Monthly Archives: August 2011

Positive Playlist

My final paper my senior year at college was about how your mood can be affected by the music you listen to, and also the affect it has on the way you process information. In the same way that being around positive people makes you feel more positive, music can lighten your mood. I’ve always felt that instinctively from being involved in music. In High school I would listen to Matchbox 20 to bury myself deeper in a bad mood. Before tests I always listened to complex music Mozart or Chemical Brothers to prepare my brain for analyzing lots of information together. When I’ve pushed myself too far through bad relationships, there’s nothing that calms me as much as Jack Johnson.  I got an A on the paper by the way.

Here are some of my top favorite songs from my “Positive” Playlist:

  • Just Fine—Mary J Blige
  • All Right Now—Free
  • Keep Your Head Up—Andy Grammer
  • Touches You—Mika
  • I’d Like To—Corinne Bailey Rae
  • The Whip—Locksley
  • Motown Philly—Boys 2 Men
  • ABC—Jackson 5
  • Let Her Dance—The Bobby Fuller Four
  • Turn My Swag On—Alexa Goddard
  • Feelin’ Groovy—Simon & Garfunkle
  • Hey, Hey We’re the Monkies—The Monkies
  • I Am Not My Hair—India Arie ft Akon
  • Crocodile Rock—Elton John

I’d love to hear what music you listen to in order to improve your mood.


No to Negative

“There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.” — Maya Angelou

It’s a little ironic that the day I get back from visiting my most sarcastic friend in the most stereotypically depressing city in the world, I start a project on staying optimistic. Yesterday I woke up at 4am (their time) and got into Orlando (having only had sprite and a few handfuls of peanuts) at 4pm. Logan was running late, so by the time I got home it was 6:30. It was probably the worst possible day for trying to be positive, because I was so tired I was in hysterics, even getting frustrated with Logan for not dropping his chili immediately to say goodnight to me. He laughed, I got more neurotic. Then today I caught myself telling Graham that I suck at being positive. Good start.

Here’s the plan:

  • Stay upbeat and see the bright side of things. Studies show that even when you act like you’re in a good mood, not only does it lift the people around you up, but you actually start feeling happier yourself.
  • Have a well-rounded diet with an emphasis on good mood foods like complex carbs (e.g. brown rice, quinoa), B vitamins (e.g. milk, citrus fruits), “happy fats” (e.g. Fish oil, olive oil) and of course anadamine (chocolate!). This also means limiting my intake of depressant like alcohol and not over-eating.
  • Exercise. Preferably outside and at least 20 minutes a day. I’m going to do an exercise project later, but the release of endorphins when you exercise has too much of an impact on positivity to not include.
  • Keep myself surrounded by positive activities like listening to comedy and positive music, reading Bossy Pants by Tina Fey and only watching comedy movies/shows.
  • Keep myself surrounded by positive people. Also, just making sure I don’t isolate myself. Studies show that both extroverts AND introverts get a mood boost from connecting with other people.
  • Smile and laugh more.
  • What is it that they say at AA? “Accept the things I can not change”? This goes for events, people and all the lists I keep.
  • Write in a gratitude journal everyday.

Carried over from other projects:

  • Gluten-free diet.
  • More fresh veggies and fruits.
  • More hobbies and activities, less TV.
  • Avoid things that conflict with who I am.


I think I got a total of 8 hours of sleep over the 3 nights I was in Seattle, and now I am wiped. Please accept some meager picture highlights in place of words.

Public Market Center Saturday Morning

Trying to blend in at the library

Tug Boat Company

Bus to the bars

Gas Works Park



Not-Such-A-Huge-Event Day

I thought my legs were sore yesterday, but today is worse. I’m trying not to put more body/mind altering chemicals in my body than I need to, so I’m somehow moving without Advil. Another fun part of my day is that the office is having a pizza party, or a Hurricane Irene Not-Such-A-Huge-Event Event. Which leaves me pecking at my confused coworkers’ pepperonis in order to “get a taste”. With Irene keeping to herself, Logan is able to fly home safely. So there’s that.

My spare time has been consumed with reading: poems, quotes, books. Pretty much anything I can get my hands on. Today I’m going to leave you with some Coco Chanel wisdom:

“It’s probably not just by chance that I’m alone. It would be very hard for a man to live with me, unless he’s terribly strong. And if he’s stronger than I, I’m the one who can’t live with him. … I’m neither smart nor stupid, but I don’t think I’m a run-of-the-mill person. I’ve been in business without being a businesswoman, I’ve loved without being a woman made only for love. The two men I’ve loved, I think, will remember me, on earth or in heaven, because men always remember a woman who caused them concern and uneasiness. I’ve done my best, in regard to people and to life, without precepts, but with a taste for justice.”

Tu Bahd 4 U

Here’s the thing you don’t realize if you equate horseback riding to guided trails on horseback, equestrian riding is HARD. By the end of the hour and a half of my lesson yesterday I was sweating, and my new trainer said she was going easy on me for my first day. Apparently, since riding in high/middle school I have lost my posture and leg strength. None the less, she said she could tell that I once was a “very pretty rider”, but had obviously gotten weak.

I showed up at the Tu Bahd stable early, since I didn’t realize that the drive to it from my house was only 10 minutes.  This gave me plenty of time to look around, get to know the farm dogs and cats, and have a conversation with the random lady painting her horse’s stall an impressive mural. The conversation went pretty smoothly, until I told her I sold my horse when I was a teenager. To this she started crying. Not just crying, but holding onto me, sobbing and saying, “THAT’S JUST SO SAD!!” Who are these people?

My instructor finally got done with a group of preteen rider and we went to the office to sign my life away. Interestingly, right after signing the waiver, she asked me if I needed a helmet. I said, “yes”, thinking she meant, like, “you didn’t bring one of your own, so you need to borrow one.” But, then she says, “Oh, but we aren’t going to do anything too big of a deal, some cantering, little jumps maybe. You probobly don’t need one.” Um, yes, I value my brain, thanks.

I rode Bad Doc who was referred to as the “moped,” as in “we’ll try you out on the moped, and move you up to the Harley if you impress me”. Bad Doc isn’t forlorn looking (actually he’s a beautiful dark brown quarter horse), but he’s in his 20’s, and seems to be sick of the whole game. This was made clear by the way he kept bringing me over to the steps to get off. He’s won world titles though, so she has him trained within an inch of his life. Move your leg half an inch back and shift your weight, and he turns on a dime. I tell you this so you understand how my bad posture almost got my thrown off. I’ve been driving a manual car and wearing my purse on my right shoulder too much, so my right shoulder is off. This combined with a horse–at canter–through a right turn equals Erika almost thrown off as he tries to switch leads. Yes, I’m glad for my helmet.

At the end of the lesson I wasn’t sure how well I did, because it seemed like all she did was yell, “arms up…lean forward…pull your shoulders back…knees in…STOP WITH THE BALLET TOES.” Guess I didn’t do too badly since she told me I was good enough for the Harley. After the lesson we both rode around for awhile as the horses cooled down and chatted about how she bought the farm when she was 18 years old. I guess she took her college money and bought a bunch of acres and a rat infested trailer home. Her dad didn’t talk to her for 3 years.

When I finally got home three and a half hours later, I realized I felt incredibly happy. Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday!



So, I’m pretty excited because my parents and some of my aunts and uncles are putting together a trip to Norway next summer. Guess who definitely signed up for that trip. I’ll be the youngest by about 30 years (my parents being the next youngest), but I’m already dreaming of floral skirts, knit sweaters, wool tights and my blonde hair in braids. This is good incentive to keep up my language studies!

Norwegian is kind of weird because a lot of the words sound like they’re saying other English words, but with a mouth full of food. Plus, it’s such a polite language. Ready for your lesson in Norsk?


God dag–sounds like “good dog” = “Hello” (or “Good Day”)

Ganske bra–sounds like “gangster bra” = “Pretty fine”

Jeg forstå–sounds like “yea, fish toad” = “I Understand”

Ikke så mye–sounds like “ick, I saw Mia!” = “Not so much”

takk–sounds like “tuck” = “Thanks”


Morsomt, ikke sant?

The Man Called. Wear Your Sweater Set.

When I was 16 I was driving my Mazda Protege out of a cul-de-sac where my friend lived, and was about to turn onto the main neighborhood street. For some reason there wasn’t a stop sign there (probably because it was logical to stop), and I had a vapid lapse and thought, “Oh, I can just turn onto this street without stopping”. Then a car came whizzing by and I snapped out of my dumb trance. This is how I feel about the idea of “living my life” at this point. There are times I think, “could it be as easy as  just moving forward without fear?”, but then the big car that is work wakes me up. The alarm rings, the man calls and I’m out the door.

What’s more frustrating is that this project has me sitting at work with Walt Whitman in my head saying “reject anything that insults your soul” as my boss asks me to do a project in half the time needed to successfully do it, etc. Surely it’s easier for a writer to discuss staying true to yourself. I guess unless what you have to say as your “true self” doesn’t sell to the mass media.

Today I finished learning  how to successfully start a conversation with a hypothetical Norwegian woman (read: hit on a Norwegian woman), so that’s useful. I read more Cookoo’s nest (feels like a riot is about to ensue). I got done with work early and headed down to Palm Beach for some retail therepy, which I’m counting as a way of continuing to express myself. Now I’m eating some gf pizza (this is rice dough?!), then I’m going out for a little bit. Tomorrow I start the day off with an early hot yoga class, then I head over to Englewood to visit my uncle, aunt and 2 amazing cousins.

Englewood always up to no good!