30 acts of kindness for my 30th birthday

This year, I’m ringing in a new decade! Yep—I’m joining my hubby in the 30’s club!

As when I turned 27, my birthday wish for this year is to create a “kindness chain” … I’ve spent the past few weeks doing 30 random acts of kindness, in honor of my 30th birthday. My birthday wish is for you to join me in an act of kindness. Please feel free to share your stories and acts of kindness in the comments section below!

my birthday wish

my 30 acts of kindness:

1. Bake goodies for a neighbor. One of our neighbors helped us Allyn carry a heavy desk up the stairs to our second-floor apartment when I was clearly struggling to hold up my end. He was just walking by and kindly came to our rescue! So I baked him some muffins with a thank-you note. I also gave some dried lavender in a small glass vase to our across-the-hall neighbor Joyce, who admired a vase of dried lavender in our apartment a few weeks ago.

thank you note

2. Donate stamps for The Letter Project. This organization was started by my blogging friend Whitney, and I love her mission to provide letters filled with comfort, hope and encouragement to women and girls. I have previously written letters for girls through The Letter Project, but I wanted to do a little bit more, so I donated some stamps too! Whitney works tirelessly to bring joy to others, and her efforts and genuine spirit inspire me so much.

3. Donate to a classroom on DonorsChoose in honor of all the teachers in my life. I chose this project to help bring a creative writing space to students in a Head Start program in Louisville, Kentucky. {Bonus: all donations are currently being doubled for this project!} This donation is also in honor of my brother Greg, who is a huge champion of Early Childhood Education and play-based learning, and who inspires me daily with his amazing work empowering administrators, educators and students through the nonprofit organization Right to Play.

4. Leave a kind note in a public place. I stuck this post-it note on the bathroom mirror at the airport!

5. Donate craft materials to the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse. I learned about this really neat reuse center from my sweetheart, who has become a waste management expert due to all his environmental work. This organization welcomes donations of everything from used toilet paper rolls to old buttons to fabric, electronics, media and more! Everything at their center is available for teachers to come take to use in their classrooms, for free. It is a wonderful concept, and I was happy to go through our apartment and my grandma’s house and get some materials together to donate, including two fake plants! Allyn was sweet enough to drop the donation off for me when he went to the area to donate blood.

East Bay Depot Creative Reuse

6. Pay for someone else’s coffee. While visiting my hometown for my birthday weekend, I met up with my friend Erica for coffee at our favorite local spot, Simone’s. I gave the barista an extra $5 to pay forward to someone else’s coffee that day. I hope it gave a stranger a nice surprise!

{The two of us at Simone’s during a visit years ago!}

7. Reach out to a friend. I sent messages to a few friends I haven’t been in touch with in a while, and got wonderful responses in return!

8. Write a note of appreciation. I wrote a fan letter to one of my favorite bloggers, Alex Franzen, telling her how much her joyful spirit and empowering words mean to me. I also shared a video that Allyn took of me giving a talk as a Worship Associate, when I shared her words and a story from her blog. She wrote back to my email right away, and was so touched that she shared the video with all of her subscribers. I have long been a fan of Alex’s; now I feel like I made a new friend!

9. Pick up litter. When I walked my favorite loop around my parents’ neighborhood, I brought a plastic bag along with me and picked up any litter I saw. I was surprised how much I gathered in just twenty minutes!

10. Write glowing reviews of my doctorsI am so lucky to have wonderful doctors who truly make me feel cared about and safe. I wrote reviews of them on Yelp so that when prospective patients are searching for doctors, they will know that these people are amazing!

11. Deliver flowers to a nursing home. This is actually something I like to do every year on my birthday, in honor of my dear friend Jewell, who was also born in May—we used to always celebrate our birthdays together. This year, I bought a beautifully blooming orchid and delivered it to the Ventura Townhouse, where Jewell used to live. The woman working the front desk was delighted and surprised. I think Jewell was smiling! Love you and miss you, my sweet friend.

jewell

12. Plant trees. I donated to The Canopy Project through The Earth Day Network. Every dollar you donate equals a new tree planted! Earth Day Network works on the ground with organizations worldwide that strengthen communities through tree planting. Using sapling and seed distribution, urban forestry, agroforestry, and tree care training, this amazing and vital organization has empowered rural and urban people alike to conserve, repair, and restore tree cover to their lands. I donated $30 to plant 30 trees for my 30th birthday!

13. Corral shopping carts in a parking lot. Every time I went shopping, I took a few minutes to push a handful of stray carts into the designated areas.

14. Donate books and magazines to the library. I donated about half a dozen issues of The New Yorker magazine, some crossword puzzle books, and two novels to my local library.

15. Support indie musicians. I donated to two PledgeMusic campaigns for independent musicians I greatly admire, Amber Rubarth & Blind Pilot… their latest albums are such a treat that bring me so much joy every day! I listen to them on repeat. Amber’s album is “Wildflowers in the Graveyard” and Blind Pilot’s is “And Then Like Lions.”

me and amber rubarth 2

16. Review my favorite podcasts on iTunes. I wrote glowing reviews of two of my favorite go-to podcasts: Happier with Gretchen Rubin, and The Life Coach School with Brooke Castillo.

17. Buy a meal for a stranger. One time, when I was a little girl, my family was out at a restaurant for dinner, talking and laughing. We were having a great time, but as the evening progressed, my brother and I were getting a little antsy and ready to head home. I remember we were waiting and waiting and waiting for the check. Finally, our waiter came over and told us that someone at another table had paid for our meal because we seemed like such a nice family having a wonderful time together. It was such a gift — what a lovely surprise, and a memory that will always stay with me. So, every so often, when I am out at a restaurant and see a family or a couple or a member of our military, I try to “pay it forward” by secretly paying for their meal, the way that stranger did for my family two decades ago.

18. Give empowering notes and “inspiration gemstones” to my students. Since we are at the end of the school year, I thought it would be a fun time to give my students little notes of appreciation and pride over all their hard work and growth this year! I typically give them writing-related gifts like pencils and mini notebooks, but I wanted to do something different this time and ordered these cool gemstones on Etsy. I wrote them notes saying, You are a gem! and explained that these are lucky gemstones that will bring them inspiration when they are feeling writer’s block. My students seemed to really like them!

19. Scatter “lucky pennies” on a playground. I picked up a roll of pennies from the bank and drove to a playground close to my neighborhood. I scattered the pennies all over the playground and around on the sidewalks. I also left some pennies on the edge of a nearby fountain for people to use to make wishes.

20. Leave quarters on the laundry machine. I left a note and surprised one of our neighbors with a free load of laundry!

21. Let someone go ahead of me in line. At the grocery store, after I unloaded my full cart onto the conveyer belt, a woman came up behind me in line with just a small basket of items, so I let her go ahead. She was very grateful.

22. Donate clothes to charity. I went through my closet and found a dress and two shirts that are in great condition but that I never wear. Allyn also gave me some clothing that he wanted to donate, so I dropped everything off at Goodwill.

23. Take Murray for a walk and let him stop and sniff to his heart’s content. Love you so much, bubsy! Even though you can be a slow, stop-and-sniff walker!

24. Donate to a food pantry. A couple months ago, Allyn and I spent a morning volunteering at our county food bank. The manager told us that one of the most-requested items is peanut butter, since it lasts for so long and is filled with protein, and kids love it. So I went to the grocery store and bought four jars of peanut butter, and donated them to the bin for the food bank.

25. Donate my old pair of sneakers. I love these bright pink shoes! They were with me on my trip to Europe, all over town, and through countless workouts. They still have a lot of life in them, even though I have a new pair of sneaks now. So I did a bit of research and found a local donation center at Fleet Feet Sports. I hope they bring someone else joy and comfort!

26. Surprise someone with a visit. I took a book to my writing buddy Lari when I was home visiting my parents over Memorial Day weekend. Lari and I write each other letters throughout the year, but it is always so nice to visit in person. She has some health issues, so she isn’t able to get out of the house very much. We had a lovely time chatting and sipping on Starbucks iced lattes on her couch!

27. Thank our maintenance man. We are so lucky to have the best handyman at our apartment complex. Jose is friendly and fastidious—when we have a problem, he always wants to fix it for us in a hurry! Whether it is a squeaky door, a broken cabinet, or carpenter bees on our deck, he is our guy! I left a note for him in the front office, and also wrote a note to his supervisor about how wonderful he is.

28. Give money and a note to a street performer. At our local train station, there is nearly always a man playing the saxophone. It always brightens my day, but typically I am rushing past, anxious to make the train on time. This time, I made sure to head to the train station early so I could listen to him for a little bit. Then I dropped some money, along with a note, into his open saxophone case.

29. Answer a survey. Whenever I go to the post office, they always point out the survey at the bottom of the receipt, but I’m always too busy or forget to make the effort to go online and fill it out. This time, I went home and did the survey, giving our local post office rave reviews because they are awesome.

30. Surprise a child with a balloon at the grocery store. This is always one of my favorite things to do when I want to brighten my own day! I buy a balloon at the grocery store register and ask the checker if they will give it to a child who comes through the line. I love to think of the wonder on a little girl or little boy’s face to be surprised with a balloon for no reason!

 

Thanks so much to everyone who helped in my birthday acts of kindness; to everyone who sent me words of support and encouragement; and to everyone who joined the kindness chain and did acts of kindness! You have truly made my 30th birthday a masterpiece. Here’s to a sparkling new decade!

Lots of love and thanks,
❤ Dallas

* If you liked this post, you might want to check out the archives of my year of kindness challenge!

 

Your turn {if you want}:

Grab your journal or open a new document on your computer and “free-write” about kindness.

  • What is an act of kindness you have done or would like to do for others?
  • Write about a time someone surprised you with an act of kindness.
  • What is a memory that warms your heart, perhaps even many years later?
  • What is your favorite way to celebrate your birthday?

a year of Wooden: week 30

Hi, everyone! Hope you had a lovely Labor Day weekend! Dana is visiting and we spent a gorgeous day soaking up the sunshine in Santa Barbara. I love having this beautiful inside-and-out person for a friend!

me and dana sb

Now it’s time for this week’s year of Wooden challenge… and we’re into a new month, which means a new topic!

a year of wooden

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.
  • March: Help others.
  • April: Build a shelter against a rainy day (financially).
  • May: Be true to yourself.
  • June: Give thanks for your blessings every day.
  • July: Love.
  • August: Balance.
  • September: Drink deeply from good poetry.

Back in January, we began this year-long challenge with the first item from Coach Wooden’s 7-Point Creed: Drink deeply from good books. Now, back-to-school time seems the perfect season to return to this idea of learning, curiosity, and growth through reading. I want to include a special focus on poetry because Coach Wooden had a deep love for poetry. He could recite many poems by heart and even wrote poetry himself. So, for the month of September, we are going to delve into poetry.

But before moving forward, let’s wrap up August’s focus on balance. Last week’s challenge was to try to do one activity from each of your categories every day. My main categories are:

  • Family & friends
  • Work
  • Writing
  • Mental health
  • Physical health

Here are some activities I did this past week: spent quality time with my grandparents {my grandma is healing very well from her hip operation!} and extended family, as well as my parents, sweetheart, and Dana; put in a solid 12-15 hours of editing work; revised 80+ pages of my work-in-progress; submitted pieces to three journals; watched a fun movie and read some of my favorite blogs; wrote in my gratitude journal and meditated; and did lots and lots of walking in the sunshine!

I still want to get back into my yoga routine, which has been difficult with all the traveling I’ve been doing lately. Does anyone have good beginner yoga YouTube videos to recommend, since I haven’t been able to make it to my favorite classes in-person?

It can be overwhelming {not to mention impossible} trying to “have it all” and “do it all”… so last week’s challenge was important for me. I shifted my mind-set away from trying to cram 1,001 things into each day and instead focused on making time for two or three of my key categories every day. Just as I had hoped, over the course of the week I did feel much more balanced and peaceful — and happy! I’m definitely planning to continue this routine.

To kick of the month of September, for this week’s challenge, I am going to read Selected Poems of Robert Frost.

Selected Poems Robert Frost

You can also read many of Robert Frost’s poems online here. Next week, I’ll share my favorite poem from the collection, and I’d love to hear yours as well!

Questions for the day:

  • How did your month of balance go? Did you learn anything about yourself?
  • Who are some of your favorite poets?

P.S. A special birthday shout-out to Holly, who turned 27 yesterday!

me and hol brunch

I love you so much, my dear friend!

a year of Wooden: week 29

Happy Monday, friends! It’s time for this week’s year of Wooden challenge!

a year of wooden

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.
  • March: Help others.
  • April: Build a shelter against a rainy day (financially).
  • May: Be true to yourself.
  • June: Give thanks for your blessings every day.
  • July: Love.
  • August: Balance.

Coach Wooden said, “The two most important words in the English language are LOVE and BALANCE.” In July, we focused on the first of those: cultivating and nurturing more love in our lives. Now, in August, we are working to create better balance in our lives.

balance quote

Last week’s challenge was to look at the inventory of the key components that make up each of your categories and think about how these activities might come together in a balanced way to create your “perfect ordinary day.” My main categories are:

  • Family & friends
  • Work
  • Writing
  • Mental health
  • Physical health

My “perfect ordinary day” would be a stress-free morning spent waking up slowly with meditation, gratitude journaling, and a hot mug of tea; three or four hours of diligent writing on my creative work-in-progress; an afternoon spent blogging, working on editing projects, and teaching; nourishment throughout the day from healthy, nutritious meals; yoga class or a nice walk; time spent with family and friends; and reading for half an hour before bed from a great book.

For this week’s challenge, try to do one activity from each of your categories every day. See what it feels like. Be flexible and give yourself grace. For example, if I’m having an especially busy day, maybe I can’t make it to yoga class but I am able to do a fifteen-minute core circuit routine before bed. Maybe you can’t meet up with a friend in person, but you can connect with them over email or text message to let them know you are thinking of them.

Remember: balance does not happen overnight, and it means cultivating a routine of mindfulness. The goal is to focus on making time for each of your key categories — each day might not be perfectly balanced, but over the course of the week you should feel balanced between all of your categories. Let me know how it goes!

Questions for the day:

  • What does a “perfect ordinary day” look like for you?
  • What activities do you want to make time for in your life this week?

a year of Wooden: week 28

Hi everyone! It’s time for this week’s year of Wooden challenge!

a year of wooden

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.
  • March: Help others.
  • April: Build a shelter against a rainy day (financially).
  • May: Be true to yourself.
  • June: Give thanks for your blessings every day.
  • July: Love.
  • August: Balance.

Coach Wooden said, “The two most important words in the English language are LOVE and BALANCE.” In July, we focused on the first of those: cultivating and nurturing more love in our lives. Now, in August, we are working to create better balance in our lives.

balance quote

Last week’s challenge was to identify the four or five key areas of your life. Here are mine:

  • Family & friends
  • Work
  • Writing
  • Mental health
  • Physical health

I differentiated “work” from “writing” because I do a variety of tasks as part of my job other than writing, but I feel the need to write every day in order to feel happy and productive. If I only do other work-related projects, such as teaching and blogging and publicity stuff — but no writing — then it doesn’t feel like a wholly fulfilling day to me. So “writing” is important enough to me to be its own separate category.

For me, “mental health” includes the things that I need to de-stress and center myself: meditation, reading for pleasure, volunteering. “Physical health” encompasses exercise {yoga, walks, core exercises} and also eating healthfully {and carving out the time to cook healthful meals!}

Source: http://www.pinterest.com/explore/inspiration-quotes/

Source: pinterest

For this week’s challenge, look at the inventory of the key components that make up each of your categories. Now, spend a little while daydreaming about how these activities might come together in a balanced way to create your perfect ordinary day. I want to make the distinction between “perfect day” and “perfect ordinary day” because I think to a lot of us, a “perfect day” would be comprised of vacation-type activities. This is certainly lovely and fun to think about, but probably isn’t sustainable over the long-term.

Instead, for this challenge, I want you to think about how you can make your ordinary, everyday days be the best possible masterpiece days they can be. And that means putting together a roadmap of balanced activities from each of the core important areas of your life!

Questions for the day:

  • What are the key areas/categories in your life?
  • What does a “perfect ordinary day” look like for you?

a year of Wooden: week 27

Hi everyone! I’m coming at you with this week’s year of Wooden challenge… and we’re into August, which means a new monthly focus!

a year of wooden

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.
  • March: Help others.
  • April: Build a shelter against a rainy day (financially).
  • May: Be true to yourself.
  • June: Give thanks for your blessings every day.
  • July: Love.
  • August: Balance.

Coach Wooden said, “The two most important words in the English language are LOVE and BALANCE.” In July, we focused on the first of those: cultivating and nurturing more love in our lives. Now, in August, we’ll strive to create better balance in our lives.

Last week’s challenge was to go beyond just saying, “I love you” and SHOW someone your love. The aim was to do seven loving gestures for the week, one every day. I made a phone call to check in on a friend, lavished compliments and praise on my students, sent a card to my brother, helped my grandparents entertain guests, mailed a care package, treated my mom to fro-yo, and tried to up my share of household chores. Lots of little gestures, but they brought smiles to the faces of those I love, and made me feel more loved and happy in turn.

balance quote

To kick off our new month’s focus on balance, this week’s challenge is to identify the four or five key areas of your life. These should be broad categories, like “Family/Friends”, “Work”, “Hobbies” and “Exercise.” Next, jot down a few things describing each one. For example, under my “Exercise” category I would write down “yoga, walks, core strength” while under “Hobbies” I might identify “knitting, baking, blogging, reading.” In this way, you’re taking an inventory of the key components that make up your life and happiness. For the rest of month, we’ll work on getting them in balance!

Questions for the day:

  • What was your over-all experience in the month of July with our focus on love? Does your life feel more full and rich with love than it did before?
  • What are the key areas/categories in your life?

a year of Wooden: week 26

Hi everyone! Time for this week’s year of Wooden challenge!

a year of wooden

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.
  • March: Help others.
  • April: Build a shelter against a rainy day (financially).
  • May: Be true to yourself.
  • June: Give thanks for your blessings every day.
  • July: Love.

Coach Wooden said, “The two most important words in the English language are LOVE and BALANCE.” This month, we’ll be focusing on the first of those: cultivating and nurturing more love in our lives. Next month, we’ll strive to create better balance in our lives.

Last week’s challenge was to write a love letter to yourself. Surprisingly, this was actually quite a bit harder for me than it was to write a love letter to someone else. At first I felt uncomfortable. I think I am a fairly confident person, and yet it seemed silly to be spending time writing down things I love about myself. Why is that? Did any of you have a similar experience?

I think many of us are trained to focus on our flaws and weaknesses, to always try to improve ourselves, that we don’t spend nearly enough time acknowledging our strengths. By the end of my love letter to myself, I had tears in my eyes. I felt so grateful to be alive and to be ME. I wrote my letter in my journal, and now I plan to go back and read it every so often, anytime I am feeling down about myself.

This week’s challenge is to go beyond just saying, “I love you” and SHOW someone your love. This doesn’t have to be a romantic gesture; doing your roommate’s dishes, helping your little brother with his homework, bringing a coworker coffee, giving your spouse a back rub — anything kind and thoughtful shows the people in your life that you appreciate them. Aim to do seven loving gestures this week, one every day. Let me know how it goes!

Questions for the day:

  • What was you experience writing a love letter to yourself?
  • When was the last time someone made you feel really appreciated?

27 acts of kindness for my 27th birthday

Last week, I shared that my birthday wish for this year was to create a “kindness chain” … I spent the week doing 27 random acts of kindness, in honor of my 27th birthday. It was my favorite birthday celebration ever! And even though my birthday has officially come and gone, it’s not too late to join in on the kindness chain. Please feel free to share your stories and acts of kindness in the comments section below!

my birthday wish

here they are…

my 27 acts of kindness:

1. Leave a complimentary note in a public place. I left these notes in the bathroom at Starbucks.

bathroom notes

2. Pay for someone else’s coffee drink. I bought a $5 gift card at Starbucks and asked the barista to use it to pay for someone else’s drink later that day. I asked if he would use it for someone who seemed stressed out, or someone who was particularly friendly or nice to him. “That’s really cool!” he said, giving me a big smile.

starbucks card

3. Give a meal to a homeless person. Last Friday night Dana and I went out to a delicious pizza place in Berkeley called Jupiter and we split a wood-fire pizza topped with a variety of cheeses, garlic, potatoes and bacon. At the end of our meal we had a few slices remaining and I took them to go. On the way to my car, I gave the boxed up leftovers to a very grateful and sweet homeless man, who offered to share them with me but it was late and I told him I needed to be on my way. “Bless you!” he called after me. I would have taken a picture of him, but it was dark. You’ll have to use your imagination and picture him smiling.

4. Write a kind note. I wrote cards to a number of friends + family members this week to say hi and let them know I’m grateful to have them in my life!

kind notes

5. Pay for someone else’s meal. I bought a $20 gift card at Panera and then handed it back to the cashier and asked if she would use it to pay for the meal of a family that came in. She looked surprised and said, “Oh my goodness, really?” I explained that it is my birthday. She said, “It’s YOUR birthday and you’re giving this to someone else?” Yep, that’s the idea! 🙂

Panera surprise

6. Put money into strangers’ parking meters. I left a handful of quarters on top of this parking garage payment machine.

parking garage payment

7. Reach out to a friend. I sent messages to a few friends I haven’t been in touch with in a while, and got wonderful responses in return!

8. Write a note of appreciation to a co-worker. I wrote a note to one of my co-workers at Communications Academy who did a terrific job subbing for me when I was out of town for Julie’s wedding.

9. Pick up litter. Over the week I collected a pretty big bag of trash, simply by picking up litter on the ground I saw in my daily life!

litter

10. Bring snacks to yoga class. When I think back to my 26th birthday, it’s crazy to realize that I hadn’t ever taken a yoga class at that point. Yoga has become one of my favorite rituals — definitely one of the best habits I’ve picked up in the past year. I absolutely love my biweekly Hatha yoga class. I’ve become friends with my fellow yogis, who always brighten my day with their warmth and positivity. This week I brought some energy bars to class to say thank you!

yoga snacks 20140529_092909

11. Visit residents in a nursing home. In honor of my dear friend Jewell, who was also born in May — we used to always celebrate our birthdays together — I brought some homemade cookies and kind notes to a local nursing home. I think Jewell was smiling! Love you and miss you, my sweet friend.

jewell

12. Give a treat to a toll-booth worker or gatekeeper. I gave cookies to the man who works the security gate at my neighborhood. He was surprised and excited — I guess it had been a long day working, and he was hungry! Chocolate-chip cookies always do the trick.

13. Corral shopping carts in a parking lot. I went shopping two times this past week, and each time I took a few minutes to push a handful of stray carts into the designated areas.

14. Donate books and magazines to the library. I donated about half a dozen issues of The New Yorker magazine and two books to my local library.

15. Send a thank-you note. I sent a couple thank you notes this week … and now I have a many more to send to thank my friends and family for their generous, thoughtful birthday gifts yesterday! 🙂

thank you notes

16. Write a 5-star review on Amazon. I wrote 5-star reviews for three books I’ve enjoyed lately: The Bigness of The World by Lori Ostlund; Beautiful Soon Enough by Margo Berdeshevsky; and 20-Something, 20-Everything by Christine Hassler.

17. Compliment a salesperson to his or her supervisor. I had a really wonderful and helpful woman ring me up at CVS, and afterwards I thanked her and asked how I could pass along my compliments about her to the higher-ups. She wrote down the info on the bottom of my receipt, and as soon as I got home I sent in feedback. Debra, you are fantastic!

receipt cvs

18. Bring treats for my students. I brought chocolate-chip cookies to my Communications Academy classes, and oh man were the kids excited!

cookies

19. Scatter lucky pennies on a playground. I picked up a roll of pennies from the bank and drove to a playground close to my neighborhood, where I sometimes go to write and read under the trees. I scattered the pennies all over the playground and around on the sidewalks. I also left some pennies on the edge of a nearby fountain for people to use to make wishes.

lucky pennies

20. Bring treats to the hospital staff. My Gramps and two uncles are surgeons, and my cousin Julie is currently in medical school {so proud of you, Julie!} so I know personally the dedication, selflessness and generous care that doctors and nurses give their patients. I brought half a dozen muffins and scones to the emergency room at the local hospital as a small gesture of thanks.

hospital treats 20140530_122639 20140530_124457

21. Let someone go ahead of you in line. At the A’s game on Monday, I let a number of people go ahead of me in the {always long!} line for the women’s restroom; a couple mothers with children were especially grateful.

me and al a's game

22. Donate clothes to charity. I went through my closet and found a dress and two shirts that are in great condition but that I never wear. Allyn also gave me a bag of clothing that he wanted to donate, so I dropped everything off at Goodwill.

clothes for goodwill

23. Pay the toll for the car behind you in line. When Allyn and I drove into San Francisco to go to the California Academy of Sciences for my birthday {so much fun!} we paid the toll for the car behind us in line. The tollbooth worker was at first confused, then surprised, then pleased by the gesture. It was especially sweet of Allyn to indulge me in this act of kindness because he has a Fastrak beeper and we had to go through the slower line to pay cash for another car’s toll.

24. Give a note and a chocolate bar to the mailman. Our mailman is very friendly and nice, always taking extra care to bring packages to the door if it is raining, and always waving hello when we see him on the street. I left a chocolate bar and thank-you note in the mailbox as a surprise for him.

thank you for mailman

mailman note

25. Surprise a child with a balloon at the grocery store. When I was waiting in line at the grocery store, these pretty balloons at the checkout stand caught my eye. I thought about how excited I was to get balloons as a child, which gave me an idea: I bought one of the balloons, then handed it back to the checker and asked her to give it to a child who passed through her line sometime that day. She was excited and delighted to do so.

grocery store balloon

26. Leave a really big tip. I gave an especially big tip to the friendly barista at one of my favorite independent coffee shops, who recommended a delicious tropical green tea to me.

27. Give someone flowers. I bought a bouquet of carnations at the grocery store, and then removed the rubber bands and separated the bouquet into individual flowers. When I went to the bank to get a roll of pennies to scatter at the playground, I gave the flowers to the bank teller and asked if she would pass out flowers to customers. As I left, I heard the man in line behind me ask in a surprised voice, “Did she just give you flowers?” I hope she gave him one! 🙂

20140530_132211

birthday carnations

Thanks so much to everyone who helped in my birthday acts of kindness; to everyone who sent me words of support and encouragement; and to everyone who joined the kindness chain and did acts of kindness this week! You have made this birthday my most special yet, and this is definitely a birthday tradition I hope to continue for many years to come!

Lots of love and thanks,
❤ Dallas

* If you liked this post, you might want to check out the archives of my year of kindness challenge from last year!

my birthday wish + giveaway

Hi, friends, and happy Thursday! My 27th birthday is a week from today, and during the next week I’m planning to celebrate by doing 27 random acts of kindness! I’m really excited about it and will be sharing highlights and photos from all the acts of kindness next week, so stay tuned.

my birthday wish

In the meantime, I’d love to invite you to join in on the kindness! Just like last year, I’d love if you would create a random acts of kindness chain with me. To participate all you have to do is perform an act of kindness in the next week, and then leave a comment below sharing what you did.

On Friday, May 30, I’ll randomly select one winner from all the comments to receive a personally autographed copy of my collection of short stories, 3 a.m.

3 a.m. book cover

I’m so excited to hear about all the love and kindness you spread in the world this week! Looking for ideas of random acts of kindness? Here are 52 of them!

Questions of the day:

  • Have you ever participated in a kindness chain before?
  • What are your favorite ways to celebrate your birthday?

fabulous friday #13

Aaaand just like that, it’s Friday again! Where did this week go? I can’t believe how quickly it flew by.

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. My friend Janet is visiting! We’re both going to a writer’s conference in Seattle and she was able to book a flight to San Francisco to spend a couple days with me before we head to the conference together. She gets in tomorrow morning. We email and talk on the phone, but I haven’t seen her in over a year and I can’t wait to give her the biggest hug. We met in college while studying abroad in England {along with our dear friend Lauren, who lives in New York} and whenever I get together with these ladies it feels like zero time has passed at all. Lots of laughter and too much chocolate will invariably be happening in my life this weekend.

jan laur and me

{Janet, me, and Lauren on a bus in Norwich, England. This was during my headband phase 🙂 Hard to believe it’s been six years since this was taken!}

2. This song: “Happy” by Pharrell. It’s impossible for me to restrain my happy-dancing when this song comes on. So dang catchy! I think this could be the theme song for TGIF!

3. These flourless chocolate cookies from Two Peas & Their Pod. Nom nom! These babies are definitely on my baking agenda.

4. All the sweet and thoughtful people in my life. I am so blessed. Just a few examples lately: Melissa at church sent me an incredibly kind Facebook message. Kathleen invited me a comedy show and offered that I could stay with her overnight if needed. Holly texted me a happy note that got my week off to a great start. Ben left me a nice voicemail. {Ben, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I haven’t called you back yet! This weekend!} Allyn took time out of his super busy schedule to send me recommendations for places to check out in Seattle, since he used to live there. Dana, a Bay Area native, took time out of her day to compile a list of fun places Janet and I can check out while she’s visiting. And I could go on and on… I am surrounded by amazing people who make me feel very loved and grateful.

me and dana

5. These wise words from the always-wise Whitney: “A Letter to Myself at 22.” And this inspiring post from another one of my favorite bloggers, the always-inspiring Robyn: “nobody cares about your pant size.”

Now I’m off to finish a couple projects before heading into the city for dinner tonight. Happy Friday, everyone! Treat yourself to something fun today!

Questions of the day:

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

a year of Wooden: week 7

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Hope you’re easing back into the workweek all right after the long weekend. Here is an inspiring piece about random acts of kindness that will make you smile {credit goes to my amazing brother for sharing this with me!}: http://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2014/02/25-random-acts-of-kindness-we-should-all-be-doing-more-often/

And now, it’s time for the next installment of a year of Wooden!

a year of wooden

This year I am doing “a year of Wooden” following the teachings of Coach John Wooden, and in particular his 7-Point Creed.

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.

Last week, the challenge was to send valentines to your friends. I mailed valentines to a dozen or so of my friends and family, and I received some sweet cards and text messages in return, and even some beautiful flowers!

valentines

This week, reach out and do a favor for a friend. Examples: bring a sick or stressed friend dinner, run an errand for a friend, drop by a friend’s office with coffee, pick up something for a friend at the store. Sometimes the most meaningful acts of kindness are those done without asking!

Have a masterpiece week!

Questions of the evening:

  • How do you get back into the swing of things after a long weekend?
  • What was a nice favor a friend has done for you?