An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and a doodle a day brings creativity your way. The poem’s my own, and while I’m no sage, I’d be willing to bet a five or ten spot that it holds some truth.
To inspire creativity in Minneapolis, I covered a bus stop with butcher paper and colored pencils. Made me think of changing the ‘whistle while you work’ song to something like ‘doodle while you wait.’
The random act of happiness was inspired by the League of Creative Interventionist‘s March mission to make bus stops more playful. Pretty cool idea for a creative intervention, right? You can see how they come up with project ideas by watching conversational videos on their blog.
I had barely finished hanging paper when people wandered past and asked what I was up to. After providing some background info, I found myself doodling with 3 awesome strangers. One of them happened to be a Minneapolis artist.
Does it surprise you that the three of us are getting together next week? Proof that we never know what the day holds for us, right?
The strangers asked about other projects I’ve done in the city, and it reminded me of a ‘poetry takeover’ I staged in bus stops last year. If you didn’t get to read about it, you can see the post here:
Have you ever made friends in an interesting way? Any ideas for making bus stops more fun?
Candy apple on a stick makes my tummy go 2-4-6. I spent loads of playground time singing the candy apple song with my elementary school crew, but I hadn’t thought about the hand-clapping anthem for nearly 15 years when it popped into my head today. What was the occasion? A rah rah rah experiment aptly titled ‘smile on a stick.’
I just might have discovered the fastest way to make a stranger smile:
All my smiles came from spending a gorgeous day in St. Paul with Lyda Ham. She’s a talented Twin Cities photographer with lots of heart and just as many laughs. Oh, and good news — Lyda writes a lovely blog of her own, and you can read all about her adventures here.
The best part about being an adult is making your childhood dreams come true on a grand scale. I’ve been hula-hooping since I could walk (truth: I started ballet when I was 3.. and.. well.. it’s kind of the same thing, right? I mean, balance and movement and what not. Nevermind, just go with it), and I always wished.wished.wished I could hula hoop somewhere besides my garage. I mean, who likes huling around all the junk that didn’t fit in the house? Not me. I shook it left and right and promised myself I would hula in coola places when I was older.
Since I figure that most people have dreams just like mine, I decided to host a hula hoop competition on the streets of Minneapolis. The pictures tell the story:
You know that feeling when everything suddenly comes together? The moment I’m talking about proceeds weeks and possibly months or years of endless worrying. The type of worrying that springs up while you’re running on the treadmill, writing a term paper, or trying to boil water, and all of a sudden, you can’t stop wondering: Am I doing the right thing? What if this is a disastrous idea? Then you silence your mind because you have chosen instead of logic, you will follow your intuition. Yes, always intuition. If you haven’t figured me out yet, that’s the way I work – I follow the signs, I go where they lead. No pros and cons chart for this girl.
It’s tricky to determine all the things that could go right about a project, and so I usually just go straight ahead with any experiment that crosses my mind. This method has produced my best and my worst ideas. A classic example of how our greatest strength can be also be our greatest weakness, right?
Today, everything with my experiment went totally wrong and made me wish I had a boss that vetoed all my bad ideas. The flipside is that being left to my own devices usually makes for a pretty good story.
The oddball quirky story for today is that I had a not-so-brilliant-but-well-intentioned idea to make an ‘adults-only’ play zone at the park. I wasn’t intending to play in it or anything, but I thought the concept was pretty important, and might encourage people to be a little silly.
Anyway, I roped off an area between some trees with streamers, and then I blew up tons and tons of balloons to fill up the play zone. Bad idea, right? I guess I don’t have any experience with balloons, but it simply didn’t occur to me that they would blow like wild and be all over the streets within 2 minutes.
Oops! Drivers started honking and I was chasing down the balloons and I definitely made more people angry than happy.
My little brother called in the middle of the mayhem, and I explained the situation. He calmly told me that I should just fill the balloons with candy and hang them around for people that might need cheering.
Anyway, I went home and did exactly as my little brother instructed:
Weird is wonderful and the silliest people are my favorite. That’s the mentality that makes a fanny-pack-attack a typical Sunday night adventure.
I told Lauren that fanny packs were making a comeback, and rather than question my line of reasoning, she simply replied that fanny packs could hold large quantities of chalk. Smart girl, right?
Lauren skipped the fashion debate and suggested a sidewalk art project. A couple texts later we decided that I would sew two fanny packs, fill them with chalk, and meet her outside our apartment at 7pm. By nightfall, we had covered the sidewalks outside our building with a dozen happy messages. Rah rah rah, y’all.
I like calling my friends to see if they can play. I started making the formal request in the 6th grade, and I never quite broke the habit. Friends tell me that it’s not ‘play’ if you’re running errands or going to music festivals or baking a cake, but I persist. Maybe I just like the question. Strangers try and tell me I’m too old for play, but I can’t hear them because I’m busy on the swings.
I wanted to incorporate play into my RAH RAH RAH series, and so, quite naturally, I decided tattoo parlor would be a fun game. I designed temporary tattoos on my computer, printed them out, and then called my friends to see if they would play with me. Lauren agreed under the condition that she could pick out tattoos for strangers. Chrissy, being difficult, said she would only play if she could place the tattoos on strange body parts.
And so, our trio headed into the streets of Minneapolis to give temporary tattoos to strangers. We figured that 50% of people would find us annoying and 50% would get a tattoo for kicks. We were very, very wrong. 90% of people wanted tattoos, and our shop closed down from lack of supply within an hour:
I was typing this post and thinking about how awesome Chrissy and Lauren are. Top notch, really. Here is your chance to get to know them:
If you want to download the tattoos I made, you can find them here : tattoo.
We can do a little bit of good on our own, but surely, if we work together, we can do much more. Unit yesterday, all my random acts of happiness had been simple projects intended to make strangers in Minneapolis smile. That all changed on Friday when the rah rah rah projects went on a road trip to Milwaukee.
Kaitlyn and Sarah, also known as the TheDuck&TheOwl, reached out to me with a brilliant idea: why not expand the happiness projects across the Midwest? Spread the cheer and goodwill just a bit further than Minnesota? The idea was excellent, but I worried the execution would be tricky: how would the rah rah rah projects make it out of Minneapolis?
This is where the wisdom of the duck (Kaitlyn) and the owl (Sarah) came into play: they suggested that we plan a rah rah rah experiment (code name for random act of happiness) and then execute on the project in our respective Midwest cities. (See that delicious cookie up up up above? That was made by Kaitlyn and Sarah. I know, I know, I want them to be my best friends, too.)
I had such a fun time making ice cream with strangers that I suggested that we do a similar project with cookies. For the collaborative rah rah rah, we would both bring sugar cookies and frosting to the park, and then we would get strangers to decorate the treats with us. Sounds fun and delicious, right?
The Duck, the Owl, and the Apartment Wife may be the only people who think so. I organized the cooking making station and then asked people if they wanted to join me. 30 minutes passed without any takers, and so I started using my phone to play on Pinterest. I wondered how the project was going for Kaitlyn and Sarah.
A nice man wandered over and asked if he could sit down with me. He said that he was a painter, and I looked like an interesting subject: a girl sitting alone with cookies and frosting. I giggled and asked him if he’d like to decorate a sugar cookie with me. The man agreed, and we spent the next 30 minutes decorating cookies and talking about art. A somewhat perfect afternoon, right?
After he left, I asked a couple girls heading to the beach if they wanted some cookies. They said it sounded a little strange, but they were up for it. We swapped stories and sprinkles, and then we hung out in the grass for a bit before they ran off to work on their tans.
It was a pretty fun day in Minneapolis, but the best part was that Sarah and Kaitlyn were doing the same project in Milwaukee. Their project went a bit differently, and you can read all about it on their blog, TheDuck&TheOwl. They provide a revealing account of the trials&triumphs of doing random experiments with strangers. Sometimes it works, and sometimes you improvise 🙂
The three of us want the projects to keep expanding, so if you’re interested in being involved in the next one, let us know and we’ll involve you in the planning. It might be successful, it might be a flop, but it will definitely be interesting – and hopefully a little fun.
Have a great Saturday, everyone!
What would it be like to blow bubbles in a bubble bath while chewing bubble gum? Is that even possible? Should I try it, dear readers? I mean, come on, I would have a bathing suit on (duh) so it’s not like you would see nudie pics or anything.
You know what, the whole image of me rock-a-shaying in a bathtub filled head-to-toe with bubbles makes me so excited that I am going to actually do this. Jon is out of town for the weekend, and so there isn’t anyone to tell me that I’m making a mess in the bathroom. Or that bubbles are for kids. Silly rabbit! Trix are for kids. Or something like that. (That’s a cereal reference if you weren’t born in the 80’s).
To add a rah rah rah factor to the experiment, I’m also going to incorporate some strangers into the fun (no, I am not inviting strangers into the bathtub). I’m taking some bubbalicious, bumbazooka, and ballpark bubbles to the park for a bubblegum blowing competition. I might even get that gum with animal tattoos – that would be a fun after project, right?
Anyway, you can tell that I wrote the post before the experiment, but here are the photos that followed:
the sunset on the way home was so gorgeous that i pulled over and watched it from the roof of the jeep:
Be on the lookout for the bubble party in the tub – that is step 2 of this project. In the meantime, try and tell me that I wouldn’t be best-friends with np in this movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBopFmu3yAg
Oh, and check out this song—it’s van-task-ick:
And one last, very important thing – if you’re thinking I’m looking better than normal, it’s all because of Kristine at Apricot Lane in St. Louis Park. She styled me up so I wouldn’t be wearing the same outfit two days in a row (see the last two posts). Thanks Kristine!!
When Jon and I first moved to Wisconsin, we knew we were signing up for adventure: biking, kayaking, hiking, and all those activities that come with living in the country. What we didn’t expect, however, is that we would be able to explore vineyards and spend our days like we were vacationing in Napa or Tuscany. Northern Wisconsin has dozens of vineyards and wineries, lots of them scattered along the Mississippi, and exploring them has become one of our new favorite hobbies.