One month into 365 in 365- and it’s been an experience to say the list. January has always been a month that would sort of float by, but when you have a lot of shit to do (365 things to be exact) it’s a motivator to live. From art projects, mini road trips and trying things that were never really on my radar before- it kicked of 2015 in a positive way.
Here are a few highlight’s I’ve been able to check off the list. It’s been hard to update because between working full time and living-a spare moment with enough brain energy to blog has been difficult to find!
Walk like a Polar Bear
The biggest thing of the month was jumping into the icy Delaware River for the Polar Bear Plunge. Somehow, I convinced my best friend of over 20 years, Nikki, to be my partner in this item. To my surprise she was even more excited than I was, and even went along with idea to wear matching polar bear hats. My family came to cheer us on the early Saturday morning we stood on the shore of Neshaminy State Park, waiting to plunge.
We had both done a lot of scary things in our lives, but this was totally different. The best things was we were surrounded by hundreds of other people who were all going to jump into the freezing river water with us. Once the whistle signaled, we were able to begin, our hands clasped together as we waded out 25 yards off shore to high-five the official waiting for us.
Clad in only leggings, a long sleeve shirt, and a hat- it was pretty freaking cold. Luckily we only had to get wet to our hips, but it felt as if there were hundreds of needles going into our legs. I cannot even recall how many curses I let out, and at one point I believe I asked for my mom to save me. It only took seven minutes to plunge, but it took several hours to warm up-thanks to several cocktails and the longest nap of my life. Best friends that jump into icy rivers together stay together. Altogether we raised $100 for the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania, and have a great story to tell people! Click here to see more photos!
Painting Without the Twist
Last year, while under the influence of red wine, I painted an ‘expressive’ piece of art at Painting with a Twist. I enjoyed working with the acrylic paints and making art without the computer, so I figured it might be a good way for me to unplug. To test it out, I signed up for a painting class at my local rec center in Fishtown, Portside Art.
For three hours, I learned about the importance of depth-perception, tones and expressing a scene on the canvas- while sober. Although the people were very friendly, it once again proved that I am not the time of person who thrives in a structured art class. It goes back to my days in Girl Scouts where I would constantly get reprimanded for not doing our art project the way the sample model was decorated. It might be something I try in my own time, but abstract is a much better fit. But at least it was an attempt!
What I did really enjoy was finger painting at home! I found a set of finger paint at the Dollar Tree, and went to town one Sunday afternoon for a good hour. It was therapeutic getting my hands covered in paint and swirling it onto the paper. I’m pretty sure the highly intelligent cat was judging my life decisions- and I did briefly consider trying to get her to paw paint.
Finding Out What Exactly Reiki is and What it Does
Part of the organization of the 365 in 365 list has been being able to try a variety of different activities on a budget (#non-profit life problems). Luckily, I was able to find a great opportunity to try Reiki at The Reiki School + Clinic. They occasionally offer discount sessions performed by level 3 Reiki Masters, almost like an internship. On a Sunday morning I found myself lying on a table of a dimly lit office, with my Fran, my Reiki friend of the day. Let me point out that I talk a lot. And it is very hard for me to sit still for a long period of time. Even during the work day, I take frequent breaks to walk to the water cooler to regain my concentration.
For an entire hour, I laid still as could be as Fran laid her hands on different parts of my body. At first my mind continued to race, going over my constant to-do list. But as the hour went on, I noticed my body become less fidgety and my mind quieter. At one point my mouth was completely opened and my breathing became very calm. After the hour was up, I felt more relaxed than I was prior to the appointment. The Reiki School offers a large variety of classes to help people perform Reiki on themselves and on other people. With just the act of touch, the Reiki master works on releasing the body’s energy so that it can flow in a positive way. Another neat service is that they offer Reiki services to cancer patients at Good Shepherd Penn Partners, the official therapy provider of Penn Medicine, where I work in the marketing department The Reiki School offers integrative healthcare for patients suffering from symptoms of anxiety, pain and fatigue.
On the Heels of a Sketchy Groupon
The following week,I went to my first reflexology appointment thanks to a deal I purchased on Groupon. First lesson learned, check the place offering the service on Groupon before purchasing. The place ended up not being in the best part of town, and the quality of work was questionable. The offer included a 30 minute massage and a 30 minute reflexology session. However the practitioner began working on my feet for the reflexology portion, I did feel vibrations going up and down my body. Ironically, the following day was a Monday and I ended up having a very productive day. I am interested in trying it again, but going to someone who would be able to talk me through the process.
Color My World
One of the things I am most proud of is having a wonderful relationship with my niece, Taylor. There is an entire section of my list dedicated to things to do with the 5-year-old. Since she was a baby, I always have enjoyed taking her to do things and watching her experience things for the first time. At the end of January, we took the hour and half car trip to Easton, Pa to the Crayola Experience. Taylor has always loved coloring and is learning how to write- so an entire factory dedicated to arts and crafts was perfect.
Every part of the factory is interactive for both children adults. From making their own crayon to building their own snow globe, kids are constantly cutting, turning or coloring something to take home. I even had a great time molding my own crayon and watching my own colorful doodle appear on a large display wall screen. We also were able to make our own art with melted crayons (another item on the list!). On the way home, we even had an unexpected nature lesson by almost hitting a deer. As a city driver, I am not used to wildlife jumping out on a major highway! We had the discussion that deer guts would not be cool. It would be quite uncool for my stomach and my wallet.
Going to the Chapel
One of the items on the 365 list that is ongoing is be a bridesmaids in a wedding! I kicked off February by taking part in my first bridesmaids dress fitting at David’s Bridal in Feasterville, PA.. Brittany, the beautiful soon-to-be bride, was glowing having all of her dear friends together and the excitement was contagious! Her wedding is in October, and she is smack in the middle of wedding preparation. In fact, another one of our good friends is getting married a month after her. And another one of our friends will be having her first baby in June! It seems that 2015 the year of 2 Brides and a Baby in my group of girlfriends!
Dinner for One
With a stroke of luck, I found myself right next store next to the Han Dynasty location in University City on Friday night, after a filming for work ran super late. Since it was on the 365 list, I figured it was my duty to treat myself to a nice solo dinner. Based on Yelp and recommendations from friends, I ordered the Dan Dan noodles and the dumplings in chille oil. The food was great and left my mouth burning for the rest of the night (in a good way!) The portions were also large enough so that I had dinner the rest of the weekend. Next time I go there, I plan on trying the crispy cucumbers and the duck!