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positively present picks: week of june 25, 2012






We must be free not because we claim freedom,
but because we practice it.

William Faulkner





If You Love Neon... : Positively Present's Neon Brights board featured!

Hello Giggles : both entertaining + smart, with lots of laughs

5 Ways to Be Present This Summer : a how-to for embracing the sunshine 

Happy B-Day America! : the best things about the USA

Life Through the Lens : beautiful + inspiring photos that make me smile

Life, Liberty, + the Pursuit of Happiness : read this if you're chasing happiness

Get Crafty! : some of my favorite crafts + to-do ideas

Kusama's Obliteration Room : stickers + kids = awesomeness

Toy Stories : Aled's images always make me laugh

Jessica's Daily Affirmation : this still makes me smile (gotta start doing this!)

Honest WTF : the best (+ coolest!) D.I.Y. ideas

Rainbow Types : can't say enough how much I love this (+ Marc Johns!)



Listening reading

 Check out this week's Independence Day themed tunes on YouTube.

"Liberty Walk"  –  Miley Cyrus
"American Boy"  –  Estelle + Kanye West
"Firework"  –  Katy Perry
"American Girl"  – Tom Petty + the Heartbreakers
"Sparklers"  –  Rocky Votolato
"Party in the USA"  –  Miley Cyrus
"On the 4th of July"  –  James Taylor
"Love in America"  –  JTX
"American Girls"  –  Counting Crows
"Sam's Town"  –  The Killers
"July Flame"  –  Laura Veirs
"Sparks Fly"  –  Taylor Swift
"4th of July"  –  Kelis
"Born in the USA"  –  Bruce Springsteen

A Visit From the Goon Squad
Jennifer Egen 

The Well-Fed Self-Publisher
Peter Bowerman 

life is a circus: 5 lessons from inside the big top


 Keep the circus going inside you, keep it going,
don't take anything too seriously,
it'll all work out in the end.

David Niven


I've always had a sort of love affair with the circus, and lately I've been a lot more focused on it as I've been planning a circus-themed baby shower. (So focused on it, in fact, that I even watched Charlie Chaplin's The Circus last night -- a silent film, which is usually so not my thing.) Despite the misgivings I have about the circus (the treatment of animals, the creepy clowns, etc.), there's something about being part of a circus that seems magical -- traveling around the country preforming and entertaining people, doing things that seem impossible to others and knowing how they all work. There's something magical about being the force behind the magic.

When I think of the circus, I think of sawdust and swinging trapeze artists. I think of twinkling lights and towering big tops. I think of excitement and experience, the dusty trails of knowledge kicked up by all the traveling performers. I'm sure there's much more to it than what I envision (... all the most magical things are always so much simpler when you're on the outside), but to me the circus seems like a wondrous place.

Beyond the wonder and magic of the circus, there is a lot we can learn from what happens under the big top. The circus, in many ways, is a metaphor for life -- it's crazy, unexpected, filled with a wild range of emotions. Under the big top, you can go from laughing your head off to holding your breath in fear in just a matter of moments. As in life, the circus is filled with some odd characters, many of which have a great deal of knowledge to share if only we look a little closer. Let's pull back the curtain on the big top and see what life lessons we can find amid the sawdust and the sparkles...


Be the ringmaster. It's your life. 

If life is a circus, then you should certainly be the star in your own ring. The ringmaster controls the show. The ringmaster is the most visible performer. The ringmaster is in charge. You can't control everything in life, but there are many things you have the power to direct. Don't let someone else be the ringmaster in your life. Take the reins (or the whip, in this case!) and remind yourself that you have the power to be in charge of this crazy circus we call life. 


You're on a tightrope. Keep your balance.

Just like the walk across the wire is for a tightrope walker, our lives will be most successful if we find balance. Lean too far in one direction and you'll find yourself toppling over. Balance is not always easy to master when juggling relationships and jobs and passions, but it's essential for living a positive and present life. Imagine yourself on a tightrope and ask yourself, "Am I leaning too far in one direction?" Don't let one area of your life -- no matter how important it might seem -- distract you from achieving balance. 


Toss your hat in the ring. Get involved. 

Like a circus coming to town, our lives are brief but wonderful. Don't waste your life sitting on the sidelines. Get involved with activities, hobbies, friends, jobs. Say "yes" more than you say "no." Do the things that scare you. Push your boundaries. Take the challenge of living life to the fullest. Life is a circus that's magical to watch, but even more wonderful to participate in. Don't waste your life being a spectator. Throw down your inhibitions and throw your hat into the ring. 


Set up a sturdy net. You will need back-up.

No matter how balanced you try to be, you'll make mistakes. You'll slip and fall. Nothing could be worse than a fall without a net so make sure you have a strong network of people to help you get back up on your feet. You don't need a lot of people -- a few will do the trick -- but you do need people who will catch you when you fall, who will dust you off, and who will help you get back up on your feet. You won't often need your safety net, but you'll be thankful you have it when you start to lose your balance. 


Clown around. Life's too short to be serious.

Even if you're a bit wary of clowns (there's just something not right about a painted-on smile...), it's hard not to appreciate their ability to make life a comedy. Life is much too short to spend your time being serious. Take a lesson from the circus clowns and make a joke, share a laugh, do something so silly and outrageous that you make yourself crack up. Seriousness has it's time and place, but it's the silliness you'll remember most. So clown around. Laugh


Life is very much like the world under the big top -- filled with the unexpected, the exciting, and the terrifying. It's a lot to take in, but if you look closely, beyond the curtain, beneath the glitter, you'll see the wisdom that lies behind the wonder and the whimsy...


If you love the circus like I do, here are some sites, songs, and sources you might want to check out: 

Circus-Themed Music Videos (includes my fav, Britney Spears' "Circus")

The Night Circus (amazing novel with a new twist on the circus)

Ringling Museum of Art (worth a trip to Sarasota, FL!)

Life is a Circus (my Pinterest board)

Charlie Chaplin's The Circus (part 1 of 8, but you can find all 8 on YouTube)

Circus (a PBS documentary you can watch online)

Win a copy of Live Happily Ever After Now

LHEAN Cover Image 

Want to win a copy of Live Happily Ever After Now? One lucky winner will be randomly selected on Friday, June 29, 2012 and will be notified via email. Below are the various ways you can enter to win. 


Leave a comment below about how you use
(or plan to use) one of the five lessons listed above. 
Include your email address so we can contact you.

Like Positively Present on Facebook. 
Add a comment here to let us know about the Like.

Post about this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter
Come back + comment with the link.
*please tag it with @positivepresent*


positively present picks: week of june 18, 2012


summer summer summer





Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes,
and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. 
A few of those days and you can become drunk
with the belief that all's right with the world.  

Ada Louise Huxtable





Striking Truths : amazing, amazing, amazing design + inspiration

Guide to Overcoming Self-Doubt : a must-read for everyone

The Optimist's Guide to Life : lots of inspiring posts + guest posts

Finding Your Passion Requires Action : the motivation you need to get going

Day to Be You : great, inspiration-filled site (especially this!)

Blog, Inc. is coming out in September : so pumped! pre-order here

The Carry On Concept : a must-read eBook for anyone traveling light

100 Things to Do Instead of Procrastinating on the Internet : yes!! 

Turning Office Supplies into Found Art : so many pretty colors

DIY Goal List : very simple way to manage all your goals



Listening reading

Summer's officially here!
Check out the Positively Present Summertime Soundtrack on YouTube.

"Go Outside"  –  Cults
"This Summer I'll Make It Up to You"  –  Caged Animals
"Warrior"  –  Kimbra + Mark Foster 
"Summertime Sadness"  –  Lana Del Ray
"Let's Go"  –  Madi Diaz
"Zimbabwe"  –  New Navy
"Ana Sun"  –  Walk the Moon
"Sunlight"  –  Bag Raiders
"I Was Made for Sunny Days"  –  The Weepies
"Standing on the Shore"  –  Empire of the Sun
"Perfect Games"  –  The Broken West
"It's Time"  –  Imagine Dragons
"Lions in Cages"  –  Wolf Gang
"Titanium"  –  David Guetta + Sia
"Call Me Maybe"  –  Carly Rae Jepsen (just had to...)
"Uncharted"  –  Sara Bareilles
"Hello"  –  Karmin
"Time to Begin"  –  States
"Come Down"  –  Greg Laswell + Sara Bareilles 
"The Fighter"  –  Gym Class Heroes 


The Carrie Diaries
Candace Bushnell 

The Well-Fed Self-Publisher
Peter Bowerman