Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Topic of the Day: Have You Tried Anything New This Summer?


That’s me on the right, paddle boarding on Lake Michigan on Friday.
I headed to the beach right after my plane landed, and it’s a good thing, because Saturday and Sunday were too hot to shlep over there (and one of my friends who did go on Sunday had to turn around because of e. coli, gross). I always wanted to try paddle boarding, but never got around to it until this past weekend (there were a few paddle boards at the lake we went to a couple weeks ago, but with the kids in tow, it didn’t feel practical to sneak off long enough to give them a whirl). Back when I used to live in Chicago, which was almost nine years ago now (!), they didn’t have the cool stuff they offer at the beaches now (margaritas! kayaks! paddle boards! I never would have left!); in fact, I don’t think it was until my last summer trip there, which was two years ago, that I saw all this stuff, and on that trip I was too nervous to try paddle boarding even though I really wanted to.

These days, I’m not scared of nothin’, and so I plopped down thirty bucks and got a paddle board for an hour, and I loved it! I even fell off the board once and it was no big deal. Well, it was kind of awkward climbing back on the board with my life jacket in the way, but I managed and it was funny and fun and added a workout to an otherwise pretty easy outdoorsy activity. (Yes, easy! And my core strength is for shit, so if I could easily coast along for an hour with only one fall off the board, I imagine those of you with actual abs would find it a pleasant aquatic meditation. They should call it that! Acquatic Meditation.)

So, now that’s two new things I’ve tried this summer: paddle boarding and wearing shorts (hadn’t worn real, actual shorts my entire adult life until this summer). It’s amazing what trying something new — especially something that kind of scares you a little — can do for you. I feel energized and empowered. What crazy thing should I try next? What have you tried? What do you still hope to try before the summer is over?

36 comments… add one
  • ktfran July 26, 2016, 12:27 pm

    This is hilarious. Last weekend, I was in WI with some girlfriends and we paddle boarded. It has been on my list of things I’ve wanted to try for a while now, and I finally did! And I had a blast!

    Did you go by Montrose? Or closer to downtown?

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    • ktfran July 26, 2016, 1:01 pm

      Also, my legs were sore for two days after.

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    • Dear Wendy July 26, 2016, 2:10 pm


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      • MaterialsGirl July 26, 2016, 2:19 pm

        Hence the margaritas reference! I’ve paddleboarded their too, it’s nice and calm (usually!)

        I’m doing paddleboarding yoga at Montrose in a few weeks. Kinda excited, I guess that’s new? I’ve paddle boarded and yoga’ed but not together.

      • ktfran July 26, 2016, 2:23 pm

        We tried downward dog on the boards, it was kind of fun! But we were also on a fairly calm lake.

        Nice Wendy!

  • RedRoverRedRover July 26, 2016, 12:41 pm

    Having a second kid, lol! And it is tough! On the weekend we had our first family “outing”, going with my sister and her husband and kid to an amusement park. Our son and her son are about the same age, and they loved having someone to go on rides with. It was really hard though, trying to fit in breastfeeding while dealing with a very active toddler. I don’t think I could go out with my two kids alone. Even with four adults and just two kids and a baby it was tough, honestly. But I guess I’ll get used to it!

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    • Dear Wendy July 26, 2016, 2:12 pm

      That was me last summer. First outing alone with both kids was when Joanie was 2 1/2 weeks old. It wasn’t so bad. I think it’s actually harder now that she’s so mobile and, like, a little person. But I had a very challenging baby the first time around and a very easy baby the second time, and I think that had everything to do with how well Joanie’s first year went. I’d already learned to swim in the deep end, so swimming in the shallow end, even with both hands full, was manageable.

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      • RedRoverRedRover July 26, 2016, 10:28 pm

        My first was hard, and my second is hard in the exact same way. 4-6 hours of cluster feeding every evening, and no more than 12 hours of sleep a day. 🙁 At least with #2 I know I just need to power through it and it will get better. Totally unfair though. 🙁

      • Dear Wendy July 27, 2016, 6:03 am

        Ugh, that is hard.

  • Sketchee July 26, 2016, 12:47 pm

    I’ve been taking improv theatre classes and doing shows! Meeting new friends and my long term friends have joined.

    Also a friend started a kickball team and we joined a local league. It’s very social and long time friends and new improv friends have joined. They league also set us up with new members to fill out our numbers.

    Love being in Baltimore where we have so many social events. I never thought of myself as a social person, and yet found ways to get out there.

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    • for_cutie July 26, 2016, 12:56 pm

      Oooh @Sketchee , I did Baltimore Kickball when I lived there 10 years ago. So much fun! I definitely miss that about the city, meeting new people and fun adult activities on the weeknights!

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  • Stillrunning July 26, 2016, 12:59 pm

    Boxing, open water swimming (first swim across the city river didn’t go well. Goggles leaked and I was water blinded not prepared for choppy water, but it will get better), and started playing ukulele.

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  • Mar1985 July 26, 2016, 1:40 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who has avoided shorts for most of my adult life! I lost a few lbs and put a pair on a few weeks ago and haven’t looked back. It’s nice getting a breeze on my legs.

    I just signed up to go indoor skydiving so that will be new!

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    • mcj2012 July 26, 2016, 1:57 pm

      ME TOO! I’ve been wearing bermuda shorts for years but this year I took a chance to wear a normal length short & I’m feeling really good about it!

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      • Dear Wendy July 26, 2016, 2:16 pm

        Normal length shorts for the win! Nothing like a little breeze on the thighs.

    • SpaceySteph July 27, 2016, 11:11 am

      I’ve worn shorts for most of my life (grew up in FL, live in TX, pretty much can’t not wear some kind of short if you want to live) but I haven’t had a pair of casual (not exercise) shorts that actually fit and fit well in years. I wear athletic shorts most of the time I’m not at work, but if I want to go out of the house and not look like crap, I only had jeans or dresses.
      Finally earlier this summer (which in Houston started in April) I broke down, embraced that I am the size I am and my thighs are the size they are, and bought a couple pairs of shorts. I have worn them a bunch already.

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  • zombeyonce July 26, 2016, 1:40 pm

    This wasn’t really a fun activity, but I just got the cajones to sit down with my boss’ boss and outline a completely new job I came up with (that doesn’t exist anywhere in our company) and explained why it should be created and why I should get to fill that role (and leave behind the crappy 50% support part of my current job). AND why it should be a promotion. And she agreed!

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    • Wendy's Sister July 26, 2016, 3:19 pm

      Way to go!

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  • Rangerchic July 26, 2016, 1:51 pm

    Last summer we moved 12 hours and two states away from our entire families – we have never lived out of state before. It was exciting and scary!
    We’ve also tried white water rafting and loved it so much we’ve done it three times!
    Then there was the mountain biking – we were supposed to do a nice downhill bike ride in the shade but my BIL talked us into going mountain biking to which three of us had never done. BIG MISTAKE. It was hot, no shade and the course was more for advanced mountain bikers! UGH – My sister and I ended up walking the bikes most of the time and then I ended up with heat exhaustion and couldn’t even walk my bike at the end. We call it they day my BIL tried to kill me LOL! (He pretty much threw a toddler hissy fit to get his way). Lesson learned.

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  • Lianne July 26, 2016, 2:52 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try paddle boarding. I need to get on that ASAP.

    This summer I’m trying the motherhood thing and it’s going pretty great. Not every day is awesome but most of them are so I tmreally can’t complain. Coupled with motherhood, it’s my first time not working since I was 16 – which has been a major adjustment. At first I really missed it but I am adjusting to this new normal pretty nicely. I hope I don’t get too comfy or it will be extremely hard to go back in October!

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  • YS July 26, 2016, 2:58 pm

    RedRover, I did the second kid thing too and it’s tough at times. We’re actually planning to go to an amusement park just our family and I’m a bit nervous about breastfeeding and managing the toddler. Gonna have to lean on my husband a lot to manage everything. Any tips?

    Wendy, I loved your metaphor about having your hands full in the shallow end. That’s how I feel as I really do have two sweet children and know it could be a million times worse. I thought baby #1 was easy but baby #2 is even easier or maybe it’s just that I feel more confident this time around. It’s just the nature of having a toddler and a baby no matter how easygoing they are it can be hard as you can only do so much at one time!

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  • Cheesecaker2911 July 26, 2016, 3:04 pm

    I entered a couple of cheesecakes in my State Fair, one a blue ribbon on one. Went Blonde a couple of weeks ago, which has been fun so far, and while I’ve never had problems with shorts, I did buy myself a maxi dress or two, which are hard to find when you’re 5 feet nothing…

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    • Wendy's Sister July 26, 2016, 3:22 pm

      Have you heard of They have the styles, but you customize based on your measurements, and your desires. If you want it maxi, you can get it maxi, but if you want it short, they’ll make it short. You can also generally customize sleeve length and necklines.

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      • Cheesecaker2911 July 26, 2016, 4:56 pm

        I found two at Avenue, I had weight loss surgery in December, so online shopping doesn’t quite work for me yet. I need to be able to try things on, since I change sizes so quickly.

  • inkyboots July 26, 2016, 3:39 pm

    I went roller skating for the first time last weekend! It was just me and a bunch of 7 year old, which was amusing, and they all skated circles around me, but I’m feeling pretty determined to get better.

    My SIL is in roller derby and I’ve gone to a couple bouts and loved every second – so I’m going in with the intention of trying out for roller derby someday, but I know it might take awhile to get there. But you gotta start somewhere right?

    As little as three or four years ago, I never would have dreamed of trying something like this, so it’s scary and exciting. 🙂

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  • Portia July 26, 2016, 3:40 pm

    I joined a new pottery studio. I have had some trouble with my previous location which led to about a year gap in getting my hands in clay. But I’m back at it and making a ton of stuff. And I’m loving the new studio, even if it’s a pain to get to. It’s been giving me time in the car to listen to audio books. So not a totally new thing, but I was nervous joining a new studio and meeting new potters and it ended up working out. Maybe I should try making my first teapot, that would certainly be an undertaking…

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  • Anonymousse July 26, 2016, 4:05 pm

    I started wearing shorts this summer, too. When it’s really too hot (85 in Seattle) my personal fave is staying inside and not wearing pants! Pants are overrated.
    I rode a Ferris wheel with my son for the first time, does that count? I’ve also started teaching him how to swim.

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  • Sandy July 26, 2016, 4:36 pm

    Shorts for the win! I hate long pants right now it is so HOT. Give me a dress, skirt or shorts please (unfortunately I only own one pair of shorts).

    Ok new stuff: I am currently trying to learn French and German for the first time while continuing to learn Spanish. Probably shouldn’t be doing so many languages at once but ah well.

    Going on vacation to Canada in a couple of weeks and will finally try white water rafting! I’ve been wanting to do this for years :D.

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  • AK July 26, 2016, 6:13 pm

    This summer, I tried standup paddleboard YOGA while on vacation in Hawaii. And managed wheel pose for the first time while on the paddleboard!
    Also, we went night snorkeling with manta rays, which was super cool!

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  • Portia July 27, 2016, 12:15 pm

    I’m surprised at the number of people who haven’t really worn shorts, or haven’t recently. I’ve been getting these the last few years and they’ve held up well, plus they tend to go on sale:
    Most of my shorts have been brown/black/navy, but I did get a pair of green shorts this year and I’m liking them (I think I wore them to the DW meetup?).

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    • Ange July 27, 2016, 7:21 pm

      I knew women who refused to wear them even in the tropical place I lived where it never got below 90 year round. I just wanted to hug them and tell them to forget about what other people may or may not think and be comfortable.

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  • honeybeenicki July 27, 2016, 12:32 pm

    I only started wearing shorts 2 years ago! Before that, it was the knee length ones (Bermuda?) I also only started wearing capris in the same time.

    So far I haven’t tried anything terribly new. Life with a 1 year old is new enough for me!

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  • AlwaysALurker July 27, 2016, 2:37 pm

    For the first time in over a decade I’m living outside the US and loving it! I still only wear shorts around the beach so I should probably start venturing out a bit more.

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    • AlwaysALurker July 27, 2016, 3:43 pm

      Also, I’ve decided to comment more here… That will be a first… We can test this out!

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  • othy July 27, 2016, 10:17 pm

    I got into cosplay last year, but this year, I’ve been trying my hand at making fake armor. It’s a challenge to make it look right, stay light enough for extended wear, and make it comfortable, but it’s been a ton of fun.

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  • Kate July 28, 2016, 7:33 am

    I was in this crazy sales training for the past two days, where we had to learn a new pitch where you draw a picture on a white board as you talk. We had like 10 minutes to practice it and then the trainer started asking for a volunteer from each group to come up and do it in front of the whole room. I figured I’d just volunteer and get it over with, since people would be more forgiving if I did it sooner rather than later in the training. I actually did pretty well, and it felt good. In years past I’d try to avoid it entirely.

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