I stumbled upon Gretchen Rubin's site a few weeks ago where she has a ton of helpful resources mostly about happiness, but also about habits and general helpful tips. You may have heard of her book, The Happiness Project, or her podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin. I had heard of her book, but nothing else, and I spent a lot of time on her site (you could spend hours!) reading about her and everything she's published.
What I really found interesting at the time was her Happier at Home 21 Day Relationship Challenge. It's free, and when you sign up, you receive an e-mail a day for 21 days with a bit of actionable advice geared toward relationship success. I don't sign up for it because I needed help in my relationship (not that there's anything wrong with that- kudos to you for putting in the effort), but so that I could improve what I put into my relationship. I think anyone could benefit from these e-mails, even if you don't have a significant other- everyone has a relationship with someone, whether it's a coworker, family member, or friend. Not all the e-mails will apply if you're single, but it's still sage advice.
I absolutely loved getting an e-mail in my inbox everyday, and I really looked forward to it. Although I wanted to read it all at once, it's good to focus on one thing per day, especially if you take it heart and implement those things in your relationship. Most of the content were things I already knew, but regardless, it's still a great reminder. There were some things that I didn't know and that I found very interesting. It's always good to get someone else's perspective, too.
I will leave you with my 2 favorite days:
1. Give gold stars.
"As a gold-star junkie myself, I was intrigued by researchers’ arguments that men need more gold stars from their partners than women do, because women get much more positive support outside marriage."
2. Make the positive argument.
"When a person takes a position, he or she looks for evidence to support it and then stops, satisfied. This mental process gives the illusion that a position is objective and well justified. However—and this is the useful point—a person can often make the very opposite argument, just as easily."
I encourage you to sign up for it and let me know how you liked it- what was your favorite day, and why?
I've been hand making cards since I was a kid. When I was still living with my parents, almost every single card was made by me (I even had a little logo on the back with my name and a rose). I still make them here and there, but I really need to get back into it- there's something special about making a card and receiving a handmade one. Check out my archives for some handmade ones I did a few years ago.
A few of these I absolutely love (the middle one, the floral one below that, and the one to the right of it, and the one to the right of the middle one), and a few of them are just 'okay.' I think I was creatively drained after the first few, but overall I think they turned out pretty well. I had a few card making packs (printed background on cards, envelopes, center strips plus the center ovals), so to make things a little easier since I was working on volume, I grabbed some of those, and a bunch of stuff from my Project Life stash and got to work. Overall, I think it took about an hour and a half to put them all together.
These cards were made to say thanks for Christmas gifts. One of my goals this week is to finally ship them out (along with my 'will you be my bridesmaid' cards + small gift)!
Do you hand make cards or send any snail mail? Do you like receiving mail? I'm participating in InCoWriMo this year (I just heard about it!) where you send out one piece of snail mail each day in February. I'm vowing to either send postcards or cards- letters will be too much of a time commitment for me. I would love to send some your way! Send me your PO Box or address via Twitter DM or Instagram DM so I can send you a little happy mail next month!
As you probably know by now, I LOVE challenges. I also love to read, but for the past few years, I've been telling myself that I am too busy, which is nonsense- you make time for things you care about. So, I decided to start my own book challenge (complete with prizes for 5 people!) to push myself to read more and have fun with like-minded people.
It's done through GoodReads, so if you don't have an account, it's quick and easy to make and you can request to join my group/challenge! I won't deny you, I just want to keep track of who is in the group and I don't want people to be in the group and just sit there, so usually if you have to "request," people take it more seriously. All of that is my hope, anyway.
There is absolutely NO pressure - all I'd like is for everyone to make some time to read (whether that's once a day, once a week, whatever) and to have FUN! And there's also an extrinsic motivation by way of prizes (likely giftcards). When you read a book, you can likely fit it into one of the 15 categories I have, and each category is worth an amount of points, and you bank your points and total number of books read. You can read more about it here, and I hope you'll find it as exciting as I do!
Onto the You Are a Badass book review:
At 244 pages of content, this book took me roughly 6-7 hours to read... and I give it a big thumbs up. I LOVED the author's voice throughout (Jen Sincero)- it really made the book digestable and light. You can re-read this text several times for the specific season of life you're in. It has 5 parts, 'How You Got This Way,' 'How to Embrace Your Inner Badass,' 'How to Tap into the Motherlode,' 'How to Get Over Your B.S. Already,' and 'How to Kick Some Ass.' It is further organized by 27 (fairly short) chapters, so if you really need some advice on money management or how to avoid procrastination, you can go to those specific chapters.
"If you're serious about changing your life, you'll find a way. If you're not, you'll find an excuse."
The overarching theme was: LOVE YOURSELF! Although seemingly obvious, it's something that can often be overlooked, and really is at the core of everything. Another theme was 'change your mindset' (which I love, and I'm an advocate for... well, I'm also an advocate for self-love). In the few short weeks that I've decided to make an honest change to my thinking, I feel and I act so much better- I'm more positive, gracious, and filled with gratitude. So, I've seen it firsthand, and I know that there's room for me to grow with it just from reading this book. You have to envision the things you want to happen, and they will happen. Where there's a will, there's a way. (also big themes in the book)
"So often, we pretend we've made a decision, when what we've really done is signed up to try until it gets too uncomfortable."
I hope that you will love this book as much as I did- it's an easy read over a few days, or a great 'sit-on-the-couch-with-a-cup-of-tea-on-Sunday-for-a-few-hours-read.' Have you already read it and implemented some of Sincero's suggestions?
"Imagine what our world would be like if everyone loved themselves so much that they weren't threatened by other people's opinions or skin colors or sexual preferences or talents or education or possessions or religious beliefs or customs or their general tendency to just be whoever the hell they are."
These are 16 things I want to do with my class before the school year is over:
1. One purely fun activity each week
What do you want to incorporate in your classroom before the end of the year?
I would LOVE to see your own 16 before 16-17 lists! If you make one, please share it with me via comment below and/or on instagram @oshirodesigns #16before1617 - it would make my day :)
Now that it's the end of summer, I figured I'd do an update on the challenge I started 3 months ago and was quite honestly, abandoned. Even so, I wanted to tie up loose ends and do a concluding post to stay accountable.
1. I made a little headway on learning Japanese, but I dropped off after 2-3 weeks. Chris even started it with me, but we both stopped around the same time.
2. I've been sticking to growing my blog- I've blogged consistently (I made a schedule in my second post, and have blogged every Mon, Weds & Fri to date), I have grown my social media: Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest & Bloglovin' and I've been doing decently with crafting more/trying new things.
3. I haven't been reading at least 2 books a month or documenting my progress, though I have, on occasion, set aside at least 1 hour time slots to push myself to read more.
4. Eating healthier has been neglected as well. I was doing okay for small spurts here and there, but laziness and convenience took over.
5. My stomach has had less and less issues, so I'm thinking it might've been a stress-induced ulcer that started last year and lasting for about 10 months... but it didn't fit any of the symptoms so I'm still unsure.
2/5 ain't bad? Still pretty terrible, but it never deters me from challenging myself and making goals. 101 in 1001 things definitely took over after I drafted it almost 2 months ago!
Did any of you do this challenge, or similar ones? How did you fare compared to me? Let me know in the comments, they make my week! (: Happy first day of the semester (for some colleges... my class schedule doesn't start until tomorrow, though!)
I was excited about this challenge at first, but as time went on, I slowly began getting behind. I'm not sure if it was timing (summer is super hot in FL), or my laziness, but most likely both. If this challenge took place in the cooler months, and if I was living with Shadow back in June, I think I could've managed a lot better. Here's my original post about it.
Toward the end, I just took a picture outside a day and called it quits. In the end, I got a beautiful collage, so that was worth something- at least I stuck with taking pictures!
Have you guys tried this challenge? If not, were there any challenges that you did try that you just couldn't get through for whatever reason? You can always reach out to me via comments or any of my other social media outlets!
I've discovered some great challenges, swaps and other cool things, so I wanted to dedicate a post to include everything.
1// Bloggers Snail Mail: You're paired up with another blog, and for about a month you exchange e-mails and comments filled with positive words. Toward the end of the month you'll be able to send a postcard and a small gift, equal to about $8 or £5, based on what you've learned about your partner! *Sign ups are now closed, but look for the next installment in September!
2// Books & Bloggers Swap: You're matched with a partner with whom you'll send 3 books to: a book you love, a book you haven't read but are interested in, and a book from your partner's wishlist. *Sign ups are open until 6/9!
3// 100 Happy Days Challenge: Document one thing that makes you happy every day for 100 days. It can be a person, a place, a thing- whatever brightens your day that day! Make sure to track your progress through Twitter, Instagram, your blog, wherever you want! You can start whenever, but register through their website!
4// Play Outside Challenge: From June 1-30 you're challenged to do something outside for at least 30 minutes a day for the 30 days in June! I'm excited to take more walks, go on adventures and try new things (while also keeping active). You can also win cool prizes. If you follow me on Twitter, you've already seen my first two days. Here's a recap:
June 1: Day 1 // Dog Park with Shadow
June 2: Day 2 // Walk to get breakfast with Chris
Other miscellaneous/exciting things:
I was featured HERE! at Ramble Kat Ramble's amazing blog. So stoked that she included my Grad Cap link.
Excited about Orange is the New Black Season 2 premiere & The Fault in Our Stars release date- JUNE 6th for both!
Will hopefully travel to a nearby city to do some exploring on Friday, but that's still up in the air.
I got the Summer Challenge idea from Roots & Whim, read about it here!
I love this idea because I'm not taking any classes for a few months, so I want to be productive in other ways this summer. I know things are going to be insane around the end of August until December, so that's why I wanted to invest my time wisely and start my blog now. I also have some other goals that I want to work on, so that's where #SummerChallengeRW comes in! By putting it into words and posting it on my blog and making a physical copy to hang around my work space, I can stay accountable.
Hopefully this challenge will inspire you all as it did me! I would love to know who is participating, and if applicable, I would love a link to the blog post or a picture of your goals. I always read and respond to comments, they're the fuel to my fire!
Here is a list of my 5 goals:
1. Learn Japanese: It's such a huge undertaking that I've always avoided it. I'm half-Japanese, but born and raised in the US. That being said, I really want to connect more with my foreign side, and my boyfriend is also interested in learning the language, so hopefully we can help each other out!
2. Grow my blog: Oshiro Design is only a few weeks old and I want it to really blossom over the next few months (and potentially, years!). I can't wait to see what my hard work brings.
3. Read: My favorite pastime! I'm upset that I don't do it more. I always manage to find excuses (some are more legitimate than others) but ultimately, my "to-read" list is way too long and I need to spend less time in front of the TV and more time reading.
4. Eat healthier: I'm eating out entirely too much, a lot of which has to do with my roommate and living situation and Chris, but either way, it's incredibly unhealthy. Fruits and vegetables are my favorite, so hopefully that'll incentivize me more!
5. Make stomach progress: For months I've been having stomach issues (nausea after eating random things and alcohol, etc.) and after seeing a few doctors, I've gotten discouraged (they don't know what's wrong and/or they have completely asinine opinions). It's not good to stay in the dark like this, so I need to be willing to really find out what the issue is.
Blog posts from 2014-2015 were transferred from my original blog on blogger, Oshiro Design, to my updated website, oshirodesigns.com