Category: life advice
I know you know this. But.
It’s good to remember that you (and I!) are capable of innumerable amazing things.
- climb mountains all by ourselves
- write a book that changes lives
- cook everything Julia Child ever cooked
- compose the next summer anthem
- see the world on the back of bicycle/
- through the windows of a train/
- on our very own feet
- wear blue eye liner
- find someone who loves us just the way we are
- love our familiues for who they are
- save all that money and do something with it
- be the one who solves the problem
- bring amazing children into the world
- work in an office and love it
- never work a 40 hour week again
- be the hottest version of ourselves every blessed day
- wear those super high heals everywhere
- study gorillas in Africa
- own only what we can carry
- become a scholar on something obscure and fascinating
- win the prize
- have exactly the life that we want
11 fun ways to celebrate your birthday
Borrow a tradition from another culture
Apparently, Norwegian school children pick a friend and dance in front of their classmates and Israeli kids make themselves a crown of feathers. I’m particularly interested in the Russian tradition of a birthday pie with a greeting spelled out in the crust! (I’ll take strawberry rhubarb, please.)
Go to the top of your city’s/state’s/country’s tallest building at sunset
Take pictures in that perfect golden light, blow bubbles from the observation deck, thrust your arms behind you and holler about being the king of the world. Lots of tall buildings have a swanky restaurant or bar at the top so you can double dip here, getting dolled up and grabbing a free birthday drink.
Do something that makes you feel proud
Hike to the top of a mountain. Purge your closet. Forgive your ex. Reach out to that friend you haven’t talked to in ages. Finally schedule that doctor’s appointment. Chop all your hair off. Attempt that recipe you always thought was too hard. Start the next year of your life on the right foot!
Write a letter to yourself in five years
What’s your life like right now? Right this minute? Where will you be in five years time? A ranch house in the ‘burbs? Opening for Feist? Barrel racing?
What do you hope will be different in five years? What do you hope will be the same? Do you have any advice you’d give Future You? What’s one change you could make today that would be helpful to Future You?
Get a ridiculous manicure and pedicure in birthday-worthy colors
Bright pink? With rhinestone? Or maybe gold with LV decals? I am all over this one, y’all.
Eat all your favorite foods
All.of.them. If it’s not financially (or gastronomically) viable to eat out for three meals, head to the grocery store and stock up on all your favorites.
My perfect Birthday Meals would be:
Breakfast: Mixed berry fruit salad // a cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting from Lunds // bacon (I’m usually a vegetarian)
Lunch: The Bun Chay salad with fried tofu at Trieu Chau
Dinner: Ricotta ravioli // super buttery garlic bread // green salad // chocolate molten lava cake
Go to a live show
Even better if it’s a band or performer you know nothing about. Open your city’s free arts & entertainment newspaper and go to the most recommended event that night, sight unseen
Free admission to Disneyland! Free Video Rentals! Free Sephora Gift! Or you could just go out to eat for every meal and see how many times you can get singing waiters.
Plan a long weekend getaway with your closest friends
Wouldn’t it be great to ring in your new year, on the porch of a beach house, drinking champagne with the friends you loved most? Poking around a little tourist town, going out for brunch and buying sea shell earrings? Or paddling around the bay in kayak, getting a bit sunburnt?
Buy a star for yourself
Name it “Birthday Girl”
Make a list of all the awesome things you’ve accomplished in the last year
Too often we get hung up on what we haven’t done, the items that never seem to get crossed off our life to-do lists. Pour yourself something delicious, hunker down somewhere comfortable, and systemically think through the previous year and list every single cool, impressive, challenging thing you’ve done.
(If you need help jogging your memory, look through your Google calendar and your Facebook events!)
Throw yourself an amazing party
Don’t wait for your BFF/partner/family to throw you a shindig. If you plan it, you can choose a theme, the food, the guest list. Only the best for you, bunny.
photo by annie spratt // cc
Here’s how I made my home feel happy + more like me
1. Put up pictures of you and your friends being hilarious, adorable, amazing
2. Make it smell happy
3. Paint an accent wall a color you love
Colors make a huge difference in how you feel about a space. When I moved into my apartment, it featured awful flesh-toned satin-finish paint on every blessed wall. No one wants to live inside a skin ball. But! Now it’s white with accent walls in a color best described as mermaid. And I feel so much better.
Choose a color that will help you feel the way you want to feel. Here’s a great article about how the colors of your space affect your moods and which colors are best for which rooms.
4. Stock your fridge and pantry with food you love
Things that are depressing: opening your fridge to discover you have a bag of moldy radishes, one Coors light and a slice of leftover pizza. Grocery shopping is the one avenue where I allow myself to spend indiscriminately and I love stocking my kitchen with food that thrills me: strawberries, wine, baguettes, fake bacon, tiny fingerling bananas. It’s lovely open those doors and feel happy about what you find.
Which (relatively healthy) foods do you love? What slightly-fancy foods do you ‘save’ for special occasions? What if your special occasion was “I nailed that presentation at work!” or “I finally purged my closet!” Celebrating little victories is one of the keys to a happy life.
5. Consider a Non-cheesy Inspirational Poster
6. Add a Bit of Greenery
7. Incorporate Favorite Things into Your Decor
8. Get a pet
Obbbbviously getting a pet is a huge responsibility. Of course you should give it a lot of thought and really, really consider if a pet would be a good fit for your lifestyle.
That being said, few things make you feel better faster than an animal friend. In fact, pet ownership has been shown to reduce stress and depression! If you want to dip your toe into pet ownership, consider fostering first.
9. Stock up on engaging, funny books and movies
10. Paint the inside of your closets or cupboards a crazy color
11. Incorporate the whimsical and ridiculous into your space
But I want to hear from you! What do you do to make your living space more happy?
P.S. Did you know I have a (free) private Facebook group dedicated solely to the topics of money and happiness? And the stuff we talk about has helped members change jobs, save thousands of dollars, and fight less with their partners? Join us!
photo by christopher harris // cc
I was the personal errand runner, the entertainer of her children and person who removed the bun from her burger when she was on Atkins. All of this in addition to spending my evenings and weekends planning parties for the trophy wives of Minneapolis/St. Paul.And after a year of nigh-on emotional abuse, she laid me off the day after I closed the deal on a $250,000 event.
To say that I was livid would be something of an understatement. I carried a deep and abiding hatred for this woman for the entirety of the summer, nursing it like a hobby, allowing it to ripen and consume a bit more of me every day.
But one beautiful summer day while I sulked, unemployed, in my living room, rehashing all the snarky things my boss had ever said to me, it occurred to be how deeply silly this was. This woman had already tarnished a year of my life. Why was I allowing her to ruin my summer? I wasn’t even on her payroll anymore and she was still controlling me.
Ridiculous. So I started the long and slow process of letting it go.