The Happiness Challenge

The Happiness Challenge

Living
I generally consider myself to be a happy, go-lucky person. I have a passion for creativity, play, travel, new experiences, and the rosy wash of optimism. But like so many things, happiness is like a muscle… it can start to deteriorate over time if not flexed properly. It starts, perhaps, with too much time spent watching the news or looking at social media, and the negativity slowly builds up and begins to weigh heavier and heavier on the mind and heart. Then maybe one day you listen to yourself while talking to a friend or loved one and hear complaints, gossip, or other negativity spilling from your lips. Before long, all you can think about is how unhappy you are at work, how lonely you feel, or how lazy or…
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First Fridays and Favorites

First Fridays and Favorites

Living
Happy Friday, friends! In addition to it being Friday, today was my first day back to school/work after enjoying the summer off. No matter how long I’ve been “in school” (whether as a student or a teacher), the anticipation of the first day never seems to fade. Today is also the first day of September, the kick-off of the holiday weekend, and… First Friday! If you read my post a couple of weeks ago or saw my article share yesterday, you might remember the term, or you might be familiar with it in your own community. First Friday is an opportunity for a community to come together, either for arts and entertainment or social, political, or professional networking. The First Friday events I’m familiar with are intended to celebrate the…
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Back to School ~ A Professor’s 10 Hacks to Help Students Survive and Thrive at Semester Start

Back to School ~ A Professor’s 10 Hacks to Help Students Survive and Thrive at Semester Start

Living, Teaching
The fall is fast upon us, and it’s time once again - for back to school and the start of a new academic year. For those of you making the leap to college, it can be a scary time. Many colleges are much larger than the campuses you're used to. You'll be surrounded by people you haven’t known for the last 4+ years and aren’t sure what will be expected of you in terms of homework. Or maybe you’ve been out of school for awhile and are nervous about going back. Even if it isn’t your first semester, there are still many unknowns that can cause anxiety. As someone who’s been teaching college classes for 15 years, I’d love to share some wisdom from a teacher’s perspective to help start…
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Art, Love, and Community ~ United Against Hate

Art, Love, and Community ~ United Against Hate

Living
It’s Friday. One week after the torch-lit procession at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Like so many others, I felt shaken by what happened last weekend. As I looked at the photos of the flame-illuminated faces coming out of the demonstration, the pit in my stomach grew in proportion to my shock. As a general rule, society tends to move forward with each generation in terms of growing toward acceptance and equality. As they become adults, children move beyond the views of their parents to become their own persons with fewer tethers to antiquated ideas. We’ve seen the progression from slavery to civil war to emancipation to segregation to integration to Civil Rights Act to Voting Rights Act to African Americans in Congress to our first Black President. We’ve…
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5 Friday Favorites ~ National Smile Week Wonders

5 Friday Favorites ~ National Smile Week Wonders

Living, Writing
My eyelids fluttered open, and I paused to take stock of my upper body. Throat? All good, actually. Nose? Still a little stuffy, but I could breathe through it. A significant improvement. Head? Much less sinus pressure and fog. Final assessment? Feeling about 70%. I checked my phone for the time. 11:30 a.m. Time to climb out of bed. I stretched once more before sweeping the covers off, swinging my legs over the edge, and finally stepping into the day. Sleeping so late felt decadent, even if it was a healing sleep. I noted my gratitude for the significant improvement in my well-feeling, that it was only a case of severe allergies knocked out with medicine and sleep and not some lingering summer cold that would plague my last few…
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Self Doubt and My 5 Friday Favorites ~ Books Edition

Self Doubt and My 5 Friday Favorites ~ Books Edition

Writing
This post may include affiliate links. Almost five months in, and I find myself having a bit of an existential crisis with my blog. I have fallen into many traps - the trap of feeling like my blog needs to make money, the trap of feeling like my blog will never make money, the trap of feeling like I need to change my niche so that it will make money, the trap of comparing my blog to other blogs, the trap of cranking out content and starting to think of it as a chore, the trap of not being “efficient” or “effective” with promotion and learning, and so much more. I think these are traps that many people fall into as bloggers. When I started this blog, I set out…
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Summer Bucket List Check In

Summer Bucket List Check In

Living
It’s the second day of August, and the coming semester is fast approaching with one school starting August 29th and the other starting September 5th! With just a few weeks left of little obligation, and just under 8 weeks until the autumn equinox and the official end of summer, I thought it would be a great time to check in on how everyone is doing with their summer bucket lists. In case you missed it, I shared my list of 50 activities here. This is how the hubby and I are faring so far:     Done:   Spend a long weekend on the coast - We've enjoyed both Block Island and the Outer Banks Go canoeing Have a bonfire Watch some fireworks Check out a new brewery - New to…
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Celebrate Life ~ Our Favorite Weird, Wacky Holidays in August

Celebrate Life ~ Our Favorite Weird, Wacky Holidays in August

Living
I walk past the yellow picnic tables, across the enclosed, painted-gray concrete patio in my grandparents’ backyard, and release the latch on the screen door. I push the aluminum door open, hearing the light squeak as I step out into the yard. The sky is the usual vibrant blue of a San Diego summer, and the waterfall splashes into the small goldfish pond. I scan the perimeter and smile at the colorful orbs dotting the green leafy trees. Walking past the lemons and limes, I head straight for my favorite - the peaches. I reach up into the tree and start testing the fruit, searching for the one that will come off easily into my small palm. I’m finally rewarded as a soft, fuzzy peach separates from its branch. I…
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5 Friday Favorites ~ Videos that Give Me the Feels

5 Friday Favorites ~ Videos that Give Me the Feels

Living
Happy Friday, Friends! It’s been a bit of a rough week here. Not sure if it’s because it’s the first full week where we haven’t gotten out of town in a while or because I haven’t had a proper cup of coffee all week or because it’s been uncharacteristically cool and gloomy for summer, but I’ve been fighting the blues. Being a writer, a blogger, and an adjunct can be a lonely business, and I always start to feel it in the summer after being left to my own devices in an empty house for too long. In times like this, I have a terrible tendency to close myself off, which is incredibly counterproductive to how I’m feeling. But I also recognize the importance of feeling things. So this week,…
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Under the Boardwalk ~ Popular Boardwalks and Waterfronts in Every State

Under the Boardwalk ~ Popular Boardwalks and Waterfronts in Every State

Living
I hear the lyrics and melody running through my head as I write… “From the park you hear the happy sound of a carousel. Mm-mm, you can almost taste the hot dogs and French fries they sell. Under the boardwalk, down by the sea, On a blanket with my baby is where I'll be.” If there’s anything possibly more iconic and nostalgic in the summer than a drive-in, it might be the boardwalk. After all, while they both had songs written about them, The Drifters’ “Under the Boardwalk” is much more well known than the Beach Boys’ “Drive-In.” Just the word alone can conjure up a multitude of sensory memories, from the sounds of the games and rides, to the smell of the ocean air, the taste of popcorn, ice…
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