Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Listen: Alec Baldwin's Podcast "Here's the Thing"


Over the past few months, Waverly and I have spent a lot of time in the car driving to visit family and friends around New England. It's been an incredible journey introducing my four month-old daughter to some of the people who loved her even before she was born. While she typically falls asleep in the car, I usually listen to satellite radio (Hello, The Bridge). However, recently I have been completely immersed in Alec Baldwin's world with his podcast "Here's the Thing" on NPR. Whether he's having an insightful conversation with punk rock's Patti Smith (December 27, 2016) or talking with America's Favorite Farmer (February 21, 2017) about conscious eating, Alec's podcasts keep me entertained and provoke in me a yearning for learning more. There are so many stories in this world. so many ways to make an imprint on the world. Listening to "Here's the Thing" is a great way to open that door.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Guide #1: The Thing About Getting Even



I was standing in the Pub at college having this conversation with a girlfriend whose boyfriend (an awful guy who went through girls like green beer on St. Patrick's Day at a Catholic college) broke up with her,

Her: "I need to find the hottest guy on campus and hook up with him. When G sees me with this new guy, he'll realize what he lost."

Me: "And then what?"

She looked at me. "Then he'll see what he lost. That another guy likes me and he'll want me back."

Me: "But he's horrible to you. He's rough. He's a jerk to your parents  . ."

She cut me off. 'Yeah, but he broke up with me. If I get him back then I win." This guy, a popular jock was a jerk. He flirted with every one of us and once left a party without her because she looked fat that night. Getting him out of her life was a win. Getting even with him seemed irrelevant. 

I had a similar conversation to this one not long ago with a friend who had a bad Christmas. His mom doted on his sister. She always had. For Christmas their mom made her daughter her favorite foods and bought her pearl studs and a Coach purse she coveted. He received a subscription to a men's fitness magazine. Over coffee, he said "You are so lucky you're an only child. It's been like this my whole life. When I get married I am going to have the perfect spread for Christmas and not invite her. She'll see what it feels like." He wanted to find a girlfriend, get married, buy a big house and put on a huge dinner to show his mom what it felt like to feel less than.

I get this. I know this feeling. When you're hurt, when someone gets something you wanted, when you feel wounded, sometimes the first instinct is to think "I'll show them what it feels like!" The thing is, though, that you can become so myopic on this need to get even that you miss the wonderful things in life. Imagine getting the girlfriend and buying the house and decorating it for Christmas, for your one goal to be NOT inviting your mother because she hurt you. You miss out on the bliss of that whole process. 

I'll be honest. In high school I dated someone and when we broke up, I said to my best friend "Well, obviously I'll lose weight, meet the perfect guy and then show him what he lost." Knowing my weight was a sore spot for me, she softly said, "Lose the weight for yourself. Not to show some guy what he lost." In that moment, I realized she was right. that doing something to get even with someone is a terrible motivator. It's a negative reinforcement rather than a positive one. Maybe I should try to be a better person and not be so difficult along with getting healthier for myself.

Getting even reminds me of that adage "Wanting revenge against someone is like drinking poison and expecting it to kill the other person." The idea of getting even may sound good in the heated moment but there is nothing positive about it. Let's think this through using my friend and his mom. So, he gets the girlfriend, then she becomes his wife and he makes a great life for himself so he can have Christmas and not invite his mom. Exactly how does that go? Does he call her up and say "Hey guess what, Mom? I'm having a huge party and everyone is getting great gifts but you aren't invited. HA! How does THAT feel?"

That just sounds so silly and petty. How much better would he feel to instead want to build a better life for himself, and then throw that Christmas dinner and INVITE his mother. How much better would he feel (as well as his mother, his future wife, his sister. . .) to come at the holiday from a place of peace rather than anger and resentment? 

A while ago I made a life decision that resentment, getting even, that whole thing is just a waste of time and energy. You can't be happy when you spend so much time plotting your way into making someone else miserable. Plotting your way to make someone happy, including yourself, now that's a good plan.

*To my friend that allowed me to use our conversation about he and his mom, thank you! xo!



Friday, January 5, 2018

video: Jaqueline Kennedy in Her Own Words

Everyone once in awhile I come across a video that transports me or makes me feel smarter, happier or more empathetic towards someone or a situation. This week I watched captivated by this video about one of our most intriguing First Ladies, who left behind eight and a half hours of audio recordings. The topics covered in these tapes include everything from her family life, insights into her husband to politics. It's an outstanding glimpse into our history and the private life of one of the most private women on the planet.

If you're tucked in on this winter's day, settle in and watch this hour and a half long video.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Happygirl Guide to January 2018


Preface: The one thing I didn't expect when we welcomed Waverly (now four months old) into our lives was how much time a baby takes. I optimistically (naively?!) assumed that once she arrived that life would go on as usual with the addition of a happy little soul who would accompany L and I on this joyride of life. How much work could a baby actually be?

It was after the first DAY that I realized just how much of you went into being a parent. At the end of a day I had no idea where the day went, other than taking care of this little infant. I had never really been around babies and I didn't know how to read their signals or even what a regular day would be like. I felt guilty when she cried and I couldn't figure out what she needed. Now, that we've had four months to get used to each other, we're finding our groove. During this cocooning time, I didn't spend much time online. I took a few moments away from the blog to focus on motherhood, on how to be a good mother and wife while also having a fulfilling career and personal life. I feel like I've grown more and understood more about life in the past four months than I have in a lifetime. I also realized that focusing on nothing but a baby 24 hours a day for months isn't good for anyone in the family. I've realized that when I take some time for myself, writing the blog, going to Trader Joe's alone or doing some self-care like starting running again, I come back to L and Waverly refreshed and I can offer so much more to our relationships. We have found our new normal and it's better than I could have even imagined.

So, thank you for being a part of The Happygirl. It's good to be back. I've missed you.

Waverly, four months old


The Happygirl Guide to January 2018


There is something so wonderful about a new year, a new month. So many possibilities. So many directions you can take your life in. Here are some things that will help make your January a positive start for a memorable, happy year.

1. The New Year's Resolutions
Two words: Be Kind. Stop being so hard on yourself. Start thinking of yourself as you would your best friend or your grandmother. Yes, resolve to be healthier. Resolve to make better choices, in all aspects of your life. Just don't start the year off by swearing off gluten or all white foods or promising to hit the gym five days a week. If you are anything like me, if you are not 100% perfect, you fall off the strict program you set up for yourself and then you start going backwards, into an even worse situation that you started in. 

Here's the thing: Be kind to your body, to yourself in general. When you can, choose healthier options that will set you for a happy future. Will that bag of chips or take-out food make you feel happy? Would future you be grateful that you took a little extra time to make kale chips instead? If you make a New Year's Resolution this year, make is this: I resolve to treat myself with respect and be healthier by making smart choices. Maybe in a moment out with your friends celebrating, tortilla chips and queso IS the smarter choice. As my nutritionist told me "Enjoy your life. Remember, though, that every day isn't a celebration so choose those celebration moments wisely. 'Because it's Tuesday and I feel like a breakfast bagel with cream cheese, a tuna melt for lunch and a pizza for dinner' isn't a good reason for being unkind to yourself.

If you need the absolute structure of a Keto or Paleo or any other diet, I get it. When I was most successful losing weight, I followed the detox plan I learned at Red Mountain Resort, an eating program of no wheat, dairy, sugar, coffee or alcohol. I had never felt better but I couldn't forgive myself when I fell off the plan.  Once I fell off and ate a blueberry muffin and a coffee with cream and sugar, it was over. I started eating everything I could. I never went back on the plan, even thought I felt good on it and I was successful. I didn't understand that it was OK to get right back on, after falling off.  If you follow a strict plan because it works best for your personality, just be kind to yourself and get back on the program. If you dropped one egg on the floor, you wouldn't intentionally drop all the others, would you? 

2. Send out Your Holiday Thank You Cards
Last week a box arrived in the mail addressed to Waverly. Since she turned four months old on Christmas Day, her dad and I opened the box for her. Inside, carefully packed was a hand-painted piggy bank for Wave from our friends Edward and Brian. It was such a sweet, thoughtful gesture. This afternoon, I am sitting down to write them a thank you card. There was also the Christmas dinner at my sister-in-law's and the hand-painted tote bag stuffed with presents for Waverly from the administration at my former high school (where I also recently worked).

These presents and these moments made me feel special and loved. I am a big believer in handwritten notes, a thank you, an I-love-you card, an I'm-behind-you-all-the-way card. If there were people who made your recent Christmas or Hanukkah special, take a moment to send them a handwritten note. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be on fine card stock. It doesn't even have to be a card. Just a handwritten note on a piece of paper that says "You made me feel special. I am so grateful that you are in my life" will touch their hearts. 


3. Twelfth Night (Friday, January 5)
The eve of January 6th (Epiphany) is Twelfth Night.  If your Christmas decorations are still up, today would be a great day to take them down. If you can't bear to part with your decorations, here's something to think about: Your living space is going to look so much bigger once your tree/wreaths/lights etc. are put away and won't you feel proud of yourself for putting everything away so neatly?



4. The Golden Globes (January 7, 8pm ET/5pm PT NBC)
If you love awards shows, the one that kicks off the season airs on January. This year's Golden Globes, hosted by Seth Meyers, will surely be more notable than for just fashion and statues.  Women and men will be wearing black as a symbol of their unity against the harassment in Hollywood. With the sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry coming to light, expect some powerful statements. 


5. Join the Meal Prep Revolution
This week I invested in meal prep containers that resemble neat, organized bento boxes. At just $16.50 for a 20 pack of containers, you'll have your meals ready to go in containers that won't be stained by pasta sauce and embarrassing to take to work. I also like "The Healthy Meal Prep" cookbook by Toby Amidor.  Take a Sunday afternoon and prepare your meals for the week. There are so many positive things about this from saving money at lunch to knowing that you are eating whole foods. I thrive on structure. So to me, meal prepping feels like a good thing I am doing for myself.


6. Journal one Thought a Day
Recently, I found a spiral-bound notebook, a journal that I kept when I was fourteen years-old. I was very prolific and wrote volumes about my feelings and my crushes, what my life looked like and what I thought my future would look like. (Nope, I didn't become a doctor.) When I read it, I remember the giant rainbow mural I painted on my wall and the way I used to lay on the floor of my bedroom listening to Journey. Now, looking at Waverly, I see how much she changes every day. I want to capture it all but I don't have the time. Last week I found this five-year journal on Amazon to help me remember every day, in one sentence, like a paper version of Twitter. I can only imagine five years from now, how it will feel to remember the moments that meant the most to me at the time.


7. Drink more water
Several years ago when I was running and living the healthiest lifestyle, I felt incredible. I know that one of the contributing factors to feeling so good was that I drank two liters of water a day in addition to other liquids, like tea. For proof of why drinking water does more for you than quench thirst, read this article on Eatthis.com. Wherever I am, I have my bkr bottle (color: holiday) with me. It looks great on my desk and even fits in Waverly's diaper bag.



8. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 15)
Did you know that in 1965, Dr, Martin Luther King Jr. was the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize? While you may have the day off today, take some time to learn more about Dr. King and why he is such an important figure in how our nation changed due to his courage and convictions. This essay about the meaning of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, written by his wife, Coretta Scott King, is especially powerful. Today is also a national day of service. Consider volunteering somewhere. You'll share an especially important message if your kids are part of your service as well.


9. Feeling Sad? It's Blue Monday (January 15)
If you've ever wondered what the most depressing day of the year is, it's called Blue Monday, and this year it is on January 18th. Today is really good day to reach out to friends and family to let them know you're thinking of them. For your own sanity in the darkness of winter, plan some time with someone you love. If you're struggling, call someone, reach out to the  Crisis Text Line where a trained counselor will text you back or reach out to the Depression Hotline.

10. Update All of Your Passwords
Did you know that it is easier than ever for hackers to uncover your passwords? (Read this article on password hacking) With so much of our personal information available online leaving us vulnerable, updating our passwords is an essential step to taking care of yourself financially and personally. If you haven't changed your passwords in awhile, now is the time especially if you use the same password for multiple sites. Need help creating strong passwords? Read this.

11. The Sundance Film Festival (January 18-28, Park City Utah)
One year I covered the Sundance Film Festival for MSN and while you couldn't hit a coffee shop without running into a celebrity, the best thing about it were seeing the films and meeting the passionate artists. While attending the festival is an experience, if you can't attend in person, follow along on the Sundance social media feeds. (FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.)



12. The Women's March (Saturday, January 21 Las Vegas)
During last year's Women's March, I saw my friends (women and men) galvanize. In pink hats, we marched, we showed that we are a force. We showed our daughters what it meant to be strong women. I now realize this was just the start of something we could never have imagined.  This year's Women's March (themed Power to the Polls) will take place on January 21 in Las Vegas but around the globe, hundreds of Sister Marches will be happening on the 20th and 21st.  Click here to find out where the Women's March is in your area. Don't forget your Women's March hats, available on ETSY.

If you would like to do more than just march, consider entering the political race. Read this article from The New York Times about the droves of women who never considered themselves particularly political,  who are now becoming candidates for public office. It's an inspirational read. If you would like to learn more about running for office or to find out more about the women who are running in your area and donate, visit Emily's List .


13. The Grammy Awards (Sunday, January 28)
The 60th Grammy Awards will air on CBS on Sunday, January 28th. I love watching this awards show because it opens me up to music I might not have ever discovered. Seeing the artists in their  live performances makes me grateful for the gift of music.



14. ClassPass
Have you wanted to try group fitness classes like SoulCycle or Barre? Try ClassPass which gives you access to thousands of classes around the country for a single membership price. Read ratings and reviews of classes and try something new. I've been really excited about trying Barre. What would make you happy?

I hope you have a wonderful, healthy, happy January! I'd love to hear from you! Leave a message here or email me!


 
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