Hundred New Things: Hiking

This is a late post. Can we just all acknowledge, I don’t post regularly, okay. That way I don’t feel compelled to say it each time. Thanks.

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I am a person who likes control.  I like to plan what’s happening. I research. Ask for opinions. I make lists, and then more lists. I don’t like surprises. I don’t like when plans change. Planning can be good; absolutely it can. However, too much planning or being too stuck in your plan can limit experiences.  Planning becomes a bad habit when it stops you from truly living or even from making the better choice.  That might not make sense, seeing how planning is supposed to help you make a better decision, but that’s not always the case.  You can learn more about that in Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, that I talked about here. I am not going to go too much into it, but sometimes planning or thinking too much about a decision can lead to making a “false” or poor decision.  But also, being to rigid, being opposed to change, can prevent you from having a better outcome.

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Sometimes, “going with the flow” or trusting your feelings, your gut, your instincts, can result in something so much better.

Randy and I normally go away for a week every summer for vacation.  This summer, we decided to take a week off, but explore areas around us.  We made a plan to go to Bushkill Falls in Bushkill, PA.  Anything you read about it will tell you it’s pretty amazing.  One site called it the “Niagara Falls of PA.”  I asked my friend, Emily, to come along with us as well.

Bushkill is about three hours away from us so, early in the morning, we set off, ready for a fun hike/walk in the woods to see some waterfalls. When we get there… it’s very crowded, with a long line to just get in.  My first thought was, “this will not be an enjoyable hike.”  I am not opposed to people or crowds (mostly), but hiking through the woods with a group just didn’t seem like the day I had in mind.

I declared, “I don’t want to do this. Let’s go somewhere else.” (Bushkill Falls also charges a fee to get in, so I knew I had to just decide- yes or no.) This was very unlike me to do.  I normally think these things, but don’t want to speak up because I’m worried I’ll say something someone else doesn’t want to do. In this case, however, I knew I would not enjoy it at all. I trusted my feelings and made the decision. And, once I said that, I think we were all relieved.

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Luckily, Randy knew we were near the Delaware Water Gap National Park.  So we headed that way thinking there’s got to be something or maps for us to find something to do.  Along the way, we see a sign for the Pocono’s Environmental Education Center (PEEC).  We decided to see what it’s all about. Turns out, it’s pretty awesome.  You should check it out, but for our part, there were a hand-full of trails with maps available for hiking (for free I might add).  Looking at the maps, Emily points out that one has a waterfall, so we say…LET’S DO IT!

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(photo credit: Emily at erh Photography)

It turned out to be the best hike I’ve ever been on. (I haven’t hiked much, but it was amazing)  There were a few other small groups of hikers, but mostly we were alone.

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It was a beautiful trail. So much green!

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Interesting things to see along the way, including a super smooth tree and I always love some sunshine on moss.

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We came to a lookout point that was so much more spectacular than these photos can show.

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We decided to continue our adventurous-ness and climb up to the waterfall! Be a little dangerous. It can have great reward. (just also… don’t be thoughtless about it.)

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This is where we stopped for lunch. Couldn’t have a better lunch stop.

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Oh, Hello, little guy!! This tree was fallen and this little thing was on the side of it. I was leaning over the tree, pointing down for this.

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We climbed up some crazy roots and through some fallen trees.

We trusted our gut.

We said “YES” to an adventure!

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A quick decision to change plans, even though we were three hours away from home without much clue of what else to do turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. We all look forward to going back to PEEC for more hiking and learning more about their organization.

It was a first for me in many ways.  My first majorly-planned hike. A first for trusting my instinct, and more importantly, a first for speaking up even though it might not be what other people want (luckily, it was anyway). Then, we made another quick decision to try out a place we’ve never heard of before, and a trail we knew nothing about.

Trust yourself. Speak up. Be a little spontaneous. Explore. Try.

You just might have a beautiful day!

Join the fun! I’d love to see what new things *YOU* are trying!

Use the hashtag #hundrednewthings to share!

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Hundred New Things: Happy September

Happy September, Everyone!   Sorry for not posting more regularly, I’ll get a handle on this eventually.

I love September. (October is best, though)  It feels like a new beginning to me. I know it is a new start for those involved with education. Still for me, September feels more of a “new year” than January.  Even though the summer is just the same as the rest of the year for me, September comes and I think, “okay, time to get serious and back to real life.” 

I know I’m the only one that feels this way.  I know this mostly because I just got a wall calendar and a planner that start NOW and go till December 2015! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?! (I bought both of these at the most adorable store, that I just happen to work for as well, called Paper Source. Just go there. It’s amazing.)

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This is the most useful calendar I’ve ever purchased! Each month it has a new inspirational saying, a healthy tip for the month, and a space for three goals that month.  I am very excited to use it and to see something everyday that has inspirational words and my goals on it.

Since we’re on the subject of goals, (or resolutions – this is my new year, right?) I want to think about how we make our resolutions and why we keep or accomplish some and not others.  In my Five-Minute Journal, at the end of every day, it has a line where you write one thing you could have done better.  This is where I realized, I was not keeping my resolution or close to getting to my goal. (honestly, I’ve had the same goal for years, this shouldn’t be a surprise to me)  I wondered why it was so difficult for me to keep up with this.

I’ve learned that how you make your resolution matters to how likely you are to keeping it

Say, for instance, you want to be healthier.  You can make a resolution that’s something like, “I want to lose weight” or “I want to eat better.”  What do those mean, really though?  How are you going to lose weight and eat better?  Instead, make a resolution that is an actual activity like, “I will eat vegetables with every meal.” or “I will not snack.” 

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, and a book I am anxiously awaiting called, Better Than Before, talks about the difference between being an abstainer or moderator. (she also thinks September has that “new year” feel. She’s awesome.)  You can read about it and see what you identify with here.

I think I’m an abstainer, but I try to be a moderator. This is a big reason I cannot keep my resolution! When I decided to not eat chicken, for various reasons, I didn’t eat chicken.  A lot of the reasons for doing this was to push myself to keep a resolution, especially one that would be difficult and one that people wouldn’t understand or who would give me a hard time about it (all of these things happened).  However, by being absolute about it, I was able to keep it. (mostly, there were a couple of times I did have chicken when I felt like it would be rude not to accept.  Other times I was rude and didn’t accept…) 

I think, in order to keep your resolutions, you have to start by first being true to yourself.  I am an abstainer.  I have tried many times to stop drinking Coca-Cola.  I’ll try by saying, “Only one a day,” or “One every other day” or “Only when I’m out,” and I’ve done all of these things… for a while. Then, one day, I’ll have two.  Then, before you know it, I’m drinking three a day again. The hard thing is, and this is another huge thing for keeping your resolution, I don’t want to stop drinking Coca-Cola all together.  I do want to cut back on it a lot, but not completely. I just don’t think that’s possible for my personality.

Okay, make the resolution concrete, be true to yourself, want the change, what’s next?

PUT IT IN FRONT OF YOU!

Have something in a place you’ll see it everyday, a chalkboard, dry erase board, post-it note, poster, whatever, that has your resolution.  Write on your mirror in the bathroom. Keep a journal and every morning, write down your resolution.  Write it on pages in your planner (or every week).  Put it on slips of paper you’ll find randomly.  Make it follow you.

See it, write it… say it.

Tell one person, a group of friends, post it on twitter or facebook. Make it public and you’re more likely to keep up with it. Peer pressure is a strong motivator.  It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much you think it doesn’t effect you. It still has somewhat of an impact on us all.

Okay, you tell me!
What strategies have worked for keeping your resolutions?
What has interfered or made it more difficult to keep them?

 

I realize this is not about a new thing I’ve done, it’s about planning to do new things. I promise, though, I have been doing new things, and I will post about an amazing day I had next! Full with photos too!!

 

Join the fun! I’d love to see what new things *YOU* are trying!

Use the hashtag #hundrednewthings to share!

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Hundred New Things: Camping

Hi There!

I’m really consistent with posting, uh? (that’s sarcasm! I’m sarcastic. A lot. Should I make not being so sarcastic a “hundred new thing”? haha. no.)

I may not post consistently, but I’m continuously posting. More importantly, I’m DOING!

I have this boy in my life, his name is Randy.  We’ll be getting married in less than a year.

He likes to be outdoors. Hiking, camping, kayaking, biking, staring at the sky (the planes, the birds, the clouds). He loves it all.

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He recently (ish) starting sleeping in a hammock when he goes camping, for various reasons.  He really enjoys it.  I decided I wanted to try!  It sounded so nice, and kind of terrifying, which you know, excites me.  I mean, there’s so many things that could happen over night, and you’re just in a hammock! The rain, the bugs, the bears! *yikes!* (but really, a tent does not protect you much more… let’s be serious here.)

Here’s the truth: IT is AWESOME!

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  • We had bug nets; they worked wonders.
  • The weather was perfect.  This is August in New Jersey.  It can be hot! We’ve been having an awesomely not-so-hot summer, and this night was just perfect.
  • Um, and there’s really not bears in south Jersery, I was some what kidding.  (I mean, sometimes, there’s a bear, but not so much you have to worry.) 
  • You can really only lay on your back, but it’s great for your back.  If you have any kind of bad back or pain, it forces you to lay in a way that is very comfortable for your lower back.
  • You’re laying in a little cocoon of comfort and warmth, but being off the ground, you also get a nice breeze all around you.
  • The only thing, for me, was that my feet would move to be higher that the rest of me and I’d have to shift.  Randy told me about this and gave me tips on how to lay flatter, but I didn’t do it well.  I guess it comes with experience.
  • I don’t move in my sleep, but Randy does.  So even if you do move a lot, the hammock works in a way that you really don’t shift in your sleep too much.  No worries of falling out!
  • My favorite thing about it was waking up in the middle of the night (because it’s just a thing I do, and bugs are loud), looking up and seeing trees and sky and stars! OH WOW! It was so amazingly peaceful.  You forget about the loud bugs with such a view!

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My suggestion is, if you like to camp, try a hammock, even if for just a night. Just try it!  Have a tent set up in case, and have more things to keep you warm than you’ll think you’ll need, but try the hammock. ** Do not sleep in a hammock with a canopy over you. That will take away what is, to me, the best part of sleeping in the hammock! **

If you don’t like to camp, or to be outdoors, um… do it anyway. The outdoors is the most peaceful place.

Go outside.  Just sit and be. Forget about all the dumb things you worry about every minute.  Give your mind a break. Open yourself up to nature.

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At the very least, spending a night outdoors, will help you appreciate all the conveniences of our world.

I was told there’s some study that says it take three consecutive nights of camping to really appreciate how we live, but I can tell you, it took only one night for me! ;)

 

 

Here are some more photos of our one-night-hammock-sleeping-outside-time. I wanted to have my 35mm camera with black and white film, but it didn’t work out. So I’ll bring that out next time.

This first one of Randy setting the fire is one of my favorites.

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Join the fun! I’d love to see what new things *YOU* are trying!

Use the hashtag #hundrednewthings to share!

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Hundred New Things: Weeks Three & Four

I know! I’m late posting this. I didn’t even post last week!

What was that thing about not having to be perfect? 

Not having to be perfect or the best is still something I need to work on, but I am working on it.  This is big for me.  I don’t only have an issue with wanting to be the best, but if I’m not excelling at something, I give up.  *AH!* Obviously, I know that  you can only get the be better at something by continuing to do the thing.

BUT THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME!

I want to be awesome the first time I do a thing.  How unreasonable! This is why I skipped last week.  I thought I had nothing to say. I thought, “who cares about this blog, anyway?”  I thought, “what’s the point?”  Then I remembered why I’m doing this hundred new things project!  That’s to break out of my habits (my negative ones, anyway).  It’s to push myself to do things, even if I’m not good at them. To keep trying.

I don’t only apply my unreasonable attitude with perfection to being the best.  I also want the best. *yikes. I’m really giving away a lot of myself here.*

This does not apply to my friends and family.  I do not expect them to be the best. I am very forgiving and understanding when it comes to people. (and if they’re the best, how can I be? …obviously!)

Let me explain, what I mean by needing (wanting) the best.

I will go shopping, and there will be an item I want, let’s say a notebook.  I love notebooks.  Different notebooks are good for different things, but this time I just want a simple notebook for nothing specific.  I will stand in the isle of these notebooks for twenty minutes, picking them up, opening them, just staring at them.  Maybe I’ll walk away for a while and think about them.  I mean, it’s just a notebook people! It doesn’t have to be so serious.  To me, however, I have to find the very best one because there’s always that doubt of “what if I pick the wrong one?” or “what if I find a better one?”

This is how I am. Constantly.

  • What or where to eat?
  • What to wear?
  • Which book should I read right now?
  • Red bow or blue bow?
  • Should I put this sentence in or not?
  • What should I do with my life?!

The people who know me, can verify this.  I don’t make decisions well.  I second guess myself. You’ll hear, “it doesn’t matter” but mostly, I mean, I  don’t know what is best and instead of stressing myself out about it, I’d rather you decide for me.

( It’s really not always this bad, but just so you get the idea how incredibly ridiculous some of us can be about perfection)

Most of the time, my first thought is really what I should do, what I want to do, but I can’t let it be.  I have to look at every possibility.  This is what makes deciding so difficult.

 

I picked up this book, at the LIBRARY! (oh, Hello! new thing!… I don’t go the library because I like to own my books, but, turns out, the library is pretty awesome!)

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In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell, discusses how we make decisions, good and bad, and why some people are so much better at it. He shows by example after example how most truth comes from the fast, unconscious thought; how we feel, instantly, in that one moment.  The book showcases how too much thinking and research can, sometimes, hurt us or cause us to make a false or wrong choice. Making a good or bad decision is less about how much information, but what information, we take in. He also shows that these decisions we make in an instant are much more complicated than we believed: how one thing can make us feel so differently, without us having a clue of what that thing is or why it changes us, and how we can make better decisions in our everyday life.

It is completely fascinating!! I loved every story.  There was a story of Coca-Cola and Pepsi, that I particularly found interesting, of course. Sure, it’s making me think, but I’m human, we’re made to think. Now, I’m learning what and where to focus my thinking. It has also sparked an interest in understanding thinking and our actions more! I want to learn how to read people better, how to judge what they really mean or feel or want.  So much of what we say is false, even when we think it’s true. We try to make sense of our decisions, justify our decisions, but in reality, for the most part, we don’t truly know why we decide what we do.

Well, I want to know!  uh oh! is this my perfectionism again? hmm.. I guess, “I am what I am.”

So it will be to the library some more to continue learning about thinking and making decisions and our subconscious!

Have you read this book, or any of his others? How did you like them? I’d love to know! :)

As for the #hundrednewthings I:

  • went to a record store and bought two records of artist I’ve never heard of and listen to them. (I liked both: Tormé is well know, apparently, and has a very “rat pack” sound to his voice, so, obviously I liked him. Tom Brown is very jazzy.)
  • picked up a book (from the library!) on environmental science to learn about it more.
  • Started reading Scientific American magazine. The first issue I bought is all about Dinosaurs! (I’m all about learning right now)
  • Ate a veggie burger (from b.good- it was amazing!)
  • Taught my first workshop!
  • learned a new way to wear a scarf (that I love)
  • read the newspaper
  • started building a rocket! (thanks, and with help, from my awesome boyfriend.)
  • tried papaya (it’s weird…)
  • ran (in doors. but seriously, I actually ran.)

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Join the fun! I’d love to see what new things *YOU* are trying!

Use the hashtag #hundrednewthings to share!

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Hundred New Things: Week Two

If you’ve been around me, you know I’m doing a project I call Hundred New Things.  They’re not 100 crazy, exciting, or out-of-this-world new things.  Something small, like running for the first time or trying a new food.  It’s a way to help me break out of my comfort zone and truly live my own life.

The past week, I slacked a little with my new things.  And you know what? That’s okay. I don’t have to be perfect.

Sometimes, you’re not on top; you fall behind a little; you have a break.  You can always start up again.  This was a big lesson for me to learn.

I used to think when I stopped doing something for even a day or two, I’d have to catch back up.  I’d have to fill in for those missed days somehow.  That can be so overwhelming.  “Now I have to do today and the past few too? I’ll never catch up! I guess I’ll just stop all together.”  But what does that help or solve? NOTHING!

I realized, when I missed a day or two days, or however long, all I have to do is pick it back up. From now. Okay, you missed some, but those days are past and so just start again. It was as if all this weight was lifted off me! “You mean I don’t have to be perfect?!”    *amazing*

Let me tell you, when you realize you don’t have to be perfect, you feel INCREDIBLE! Anything is possible if you just let go of “perfect”!

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I got help learning this from starting a journal called “Five Minute Journal.”  It is the best journal I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot).  In the morning you answer three questions, and then two at night. It’s great!

In the morning, it makes you look at the things in your life that are good, and that you’re thankful for.  Then, it makes you think how you can make today a good day, ended with a daily affirmation.  Remember these things throughout the day with asking if whatever you’re about to do or says follows your daily affirmation and at the end of the day, you really feel good about yourself.

At night, just before bed, you’ll answer three good things that happened, to help see the good in every day, and one thing that you could have done to make the day better. I just love these because too many of us focus so much on the negative things throughout the day, throughout our lives!  When you come home and see your spouse, friend, mom, whoever and the first thing you talk about are the annoyance of your day, that’s all you’ll take away and you’ll feel miserable and drained.  But if you come home and say three good things that happened, you might just forget about all the crappy things, and feel better and energized.

Writing down one thing that you could have done to make the day better is very informative.  For one, it makes you realize that YOU control your day. You can make it better with just simple things.  People will always be around to annoy you, there are things in every day life that are just not fun or happy.  You can’t change that, but you can change how you react to it and how much you let if affect you. Second thing is that when you look back and see what that one thing is, maybe the next day you’ll remember that.  OR-maybe you won’t and you’ll end up writing the same thing for many days.  That’s when you know it’s really time to change it.

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OKAY, I love this journal, and I recommend it to everyone.

Even though I was not on the track I wanted to be for my Hundred New Things, I DID do some new things.

  • I prepared fish (Randy cooked it).  We made fish tacos. They were delicious!
  • I tried asparagus! My friend grilled it, and it was amazing! Who would have ever thought I’d like asparagus, but I do!
  • I went to a horse track and gambled for the first time. I mean I’ve never even gambled on the slots in Atlantic City!
  • I also learned about the horse races, which is interesting.
  • I sent a card to someone I have not seen or talked to in years… just because

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Like I said, not very much, it was an off kind of week.

This does not count as one of my “hundred new things”, although it is pretty new for me to do this, I am also sticking to what’s important to me.  It may be weird, or dumb, or not make sense to you, but it’s not really for you.  It’s for me.  And there were multiple times it would have been easier to give up on it, but I stuck it out, despite what others may have thought. And that is huge for me.

What about you? Are you doing any new things? Let me know! Use the hashtag #hundrednewthings to share it with us and maybe we’ll all be inspired to try something new!

Hey! I’m on instagram, check me out to see more photos of the new things I’m doing:

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100 New Things

                                                   “When is the last time you did something for the first time?”
 
   I believe life is meant to be LIVED. I believe that too many people sit and watch life happen, they let life happen to them, instead of going out and making their lives happen. If you’re unhappy with any part of yourself or your life, you are the only one who can change.  Sometimes that doesn’t mean changing the situation you’re unhappy about, but changing how you respond to it.  You are capable of changing how you react and how you feel, but you are the only one who can do it.   So many of us feel *stuck*, like we’ve been in the same place for years.  I have felt this way for a while.  Even though things around me may have changed, I felt exactly the same as I have for years.  This was not okay with me!  People are supposed to change.  We grow. We learn. We should not be the same people we were five or ten years ago.  I only mean this to an extent.  Of course, there’s things about us that will always be how we are, and that can be great! However, I think it’s important that we go through a small sort of personal “evolution” to become better versions of ourselves.  (Before you get on me about using the word “evolution,” I do not mean it in the literal or scientific sense!  I mean it more as an emotional evolution.  A growing experience within us. Relax people.)
 
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  So we can sit, and life will happen, and maybe we’re just fine.  But I am not okay with living a “just fine” life.  I want to experience joy in life.  I want to learn, not only about the things around me, but about myself.  There’s so much I haven’t done because I was afraid.
 
“What if I didn’t like the taste of this food?” 
 
“What if I try and I’m bad at this?” 
 
Then I realized, the worst that could happen, is not that terrible.  So what you don’t like it?  Now you know.  So what you’re not the good at it?  Keep trying.  Or not. At least you tried!
 
Trying something new is never an easy thing, but most things in life that are *easy* are usually not worth the convenience they offer. 
 
I did an online project called “100 Happy Days,” where each day I’d photograph and post something that made me happy that day.  I’d do this for 100 days.  It was a great experience! It helped me see that there is happiness in each day and that should be celebrated!  When it was over, I wanted to continue some kind of project, but not necessarily the same one.  I had learned what it meant to teach me, or maybe not, but I learned what I wanted to learn. I liked the idea of “100 things” of some sort.  I came up with a few things, but nothing was *just right.* 
 
 THEN!
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I got it… I’ll do 100 new things!!

I’ve been trying new things more recently anyway and this is a great way to document it and really dive in. I was excited.

So I’m trying 100 New Things by October 1st.

Not all of these things are amazing things! In fact, most are NOT amazing things.  This is not a “bucket list.”  A lot of the things are things most people have done, or maybe even things I’ve done, but not in many, many years.  The point is to break out of my comfort zone. To learn. To make my life happen.

So far I have:

  • Gone a day without any make-up (and out shopping and in front of family).  This is something I haven’t done since I was a teenager.
  • Wore shorts (again not something I’ve done in many years)
  • Tried Avocado (yes. I liked it.)
  • Went Kayaking (liked that too)
  • Tried Unsweetened Iced Tea (and I’m not drinking sugary drinks every other day)
  • Had a Blueberry Smoothie
  • Had a Kale Smoothie
  • Started practicing Letter Art
  • Had Strawberry Rhubarb Nut Bread (omgosh. have you had this? DO!)
  • Wore a hat (I never liked to because it messes with my hair, duh)
  • Gone two months without eating chicken (and I’m still doing it…for my own personal reasons that this blog is not about)

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I have about fifty-five things on my list to do so far, so I still need some more.  Any suggestions are welcome!  I’m not trying to do anything crazy or that requires a lot of time or money, so keep them simple, please.

 

Join the fun! I’d love to see what new things *YOU* are trying! 

Use the hashtag #hundrednewthings to share!

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