Previous month:
September 2014
Next month:
November 2014

positively present picks: october 31, 2014

Believe-MagicBuy this print on Society6!


image from

“The world is full of magic things,
patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” 

Eden Phillpotts


image from

30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge : join in starting tomorrow!

Why Halloween Make Me Happy : in case you were wonderin'

Habits Manifesto : love this advice from Gretchen Rubin

5 Tips for Tackling Anxiety : thanks, Cupcakes and Cashmere!

Personalized Phrase Bracelet : such a cute little jewelry DIY

A Guide to Change Self-Destructive Behaviors : wise words here

How to Live an Optimistic Life : 5 timeless tips for positivity

11 Ways to Handle Naysayers + Doubters : be done with haters!

The Psychology of Fear : quite interesting (especially at Halloween!)

5 Steps to Fortune : an inspiring look on achieving fortune

Repectful Communication : this quote really inspires me 

18 Reminders for When You're Having a Bad Day

Homemade Cookie Butter : I need to make this immediately

Hand-Lettering E-Course : can't wait to check this out!

1989 : Taylor Swift's new album is a-m-a-z-i-n-g

A Simple Technique for Staying Present


image from

Check out this week's
Positively Present playlist on YouTube

"Halloween" — Matt Pond PA
"Wild" — Royal Teeth
"I Want You" — Saint Raymond
"Like a Stranger" — Bodies of Water
"I'm the One" — Wilderness Survival
"Head Up High" — Oh Land
"Baby Don't Lie" — Gwen Stefani
"Ghosting" — Freelance Whales
"Postcard" —  Jukebox the Ghost
"It All Starts Here" — Magic Man
"Fool of Me" — Say Lou Lou
"Haunted" — Taylor Swift

Jonathan Franzen

The Desire Map
Danielle LaPorte

The Butterfly Experience
Karen Whitelaw-Smith

30-day gratitude photo challenge: 2014 edition


Get excited... The Fourth Annual 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge begins on November 1! For the past three years, I've hosted a 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge (see here and here and here) and this year it's back again for another month of embracing an attitude of gratitude. The premise of the challenge is this: snap photos inspired by the daily prompts listed above and share them on social media with the hashtag #Gratitude30.

If you haven't done the challenge before, you might be wondering: Why participate in the challenge instead of just being grateful? Having done this for three years now, I can honestly say that it makes being grateful easier because it holds you accountable for your gratitude and encourages you to look for gratitude all around you. Though I try to practice gratitude on a daily basis, this challenge always motivates me to think a bit more about all that I'm so fortunate to have in my life. Plus, it's actually really fun to do. 

One of the benefits of the challenge is that it encourages you to get a bit more specific about what you're grateful for. In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Anchor discusses how gratitude lists sometimes aren't as effective as they could be because they're often repetitive and general, like being thankful for "family" or "shelter." To create a deeper sense of gratitude, it helps to get more detailed — and that's what I'm hoping you'll do with the Fourth Annual 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge!

Not only do I encourage you to share photos of what you're specifically grateful for, but this year I also recommend that you dig a little deeper and consider why you're grateful for the things you choose to photograph. Below you'll see not only the one-word prompts, as I've done in previous years, but also some thoughts on what you might want to contemplate while snapping photos for the challenge. The challenge has been designed for you to participate in any way you like, but if you're the type who likes a bit more guidance, here are some more detailed prompts to keep you feeling grateful all month long...



Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. What beauty are you grateful for? What things make your home, office, neighborhood, etc. more beautiful? Who around you embodies the essence of beauty? What do you find beautiful about yourself? 



Laughing is one of my favorite things to do, and I'm so thankful that I do it on a daily basis. What makes you laugh? A movie? A book? A joke? A memory? Whatever evokes that giddy sense of happiness within you, be thankful for it. 



What we dream says a lot about what matters to us. What do you dream about often (either in the literal or the abstract sense)? Do you have reoccurring dreams at night? Do you find yourself daydreaming about the same things? 



Consider the wisdom you've received in your life. Who is the wisest person you know? What is the best piece of advice you've been given? What books / films / experiences have made and continue to make you wiser? 



We are all uniquely inspired by the world around us. What inspires you to get out of the bed in the morning? What inspires you to keep working, loving, living? Contemplate how fortunate you are to have inspiration in your life. 



It's time to stop and smell the roses, to pay attention to the little things in life that make a big difference. What little details of your life have you been taking for granted? What small acts or experiences shape you on a day-to-day basis? 



We are fortunate to have clothing on our backs, but what about your attire are you most thankful for? Is it the item that makes you happy every time you wear it? Or is it a purposeful item, like a coat design to keep out winter's chill? 



Celebrate those friends you have in your life by being grateful for them. Who are the people who have stuck by you no matter what? Who are the ones you can call, day or night, for a chat? How lucky you are to have friendship in your life! 



Home is where the heart is, they say. What does "home" mean to you? Is it the place you rest your head each night? Is it the place you grew up? Or is it more of a state of mind? Whatever home means to you, be thankful for it.



We should all be thankful for whatever kindness we experience. What kind acts have you experienced lately? What kindness have you shown to others? Be thankful not only for others' kindness, but for your own ability to be kind. 



Art is everywhere. What you consider to be art is unique to you, but ask yourself: what do I consider to be art? What art do I see in my life on a daily basis? What art do I love but see rarely? What art have I created (or want to create)? 



The changing seasons echo the cycle of life and it's important to be thankful for what they represent. Which season are you experiencing now? Which season do you most like to experience? Why do you enjoy that particular season? 



Taste may be a difficult thing to photograph, but try to capture and share the tastes that you most enjoy. What is your favorite food? Why? What tastes (sweet, salty, etc.) are you most drawn to? What flavors entice and excite you? 



Looking back isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes it's pleasant to reflect on what was. Consider your favorite moment or item from the past. What was wonderful about it? How do you feel when you think of that time / thing / person? 



To be grateful for nature is to be grateful for life. Look around you at whatever nature you can find. What is beautiful or inspiring about it? What elements of nature do you most connect with? When were you most in touch with nature? 



Whether it's comfort in a physical sense (a hug, a blanket) or in an emotional sense (a good listener, wise advice), it is wonderful to find comfort in your life. Think about the things, people, or situations that make you feel most comforted. 



It can be hard to be thankful for work, but consider how work makes your life better. It provides you with income, and it can challenge, inspire, and excite you. Even if you don't love your career, ask yourself: why am I lucky to have work? 



Change can be both terrifying and exciting. What changes have you experienced recently? How did they make you feel? What changes might you like to experience in the near future? What can you do to initiate those changes today? 



What's new in your life? Do you have any new friends, new experiences, new mindsets? If you don't have any newness to be thankful for, do something completely out of character today and embrace the new experiences you have.



Many of us are creatures of habit. What routines or habits do you have in your life? What about these are you thankful for? What routines do you wish you had in your life? What routines would you like to shake up and change? 



The nose is a powerful force and what we smell can transform an experience or mood. Consider what your favorite smells are and why. How do they make you feel? Why do you like those feelings? Be thankful for the aromas in your life. 



Relaxation is a beautiful thing. Do you spend as much time relaxing as you'd like? When you do relax, what do you most like to do? What sights / sounds / smells make you feel most at ease? With whom do you feel in a most relaxed state? 



Travel doesn't necessarily mean visiting foreign lands. Every day we travel from place to place. What travels do you embark on frequently? How do you feel when it route? What places have you most enjoyed visiting? Where do you want to go?



There is little that deserves more gratitude than love. It is one of the most powerful forces on earth. How do you experience love in your life? How do you receive it? Give it? What does the word "love" really mean to you?



Every day, we create. We create connections, experiences, conversations. We create art and music and magic. Consider what you have created today or recently. How did it feel? Now consider what you'd like to create in the future. 



What we hear can greatly influence who we are. What sounds are most appealing to you? What kind of music motivates or inspires you? What song could you listen to on repeat day after day? Appreciate all that you can hear. 



It might be a love-hate relationship, but you are fortunate to have family in your life. Take note of them today and be mindful of the ways they have shaped your life. What do you love about them? What do you often take for granted?



What would you like to have more of in your life? What things / people / experiences fill you with longing? Consider not only what you want but also why you want it. How would you feel if you had it? How much it transform your life? 



Weather can impact more than the color of the sky. How do you feel when the sun is shining? When the storm clouds are gathering? What is the weather today and how does it make you feel? Whatever the weather, try to embrace it. 



The most important thing to be grateful is the only thing you will always have in your life: yourself. Consider all the ways you are wonderful and appreciate the good (and not so good!) parts of yourself. What do you love most about you? 



I hope you'll join me in participating in the Fourth Annual 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge this year! It really is a lot of fun. If you're joining in (yay!), here are a few things to note before you begin the challenge: 


* No photography skills needed. You don't need to be a photographer or even all that interested in taking photos to participate. All you need to be is interested in staying present and focusing on things you're grateful for.

Don't be scared by the word "challenge." It's just what these photo things are called so don't let it prevent you from participating. There's no reward, no punishment — just an opportunity to be more thankful.

* Any kind of camera works. You can take your photos anyway you want to — with your phone, a digital camera, a DSLR, a Holga, an Instax, a SLR, a Polaroid. Anything goes when it comes to capturing gratitude.

* Start at any time. The point is to focus on staying thankful for thirty days so you can start the challenge on November 1 and do it for the whole month (as I'm doing), or you can start the challenge any day that works for you. 

* Use #Gratitude30. If you post your pics on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc., be sure to tag them #gratitude30 so others can see them. I'll be posting mine daily on Instagram (positivelypresent).

* Print out a reminder. You can copy the photo above (save it to your phone, perhaps!) or you can download and print out a version to post wherever you'd find a reminder helpful by clicking here.


I'm looking forward to sharing my photos with you all month long — and I can't wait to see your photos as well!



One great way to cultivate more gratitude in your life is to focus on being thankful for the unique aspects of you. You can discover (and appreciate!) more about yourself and what matters to you by downloading a copy of Finding Yourself: A Soul-Searching Workbook for Surprising Self Discovery. Filled with inspiration, questions, and activities to get you thinking about what it means to be you, Finding Yourself is a must for learning more about who you are and about what matters most to you. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your very own soul-searching copy here.

positively present picks: october 24, 2014

Heart leafSource


image from

"The October sun filled the world with mellow warmth...
The maple tree in front of the doorstep burned like a gigantic red torch.
The oaks along the roadway glowed yellow and bronze.
The fields stretched like a carpet of jewels, emerald and topaz and garnet.
Everywhere she walked the color shouted and sang around her...
In October any wonderful unexpected thing might be possible."

Elizabeth George


image from

How to Instantly Connect with Someone : so simple, but powerful

The Spark Notebook : a project I've been working on for awhile
is really coming together. can't wait to see it in person!

6 Great Questions to Find Your Purpose in Life

No Carve Pumpkin Ideas : for that last-minute Halloween decor

The Smart Way to Stick to Habits : brilliant advice from Zen Habits

200+ Quotes to Inspire You to Take Action : whatever it is, go for it!

Lessons from a TV Detox : how to stop watching and start doing

Random Acts of Kindness : great ideas for spreading kindness

Pretty Fluffy Shop : it's now open + I want all the prints

13 Ways to Infuse Your Home with Magic : attract what you want!

Instagram vs. Real Life : a must-read for Instagrammers

The Six Mile Pencil : would love to draw with this clever pencil

12 Inspiring Quotes about Doing What You Love


image from

Check out this week's
Positively Present playlist on YouTube

"Swim" — Fickle Friends
"Drowning Butterflies" — Bipolar Sunshine
"Strange Enough" — Verite
"Toxins" — Mating Ritual
"Fiona Coyne" — Saint Pepsi
"With the Future" — Valery Gore
"Out of the Woods" — Taylor Swift
"Sadnecessary" — Milky Chance
"She Moves" —  Alle Farben
"Hide" — Little May
"Fall for You" — Young Galaxy
"People Like Us" — Kelly Clarkson

Jonathan Franzen

The Desire Map
Danielle LaPorte

The Butterfly Experience
Karen Whitelaw-Smith