Archive | March, 2010

Self Happiness Manifesto – How to Feel Good and Be Happy Anyway!!

31 Mar

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This is it, folks! The grand finale of my Self Happiness Manifesto series! (if you go to the bottom, there will be a listing of all of the Self-Happiness Manifesto posts I have made.)

So here we go: How to feel good (and be happy) anyway! This is one of the longest posts I have ever written, so sit back, relax, and enjoy it!

1. Be Grateful!

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”

-G. K. Chesterton

I’m sure that at some point in your life (if not at many points), you have heard the phrase; “the grass is always greener on the other side”. This can be true – people often love to want what they cannot have as a way of escaping the unsatisfying doldrums of their own lives.  The key to avoiding this dilemma is to be immensely grateful for what you DO have. This doesn’t have to necessarily refer to your material possessions, think of the many qualities and experiences that you have that make you unique. You’re an extremely special person with amazing gifts, and it would benefit you greatly to remember that!

Be thankful for everything, big and small. The world is full of amazing gifts that are hiding in plain sight. The key is recognizing them and appreciating them for what they are. This can be as small as the first breath you take when waking in the morning, to the endless night sky that sparkles for you every night.  Remember the people who are in your corner, give you support, cheer you up when you’re down and congratulate you when you’re up. The people smiling at you on the street as well as the people who adore you unconditionally.

The other way to show your gratefulness is to give back! The fact that you are reading this site, on the internet, shows that you have a privilege many people don’t have in their lives. Whether you donate or do a community service, give back to the world. Need ideas? Just try googling “how to get involved” or “get involved with [insert cause/organization here]. There’s pages upon pages of information waiting for you! If you don’t have money to donate, or you don’t have the time or ability to make a large commitment like Peace Corps or Teach for America, start small! Put your skills to use: offer to help someone with minor household fixes or basic upkeep. Turn in that old clothing to your local Goodwill. Help pick up trash around your neighborhood. Spend an afternoon volunteering at the local YMCA or Boys and Girls club or become a mentor for a child in need. Train to help out at the local animal shelter, homeless shelter or nursing home. The possibilities are endless!

Approaching the world with gratefulness and wonder can really change your outlook. Sometimes this is hard – the world is gloomy and dark, nothing is going right, and all you can manage is a scowl – and that’s okay! We all have those days. The key is to remember what is good in the world. Keep a list of what – and who – makes you happy. Update it and refer to it often. Remember that things aren’t as bad as they look, and that every span of time, both good and bad, is only a blip in the world’s timeline. That’s the reason I write Slowed Down Sundays – so I, personally, can remember what is worth being thankful for.  Remembering life’s little joys can help you stop and smell the roses in your own life, so to speak.

2. Make Some Goals!

“It takes as much time to wish as it does to plan.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Story time! There was a time in my life when I felt really down – about everything. I was sulky, moody and reclusive all the time, it felt like. The worst part? I had no idea why. My life was going pretty well. I was attending a great school, I had a stable job, a boyfriend, good friends, a supportive family…what was the problem? What did I have to complain about? Why did I feel so…blah? (For lack of a better word, of course)

After reflecting and meditating on it, (more on that on a later date) as well as having a much needed a pep-talk with my mother, I finally realized what my problem was: I felt stagnant. My life was going well, but it wasn’t going anywhere, if that makes sense. I was going through the motions instead of truly living my life. There were no real exciting prospects on the horizon, just more of the same. Day in, day out.

The best method that I could come up with to rid myself of stagnation was to make plans and goals for myself –and it could work for you too! It could be as simple as tackling that book you’ve been meaning to read or as grand as changing the world. Never underestimate how exciting looking forward to something can be.

What makes goals so hard is that they can often be easier to make than to actually do – it’s easy to come up with a fabulous aspiration, but what to do once you’ve made one? If you follow the quote by Mrs. Roosevelt above, it won’t be nearly as difficult. Yes, you think, I would love to drop what I’m doing and travel the world/run a marathon/write the next great modern novel/win a Nobel Peace Prize/etc! But how do I do that? If you have a giant, intimidating goal staring you in the face, it may be difficult to start, because you have no idea what starting is: where do you even begin?

The key is making the goal less abstract and more concrete, and the way to do that is to break it down into steps. What do you need to do to get to where you’re going? Evaluate what you already have ready and what you need to succeed at your goal. How do you carry out getting those things? Want to travel the world? Maybe you need to apply for a passport, first. Divide it into tasks that can be achieved one at a time. It might seem more tedious, but you’ll enjoy seeing your progress as you steadily move towards your goal. Bonus: you are less likely to stop and ask yourself, “What’s next?” A great way to do this is by making a list – it’s extremely gratifying to check a task off and see how much closer you’re getting!

Having something to strive for can do wonders for your well-being, not to mention the immense feeling of accomplishment that you can get once you meet your goals. And what do you do then? Make new ones, of course!

3. Be Kind to Yourself

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

-Buddha

Congratulations!  You’re not perfect!  It’s ridiculous to want to be perfect anyway.  But then, everybody’s ridiculous sometimes, except perfect people.  You know what perfect is?  Perfect is not eating or drinking or talking or moving a muscle or making even the teensiest mistake.  Perfect is never doing anything wrong – which means never doing anything at all.  Perfect is boring!  So you’re not perfect!  Wonderful!  Have fun!  Eat things that give you bad breath!  Trip over your own shoelaces!  Laugh!  Let somebody else laugh at you!  Perfect people never do any of those things.  All they do is sit around and sip weak tea and think about how perfect they are.  But they’re really not one-hundred-percent perfect anyway.  You should see them when they get the hiccups!  Phooey!  Who needs ‘em?  You can drink pickle juice and imitate gorillas and do silly dances and sing stupid songs and wear funny hats and be as imperfect as you please and still be a good person.  Good people are hard to find nowadays.  And they’re a lot more fun than perfect people any day of the week.  ~Stephen Manes, Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days!

I absolutely adore both of these quotes, so I couldn’t pick just one! The fact of the matter is, they’re both correct. Nobody’s perfect. Mistakes and flaws are a part of life, unfortunately. But there is no reason to beat yourself up!

When looking at yourself in the mirror, rather than saying, “My butt is huge, my thighs jiggle, my acne is horrendous…” think along the lines of, “My eyes are gorgeous, I have a wonderful smile and beautiful curves”. Everyone – yes, EVERYONE, is beautiful. This is another time where keeping a list may be beneficial. Remind yourself what makes you a beautiful and special person. There is a difference between seeing yourself as a lost cause and accepting your flaws while knowing everyone has room for improvement. Hey, you can always make personal fitness a goal of yours, anyway! (Note: Before you take any extreme steps (ESPECIALLY diets) to alter your weight, please read Gala Darling’s article about this topic)

This, of course, is not just limited to your external appearance. People (including me, I’ll admit it!) have the tendency to be extremely harsh on themselves, especially when it comes to mistakes that they have made.

Newsflash! Everyone makes mistakes. EVERYONE. You aren’t stupid, you’re human. Another thing? It’s probably not the end of the world. I promise you. No, really, I do. If it spell the end of the world, find me and I’ll buy you a nice cream soda. (Then again, if the world has ended, where would I find cream soda?) I know it feels impossible to think of it this way – I speak from experience – but really try: Will this matter a year from now? Will it even matter a month from now? A week? Also be sure to ask yourself what is probably the most important question: What do you do now? From experience, you are probably the last person to forget about your personal faux-pas. People more on a lot faster than you might think.

When it comes to mistakes, while it is useful (and essential) to use them for future reference, there is nothing to be gained from beating yourself up about it constantly. The real challenge is to move forward in a thoughtful way. That doesn’t mean putting it behind you and forgetting it ever happened, of course. It means doing what you can to remedy the situation as well as learning a valuable lesson from it. Many mistakes can be fixed, or at least improved. And as much as we wish we could, no one has the ability to time travel. Your only options exist in the now or later, not then. Accept that mistakes happen, and that you are a better person due to the learning experience they gave you. After all, you learn more from mistakes than you do from success.

4. Take the Initiative!

“Most people spend more time planning their grocery shopping than designing their future. The basic difference between people who live their dreams and those who only dream about how they would live, are

the accuracy of their plans, their ability to generate new ideas, and their ability to take action.”

— Unknown

It is easy to let life pass you by if you idly let it happen to you, rather living it yourself. While you have no control over certain things, like the sunrise, other people’s opinions or the fact that your next favorite movie doesn’t come out for another week, figure out what you can change and do it!

Are you sick of feeling sluggish and out of breath? Look into getting fit. Join a fitness club or join up with a fit friend for regular workouts.

Hate the food at the chain restaurants on your street? Look into cooking on your own. It can often be much cheaper AND much healthier.

Feeling down? There’s help! Speak to a professional and evaluate your options.

Want to write the next great novel? Put your pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard?) and get started!

Do you think the world is spinning out of control? SAY SOMETHING! There are thousands of organizations who would love a passionate voice to add to their ranks. Without the first step, there cannot be a movement!

5. Find Your Passion

“If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.”

-T. Alan Armstrong

There are many amazing hobbies and passions out in the world: writing, bird-watching, hula-hooping, playing an instrument, watching clouds, scaling mountains, walking dogs…

How will you know what sparks your mind unless you try it? Find what moves you, what drives you. Take a class in something new. If someone gives you the opportunity to try something you’ve never done, say yes! Variety is the spice of life, I’ve heard.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or be burned by an experience that was less than amazing – these are necessary risks that are a part of life. Look on the bright side: at least you know that it wasn’t for you, and you weren’t left wondering. When you find something that makes your heart sing and your brain work overtime, the possibilities may overwhelm you: they’re endless! Even better, you can find other people that share your passion, making it better for everyone involved.

I didn’t know I had a love for traveling until I took a risk and applied to be a Student Ambassador in high school. I had never traveled outside of the country before and I had certainly never rode in a plane somewhere without my parents. I didn’t know any of the other students on the trip, so the prospect of making friends concerned me. I didn’t speak the languages in any of the countries I visited either. Plus, I had absolutely no sense of direction. What if I got lost in Italy and never made it home? Side-note: I did get lost in Italy. Twice, actually. Enough times that I got a nickname in sign language that roughly translated to “Tara, who is lost”. As you can see, I clearly made it home. While it was a horrifying experience at the time, by the time I had returned to the US I was able to look back and laugh. Was it new, unknown, and therefore terrifying at times? Yes, of course. Did I get to do so many things I would’ve never done otherwise while having a fantastic time? Definitely! It was, hands down, the most life-changing experience I had ever had. (If you’re in middle school or high school, definitely look into it.) I have met friends that I still adore to this day, and I truly believe it made me a more well-rounded, confident and independent person. And if I had never taken the risk, it wouldn’t have happened!

So go on! Find something that you love – or throw yourself into something you already love! And be happy doing it!

Source

xoxo, Tara

ps – What is making YOU happy today?

Read the other Self-Happiness Manifesto Articles:

0. The Self Happiness Manifesto

1. Worry Less

2.  Smile More

3. Accept Criticism

4. Take Responsibility

5. Listen and Love

6. Embrace Change

Music Monday – Esthero

29 Mar

esthero : n.
1. faerie goddess;
2. wicked little girl;
3. a captivating and unmistakable voice that can take listeners on an incredibly immersive ride of emotion.

I couldn’t really find videos of Esthero’s recent music that weren’t performances, but one of the best things about her is the fact that her fantastic voice shines through, even on stage.

Known as “your favorite singer’s favorite singer”, I can’t express in words the massive amount of love I have for Esthero. Ever since Nuri H. introduced me to her second album, Wikked Lil’ Grrrls, back in 2005 (!), I have been a huge fan of this woman.

Her unique, soulful vibe is perfect for relaxing on a nice afternoon, as you let her smoky melodies travel to your eardrums. If you would like a more upbeat sound, listen to her more recent album, but for a more soothing experience, pop in Breath From Another, her debut album from 1998.

About Esthero,

Esthero emerged from the womb with headphones on, and from the moment she learned to press play, she and her stereo were inseparable. It was apparent from childhood that one day she would emerge as the pink pirate, luring the 5 senses towards a euphoric state, fulfilling music’s destiny. Her divine sound was birthed in a small town in southern Ontario, but cultivated in the musical mecca known as Toronto. A 16-year old Esthero, accompanied by her guitar, left home and placed the first brick in the path that would ultimately lead her to us. Too young, too pure and too driven to let any downward spiral drain her boundless energy, Esthero found all the strength she needed in her music. She held several jobs, including a merchandise seller for local rock bands.

What’s new with Esthero? According to Wikipedia, she has a new album on the way entitled Everything is Expensive, with a release date that has been yet to be determined. She recently previewed one of the songs from the album, Black Mermaid, on her official blog. Ever since it showed up on Twitter, I’ve had it on repeat, so I have high hopes for this new album.

You can purchase Esthero’s music on Amazon, Itunes, and wherever else fine music is sold.

So, what are you listening to on this Monday afternoon?

xoxo,

Tara

ps – I know I didn’t do a Slowed Down Sunday post this week! I was away this weekend and didn’t have time. There will definitely be one next week!

Weekend Links – 3/26/10

26 Mar

Weekend Links – 3.26.2010

Cute Food Color Wheel Cupcakessource

Happy Friday, everybody! Here are some great links to get your weekend started right!

◊So much is said about the pros and cons of buying organic, but this is an issue I think is easily as important: Why You Should Buy Local. Buying local not only supports local farmers, but it also saves energy by reducing the distance your food travels to get to you.

◊A nice pic-spam for you, courtesy of Oh No They Didn’t!:  GQ’s 50 Most Stylish Men. While there is one person on the list that is completely undeserving to be alongside such manly greatness (you’ll see it, trust me), it’s good to see guys looking good.

◊Hahaha, I just thought this was cute. The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Japanese Kaomoji!

In Japan hardly any email or IM message get written which doesn’t contain some form of smileys or emoticons.While emoji (graphical presentations of emoticons) are probably most known, “kaomoji” (from “kao” = face, “moji” = character) are the Japanese version of Western emoticons and there are practically endless variations available. The biggest difference to the Western counterpart is probably that they are read horizontally and you don’t need to turn your head to understand them, for example the Western emoticon for “Happy” looks like this :-) while the Japanese version looks like this (^_^).

There are many stereotypes about how the Japanese convey emotions and feelings, the most popular one is probably “the Japanese show no emotion“, but in fact the rich culture of kaomoji shows just how different the perception between Westerners and Japanese is. To fill in this blank, lovely Ako and I decided to create the ultimate visual guide to Japanese kaomoji.

◊Awesome posters. Awesome, awesome AWESOME posters. This is also the weekly wrap-up from Design*Sponge, so you can see a ton of other amazing links from around the web.

◊After the recent earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and Turkey, as well as the horrible injustices committed around the world, many people are wondering what they can do to help people in need. This is one website that is definitely worth a look: Massive Good. This specifically targets a few of the United Nation Millennium Development goals, which have been thrown off by the recent economic recession. Another pro? Excellent web design.

◊Another link from Design*Sponge (can you tell I love this blog?): How to make fantastic display art yourself, using basic sewing techniques. How awesome is that?

◊Speaking of sewing techniques, over at Luxirare, the magnificently artsy author of the blog details how she handcrafted her own white leather purse. Insane.

◊Another fun one: Incredibox. It makes your own cute little tunes. I find it is definitely useful in wasting some of my time away.

◊Over at Nuri A’s blog, beautiful photography by Juan Leguizamon.

◊On The Positivity Blog, “How to Get to Know Yourself Better”. Very useful and worth a read.

◊On the flickr blog, they show amazing photos of an Middle Eastern Souq, the commercial shopping districts.

◊Okay, this is really nerdy, but I feel the need to pass this along: PandoraFM. If you’re like me, you may have loved Pandora but were dismayed that it was incompatible with social music sharing application Last.fm. Well fear not! This website solves the problem quite handily. By the way, if you want to find me on Last.fm, here I am!

◊On Smashing Magazine, The Beauty of India in 50 Amazing Photos. Not much else to say, so click!

◊Via Clutch Magazine, “She Got Her Own”. DEFINITELY a must read.

You don’t need a man before you start living; life begins when you decide to show up. There’s no justification for lying around lazily with your hands tied behind your back waiting for the perfect reason to live beyond a marginal standard. It doesn’t take a male influence to give you that extra push. You can buy a house, get your education, raise a child as a single parent, pay off a car, and take a trip around the world, all without a man there to help you do it. Sure, it’s nice to have someone in your heart to share in those pleasantries, but while you’re waiting for your future, you need to be fostering your here and now.

LMAO.

Okay, that’s it, everybody! Hope your weekend is fantastic!

xoxo, Tara

Self Happiness Manifesto Part 6 – How to Embrace Change!

24 Mar

Change is the Only ConstantSource

We’re coming down the home stretch! Only one more article from the Self-Happiness Manifesto Series left!

This article relates to accepting, embracing and enjoying change. Changes can be minimal or monumental, positive or negative. While we cannot control change at all time, one thing that is within our power is how we react and adapt to it.

Assess the situation. What is changing? Why?

This kind of clarity can prepare you for what is coming next. That way you can understand both the potential difficulties as well as the potential opportunities, rather than being swept up in the tide of change with little control over your own destiny.

Free your Mind! (And the rest will follow!)

If you understood that cultural reference, four for you. Change is not always a bad thing! While some changes may seem bad at first glance, there is usually a benefit to them. Even if it seems like nothing good can come of the changes you have gone through, there is always a lesson that can be learned from the experience.

Positivity is Key!

Your attitude is a crucial part of the battle when it comes to surviving experiences, both good and bad. If you have your mind made up that the changes in your life are going to be plumbing the absolute depths of human misery, guess what? That’s probably what’s going to happen. You might be pleasantly surprised, sure, but if your mind isn’t prepared to accept the good in a situation, you are less apt to find it.

Be Honest With Yourself

One of the unfortunate side-effects of change can be added stress.  Whether it is a new opportunity, a new setting or a new job, new experiences that you are unused to can easily cause anxiety.

Even if you are extremely excited about the recent happenings in your life, it is worthwhile to recognize when you’re getting stressed out as well. You don’t want your wonderful opportunities to become a constant source of tension and anxiousness!

Step back every once in a while and return to what you find comfortable and relaxing. When you have taken a breather, feel free to jump back in!

Talk to Someone

This goes for the good and the bad. It’s important to share your feelings with someone so they know what you are going through. This can also put the various changes in your life into perspective, in a way you might have not seen by yourself.

Embrace the change.

No matter how difficult this is. And it can be difficult sometimes, believe me.

Perhaps the change is happening for a reason? Perhaps it needed to happen? What can you gain from it? What can you learn?

Try to have fun. See the good in the little things in life that make everything worthwhile. And when things are bad, this is when you grow as a person. As Faith Evans sang, “If I had to do it all again, I wouldn’t take away the pain, ‘cause I know it made me who I am.”

After reflecting on it, perhaps you’ll see that change really isn’t so bad. This may happen in the midst of change, or perhaps during hindsight. Regardless, you still may have everything you need surrounding you.

How do you embrace change? Please share in the comments.

Xoxo,

Tara

Read the other Self Happiness Articles Here:

0. The Self Happiness Manifesto

1. Worry Less

2.  Smile More

3. Accept Criticism

4. Take Responsibility

5. Listen and Love

Kisses Never Taste So Sweet – A Review of FSL Cosmetics’ Lipgloss

23 Mar

FSL Cosmetics

If you know me, you would know that I’m no makeup expert. The best I can hope for is a relatively straight line of eyeliner with a decent application of eyeshadow – and that is only on my good days.

But the one thing I know well?

Lipgloss.

Being a tired, frazzled, makeup-clueless college student, chapstick and lipgloss have become the most essential component of my make-up arsenal. I know how lovely that shimmering coat of gloss look on your lips as well as how annoying it can be when the wind blows your hair into your face and it sticks to your mouth, leaving you in the awkward position of spitting your hair out and dealing with sticky ends for the next few hours.

So along comes FSL Cosmetics, sent my way due to a contest held at the Style and Beauty Doctor. The story behind the lipgloss was tantalizing.

The creator of the brand, Kimberly Riley has a bachelors in Chemical Engineering with double minors in Chemistry and Engineering and was heavily involved in the creation of her cosmetics. All the lipglosses are hypoallergenic, consist of a vitamin-rich, antioxidant-potent formula that is healthy and nourishing for your lips. They are also 100% free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, GMOs (generally modified organisms), nut oil, gluten, and talc. They don’t test on animals and the lip gloss containers are 100% recyclable. With Earth Day coming up, this isn’t a moment too soon!

After all of that, I was dying to try this lipgloss. The verdict?

Here is the lipgloss when I first put it on. Because of the sunlight, it's a bit hard to see.

I am amazed. No really – I am. It is everything I could have ever wanted in a lipgloss. Unlike most lipglosses, which are sticky, it’s a light, smooth feeling that rolls right on – and stays! It’s fantastic. Also, it lasted an incredibly long time – hours – and even survived lunch. Even better is the scent – it smells like brownies! What more can you ask for? I also like the color a lot – while it appears to be sheer on me, that’s partly because of the camera flash (the pigment is much stronger in person) and also because I used a minimal amount (a hint of color is all I usually tend to strive for). One or two coats later and your lips will be golden, baby!

I loaned it to a friend to briefly try, and her reaction to my enthusiasm was ambivalence – she’s much more of a makeup expert than I am, so she is much harder to impress. In her opinion, my shining review was probably due to inexperience.

After lunch. I had to reapply a bit at this point, but it was still there, which is impressive.

Wrong.

After using the lipgloss, she stood in stunned silence and could only utter, “I am …impressed.” Enough said. But seriously, this is the most fantastic lipgloss I have ever used, hands down. Definitely recommended!

"Give me sullen." This is the lipgloss later on that evening. As you can see, the color is still there.

You can buy your own lipgloss (or lipstick) at FSL Cosmetics. You can also find them on Twitter. The creator of the company (as mentioned above) is just about the coolest woman ever, so make sure to follow her and say hi!

xoxo,

Tara

Music Monday – Teedra Moses

22 Mar

I absolutely adore Teedra Moses. Her song, “Out of My Head” was the background music to someone’s personal website (and while I’m glad I got was introduced to her, I’m glad people don’t do this very often anymore) and I was left wondering who this woman with the gorgeous, lilting vocals was. Then, Nuri H. exposed me to her début album, Complex Simplicity, and it I was a fan from then on.

She is absolutely fantastic and it is criminal that she doesn’t have a legitimate recording deal with greater exposure. Her soulful voice got me through some trying times in high school and more people should know about her greatness.

As Rich from Fourfour said in his Album Catchup, about her latest mixtape Royal Patience, which is available for free on her official website:

I don’t know if this counts as crossing the line from urgency to desperation, but last month Teedra started offering a collection of what sound like demos for free via her websiteRoyal Patience is filled with what sound like unpolished tracks begging to be fleshed out (someone please give “Everybodyrock!” the sub bass it’s pleading for!), and even still they amaze more than not. Download it and be amazed that the woman who’s released the best R&B song this year (“Kisses Never Taste So Sweet”) is working pro bono. Need a snapshot of how fucked up the music industry is at this point? Look no further.

Listen to the song, Kisses Never Taste So Sweet, below:

About Teedra, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Moses was born and raised in New OrleansLouisiana, to a gospel singer mother, Shirley Moses. She later moved to Los Angeles after her parents’ divorce. Moses brought a little bit of that fervor to her own vocal style when she began singing professionally. The final song on her debut album, “I Think of You (Shirley’s Song)”, is dedicated to her late mother.

Prior to becoming a recording artist, Moses worked with her best friend Nonja McKenzie as an assistant wardrobe stylist for artists such as Will SmithKelisR. Kelly, andNo Doubt. It was after breaking her leg on a video set that Moses decided to follow her heart and begin making music.

It’s really unfortunate that more people don’t know about this spectacular artist. The more people who hear her, the better! Here’s another song from her upcoming CD, The Young Lioness, entitled “Take My Love Away”.

xoxo,

Tara

ps – What are you guys currently listening to? Discuss in the comments =)

Slowed Down Sunday – 3/21/10

21 Mar

Slowed Down Sunday – 3/21/10

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Rita’s Italian Ice – Yesterday was the first day of spring, so you know what that means – Rita’s is back! I indulged with a cup of their Birthday Cake flavor and was transported to a sublime wonderland of Italian Ice fantasticness. Can you say fabulous?? Rita’s being free on the first day of spring doesn’t hurt, either.

Great Opportunities – Have you ever felt like a child on Christmas? When you are so overwhelmed with excitement that sleep seems impossible and you find yourself wishing for time to speed up so morning will come? That is how I feel right now – except instead of Christmas, I am thinking about the tons of fabulous experiences coming up the pipeline. As they come up, I’ll let everyone in on the details! (If you follow me on Livejournal, I’ve probably already talked about many of them.)

SPRING!! I know I mentioned spring last week, but this week it has been just as awesome, so it warrants a second mention. Running errands for my internship has never been so pleasurable. So if you’re in the North East and you are seeing the first rays of sunshine, run outside and get some Vitamin D! (Make sure to bring sunblock!)

Good TV – I am not a TV person by any means, but I am slowly getting addicted to various shows (oh no!) The programs on my imaginary DVR:

  • Modern Family – Hilarious! I feel like it is unfair to directly compare it to Arrested Development (RIP) but it is extremely funny in its own right.
  • Archer – Speaking of Arrested Development …Mama Bluth (Jessica Walter) is back! Archer is a mess (the good kind) in the vein of Venture Bros. It’s on Hulu, so watch it when you have time!
  • Project Runway – Back on point. They’re back in New York, all of the judges are there and the clothes range from fabulous (trash-bag leather pants) to fabulously cracky (Hair bowl??). Lahv.
  • Rupaul’s Drag Race – Chock full of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent. If you aren’t watching this, mosey on over to logotv.com and catch up. Protip: Make sure to watch Untucked, the weekly “behind the scenes” show on Logotv.com.

Misc: Swedish Fish, being able to break out the maxi dress, electric blue nail polish, Girl Talk, the feeling you have after a nice run, getting to paint my own pottery, making summer plans with BB (the boyfriend), discovering independent bookstores down the street, cherry blossom festivals, Wazobia: the show put on by the African Student Union, Steel City Bhangra, having someone yell out the window of their moving car, “I LOVE YOUR SHOES!” <3, Jay-Z in concert with Kid Cudi coming up, pesto tortellini, finishing that HUGE case of fruit from last week, packages in the mail, FSL Cosmetics (if you don’t know what it is, keep your eyes peeled on Tuesday), Beatles/Metallica Mashup Tribute Bands, Kid Fury coming back!, Flamenco Lessons!

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What do you appreciate this Sunday?

Xoxo,

Tara

Weekend Links – 3.19.2010

19 Mar

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Here is some reading to jumpstart your Friday afternoon!

Music Monday not enough for you? Here is some more music, courtesy of Nuri A (another blog you should get on)

◊Over at Yes and Yes (which I will say again, you should be reading if you aren’t): How to Create an Amazing Group of Friends.

The best markets for young adults. If you’re looking for a fresh start, check this out!  I’m totally not including this because Pittsburgh, PA is listed. Certainly not. Why would I do that?

◊Something I find a lot of value in: How to tame your to-do list, from Dumb Little Man (Titles can be deceiving)

◊From Flickr, images of the Iditarod 2010! I have always held an interest in the Iditarod for some reason. Probably the dogs and their cute booties.

◊More food porn (you’ll see what I mean when you click) courtesy of Luxirare. This time she’s making Apple Napoleon!

◊While this is a guest post, it’s still extremely relevant: 5 Simple Tips for Getting Rid of the Unnecessary. Definitely worth a read.

◊When initiating your own personal growth, often times it can get frustrating – here are some ways it can be made easier! Via the Positivity Blog, How to Make Personal Growth More Fun and Easier.

Now this is just cool. Crayons carved into the shapes of the Chinese zodiac.

◊This isn’t a link to a specific entry, more like a just because: A Creative Mint. It is chock full of beautiful, inspiring design images.

◊This is interesting: 10 Power Food Combos.

Why does orange juice taste so good with oatmeal? And what is it about olive oil that enhances the flavor of tomatoes? The answers to these questions, it turns out, are buried deep within our instincts. New evidence suggests that certain foods that taste great together also interact with one another in nutritionally positive ways. In other words, two particular foods consumed in combination can actually deliver more benefits than either one would on its own. Epidemiologist David R. Jacobs refers to this phenomenon as “food synergy.” He believes that it might explain why we are inherently crave certain foods together, as well as how they join forces to protect and nourish our bodies.

◊See that amazing Erykah Badu picture above? While I got the image from the source, here are the other prints from the collection, courtesy of Fly.

◊This spoke to me. “One of the Most Powerful Questions Ever”. I wouldn’t spoil it for you, but it is an interesting read for sure.

◊Spring is on the horizon! From the Style and Beauty Doctor, How to Give Yourself a Makeover this Spring!

◊Are you reading the Flickr blog? If not, get on that, right now – especially if you love beautiful photography.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Happiness Manifesto Part 5 – How to Listen and Love

17 Mar

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First off, what IS listening and loving, anyway?

This is my interpretation. Your mileage may vary.

I think that listening and loving primarily refers to keeping your heart and mind open when interacting with people that may be different from you with respect and kindness.

But how do you do that?

Be ready to actually LISTEN.

Everyone has a unique way of expressing their point to the world. Unless you allow them to share their unique perspective – and actively attempt to interact with and understand it – there is no way to appreciate how precious every single person is.

Listening, as obvious as it may sound, is the opposite of speaking for a reason – because it is about hearing another person’s point-of-view, not sharing your own. Resist the urge to add personal advice or criticisms. It is extremely helpful to step outside of yourself and consider things from another person’s way of thinking. Putting aside your preconceptions and personal opinions about the matter as you listen is important as well.

Body Language is Key.

When it comes to interacting with a person, your body language speaks for itself – part of the reason people say “actions speak louder than words”! As noted in one of my previous articles, about smiling more, your physical actions can have a profound effect on how you feel and behave. Holding yourself in a more open place not only communicates to another person that you are receptive to them but it also can make you feel more ready to listen.

Important things to remember include:

  • Maintaining an open posture. Try to avoid positions where you are “closed off” from another person. This can include turning away, hunching over or crossing your arms. The more tense and uncomfortable you seem, the more likely it is that the person you are speaking to may feel the same way.
  • Acknowledge the speaker with your gestures. This can include anything from an interested facial expression to an emphatic nod. Reacting to their words shows that you are paying attention and considering what they have to say.
  • Maintain eye contact. This is probably one of the most important things! Eyes are considered a “window to the soul” for a reason. When you are making eye contact with someone in an deep conversation, you can see their emotions clearly conveyed in their eyes, which can make you more aware of these emotions in yourself, fostering a feeling of empathy, which can be extremely important.

Go deeper. Ask questions.

If someone is sharing something important with you, it is extremely beneficial to learn more. Rather than probe in a way that may cause defensiveness, use your questions as a way to convey your interest and let someone know that you would love to know even more. In tense discussions, it may be helpful to frame things in a way that it is clear that the goal is to respond to you, rather than the speaker having to explain themselves in a way that may be uncomfortable. Also, be sure to attempt to phrase your questions in a way that responding with a yes or a no is discouraged!

If the person is speaking on a topic they have a passion for, they would probably be more than happy to satisfy your interest.

Love.

This one might seem extremely obvious, but it can often be the hardest one to carry out. Love does not have to specifically refer to the deep feelings one may have for someone close to your heart. Compassion, a different form of love, can speak volumes. Be in their corner. Support their endeavors. Keep in touch. If asked, give them thoughtful advice that holds true meaning and value to you. Care for them. Work to not only tolerate their differences, but accept, respect and appreciate them. Be a friend.

Above all, be kind.

xoxo,

Tara

What is your definition of “Listen and Love”? How do you, or how would you, practice it in your life?

Music Monday 5 – Kid Sister

15 Mar

If you haven’t heard of this woman, you’re missing out. She is the artist behind of my favorite albums this year, Ultraviolet.

I love Kid Sister because of her fantastic flow as well as her catchy, poppy beats. Anything that can help me jam during a workout is fine with me!

Honestly, I was a big fan of her due to her song Pro Nails off of Kanye West’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothin” mixtape, but I still managed to be very pleasantly surprised by how infectious her album is. It has been on repeat since I’ve gotten it.

More about Kid Sister:

Melisa Young was born July 3, 1980 in Markham, Illinois. She had a hard life growing up in South suburban Chicago due to her parents’ financial circumstances during the 1980s and ’90′s . Kid Sister started to rap in October 2005, becoming a MC at monthly dance parties hosted by DJ Flosstradamus who were featured in MTV’s My Block that same year. She made URB’s “The Next 1000″ cover in April 2007, and was signed to Kanye West’s DJ A-Trak’s label, Fool’s Gold, who released her first single “Pro Nails”, which features Kanye West. Kid Sister later signed with Downtown Records, who re-released “Pro Nails” to critical acclaim.

Lahv-lahv-lahv this lady.

Here’s the song that first got my attention, Pro Nails, featuring the inimitable Kanye West.

You can find Kid Sister at her official website,  and on her twitter.

If you haven’t used this as an excuse to listen to her other stuff, go! Do it! Now!

Xoxo,

Tara

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