1. Make homemade Valentines. Pretend you are in kindergarten again...use macaroni, glitter, pompoms, popsicle sticks (after eating the popsicles, of course), tempera paint and tissue paper. Experience the "inner-child". Be silly. Warning: this will lead to a great desire for play-doh, silly putty, and cracker-jax.
2. Next time you go shopping, purchase a package of heavy socks. Drop them off at a homeless shelter. Even a pair of socks makes a huge difference.
3. Make time for the big game! That means chicken wings, chips and Cheering! Make your friends and family wonder about you...cheer for BOTH teams! To prepare, when shopping for your goodies play Grocery Store Football (best done when store is least crowded). Pass the Charmin...Hike the chips...Score a touchdown with the chicken. All in good fun and NOBODY gets hurt. (PS...tackling attracts security).
4. Randomly and anonymously draw hearts (with your fingers - NOT markers) on dirty cars or cars covered in snow. Show everyone LOVE.
5. Write a Love List: reasons why you love your daughter...your mother...your 6" platform heels (NOT!). Listing the reasons has a trigger effect on your memories, the sweet, endearing side of things. "I love the way you squish up your nose when you are thinking hard"...."I love that you always put the toilet seat down"..."I love the way you take care of me when I'm having a hard day". Keep the list and peek at it every now and again.
6. Treat yourself to a new bra. Get properly fitted (boobies change over the course of time). Maybe indulge in some matching panties, too.
7. Add fancy trim to the bottom of a skirt or jeans. A ruffle of gauze, French embroidered trim, velvet ribbon. Find your favorite at a local fabric store, on ebay, or cut it off a no-longer-wanted skirt hidden in the back of your closet.
8. Go to a movie...but not just any movie. Go see U23D...an amazing film of my favorite band U2 during their Vertigo concert tour in Central & South America and Australia. Yes...you get to wear those cool glasses. Yes...the music is fabulous. Yes...you'll find yourself reaching out to touch Bono! The 3-D element is unbelievable and you'll be amazed at how "close" you get to these four brilliant musicians. A treat that you cannot wait to see on DVD...see it at the theatre. But go see it soon...then, see it again!
9. Prepare for Spring. Draw a garden plan with colored pencils, crayons, or watercolors. If you aren't adventurous enough to draw a plan for your entire yard, draw one for a 2' x 4' section. If that is too much...draw a plan for a single pot that you will put several plants/flowers in. You can be realistic...or just "dream" that you will have your own Butchart Gardens.
10. Have fun with your postman the old-fashioned way! Search for small-denomination stamps that are still good (such as 3-cent, 10-cent, etc.). Instead of putting a single 41-cent stamp on a letter, send mail with an assortment of 5 or 6(or more) smaller-denomination stamps. Mail all your letters and bill payments this way. Imagine the fun for the recipient! Sometimes, stamp collectors have a surplus of these that are available dollar-for-dollar. Otherwise, go to www.USPS.com for a wide variety of new, but small denomination stamps.
11. Paint your tennis shoes. If you don't have a pair of canvas tennies, head to your local Target where canvas sneaks can be had for under $10. Pull out your acrylic paint and embellish with stripes, dots, flowers, faces, animals, houses, squiggles, or whatever moves you at the moment. Use ribbon in lieu of shoe-laces. Wear them with colorful socks. Dance.
12. Leave random love notes for your children or husband (wife if a man is reading this) in unexpected places: the inside of their shoes, coat pockets, in between a closed cell phone, written in dry-erase marker on the bathroom mirror, with a Sharpie marker on the mini bag of chips tucked into their lunch box. No need to write a book...short & sweet can say it all.
13. Make your own postcards! Create a work of art that is "YOU". Scan it into your computer and convert it to a 300dpi .jpg file. Follow the image guidelines by the printer. Don't forget that your postcards can have a reverse side just like real postcards...or maybe the back is a black-and-white bit of art, or a story, or your own "list". An online printer such as www.psprint.com can create as few as 5o postcards for about $15. With this in mind, you can have your own postcards for any occasion: "just to say hello", "look at my newest art", "Happy Birthday/Anniversary/Wednesday" or "when is winter going to end?". FYI: Postage for postcards is 26-cents (for now).
14. It's all about LOVE. Make heart-shaped sandwiches and bring them to work for lunch (your co-workers will wonder what you're up to!). Use heart-shaped cookie-cutters to shape pre-made pie dough. Bake. Fill with chocolate pudding and top with whipped-cream...ala dessert for the family! Give away those little heart-shaped Sweet Tart candy boxes. Just like a youngster, write the "TO" and "FROM" names on the back of the box. Hand them out to those who LEAST expect it...they will find the LOVE.
15. Take a walk in the rain (or the snow). Just throw on a coat and go for a quickie around the block. Don't plan for it...just get up and do it. The fresh air will do you good!
16. Start collecting something you love. Be obsessive. Perhaps it's silverware with engraved monograms, heart-shaped stones (as beautiful artist Nina Bagley has such a talent for finding), or vintage pearl necklaces to hang on your chandelier. Set a challenge...no more than $3. I am obsessed with coil/pinch pots...but not just any coil/pinch pot. I love the ones made by elementary school children during art classes, their initials scratched into the bottom, that wind up at Thrift Stores or garage sales. I am determined to give a good home to these unwanted treasures - made by budding artists for their mommy's - but finding their way to the 25-cent bin somehow. Food for thought: If you happen upon one of these little keepsakes that need a new home, send it to me and in return I will send you a Knocker of your choice. BUT...only if they are an initial-scratched-elementary-school-bargain-priced-unwanted-by-anyone-else-find.
17. Fresh fruit can be fabulous! Sometimes, a big Sunkist orange can be a bit too much. Try a baby Mandarin or Satsuma (as well as many other names). Not really in season now...so a wee bit harder to find...these little guys will give you the Vitamin C (which is so highly recommended) and make you think that, if only for a moment, it is summertime!
18. Learn 5 new words. Open an old dictionary and blindly fingerpoint to 5 different words. Cut each one out and paste them in your notebook. Learn their spelling & meaning. Use them in sentences. Be a scholar!
19. Clean the car out. Get rid of the garbage (look under the seats...you are bound to find a French Fry)...wipe the dust from the dashboard...vacuum the pineneedles. The icing on the cake? A "new car scent" air freshener.
20. Take pictures of February - a continuation on your 2009 calendar. Since February is the month of LOVE, take pictures of things that are heart-shaped. A "heart" drawn in the snow, bare twigs laid out in the shape of a heart, the finger-print heart drawn on a dirty car (from another step in this months list).
21. Download a new song (or at least "surf" iTunes). Try a new band, acoustic music, an oldie. Buffalo Springfields' 'For What It's Worth' can bring back memories. Damien Rice's '9 Crimes' for a mellow duo. Pink's 'Get the Party Started' to light your fire. What I'm listening to when it's not U2? "Live" - "Lightening Crashes".
22. Go for the sultry-eyed look. MAC has an amazing eyeliner that is part liquid & part shadow (at least to me it is). "FLUIDLINE" is a smudge-proof cream in a pot that you apply with an angled brush. (MAC has brushes available...but an artsy girl always has a paint brush nearby that will work). Try a thick line of Blacktrack across your entire upper lid (for the Shanna Moakler of "Meet the Barkers" hotness). Or, for that adventurous "artful" spirit in you...Blue Peep. Only $15 and worth every penny! Visit www.MacCosmetics.com (and search for Fluidline).
23. Have a holiday dinner NOT during the holidays. Make an over-the-top feast of a meal! Invite a few friends over "just because". Out-do yourself. Appetizers...5-course dinner...a flaming dessert! Find recipes in a cookbook (that has pictures...so you can SEE how it will turn out), by watching the Food Network (don't you just love Ina Garten?), Saveur Magazine, or go directly to www.FoodNetwork.com. Set the table with candles, linen napkins, crystal. And just for fun...give each menu item your OWN name!
24. Shovel your neighbors walk, rake their leaves, or mow their lawn. Surprise them - just continue from your yard into theirs. A good deed.
25. Dress your pet up. A baby dress on your kitty, a vest and tie on your woof. Blue eye shadow on your white cat. Take your own "pet portraits". But don't embarass your pet by showing the pictures to the neighbors dog.
26. Volunteer at your children's school...our school's will always welcome the help. Whether it is to chaperone a dance, grade papers in the classroom, participate in fundraising or be the cupcake-maker at the bake sale, make the time. Children are our future.
27. Buy a vintage slip at a Thrift Store (or find one in your grandmothers closet). Wear it under a dress with a little bit of the lacy hem showing (ooh la la). Or just wear it as a night gown.
28. Make a collage using your recycling. Try Campbells soup labels, Triscuit boxes, bottle caps, and Egg Cartons (great texture). There is so much color in today's packaging. Recycling Only is the rule for this challenge. Embellish it with paint, sign it, and call it what it is...ART!
29. It's a FREE day! Today is an extra day...it only happens once every 4 years (I KNOW...it's my anniversary!!!). So today, do whatever you want to do.