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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.

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?

Love a la Carte

Love A La Carte

13 June, 2011

Here is a list of great things in my life right now:

Tumtaster ♥ Jenn Grant’s Honeymoon Punch ♥ homemade guacamole ♥ key limes & seltzer water ♥ my first ever style consultation ♥ rewatching Season 1 of Grey’s Anatomy ♥ fresh, ripe pineapple ♥ lipstick in all of its many shades ♥ the Paper Source Colorscope (the color that jumped at me? FUCHSIA) ♥ Almay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover Pads ♥ Paul Simon ♥ Stereogum ♥ Fringe ♥ air conditioning ♥ orange juice and echinacea ♥ my iPhone and it’s many apps (like WordPress, which I am using right now) ♥ a world of possibilities ♥ a color-coordinated organized closet ♥ new Nine West wedges and heels ♥ bright orange ♥ sunset beach walks ♥ flip-flops ♥ phone calls, emails, gchats, and facebook chats with friends far away and dear to my heart ♥ a meeting with a really classy lady this week ♥ Young Winos of DC facebook group#writechat ♥ my Twitter community ♥ a phone call with my brother who lives on the other side of the globe ♥ figuring out how to finally fix my hookah ♥ RapportiveThe Blue Key Campaign ♥ getting a signed copy of The Dark Wife in the mail! ♥

My life is full of happy things lately and I could not be more grateful. Thank you to everyone for making my life so full and lovely.

Love a la Carte

Protection, Power, Healing, and Wisdom

20 May, 2011

♥ Almond Cookie Tea from the Spice and Tea Exchange in Alexandria, Virginia ♥ Neil Gaiman writing for Doctor Who ♥ having a pool in the back yard ♥ working on a tan ♥ finding fantastic friends on facebook ♥ wearing jewelry every day ♥ a new blog layout ♥ having a place for everything and everything in its place ♥ having my computer set up again ♥ Elysian Fields ♥ sun and rain and warm weather ♥ pinks & purples ♥ The Gargoyle Cupcake perfume oil from the Misery/Love Co. ♥ “art rarely happens accidentally” ♥ dialectical behavioral therapy, positive psychology, meditation and manifesting ♥ phone calls with good friends ♥ watching Iron Man with Dad ♥ having a real life fairy godmother gift me a great present from a great writer! ♥ amethyst for protection, power, wisdom and healing ♥ cuddling with a fluffy puppy ♥ hand-writing letters with pink pens ♥ exotic blooms ♥ iced coffee ♥ making handmade goods ♥ painting and sketching again ♥ Haley Reinhart singing Rhiannon on American Idol ♥ sewing ♥ watching a good friend put together a fantastic new website ♥ my iPhone camera ♥ Joe’s Eats & Sweets Key Lime Cheesecake ice cream ♥ The Sea Hagg ♥ having a few minutes completely to myself ♥ the azure blue of the Gulf ♥ Sharpie pens ♥

Love a la Carte

Music and Muses

29 April, 2011

♥ My parents. ♥ Casey Abrams from American Idol. ♥ The best weekend ever, including: spending time with my sweetheart, girls night out, series premiere of Doctor Who, and lots of down time. ♥ Constructive criticism from good friends. ♥ Adventures in Manifesting. ♥ An angel card reading from a dear friend. ♥ A girlfriend sending me the link to these Disney inspired princess wedding dresses and discussing which ones we might wear in our fantasy weddings (even though neither of us currently has plans to get married). ♥ The smell of clean laundry. ♥ Finally finding a sunscreen I can use on very sensitive-skinned face! ♥ Free samples of perfume. ♥ Plotting and planning with friends for Fairie Festival this weekend. ♥ Avocados. ♥ Receiving my alma mater‘s alumni magazine. ♥ MUSIC: (this week includes) Paul Simon, The Strokes, The National, Fleet Foxes, and Snow Patrol. ♥ Doctor Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog. ♥

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

Colors Galore!

4 April, 2011

A list of the things I’m loving right now:

♔ The Princess Bride. ♔ The National & St. Vincent. ♔ Colored Moleskine notebooks. ♔ Reading BUST whilst on the treadmill. ♔ Dreaming in German. ♔ Candy colored Pilot pens. ♔ Traveling with Pomegranates. ♔ Pinterest. ♔ Bright pink. ♔ Keeping things clean and organized, making the bed, living in natural light. ♔ Guilty pleasure tv shows. ♔ Needing to use air conditioning instead of heating on the first gorgeous day of the year (85 degrees!). ♔ Green Goodness. ♔ Chatting with faraway friends via the internet. ♔