Tag Archives: self improvement

Tarantulas feel like puppies: I face my spider fear at the Woodland Park Zoo

dog-1936485_1920.jpg

Puppies!! (cue the “awww….”) Aren’t you glad I chose these puppies instead of a picture of a tarantula?

We’re standing in the “Authorized Personnel Only” room in Bug World at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, surrounded by hundreds of bugs in containers big and small, waiting to see if I’ll freak out.

I’m a little afraid of spiders. Not to the point where I’m terrified to be in the same room as them (I used to be!), but I definitely get nervous when there’s one close by. I think about how creepy they feel, and how gross it is to walk into a web, and that escalates to being sure that I’ll get bitten.

It’s irrational. But that’s what fear does. It takes the smallest possibility of reality and turns it into a horrible scene from a bad sci-fi or fantasy monster movie, where the spiders are three times bigger than a car and attack people as food.

So, because of this media-induced fear, during the 31 Days of Everyday Adventure challenge, when it comes time to do the activity that says, “Make plans to do the thing you’re afraid of,” I think of spiders.

Continue reading

3 Easy magic tricks to impress friends, family, and strangers

magic

I remember doing a magic show for my family when I was young. I pulled candy out of an empty paper bag by layering two bags and placing the candy between them, showing the empty inside bag, then reaching between the bags to get the candy in the outer bag. It was super obvious, but my parents were happy to humor me by being in the “amazed” magic show audience, and while my brother wasn’t impressed with that trick (“I saw you have two bags there. I know how you did it”), he got candy so he didn’t mind too much.

Now that I’m older, I’d like to be able to have a few tricks that I can do with common objects and regular playing cards, because then when I travel I can do them as an ice breaker.

So… Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls: step right up to read about the Incredible Shelly’s masterful tricks:

{Click to quick jump to your favorite trick, or continue reading to learn them all}

Read all the magic tricks

Bad Day Turn-Around: How to recover good days gone bad

man-390339_1920.jpg

To start, I should say that I’m not talking about grief and mourning (including collective grief over national or international events) but if you’re interested in learning more about that you can check out Psychology Today’s page on the topic. I’m talking about those days–travel or “regular life” days–where things aren’t going as planned (in a bad way).

For someone like me, a list-loving, flexibility-challenged planner, bad days like those used to happen all the time. Over the past few years, I’ve learned some strategies to prevent and recover from them.

Mostly, I’ve learned the key thing that makes it way easier for me to be flexible, and the method I use to separate moments and keep a bad day from getting worse.

Find out what I do