Just PICT0141.JPGwhen I thought the combination of a bad
cold, a bad Valentine’s Day and a bad bout of extra-long weekend
shifts at work was going to render me entirely too bitter, the
unexpected happened. An event so unthinkable that it almost
single-handedly rescued me from the certain fate of spending the
rest of the year bemoaning the utter ineptitude of the opposite sex
with my adorable but inexplicably single coworker, Bonnie. What was
this miraculous occurrence, you ask?

Well, it’s almost deceptively simple. I met a boy. In Isla
Vista. A boy who although I’ve only known him for a little while
seems to actually be sweet, considerate and wholly lacking any
outward signs of insanity or manwhoriness. It’s a miracle.

Now, it’s still very early, and I’m not prone to counting my
proverbial chickens before they hatch or whatever. But, so far, he
seems like a nice, normal guy. A nice, normal guy I met while
attempting to kill my cold via copious quantities of Stoli at a
stereotypical I.V. party. This town is full of surprises.

Believe it or not, even after three years, I.V. still has the
capacity to come out of nowhere and take my poor tired self by
surprise. From cute clothing stores to community gardens, I.V. has
tons of surprising and secret spots where you can enjoy everything
from great clothes to a game of Frisbee golf, and since I’m in such
a cute-boy-induced good mood, I figured I’d share some of the love
with my loyal readers.

Everyone needs a little retail therapy every once in a
while—especially during this crazy post-midterms, pre-finals part
of the quarter when colds are running rampant and depression and
anxiety are par for the course. Unfortunately, driving all the way
downtown can get kind of obnoxious and there’s only so much
shopping you can do at the Camino Real Center. That’s why I have a
short list of sweet spots where you can score shirts, jeans, sweats
and sexy accessories without even leaving our little town. First of
all, there’s the newly-opened Sweet Jane clothing store, located at
6529 Trigo Road. PICT0144.JPGThis little boutique is convenient
enough for a quick shopping spree after class, and it carries
everything from lingerie to low-priced jeans. Plus, the sale
rack—located outside the store on most days—is a great place to
find bargains without even entering the boutique. Other places to
score sweet new stuff without venturing outside Isla Vista include
Hempwise for great
organically and sustainably-produced offerings, Isla Vista Surf
Company for sexy swimwear and comfy casual clothes and I.V.
Bookstore for a surprising selection of shirts and sweats. Looking
to enjoy the recent bout of beautiful weather, but bored with the
beach? How about a round of Frisbee golf or a stroll through some
gorgeous community gardens? Estero Park, located on
Estero Road, offers Frisbee golf facilities, a beautiful community
garden and enough grass and greenery to cheer up even the dreariest
of days. It even has basketball courts, picnic tables and soccer
goals. If you’re looking for more extreme adventure, you can always
try scaling the 11-foot tall rock wall located in Trigo-Pasado Park
at 6633 Pasado Road. It’s specifically designed to emulate a real
rock climbing experience and it has options for easy, intermediate
and advanced climbers. Plus, sitting on top of it helps short
people like me feel taller, and that’s priceless.

Speaking PICT0145.JPGof priceless, there’s nothing like the
feeling of discovering a new masterpiece, movie or musical
experience. UCSB and I.V. are full of opportunities to check out
new art, and a full listing of local galleries — as well as various
other local places to check out arts and entertainment — is

available at online
. Looking to entice your eardrums with
something totally unexpected? Check out the experimental music
night every first and third Thursday from 8-10 p.m. at the Biko House, located at
6612 Sueno Road. This night of new music features live musicians
and has been host to such jazz greats as Hal Onserud and local
music scenester Colter Frazier.

Finally, if your late fees at Emerald are getting you down, try
renting from a new resource — the Davidson Library. Surprisingly
enough, the library offers video rentals to students with a valid
ID card or to community members upon purchase of a library card.
Available videos include a collection of over 250 art-related
interviews and documentaries, as well as videos of performance art
available on the second floor of the Arts Library. More information
about the library’s offerings is also available online.

I don’t know about you, but I love surprises. And, as the
adorable t-shirt I picked up at I.V. Bookstore the other day
reiterates, I love I.V. Luckily, my two loves often go hand in
hand, providing me with plenty of opportunities to shake up my own
personal status quo just by venturing out my door — something that
I have found to be especially necessary during this difficult time
in every crazy quarter. Because bitter is never a good look for me.
And cute new clothes, a nice post-rock-climbing glow and that
serene smile that comes from knowing there’s a guy out there who
thinks I’m still pretty despite the combo of a crappy cold and a
killer post-Stoli hangover is so much better.


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