Black Lives Matter

Let me just get this out of the way now:

maxresdefault.jpgIf you choose not to agree with this statement, feel free to read no more.

I know I haven’t blogged in quite some time, but today, I am afraid.

Why am I afraid?

I’m afraid that my country is becoming divided like never before.

I’m afraid that the killings won’t stop.

I’m afraid that my black brothers and sisters who are like family to me will be unjustly treated. In fact, I’ve WATCHED my black brothers and sisters be unjustly treated, and it is gut-wrenching.

I am afraid because a man who I love and care for deeply is black. He is one of the kindest, gentlest humans I’ve ever known and he’s hurting.

I’m afraid because he’s afraid.

I’m afraid because I cannot help him feel less pain.

I’m afraid that I have a nephews who, although not black, are bi-racial.

I’m afraid because I see people I grew up with on Facebook saying, “this is not a problem.”

I’m afraid because I see so many of us losing hope.

I’m afraid because I feel helpless.

If we cannot peacefully protest; what do we do? If our Congress men and women will not listen to our pleas; what do we do? If I am a white, female, who has never been subject to racism; how can I help?

Please, tell me how I can help. I want to help so badly. I cannot watch another video of someone being murdered. I cannot wake up and turn on the news to find that another gun has taken another life. I cannot watch the ones I love be treated unfairly and do nothing. I HAVE to do something. And yet…

I feel helpless.

I feel depleted.

I feel angry.

I am afraid.

Shannon Rose Allen

#BlackLivesMatter

 

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A Hug

I stress myself out more than the average human.

This much I know.

First comes the fast, incessant talking. Then the teeth grinding. Then the pacing back and forth; my mind going a million miles an hour in circles like a racetrack. At this point, my adrenal glands have gone into overdrive and I start to feel a drunken kind of dizziness. I’m hot all over, cheeks flushed, mouth dry.

My mom used to tell me that I worked myself into a “tizzy” when this would happen to me in adolescence. Her telling me that just made me more anxious, angrier, more stressed.

Then she would hug me and let me take deep breaths into her shoulder until I calmed down.

Once when I was about 10, I was staying over at my grandmother’s house and came down with a terrible flu; the kind that makes your entire body feel like it’s engulfed in flames while simultaneously being hit with 1,000 lead hammers. I was sleeping in the same room as my mom on the bottom part of my grandma’s old trundle bed, and sporadically throughout the night go through bouts of intense pain where my entire body would freeze up.

When I thought the pain would never subside, my mom put her hand gently on my chest until the pain passed.

Another instance when I was 13 and I had my heart broken for the first time. I spent an entire night in her arms, sobbing, shedding the tears of young love and fresh heartache.

Her arms always made me feel safe. Her hands like novocaine, her hugs like a sedative.

Then there was the day when she told me that her doctor had given her 2-4 weeks to live. This time she was in just as much pain, if not more than me. I sat in her arms for 15 minutes? An hour?

It was like her presence could stop time; somehow make this horrendous situation a little easier.

And finally the night before she passed. She was weak, but not broken, laying in bed in between my brother and I.

The room was silent as I pressed my head to her back and wrapped my arms around her, listening to her slow breaths and heavy heartbeat.

If I close my eyes long enough, I can still feel that moment. Her smell. Her skin. The way so many unsaid words hung in the air like an impending thunderstorm; the clouds about to burst with the weight of the world.

After she died, I thought the tears would never stop, the pain would never end. And in many ways it hasn’t, it’s just become different.

It’s days like today where that un-fillable void becomes apparent.

I felt myself spinning out of control, into one of my “tizzies.”

There has always been something about me and control that can set me over the edge.

Obviously, in my 27 and some odd months of my existence, I’ve developed various ways to cope with my stress; some constructive, some destructive.

But there has never been anything quite as effective as taking my mother’s hand, hearing my mother’s voice, being enveloped in her arms. Sometimes I want a hug from her so badly that it feels like my heart has been ripped freshly open; the crack in the dam that has been hermetically sealed time and again, but always seems to break even with all it’s strength.

Today I needed a hug from you.

I needed words from someone whom will never be able to answer me.

I suppose what gets me through days like there is realizing that the pain will always pass, the tears will always dry, the wrongs will always right, the stream leads to the river that leads to the ocean.

The heart wants to beat.

The lungs want to fill.

It will be okay.

Tonight I’ll get by on the memories, and hope that someday I can do the same for someone else as you did for me.

Shannon Rose Allen

The Shallenge Week 10: Rooftop Rendezvous

Hello Shallengers!

I can’t believe it’s been TEN weeks since I started The Shallenge! As always, you can look up the original rules of The Shallenge here, and look up archives of past weeks.  I’m always happy to share any of your personal Shallenges on my page, so PLEASE hit me up with stories!

Here we go with this week:

1. Experience something new.

9/18 Attend a rooftop party with old friends

This week was the week of the rooftop. On Friday, I had a beautiful night with some old friends on the rooftop of a friend’s Hell’s Kitchen building. Although this is not exactly a “new” experience, it allowed me to reconnect with some friends I haven’t seen in a few weeks.

And also, with views like this, I don’t know how anyone could ever hate New York City.

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

9/19 Little Branch Speakeasy

The Villages of NYC always have the best underground bars. Last weekend, I was looking for a quality (most likely overpriced) old fashioned, and Little Branch boasts a fantastic one. So I took a friend, and found out for myself. The space is small; the bar is located in the basement of an unassuming corner of the West Village. There is sometimes a line, but usually not too long. The music is present, but not overwhelmingly loud. I definitely enjoyed my $14 cocktail and some good conversation, but then it was time to

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

9/16 Attend the Heart of Cool, weCliq NYFW launch party

A friend of mine, who I met through the Browns Backers invited me to his launch for his new app, weCliq with the fashion brand Heart of Cool. I had a plus-one to attend the party, but at the last minute I couldn’t find a friend to go with me.

So, I decided to be bold, and go alone.

Not only did I end up meeting some great people, but I also networked with some other creatives. I’m so happy that I decided to throw my ego out the door and go to this party alone.

And this was my view from the rooftop!

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

Going on a “date” and letting go

Yes, I know. I’ve talked about dates on here many, MANY times, but I allowed myself to go on a date and really just let myself go and not think.

Perhaps one of the reasons I’m so bad at dating is because I go into every date with a cynical viewpoint. Although my dating intentions are optimistic, when it comes down to it, I allow myself to think, “this isn’t going to work out.” I end up self-destructing before I’ve even gotten to know the person.

I’m happy to report, the date went well, and I’m not overthinking. For once. In my entire life…

5. Do something that scares me.

9/18 Submit my music and have it rejected

Friday I received a generic email from Pandora, telling me that my new song was rejected from their platform. I was given no specific reasoning, and have no clue what I could have done (if anything) to gain acceptance.

Picture this: Shannon Allen as an artist is an air mattress. Every time I get rejected it’s like a little pin prick into the air mattress, causing me to deflate just a little bit, until I can find a way to block the hole, before I lose all my air. I successfully plug the hole, but then a new, bigger pin comes up and makes an even larger hole. Then, an air mattress monster comes up and take a giant bite out of my side. After a while, the mattress becomes so perforated, that I’m continually attempting to plug up holes, filling myself back up, and keep old ones from re-opening. Sure, I can inflate again, but I will never be shiny and new like I used to be.

That’s what creative rejection is like.

6. Make a new friend. 

9/16 Fashion Week Party

At the fashion week launch, I met a lot of awesome people. I even met up with a new girl friend the other night who I met at the party! This city is too big and too beautiful not to expand my network of friends.

Keep spreading that love around!

7. Have a book of the Week

One Last Thing Before I Go – Jonathan Tropper

Tropper is the same author of the novel, This is Where I Leave You, which was made into a movie. His writing is cynical, yet lyrical. The fiction I’ve been reading lately tends to display fallible, almost anti-heroes, that you can’t help but sympathize. Although most of the characters in this book have questionable morals and lives that are well beyond repair, the novel is a view into the ways we justify our existence, especially when faced with our eventual mortality.

I loved it! Quick read, excellent storytelling, tragic, cynical, witty, sometimes mundane, and REAL.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

I cannot even count the amount of times I’ve read this book, but it’s definitely over the 15 mark at this point in my life. I read the Harry Potter series at least once every year, sometimes twice…

And y’all KNOW how much I read.

The series never gets old to me. Every time I re-read these books, I’m reminded of why I love Harry and his world so very much.

8. Purge the unnecessary.

No purging today, but it’s slowly shifting into sweater weather, which means another re-vamp of the closet is coming soon!

9. Do something that makes me feel beautiful. 

Night time runs

This week I went on not one, not two, but three four-mile evening runs. Two of the runs were after 12-hour work days. Running at 9:30/10 p.m. is so freeing. The amount of runners, walkers, and bikers are sparse, so I am just left with my own thoughts and no distractions.

One of the nights, I had this pretty amazing view of the moon.

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10. Surround myself with nature. 

9/21 Appreciate the New York sunrise

As I was walking to work Monday morning, this was my view. Not too shabby.

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9/21 A night on the Chelsea Piers

That same day, I spend a lovely evening drinking wine, and eating a picnic of sorts on the Chelsea piers. The weather was perfect, and I enjoyed some good company.

Weekly Shallenge Score: 8.5/10

Shan Baby Score: 9/10

And here’s the Shan Baby Happy Face of the Week (ie my nephew this week while we were Face Timing because he’s SO FREAKING CUTE!)

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MY MUSIC VIDEO! (And The Shallenge Week 7/8)

HELLO WORLD!

My apologies for not giving you my weekly Shallenge last week. I’ve been SUPER busy finishing up stuff for the EP, auditioning, and working.

BUT, I’m happy to report that my music video is DONE! Here it is!

You can also download the song on iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/you-hate-me-single/id1032069998

OR

Stream it on Soundcloud here: 

So here is my Shallenge for weeks 7 AND 8. (Roughly 8/25-9/7)

1. Experience something new.

Release an single on iTunes/Spotify and an official music video on Youtube.

(See Above)

I’m beyond excited to share this music with you. This EP (when it’s finally released in full) will be the fruits of a long, tumultuous, beautiful, stressful, artistic, eventful three years. I cannot even begin to tell you how happy it makes me to go through this journey of releasing my music with those who love me the most.

So please share and download in order to spread the love around. It will be GREATLY appreciated.

9/5 Watching the sunset over Central Park

I’ve never been able to watch the sun go down, and the NYC lights come up from such a hight! When Katie and Nick came to visit for the Labor Day weekend from Nashville, they stayed in the Le Meridien Hotel and the pool room had a GORGEOUS view. The walls of the pool house were just glass for days! You could see Central Park in its entirety. All of us just looked out, and took a quiet moment to appreciate how lucky we were to be there for those moments.

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

9/5 Going to the top of the Le Meridien hotel and watching the sunset over Central Park

(See above)

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

9/2 Turning off my phone for an entire morning

Now, this doesn’t exactly fit the category, but there was a morning last week where I very much needed to be alone. I had an audition that I signed up for in the morning, went home, released, made myself a light lunch, went back, auditioned, and CRUSHED the audition.

I was in complete silence that morning other than rehearsing for my audition. I had no worries about who was texting me, what people were posting on Facebook, the latest Twitter hastags, or any of the naked models on Instagram.

Most times, when I trust my instincts and truly listen to my heart, I give the best auditions. It’s often when I let others get into my head, that I don’t perform as well.

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

9/7 Do NOTHING on Labor Day

After one of the best weekends I’ve ever had in my LIFE, I was sad to see Katie and Nick leave. However, I had some much-needed downtime. I laid on my couch, caught up on TV, did some dishes, listened to some music, and took a few little naps.

I got invited to parties, to parks, to hangout, and drink, and yet staying it was the best decision I’ve made in a while.

5. Do something that scares me.

Releasing my single/video

Yes, I know I brought this up previously, but this scares the shit out of me. One of my best friends was visiting this past weekend and she told me (in a very nice way), that she liked my first album, but it wasn’t really “me.”  And I tend to agree with her.

However, this album is so much “me,”  that I’m left completely uncovered, vulnerable, naked.

6. Make a new friend. 

8/26 Meeting new people at a friend’s birthday party

One of my dear friends had a birthday dinner and then a karaoke party afterward, and there were several people at the party I didn’t know. The great thing about this friend, is he is so loving and accepting, that I feel that I can always trust his judgements regarding friendship. It was special to spend time with him, but also a treat to meet some new and interesting people.

7. Have a book of the Week

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

I picked this book up from one of the tables at The Strand. The book outlines the history of philosophy through a 15 year old girl (Sophie) and her philosophy teacher. I’m just about done with it (I haven’t had a lot of time to read these past two weeks), but it’s a great refresher course on philosophers, and also told in a unique way.

Sometimes reading philosophy can feel like a textbook, but Gaarder’s method of storytelling is accessible, yet not dumbed down.

8. Purge the unnecessary.

Throwing out old “unmentionables”

I threw out a bunch of old pairs of socks and underwear. Don’t judge me monkey; it needed to happen!

9. Do something that makes me feel beautiful. 

9/4-9/7 Hanging out with old friends for the Labor Day Weekend

Katie is one of my oldest friends, (I’ve known her since the 1st grade) and I just ADORE her husband Nick. They are one of the easiest couples to hang out with because they both compliment each other, are never needy, and truly just go with the flow. I never felt like third wheel the entire weekend (although we did bring Jen along for the ride to make it an even four a few times!).

There was a particular day, where we started in Central Park in Sheeps Meadow. We stayed in the park for a few hours, and then wandered back to their hotel suite. The entire day was full of good conversation, good vibes, and really just basking in our friendships with each other. We did not go to a fancy club. We did not spend a lot of money. We did not even need to be wearing nice clothes. Katie, Nick, Jen, and I were just able to be, and exist around each other without needing anything else.

It was a day/night, and it made me feel beautiful that I am lucky enough to share my life with such beautiful people.

10. Surround myself with nature. 

9/5 Central Park Sheeps Meadow

The summer is over, and ending it in Sheeps was a nice testament to this crazy season.

9/6 Walking the Highline

Because of the holiday weekend, the Highline was a bit more overpopulated than usual, but I do love showing off the beautiful parts of my city to those who haven’t seen them before.

Shallenges Completed: 9/10

I’ll give myself a 9 instead of a 10 simply because I used a few examples twice and didn’t always complete the challenges as they were meant to be.

Shan Baby Score: 6/10

My score is so harsh, because most of these challenges were completed in the last week, not in the week before. I let myself be a little lax for a week, and it honestly didn’t feel too great. Completing these tasks help me learn something new every week, and I never, ever want to stop learning and growing as a person.

One last thing before I go: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE like, share, and spread around my music! Spread the love y’all!

Love always,

Shannon Rose Allen

The Shallenge Week 6: Stronger

I’m exhausted this week. Apologies if this week’s Shallenge is a little brief. I shall possibly explain in another post later this week. But right now it’s 10:45 on a Monday night and my call time tomorrow is 7 am. By the time you read this, I will have been on set for server all hours! 

Anyway, let’s jump in!

1. Experience something new.

8/19 Color Me Mine

Jen and I adventured to a lovely place in Tribeca this week called Color Me Mine. The deal is you pay a studio free for paints and supplies, then an additional price for your piece, depending on the size.

You can take as long as you would like to make your creation. Jen and I both decided to go with key trays that looked like quote bubbles. Jen went with, “Don’t 4get Ya Keys Ya D-Bag” while I went with my favorite Latin phrase, “aut viam inveniam aut faciam.” (translated as: I shall either find a way or make one)

We had a ton of fun AND found out that the place is BYOB. So next time we’re bringing the champagne!!

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8/21 Yankees vs Indians Game

I’ve been to Yankees Stadium a few times, but never to watch the Tribe play. It was a beautiful night, and I was with all Cleveland fans which was amazing. The Indians ended up winning which was awesome, considering we haven’t been doing so well this season.

Gotta love a good ol’ game of baseball!

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8/22 Bowlmor Lanes Chelsea Piers

It was my friend’s birthday this week, so we celebrating by renting three lanes at Chelsea Piers’ Bowlmor Lanes. I haven’t bowled in YEARS so it was great to make an ass of myself and have fun with a ton of new and old friends.

At one point in the night, my team created what was called “The Model,” where essentially one walks down the runway like a top model and then casual drops the ball into the lane. I’m surprised no one kicked us out for all the crap we were pulling. Regardless, it was fun!

I took a lot of video, but no actual photos of me bowling. However, here is my bowling “look” for the night.

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

8/19 Color Me Mine

(See Above)

8/22 Bowlmor Lanes

(See Above)

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

8/21 Barry’s Bootcamp

I wrote last week about going to Barry’s Bootcamp and absolutely loving it. Well, this time I went ALONE and added on the treadmill rotation that I had previously skipped. When I tell you that Barry’s is the toughest, yet rewarding workout you will every experience, I mean IT IS THE TOUGHEST AND REWARDING WORKOUT YOU WILL EVER EXPERIENCE.

I encourage everyone who has a Barry’s location near them to check it out. If you live in NYC, you should absolutely check out my friend Zack H’s class because he’s incredible.

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

8/19 Joined a new dating app

Sigh. Yes. I did. And I’m already regretting it. This particular app promises to be free of any “fuck boy” riff raff, and yet it seems to be the same as all other forms of dating online: AWFUL.  I’ll probably delete it this upcoming week.

Side Note: I guess “fuck boy” has become my generation’s new term for douchebag. Yet, every time I hear the term, it just reminds me of a term one might hear on So You Think You Can Dance for a new type of contemporary dancer. Kind of like “B-Boy.”

Example: Next up we have Raymond, a “Fuck Boy” straight out of Detroit, Michigan.

Anyone else? It kind of makes me giggle.

5. Do something that scares me.

8/18 Set my new single, You Hate Me to arrive on social media sites

Yes. I will have a single AND a music video for you soon. Patience my friends. These things take time to perfect.

6. Make a new friend. 

8/20 “Basic Bitch” House Party

I went to a “Basic Bitch” party this last week that was light hearted and full of some super fun individuals. I was attempting to give you my best “housewife basic bitch.” I didn’t take a great picture dead on, but the whole outfit was complete with pearl, a sensible blouse and periwinkle dress shorts. Don’t forget the Toms shoes! 🙂

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7. Have a book of the Week

I’m still working on The Martian by Andy Weir. I’m finding it difficult to get past all the space and science jargon. I’m enjoying the story, but I can only stand the book for so long until I put it down and go back to bingeing episodes of Orphan Black (WHICH IS FANTASTIC).

8. Purge the unnecessary.

I didn’t so much as purge this week, as I did organize. I ended up doing something like six loads of laundry in one day over the weekend, and then subsequently re-organized all my already clean clothing with my cleaned clothing.

I still would like to try to go through my closet at least once a month and try to get rid of 5 pieces. That’s my goal. We shall see if it actually happens.

9. Do something that makes me feel beautiful. 

8/18-8/24 FITNESS FITNESS FITNESS!!!! 

I. CANNOT. STOP. WORKING. OUT! I know that I typically have a pretty regimented workout schedule, but now that I’ve been getting into classes like Flywheel, Soul Cycle, and Barry’s Bootcamp, I can literally see my body changing before my very eyes.

Here’s a silly picture of me dressing 80s style to my friend Zack’s Flywheel class.

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10. Surround myself with nature. 

I just didn’t hit this one this week. Unless you count being on a rooftop at the house party, I did not bathe myself in nature at all.

Shallenges Completed: 7/10

Shan Baby Score: 7/10

Even though this face looks distressed, here’s my Happy Face of the Week, which just so happens to be the artwork for my new single: 

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Love always,

Shannon Rose Allen

Sometimes it’s a “NO”

Sometimes it’s a “no.”

And not just a polite, “no thank you.”

But a big, FAT, honking, “N.O.”

You feel so free, so unaware of anything except your talent. You feel sure.

There is that moment when you take a deep breath, place your fingers on the keys, and open your mouth for your first note.

All the sudden you are acutely aware of your surroundings.

“Why is the air conditioner so loud?” 

“I’m playing these chords too slow.” 

“The mic is too far away from my face. Whoops! Now it’s too close.”

“Why is the casting director talking through my best phrase?”

“Why did I choose this FUCKING song!?” 

“It is such a good song, but there’s that other FUCKING song that would have been better!”

“Oh fuck, not I forgot a chord! What comes after Asus!?! WHAT THE FUCK COMES AFTER THE GOD DAMNED Asus!?!”

“Well we fudged that part well enough… maybe.” 

“Alright… here comes the big vocal part…” 

“THANK YOU, SHANNON. WE’LL BE IN TOUCH!”

After weeks of perfecting, vocalizing, and visualizing yourself on the stage… ANY stage at this point. Alas, there must be another “no.”

And probably many more “nos” to come.

So how do we change a “no” into a “yes?” Ask anyone who has ever gotten their life-changing “yes;” it’s often serendipitous. Sure, that person was wildly talented and deserving, but that’s most of the New York City creative world.

The other constant conundrum is how to we persevere in a world of “nos?” What is the right decision? Do we curb our creativity and put it into a more prosperous or lucrative career? Do we take the small victories and take the unpaid shows, the background work, the open mics, the shitty bar shows that pay in beers? Do we sell out, find a producer that picks apart every piece of skin, sinew, and bone that makes us a person, and produce massive amounts consumerism shit to throw at the world?

Or do we continue to make art? Do we continue to be happy in the moment when our voices project from a speaker, or out fingers strum our guitar strings, or our hands hit the keys.

Maybe we hold our heads up high. Let each “no” be a little battle scar that a resounding “YES!” will eventually patch up.

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I don’t know.

I really don’t know.

I do, though, very much know what a “no” looks, feels, tastes and smells like.

I’m all too familiar.

Xx

S

The Shallenge Week 4: Body and Mind

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