Happiness Hobbies

I’ve decided that baking is my number two happiness hobby, second only to being on a stage. I think sewing, puzzles, and reading would follow, in that order. A happiness hobby, defined by me, is simply a hobby that brings you joy regardless of how productive or useful or helpful to others it may be. Maybe it produces something to share with others, like cupcakes, but maybe it doesn’t. In your happiness hobbies, you are allowed to be a tinge selfish, as long as you are generous in other areas of your life.

So be totally honest…What are your top five happiness hobbies?

Weekend with Carli {MM Bonus Post}

This post is really just for myself, and for the handful of you who may care.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I just spent a great weekend doing all things girly with Carli, who is currently residing just outside of Chicago.  I just had to share with you a few of my biggest takeaways from our time together.

{Taken on Carli’s iPhone: Our amazing waiter at the Brazillian Steak House practiced his martini-caligraphy (martinigraphy?) on this heavenly chocolate martini}

1. Brazillian Steak Houses are the coolest, meatiest restaurants I have ever experienced, and Dad, we must find one because you would be in heaven.

2. A whisk covered in red velvet cake batter does, in fact, stain carpeting.  And clothes.

3. I can only dream of being as fabulous a hostess and showing the level of hospitality Carli and Spence showed me.

4. Let’s talk about heaven.  Then let’s talk about a giant, homemade, pink marshmallow, thoroughly covered in pink sprinkles.  And THEN let’s talk about how they are the same thing.

5. After our first attempt at a heart-centered cake, which turned out just a tad rough around the edges, I think it’s pretty obvious we should try again soon.  Who wants cake?

6. Dora The Explorer personalized birthday video = win.

7. A paper bunny explosion is a great project while watching 9 to 5, The September Issue, and Singing In The Rain.

8. I need more Le Creuset in my life.  Apparently, I also need more TJ Maxx in my life. 

9. And I definitely need more Carli in my life.

10. Forty-eight hours away from computers, phones, school work, work work, chores, calorie-counting, and exercising can, in fact, feel like the longest, best vacation of your life.

Carli and Spence, I love you both!!  (and you too, Kashi!)

Weekend Relaxation

Well folks, it’s the weekend and the weather seems to have taken a turn for the best!  Hooray!!!  I don’t generally post on weekends but I stumbled on this amazing article from New York Magazine this week that I just had to share.  It’s called “50 Steps to Simple Happiness.”  It is completely worth a full and thorough read through.  Granted, some of these items are New York Specific, but I consider myself a pretty joyful person, and this list boosts me even further. 

A few of my favorites:

4. “Leave your mouth in that slightly upturned position it takes after saying ‘Cheez Whiz.’ It’s a relaxed, confident look that will convince other people you know what you’re doing.” —Debra Benton, Executive Coach

18. “Don’t be afraid to change up your style. Your hair is your best accessory. Besides, what are you afraid of? It will always grow back. And invest in a Mason Pearson brush, with a mixture of boar bristle and nylon tufts. It’s worth every penny.” —Sally Hershberger, Hairstylist

31.“Collect visual memories of moments when you were incredibly happy, and close your eyes and picture them when you need a boost. The mind needs images to access feelings.” —Edwige Gilbert, Wellness And Stress-Management Coach

34. “Diversify your cognitive portfolio: Museum Mondays, Tennis Tuesdays, Writing Wednesdays, Tango Thursdays, Learn-to-Frittata Fridays, Socializing Saturdays, Socrates Sundays. We need to rotate activities weekly to fire up different brain regions.” —Dr. Gayatri Devi, Neurology and Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine

 

Top Blogging Books Roundup

UPDATE: My mom is the best, and the other day “10 Things You Need To Eat” and “The Happiness Project” appeared in my mailbox!!!  I will write reviews as soon as I finish them :)

In the last 1 1/2 years, as I’ve entered the blogosphere as a writer and reader, I have stumbled on a handful of extremely special blogs–they have opened me up to new creativity and have enlightened me over and over.  Today I’ve gathered a list of a few books that I would love to own, and that I have discovered via my favorite blogs.  This is a wish list of mine, however the reality is there is no way, even if I bought all these books tomorrow, that I would have time to read them all.  Nevertheless, they all sound amazing to me!

Pioneer Woman:

This is a woman of photography, cooking, and the ultimate story telling.  I love her series Black Heels to Tractor Wheels and I would LOVE to own her cookbook.

Post Secret:

I read this blog every Sunday when they post their “Sunday Secrets.”  I currently own the first of these books, however I believe there are three or four of them now.  It’s a fascinating project.

The Happiness Project:

Existing on the internet as a frequently updated blog, The Happiness Project (the book) has recently hit bookstores (and amazon).  I’ve loved the blog and I’m sure I would love the book as well!

The Ten Things You Need To Eat:

I actually discovered this book via The Happiness Project, but I am completely intrigued.  What would it look like to eat a diet made primarily of these ten core ingredients?

Stuff Christians Like:

We have obsessed about this blog for a LONG time, and in April the long-awaited book will hit the shelves!  This will be a book of hilarity for all of your down to earth Christian pals.

1000 Awesome Things:

A happy, daily blog that is in the process of creating The Book of Awesome–my question: will it be the same as what’s on the blog?  If so, I would love to have it just to open up to something joyful everyday…and keep it on the coffee table for everyone else to do, too!

So that’s it!  These are the books I am currently most intrigued by.  What are yours?

“Fireflies” in Life and Lyrics

One of my fondest memories of home is of my mom and I taking summer walks at dusk, just as fireflies started showing up in the yards around us.  What child hasn’t been completely and utterly fascinated by fireflies at some point?  What adult, for that matter?  I even made the glowing firefly juice at a nerdy middle school science camp once.  I was cool like that.  We sure do love fireflies…

Lately I’ve been enjoying the ways that music and lyrics can affect our moods and feelings.  Owl City has become a huge hit recently, particularly with his song “Fireflies.”  So, to make yourself (and myself) smile today, let’s enjoy the poetic lyrics of this amazing song…

You would not believe your eyes
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep
Cause they fill the open air
And leave teardrops everywhere
You’d think me rude, but I
Would just stand and stare.

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly.
It’s hard to say that I’d
Rather stay awake when I’m asleep,
Cause everything is never as it seems.

Cause I’d get a thousand hugs
From ten thousand lightening bugs
As they tried to teach me how to dance.
A foxtrot above my head,
A sock-hop beneath my bed,
The disco ball is just hanging by a thread.

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly.
It’s hard to say that I’d
Rather stay awake when I’m asleep,
Cause everything is never as it seems.
(When I fall asleep.)

Leave my door open just a crack.
(Please take me away from here.)
Cause I feel like such an insomniac.
(Please take me away from here.)
Why do I tire of counting sheep?
(Please take me away from here.)
When I’m far too tired to fall asleep
To ten million fireflies.
I’m weird, cause I hate goodbyes
I got misty eyes as they said farewell.
But I’ll know where several are
If my dreams get real bizarre
Cause I saved a few,
And I keep them in a jar.

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly.
It’s hard to say that I’d
Rather stay awake when I’m asleep,
Cause everything is never as it seems.
(When I fall asleep.)

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly.
It’s hard to say that I’d
Rather stay awake when I’m asleep
Because my dreams are bursting at the seams.
                          –Fireflies, Owl City

Act The Way You Want To Feel

This is a fundamental statement over at The Happiness Project.  And I love it, so I may have even written about it before.  But have you ever found yourself in a situation where you are crying, so you keep feeling sad, so you keep crying?  Or, as many have put it, you eat because you’re sad and you’re sad because you eat?  I have had periods in my life where I have felt miserable, and then I decide I am done.  I choose to act happier, enjoy my time, and do something I love.  Then suddenly, I feel happier.  Suddenly I feel like myself.

I’ve realized recently that I feel the most like myself when I feel joyful.  Everyone has a baseline for their daily emotions: some people tend to be a little melancholy in their normal state, others tend to be manic, and still others are simply neutral.  Though I wouldn’t call myself manic, I would say that my “normal” state of contentment has a lot of joy in it.  So when I go through times of feeling neutral, or even blue, I know that something is up. 

So if you haven’t been feeling like your “normal” self lately, do something about it!  Think about why you really have been feeling that way, do something you love, make a conscious decision to let it go, and love your life again.  Life is worth loving!

I like to think my baseline emotion looks something like this:

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Happiness is anyone and anything at all…

If I had to choose two small things that impact my emotions the most (but do not include people or God), it would have to be singing and words.  So the ultimate impact for me comes from lyrics.  And since I recently ran around on Broadway, I’ve been in quite the belting-to-showtunes-in-the-car mood.  So many great memories and feelings can be brought up from so many songs!  So every now and then, I might share some lyrics with you, my three adoring fans, that coincide with how I am feeling. 

So here are a few from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,  which I love mostly for the memories I have, but also for their adorableness.  It can be so easy to forget how much joy can come from the simplest things.  How I wish I was still a little kid sometimes!

I’m so happy! That little red-headed girl dropped her pencil.
It has teeth marks all over it. She nibbles her pencil.
She’s human! It hasn’t been such a bad day after all.

Happiness is finding a pencil
Pizza with sausage
Telling the time

Happiness is learning to whistle
Tying your shoe for the very first time

Happiness is playing the drum in your own school band
And happiness is walking hand in hand

Happiness is two kinds of ice cream
Knowing a secret
Climbing a tree

Happiness is five different crayons
Catching a firefly…
Setting him free!

Happiness is being alone every now and then
And happiness is coming home again

Happiness is morning and evening
Daytime and night time too
For happiness is anyone and anything at all
That’s loved by you

Happiness is having a sister
Sharing a sandwich
Getting along

Happiness is singing together when the day is through
And happiness is those who sing with you

Happiness is morning and evening
Daytime and nighttime too
For happiness is anyone and anything at all
That’s loved by you

{Megster Meter} Likes

I’m so glad that Kate challenged me and a few others to name our five favorite things right now. But man, this was tough! I love so many things that I see every day. So here are a few of my favorites today.

And how about I pass the challenge on? Katy, Christine, and Ashley, what are your five favorite things right now? How about you, Kaleigh?  And anyone else–what do you just LOVE?

1. Eclectic Shaped Wooden Pinboard from Pottery Barn, (on sale right now for $59.99).

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2. Dresses from Anthropologie (if only they were less expensive). My two picks: Storm-of-Shapes and Bold Boutonniere.

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3. Necklaces from RachelleD on Etsy ($27+). I love every single one, but this might be my favorite: Autumn Foliage Bliss

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4. Inspiration Boards at Style Me Pretty. Particularly, this one:

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5. Gorgeous cake pedestals from Rosanna.

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Um, let me shout out a big old “YES PLEASE!!!!” to all of the items above.  How happy looking at them all make me feel!

Bonus number 6: I just have to include these great hair accessories from Banana!  Yum!

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