Scare Yourself

I’m a big believer in pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

That is…until I actually have to step out of it!

I’ve always been a little bit afraid of heights. Or more accurately, I’ve been afraid of falling. I’ve learned to enjoy the thrill of roller coasters, but one thing has always sent me shaking–views of cliffs and harnesses.

That’s right: rock climbing.

My adventure the other day may not have been momentous as the rock climbing I’ve been eyeing on Expedition: Impossible, but it was an adventure nonetheless. At a local festival, I attempted the task of inflatable rock climbing:

Step 1:
Ditch the shoes! YOUR SHOES HOLD YOU BACK. Hmmm, well, that quite fits with all the reading I’ve done on barefoot running recently. (More on my running philosophy later this week.)

Step 2:
Strap on that harness!
There comes a time in life when you don’t want anything to tie you down.
This is not one of those times.

Step 3:

It was not easy. I attempted it once and only made it halfway up. But the second time, that tiki tower was mine! Take that!

Of course, I rewarded myself with some lovely, complimentary popcorn afterward.

Now I’m absolutely looking forward to experiencing indoor rock climbing at The Inner Wall this fall. I’m not quite ready for outdoor climbing yet….

After all, the very next day, I was shaking on a ladder as I put up yard decorations. I told myself that if I could make it up a tiki tower, I could certainly make it up to the third step of the ladder.

And I did.

Whether your fear is climbing the local mountain or stepping foot on a ladder, you can overcome it!

Happy adventuring!

A Taste of New York

Since my last post, I’ve had the opportunity to dine at several AWESOME places in NYC. The past week was filled with a trip to Denino’s on Staten Island, as well as Max Brenner and the Lotos Club in Manhattan. Pizza, chocolate, and elegance? It was a great week!

After the trek to Denino’s, I came home with a delicious slice of white pie. It was cheesy perfection, loaded with garlic, and I enjoyed it the next day for lunch. Their pizza is definitely one of the best in the NYC area.

Another day, I went to Max Brenner for dinner with friends. I love the atmosphere of this place, especially on the second floor. Christmas lights and chocolate-colored piping throughout the room make it cozy and festive. The tables are a little tight on the first floor, but the second floor is especially nice for larger groups. I had a mushroom burger (so delicious that I scarfed it down without pictures), and split the Sharing sampler, which consisted of a Belgian waffle with toffee bananas and vanilla ice cream, chocolate biscotti, a chocolate egg roll, chocolate brownie and chocolate balls to top everything off.

Just in case there wasn’t enough chocolate, you know.

The sampler also came with a chocolate fondue. This was the star of the show for sure. The fondue arrived with fresh bananas, strawberries, and marshmallows and our own little fire for roasting.

The fondue is fun and savory, and those marshmallows were life-changing. This is easily the best dish Max Brenner has to offer.

Finally, the topping on this week was a trip to the Lotos Club. I ordered ravioli as an appetizer, filet mignon for the main, and chocolate cake for dessert. The food was extremely decadent, but I was most impressed with the gorgeous architecture. The staircase railings were encased in red velvet and luxurious furniture and detailed wooden paneling were everywhere. The magnificent library alone made me want to stay all day.

The apartments were given by Mrs. Vanderbilt to one of her daughters as a wedding present. Can I get such an awesome wedding present, too? The lobby here is breathtaking.

Well, it was a great week! Here’s hoping next week is just as adventurous!

How to Turn an Ordinary Day Into an Adventure

Today, by all means, should be BORING.

But it’s not. It’s an adventure. April 10, 2011 will never happen again and I plan to make the most of it.

My day is filled with homework, cleaning, and not the best weather ever. Life is life, and we all have to do things that are boring. I’m not very productive when things are boring, so I try to shake it up with a little ordinary adventure.

I may not be equipped with spelunking tools, and I may not be careening through rapids, but I’m adventuring anyway.

How can chores be an adventure? They’re chores, after all (Choosing Hell Over Really Easy Stuff).

But when you think about it, isn’t that adventure, too? Adventurers push themselves to their limits and explore even when they’re tired. They take risks and venture into difficult places. Adventuring is not an easy path. I admire these guys:

(courtesy: Hans Strand, National Geographic)

We can’t all explore new parts of the world every day. Adventuring has its place in ordinary life, too.

For starters, I turned my lunch break into a pizza parlor by making my own pizza and sides. Setting up a fancy restaurant setting just for yourself changes things up.

I booted up Pandora to find some traditional Russian music to listen to while I studied. Might as well immerse myself, right?

Keys to an Adventure:

-Switch up your setting. Do you normally work in the office? Move to a cozy corner of your house instead.
-Set the soundtrack with music.
-Approach your tasks differently. Work at a table instead of a desk. Flop on a beanbag chair instead of an office one.
-Open a window and let in some air! Adventure is never isolated.
-Remember to be open to doing things differently–if you always do things the same, it won’t be an adventure!
-Wear a hat. This sounds silly, but when I’m working at home, it’s sometimes hard to be focused when I’m wearing comfortable clothing. A hat or something similar (like a jacket) to remind you that you’re in “work” mode is helpful when in a relaxed setting.
-Log off the internet. Lack of focus is dangerous for adventurers both home and abroad.

Happy adventuring! May your travels take you near and far, and may you always return home to a fluffy pillow.