Travel list check | Go to Tennessee

Over the weekend, we traveled to the beautiful state of Tennessee for an important wedding. We decided to explore a bit before the ceremony. I had only been to Tennessee one time and since I was a young girl, I don’t think I fully appreciated it at the time. The beauty of this state truly blows my mind compared to Florida. When you’re used to sun, flat land, and the beaches, the mountains always comes as a shock. It is surreal.

Our first stop was to Lookout Mountain to explore Rock City Gardens. We squeezed through wet, mossy rocks, and marveled over the nature around us. Then we stopped at a spot where you could overlook seven states (KY, TN, AL, GA, VA, SC, and NC.) This place really had a lot of cool views to offer. We even saw chipmunks running around carelessly!

Then we headed an hour and a half away to Fall Creek Falls state park. We hiked to the bottom of the waterfall. It was such an amazing sight to see. My favorite were the adorable, green moss on the rocks, the natural formations above us, and just so much to look around and be thankful for.

 

Then we went to the wedding and watched two very important people in our lives get married. We spent the rest of our night with them, laughing, dancing, and sipping on sweet tea. The next morning, we woke up and went to explore Burgess Falls. I had even more fun here than I did at Fall Creek Falls. It was an even more strenuous hike but it was amazing nonetheless. At one point, we were climbing straight down on rocks and were practically rock-climbing, and I mean real-life rock-climbing, not just purple and yellow rocks in a gym. Once we made it to the bottom though, it was incredible. The mist and spray of the waterfall blew your clothes and hair like a big air conditioner. It was reward for actually making it to the bottom.

 

After we left the falls, we took a two-hour drive to Nashville to explore the music city. Before we even got there, I found a guitar pick on the ground. It was just one of those little things that made me smile. We went to Antique Archaeology which is one of the locations on American Pickers. We also had amazing barbecue in the heart of Nashville. It was a pretty lively city! On every corner was a honky-tonk and someone in cowboy boots yelling something or singing. There was music in every nook, corner, and cranny. I saw men playing their guitars and some playing violins in doorways to take shelter from rain. It was touching instead of sad.

The trip was amazing and now we’re planning our next trip. I can’t wait to see where on the map we land next!

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Bucket list check | 29. Ride the tallest SkyCoaster in the world

Remember when I did the slingshot in Orlando with my friend, H, because neither of our husbands would do it and we just couldn’t bother with doing this alone? Well, again my husband and I were in Orlando already staying in a hotel on the same strip as both Old Town and Fun Spot, so she met us up there again. The Skycoaster is so much more intimidating than the slingshot and I knew this when we did the lesser of the two first.

I woke up with a stomach ache due to nervousness and ate the smallest breakfast I could stomach due to anxiety. We got there semi-early after checking out of our hotel, so we perused the shops of Old Town waiting for my friend to get there, in my favorite shop Black Market Minerals to be more specific. Every time I walked under the beast or watch someone get released and start flailing, I had to swallow lumps in my throat and ignore the awful feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Once she showed up, I’m pretty sure we sat there close to it and watched others get dropped from 300ft feet. We finally worked enough courage up to do it instead of backing out as I’m sure we both would have ended up doing. I don’t back out of much but I can assure you that I was checking out the bumper cars next door. Also there was a helicopter writing words in the sky about God so I felt like that had to be a good sign, right?

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The next dilemma was figuring out who would pull the cord to release us once we reached the top. There was no way it was going to be me. They make the taller person go in the middle and the shortest will pull the cord at 300 ft. Unfortunately at 5″2′ that doesn’t leave a lot of room to relax for me.

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We ended up in our loading dock to get strapped in when a group of people approached the outside fence asking if we were going to actually do it. After a few nervous laughs, we said yes. She told us that she wanted to do it but that none of the people she was with (assuming her kids and grandkids) wouldn’t do it with her. It all kind of happened so fast but we ended up recruiting a third person to ride with us. She was so cool for agreeing to go with us on the spot. In turn, she ended up being the cord (I’m so sorry Mary, for volunteering you) but she was totally okay with it!

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I had to take my glasses off for obvious reasons but H was worried about losing her shoes. I think the most funny part of this was hearing the guy say “You’re worried about losing your shoes? You have a whole boot on.” Anyway, we got strapped in and linked arms with H in the middle. This entire time I thought you lay on your belly on a platform, but it’s not a platform at all. You get into a harness-type contraption and it has an apron-like function that holds you in. It lifts you up and then tightens up so you fall forward. It looks like you’re totally going to fall on your face but you end up being all right and momentarily dangling.

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It starts lifting you up slowly and I felt all right. We saw a big turtle in the water below us actually. I asked if it was done lifting us about five seconds later and was informed that we weren’t even halfway up yet. That’s ridiculous. Once we heard the OK to pull the lever, we went soaring! It was a surreal, thrilling experience. We swung back and forth a few times. I screamed quite a lot and everyone heard, but do I care? Nope, not even a little bit, because it was a big deal that I did it in the first place. The view was amazing, it felt like we were flying, and there were even birds flying with us. It was definitely an experience worth having.

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I’m glad I could share this with two other amazing people, a really good friend and someone’s grandma. My husband told me that he could actually hear them saying “grandma, you’re so brave!” How cute is that? I would definitely do it again and actually plan on it within the next week.

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Bucket list check | 44. Milk a cow | 62. See Brooksville sunflowers

I’m back! 🙂
There will be a special message to a few of you guys within the week.

Let’s just say we went farm-hopping throughout central Florida. It was the perfectly sunny springtime day to do so.

Our first stop was at Sweetfields Farm in Brooksville, Florida. I have been trying to get to this farm for quite some time because all I kept hearing about were the beautiful sunflowers. We spent an hour tracking and backtracking through fields of bright, golden flowers.

 

It was so hot but honestly I didn’t care because I couldn’t stop gazing in awe at the beauty of tiny bursts of sunshine throughout the journey. Mind you, the sunflower is my favorite, so imagine the smile I kept on my face throughout the entire maze. Once we left the maze, we meandered around the farm, looking at all the animals. We saw chicken run funny, a tiny fluffy chicken squeeze out of the smallest hole in its pen, and watched small pigs run in a race with little curly-q tails wagging all about.

Our second stop was at Green Meadows Farm in Kissimmee, Florida. Here is where we spent more time with the animals. When we got there, we boarded a train that goes around the property. It was really nice and the kids around us were having a blast. So we were though. We basically ended up at a large petting farm and it was amazing. We even milked a cow! We were able to pet goats and sheep in the pen with them, feed them afterward, and we even held baby chicks and ducks! I was honestly way too excited. I was even excited when I tried forcing my shoes and hair out of the goat’s mouth. It was hilarious watching this goat chow down on my hair and literally try to swallow it all because I bent down to pet it.

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Bucket list check | 36. Ride in a Horse-Drawn Carriage

I don’t think we could have picked a more perfect Wednesday afternoon to take a Cinderella carriage through the city. I always dreamed about taking a ride on one of these downtown carriages ever since I met this beautiful horse posted by the Moon Under Water restaurant. The sun was setting, there was a feathery breeze passing by, and we even had our pup with us. The staff was friendly but also dedicated to making the experience special and giving us privacy. There was no bombardment in sight. It was just us three enjoying the breeze and the beautiful views of downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.

Our horse was a gorgeous Clydesdale by the name of Henry. He was gigantic and very friendly at the age of 12-years old! These horses are very well taken care of and you can tell. They respond well and they keep their cool even when people get close to take pictures or when dogs bark at their large, majestic beauty. They followed the rules of the road very well.

We took a ride down past a beautiful park by the water called Vinoy Park. We gazed at lovely houses, adorable bed and breakfasts, and even a dog park! Every dog in the dog park jumped out of their owners’ laps to bark a little closer at the horse. It delighted me especially because our own feisty dog was actually in the carriage not barking. Charlie kept his cool and didn’t bark at the horse, not even once, even though he pepped up and whined a little when we passed by onlookers.

It was a very romantic ride. We chose the Cinderella carriage so we saw many little girls pointing with open gasping mouths holding their mom’s hands on the sidelines. You have a choice when it comes to which carriage you’d like to take a ride in.

We had thirty minutes of clip-clopping through the cobblestone streets under rose petals. They were fake of course but still. The point is that it was cute. He also had to speed up at certain points when we went through intersections. It was pretty entertaining to say the least.

At the end of the journey, we posed up close to Henry. I was wondering how Charlie and the horse would react. One of his hooves was bigger than Charlie so there was no telling what each one thought of the other. Until this big horse face turned and started sniffing my little dog’s head. That was something else. I couldn’t stop laughing because Charlie was freaking out and about to jump off of my shoulder.

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Bucket list check | 27. See tigers at the Big Cat Rescue

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Tigers are my spirit animal so wouldn’t it make sense to visit the world’s largest accredited sanctuary for exotic cats? Growing up, we were a “cat family” thus turning me into one who could have been a crazy cat lady if my husband and I never got married that cold December day.

 

What I like about this place is that they rescue the big cats and end the misuse of large cats elsewhere. They have saved many illegal pets and kitties from fur farms. We saw tigers of course but we also wandered around bobcats, servals, lions, leopards, caracals, cougars, and even one adorable domestic kitten. Just as it was explained to us, these cats basically did cat-like things. They climbed and they slept just like any house cat would do during the day; the only difference is their majestic size.

 

I actually just looked up some information and apparently they’ve been rescuing beautiful cats since 1992, exactly one month before I was born. That’s awesome.

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The tour was self-explanatory. We walked around with a group and a guide learning about the cats, their backstories, what the organization does, and even some background on the people who started it all. Basically, a woman went to take a smaller cat and stumbled upon a place where many were being bred for fur coats. She was appalled by what she saw so she bought fifty or more cats and thus the Big Cat Rescue was born.

 

You can tell the people really care about their tigers unlike a few other places we’ve been to see tigers. They have plenty of space to play in, their habitats were clean, and the cats seemed like they were fine. Even the serval with an attitude who kept hissing. This organization is a non-profit organization so it was a nice change not to feel like they were only after our money and trying to exploit the cats. I’ve been to some questionable places. Each place has its ups and downs but overall the experience was good.

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I felt like crying, actually teared up twice. I know the tour consists of telling about the stories they’ve gone through and that there are certain laws that needed to be changed, however the sad stories simply made me feel badly with no way to help. I wanted it to be more positive and happy. People are so cruel to animals and it makes me so sad that there aren’t many left in the wild.

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Bucket List Check | 59. Name a star

source: weheartit.com picture links to source.

I don’t have much to say about it yet since we haven’t received our package from the Star Registry yet! This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now and am glad to finally say we have named a star in our vast galaxy. It isn’t named in just any constellation either. It is carefully selected in the Ursa Minor constellation. Yes folks, there is a star representing my husband and I in the big dipper!

The name is  our initials and our anniversary.

I can’t wait to get the package. When I do, I will post it here along with some photos.

I think this is a really cool thing to be able to do. Of course there’s no way to physically buy a star since the star can’t really be owned but no star is named twice. The website basically puts it like you are adopting the star. All stars are added to the “Your Place in the Cosmos” database which is then filed away safely with the U.S. Copyright Office.

It is very sentimental because anytime you see that particular galaxy, you will be reminded of whatever significance you chose to twinkle in the sky. In my case, it is a star for our love. I remember walking around my backyard while we were still dating, looking up at the night sky while on the phone with him from four states away.

This truly is a great gift idea and it is among the most unique.

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Bucket list check | 219. Go to a shooting range

I found a Groupon for a local shooting range which split the expected cost in half. I had to snag it before the deal expired and that we did. Turns out it was a gun range I used to pass by all the time growing up. I even used to go to the pet store across the street often. It clicked about five minutes before we got there that this was the gun range I saw go into business as a young girl.

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We strolled into Family Firearms on a nice Sunday afternoon despite knowing whether or not hubby would have fun. He is all about peace, so guns and peace don’t really coincide. I, on the other hand, was terrified. I was scared of guns and have always tried to stay away from them. I had no experience with anything more than a BB gun but obviously my husband training in the military, so it was nothing new to him. It actually came back to him while he was there.

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We were welcomed with the utmost friendliness by Frank. He made us laugh and gave us the best information for our first time at the range. He was definitely a cool dude. I think he made 50% of the entire experience because I felt comfortable and like it’d be okay, even if I was afraid. After he explained safety and showed me how to use the gun, we set off into our lane, and I had a bit more confidence.

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I made the mistake of putting on the ear phones when we got inside the doors, rather than before we made it in there. I can’t even begin to tell you how loud it was and how badly it hurt my ears. You have to learn somehow right? It was a good environment because for some reason, I felt like I was getting the same pep talk the girl a few rows down was getting from presumably her father. He was stern with her and taught her everything she needed to know, as if to build up her self-defense. I liked that.

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We loaded our 22 Ruger and began shooting at targets. I knew there would be power behind the gun but I was so shaky that I kept fumbling and the first shot put out more power than I expected. This is why I wanted to go to the gun range. Before I work on target and aiming, I want to be comfortable with holding it and shooting, just in case.

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Back to what I said about my husband and peace earlier: it came down to the moment we ran out of the ammo included within the Groupon. He asked if we should get more and I didn’t know. He went to find out the cost and ended up bringing them back and saying “WE’RE DOING IT” with the biggest smile on his face, he was so sure of himself. It made me smile because he was so cute about it. He was definitely having fun and I was definitely becoming more comfortable with it.

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He hit the target more than I did. In fact, I thought I did so well, only to move the target forward and see that I missed…so…badly. I managed to get the side, the blank space, haha! And maybe an arm shot. Like I said, I was more concerned with shooting and holding the gun, than getting a bulls-eye. I started getting distracted and a little nervous because some guys with some really big guns came in. Shells were flying everywhere!

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By the time we went through all our rounds, I was shooting and loading like a pro – a slow pro but definitely more confident. We would have stayed longer but we had a busy day ahead of us. We had fun and I wouldn’t mind going back. If we do, we’ll definitely be going back to Family Firearms because it was so worth the drive from where we are. The prices are great, the staff is friendly, and it is definitely a place you can feel comfortable for your first time.

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Bucket list check | 168. See a classical show

Be still my heart!

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Seeing the Florida Orchestra play made my heart happy because I used to be in an orchestra myself. Given, it wasn’t anything more than the school orchestra, but you really do feel like you’re apart of something bigger. I often miss playing the violin because it was almost as if it were an art. I was first chair, second section for almost my entire time in middle school. Then I managed to pass it down to my little brother and he still plays.

Anyway, the Florida Orchestra played a two-hour show at Ruth Eckerd Hall. I actually somehow managed to lead us to the wrong theater so we were ten minutes late and had to wait for a break in the music to sit down in our seats. I don’t know why I thought it was a different theater but we got out and started walking the few blocks before it dawned on me that we could actually be at the wrong place. We had to drive instead of walk but we made it just in time. As soon as we heard people clapping in between the music, we dashed down some stairs into our portal.

We had some pretty fantastic seats. We were in one of the first three rows and all the way on the end. We were sitting in front of the up-right bassists. There were a few violin solos that were actually beautiful. The music pieces played almost sounded like a walk in the forest. They played Scheherazade. I also loved hearing brass instruments. It was a lovely mixture of harps, trumpets, and string instruments. I’m sure there were more but it all came together so nicely. It was nice sharing this moment with my husband even if we managed to be late.

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Bucket List Check | 60. Swim in Hot Springs & 106. Eat something aired on Man VS. Food

 

 

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Maybe the springs weren’t “hot” but they were warm enough to make it to the list. The Warm Mineral Springs of North Port are the only warm springs in the state of Florida. The warm springs is a natural body of water formed by a sinkhole and fed by a spring. As any normal Florida spring is docked at an average 72-degrees, the Warm Mineral Springs are docked at a consistent 87-degrees.

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Prehistorically speaking, the springs are spoken of dating back to a dry cave. I find this very interesting. I especially find it interesting because it was said to have formed due to an earthquake.

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We took the GoPro out for its very first underwater adventure. I love this nifty camera. It takes really awesome action shots. The only con to this adventure was that the water wasn’t clear enough. Wait until a trip to Weeki Wachee or another clear spring happens and it is so on. It still managed to capture a few nice underwater shots up close. I definitely need to get a stick for mine so I can take farther shots.

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We didn’t swim for long but it was still a nice experience. It was nicknamed Ponce De Leon’s original Fountain of Youth because of healing properties in the warm water. It is actually used as a day spa and there were quite a few elderly folk floating about in the water.

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It was a pretty big area to swim in and in the center of the large circle is is said to be about 250-feet. I found this intensely fascinating. I can see how it would be a very soothing activity to do. Also, swimming builds great muscle and the water isn’t too cold obviously.

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I had no idea the water would be salt water though. It oxidized my wedding ring and it freaked me out, but I used cleaner, and it is back to normal now.

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The salinity was so high that floating was a definite occurrence. It was pretty hard to sink.

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We ended up leaving a little earlier than planned due to rain and starving. We were so hungry from not eating all day.

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We had dinner at the Old Salty Dog which was featured on the Travel channel’s Man Vs. Food. We were driving through Sarasota on the way home so we figured why not. We ended up at a different location than the one Adam Richman visited but both were in Sarasota. It was confusing and definitely not made clear.

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Anyway, we ended up ordering our drinks and calamari as appetizers. We never should have gotten appetizers because obviously, for a meal to be on Man Vs. Food, you know it had to be big.

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The restaurant was very beachy and tropical, but I loved that there was dog memorabilia everywhere. Even the condiments were stored in a dog bowl. How adorable is that?

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We then got our food and chowed down on the Salty Dog loaded just like Adam had. The world famous hot dog is 1-ft long and battered in beer.

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Then it is covered in mushrooms, sauerkraut, lots of cheese, onions, and full strips of bacon. It was really good but I was definitely not up for the challenge! I had maybe three bites and I was full. It was Man v. Food, and food won!

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In a few months, hubby and I are going to check out Munchies 420 in Sarasota. It is also a Man v. Food restaurant and there happens to be a bucket list adventure out there. Maybe soon!

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Bucket List Check | 210. Go to a Baseball Game

Take me out to the ball game, take me out with the crowd ♪♫♪

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Once I noticed baseball season started up again, I knew it was time to find some tickets and head to Tropicana Field. I’ve never been much of a sports fan so I wasn’t looking for the most expensive tickets in the stadium. We bought the cheapest tickets available and on a weeknight no less.

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It turned out to be a good idea though because we had amazing seats. The woman directing people at the map even said so. She told us a lot of action happens in the section we were seated. This already set us up for a good time.

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This game was the Tampa Bay Rays against the Baltimore Orioles.

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We had plenty of time to kill before the game started so we meandered around the large stadium exploring all there was to offer. Little did I know there was a Rays touch tank. I’ve pet stingrays before at the zoo and at the Aquarium but I was excited none the less. We received the whole “only pet the wing” and “only with two fingers” safety spiel then we were on our way.

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The part I liked most was that they were offering to feed the stingrays for a small fee of five dollars. I didn’t think anything of it until I learned it was fish, instead of pellets. That means they would be eating directly from your hands. I was so excited!

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The fund went to the Rays fund and to the Aquarium as well. I also found this fact exciting because the Aquarium partnered up with the Rays to have this tank. I love the aquarium and all sea life!

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A candid splash from a stingray friend. 😉

Well I sure as heck got my tray of fish and held them in an upright position for the rays to grace over my hand. Some splashed, some went the wrong way on my arm and freaked me out, and some crowded around when they learned I had food. There was a stingray party in my corner. It was delightful. I felt the brush of bristles lightly suction cup my hand for tiny, silver fish.

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We then headed to our section. We were on the third row to the bottom directly under the jumbotron. We had to turn around to see the big screen but I don’t think I ended up on the bright screen this time. I did see one of my friends from middle school though.

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My husband and I were getting more entertainment and a snicker than those around us because of another small-world instance in which I will not get into details right now.

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We sat there and watched the game for about three hours with all kinds of nice things in between. Between the jokes we made together, the Pepsi and water bottle races in which the Aquafina bottle face planted, and the $11.00 craft beer my love enjoyed, we had a great time.

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He found his craft beer so he was happy.

 

He was actually teaching me a few things about how the game was played; I started understanding more in the seventh inning, even though I already knew the basics of baseball.

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The mascots were hilarious. First of all, DJ kitty was adorable, and secondly Raymond, the mascot for the TB Rays, was hilarious. It took me forever to figure out what he actually is and apparently I’m not the only one. Here’s a tidbit of background on the mascot.

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Background

In early 1998, Rays scouts on a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico spotted a strange looking animal. The creature, apparently drawn to the boat by the smell of hotdogs on the hibachi, climbed aboard and soon won the scouts over with his silly antics. During the excitement, a scout had a brilliant idea: make this fun loving fuzz ball the mascot for the new baseball team. “Raymond” as the scouts dubbed him, immediately accepted their contract offer of all the hotdogs he could eat, all the high fives he could handle, and the ability to shake his groove thing to countless Tampa Bay fans.

Raymond’s animal-like appearance causes confusion among fans of all ages. His fuzzy face is similar to a walrus and his bulbous blue belly likens him to a mutant manatee. So what exactly is he?

In 2005 marine biologists and zoologists made a startling discovery; Raymond is actually a previously undiscovered species of dog known as “Canus Manta Whatthefluffalus” or in layman’s terms, a Seadog. Seadogs have all the traits of normal dogs. They enjoy going for walks, playing with kids, and fetching. Unlike other dogs they are five to six feet tall, walk upright, are blue in color, and chase catfish. While other dogs live on land, Seadogs usually live in or around the water. Seadogs are well known for their fun-loving nature, passion for baseball, and general good looks.  — Source: Official Bio, Rays Official Mascot Bio

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The woman was right. We did see some action and I swear we almost got a ball. He slid into the wall under us to get it so no ball for us. It was still a great experience. Oh and one more thing! We won! 2 to 0. The crowds went wild and it was awesome.

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Bucket List Check | 117. Pick blueberries and bake a pie

Part I : Picking the berries

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There are a few things that I adore about the small town I grew up in. One of the small joys is driving by a herd of cows grazing in the pasture and by fields of delicious ripening food. Plant City, Florida is known for its strawberries but there are other produce that is harvested such as blueberries, peaches, and the obvious oranges. We found a blueberry U-Pick farm that just opened for the spring season. It worked out perfectly just in time for an adventure this weekend and a rather inexpensive adventure at that!

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Once we arrived in the wooden barn of Proctor Family Farms, we were greeted by smiles and informative advice.

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We were then handed a blue bucket and sent on our way through rows of berry-filled bushes. The sun was shining bright in the sky and that made finding the biggest, darkest berries easy.

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We filled our bucket to the half-way line because it was our estimated three-pound line. Once we reached the barn again, we were informed we only reached a little under two pounds. We still had more berries to gather for the pie we plan on making! We were pointed to the very first row by a kind gentleman who told us he saw some big ones and quite a few there. He was right! We hit the blueberry jackpot. I actually think we filled up within ten minutes at that point. The berries were so big and perfectly ripe.

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We saw many complete clusters of violet berries ready for consumption. Truthfully, I walked up and down the aisle eating the prettiest berries I found. They said I could so why wouldn’t I? They were delicious and so sweet.

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All of the berries– the small ones, the unripe ones, the stragglers in the dirt– they were all so beautiful. It became a game for us to find the biggest and darkest berry among the branches. Quite frankly my love found more of the bigger berries.

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All the berries were gorgeous though. The mixture of dark blue, violet, purple, pink, and lime green colors spread out an aurora borealis in the bushes of the farm.

Part II : Baking the Pie

Okay so I’ve always been more partial to pie than cake. I can eat any pie but like maybe one or two types of cake. And no, chocolate is not one of them. I’ve had a hankering to making my own homemade pie. I decided to combine this delicious dessert dream and a bucket list adventure. I found a simple recipe online here on All Recipes. It just so happened to work out making the pie on Easter.

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These are the ingredients we used:

  • Sugar
  • A sliver of corn starch, salt, and cinnamon.
  • Pie crust mix (not that good yet to make it from scratch!)
  • Four cups of blueberries

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We basically followed the recipe directions to a T, minus the butter instructions. We forgot.

We mixed our ingredients, added our freshly picked blueberries (it doesn’t get fresher than that!), and then made our pie crust separately.

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Once we poured the filling in the crust, we latticed the top and baked it for about 45 minutes, then voilà!

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The pie actually turned out smelling, looking, and tasting amazing! We have yet to have a piece but I definitely stuck my finger in for a quality test. YUM.

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We had quite a nice size of blueberries leftover as extra! We thought we measured it perfectly but I’m glad we had excess. It afforded me the opportunity to let the kids I’m babysitting try them and even the baby loved them! The best part was learning that my Chihuahuas love blueberries. To see them eagerly shake their butts and tails while eating three blueberries at a time was exciting. We don’t feed them people food but fruits are good for them. It delighted me.

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Bucket List Check | 80. Paint with Wine Session

It seems this artistic activity has taken off with popularity within the past couple of years. We wanted to experience it for ourselves of course. So, off to Painting with a Twist we went! We loaded up our hand-painted glasses from a Groupon last year and set off on our starry adventure.

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I had a moment with the driver next to us and my wine glasses. Sometimes I do weird things without even realizing it. I definitely tried putting the base of the glass in my mouth in its entirety. I make bird bites so I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I looked over and she is laughing hard at me. So of course I laugh and then when I tell my oblivious husband, he starts laughing… We’ll just call that my moment for the day. Already a few hours earlier, I fell into the glass wall of a restaurant we left while on my bike. Classic clumsy Sami.

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I was slightly nervous because I have a very nonexistent artistic ability. However, I knew there had to be a catch. There had to be a reason for everyone leaving with a great finishing product. I feel of course anyone can paint a beautiful piece if they set their mind to it whether they are an artist or not, but still. I feel like maybe my chance of creating a piece that didn’t look like a three-year old’s portrait was slim.

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Turns out, everything is pretty much set up and laid out for you. On arrival, you had a blank canvas on an easel and a fancy paper plate pallet of colors neatly set up at your spot. It was just so lovely.

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I was nervous my picture wouldn’t come out anywhere near the actual painting but I actually did it! I was very excited about this aspect. It was so easy and enjoyable. My cold kind of got the best of me like last weekend but I still had so much fun sipping on wine with my love and letting the brush move in its own way.

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Hubby was loud as usual and wasn’t ashamed (that was before the wine) and everyone around us loved him. He was even connecting on the guy across from him by belting Bohemian Rhapsody. It was blissful watching them chuckle around us because of him. Everyone created a beautiful piece and I was glad to be surrounded by a bunch of genuinely nice and adventurous people.

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It was as easy as painting by numbers though. The instructor explains every brush stroke. Ours consisted of a lot of dotting and swirls. We severely appreciated this piece because it was very Van Gogh-esque although it was really “Starry Night at the Swamp”. He is hubby’s favorite artist so there was no way we would miss this night.

I loved the quotes flying around the room throughout the paint session. I kept hearing something along the lines of “paint is alive; you have to let it do what it is going to do on its own”. I love that because it’s a motto all my artistic friends live by. I hear it often and then see these amazing masterpieces come of it.

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There’s nothing I love more than connecting with the people who dedicate their time to these sorts of things. The same goes for the type of people who sign up for these activities. The instructor’s name for the night was Joelle and the assistant was Deb. They were both so much fun to have in class! You could tell both love what they do in the artistic world. Joelle was very kind and really helped us feel great about the colors we were putting on the canvas. She showed there was no wrong way to create.

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Deb walked around and assisted us very well and made sure we knew we did a great job. We even got caught chatting it up with Deb on a more personal level while we were checking out the archive of paintings that have been painted in the studio. I loved that they both laughed throughout and that made the environment relaxed rather than serious. There were so many beautiful flowers, trees, and even an Eiffel Tower. There were so many I’d love to go back and paint.

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I also liked that since we had our wine glasses, one asked us where she could go do it and we ended up giving her the phone number and name of the place. Ah, I love my website for this reason. It makes me happy with all the crap that goes on in ‘boring’ life.

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Voila! The end product turned out nicely. We managed to match up both of our halves. He painted the tree half and I painted the boat half. He mentioned it being nice that both of our styles came together in the end. I also like this because both of our separate personalities shown through. We worked together and our works of art came together as one. It was a very cool idea for date night. I added more dots and (we added a lot of dots!-I feel like that’s all we did, haha! Somehow we dotted our way to the end product.) I love what we created together!

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