Marrying at 100. I love it.
Video by Zack Conkle on Vimeo.
Paper Passion fragrance by Geza Schoen, Gerhard Steidl, and Wallpaper* magazine, with packaging by Karl Lagerfeld and Steidl.
“The smell of a freshly printed book is the best smell in the world.” – Karl Lagerfeld
Taco Bell: Mango Strawberry Frutista Freeze
Better than an coke Icee or a Sonic diet cherry lime-ade. Mango is my new favorite anything.
Ayla and I made Valentine’s Day Bookmarks for all of our favorite people! Easy, cheap and fun.
(Inspiration found on Pinterest)
I do love a Harlan Coben novel from time to time, like a guilty secret. …after reading this interview with him I like him even more.
Gretchen Rubin is famous for The Happiness Project (of which I am a fan) and this was her happiness interview with Harlan Coben. You can find this interview posted on Gretchen’s website and also see more of her Happiness Interviews.
Harlan is the spectacularly successful author of many #1 bestselling, prize-winning mystery novels and thrillers, one of which was also turned into a movie.
He’s a gifted writer and a very thoughtful person, so I was curious to hear what he had to say about happiness.
Gretchen: What’s a simple activity that consistently makes you happier?
Harlan: Writing. I know that sounds a tad hackneyed and sometimes I don’t even like writing, but it makes me happy. Yes, that’s a contradiction, so let me quote either Dorothy Parker or Oscar Madison: “I don’t like writing—I like having written.” In short, the satisfaction of creating, not necessarily the process, always lifts my heart.
What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?
It’s all about balance.
Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your happiness?
Yes. At the risk of making people click off this website, the Internet is often a waste of time that leaves me feeling drained and unhappy. Again it’s about balance—you’ll see a theme here. Some time online or texting or playing with social media is fine and probably healthy—but not a lot. Think about those times you are forced to unplug. You’re happier, right?
Is there a happiness mantra or motto that you’ve found very helpful? (e.g., I remind myself to “There is only love.”)
I have two mantras.
One I’ve already typed twice before: “It’s all about balance.” Family, writing, health, friends, surfing the web—whatever. They all need to be in balance. If I’m not writing well, I’m not happy. If I’m not spending enough time with my family, I’m not happy. If I’m not connecting to friends or if I don’t work out enough…. You get the point. Everything has to be balanced. Nothing should be an extreme.
My second mantra is more basic: “You bring your own weather to the picnic.” My kids roll their eyes at this one, but there is no question that attitude can go a long way.
If you’re feeling blue, how do you give yourself a happiness boost? Or, like a “comfort food,” do you have a comfort activity? (mine is reading children’s books).
It varies. I’ve never found much comfort, for example, in materialism or shopping. It always feels like a temporary boost, followed by some kind of crash. But I still participate. Mostly I find solace in renewing connections and in writing. Those are real. I try to stress to my children that buying something never leads to true happiness.
Is there anything that you see people around you doing or saying that adds a lot to their happiness, or detracts a lot from their happiness?
Envy, of course. I see a lot of it in my profession. One of my favorite mantras is: “No one has to fail so I can succeed.” Enjoy your friends’ successes—and your own.
Have you always felt about the same level of happiness, or have you been through a period when you felt exceptionally happy or unhappy—if so, why? If you were unhappy, how did you become happier?
That’s a good question. I don’t know. I just turned 50. I don’t look back much. I like where I am and so I don’t want to risk going back and changing things and then, well, where would I be? Even the mistakes led me here. I’m always, for better or worse, looking forward.
Do you work on being happier? If so, how?
I think consciously or subconsciously we are always fine-turning our happiness quotient. In my case, as I’ve already said, it’s about balance and connecting. Happiness is a bit like owning a car. Most times it just needs gas and maybe an oil change, but then every, say, six months, when I feel the need for more of an overhaul, I will read a book like, well, The Happiness Project. [Awww, thanks Harlan!] To slip out of this rather lame mixed metaphor, I may already know the information, but a reminder is a good thing.
I also derive a great deal of pleasure out of making other people happy. Yes, I know how self-serving that sounds, but it could, in fact, be pretty damn selfish. I love, for example, when readers tells me that my book made them happy—but is that about them or me or is there a “happiness cusp” between those two? I don’t know, but it might be worth exploring. It certainly sounds win-win.
Have you ever been surprised that something you expected would make you very happy, didn’t—or vice versa?
Not really. In the end, we know what makes us happy. We also know what makes us unhappy. That’s the irony. We know and yet we still mess it up. That’s part of the human condition, no, and why we need to work on it.
Turns out, I’m one of the last people on the planet associated with a teenage girl to ever hear of a Mall Scavenger Hunt. This is a thing. A popular thing. And it’s what Ayla wanted so thank goodness for google.
Ayla had 6 of her closest friends join her at the mall for a fun afternoon of giggling, scavenger hunting, chatting, photo taking, smoothie sipping, present opening, cookie cake eating, lemonade drinking and more giggling.
I got this idea straight from Mindy Pierce’s site – she made it look so super easy! …and I want to make sure I give credit to her. I thought it was a beautiful idea to make inexpensive gifts for people I care about – at work, at school, in my neighborhood – to let them know I am thinking of them during this holiday season.
Sometimes you may not know everyone’s personal tastes… do they like coffee? do they have pierced ears? do they enjoy chocolate? Well, this is the perfect gift, it’s fun to make, and the kids can help!
What you need:
bag(s) of small oranges or tangerines
bag(s) of limes
clear craft bags, holiday ribbon, printed tags
Put one orange, one lime, 2-4 bay leaves, 5-10 whole cloves and 2-3 small pieces of cinnamon sticks in each bag. Tips: Buy your cloves and cinnamon sticks at an ethnic market to get them in bulk at a much cheaper price. Use whatever paper & ribbon you have on hand to make your tags. I had intended to print my tags on white card stock but realized I didn’t have any left. But I did have white labels & red card stock and I think they look even better than I intended! I designed my printing to fit the labels I had.
I saw this quote online and it reminded me of a friend who has a birthday tomorrow. But the sign was very rustic and her taste is more elegant, so I wondered if I could recreate the sentiment in a different style as a personalized gift for her.
I downloaded some free fonts online first and practiced with a few different ones I liked to pick the perfect one. Then I went to the craft store to buy an inexpensive (50% off!) but fancy frame, a few pieces of open stock scrapbook paper (also 50% off!) and a couple of flower embellishments that I thought might match (40% off!).
I printed the quote directly onto the scrapbook paper (tried a couple different papers to see which one I liked best) in dark brown with a shadow and cut it to size. I pulled out my hot glue gun and made sure the three flowers were very well adhered to the frame, and…ta-da! Easy. And even though it’s not expensive, I was thinking of someone in particular and it made me happy to make this for her. I hope she likes it!