Hello my lovely Shallengers!

Week four of the Shallenge brought far more than I even realized. When I began to write this post and was tallying my successes in each category, I found out that I had quite the week indeed.

As always, if you’re a new reader, please revisit my original post, as well as weeks one, two and three, if you are interested.

Let’s jump right into it, shall we?

1. Experience something new.

8/4 The Hunger Games Exhibit 

Jen and I ventured to the touristy streets of Times Square to the exhibits at Discovery. We decided that we would see two of the three exhibits they had running. The first being The Hunger Games trilogy exhibit.

I imagined it would be something similar to the Harry Potter exhibit I went to when it came to Boston’s Museum of Science, and I was essentially correct. There are several rooms with costumes, paraphernalia, information about the making of the movies/books, and interactive media.

My personal favorite parts were examining Katniss’s “Girl on Fire” dresses (including the wedding dress), playing with an interactive map of the districts to see what District I would have been in (growing up in Cleveland, I would have been on the boarder of Districts 3 and 6.), and making my Beetee-esque propaganda piece where I appeared, in selfie form, as part of the rebellion.

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8/4 Body Worlds – Pulse

Next, Jen and I wandered over to the Body Worlds exhibit, which perhaps because it is less exciting to children, was far less crowded. I’ve been wanting to see a Body exhibit for a while now, and I’m glad I finally got around to it.

What I found most fascinating was seeing the difference between the healthy body parts, as opposed to the not-so-healthy body parts. For example, the non-smoker’s lungs as opposed to the heavy smoker’s lungs. Getting to see all the actual muscles and tissues that make up a human body was such a cool, new experience. I only wish I had a doctor there with me, just as I always like to have a visual artist with me when I go to art museums; I like to hear the expert word. Alas, neither Jennifer, nor myself, are even CLOSE to being doctors.

Although I truly enjoyed both exhibits, they were a little pricey. I would definitely recommend trying to find a coupon if you do so choose to go. Again, no regrets, but for someone who is a struggling artist in NYC, every penny counts.

8/7 Saved by the 90s

Jen (again, my fearless Shallenge partner in crime) and I wanted something new and fun to do on our Friday night. She told me about a 90s party at Webster Hall that happens every Friday. I put two and two together and realized that I had been to a Saved by the 90s Bayside Tigers party a few years ago, as there are some Berklee alumni who rock out in that band.

The party is 19+, which can be a little annoying for someone in her late 20s, but was still a riot. Jen and I RSVPed early to receive free admission, and also got two-for-one drinks until midnight. (SCORE!)

The best part about this night, was it was just about the two of us friends drinking and dancing to throwback tunes. Neither of us were concerned with finding someone to make out with, or talk to (although there were plenty of parties interested in our crazy asses).

Jen and I were decked out in in our best 90s grunge attire, and danced the night away until she turned into a pumpkin and had to retreat home for an early morning Saturday work shift. I most definitely recommend checking this party out A) if you like to dance, B) if you love 90s tunes, and C) if you are looking for something more than the tired, desperate bar scene of New York.

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8/10 Barry’s Bootcamp

Oh boy. This one kicked my ASS.

One of my dear friends Zack, has just completed his training as a Barry’s Bootcamp instructor. I was lucky enough to nab a spot in his first ever class! The class essentially consists of two parts: floor and treadmill. There are four alternating rounds (two treadmill and two floor) and Zack had us focusing on abs and arms. I personally chose to stay on the floor the entire time doing two sets of arm workouts and two sets of ab workouts because I wasn’t feeling great, but next time I will definitely jump on that treadmill.

What’s so great about Barry’s is you really feel like you’re in it together with the entire class. The other class members were my fellow soldiers and were were all suffering (BOY were we suffering) together! Zack is an incredible teacher with a real zeal and love for what he does. I highly recommend his class if you live in New York

2. Go somewhere in New York City that I haven’t been before. 

8/4 -Discovery Times Square

(See Above)

8/5 – Run UP the West Side (Riverside Park) 

As I’m still completing my 10k training, I’ve really appreciated how much I love running outside. Typically I start from my apartment and run 3 or so miles downtown, but on the 5th, after a long day working on set, I decided to run up the west side and discover Riverside Park.

This gorgeous stretch of park was perfect for an evening run, and would also be the perfect place to take a stroll or have a picnic with a loved one. While I was running this particular night, there was a movie playing on the pier, and the whole area was buzzing with couples (young and old), friends, and family.

I attempted to talk a picture mid-run of the beautiful sky, and it turned out a little blurry. My apologies.

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3. Do something alone that I would normally do with others.

8/9 SoulCycle 

I typically prefer to work out alone, but when it comes to classes that are so intense, such as SoulCycle, it’s good to have a partner in crime. On Sunday, I opted to take a class with my friend Brandon, who goes by Reed, as my instructor.

Although I obviously knew Brandon upon entering the class, there is clearly a divide between teacher and instructor, and not to mention the riders who were coming to a class at 5pm on a Sunday, DEFINITELY had some dedication.

There is something about cycling that allows me to process through my stresses and anxieties in a healthy way. As I was desperately peddling to the beat and hanging on Brandon’s every word, I also cleared my head (and hopefully burned a ton of calories!)

4. Say “yes” to something to which I would typically say “no.”

8/8 – Go to Williamsburg for a date

Yes, I know I told myself that I would not go on any more drink dates, but the occasion arose on Saturday to go get drinks with someone whom I’ve gone on a few dates with in the past year. When he asked that we meet in Williamsburg to go bar hopping, I initially had objections. I know I sound like a Manhattan snob, but weekend trains in the summer can be hellacious, especially when we’re talking about the L between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

After going a few different places, we ended up at this dive bar called Rocka Rolla which played awesome classic rock music, had an eclectic crowd similar to that you may see at a Lower East Side rocker bar, and served this delicious specialty called “The Coffee Thing,” which was delicious and alcoholic. The beverages were cheap and the company was good.

I’m glad I decided to say “yes.”

5. Do something that scares me.

8/8 – Blog about body issues

I have been pretty honest about my struggles with body image on my blog, but this past weekend, I wrote a reflective post about how this has really been affecting me lately.  It is always scary to be vulnerable and open up fresh wounds regarding one’s insecurities, but I’m glad wrote it.

You can read the post here.

6. Make a new friend. 

I did not make any new friends this week. Womp Womp.

However, I did hold dearly on to those whom I love.

7. Have a book of the Week

Freedom – Jonathan Franzen

Oh my. This book knocked me out. As I’m writing this, I probably have about 30 pages left to read, but I can truly say I haven’t wanted to put it down since I started.

Freedom follows the story of an American family and their lives pre/post 9/11 as they all go through their own individual struggles as human beings. There is a constant reference to being a “good” person versus a “bad” person, or doing what is “right” as opposed to “wrong.” This family ends up in the gray area that many American family find themselves in. Your heart will break in a million different ways for each character, and I personally went back and forth between whose side I was on based on the character telling his/her story.

This book makes me want to read all of Franzen’s other works. His writing can be dense at times, but it is endlessly descriptive, honest, and at some times a bit surreal.

8. Purge the unnecessary.

8/7 Go through all my makeup, toiletries and medicines

Whenever I move from place to place, I rarely go through my toiletries and beauty products. This is usually because they exist in little space-saving cubbies in my closet, and can easily be packed up and moved without giving them a second thought.

I went through and PURGED some old products and also gave Jen some of my barely used, awesome makeup products, that simply just weren’t my taste. I also has far too many shades of lip that were practically the same color, so I deemed my best friend worth of rocking them on her face instead of mine.

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9. Do something that makes me feel beautiful. 

8/7 Learning new songs on piano

On Friday before I went out, I sat at my piano and experimented with several arrangements of cover songs I’ve been dying to play. Before I knew it, several hours has passed in what seemed like minutes.

Something about sitting down and creating music, whether it’s my own or someone else’s, makes me feel internally beautiful. I feel like I glow from the inside out after I’ve spent time singing and playing.

10. Surround myself with nature. 

8/5 Riverside Park dusk run 

(See Above)

Shallenges Completed: 9/10

This week I did not make a new friend, but I definitely completed all the other categories and then some!

Shan Baby Score: 10/10

I’m going to go ahead and give myself a perfect score because I feel like I truly, sincerely lived this week, and that’s what this Shallenge is all about!

Here’s my Happy Face of the Week: 

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Until next week!

Peace and Love,

Shannon

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