Dressing up in the Office

Halloween, Jury Duty and a Driver’s License Update

Final week before I turn 30 means it’s almost last call for Bucket List Updates:

Jury Duty: Last week I experienced another first for me: Jury Duty.  I had planned to wear a sequined skirt to dress for the occasion, but a quick text from my lawyer brother indicated no one, including the judges, would find my formal-wear very funny.  Eventually, I downgraded to a sequined top, because I just could not not shine during my court room debut!

I’ve always heard people complain about Jury Duty and discuss ways for circumventing the jury selection process, but I went into the courthouse excited to finally see justice in action. Unfortunately, I didn’t. I sat in the jury pool all day and was never called into the court to be questioned by the lawyers or judges. Bummer.

Just like SVU

Just like SVU

At the end of day one, our pool was dismissed. Double Bummer. I didn’t even get to eat a hot dog on the steps of the courthouse a la Jack McCoy. Womp womp.

A trick is something a whore does for money

A trick is something a whore does for money

Halloween 2013:  #nopantsaspants was the theme of this year’s costume. I dressed as a magician and was fully prepared to dazzle the audience/bar patrons with fast-paced card tricks and fists full of glitter. Unfortunately my pants-less outfit didn’t have pockets so all my magic paraphernalia had to be left at home.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

I did, however, pull off a pretty impressive floating thumb trick that left everyone at the Halloween party guessing!

#nopantsaspants

#nopantsaspants

Could this really be the end of #nopantsaspants Halloweens? Only time will tell…

Driver’s License: It’s official! In 2-3 weeks I will have proof that I no longer live at my parent’s house in PA… as if 7 years of rent payments weren’t enough.

Sunset Selfie

Meeting a Manatee!

A couple of weeks ago, I embarked on my greatest adventure to-date! Inspired by my amazing friend Tricia’s solo trip to Belize (P.S. she just killed it in the NYC marathon!), I decided to take a selfie trip to FL to finally meet a manatee!

Crystal River, FL

Crystal River, FL

I’ve traveled by myself for business before, but this was my first solo vacation. And so “solo vacation” gets both added to and an simultaneously crossed-off the bucket list!

My adventure started with an evening flight into Tampa. My only creeper encounter happened at the car rental desk when the night clerk complimented by bag, asked where I was staying, and whether I was visiting my grandmother or aunt. I felt like little Red Riding Hood telling the Big Bad Car Rental Wolf to get lost.

My alarm was set for 3:30AM so I could get dressed, check-out and be on the road by 4:30 headed to my manatee adventure.  I was the only car on the pre-dawn road so I rolled down the windows, blasted some tunes, and squealed every time I saw a mile marker counting down the distance to Crystal River.

Three Germans joined me on my manatee adventure, and the Bird’s Underwater (http://www.birdsunderwater.com/) tour Captain swiftly nicknamed everyone in their group, “Germany” and me, “New York”. We were shown a manatee safety video which instructed us how to avoid frightening or interfering with their natural behaviors. Essentially, you have to wait for the manatees to approach you, and you can only pet them with one hand otherwise it’ll appear that you’re grabbing them.  So basically, it’s just like attracting dudes at bars.

Is this real life?

Is this real life?

Once the sun rose and provided enough visibility, we grabbed a noodle and jumped into the water. Captain John almost immediately spotted an baby manatee who was curious and interested in playing, so we all swam over and our manatee adventure began.

Snorkle Selfie

Snorkle Selfie

I’ve included a video of my manatee encounter at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeD7ojkXZzI

This was the greatest experience ever. I loved it. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone who isn’t afraid of sea-life. October is still off-peak so we only encountered about 6 manatees during our 5 hour adventure, but during the winter months the river and springs are full of 100+ manatees! I’ll be recruiting adventure buddies to join me for my next trip.

My solo vacation continued after a short drive down to Clearwater Beach. I checked into my beachside hotel and spent the afternoon lounging by the pool, crushing Orange Crushes, and reading trashy magazines.  Heaven!

Vessel of Pain

Vessel of Pain

Saturday I went solo kayaking in Honeymoon Island State Park. It was another first for me. I paddled out to Caladesi Island, which was only a 15 minute trip, but halfway there I was sure my arms were going to fall off and I would never make it. Fortunately, after some self-directed pep talks, I finally made it ashore. I parked my kayak, collected some shells, took a few more selfies (what else are you gonna do on a solo-cation?), and sent some S.O.S texts to friends to let them know I would be living on this island for the remainder of my life.

Island Life

Island Life

Eventually I found the strength for the return trip. Upon docking on dry land I felt so exhilarated by my physical accomplishment, I decided to hit the bars!

Later whilst sitting at the bar at Frenchy’s Rockaway Café for dinner, I noticed and inquired why the bartenders were all wearing face paint and zombie make-up. It turned out there was a  zombie pub crawl starting at a neighboring bar, and they were doing zombie make-up for the crawlers. Fate!!

Zombie'd

Zombie’d

I headed over to the neighboring bar, ordered a drink, and got zombied-up.  And that’s where my plan ended… ggrrrrrrreat.

By then my awkwardness was masked by beers and zombie blood, and thankfully a cute non-zombie asked me to play corn hole, then darts, and I ended up joining their group for the rest of zombie crawl.

Meeting locals… bar crawling with strangers/temp friends… swimming with manatees… By the end of the night and the end of the weekend, I felt like a champion solo-cationer!

This trip was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had this year. While I always love to have my friends, family, and travel buddies by my side, it feels incredibly brave and adventurous to stake out and explore on your own.  But next time you’re all invited! I promise.

 

Bake-athon

VEGAS!

Parents are the best! Or perhaps more accurately, being spoiled by your parents is the best!!

As the biggest supporters of this year-long bucket list, my parents gifted me with an amazing opportunity to join them on a weekend trip to Vegas. For sure a Vegas trip with your parents is a lot less scandalous than a trip with your sparkle crew, but I made the most of my weekend by eating, drinking, and sequin-ing my way down the strip!

WYNN

I arrived at the Wynn late on Thursday night, and my dad and I immediately began drinking our signature Manhattans. Friday I enjoyed a massage at the Encore Spa which was quite impressive. I do consider myself a spa connoisseur, and I would rank the Encore in my top 3 spa experiences!

My aunt and uncle were in Vegas for a “work reunion” and we were able to meet them for a pre-dinner drink (more Manhattans) on Friday. The topic of conversation turned to my bucket list progress, remaining milestones, and how universally bucket-list-y the items on my list appear to be.

Mom and Me

Mom and Me

On the way to dinner, my mom and I posed for selfies, got super confused about where we were (the Manhattans), finally hopped in a cab and made it to the restaurant where my dad was able to join us. Cocktails, steaks, and more cocktails eventually lead us to the Roulette tables, and after a few winning spins, we called it a night.

Lucky Hook Hand

Lucky Hook Hand

Saturday morning I donned my second sequined outfit, and we set off on our Casino Crawl. We stopped in the Venetian, Casino Royale, Caesars, the Bellagio, Paris, and even had lunch at the Eiffel Tower. It was the perfect way to see the sights (the inside of casinos)!

Did umm... did Caesar live here?

Did umm… did Caesar live here?

Saturday evening (in my third sequined outfit) we went to see the Beatles LOVE show at the Mirage. It was amazing! I did get sweaty palms during some of the acrobatics, but it was an dazzling show!

Dad and me at the show

Dad and me at the show

Sunday morning we hit the pool at the Wynn. The sun was just hot enough to bake me up in an hour. Perfect.

Bake-athon

Bake-athon

Finally my gracious parents put me in an airport taxi and sent me back to the east coast.

Overall it was great weekend and a great trip. It definitely could have been wilder (I mean we didn’t even snap the glow sticks I brought), but I think it was the perfect first trip to Vegas!

Thanks, Mom and Dad!

End of the Ride

Surf’s Up!

Another biggie gets checked off this week!

Surf Lessons: Last Saturday, I decided to drag out summer for another weekend and boarded a bus bound for the Jersey Shore.  My family gathered in Ocean City, NJ to celebrate three amazing things:

  • The kickoff of my Grandma’s 86th birthday-week
  • My niece’s first beach trip
  • And of course, my bucket list surf lesson

As always, it was amazing to spend time with my beautiful and supportive Grandma. She is literally the best. In preparation for my surf lesson, we discussed all of the other stupid/risky things I’ve done this year (running a ½ marathon without really training, jumping out of a plane, agreeing to go to Vegas with my parents, etc). Later that night we celebrated with cupcakes and carrot cake and sang Happy Birthday twice, which is a family tradition (one birthday wish just isn’t enough!).

 

Beach Day

Beach Day

My niece loved the beach! We built sand castles, which really just resembled sand mountains, and chanted, “fortify the castle” every time we made a trip for more water. We jumped waves, giggled ridiculously when the ocean splashed us, and listened to the lifeguards (that’s the rules). My aunt got us/Veda bubbles, and by the end of playtime Bubble Headquarters (me) was drenched in a sticky, soapy, grape-smelling goo.  My brother was most worried, that Veda would go destructo on another kid’s sandcastle, but instead she came up to my brother and asked, “Can I share my toys, Daddy? Pretty pretty please, can I share?” Kind of amazing.

 

Beach Girls

Beach Girls

My younger cousin was in town to celebrate birthday-week, and as I prepped for my surf lesson, we talked about my remaining Bucket List items and the likelihood that my surf instructor would be an 18-year-old bro rather than a 30-year-old stud. I hypothesized that I could be a surfing natural, and this first lesson may be the start of a new career as a professional surfer. Cowabunga!

On the way to the surf shop, I gave my mom specific instructions that she was not to bring up my bucket list in front of the surf instructor. Hard line.  Applause to her, she didn’t.

 

Slim

Slim

Turned out my instructor, Adam, was not 18 (thank goodness!) and I don’t think he was ‘bro’ either.  He grew up in OCNJ and went to college in CA. Now he’s a year-round instructor that spends the winters in Cali and the summers in OC. Oh, and he’s dreamy! Unfortunately, if I were to grant him a nickname it would be Slim, and that’s just not gonna work for me.

We wetsuit’d up, grabbed my board, and hit the beach with my mom/photographer trailing behind us. We did the standard on-sand practicing of the surfing pop-up motion, and I pretended to be confident that I could this.

 

Walk to the Water

Walk to the Water

The early September water felt amazing! Perfectly warm and free of the jellyfish babies that typically show up in August.  The tide was low and the wind was off-shore so conditions weren’t ideal for a newbie, but I trusted Adam to pick the right waves and not send me into a nose-dive.

My first few attempts were failures; I popped up with the wrong lead foot, I got whacked in the head by the board, and my chic pony tail came undone.  But eventually, I had success.

 

Surf's Up

Surf’s Up

Adam yelled, “You gotta pop up,” and I flew to my feet! My shock and elation at actually surfing caused me to scream the whole ride. Woohoo, I did it!

Early morning photo shoot

A Passport and a Dip!

The end is near! I’m 9 weeks away from the big 3-0, and I still have a lot to accomplish. I’ve got a pretty crazy schedule lined-up over the next 2 months to tackle as many bucket list items as possible, so keep your fingers crossed…

Part of the gang at Fishheads

Part of the gang at Fishheads

Skinny dipping: My college buddies and I spent a week in the Outer Banks lounging on the beach, drinking beers, reading books, and jumping into the ocean nekkid.

That’s a partial lie.

Three of us did it, and only once. Under the cover of night, and with a courage fueled by margaritas and beers we snuck onto the beach, doffed our swim suits, and ran into the ocean. It was terrifying (super dark and in the shadow of Shark Week) and exhilarating (no clothes!), but being older means being wiser and we all agreed it would be horribly embarrassing to get stung by a jellyfish on the private bits.

Long walk to the beach!

Long walk to the beach!

Passport: I finally applied for a passport renewal. Now I just have to wait 6 weeks to receive it. Since my calendar is jam-packed with weekend trips and activities over the next 2 months, it looks like I’ll be making at last minute trip to the International House of Pancakes to cross this one off the list. Not complaining.

My new hat!

My new hat!

Also, my mom turned 60 this past weekend!  There was a lot of birthday discussion around the items on her bucket list and she assured me marathons and skydiving didn’t make the cut.

Greatest Mom in the World!

Greatest Mom in the World!

 

Second thoughts?

The Big Jump!

I jumped out of a plane and lived to tell the tale!  That statement’s definitely a little more creepy and a lot less funny after the recent death and injury of a tandem skydiving pair in MS earlier this month. But here’s my story…

My super supportive/super worried parents drove me out to 516-SKYDIVE in East Moriches, NY where we met up with my dearest and bravest friend, KeriAnn, and her fear-monger husband, Pat.

Being brave

Being brave

We watched a video in which a weird and long-bearded man explained that one of the risks of skydiving is death. He said the word death at least five times. Undeterred, KeriAnn and I signed our lives away agreeing not to sue in the event of….death.

After that, things moved quickly. We received detailed instructions, “don’t be a hero, land on your butt” and donned our harnesses. We took a few selfies, I met my instructor (“Short-straw Mike”), and we were whisked onto the plane.

Pre-jump selfie

Pre-jump selfie

The plane was tiny. The fact that I even got in this thing means I get to cross-off overcoming the fear of flying.

What is this? A plane for ants?

What is this? A plane for ants?

In the plane, our instructors tried to distract and entertain us. Between me and KA, I was definitely the less nervous one right up until she disappeared out the side of the plane. Then I got nervous. Like super nervous.

Strapped together real tight, my instructor and I had to crawl to the door of the plane. I had to reach up and grab onto a bar by the open door and place my feet one at a time onto a step outside of the plane. These were the instructions Mike gave me as we were nearing out jump spot 8,000 ft above the earth. When the door was closed and KeriAnn was still next to me, these instructions seemed simple. I could do that. After she slid out of the plane, these directions became very difficult to remember and act on, especially the “let go of the bar” part. The scariest part of the whole experience was getting into position at the door of the plane.

The free-fall was fantastic. Once we tumbled (yep, we flipped!) out of the plane and began falling everything was just so fast. The wind whipping my face was so fast and so loud, I have no idea if I even screamed. I’m betting I didn’t since I’m so tough.

When my instructor tugged the parachute, my whole body jerked up as the wind violently caught the billowing chute and instead of “Thank, God!”, I thought, “Ouch”.  The rest of the parachuted-fall felt tediously long and drawn out. I just wanted to my feet back on the ground.

A graceful landing? Not quite.

A graceful landing? Not quite.

When we came in for our landing, I made sure not to be a hero and slid five hard feet on my ass.

With the adrenalin rush over, I was pale-faced and drained. Finally, my super supportive/super relieved parents returned me to NYC, and that’s the end of my story.

Final note: I would definitely do it again if someone needs a bucket list jump buddy, but next time I want to the be the first one out of the plane!

Governor's Ball 2013

A Princess Party and a Mudfest

Good thing I didn’t put “Be diligent about keeping up with your blog” on the list cause it’s certainly been awhile. Here’s a recap of some of my May / June accomplishments:

A Fairy Princess

A Fairy Princess

Princess Days: My niece turned 3 at the end of May. I bought us matching fairy wings and wands, and we danced around my parent’s house saving imaginary people with our magic powers. In my first (and last?) attempt at scrap-booking, I made my niece a book detailing our varied adventures. Spoiler alert: It’s covered in glitter!

A Birthday Book

 

Dream Job: Lottery winner? Full-time theme-party attendee? Professional sofa-tester?  I would be remarkable at any of these careers, but thus far my Craigslist job-seeker ad remains unanswered.  I’ve always known my ultimate dream-job involves living in a  beach town and owning a small business. I could spend hours day dreaming of a life where I own a beachside donut shop, a beachside yoga studio, or a beachside glow-stick, pirate bar. Unfortunately, without a lucky lottery ticket or the great revelation of a secret benefactor, I can accept that #thesweetlife is going to have to be a long-term goal.

In the meantime, I’ve gotten myself a new job and for now it’s pretty super-fantastic!  I’ve moved away from accounting (which was my short-term goal) and into a finance/project management role. I’m working with a smart and exciting team, and I have rededicated myself to the notions of hard work and professional success.  It’s not the sweet life, but I’m happy with the change.

BUT… if anyone is interested in the role of secret benefactor, I can show you the business plan for my glow-stick pirate bar. Spoiler alert: It’s covered in glitter!

Dance Party!

Dance Party!

Attend a Music Festival: This one wasn’t on the list, but it really should have been! In June I attended the 3 day Governors’ Ball Music Festival held on Randall’s Island in NYC; it was the muddiest and most exhausting three days of my life. The concerts were great; we saw HAIM, MS MR, Of Monsters and Men, Cold War Kids, Alt-J, Best Coast, The Lumineers, and more. But the whole thing was ridiculous.

It's raining, it's pouring...it's tropical storming.

It’s raining, it’s pouring…it’s tropical storming.

Friday Tropical Storm Andrea pummeled us with rain and wind as we stood through our first three shows. Fortunately, we were prepared with rain boots, slickers and ponchos, which turned a cold, scary and wet experience into a weirdly brilliant one.

Mudville, USA

Mudville, USA

Saturday we returned to the venue to find the grounds demolished by both the storm and the concert-goers. Mud was everywhere. Maneuvering through the island-wide, 3-inch-deep, mud-pit was both incredibly challenging and exceptionally terrifying. The port-o-potties were a nightmare.  Ultimately, some clandestine alcohol smuggling made the experience fuzzy and buzz-y enough that the memories are now more funny than gross.

Governor's Ball Crew

Governor’s Ball Crew

By Sunday the mud had mostly dried, and we were able to have a true festival experience. The sun was scorching, the beers were flowing, and everyone was wearing glow-sticks. It was amazing.

Overall, it was the wettest, muddiest, craziest experience. If the weather’s better next year I could be persuaded to go again, but ultimately…. at 30, I’ll be way too old for this!