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

 

 

wpid-img_2015041148103.jpg

 

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.

wpid-img_2015041142322.jpg

 

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.

wpid-img_2015041146134.jpg

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.

wpid-img_2015041156780.jpg

wpid-img_2015041129820.jpg

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.

wpid-img_2015041139930.jpg

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.

wpid-img_2015041153809.jpg

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.

wpid-img_201504114488.jpg

G0040824 GOPR0878 GOPR0877 GOPR0874 GOPR0868 GOPR0866 GOPR0865 GOPR0863 GOPR0862 GOPR0860 GOPR0858 GOPR0809 GOPR0808 GOPR0807 GOPR0805 GOPR0801 GOPR0799 GOPR0859 GOPR0797 GOPR0796 GOPR0795 G0150855 G0060829

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

wpid-img_2015041150229.jpg

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

wpid-img_2015041120396.jpg

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.

wpid-img_2015041127702.jpg

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.

wpid-img_2015041111110.jpg

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?

wpid-img_2015041145848.jpg

wpid-img_2015041138635.jpg

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.

wpid-img_201504115176.jpg

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!

wpid-img_201504119624.jpg

wpid-img_2015041156629.jpg

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!

Continue Reading

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

Part I : Picking the berries

wpid-img_2015040538701.jpg

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!

wpid-img_2015040528658.jpg

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

wpid-img_2015040546772.jpg

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.

wpid-img_2015040546908.jpg

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.

wpid-img_20150405644.jpg wpid-img_2015040537375.jpg

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.

wpid-img_2015040524976.jpg

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.

wpid-img_2015040529250.jpg wpid-img_2015040517589.jpg

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.

wpid-img_201504055656.jpg

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

wpid-img_2015040556743.jpg

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.

wpid-img_2015040550709.jpg wpid-img_201504059864.jpg

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

wpid-img_2015040514374.jpg

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.

wpid-img_2015040519553.jpg

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.

Continue Reading

Double Bucket List Checks | 192. Jump in a trampoline room & 111. Eat from a food truck.

Tampa has a fantastic resource for finding the famous food trucks. There is a website available to look up which are active on which days and where they would be. Today we went on a scavenger hunt to find Tamales and Mexican Food by America’s Disaster Relief at the Cigar City Brewery. With my husband being the craft beer connoisseur he is, I figured it would be a perfect addition to go on one of the tours they offer. So, we did. We walked around the brewery learning about the process that goes into brewing beer with awesome souvenir pint glasses filled with some of the best local beer of Florida. It is world-class in fact. I don’t really like beer but I still think Cigar City puts out some great beers. My husband will swear by Jai-Alai IPA (in fact most would) and I actually liked it for the most part. We tasted Jai-Alai, Hotter Than Hellese, Maduro, and a uncarbonated double IPA. That one was really good. My love managed to snag doubles of each and I am a lightweight who drank on an empty stomach; needless to say we both “accidentally” ended up a little tipsy. It definitely wasn’t even five o’clock yet…

The food truck we specifically wanted to eat at didn’t come until 4 PM so we had a lot of waiting to do. We waited even after finishing everything we wanted to do there and I’m glad we did; it was so worth it! Spanish food is our go-to and we literally eat burritos for nearly every meal. Tamales and Mexican Food by America’s Disaster Relief have fantastic prices, a really friendly staff, and very efficient services. They even have every hot sauce you could think of and that is incredibly helpful for hot sauce nerds like us. As hotheads, we loooove having a variety obviously. The service was extremely quick as well. I think we had our food within five minutes and it was done with quality. Even with how large they are, they didn’t fall apart and get extremely messy (she even gave us tips on how to eat it the best way!) The burritos are giant and so fresh. We had to take half of them home because we were so full halfway into it. My favorite part was the staff. There are two of them: a fantastic chef and a sweet woman. We talked for a few minutes about their future plans, some of the events they attend (even local which we plan on attending to revisit them!), and their offices are somewhat close to us also. I love love the fact that they are one of the only food trucks in Florida based on charity. They are in the running for a big-time food truck cook-off in Texas in a few months. I really hope they win it because they would deserve it.

We also went jumping at the Airheads Trampoline Arena and quickly got reminded of our age. We had to buy some grip socks and redeem our Groupon (oh, that is the best). Then we entered the trampoline area. As there were a bunch of kids literally bouncing off the walls around us, we managed to do so for about ten minutes and had to sit down again. I now realize why they have fitness classes there. Apparently you can burn 1000 calories per hour. We went back out there and jumped together in our own corner. We started run-jumping from the back of the trampoline area all the way to the other side to see how high we could reach the vertical trampoline part. We both jumped on the walls, fell, sat out of breath, I giggled endlessly, and it was all in good fun. I thought I had a lot of photos but I guess I haven’t learned my GoPro just yet. The exposure time was off so I didn’t get many photos that weren’t blurry. However it was a lot of fun being a kid and bouncing around as Tigger would even if we went back and forth between the bleachers and actually jumping. There was a junior jumping section and a dodgeball section which was pretty cool. There were so many cute kids running as fast as they could and jumping. There was a little girl who made my day. She saw where I have Flounder and Sebastian from the Little Mermaid tattooed and thought it was so cute. She talked to me about my entire sleeve and kept feeling the colors. It was the sweetest thing.

Continue Reading

Bucket List Check | 104. Go to an Ice Bar

wpid-img_2015021543270.jpg

This year’s Valentine’s Day brought my husband and I to Orlando, Florida. As I was checking prices on the website to gather a plan for the rest of the year, I noticed a Valentine’s package the Ice Bar was offering. Normally expensive, they had an all-inclusive package offering two glasses of champagne, admission, chocolate-covered strawberries, a fur coat for the lady, and a photo-op.

wpid-img_2015021549208.jpg gopr0237

When we walked in, I was turned around and found myself standing in a floor length fur coat. We headed to the Fire Lounge to redeem our drinks and receive our chocolate-covered strawberries. We were seated at a romantic candle-lit table for two covered in scattered rose petals. The strawberries were delectable and the champagne was particular bubbly. We even snagged a few raspberries and blackberries. Since we were famished, we worked through those berries with a swiftness and after a toast, the bubbly dissipated into the stomach lining of our bodies as well. I received my coat back and we were both handed a pair of gloves to enter the Ice Bar chamber.

gopr0225 gopr0229 gopr0233 gopr0234

The Ice Bar is basically a big freezer. There are ice benches covered in fur throws to sit down on, a small “VIP” corner where Olaf and a few penguins were just chillin’, and ice sculptures of polar bears and frames for photo ops.

The entire bar and tables were made of ice also which brings me to a funny instance.

gopr0244 gopr0245

Most of my exploration comes from my mother’s undying love to try new experiences. I always watched every move she made and all the places she went. We used to take family trips to Orlando and stayed in hotels. Sometimes they would leave us (teenagers at the time) while they jet off to cool, new dates to places along International Drive. One in particular was the Ice Bar and I remember the day they came back to the hotel and told us they went without us. My mom didn’t leave out the fact that she set her cup (also made of ice) down, had it slide off the bar and broke. She was offered a new drink but still. I kept that in the back of my mind to be careful of when we went.

gopr0251 gopr0247

Ever since I vowed to go at least once. At the time I couldn’t really drink and wasn’t allowed in at a certain time, but that didn’t matter. I then vowed to go for my 21st birthday but ended up getting too drunk at CityWalk. When we set the cup down, it ended up sliding fast toward the edge and I knew it was going to fall; there was no saving it at that rate. It fell off the side and as a group of people were passing by, a man inconspicuously set it back on the table and smiled at us. It was comical; however the glass was empty at the time so no harm, no foul.

gopr0240

So, here we are. A great Valentine opportunity to spend on a date with my husband freezing. The funny thing is that finally after we arrived and made it through the awful traffic and stress of getting there, I was shaking from being so cold outside. When we got inside to even colder temperatures of 22 degrees F, it felt warm outside.

gopr0246 gopr0248

Anyway, after we took a few pictures, we decided to order a drink just to have the ice cup. I went with the cheapest drink they had because I was not paying fifteen dollars a cup for the normal drinks. We went with the arctic blue drink or something like that. It was still about eleven dollars but it was good and still a part of the experience. We were rebels and decided it would be funny to eat part of the cup and totally did. Another thing we did was lick the ice polar bear… so… we’re just a little unique, but totally made for each other! HAHAH.

gopr0262

gopr0265 gopr0266

We sat in the VIP cubby area for a bit while we finished our drink, got our picture taken, and then left. It was a pretty cool experience literally and as I consider myself to be a little bit of an “ice princess”, I felt like I was at home, just as I would near an ocean. However, it seems a little expensive for something I expected to be a bit bigger. On an adventurous night, I would probably go back.

gopr0259 gopr0260 gopr0263

A nice little bonus was that as we were leaving, we got into conversation with the guy outside handing out discounts. He thought our wristbands were cool because he never saw one before and then asked about our GoPro since I had it out taking pictures (considering it was our first adventure since getting it), and I was so impressed with the photos. He then proceed with, “You know what? You guys are cool.” So he reaches in his pocket and pulls out two free drink cards, which was pretty cool, but we didn’t have a chance to go back and redeem them. Traffic was horrid, we had to circle repeatedly to find parking, and our car started acting up. It was still a nice experience in all.

wpid-img_2015021552739.jpg

Continue Reading

Bucket list check | Tour a Beer Brewery

Apologies ahead of time as I am a bit late for posting this story due to the doing nothing nature of our long weekend. We both needed this rejuvenation to get back in order for work. Anyway, enjoy!

It is truly fascinating to discover what adventure is lurking just around the corner if you just open your eyes without having to open up your wallet.

DSCN8511DSCN8510

Continue Reading

Bucket List Check | Fondue Experience

For our “super fancy dinner”, we went to The Melting Pot. What you pay for is the experience. The experience was grand though.  C went with the anniversary package so I received one rose in a vase for each year we were together. It was so sweet.  They even went as far to take a picture for us and framed it while we were sitting there. Now we have a cool magnet frame and tiny words to mismatch all concerning cheese and other such cheesy sayings. 😉

Continue Reading