tourists. Spend some time learning to surf, or just relax and grab a drink in one of the many bars and restaurants.

 

Walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge connects Sydney and North Sydney and there’s a large walkway for pedestrians. Take a camera, and make sure you stop halfway for incredible views of the Sydney Opera House.

 

Wander around the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Spread over thirty hectares and located in the middle of the city, the Royal Botanic Gardens have free guided walks daily at 10.30am from the Garden Shop. Take your time exploring the beautiful grounds (make sure you visit the Rose Garden), before enjoying a delicious lunch in the restaurant.

 

Grab a bargain in Chinatown.

Spend a day browsing the stores in Chinatown, and don’t forget to check out Paddy’s Market which is also close by. After a long day of walking around, enjoy some Chinese food on Dixon Street. Chinatown is also full of restaurants that stay open much later than others-making it the perfect place to swing by after a night dancing in the clubs.

 

Explore the Sydney Opera House.

It’s hard to think of Sydney without picturing the Opera House, so don’t forget to stop by and explore this World Heritage site. Doors open at 9am, so take a tour and learn about the history of the Opera House, or even better see show or performance here.

 

Walk from Bondi Beach to Bronte.

This is the most famous walk in Sydney, and for good reason. Keep an eye out for celebrities, and take your camera for excellent photo opportunities along the way. Expect to take around two hours, more if you’re stopping constantly (and you’ll want to), and take some water with you as it’s sure to be a sunny day.

Activity to try: Stand-Up Paddleboarding

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By , August 3, 2013 8:32 am

If it’s a hot summer and you’re ready to try something different, let me introduce you to the fastest growing watersport in the world: stand-up paddleboarding (or SUP as the cool-kids call it). You don’t need any waves, in fact it’s better to begin on a river or lake, and it’s an activity the whole family can do.

Is Stand-Up Paddleboarding for me?

While you may worry about being uncoordinated, stand-up paddleboarding is much easier to learn than surfing, and you’ll probably feel surprisingly stable once you’re balanced in the middle of the board. Get an instructor to show you the basics, and make sure you start on a day with calm water and little wind.

The best thing about stand-up paddleboarding is you can tailor the workout for how you feel that day. Feeling tired or lazy? Simply float around and enjoy the sights. Feeling energetic and daring? Head out to the surf to really challenge yourself. Because you’re standing up, you’ll be treated to views that you wouldn’t usually see such as marine life and the horizon. It really is like walking on water.

What Kind of Workout can I Expect?

Stand-up paddleboarding delivers a killer low-impact workout, and targets almost every muscle in your body as you have to work hard to stay on the board. Your abs in particular get stronger every time you go out onto the water, and your arms will soon be toned from paddling.

Yogi’s have discovered stand up paddleboards as well, allowing them to have an even better workout, while the super-fit are doing everything from push-ups to lunges on theirs.

How do I get started?

Sign up for an introductory lesson so you can learn the basics. This will allow you to get a feel for the board and learn how to paddle without falling off. The instructor will be able to give you pointers on your technique so next time you can go out alone.

A paddleboard and paddle will set you back between $1000 and $2500. Borrow a few different boards and get a feel for them before you buy, and make sure you get a board with a strap so it’s easier to carry.

Stand-up Paddleboarding Tips:

  • Keep your feet shoulder width apart and parallel to spread your weight evenly over the board. Don’t make the mistake of putting one leg behind the other as your balance will suffer.
  • Your grip on the paddle should also be about shoulder width apart, allowing you to have the maximum amount of power in your stroke and get some leverage.
  • Keep your gaze on the horizon or at least make sure you’re not looking at your feet-that’s the best way to make sure you’ll end up in the water.
  • Keep the paddle in the water as much as you can, and don’t drag the paddle behind your feet.

Experience the Adventure Capital of the World

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By , April 26, 2013 5:44 pm

For true adrenalin junkies, there’s only one place you should be dreaming about: Queenstown, New Zealand. Known as the “Adventure Capital of the World”, you’ll need to stay for at least a  couple of weeks to experience all that Queenstown has to offer.

Once you arrive you’ll find that half of the bar staff, waiters, and tour operators are travelers from overseas who fell in love with the place and are spending their gap year abroad snowboarding and exploring the region.

There’s a reason why so many people move to Queenstown-the place has activities for every level of thrill-seeker; whether you’re a near-death-experience kind of person, or you prefer a more sedate type of adventure. Here are just a few of the best adventure activities available in Queenstown:

 

The Shotover Jet

The shotover jet is a fun, exciting jet boat ride for both children and adults. Operating out of the fast-flowing shotover river, you’ll fly through the narrow canyon with the occasional 360 degree turn to keep things interesting. Not only do you get to enjoy the scenery that Queenstown is so famous for, but you’ll have a heart-pumping good time as your experienced driver guides the jetboat between rocks and boulders.

 

Bungee Jumping

Commercial bungee jumping began in Queenstown, so make sure you head to the 141 feet Kawarau Bridge bungee-the world’s oldest bungee jump. You can choose to hang above the water, touch it, or be fully immersed in the chilly river.

If you’re feeling really brave, the Nevis is New Zealand’s highest jump, at 440 feet. That’s around 8 seconds of free-falling-more than enough time to think about what you’ve done on the way down.

 

White Water Rafting

There are two main options for white water rafting in Queenstown. The first is the Shotover River which is grade 3-5 and best suited for those who have been white water rafting before. The other option is the Kawarau River which is grade 2-3. The Kawarau River is perfect for those who are looking for a more relaxing experience, and want to see more of the river that featured in Lord of the Rings. You can enjoy a sauna afterward, before grabbing a hot chocolate and heading back to Queenstown.

 

Skydiving

For the ultimate adrenalin rush, why not jump out of a plane? NZone offers tandem skydiving from up to 15000 feet-that means you’re reaching terminal velocity, and a speed of 200 mph. With a 60 second free-fall, followed by a five minute parachute ride, you’ll have the opportunity to take in some of the most stunning scenery in the world.

 

If you’re a thrill-seeker, and you’re ready to try somewhere new, head to Queenstown, New Zealand. It takes a while to get there, but the long flight is definitely worth it.

Kayaking: Give it a go Today

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By , April 26, 2013 5:41 pm

How many times have you seen someone leisurely kayaking down a river and pictured yourself doing the same? Here are some reasons why you should pick up a paddle and try this popular sport:

 

Anyone can do it

The first kayaks were built around 4000 years ago, by the Inuits, and kayaking is still an incredibly popular activity today, made even more popular by books like Fearless: One Woman, One Kayak, One Continent by Joe Glickman. You don’t need to be an athlete in order to start kayaking though, since it’s a relatively easy skill to learn, and it’s suitable for people of all ages.

If you’re just starting out you may want to take some lessons so you can learn how to get in and out of the kayak, different paddling techniques, and how to get back into the kayak if you fall out. Eventually you’ll work up to wet-exiting (getting out while upside down), and rolling the kayak.

 

Working out without spending time at the gym

There are a large number of physical benefits to kayaking, and you’ll quickly notice an increase in muscle tone, as well as weight loss, stress relief and improved cardiovascular health. Most of the time kayaking doesn’t feel like you’re working out, although it’s the perfect activity if you’re looking to tone up your back, arms, and shoulders, as well as your core and even your lower body.

 

Fun for the whole family

Most kayaks can accommodate between one and three people, making it a great activity for both families and friends. If you’re looking to fill in an afternoon, hire some kayaks and head down to the local river or lake and spend some time cruising along the water or mix it up and have a few races before stopping for a picnic.

 

Get back to Nature

Often we fail to take the time out of our day to really appreciate nature. Kayaking gives you a chance to enjoy the outdoors since you’re traveling slowly enough that you can take in the beauty around you. There are few things more relaxing than gliding along the water on a hot summer’s day, occasionally being splashed by water from your paddles. Some of the best places to kayak include the Upper Iowa River, where the water is relatively smooth, and the scenery is stunning, and for those who are more experienced try Clackamas River which has more challenging rapids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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