February Firsts


How did we get to February already?

This is my first winter back out east and I can say with conviction that this weather is truly atrocious. I now distinctively remember why I decided to move to California after graduating from Bates. I am not used to having to slather on layers of moisturizer (Dr. Jart’s Ceramidin Cream coming in clutch) and having my fingers and face feel painfully numb from the bite of the cold.

January was an exciting month. In the spirit of growth and curiosity, here are some of my first “firsts.”

I tried my first rowing class at Row House. I take a lot of barre classes, and have been trying to find my brand of cardio. I don’t like running aimlessly in the park (I love running if I’m in a game and have to score a goal or chase after an objective). If you want a sweat and a low-impact cardio workout, you have to try a class. I will be back every week!

I took my first Beatles-choreographed ballet class at The Ballet Spot. I love the Beatles, so I couldn’t resist! I’ve watched plenty of ballet in the past year, but it was only until I tried this class that I had a true appreciation for how physically strenuous this graceful art form is.

I ventured into my first sweat lodge at Shape House. They say you can burn up to 1,200 calories and detox your body in this heated bed. I’m not sure if I buy the health claims, but it was relaxing to take an hour out of my Sunday to watch the RGB documentary on Hulu and to drink mango ginger tea afterwards.

I visited the acclaimed Polo Bar with my roommate. The decor within is reminiscent of an old-fashioned study in Connecticut. The warm popovers are amazing, but I would not go back again. I prefer cuisines with a little more flavor and spice. It’s a fun place to people watch. Reservations are necessary.

I took my first chocolate-making class at Roni Sue’s Shoppe. I was shocked to learn that the majority of the American public has been cheated out of eating real chocolate. A Hershey’s bar only contains 10% cacao, and 90% sugar and other substances. 10% is the minimum regulation to be considered chocolate. Also, if your white chocolate doesn’t cost over $10, odds are you’re not eating real white chocolate. My team learned how to make truffles, and I was slightly tempted to start my artisanal chocolate brand based out of the Upper West Side. I tried to ask my coworkers to sell their Google stock to fund my venture. What should I call it? UWS Chocolates? UWS? Maison Pham?

I purchased my first vacuum, a Dyson V6 Cordless model. Begone, dust bunnies! This model is fantastic for Manhattan apartments.

When I joined Equinox in November, I was persuaded to try the Hydrafacial by a very convincing spa attendant. I’m young, I was blessed with good skin genes, I wash my pillowcases frequently, and I barely wear any make-up to work. Subsequently, I’m low maintenance and I usually just wash my face and moisturize religiously every night. This was my first-ever facial. At $195/facial, the Hydrafacial is a bit steep. Unlike most facials that are done manually by hand, the Hydrafacial is pure suction by machinery. Part of the process involves a glycolic acid peel, so you should do this on a Friday and give yourself some recovery time over the weekend. I did mine on a Sunday and woke up on Monday to an emergency scenario where my skin had peeled overnight. I had to apply 10 layers of moisturizer and serums before my skin was acceptably de-flaked enough to go to work. It took 3 days for my skin to stop peeling and my skin was left feeling silky smooth.

I watched Come From Away, the moving story about how the town of Gander, Canada galvanized to take care of 7,000 stranded passengers after the tragic events of 9/11 shut down American airspace. As a Canadian, my heart was really touched by this show. This might be my all-time favorite Broadway show. At the end, the crowd was ablaze with a standing ovation.

I saw Phantom of the Opera with my family. I watched Phantom as a teenager, but only as an adult woman did I realize how controlling and domineering the Phantom is. Frankly, it’s a bit jarring when you realize that the Phantom is the epitome of a very abusive relationship today. On the bright side, the singing is 10/10.

I tried dimsum at Golden Unicorn. I prefer Jing Fong.

I finished Carol Dweck’s “Mindset.” It’s a great read.

I finally faced my avoidance of watching emotional films, and I went to see “A Star is Born” with my college classmate, Allen. I tried really hard to restrain my tears, but when Lady Gaga belted out “I’ll Never Love Again,” my heart broke for her character.

There is a lot more that January taught me, but there’s a quick round-up. May your wonder and curiosity always take you to new heights.




2 Responses
  • Denali Nalamalapu
    February 3, 2019

    Michelle, your intrepidness is exhilarating! Reading this piece makes me want to try so many new things. I admire you ambition in taking on new experiences that undoubtedly involve intention, time, and optimism. Thank you for sharing your adventures with the world. I always enjoy reading your blog posts. Grateful for your light in this world!

    • Michelle Pham
      February 13, 2019

      Denali, thank you so much for these kind words! I am always so appreciative to those who take the time to read my blog! More adventure updates to come. 🙂

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