Saturday, May 31, 2014

Pretty Pretty Nails!

My friend and I did not want to jump into really expensive items on our list. Obviously, shopping in OKC and ziplining are more expensive items. And no matter how much we wanted to do them right away, we knew that easing our way into it would be better on our checkbooks.
   So, we went with manicures. Now, at the time, I was 32 years old. I had never had a manicure in my entire life. I received my first pedicure at the age of 29, as a going-away present from a friend of mine in South Dakota. I remembered it being pleasurable and oh were my toenails pretty! Ashley (my friend) and I wanted the same feeling on our hands. So, we left our significant others at my house (where they indulged in video games) and we set off on our quest to get our nails done!
   And it was a challenge! There are tons of nail shops right here in Tulsa. There's almost one on every corner. All you have to do is find a strip mall and you will find a nail salon. We stopped at two nail salons on a Saturday morning, only to find them booked or out of business. Finally, we stopped at the Cocoa Nail Bar and walked into a wonderful pampering experience. The owner was a lovely woman in her 50s, who decked the place out in gorgeous blues and browns. We told her we wanted a gel manicure (might as well go all out without getting fake nails) and she introduced us to another woman who would serve us.
   As we sat down, the owner served us complimentary cappuccinos (not as great as what you would get at a coffee shop, but still a nice bonus). And then she busted out a tub of what I could only describe as inedible chocolate ice cream. It was something the owner made in her kitchen at home - a rub to exfoliate the skin. It looked, smelled and felt like ice cream, but it was definitely not something you should eat. And it certainly set off a craving in my four-month pregnant belly. I wanted to eat it SO BAD! But, I resisted the urge. Both the owner (seated below in one of the comfy chairs in her salon) and her employee massaged it into our
hands and our forearms. It was like magic. At first, yes, it was rough, but their hands worked out any tension that was in our muscles. And when they washed the chocolate ice cream away, our skin felt like a freshly washed baby's butt! I will not lie. That was definitely the highlight of the experience.
   Ashley and I chose our colors and the employee and owner went to town on our nails, transforming them from dull everyday nails to remarkable works of color. We were both unaware that a gel manicure would require us to sit with our nails under a special gel light, so it took longer than what we originally anticipated. I did not ask the purpose of the light, nor did I care. I was too busy gliding my fingers over my deliciously smooth skin. I wanted to steal that tub of ice cream and take it home to rub it all over my body!
   I was pleasantly surprised to find that the gel manicure lasted for weeks! No chips, no fading. The only way you could tell my nails were not fake were the tell-tale signs of growth at the bases. I thought it was great for the $30 I paid. In fact, it was so great, that I went back two months later for another treatment. I then brought my daughter in to the Cocoa Nail Bar for the same treatment. She was so excited at the idea that she sauntered through the doors, wearing her sunglasses, acting like a total diva to the delight of the owner and everyone in the salon. In lieu of a cappuccino, she got served hot chocolate (it being the Cocoa Nail Bar, after all).
   I am sorry to report that the Cocoa Nail Bar permanently went out of business. I discovered this sad fact a couple weeks ago when I wanted to treat myself again. But, I was glad to have been a customer of theirs and to experience a top-notch manicure and a free pampering.  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Take Me Out To the Ballgame

Baseball is a sport I have never been a fan of. During baseball season, I would come into my parent's house or grandparent's house to find my dad or my grandfather sitting in front of the television with a baseball game airing on the screen. And I found it tedious and boring. I honestly still do. But, I had never actually attended a baseball game - not of any kind, not even little league.
   Here in Tulsa, we have the Tulsa Drillers - a minor league team. I had seen the OneOK field during frequent trips downtown to Joe Momma's or Fat Guy's Burger Bar (if you are EVER in Tulsa, make one of these or both a place to eat a meal). And I would see families walking away from the field after the game was over. I started thinking that maybe there was something to actually going to a ballgame, something that made it more exciting than watching it on TV.
   One of my co-workers also works part time at OneOK and she organized a baseball game outing for everyone in our department at American Airlines. Tickets were only $10 and I knew being that cheap I could afford it. What the hell, I thought.
   When I walked through the front gates, I was struck by the rich greenness of the grass, by the smell of popcorn, hot dogs and beer and by the sheer amount of people who were in attendance. I had never even been in a stadium before, so it was quite a sight to see.
   I sat down with my friends from work in our chosen section. They weren't the best seats in the house, but they weren't terrible, either. And the seats were surprisingly comfortable, even to me in my five-month pregnant condition.
   I watched the players warming up, tossing the ball back and forth between one another. I was also reading the roster. I figured I might as well try to figure this sport out so I could understand the details of what was going on.
   Then I saw Hornsby - the giant blue bull mascot of the Drillers. And he worked the crowd - mostly the kids. He was
dancing, shaking his tail to various current hits playing on the speakers, engaging with the children who were just overjoyed to see him. In the process, he was entertaining me as well.
   Between watching Hornsby and talking with my friends, I must admit that I did not watch too much of the game. So, figuring out the details did not work. What I did watch did not engage me too much, but it did give me a feeling of Americana. It made me think, "Wow. I'm at a baseball game. This is kind of cool." And I tried to put myself in the position of my grandmother when she was a teenager. She would sit in the principal's office at school and listen to the ballgame on the radio. I think I put myself in her position for a split second and I felt a touch of emotion, an American pride. And I suddenly wanted a hot dog and a piece of apple pie.
   Go on Google and look up baseball teams in your area. Tickets should not be that expensive (unless it's Major League). Even if you don't like baseball, it is an experience. So much so, that I went again with friends from work just last week. And you are out in the fresh air and sparkling sun, your thoughts are not consumed by what else you have to do during the day. You are just basking in the American sport, even if you aren't watching it.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Picking Those Berries

Picture it: A tranquil little Oklahoma farm at dawn in late spring. The sky is cloudless. The temperature is a perfect 72 degrees. The rest of the world has not yet ventured out, so it is quiet. All you can hear are the birds singing.
   This was the first experience from The List - going to a pick-your-own farm. And it happened before my son was born. My husband, daughter and myself climbed into my green Mazda and drove south of Tulsa to Endicott Farms - roughly a half-hour drive.
   When we got to the farm, a lovely family was sitting in front of their garage, baskets ready for people to come and harvest their own berries. It was a pick-your-own farm and the cost was minimal (I don't remember the exact cost, but I think roughly $15 is what we paid) for all three of us to grab baskets and load up on blueberries and blackberries.
   The patches were pointed out to us and we trotted out in the morning hours, the dew clinging to the grass beneath our sandaled feet (well, my husband wore his hiking boots). Nearby was a picturesque pond, with geese and ducks sailing overhead or swimming leisurely on the surface of the blue water.
   Our first stop was the blackberries, as we were told the blueberries might not be in abundance yet (either because they were already picked or because they were not yet in season). But those blackberries were ready! And huge! And sweet! And in total abundance!
   I wish I would have grabbed my camera, but the images in my head are still clear and beautiful as ever! We are planning to make another stop at Endicott Farms again this berry season. Not only for the peaceful family outing, but also for those berries. They beat out anything you can buy in your grocery store. I made blueberry muffins (not a lot of blueberries, but we got enough to make one batch), blackberry cobbler, blackberry bread, blackberry muffins (because we had more than enough of those).
   Now, we had previously done something similar. It just wasn't blueberries and blackberries. We were living near the Black Hills of South Dakota a few years ago and we went hiking. Well, wouldn't you know it, we came across wild raspberries! All three of us picked as many as we could find and it was all free!
   If you want something leisurely, peaceful, full of nature and will give your plenty of Mother Nature's bounty, then this is something to do. Google pick-your-own farms to find what is available in your area. Not only will get out, but you will support a local business and eat organic (not all are organic so you have to check) fresh fruits and vegetables.  Or, go on your own outdoors adventure and you just might find some wild goodness nestled away!

The List

I have spoken about The List that was made. See for yourself what made the cut. What is below are the things that my friend and I have not yet done. I will write further posts about the stuff that we have done and have crossed off of the list. As we go down the list, I will write about our experiences and will provide pictures and hopefully video.


- Go ziplining
- Get a tattoo
- Take a pottery class
- Learn pole dancing
- Learn ballroom dancing
- Ride a mechanical bull
- Go shopping in Minneapolis
- Go skating in a rink
- Pinot Palette
- Do a mud run
- Attend an opera
- Acrylic nails
- Attend a rave
- Go on a ghost hunt
- Go to a haunted house on Halloween
- Pick peaches
- Grape crushing with feet
- Spa retreat
- Mud wrestling
- Attend a drag show
- Picnic in the park
- Discovery flight
- Murder Mystery Theater
- Learn contact juggling
- Try absinthe
- Lose 60 pounds
- Do a boudoir photo shoot
- Learn a new language
- Take martial arts
- Travel on a train
- Ride a gondola

   I do live in Marshall, MN, so obviously some of these things are not available everywhere. But, as I write about them, if websites are available, I will provide the address and locations so you can experience it yourself.
   I am open to suggestions on stuff to try. As long as it is legal, poses no harm to anyone and does not violate my personal beliefs and morals. If you have ideas, I would love to hear them!

Life Is Meant To Be Experienced

I have a confession to make. I am 33 years old and for a long time, my life was boring. It revolved around activities my daughter was doing, what my husband had planned, what was on the Internet, what was on the television and new books.
   About three years ago, I read a blurb in a magazine in which a woman said she tries to do at least one new thing every month. I told myself that was an awesome idea! Then, I saw the movie Yes Man with Jim Carrey and I knew that if I wanted to be happier with my life, I had to experience it rather than wait for it to happen to me.
   Don't get me wrong. I was happy with my life. I had a wonderful husband (still do and he's great!) and a beautiful daughter (7 years old!). Now, I also have an 8 month old son. And I work in the MPO Department at American Airlines. A lot has changed from that stay-at-home mom who sat around the house all day, bored out of her skull, who entertained herself with daily video workouts, rented movies and figuring out what she was going to make for supper.
   But, in the back of my mind, I knew there was more to life than what I had. And I wanted to experience it! I just didn't know how.
   In January 2013, my husband and I conceived our son. While I was pregnant, I told a friend that I did not want to spend all of my evenings sitting on the couch, watching movies. I suggested to her the "once a month" idea. She was down with it. So, we made a list - a list of stuff that we had never done before, but would love to do. You could kind of think of it as a bucket list. But, a bucket list usually takes time and planning. And they are things you really want to do before death. This list is of things that do not quite make the cut of the bucket list. These were things that we could readily do - we just had not done them. It ranged from ghost hunting to mechanical bull riding to pottery class and everything in between.
   Then, we started on our quest to check things off of the list. While she unfortunately moved away, another friend has stepped in, excited to experience life. And we have been having fun with it! So much, that I wanted to share it with the world and try to inspire people to get out there and live.
   It is so easy to get mired down in day-to-day life. You go to work, take care of your family, clean your house and make meals. You go to sleep. And it starts all over the next day. Before you know it, you are stuck in a rut and if you're not careful, you could be in that rut for years. Experiencing different things in life is not difficult and it is not necessarily expensive. All you have to do is get out there and do it.