Update: Contest is now closed. Congratulations to the winner, Raine. Your comment was randomly selected via Random.org as the winner! I’ll be in touch with you via email later today.

 

Wisdom journal from MintedHow cute is my new, custom journal from Minted?! I’m almost intimidated to write in it because it’s too adorable—how will my words compare?

In case you haven’t heard about Minted yet, let me explain who they are. Minted is a global community of independent graphic designers and an online store that prints and sells the best of their designs in the form of paper goods. Brides, Minted makes killer wedding invitations, too!

But my favorite products on their site are the journals, because you know I’m a written word junky. Few things excite me more than the clean, fresh first page of a brand new journal. So many possibilities for writing! Typically, I start out a new journal optimistically, writing about the joys of life, the things I appreciate, all the good times and happy memories. Slowly I can see my negative thoughts creeping in there toward the middle pages. Then I decide I need to buy a new journal to start over again once my writing turns to the dark side in the second half. It is rare I finish writing all the way to the final page! Therefore, I have a collection of unfinished journals and diaries that go back to age 8. But none of them are as cute as my Minted journal.

What I particularly love about Minted is that the journals are designed by independent artists, yet each one can be personalized by you.  I ordered and personalized this cutie. I’m considering holding off on writing in it until I’m done my Positivity Notebook and then using my Minted journal for Positivity, Part II.

What do you think I should use my new journal for?

Leave a comment telling me what you would use your shiny new Minted journal for, and your comment will serve as your entry to win the journal of your choice! For one additional entry, leave a second comment indicating which Minted journal is your favorite.

One winner will be selected one week from today, on Wednesday, June 12, and will be notified via email.

Disclaimer: I received no financial compensation for hosting this giveaway; However, I did receive one gorgeous, personalized Minted journal. The views and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

 

The Universe brought Brene Brown into my life many times before last Sunday, but I didn’t listen because I wasn’t ready then. I pushed away the notion that I should read some of what Brown has to say because I was afraid. I knew enough about Brown’s work as a vulnerability and shame researcher to be afraid to read her books or listen to her powerful message. Vulnerability? No thanks. Brown defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. The thought of letting myself be vulnerable in front of others terrifies me and makes me uncomfortable.

Why? Because the message that has been taught to me over & over by well-meaning (but wrong) people in my life is that being vulnerable is a weakness and that wearing armor is a strength. That when I cry (which, yes, I kind of do a lot & openly), I’m making others feel uncomfortable. Crying, to them, is something to be done rarely and in private. Keeping emotions inside is safe and brave and the right, courteous thing to do. These are the messages I’ve carried in my head for 35 years.

But I’m done now. (This is what I am doing right.)

Upon watching Brene Brown on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday (part one), I purchased Daring Greatly and read 20% of it in one sitting last weekend. I cried while I read it because so much of it hit home, beginning with the title of this post, which is a quote from Daring Greatly and the prompt for this post today.

It’s been a while since I wrote from the gut here and let myself really be seen. I’m going to change that. I’m going to allow myself to be vulnerable in this space.

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

Have you read any of Brene Brown’s books? If so, which one(s) and what is your favorite quote or message?




get the InLinkz code

touchgoI’ve been thinking a lot lately about the importance of stepping outside one’s own comfort zone in order to shake things up a bit and see what happens as a result. Afraid to make any drastic changes just yet, I tried doing this with a baby step. I changed up my usual type of reading material and read a thriller for the first time: Touch & Go, by Lisa Gardner.

At first, I was uncomfortable reading this kind of material because the novel begins with a home intrusion in Boston, during which a family of 3 (like mine, only much wealthier!), the Denbes, is kidnapped. Reading is a luxury for me–one I sometimes use to escape from the harshness of real life. I struggle to read things that remind me of it! Yet I soon found myself picking up this book every day and not wanting to put it down, as I tried to figure out the motive and perpetrator of the kidnapping. The novel’s narrator, Libby Denbe (the wife/mother), grew on me and I rooted for her, Justin (her husband), and their teenage daughter. I also felt intrigued by her family’s secrets as they unfolded in the narrative.

There were a few plot twists I hadn’t seen coming, which ultimately made this a more interesting read and made the characters more sympathetic. And then the big reveal, which I won’t spoil, although I do want to boast that I figured it out before the author revealed it–which I think is impressive, given I don’t typically read this genre of fiction!

But I might start adding a few thrillers to my book collection. This book was exhilirating and got my heart thumping.

To read more about Touch & Go, I recommend this review over at BlogHer.

I hope you’ll join me and the BlogHer Book Club as we discuss the book in more detail.

This is a paid book review for BlogHer Book Club, but the content of this post is original and all opinions expressed herein are my own.

 

 

Simple Life of a Houswife
Today, I’m returning some bloghop love and linking up with Lindsay from Simple Life of a Housewife for her What I’m Reading bloghop. I love to read and am constantly doing it or wishing I were doing it, so blogging about books is right up my alley and I am happy to join in! You should, too! I’d love to read all about what you’re reading!

So, these days I’m juggling multiple books, along with other media. I am reading Touch & Go, by Lisa Gardner for the BlogHer Book Club . Given that I’ll be reviewing that book in a few weeks, I will refrain from saying anything about it in this post. Simultaneously, I am reading What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty. I admit I am struggling a bit with it. I’ve been reading this book for almost a month now, and I’m only about 60% finished. Yet I can’t put my finger on what the problem is. It’s about a mom of three who got a concussion during a gym workout and lost 10 years of her memory.

Wait, maybe that’s it. It seems a little far-fetched, don’t you think? I guess I’m partly annoyed and frustrated that she doesn’t remember her kids. Have I mentioned I’m two-thirds done the book? So far, the plot revolves around the discomfort of not knowing as much as the people in your life about your own life! Interesting, yes, but c’mon already! Let’s move the plot along, shall we?

Third, up until last week, I’d also been reading Spontaneous Happiness, by Dr. Andrew Weil. Now this is a book I highly recommend and will certainly find myself reading multiple times. I’m going to try to read it once per year, or at least skim through my notes and highlights. When I haev more than just a quick lunch break to blog, I’ll tell you guys tons more about this book. Til then, check it out on Amazon.

In a stack on my kitchen table sit a few magazines I’m dying to make time to read soon: Whole Living and Experience Life. These guys will probably sit around a while, although I typically read a magazine start-to-finish the same day it arrives. This time? I just don’t have the time!

And I’ve been struggling to NOT buy Daring Greatly by Brene Brown until I’ve finished some of my other reading. But it’s up next on my to-read list.

Actually, before Brene, I need to pick up The Secret Life of Bees, which is my friend’s book club pick for this month. Have you read it? Did you love or hate it? More importantly, is it a fairly quick read? I have tons of reading to do (obviously, if you’re still reading this blog post!), and a very busy life with a full-time job and an energetic toddler!

I wish I could quit my job and just read books all day long. Sigh…

What are you reading? Won’t you link up with me and Lindsay & share?

 

The other day, I finally finished reading Spontaneous Happiness by Dr. Andrew Weil. It had been on my must-read list since the day it was published, so when I saw it on Amazon for $3.20 a few months ago, I hurriedly bought it. It was a slow start for me, given I was reading other things at the time. Then the holidays came, and life became hectic.

But amid the chaos and busyness, I took solace in reading this book, which prescribed so many practical ways to “increase emotional resilience and shift [my] emotional set point in the direction of greater positivity” (p. 11).

While I was reading this book, the year changed, and because I’m active in social media, status updates and tweets about resolutions were everywhere. Which was a good thing, actually. This meshed with what I was reading and gave me pause to think about how I could incorporate Dr. Weil’s advice for happiness into my life by making positive changes–in particular, cultivating more gratitude.

“Regularly practicing grateful thinking can move your emotional set point for happiness by as much as 25 percent in the right direction…. From the research data that I have reviewed, I consider expressing gratitude to be one of the very best strategies to enhance emotional well-being, right up there with fish oil, physical activity, and managing negative thoughts. Like forgiveness, gratitude can be cultivated” (p. 189).

You may remember me telling you about the gratitude app I’ve been using for several years. Well, I’m happy to say that since 2013 began, I haven’t missed a day (mostly due to the 7:00 pm alarm that reminds me to write my list each night)!

I’m kicking that up a notch. I’m bringing back the art of letter writing, for one thing. Some of my friends and family can expect letters expressing my gratitude to them for being who they are. I excitedly bought cute handmade stationery from Etsy the other day to make letter writing even more fun for me and maybe for the recipients.

Photographs also are a fun way to capture moments of gratitude. It is easy to re-conjure feelings of gratitude simply by accessing a few photos. So, I leave you with my visual reminders of gratitude this past week.

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