friendship, health

Pampered A-Z

The long awaited getaway weekend had arrived. Schedule conflicts hit hard as the time of departure hit. It took some finagling to get all to work out but that was not without added stress.

The take off was planned for early morning with a distance to drive. All attendees were to meet at the destination vs the previous plan of arriving the night before. This special time with friends was a long weekend planned for my birthday. Lots of unknown surprises and adventures were on the agenda. The list was long but there was a PJs party and sleepover, of course. Plenty of sweets to eat for all. Many giggles with the girls took away any of the pre-travel stresses.

One planned event I knew about was a spa day. However, I knew nothing of the venue nor did I really remember what treats were in store for me at the spa. The check in was detailed. A locker was assigned as well as a fancy robe. The cell phone was tucked away for me to adhere to the cell-phone-free zone. Off we went to a waiting room which was more like a grand foyer with a fresh wood-burning fireplace.

The waiting room ended up being a common area or meeting place for us to exchange stories and socialize in between services. At this point I had no idea how much time I would spend here but it was already amazing at this point. This common area had a snack bar with nuts and water and little refreshers which was a nice treat but the log cabin feel of a living room with the fresh fire added to the ambiance. The lounger chairs were placed on the outer edge of the room for reading: the inner area was a plush leather couch and recliners assembled with care for a little closer seating to chit chat. There were so many ladies in and out.

Moms and adult daughters. Girl groups like ours. It was hard to guess the average age or if there were any patterns of ages. While I might have silently people watched or observed my surroundings on my first visit to the common space,  I didn’t care after my first moment of zen. I had entered a whole new state of ooey gooey relaxation.

I had a massage first. 85 minutes of aroma therapy, oils, hot stones and a medium level touch. It was just delightful. Head to toe relaxation. After a huddle up in the common area one pal headed to sauna. Another to steam room and shower. Two of us opted for the salt cave encounter. This was a first but a one and done. A novelty experience but one I don’t feel I would ever do again. 

Back to the meeting place. This time we shuffled around the corner to a semi-private area for a mini lunch and mimosas. Oh, the treats hit the spot. Grapes for refreshment. Berries to add to the mimosas. Meats and cheeses for protein. A few crackers for crunch and orange slices for some sweet hydration. Some chocolate covered nuts and strawberries, however those were not on my tasting list this time. Each table set up was slightly different in theme making such a cute accent for those gathered for these snack sessions.

Next was the facial. Cute little coverup was worn to allow your arms and shoulders to be free. For yet another massage of sorts. The head. The neck. The face. The shoulders. The arms. The hands. Hydrating massages built into the facial process was beyond amazing, the glow after the service was remarkable. Such a rejuvenating experience.

For this spa had rooms upon rooms. Long hallways. An upstairs and a downstairs. Lots of nooks and crannies. I had never been to such an interesting spa. Many had brought their favorite books for reading in between sessions while others were in small groups chatting away.

I will be back for sure. Another interesting tidbit was there were more males than I expected receiving service however they had their own section for gathering. Oh how I wished to be a fly on the wall in the women-free zone to see their snacks and relaxation stations, now I’m so curious. Maybe I will have to make a phone call to inquire about the difference.

Today was a great time with friends but the most pampering I have ever had. Not sure if it was the time, the kinship, the services or the combination but I will cherish the experience. I chose to write about this day for many reasons.

One day I may want to reflect on this day with valued friends.

One day I may not be fortunate enough to receive these kind of services this I would want the detailed memories to relive the moment in my mind.

One day I will want my daughter to read my recap for her to understand how she should value self-care.

And for today, anyone reading along who may not ever experience this bliss, I want to share my experience virtually. Not for a bragging type experience rather for an experience to daydream about what can be someday.

Dreaming big is an important part of my life. I live for new experiences and opportunities. If I never had things to look forward to I would remain stagnant. My hope for readers is to reach for those days ahead that seem impossible for I know one can always reach beyond to get what they are willing to work hard or push for.

adventure

Bricks & Alpacas

Bricks remind me of strength. Bricks are the basic foundation for many buildings and / or empires. Bricks would be the last thing I thought about carrying around today yet I am so excited I had such a great opportunity with a brick.

You see, the brick is representative of a challenge from my adventure book. As odd as the instructions appear when read, the more fun that can be had ahead. How one interprets the assignment leads to the adventure itself. We started by naming our bricks. Mine was named Flash as a brick doesn’t move fast. Another was named Richard or Dick for short. Chase was named as well as Ash. Little Ash has a backstory. She could be short for Ashley or Asher making her gender neutral. Also bricks are represented in fireplaces as is ash. Brittani with an I was named in honor of Brittney Spears and the brick she is. Below is the first outing with our brick family as we set out for the day of fun adventures.

The girl gang is loaded with bricks today. A weapon? A stepping stone? An item to build with? For today it’s about the adventure and memories we create with our bricks. A strengthening of our relationships. Our travels start by car so the bricks are packed in a bucket with tissue paper for protection as well as flair. Off to eat brunch we go. Will the restaurant give us a high chair for our little brick family?

The bricks were involved in photos ops and shenanigans as the day progressed. From poses at the restaurant to a visit to an Alpaca farm. There was never a dull moment.

The bricks will find their final resting place in a pasture on our family farm while we head off to make more memories without the weight of the bricks. The giggles will be present for years to come as we pass by the bricks in their new spots on the farm.

As I close out this brick post i’ll now leave you this smiling Alpaca who posed for me on our field trip. This gem of an animal smiled bright with its stained teeth and grass-colored face. It was so funny to share this creative pose. So soft and fluffy yet such a hot mess up close.

What started out as a brick adventure ended up including an educational agri-tourism component allowing me to learn about Alpacas. It was a pretty cool experience and I won’t ruin the surprise by giving away the details of my Alpaca experience but I will share some photos for fun.

Because who doesn’t like a creature with hair as cool as this?

adventure, friendship

Biloxi, Mississippi

The stage is set for Biloxi, MS in spring of 2022. The first official road trip booked for the RV but who knows if it will actually be the first trip actually taken in it. Yes that is a mouthful but so true. Seeing that I am spontaneous I may opt for another quick getaway before I adventure to Biloxi.

No matter what trip I choose and when, I’m hoping for a positive experience but it could be a shit show/learning experience. The preparations have been in the works for some time, thus I can only hope we are really ready to tackle our new travel lifestyle with ease. If hope doesn’t work out then I will try to exercise patience and show grace as needed. 

Practice makes perfect, they say. Well we are practicing as much as we can before we extend our travels outside of 8 hours from home base. I’ll be holding my breath to avoid flat tires. I’ll be crossing my fingers that I don’t forget to pack a vital item. I’ll be positive in dealing with emotions of others in confined space. I’ll be thankful my dogs get to be roadies, but hoping they can hang like champs.

New cities.

New mode of transportation.

New adventures for me and my travel mates.

New memories to catalog in the photo reel.

Let the journey to the unknowns begin. Let the travel mates enjoy the experiences that are cast upon them. Let me live many days to enjoy the sunrises and sunsets with everything I can squeeze in between. 2022 travels are underway. Where will I go?  How many states will I park in overnight? How many states will I pass through? Which destinations will I choose to blog about? 

Cheers to adventuring.

challenges

The Real Struggle

The struggle is real in life sometimes. I confidently state this based on experience and nothing less. Maybe I should say the struggle is real for many in life, daily. Different obstacles. Different battles. Different consequences. Different choices. Just a different set of variables that create the real struggle.

Anxiety is real.

Depression is real.

Fear is real.

Anger is real.

The list could go on and on. Sometimes it’s one struggle. Sometimes the struggles are intertwined like a tangled web. When multiple challenges hit at once the struggle compounds and many feel helpless. It may take a special person in their life to help them find the hope they need to see or feel to push through the barriers of tangled web. This person could be you. Always be ready to help others.

Today I had a struggle. I was angry. I couldn’t let my anger go. My anger hand many prongs.

I knew better than to let anger steal my joy. My time. My energy. My productivity. Despite knowing I held onto it for longer than needed. I knew my anger spilled over to others around me. This poor choice didn’t define me, rather it consumed me. It took a few unexpected wrinkles in my day to realize I could just let it go. Bye Felicia. It was like my day started over at that moment. A fresh start of sorts at almost 4:00 pm after I was no longer consumed by anger. 

Then a shift to an in-person encounter a few hours later. There was a need. I could aid in the solution. I was called to duty. A young life needed my support. My time. My me energy. My positivity. I was on it. I knew what needed to be done and I plowed through the action items. This struggle was different in content or context but in reality the let shit go aspect was a common denominator. The struggle was addressed despite the curve balls of the day. If I didn’t let go of my anger I might not have had enough mental clarity to help this young person. A good reminder to just let shit go that is weighing you down.

As I winded down for bed a close friend hit the “phone a friend” line. I was there on the other end. I listened with curiosity. We set boundaries. We discussed the value in seeing beyond 5 feet ahead. The what’s on the horizon visual. Hope was offered. Hope is free. Hoping for a better day tomorrow. Hoping for a new opportunity. Hoping to see what is ahead vs. focusing on what’s in the past. The past can’t be changed, but in the future you get to write your own story. A new chapter begins each day. It could be a happy chapter, a sad chapter, a progress chapter, a new beginning chapter or other fun stuff.

All three of these scenarios are real. The people are real. The problems are real. The pain is real. The struggle is real. Each chose the next chapter despite their burdens or struggles. Life’s path is never easy. Never uncomplicated. The adversity of life is part of the journey. Without struggles we could never learn about ourselves or others.

It’s easy to walk away from those who struggle. Many fear helping those who are struggling because it means sharing in their pain. Opt in. Offer to help others through the struggles. It doesn’t mean you need to give people money. It means you can help them see the sunshine in whatever is holding them back or weighing them down.

Do your part. Offer hope in any form.

This post is dedicated to my gal Patty. May everyone have the power of Patty as they overcome their next obstacle in life. 

adventure

Brave Enough

“What are you doing tonight?”

“Um….. why?”

I was walking out of work.

“Tennis clinic. You should come.”

Pause….

Then the textual parade of excuses… It’s my only night at home this week. It’s my laundry day. I don’t want to wait around for two hours. I’ve never played before. I don’t have the right shoes.

(Inside, the mental parade of excuses…I don’t like looking stupid. I’m uncoordinated and awkward. I don’t like not knowing what I am doing. Shit, I’m just scared to be bad at something.)

The the opposing thoughts chime in…I’m always grouchy when I’m not invited to things. (I call it a case of the “pouty-pout left-outs.”) But how can I be mad if I don’t take people up on it when they include me?

I took the long drive home, started my laundry, got my stuff together for the next day, then changed my clothes and headed back out to go to tennis. I’m not gonna lie, my mental soundtrack was a long grouchy list of complaints. I was not fun to be around, so it was good I drove by myself. “Will there be other beginners?” I asked in text. “Yes” my friend said. Ok. Now to just jump into something completely new. Deep breath and go.

I felt kinda thrown in the deep end. Drills started without the “this is the racquet, this is how you hold it, this is what the parts of the court are called” ‘Tennis for Dummies’ I expected and needed.

But, I just hopped in line, asked some women their names, cheered for them when they made a good shot, laughed at myself when I made (many) bad shots, felt sort of accomplished when I made the occasional good one…and just kept going. I laughed. I moved. I listened. I tried. I did something entirely new. And then, miracle of miracles, I did it again the next week.

It does take bravery to take on new things. For some reason, it feels especially brave to do it when you can just be old and set in your ways. But learning continues at all ages, or at least the opportunity to learn does. Keep those bravery muscles fresh and limber. Keep friends around you who push you to keep trying things. Be adventurous. Be willing to suck at something new. It’s the only way to eventually get better.