Book Report: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I read this book a couple of years ago, reread it recently, and enjoyed it as much as the first time. Gretchen Rubin is very relatable and her whole project is inspiring. One of my favorite parts of the book is when she writes her own "Commandments" and "Secrets of Adulthood."

A couple of hers that have stuck with me:

  • Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good
  • You can choose what you do; you can't choose what you like to do

And I wrote a few of my own:

  • It's more important to be kind than to be funny (you almost always regret the cheap laugh)
  • Bring snacks & always have gum
  • You get your best work done before 1pm
  • If you need to get something done, turn off gchat and turn on something with a beat
  • Most of the time, you're doing alright
  • Be at least 15 minutes early to any interview/important meeting
  • A night in at home can totally count as "plans" if it needs to
  • Just say hello
  • Breathe 
My favorite quote from this reading was this: "Enthusiasm is a form of social courage."
YES. It takes courage to be excited about something, without reservation or worry of appearing uncool. But the world is better, and I know I'm happier, when I'm enthusiastic about life.

P.S. I emailed Gretchen Rubin about one of her blog posts a few weeks ago and she sent me a very sweet reply last week. Classy lady.

P.P.S. Unrelated, but is anyone else watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? I know it's got some PG-13 humor, but I can't.stop.watching.


Salt of the Earth


"In the future, if you were to be one of the Time 100: Most Influential People in the World, what would you be known for?"

Someone posed this question to me the other day. After thinking about it for a minute, I muttered off something about writing the next Great American Novel. Maybe I'd be the Harper Lee of the Millennial generation, I thought.

But the thing is, I probably won't make it on that list. And I'm okay with that.

Over the past few years, I have realized more and more that my life doesn't have to be magazine-cover worthy in order to be worth living. That's not to say I don't hope to influence many people for good, or leave the world a better place because I lived in it. But if I am just one of the hundreds of millions of good, influential people who never make front page headlines, I don't think I will be disappointed with my life.

In December, I saw a local production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town. Since I first read it, it has been one of my favorite stories. I love how the narrator introduces us to each character as he or she is going about their daily seemingly insignificant business.

I don't really think it's insignificant, though. I think the foundation of life is made up of those daily tasks. There is bread to be made and babies to be fed and math lessons to be taught and vegetables to be grown.

I am enamored with small American towns and I'm drawn to stories like Our Town and To Kill a Mockingbird* and places like Grover's Corners and Maycomb because I think that's where we see humanity at its purest. I admire the people on Time's list and their accomplishments deserve recognition and praise, but I don't relate to them in the same way I relate to the salt-of-the-Earth kind of humans I grew up with or who I read about in books.

But who knows, maybe I really will write the next Great American Novel. Or maybe, try to live it.

*I could write a whole blog post just about my love for To Kill a Mockingbird. Oh wait, I already did.


Update on the 25 before 25

Since I turned 26 last October, maybe it's time to prove I actually checked off some of the below.

25 before I turn 25:

1. Spend some time in foreign country (El Salvador, more about that here if you're interested)
2. Learn to cook (Check)
3. Learn how to use graphic design programs (ehhh...not so much)
4. Read 25 new books (Check, proof here)
5. Let myself fall in love (Hmm...that's still up for debate, but I have learned an awful lot about love)
6. Go to New York City (Check)
7. Define my political opinions a little more; be more knowledgeable (Definitely)
8. Record a CD with Brittany in a recording studio (A dream that has yet to be fulfilled)
9. Learn to play guitar (Nah)
10. Write an up-tempo song (Check, Songwriting 101)
11. Learn to not be afraid of driving (Fears conquered. And also avoided since I live in New York)
12. Use my writing skills for good (Check)
13. Kiss someone at midnight on New Year's Eve (Not yet)
14. Donate something (time/money) each year to worthy causes (excluding tithing/fast offerings) (Check)
15. Become fluent in Spanish (We'll say...conversant)
16. Create something I am really proud of: a song, a painting, a dance, an idea, a wedding dress (A portfolio and a life in New York)
17. Learn to like vegetables (Shocking to some, but yes)
18. Start a collection of records (Keeping my CDs around for when they become the new retro trend)
19. Take a cross-country road trip (Still waiting for this opportunity!)
20. Go to a really good concert or two (Yes and yes and yes)
21. Get paid to use my talents (no matter how little) (Big girl job in NYC)
22. Spend some time with my family in the Deep South (2013 Charleston trip with L & K)
23. Share my talents. For once, really show off (Yup)
24. Take full advantage of the dance opportunities available to me (Ballroom days at BYU...)
25. Read each of these at least once, all the way through (Carrying this over to 30 before 30)


Since I moved to New York and started my first "big girl" job, I sort of lost interest in this blog and became distracted with other things. I spend the majority of my work day staring at a computer screen, so the idea of coming home and opening my laptop hasn't been so appealing.

But I miss having an outlet to write creatively. To use symbolism, to get romantic, to ramble on and on and on a little bit.

So, I'm back. And hello again to those of you who might still be reading.

Stay tuned.


I'm still here

I don't know why I've felt so uninspired to write on this blog lately, since I live in one of the most inspiring and interesting cities.

Anyway, this post is nothing more to say that I'm still here and sometime I'll get around to writing something meaningful and possibly more poetic.

For now, a list of current favorite things will have to suffice:

1. The Killers album "Battle Born." In its entirety. Either in the album order or on shuffle. It's an experience.
2. The New York Public Library. I don't think I've ever read for pleasure as regularly in my life as I do now. Browsing the shelves of the branch near my office is one of my favorite lunchtime pastimes.
3. My new apartment and roommates. I have my own room and bought big girl bedroom furniture. One of life's greatest joys right now is the knowledge that I can sleep smack in the middle of my full size bed and take up as much space as I want.
4. Sunshine in New York City and watching Bryant Park literally come back to life from its winter hibernation.
5. Making new friends, seeing people when they come to visit, and getting excited for old friends to move back to this city.
6. Green smoothies in the morning and frozen yogurt at night. It's all about balance.
7. Good girl talk sessions.
8. Brunch. This has got to be one of my absolute favorite parts of NYC culture.

It's warming up in this city and that means summer skirts and farmers markets and sun-dried hair and beach/lawn reading. Oh, this life I'm living in this city that is most of the time very normal and not like a Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks movie does have its moments of magic, I'll admit.


The Impossible

A couple of friends and I went to see this on Friday night and it was an all-encompassing emotional powerhouse. I can't even think of the right words to describe it. Not only is the story incredibly moving, but the film was put together so well. I can't imagine how many production designers, makeup artists, and other crew members it took. 

Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor were absolutely fantastic. And the kids, oh my, the young actors who played the three boys did such a good job. 

I don't think I've ever been so emotionally affected by a film before. From about 10 minutes into the film, I lost it. It was heartbreaking to see such intense human suffering so close, but the experience was well worth all the tears. 

Go see it. It's an amazing, real story. 


Oh, city life

I used to try and write beautiful things on this blog.

And lately, I just haven't really felt the urge or inspiration, but somehow that has made me feel like I can't write the everyday ordinary details of my life.

Which is a shame, because the ordinary, everyday details are beautiful in their everyday, ordinary way.

The strangers I smile at on the subway.
The music I hear all around me through the street and subway musicians, the roar of the trains and the the steps of fellow New Yorkers. The hustle and bustle has a soundtrack that is all New York's own.

Sometimes, my out-of-town friends tell me my life here looks like a movie. My life isn't a movie, but there are definitely moments where it feels like one.

For example: You know how in timeless New York movies like You've Got Mail,* the background music in grocery stores and sandwich shops is always something by Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin?

Well, that really happens. And it's one of my favorite things about this city.

And other days a full-on a capella ensemble a la Pitch Perfect remixes it up on the subway all the way home. Aca-unbelievable.

That's all for now.

*Which, might I add, Nora Ephron said was her "love letter to the Upper West Side." How can you not love that?

PS: On a completely unrelated note, and I realize I'm pretty late to this party, but this has been on repeat:


I'm a sucker for an Oregon boy in flannel.


Once upon a time...

I used to write on this blog.

Somehow, after moving to New York City, the summer got busy and the fall and winter got busier and neither of those is a very good excuse, really, for never writing on this little blog, but somehow I haven't felt inspired to do so until now.

So welcome back, any of you who still follow.

Since it would be impossible to catch you up on everything that has happened in the past 8 months, here are some of the highlights:

I have made New York City my current home. After my internship this summer, I stuck around for a few weeks as a freelancer and then accepted my first, real world job offer. Woohoo!

I graduated from college! (This was made official after I finished my internship, although I participated in the April commencement ceremonies).

I survived Hurricane Sandy (and was very blessed to have been very unaffected personally) and volunteered with the cleanup efforts afterward. It was heartbreaking to see so many homes destroyed, but everything people say about the resilience and strength of New Yorkers is true. The people of this city are truly remarkable.

I've taken weekend or day trips to Washington D.C., Boston, and Philadelphia. I'm still amazed at how much history and character this coast has to explore.

I went to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade! Lifelong dream: check

I planned and paid for my first real, PTO-using vacation. And yes, we went to Disney World. My best NYC homegirl Kirstin and I flew down to Orlando to visit my friend Alex for a weekend in January. We spent 3 days channeling our elementary school selves, riding rides, eating ice cream, soaking up Florida sunshine, and snapping pictures with Mickey Mouse. We even fit in a much-needed day trip to the beach. What a blast.

I have eaten my way through this fabulous city exploring new restaurants, museums, and interesting music venues, played for days in Central Park, found favorite bookstores and farmers markets, mastered the subway system, made some really great friends and discovered that this small-town girl can kick it with the big leagues.

Here's to the rest of this year, and many more to come!