Every day for the month of May, we’re featuring a woman who inspires us on Go Mighty. We’ve asked them to share 10 goals from their life list, as well as a bit of their own story, the inspiration behind their goals, and advice they have for others on staying motivated.
Speaking of our Skillshare class series, if starting a business is on your Life List, consider taking Andie Powers’s Go Mighty Skillshare Class From Scratch to Success, Starting Your Own Creative Small Business.
There are some great stories on Go Mighty this week:
- Bonnie Chan just started chipping away at a a cool project.
- Helena Price is doing the scary thing. (Fingers crossed for you, sis.)
- MacKensie Cornelius has a travel tip that never occurred to me before.
- Melena Kathryn’s story about music reminded me of the weeks I spent in a dance studio in Buenos Aires, hoping to bring tango home as a souvenir.
Go Mighty is still in beta, but we’re processing invitations within about 24 hours now, so come add your Life List and tell us where you’re turning your attention lately.
This post is brought to you by The New Santa Fe from Hyundai.
Eating, napping, making out — everything is better outside. That’s why we invented picnics, and hammocks, and drive-in movie theaters. Now drive-ins are about as common as rotary phones, but that doesn’t lessen my urge to watch movies with a cricket soundtrack.
I mentioned that we threw a movie night in my sister’s barn for Hank’s birthday, and here’s what I learned about organizing a backyard movie party.
1. SET UP YOUR THEATER
Choose a location with low light, so the projection is visible. You need four things to screen a movie outside:
Screen or large white wall
DVD player or laptop
You can go cheap or elaborate here, but you can borrow, rent, or buy any of these components. Offices or schools tend to have projectors for presentations and portable screens — so ask around. Renting a projector will run you $75 to $100, less in urban areas where you can pick it up yourself, or you can rent online and have it shipped (atsrentals.com). Wired has a good step-by-step for how to put it all together.
If you’re feeling DIY, you can make or improvise a reusable screen. Here’s a tutorial for making a screen out of two queen-sized sheets, a more solid portable outdoor movie screen, and a few more DIY screen options like a simple painted wall, screen paint, background paper, or blackout cloth.
2. CHOOSE A MOVIE
Movie parties tend to run long. You need a little time for everyone to socialize, grab some food and get seated, so be mindful of timing when you choose your feature presentation. If there will be lots of kids, consider screening a couple of TV shows or some classic cartoons so you can better control duration and be mindful of bedtime meltdowns. No matter what, you’ll want something with wide appeal. We screened Babe because we wanted to keep with the farm theme, but here are a few of my favorites:
Sound of Music
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The Big Lebowski
There’s a more comprehensive list of family friendly movies here.
You can set up a theme around your movie, have everyone dress for a ’50s drive in if you’re showing Grease, have toy light-sabers for the kids if you’re showing Star Wars, or do a movie series of Best-Picture Oscars. It all depends on your stamina, be mindful of timing before you get too elaborate.
3. INVITE MOVIE GOERS
In your invitation, consider asking guests to bring lawn chairs, blankets or sleeping bags, and flashlights so they can get to and from their seats in the dark. A few invitation options:
4. GET COMFORTABLE
Nothing kills a party faster than physical discomfort. Make sure there are blankets if your area gets cold at night, bug spray and citronella candles if you have pest issues, and especially comfortable places to sit. I used bales of hay for the barn screening, but I think folks are more comfortable in chairs with backs. Again, encourage guests to bring their own if you don’t have enough to go around. You can also try picnic blankets, sleeping bags, or yoga mats, but you’ll also want pillows in that case so people can lie down and prop their heads to see the screen.
5. STOCK UP ON CONCESSIONS
We went simple with popcorn and sodas, but Oh Happy Day has some crazy-adorable options if you want to get into styling your movie snacks. We rented a popcorn machine, which felt so fancy and runs from $50 to $75. You can purchase a smaller popcorn machine for about that price. Alternately, you can set out a big bowl of popcorn or pass around popcorn in paper bags.
It’s a nice treat to have traditional movie candies on hand (Junior Mints, Rasinettes, Twizzlers), and perhaps hot dogs if you want to provide a meal. We roasted ours over a fire before the show. You can offer lemonade or soda, beer or sangria for the grownups. Because we screened during colder weather, we set out a crock pot with cider and had rum on hand for those who wanted to spike.
And there you go. So much fun.
Of course, if you’re exhausted just reading that, consider pushing the couch out back, popping a bowl of popcorn, and setting your laptop on a table with some portable speakers. I’ll pick up some Cokes, Junior Mints, and a Heathers DVD. Meet you out back in an hour.
If you’d like to see how our movie night in a my sister’s barn came off, here’s a little day-in-the-life movie Hyundai made about us… watching a movie. Meta.
When something terrible and purposeful happens, like the bombings in Boston yesterday, we first ask why. Sometimes there are half-answers — the person responsible felt wronged in some way, the attacker wanted attention for this or that perspective. And so we open our ears to ravings, and turn our attention to psychosis.
Soon enough, we will know who, we will know why, we will know how. None of us will be the richer for that information. And while we wait for another lunatic to reason us through his particular brand of senselessness, we feel helpless.
So instead of waiting for answers that seek to diminish our common humanity, let’s to turn to one another and reaffirm it. None of us is helpless. We can help just by being good to each other, maybe a little better than usual.
The team at Go Mighty talked yesterday and decided that we’d like to ask our community to do 500 small good things. We hope you’ll join us in making time to do something simple and generous. When you do, please let us know by tagging your posts on Go Mighty, Instagram, or Twitter with #MightyKind. When we get to 500 acts, we’ll donate $500 to the American Red Cross in honor of the victims of the Boston bombings.
Lunatics. You are outnumbered.
Update: Hey, team. There’s been some discussion in comments over this project and sensitivity about brands using tragedy for promotional purposes, which was far from our goal here. I’ve been thinking about the best approach to make our intentions clear and I think Angela’s suggestion is a good one, “Why not just hashtag it #kindnessforBoston or something similar, leave the mighty brand out of it, and go ahead and donate 500 bucks because it’s a good thing to do? I don’t think anyone’s trying to use a tragedy to get exposure, but it’s a slippery slope and probably best to keep the mighty brand out of it.”
Agreed. So we’ll be donating the $500 to the Red Cross today, but I do still believe in and want to do the project. If you’d like to join in, use the tag “smallgoodthings” so I can find you and high five you.
I sometimes get frustrated at having to ask for help when I’m not physically strong enough to do something on my own. Pictured above is Jen Bruntlett’s husband portaging a canoe. She wants to do it herself, and I’m all for it. Let us know when the weight training commences, and then send us a duplicate of the above photo, except with your girly legs poking out, Miss Jen. And in the meantime, consider a coracle.
Stacey Ferguson is still at work learning American Sign Language thanks to a goal grant from Olay. Recently, she was able to understand the gyst of a signed two-hour conversation. Stacey’s sister is deaf, so this goal and all the effort and love going into it puts a lump in my throat.
Bonnie Chan checked off a goal to benefit Cycles of Change, and it’s been on my Life List for years, Go on a multi-day bike trip.
Molly is taking our Skillshare class, and aiming to collect ten tickets to shows this year. She settled on the goal after we did a class exercise about working backward from feelings you want to experience. Molly wants to be amazed. Good one.
On Monday, we’re launching the #mightyup challenge, which is about doing a little something fun every day. Meet me back here and I’ll tell you all about it. In the meantime, take some time this weekend to revisit your Life List on Go Mighty. The site is still in beta, but we’re processing invitations within about 24 hours now, so please go request one if you haven’t. We’d love to have you.
Holy, holy, a lot is happening on Go Mighty this week.
Natalie Holbrook‘s #MightyLove project is about small acts of kindness online. Go Mighty’s plan was to donate $500 to a battered women’s shelter in NYC once we got to 500 tweets/instagrams tagged #mightylove. Which happened in a couple of hours. What the what? You guys are the best. The project is still going strong until April 12, so throw a compliment someone’s way. Meanwhile, Natalie is posting her favorite compliments on Go Mighty, so go see if you’re on her list.
My Go Mighty Skillshare class on Life Lists starts Monday, and one participant will receive a $1,000 goal grant from Go Mighty. Last month’s grant went to Emrys Kim, who’s planning a trip to South Korea to take spoken histories of women who were coerced into brothels during the Japanese occupation. Sign up for the class and let us know your plans.
We’re in our third week of the #ThankAWriter project with Nathan Bransford. Nathan’s letter this week was to the author and teacher that encouraged him to write his first novel. You should read it. Moving stuff.
I’ve enjoyed reading about which writers inspire you all and why. Here are a few letters written by Go Mighty members this week: To Kazuo Ishiguro, To Sharon G. Flake, To Lois Lowry, To Kay Ryan, To Martin Waddell, To Pam Houston, To Mo Willems.
So much good stuff, right? Keep it up, team. We are a snowball rolling downhill.
Photo credit: Sara Lucero
When I was in high school, I read Vicktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, presumably because it was on a book list. I don’t remember specifics, but his name has been coming up for me as I think about what I want to say in this Skillshare class next week.
If you’re not familiar with Frankl’s work, he was a psychotherapist who practiced as an inmate at Auschwitz. He found that people were able to survive best when they felt they had purpose.
In pursuing happiness, it’s easy to overlook the pursuit of meaning. So I ordered another copy of the book, and I’m thinking more about responsibility as I look over my Life List in preparation for this class. There’s still space, if you’d like to join in.
In the meantime, is this something you think about too? Do you feel like you’ve found your “thing?”