Tag Archives: Happiness

37. It’s true money can’t buy you love, but $100 or less can buy you happiness.

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This thought came to me as I recently left Urban Outfitters with an item that I knew would give me immeasurabledreamstime_s_2512924 pleasure – a portable record player. When I saw it in the window, it called to me with its bright orange case and light tan handle. Plus, it played albums and 45s. But, I didn’t know how much it cost. All I could think was, please, don’t let it be more than $100. I nervously waited in line, hoping this precious possession would soon be mine. When I got to the register I knew one way or another, it was now or never. I asked the clerk, “How much?” She gave me the answer I was looking for: “$99.” I practically skipped out of the store. When I got home, I grabbed some 45s and was delighted to hear a sound I hadn’t heard in years – the needle scratching against the vinyl. And that’s when I started to think about happiness and how little money it takes to truly make one’s self or others happy. Another recent example is New Year’s Eve. I remember in my 20s we’d go out and blow way more than $100 for what usually turned out be an evening that was worth way less. New Year’s Day was even better because there was the requisite hangover, worn like a badge of honor. This year, I stayed home, broke out a bottle of champagne and had a new neighbor over for some frozen appetizers. Cost: about $30. And we had a great time, sipping and nibbling while watching the ball go down in NYC at 9 p.m. And then there’s one thing I’ve been wanting for years and finally went to amazon.com to buy – a chess set. Cost: $29. Happiness quotient when I receive it: Priceless. Wait, that’s the MasterCard commercial. So take a moment and think about how you can make yourself or someone you love happy. Big expensive stuff is great, if you can afford it, but what do you really need?

Word to the wise: Bling isn’t always the thing. Achieving happiness is. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but $30 in your pocket could be everyone’s. Spend wisely and you’ll never have to worry about buyer’s remorse.

Can you think of anything you bought or did for $100 that made you happy? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

35. Be a good guest.

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Surprisingly, from my own personal experience, this is harder than it sounds. Probably because it means different things to????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? different people. And some people just don’t think about it at all. C’mon. You know whom I’m talking about. Like the guests that come to your barbecue where you provide everything: food, drinks, appetizers, etc. and just ask them if they can bring dessert. When they come, they’re late and say they need to leave early because they have another party to attend. When said guests leave, they ask you if they can take what’s left of the dessert they brought (which consists of one box of ice cream sandwiches). And you know they’re taking it to the other party. This is what I call class. Another example on a smaller scale is when a friend is kind enough to invite you over for dinner. I wouldn’t dream of showing up empty handed (unless I was mauled by a bear). And fortunately, most people I know don’t. A bottle of wine goes a long way toward being a good guest. And so does a bottle of anything you know your host drinks. Of course, being a good houseguest has its own set of rules and there’s a reason I don’t have too many of them. Here’s a nice list of what you can do to make your stay more pleasurable for your host and for you: http://www.cozi.com/live-simply/10-rules-being-good-house-guest.

Word to the wise: Getting invited is nice. Being invited again is even nicer. Make sure you’re the person someone wants to have back. It’s not that hard to do and your social life will soar.

Ever had a bad guest? Ever been one? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

32. Go to expensive, beautiful places and do beautiful, inexpensive things.

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had champagne taste on a beer budget. This has presented me with many ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????dilemmas in my life, not the least of which was my credit card debt situation when I was in my 20s. Most of that $13,000 debt could have been attributed to me going out to nice restaurants and paying for all my friends who couldn’t afford them. Um, neither could I. But here’s a fabulous trick I’ve learned over the years – go to a really expensive, beautiful place and have a glass of champagne (or an old fashioned or a rum and coke, whatever). You might be out $20 but the experience will stay with you for a long time. Some of my favorite places to practice this principle:

The Montage (where a room is $795 a night), Laguna Beach

$10 for a glass of champagne and an ocean view to die for.

Walk their gorgeous grounds and sit on a bench overlooking the ocean. (Free.)

http://www.montagelagunabeach.com/?gclid=CI-Bjqnu47YCFUOe4AodpCQAcw

Mastro’s Steak House, throughout the U.S. (where a steak dinner a la carte will cost you about $40)

Sit in the bar and order their house chardonnay for $9 and split the enormous portion of their gorgonzola mac ‘n’ cheese for $11 and munch on their insanely fabulous FREE bread.

http://www.mastrosrestaurants.com

Take a walk along the beautiful cliffs and beaches of Corona Del Mar, California. (Free)

Then have breakfast at Café Panini where you can have a Mediterranean omelet that comes with Greek salad and bread for about $11. And don’t forget the champagne! Or better yet, pack a picnic and sit on the bluffs after your walk.

http://www.mypaninicafe.com

I know these are all in my backyard (and a beautiful one it is!) but can you think of places where you live that you don’t go to because you think you can’t afford them? You should actively seek these special places. Because even if you don’t have a lot to spend, for an hour or two, you’ll feel positively rich.

Word to the wise: The appetizers can be just as satisfying as the meal. Even more so if you’re at a five-star hotel with an ocean view. Or whatever it is that makes your backyard special. Life’s too short not to enjoy it.

What are some of your favorite places and do you know how to maximize your experience without doing major damage to your wallet? Please share. Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

31. Life is long.

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Even though we’re always being told the exact opposite. Not to mention, I’ve had a few very close friends die young. So you ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????could also argue against me on that score if you’ve lost someone way before they were supposed to go. But let me explain why life, generally is long. And just so I don’t hog all the credit, it was my always late, cheap ex-boyfriend who laid that philosophy on me and it really resonated then and continues to do so now. We were having one of our many “discussions” about how the fact that he was always two hours late annoyed me, was disrespectful, etc. (he was probably out on another date before he came over, but I digress). I remember he paused, looked at me and said, “Eva, life is long.” Basically he was saying it was too long to deal with my s—t. At that moment, I realized it was also too long to deal with his. I knew that unless a truck hit either of us the next day, if I didn’t end it, we could have gone on like that for years. Because he was getting exactly what he wanted: me at his convenience; and I was nowhere near to getting what I wanted: commitment. This is just one of many examples where if you look at the road ahead as short, you may be short-sighting yourself. You have to think long-term. And I know that’s really hard to do when you’re in your 20s. Hell, it’s hard to do at any age.

Word to the wise: Life is only short when it’s good. My grandfather lived to the ripe old age of 94, may God bless him. You might get to be that old, too. Imagine your life one year from now. Five years from now. Ten years from now. How about 50? Make sure you’re living the life you want to.

Can you think of any situations that are making your life longer? Please share. Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

Guest blog: Letting go

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I’m pleased and excited to present a guest blog today, “Letting go” by the writer and creator of The Reporter and The Girl
MINUS The Superman series. This raw, captivating blog documents the trials and tribulations of her 14-month relationship with a reporter. Our guest’s blog, http://thereporterandthegirl.com/tag/the-reporter-and-the-girl/ also has the distinction of being the web’s 29th Most Popular Relationship blog.

I reached out to her to write about letting go and how hard it can be. Here’s her words of wisdom on this difficult subject:

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Shrimp, chives, and mayonnaise.

That what’s in this salad I bought at my local deli nearly 3 weeks agoHHHhhhmmmm….and it looked good as the man scooped up some and weighed it out for me in a container to take home.  But I never got a chance to taste it. I came down with a flu/cold/plague that left me feverish in bed drinking tea and soup for a week.

And the container sat there, until I finally convinced myself to toss it into the trash today.

I had been trying to talk myself out of taking a little bite, just to please my curiosity.

Are you still holding on to the trash in your life?

It may be a little controversial to think of that ex as “trash,” but when something or someone is stinking up your life and making you miserable—you gotta take it out.

Letting go is the hardest but yet will give you the most relief so you can clear space in your heart, mind and if need be –your fridge for fresh new life.

It’s also a process too; unlike tossing a container into the bag in one step.  This may require deleting old messages, defriend or unfollowing on social media sites, and maybe avoiding certain gathering places.

Now, I’ll admit that I’m no expert on relationships or post-break up protocols, I can only give what I have learned from my break up experience and over a period of many weeks, I began to let go of the pieces one by one.

Know that it’s normal to want to cling on to some memory or reminder of our loved ones, but more importantly, know that you’ll be ok without them.  The truth is s/he is probably doing ok without you too.

If you have friends and family around, hang out with them more often so you won’t feel so lonely, and if you are alone, then do something that puts yourself first – like a favorite activity you had no time for in the past or even treating yourself  to something you’ve always wanted to do!

And in the case where you really can’t stop thinking about the past, do something creative with it. I started writing as way to express my feelings to Jon*.  Perhaps you can write a letter to your ex or song or a poem or any other creative outlet. Sometimes exerting our emotions into something tangible can give us relief.

But letting go of that dead weight – bad feelings, anger and resentment, etc…is the best thing that you can do for YOU.  You gain control again of yourself and prove that no one can stink up your life.

TheGirl,

Writer and Creator of TheReporterandTheGirlMINUSTheSuperman series

www.TheReporterandTheGirl.com

www.Twitter.com/ReporterandGirl

www.Facebook.com/TheReporterandTheGirl

30. Learn how to smile sweetly and say, “No thanks.”

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I have a friend who I deem to be the master of this skill. I remember this guy at the office was going around asking everyone for ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????money to buy raffle tickets for his church. Now mind you, in that office, it seemed like we were giving money every day for some worthy cause – starving children, breast cancer, world peace, you get the idea. Well this guy comes around to me and of course, even though he annoys the crap out of me on a personal level, I give him the money. I asked my friend if she contributed to his cause as well, and she said she didn’t. And I was like wow, how did you get out of that one? That was when she imparted a lesson on me that I still need to learn: When someone asks you to do something that you don’t want to, smile sweetly and say, “No thanks.” A few years have passed and I’ve mostly lived by this rule, until recently. Another friend of mine and I were meeting for happy hour and she sent me a text asking if it was okay to invite this guy she met at another happy hour because it could be a “good networking opportunity.” And I’m thinking, for whom? Because she had already told me about this guy, and said he looked like Danny Devito, but was kind of “sweet.” Needless to say, I did not want him to join us. But did I text back sweetly, “No thanks,” as a wise woman would do? And believe me, in this case, I really should have. Because when I got to the bar, I see her sitting with this guy and he looks like he’s about 80. My friend said he would just “stop by” but ended up staying the whole time, regaling us with his stories about how successful he is and how he represented himself in court five times and won. Of course, I asked him what he was charged with and he became very evasive and said, “White collar stuff.” The best part, he starts to hit on my friend who is probably 40 years his junior. “You have such beautiful skin,” he says to her. I excused myself to the restroom at this point in protest and disgust. Later, she tells me he asked her out. The real clincher: when the bill came, Mr. Successful insisted we split it three ways. It just goes to show even old guys can be douche bags.

Word to the wise: A little no thanks goes a long way. When you think about it, it’s really hard to argue or get offended by someone who says this to you. It softens the blow and saves you from looking like the bad guy.

When is it hard for you to say no? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

29. Take a cooking class.

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Well, maybe not quite like the one I’m in now. No disrespect intended, but all the students look like they came from the island of ????????????????????????????????????????misfit toys. Maybe that’s because the class isn’t offered by Williams Sonoma or Sir Le Table. It’s at our local community center, being taught by Maria, a dead ringer for the Long Island Medium. So far, we’ve learned how to make tomato sauce and garlic bread, which consisted of garlic powder, Italian herbs and olive oil. Emeril Lagasse would be rolling over in his grave if he were dead. But here’s the thing – it was actually surprisingly good. And easy. In spite of the fact that one of the misfit toys, this guy who should be in an independent film, kept staring, and I mean staring at me. At the end of class, my friend bolted out the door and started laughing hysterically, “Did you see that guy staring at you?” And then we both just couldn’t stop laughing about the class in general. But we had fun. So we’re going back next week to see what Maria will do with meatballs. What I also discovered is that no matter what your skill level, or who’s teaching, you will learn something new. Even if you’re like me and have watched hundreds of hours of Food Network and think you know almost everything. And if you’re surrounded by misfits, all the better.

Maria’s garlic bread recipe:

1 loaf Italian bread

¼ cup olive oil

2 Tablespoons garlic powder

2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning

Cut bread lengthwise and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic powder and Italian seasonings. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes (or you can broil it).

Serve hot with meals or cut into cubes and use as croutons on a salad.

Word to the wise: If you like food, learn how to cook it. And you don’t have to go to some fancy schmancy school and pay big bucks. That said, I think next time, I’ll give Williams Sonoma a try.

Have you ever taken a cooking class? Would you do it again? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

28. A man who is cheap with his wallet will also be cheap with his heart.

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Unfortunately, I’ve dated a lot of cheap men in my life. I’m certainly not proud of this fact and it I think a lot of it has to do with???????????????????????????????????????? self worth. I also think the lines for young women are blurred even more today than they were when I was in my 20s. But that still doesn’t mean you should date a man who splits everything 50/50 or won’t take you out and pay. As one of my eloquent cheap ex-boyfriends tried to argue, I was an “independent woman” and that I should pay when we go out, even though he seemed to conveniently forget that I cooked dinner for him every week and he never once brought over a bottle of wine. I got over him (finally) after we went on a ski weekend together and after we had split everything down the middle, he had the nerve to ask me for gas money. It was the last straw. But here’s what I also have found about men like these: when they aren’t generous with their money, they won’t open their hearts either. It’s weird how this behavior seems to go hand in hand. My dad, a very wise man, says, “character counts.” The way a man treats his money and how he spends it on you (or doesn’t) is a key insight into his character. I know a lot of young men will make the same argument as my ex-boyfriend (who was in his 40s, by the way) but don’t fall for it. Cheap is as cheap does. And trust me, it still isn’t easy for me to let a guy pay. Those moments while the check sits on the table cause me major anxiety and I feel like I have to do something like offer to “help” or pay the tip. I’ve done both of those things. But I’ve found when I didn’t do either, I felt much better. If the guy really cares about you, he will, too. So I’ve finally sworn off of cheap men because it’s not worth going out with a guy knowing you can treat yourself better than he can.

Word to the wise: Cheap men are a dime a dozen and it pays to find the ones who aren’t. If you’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places, this is the right place to start. And here’s a few more thoughts on this topic:

http://www.askmen.com/dating/heidi_100/103_dating_girl.html

Do you agree with the correlation of man’s heart to his wallet? Ever dated a cheap guy? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

27. Be on time.

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For me, this one has always been easy. Because I hate to keep people waiting. Especially people I care about. Which is why I ???????????????????????????????????????can’t relate to or understand lateness. When I’m on time, it shows my family and friends that I value theirs. I remember I had this boyfriend who was always late and it drove me crazy. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one. He told me he had a friend who whenever they made plans to get together would ask, “Is that Steve time, or Pacific time?” I thought this was pretty funny. But not for long. And don’t even get me started on the boyfriend (a different Steve) who kept me waiting 45 minutes at a restaurant because he was watching “Jeopardy.” Actually, I can’t believe I stuck around. But I was in my 20s and those were the days, as Lena Dunham of “Girls,” says where we have complete self-confidence and no self-worth. I definitely suffered from that affliction, which is no doubt why my dating life was one disaster after another. What I will say to all you late folks out there who may never change their ways no matter how much it annoys, irritates and feels disrespectful to their friends, boyfriends, children, husbands, etc.: If you’re going to be consistently late, at least apologize. That can make all the difference in the world. I’ve found that most people who are late, don’t do this and it kind of blows my mind. I feel far more forgiving toward those who do. Maybe you’ve seen the license plate frame, “Always late, but worth the wait.” Are you?

Word to the wise: If you’re always late, not everyone will wait. If you care enough, or someone makes you care enough, you’ll change. And if you’re always on time like me, it helps to bring a book.

Are you an early or late bird? Ever have anyone not wait for you and how did you feel about it? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

26. Learn how to make a killer cocktail and always have the ingredients on hand.

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Admittedly, I still haven’t mastered this one. I don’t even own a shaker. A friend of mine uses plastic wrap and a bowl to mix???????????????????????????????????????? her martinis. I think a cocktail shaker is like $5 at IKEA. I really should go get one of those. Because then I’d be well on my way to making my killer cocktail. Which would probably be a dirty martini or Cosmo. Actually, I already have vodka. Now if I just had some vermouth, cranberry juice and lots of jumbo green olives, we could really get this party started. I guess my point is, beer and wine are fine, but some occasions call for something special. Like the first time he picks you up at your place. Having a signature libation can showcase your creativity and sophistication. Not to mention that it makes you kind of cool. Do you know what your killer cocktail would be?

Word to the wise: Bring some retro into your life. Take a cue from the TV show “Mad Men” and spruce up your cocktail repertoire. Once you’ve picked your potion, test it on yourself. Even if it’s on a night where it’s just you, your jammies and Netflix, you’ll feel fabulous.

Here’s a recipe I’d like to try: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/sour-apple-martini-10000000434061/

Know how to make one great drink? What’s your recipe? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”