All posts tagged: 30 Days

Margit’s Note: So How’d Those 30 Days Go?

We eliminated sugar. We gave up takeout. We even stopped wearing pants. For 30 days, six of us challenged ourselves to stop or start one thing. So what did we discover? You’ll have to read this week’s stories to find out, but there were some curious, common threads. Most of us did splendidly for the first week or so. Then something else kicked in — a bit of boredom, peer pressure, cockiness, maybe. For whatever reason, a few of us took a slight detour or backslide. Most of us got back on track, though some of us decided cookies and “sorrys” were back on the menu. No judgement. Some of us had unexpected outcomes, others stark, existential realizations. Yeah, whoa. Ultimately, the exercise reminded us that we are in control (if we want it to be), so we forgave ourselves and struck some sort of balance. It’s the best we can do. Our trials, errors and wins: Calling her mom every day, Lauren Oster learned what happens after the small talk stops. Tamar Anitai attempted to …

The End of Small Talk: I Called My Mother Every Day For 30 Days

(Photo: Courtesy Lauren Oster) The first few calls I made to my mother for TueNight’s 30-Day Challenge covered familiar territory: My youngest sister was visiting with her husband, so I filled Mom in on our adventures around New York City. She described the holiday meals she’d prepared back in California. We expressed reluctance to get rid of our respective Christmas trees. But after a week or so, I started to learn things about my family that I never before knew. On one occasion, for example, our conversation turned to catnapping. “Oh yeah, Grandpa loved James Herriot,” my mom told me, speaking of the publicity-shy veterinarian whose heartwarming stories of his country practice in Yorkshire sold millions of books in the ‘70s and ‘80s. “He loved James Herriot so much that when he and Grandma went to Cambridge on one of their trips, he grabbed a cat from outside their hotel and went to see him posing as a client.” The Challenge was undertaken with Mom’s knowledge: I didn’t want her to think I was suddenly …

Ditching Sugar: Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

Oookay, so it appears I may have lied. I should’ve been specific about my no-sugar pledge. Because apparently I took advantage of a loophole that really meant “giving up cookies.” That would’ve been slightly more accurate and yet… still a lie. I defiantly and somewhat petulantly housed a chocolate chip cookie at around 9:45pm on December 31st. From that point in, I honestly did pretty well until about the second week in January. No sugar in my coffee, not even those Fage yogurts, which, as it turns out, have about a billion metric tons of sugar in them. I didn’t stop eating things like fruit, which, of course, contain natural sugars, or pasta which turns into maltose. Because life is too short and because a life spent scrutinizing labels is not a life I care to live and because that’s highly valuable time I could spend catching up on Millionaire Matchmaker. (The one with Jill Zarin’s daughter!!!) But I was very good about eliminating foods with added sugars. What I cut out of my diet in the sugar …

How I Survived a Month Without Takeout

(Photo: Courtesy Amy Choi) During the month of January, I spent $30 on “takeout.” I don’t feel bad about that. Those were lattes and scones and slices of pumpkin bread that on snowy, sleety, generally awful days I could not resist. I also spent $1,500 on groceries. For the record, I didn’t count the convenience foods and drinks that were means to an end — another $100 or so over the course of the month that bought me a few hours refuge at a coffee shop to get through some email on a Saturday morning; or got me access to a “free” play space for my toddler; or work meetings with colleagues at cafés or restaurants. A little compare and contrast: In previous months, I’d spent approximately $800 in groceries and $1,000 in takeout. So, $1,500 vs. $1,800. THIS WAS NOT THE $1,000 WINDFALL I WAS EXPECTING. SHOUTYCAPS. [pullquote]Fridays, I have learned through this exercise, are not cooking days. Candy Crush and Seamless are what I need on Friday nights.[/pullquote] For $300 in savings, I cooked …

5 Things I Learned By Going Pants-Free For 30 Days

(Photo: Jenna Briand) Wardrobe-wise, I was ready. My family bought me a handful of great new skirts, knowing 30 days without pants was going to be tough. I dug up a snug pencil skirt from the back of the closet. Pulled out a dress or two to dress down for everyday use. And shut the drawer on my jeans with a tiny whimper and a pathetic wave. “See ya next month, old friends.” Who knew that so trivial a resolution would take me to the heights of polished sophisticate and to the lows of mid-life neurotic with such deft ease? Who knew that an A-line skirt could make me beeline so quickly to either fabulous or fussy? Insight #1: If giving up an article of clothing can make such waves in my life, fear for me, friends, should I ever try to give up anything more serious. As I sit writing this today, cross-legged, in sweats (a position I sorely missed!), these are my top revelations from a January without jeans. The good, the bad …

Sorry I’m Not Sorry: Learning a New Lesson

Modified photo from Roberta’s Pizza, Brooklyn I began my 30-day exercise to stop saying the words “sorry,” “totally” and “cool,” just by noticing how often I committed my crime. Like any habit one tries to tweak, I started by recognizing when and why I was saying these words. Quickly, I realized I actually don’t say totally or cool all that much, but, holy hell, I said “sorry” on an hourly basis — like a nervous tic. Sorry was the word to nip. “You do say it a lot,” said my Mom. Was my mother imparting some nugget of historical knowledge? “What do you mean? Like, all my life?” “Well I don’t know, no…  I’m noticing it now, too. Just stop it!” If only it were that easy. I said it bumping into people. I said it when we spontaneously asked a taxi driver to drop off a friend at a different location in Brooklyn. On the surface of things I get by very well — but often, I don’t meet my own expectations. So I apologize …

Giving Up the Blame Game — And Finding Adventure

(Photos: Courtesy Lauren Young) I gave up blaming others — or at least tried to — during the month of January. At times it was not easy, especially when we got locked out of the house. Or when the car battery died. Twice. I once blamed two people at work within a 10-minute span for screwing things up very badly. Naturally, I blame Montezuma for the stomach bug I contracted on the yoga retreat I took in Mexico in late January. But, overall, ending the blame game was deceptively easy. There were plenty of moments when I found myself searching for someone to point a finger at. Often, I took ownership of it. Other times, I simply let it go. And sometimes the outcome of screw-up/misstep/bad mistake led to something better. Case in point: We went to Kent, Connecticut for a few days over the Christmas holiday. On Christmas morning, I started making a glorious skillet of Melissa Clark’s shakshuka, a spicy Middle Eastern egg confection. Once the peppers, onions and tomatoes were all stewed …

Three Words I Want to Stop Saying

There are certain words I say all the time. As in (and I’ve counted) as often as 15 times a day. These words are defaults, slightly more illustrative “ums,” when I don’t have anything more creative, or specific, to say to you. Or I’m just being lazy, sorry. Oops! Let’s start with “sorry” — the worst, most classic offender, said in the most innocuous situations. Bumping into someone anytime, anywhere. When someone nudges in front of me on the subway (a terrible, knee-jerk reaction.) When I hear what you said, but it was so bizarre I need to hear it again. Sorry? Spacing out at packages of Selfie Sticks at the counter at Duane Reade and wondering if I really don’t need one last gift… if Selfie Sticks are, in a sense, a more inclusive photo accessory, allowing for more landscape, more people in your photo. So, then, is it really a “Selfie” Stick? The cashier clears her throat. “Ahem.” “Oh!” I wake up. “Sorry.” According to a 2010 study, we women do apologize more …