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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.

Blog Love a la Carte

Spring Fever

17 May, 2013


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

Lipstick stains on coffee cups. Gossip. Having really smart friends. Practicing gratitude. Wine tastings at Light of My Lantern Speakeasy, where I can get a good flush in the safety of great company. Lindt’s A Touch of Sea Salt dark chocolate bar. Getting outside in the fresh air and sunshine to plant green, growing things. Twitter DMs. Writing dates. Cherry blossoms. 3 Paths Toward a More Creative Life. Live music (in particular: Great Big Sea’s XX Anniversary Tour). sweetgreen’s spicy broccoli (delicious!). Principal fires security guards and hires art teachers – and transforms elementary school. Practicing not-so-random acts of kindness. John Cleese’s advice on making your life more creative (from 1991 – and it still holds up)! Discussions with friends that range from writing to reading to history to politics to philosophy to relationships and beyond. Finding a state of flow. Finally getting my tattoo finished. Reading this post on how to Be Open to Inspiration: concentrate on what’s right in front of you – and if you don’t like what’s in front of you, change it. Lifestyle, style, fashion, and design blogs. The beautiful and educational History of Typography (video). Burt’s Bees Honey & Grapeseed Hand Cream. This exercise in creativity from Nicole’s Classes. Finally finishing a DIY project I started a while ago. Seeing some of my favorite flowers in bloom on the way to work. Being Totally Honest. Beautiful green leaves on trees, providing dapples of shade throughout the city.

This quote: “You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” ―Brené Brown

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

Spring Fever

23 May, 2012


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

♥ popping bubbly to celebrate the completion of a huge project ♥ walking outside in the sunshine ♥ these 5 Manifestos for Life ♥ watching tv shows without commercials (thanks, Netflix!) ♥ getting a thank-you package in the mail for helping out a friend overseas ♥ buying gifts for someone… just because ♥ orange juice ♥ the intersection of art and science that brought about the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts to creating rainbows in the sky ♥ The Adventures of Merlin (or Merlin), the British tv show (obsessed! – I LOVE the Aurthurian legends, The Mists of Avalon is one of my favorite books… anyone else?) ♥ this Impressionism exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art, recapturing the radical nature of the artistic movement ♥ my new favorite drink, which still needs a name: St. Germain, pomegranate juice, soda water ♥ getting my first BirchBox in the mail ♥ 15 Clever Ideas for Instagram Photos ♥ drinking tea from Cherie Anne Designs ♥ Harry Potter Weekend on ABC (I love that they include deleted scenes!) ♥ sending little notes via e-mail or Twitter DM to congratulate friends on their successes ♥ the 90s alternative station on Spotify ♥ having friends who are embarking on the Camp NaNoWriMo adventure with me ♥ this awesome, inspirational article from Gala Darling on 10 Ways to Make Your Instagram Photos Pop (with application recommendations!) ♥ reliving my adventures in Indonesia by blogging about it and reading my mom’s take on the trip, as well ♥ buying books from a brick and mortar bookstore ♥ bright, multi-colored Post-its ♥ tips on How to Start Your Blog with a Bang (good tips for new and old bloggers alike) ♥

this inspirational commencement speech by Neil Gaiman at the University of the Arts (2012)


Love a la Carte

Oh, Darling, Let’s Be Adventurers

20 January, 2012

Oh, Darling, Let's Be Adventurers



Eat Like an Artist in 2012 ♥ my new Wonderland playlist on Spotify ♥ iCal ♥ the above image from Fifi du VieBeing Erica ♥ Jay Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne ♥ Move and the world will get the fuck out of your way. – <3 Hey Amber Rae ♥ PinterestThis post about a true adventurer and his 365 photography project (make sure to watch the fascinating and moving video). ♥ the complete works of Shakespeare free for iOS ♥ Shit DC Says ♥ letterpress business cards ♥ John Legend’s cover of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep (can you imagine if they collaborated? OMG.) ♥ Adobe Bridge ♥ mimosas ♥ President Obama singing Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together

What adventures are you up to? I’m brainstorming my own for 2012…

Love a la Carte

Shiny New Year Love List

13 January, 2012

Shiny New Year love list:


origin: unknown (Is this yours? Let me know so I can credit you.)


Pantone and Sephora teaming up for a new beauty line!  ♥ SARK at TEDxFiDiWomen “Succulence is Powerful” (YouTube video) ♥ friends who are always there no matter how many miles or days come between you ♥ Inbox: 1 (as close to zero as I can get realistically) ♥ teaching my mom how to use Flipboard and getting links from her as a result ♥ Janelle Monae ♥ handmade quilts ♥ warm and fuzzy sweaters ♥ The Definitive Color Wheel ♥ these 30 Things to Start Doing for Yourself ♥ light and fluffy snow falling ♥ laughing with my coworkers ♥ my brand new Nook (thanks, bro!) ♥ my new nightstand and lamp from IKEA ♥ starting the New Year off with a fantastic brunch shared with good friends in my new home ♥ having less than an hour commute ♥ using traveling as an excuse to buy my favorite magazinesRihanna’s You Da One ♥ reading through my old blog entries ♥ President Barack Obama sings Lady Gaga’s Born This Way (YouTube video) ♥ LUSH’s Stimulating Spice ShampooTwelve Things You Were Not Taught in School About Creative Thinking (great article on creative thought processes) ♥ some wonderful inspiration from Louise Hay on how to love yourself and why you should start NOW! ♥ research and creative projects ♥ Hyperbole and a Half’s alot (must read: hilarious, especially for grammar nerds like me!) ♥ the fact that it’s Friday ♥ a Lord of the Rings (extended editions, of course) movie marathon with good friends ♥ my new Tumblr theme ♥



The Alot is Better Than You at Everything (image source: Hyperbole and a Half)


What are you loving right now?

Color Wheel

The Joy of Yellow

9 January, 2012

A canary’s song, the bright sun on a cold winter’s day, a warm glow from a lamp to read by. What comfort and joy yellow brings to our lives!

1. ” Yellow Peppers “, 2. Yellow Leaves, 3. Yellow Rose, 4. Yellow Pom Poms again, 5. Yellow, 6. yellow pencils, 7. Yellow Hydrant, 8. yellow river, 9. Yellow balloons

For years, women used yellow ribbons to welcome home their men from war. Even today, they are used to embrace loved ones returning. Yellow is the color of creative and intellectual energy. Yellow symbolizes wisdom, joy and happiness. Yellow is representative of optimism and enlightenment. The color stimulates the long and medium wavelength cone cells in the retina. It stimulates the brain and nervous system, activates memory, and encourages communication. Yellow is often associated with food (see: McDonald’s Golden Arches).  Yellow is the color of the third chakra and is often associated with the South cardinal direction.

In design, yellow is used to add brightness, to evoke pleasant and cheerful feelings, and to generate muscle energy. Bright yellow is an attention-getter because it is the easiest color to see (even most colorblind people can see yellow). When used with black, yellow creates a warning sign.

As with red and orange, yellow is often used to emphasize elements of design that are most important. Yellow is best used sparingly, since it can easily overwhelm.

What emotions do you associate with yellow? Does it make you hungry? Angry? Mellow? Will you add it to presentations to emphasize import or will you use it to brighten a room? I’m looking forward to brightening up my room with daffodils this spring. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the sight of the sun on clear, cold winter days.