happy ding dong ditch

I’m good at getting into trouble.  To be honest, I even kind of like it — there is just something so irresistibly fun about all that risky behavior.  In elementary school I planned secret get togethers in the bathroom during class (everyone meet at the bathroom at 10am — don’t be late), by middle school I was sneaking out to toilet paper houses with my best friends (we only decorated our friends’ houses – it was an act of love), and in high school I was regularly tubing down the flumes on a friday night.  Oops.

My risky behavior went a little rah rah rah tonight with a happy ding dong ditch adventure.  The mission was simple: place a mason jar filled with flowers on a doorstep, ring the bell, and run.  Repeat 5 times.
I called my friends and told them I had a surprised planned for the evening.  No questions asked, they showed up at 8pm ready for anything.  They are much too lovely to cause any trouble on their own:789
Zi Lin was the first brave soul to sneak up the steps and leave a flower jar.  Chrissy, Lauren and I planned to watch from behind the bushes, but we got nervous and ran away fast.  We felt like pros by the second-go-round, however, and we remained composed when we got caught on the third ding dong ditch.  “Hey! What are the flowers about?” a youngish-man yelled from his recently invaded doorstep.  We stopped, spun around, and told him it was a happy ding dong ditch.  He smiled and thanked us for the flowers.  We walked away wishing we had started up a conversation and gotten his number (not for me, of course, but for my 3 cute&single friends).

getting lost together

Fall is on my mind, and since I’m the cheesiest romantic out there, I’ve been thinking about seasonal date ideas.  I happen to love surprises even more than romance and cheese, and so I created a game that surprises the receiver with fall date ideas.  I’m calling the game ‘Fall in Love,’ but if you’re on the normal end of the romance scale, you can call it anything else that you want.

The game works like this:  write 12 occasions that will occur during the fall season on envelopes, and then the envelopes with surprise dates to be opened on the given occasion.  For example, the envelope that says “1st Day of October” has a card inside that reads ‘we’re going to spend the day at a corn maze.’   The envelopes and cards I made are below, and you can download them here: fall1 and fall2.  Or you can make your own and personalize the dates 🙂

sweet strawberry surprise

Jon’s been spending more time than usual at the office, and yesterday he brought a bag of snacks to keep in his desk for early mornings, late nights, and unexpected weekends. His snack bag included gas station favorites like pretzels, beef-jerkey, and cheese-sticks. No doubt perfect for road-trips, but I instantly thought about how his stash could be improved.

Images of his favorite foods raced through my mind – a dazzling mirage of caramels, cotton candy, and ice cream— and I started googling recipes to see what would keep well in his office. The answer seemed obvious when I stumbled upon strawberry shortcake in a jar: it’s berry season, Jon love anything with cake, and the jars are perfect for storing in the office kitchen.

I whipped the cream&sugar, diced the angel food cake, and headed into the office to see my sweetheart.
If you love the recipe as much as I do, check out the artist Benedicte Caillat for similarly-artsy recipes.

scatter joy around you

i take pleasure in delaying laundry day as long as possible.  when i was younger, i told my little sister that she could keep one of my outfits if she cleaned them all. in college, i bought new clothes to avoid spending the day battling the coin-operated machines (i also convinced myself that buying new clothes was the same price as washing the dirty stuff). i’ve come to a point in life where i accept that one day a week will be devoted to laundry.  unfortunately, that one day usually looks something like this:Imagemy plans to do whites, colors, towels, delicates, and sheets went down the drain (thankfully) around noon.  i received a sweet letter from my friend dawn — a sort of ‘just because’ note if you will, and it made me smile.  Imagei recognized the sweet card as a simple yet effective way of making someone happy, and so i got out my crayons, paper, stickers, markers, and pins to make some for the neighborhood (my crafts&toys drawer would make any elementary school student want to be my best  friend).ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImagei decided to hang the handmade cards around my neighborhood in the hope that someone i know might find one. i always wonder what the recipients of my RAH RAH RAH projects think about the surprises they find.  i will tell you, dear reader, that some people have raised concerns about whether these projects actually make anyone happier. i’ve gotten a lot of “well how do you know?” and “it’s not sustainable happiness.” fair points, right? i know that i can’t measure the outcome of these projects, but i can tell you that i have faith in the intangible benefits that come out of it.  if one person feels a little more joyful, then i’m OK with all the effort. ImageImageImage

a friend of mine went to a charity event in chicago last weekend, and someone stole her purse just as she was about to board the train back to minneapolis. bad timing, right? but the worst part of that story is that someone planned to spread pain that day.  like i said before, i don’t have proof that these projects make anyone happier, but i’m committed to scattering joy, not pain, to those around me.