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Life List Update

29 Jun

In my latest newsletter, (what? you’re not signed up for my newsletter? well, here’s the link missy) I wrote about crafting a stress-free life list. 3 months ago I posted my own life list for the next year – my 20 things to do before I turn 27 – and I wanted to give a quick update of how I’ve been progressing. I’ve been able to successfully cross off 4 items and I’ve made plans to cross of a few others in the next couple of months. Yay!

How about you? Have you made a bucket list? How are you coming along with it? Have you made a summer bucket list with all the fun things you’d like to do before fall hits? I’d love to hear about the cool things on your list!

20 Things to do Before I Turn 27:

  1. Refresh my French
  2. Complete a Triathlon – I’m signed up for one on October 23rd
  3. Get to 100 Subscribers on my blog – I’m at 14!
  4. Begin writing my book
  5. Get another tattoo
  6. Visit Napa Valley

  7. Travel to a state I’ve never been to before
  8. Begin booking speaking gigs
  9. Create a decluttered work space for myself I cleared out my office space, which I now use for writing & research. Who would of thought I’d be more productive writing at a desk than I was on the couch in front of my TV…
  10. Sign up for non-fiction writing coursesI signed up for a Creative Non-Fiction course through UCLA Extension. Starts in the fall…super excited!
  11. Learn & practice family recipes
  12. Start hiking the California mountains with my fiance
  13. Launch a new workshop series – Coming soon….
  14. Road trip to the Redwood National Park in Humboldt
  15. Volunteer regularly with a non-profit focused on children or women
  16. Keep a consistent journal – I’ve been writing consistently but won’t cross it out till the year is up
  17. Take a vacation with no itinerary & no plan – just wake up each morning and decide what to doAaah..the Bahamas!
  18. Redecorate a room in my house
  19. Go snorkeling
  20. Host more dinner parties

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What’s Your Chocolate Shop?

27 Jun

There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the passion of life. -Federico Fellini

There’s a chocolate shop that I go to quite often. It’s a small shop, with 3 small tables and several shelves filled with exotic chocolate. Towards the back of the store is a counter lined with handmade truffles and rows of canisters containing spices to flavor the drinking chocolate. And there’s gelato. It is, in a word, heavenly. Oh and did I mention they have free wi-fi?

But what keeps me going back more so than the delicious choclate samples, more than the creamy gelato and even more than the free internet hook-up is Denise, the lady who owns the shop and her two children, who help her run the shop. Their passion for chocolate is undeniable. And it is infectious. They will go to the ends of the earth to make sure that you find that perfect chocolate truffle or that they can make you a superbly blended gift basket. They happily dole out generous samples of chocolate and gelato. They’re filled with joy and enthusiasm surrounding all things chocolate and their energy vibrates throughout the shop touching everyone who enters it. I bet they couldn’t imagine doing anything else with their lives. And that’s the perfect goal in life. To discover the one thing that you love so much that your passion oozes from your pores and infects everyone around you.

It can be difficult to put your finger on that one thing, your “chocolate shop.” It may take months, even years to figure out what you would make you feel like Denise. But if your passion can make you as happy as Denise and her family or can help create an environment like that chocolate shop, then it’s definitely worth it.

What’s your “chocolate shop?

 

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A Flawless Wedding & Lessons on Happiness

12 Jun

 

“We have the greatest pre-nuptial agreement in the world.  It’s called love.”  Gene Perret


I’m back! And I’m married – woot, woot! Getting married in the Bahamas was such a beautiful experience. Everything was absolutely perfect. My husband (<– that still looks weird) and I knew that one of the compromises in planning a destination wedding was that we might not have as many guests as we wanted. But we were both over-joyed to see that 28 of our closest family and friends made the long trek to paradise with us to share in our special moment together. All of the love and support we received was incredible. And we all had a ridiculously fun time partying it up after the vows were said and the rings were exchanged. The entire wedding and honeymoon were flawless. And now I’m super excited to be back. I’m renewed, relaxed and ready to keep helping awesome 20-something women live out loud.

We were lucky enough to spend our honeymoon in the Bahamas at a beautiful resort. One of the things that struck me most about the Bahamas was how genuinely happy everyone seemed. At first I thought it was because we were staying at a resort so of course they had to be friendly, but it went beyond that. When we left the resort and explored the island we still found friendly, happy people. Even people who worked jobs that, in this country, breed unhappiness were friendly. Custom officers, the government workers at the marriage office, taxi drivers, waitresses – all happy people. Prior to leaving for our honeymoon, I had read that the Bahamas ranked in the top ten of the happiest countries, according to the Satisfaction with Life Index. In fact, they were ranked #5! I was intrigued. What was their secret? Why were they so happy? Desperate to learn their secret, I asked one of our waitresses one day and her simple reply was, “What’s there not to be happy about?” And I suppose it is that simple, right? For a good chunk of my trip, I was contemplating all of the ways that I could move to the Bahamas so that I could also be truly happy. Of course I could be happy in the Bahamas – it’s paradise. But really what did I have to be unhappy about in my current life? I live in beautiful Southern California, I have a loving family and I can afford to take vacations to tiny island paradises with my new hubby. I’m sure the Bahamians could also find fault with their lives but they choose not to and that is where the difference lies. When I bitch and complain about my job or when I allow the sucky parts of my life to overshadow the fantastic parts, I’m choosing to be unhappy. And being unhappy takes serious effort, does it not? It’s much easier to just be happy. While I was in the Bahamas everything seemed so effortless and unhurried. Life does not have to be so serious. When you strip away all of the extras and the ego and the exaggeration, most of us would probably find that we can ask ourselves the same simple question:

What’s there not to be happy about?



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With A Little Help From My Friends

13 Apr

Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.

 

https://i0.wp.com/www.girltalknation.com/images/girlfriends.jpg

I had my bachelorette party/bridal shower this past weekend in Vegas. And as I shook what my mama gave me in Pure Nightclub, I couldn’t help but think about what an amazing group of friends and family I had. The whole weekend was flawless and everyone had gone to such great lengths to ensure that I had the perfect time. I returned home feeling energized and happy and loved. Having a strong social network is crucial to happiness. Studies even show that people who have a solid network of loved ones live longer than those of us who don’t. But making new friends as an adult woman is hard, isn’t it? And keeping strong friendships alive? Even harder. There are lots of ways that you can make new friends and maintain old ones. Here are just a few of my tips.

Do New Things – In order to find new, cool people you have to get out there. Join groups that are interesting to you. If you can’t find a group, start one. Volunteer or take a class. Say yes to happy hour and party invites. Much like dating, in order to make new friends you have to put yourself out there.

Do Unto Others – It’s the Golden Rule for a reason, you know. Treat your friends how you want to be treated and you’ll have friends for life. Remember birthdays, listen when they talk to you (don’t just wait for your turn to speak!) take a real interest in who they are and what they enjoy. They’ll be happy to return the favor.

Know What You Like – It’s important to know what you want in a friend. All of my friends inspire me greatly in some way, shape or form. And they all make me laugh and forget about whatever may ail me. There are lots of things I look for in a friend and I make sure to keep that in mind when I meet new ones.

Be Open – There are all kinds of different friends out there. I have my core group of friends that I hang out with all the time. I have friends from grade school or high school who I reconnect with once in a blue moon. I have online friends whom I’ve never met. Friends I explore new restaurants with. Friends I work with. Friends I volunteer with. Not all of these friends hold the same priority in my life but they’re friends nonetheless and they each hold a special place in my life. Be open to all kinds of friends.

Put in the Work – Make sure your friends know you appreciate them. Sometimes we take our good friends for granted. It’s always important to let them know just how awesome they are. Write them a note, treat them to dinner or just flat out tell them. It’s always nice to know you’re appreciated.

Don’t Be Afraid To Purge – Sometimes friends don’t work out the way you think they will. Maybe you’ve grown in different directions. Or maybe you’ve discovered that they’re giving off too much negative energy. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to cut your friends loose if they aren’t working for you. Cultivating and maintaining a friendship is hard work but it should never drain your energy.

Above all, know that friendship don’t come easy. It takes a long time to cultivate good friendships and you do have to put in your fair share of work. But in the end, it’s the best feeling in the world to look around you and realize you’re surrounded by the people you love most in this world.

Do you have any other techniques for making & keeping friends? What does your circle of friends look like?

Until Next Time,

Nailah

Inject Adventure into Your Everyday Life

5 Apr

Life is either a great adventure or nothing. Helen Keller

 

Photo Credit: www.buenostours.com

I’ve been noticing a trend among several of the personal growth blogs that I read. There’s a big focus on being bold and adventurous in your life – which is a great message – but sometimes I think that there’s so much emphasis on making huge, flashy changes to our lives that we overlook the small adventures. Not everyone can quit their job and move to Istanbul for a year but everyone can start being bold in their everyday lives. Everyone can have a mini adventure every month, week or even day.

On Saturday my friend and I spent 20 minutes in Pershing Square in Downtown LA smacking people with pillows for International Pillow Fight Day. I had randomly heard about the event on Friday and immediately emailed my friend seeing if she wanted to go. We drove up there not really knowing what to expect but that was half the fun. Once the countdown began and the pillow fighting kicked off we were absolutely delirious – running through the square attacking people – and avoiding attacks – with our pillows of mass destruction.

Was it silly? Yes – unbelievably so. But it made us giggle and feel carefree. More importantly, we had gone out of our comfort zone and done something completely out of the ordinary. We talked to new people and learned new things (like the importance of bringing a bandana or mask to cover your nose & mouth during an outdoor pillow fight because there will be feathers everywhere). And we had a ridiculous amount of fun. Our little weekend adventure had all of the elements of a large scale adventure but it was something that was a little more doable for us at the time.

Don’t just sit around waiting for your trip around the world adventure to happen. Inject adventure into your everyday life. Explore new restaurants or different parts of town. Join a Meetup group for something that interests you. Talk to a stranger. Go to a concert. Eat breakfast for dinner. Set an intention to do something a little bold and a little different every week. It may seem scary at first but soon you’ll find you’ll be living an adventure-filled life where there’s no room for boredom.

How will you start injecting adventure into your life? What have you done lately that was bold and adventurous? Do share!

Until Next Time,

Nailah



Birthday Musings & My Life List

29 Mar

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.-Abraham Lincoln

 

I turned 26 on Saturday (woot, woot) and had a beautiful, relaxing fun-filled day. I also had some time to just sit and reflect on the past year and what I was looking forward to from the upcoming year. I thought back to my 25th birthday last year and remembered feeling nervous and anxious in the weeks leading up to my big day. I felt like I should have accomplished much more than I had at 25 and basically felt like a big failure. Throughout the year, I came to the realization that I was freaking out over someone else’s definition of success. More importantly, I had in fact accomplished a lot in my short 25 years, I just wasn’t giving myself any credit for it. This birthday was much different. I feel incredibly excited about the upcoming year and all the great things that are in store for me. And so, in honor of my 26th birthday and the fun-filled year I have coming up, I created my list of 20 Things to do Before I Turn 27:

  1. Refresh my French
  2. Complete a Triathlon
  3. Get to 100 Subscribers on my blog
  4. Begin writing my book
  5. Get another tattoo
  6. Visit Napa Valley

  7. Travel to a state I’ve never been to before
  8. Begin booking speaking gigs
  9. Create a decluttered work space for myself
  10. Sign up for non-fiction writing courses
  11. Learn & practice family recipes
  12. Start hiking the California mountains with my fiance
  13. Launch a new workshop series
  14. Road trip to the Redwood National Park in Humboldt
  15. Volunteer regularly with a non-profit focused on children or women
  16. Keep a consistent journal
  17. Take a vacation with no itinerary & no plan – just wake up each morning and decide what to do
  18. Redecorate a room in my house
  19. Go snorkeling
  20. Host more dinner parties

Just reading through this list makes me ridiculously excited for the upcoming year. I can’t wait to start crossing items off the list and learning from all the fun new experiences. Now it’s important for me to begin making plans to check things off my list. I know that I’ll have to start saving some money, booking some plane tickets and carving out time and I’d rather get that started sooner rather than later. I’ll be sure to keep you posted as I begin diving into some of these adventures. Wish me luck!

Do you have a life list or bucket list? What’s on yours?

Until Next Time,

Nailah

Live in the Present & Enjoy Some Wasted Time

9 Mar

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it. -Jim Goodwin

I’ve been running myself ragged lately and it finally caught up with me this past weekend. I went into the weekend with a hefty to-do list. I was ready to tackle all of my tasks and vigorously cross each one off my list. But when I woke up on Saturday, I could not seem to get myself going. I lounged lazily around my living room trying to force myself to get going on my to-do’s until finally I gave up and started reading a book I’d been meaning to start. I’ll just read for an hour and then I’ll get back to being productive, I told myself. Fast forward to Sunday afternoon and I had spent the majority of the weekend reading (I finished one book and had made a solid dent in a second). I’d crossed nothing off my list and I felt seriously guilty for wasting my weekend. Until I came across a great quote on Yes and Yes blog:

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

It’s so easy to fall into a whirlwind of a schedule. Telling yourself that it’s ok because it’s “good to be busy.” But when we start focusing on just getting things done, we lose focus on what’s really important. We lose sight of the simple pleasures in life. It’s important to slow down and recommit to what is truly important to you. What have you been sacrificing to live at a frantic pace? Take a deep breath, slow your pace and enjoy some “wasted” time.

What’s your favorite way to waste time?

Until Next Time,

Nailah