Taking a Leap at Skydive Elsinore [First Time Tandem Skydiving & What to Expect]

Skydiving
I went Skydiving with my Mamma and our friend Tena in celebration of my 29th! Woohooo last year of my 20’s. You ladies are troopers and I’m so grateful you said yes. And thanks to my Hub for pushing me to fulfill my life-to-do’s… I had many sleepless nights before this day and you never stopped encouraging me. You’re the best babe. I know jumping out of a plane is not your idea of fun, but you knew it was mine and you gave me endless support and I love you for that and so much more. Here’s to stepping outside of my comfort zone, trying new things and living life to the fullest. Love you guys.

Here’s how my day went and what to expect on your first tandem jump.

Anticipation is the worst part. I’d suggest making your appointment a few days before you go…no need to make it weeks before like I did. There were too many days filled with watching YouTube videos of skydiving gone wrong. Don’t do that! Check the weekly weather report for your drop zone and pick a day that is sunny with low wind.

Morning of, we drove out to Skydive Elsinore and checked-in at the office. We watched a funny outdated video – an older guy with a majestic beard discussing the dangers of skydiving. Brilliant, they already have me laughing…I can’t take ZZ Top-in-a-suit seriously, so I’m just going to sign these release forms. We signed about 10 different papers stating that we wouldn’t sue anyone if we ended up hurt or dead. And then we were filmed as we read a short statement out loud and signed one last document.  Done and done. Try not to let this deter you from the experience – it’s merely protocol. Tandem jumps are preformed by professionals that have hundreds, if not thousands of jumps under their belts. Sign away and it’s time to get stoked!

We were some of the first tandem jumpers that day so we didn’t have to wait long. I heard if you pick a later time slot that you might have to wait around the drop zone longer, because earlier jumps are postponed for whatever reason (weather, plane maintenance, late arrivals etc). Plan on being at the drop zone for 3-4 hours. Bring some items to help you pass the time or just hangout and watch other skydivers land. It’s pretty fascinating watching them zip down so quickly.

We had about 45 minutes of downtime. I walked out to the Skylark and watched a military plane takeoff with a bunch of camouflaged divers packed in like sardines. Training maybe? I sat on log near the runway by the old Airstream trailer and Winnebago and called my friend Julia who had jumped a few months before.

“So Jul’s I jump in just a few minutes…any tips?”

“Just smile and enjoy it.”

“Oh God, OK. I can do this!”

I was the first to meet my instructor – Marcelo Zoni, who came up to greet me with a smile and the tandem harness in hand. I got suited up and he made sure everything fit correctly. I remember feeling that the harness wasn’t tight enough… “don’t worry I’ll tighten it later in the plane.” He gave me the lowdown on what I needed to do – “keep your arms in close to your body and hold onto your shoulder straps. Keep your head up and tilted back while we jump out. Once we’re out I’ll tap to signal when you can put your arms out to the side. Don’t forget to arch your back while we fall.” So I listened and replayed his instructions over and over in my head…and then my thoughts turned to how I would frantically attempt to save both of us if something happened to him because of all those damn youtube videos that I had watched days before. I bet I would qualify for an AFF 1 jump, with the amount of skydiving research I read over the past weeks. Oh Lord. Think happy thoughts Britt. You can do this. You’ve always wanted to do this. Everything will be fine. This is an exciting, happy day…

I found myself asking stupid questions like, “so how many times have you jumped (which I’m sure every instructor gets asked multiple times a day)? How old are you? Do you have a family? Children? You need to be there for someone right?  Just checking.”

Uggghhh.

Sorry for the mild interrogation Marcelo, but that’s what comes out of my mouth when I’m terrified. Check, check and check. OK, I’m feeling better. I also discovered that it was his birthday that week as well, so that was neat.

My videographer interviewed me on the ground and in the plane… he asked several questions about whether I was nervous and if it was my first jump etc. I said something like…”oh I hope we make it, I love you family. Send my love to my hub.”
Skydiving
Before I knew it, it was time to go. I’m sure every plane is different, but ours held 14 people with two benches and a few floor spots. The plane took off and we climbed higher and higher until we reached about 12,500 ft. It was cold and loud inside our tiny plane. I was the closest to the door when the single jumpers rolled it back. My heart raced and I grabbed my shoulder straps while looking out the door. Wow this is really happening! And then the first team of 3 singles jumped out. They just fell out door in a cute little party pack and disappeared. Weird. My mind seemed to disconnect at this point. This is all so funny. People jumping out of planes…how is this OK? Then the next guy literally swan dived out the door. I remember watching him get smaller and smaller. Well, I’m up.
Skydiving
Skydiving
Skydiving
We scooted up to the door. I knelt down on one knee looked out and saw the curve of the horizon.  Amazing! My photographer put his hand on my shoulder (I’d like to think he was praying for us), I think it was just a technique to stay level with us when we jumped. Haha. I smiled at him, but couldn’t see his face clearly under his helmet. I hoped he was smiling back. And then I felt a hand on my forehead – a reminder to keep my head back before he threw me out of the plane.  I was definitely in shock of what was about to happen…just grinning from ear to ear and feeling out-of-body. It felt like a dream. Then he gave two swings and pushed away from the door.
Skydiving
Skydiving
Skydiving
Oh my God…

Those first 3 seconds took my breath away in the best possible way. It’s wasn’t scary or painful. I didn’t panic.

It’s pure magic.

It’s out of this world one of the most amazing feelings. You’re falling but you don’t feel like falling. You feel like you’re flying on a windy day. It’s very odd, peaceful, thrilling, happy and freeing all at once. There was no anxiety, no tension, no worry about plummeting towards the ground. I know this description is eye-roll-worthy but it felt comforting in a spiritual way. What was I afraid of? This is beautiful. (side note…I bet a solo dive is completely different. The best part about a tandem is you get to sit back and relax).
Skydiving
Skydiving
Skydiving
Skydiving
^^^A message to my Love at home who took over my work shift and told me to jump out of a plane…so sweet of him. I think 😉 Love you babe.
Skydiving
Skydiving
Skydiving
Skydiving
Then there was a quick jerk up and a moment of heaviness. Our chute had opened and the wind had stopped. Back to reality. I think I yelled “It opened!” and he said “Of course it opened!” He showed me how to direct the parachute, pull left for left turns and right for right. Pull both to slow down and let loose for full speed. It was surprisingly easy. Happy Birthday Brittany! Thanks, Marcelo! Happy Birthday to you too! Then we just cruised and enjoyed the view. Still slightly in shock, I must have said thank you a thousand times.

The landing was fairly easy. He pulled a few quick S turns to position ourselves for the drop zone. At the last moment he flared the chute and we landed graceful on our bums! Not even a grass stain on my jeans. Nice job! Very impressed. Thank you, thank you, thank you for such a fun experience.
Skydiving
Skydiving
My mom and Tena landed right after me. All three of us had an amazing time, one that I will never forget.

Later that night after googling more jumps I stumbled across the Fresh Prince himself who had some wise words to share and I quote, “at the point of maximum danger [that first second you jump out] is the point of minimum fear. God places the best things in life on the other side of fear.” I couldn’t agree more. Anything worthwhile in this life will make you nervous – all those big decisions and moments. The rewards are so spectacular once you have the courage to commit. Sometimes you just need to trust your gut (or in this case a complete stranger) and take that leap. I’m so glad I did and you will be too. It’s fun to see what we are capable of. Life is good. Everyone needs to experience this at least once in their life – or maybe more. Sign me up again!


Fiddle Leaf Fig Inspiration and 15 Pretty Planters

Fiddle Leaf Fig
I have a love/hate relationship with these green beauties. I love them and they hate me. 😉 No really. I’ve had three plants now and they keep dying, despite my tender loving care – scheduled waterings, a sunny spot next to the window and a gentle leaf polishing with coconut oil. I’ve tried everything. Maybe it’s my house…maybe it’s not enough sun. Who knows? Some day I’ll figure it out, until then these pictures will keep me dreaming.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Fig

And here are some fun potting ideas too! I stick mine inside a ceramic pot and woven grass basket at home. These cute planters extend beyond the fiddle leaf fig…think snake plant, cacti, rubber trees, palms etc. There are lots of indoor plant options that would look stunning in these pretty planters.
Pretty Planters
1. palazzo marbleized planter / 2. glisan hanging planter / 3.fiddle leaf fig ceramic planter / 4.cement planter / 5.brass planter /  6.riviera pineapple copper planter / 7.mamba basket / 8.drum white planter/  9.blue swirl planter  / 10.drip pottery / 11.zen white planter / 12.napa round planter / 13.conway basket /14.Joya Basket / 15.danube planter grey marble

Pictures: grancedore, theinspiredroom,  dominoheatherkincaiddomino 2


The Lace Studio Wedding Dress Necklace : Giveaway

Lace Studio Necklace
I have admired Liz Cater’s jewelry for quite awhile now. I posted about her fabulous idea for wedding dress necklaces back in 2013. What a wonderful way to remind you of your special day. Liz will encase a piece of your wedding dress lace in a clear waterproof resin and sterling silver backed pendant to wear as a necklace. But this idea expands beyond just wedding dress lace. Any special material will work… a hospital baby cap, a piece of your past loved ones favorite shirt or tie, military uniform or any piece of cloth that means something special. I love it Liz! A necklace that reminds me of a moment in time, my very own time capsule. It’s something that I can look down at and feel all warm and fuzzy when I remember that day. Thank you!

I caught up with Liz a few weeks ago for a meet-the-artist interview! She is so nice and offered to send a GIVEAWAY kit to one lucky Bit of Bees Knees reader! And a shoutout to all you guys out there…Valentine’s day is just around the corner and I think this would be the perfect gift for your lovely lady.

-GIVEAWAY RULES-

The contest will be held on my INSTAGRAM at the time of this post and runs until January 23rd.
1. Like this picture and tag 1 friend in a comment below.
2. Check out @the_lace_studio on Instagram and like one of Liz’s pictures.

That’s it! Contest runs until January 23rd! I will notify the winner via private Instagram message the night of the 23rd for your shipping info. 

The kit is for the 20mm sterling silver necklace, so a little bigger than the one I’m wearing (mine is 15mm, or dime sized, and the 20mm is nickel sized) and retails for $85.  I will mail the lucky winner a necklace kit from The Lace Studio. It comes with complete instructions on how to send in your material, pick a background color and mail it back to Liz (stamps included). Any material can be sent in!

Lace Studio Necklace

Meet the Artist

L I Z Z   C A R T E R

What inspired you to make jewelry?  

I was inspired to make lace jewelry from my own wedding.  I asked my seamstress to save any lace she cut off during alterations with no real plan on how to use it, I just knew I didn’t want it to go to waste!  After searching for gifts to give to my family for helping me plan the wedding I fell short, the typical robes and monogrammed cups were great, but didn’t seem personal enough.  I started with the idea of putting the lace in a locket, but really wanted it to last a lifetime, and that’s when I started experimenting with resin.  It took many different processes and resins before finding what worked best, but now that I have the basic process down, the ideas are limitless, and I really enjoy encasing all types of materials in resin now, it no longer has to only be lace.   

What do you enjoy doing in your off time?  

In my time off I enjoy hiking and yoga, and spending time with family.  My son is 11 now and it’s a really fun age.  

Where can you be found online (websites, social media etc)?

I can be found at thelacestudio.com, on Facebook (facebook.com/thelacestudio), and Instagram (@the_lace_studio), I’m also still on Etsy where I started in 2011 at lacestudio.etsy.com.  

What is the most rewarding aspects of starting a handmade business? Do you have any tips?  

I love that I am able to be creative and work with my hands. My favorite thing is hearing the stories behind the material that I work with. I am honored that my clients let me be a small part of that story, and that I can help keep that story alive by creating something they can wear everyday.  I am so grateful that I am able to work from home with flexible hours, it allows me to put my son on the bus every morning and be here when he gets home from school.   My tip to anyone who enjoys creating is to go for it!  Even if it starts as  a hobby and not your full time job, you never know where it will take you unless you try.
Lace Studio Necklace Lace Studio Necklace Lace Studio NecklaceLace Studio Necklace


Gift Guide for Her

Christmas Gifts For Her

Let the holiday countdown begin! We spent the weekend at the cabin enjoying a hike and the first snow of fall/winter! I needed a snow storm and the town Christmas tree lighting to kickstart the holiday-feels. December is just days away and the gift-giving season is here! This is a little “Gift Guide for Her” your mom, sister, friend etc. Last week I posted a “Gift Guide for Him” to give you a few ideas to run with! Happy Holidays!

Mango thick sweater / Anthropologie opal earrings set / ChloBo mid knuckle ring / Tan floppy hat / Kate Spade eyewear / Aerin Fragrance Coffret / Estée Lauder Gardenia Tuberose / Egyptian Magic face oil / Aesop skincare / Flower Balm Lip Tint / African Black Soap / Herbivore body cleanser / Herbivore Coco Rose / Novica cotton hammock / Turkish cotton bath towel / Trapp Candles No. 7 Patchouli Sandalwood / Kate Spade Pillow / Brass Pineapple Tumble / Anthropologie Cheese Board / Olive wood cheese board / Teal Blue Agate Bookends / Geometric glass terrarium / Sur La Table Twig Spoon / Rustic Wooden Ladder / Organic Hawaiian Spirulina / Navitas Naturals Organic Pomegranate Powder / Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug Cinnamon Gold / Tava Vanilla Bean Ghee / Luxardo Cherries / Montagne Bleue Signature Tea Blend from Paris

Gift Ideas for Him

Gift Ideas for Him

I can’t wait to get our Christmas tree next week! The holiday season is upon us and with that comes gift giving! It can be hard to find the perfect gift for your guy… so I’ll be posting gift ideas for both men and women this week. The Hub helped me curate this one, so here are some fantastic gift ideas approved by an actual guy! Great gifts for the men in your life (husband, brother, father etc). Links are listed below.

And Enter Here for a chance to win $75 towards a wooden watch by Jord. There is still one week left to enter the contest! Ends Dec 3rd! Just enter you email — super easy! Good luck!