Could you go 40 days without being mean?

In addition to this week’s Thursday features, I thought it’d be fun to include three interesting challenges I found…

1. 40 Days of Kindness: Inspired by this article on the Cut, it’s a wonderful read that presents a challenge – could you go 40 days without being mean?  The author does, but not without difficulty.  As someone with an appreciation for sarcasm, I found it really interesting that while snark might seem “cool” in our culture, kindness is more useful personally.  It “helps your social status, attracts romantic partners, and helps you to be much healthier and happier in general.”  Yikes… I can’t come up with a sarcastic response to that.  40 days of kindness might be worth a try.

2.  101 Goals in 1001 Days: My friend Lauren tipped me off to this, and sent me her own lovely and inspiring list of 101 goals to accomplish in 1001 days.  The blogger who originated the idea, Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling, calls the plan “a happy medium between writing a to do list and keeping a bucket list.”  Such a cool way to inspire yourself and plan for the future!

3.  30 Days of Minimalism:  Start your year off with a refreshing challenge.  These 30 one-day assignments can be completed in any order, as long as you do one per day, and are designed “to help you dip your toes into minimalist living, discover lots of new things about yourself and get a big head start” on your goals for the year.  I love how the challenges all seem simple and kind of relaxing.

Which do you think you’d be up to taking on?  I’d love to try them with you all!

P.S.  Some of my favorite reads from this week to enjoy at your leisure…

The heartbreaking reality of Prader-Willi syndrome.

The “perfect female body” has definitely not stayed the same over the past century.  (Thanks to Lauren for this link, too!)

How to survive a 47 hour train ride.

Is your job not as fulfilling as you had hoped?  Maybe this is why you hate work

 

Happy Scandal Thursday!  Check back tomorrow for the Weekender.

 

A little trick…

Do you ever have trouble motivating yourself to do something intimidating?  Whether it’s a big life change or a small, yet looming, decision, I have a little tip.  This sounds weird, but something I remind myself when I need a little boost in the right direction is that no matter important something seems to me, it’s ultimately pretty insignificant in the scheme of things.

This infographic and this video illustrate exactly what I’m talking about:

Recognizing the place we occupy in space and time is super overwhelming at first, but you can use it to your advantage.  Why not apply for your dream job?  Why wouldn’t you submit that application?  What’s stopping you from talking to that attractive stranger?  What does it matter if you fail or embarrass yourself?  Something that can seem huge to you in the moment seems so minute when you step back.  (Bonus tip: this perspective also works for bad days.)

I’ve been using this trick more and more as I make plans for my future and decide what my best path is.  After all, what does it matter if I go in the wrong direction?  A mistep is nothing in the long-run of your life.

Do you have any tricks that you use to movitate yourself?  I’d love to hear them.

 

Blizzard Prep

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The Blizzard of ’78 in Boston.

There’s a major storm brewing here in Massachusetts, as I’m sure you’ve heard. We’re supposed to get between two and three feet, which is just enough to tip most seasoned New Englanders into an “I’ve never seen snow before” panic. If you count yourself in that group (begrudingly or not), let’s talk blizzard essentials. (more…)

How do you organize your space?

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I didn’t know something really important about myself until I went to college – I value a clean and organized space.  Actually, it’s more than that.  I need a clean and organized physical space to feel like I’m organized mentally.  My bedroom at home never really reflected this in high school, or in my early college years, but as soon as I had a second living space at school, I began to act on my own (totally made-up) version of feng shui.

My first order of business as a college grad (more…)

It’s finally Friday!

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What are you up to this weekend?  Tonight I plan on watching this movie, and tomorrow my sister and I are going to a Sam Smith concert in Boston!  (If you’re unfamiliar with Sam, or even if you only know a couple of his songs, his whole album is worth a listen.)

I’ve started the weekend on a wild note already by trying Starbucks’ new flat white drink.  It’s apparently old news to Australians and hipsters, but in case you’re like me and haven’t heard of it before now, it’s similar to a latte but with extra foam and more caffeine – we’ll see if I still love it when I’m trying to fall asleep tonight.

Now for some links to take you through the weekend…

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite Jonas brother (you probably didn’t even know you had a favorite Jonas brother.. so, you’re welcome) and the gospel version of his top 40 hit, “Jealous”:

Remember yesterday’s article about how to fall in love with a stranger?  Here are all the questions you’d need to ask, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Do you have any true free time?  If not, it may be time to “relearn the art of rest.”

How does hip-hop relate to pre-sixteenth-century art?  Take a look.

Speaking of Aussies, guess who’s back?

Are you following any of the most popular people on Instagram?

 

Have a fabulous weekend!

What to read today…

Along with this week’s round-up of Thursday features, you have to watch Ed Sheeran’s video for his now ubiqutious song, “Thinking Out Loud.”  Enjoy, below.

 

I’ve never been to Disney World (and I don’t plan to go), but this story touches on a few things I do value, like kindness, empathy, and the value of escapism.

Lena Dunham is always interesting.  (P.S. Did you catch the season premiere of Girls last Sunday?)

If the New York Times has an obituary on file for you and you’re still alive, you should feel flattered.

“What do we mean when we use the word meaning?”

Do you think you could make yourself fall in love with a stranger?

Where will you go in 2015?

 

Check back tomorrow for the Weekender!

 

What are your go-to beauty products in the winter?

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It’s tough to feel beautiful in the winter, especially in New England. Unless you took a vacation (cough, cheater), it’s likely you’re paler and more bloated than you’re comfortable with by the time January hits. I’ve never had a real tan in my life (thank you, Irish heritage) but I definitely feel more like myself when my skin turns from alabaster to slightly-less-translucent and my freckles start to crop up.

Over the past six or eight years, I’ve played with my beauty products during the winter to find the best routine for me, and I think I’ve finally hit gold… or bronze. Ha.  (more…)

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year!  Now that the holidays are over, the only thrilling thing about winter is the sun setting a little later each day.  That, and Friends is finally on Netflix.

But, seriously, I hope you had a relaxing start to 2015 and survived the first Monday of the year.  I’m staying warm on the couch tonight as it’s a nippy 23 degrees in Massachusetts – it feels weird to finally have seasonably cold weather.  I hope you’ll join me in hibernating and enjoy some of these links…  (more…)

Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions?

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I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!  Mine was so relaxing that I didn’t realize how long I’ve been away from my blog… whoops!  With the new year two days away, now’s as good a time as any to talk resolutions.

In the past, I’ve tried to set concrete goals like exercising at least three days a week or cutting certain foods out of my diet, but those resolutions start to feel restrictive.  And, as it turns out, I don’t take directions well – even from myself.  So this year I’m resolving to do two things that will help me to enjoy life even more, and I’m phrasing them as loosely as possible to take the pressure off.

Resolution 1: Spend less money.  I’ve told you about the treat yo’self motto… this upcoming year, I’m going to use it with a little more discretion so that when the time comes to make major life purchases, I can treat myself guilt-free.

Resolution 2: Write every day.  It’s fun to claim the title of a writer; it sounds creative and romantic.  Yet, at its heart, writing is often difficult and solitary, and it can be a struggle to get started.  My mantra for 2015 is “a writer is someone who writes every day.”  No page quotas, no set guidelines, no specific projects.  My only promise to myself is to put either pen to paper or fingers to keys for a few quiet moments every day and see where it takes me.

It’s easy to make resolutions, but the real work is in following through.  What are you resolving to do in 2015?  Are you anti-resolution?  Ever make any that made a positive difference in your life?  I’d love to hear!

Check back tomorrow for a round-up of year-end links.

P.S. Speaking of resolutions

(Image via Rap Genius)