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! 

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.

2013 30-day gratitude photo challenge


It's November, which means it's time to focus in on gratitude! For the past two years, Positively Present has hosted a 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge (see here and here) and this year I'm bringing it back again. I've really loved taking part in a challenge that helped me feel more grateful—and it seems like other people have really enjoyed partaking in the challenge, judging from the photos on Flickr and the repins on Pinterest. 

The premise of this year's challenge is the same—snap photos of the items listed in order to stay more present and grateful every day—but, as I did last year, I've added some new items and changed the order a bit as well. If you're new to the challenge or need a refresher  here's what you need to know:


* 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 present.

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

* Start at any time. 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. The point is to focus on staying present for thirty days. 

* Use hashtag #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 on Instagram (positivelypresent).

* Share your photos. You can share by using the #gratitude30 hashtag, by posting the links to your photos (if you have them online) in the comments section, or by joining the Flickr group here and uploading them.

* 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.


You might think that, after two years of gratitude challenges, I'd be tired of coming up with creative ideas for staying present using photography, but each year I've done this, I've found it to be such a great way to stay present. Knowing that I have to take a photo a day, I find myself being more mindful of the world around me, and I also find myself being particularly mindful of that day's specific item. If you've done the challenge before, you probably already know how helpful it is when it comes to staying present and thankful. And if you haven't tried it out yet, give it a go and see how it feels! (And don't forget to follow along with me starting November 1 on Instagram!)



Wondering how you can stay positive and present on a daily basis? Check out my book, Stay Positive: Daily Reminders from Positively Present, filled with daily tips, advice, and inspiration for making the most of every day. Stay Positive is available in Paperback and PDF. Learn more about the book (and watch the video!) at