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 We watched a funny outdated video – an older guy with a majestic beard discussing the dangers of skydiving.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!


Bali Packing List

Bali Packing List
1 month countdown until we leave for Bali! I am beyond excited to say the least! We hope to spend a few days in Uluwatu – exploring different surf breaks and zipping around on motorbikes. Then upwards and inwards to Ubud – jungle trekking, hanging with monkeys in the Sacred Monkey Forest, a sunrise hike, swimming in waterfalls, walking along the rice fields, coffee tasting at plantations, cooking lessons and much more. The last leg of our trip we’ll be spending time in Canggu to meet up with some friends who live there. Surf, surf, surf, snorkel, explore cafe’s, babi guling shacks, fruit markets and then… doing absolutely nothing 🙂 I can’t wait! I’ve heard Bali is paradise on earth. Here is a packing list I put together for a 2 week trip.
Bali
Bali Packing List
1. Sleeping case. Perfect for those hotels with questionable/no blankets.
2. Playing cards. It’s a looooong flight. Dan and I like to play cards to pass the time.
3.SD card adapter. I use this to transfer my pictures from my camera or GoPro to my iPhone or iPad. Super useful! Bring and SD 32GB or bigger to take lots of pictures and videos.
4. Camera. I use the Canon Rebel T3. Durable and easy to use (bring your charger too).
5. Passport, wallet (cc, cash in both currencies home country and Indonesian rupiah), money-belt, travel docs, important papers, copies of passports, international drivers licence, itinerary, phone numbers and medical information in case of an emergency (and in case your electronics run out of juice/ are stolen/ break)
6. Day pack.  Canvas bag that is easy to roll up and stick inside your larger pack. Something smaller that you can use during the day while you leave your bigger pack locked up at the hotel.
7. Flashlight and extra batteries
8. GoPro for capturing water pictures and videos (bring your charger too).
9.Travel Pillow. Great for the airplane and your lower-end hotels that don’t provide pillows.
10. Small thin towel that will dry fast.
11. Mini speaker for playing tunes in your room or at the beach.
12. Digital waterproof travel watch with multiple alarms for catching sunrise hikes and waking early etc. This one has multiple time zones so you’ll know what time it is back at home. Pretty cheap too!
13. Hat
14. Sunglasses and/or Rx glasses
15. A few dresses: Tobi olive & toast knit dress -I like this one for the beach. It has a cute low back, but still modest enough for a cafe or Tobi Magdalena black shift dress – perfect for a night out at Single Fin or Kubu. Tobi has a bunch of cute affordable outfits. It’s fun to pick out a few for a trip.
16. A few blouses, bodysuits, tops (mixed up). I  like this this Alley Rose Ribbed Bodysuit. Remember to cover up if you’re visiting a temple or a sacred place. This suit is best for lounging by the pool or around your hotel or rental home.
17. Cover ups. Thin shawls or light kimonos to cover your shoulders. It will keep the sun off as well as the mosquitoes.
18. Tanks for the beach. It can get hot and humid so a comfortable tank is perfect for keeping cool. Oh and undergarments. You can’t forget those! I’d say bring 1 weeks worth and do laundry half way through.
19. Flips, flats and one pair of sneakers and socks (for riding your motorcycle or scooter).
20. Mosquito net to keep the mozzies at bay. I’d also suggest bringing insect repellent with deet
21.Calculator for those moments that you don’t want to use your phone –> calculating currency exchanges. Double check everything and learn how to haggle.
22. PJ’s or 2 or 3 shirts that are comfortable to sleep in
23. Shorts about 3 pairs  – 1 jean, 2 lighter material
24. Long flowy pants. Similar to the Thai style. 1 or 2 pairs
25. Sarong. Keep it in your day pack and whip it out if you need to cover your legs while visiting a temple. Also great for the beach and around the house.
26. Swimsuit (2 or 3)
27. Backpacking Pack – Store everything in this baby!
28. Hairbrush, clips, pins and bands
29. Earplugs earplugs earplugs! They will be your best friends – the only way you’ll be able to sleep on the airplane or in the jungle. Those cicada bugs party all night long.
30. It’s a 10 – hair detangler. A bit of splurge and one of my luxury items, but boy does it do the trick.
31. Shaving razor
32. Carmex is the best for lips and errrr your nose! OK this might be TMI, but the inside of my nose gets super dry on long flights (hurts to breathe through it), so freshen up in the bathroom – put a little carmex on a Q-tip and coat the inside of my nose. It works wonders me…feels so much better for hours. OK done being gross.
33. Eye drops
34. Make up essentials (concealer, powder, eyebrow pencil, tinted lip balm, waterproof mascara, bronzer) toiletries (mini shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, paste, floss, face wash, face cream, nail file, feminine products, small Dolce Mia Tuberose lotion – smells so good, any personal products you’ll be needing.
35. World power adapter
36. A scarf! One of my favorite items…so useful! Use it as a blanket, a head cover, a towel or tie-strap etc.
37. Jacket with hood. Semi-waterproof for staying dry on land and toasty in the plane.
38. Multi tool knife. Don’t pack this one in your carry-on! Leave it in your checked bag. Comes in handy while traveling…cutting food, ropes, getting out splinters, protection etc.
39. Tissues (for your nose and…your bum). If carrying your own T.P. Roll is too big, then take a bunch of these tissue packets with you. T.P. is not always available in every bathroom so bring your own.
40. Basic first aid kit,  hand sanitizer, band aids, tape, scissors , alcohol swabs, iodine, gloves, Rx medication, Aspirin, Imodium, Pepto,  tweezers, extractors, tourniquet etc.
41. A Pen (and small note pad while you’re at it)! You’ll be scrambling to find one when you fill out travel forms.
42. Not necessary, but I love bringing watercolor brushes, pencils or a mini brush kit to paint in my travel journal. A bit silly but it’s something that makes me happy!
43. Travel Journal. I love writing down bullet points, ideas, things we did, places we visited etc. you can make it as elaborate or simple as you want. It’s fun to look back on.
44. Sunscreen! Put it on everyday!
45. Chargers. FOR EVERYTHING! iPhone ✓ iPad ✓ camera battery ✓ music speaker ✓ gopro ✓
46. Phone. Preferably with wifi capability or a travel plan. It will help you plan your trip along the way.
47. Travel lock or bike lock. If you’re planning on using a lock on your checked baggage, make sure your locks are TSA approved. I usually like to bring a bike lock with me so I can lock up my scooter, or lock my bags in a closet when we’re out and about etc.
48. Travel Mug. Great for keeping drinks hot or cold. Fill it up after the security check in the airport.
49. Dry bag and ziplocs. I like to bring a bunch of bags with me to help compress my clothes in my backpack. They also come in handy when you want to organize clean vs dirty for laundry day.
50.Wet Ones anti-bacterial wipes.

Other items that could help you out.

clothesline or rope( if you plan on doing your own laundry), scissors, small sewing kit, zip ties…
Bali Bali BaliBali Bali
Picture credit: 1,2,3,4,5,6


Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)

British Virgin Islands
BVI
The 3rd and final post of the BVI trip — I blame the severe lateness of this post on Captain Evan for holding his BVI pictures hostage….and maybe me for being a bad blogger. But guess who just gave me a little sailboat memory stick full of priceless pics!? Thanks Ev and Monica. These are amazing! And without further ado…here are days 7, 8 and 9 of our British Virgin Islands Trip. If you are new to A Bit of Bees Knees and want to catch up, here are parts One and Two.
BVI
Day 7
We sailed away from Norman Island that morning and started our way to the east side of Jost Van Dyke for the Bubbly Pool. I woke up to the rocking of the boat and Enya’s Caribbean Blue being played on the loud speaker. My jam! I climbed out of the bedroom hatch and a plate of eggs Benedict was waiting for me. The Wannamaker’s don’t mess around – vacation perfection. We moored the catamaran and motored the dinghy to the dock. The hike to the pool is about a mile, it’s fairly easy, but beware of the poisonous plants along the trail. If you stay on the path you’ll be fine. It’s a wildly fun spot (I wouldn’t suggest it for the kiddies), at high tide it can be dangerous, so make sure you don’t go beyond the funnel or stay high up on the rocks if you want to venture further. When a big wave rolls in, it will burst through the narrow passage leading to the pool. There are a few rocks that you can hold onto while the wave passes overhead. Please be careful that you don’t let the current pull you out to sea. Hold on tight! It can be a blast if you’re smart about it.
BVI 8

Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
BVI
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
Doing what I do best ^^^
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
BVI
After the bubbly pool we crammed everyone into a dinghy and ventured out to a little island called Sandy Spit  (18°26’59.83″N 64°42’31.46″W) just off Jost Van Dyke. The whole island is less than 1/2 an acre with a ring of white sand, a few plants and palms – the most picturesque deserted island you could ever dream of.
Sandy Spit, British Virgin Islands
^^^ Dan jumped out of the dinghy and swam the rest of the way. He wanted the island all to himself .
BVI
BVI
Slightly ecstatic crew 😉 Funny thing… we meet a group with @natgeocreative on assignment in the BVI’s at Willy T’s the night before. Nat Geo’s can party ;)! They followed our route a day later and took some fantastic pictures of the island from above. Check them out here.
BVI
BVI
That night we moored off Jost, made garlic shrimp for dinner and sipped on OJ, cream of coconut and rummmmm to our hearts content.

Day 8
We sailed to Great Harbor on Jost Van Dyke for ice cream and walked the beach, put our reservation in for Vinny’s that night. Then sailed to White Bay just around the point, swam, checked out The Soggy Dollar, napped on the boom (Ry’s favorite sleeping spot) and watched the sunset. We sailed back to Vinny’s and had conch fritters for dinner. I wrote our names inside the E of “Be Happy Don’t Worry” on the back wall of the restaurant. Lots of visitors leave there mark here – for future travelers to read or with hopes to revisit someday. We danced the night away at Foxy’s and enjoyed our last night on the boat.
BVI
BVI
White Bay, BVI
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
^Bruised up, bit up by skeeters and still loving every second.
BVI
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
BVI
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
Sailing the British Virgin Islands | White Bay
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
BVI
Day 9
We woke up early around 6:00AM to sail back to Soper’s Hole on Tortola to return the boat. We grabbed some coffee and breakfast at D’Best Cup Coffee Shop and stocked up on Harbor Market’s ginger hot sauce and fresh nutmeg for family back home. We took a ferry back to St. Thomas for our flight to NYC for the weekend before flying back home to California.
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
BVI
^^^Dan walking the streets of Charlotte Amalie. Lunch at Glady’s Cafe –  stewed oxtails, w/ peas, rice, plantains and sweet potato.
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
BVI
BVI
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
The last hurrah. I could get used to vacations like this. A once in a life time trip with the best crew of buds.
Daniel BVI
What a fantastic trip! We prepared to switch weather from 85F to 35F and population from 10 to 8,500,000…off to NYC for a few days! Bye bye BVI’s you were so good to us!
BVI


Oregon – Over the River and Through the Woods

A few weeks ago, my mom, brother and and I flew to Oregon to spend a long weekend with my Grandmother. We arrived in Medford and drove through the redwoods to Brookings where my Grandma lives on the coast. We spent most of the time talking, watching her favorite shows and looking through old pictures of when she was young. Brookings is a bit of sleepy town, but the slower pace was welcomed break from life at home. My brother and I went for a morning run everyday. It was nice to spend some quality sibling time together…even if he ran ahead of me (too cool to run with his little sis). We watched the waves, drove out to Lobe Park to skip rocks in the calm river, ate burgers at Fely’s Cafe and spent some time at the public library. It felt like a weekend from the 90’s and I loved it.

Flying over Mt. Shasta in all its glory.

I went for a morning run on the beach infront of Grandma’s house. She had a big storm roll in few weeks prior and massive waves brought giant logs onto the beach….just a 100ft or so from the houses along the beach.

OR Run
Morning runs with my brother. That tiny black figure on the road in-between the trees is Bran. I can’t keep up with the speed demon (or I’m not cool enough to run with). He amazes me how fast and far he can run without taking a break. He showed me McVay Rock, a place he would run to when he live up here. I loved this moment… me and my bro running on that long stretch of road – cows and grassy fields on one side and the foggy Oregon coast on the other.
Brookings, Oregon
Red pyracantha
Brookings OR coffee shop
The Bell & Whistle Coffee House
We picked up some coffee-to-go before we drove out to Loeb Park. It’s a cute little coffee house near the docks in Brooking harbor. I tried the toasted coconut mocha and Grandma had the kahlua latte. Both were fantastic.

Loeb Park ^^^The park is nestled in a grove of myrtlewoods and evergreens, many of which are well over 200 years old.  The icy blue Chetco River run through it – crystal clear and prefect for skipping stones with Grandma 😉

^^^Back to Grandma’s beach to enjoy a sunset walk with mom.

^^^My mom admiring the view of the mossiest tree we ever did see. We were on our way back to Medford, when we pulled over to check out a little trail leading to the river. We found this beauty at the bottom of it.


Burn Boot Camp

Burn Boot Camp | A Bit of Bees Knees

This will be my 3rd month at Burn Boot Camp Costa Mesa (BBC). I’ve been seeing great progress in my strength and overall health! I love spending my mornings with a fun group of ladies that inspire me to reach for my personal best. It’s such a friendly and uplifting environment. Here are a few words from some of the wonderful ladies that I workout with:

“This is no normal gym, this place feels like home. The women that come here work hard and they work even harder at supporting each other. This is why I love Burn and why I come back even when my body is threatening to fail me. Give up all the excuses, shut off your brain, just put your pants on and show up. Do what you can plus a little more and repeat.”- Elizabeth Bader

“I could have given up long time ago but with all my ladies at Burn Bootcamp encouraging and supporting one another is what motivates me the most. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all my beautiful strong Ladies and Jeffrey Lawler and Britt Sturg for always pushing me.” –Karla Murillo

“I love coming to this place, putting in a challenging workout and doing it with all of these amazing women!” –Mindy Murrieta

“I want to say thank you to every single person who made a change in my life, especially in this new chapter. Burn Boot Camp – Costa Mesa, every day there is motivation to keep going, every single face that shares the same passion to see all these lady’s giving a 100 %. Thank you to Brittanny Sturgess and Jeffrey Lawler for pushing me everyday to not give up, Thank you to Dale Lawler for opening this place to make a better community.”-Gabriela Rosales
Burn Boot Camp | A Bit of Bees KneesBurn Boot Camp | A Bit of Bees Knees
Working out everyday is wonderful, but exercising alone will not get you results. You need to change your eating habits. Fresh veggies, fruit and lean meat should the base of your nutrition. Get rid of the junk food at home. Throw out the artificial sweeteners and processed foods.
Understanding macronutrients is the next step in the BBC nutrition philosophy. Learning about protein, carbohydrate and fat ratios and how they impact your body will help you determine food options throughout the day. This plan involves monitoring your calorie and macro intake to hit the correct %  of protein, carbs and fats. I like to use my fitness pal app on my iPhone and computer to track the food I eat. Here are a few charts that I find helpful. I printed these out and posted them on my fridge to remind me.
BBC

BBC

and a few helpful tips from BBC headquarters for meal prepping!

——Meal Prep——

1. Plan your meals around THE SAME MAIN PROTEIN. Choose a lean protein (boneless skinless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, etc.) and structure all of your lunches and dinners around that item. For beginner meal-preppers, chicken is by far the easiest protein to deal with. (Cook 4-6 pounds of chicken in your slow-cooker for 4 hours on low. Chop or shred the chicken and use as the base for your main meals.)

2. Wash, dry, slice and pre-portion all fruits and vegetables so they are ready to go.

3. Pre-portion snacks such as almonds, cashews, or chickpeas in small bags to be sure you are eating a proper serving size.

4. Choose recipes with ingredients that overlap to save time and money (green peppers, onions, etc.).

5. Make double-batches of items and freeze for future meal planning.

6. Invest in reusable and stackable microwave-safe containers to store individual entrees for the week.

7. Grab an inexpensive food scale to help with portion control and serving size.

Melissa at eat.lift.play.repeat has a great shopping list that is perfect for the BBC lifestyle.
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