journal

Image: Portfolioslicer.com

The One-Minute Writing Activity That Will Make You Happier Every Day 

When we think about our lives, we generally expect that it’s the big events that will bring us the most joy later on—remembering that amazing trip to Bali, say, or that huge work success. And certainly sitting on a South Pacific beach isn’t going to do your happiness levels any harm, but according to recent research, people are actually pretty bad at guessing which recollections will bring them the most joy. I think most people forget about looking for their daily Shining Moments.

 

Everyday events, it turns out, make us far happier to remember than we expect. So while a simple coffee date with an old friend or a night in cooking for your better half might not seem worth remembering, thinking back on these simple occurrences actually can bring us great pleasure later on.

The question, then, is what to do with this insight. Author Gretchen Rubin has a simple but powerful suggestion, which she shared recently in her Happier podcast. It’s a super-easy habit that can help us squeeze extra enjoyment out of the small, everyday details we usually just forget. Ahhhhh, what a Shining Moment! It’s called a single sentence journal, and it’s pretty much just what it says on the tin. It’s such an easy-peasy Shining Moment.

 

A Journal You Can Actually Keep

“All you do is write one sentence a day,” Rubin says. “If you’re like me and like many people, you are sort of periodically swept up in this desire to keep a journal.” But those fantasies of devoting lots of time to recording deep thoughts and in-depth recollections usually founder on a simple reality: Keeping such a long-form journal is really time consuming.

The solution? Keep the journal idea, but ditch the length and write down just a sentence or two each day to record your most prominent memories. You might think such short entries aren’t enough to make any difference in your life, but Rubin insists that this idea is both manageable and impactful. “One sentence is enough. When I look back on it years later, that one sentence really does keep memories vivid—it really does bring back the past—which is one of the things you really want a journal to do,” she says.

As science suggests, those memories are bound to make you happier than you expect, but Rubin also notes that “we tend to write down the happier things,” which also focuses the mind on the positive aspects of life, boosting joy with very little effort.

You can journal about any aspect of your life—including your work—or nothing in particular and still reap rewards. Just make sure you keep your journal somewhere handy to make recording that short recollection of your day super-convenient, avoiding any excuse to skip days. I keep mine on my bedside table.

Try the idea out (it’s so simple, why not?) and let me know how it goes.

 

 

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earthday

Image: scienceblogs.com

Today, April 22, marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. The idea for Earth Day came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.  On January 28, 1969 an oil platform six miles off of Santa Barbara’s coast ruptured, sending 80,000 to 100,000 barrels of crude oil into the Santa Barbara Channel over the next 10 days – an image that gives me goose-bumps, not the good kind. The oil spread from Goleta to Ventura, killing thousands of sea birds, as well as dolphins, elephant seals, and sea lions.

Where on earth is the Shining Moment, you ask? Well as a result of this catastrophe, the first Earth Day was created, which led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”

Earth Day is now a globally celebrated holiday that is intended to raise awareness about a wide range of environmental issues and problems, and to inspire people to take personal action to address them.

Below are some accessible – easy, even – that you can do beginning today to participate in Earth Day:

  1. Buy locally grown produce in season. Consider buying organically grown for the “Dirty Dozen” produce items with the most pesticide exposure.
  2. Use a cloth instead of a paper towel for spills.
  3. Pack leftovers and lunches in reusable containers or recyclable foil.
  4. Scrape plates rather than rinse before loading them into the dishwasher. This not only saves water but keeps grease and oily substances from going down your drain, a potential plumbing issue and wastewater treatment problem.
  5. Choose nontoxic, naturally derived cleaning products, which are proven effective but won’t cause long term damage to the Earth. I especially like the Shaklee products.
  6. Meat free day(s). Many people have signed onto the Meatless Monday movement which is great because reducing (eliminating, even) meat consumption conserves fresh water, saves topsoil, and even reduces air pollution! Wouldn’t it be great if this movement could evolve into meatless weeks and then months and then years and then…ever?
  7. Plant a tree!  Did you know that over a 50-year lifetime, a tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion. It also provides shade that keeps homes and cities cooler! How are those for Shining Moments?
  8. Use organic fertilizer. We just started doing this and I feel so much better already.
  9. Return hangers and plastic bags to the dry cleaner. When I first started doing this, our dry cleaner was a little surprised and then grateful.
  10. Use cloth tote bags for shopping. I recommend keeping them in the back of your car so you can remember them. The key is REMEMBERING that they are there….BEFORE you get into the checkout line! I can’t tell you how many times I have irk’d the supermarket line I’m in because I have to run out to the car to get my bags.

I’d love for you to add to the list. What do you do for Earth Day?

 

 

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To be alive is to totally and openly participate in the simplicity and elegance of here and now.

~ Donald Altman

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roasted garlic

Image: Eatingwell.com 

Garlic is really becoming the spine of my cooking, the backbone of the flavors in my repertoire. I can’t make pasta or roast a chicken without it, and I can’t even imagine soups, stews, salad dressings, stir-fries, sauces or dips without the assertive, sweet, you-won’t-forget-me flavors of fresh garlic. When I cook with garlic, I don’t hold back. Sure, you can use it as an accent or flavoring in virtually any type of savory cooking, but I find myself building my dishes around it.

If you are like me, and LOVE garlic, you must try this roasted garlic & asparagus salad. It is so yummy. After this recipe was given to me from a friend, I did a little research into garlic. Did you know that garlic can lower cholesterol and prevent blood clots? It’s really good at fighting high blood pressure, too. Yuppers. I know you will love this just as much as I do.

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads garlic
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ cup minced fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Slice the tips of the garlic heads, exposing the cloves.  Place the heads in a small baking dish. Pour 2 tablespoons oil over them and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Roast until the garlic feels soft when you squeeze the bulbs, 20 to 40 minutes, depending on size.
  3. When cool enough to handle, gently squeeze garlic cloves from the skins into the dish (discard the skins). Add chives and chopped garlic. Swirl in lemon juice.
  4. Peel the tough outer layer of the bottom half of asparagus stalks, if desired.  Place the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with lemon zest and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Roast, shaking the pan halfway through, until the asparagus is just tender, 10 to 20 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes.
  5. Divide the warm asparagus among 6 plates. Top each portion with about 2 tablespoons roasted garlic vinaigrette and 1 generous tablespoon walnuts.

 

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Happy Tax Day

tax day

Enough Said! Good luck and don’t forget to file!

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ribbon2015

Image: Birthdaydirect.com

Women with radiographically dense breast tissue face a higher risk of developing breast cancer and may benefit from screening with digital, rather than film, mammography.  Yet most aren’t aware of the association between dense tissue and disease risk, according to a global survey conducted recently by GE Healthcare.

A goal of the survey is to encourage women with dense breasts to discuss their cancer risk and screening options with their doctors.

While women with very dense breasts are four to five times more likely to develop the disease than their counterparts without dense tissue, only one of every five people worldwide recalled learning anything about dense breast tissue, from any source, within the six months prior to being polled, GE found in its Value of Knowing Survey of 10,000 adults.  Among the 10 countries included in the survey, the United States-where 19 percent of respondents were aware of the association between dense breasts and cancer-was one of the least informed.

Further, the online survey found that fewer than half the adults questioned could name six typical symptoms of breast cancer.  In addition lumps, those symptoms can include nipple discharge or rash, as well as changes in breast size, shape or appearance.

Forty percent of women have dense breast tissue, which is composed more of connective tissue than of fat.  Research is being done to determine whether imaging with ultrasound, MRI or tomosynthesis-which generates three-dimensional images-might increase the effectiveness of breast cancer screening for those women.

As a means of ensuring that women are informed so that they can initiate discussions with their health care providers, 19 American states have passed legislation requiring that women be notified if a mammogram shows they have dense breast tissue, and 12 states have such legislation pending.

Source: Beth   FFFand Incollingo

 

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Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while your climbing it.

~ Andy Rooney

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penne rigate

Image: Marthastewart.com

This recipe is definitely pasta with pop! Bursting with color, from a single shade of yellow to a full spectrum of green, this spring pasta is a lavish treat for the eye, yet still super-simple to pull together. It’s soooooooooo good.

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces baby arugula, some leaves reserved for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons blanched almonds, toasted and chopped (2 ounces)
  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)
  • Coarse salt
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  1. Combine arugula, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, and cheese in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt.  Pulse until coarsely pureed.  With motor running, slowly add oil, processing to a paste.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt.  Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions.  Drain; transfer pasta to a bowl.  Add pesto and toss to coat evenly.  Drizzle with oil, garnish with arugula leaves, and serve immediately.

O.M.G. this is so tasty! Let me know how you like it!

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 Take good care of yourself

Image: Bhaktiwomen.org

Lately, I’ve been having crazy messy drippy hot flashes. Here’s how it goes: I wake up multiple times in the middle of the night to wet sheets and pillows (yes, I sleep with multiple pillows) and then I can’t go back to sleep. The insomnia lasts for about an hour and the cycle starts all over again. Plus, I have this weird sense of coming out of my skin. Ewwwww. It’s totally reminiscent of when I was sick and yes, has necessitated the dropping of a few f-bombs.

The BOYFRIEND insisted that I get in touch with my doctors, which I did. My oncologist said that work, travel, stress, etc., are factors that sometimes cause this pattern. Hmmm….what about work, reports, private clients, and wanting to criss-cross the country? Very stressful, right?!?  Baffling. The Shining Moment is that he didn’t seem worried about it. However, it is a call to action for myself to stop the cycle and focus on taking care of myself.

Here are some fun ways to do so. Come to think of it, why not do these things on a regular basis, not just when you are a schvitzy, zitty mess?!?

  1. A date with yourself. I happen to love to go to breakfast or lunch by myself. All by myself, where I will know no one. While this may seem anti-social, it’s actually not. It’s an opportunity to spend time getting reacquainted with myself. I’ll often take my favorite book or good magazine, but don’t read while I’m eating. This helps me be fully present for the experience and savor the flavors.  I always feel better when I do this and it puts a smile on my face by just writing about it.
  2. Nap. Napping is one of those experiences that rejuvenates me like no other. I vividly remember my father coming home every Saturday at noon. He would take a 20 minute nap and then have a freshly prepared lunch made by my mother. I wholeheartedly believe that this is what helped him live as long and a relatively healthily life. So, I’m going to start scheduling a nap in the middle of the day or late afternoon and give it as much of a priority as I would any other meeting or conference call.
  3. Buy myself some flowers. Looking at and smelling fresh flowers is a complete and total Shining Moment. I am fortunate to have the ability to buy fresh ones at one of the many farmer’s markets that are close by (don’t hate me for that!).
  4. Watch the sunrise and/or sunset. I have seen beautiful sunsets on both coasts (again, please don’t hate me!). My, oh my. They are super special and a guaranteed Shining Moment. The thing about watching the sun rise or set is that it is beautiful wherever you are!  All you have to do is figure out what time the sun will either come up or go down where you live by checking on Weather.com. (Punch in your zip code and you’ll see the ETS–or estimated time of sunrise/sunset–towards the bottom of the page, at the bottom of the daily forecast box.) Then choose a great place in your city or town and go watch it. I also like to do this by myself and take deep breaths while the sun goes down. It is incredibly peaceful!
  5. Don’t Should on Yourself. For regular readers, I know you’ve heard this (multiple times!) before, but it’s so doggone important that it bears repeating (over & over again). Should-ing is NOT good for you and is only a stress-inducer. The more you stop should-ing the easier it gets.

What do you do to take care of yourself?  I’d love to hear!

 

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labels

Image:  Amazon.com

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always been infatuated by anything and everything related to offices, from bookshelves to accessories. When I was a little girl, I remember going with my dad and sister to my uncle’s office on Sunday mornings and being in heaven sitting at his secretary’s desk (before they were called “assistants”).  Recently I found these desk accessories and I fell in looooooove. I’m not sure if it’s their vintage style or matted gold color but these accessories are seriously adorable and would make a perfect gift for the geeky girl in your life! I adore many of the supplies on this site. Check out the golden ruler, oversized paper clips, a pencil case (who cares if it will be most likely used to put jewelry in instead!), and a pretty gold pencil to match!

Lucent Desk Collection $24-68

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