Category Archives: lifestyle

On happiness

Today is National Happiness Happens Day 

As children, happiness comes easily – a funny sounding word, the sight of a puppy, or the first taste of candy.  But as adults, happiness can be more illusive.  We carve our lives into pieces, trying to determine if we have adequate amounts of happiness.  We ask ourselves hundreds of questions – does my job make me happy, am I happy with my weight, am I happy with what I look like, would I be happier if…?

It is important to ask ourselves these questions and to be the pilot of our lives, instead of a passenger.  But sometimes, too much awareness serves to make us more frustrated than happy.  While it’s important to be self-aware in life, I’ve found that performing a near-autopsy on every aspect of life and being overly hard on myself for being human can serve to drag me down instead of raising me up.

And sometimes despite our best efforts, fate seems to align the stars and planets to give you a spectacularly shitty day/month/year and even the most carefully deliberated decisions don’t seem to help.

Then what are we to do?  How can we find happiness?

Finding happiness is the great pursuit of our lives, the question we search to answer throughout our lives.

I answer this question for myself by taking pleasure in the small moments of happiness.  Small moments of happiness and of gratitude can find us anywhere – a bright and sunny day, cool breezes that caress your skin during an oppressively hot August, an extra few minutes of cuddling in bed before work, a smile from a friend, or the glistening layer of cheese on a New York or New Haven style pizza (this is true happiness btw).

Moments of happiness can happen all around us and sometimes they have the power to carry you through the day…which reminds me of a quote –

“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Here’s hoping that happiness finds its way to you today, and every day.

 

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Gratitude

She told me to try to frame it in terms of gratitude. What was I thankful for as a result? What wouldn't I have if not for it happening?

"The upside of painful knowledge is so much greater than the downside of blissful innocence." – Sheryl Sandberg

I've a confession to make –
Sometimes, I miss the innocent way I used to view the world. The way I would jump headlong into something – full of optimism, brimming with trust.

I used to give the benefit of the doubt without a second thought.
I used to give away second chances like they were in a fire sale.

I used to have rose-colored glasses superglued to my face.

But then, it happened. There may be beauty in truth but there is ugliness there too – so jarring that it jolts us into a new reality.

A reality where a therapist asks you what the upside is, the things you can find to be grateful for as a result of it.

I smile.

I am grateful –

For freedom
For knowledge
For opened eyes
For relationships I've kept
For relationships I've built and rebuilt
For strength and resilience I didn't know I had.

For true happiness that only found me in my after.

For surviving and building something better inside myself.

Sweet treats for writers

Since NaNoWriMo is around the corner, I’ve decided to compile a list of goodies for writers.  Feel free to add any ideas in the comments, as I’m always looking for gift ideas for my writer friends (and, if I’m completely honest, for myself). 🙂

1. Tools – I know that most people do a majority of their writing electronically, but many of us love the old fashioned tools.  I love fancy pens and I have a whole relationship with my moleskine notebooks.  If your writer is a big nerd like me, a vintage type writer or vintage typewriter accessories! Yes, please! 

2. Editorial services – Any writer who has a finished product needs an editor.  The longer and more complex the product, the more we need an editor.  I recently paid for a developmental edit from Writer’s Digest critique and editing services, and it was worth it.  You don’t have to use them, but be sure to use a reputable editor as these services tend to be pricey.

3. Food & libations – Starving artists, it’s a thing.  I swear, I’m always hungry.  Over the years I’ve gotten some pretty sweet treats from friends (and from myself) including:

Book Cookies – a friend made these for me and I loved these so much that I took pictures to remember them!

 And of course coffee and tea related swag from Etsy. Here are some of my favorites

4. Literary themed cookbooks – these are so much fun. My favorites are Maya Angelou’s cookbook and Literary cocktail recipes

5. Random cute stuff on Etsy like Writing signsWriting jewelry, or a Writer tshirt. There are so many cute ideas out there

6. Beware the “how to” books – this really depends on the author. Some writers are not fans of how to books, and instead get tips from magazine, blogs, writer communities, and other online resources. But there are some really good books out there, like my absolute favorite – Stephen King’s On Writing. But again, be careful in giving advice books when not specifically asked for.  

And finally:  Moral support. This is the most important. Love your writer, pet your writer, tell them to keep at it, and if they ask you to read something, please do it.  But whatever you do, don’t stress the word still  in the following sentence: “you’re still writing that same story?”  Actually, now that I think about it, you probably shouldn’t put an emphasis on any of the words in that sentence. It may make your writer cranky and in need of the aforementioned treats.

Urge Cookies and other weird food facts

As I’m over 30 and have a job that requires me to sit on my growing posterior all day, I’ve decided to do that thing that most adults do over the course of their lives: DIET. <hiss, boo>   That has to be my least favorite four-letter word.

Which reminds me, why haven’t they come up with some sort of metabolism shot that would allow me to continue my unhealthy lifestyle and still squeeze into a size 2?  I can see it now – “I’ll have a coke, burger, fries, and a side of metabolism booster shot, please.”  :p Hey, we can all dream…

But as that’s not happening anytime soon, and because I’m hungry, I give you – weird food facts:


#1. Graham Crackers were originally created to stop “carnal urges” including the kind you do by yourself.  Because apparently these urges can be tamed by eating crackers.   Hmm, interesting theory, I wonder what the old creator of graham crackers would think of the gooey goodness known as smores? :p

#2. Eggs aren’t refrigerated in the United Kingdom, but you still need to refrigerate the ones you bought in the refrigerated section of a U.S. grocery store.

#3. Saffron is one of the most expensive (and possibly THE most expensive spice) in the world. I know this to be true, as I spent a fair bit of money buying some in an awesome market in Barcelona.

#4.  For the newly health-conscious like me, beets can turn your pee and poo red (learned that one the hard way).

#5.  People have been paid in chocolate…well, kind of.  According to an article at the Smithsonian.com, it was sometimes used in place of wages during the Revolutionary War.  Also, it can help you recover from being around Dementors and in dealing with real-life annoying people (who may also try to suck the life out of you).

There you have it.  If you’re dieting like me, I feel your pain.  If you’re not, eat something in my honor. 🙂