Bucket List Check – Get a Fish Pedicure

So it’s hurricane season in Florida right now. We’ve been under the grasps of Irma for the past two weeks. Between forecasts, hurricane warnings, and evacuation orders, we’ve been pulled every which way under stress. I live on the tiny peninsula on the whole peninsula of the state of Florida. We are completely surrounded by water. We don’t want to hear about hurricanes coming our way. At one point, we were even supposed to be a welcome mat for the eye of Irma.

Even up to the very minute, the forecasts were back and forth. We weren’t sure of what to expect. As we were preparing, there was a widespread panic. Boards were going up, stocks of food in grocery stores were going down, and we were left scrambling.

I cannot be anymore grateful for the fact that we didn’t get hit as hard as it could have been. We were blessed in that sense. We had a lot of branches down; that’s about the extent of the damage. Trees were down all around us and all the traffic signals were down because of … our huge power outage!

It seemed like the entire state was down. Stores stayed closed for a week; our jobs did not reopen their doors for the same time frame. It was rough. Our home was without power from Sunday night around 11 PM to Friday around 12 PM. That’s a couple days shy of a week. It was unbearable. It could be worse, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard with a baby and coming home to 80 degrees in the darkness.

Toward the end of it, we decided to see if the mall was open to get some AC and charge our phones. We stuck it out for days and figured it was finally time to find somewhere else to go. While we were looking for some seats to lounge, we passed by a fish spa. Whoa, back up. I was shocked. 

I researched every item on my bucket list so I knew where I was going to go when it came time to do it. I had a list of unresolved adventures: ones I was worried I’d never figure out, because there was nothing local. This was one of them. It hasn’t been legal around here in most cases. I was ecstatic. I pretty much ran right back to that spa. I found the cheapest option and sat there for the shortest amount of time they had to offer for my price range. (Being out of work for so long definitely was no grounds for this but since I was feeling pretty down, I figured it was okay. It was certainly a great pick-me-up.)

Fish spas are popular in China and are known for their therapeutic nature. The fish that are used are called doctor fish, or more scientifically, the garra rufa. You place your feet in the tank (after washing and sanitation of your feet) and they bite the dead skin off of your feet. The exfoliation is beneficial. They do not ingest anything and are fed at the end of the night. The establishment I went to was very clean and proper in their practices. 

Basically it tickles. It feels like you’re placing your feet into a bowl of tiny bubbles. Some of the fish really insist on getting in between your toes. At times, I had a cluster of them around my ankles. It was just really interesting and I enjoyed the experience. Z also loved staring into the tanks. She’s an animal lover. They were swimming around happily in a tank illuminated with a bright blue glow. There were stones placed in the bottom for a nice aesthetic touch.

The wonderful lady I had the pleasure of meeting ended my pedicure on the right foot: (ha..), she gave me the most perfect foot rub with their signature lotion. It was smooth and my toes did not go through anything harsh. No scraping, no pulling, no overly hot water; it was all just right.

Sincerely,

I still can’t believe one opened up just when I needed it.

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Bucket list check – Take a boat ride 

I could not imagine a more perfect day to take a boat ride in the Bay. Lucky me, I found this awesome venue through a fellow blogger on Instagram. Instead of having to deal with classes, licenses, and rentals, we went through a place that offered “e-boats” for an allotted time. How much more simple can it get?!

You still received the entire package of spending an evening on the water. My brother and sister in law joined us in this excursion because like us, they could live on the ocean. We split costs and spent two hours in the breeze and under a blue sky. It was baby Z’s first boat ride and she looked like a marshmallow in her life vest.

We were able to bring a boatload of whatever snacks we wanted (l-o-l) and could even play our music through the speakers on the boat. We went off in search of dolphins and although, we did not have any luck, we were able to scope out the entire bay from each direction.

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Bucket list check – Run a color run 

I have been trying to run a color run for three years now. Considering the event always took place on my birthday, I always made other plans. It’s called prioritizing, you know? Most of the time I like to jet away on faraway adventures for my birthday — not sweat my butt off in the middle of the road with colored powder seeping through my clothes and into my eyes.

As I also mentioned in my Zombie run 5k post, we basically pranced around a designated trail in a downpour. The zombie run is kind of eerie in the given circumstance, but a color run? Not so much. We were a bunch of sopping wet people running on a rainbow path. We were all sweating pink, blue, and yellow. Some people had an amazing combination of colors going (where did they buy all that color though?) 

We would have gotten into it more but we had baby Z with us. (Yes she ran –erhm, strolled, her first 5K!) She was even in all white attire like us. She had a blast! I let her get out and walk through the finish line (but she was most certainly not having it considering the rain was now reaching her poor, water colored butt.

I’m starting to think that the people in charge are choosing these dates on purpose. One would think you’d start to catch onto Florida’s weather patterns and not make people run in the wet, cold ish rain. It surely takes the sunshine out of the event.

Nonetheless, it was still fun and I would gladly throw on another tutu and run through clouds of dye for the heck of it.

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Bucket list check – Set off 99 Red Balloons 

“…99 red balloons floating in the summer sky..”

This was one of the single most 100% original Sami ideas I ever added to the bucket list. I always envisioned myself standing at the edge of a bright green field setting bunches of cherry red balloons to the wind. I feel like I got my idea from my cousin’s wedding decades ago. It’s funny what the mind recalls even at such a young age.

I always wondered if I’d ever do this because well, that’s a lot of balloons and where am I going to find a field? Then I became environmentally conscious and researched balloon releases. As much as I love the idea, I ruined it for myself because I learned “what comes up, must come down”. I even researched alternatives without strings and maybe a biodegradable material.

Ultimately, I ended up setting 99 red balloons free in the comfort of my living room at two in the morning while Goldfinger’s cover of “99 Red Balloons” played. This song has been one of my favorites since Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen had a carnival day in a film many decades ago.

We even went as far as buying a helium tank. If we’re being honest here, it most certainly did not fill all of the balloons. Or even half for that matter. You know what that means. We took it upon ourselves to blow up nearly fifty balloons and tried not to pass out.

Baby Z had a blast with a room full of balloons though!? I mean, how was she supposed to sleep when her house was taken over by latex full of air. The next day, the balloons were re-purposed and became props to the most perfect Valentine’s Day photoshoot of her.

  


(side note: one balloon did actually escape into the world. The cheap tank we got didn’t last very long. I expected it’d be safe to take the mostly drooping balloons outside for some naturally lit photos. Most continued their sad, droopy excursions and descended right into the leaves below. Except that one that slipped my grip.)

I had 99 balloons in my grips, but that ain’t one anymore.


Fun is not defined by anything but what you make it. Buy a bag of balloons and set them free at the break of dawn. Or not. You can just throw them around your living room, spinning and twirling to Nena’s classic song.

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Travel Check – Visit NOLA, Memphis, and Arkansas

Although I am a tad late in posting this travel list check, I want to say that this was the best trip we took last year. I think that can be attributed to the fact that we spent a lot of time with family I hadn’t seen in decades. These people are valued family members on my dad’s side of the family that moved away many years ago. Needless to say, quite some time passed before seeing my grandfather, uncle, his wife and kids, my aunts, cousins, and even some new family members.

Our first pit stop on the map brought us to “middle-of-nowhere” north Florida to see my dad and pick up my brother. We then proceeded to pack up ourselves, the baby, my younger brother, and headed out of the state way too early the next morning.

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Bucket List Check – Spa treatment? (You’ll see)

I’m just going to add a disclaimer that this post will be about vaginas.

But don’t get your hopes up. Take whatever pleasant mental picture you conjured up in your head and throw it away. Throw it in the trash just as you would a hot strip of used wax covered with every piece of pubic hair you’ve ever grown.

I’m literally not going to get into that much detail though. This isn’t that kind of blog. Trust me. As much as I would love to go on about the minuscule details of something I never thought I’d actually do, I’ll spare you the details.

My sister-in-law (AKA one of my best friends) and I have been discussing getting Groupons for spa-like activities that we’ve never done. It was mostly for the bucket list and naturally, I needed a support partner. Who do I normally rely on? My dear sweet husband of six years— but I guarantee that no matter how many years we add to our years married, he will never get a Brazilian wax with me. (Although I did learn from this experience that men do in fact get waxed down there. She actually said the only awkward part is the balls. She said that.)

Well, we never got that Groupon. We never got around to it. I got pregnant. I read all over Google that you are much more sensitive when pregnant and I definitely wanted to avoid any hair ripping at that point.

Let’s fast forward to almost a year after having my sweet bundle of joy. Guess what? It hasn’t even been a thought. Who has time for that? That was until a promoted ad popped up right into my Facebook newsfeed. A kind blonde woman advertised her services right in front of my face. How was I supposed to let that go? As far as I thought, it was a sign. Plus she was throwing in a complimentary eyebrow wax if we made an appointment that day.

So I sent her the link and she signed up. No questions asked. Within minutes, we got a text from the kind blonde woman and she took care of us.

Let’s fast forward again to the day of the appointment. We gave ourselves two weeks of preparation time. We still didn’t think it was enough and were thinking of different ways to get out of it on the way to her spa. Most of it had to do with the fact that we (mostly me) psyched ourselves out with Google.

We filled out our paperwork and it was time. There was no going back. A was more comfortable going first so I waited on the sideline at the opposite end of the table. That’s where I nervously laughed at everything, asked many many questions, and watched as she took it like a champ. I thought, hey it won’t be that bad right?

The internet convinced me that it could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more. Quickly, our kind blonde woman was done within 15 minutes or so. Then it was my turn.

Without getting into too many details, it really wasn’t all that I hyped it up to be. Of course it hurt in some places more than others but that pain was over in seconds. Plus our esthetician applied pressure quickly and did her job efficiently. For that I am thankful. She wasn’t awkward. She didn’t make weird comments. It was just normal every day stuff for her. And trust me when I say that the butt doesn’t really hurt like one would think? TMI- but I think we’re way past that point.

Afterward, she explained the scientific process to hair growth and provided some very informative tidbits. When you shave, you cut it off way before the root obviously. Waxing pulls hair by the root. So if you think about it, it has been firmly planted into your skin since you started growing hair there. Apparently, shaving strengthens the hair and waxing weakens it. The more you wax, eventually the hair may even stop forming in spots.

This goes for anywhere on the body, not just-ya know-down there. Interestingly enough, it may just be a regular habit at this point- who knows. That’s why I am so obsessed with my bucket list and this website in general. There are many things I would have probably never done if it weren’t for the additional push and accountability. I feel like that is true for many. You never know what you’re missing out on unless you try it out. On the way home, we confessed that we were glad we did it. We also passed a street named Virginia and I’m not going to tell you what I thought it said.

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Bucket List Check | Use a Pottery Wheel

This is definitely a skill you have to practice to fully grasp. It isn’t as easy as it looks and it is very messy. I was covered in wet, mucky clay. I also had to start over many times and my creations definitely didn’t look perfect. You have to move your hands in a certain way, while applying just the right amount of pressure, and then you let it dry.
A few days later, we were to come back and dye our pieces. Unfortunately we never had a chance to see the finished product. The shop was only open at certain times and we were extremely busy with the end of my pregnancy. I was informed that they throw out “unclaimed” pieces after a few month. When I called, the woman couldn’t tell me if our pieces were still available so I didn’t want to drive that far on a “maybe”. Oh well. Maybe next time.
That’s what Groupon is for, right?

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Bucket List Check | Have a Family

I’m six months late to post this but this is one of the biggest life changes on my bucket list. We didn’t know whether this would be checked off sooner or later but we figured it would never “be the right time” so why not stop trying to prevent that. Then I lost my job and it ended up being a good time to continue what we had been doing for so long.

A month later, I started a new job and was training at my supervisor’s desk when I felt really strange. I felt nauseous but in no way that I ever had before. That night I got a cheap test and it showed a faint positive. I didn’t believe it. So I got four more each time getting a more expensive one each time. By the end, I had a high-tech, digital blue sign.

We had been married for five years though so I think it worked out nicely after the initial shock faded. The pregnancy was good and she ended up being born on her due date. I guess technically it would have been a day after considering I was in labor that entire day. 24 hours later exactly, there she was. A beautiful, 7 lb 10 oz bundle of dark hair.

Our child is definitely a blessing and we are so happy we have a third adventurer to join our clan of us and fur babies. Even during the most stressful times, I’m very thankful for her and wouldn’t trade all the tears (hers and mine) for anything. She is growing so fast and quickly moving up in clothing sizes before she even reaches that age.

We try to take her on as many adventures that we can and cast away the general assumption that life stops when you have a baby. She’s already done so much with us so I feel like I’m doing good by her and us. She gets to expand her mind in big ways and we get to experience our zest for life with her in the hopes of one day, she’ll go on her own adventures and never settle.

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Travel List Check / Asheville, NC / Savannah, GA

We took an impromptu road trip to the mountains for the Fourth of July weekend. This trip was a trial run with and a minute break from reality. As unorganized as it was, we still ended up feeling refreshed as we do with any trip. We made a stop in Savannah before we reached our destination in North Carolina.

In Savannah, we explored the beautiful Southern charm of this quaint city. We wandered throughout Forsyth Park and around all the surrounding architecture. Accidentally, we found a Mellow Mushroom so we stopped for some psychadelic pizza. We have a sub-bucket list for all the locations and have now visited five of them together (St. Augustine, Fleming Island, Savannah, Clearwater, and Brandon; He has been to many more.) I’ll say this one is my favorite so far. I excidently marveled at the hydrangeas and Spanish moss dripping throughout the city. We also stood beneath the stained glass halls of St. John’s Cathedral and took a stroll along the breezy River Street brick road.

After we left Savannah, we crashed for the night in Charlotte to recharge for our trip to Asheville the next morning. We ended up in one of the skyscrapers next to the NASCAR hall of Fame so that was kind of cool.

I squealed as we drove up and down through the winding mountains. I watched the baby’s ears pop as ours did. The mountains are an exciting sight when all you’re used to is flat land and beaches in Florida. Most of our time was spent in and out of shops on Lexington Avenue. In the artsy city, we met amazing people of which it seemed we’d fit right in with. We also had the best food we’ve ever had in our life at a Himalayan restaurant. I still dream of this food and have been drinking chai tea since. If and when we go back, that’ll be our first stop.

We wrapped up our trip at the bottom of a cold waterfall. We hiked down to Hooker Falls. There were people in the water and splashing in the blistering sun. I went in knee deep and it was incredible considering how hot it was. I was the only one who felt this way apparently though. The second my baby’s foot hit the water, she started screaming. Otherwise, we all had quite the time.

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Bucket list check | 185. Go to a Blue Man Group Show

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Maybe I’m cheating a little because I saw the show once before in 2010 with my parents. Coincidentally it was my going away trip with my parents before I moved in with my now husband. This time we shared the experience together and an added bonus of a revamped show.

Mom, Blue Man, and me (2)

(Circa 2010 with my mama!)

The show is a must-see for anyone. They mix elements of music, dancing, humor, and special effects. I don’t want to give away too much of the hour and a half of blue extraordinaire, but I can give a mere sneak peek of my favorite skit.

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The Blue Men have a skit in which they feature intense anatomical acts such as the way the eyes work. With these elements and the mixture of flashing lights, it makes for a truly hypnotizing performance.

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So if you want to see the three blue amigos show what they got and bang on drums slathered in paint, you must visit the famous Blue Men! Not to mention, you get to be a part of an epic dance party at the end. I won’t give away what happens though. That’s the fun about it. 😉

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Bucket List Check | 40. Pet a Penguin

To celebrate the beginning of my second trimester, we marched over to the Aquarium to play with some penguins. We wandered around the maze of tanks before our VIP penguin experience. As you can see, the Aquarium itself was also a bucket list check so I didn’t snap many photos of the glorious sea life amidst the walls of water.

When it was finally time for our experience with the birds in tuxedos, I was ecstatic! You never really know what to expect when you approach an animal you normally don’t see often in your environment. You don’t think about the senses associated with a new animal or concept. For example, what it feels like is always my first go-to for new exposures!

When we first approached the large blue doors that would lead us to our birds, we were given the rundown of what we can and cannot do. The Aquarium is a highly accredited sanctuary for its animals. They love their marine life and it clearly shows. In fact, the extra money needed for the penguin exhibit goes straight back to them.

Upon hearing our rules from our biologist, we entered the cold room that smelled heavily of fish. To be fair, we received a warning before we entered the room but I was still afraid considering my strong pregnant nostrils. Thankfully it wasn’t all that bad. Instead, it was a lovely surprise of penguins lined up in their area waiting for us. Anyone who knows me knows that I love these flipping, marching birds! They hopped, waddled, ruffled their feathers, and stood there waiting to be picked up like small dogs! It was seriously the cutest sight seeing them wait their turn!

Out of the ten penguins they had in the room, only two of them came out to interact with us. We were introduced to all ten by name but we only officially met Cliff and Shelly. Cliff made his grand entrance by trying to climb into a girl’s long skirt. It was truly delightful to watch. She walked around letting us personally pet Cliff and to my surprise, they are really soft! They aren’t rubbery like one would assume. Then he sat down while half had a photo and snuggle op with Cliff while the other half watched Shelly swim around in her kiddie pool. She bobbed around and went from feeling soft to like a wet dog.

After we all switched, we watched the penguins waddle around the room and charge at us to receive petting. I sat down with Cliff again and pet him until he started to fall asleep. When he woke up from nuzzling into my side, he started pecking at a string on my shorts. They’re pretty handy with their beaks. A couple of them tried to take my cell phone through the gate and one of the free-roaming ones tried to take someone’s cell phone sitting on a bag. We heard stories about how they enjoy climbing into big purses and whatnot. Penguins truly are wondrous animals.

It was pretty cool learning about them in a scientific setting too. We learned so much from the biologist! This is definitely something I would 100% recommend.

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Travel List Check | Visit Washington, D.C. and New York City

People want to tell me that I’m crazy. When they hear our adventure plans, they say, “IN A WEEKEND?!”, and I proudly say yes. Some say I’m a dreamer and it is true. I’ve come to terms that I am an idealist lost in a world full of realists. It’s just how I am but I found out that it influences my every decision – such as traveling to NYC and DC from Florida in two days. And guess what? Here I am to tell the tale and the incredible views I saw spending one day in each place.

And I can say with some time and dedication, you can accomplish anything. We didn’t even really plan it financially or any other way. In fact, the night before we weren’t sure we were even going and a week before, our destination was New Orleans.

Our system was simple. I’d sleep all day so I could drive all night until I got tired. Then I’d switch with my husband. We drove from 9 PM one night until 2 PM the next afternoon. On the way home, he drove for six hours while I slept, then I drove for four hours while he slept, and then him again after four hours, and then my last driving shift was six hours. It was a total of twenty hours but I went to a big place I had never been, shared it with my best friend and love in the entire world, and witnesses some surreal sites.

Our first day was spent in Washington D.C. We went to the Smithsonian, visited all of the monuments, and stood in front of the White House. It was just incredible to see the Lincoln Memorial. They’re just so big and mighty. All of them were incredible but just to stand there meant so much to me. It was pretty nifty being in the same location of the president of the United States also. I was able to touch the Washington monument. Oh and there was an added bonus of ducks everywhere. There were babies and then yards full of huge ducks. Everywhere.

Our second day was spent in New York City, which was one of my biggest travel dreams. I was squealing when I first laid eyes upon the skyline. It was my first time in such a big city. We pretty much ventured around the city in a massive tourist scavenger hunt. I made a list of major sights to see and we Google mapped via our phone for hours. The only regret we had was not bringing our bicycles. We visited Central Park, the Rockefeller Center, Saks at 5th Avenue, Times Square, Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden (where I rode my first subway!), the Statue of Liberty from a distance, and the 9/11 Memorial.

Each place has a different memory and a story that I could go on for hours but quite frankly I don’t have the time right now and I’ve been dying to get these photos up.

I can tell you that while looking at my phone at the fence in Times Square, I heard a voice behind me, and realized it was Elvis practically begging me to take a selfie since I had my phone. I asked him if it costed money because of the time I got tricked in the Florida Keys by taking a picture with some guy’s parrot. He didn’t answer my question and just kept insisting. Stupid me went ahead and did it, then he said he works off of tips and accepts all bills higher than a dollar. I ended up paying FIVE DOLLARS for a selfie with an Elvis impersonator in Times Square. It wasn’t even a good selfie.

Oh, ten minutes later it happened again with a Monk who walked up to me and gave me a ‘peace’ paper and a bracelet. When I tried to ask how much it cost, he said it was for me. Silly me, assumed once again people were just trying to be nice in New York, I took it. Then he made me sign a paper and one of the boxes was a donation box. That’s when I told him I didn’t even have any money. He took the bracelet back and kept INSISTING. Even when I said no. He kept saying, “change”. Over. And. Over. And. Over. I ended up paying a dollar for this stupid piece of paper. I learned my lesson but yeah, I have to stop being SO NICE.

The most powerful moment was witnessing the 9/11 Memorial. I teared up a bit and I didn’t directly lose anyone. My husband and I were discussing where we were when it happened, I visualized the photos and news reels, and the live feeds. It was heartbreakingly powerful. It was Ms. Lyon’s fourth grade class when everyone started gasping and we didn’t quite understand yet. That day forever changed history and here I was, bracing my hand across the just rained on engraved names who lost their lives. I just couldn’t handle it.

It was an amazing experience and so worth the long drive, the tiring days, and the weird sleep schedules. We plan on doing this every month now, just to different states (that we can swing anyway- nothing on the west coast yet!)

I fell in love with new cities this past weekend and I can’t wait to tread across new grounds.

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