fabulous friday #42

Happy Friday, friends! Hope you’re having a good one!

It’s a typical Friday for me… this morning I headed to one of my fave yoga classes, now I’m getting some work done on the computer, and later this afternoon I’m tutoring a few great kiddos.

We have been getting LOTS of rain here the past couple days… they say it’s one of the biggest storms we’ve had here in five years! Fortunately we are all safe and sound here. If it’s stormy and bad-weathered where you are, please be safe!

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. The Lucy Hale song “Mistletoe.” It’s been bopping around in my head off and on since I heard her sing it on the “CMA Country Christmas” TV program, and this week I finally went and ordered it on iTunes. Love it!

2. This interesting and thorough article Allyn sent me with tips for staying calm and managing stress {especially useful in this often-stressful holiday season}: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140805002649-50578967-how-successful-people-stay-calm

3. Speaking of the holidays, here are two socially impactful, beautiful gift ideas if you are doing some holiday shopping:

4. I’ve been craving veggies — carrots, celery, bell peppers, kale — even more than usual lately. For example: last night, I sliced up half a bell pepper as part of my dinner, and ended up going back to the fridge and polishing off the rest of the pepper later that night as a snack! I’ve never craved bell pepper before, but there you have it! I believe our bodies tell us what they need, so I’ve been riding the veg-tastic train all week. This is an interesting NPR article about how what you eat affects your mood: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/07/14/329529110/food-mood-connection-how-you-eat-can-amp-up-or-tamp-down-stress?

5. This quinoa veggie salad from Costco. Tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, lentils, beans, quinoa — healthy, light and filling. It’s made a great quick lunch on a couple days this week when time got away from me and I was a little rushed to get out the door.

quinoa salad

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! I’m gonna leave you with this beautiful John Gardner quote my brother sent me:

greg quote

Questions of the day:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?

how to avoid regrets

I recently read an article about the top 5 deathbed regrets that I found through Danica’s wonderful blog It’s Progression.

Here are the questions the article left me with:

  • How can I let go of the expectations of others, and live a life true to myself and my own dreams?
  • How can I create a life of meaning and purpose?
  • How can I build better relationships with friends and family?
  • How can I design my life so that I’m happy and flourishing?
  • How can I express my authentic self more fully?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and journaling on these questions lately. For me, a key realization has been shifting my thoughts from what I should be DOING in order to live a happy life, to how I should be FEELING in order to live a happy life — in other words, what feelings combine to make up my “happy.” The feelings that keep coming up for me are: feeling loved, feeling helpful, feeling connected, and feeling inspired.

So now, I’m trying to organize what I DO and how I spend my time into activities and goals that most manifest those feelings that make me happy. Writing makes me feel inspired. Spending time with family and friends make me feel loved. Reading makes me feel connected. Volunteering at the food pantry makes me feel helpful. And so on …

I’ve also often heard the advice, “You are more likely to regret what you DON’T do than what you do.” This advice inspires me to try new things and not let fear keep me from going after what I want. On the other hand, however, I need to remind myself not to take this advice to the extreme; if I say “yes” to every opportunity that comes my way, I’ll be left feeling burned-out and stressed. Also, once I make a decision not to do something, I don’t want to look back and wonder what had happened if I had taken a different path. You can’t go back and change the past, so I don’t want to waste any time wishing or regretting what’s already done!

On a related note, I absolutely loved the latest issue of Real Simple magazine — there is a feature article titled “Live Long and Prosper” that features advice from eight centurions. Check it out!

My favorite was this advice from Justina Sotomayor {pictured below} on how to live a long, healthy life: “Be lovable. I’ve lived a long life because there are so many people who love me.”

advice justina

This advice from Haruo Ito is lovely in its simplicity: “Sleep well, try not to worry, and enjoy good dreams.”

advice ito

So, those are my thoughts of the moments on avoiding regret and trying to live the fullest, happiest life possible. What do you think? What is the best life advice you’ve ever received?

thoughts on the work-life balance

I’ve been browsing through my stack of old magazines before I donate them to the local library, and I found an article in the May 2011 issue of The Writer about how to establish a work-life balance in the profession of freelance writing. The article featured interviews with four freelance writers, and many of their thoughts struck me as so wise and true — and applicable to all of us, not just writers! Below I’ve compiled some of my favorite quotes from the article; you can read the entire thing at The Writer archives here.

the writer may 2011

  • “Start small. People think of balance as an all-or-nothing proposition. Remember: You are not going to start an exercise routine in a day. Instead, start with a 15-minute walk. Anyone can take 15 minutes away from their desks. If you are into drawing, spend 15 minutes of your day sketching. Or play with your dog or cat. Experiment with small things.” – Alison Stein Wellner
  • I’ve focused myself on having a life outside of work. I put in a solid five hours of writing a day, unless I have a huge deadline. If I want to take a vacation, I rearrange my schedule and get my assignments done before I go. I find that the more I get out [of my house], the more work I have. I think it is because I am more focused.” – Sue Marquette Poremba
  • “The term ‘balance’ is precarious; I like to say simplify. I am better at simplifying now. I know what I can take on and try to schedule work accordingly. … I try to leave a good portion of my evenings free. I’ll try not to work until late at night. I’ve done this by writing down what I need to do the day before, and that really helps.” – Stephanie Dickison
  • “I think it helps to know how you define success for yourself. Sometimes I do what is called the ‘nursing home test’ with myself. As in: When I am old and gray and living in a nursing home, will I wish that I had taken on an extra copywriting project or made time for a long-weekend camping trip with my friends?” – Michelle Taute

I personally had never heard of the “nursing home test” but I think it is a great way of approaching work-life decisions, especially when I am feeling myself falling back into my work-a-holic tendencies

Do you struggle with work-life balance? What are some tips or strategies that work for you?