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Introducing: Six Weeks of Wellbeing

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November 27, 2013

Hello lovelies! How is your Thanksgiving break going? I'm in Florida with my family and I've been cooking all day which makes me super proud of myself haha. This girl cannot cook at all. I even took a picture of my potatoes to send H's mother since she's always trying to get me to cook. Y'all should be proud of me.

I want to tell y'all about a sort of project I'm doing for myself and invite you to join in. If you recall, one of my goals for the rest of the year was to do something good for myself everyday for the rest of the year and write it down. And I'm really excited about this. I'm putting more thought into building health into my life: healthy relationships, healthy eating + exercise, and healthy attitudes. 

If you'd like to join me, you're more than welcome to! At the end of each week (ending on Wednesdays), I'll be sharing some of the things I did during the week to improve my wellbeing. I'd love if you commented and shared what you did!

This project will be going on for six weeks--five weeks until the end of the year and one more week to start off 2014 on a good foot (can you believe it's almost 2014?! I feel like 2002 was yesterday).

So how about you? Are you in? Let's dedicate some time to our own wellbeing! 
Your turn: I plan to do things like call my grandmother, write thank you notes, and exercise. What ideas do you have for improving your wellbeing?  

recent design + folk music + the correct plural of platypus

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November 23, 2013
Hello lovelies! I hope you have had a splendid week and are ready for the weekend (I'm sure you are)! I have personally had a pretty great week! I've had a lot to do, especially design and it's been fantastic.

Most recently, I finished a redesign for Dee at A Deecoded Life filled with hues of lavender and a peaceful vibe. 

Anyways, I really love it and I know Dee does too! :) I also installed my most popular template (the "Honey Sugar") on Kathryn's blog "As Told By Kathryn". Super cute, right?

So I've been having a great weekend! Last night, H and I went to a concert for Keelan Donovan and Folk Soul Revival, who were both fantastic. Oh but we had both had super busy weeks and we got pizza (and garlic knots!) before the concert so I was like straight up falling asleep, even though the show was really good. I was literally dying (terrible use of literally #sorrynotsorry). Moving on, here are a few of my favorite songs that are literally awesome (completely appropriate use of literally):

Science Bit of the Day
Today's science bit is about platypuses, which unfortunately is the official plural, as I learned today. I've actually always said platypi, just to be annoying and pretentious. But anyways, here are eight things that you didn't know about platypuses unless you're just weird. For example, platypuses can use their bills to pick up mild electric signals in their prey. Cool, right? We're so nerdy.

That's all for today!

Over and out, nerdballs.

4 Genius TEDTalks (Part Two!)

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November 19, 2013
You can see Part One here!

Hello lovelies! As promised, I'm here to share some of my very favorite TEDTalks with you today. But
first off, how was your day? In the comments below, tell me one great thing that happened to you today! For me, I got a big statistics test back and got a 96. Oh yes, bow down.

Haha anyways, I hope you have had a fantastic day and if you live in my part of the world, hopefully you're getting ready for bed (which is what I should be doing right now....). If not, watch some of these TEDTalks and prepare to feel your brain literally stretch (bad use of the word literally)!

1. My hero (as of yesterday) Eva Vertes talks about the future of cancer research. Oh and she was only 19 when she gave this talk.

2. Holly Morris talks about what a person's connection to 'home' can mean--and why it makes a group of women live in Chernobyl.

3. Iwan Baan: Ingenious homes in unexpected places.

4. And finally, in a classic but wonderful TEDTalk, David Christian tells the history of the world in 18 minutes.

What about you? What's your favorite TEDTalk? Don't forget to tell me something great that happened to you today!

weekly wishes + orderliness + hippo flips

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November 18, 2013
Hello pretties! ]Can I just say this is the second weekend in a row that has just been fantastic? My team won our soccer championship earlier today, I love my new design + I've just been blessed by so many kind words from so many kind people today. I'm just really, really grateful.

As far as weekly wishes go, last week I made a goal to watch a TEDTalk everyday. So I failed at that; I maybe only watched them three days. But I watched more than seven talks so I'm counting this week as a success. I'll be sharing my favorites in the next few days!

In this coming week, I want to practice orderliness which sounds like something I'd be practicing in 18th century England or something, but it's more of a state of mind. I actually looked it up + it means 'the quality of appreciating method or system". And that's a big thing I strive for. Whether that means keeping my things organized or my living space or just my mind, I want to keep my life neat.

Science Bit of the Day

Not super sciencey, just cool. (Image + excerpt from The Guardian)

The week in wildlife: An elephant bull charges a female hippopotamus

An elephant bull charges a female hippopotamus as her calf scampers to safety. This female hippo was flipped several feet into the air as she stood her ground against an aggressive elephant bull at the Erindi Private Game Reserve in Namibia. (The hippo was just fine) (Also, how cute is the calf?!) Photo by Rian van Schalkwyk/Barcroft Media.

4 Simple Goals (Before 2014!)

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November 12, 2013

Hello dears! It's been a day of highs and lows. Classes were less than great today but I met my supervisor for my internship (with my town's Storm Water Services) + we planned out my time there + different projects I'll be working on. I'm most excited for a toxicology project we're planning on a local stream that involves collecting algae + bugs + identifying them under microscopes. AHH microscopy!! Macroinvertebrate testing! So much exciting!!

....and I lost you all. ANYWAYS. Point is, that was super exciting for me. For real, I want this internship to start like yesterday. What's been exciting for you today?!

Shifting gears (sorry, I'm incapable of making non-awkward segues), I want share some goals of mine. If you've been around here long enough, you know I'm like beyond analytical. If you looked it up in the dictionary, it would just be a whole page picture of me. I mean, I'm the girl that plans out my day to the minute. So of course, goals are totally up my allie (...see what I did there?). SO, since I already make weekly goals all the time, I had to come up with a new idea. How about goals for now until the end of the year?!

Disclaimer--yeah, I didn't come up with this. These girls did.

1. Exercise twice a week, consistently. I know this is the less than the recommended amount and all, but let's face it, I've got stuff to do + I just can't commit to much more. That said, I'll aim for 3-4, but let's be realistic.

2. Do something good for myself everyday. As long as I go out of my way to do it, it counts. Eating fruit for dessert instead of that glorious key lime pie in my freezer, going for a run, doing yoga, spending time outside--all count!

3. Journal 5+ days a week. I'm really just going to set the bar obscenely low and challenge myself to a sentence a day. Like I said, let's be realistic.

4. Love myself. It's just not happening enough lately. And let's be honest, I'm one rocking female, so it needs to be happening.

What are your goals for the rest of the year?

weekly wishes + tedtalks + shark hearts

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November 10, 2013

Hello nuggets! First off, can we just admire this picture (source)? Look at the purple in those clouds! Gorgeous. Secondly, I hope your weekend has been full of good food and fun! I had one of the best weekends I've had in a long time. It included winning a soccer game, lots of design, some really good deep talks with H and actually being productive for once.

Last week (aka like three weeks ago), I made a goal to come up with ten new ideas for blog posts. Well, ladies + gents, I'm just a blog brainstorming bombshell because I actually came up with twenty-six new ideas. That's right. Granted they're not all really solid ideas, but there's six or seven posts that I'm really excited for. So now you have a reason to stick around (well, and my lovely face)!

I didn't use my gratitude journal at all, but I feel like I've been doing better about keeping schoolwork in perspective. Oh, I'll still complain; I'll find something worth complaining about in anything if you give me enough time. But I'm grateful for the work, really, I am.

This coming week, I will watch a TEDTalk every day. I did this a few months ago and it was really, really a lovely goal. I loved sharing my favorites with you at the end of the week + I think you all enjoyed it as well. So I'll plan to do that this week again. Do any of you watch TEDTalks? Care to make some recommendations?
Science Bit of the Day

WARNING! Don't click on this if you get grossed out easily, because it's sorta nasty. But for real, grow a pair and click on it, because it's super cool. I just had to warn you. Anyways, I saw this article about a week ago about a shortfin mako shark that got caught in New York (on accident). Two tapeworm taxonomists took the shark + dissected it to look for parasites. What they found is super gross (aka stop reading now, you pansies). They found that two anguilliform fish (aka eels) that normally live out in open water, had just been chilling out in the shark's heart. While it was still alive. Yeah, I know, nasty. But kinda freaky awesome too. You should go look at the picture and congratulate yourself for being a strong-willed human being.

happy things + taking it easy [free desktop wallpaper]

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November 09, 2013
Hello m'dears! Happy Saturday! Something about today just feels like a good day, am I right?

I spent the morning at my brother's football game + the book store where I found a brand new magazine called "Live Happy". And of course, I just had to pick that baby up and take him home with me (after paying for it, duh). I haven't read it yet but I've flipped through it and it just looks great. It has articles about incorporating happiness in your work, relationships, health and just your life overall. You can read more about the magazine here.

On the note of happy things, I just wanted to share this article on Pope Francis embracing a disfigured man. I'm not Catholic, but it still impresses me to see a man as the face of the church who seems so genuinely loving. I think we all can support that, no matter our religion!

And again on the note of happy things, I want to share some design that I was working on last night. I've been practicing with handlettering and putting it on design. And so with autumn basically here, this design seemed just perfect! I love it and hope you do too--just click it to download!

Have a wonderful weekend; take it easy!

get happy in 10 minutes (or less!)

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November 05, 2013
Hi lovelies! What a crazy Tuesday! My day's just been all over the place--how was yours?

Lately, I’ve been in one of those life stages where everything is just cah to the razy. You know what I’m talking about: late nights, stress, no time for ANYTHING. And I’ve been trying to figure it out in my own life–how do I stay happy when it feels like I literally don’t have time to be happy?

The trick that I’ve found is to find things or activities that give you a good ratio of happy to time used. That is, I wanted to find things that would boost my mood but not require hours of my time. I call these “shots of happy“. So when I get stressed or down, no matter what I’m doing, I carve out ten minutes and take a metaphorical shot and get on my merry way.

I’ve found that even when I’m busier than Martha Stewart at Christmas, those ten minutes are crucial. “But it feels like I’m wasting time!” my inner voice says. WRONG. Spending time on yourself is never a waste–but you should still use your time wisely! I encourage you to take ten minutes when you’re stressed, just on yourself! I find it not only makes me happier, but also makes me work more efficiently and keeps my brain clear. Win-win!

So in the process of this little stressful journey of mine, I’ve found these ten fool-proof, quick, you-better-do-these shots of happy.

1. Go outside. Yeah, yeah, you know this, I know. But do you do it? Literally, go outside for ten minutes. The fresh air will clear your thoughts and the beauty around you will make you think happy thoughts and voila, less stress! If you want to go above and beyond, take your work outside (if possible) for a whole hour a day. Bonus points: keep track of how much you get done indoors vs. out. I’d bet you’re more productive outdoors!

2. Achieve a little goal. Studies (don’t ask me which study but I know I heard it somewhere!) show that achieving a goal, even if small, can immediately boost your mood! So I’m giving you some goals. Choose a square foot of your room–clean it. Throw away five things, even if they’re just scraps of paper. Do one little thing you’ve been putting off. Make sure your goal is small enough that you can complete it in ten minutes. Done it? Great! Now for bonus happy, make a big deal out of it. Pat yourself on the back (literally!). Tell yourself ‘yay’ (literally)! Write a facebook status about how proud you are of yourself (not literally…don't be that guy).

3. Give a really great compliment. If you’re busy, this might be the one for you. This doesn’t take ten minutes. Heck, it probably takes ten seconds. But it'll make you feel great, pinky swear. How do you give a really great compliment? In my opinion, the best compliments are two whole sentences, minimum. First sentence is I [really like/love/adore/envy] your [scarf, devilish smile, cute way of eating sushi]. It’s so [why you like it]. That’s all there is to it! For example: “I really love your dress. The shape makes you look so fit and the color really complements your eyes.” There you go. A+. Bonus points if you compliment a stranger.

4. Take a short drive. Take a road you’ve never taken before. Drive sketchily down random neighborhoods. Bonus points if you blast music and/or put the windows down.

5. Dance. Put on some fun music, close the blinds and dance. Just dance. Yes, you look stupid. Don’t let yourself care. Be silly for once. Bonus points: leave the curtains open! (gasp!)

6. Stretch. Take some deep breaths in; get the blood flowing. There are also lots of super short and easy yoga routines on Youtube. Some of my favorites are Erin Motz’s routines on DoYouYoga. Bonus points: invite a friend to stretch with you!

7. Read a book. Even in ten minutes a day, you have time to read. Choose a light read that you can pick up for just ten minutes today. No heavy nonfiction, think Nicholas Sparks or a comedian’s autobiography (David Sedaris or Tina Fey!) or something along those lines. Bonus points: read The Happiness Project.

8. Or, read some happy news. These days, it seems like every news paper or news channel is full of anger, murder, and war. For a happier alternative, try the Daily Good, the Good News Network or Happy News. Bonus points: set one as your homepage!

9. Write a thank you note to someone who doesn’t expect it. Your cleaning lady, the guy who gives you a smile along with your latte every morning, the friend that let you vent last week. No act is too small to appreciate and everyone loves knowing that they’re appreciated. Bonus: use a super cute card like any of these (free!) printables.

10. Choose your own shot of happy. Let’s be honest, there are some things that you really enjoy that other people might not! For me, that means noodling around on Photoshop or eating Chinese takeout. You do you, girl. (Or boy. I’m sure I have a few male readers…)

And there you go! If you learn one thing from this post, please know this: you are never, ever too busy to be happy.

Music for a productive day.

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November 03, 2013
Hello lovelies! Happy Sunday! I hope your day is restful and productive as you get ready for the week. Speaking of restful--daylight savings = awesome. This girl got like ten hours of sleep last night and that's pretty great.

Sunday is probably the day of the week when I do the most work. I always try to convince myself that I'm gonna finish all my work on Friday afternoons but all of a sudden, I find it's Saturday night and I've been watching Lifetime movies and New Girl hanging out with all the people that are just begging to hang out with me all day. So then I basically have to do everything on Sunday. (Seriously, you'd think I'd figure it out by now that it's not really a great system.)

But anyways, I believe that when you have a great amount of work, great music is necessary. So here's some music to get you through all your Sunday work.

We sound like this. Together. from xannie.julo on 8tracks Radio.

oh, my stars. from allielynn24 on 8tracks Radio.

One for the Road: Hope the Good Things Never Die from JanJohannus on 8tracks Radio.

What music have you been listening to lately?

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