Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon: Providence Canyon – Lumpkin, GA.

I am very excited to say that I can officially check two items off of my ’30 things before 30′ bucket list! In addition to starting my 401k, a group of friends and I got together and took a day trip out to Providence Canyon in Lumpkin, Georgia. It was about a 4 1/2 hour drive from where we are in Florida, so it wasn’t too bad. This post is going to flood you with some of the most beautiful man-made scenery I have ever witnessed. Yes! I said man-made. I am still shocked;  astonished that man can make something so beautiful-albeit accidental. I forget to appreciate man’s additions to this earth. All too often human error is not as easy on the eyes, but this was breathtaking. Looking at these canyons, one would think they were looking at natural stones created by the earth. This absolutely gorgeous mess-up is due to extremely poor farming practices in the 1800’s. But wow, just look at this stunning blunder.

These are some of the first views you can see as you step out of your car and look beyond the wooden fences. It’s hard to think that the canyons could be any more stunning, but the views from base level are just as remarkable.

Check out these sections where the sand has stacked just so; it mimics something that looks like you could use as a bathroom counter-top. >>

These next few images – In a word: otherworldly. In a few words: these photos are seemingly magical; they ignite something in my imagination, an opportunity to transcend my current capacity for insight and awareness.. (or something.)

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In the photos below: This was the coolest thing! The lady bugs made homes within the canyon walls. There were lady bugs by the thousands.. They were everywhere! It was cool to see them go in and out of their little abodes. In the top left picture you can see all of the holes that have been drilled into the hard canyon sand. The top right shows a close-up of just how modest these ladies thrive and in the bottom photo, there are 2 ladybugs soaking up some rays.

Ahhh yess, from the canyon floor. I told you it only gets better!!

Climbing was not permitted from most of the canyon floor.. but when you hike canyons 4 and 5 you become part of the Canyon Climbers Club. Which we are now proud members of.

This stuff mesmerizes me.. that sun, shyly peeking around the canyon.

Anybody can see just how long you could get lost running around this place. Believe it or not, there was an entire 7-mile hike that we just didn’t have time for. If you can, I definitely recommend camping for at least a couple days if you want to see all there is. We did a day trip and they close the gates at 6 p.m.

When you hike the deepest canyons, you see this thin layer of water which is evidence of the water table just below the ground. (Pics below.)

FRANDS.

“1 universe, our planet, 196 countries, 778 islands, 7 seas, 7.4 billion people.. and I have the privilege of meeting you.” – Unknown

Noticed this little gem later.. It’s perf. Her shirt reads: “You never fail until you stop trying.”

These cars were abandoned from a homestead that was here before Providence Canyon was established. Since then, they have become part of the ecosystem and would actually cause more harm to excavate. So there they will sit.

Stunning views, entertainment for hours or even a weekend. If you are near Georgia, this little Grand Canyon is certainly worth the visit!

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A girl in her element and a mop on her head. Photo credit: Micheal Kurtz

Late 20’s Bucket List: 30 Things to do Before I Turn 30

As the title reads, this is a list of 30 things that I want to accomplish before I turn 30. And it’s exactly that, my list. So naturally it’s tailored to the things I haven’t done. If there is anything on my list you have already completed or a place you have already been, please, comment below with advice and ideas. Any and all assistance is appreciated!

This list is not going to consist of “learn to love myself” or “remember to take time for x” suggestions. I learned those things a long time ago. Hell, I’ve mastered the part where I take time to do things… But, what it will be full of are lots of travel plans and things I feel like a 30 year old should have accomplished.

With less than a year and a half to check off all of these bullets, and because travel relies on funds permitting, the destination items have been kept fairly close to where we reside in Florida.

  1. The first place that had to go onto this list is called Coral Castle located in Leisure City, Florida. I think the reason this idea presented itself so quickly is because my husband has been telling me since we met (5 1/2 yrs. ago) that he wants to go see it. I guess technically that makes it on his bucket list.. but I really want to go, too. It’s resemblance to Stonehenge is undeniably alluring, as it is a mystery how this architecture was erected. The stones are so large and the builder had no access to the heavy machinery we have today. His name was Edward Leedskalnin (1887-1951) who built Coral Castle in the 20th century with his own two hands. Let Leonard Nimoy tell you more about it in this video.coralcastlenight
  2. Providence Canyon, Georgia – This gorgeous “Little Grand Canyon” looks breathtaking. A friend of mine told me about it, and I can’t wait to go check it out. Obviously, the real Grand Canyon is on my ultimate bucket list, but to be completed so soon with so many other destinations, this mini-version will do more than suffice.5156867_orig
  3. Bok Tower Gardens – These gardens vaunt acres of seasonal greenery with ferns, palms, oaks and pines. Particularly, if you go in the spring you can see azaleas, camellias, and magnolias abloom throughout the property. On top of the hundreds of species of plant-life, these gardens are also home to over 120 different types of birds. In fact, the Bok Tower Gardens is a dubbed stop on the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail. (I might add bird watching to my ‘40 things to do before 40′ list, seems fun.) The gardens also help to preserve living space for the federally threatened Gopher tortoise and Eastern indigo snake. Jay and I considered this as a possible venue for our wedding, but we went with a quiet backyard wedding instead. Can’t wait to check this place out!tower4
  4. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida – If you want to see manatees, this is the place to be. Through the winter, they flock to Three Sisters Springs at the heart of the Crystal River for warmth. I think most people can see why I’d love to visit these adorable sea cows.os-manatees-crystal-river-20160211
  5. Kayak the Great Calusa Blueway Trail – Not that  I will finish this trail, considering it is 190 miles of canoeing/kayaking bliss, but we will surely visit and explore.estero-riverEstero Bay, Great Calusa Blueway Trail
  6. Bahia Honda State Park – Came across this gem on Instagram >>16176220_10154853235657980_16013488_n.pngClear water? WE’RE THERE. #LoveFL
  7. Go see some really good stand-up comedy, live. Not that I have seen any bad stand-up, either. I haven’t seen any! Precisely why it is on my list. Some people may be saying “been there, done that”.. It surprises me, too, because I love stand-up. It is one of those things where if I am going to watch something on the television it is either going to be stand-up comedy or a documentary. But for some odd reason we have never been to a live comedy show. Bo Burnham, here we come!

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  8. Bathtub Beach – It got its name due to the thick foam that builds from the waves churning up the reef then crashing onto the shore during the high tide. It is recommended for those that want to snorkel that they go when it is low tide.  When I told Jay-Cee this was on my list the first thing he said was that it sounded gross. Which, I guess, I have to agree.. but seeing as there is a reef only about 100 feet off the shore, that was enough for him to want to go; since his passion is coral propagation. Besides, we’re not afraid of a little sea foam.197abc1fdeb87d7c0145899d551bef22
  9. Create and/or learn 30 new recipes.
  10. Las Vegas, Nevada – Duh.istorija-kazino_36_1
  11. The Great Salt Lake – I figure while we’re in Nevada, we can see what’s up in Utah and check out this massive wonder.index_clip_image002
  12. Be able to participate in a few solid minutes of small talk in a foreign language. French, preferably. I am however, already primed in Spanish. Will I take the easy road? Stay tuned.
  13. Have a professional portrait taken. I haven’t had a professional portrait taken since I graduated high school, almost 11 years ago. I owe it to LinkedIn.
  14. Acquire a concealed weapons permit. In every ounce of my being, without exception, I think that all able-bodied persons should know how to properly use a firearm in a chaotic and frantic situation-but that’s for another blog entry.
  15. Write a fictional story. Real events are easy, the details are written for you. A fictional story will be challenging.636009526366151006-2071920877_fiction-uncovered-006
  16. Take an astronomy class. I am quite confident in saying that there is almost nothing more interesting to me than what is going on in the vast endlessness that is: the sky. Any steps I take to become better and more familiarized with this curiosity, the better.telescope1.jpg
  17. Finish a half-marathon – What am I getting myself into? Seriously though, I used to run all the time. Well, jog.. I should say I used to jog all the time. I even did the Gate River Run with a gal-pal, but that was almost 7 years ago and I was much more lean and cared for my body more prudently. I really must get back to that. Don’t get me wrong, I am no couch potato; but I could most certainly up my game.11241614_1566661650261757_4695268801316656844_nThose are my feet, and my pups.. and well, my meme. I made this awhile back for my Health & Prosperity Facebook page and I came across it a few days ago. It inspired me to add completing a half-marathon to my short-term bucket list.
  18. Go to Burning Man – “Once a year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. In this crucible of creativity, all are welcome.” See about it here.160907084704-burning-man-art-cars-5-super-43
  19. Accrue some resume-worthy volunteer time.
  20. Go whitewater rafting. Luckily, there is a place right here in Florida that we can go to do this! It is called Florida Whitewater Rafting. Depending on your experience, there are excursions on different rivers from beginner levels to advanced.
  21. Monkey Jungle in Miami, Florida – This seems fascinating to me. I came across this video and had to add it to this list. I love that the humans are the ones who are caged off from the animals for viewing, instead of caging the animal. It’s been around since the 1930’s; check out this vintage advertisement>>monkey
  22. Vizcaya Museum & Gardens – This place will be exquisite to tour.e9422a27f2ab86a4f729fed86eef1164
  23. Start my 401k.
  24. Research my family tree. This may also include a blood test to find out the exact origins of my blood. I am not sure what I hope to get out of this, but my curiosity is unbearable.
  25. Stay at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center – During one of our many drives across the state, Jay-Cee and I accidentally stumbled onto a Gaylord Palms resort to use their, um, facilities. We had no idea where we were until he went inside. He returned from this gorgeous building, all excited, exclaiming that I just had to go inside and see this place. So, we went inside to take a gander and it’s a nice place. We decided that we have to go back and stay just for the experience. Looks like it would be neat during the Christmas season.mcogp_entertainment_seasonal
  26. Florida Caverns State Park – These stunning caverns help make up for the fact that we are somewhat lacking topographically in Florida. Florida Caverns State Park is the only state park in Florida to provide cavern tours to the public and one of the very few that have dry caves.wedding-room
  27. Stay where we stayed on our wedding night, on our 4th wedding anniversary. If you are particularly interested in this destination, check back in November for our next anniversary and I’ll tell you all about this wonderful bed and breakfast. We seriously loved this place!
  28. Buy some stock. It is time to start investing in the future and in the companies that are likely to increase in value.
  29. Make a ‘40 things to do before I turn 40‘ list.
  30. Successfully contour my make-up.934273

Front Porch Pickings: A Grocery Delivery Service Review

I could say that I’m not the type of person to write a review. But it doesn’t require a type of person to want to write a review, it takes a compelling experience. Although I cannot say that my experience with Front Porch Pickings (FPP) delivery service was particularly eventful, it was however, particularly pleasant. Which I think is more the goal here anyway.

Reasons I wanted to try a grocery delivery service:

1) My husband abhors the grocery store. Not to be confused with abhorring cooking, he loves cooking. Thank goodness, because he’s great in the kitchen. But, unless he’s hungry, he does not want to use the forethought to look at food and plan meals. I can understand the sentiment since we both work in the restaurant industry while we develop our careers.

2) Organic produce is typically overpriced and very seldom locally harvested. Unless you are growing your own food or attend the local fresh market every week, it is improbable that the produce you are buying from the local grocer chain is organic or locally sourced. FPP provides you the name of the exact farm your food is coming from. This puts the power of consuming where it should be; in the hand of the consumer. As consumers, we should be more aware of the power we hold. Our dollars make or break a company. Let’s help make the companies that will benefit and strengthen our communities.

3) They freaking deliver the food directly to my doorstep. What the what? I don’t have to drive to the store, weave through a sea of carts and people, deal with the man at the meat counter that moves slower than molasses, compare prices, wait in line behind the lady with 148 items in her cart, check out, then drive home.. Delivery it is! That may sound lazy, but in a fast-paced world that almost no one can escape, I enjoy skipping the lines.

4) Obviously, I’m happy we’re consuming organic food. More than that, I am gratified and proud to be supporting farmers in our area. There are times I may even opt for the non-organic product from the local farm than the organic product from BFE. Supporting our local farmers is a crucial aspect to fostering a strong local community. Communities are weaker than they ever have been due to outsourcing and automation. It is imperative that we, for the most part, keep our money at home in our cities so that we can put these resources where the people of the township want them.

Okay, on to the review!

Front Porch Pickings was my final choice for so many reasons, mainly those I listed above. In addition to those qualifiers, FPP has pleased me with their services. As you see below, there is a picture of all of the delicious goodies and an itemized list to the right.

Everything you see was a grand total of $52–Now would be a good time for me to mention that there is an additional $25 new member fee that is charged when you sign up. Upon speaking with one of the customer service representatives, I became aware that this fee covers administrative fees and other types of overhead costs. I was not surprised to hear this.. however, I felt compelled to call in the first place because when you see this charge online, they call this fee a new member “packet”. For obvious reasons; it sounds nice. However nice it sounds, it is misleading. A packet to me says that I am getting something. Even  if it’s just a magnet with a welcome letter, I would have been excited. (<<That’s the pack rat thing I was telling you about, so I guess they did me a favor.. whatever.) Anyhow, there is no packet and it turns out this is just a fee. The entire exchange was jovial and the very nice lady offered to waive the $25 fee but I told her that would not be necessary. Also as a consumer, I understand the necessity for fees like this. Business owners have to charge for their services one way or another. If we, as consumers, are consistently low-balling those who are attempting to provide us a service we desire, how can we expect quality businesses to flourish? Do you provide quality service when you are deprived? No. I told the associate that I was just confused with the wording. Imagine that? I got caught up in semantics. At the risk of sounding petty, I also didn’t receive my 2 free magazines. BUT WHATEVER. I was super happy with the entire service and the nice lady gave me a discount towards my next purchase for the misunderstanding. But really, just change the name of the charge from new member packet to new member fee. It helps people like me.

About the actual food:

As expected, all of the produce was crisp, fresh, and just a little bit dirty. Just the way I like it. I’d rather wash off dirt than pesticides. The fresh-baked everything bagels are hands down the best bagels I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. The garlic, onion, and poppy seed mix is obviously fresh prepared just for these soft bites of heaven. The best part, the bottom of the bag is like a jackpot of garlicky mix that you could put on just about anything. We used ours to put extra mix on our bacon, egg, and sharp cheddar bagels this morning.

Oh ya, the eggs. I am an egg-lover. I think they’re one of the most nutritiously perfect foods. When one eats the eggs from Bethesda Farms, it is a very rich and hearty experience. They are filling but not heavy. These eggs are raised on an organic pasture, living days full of rooting through the dirt eating bugs and grass. The difference in taste and texture is undeniable. In addition to the best lives for their hens, they are committed to the best lives for their farmers. The compensation for a Bethesda farmer starts above the living wages as calculated by the MIT Living Wage Calculator . If that isn’t enough for you, they also use the profits to give back to their community. Going back to the whole “we need to strengthen our communities” rant. You can research any additional information you’d like about Bethesda Farms here.

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Bienvenue.

Hello there and welcome to my very first blog entry! This has been a long time coming and I can’t wait to embark on this blogging journey. I really am so excited! I truly enjoy sharing my experiences and maintaining a blog is on my bucket list. This is the first of many blips into my dazzlingly bizarre, somewhat barmy world. Spontaneity is the spice of life. The intention here is to captivate and document the most intriguing events and bring to life even some of those that are seemingly insipid.

I am feeling the need for change so strongly. I am craving it. Years ago, when I needed change, I would move all of my furniture around or move to another house all together when that lease was up. Now, since my husband and I are renovating the house we own, we are staying put. Beyond that, I’m too busy trying to clean up our reno-mess that I am not looking to move around any furniture. To start quenching this desire for change, I have decided to make a bigger change than I ever have. I’ve decided to adopt a more minimalist mindset into mine and my husband’s daily life. It may not sound like a big deal; but anyone who knows me knows that this has not, and likely will not, be an easy feat. Two words: pack rat. What can I say? I find sentimental value in that stick drawing my niece made me when she was three. I’m aware, it’s a character flaw. But! Here’s to the first step! To the first steps of our minimalist (-like) lifestyle. I am beginning by throwing away anything that is not of practical use or has true sentimental value. Of course, a minimalist lifestyle is not exclusive in its regard to discarding what is subjectively trash; it is about living deliberately. To live with purpose. To eat with purpose. To speak with purpose. Goodness knows I already walk with a purpose! The exact purpose of this blog is to minimize the clutter in my brain. The therapeutic release of my words here help me focus elsewhere in my life.

Some may think this is a ‘New Years resolution’ driven change. It’s not, it’s just coincidental timing. There truly has been something pressing me to start a blog and document my journey in life for a long time. But hey, cheers to 2017 and ever year after. ¡Salud!