I am not feeling very special or sparkly tonight, even though I had a rather great day overall.
Working on wedding edits again now that the kidlets are tucked in and I found some shots of pretty details to distract me and I thought I would share. The little things about a wedding are always the things that stay with me...and I hope this shot makes the bride remember always the love and care she went into choosing these things for her big day.
Night friends, feeling rather dull tonight but I won't let it get the best of me. Tomorrow is another day and a fresh start...hope yours is extra special and sparkly.
A smile is the best makeup that any girl can wear.
True... but makeup still seems so fun.
I have only ever had my makeup done professionally a couple times and each time was such a treat. It is such an art and watching the makeup artist work before a wedding I am shooting is always something I like to capture and admire.
For my own wedding I was too practical....I went to the Clinque counter before and had my makeup done and bought a few things she recommended....I still have that eye liner and shadow and I got married in 1994 so that sort of makes a statement on my makeup qualifications. I am not very exciting, I pretty much do the same thing everyday and it is done in less than five minutes normally. When I do try to attempt a smokey eye or other trend it typically doesn't go well. So I have my Arbonne faves that I stick to and the rest is generally from Shoppers Drug Mart. A couple shadows that look the same, two mascaras....waterproof and not, a few eyeliners, the much needed coverup for my tired eyes and some lip glosses
I am working on a recent wedding tonight and listening passionately to a current song obsession over and over. I had to stop and contemplate makeup after this first shot of the artist's palatte...it was so gorgeous. Not perfect or pristine....just loaded with colour and the opportunity to play.
Her canvas... the fresh face of a bride. What an honor to capture the transformation from naturally beautiful to wedding day sparkle.
I always get goosebumps watching people create....kids drawing, artisans at work, bakers kneading, handymen being handy, musicians sharing their song, people braiding hair, even excavators digging sometimes. I love the process, and watching the face and hands of the artist of that trade.
There is art in everything creative or transformative...let the work your hands do be your masterpiece for the moment.
Mine are busy clicking files and photoshop buttons. Although I would much rather be holding a brush in my studio I know I am doing exactly what I need to be doing for work at this time. I am grateful to have the opportunity to share what I see through my camera fine tuned by my imagination and the wonders of technology.
I hate money. I wish we didn't need it at all.
I don't like worrying about it or having to make it or managing it.
Yet...I also LOVE money.
In my dreams I would have heaps of money and could give generously and do good deeds with it, explore the world and get a sweet tattoo!
How fun would it be to surprise a family in need with a new car, or take a bunch of kids who have never been on a plane on a suprise trip to the city to see a Canucks game, Cirque de Soleil under the big tent or the aquarium or swim in a pool on the roof of a fancy hotel? I dream of arts centres and sports opportunities for city kids and nature camps. Cargo containers filled with bikes and sports balls and shoes for children and families in third world countries. Rescue centers for homeless animals or injured pets. Free lunches, books, cool backpacks and sneakers for kids whose parents are struggling to pay the bills. Gift certificates to hand out freely for hair salons and massages and clothing stores for women like my favourite grocery store clerk who is a single Mom without help. Taking care of three kids who doesn't ever have extra money or time to treat herself.
Money, as much as I hate to admit it, does make things easier at times....but I certainly don't think it makes people happier.
So I guess it's a bit of a love/hate thing with me. I am not a fan of fancy stuff...I can't ever see myself wanting a huge house, or super expensive car, I can barely manage what we have. I like my eleven year old truck and I am a fan of simple stuff for the most part. Between Winners, Joe Fresh and Costco all my wardrobe needs are generally fulfilled. I stopped getting magazines a while back as it all just seemed so frivolous. And I am obsessed with the beauty that blows my mind that I find on Pinterest for free.
My boys have grown up living frugally. Most of our money goes into where we live for the lifestyle. In Whistler it was a simple, small old house right near the base of the hill but it had a nice patch of grass and it was minutes to biking and walking trails that took us to lakes and rivers and all the awesomeness mountain life can bring. I was blessed to live that holiday lifestyle with two young kids and a babe and we spent so much time outdoors. Now it's Birch Hill . What I wouldn't do to go back four years and chop 1000 square feet off our house plan. But there is beauty amongst the mess and slight excess....the forest, the country lifestyle and the quiet and when it's time to party the space makes it rather easy to host a big crowd. We are definitely house poor though, and it's not a nice way to live when it comes to surprise expenses or having a sense of financial security. We are so screwed when the zombie apocalypse goes down and no one takes a credit card!
Teaching your kids about money is a huge parenting challenge. Personally, our frugal ways and sombre talk of bills and mortages and other grossness that my boys have overheard is our downfall. The poor kids go from wanting the moon to worrying if we are going to be homeless soon. I am an open book with my kids for the most part but need to remind myself often what they are capable at absorbing, and understanding at each stage. I also am a big believer in not worrying too much about money...it does seem to all work out somehow usually. I put it out there to the universe that my life is abundant. Stressing about it really has never got me anywhere positive and in the past when I have been stingy with the purse strings things seem to worsen. Being practical and giving with an open heart seems the way to go for me. If you haven't read or watched the Secret it's an interesting concept. Don't go and give away the roof over your head or sign on the dotted line for something you can't afford expecting the magic money to appear but I found it sort of fascinating.
Money as You Grow is an amazing resource. It's an American one but the information is still relevant to anyone. Written in down-to-earth language for children and their families, Money as You Grow will help equip kids with the knowledge they need to live fiscally fit lives. The lessons in Money as You Grow are based on more than a year of research, and drawn from dozens of standards, curricula, and academic studies.
Yesterday I spent most of the day shopping with my boys as Liam had birthday money to spend. I felt proud of myself watching him carefully go from store to store weighing his spending decision and explaining to Ryan the pros and cons of each toy option. ( Not to brag...but I can't resisit bragging a tad.... but I am a good shopper. I am a deal maven and have a wee bit of a reputation for my making a lot out of a little. Not in a ultimate couponing excessive psycho kinda way but in a humble way. I like to think it's karma giving me a little pat on the back for my charity donations...my modest giving brings me bliss. ) Lucky for me Liam is old enough to take Ry on his own for a bit and I could do my own shopping while they spent copious hours going back and forth. I am not a fan of shopping for stuff we don't need anymore and I start to have anxiety issues in toy departments after a half an hour...especially on sunny fall days. I was glad to let them spending the day carefully spending their savings on what they wanted.
Other times I struggle with their constant want for material stuff. A toy they see at school or the bubble gum machine junk that finds it way to nooks and crannies all over our house constantly. Kinder eggs are my fave treat to buy though so I have created that epidemic. When I was a kid I LOVED bubble gum machine toys and penny candy and yearned for the Pepsi Cola shoes and Jordache jeans the cool kids were wearing so I try and remember that when I find myself being way too practical.
Anyways, I am making it a priority to spend some time teaching the boys about money and I will be using Money As You Grow as my guide. The 18 plus section has already taught me lots...I will be working hard to get my ducks in a row and my nest egg and supplies ready to retreat to the hills just in case my Walking Dead paranoia ever comes to fruition...of course all non infected friends will be welcome to join my yurt colony...just bring candy and kick ass weapons!
Last night I got treated to dinner and a movie. We decided to eat at Browns Socialhouse which is fairly new to Vernon. I have eaten at the Granville Island location a couple times so I knew it would be yummy. I had the potato crusted halibut Healthy Social Bowl. A nice piece of fish with almond rice and cowgirl salad and it was so delicious and filling. Fresh squeezed o.j. mimosa and half a piece of key lime pie for desert which I wouldn't do again but ordered on an impulse remembering my childhood love of eating key lime pie on Florida holidays. The restaurant is fresh and fun and the best part is the hockey game was easy to watch from many well placed tvs while we ate. As we don't have cable I promised my middle guy next time there is a big game on he wants to watch I would take him on a date to Browns as it's kid friendly.
Afterwards we went to see The Butler as I am a big Forrest Whitaker fan. I was so well done. Like The Help it is a great film to show older kiddos to teach them Black history in the US in an understandable way. It was very sad in parts but it had a beautiful message to share and a nice ending.
Well done Lee Daniels!
I was so annoyed I ate desert and couldn't eat popcorn...I was uncomfortably full still from dinner and I can eat a lot!
I do go to the movies quite often with the boys but mostly for kiddo flicks...seeing an adult film was a real treat. There are soooo many films coming out I am going to try and make it a point to allow myself that luxury more often this winter.
take care friends,
Rainy day morning shot of Tyler Knott Gregson for you....
I’ll play with your hair
until the weight of the night
anchors your eyes shut.
Don't you wish you could just crawl back into bed now?
Rainy days are best for reading and cuddling, chatting quietly, piling on the couch with heaps of blankets for movies and hot cocoa, and pondering life. I am grateful hubbie had the 7 am hockey practice covered this morning so I had that luxury....my head is so full and bursting with confusion right now. Putting on a movie and gathering my boys together for brunch and cuddles and hoping my folks have an amazing moving sale today and stay cozy.
I just stumbled on a great article on a friend's facebook page while responding to a message and I am so excited by it. Who doesn't want to find happiness? Call it bliss, inner peace, zen, fufillment or whatever you like...it means happy. Thanks Belle Beth Cooper for this brilliant guide.
Life is full, I am mentally exhausted and ever so grateful to have found such a gem to full on cut and paste and share with you friends. I might not be much for orginal writing lately but I feel blessed to be able to share some of my finds and hope they help you find your happy. We do what we can with what we have in the present...for now I offer you this with love...
Written by Belle Beth Cooper
Happiness is so interesting, because we all have different ideas about what it is and how to get it. It’s also no surprise that it’s the Nr.1 value for Buffer’s culture, if you see ourslidedeck about it. So naturally we are obsessed with it.
I would love to be happier, as I’m sure most people would, so I thought it would be interesting to find some ways to become a happier person that are actually backed up by science. Here are ten of the best ones I found.
You might have seen some talk recently about the scientific 7 minute workout mentioned in The New York Times. So if you thought exercise was something you didn’t have time for, maybe you can fit it in after all.
Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it’s actually been proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming depression. In a study cited in Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage, three groups of patients treated their depression with either medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. The results of this study really surprised me. Although all three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels to begin with, the follow up assessments proved to be radically different:
The groups were then tested six months later to assess their relapse rate. Of those who had taken the medication alone, 38 percent had slipped back into depression. Those in the combination group were doing only slightly better, with a 31 percent relapse rate. The biggest shock, though, came from the exercise group: Their relapse rate was only 9 percent!
You don’t have to be depressed to gain benefit from exercise, though. It can help you to relax, increase your brain power and even improve your body image, even if you don’t lose any weight.
A study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who exercised felt better about their bodies, even when they saw no physical changes:
Body weight, shape and body image were assessed in 16 males and 18 females before and after both 6 × 40 mins exercise and 6 × 40 mins reading. Over both conditions, body weight and shape did not change. Various aspects of body image, however, improved after exercise compared to before.
We’ve explored exercise in depth before, and looked at what it does to our brains, such as releasing proteins and endorphins that make us feel happier, as you can see in the image below.
We know that sleep helps our bodies to recover from the day and repair themselves, and that it helps us focus and be more productive. It turns out, it’s also important for our happiness.
In NutureShock, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman explain how sleep affects our positivity:
Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories gets processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine.
In one experiment by Walker, sleep-deprived college students tried to memorize a list of words. They could remember 81% of the words with a negative connotation, like “cancer.” But they could remember only 31% of the words with a positive or neutral connotation, like “sunshine” or “basket.”
The BPS Research Digest explores another study that proves sleep affects our sensitivity to negative emotions. Using a facial recognition task over the course of a day, the researchers studied how sensitive participants were to positive and negative emotions. Those who worked through the afternoon without taking a nap became more sensitive late in the day to negative emotions like fear and anger.
Using a face recognition task, here we demonstrate an amplified reactivity to anger and fear emotions across the day, without sleep. However, an intervening nap blocked and even reversed this negative emotional reactivity to anger and fear while conversely enhancing ratings of positive (happy) expressions.
Of course, how well (and how long) you sleep will probably affect how you feel when you wake up, which can make a difference to your whole day. Especially this graph showing how your brain activity decreases is a great insight about how important enough sleep is for productivity and happiness:
Another study tested how employees’ moods when they started work in the morning affected their work day.
Researchers found that employees’ moods when they clocked in tended to affect how they felt the rest of the day. Early mood was linked to their perceptions of customers and to how they reacted to customers’ moods.
And most importantly to managers, employee mood had a clear impact on performance, including both how much work employees did and how well they did it.
Sleep is another topic we’ve looked into before, exploring how much sleep we really need to be productive.
Our commute to the office can have a surprisingly powerful impact on our happiness. The fact that we tend to do this twice a day, five days a week, makes it unsurprising that its effect would build up over time and make us less and less happy.
According to The Art of Manliness, having a long commute is something we often fail to realize will affect us so dramatically:
… while many voluntary conditions don’t affect our happiness in the long term because we acclimate to them, people never get accustomed to their daily slog to work because sometimes the traffic is awful and sometimes it’s not. Or as Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert put it, “Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day.”
We tend to try to compensate for this by having a bigger house or a better job, but these compensations just don’t work:
Two Swiss economists who studied the effect of commuting on happiness found that such factors could not make up for the misery created by a long commute.
Staying in touch with friends and family is one of the top five regrets of the dying. If you want more evidence that it’s beneficial for you, I’ve found some research that proves it can make you happier right now.
Social time is highly valuable when it comes to improving our happiness, even for introverts. Several studies have found that time spent with friends and family makes a big difference to how happy we feel, generally.
I love the way Harvard happiness expert Daniel Gilbert explains it:
We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.
George Vaillant is the director of a 72-year study of the lives of 268 men.
In an interview in the March 2008 newsletter to the Grant Study subjects, Vaillant was asked, “What have you learned from the Grant Study men?” Vaillant’s response: “That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.”
He shared insights of the study with Joshua Wolf Shenk at The Atlantic on how the men’s social connections made a difference to their overall happiness:
The men’s relationships at age 47, he found, predicted late-life adjustment better than any other variable, except defenses. Good sibling relationships seem especially powerful: 93 percent of the men who were thriving at age 65 had been close to a brother or sister when younger.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Socio-Economics states than your relationships are worth more than $100,000:
Using the British Household Panel Survey, I find that an increase in the level of social involvements is worth up to an extra £85,000 a year in terms of life satisfaction. Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness.
I think that last line is especially fascinating: Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness. So we could increase our annual income by hundreds of thousands of dollars and still not be as happy as if we increased the strength of our social relationships.
The Terman study, which is covered in The Longevity Project, found that relationships and how we help others were important factors in living long, happy lives:
We figured that if a Terman participant sincerely felt that he or she had friends and relatives to count on when having a hard time then that person would be healthier. Those who felt very loved and cared for, we predicted, would live the longest.
Surprise: our prediction was wrong… Beyond social network size, the clearest benefit of social relationships came from helping others. Those who helped their friends and neighbors, advising and caring for others, tended to live to old age.
In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor recommends spending time in the fresh air to improve your happiness:
Making time to go outside on a nice day also delivers a huge advantage; one study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory…
This is pretty good news for those of us who are worried about fitting new habits into our already-busy schedules. Twenty minutes is a short enough time to spend outside that you could fit it into your commute or even your lunch break.
A UK study from the University of Sussex also found that being outdoors made people happier:
Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments.
The American Meteorological Society published research in 2011 that found current temperature has a bigger effect on our happiness than variables like wind speed and humidity, or even the average temperature over the course of a day. It also found that happiness is maximized at 13.9°C, so keep an eye on the weather forecast before heading outside for your 20 minutes of fresh air.
One of the most counterintuitive pieces of advice I found is that to make yourself feel happier, you should help others. In fact, 100 hours per year (or two hours per week) is the optimal time we should dedicate to helping others in order to enrich our lives.
If we go back to Shawn Achor’s book again, he says this about helping others:
…when researchers interviewed more than 150 people about their recent purchases, they found that money spent on activities—such as concerts and group dinners out—brought far more pleasure than material purchases like shoes, televisions, or expensive watches. Spending money on other people, called “prosocial spending,” also boosts happiness.
The Journal of Happiness Studies published a study that explored this very topic:
Participants recalled a previous purchase made for either themselves or someone else and then reported their happiness. Afterward, participants chose whether to spend a monetary windfall on themselves or someone else. Participants assigned to recall a purchase made for someone else reported feeling significantly happier immediately after this recollection; most importantly, the happier participants felt, the more likely they were to choose to spend a windfall on someone else in the near future.
So spending money on other people makes us happier than buying stuff for ourselves. What about spending our time on other people? A study of volunteering in Germany explored how volunteers were affected when their opportunities to help others were taken away:
Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall but before the German reunion, the first wave of data of the GSOEP was collected in East Germany. Volunteering was still widespread. Due to the shock of the reunion, a large portion of the infrastructure of volunteering (e.g. sports clubs associated with firms) collapsed and people randomly lost their opportunities for volunteering. Based on a comparison of the change in subjective well-being of these people and of people from the control group who had no change in their volunteer status, the hypothesis is supported that volunteering is rewarding in terms of higher life satisfaction.
In his book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman explains that helping others can improve our own lives:
…we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.
Smiling itself can make us feel better, but it’s more effective when we back it up with positive thoughts, according to this study:
A new study led by a Michigan State University business scholar suggests customer-service workers who fake smile throughout the day worsen their mood and withdraw from work, affecting productivity. But workers who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts – such as a tropical vacation or a child’s recital – improve their mood and withdraw less.
Of course it’s important to practice “real smiles” where you use your eye sockets. It’s very easy to spot the difference:
Smiling makes us feel good which also increases our attentional flexibility and our ability to think holistically. When this idea was tested by Johnson et al. (2010), the results showed that participants who smiled performed better on attentional tasks which required seeing the whole forest rather than just the trees.
A smile is also a good way to alleviate some of the pain we feel in troubling circumstances:
Smiling is one way to reduce the distress caused by an upsetting situation. Psychologists call this the facial feedback hypothesis. Even forcing a smile when we don’t feel like it is enough to lift our mood slightly (this is one example of embodied cognition).
One of our previous posts goes into even more detail about the science of smiling.
As opposed to actually taking a holiday, it seems that planning a vacation or just a break from work can improve our happiness. A study published in the journal, Applied Research in Quality of Lifeshowed that the highest spike in happiness came during the planning stage of a vacation as employees enjoyed the sense of anticipation:
In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks.
After the vacation, happiness quickly dropped back to baseline levels for most people.
Shawn Achor has some info for us on this point, as well:
One study found that people who just thought about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent.
If you can’t take the time for a vacation right now, or even a night out with friends, put something on the calendar—even if it’s a month or a year down the road. Then whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself about it.
Meditation is often touted as an important habit for improving focus, clarity and attention span, as well as helping to keep you calm. It turns out it’s also useful for improving your happiness:
In one study, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. The study, published in the January issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, concluded that after completing the course, parts of the participants’ brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.
Meditation literally clears your mind and calms you down, it’s been often proven to be the single most effective way to live a happier live. I believe that this graphic explains it the best:
According to Shawn Achor, meditation can actually make you happier long-term:
Studies show that in the minutes right after meditating, we experience feelings of calm and contentment, as well as heightened awareness and empathy. And, research even shows that regular meditation can permanently rewire the brain to raise levels of happiness.
The fact that we can actually alter our brain structure through mediation is most surprising to me and somewhat reassuring that however we feel and think today isn’t permanent.
This is a seemingly simple strategy, but I’ve personally found it to make a huge difference to my outlook. There are lots of ways to practice gratitude, from keeping a journal of things you’re grateful for, sharing three good things that happen each day with a friend or your partner, and going out of your way to show gratitude when others help you.
In an experiment where some participants took note of things they were grateful for each day, their moods were improved just from this simple practice:
The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.
The Journal of Happiness studies published a study that used letters of gratitude to test how being grateful can affect our levels of happiness:
Participants included 219 men and women who wrote three letters of gratitude over a 3 week period.
Results indicated that writing letters of gratitude increased participants’ happiness and life satisfaction, while decreasing depressive symptoms.
As a final point, it’s interesting to note that as we get older, particularly past middle age, we tend togrow happier naturally. There’s still some debate over why this happens, but scientists have got a few ideas:
Researchers, including the authors, have found that older people shown pictures of faces or situations tend to focus on and remember the happier ones more and the negative ones less.
Other studies have discovered that as people age, they seek out situations that will lift their moods — for instance, pruning social circles of friends or acquaintances who might bring them down. Still other work finds that older adults learn to let go of loss and disappointment over unachieved goals, and hew their goals toward greater wellbeing.
So if you thought being old would make you miserable, rest assured that it’s likely you’ll develop a more positive outlook than you probably have now.
Want to chat about this article? Leave a comment below or send me an email with your thoughts.
Oh and before I forget, we’ve recently launched the new Buffer for Business. Take a look, it’s the most powerful Buffer yet to help you better manage your social media everywhere.
Photo credit: Spencer Finnley
Content Crafter at Buffer. Co-founder of Hello Code. I write about social media, startups, life-hacking and science.
In Yoga the morning the other day I heard something that has stuck and has been my mantra for days now....Everything is temporary.
The good the bad and everything in between....so why not focus on the good?
Even when lifes challenges seem insurmountable there are always things to be grateful for. When I am struggling I keep a gratitude journal...it's not always pretty or organized or even written down but everyday I find three things to be grateful for and let those things soothe my soul. Confused, frustrated, feeling blue? Try a gratitude journal for a while or at least think on three blessings a day and you will find some peace.
Hope you are having a beauty-ful week friends,
****postponed due to sickies being sicker than i thought...Mom's going out with friends instead****
Taking my boys to the movies is one of my favorite things, I love well done children's films and books. When Turbo came out we held off till it came to the cheap theatre...then all summer passed and it never came! I felt horrible. Well, this week it is here and tonight we are making it a movie night.
Our little local theatre Towne is around $5 for a film and you can stay for all three showing anytime! So tonight it's Turbo for everyone, then I will take Ry home and the others will stay for some big boy movies.
What is not to love about Ryan Reynolds and he is the voice of Turbo...it looks adorable.
Summer weather is still here and the lake is calling again but I have two kids with head colds and tucking in for a movie with huge buckets of popcorn is just what Dr. Mom ordered. Don't worry we will be sure to sit far from anyone! I will be making some intimate plans with my Kahuna board on Kalamalka lake for the rest of the weekend when I can swing it. I can clean the house when it's cold!
I have wedding edits to finish up and lots of fruit that needs to be chopped and frozen, jammed, and canned so that's all for me today folks.
happy weekend friends,