The Average Girl's "How To" Guide

Advice on how to live a well-balanced lifestyle

Tag: New York

How To: Blow Your Own Mind

by Shannon

Guys – this is a bit of a serious one here. So go have yourself a wild dance party, crank up the Wiz Khalifa, and come back all sweaty and euphoric.

Here’s my morning thought, that hit me as I was scrolling through my phone, deleting weird old pictures I took of my Kobo when I was reading that book 50 Cent wrote.

Do you ever just stop and think Holy Shiz, I have done so much cool stuff in my life, I can’t believe that I really got to do all this dope-ass stuff.

This is what I was thinking about. I mean, even on my phone, which I’ve only had for about six months, I was blown away by all the adventures it held memories of. Matt and Kim shows x 2 (otherwise known as just non-stop face-hurting goodness), traveling to New York with my bestie, painting my stomach, painting my face, Slumber Parties, denim vests, shot-gunning beers on my roof. And that was only like, two photos.

So here’s where I’m heading. Man, sometimes you just gotta really appreciate all the awesomeness you’ve been responsible for creating. Think of all the cool people that have come into your life and that you remember with such fondess, and then, when you feel sad, just stand on a chair and be like BUT WAIT A MINUTE. I AM PROBABLY RESPONSIBLE FOR SOMEONE ELSE’S FACE-HURTING SMILE GOODNESS. THAT IS AMAZING.

We are all just tiny little blobs of organs and stuff, but one of those organs is a heart, and baby, you’re in mine.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm, or probably also a great dance party.”

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How To: Feel Like A Real Human Being (Finally)

by Shannon

This summer was the summer of being selfish. I did what I want, when I wanted to, and I did it with ease. Before you condemn me, however, it was selfish in a good way, a healthy way.

I met my now-husband in first year university, and after graduating, I went right into more school, and then an internship, and then a job. I’ve always been responsible in that sense. And it’s really boring.

So this summer, I said eff this shiz and explored. I went to New York with my best friend – multiple times. I went on a road trip to the middle of nowhere, I went to concerts, I didn’t clean my apartment, and I let my hair get really tangly. It felt amazing. And part of me really wishes I could live like that forever.

But my plants kind of started dying this summer. I never did iron that shirt I really like, it’s still sitting in the spare room, waiting for me. I didn’t buy new headphones like I wanted, and I just basically didn’t get a lot done.

This past week, I’ve been a grown-up. I’m cleaning, I’m spending more time working, and I went for a (very, very short) run this morning. And that feels good too.

Finding that balance between being a responsible adult, and someone who does not suck is really hard. And there will still be days when I blow caution to the wind and hop on a plane somewhere, or I just decide to be a huge lazy bum and do dick-all. But hopefully I can balance that with getting my shit done as well. So the better I work at that… you know… the better.

How To: Have a Great Time in New Cities

by Shannon

I love traveling, and I’m a big history nerd, so going to new cities, I always try to find out as much as I can about them.

However, I’m also brutal with directions. Not quite as bad as I used to be, but still pretty bad. (When I first moved to Toronto, I insisted to be near the Eaton Centre, because it was the only Toronto landmark I was familiar with outside the CN Tower.)

I’ve found the best way to get acquainted with a new city, as well as learn some super cool shiz, is to do a walking tour when you first arrive. Better yet? Do a free one.

While many tourists get sucked into the Hop-On-Hop-Off tours, or pay for another style, I’ve consistently found that the free ones are awesome. The guides are, more often than not, young actors or history students, so they’re very knowledgeable and inclined to show you a good couple of hours. And, they work only for your tips, so it’s in their best interest to give you an awesome tour, since you only pay what you think they’re worth.

SANDEMANs New Europe tours are the ones I normally do. While some have certainly been better than others, I’ve never had a bad one. Even if you’re not in Europe, there are great ones throughout the States I’ve done as well.

So far, I’ve done these tours in the following cities:

  • London
  • Edinburgh
  • Dublin
  • Paris
  • New York (Greenwich Village and Central Park)
  • Boston
  • Amsterdam
  • Berlin
  • Washington

It’s awesome learning about the history of these places and interesting anecdotes, and by the end of the tour – which we usually try to do our first day there – we’re far more well-acquainted with how to get around, since you typically cover central areas and often backtrack a bit.

So, if you’re traveling to a new city, or even one you’ve been to before, I highly recommend taking a free tour and learning more about where you’re staying. Plus, on my Amsterdam tour, she gave us free cheese! So that’s cool too.

Not all those who wander are lost. They may just be trying to find that store that had the cool shoes and they could’ve sworn it was on this street. – J.R.R. Tolkien (mostly)

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