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positively present picks: week of august 31, 2012



Quote copy

 "The real moment of success is not
apparent to the crowd." 

George Bernard Shaw



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Beyonce's "I Was Here" video : this made me cry + I loved it

Color Therapy : very intriguing; love the part about orange!

Dog Shaming : so silly -- and yet hilarious

Yeah Dave's Guide to Livin' in the Moment : looks like a great (+ fun!) book

Bella the Little Devil : getting ready for Halloween already!

Success is like washboard abs : odd comparison, but very true 

Make Magic {free!} Ebook : the perfect pairing of great design + inspiration

iTypewriter : I've always wanted a typewriter + this would be perfect!

Intuiative Warrior Event : in LA on 9/8/12. wish I lived in LA!

Tina Roth Eisenberg's 8 Steps for a Creative Life : just brilliant

7 Reasons to Read Happier at Home : and a shout-out from Gretchen! 


Check out this week's Positively Present playlist on YouTube

"Josaphine"   –  Dispatch
"Blue Paper"   –  Yeasayer
"What You Wanted"   –  Seapony 
"I'm the Best"   –  Nicki Minaj
"Empathy"   –  Alanis Morissette
"Amber Waves"    –  Erin McCarley
"I Wish I Knew"   –  Alex Boyd
"Feel Again"   –  OneRepublic
"Battle Scars"   –  Guy Sebastian + Lupe Fiasco
"No Tell"   –  Smoke & Jackal
"Let Her Go"   –  Passenger
"Gravity"   –  Sara Bareilles
"Battles"   –  Hudson Taylor
"Whistle"   –  Flo Rida
"Carry On"   –  fun.


Back When We Were Grown Ups
Anne Tyler 

The Postmistress
Sarah Blake 

Typography Sketchbooks
Steven Heller 

book review : happier at home

happier at home


I've always been a big fan of Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project and I was thrilled when I first learned she was coming out with a new book (see my review of her last book, The Happiness Project, here). I was even more thrilled when I received an advanced copy for review!

Gretchen's last book was a great overview of her year-long happiness project, but her latest book, Happier at Home, narrows in on a specific topic: home. Gretchen writes, "Because I realized that of the many elements that influnced my happiness, my home -- in all its aspects -- was the most important, I decided to take some time to concentrate my efforts there. 

HappierAtHomeThe book is an account of the various strategies Gretchen used to make her home happier. Gretchen devotes a chapter to each of the following elements of home: Possessions, Marriage, Parenthood, Interior Design, Time, Body, Family, Neighborhood, and (my personal favorite) Now. No matter what the word "home"means to you (and I would imagine that it's much different for all of us), Gretchen's book provides insights and ideas that could make any home a more enjoyable place to be. 

Though I enjoyed reading each chapter -- and getting a peak into Gretchen's home life, so different from my own! -- I had a few favorite sections. The one I discuss below -- "Make the Positive Argument" -- is the one that really stuck with me. Like many of Gretchen's insights, it provided a new (and positive!) perspective for looking at my life. Her words of wisdom opened my eyes to a new way of seeing things -- and isn't that what every great book should do? 


Gretchen's Wisdom : Make the Positive Argument

"When a person takes a position, he or she looks for evidence to support it and then stops, satisfied. This mental process gives the illusion that a position is objective and well justified. However, a person can often make the very opposite argument... If I tell myself 'I'm a shy person,' I marshal examples of my shyness; if I tell myself 'I'm an outgoing person,' I remember the times when I was outgoing." 

At first glance, I thought to myself, You can't just make a positive argument for something that's not true. That's just pretending. But then I realized it's not about pretending something is different than what it is; it's about looking at the other side of the argument and see if, perhaps, the opposite, positive side might actually be true. The more I thought about this (and I did think about it quite a bit, this paragraph lingering days after I'd put down the book), the more it made sense -- and the more I realized I needed to put it into practice in my own life. I used Gretchen's own example as a starting point. I always say to myself (and others), "Oh, I'm so antisocial." Or "I'm not a people person." While I did believe those those words when I was saying them, I decided to take a different approach and say to myself, "I'm very social." My first instinct was to think, No I'm not! but when I paused for a moment and tried to make the positive argument, I found that the statement "I'm very social" could be quite true. I spend time with my friends multiple times each week. I engage in social media on a daily basis. I am in constant contact with friends and relatives via email and text. I interact with many people in person on a daily basis. Looking at the positive argument made me realize that I am, in fact, much more social than my typical "I'm antisocial" statement gives me credit for. 

While I can also make the argument that I'm antisocial (I don't like to go to social gatherings or parties. I tend to prefer interacting only with one person at a time. I really enjoy time alone.), I see now that it's not so black-and-white. No matter what the argument is (positive or negative), there's often more layers than just a blanket statement -- and Gretchen's "make the positive argument" section really made me see that. 

Next time you find yourself labeling something (especially yourself!) in a negative way, consider what Gretchen advised and look for the positive argument. Just as I did, you'll probably discover that your negative statement doesn't hold as much weight as you might have thought.  


happier at home
Bella's reading up on how to be happier at home.


Want more great insights from Gretchen about home, happiness, and creating a more positive life? Pre-order you copy of Happier at Home.

And while you're waiting for your book to arrive, check out Gretchen's The Happiness Project, a site with great tips for living a happier life. 

positively present picks: week of august 20, 2012





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 "Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years.
We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin,
but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul."

Samuel Ullman




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Happily Ever After Now Greeting Cards : click on an image you like + buy a card 

DIY Instagram Photo Strip : adding this to my to-do list! 

How to Be Happy :  video interviews about The Happiness Project

Words Over Pixels : just fell in love with this site!

9 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself Today : pause + practice some self-love

Paid to Exist : work + passion = tools for the trailblazer

Ashley Brooke Designs : i just love this girl's style (+ shop!)

Design Love Fest Giveaway : crossing my fingers that I'm the winner!! 

3 Questions for Easier Living : Danielle's on point, as always

12 Negative Thoughts Holding You Back : don't let them get to you!

Alice in Wonderland poster : got this for my bday and LOVE it



Check out this week's Birthday Remix playlist on YouTube.
In celebration of my 29th birthday, I chose 29 songs that I either discovered
this year or that are in some way symbolic of things that happened this year. Enjoy!

"Trojans"   –  Altas Genius
"Warrior"  –  Kimbra + Mark Foster
"Anna Sun"  –  Walk the Moon
"It's Time"  –  Imagine Dragons
"Are You Satisfied?"  –  Marina & the Diamonds
"Eyes Open"  –  Taylor Swift (from The Hunger Games)
"Some Nights"  –  Fun.
"What Doesn't Kill You"  –  Kelly Clarkson
"Little Talks"  –  Of Monsters and Men
"Tongue Tied"  –  Grouplove
"Good Feeling"  –  Flo Rida
"All Will Be Well"  –  Gabe Dixon Band
"You Are a Tourist"  –  Death Cab for Cutie
"Change the Sheets"  –  Kathleen Edwards
"The Fear"  –  Ben Howard
"Part of Me"  –  Katy Perry
"Ho Hey"  –  The Lumineers
"Lions in Cages"  –  Wolfgang
"Perfect Games"  –  The Broken West
"Goodbye Alice in Wonderland"  –  Jewel
"Somebody"  –  Jukebox the Ghost
"1957"  –  Milo Greene
"We Are Never Getting Back Together"  –  Taylor Swift
"Helena Beat"  –  Foster the People
"Carousel"  –  Vanessa Carlton
"Circus"  –  Britney Spears
"Blank Maps"  –  Cold Specks
"Super Bass"  –  Nicki Minaj
"Alice in Wonderland"  –  Lisa Mitchell 


Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Helen Simonson

The Art of iPhoneography
Stephanie Roberts 

Back When We Were Grown Ups
Anne Tyler