August 1, 2011

The Charmed Life Challenge

I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. ––Audrey Hepburn

Don’t you love when someone sends you something––a card in the mail, a text, a link––at exactly the right time? That is what happened to me on Friday, when I felt July weighing heavy on me and wanted to get out from under its thumb. My coworker sent me a link to Tonya Leigh’s blog post, The Life Seduction Challenge. Tonya’s list made me feel instantly better about everything, and it made me want to share a similar challenge here, but with a Pink of Perfection twist. That is, finding the delight and beauty in the everyday.

And the whole fun experiment feels right: here we are with a fresh new month, ready to be made into something a little more fabulous. Need a little spring in your step? Every day for one month choose one item off the list. And for thirty-one days in August (or whenever you decide to get going), feel life get a little more luscious. I’m in!

  1. Give something broken a new life (a skirt, a squeaky wheel, scuffed shoes).
  2. Put something beautiful on a bit of blank wall you see every day.
  3. Wear something you love that you think “just isn’t you.”
  4. Send a thank you note, for anything.
  5. Spend an afternoon reading.
  6. Cook in a vintage apron.
  7. Have luncheon: a slow midday meal with cloth napkins and wine.
  8. Go out of your way to do something kind for a stranger (offer a seat, hold the door, leave your copy of Us Weekly on the elliptical).
  9. Donate five items from your closet that don’t make you feel unstoppably gorgeous.
  10. Take care of a nagging life admin item (a trip to the post office, filing an insurance claim, making a doctor’s appointment).
  11. Buy an utterly frivolous piece of lingerie.
  12. Invite friends over for cocktails, dinner, or brunch.
  13. Wake up an hour early to have a leisurely morning.
  14. Try something that looks like pure fun (accordion, crochet, burlesque).
  15. Dance. In public, in the living room, with a partner, with yourself.
  16. Flirt with a stranger. (Smiling counts.)
  17. Get rid of five things in your home that don’t bring you pleasure.
  18. Go to a parfumerie or department store in search of a signature scent.
  19. Buy flowers for your home or office.
  20. Make a recipe from a fruit, vegetable, meat or fish you’ve never cooked before.
  21. Walk barefoot in the grass or on the sand.
  22. Have a media-free day.
  23. Write down everything you feel grateful for.
  24. Hold a baby.
  25. Pet a puppy.
  26. Ask someone to tell you their life story.
  27. Read a biography of your favorite glamorous screen star, or the bravest, most badass real life heroine.
  28. Eat fresh berries, straight from the green paper pint.
  29. Create an occasion to wear your most impractical pair of shoes.
  30. Write down your wildest dreams.
  31. Take one itsy-bitsy, teensy-weensy step to make one real.
  32. Have a proper weekday coffee break: ceramic cup, idle gossip, and staring out a window.
  33. Visit a playground and swing.
  34. Make lemonade. (Literally or figuratively.)
  35. Go to a junk or antique story; consider what your favorite object has seen in its life.
  36. Jump in a body of water. Float.
  37. Give someone a hug; let them let go first.
  38. Look at the stars.
  39. Replace one utilitarian item you use every day––a measuring spoon, a file folder, a key chain––with something really, really beautiful.
  40. Pamper your body with a massage, an overdue haircut, a trip to the sauna, or a soak in the tub.
  41. Research something that sparks your curiosity (Arthurian legend, photosynthesis, investing). If you’re still curious after a 15-minute google session, dive deeper.
  42. Make a collage of beautiful images that resonate with you.
  43. Read aloud to someone you love.
  44. Forgive yourself.
  45. Forgive someone else.
  46. Spend an hour in silent reflection.
  47. Dine by candlelight on a weeknight.
  48. Take a walk after dinner.
  49. Wear your no-fail, cheer-me-up lipstick.
  50. Give a genuine compliment to an acquaintance.
  51. Have a glass of champagne, just because.
  52. Spend one day taking pictures of everything you find beautiful.
  53. Describe your perfect day in writing.
  54. Block out an afternoon (or day) on the calendar to make some (or all) of it real.
  55. Select one drawer or surface and organize it.
  56. Write a love letter.
  57. Do something you loved as a child.
  58. Upgrade your sleep wear, or go Marilyn-style.
  59. Do the one thing you were relieved/sad wasn’t on this list.
  60. Pretend for one day that you are as confident and amazing as you want to be.

Special thanks to Tonya Leigh for the inspiration (and several of the ideas on this list)!

Update: Wonderful Pink of Perfection reader Sarah and my blogosphere kindred spirit put together a wonderful printable of this list overlaid on that irresistible Audrey Hepburn image. Print and enjoy!

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  • Chez Loulou: I agree, this has come at exactly the right time. Merci!6 years ago

  • Rachel: I’m lurker and infrequent commenter!
    This is a great list to start anytime.
    Thanks 🙂6 years ago

  • Sarah in DC: Perfect timing, as usual. I’m thinking of printing this list out and taping it to my bathroom mirror (where I can cross things off, as I LOVE to do). xoxo6 years ago

  • Yay! Glad for the good timing. And of course I want to print, too!6 years ago

  • Katie: Oh, I LOVE this. Definitely much needed. Can’t wait to get started!6 years ago

  • lisa: Love this list and love your blog! Thank you!6 years ago

  • Kathryn: Love this, and love your site! I hate those pesky life admin items, but I do feel great when I finally take care of them 🙂 Thanks for the list!6 years ago

  • Blech, there are few things I hate more in life than admin for my own life! But it’s true, yI feel like a totally organized and in control of my life Mary Tyler Moore-type when I take care of them. Worth it!6 years ago

  • Cadi: Oh goodness your impeccable timing has struck again! I’m bookmarking this list and doing this Charmed Life challenge, with a spring in my step and the most Audrey smile I can muster.You’re always so inspiring, Sarah. 🙂6 years ago

  • Ewa: Thank you! Your lists are a great way to finish the summer season and enter the fall in style:)6 years ago

  • ciaochowlinda: What a great list to shake things up.6 years ago

  • Lindy: This was such an inspiring list and at such a perfect time! I usually don’t like August because it is soooooo hot and humid here in the south but this inspires me to find some joy in August,thanks for this;)6 years ago

  • Anita: I just love love love love love Audrey! I haven’t read the post yet, but I had to comment about the picture of Audrey. 😉6 years ago

  • Athina: Love the challenge! 🙂 I am starting today, with my sister! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    Cheers from Greece6 years ago

  • Donna: What a great idea!!!6 years ago

  • Gul from Istanbul: this is my first time in your site and i absolutely loved it 🙂 and will definitely start the list today 🙂 thanks for the inspiration6 years ago

  • Martie: Wonderful idea! I’m in! I too am going to print the list for a little summer inspiration & increase my charm. Heck, I may even make it a great way to start every season. Spring cleaning is so last year. 🙂6 years ago

  • Kamiah: I, of course, adore these ideas. I do the same kind of thing during February. To me, February and August have a very similar feel {despite their very different weather}: in February, winter has been around for long enough to lose some of its appeal; the same is true for August and the heat.

    In both of those months, then, I need help finding charm and motivation, and it usually comes in the form of a list like this — so thanks for the ideas!

    Also, I like that you described yourself as a Mary Tyler Moore-type when you tackle life admin things. Mary helps me handle stuff like that, too {and it’s useful to have the MTM theme song on your iPod for when you need a Mary boost}.6 years ago

  • Karen: Oh Sarah, this is a wonderful list! It made me smile as soon as I started reading it. I’m printing it now and plan to hang it up on my wall for reference and to cross things off as I do them this month! Great idea.

    I agree with Kamiah — February has the same kind of feel to it. We should have a list for then, too! 🙂6 years ago

  • Charity: So neat, as usual. Thanks for this list. BTW, I’ve got two to cross off from yesterday. Hold a baby (of course) and cook with something new: plums. Of course I’ve eaten them when they’re juicy and fresh but we had SO MANY sitting in our fruit bowl threatening to go bad before we could get to them that a baked crisp was the only solution. Such a good one.

    Here’s to a great August ahead!

    CCM6 years ago

  • Karen: I am definitely going to print this. Thanks!6 years ago

  • Ang: Absolutely brilliant. That was truly amazing. 😀6 years ago

  • etameca: Sarah, I’m in! I’m so excited about this!6 years ago

  • Elle at Eat Boutique: I agree with every single item on this list to having a charmed life, especially sending a thank you note for anything!6 years ago

  • boliyou: I had the midsummer blahs, so this list was a real boost. I’m looking forward to reading through it and doing one of my own!6 years ago

  • I so know what you guys mean about the midsummer blahs and August being like February. This is definitely not my favorite time of year. But so far I’ve taken an after-dinner walk, had my teeth cleaned (life admin), and organized a surface. Time to get to more of the fun stuff on this list, I think! 🙂6 years ago

  • EB: It doesn’t feel like summer here at all. It’s raining and windy. Maybe it is like February in that sense. I guess my angst comes from it not being summery enough. I love your list and will definitely put it into use to perk up my non-summery blues.6 years ago

  • Kristine: I love this list sooo much!! Thank you for the inspiration, as usual. I am still loving August. Can’t get enough of the heat but I know what everyone is saying about February. I will have to keep this list handy for a winter pick me up.6 years ago

  • Rachel: LOVE this, and love your blog, which I recently discovered. BTW, I think we interned at a magazine together like 10 years ago!?!6 years ago

  • Rachel, At Details? I totally remember! Hey there!6 years ago

  • Wanda: Printed this list also–love your ideas and your picture. Nice blog. I, also, just found it recently.6 years ago

  • Rachel: Yes–It was Details! Hi! So happy to reconnect. Seems like you are up to all sorts of lovely and amazing things. I definitely remember suffering through the August blahs together at the intern desk, contemplating what we’d do with our lives 🙂6 years ago

  • Genki: Just wanted to pop in to say that I really love this list. I didn’t quite get through all of it in August (did anyone?) but it’s still there and I am slowly charming my own life, one step at a time. It’s lovely to look back and smile when I see what I’ve done and then to choose how I want to make myself smile next!6 years ago

  • Ŧhe ₵oincidental Ðandy: I just stumbled upon your site and, as I strolled through it, I came across “The Charmed Life Challenge” list – wonderful! It’s all about taking account of all the small things in life that we take for granted & appreciating them anew, isn’t it? It’s also about loving yourself – and others.

    I greatly enjoyed it. Thanks.

    ₵. Ð.6 years ago

  • Link Love: Things that make me happy | La Petite Vie: […] glad I came across The Charmed Life Challenge again. It is full of fun ways to bring joy into your life and […]5 years ago

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