Previous month:
July 2012
Next month:
September 2012

positively present picks: week of august 31, 2012



Quote copy

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

George Bernard Shaw



Linksilove copy

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





Quote copy

 "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




Linksilove copy

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 

wish list: 29 things to do before i turn 30





In three days, I'll be entering the last year of my twenties. In three days, I'll be only 365 days away from the big three-oh. Crazy! As always, I'm thrilled to be celebrating my birthday (I'm a big fan of festivities!), and this year my celebrations have an added bonus: recapping the list I put together last August of the 28 things I wanted to do before I turned 29. As someone who strives to be present, looking back isn't something I encourage myself to do often, but I feel like birthdays are one of those rare occasions when it's beneficial to look back on the past year and contemplate the progress made. 

As I settled down to review the 28 Things to Do Before I Turn 29 list, I was flooded with a rush of warm memories from the past 12 months. So much has happened -- it's been one of those "big" years -- and I feel content with where I am in my life. I have a lot to be proud of and a lot to be excited for -- and what could be better than that? As I contemplated the wish list I had for last year, I realized how thankful I was to have it. I was grateful that I'd taken the time to think about the things I wanted over the year (a year-long vision board of sorts) and I was also grateful that I now had something I could reflect on as I recalled the year I was 28.

Instead of hazy memories and a vague sense of accomplishment, I had a tangible list (taped near my desk, complete with items I'd crossed out as I accomplished them) I could review, making it easier not only to recall some of the fun times from the year before, but also to see exactly what I had (or, in some cases, hadn't) accomplished over the past year. Doing the recap of the list was both fun and productive, giving me a sense of pride at what I'd done -- and the thrill of knowing I could create a whole new list for this new year of my life. Here's what I discovered when I took a closer look at all the crossed-off items on my list: 


The Recap : 28 Things to Do Before Turning 29

1. Write a new short story (fiction!). The piece I wrote isn't my favorite piece of work, but I'm glad that I got back into fiction writing. // 2. Visit the Kandinsky art exhibit. Checked it out last August and loved it. What a talented and inspiring artist! // 3. Discover amazing new music every MondayDiscovered so many new artists on Urban Outfitters and found monthly free songs on Amazon. Yay! // 4. Cover my wall with my own art. Maybe not covered, but I added a few more pieces and it makes me happy to see my own creations on our walls. // 5. Volunteer at an animal shelter. I served the committee for my local animal shelter's annual gala and I loved it so much that I'm doing it again in 2012. // 6. Eat more fruits + veggies. Still a work-in-progress, but I've been doing much better this summer with help of my boyfriend's new healthy eating habits! // 7. Visit Portland, OR + ask about PortlandiaGot laughed at for asking locals about Portlandia, but feel head-over-heels for Portland. Love it and can't wait to go back someday. // 8. Learn how to take great photos with my DSLR. I don't know if my photos are in the "great" category yet, but I've definitely improved and I've actually found that using my iPhone camera has helped my skills as well. // 9. Get something (an article?) published. My first published article, "Living in the Moment," was featured in Life + Dog. Yay! // 10. Keep adding money to my savings. Did an amazing job of this until I left my full-time job and had to start digging into them -- but that's what all the saving was for! // 11. Summit an entry to PostsecretCan't tell you what I sent in, but I dropped it in the mail this year and it felt good to send my secret out into the world. // 12. Take Bella for more walks. I'm walking her quite often these days and I'm trying to really enjoy the time I have left with her. // 13. Make this cool art for my apartment. This didn't turn out as cool as I'd hoped (perhaps it was my lack of patience...), but I had fun making it. // 14. Stop watching so much TV. I cut my DVR-recording list in half, but I still find myself watching way more TV than I'd like. Adding this one to this year's list! // 15. Read at least 50 books on my list. I've read 67 books since August 2011. Woohoo for reading! // 16. Make a digital scrapbook. I didn't actually do this, but I think Instagram counts. It's a scrapbook of my life! // 17. Finish reading + be inspired by The Spark Kit. The kit was absolutely inspiring, as was The Fire Starter Sessions. So empowering! // 18. Make these polaroid magnets. I made these for myself (and for my sis too!). Really loved this project. // 19. Say "I love you" more often. Hmmm... Not so sure if I did very well on this one. It's still something I need to work on. // 20. Learn to sell on Etsy + Ebay. Etsy? No. Ebay? Yes. Didn't love it, but I mastered it! // 21. Create a book with my Instagram photos. I created one for my parents instead -- but I ended up making some stickers for my holiday cards. // 22. Finish + share my ebook. Successfully launched Live Happily Ever After Now. So happy with it and the positive feedback it received! // 23. Plan a trip to visit my cousin in Hawaii. Funds being what they are, I haven't planned this yet. Maybe in 2012/2013! // 24. Make a new vision board. I just did this one recently + was very pleased with the results// 25. Organize my art + wrapping supplies. Finally did this! Here's how it turned out. I'm in love with my craft cart! // 26. Participate in this Photo ChallengeNot only did I do this challenge, but I also created Gratitude, Christmas, and 365 Photo projects of my own. Photos really help me stay present and mindful. // 27. Find an incredible Halloween costume. I found not one, but two -- this Elf costume + this ringmaster costume. // 28. Be more positive + present (of course!). Always a work-in-progress, but feel good about the progress I've made over the past year. 


The past year has been one of my best. Though I didn't cross everything off of my list, I'm pretty proud of how I've spent the last 365 days. Most of the things I wanted to do, I accomplished. And I did a couple of other pretty cool things too like: quitting my job to start writing full time, finishing the draft of my book (can't wait to share it with you all!), publishing my first workbook, becoming a Google Search Expert (nerd alert!), discovering amazingness on Pinterest (love that site!), seeing a lot of my favorite artists perform live, getting my first full-size Christmas tree (which made me feel very grown up!), and trying out meditation, just to name a few. It's been a very exciting year -- and I have a feeling that this next one's going to be just as thrilling! 

I'm looking forward to this next year -- the last year of my twenties! -- and it was fun to spend time thinking about the things I want to accomplish before I launch myself into the next decade of my life. Here are the 29 things I hope to do before I turn 30: 

29 things before 30
Creating my wish list last year made me realize how much I really enjoy having a checklist, a motivator helping me to do the things I might want to do but might need a little push to get started on, and I can't wait to get started on this next list. If you don't have a list of your own, I'd recommend creating one. It doesn't have to be as long as the ones I've created (even a list with a handful of things can help push you to do what you've been wanting to do), but it should be filled with things that will make you feel happy, productive, and inspired. 

What do you want to do before your next birthday?
I'd love to hear what's on your wish list!  

positively present picks: week of august 13, 2012




Quote copy

 "I found my destiny not in far off places,
but within myself."

Sonora Carver

Linksilove copy


Path to Wellness : a wonderful + empowering site brimming with inspiration 

How to Tell Whether or Not You're an Adult : sadly (and hilariously) on point

How to Become Your Own Biggest Fan : something we all should do!

The Journal of Awesome : a great way to curate your gratitude

In Spaces Between : one of my favorite sites for inspiration + beauty

Jessica Hische iPhone cases : umm, yes, please!

6 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Stress Levels : #2 is a great one

Taylor Swift's Red Album : coming in October. yay!

Pretty Printables : I've always loved these + I finally started a board 

Dear Otis : Juliana's letter had me in tears (in a good way)

10 Ways to Increase Happiness : excellent stuff, especially #7

Check out this week's Positively Present playlist on YouTube.

"Anything Can Happen"  –  Ellie Goulding
"Is Your Love Big Enough?"  –  Lianna La Havas
"Slipping Away"  –  Barcelona
"Navajo"  –  Ponderosa
"Make It Home"  –  Thenewno2
"Want You Back"  –  Cher Lloyd
"Titanium"  –  David Guetta + Sia
"We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"   –  Taylor Swift
(new song!!! yay!) 
"We Come Running"   –  Youngblood Hawke
"Cali in a Cup"   –  Woods
"Free of Me"   –  Amy Stroup
"Everyday is Listening"   –  White Violet
"Live It With Love"   –  Ingrid Michaelson


A Girl and Five Brave Horses
Sonora Carver
(the true story behind Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken
one of my favorite films!) 

Happier at Home
Gretchen Rubin