Little Things to Make You Happy

Little Things To Make You Happy

I recently took to Twitter (are you following us yet?) while writing my 15 Things You Might Not Know About Me post to see what people might want to know.  When Alyssa of The Wise Willow suggested talking about things that make me happy, I was inspired . . . a bit too inspired for the sake of that post.  So, the greatly anticipated post is coming to you today:  little things to make you happy . . . because they make me happy, too!

1.  Animals

Obviously, Fitz (and his friends!) is at the top of the list, of course, but there are remarkably few animals that don’t make me happy.

2.  Accidentally vegan junk food

Oreos? Chili Doritos? Thin Mints? I may love to cook, but sometimes you just want a quick, unhealthy snack.

3.  Great pens

Lately, I’ve been especially partial to my Sakura Pigma Microns and my Paper Mate Flair (especially in the shade “Surf’s Up”).

4.  Cosy blankets and fuzzy socks

I’m far from as “advanced” as I’d like to be, but I’ve been becoming more and more a fan of the ideas behind hygge.  Surrounding myself with warm, fuzzy happiness? Yes, please! My mom recently gifted me a pair stripy, fuzzy socks and it’s nearly pained me to take them off since.

5.  Funny videos

When depression hits hard, one of the few things that make me smile are Filmcow videos (check out my favourites in my favourite YouTubers post!).  I also rediscovered the beauty that is CollegeHumor—I recommend the If Google Was A Guy and Badman series!

6.  Streaming services

Moment of appreciation for streaming.  I’m forever grateful for services like Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify for the sheer simplicity of entertainment they provide.

Need ideas for your next movie to stream? Check out some of my favourite films for self care days.

7. Fancy tea/coffee

There are remarkably few instances in which I would turn down tea or coffee in general, but a particularly fancy blend hits the spot from time to time.

8. Recipes that turn out well

Whether I’m trying out a recipe from Pinterest or creating one from scratch, there’s little as satisfying as that recipe turning out perfectly!

Try one of our recipes and see for yourself!

9. Texts

Disclaimer: not all text messages qualify. That girl who only complains about her ~terrible~ life or the guy who turns his second message into an innuendo . . . they don’t make me happy. But a good morning/night text from a loved one?  A friend checking in? Somebody asking how you are or what you’re up to and actually caring to hear the answer? Love it.

10. Letters

As much as I love technology, a handwritten letter makes me so, so happy.

11. Learning

Maybe I’m a nerd, but I legitimately enjoy learning.  That may be why I’ve signed up for six online courses since graduating. . . .

12.  Snuggles

Another shoutout to Fitz, he gives the best snuggles (when he wants to).

13. The Green Light

No, not Gatsby’s. . . my fellow bloggers will empathise with my love for the Yoast SEO green light!

14. A good book

I guess this one’s obligatory for a writer!

15. Sales

When I can get something for a discount, my day is made.

16. Office supplies

Bonus points for Clippy, the Microsoft Word feature from days of yore.  But real stationery is pretty cool, too.

Find our suggestions for the best school supplies for college students here.

17. Blogging!

Especially after our recent break, I absolutely love the feeling that comes with blogging. Hopefully reading the end result makes you happy, too!

18. Puns

The worse the pun, the better.

19. A Good Lip Balm

I always seem to come back to Blistex.

20. Tiffany and Co.

“. . . nothing very bad could happen to you there.” –Breakfast at Tiffany’s

21. Old Music

I’ll always have a soft spot for Sinatra, but there’s so much to love about the decades surrounding him, too.

By that logic, though, even nostalgic songs from the past twenty years or so can bring a smile to my face!

22. Gudetama

If you thought an animated egg wouldn’t give you a rush of emotion, you were probably wrong.

23. Rompers

I just really, really love rompers.  If I could wear only rompers all of the time, I’d be pretty content.

24. Poetry

Surprise, surprise, a poet enjoys poetry. I not only love to write it, but I love reading it!

Interested in some of the poetry I’ve written? Check out Mistakes Were Made on Amazon or Goodreads.

25. The night sky

I didn’t suffer through a semester of Astrophysics for nothing! I can’t claim to actually know much about it, but I’ve always been fascinated by the night sky.

26. Disney movies

If someone claims you’re too old for Disney, they’re wrong.

27. Rain

Especially thunderstorms!  I love curling up by an open window and listening to the rain fall.

28. Old cars

I have a friend who can identify nearly any old car at a glance. It’s seriously amazing.  While I don’t have that impressive talent, I do enjoy old cars from an aesthetic point of view!

29. Travel

I’ve done far too little travel as of late. But even memories of travel can spark a bit of happiness!

Check out our traveller’s guide to Bath, one of my favourite cities!

30. Listening to someone talk about something they love

One of my favourite things is watching someone explain something about which they’re truly passionate. Even if you don’t share the interest, you can’t help but smile watching their eyes light up as they talk about it!

Do any of these little things make you happy, too? Which one is your favourite? Let us know in the comments!

Little Things to Make You Happy

Inspiring Mottos

Inspiring Mottos to Live By this New Year (12 Days of Blogmas 2017, Day Six)

So far in our 12 Days of Blogmas 2017, we’ve focused primarily on organising and decluttering your physical space.  Today, however, we’re targeting your mind by featuring inspiring mottos to help you live your best life this new year.

“Hakuna Matata”

Hakuna Matata

“What’s a motto?”

“Nothin’, what’s a motto with you?”

This one is a given.  It means no worries for the rest of your days…. Easier said than done perhaps, but inspiring nevertheless.

“It’s okay to be a glowstick; sometimes we need to break before we shine.”

It's okay to be a glowstick; sometimes we need to break before we shine.

Remember the excitement of getting a glowstick as a kid?  Channel that excitement in your everyday.

“She remembered who she was and the game changed.”

She remembered who she was and the game changed.

A modern adaptation of “to thine own self be true,” without Polonius’ rambling to detract from its sentiment.

“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.”

Make self-care a priority this new year.

“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.

Roald Dahl truly has infinite wisdom.

“Be the person your dog thinks you are.”

Be the person your dog thinks you are

No other motivation needed.

What are your inspiring mottos for this new year?

Catch up on our 12 Days of Blogmas 2017 here!

Inspiring Mottos

Reset Your Life

Reset Your Life for the New Year with These Tips (12 Days of Blogmas 2017, Day Three)

For many people, the new year serves as a fresh start.  Launch that fresh start and reset your life with these tips:

Take stock of where you are now

“Life audit” sounds like a fancy term, but it’s a great starting point.  Check out the concept of a Level 10 life for an especially helpful introduction (and an excellent idea for a bujo collection!)!  Once you know where you stand at the start, you can figure out where to go from there.

Be honest with yourself

This relates directly to the earlier tip, too.  If you underestimate how much you’re struggling with a certain category of your life, you can’t improve appropriately.  Overestimate and you’ll be doing more work than necessary.  Ask a friend for insight if you need a second opinion!

Launch some healthy habits

Have you always wanted to do yoga regularly?  Do you want to start drinking green smoothies?  Want to start a vegan lifestyle (stay tuned for our upcoming course!)?  Now’s a great time.  Check out our first day of Blogmas for advice on sticking to your New Year’s resolutions.

Make time for self-care

This one could be a habit or resolution all by itself!  Make a list of mental healthy things to reference when you have free time or queue up some movies for your next mental health day.  Prioritise yourself and your life will improve by default.

KonMari your life

If you aren’t familiar with the concept of KonMari-ing, I can’t recommend The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up enough!  For this reference though, you only need to know one question:  Does this spark joy? In Ms. Kondo’s method, this refers to getting rid of items that do not bring you joy.  Here, this can refer to items to organise, habits to break, or commitments to break.  Does that hobby bring you joy?  If not, why keep it up?

Practice Gratitude

Even on the worst of days, you have something to be grateful for, even if it’s just having air to breathe.  Maintaining gratitude puts the bad moments in perspective.  Keep a gratitude journal or download an app (or even the Notes app!) and watch the benefits multiply!

What are you doing to reset your life this new year?

Check out the rest of our 12 Days of Blogmas 2017 here!

Reset Your Life

10 Movies for Your Next Self-Care Day

10 Movies for Self-Care Days

Sometimes, you just need a self-care day, mental health day, what have you.  Sometimes, the best way to accomplish this is to put on a film!  Here are 10 movies for self-care days that might just inspire you to take that well-deserved break.

1. Say Anything

I have this theory of convergence, that good things always happen with bad things.  I know you have to deal with them at the same time, but I just don’t know why they happen at the same time.” 

There’s just something about a quintessential 80s film that never fails to cheer me up. Say Anything is my go-to because I’m in love with John Cusack Lloyd is one my the most heart-warming characters ever, in the dorkiest, most adorable way. Not going to lie, one of my goals in life is for a guy to hold up a boombox and play In Your Eyes.

Alternates:  Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink

2. Breakfast at Tiffany’s

“You know those days when you get the mean reds? …the mean reds are horrible.  Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what your afraid of.”

This just one of Holly Golightly’s iconic lines in this film, and it definitely applies to most of my self-care days.  Unfortunately, I can’t pack up and take a trip to Tiffany’s every time I’m down.  Instead, I pop in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard are absolutely amazing as Holly and Fred, er, Paul.  The movie isn’t without its problems, but it’s remained a classic for a reason.

Alternates: Roman Holiday, Sabrina, The Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

3. Frozen

“There’s beauty in it and also a danger. Fear will be your enemy.”

Really, Disney movies overall, or any favourite childhood film!  Frozen is particularly appropriate if you consider Elsa’s struggles with her powers as an allegory for mental health issues.  If nothing else, this film will remind you to Let It Go.

Alternates: Tangled, Beauty and the Beast, The Land Before Time

4. Legally Blonde

“If you’re going to let one stupid prick ruin your life…you’re not the girl I thought you were.”

The ultimate girl power movie.  This one is particularly effective if you’ve been struggling with schoolwork.  If Elle Woods got into Harvard, you can finish your assignments!

Alternatives: 10 Things I Hate About You, 13 Going on 40, She’s the Man

5. Harry Potter

“You’re a little scary sometimes, you know that? Brilliant…but scary.”

Any of the Harry Potter movies. For me, they’ve got a comfortable familiarity. Chances are, if you don’t feel that toward this series, there’s probably another that you do.

Alternatives:  Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia

6. Silver Linings Playbook

“The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday.  That’s guaranteed.  I can’t begin to explain that.  Or the craziness inside myself and everyone else.”  

Guess what?  Nobody’s perfect.  Everyone’s a little “crazy.”

Alternatives:  The Theory of Everything, Black Swan, The King’s Speech

7. Pride and Prejudice

“Believe me.  Men are either eaten up with arrogance or stupidity.  If they are amiable, they are so easily led they have no minds of their own whatsoever.”

It’s a fact universally acknowledged that you can’t be sad when watching a Jane Austen adaptation. Or any adaptation of a famous classic!  Pride and Prejudice is my personal favourite, but branch out if you prefer! 

Alternatives:  Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina

8. Twilight

“About three things I was absolutely positive: First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him—and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for my blood.  And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.”  

We all have that guilty pleasure movie.  Most likely, you got super crazy into it in middle school.  For me, that’s Twilight.  I recognise it as ridiculous, but can still appreciate the nostalgia.

Alternatives:  The Hunger Games, Divergent, Fifty Shades of Grey

9.  Mamma Mia!

“Did you feel it?  The earth moved, darling.  We’re falling apart here.”

Musicals make you feel better.  It’s a rule.

Alternatives:  High School Musical, Chicago, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Grease, Rent, The Producers

10.  Love, Actually

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere.”

Have a different favourite holiday film?  Grab that one!  And it’s okay:  I give you permission to watch it regardless of the season.  Some holiday cheer can prove to be a key ingredient when it comes to movies for self-care days.

Alternatives:  Elf, A Christmas Story, Jingle All the Way

What are your go-to movies for self-care days?

10 Movies for Your Next Self-Care Day

Meet My New Kitten

Meet My New Kitten!

If you haven’t been keeping up on social media, I’ve had some major life changes as of late. I’ve moved into my new apartment, started my final year of undergrad, and, most importantly, adopted a precious little furbaby!  Of course, the only natural thing to do is to introduce the new kitten to you all.

Allow me to formally introducing Varjak Fitzgerald, informally known as Fitz!

Story Time:

As some of you know, my plan was to begin training a service dog this fall.  A friend of mine was helping me search through shelters for the perfect candidate when she found this little guy in our local Amazon’s parking lot.

fitz - baby

With a coating of asphalt and a cut on his lip, this little guy was in pretty poor shape.  Fortunately, our friend is a long-time animal lover and gave him some TLC.  Some time in the process, she messaged me:  “Want a kitten?”

“…I kinda want a kitten.”

And so began my journey toward adopting this little floof.

fitz - string

But Jules, you’re in school…?

Yes, yes I am.  And no, my school doesn’t allow pets.  However, in compliance with the ADA, it does allow emotional support animals (ESAs).  Unfamiliar with the idea?  Lauren from Lauren’s Journey has a great piece on them as compared to psychiatric service animals here (also, how cute are her rabbits?)!

Disclaimer:  I was already aware of my qualification for an ESA though I had not yet requested a formal prescription.  With a rise in fake “registries” across the internet and a popular life hack of getting your pet “registered” as an ESA to avoid pet deposits, all too many fake ESAs exist.  He has a prescription letter and is legally recognised both on campus and within the ESA community.  In short:  don’t fake an ESA, it makes the rest of us look bad.

With the sermon over, back to Fitz!

6 Things to Know about Fitz:

1.  His toys have names and backstories.

fitz - sweatshirt nap

The struggle of Mommy being a writer, I suppose.

2.  Speaking of, his own name is filled with meaning!

fitz - bedtime

Varjak is the name of the primary male character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (and, I later realised, another PLL reference) while Fitzgerald/Fitz covers a bit more ground:  F. Scott, JFK, characters from both Pretty Little Liars and Scandal, Fitz(william) Darcy… The list goes on and on!

3.  He’s been known to enjoy dog food.

fitz - dog food

When he first came home with my friend, he (understandably) didn’t want to eat.  Eventually, it was the dog’s wet food that coaxed him!  He lived with his “Aunt” for a while until his paperwork was completed and he could move into my apartment and had a tendency to try to steal dog food even after he’d switched to kitten food.

4.  In fact, he gets a bit confused in terms of not being a dog.

baby fitz with moxie

He loves tennis balls and tries to bark.  Perhaps I didn’t stray too far from my original plan after all!

5.  His favourite toys are his string, the Crinkle Fishes, and Mousie.

fitz and sushi crab

The Crinkle Fishes are Mr. Crinkle Fish, Crinkly Fishy, and Bob, respectfully. Note that he loves Mousie far more than her companion, Mousier.

6.  He’s extremely social.

fitz - planner

He absolutely loves to meet new people!  Like any baby, he gets tired and grumpy after too much attention, but he loves it while it lasts.

7.  Computers are his favourite things, followed by boxes and bags.

fitz - GOT

Despite his canine tendencies, he’s still a typical cat.

8.  He’s highly educated.

fitz - reading

While ESAs don’t have the public access rights of a service dog, one of my professors allowed me to bring him to class for a few days while we covered some particularly touchy material.  Fitz loved the adventure, and our classmates loved him!

9.  He loves kisses.

Fitz - recliner and squirrel

He will actively raise his face to mine for a kiss.  If he’s particularly adamant, he’ll even reach up with his paws to pull my face to his!

10.  He’s a good boy.

fitz- snuggle blankets

No explanation needed.

Meet My New Kitten

Follow Fitz on Instagram or follow FTSOGT for blog updates AND cute cat photos!

10% Happier Review

10% Happier Review: How Meditation Has Changed My Life

At our Her Campus all-staff meetings, a go-to icebreaker is always “If you were a dog, what breed would you be?” My answer is consistently “a Chihuahua.” On the one hand, I am quite tiny. On the other, I’m often shaking— either because I’m almost always freezing, or because I’m anxious more often than not.  Lately, though, I’ve shook only in the AC, a change I attribute greatly to the fact that I’ve begun meditating.  With the help of 10% Happier, a free app, I’ve begun to enjoy the practice of meditation, which I avoided like the plague previously.  I’d give a crazy-high star rating to my 10% happier review if I had a star system in place here on the blog.

This post is not sponsored by 10% Happier;  I legitimately love it and want to share it with you all!

10% Happier promotes the tagline “meditation for fidgety skeptics.” To be honest, that’s what drew me to it.  A few months ago, I sat in the woods of Cardiff waiting for a non-existent taxi while one of my companions worked on our ever-increasing pile of school work and the other meditated.  I admired her ability to shut out the world and successfully meditate, but remained adamant that it wasn’t for me:

My brain doesn’t shut up.

I don’t have the time.

For brevity’s sake, know that I covered every excuse in the book as to why meditation would not work for me.

I don’t clearly remember the day I started, but I can guess as to its origins.  Super stressed, I caved and looked for a potential way to start.  Someone somewhere (and probably on the internet!) suggested it to remedy whatever symptom was most ailing me that day.

And so, I stumbled across 10% Happier.

It begins with four tabs (on iOS, I can’t vouch for other operating systems):  “Courses,” “Just Meditate,” “Coach,” and “Profile.”  I’ve spent most of my time within the first two.

Here’s the obligatory disclaimer:  there is a paid subscription option.  With it, you’ll have access to more content, more flexibility, and more lessons

However, I’ve been using just the free app for some time. I’ve seen more improvements than I can feasibly list.  It’s controlling my absurdly high blood pressure and fast heart rate a bit more (I’m not looking to replace medication, but every bit counts!).  I already find myself turning to my favourite guided meditations almost daily:

  • “Falling Asleep” with Alexis Santos for when I cannot get my thoughts to quiet enough to get to sleep (which is more nights than not)
  • “1 Minute to Sanity” with Dan Harris for when I’m short on time (remember that excuse?) or need to break the cycle of stress immediately.

Overall, meditation changed my life.

Not only has it made me a healthier, slightly happier person (still working on that last bit), but it has made me a believer.  You have my permission to imagine the Shrek soundtrack playing here!

No time? There are 1-minute guided meditations for that.  Heck, you can take what you’ve learned and freestyle it for half that, if that’s all you can manage.  But, I bet you’ll want to use up the full minute.

Talkative brain?  That’s okay.  As my good friend Dan (I really consider him  a friend after all of our sessions together!) says, “Every time you get distracted, just start again.”

I used to think that my mind’s constant wandering meant I couldn’t meditate.  Now I know that getting distracted is an opportunity.  I still think about my to do list or what’s for dinner.  Then, I take a mental note of it and go back to focusing on my breath.  Every time I do that, I solidify that focus a bit more.

Eventually, I want to try the paid version, but for now? I’m absolutely thrilled with the app!

10% Happier Review

Interested in meditation?  Check out 10% Happier on the app store or via their podcast!