Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Quotable

Today's quote is about making a choice to be happy. The quote is simple but it doesn't mean it is a simple choice. In fact, I think it can be a really tough to choose happiness sometimes. Most of us are struggling with something. I have days where I want to pout and focus on the things or people that are bringing me down. I want to complain and give in to the negativity goblins (negative thoughts).

During those times, certain things help me refocus and seek out happiness. First, I try to address the reason behind the mood. I talk through the feelings or journal about it and then let it go. If I can't, I move on to active gratitude. I try to be thankful for at least 3 things each day. To force the issue, I keep a gratitude journal. I'm not always as disciplined as I should be but at the end of the day, I actively take a minute to focus on the things that made me smile that day--usually, they are small moments (like last week when my office neighbor stopped in to bring me cough drops since I was sick) but they make an impact. If that doesn't lift my mood, I do something creative (crafting, making jewelry, writing).

The point is to pursue happiness like you would anything else. If I want to lose weight, I eat better. If I want to write a book, I carve out time to write. If I want to be happy, I'm going to make up my mind to be and then focus on and pursue it until I'm satisfied. Happy Monday!

*Photo is a shot from last week's snow storm. It caught me by surprise and I didn't want anything to do with it with Spring being so near. Then, in a quiet moment at a red light, I found I was happy to have made it to my town despite treacherous road conditions. I also found peace in the beauty of the freshly fallen snow.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Playlist

It has been a pretty tough week. I fractured my arm almost 2 weeks ago and then I got the worst cold (that could be a mild case of the flu) I've had in years. Over the weekend, I had no voice. When some scratchy, just woke up after a night of partying version of my voice came back, 90% of what came out of my mouth was either a coughing fit or an "ouch!" So, when I started working on this week's playlist, I decided I needed mellow songs to ease me into the weekend. Hope your week was better than mine and if not, stay positive. Something good is just around the corner. Happy Friday!

*If you are reading this on a smartphone or tablet and can't see the Grooveshark player, just click the link that appears in its place.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Life Lately

1. First try at polka dot nails. Waiting for Spring.
2.Gin & Ginger @ Yard House (one of my faves)
3. Photo from the plane during travel this month.
4. Crumbs Bake Shop Splurge. YUM.
5. Rose Gold manicure.
6. Donating clothes as part of my purge project.
7. Took a spill. Hairline fracture. My first sling. Boo!
8. Came across this pic of me as a baby and it screams happiness to me. I keep it on my phone as a reminder to feel joy and gratitude as much as I can every day.
9. Broken rose gold manicure. Darn airport luggage carousel (and, general clutziness).
I'm beginning to think these are the laziest blog posts ever but since I'm trying to keep typing to a minimum this week (see photo 7), photos are easier. Here's the past week or so in photos...gotta get back to keeping my Instagram current. What have you been up to? Leave your Instagram handle in the comments and I'll follow you. Happy Monday!

Monday Quotable

I heard this quote yesterday and loved it. I think, on occasion, we all fall into that ugly space where we are unfulfilled and begin to criticize others who are pursuing their own fulfillment. In those moments, I try to remind myself that someone else's success is not my failure. I dust myself off, stand in the present and plot a path forward. The reality is that if I am busy pursuing my own joy, fulfillment, and success, I don't have time to think about who could have done what better. I applaud them and use it as inspiration to get moving--or, perhaps more appropriately to "dare greatly" and walk "into the arena."

If you can't see the quote (as it fades into the clouds), it is below:

"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." --Theodore Roosevelt
* This week's photo was taken through the window of the plane on my way out of town last week. It was a cloudy day on the ground but the sun was shining brightly just above the clouds. I find myself taking this photo a lot. It is one of my favorite reminders that tough times aren't always as bad as they seem. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Playlist

Toady's playlist focuses on a small group of artists I was exposed to this week. I liked what I heard so much that I went digging for other songs. Some are new and there isn't much available. Some (Paloma Faith) have been around for a bit and are just new to me. Normally, I wouldn't include 6 (or 15) songs from one artist on a varied playlist but I like the music and I didn't want to part with any of it. I hope you enjoy this week's playlist and if you want to recommend artists you think I'd like, the comment section is wide open. Happy Friday!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Quotable

I saw Dr. Robin Smith on Super Soul Sunday yesterday and there were many quotes that struck me.  I'd planned for another one but as is usually the case, the start of my day made me change my mind. I was moving through my morning with a chip on my shoulder because I was tired and had an appointment that I needed to make and thought I'd be late for. I ended up being on time and just as the day was going well, I fell and hurt my wrist and arm. I was pouting and letting the bad energy get the best of me. It has gotten much worse as it swells but at least I didn't break anything. At least I am alive with no need for another medical bill. Ultimately, its just a little discomfort. That change in perspective helped make my day better. I talk about gratitude and its transformative power a lot on this blog but, sometimes (often), I need a refresher. This quote did that for me. Happy Monday!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Life Lately

I've been super delinquent on posting photos to Instagram despite keeping up on my 365 project. I'm going to get better for those that follow me there (@nmatthews241) but in the meantime, I thought I'd do a "Life Lately" post. Happy Monday! Usually no one is excited about Monday so I thought I'd give it a little love by adding an exclamation mark. Seriously though, have a great day.

Here's what's pictured.

I have a thing for almonds...well nuts of any kind really. Healthy snack, happy tummy. Blue Diamond has the best selection of flavors and I'm currently obsessed with the rosemary and black pepper. Last month it was salt and vinegar. Before that, it was toasted coconut. Yum.

The plant is the symbol of a new day. Ash and I have murdered our share of plants. This little cut is from a plant in my dad's house. We're doing our part to keep it alive and it's working (yay!).

Red velvet cupcakes. Enough said.

A good Oscars party not only calls for an Oscar to pose with (see bottom row), it also calls for a red carpet cake complete with a ball gown donned celebrity Barbie. The dress is a cake. So yummy.

We hung out at Grand Central Station to check out the 100 year anniversary exhibit. Haven't had to commute through there in quite a while. It was a good day that called up some fun memories. The vintage luggage on the bottom row is from the exhibit.

I spend a lot of time with that little pup. A year ago, I said no when Ash asked me if I wanted a pup. Now, I couldn't love her more.

LOVE in the month of love. This was my latest artistic contribution to a series of prints and paintings focused on the word.

Black nails were the choice for a few weeks in February. I think it's a pretty common color now but I always stayed away from it. Seemed sad to me before. Then I decided that colors aren't sad. It's chic. I like it.

Super indulgent spinach dip at Yard House for a lunch with one of my favorite people.

Beads and charms for my latest gratitude project.

Monday Quotable

I seem to be picking up more books than I have time for these days. I've already committed to reading at least one book a month (with some allowances for overlap when I am too busy to block out solid reading time) but it seems like little gems that help with motivation, life, relationships, etc. keep popping up. The monthly reading is a fictional escape but I have to work in books with practical application as I can. After seeing an interview with don Miguel Ruiz yesterday, I decided the next book in that group would be The Four Agreements. Apparently, I am WAY late to the game but who cares? There's no time like the present. Honestly, after seeing what the four agreements are, how can I resist?

Have you read The Four Agreements? What did you think?

*Photo is of the Zodiac constellation mural on the ceiling in the Main Concourse of Grand Central Station. It is the 100th anniversary of Grand Central Station and it has held a special place in my heart since I first visited NYC as a teen. Years later when my dream of living in the city came true, I commuted through here every day until my office left downtown. It is still one of my favorite NYC landmarks.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Playlist

I was blasting Emeli Sande on the drive home yesterday (love her) when Wonder* came on. I love the song so I decided to listen twice. As I was singing along, it struck me how uplifted I felt by that song. How could I not be?

"I can beat the night, I’m not afraid of thunder/I am full of light, I am full of wonder...Though our feet might ache, the world’s upon our shoulders/No way we goin’ break, ‘cos we are full of wonder.

Good stuff, right? With that good feeling in mind, I created today's playlist. It is full of songs that make me feel good about myself when I am down, make me want to see the best in others, or push me to move forward when I might feel like backing down. Hope they do the same for you! Happy Friday!

*Wonder appears on Emeli Sande's Our Version of Events.
*Photo is one I took of an exhibit during Chicago's Ideas Week.