Monday, October 22, 2012


I haven't posted lately for a few reasons. 

Reason 1:
My computer's hard drive decided to quit on me and is in the process of becoming functional again.

Reason 2:
Last week was homecoming week! 

This may not sound like a valid reason, but at my school it most certainly is. Our homecoming has evolved from a football game and dance to a full on class competition with dress-up days, fundraisers, hall decorating, and lunch events like dodge ball and a scavenger hunt.

Every year, I live for homecoming week. It is the only week of the year when my whole class comes together, and uses everyone's strengths. The athletes compete in dodge ball, the artists help decorate halls. Everyone who helps is appreciated. Staff members have said that my class is the best to ever go through my high school, and I believe it! How we act during homecoming shows it.

Every moment I had that wasn't spent on class, rehearsal, or homework, I helped with hall decorating. This year's homecoming theme was board games, and the senior class had Candy Land. From the pictures below, you can see that we were able to transform a regular hallway into an awesome world of candy! That takes a lot of time, effort, and teamwork. I love hall decorating because it allows me to use my creative strengths in an amazing way.

This year, homecoming was bittersweet. I loved everything, but it also made me think about how this was my last high school homecoming. Though this made me sad, it also made me appreciate this year even more. I'll always be glad I had this opportunity to be so involved with a great group of people. This year, I even got to stage manage the big assembly, which was always my favorite part of the week. The finality made me realize that I really needed to savor every moment, and I did!

Even when things are ending, a bittersweet moment can be used to further appreciation and happiness. I know I'll be ready for high school to end come June, but I also know that I will have gotten the most out of my time there as I could have, by savoring every moment.

Enjoy today,


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My future home!

The other day while I was on my run, I happened upon this trailer sitting in a lot in my neighborhood. This instantly made me think- tiny house! But how do a house and a trailer go together?

I can hardly even scrape the surface of the topic of tiny houses in one post, but today I'll at least get started. The Tiny House Movement is a group of people who decided that the constraints of the modern way of life were too much. By building a house on wheels, they can move wherever they want and can easily live debt free once the house is paid off. This lifestyle appeals to me, as unlike my peers I don't have the urge to constantly buy things. As you read before in this blog post, I have gotten rid of a lot of my stuff. The appeal of downsizing even more is compelling! I can't wait to build my own tiny house!
To read more about tiny homes visit this website!

Enjoy today,

Seven sevenths

"I can't believe it's Monday already, I can't wait for the weekend!" 
How many times have we heard, or even spoken some version of this phrase? Until a few weeks ago, this was exactly my way of thinking. Through writing my blog posts, I've started thinking even more about savoring every moment. What I realized was that most of us are setting ourselves up to be happy only two sevenths of our lives! If we are constantly yearning for the weekend and slogging through and simply enduring the week, we're missing out on five days of potential happiness. 

It may not be the most fun, sitting through work or school, but even those activities can become meaningful. During class, I like to challenge myself to be as productive as possible. Not only do I get my work done, but I am less stressed during and after class, as I have better absorbed the material and usually don't have to study as hard for tests or suffer through confusing homework assignments. The same philosophy can be applied to work, a little concentration and motivation will allow for a relaxed and enjoyable lunch break, and an evening without the stress of work left undone.

I also like to give myself things to look forward to on my weekdays. After I get done at rehearsal for the musical (where I do sometimes stressful things, like taking blocking notation), I like to go on a run before dinner or go to a Zumba class with my mom. Making dinner is also an enjoyable activity for me, as is watching a new episode of my current favorite television program. Some days just the anticipation of a warm shower is enough to better my mood. There are always happiness-inducing activities we can find time for during the week!

My goal is to live seven sevenths of my week enjoying the day and savoring the moments. I know that sometimes I'll be in a bad mood that just won't go away, but sometime 6/7 is not bad at all.

How many sevenths will you enjoy this week? It's always up to you!

Enjoy today,

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Finding the time

My schedule lately has been, to say the least, a bit hectic. Senior year of high school is supposed to be (or so the movies say) the year when you bond with your friends and have crazy amounts of fun. What the movies don't tell you is that between college applications, senior class schedules, extracurricular activities, and jobs, it's almost impossible to find time to spend with your buddies. One of my lovely friends Beth (whose hands are pictured above) , has a crazy schedule like mine and we just hadn't been able to see each other much since school started. We decided to take matters into our own hands.

Since we're both part time Running Start students (we take classes at both the high school and the local community college) we have Wednesday and Friday mornings free from school. Last Friday we met for coffee at our favorite downtown coffee shop. Between bites of muffin and sips of Americano (decaf for me, regular for her), we caught up on each other's lives.

Sometimes we get so busy we forget to pause and make time for what is really important to us, which for me includes my friendship with Beth, and we forget how easy it is to make a simple effort to find time. We both would have thought that we would never have had time to see each other, but all it took was a creative look at our schedules and finding a free hour, even if it meant getting out of bed a little earlier. And it was worth all the effort.

Enjoy today,


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Unexpected inspiration

Sometimes we find inspiration where we never expected- like inside of this mint tin. At first I thought it was cool for St. Claire's to put a quote inside of their mint container, and then I realized how great that really could be. We all need reminders to be compassionate, to consider that maybe a grumpy clerk is having the same bad day we had yesterday. This reminder is perfectly placed. I have a mint just often enough that I forget that it's there, so every time I see it, I consciously think about it. I love quotes, but putting them on a wall or post it where it will be seen every day causes them to lose their value, as they are glossed over every day. By having the quote hidden, when I find it I always think about how I can practice compassion in my day. 

Try hiding one of your favorite inspirational quotes somewhere- when you happen upon it in the future, it might be just what is needed to bring a smile to a bad day.

Enjoy today,

Monday, October 8, 2012

The small things

During every fall for the last couple of years, I get a pumpkin. Not a big pumpkin, but one of the cute little baby sized ones. Last Saturday at our local farmer's market I picked out this year's pumpkin. It's little, and oddly shaped, with almost vertical sides and a reasonably flat top. I think it has personality. I bought it (or really, my lovely mom bought it for me) for a grand total of fifty cents- quite the bargain if you ask me! Lots of vendors at the market had beautiful bouquets of flowers, and the autumn arrangements are starting to appear. As much as I would love one of those, I appreciate even more my little pumpkin buddy that sits on my night stand. He'll last all season, requires no maintenance, and costs a fraction of a penny a day. I usually don't do seasonal "decor" in my room, but something little, like this pumpkin, is the perfect exception to the rule.  They say that waking up to flowers brightens your mood, but to me, a little pumpkin can do just the same.

I hope I have inspired you to find something simple to bring a little extra joy into your life every day!

Enjoy today,

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The story of my stuff

So, I had a lot of stuff. I say had because a lot of that stuff is no longer in my possession. Why? Because I got rid of it! It's an incredible feeling to get rid of things- like the reverse of shopping. Instead of feeling that rush of "wow! I bought something great!" it's the feeling "I finally got up the guts to get rid of that!" 

I've been in the process of getting rid of my stuff for a few years now. It's been slow, box by box, but has considerably whittled down my possessions. This time, I decided to attack two areas that really needed some attention: my books and my clothes.

Part 1: My Books
I went through my books first, and managed to find an entire laundry basket and box and pile worth of books that I no longer wanted. Most were books that I had been holding onto since I was a preteen, thinking that maybe I would read them again. The truth is, I don't have the time! And, if I really want to read a book again, I'm sure the public library has a copy. That's one of the hardest realizations when getting rid of things- deciding that though you may want to use something again, you just won't. I know that I enjoyed a lot of the books the first time I read them, but I wouldn't get the same enjoyment out of them if I read them again. 
The hardest thing to get rid of was my collection of Berenstain Bear books. I spent most of my childhood collecting these books, and most of them have been read a million and one times. The thing is, they had been left virtually untouched for about five years. I used to think that in the distant future I would want these for my kid, but what I realized was that they wouldn't hold the same value to them as they do to me. The reason that I'm attached to them is the time that my parents and I spent collecting them, and when I have a child they would not have the same connection that I do. My kid will have the same fun I did collecting a series that they love.

Part 2: My Clothes
I got rid of an ENORMOUS pile of clothes. I was astounded to see how many things I had that I just don't wear. So many things that once I got rid of them I was able to get rid of an entire shelving unit. Just being a teenage girl, I had collected so many clothes while trying to find my own sense of style. Now, I know what I like to wear, and that was only a fraction of my wardrobe, leaving the rest to take up space.

My closet now contains the clothes pictured above, plus a rolling rack of hanging items. To me, it still seems like I have a lot of things, but I know that compared to other girls my age, I have very little. I love being able to see exactly what I have, and not having to dig through piles to find something. When I go to pick out what to wear, it takes me very little time, as I have very few choices, but almost every choice is something I love. 

The books were sold to a used bookstore for store credit, and the ones that they didn't want were donated to our public library to sell at their fundraiser. I had a clothing swap with a few of my friends, and what none of us wanted will be donated to a local charity.

It's a great feeling to have less things, and over time I hope I will be able to pare down even more. My favorite benefit is that it takes me much less time to tidy my room with less things around, and I don't stress out seeing piles of things waiting to be put away. That certainly adds to my happiness!

I encourage you to try getting rid of a few excess things, it's a great feeling and maybe you'll get addicted like I did!

Enjoy today,

Friday, October 5, 2012


Today I would like to share something I've been thinking about- fun! This evening, after my mom and I finished our Zumba class, the instructor asked a group of girls if they "had fun". This caught my attention. Do we really "have" fun? It's not a tangible item that we can hold, like an apple, nor does it last a given amount of time. It's obvious whether or not you have an apple, but having fun is a more complicated matter.

What I finally decided is that fun is not a thing, but more a state of mind. We do not say that we "have happiness", we say that we "are happy". Any experience approached with a fun state of mind will produce fun, while a pessimistic and down sort of mood will most certainly not produce fun. Fun in turn produces a better mindset, opening one to myriad opportunities to experience it even more. I'm going to try to approach everything with fun in mind, I hope you'll give it a try too!

Enjoy today,

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Morning mindfulness

The morning view from my bed- tea and book included!

During the most recent summer, I did a two week internship at our local food co-op in the bakery department. Unlike a lot of bakers, they do not have to get up at two in the morning to bake fresh bread and croissants, as they mainly make grab-and-go items like cookies and muffins (and a million other delicious things). Even though I wasn't getting up in the middle of the night to bake, I still had to get up at six and sometimes five in the morning.

 Consequently, for the rest of the summer I was unable to sleep past seven, and even now I cannot sleep past eight.  Instead of dreading these sleepless mornings, I decided to change my attitude. My mom gets up at five o'clock almost every weekday morning, and she works from home four days a week! She uses her morning time to get herself ready for the day by reading and drinking her coffee in the living room- she doesn't chug it down while flying out the door. I thought, maybe there is something to that! 

Now, when I wake up at six in the morning, I get my breakfast and my tea and I get back in bed. I love my bed so much, and using it only for sleeping felt like a waste. Once I'm up, I don't fall back asleep, so I keep myself busy. Most mornings I read, and sometimes I go on the computer, but I always have my tea and my cat to keep me company. This ritual keeps my morning from becoming hectic, and gives me a centered start to my day. I like to imagine that my classmates would be jealous of how alert and awake I am during my first class, if only they were truly awake themselves to notice! 

Maybe morning just isn't the time for you, but I'm sure there is some part of your day that you can savor a little bit more. And that little bit makes all the difference.

Enjoy Today,

Let the fun begin!

This morning I finished the book You Can Buy Happiness (and It's Cheap) by Tammy Strobel (find her blog here). It's inspiring how she and her husband were able to wake up from the American lifestyle and find a way of life that works for them. They don't own any cars, they don't own much stuff, they live in a 128 square foot house on wheels, and they are happy. This book is wonderfully written, with many useful tips on how to simplify you life. I really encourage anyone who is interested in alternative living styles to read it. In the book, she encourages anyone who wants to simplify their life to start a blog to share their journey- so here we are! I can't wait to share with you my journey to live a simple, happy life. 

Enjoy today,
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