Years ago I figured out there’s nothing better than a great experience versus adding more “stuff” to my life. When I think about what made me happiest in the last year its the events and experiences that make me smile and want to reach for the photos I took of them to help me reflect on them in more detail. Whether it is a getaway, treating my hometown like a tourist or learning something new, a great experience can inspire and recharge you in away that a new handbag never will.

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When I’m looking for a great experience lately I’m trying to find things that are unique and different where I’m not just following the crowd. If I’m getting pushed, shoved or have to stand in line for hours to gain admittance or a table its gonna be tough for me to be in the right frame of mind to make an experience great. That’s just one of the reasons I was thrilled to get asked to try out IfOnly’s exclusive events and excursions. The amazing array of experiences aren’t ones you’ll find in every guidebook and are exclusive to the folks who have signed up. Whether you choose an exclusive dinner in Gary Danko’s home, a kayak ride under the Gate Bridge, a truffle making party, a three-day archery class or a sunset ride in a seaplane you will get fantastic attention from your expert host.

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The other reason I was excited about the offer to work with IfOnly is that they have generously provided an exclusive discount code so our community can enjoy $50 off an IfOnly experience of their own. Just enter “BALANCE” when you check out to take advantage of the savings.

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For my experience I picked a tour of one of San Francisco’s farmers market with pickling and canning expert Kelly McVicker. Kelly is the founder of McVicker Pickles and was a wealth of information about all things related to pickling and canning. We lucked out with a cloudless day and a fantastic array of produce to choose from. Kelly was particularly helpful in giving me the low down on how to choose the best cucumbers for pickling. –Not the nice smooth fat ones but not the ones with wrinkled patches either! Who knew? I can make a reasonably good jam on my own but pickling was all pretty new to me.

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Next week proceeded to her kitchen for chopping, pickling, canning and importantly pickle sampling! Kelly shared some fantastic spicy, smokey pickled asparagus with me while she gave me a run down on her favorite pickling spices.

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Then we got to prepping several different kinds of veggies and spice mixes for three different kinds of preparations: refrigerator brine, vinegar brined and canned, and fermented. Kelly provided me with a wealth of information as well as a handout so when I got home I would be able to go it alone without having to commit every word to memory.

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I’ve actually read a bunch of articles on pickling but there’s really nothing like getting a half a day of one-on-one time with an expert. For example: I  knew there was such a thing as pickling salt but now I know why I shouldn’t use iodized salt!

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By the end of my lesson, I left with several jars of different pickles to try and felt confident enough in my ability to tend to the jars that will be fermenting on my counter for the next week. I also knew that my experience benefited the San Francisco Meals on Wheels. -Each of the great experiences with IfOnly results in a donation to a charitable cause.

I can’t wait to try my newly acquired pickling skills and make some great pickles to give as hostess gifts. I’m also eyeing all sorts of other if only experiences I’d love to learn how to make my own ravioli, become an archer or glide around the bay in an outrigger. A cheese tasting followed by a picnic with a slew of friends could be pretty awesome too. My son would dearly love a tour of a chocolate factory or a behind the scenes look at the zoo. I can’t wait to see what memory IfOnly helps me create next!

Click around to see which IfOnly experience is most tempting to you and remember to use the code: BALANCE when you check out to save $50. Also if you are interested in helping other people create awesome experiences and want to become an IfOnly luminary learn more about that here. If you do signup to be an experience leader be sure to use code BALANCE there too to advance your application! Let’s all get out there and enjoy our #Experiencesforgood!

Check out my awesome #ifonly experience #experiencesforgood #ad @ifonly

A photo posted by Getting Balance (@gettingbalance) on




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