Top 10 Hobbies

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A lot of people ask me what my FAVORITE hobby has been. I usually answer that piloting a plane was my favorite hobby–and that I’ll be looking to earn my pilot’s license after this year. That’s 100 percent true, but ranking hobbies at all is incredibly difficult, because each one has done an incredible job in helping me to overcome fears, build courage and manage both my mental and physical strength. Additionally–for several of the hobbies, friends joined me–and being able to watch some of them overcome their fears was more often more rewarding than anything else. AND one of my favorite parts of the year outside of the hobbies that I did–was watching a friend complete her own challenge: Tears came to my eyes as Rena completed her 100th Bikram Yoga class in under 100 days. What I can’t drive home any more is that it’s not until we try everything–that we realize just how capable we are of anything. I hope that these posts do nothing more than inspire you.

If I had to answer “the top 10″ questions, this is how the activities would play out from 10 to 1 (1 being my absolute favorite):

10. Ziplining 

“At 650 feet in the air going that fast, let me tell you something,  you’re not thinking about falling to your doom–you’re thinking about living. You’re thinking about how free you feel–how amazing of an experience you are having, how you don’t want this 3,200 foot zip to ever end, and how your smile is going to be plastered to your face for the next few days after completing this. No, you aren’t thinking about falling–you aren’t thinking about landing–You are indeed doing nothing but living.”

9. Subway Singing / Dancing

“It’s great to see what makes people really crack a smile.”-Grant Ryan

8. Chess

” The truth is, when a stranger has faith in you—after only moments of knowing you—it is an incredible feeling—and it makes you wonder how you’ve ever doubted yourself.

Checkmate.”

7. Pon De Flo

“Halfway through class, I had a hobby breakthrough: As I began giggling to myself while I messed up another dance move (sorry Heather!), I noticed that I didn’t care if people thought I was America’s next best dancer–I didn’t care if people saw me mess up–and I didn’t care if my right foot accidentally went when my left foot was supposed to. Eventually, I felt tears begin to fill my eyes. I wasn’t in pain–and I wasn’t ready to run out of the room screaming. No, instead the tears had developed because a great amount of pride had come over me. I realized in that moment, that the fears and worries that I had carried with me just 11 months prior had now dissipated completely. While it may sound insignificant when written down, it was one of the highest points of my hobby year, because it had meant that the hobby year was coming full circle–revealing bits and pieces about myself and how far I’d come, without me realizing that it would.”

6. Surfing

“As I surfed closer to shallow waters, I splashed off the board and was congratulated with a nose and mouthful of salt  water. When I surfaced–I fist pumped into the air, and yelled “I did it.” Joel looked at me and smiled from a distance, though I’m not sure he actually heard me with the crashing white waters. But it didn’t matter. I didn’t do this for him–or for anyone else–I did this for myself.”

5. Meditation

I had escaped–I took a quick short vacation, a brief leave from the world. I spent time sitting still in a moment of ultimate calmness. What one could consider a thing of beauty.”

4. Chalking Happiness

“And what I learned most about happiness–aside from where to find it (ahem, again, everywhere): was that much like my chalked out versions of the word: Happiness doesn’t always come in a straight line–in one swoop–or even in one size–but it always, always feels good.”

3. Trapeze

In the end, all that matters is having the courage to jump.”

2. Hang Gliding & Skydiving (tie)

“I open my eyes back up, and I take in the world around me. I don’t want to lose this feeling–this feeling that nothing can knock me down, this feeling of being able to hold the entire world in my arms and hug her tight–this feeling that I am flying–this feeling that I am living. “

I’ve learned this year that the more you let yourself “just do” the less you try to stop yourself–the more you go with your heart’s desires–the more your fears subside–and the more fun you have. And life is supposed to be about having fun.”

1. Piloting a Plane

I enjoyed piloting a plane so much that I just had to do it twice…There is absolutely nothing more freeing than using the plane to paint the canvas of the world down below.

“No fear. No looking back. No hesitation. I was–and still am–on top of the world.”

“I don’t believe that I’ve ever taken on a challenge of such great magnitude before–one that set me off into the world to tackle my fears, overcome my personal issues, and become an all around go-getter. This flight, now, gave me the time to see that.”

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The Hobby Hoarder Ziplines

The Hobby Hoarder Dances her Pants off

The Hobby Hoarder Flies a Plane

Celebration of Happiness

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If you are in the New York City area on Saturday, come on out for a Celebration of Happiness being hosted by The Hobby Hoarder! The only requirement? Wear yellow! (even if it’s just a post it note!) There’ll be karaoke and dancing! Stout has food and drink! So come out and get happy!

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“Scratching the Sky”

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I recently came across this documentary which is both visually stunning and emotionally heart warming. I won’t say much more than that–I’ll let the video speaks for itself. I truly hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

“Sometimes the biggest risk we can take is to truly live.” – Scratching the Sky

10 Reasons to Try Something New

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1. You have the opportunity. Take it:  It’s easy to say “I’ll try that tomorrow or the next day,” or “Maybe I’ll do that some day…” but it’s more fun and likely, more rewarding to say “I’ll try that right now.” Make SOME DAY—today.

2. You can make new friends and meet new people: If you’re looking to branch out and make new friends, trying something new or hitting up a group class is the perfect way to find people with similar interests. You never know, you may just find some of your closest friends.

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3. You can overcome a fear: The only way to overcome a fear, is to face your fear. Maybe talking to strangers terrifies you—head to a group class/you’ve never taken before, and see if you can start a conversation with just one person. Or maybe the ocean kind of sort of gives you the heebie-jeebies—head out there with a boogie board and ride the waves!

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4. You may find something you’re passionate about that you may not have known otherwise. If we never gave something a chance, how would we ever know if we were passionate about it or not?

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5. You may surprise yourself: Maybe you didn’t fall in love with what you tried, but perhaps you exceeded any expectation you had going into whatever you tried. In my opinion, we are truly capable of anything–we just have to give ourselves the chance.

6. Trying new things is FUN. You may be stuck in a rut, so what better time than now to break your usual routine: Exercising your soul and your mind and your body are a lot like going to the gym: If you keep doing the same thing every day, life may feel mundane or you’ll start to feel stuck or stagnant. If your days are starting to feel like this, then it’s definitely time to mix up what you’re doing. Don’t keep going through the motions if you have a chance to spice it up.

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7. You may start to feel yourself getting comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. GOOD.  You may not be perfect the first time you try something new–or the second time you try the activity. Heck, you may feel fully and utterly exposed, but that discomfort, as long as you don’t let it overwhelm you, is what brings the pride when you’ve completed something you never thought you could do or you may have never even thought you would try.


8. Getting out of bed is more rewarding than snoozing all day. Woody Allen once said that showing up is 80 percent of life. You may be tired, but you’ll never know the reward if you don’t give something a shot.

9. Natural Highs. So often, we forget how good “Firsts” can feel. Remember when firsts used to be celebrated? First step—first word? First A+? Now we tend to celebrate only firsts when they seem to be HUGE life happenings: First jobs, first baby, first (only) marriage. Try something new—and each time you do—celebrate a little more. You don’t get a first time, again.

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10. Why not?

Heads Up: A Penny a Day: Take 2

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Last January, I started a hobby and a second project in addition to The Hobby Hoarder called “A Penny a Day.”  I wrote about the project initially in this blog post.

The idea was that I would leave a heads up penny somewhere each day, every day, for a year, for someone to find. Then I would post to a blog, photos like these:

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About two months in, I fell off the wagon, leaving pennies only sparingly through the rest of the year.

This year, I am ready to get back on the wagon and try again. You might wonder what drives me to leave a penny each day, heads up, in a random location.

It’s simple.

 I personally believe that something as simple as a heads-up penny can trigger a shift from negative thoughts to positive ones. I couldn’t prove that to you scientifically–but when was the last time you found a penny and didn’t automatically check to see if it was a heads–or a tails? And what did you do when you discovered it was a tails…or a head? To be honest, I’ve read that many people don’t pick pennies up at all– “too small.” But I want to believe that the kid in us will still get excited over something as simple–and small as a heads-up penny. Besides–Remember when a penny could buy one swedish fish?—Those were the days!

On January 1, I rebooted the project and left a penny in McCarren Park, Brooklyn:

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Like the idea? Leave pennies and send photos over to libbysegal12@gmail.com. This is a blog to host your lucky cents as well. I hope you’ll join me in the fun. OH and if you happen to find a heads up penny, hold on to it–you never know how far a penny may take you.

You can follow all the pennies over at: A Penny A Day

Happy New Year: The Year of Positive Energy

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HAPPY NEW YEAR

I can be a bit superstitious when it comes to New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day activities–I tend to believe that what happens on this particular night and this particular day can set the tone for an entire year. Last night, I knew that all I really wanted to do–aside from be with good friends–was dance. When we reached our second bar for the night, still fully clad in my scarf, my jacket, and vest, I began to feel the rhythm. My feet moved, my hips swayed, my head bobbed, and slowly I made my way to the biggest opening on the dance floor, stripping off my vest, my jacket, and my scarf. The Dance With Somebody Who Loves Me song came on and I continued to move losing myself in the music. I forgot there was anyone else even there at the moment. I felt at home in my dancing. A few moments later, a girl who had been dancing in the space earlier jumped in–and began dancing with me. I saw this at first as a challenge, but then it became poetic as we moved off one another’s spins, two steps and plies. I felt the energy as the people around us continued to watch with joy in their eyes. When the song ended, our dance with one another did too, but our smiles lasted long after. And as I stood with my friends, the woman approached me and said “Thank you for that…You have so much energy—positive energy. Your positive energy really got me out there to just let go like that. THAT made my night. So thank you.” I smiled and repeated the words “Positive Energy” back to myself. That’s EXACTLY how I want to set the tone for the new year–full of positive energy.

This morning I woke up hoping to carry that positive energy through my day by heading out to the Polar Bear Swim in Coney Island where I rang in the new year last year. Unfortunately, a nasty head cold kept me from making my way back out there today, but I did make it out to a Trooper Fitness Bootcamp class (for the first time!) in hopes of sweating out this gross fever and working out this cough.

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After leaving the bootcamp class, I felt a natural high from the workout but from also still finding a way to make the most of a day where I may have stayed in bed otherwise.

When I got home, I decided to take a poll to see how others brought in the new year, how they set their own tone. I’ve shared their New Year’s adventures below–check them out and then SHARE YOURS!

Lucas Gold (Second Time)
Polar Bear Swim – Asbury Park, NJ

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Suzanna Cameron and Tony Esper
First time Polar Bear Plungers: Coney Island, NY

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Michelle Pierson Young of Michelle at Play
p90x: “Not to brag but it feels better than a hangover”

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Hannah Brencher & Tammy Tibbetts
Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park, NYC & Letter Writing
Each year Hannah and Tammy write letters to themselves to open the following year (SO COOL!)

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Jennifer Romanelli & Prince Brathwaite of Trooper Fitness
Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park, NYC

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Laura Jaxheimer, Yoga Instructor
Brought in the new year doing what she’s passionate about: Yoga.

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I want to hear from you! What’d you do to kick off the New Year just the way you wanted to?

There’s No Day Like Today

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I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions. I stopped making them several years ago when I realized that every time I went to make a resolution, I was really starting out a new year by picking out all the things I felt were wrong with myself that I wanted to fix. Now, instead, each year, I try to reflect on the lessons I learned that I hope to carry with me for the year to come. What are your favorite life lessons from 2013?

Here are my top 10 (in no particular order):


1. There’s no day like today (especially if you don’t know what day it is)

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Too often we hold back on some of the activities or events or outings we’d truly like to invest time and money in and replace our wants and desires with excuses. We say “someday” but many times know that very well “someday” will become “maybe later” or “maybe next life.” I’ a firm believer that it’s never too early and
RIGHT NOW it’s not too late to take the leaps  you’ve always wanted to take,
to say the yeses you’ve always wanted to say,
or to make that “someday” that you’ve been putting off, TODAY.
The Hobby Hoarder  (Forthcoming book)

2. Find comfort in the discomfort—It’s okay to be vulnerable.

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When giving something new a shot comes to sports or activities that require practice, the activity asks us to let others be better—to let others teach us. The activity asks us to be a little flawed, a little unbalanced, a little left of center. The activity asks us to respect not being perfect at everything. The task at hand asks us to breathe in deeply and exhale completely knowing that the person standing in front of us may have the opportunity to watch us do something we may rarely let ourselves see us do—and that is possibly fail. It’s okay—we don’t have to be perfect at everything we do and we’ll seem more human later for not being so perfect either.
-The Hobby Hoarder

3. The world as we know it is a remarkable place
– Jason Mraz

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Going out and finding beauty isn’t difficult, but letting ourselves sit and enjoy and embrace beauty is. Go for a walk. Take a deep breath. Take a photo—but remember to look beyond the lens. Remember, before our apartments or our cities—this world is our home. It’s nice to just sit and breathe the whole world in once in a while.
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  4. Spend less time on the big picture and more time on the small stuff:

The big picture is important—it’s huge, but we can’t forget about the small things—the things we can work on each day—the things that make the big picture more of a reality. Big pictures are scary—terrifying. It’s kind of like a blizzard. Blizzards are BIG—HUGE—TERRIFYING. But what is a blizzard? A lot of small snowflakes together. And a snowflake alone is quite beautiful. Take some extra time to focus on the small things—the beautiful –though sometimes difficult—things at hand-the tasks that coat our daily lives and become the small nails that hold the big picture together later. Take some extra time today to focus on the journey of reaching your goals—not just the final destination.
– The Hobby Hoarder

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5. Respect sadness. In fact, embrace it.

Sadness comes in an assortment of shapes and sizes—and for a variety of different reasons. But if you’re feeling sadness as the result of having had the opportunity to feel a great wealth of happiness for an extended period of time, take a moment to breathe in what you’re really feeling.  After returning from the road trip in March, I felt an overwhelming abundance of sadness, but I had to take a moment to remind myself that the sadness came from days of joy. I had to remind myself that the sadness I felt was because of a world I had let myself see, the chances I had let myself take, the obstacles I had let myself face, the fears that I had let myself overcome—the challenges I had let myself defeat—the life I had let myself live. I had to remind myself how lucky I was to look back on the moments I lived—with tear drops in my eyes and joy in my heart. I had to learn to respect sadness.
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6. Serendipity

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You can take off anytime you want–and an accidental blessing will be there to catch you when you fall.

7. Every choice you make—is the right choice. OH AND smash your rearview mirror (metaphorically speaking).

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The truth is every choice you make is the right choice. That’s right. Every single choice (except killing or hurting someone purposely) is the right one. Really, think about it this way. Each choice is just a different path—with different scenery all leading to the same destinations. If you have a gust instinct, follow it. Stop asking for directions or a map on what to do next. No one else holds the map you need. We’ve got a great compass right there within us. So stop worrying about the right choice and just start feeling what feels right—for right now. Oh—and smash the rearview mirror, you don’t have to worry about the other options that are already behind you. You’re already on your way.
– The Hobby Hoarder

8. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.
-Wayne Gretzky

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You can’t sleep on your talents, your dreams, your aspirations or your opportunities. The biggest mistake you can make when it comes down to giving yourself a chance, going on stage and performing, trying something new or going to an audition is physically not being there.
-You Can’t Sleep on Your Talents

9. Embrace the climb.

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There are a lot of hurdles to jump, obstacles to dodge, and mountains to climb when pursuing a goal or a dream—but after the hurdles, the obstacles, and the mountains, there’s always the view. So embrace the struggle of the climb. Because the struggle is what makes you stronger—the struggle is what makes you smarter, the struggle is what makes the view when you reach the top that much more worth it. And when you get to the top, set your worries aside about what your next hurdle, obstacle or mountain may be and give yourself a chance to breathe in this view—this present moment. Respect the work you put in—the dedication—the determination—the discipline—the perseverance and remember to applaud yourself .You earned it.
– The Hobby Hoarder

10. Believe in the possible.

Find your passion and run with it—Don’t look back. Thank the people who call you crazy – because anyone who’s crazy enough to pursue their dreams is strong enough to achieve them too.
– The Hobby Hoarder

IMG_8482Photo taken by David Tierney Lerner

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