Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

Sometimes, we need to be reminded of the little things in life that make us happy. We get so caught up in the chaos of daily life, that we often forget to delight in its daily pleasures. Every day, we owe it to ourselves to take time to breathe deeply and to soak in the small pleasures that make life worth living. No matter how stressful or bad your day has been, take a minute to think of something that makes you really happy, and if you’re able to at the time – act on it, if you can’t – reminisce about a time you enjoyed the small pleasure.Β  You’ll feel relaxed and will be smiling before you know it. And don’t push this 5 minute activity aside for “tomorrow” – remember, your own happiness is worth more than gold, and there are zillions of things in this world that make each of us happy.

The nice people over at Shine from Yahoo have gone ahead and done the dirty work for us. They have created a list of 101 small pleasures we can enjoy every day – we don’t even have to do the thinking on this one – now that’s a small pleasure in itself! πŸ™‚ I guarantee, however, that just skimming this list will induce some self-thinking about what you individually delight in – so grab a pen and paper and jot down all the little pleasures that make you happy. When you’re feeling blue, grab this list and remind yourself how lucky you are to have so many things that elate you. I truly believe that it’s the small stuff in life that really matters.

After reading Shine’s article, I created my own list of 20 small pleasures that make me feel gratified. I plan on starting a journal to list out my favorite pleasures (starting with the 20 below) and adding to it whenever I feel a twinge of inspiration. I can’t wait to relish in all the small pleasures and tokens of happiness that await me!

20 Small Pleasures I Delight In:

1. When my niece and nephew call me “Norsey” – the nickname my niece thought up for me

2. Savoring a large piece of birthday cake (whether it’s my birthday or not!)

3. Watching the sun rise or set

4. Sleeping in freshly washed sheets

5. Taking long walks with my girlfriends

6. Working on a crossword puzzle and completing it (or getting close to completing it!)

7. Feeling warm sunshine on my (sun-screened!) skin

8. Looking at family photo albums

9. Drinking margaritas and eating cheese dip outside on a hot day

10. Swinging on swings at a park or on a porch swing

11. Causing another person’s laughter

12. Sitting by the fire curled up in a blanket on a cold night

13. When my cat fall asleep on my lap

14. Reading a children’s book and looking at all the pictures

15. Chewing 2 pieces of Extra watermelon-flavored gum at once

16. Making a PB&J on white, fluffy bread and smashing it thin before I eat it

17. Taking a hot shower after a long, hard workout

18. Finding the perfect pair of jeans

19. Enjoying a nice summer night outside without getting any mosquito bites (or at least only getting a few!)

20. Soaking in the sight of beautiful gardens in the spring full of fresh, vibrant flowers

What does your own Happy Road consist of???


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Yesterday, my wonderful friend Keeli (whom I miss dearly, because she has been living in Seattle for a year-and-a-half now – I think she got stuck on the Space Needle and just hasn’t been able to get down…it’s my only justification for my constant state of dissaray as I anxiously anticipate my next dose of ‘Kee Kee’ πŸ˜‰ ) sent me an email entitled “Handbook 2010.” Keeli knows me oh too well as she so poignantly stated in her personalized note: “This is right up your ally! :)” As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I find immense inspiration in quotes and axioms – a few short, too-the-point words can put your whole life in perspective (and they are easy to remember – always a plus!). So when Keeli sent along these “instructions for life,” I immediately reveled in their wisdom and felt a new sense of hope for this upcoming year. We may already be halfway into the first month of 2010, but it’s never too late to start a resolution or to change your life for the better. You can find inspiration in a variety of forms – in a child’s smile, a good cup of coffee, an early morning sunrise, a refreshing walk, a motivational sermon, and the list goes on and on. I hope you’ll find some sort of inspiration and unending hope for the year ahead in the words signified below; remember – “We are made wise not be the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility of our future” (George Bernard Shaw).

***I bolded my favorite lines that have provided me with much-needed inspiration and/or are words I strongly believe in, and I also provided a little life instruction of my own for #40 – Enjoy!

Handbook 2010:

1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E’s – Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did in 2009.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

11. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don’t have negative thoughts on things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive, present moment.
13. Don’t overdo it. Know and keep your limits.
14. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
18. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with His/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

25. Call your family often.
26. Each day, give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of Β 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful, or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.
37. Always remember that the best is yet to come.
38. When you wake up alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Your innermost being is always happy. So, be happy.

40. If you are touched by these words, share them with someone you care about – always spread love and fill other’s hearts with joy as often as you can. MAKE yourself a better person by just BEING a better person and be ready to relish in the unremitting happiness that follows.

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***I want to begin this post by apologizing for my week plus hiatus from blogging. I had been relishing my week-long vacation in Virginia, amidst nearly 18 inches of snow, and I let my blogging duties fly out the window! I am generally behind a computer more than 40 hours/week, so I delighted in lots of time with friends, family, pets, and the remote control and did not check my email, Facebook, blog, etc. once – it was a most joyous retreat from my daily life, and I enjoyed every minute of it (except the part where my family’s Christmas trip to NYC got canceled because of the snow and my mom came down with a horrible case of pneumonia, 😦 but it all worked out in the end πŸ™‚ ).

Nonetheless, I am back in Atlanta, back at work, and back to my routine (um okay, not the “workout” part of the routine quite yet, but the rest of it…). I work in interactive advertising, and agencies are usually pretty dead the week after Christmas. In fact, many of my friends who are also in the “biz” have this week off from work, because client’s end-of-year ad budgets have been depleted and accounts are at a standstill before the rigmarole starts back up in the new year. I took my time off of work prior to Christmas, so I am back in the daily grind, sipping my diet coke and soaking in the sounds of silence as the office has taken on a bit of a “ghost town” vibe with the majority of my coworkers on vacation.

In between HTML tutorials and email check-ins, I have been perusing Time.com’s The Top 10 Everything of 2009 lists, reminiscing about all the events the past year has jumbled into its 365 days. TIME has compiled 50 “top 10” lists in 4 main categories – News, Politics, and Science; Arts and Entertainment; Business, Tech, and Sports; and Pop Culture. I’m especially fond of the Top 10 T-shirt-Worthy Slogans (Who can forget “Imma let you finish…”???), the Top 10 Buzzwords (“sexting,” “public option,” “beer summit” anyone???), and the Top 10 Political Gaffes (Does President Obama’s chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, falling asleep during a high-profile meeting at the White House ring a bell???) lists. Anyways, if you a few free minutes in your day, take some “time” to check out TIME‘s (pun somehow slipped in the post.. πŸ˜‰ ) perspective on the past year as we bid farewell to 2009, and the first decade of the new millennium, this Thursday evening.

I guess Larry Summers, Obama's chief economic adviser, didn't get enough sleep the night before his meeting at the White House...

No one can forget Kanye West's "little" outburst at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards...

I've been involved in quite a few "Beer Summits" of my own but mine and my friend's toasts have never made the national news...

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Who doesn’t love to travel?!?! (Well Hugh Hefner doesn’t for some reason – little tidbit of info I learned from the original Girls Next Door). I think it’s safe to assume, however, that the rest of us who don’t own Playboy Enterprises, Inc. actually do like to travel and experience regions, states, and countries that we’ve, thus far, only discovered on paper. Flipping through an encyclopedia (do they still publish those???) and catching a glimpse of a lion roaring in the African wilderness is nothing like actually immortalizing the image in your brain and on camera while safari-ing (yes, I turned a noun into a verb – you may want to get used to it – I do it quite often) your way through the Kalahari desert (trust me, I can attest to this). The problem is, most of us only get about a two week long vacation from work, so we have to plan these trips accordingly. Furthermore, traveling is, unfortunately, not a cheap hobby, so trips are more of a luxury than a necessity.

When we decide to finally use our precious few days off of work, dig into our savings accounts, and add a stamp or two to our passports, we hope for a successful trip full of positive life experiences, inspirational occurrences, and lasting memories. I think we all know, however, that trips, especially to foreign countries, can bring about many obstacles and unplanned challenges. One way to cut back on all your trip “trip-ups” (man I love puns and lame plays-on-words) and ensure successful travels is easy – book a trip to a friendly country and be welcome with open arms. Check out Lonely Planet’s list of the Top 10 Friendliest Countries in the World (found on the Tripbase blog) and begin booking your next trip now….safe and happy travels to you! πŸ™‚

Top 10 Friendliest Countries in the World:

  1. Ireland*
  2. United States
  3. Malawi
  4. Fiji
  5. Indonesia
  6. Vietnam
  7. Samoa
  8. Thailand
  9. Scotland
  10. Turkey

*Do you think the Irish are so friendly because of all the luck they have or because they spend an inordinate amount of time in local pubs getting sloshed??? Hmmm…maybe a mixture of the two??? I guess I’ll ask Colin Farrell next time we Skype.

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I am a dreamer – not only am I lost in thought at many points during the day, but I dream so much at night that it’s sometimes exhausting (no pun intended). Almost every morning, I wake up distinctly recalling at least two dreams I had the night before, and I actually have one reoccurring dream I stumble upon during slumber at least 5 times a year. In this dream, I’m going on with my life, la-de-da-ing throughout the days, until it suddenly hits me that it’s only one or two days before Christmas Day. Instead of worrying about my lack of gifts for my family and friends, I kick myself for letting the month pass me by without listening to my favorite Christmas tunes and watching my favorite holiday movies. Yes, it’s a rather strange dream to have over and over again throughout the years, but now I live in fear of missing out on Christmas. Oh no, I hope I’m not stuck in some holiday Lifetime movie and this is all just a part of the secret script…

Nonetheless, while I am frantically listening to “Have YourselfΒ  a Merry Little Christmas” on repeat and watching “Love Actually” while baking holiday treat after holiday treat for my friends (and myself) to enjoy, I hope you guys take some time to relish in all the joys that December has to offer. Check out some of the fun ways to celebrate the month and make your own holiday memories and miracles.

  1. December is “Stress Free Family Holiday” month. Yes, I know this seems quite an oxymoron (“December” and “Stress free”), but according to Ladies Home Journal, the concept is possible. Read up on stress-free tips and sit back, relax, drown out the sounds of Fluffy knocking over the Christmas tree, your kids tearing the house apart hoping to find a hidden Zhu Zhu pet Christmas gift, and your mother-in-law’s persistence six-a-day phone calls reminding you to stock the refrigerator with prune juice for her visit, and slowly sip (or chug – whichever combats stress better for you) some eggnog washed down with a sidecar of brandy. Remember, you’ll get to everything eventually, and everything doesn’t always have to be perfect or go smoothly. That’s the beauty of the holidays – the disasters and crazy turn of events are what make the best memories (Mom – remember when our huge Christmas tree fell down the minute after we had finished decorating it and we just stood still and cried looking at all the broken ornaments until we both started laughing? I love that memory) πŸ™‚
  2. If you are properly observing “Stress Free Family Holiday” month, take advantage of the stress-free atmosphere and curl up with a good book in observance of “Read a New Book” month. Find one at Barnes and Noble (one of my most favorite weekend destinations).
  3. December 4th is “National Cookie” day – I am honored to celebrate this holiday (In fact, if you want to send me some cookies to ensure that I actually follow through, I will happily pass along my address… πŸ˜‰ ). If you are in the mood to bake some yummy cookie treats, try one of the fabulous cookie recipes from Joy of Baking. Before viewing the site, I must adequately warn you – the cookie images you are about to see may cause unprovoked salivating and hunger pains. Please proceed accordingly.
  4. Let us not forget the monumental attack that occurred on December 7th, 1941 – a “date which will live in infamy.” Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii killing more than 2,300 Americans. This attack on Pearl Harbor was a major factor in ushering in World War II. Learn more about the significance of Pearl Harbor and take a moment to honor all those persons whose lives were lost on that day.
  5. Hanukkah (Chanukah) begins on December 11th! Learn more about Hanukkah FAQ, traditions, and stories from Chabad.org.
  6. On December 14th, 1819, my state of Georgia was provided an irreplaceable gift – Alabama became the 22nd U.S. state and Georgia would forever have a border state to pick on. Hey now, Virginia has West Virginia, Alabama has Mississippi, and Georgia has Alabama – call it survival of the fittest.
  7. December 23rd is “National Roots” day – take a break from the hustle-and-bustle of Christmas shopping, baking, decorating, and eating to celebrate however you see fit – pop in a Nappy Roots CD, dye your hair (or let those roots show girlfriend!), discover your heritage, or weed your yard.
  8. Christmas Eve is on December 24th – take a few minutes to enjoy Clement C Moore’s classic poem – “The Night Before Christmas.” May Sugar Plums dance vividly in your head.
  9. December 25th – Merry Christmas! No matter your religion, I hope that everyone enjoys this day and is able to spend it with those they love. If you are Christian, please do not forget the true meaning of Christmas – to celebrate the birth of our Savior who gave His own life so that our own lives could endure.
  10. The holiday decorations have begun to come down, the Christmas music has been replaced with “Americas Top 40,” and the tree is starting to die in the corner of the living room – Yup, its New Year’s Eve – December 31st. December 31st is also “Make Up Your Mind” day so grab that pen, establish your New Year’s Resolutions (this time – try and stick with “I will workout at least four three two times each week month”), and then head out on the town to ring in 2010!

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Thanksgiving TurkeyWell, October’s gone – it disappeared as quickly as my Halloween candy stash – but now, we venture into November as we all look forward to the fourth Thursday of the month in which we engorge in turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. But, we have many days leading up to Turkey Day, so lets take some time to discover the other joys of November, shall we?

  1. November is National “Peanut Butter Lover’s” Month which I will fondly be observing. I know I’m no longer seven years-old, but PB&J (white bread, crunchy peanut butter, and strawberry jam) has always been, and will always be, one of my favorite foods. Although I do love peanut butter, I must bow down to the true King of Peanut Butter (and Rock ‘N’ Roll), Elvis, who was known to eat up to 15 PB&B’s (Peanut Butter and Banana sandwiches) in one sitting. The recipe for the “Elviswich” is below – If you’re “Lonesome Tonight,” start frying a “Hunk of Burnin’ Love (Yes, that “burnin’ love” you’re feeling is heartburn), and enjoy!
  2. Election Day is the first Tuesday in November (November 3rd) and, as Americans, we are able to choose elected officials for our city, state, and country – so let your voice be heard and rock the vote!
  3. November 11th is Veterans Day – Take some time today to truly honor those persons who sacrifice their lives to protect our country and secure our freedom. Today, I personally honor my great grandfathers (World War I vets), my grandfathers (World War II vets), and my father and uncle (Vietnam vets). I can’t thank you enough for your service.
  4. November 15th is National “Clean Out Your Refrigerator” Day – Grab your rubber gloves and oxygen mask and venture into the unknown. If the dish is moldy and a completely opposite color than it was when you first ate it, do yourself a favor and chuck it. After five weeks, Grandma’s “Pasta Surprise” is probably a lot more “surprise” and a lot less “pasta.”
  5. November 16th is National “Button” Day – I suggest celebrating by helping sweet, little Corduroy find his missing button for his green overalls (Corduroy by Don Freeman).
  6. On November 18th, we celebrate the births of the great American rappers, Fabolous and Pastor Troy, as well as funnyman Owen Wilson; but more importantly, we celebrate my daddy’s birthday πŸ™‚
  7. On November 22nd, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by the “shot heard around the world.” Lets celebrate his legacy by remembering some of the great things he did for our country – like creating the Peace Corps!
  8. November 25th is National “Parfait” Day – “Everyone loves a parfait” (Thank you for reminding us of this, Donkey from Shrek).
  9. November 26th is Thanksgiving! Eat, give thanks, and watch football – enough said.
  10. The Friday after Thanksgiving is Black Friday (however, I think it can also be called “National Leftover’s Day”). If you dare, wake up before 5 A.M and venture to the mall or mega store and nab some serious deals. I’m thinking about pulling an all-nighter this year and fighting my way to a cheap laptop at Best Buy. I’ll let you know if this thought actually becomes a reality…

Elvis Sandwich - Peanut Butter and BananaElvis Presley’s Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich:

-2 slices of white bread
-2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter
-1 small ripe banana mashed
-2 tablespoons butter

Spread the peanut butter on one slice of bread and the mashed banana on the other. Press the slices gently together. Melt the butter (or to be truly Elvis-like, melt bacon fat!), over low heat in a small frying pan. Place the sandwich in the pan and fry until golden brown on both sides. Eat it with a glass of buttermilk to get the full effect.

My Dad and Me

November 18th - Happy 63rd B-Day Big Dave!

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Why Love October? Let Us Count the Ways…

  1. America Celebrates Columbus Day! (Say it with me – “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…”)
  2. Halloween! We can eat all the candy and chocolate we want while dressed in ridiculous costumes. If you have kids, nieces, nephews, etc., you have an excuse to eat some of their candy, because you are just “testing it out” to make sure it isn’t poisonous… πŸ˜‰
  3. It’s Football Time in America! (Go Dawgs and Skins!)
  4. The Leaves Begin to Change Color
  5. It’s National Chili Month – Visit a Chili Cookoff Near You!
  6. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Schedule Your Mammogram!
  7. The end of October Marks the End of Hurricane Season (Good news for Florida and other coastal areas!)
  8. We get an extra hour of sleep during “Fall Back” and who doesn’t need that???
  9. It’s Virginia Wine Month! (And Virginia is for Lovers )

    Sweet Jax

    It's Adopt a Dog Month! Who could resist adopting this sweet face???

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