Browsing Tag


Blog The Desire Map

On Gratitude and What’s Not Working

22 July, 2013

Moving toward my Core Desired Feelings in The Desire Map*, I completed the section on gratitude and what’s not working. Considering gratitude is one of my favorite words and grateful is one of my favorite feelings, I was excited to get to this part of the workbook, but when I actually worked through it, found it quite challenging. The hard part for me wasn’t finding things to be grateful for, but identifying things that aren’t working and why I’m dissatisfied with this part of my life.

This part was divided into five sections, each asking the same questions: What are you grateful for? Why are you grateful for this? What’s not working? Why are you not satisfied with this?

In Livelihood & Lifestyle, Creativity & Learning, Body & Wellness, Relationships & Society, and Essence & Spirituality, I had no problems coming up with plenty of things to be grateful for and infinite reasons why. I was challenged to come up with what’s not working and why I’m not satisfied with what’s not working. Here’s some of what I came up with:

Livelihood & Lifestyle: I’m grateful for enough money to take care of myself because I know I will have enough to pay my rent, my bills, and still have enough money left over to eat and even have some left over. I’m grateful for a job that is interesting and engaging, which challenges me and forces me to learn new things all the time. I have a hard time getting and staying clean and organized and it makes me uncomfortable. I feel less “together”.

Body & Wellness: I’m grateful for my relative good health because not having to worry about basic health functions is a blessing. We don’t often think about this until we are ill or injured, but I am full of gratitude each and every day for the miraculous things my body does, like breathe without thinking about it. I know I need to have some kind of regular exercise in my life because it will help with both my mental and physical health.

Creativity & Learning: I’m grateful for the desire to be creative because creativity and learning make life interesting. I recognize that I have the capacity and propensity towards learning. Even when things aren’t easy, I continue to learn and grow. Others see potential in me to take on new challenges. I don’t often feel a sense of flow and it makes it hard to create. Rather than a spiritual exercise, I end up feeling like I’m just slogging through and not progressing at all. Because I am not clean and organized, it prevents me from having the time and space to create and without that kind of order, I feel lost.

Relationships & Society: I’m grateful for people who genuinely care about others because taking care of one another in times of need is important to me. I am lucky to have a family who deeply cares about me and who support me. Friends who make me laugh and comfort me when I need a cry make me grateful because having someone you can trust is so important. Communication breakdowns are frustrating and disappointing. When that happens, I often feel defeated and powerless to make relationships work.

Essence & Spirituality: I’m grateful that I have a supportive, curious, and open-minded community that supports my spiritual journey because I am accepted for who I am, which makes me confident, grateful, and brings joy into my life. Creativity and intelligence make me feel I have something to contribute, that I have value. The ability, skill, and knowledge of how to cook and bake so that I can be creative in the kitchen and share my love with others makes me feel I have more to contribute and that I can give of myself in some tangible way. I’m missing a regular spiritual practice that could help with my overall happiness and connection to creativity.

*While this is an affiliate link, I truly do believe in this program and what it will do for my life. I am already appreciative of the workbook and how it makes me more aware of what it is I truly want and how I can achieve my true core desired feelings. I hope sincerely that you will join me, not because I will make money from your purchase, but because I would love to have allies, friends, and co-conspirators along this journey. Please do leave a comment and let me know if you decide to do this program so we can work through it together.

Blog The Happiness Project

2013: Gratitude, Beauty, and Health

28 June, 2013

In the past couple of years, I’ve chosen just three words to focus on for twelve months. Last year, my words were Create, Celebrate, Simplify. Though I didn’t follow through with all of the goals I set out for myself, I was relatively happy with how they manifested for me. I got back into writing and wrote more than ever before during NaNoWriMo. I celebrated with friends, I celebrated myself, I even got to travel to Indonesia to celebrate my brother’s wedding to a wonderful Indonesian girl. And I simplified to such a degree that I find myself wanting more, for I have bare walls at home begging for some art.

For 2013, my three words are: Gratitude, Beauty, and Health. Here I have outlined them with words and photos, including ideas on how to better bring these wonderful things into my life and how to move forward with goals that will keep ensure they stay a part of my life.

[I realize that I’m a bit late to the party in posting this, but I’ve literally been working on this all year. (I started the first draft of this post on January 4.) I actually think taking my time and posting about this later in the year has helped to crystallize my vision for what I want and constantly updating this draft has kept me focused on these three words.]


prayer offering in Bali

  • Goal word: GRATITUDE
  • Path 1 to the goal: Keep up my lists of Love A La Carte (gratitude, wonder, and general awesomeness).
  • Path 2 to the goal: Live in the moment and be thankful for what I have.
  • Path 3 to the goal: Give some of the gratitude away. Instead of random acts of kindness, perform targeted acts of kindness, sharing with friends and family.
  • Path 4 to the goal: Complete Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map.
  • Distractions: Getting stuck in a rut. Getting overwhelmed or stressed.
  • Steps to the path: Keep a cup of “great times” moments listed on colorful Post-It Notes, eat seasonal food, update to Happier as often as possible, and take more photographs to document awesome things.
  • The finish line: Making 2013 my most grateful, happiest year yet. Feeling a sense of accomplishment. Radiating gratitude and kindness.
  • What’s next: Inspiring others to radiate gratitude and kindness.



  • Goal word: BEAUTY
  • Path 1 to the goal: Spend less money and more time appreciating the beauty that surrounds me. Find the beauty in the mundane.
  • Path 2 to the goal: Write about beauty in the world and appreciate the beauty in myself.
  • Path 3 to the goal: Take more photographs of the beautiful details in life.
  • Distractions: Distractions. Being busy. Lack of awareness.
  • Steps to the path: Update my iPhone (camera) to a better one and/or carry my digital camera more often. Make my own beauty products. Organize and weed out beauty products I already own. Stop feeling guilty about making myself look good (STYLE).
  • The finish line: Experimenting with multiple design and style aesthetics.
  • What’s next: Finding a design and style aesthetic that pleases me.


blueberries and blackberries

  • Goal word: HEALTH
  • Path 1 to the goal: Getting new glasses. (check)
  • Path 2 to the goal: Finishing dental work. (check)
  • Path 3 to the goal: Going gluten/wheat-free. (So, okay, I tried this and it didn’t really work out for me. It was too hard not to eat wheat and too expensive to keep up with. But, I tried something new. So, at least there’s that.)
  • Path 4 to the goal: Finish one full year on Weight Watchers.
  • Path 5 to the goal: Keep current with all doctors’ appointments throughout the year.
  • Path 6 to the goal: Start running.
  • Distractions: Time restraints, convenience, expense.
  • Steps to the path: Track the food that I’m eating, experiment with wheat-free cooking and baking, make and keep doctors’ appointments.
  • The finish line: Making 2013 my healthiest year yet. Losing weight. Feeling more full of energy.
  • What’s next: Don’t stop. Run a 5k. Run 3-4 times a week consistently. Add yoga.

*All images mine.

Love a la Carte

Dream More

8 June, 2012

think less, dream more

Love A La Carte features all the little things that make my life just a little more delicious.

♥ ice water on a hot day ♥ Neil Gaiman: Literary Rock Star and Me, a great little post about the uniqueness of Neil Gaiman’s storyteller status ♥ coming out of a Lush store smelling like their delicious products ♥ The Lost Principles of Design ♥ finally purchasing something I’ve been putting off for a year ♥ 10 Ways to Spark Your Creativity and Joy ♥ making these Red Velvet S’mores Brownies with Courtney ♥ a riveting retreat with my coworkers ♥ awesome connections with friends via the Internet ♥ planning an actual vacation like an adult ♥ Robyn ♥ my favorite Pad Thai from my favorite restaurant ♥ 7 Tips I Use to Spark My Creativity from the Happiness Project ♥ coconut-flavored coffee (it tastes like summer!) ♥ Starbucks donating $1 for each Foursquare check-in to (RED)Rush to help fight AIDS ♥

Love a la Carte

A Love List

27 July, 2011

Things I am loving right now:

♥ homemade sourdough pancakes ♥ writing over 1000 words of fiction in the novel I’ve had major writer’s block on ♥ spending the morning at the beach ♥ Red Sox on the radio ♥ Bon Appetit’s Summer Cooking Manifesto ♥ my brother’s newly-announced engagement to a lovely girl from Indonesia (where my brother is currently living and working) ♥ chocolate ice cream ♥ $3.00 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon that actually taste great ♥ cold-brewed iced coffee ♥ really hearty belly laughs ♥ talking forever on the phone with good friends ♥ fandom collisions ♥ Robot Pony (an enchanting short story) from Madeline Claire Franklin ♥ dreaming of old friends and faraway places ♥ the Bedford DiariesSpotify ♥ homemade popcorn ♥ Boyce Avenue’s cover of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep ♥ anything cold to battle the heat of the summer ♥ starting a new blog with my mom about our adventures cooking our way through our family (and friends) cookbook – Stories: Savory and Sweet ♥ New England Coffee’s Blueberry Cobbler coffee (best iced!) ♥ rewatching Grey’s Anatomy S2 and the soundtrack to it ♥ rain ♥ Hair Raizers Salon ♥ being able to support my friends by buying their books on Smashwords ♥ a dog in my lap while I surf the web ♥

What are you loving right now?


What Do You Really Know About Me?

8 July, 2011

Today, I was really inspired by the bravery of my friends, Amber Naslund and Melissa Case, who put themselves out there on the web, describing who they really are as people. Not putting their thoughts about work or culture or books online, but sharing intimate details of themselves with the world. I decided to take the plunge, as well. Here are a few details about me (in no particular order):

I love to write. From the time I was a small child, I have been writing stories. I spent many an angsty evening as an adolescent writing poetry. Since I was thirteen, I have been keeping a personal journal in some form. For the last six years, I have taken part in NaNoWriMo and, although I have yet to finish a novel in a month, I am currently working on a novel that I am very excited about and hope to finish this year.

I speak German. I lived in Germany for a year after I graduated high school and before I started college. I lived with a host family, went to German high school, learned about culture, politics, and history, struggled with the language until I started dreaming in German (which I still do periodically), made friends for life, and gained more knowledge about myself as a person than I could ever have imagined before I left.

I am a Unitarian Universalist. This has had a profound affect on my life in many ways and I am so grateful to my parents for raising me in a church that let me explore my own spiritual journey, ask questions, gain insight, and develop my own world view and belief system from the time I was a very young person. I have always had a strong sense of social justice, equality, and respect for the earth and all living things. I don’t preach and I don’t expect others to have the same world view as me, even within my own religion. Every person is entitled to his/her own journey and I respect that. As I hope you will respect mine.

I have a strong affinity for the Middle East. In college, I had many friends who were from the Middle East or had spent a lot of time there. With their influencing, I spent a semester in Amman, Jordan, where I learned a little bit of Arabic, a lot of culture, and of the wonderful, hospitable nature of the Arabic people. I ate delicious Mediterranean food, smoked a lot of hookah, and reveled in the dusty architecture that held so much history. I spent a week in Syria, visiting Damascus and Aleppo, learning about Syrian history, government, and people.

 I love spicy food. My dad has been eating hot peppers (and putting them in dishes for the family) since I was very young. I’ve always eaten lots of different ethnic foods and my favorites are Indian, Thai, and (though not particularly spicy) Italian.

 Art is my passion. I could spend hours in front of one painting or sculpture. I adore Mark Rothko, Vincent van Gogh, and Michelangelo. One of my favorite books is The Lost Painting. Both in Germany and Jordan, I studied art, and I couldn’t ask for a better way to break a language barrier.

I am a firm believer in positive psychology. I choose to focus on all the things I am grateful for in my life, from the mundane to the awesome. Mindfulness, gratitude, and a positive attitude can go a long way. The more we appreciate what we have, the more wonderful things come our way. I have been fortunate to be a part of the Adventures in Manifesting eCourse offered by Sarah Prout and Sean Patrick Simpson, who have also brought together those involved in a wonderful online community. This community is a great place to explore positive psychology and support one another through many life changes. It is truly a blessing to be a part of this group.

Cooking and baking are some of my greatest joys. I love to cook and I love to entertain. Cooking and baking for friends and family makes me about the happiest person alive. I am currently revising, editing, adding to, updating, and re-publishing my family cookbook, which my mother put together in the 1980s. This version will be digital, so friends and family can view it on a computer, e-reader, or print at their will.


So, what do you think? Will you tell me a little about yourself?

Love a la Carte

Guilty Pleasures and Gratitude

21 April, 2011

♥ Guilty pleasure tv shows, you know, the ones you watch when no one else is around to judge you (mine are Mythbusters, What Not To Wear, Pretty Little Liars, and Barefoot Contessa – what are yours?). ♥ My vision board, which I made with Oprah’s O Dream Board. ♥ Neon Trees. ♥ LUSH’s Turkish Delight Body Polish. ♥ Curling up with a handmade quilt and a movie on a rainy day. ♥ Text message reminders of love from 600 miles away. ♥ Tulips. ♥ Homemade pizza with friends. ♥ Perfect, sunny days for walking outside. ♥ Spring breezes. ♥ Finding great books at the used bookstore for a dollar each. ♥ Parks & Recreation. ♥ Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Powerberries. ♥ Neon pink nail polish. ♥ Coffeeeeeeee… ♥ Watching friends do awesome things like publish their own books! ♥ Singing. ♥ Sun and rain and springlike weather. ♥ Homemade Indian dishes. ♥

Love a la Carte

Short & Sweet List

25 March, 2010

♥ Check out this lovely interview with one of my favorite design and fashion bloggers, the wonderous Nubby Twiglet.

♥ In honor of the fabulous Alice in Wonderland movie, musical genius Danny Elfman interviews cinematic treasure Tim Burton.

Helvetica Cookie Cutters & a Yellow Tea Submarine – the perfect tea time treats!

♥ Want to get away? Check out the Huffington Post’s 15 suggestions of Places to Visit This Decade.

♥ Art is a universal language. Want proof? The Global Action on Aging reports on Art for Refugees in Transition, an International Example of Intergenerational Solidarity.

Sweet Tooth? Cupcakeries are sprouting up all over the place in DC and many other cities, too.

♥ Creative geek Felicia Day linked to this wonderful article on Twitter: Everyday Creativity (from Psychology Today).

The Definitive Color Wheel from Fuel Your Creativity