31 Days of New: Trying Something New, Daily

From giving blood to eating clean, this is the final week of my resolution

31 Days of New
A month ago today I vowed to try something new every day in January. Despite my complete disbelief in New Year’s resolutions, I created a list of must-tries (from sea urchin to spinning) and set out to check them off, one by one.

Now here I am, the day before my set end date – plenty of “new” under my belt – feeling, well, completely unprepared to let go of this little adventure I’ve just begun. But before I bring on the sap – behold, a look at my final week:

I turned off my phone for a day – and detoxed from Facebook, too. Going Facebook-free was easy, but phone-free? For lack of a better word, it was strangely lonely. (A sign to try a phone detox more often, I think.)

I gave blood. And failed. So, to clarify, I attempted to give blood. Halfway through the donation, I got lightheaded and the technician (a Josh Hartnett clone with a fondness for Twilight one-liners) told me I would need to stop. The blood I had given wasn’t enough to be deemed useful. It was a (disappointing) testament to the fact that – as valiant as our efforts are – we all have limits.

I vowed to eat clean. In other words: only simple, whole ingredients that grandma can recognize. As part of this, I tried satsuma, a kind of citrus fruit (thanks, Whole Foods), and learned how to seed a pomegranate.

I wrote my name in Elvish. Yes, a stretch, but amazing what you can learn on the Internet these days. (Try it, then go ahead: indulge in Second Breakfast.)

I did Paint Nite, which is, basically, a wine-fueled group painting class. My lack of artistic ability has never been so apparent, so I’ve taken the liberty to instead show off my friend’s skills, above.

I ate dinner at a restaurant alone. Okay, okay, I holed up at my favorite little Chinatown enclave and got my Bibimbap fix, book in hand. A far cry from going solo with white tablecloths, but… baby steps.

Now, where to from here? Not back to my pre-January rut, that’s for sure. The simple act of choosing the new (no matter how small) over the comfortable has been seriously invigorating. I’ve learned to push myself out of my comfort zone, to make every day count.

So I’ve gone ahead and made another vow: I vow to shake up my year. And I urge you to try it, too. Nay, not 365 Days of New (which I can imagine would be quite fund-depleting), but one new experience a week until the ball drops and 2014 is upon us.

Skydiving? Bring it.

By Joanna Berliner, Editor

We’d love to hear about your New Year’s Resolution. Fill us in in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala

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January 30, 2013

31 Days of New: Trying Something New, Daily

From solo movies to 6:30AM spin, this is week three of my resolve to refresh

31 Days of New

Earlier this month, as I gathered a list of 31 new things to try in January, I shared a fear with a friend of mine: the idea of seeing a movie by myself has always freaked me out.

She laughed, and countered: Joanna, I’ve been seeing movies by myself for years. Heck, I saw The Nutcracker by myself. First row.

The idea, as she calls it, is “dating yourself” – the fact that you’re comfortable enough in your own skin to do the things you want, when you want to, regardless of companionship. The world is your oyster. So I set a goal for this week: I would complete at least one the-thought-alone-makes-me-uncomfortable solo date. Read on for how it went (plus more from Week Three):

I went to a movie by myself. (Yes!) Initial fears aside, this “date” with myself was seriously refreshing. When I was sitting in that crowded theater – in workout clothes, hair unbrushed – something clicked: not one of these people is judging me right now. There’s no silly do-I-reach-for-his-hand first-date awkwardness. And – bonus! – popcorn? All mine.

I tried spinning. At 6:30AM. I am either in way better shape than I thought, or I did it all wrong (so easy to “cheat” and not increase the resistance). But regardless – it was fun! Seeing 5AM? Not so much.

I indulged in an eyelash treatment. I have terribly sensitive eyes – to the point where mascara is a no. So when I heard about LashDip – a treatment that coats your lashes for a mascara-like effect that lasts (waterproof!) up to four weeks – I indulged. The result? It looks exactly like mascara, so unless your eyes can’t handle that go-to black tube, don’t waste your money.

I tried a new mani. Thank you, Pinterest. In short: I’m obsessed.

I volunteered on my day off. It’s so easy to treat holidays as freebies meant for barbecues and weekend trips to the slopes instead of considering the meaning behind them. So this MLK day I tagged along with a friend to Central Square’s Day of Service, where we made scarves for children in need.

I cut out sugar. After three failed attempts at making perfectly fluffy meringues (in the name of “new,” of course), I decided to say sayonara to this so-called “toxic” substance. The cravings have yet to hit, but when they do, I’ll be ready with Cheez-It® crackers, which I’ve discovered contain terrible-for-you ingredients – but no sugar at all. (Yes, I do see the irony there.)

By Joanna Berliner, Editor 

Have a suggestion for something new I should try in January? Share it in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala

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January 23, 2013

31 Days of New

From sea urchin to detoxing, this is week two of my resolve to refresh

31 Days of New

It’s crazy how comfortable we are in our everyday norm. The simple two-week changeup from my work/gym/dinner routine (peppered by a three-day cleanse and bout of the flu, mind you) has left me asking myself in earnest – do I really have to try something new today? Can’t I just cuddle up at home and watch a new TV show?

So I’ve consoled myself: trying something new doesn’t have to mean scaling a mountain, blindfolded (you know, since that was totally on my “try something new every day in January” list…). It can be as simple as wearing a bold new lipstick. Or sating flu symptoms with a first attempt at home-brewed loose-leaf tea. Or setting my alarm an hour early to see the sunrise on my walk to work. (Check, check, and check.)

Below, peep some highs – and lows – from Week Two:

Sea Urchin. Mixed with heirloom egg at Inman’s new (and totally worth visiting) Puritan & Co., this unusual little sea creature honestly didn’t taste like much of anything. It tasted runny. It tasted like texture. But it looked like a trip to the Maldives – right down to the driftwood serving board.

Coffee Detox. I said no to coffee – for three days. Actually, I did a “smoothie cleanse,” three days of drinking concoctions of kale, flax, cayenne, spinach, berries, and the like – all whipped up and primed to banish supposed toxins (read: bloody Marys) in the system of yours truly. Overall impression: drinking only smoothies for three days? Easy. Giving up coffee? So. Expletive. Hard.

Brow Threading.
 Using simple cotton thread and an age-old technique, my stalwart Newbury Street thread master cleaned my brows up in under five minutes. The fleeting feeling of a bajillion imaginary pinpricks aside, they’ve seriously never looked better.

Bone Marrow. On a random Sunday evening at Back Bay’s The Salty Pig, I did the unthinkable – I asked the waiter to bring me absolutely anything weird, chef’s choice. The surprise? Tiny melt-in-your-mouth nuggets of deep-fried bone marrow. (Bonus: they were gratis!)

High Tea. High Tea at BOND in The Langham hotel – a three-course affair of crustless sandwiches, sweets, and, of course, tea – was so much less Samantha the American Girl than I’d hoped. Where are the petits fours? Flowery china teacups? Next overindulgent girls’ afternoon, I vote brunch.

By Joanna Berliner, Editor 

Have a suggestion for something new I should try in January? Share it in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala

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January 16, 2013