Previous month:
January 2015
Next month:
March 2015

positively present picks: february 27, 2015



image from

“I don't pay attention to the world ending. It has ended for me
many times, and began again in the morning."

Nayyirah Waheed

image from

On Fear : such an inspiring post from The Spiritual Spoon

Tiny Buddha Giveaway : win a copy of my book (+ read my interview too!)

My Favorite Book Illustrated by my Favorite Illustrator : YES!

Whole Food Love Interview : really loved replying to these questions

How to Cope When Negative Thoughts Return : don't let 'em get you

Barkley Loves the Snow : she can't get enough of being outside

5 Yoga Poses to Banish Stress : use your body to calm your mind

Gold Legos? : yes, please! every grown-up needs these

True Luxury Life Interview : another great set of questions I loved

30 Thoughts to Keep You Positive : keep up the optimism!

Turning Around Resentment : this is so, so important to do

You Can Do It Planner Pad : instantly soared to the top of my wish list 

Positive Mind Journal : I'm crushing on this notebook big time

Getting Lost in the Doing : this really does work wonders


image from

Check out this week's
Positively Present playlist on YouTube

"Grateful" — Rita Ora
"When I Was Your Man" — Madilyn Bailey
"Where the Sky Hangs" — Passion Pit
"Invincible" — Kelly Clarkson
"Hello My Old Heart" — The Oh Hellos
"Nothing Without Love" — Nate Ruess
"Goodbye" — Who Is Fancy
"Wait for Life" — Emile Haynie ft. Lana Del Rey
"Not Far Away" — Oak Tree Suite
"Lost Boy" — Ruth B
"Let Her Go" — Passenger
"Time of Our Lives" — Pitbull ft. Ne-Yo


The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Rachel Joyce

(pre-order my book, coming March 10!)

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro


how to handle disappointment



Lately I've faced quite a few (professional and personal) disappointments, and during these periods of dejection I've come to realize it's really difficult to stay positive and present when you feel disappointed. A lot of emotions challenge positive, present living (sadness, anger, frustration, etc.), but disappointment is one of the most difficult to cope with, at least for me, which is why I find it essential to write about how to handle it. 

The literal definition of disappointment is "the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one's hopes or expectations," but I don't know if that simple phrasing really captures the way it feels to be let down, to be hurt by something that has changed or that has not lived up to what was expected. It hurts. It feels really rotten to think something is going to happen — and in some cases to have every reason to believe it will happen — and then to be let down. 

But it happens. Disappointment is a part of life and if we don't learn how to cope with it properly, it can cause a lot of extra resentment and hurt, both in our relationships and within ourselves. (Because, let's face it, we all let ourselves down sometimes.) Avoiding disappointment completely isn't an option, but learning how to handle it as positively as possible certainly is. 

I feel like I've become a bit of a disappointment veteran lately, and as a result, I've had to cultivate some skills to make the most of letdowns. Here are some of the tactics I've found to work best when it comes to facing disappointment in your personal or professional life. 



Disappointment rears its ugly little head when your expectations being met. It might sound like good advice to suggest lowering or letting go of expectations, but expectation is a complex concept. On one hand, it's important to have expectations — both as something to look forward to and as a way to receive respect and appreciation. But on the other hand, the wrong expectations (or those that are unrealistic) can lead to unnecessary disappointment. The trick, then, isn't to let go of expectations, but to look closely at them. Earlier this month, I wrote about loving without expectation, which is a great place to start if you need to examine your expectations. Most importantly, it's useful to look at why you're expecting what you are and whether or not those expectations are really essential to your happiness. If you find they're not, it's a good idea to try to let go of them. If you determine that your expectations are reasonable and valid, proceed on to the next tip. 



Okay, so you've determined that your expectations are completely necessary and vital to your happiness, but that doesn't exactly solve anything, does it? This tip won't necessarily solve the problem either, but it'll certainly help: acknowledge how you feel. This might sound basic, but we're all so busy with our lives that we often don't stop to really think about how we feel. How does this disappointment make you feel? (I know it sounds like a cliche therapy question, but it's a good one!) Do you feel sad? Angry? Frustrated? Do you feel powerless? Wounded? Left out? Depending on the disappointment (personal or professional, big or small), the way you feel may be different. Digging deeper to uncover how you really feel can be super helpful when it comes to coping positively with the dejection or hurt you might be experiencing. Acknowledging your feelings is the first step to healing them, but you can't acknowledge them if you don't know what they are! When you feel that pang of disappointment, take a deep breath, pause, and look closely at what you're really feeling. 



You are entitled to feel exactly how you feel as a result of being disappointed. There is no right or wrong way to experience the pain of being let down by someone or something. You're allowed to feel sad or angry or heartbroken. BUT. It's important to keep these feelings in perspective. The emotions are real, but they don't need to consume your reality. Yes, you feel hurt, but consider the situation from a big-picture point of view. Is this disappointment something that happens all the time? (For example, did your boyfriend let you down this weekend, but there was a good reason and he's always there for you, or is this just another example you can add to the long list of ways he's let you down?) If the disappointment is a repeat offender, it might be time to get rid of the person or get out of the situation. If it's a one-time deal, it might be time to forgive and move forward. Also, it's important to ask yourself the question: Will this matter a month from now? A year? Five years? If you think about it that way, you might find that, much as the disappointment hurts, the pain won't last forever, and just knowing that can really help. 



When it comes to speaking my mind about disappointment, I'm really good at doing this professionally and really bad at doing it personally. No professional disappointment will slip by undiscussed, but I have a difficult time speaking up when it comes to personal disappointment (especially in the romantic realm). This is perhaps because the personal stuff is more difficult to discuss and is more likely to ruffle feathers than work-related confrontations. But do as I say, not as I do. Talk it out. I'm not talking about having a screaming match, venting all of your anger and frustration at the one who's let you down (though that does sound very tempting...). I'm talking about having a calm, reasonable chat about how and why you felt let down so that the other person (or persons) knows how you feel. Your disappointment might be very obvious to you, but others may have no idea. And how are they supposed to avoid disappointing you in the future if they don't even know they've let you down? 



After you've assessed your emotions and discussed your disappointment, it's time to look at how you might want to adjust your thoughts and behaviors in the future. This is one of the hardest tips because it's not always easy to change the way you think or behave when it comes to certain people and situations. But if you want to have some control over avoiding future disappointment, it's important to adjust your thoughts and actions where necessary. You might need to tweak your expectations. Or, if your expectations are perfectly necessary and reasonable, you might need to tweak how you think of someone else (maybe, for example, you might not want to think of your flighty friend as your go-to lunch partner if she's always canceling lunch dates) or you might need to change your own behavior (for example, cancel your contract with a vender that never follows through). You can't control people or situations, but you can control the people you interact with and the situations you put yourself in. 



As with all not-so-great experiences, I've been really trying to learn from the disappointment I've experienced recently. It's sometimes difficult to see the silver lining when things aren't going well (like when the publication date of my book got pushed back not one but three times!), but I really do believe that there is a reason for every disappointment and setback. As Thoreau so wisely put it in the image above, "If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment." It might take some time for the disappointing situation to make sense, and that's okay. Just try to be open to the idea that something good will come out of the bad because, in my experience, it usually does (even if it takes awhile to show itself). At the very least, facing disappointment can make you a stronger person who is honing his or her skills at looking for the positive in even the most difficult of situations — and that really is one of the best lessons you'll ever learn. 



Less than a month until my new book, The Positively Present Guide to Life, debuts and I'm SO excited! The book is all about how to stay positive and present in various areas of life including: at home, at work, in love, in relationships, and during change. I've turned back to it often this year as I've gone through major changes and it's been tremendously helpful. The book is filled with inspiring images that make it even easier to stay positive and present. You can learn more about the book and find out where to buy a copy here. (You can also get a sneak peek at the book, access a free download, and watch the book trailer!)

positively present picks: february 20, 2015

Positive thoughtSource


image from

“Sensitivity is a sign of life. Better hurt than hardened.
I bow to those who keep their hearts open when it is most difficult,
those who refuse to keep their armor on any longer than they have to,
those who recognize the courage at the heart of vulnerability.”

Jeff Brown

image from

How to Make Someone's Day : and why you should!

Be Selfish and Selfless : these concepts made me think

Postcards for Ants : I'm o-b-s-e-s-s-e-d with Lorraine Loots

39 Life Lessons from 30 Rock : currently my favorite show

Pygmy Hippo Shoppe : I'm lovin' the fun stuff sold here

10 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself : give yourself some love today

Hand-Lettering Tips : a great little resource if you're into this

Beautiful Toni Morrison Quotes : in honor of her birthday this week

Random Acts of Kindness : some really great ideas here!

29 Quotes to Inspire You : 'cause we all need some inspiration

6 Compelling Reasons to Spend Time Alone : it's ok to go solo

Handwritten Desk Card : I'd love this for my workspace

Rainbow Pencils : um, yes please! love these!


image from

Check out this week's
Positively Present playlist on YouTube

"Style" — Taylor Swift
"Never Let Me Go" — Florence + the Machine
"Medicine" — Sunset Sons
"Pray to Go" — Calvin Harris ft. HAIM
"Chasing Cars" — Jasmine Thompson
"Zero in the City" — Great Lake Swimmers
"Pillar of Salt" — I Am Love
"Ungrowing" — Len Sander
"Upswing" — Prinze George
"Open Season" — Josef Salvat
"Raincoat Song" — Meiko
"You've Got Time" — The Wind and the Wave


The Lake of Dead Languages
Carol Goodman

(pre-order my book, coming soon!)

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro


6 life lessons from 6 years of blogging

Six-YearsImage Source


Positively Present turned six years old last Saturday. SIX!

It's hard to believe that just over six years ago, I was sitting on my bed, laptop on my lap, pushing the keys and deciding to create a site where I'd share my attempts at living a more positive, present life. I can vividly remember the moment when I shared with my then-boyfriend what I thought the name should be. I had no idea, way back then, what the words "Positively Present" would come to mean to me — and to my readers. Those two words have changed my life and I hope, if you've been following along for awhile, that they've somehow changed yours too. 

A lot has happened in the past six years. I've left my job to work on Positively Present full time, I've experienced my life-long dream of writing books, I've fallen in love, I've faced tough break-ups, I've suffered some serious loss (particularly my sweet little Bella), I've discovered new passions, and I've sure as hell discovered a lot about myself. When I look back on it, it's been a pretty amazing period of my life, and I've learned so much not only about myself, but about blogging, about writing, and about life in general.

Here are some of the life lessons I've uncovered over the past six years...



When I started off, I kept the blog a complete secret. It took me two full months to even put my name out there (see here), and much, much longer before I shared the link with people I knew in real life. I'm not a shy person and I've been sharing my writing for as long as I can remember (in fact, one of my fondest memories of this is when I was in the midst of writing a short story for English class and all of my friends took turns reading it, all of them dying to know how it was going to end). But for some reason, I had a really hard time sharing this site with the world, probably because a lot of the posts are pretty personal. Whatever the reason, I started off very slowly and I realize now that that's okay. Going slow generally isn't my thing (I'm more of an instant gratification kinda girl), but starting off slowly isn't a bad thing. It gave me time to form a vision, to discover what worked best for me and my blog, and to let the content and design evolve naturally. Starting off slow helped me realize that you don't have to rush to make something a success. 


2009 Blog
Positively Present in 2009!



After three years of blogging, I decided I wanted to give it a go as a full-time career. This didn't happen on a whim. I did a lot of planning and a lot of adding to my savings account before I took the plunge. In 2012 I left my full-time job and, man, was it a scary move to make. I had some really great coworkers and a pretty decent income and even though I wasn't in love with what I was doing, I certainly was comfortable. All of that changed in March 2012 when I said goodbye to the comfy corporate work and leapt into the unknown world of working for myself by myself. Taking this plunge was actually pretty exciting. The scary part came after I'd done it and found myself alone in my apartment all day, trying to get a handle on what exactly I was doing and how I was going to tangibly turn my ideas into a business. It was scary just starting out and it was scary doing it all on my own. But I'm not going to lie: it's pretty awesome to be in control of what I do all day, to decide when and how I'm going to work. My situation wouldn't be ideal for everyone, but the lesson I've learned is this: whatever you want for your career (or your life!), go all in. It'll be terrifying, but it'll be worth it. 



For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a writer. As a kid, I would daydream about what it would be like to see a book I'd written propped up on a shelf at my favorite bookstore. Admittedly, when I left my job to focus on Positively Present, I didn't have a very specific plan of how I was going to make the whole publishing-a-book dream happen, but I knew that's what I wanted more than anything. I knew if I worked hard enough and put myself out there, it would somehow happen. And now it is. It's all happening! (For days I've had this scene from Almost Famous in my head...) Just last week I received an advanced copy of my book The Positively Present Guide to Life, which will be in stores and available to ship online March 10. It was literally a dream-come-true moment. I felt like a princess in a fairytale, but instead of twirling around a ballroom dancing with a prince, I was awkwardly jumping up and down in my apartment with a book in my hand. A book with my name on it! My picture on the back flap! It was such a surreal moment and it made me realize just how important it is to have goals and dreams. Working toward something (and seeing it come to life) is really one of the best feelings in the world. 


Positively Present Guide to Life
The day my book arrived!



Writing a book was always my goal, but I wasn't the best at going after it in the traditional sense. I wanted the instant gratification of publication, which is why I chose to self-publish my first book, Stay Positive: Daily Reminders from Positively PresentIt was a successful venture, going the self-published route and I was content to keep heading down that path. As I was working on my second book, I received an email from Watkins Publishing, wondering if I might be interested in writing a book. It turns out they were looking for something Alice in Wonderland-themed and had discovered my site via this Alice in Wonderland article in an online search. It was an article I'd written years ago about a topic I was extremely passionate about: one of my favorite books. For most of my life, Alice has been my favorite, but I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined my love of Alice landing me a book deal. While I didn't end up writing about Alice, the connection made with the publisher led to the book that's debuting in a few short weeks. (YAY!!!) I've learned that what you love (in this case, Alice) and what you do (in this case, writing a blog post about it) can lead you to very unexpected and exciting places. What you do matters. What you love matters. 



The same year that I left my job (2012), I took my first online class at Nicole's Classes to see if I could pick up some tips on graphic design. I'd always been fascinated by graphic design (I can remember as a kid playing around on my laptop designing book covers for my yet-to-be-written books and spending hours just testing out different font pairings!), but I'd never considered it something I could do. After all, I didn't have any professional experience and I hadn't studied it in school. I decided to give it a try anyway and found out that I love it. Since that first online class, I've spent countless hours taking classes, experimenting with the design programs, reading books, and doing what I can to educate myself on design. And all of that hard work has paid off, turning itself into a new part of my career! Just last year, I launched Twenty3, my design studio and have put together a pretty decent little portfolio. Writing will always be my first love, but I really enjoy designing, and I never would have uncovered this new passion if I hadn't given something new a try!


Dani DiPirro
Working as a designer now!



Even though I work for myself and I spent most of my time by myself, there is no way I would be sitting here writing this post today if it weren't for the help, support, and encouragement of other people. My friends and family have supported me 100% throughout the past six years (when I eventually opened up enough to tell them about it!) and there's no way I would be where I am if it weren't for them. I've also needed other people to help me learn new things, to create connections, and to form new online friendships. I've also been lucky enough to have people take a chance on me as a new designer, which has helped me learn and grow not only personally, but professionally as well. I consider myself an independent introvert, but even the most independent ladies need the help and support of others. Sometimes it's hard for me to ask for help or to reach out to create connections, but I've learned over the past six years that, even though I work alone, I am by no means completely on my own. No man is an island, as the saying goes, and no one who is successful in business (or life!) is doing it all on his or her own. 



For those of you who have been reading for years, thank you! You don't know how much it means to me to know you're out there, reading and supporting and encouraging me to keep writing. And for those of you who are new visitors or who just stumbled on the site today, welcome! I hope you'll enjoy what you find and that my words will show you just how powerful staying positive and present can be. It's changed my life and it can change yours too!




One of the best ways to discover insights about life is to discover insights about yourself! Now is a great time to discover more about yourself and what you want most by downloading a copy of the e-book 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: february 13, 2015



image from

"I have no notion of loving people by halves. It is not in my nature.
My attachments are always excessively strong."

Jane Austen


image from

ELLE Magazine Coach of the Month : OMG! so excited to be featured!

Downloadable Valentines : for those last-minute love interests ;)

How to Beat the Winter Blues : great tips from Free People

In Love with Love : get in the Valentine's Day spirit on Pinterest

Fox Farm : I want to travel to Japan so badly just to see this!

When the "Right" Person Isn't Right for You : really great subject

67 Short Pieces of Advice You Didn't Ask For : love all of these

LOVE by Tiny Buddha App : this app is fantastic + inspiring

5 Indoor Activities to Do with Your Dog : perfect for cabin fevered pups

76 Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness : I'm gonna try some of these

Dani Ring : anyone want to buy me this? I'll love you forever ;)

Do You Still Love What You Once Loved? : a poignant question

2 Important Anagrams to Strengthen Your Relationships


image from

Check out this week's
Positively Present playlist on YouTube

"Thinking Out Loud" — Ed Sheerhan
"I'm On Fire" — Awolnation
"This Year's Love" — Ledda
"Heart Is a Drum" — Beck
"Electric Love" — BORNS
"Stay With Me" — Sam Smith
"Always Love" — Nada Surf
"Love Love Love" — Tristan Prettyman
"Exactly" — Amy Steinberg
"This Modern Love" — Bloc Party
"Elevator Love Letter" — Stars
"What Kind of Man" — Florence + the Machine


Cutting for Stone
Abraham Verghese

Love 2.0: Creating Happiness and Health
in Moments of Connection

Barbara L. Fredrickson Ph.D.

(pre-order my book, coming soon!)

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro