Archive for August, 2011


The Little Things That Make Me Happy

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Happiness is about being grateful for the big things—for our relationships, our jobs, our health. But aside from a few big rocks in the vase of life, really, the rest of the space is filled with pebbles of little things. And if you ever need help getting through a heavy, gray day, it’s the little things that can lift you right back up. So…what are yours?

Here, for example, are the little things that make me happy today:

1. My new Jack Purcell slip-ons. I’ve always been a Chuck Taylor girl in the Converse arena, but when I saw my sister had a pair of Purcells and I saw that Purcells came in slip-ons…happy.

2. The crazy contortions of my little kitty Guinness. When I’m rushing out the door or zipping through some emails to see she’s twisted sideways waiting for a scratch, I’m reminded to slow down, give her a snuggle and be…happy.

3. My favorite pillows. They were a splurge as far as design features go (what a racket this pillow business is, huh?) but I’m glad I bought them, because every single day they make me…happy.

4. Homemade food. Like the homemade roasted butternut squash ravioli with sage butter sauce I made with my Mom and sister. Sure, it took us, uh, seven hours, but that first bite of buttery sage was worth it. Happy.

Life sends us big problems all the time. Balance out that big boulder by being grateful for the little pebbles that fill the rest of the life vase. Take an inventory right now. What little things make you happy?

—The lamp on your desk that gives just the right glow?
—Your lucky pen that feels right in your palm?
—Your killer shoes that make you feel fabulous even in the Post Office?
—Your dog’s yawn?
—Your friend’s laugh?
—The feeling of a stapler punching, “That’s it, job done”?

As my Mom and Dad always say, “Thank you, Lord, for the little things.” They not only get us by, they make life fun to live along the way.

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Big love,

Accept the Surprise!

Friday, August 19th, 2011

I left my house yesterday for my acupuncture appointment without my iPhone. At the office, they said the time had been mis-scheduled and I’d have to wait 30 more minutes.

Oh no!” my insides screamed. “30 minutes in a waiting room with no iPhone?!”

And then, I thought about it. What would I, as The Life Optimist, tell myself in this situation? I’d tell myself this:

Me, thoroughly surprised at my surprise birthday party this year. Maybe we can start to see the surprises of life the same way... (Image: Ken Spencer)

Accept the surprise, in this case, of free time. We love the idea of a surprise party for our birthday (well, some of us do), so why not learn to enjoy the surprise parties of life?

So I did.

Instead of anxiously bouncing my crossed leg on my knee until my name was called, I watched the video of a man doing Chi Dong exercises on a river in China, and imagined myself there, strolling the river. I listened to the Chinese music playing lightly and the waterfall feature in the office sprinkling water like a tiny stream. And then, I picked up a copy of Natural Health sat back in the cushy chair to read. By the time my name was called, I was calm and centered and happy to be rid of the instinct to check my email before I went in. It worked for me and it can work for you: Accept the surprise.

If you’re on a date and he or she walks in and you feel zero attraction, accept the surprise, in this case, of being put in a position to search for something about them you do like. Find out what makes their life special, what their passions are and what they’ve learned in life. You just might learn something yourself.

When life throws you a curve ball and you get stuck in a place or position or job you don’t want to be doing, accept the surprise and find out what you can gain from it. If you focus on the frustration, that’s all you’ll feel. So accept the surprise and enjoy the party life is secretly throwing you.

Have you ever made the best of a bummer surprise? In love, at work, in life? How did you do it?

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Big love,

Never, Never Give Up

Friday, August 12th, 2011

I have been driving past this beautiful piece of street art in Los Angeles for a few weeks now, and I can’t get over how much I love it. So I finally snapped a shot of it and wanted to share it with you.

If you’re feeling down about love, depressed about your living situation, defeated about your career, insecure about your passion, poor in your finances, losing hope, or worried in some way that what you want most in your life is not going to happen, you have one person who will always be there for you: you. Don’t let yourself down and don’t give up on yourself. Never, never give up.

Big love,

Listen to the Older, Wiser You

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Man I’ve had a crazy month. Traveling through Costa Rica, finishing my second book, spending a week with my parents visiting from the East Coast, writing some new magazine stories, dealing with some personal stuff…I’m sorry I haven’t had time to squeeze in posting on here! But I found something online I loved so much, I couldn’t help but get back in the blogging game to post it for you here.

Take a look at the letter one person wrote to their younger self:

I stumbled across it on, oh yeah, StumbleUpon. (Um, hello, did you know they have an App now? It’s awesome.) This quote is from the site Dear Young Me that’s also on Twitter (@DearYoungMe). The gist? People submit notes they want to write to their younger selves, full of the advice they wish they’d known then.

I love this particular letter because it’s something I wish I told myself, too! When I graduated from college, some of my friends were already planning their weddings. Four years later, another batch of gals got married. And with every wedding, the “singles table” got smaller—but I was always sitting there, without fail, wondering when my time would come. I kept worrying: Why aren’t I getting married like everyone else? What’s taking my love so long to come?

Well, now that I’ve found my half-orange, I know the answers. I know why I wasn’t getting married back then: Nothing was as good then as it is with Gus! And I know what took my love so long: He and I both had to grow into the people we are today, who could appreciate and love one another for who we were, fully formed, confident and happy.

Don’t worry about everyone else’s timeline! Suck it up, shell out money for their wedding presents, and sit back with confidence. Know that your love will come when it’s good and ready, so you may as well enjoy the singles table at their weddings. Make the most of it! Live up these weeks and years, because you won’t be single forever. And when you’re finally hitched, you’ll want to write a letter to your younger self begging that you appreciate what you have right now.

Browse through Dear Young Me for more inspiration. My advice:

1. Write your own letter to your dearest younger you so you can see how far you’ve come in life and love. I mean, really, look what you’ve learned! Look at the people you know well enough not to date anymore. Look at the lessons you’ve learned about yourself, about what you like, appreciate, can tolerate. And…

2. Really listen to those who have lessons to pass on from an older, wiser place. Sometimes it’s best to learn our own lessons in life. But sometimes, hearing what someone who’s been through it has to say can really help.

Think of what you’d tell your younger self. Then, listen to the older, wiser you. And take your own advice!

You might also like:
Letters to Your Future Husband


Big love,