the positively present guide to life!

Book Published

Tomorrow is a very exciting day for me. It's the official debut of The Positively Present Guide to Life, a book I've been hard at work on for over two years!

Back in 2012, I left my full-time job in Marketing to pursue writing and blogging. Since then I've self-published a book, Stay Positive: Daily Reminders from Positively Present, as well as written a variety of e-books, but this in my first in-the-bookstore, traditionally published book and I couldn't be more excited about its launch! 

If you're already as excited as I am about it and want to order your copy ASAP, you can grab a copy on Amazon or check in with your local bookseller to see if it'll be in stock tomorrow. If you're not sure if this is the book for you, here's what you need to know about the book... (and scroll down to the bottom of the post to check out the bonus freebie!)



Ok, so, there are tons of self-help books on the market, but this one is different. First and foremost, it blends serious content with inspiring illustrations, something you don't see too often in the self-help space. And, more importantly, it's not a book about achieving happiness (though happiness is a lovely by-product of living a positively present life) and it's not about perfecting your life. Instead, it's about learning to live positively in present — no matter what the present moment holds. This is the book you need to face whatever challenges you currently have in your life, to create the relationships you want to have, and to learn how to make the most of every moment. 

Featuring five inspiring and insightful chapters on home, work, love, relationships, and change, the book provides practical advice for creating a nurturing home, building a fulfilling career, developing great relationships, appreciating true love, and embracing change. It also includes 30 easy-to-do exercises to inspire action, create transformation, encourage positivity, embrace the moment, and achieve fulfillment. And it has additional features such as inspiring illustrations and access to additional online content like free worksheets to use in conjunction with the book (see here).

This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to stay present, live positively, and make the most of every moment.   




Obviously, as the author and illustrator of the book, I think the book's awesome, but you'll have to be the judge of that yourself. Here are some exciting things to know about the book. These are the things that really make it unique and inspiring, and I hope these features will help you feel motivated to live a more positive, more present life. 

  • FREE WORKSHEETS: If you visit, you can download free PDFs of worksheets that accompany the content in the book. The worksheets aren't necessary, but they are a great bonus if you're the type of person who likes to have everything organized (and color-coordinated with the book) and wants to really engage in the activities from the book. 

  • INSPIRING ILLUSTRATIONS: This is one of my absolute favorite parts of the book, and I think it's one of the things that makes it so unique. To accompany the content, I created illustrations throughout the book to offer additional inspiration and motivation. These illustrations, paired with quotes, have been created to keep you inspired as you read. 

  • EASY-TO-DO EXERCISES: One of the most important things to me when I created this book was to make it a practical guide for living positively in the present. For that reason, each section of the book has a practical activity that will urge you to apply the topic in your real life. As I wrote about recently, self-awareness isn't enough. Action is where real change happens. 

  • POSITIVITY REMINDERS: In the book, you'll learn about the six essential Positively Present Principles. These are the vital foundation for living a positive, present life. To help you keep these in mind, I've featured reminders throughout the book that highlight how a particular principle is relevant to that particular topic. 

  • STEP-BY-STEP ADVICE: Of course, the most important thing about the book is the content. In each of the five sections, you'll find six chapters with insights, inspiration, and step-by-step advice for tackling life's many challenges. The advice I offer comes from my own personal experience. It's worked for me — and I know it'll benefit you too!


I've worked so hard on this book and I really think you'll love it! Tomorrow (March 10, 2015)  the book will be available in select bookstores. You can purchase a copy online at AmazonBarnes & NobleAmazon UK, or IndieBound. If you purchase the book and would like to leave a review on Amazon or GoodReads, I would be forever thankful! And if you'd like to help spread the word about the book via social media or to friends and family, that would be ah-maz-ing. 



Want a PERSONALIZED, SIGNED bookplate (aka, pretty sticker signed by me to put in your book)? Email me (dani [at] with the name you'd like on the bookplate (yours or a friend's) along with your mailing address and I'll send signed bookplate your way! Bookplates are perfect for gift-giving (and they also make the copy you get for yourself feel like an extra special gift!). Note: There are limited quantities available so be sure to send your request soon! 

self-awareness isn't change (+ a book giveaway!)

Self Awareness


[Hey there! Want to win a personalized, signed, advanced copy of my book The Positively Present Guide to Life? Scroll to the end of this post to enter to win!]


While scrolling BuzzFeed the other day, I came across this article: The Self-Awareness at This Year's Oscars Is Not a Substitute for Change. The author, Alison Willmore, made some great points about the Oscars, and she also got me thinking about self-awareness in general. In particular, she got me thinking about how self-awareness, useful as it is, isn't enough. For self-awareness to become self-improvement, it must be paired with change.

If you're reading this site, you probably have some level of self-awareness, an understanding of your character, feelings, strengths and weaknesses. This awareness is awesome; being aware of yourself can provide you with a greater understanding of how you interact with the world and with others, which is an essential first step to improving the self.

However, many of us (including me!) achieve self-awareness in some aspects of our lives and think that is enough. Self-awareness can be a difficult process so it sometimes seems as if the work is done once we identify aspects of ourselves. But awareness shouldn't always be the end goal. While there are are many aspects of ourselves that we can simply be aware of, there are also many aspects of ourselves that need to take that awareness to the next level and prompt change. In those situations, awareness shouldn't be the final achievement, but should instead be one step on the road to change. 



This all sounds a bit abstract so let me use a personal example. I consider myself an introvert who would like to be more social. Most of the activities I love doing (reading, writing, drawing) are solitary, but I realize that, much as I claim to be antisocial, I actually receive a lot of positive benefits from interacting with others. Over the years, I've come to really identify with the notion of being an introvert who should probably socialize more. At one point, I was proud of myself for coming to the realization that I should push myself to be more social. The "I should be more social" mantra became part of my identity and I embraced it. I would make self-aware jokes about spending more time with dogs than people; I'd laugh about how I should get out more while resigning myself to the fact that I would probably end up staying in.

I was aware — and accepting — of the fact that I was an introvert-who-should-get-out-more. This acceptance felt like a badge of honor. I was recognizing that I needed to change! I was aware of my socializing preferences but was willing to concede that I should push myself out of my comfort zone! I was proud of my ability to be so self-aware, to accept myself for what I was. This acceptance was all well and good — aside from the fact that I identified with it so much that I backed myself into a solitary (and sometimes lonely) corner. I was so pleased with the fact that I was aware (and accepting) of my I-should-get-out-more mentality that I never stopped to ponder whether or not I should actually do something with this knowledge of myself.  

Being aware of some aspect of ourselves is important, but taking action (and making a change if necessary) is much more important. Awareness is a great first step, but action is where it's at. In my case, I believed awareness of my antisocial tendencies was such a breakthrough in my thinking that I allowed myself to just accept that notion of who I was without taking action. But more recently I discovered that being aware of something that needs changing isn't enough; that awareness needs to spark action. 



Changing is rarely easy, but it's essential for self-improvement. For example, I'll probably always lean towards introversion (and I'm okay with that), but simply laughing this off and identifying myself as an introvert who should probably get out more isn't self-improvement. I often joke about how I'm introverted and like to stay at home, knowing full well that this isn't 100% true. Yes, I do enjoy my alone time, but I don't always want to be alone. Being able to joke about it means I'm aware of it, but it's not changing the fact that I want to be more social.

Instead of questioning the statement I made frequently — "I should get out more" — I accepted it as part of myself and, as a result, it became part of who I was, a running joke with friends that I'd be unlikely to attend an event because I liked being at home, an absence of invites because everyone who knows me well knows I won't [drive that far/go out in the snow/leave my dog for long periods of time].  

My self-awareness allowed me to accept the notion that I wanted to be more social, but instead of doing anything about it, I just laughed it off, choosing to stay in over accepting invitations to get out, identifying with the notion of introvert-with-extrovert-dreams. I thought that if I was laughing about it — if I was aware enough about this aspect of myself to make fun of it — I was in some way enlightened. But that kind of enlightenment will never lead to self-improvement. 

If I wanted to be truly self-aware, I'd have to recognize that my desired level of social interaction doesn't fit in one of two boxes (introvert vs. extrovert). I'd have to come to accept that, while I might enjoy alone time a bit more than others do, I'm not content with being alone all of the time. And, most importantly, I'd have to use this deeper awareness to initiate change, to push myself out of my comfort zone and actually get out more, instead of simply saying I should. 

And so I did. I reached out to more people and initiated social activities. I accepted more invitations (even when it was cold and I would have much rather have snuggled down in my apartment with my dog). I pushed myself to drive farther, stay out later, say yes more often. I took my self-awareness and I used it to initiate change. I embraced change (albeit in small bits), and I turned my awareness into action. 



Choosing to step past awareness and take action wasn't a simple feat for me. It meant removing the labels I've placed on myself. It meant putting myself in situations that made me a little bit uncomfortable, but that pushed me to actually have a better understanding of myself. Making changes isn't easy, but the longer we talk about them without taking action, the more difficult the change will be.

We all have aspects of ourselves we'd like to change. Some of them we're very aware of and others we've yet to identify. The trouble is, sometimes we are so aware of — and identify so closely with — some aspect of ourselves (for better or worse!) that we don't actually think to make a change. Sometimes it's because we don't think of change as an option; sometimes it's because we keep putting it off (as I did — thinking I'd somehow magically be more social one day without trying); and sometimes it's because, deep down, we don't want to change because we're afraid of who we might be without that aspect of ourselves. 

It's important to step past self-awareness and into a place of change. Of course, some aspects of the self won't need to be changed, but for those that aren't quite right (you'll know them by the fact that they don't feel authentically, truly you), acknowledging them isn't enough. If you want to create a positive, present environment for yourself, you have to take what you know about who you are and make changes where necessary. You have to take your self-awareness and use it as a stepping stone for self-improvement. Changing the way you think about yourself is important, but changing the way you act is essential. 

A great way to be proactive about your self-awareness is to feel inspired and motivated to take action. In my new book (out next week!!!!), I share insights and inspiration for creating a positive, present life. Want a copy? See below for details on the book and how to enter to win!  




I'm offering one lucky guy or gal a chance to win an advanced signed copy of my book (available for pre-order now and in stores and online March 10!), The Positively Present Guide to Life. The book is an inspirational, two-color hardcover beauty, filled with specific, action-oriented advice for embracing positive thinking in everyday life to: create a nurturing home, build a fulfilling career, develop great relationships, appreciate true love, and embrace change. To enter to win a personalized, signed copy of the book, see below! 





1. Enter by doing one (or all!) of the following. Each counts as an entry.

  • On Twitter, tweet: Enter the @positivepresent giveaway to win a free copy of The Positively Present Guide to Life
  • On Facebook, share: Enter the Positively Present giveaway to win a free copy of The Positively Present Guide to Life 
  • On Instagram / Pinterest, share a photo from this post, with this info: Enter the Positively Present giveaway to win a free copy of The Positively Present Guide to Life 
  • Follow PositivePresent on Twitter, PositivelyPresent on Instagram, PositivelyPresent on Pinterest, or friend Dani on Facebook
  • Tell a friend or loved one about the book (honor system here!)


2. Leave a comment below, including:

  • Where / how you entered (every follow / like / tweet / mention / etc. counts as an entry!)
  • Your email address (in the email box, not the comment box)



* Every follow / share / tweet / like, etc. counts as one entry
* Enter as many times as you'd like to increase your chances! 
* Winner will be chosen and notified via email on 3/8/15

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.

the yes quest : happily in pursuit of a new me

Say-YesCalligraphy Source


When I received a copy of The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm not much of "questing" type. I'm more of a sit-on-the-couch-and-read kinda girl. But, having read Chris's site for years, I knew his latest book would contain insights and inspiration I couldn't miss out on. The book — filled with Chris's own inspiring story of traveling to 193 countries (!!!) as well as others' unique and motivating quests — did not disappoint. In fact, it empowered me to create a quest of my own. 

Before I get into my personal quest, let me first explain a little bit about what a "quest" is. The word itself seems a bit daunting, but Chris's book breaks it down in a wonderful way that makes it seem both possible and a way to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone. The book does an excellent job of making the various aspects of — and potential methods to achieve — a quest very clear, but in a nutshell, Chris describes a quest as "a journey toward something specific, with a number of challenges throughout. Most quests also require a series of logistical steps and some kind of personal growth."  

This might seem like a lot of things for one journey to include, but that's what makes it kind of amazing. It's not just picking up a new habit or trying out a new thing for a little while. It's embarking on an experience that has the potential to shake up your soul and create a sense of meaning in your life. It's a adventure, but one with enough of a challenge that you'll grow and change along the way.  

The book is filled with information and insights about others' quests (so inspiring!), but it gets into the details such as: how to find a quest; how to handle the positives and negatives of a quest; what's the recipe for beginning a quest; what questions to ask to find your ideal quest; how to make the most of a quest; how to stay inspired to keep questing; how to cope with failure; how to afford a quest; and even how to handle life after quest. 

One of most valuable things I learned while reading this book is that adventure is for everyone. What "adventure" is differs from person to person, but everyone can find a quest, a pursuit to evoke growth and adventure. As Chris writes, "many of us undertake an adventure to rediscover our sense of self," that those words made me wonder, what parts of myself am I missing out on by not undertaking adventures

It was then that I was inspired to create my own quest...




"Discontent is a match and inspiration is the kindling," writes Chris in the book so to find my own unique quest I started by thinking about what I wasn't content with in my life — and what would inspire me to create a quest I'd actually keep up with. The book was such a good resource for helping me figure out what kind of quest I wanted to embark on because, not only did it provide actual guidance on how to find and maintain a quest, but it was also filled with so many inspiring stories that it would have been almost impossible for me not to feel empowered and motivated to choose a quest of my own. 

In one particularly inspiring story, Chris quotes world traveller Phoebe Snetsinger, who wrote in her memoir, "It has become ever more clear to me that if I had spent my life avoiding any and all potential risks, I would have missed doing most of the things that have comprised the best years of my life." That's just one of the many though-provoking quotes that got me thinking about what kind of quest I wanted to have. 

The more I read the book and the more I stepped back and looked at my own life, the more it became clear what my quest needed to be. I needed to have a quest of yes. The quest of yes is this: for the next six months (maybe a year, if I start feeling particularly brave!), I will say yes to others and to myself. 

Saying yes might not sound like a big quest (especially compared to some of the awe-inspiring tales in the book!), but for me, it's huge. I've never been one of those people-pleasing yes kind of girls. I'm much more of a I'll-do-it-if-it's-convenient-and-interesting types. This isn't always a bad thing, but it doesn't make for a lot of excitement and adventure. Starting now, I'm going to start saying yes and see where it takes me. (No taking advantage of that, friends and family!) So long as replying "yes" doesn't interfere negatively with my mental health, my bank account, or my core beliefs, I'm going to stop defaulting to no and start choosing yes. 

I've already started and, I'll be honest, it feels pretty great (even though it's certainly a challenge!). I've accepted invitations I most certainly would have turned down in the past. For example, when a friend invited me to a concert, I immediately said "yes!" instead of thinking, But it's on a Sunday night... and it looks like rain... and I don't know that many songs by the artist... When a friend said, "Do you have time to chat?," instead of my default thinking — ugh, I really don't like talking on the phone... — I said, "Sure! Give me a call!" 

And I'm evening saying yes to myself when I normally wouldn't. For example, a couple weeks ago, I was sitting on the couch when I remembered that I had an errand to run down in the city. It was the middle of the day on a Saturday which I consider to be the worst time to run errands because that's when everyone is out and about and it's so crowded, but when the thought crossed my mind, Should I venture down to the city?, instead of immediately convincing myself to stay put on the couch, I jumped up, got dressed, and embarked on a mini, midday adventure. 

This quest of mine might not seem like an amazing adventure — it's nowhere near as cool as Chris's worldwide travels — but the great thing about choosing a personal quest is that it's an adventure for me. It's a big (and pretty wonderful) step outside of my comfort zone. It scares me a little (what if someone asks me to do something I really don't feel like doing? ugh!). But it's helping me to become a better, more positively present, version of me. 

The kind of amazing thing about it is that I never would have even considered doing something like this without the inspiration found in the book. That's one of the best things about reading, isn't it? You just never know when the words are going to change the way you see your world. This book has certainly helped me launch my own quest and, if you're considering a quest of your own (or even if you're not sure!), I'd highly recommend checking it out. Want to learn more about Chris and about the book? Follow Chris on TwitterFacebook & Instagram! And keep scrolling down to see how you can win a copy!



Pursuit book

After reading this post, you're probably thinking you'd like to check out the book, right? Well, guess what? You have a chance to win your very own copy here! Whether you're currently on a quest, contemplating beginning one, or just curious about what others' quests have been, this book is a must-read. Enter to win your own copy below!


1. Enter by doing one (or all!) of the following. Each counts as an entry.   

    * Friend PositivelyPresent on Facebook
    * Follow PositivePresent on Twitter
    * Follow PositivelyPresent on Instagram
    * Follow PositivelyPresent on Pinterest
    * Link to this post on any social media outlet

2. Leave a comment below, including:

    * Where / how you entered (every follow / like / tweet / etc. counts!)
    * (Optional) What quest you're on or plan to go on
    * Your email address so I can contact you when you win  


* Every follow / share / tweet / like, etc. counts as one entry
* Enter as many times as you'd like to increase your chances! 
* Winner will be chosen + notified via email on September 22, 2014  

bring on the books! : 6 ways to read more

Read MoreSource


After going to the Book Expo of America to promote The Positively Present Guide to Life, I've been thinking a lot about how much I love books — and how many other people out there love them just as much as I do. Though reading has always been a passion of mine, and even though I read quite a few books each year, I still never feel like I read as much as I'd like to. Lately I've been thinking about how I can incorporate more reading into my life because every time I'm reading I'm much more positive and present. If you're like me and want to read more than you currently do, here are some of the best ways to incorporate more reading into your life. Bring on the books! 



Reading, like any activity you do in your spare time, is a choice. If you want to read more, you have to choose reading over doing other things (like TV!). Even if you love to read, choosing to read isn't always an easy choice to make. There are lots of other ways to spend your free time and some of those can be very tempting. If you want to read more, you have to actively choose to do it, which might mean even blocking off time on your calendar. 



The number of amazing, inspiring, wonderful books out there is astounding, and it can be overwhelming when it comes to choosing what to read. But if you don't read what you love, it's going to be difficult to keep yourself interested in the act of reading. Don't read something just because someone told you it was great (unless it appeals to you) and if you're not loving a book after 50 pages or so, put it down and start a new one.  



Sticking with anything (even something you love!) becomes much easier if you have other people to hold you accountable, which is one of the reasons so many people enjoy book clubs. Start or join one in your town, find one online, or start a two-person book club (I have one with my cousin and it's great!). When you're sharing the experience of reading, it makes it more interesting because you can discuss it and gain fresh perspectives on the book.



A friend of mine once made fun of me when I said, "You should always have a book in your purse 'cause you never know when you'll have time to read!" It does sound a bit silly, but it's true. There are so many little snippets of time that are wasted — standing in lines, waiting for appointments — but if you keep a book in your bag (or an ebook on your phone), you can take advantage of wasted time by reading. It gives you extra time to read and makes waiting less irritating. 



One of the greatest ways to keep up with reading is to make sure you always have your next book on hand. As soon as you finish one book, pick up another. If you want to read a lot, keeping up momentum is key and nothing does that better than having a stack of unread books waiting for you. And if you don't want to dish out the dough for lots of new books, organize a book swap or visit your local library to keep your to-read pile updated.   


If you make reading a priority, it's pretty amazing how many books you can read — and how much knowledge and inspiration you can absorb in the process. As a known book lover, people often ask me, "What's your favorite book?" If you, too, are a book lover, you know what a difficult question this can be. There is almost no way I could choose a favorite. It's even hard for me to think of a list of favorites, but I've rounded up some of my most beloved books with the hope that maybe one of these will spark your interest and get you into the reading groove. For more on what I'm reading, follow me on GoodReads!


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland | Lewis Carroll

Loving What Is | Byron Katie

The Power of Now | Eckhart Tolle

The Wind Blows Backward | Mary Downing Hahn

This Is How | Augusten Burroughs

The Magic Christmas | Francine Pascal

Owl at Home | Arnold Lobel

The War of Art | Steven Pressfield

Looking for Alaska | John Green

The Night Circus | Erin Morgenstern

The 5 Love Languages | Gary D. Chapman

Style Statement | Danielle LaPorte

Stargirl | Jerry Spinelli

Practical Magic | Alice Hoffman

The Perks of Being a Wallflower | Stephen Chbosky

The Snow Child | Eowyn Ivey

The Secret | Rhonda Byrne 

Eating, Drinking, Overthinking | Susan Nolen-Hoeksema

The Bell Jar | Sylvia Plath

Alice I Have Been | Melanie Benjamin

The Trumpet of the Swan | E.B. White

Blankets | Craig Thompson

The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald

Mandy | Julie Andrews Edwards

The Little Prince | Antoine de Saint Exupery

Girl With a Pearl Earring | Tracy Chevalier


LHEAN Cover Image copyWant to discover how to make the most of the moment? Check out Live Happily Ever After Now, a guide and workbook for living in the moment. It's a practical, thought-provoking resource for anyone looking to live a more positive, more present life (available in paperback or PDF). Get your copy while you can because on June 30, 2014 Live Happily Ever After Now is coming off the Positively Present bookshelf for good!