Thursday, September 11, 2014

#15 paddleboard

#15 took place in the beautiful city of austin, texas. i love texas and everything about it. i was visiting the adventurous city of austin for a friends bachelorette party. we spent the weekend celebrating the beautiful bride-to-be the way all girls should be celebrated. (huge congrats catherine!!)

as sunday quickly came and the bachelorette festivities were nearing the end, 2 friends and i decided to keep the weekend alive and spend the day exploring austin.

we shopped along congress, ate from food trucks, sipped on local coffee and kept it weird, austin style. 

i had explored barton springs for the first time a few weeks prior to this trip. that was when i attempted to enjoy my first paddle boarding experience but time didn't allow for it. this go around, i had all the time in the world. after speaking with some locals we were directed to sup atx paddle boarding rentals. there you can rent paddle boards, canoes and kayaks. we rented our gear, explored the area then hit the water. we couldn't have been luckier with the weather. it was a beautiful warm texas day with a slight, but cooling breeze. abbie, kelsey and i paddled until our hearts content. it just so happened that time coincided with our one-hour rental due time.

there really aren't any instructions to learn how to paddle board other than, stand on the board and paddle. it's fairly simple. the whole experience was very relaxing and peaceful. we got a little workout in along with some great life chats.  

i loved spending quality time with two of my favorite people. at one point i even forgot we were on a lake paddle boarding! i thought we were just hanging out at one of our houses having girl time just like our college days. it's weird growing up but life truly is beautiful.

step 1: paddle out on your knees
step 2: stand up and paddle

canoe rental room

paddle board aftermath

i love texas
hangin on the paddle boards

love is the whole.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

#14 learn how to fly

#14 was jumping out of a plane and learning how to fly. apparently most people plan ahead to skydive. that's not how this happened. it was more along the lines of, 

me:      "hey want to 

         skydive this 
david:   "ya, i'm in"
me:      "cool"

and that was that. we found a place nearby in lexington, tx, called to see if they had an opening and hopped in the car. i was on cruise control and for whatever reason i thought jumping out of a plane was no big deal. people do it all the time, right? we convinced a third jumper to join and the car ride there was interesting to say the least. 

jason:   "want to look up youtube videos of skydiving fails?"

me:      "no, not at all"
david:   "you should probably tell your parents you're skydiving. 
          it's a big deal, but it's cute that you think it isn't"

the nerves settled in nicely thanks to my enjoyable drive to lexington. they only got worse once we got there and i was told the boys took a vote and i'm jumping first. (ladies first... great).

at this point, my heart was racing at 100mph. our awesome instructor, also named david, took us all outside for a brief (brief is an understatement) instructional course. here's my recap if you want to skydive: jump, do the bernie, enjoy the fall. now you are ready to skydive.

words can't do this experience any justice. so i will let my video and pictures tell the story. skydiving has definitely climbed its way to the top of my favorite 25 in 25's. such a cool experience.

my jumping giants
skydiving in sequins, because i can
this was the moment it really sunk in
our instructor was messing with my nerves 
nervous giggles were in full force

a little film action

last words: go frogs!

they said to put the goggles on tightly, so i did...... 
(i adjusted them shortly after)

"never look down" doesn't apply when jumping out of a plane
saying my prayers
realizing there is no turning back and jumping out!
my glamour shot 
taking in the beauty

flying through the sky

just an incredible experience 

more flying

watching a bird fly by
saying hey to said birdie

pretending i'm superman
this is what windblown skin looks like, very attractive...

pony tail wack

giving a verbal thank-you to my parachute
stoked to have survived
taking it all in

"this is so cool"
not an everyday view

just hanging out

the staff at texas skydiving center were just incredible. i can't thank them enough for this amazing experience.

for your viewing pleasure:

click the link ---> skydive video

or watch below,

for more information on the texas skydiving center click here:

in remembrance of robin williams:

no matter what people tell you, words and ideas and change the world.

robin williams

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

#13 wing challenge fail

#13 was a very ambitious move. i decided all 5'3 of me was going to take on the pluckers "fire in the hole" wing challenge. that's 25 of plucker's hottest wings, eaten at your own pace. in my head, this didn't sound too terrible. it actually sounded feasible, but *spoiler alert* i failed. 

i made an attempt to convince two others to join me on my quest to dominate 25 spicy wings but second *spoiler alert.* i failed at that too. (i got one, but not the other)

before making the trip to plucker's i did my research and searched for any kind of tips. everything i read was in regards to the spice. i like spice. i like spice a lot. but reading all the warnings made me fairly nervous. so taking a tip from a fellow wing challenger, i protected my lips. sorry guys, sometimes the perks of being a lady come in rather handy. i layered on lipstick trying to avoid the inevitable fire to take over my lips. it sounded like a great idea and truth be told, it worked like a charm

as jason, david and i entered plucker's, i gazed among the wall of glory. if you complete the challenge, your picture is taken and hung on the wall for all to see. that's where i wanted to be. feeling confident, i walked in and let the hostess know i would be taking on the fire in the hole challenge. the quizzical look followed by laughter shattered all confidence the great wall of wing eaters instilled in me. what little confidence i had left depleted after our waiter broke out in laughter, followed by another waiter's roaring laughter in the background. things weren't looking good. 

at this point i was considering to back out. i was hungry. hadn't eaten a meal all day kind of hungry. all i wanted was a nice meal that i could enjoy. i knew that this was not going to be anything remotely close to enjoyable. but alas, backing out was not an option.

trying to get the madness over with, i ordered my 25 wings, jason ordered his 25 wings and david ordered delicious chicken tenders. thanks david.

the wings and the stache

let the games begin
i don't know if it was the hangriness in me coming out or what, but i was not a happy camper-- which is a rarity. the wings did not have an appetizing look. at all. i tried to imagine i was eating some delicious sesame chicken but that didn't work. so i took another approach-- the faster you eat the less you'll notice. it worked for the first 7 or so wings. i scarfed them down like it was nothing. one wing after the other. then my mojo left and it was all down hill from there. every wing after the 7th wing was torture. not because of the spiciness. to be honest the spiciness wasn't even that bad. it was definitely bearable. it was the wings. they tasted awful. (to be fair, they tasted awful in comparison to sesame chicken). and there were so many of them. my belly was calling it quits but my competitive mind wasn't allowing it.

i may never eat another wing
i looked over at jason and noticed he too, was struggling with this challenge. gotta be honest, this made me feel a heck of a lot better. as he called it quits, my goal quickly went from eating 25 wings to eat as many as jason did. he finished 12 wings then waved his white flag. i caught up shortly after. 

this was when the mind battle began. i was contemplating ordering other food to get the awful wing taste out of my mouth then resuming my challenge. considering my belly could no longer hold any more food, adding anything extra to my 25 wings was out. then there was the idea of dousing my wings in ranch and enjoying the scrumptious taste of ranch dressing that every true texan can't deny. unfortunately the ranch masked little to none of the wing taste. that was out. then my mind got desperate. i realized if i combined my 12 wings with jason's 12 wings then there's 24 wings with only 1 wing to go. of course my guilty conscious would never let me actually proceed with the latter of my thoughts, but i went there and definitely considered it. my final and winning idea was to at least cross the half way point. the final bites, only half a wing, were brutal. every shred of chicken tasted worse and worse. my final number was 12 1/2 wings. 12 1/2 terrible wings. i tried to avoid looking at  what once was the wall of glory on my way out knowing it was now my personal wall of shame. hangry + being a sore loser made a bumming combination. you win pluckers.

he put up a good fight
a bittersweet defeat
the finished product
my mature sore loser attitude really shining through

always be the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.

Monday, August 25, 2014

#12 befriend a sea otter

the ocean voyager
#12 took place while i was on my atlanta getaway vacay. while googling the area, the georgia aquarium continued to make the top of just about every list. so to the georgia aquarium i went! xan and i pre-purchased tickets online and went first thing in the morning. apparently it's a happening place and gets crowded quickly. the rumor proved to be true in no time. showing up early was definitely the way to go. 

while purchasing our entry tickets we also purchased tickets for the sea otter experience. sea otter experience = hang out with a couple of sea otters. how cool is that?! you can also swim with the whale sharks (that one is now on my bucket list), hang out with penguins, dolphins or belugas. with our last minute planning, most of the the experiences were sold out. we got lucky and snagged two to meet the sea otters.

before befriending any sea otters, we visited a couple of the exhibits. you can read about them and see pictures below, but not before i introduce you to oz, the sea otter. the tour doesn't allow cameras, phones, or anything really. so i  checked my bag at the door, then followed my trusty tour guide to oz's home. before entering you have to sanitize the bottom of your shoes. so we sanitized, had a lesson on sea otters and their habitat, then met oz. there were other sea otters that we met, but none like oz. he's the goofball in the picture with me on the left <--. oz loves ice pops made of frozen squid. he begged for them kind of like a needy puppy-- the cute kind that you always give into. so we happily fed him as many ice pops made of frozen squid as we could. then oz showed off some of his tricks and let us pet his soft and wet little nose. i had to restrain myself from just pulling him out of his little watering hole and giving him a big ole bear hug. the entire "sea otter experience" lasted about 45 minutes and was worth every second of it. oz stole my heart

sea monsters revealed
sea monsters revealed
the aquarium is divided into multiple exhibits; sea monsters revealed, the ocean voyager, tropical diver, georgia explorer, cold water quest and river scout. 

one of the coolest exhibits was sea monsters revealed. it was in a darkened and silent area which really added some spook to it. the exhibit was fascinating to say the least. 

the exhibits that we were looking at are the real 'sea monsters'. through a process known as plastination the animals were preserved. so we get to admire the real deal. pretty incredible. there were over 18 sea monsters to look at, some with organs, one pregnant with baby sharks and one roughly 3,000 pounds. we spent a good amount of time going from room to room and just staring at what was in front of us. again, pretty incredible.

after exploring the sea monster exhibit we headed towards the georgia explorer which had a small pool of water with rays and little sharks. there you could stick two fingers in the water and pet them as they swam by. my minimal shark knowledge (all thanks to shark week) had me afraid of this tiny little shark and not so tiny ray, but i felt challenged by the 6 year old having the time of her life petting them next to me. so i accepted the unspoken challenge and reached in to pet the shark and ray. challenge complete.
the ocean voyager tunnel

from the georgia explorer we went to the ocean voyager. this was one of my favorites. there was a tunnel that went directly through a very large aquarium. there were whale sharks (the largest fish species in the world), manta rays and thousands of ocean life swimming all around us. the tunnel was so neat. i felt like i was underwater, walking right next to all the fish. after my amazing tunnel experience, we ventured on to the tropical diver which has one of the largest living reef exhibits in the whole world. that is where i found nemo. then i found dory. lots of nemo's and lots of dory's, actually. the tropical diver was filled with endless color and beauty. 

cold water quest
the cold water quest is where you would find my buddy oz and some of his penguin buddies. it was also home to the most expensive fish in the entire aquarium, the tiny little sea dragon. (oz and his otter friends were a close second.) the sea dragon only eats imported live shrimp and must maintain a specific lighting schedule along with other habitat specifications which become very costly. regardless, he was pretty cute for a high-maintaince little fellow.

tropical diver
visiting the entire aquarium and soaking up all it has to offer takes a good chunk of time, but it is well worth it. there were so many sights to see and there really is something for everyone to enjoy. they have done a beautiful job of displaying such amazing creatures for us human-folk to awe at. the georgia aquarium is definitely the coolest aquarium i've ever been to. doesn't have too much competition being the only aquarium i've ever been to, but i'm walking away from this experience with some amazing memories. 

the ocean voyager

tropical diver
sea monsters revealed
the xanimal

to learn more about the georgia aquarium and purchase your tickets to meet oz, click here:

most people are perfectly afraid of silence.