Happiness Advantage Challenge: Day 6

3 Things I’m Grateful For

  • My mom keeping me on track. Without her reminders/scare tactics, I’d probably completely forget to order wedding invitations.
  • John Oliver. The last few minutes of the latest “Last Week Tonight” changed my life. Four words: All-dog Supreme Court.
  • Frank Underwood. Actually, I hate Frank Underwood because he’s an evil evil (fictional) man. But I am thankful to him for getting me into rowing. Had I not watched House of Cards, I never would’ve thunk to try it out.

Positive Experience
My sister and her boyfriend (fiancé?) are on the prowl for an engagement ring, so I went with her yesterday to scope out a few jewellery stores. There were quite a few positive outcomes from this experience—1) I think I’ve finally gotten used to/accepted her decision to do a courthouse wedding; 2) the jeweller (a Greek, of course) taught me that using toothpaste on my engagement ring is a no-no and that I should never (never!) listen to Pinterest and that young people are so dumb. He also steamed my ring for me, which was nice. And 3) no one thought my sister and I were lesbians. Not that there’s anything wrong with it. But, I was wearing a leather jacket and felt pretty butch, so it was nice that no one said anything like, “How long have you two been together?”

15 Minutes of Exercise?
Check. See the previous post.

WOD – Monday, October 20

I just realized that “WOD” (workout of the day) is apparently only a Crossfit thing? Funny that I label my workouts with it considering I don’t do — and never have done — Crossfit. Eh, oh well.

Walking Incline Workout – 20 Minutes @ 4 mph

  • 5 minutes at 3% incline
  • 2 minutes at 7% incline
  • 2 minutes at 10% incline
  • 1 minute at 12% incline
  • 1 minute at 10% incline
  • 2 minutes at 7% incline
  • 1 minute at 10% incline
  • 1 minute at 12% incline
  • 2 minute at 7% incline
  • 3 minutes at 3% incline


  • 12×3 pec fly
  • 12×3 pec fly on a Pilates ball thingy
  • 12×3 chest press on a Pilates ball thingy


  • 12×3 alternating bicep curl
  • 12×3 hammer curl


  • 12×3 overhead extension

The gym was really really crowded tonight, so I didn’t get to do as many weights as I wanted because I’m scared of people. Good thing I did a lot of chest work though because really what I need is for my B cups to turn into straight muscle and become even smaller.

Happiness Advantage Challenge: Day 5

3 Things I’m grateful for:

  • Tristan. Duh. We had a very pleasant weekend together (per the usual), and I’m just grateful and thankful and oh so lucky to have him. (barf)
  • Work friends. I am the flakiest of friends for reasons I won’t go in to, but long story short—my friends at work invite me out all the time and I only show up to about 1/3 of their events. Yet, they still invite me every time…and text me throughout to let me know all about the fun I’m missing. It’s appreciated it, and I really ought to stop taking them for granted…because Lord knows as soon as they stop inviting me (and one day they will), I’ll be oh so sad and hurt.
  • Open houses! With Tristan’s new job being a good 1.5 away from our condo, we’re probably going to move sometime in the next year. We’re not seriously looking to buy a house just yet, but we have been going to open houses the past two weekends and lordy it’s fun. Especially because we’re looking in really old neighborhoods where the houses were built in the early 1900s—and sometimes the owners have lived their for 50+ years (!), and it’s really cool to look through their things and peek into their lives and see their really creepy old basements and so and so on. It’s sometimes sad, too though. Like this one house is being put up for sale because the owners’ husband just died, and it’s too much house for her…which is a heartbreaking story as old as time.

Positive experience:
This is very self-serving, but last night I posted a picture of myself in my wedding dress on some wedding board and people have been responding with the nicest words that are really inflating my ego a tad too much. Of course, some of the comments are things like “that dress is perfect for your body type,” which for some reason makes me feel insulted? Like what is my body type? A doctor once told me I could be a linebacker, so…

15 Minutes of Exercise?
Check. Walk walk walk.



The number of unique visitors this blog has gotten in the last day from the following Google search (or some rendition of it): “Matthew McConaughey halloween costumes.”

I’m so sorry to all you bros out there who landed on this and thought it would actually be useful. Google has misguided you.

Happiness Advantage Challenge: Day 4

3 things I’m grateful for:

  • Group text messaging. My dad sent some pretty hilarious texts to my me and my siblings yesterday, and it made me realize how nice it is for us to all be able to talk to each other and joke around even when we’re not in the same place. Here’s a snipet from deep in the conversation, a day or so after my dad told us that he and my mom are keeping a spider as a pet. They named him Demetrius.IMG_1610.PNG
  • My ridiculously cheap gym membership. Story time! Back in, oh I don’t know 1980? My dad signed up for Bally’s and locked in a LIFELONG membership rate of $50/year. Think about that for a minute…$50 PER YEAR FOR LIFE. No wonder why Bally’s went belly up…and I’m glad they did, because LA Fitness ended up buying them and now my dad’s ridiculous deal is good for that club. Major upgrade. A couple years ago, he decided to transfer ye olde membership to his favorite child. And if dogs went to the gym, little Max would probably still be alive. But I got it instead and now I basically go to the gym for $4/month. Or at least I have the option to go to the gym for $4/month.
  • Living in Chicago. Not a day goes by that I don’t love living in this city, but yesterday it really hit me. We were driving down Lake Shore from Hyde Park to Lincoln Park and I completely zoned out, kind of mesmerized by the city lights and the crashing waves and I don’t know…it kind of felt like driving into a giant hug. Which sounds loopy, I know. But it’s just so darn pretty and cool and exciting to see water and city all in one shot. And then we got off at Fullerton and saw two homeless people sleeping under a bridge and it brought me back down to this sad sad earth, but that’s okay.

Positive Experience.

Tristan’s sister got engaged yesterday, and we were all a part of the proposal. I can go on and on about it, but I don’t feel like writing too much more because I want to go eat breakfast, so here’s the recap in a tweet: We hid in the bushes while Dan proposed to Steph, and then we ambushed her with applause. It was surprisingly not that creepy. #shesaidyes.

15 minutes of exercise?

Check. Running and pull-ups.

WOD – Saturday, October 18

Well, I officially went a full week without going to the gym and/or running…unless you count that time on Thursday night when I got spooked walking down the alley and opted to run to my door.

This morning’s workout was pretty solid at least. Away we go!

  • 3-mile run on the ol’ treadmill
    • 1 mile in 10 minutes (6.0 mph)
    • 2nd mile in 9:22 (6.5 mph)
    • 3rd mile in around 11ish minutes (alternating between 4.0, 6.0, and 7.5 mph)
    • Total time: 30:45 (10:15/mile pace)
  • Pull-ups! I love doing pull-up so so much lately.
    • 9 warm-up reps with 100 pounds counterweight
    • 5 reps w/ 70 pounds
    • 5 reps w/ 60 pounds
    • 4 reps w/ 55 pounds
    • 1 rep w/ 40 pounds

Also, I just did a Google image search for “pull ups” and found this. What on earth?

Happiness Advantage Challenge: Day 3

3 Things I’m Grateful For:

  • Free trial magazine subscriptions. This is, of course, assuming they actually cancel my “subscription” before charing me the $40 or whatever. Here’s hoping karma doesn’t bite me in the you now what. Also, why on earth did Martha send me 2 Real Simples in one day?IMG_1609.JPG
  • This amazing clip from Sex and the City. Cut to the 3:05 mark here to see what I’m talking about. Spoiler alert: it’s Matthew McConaughey.
  • Work from home days. How sweeeeeeet it is to not have to get dressed all day.

Positive Experience
I cooked Tristan a new-to-me dinner last night: chicken piccata. It was super stressful to make, and I kept setting off the smoke detector, but it turned out pretty good, and he really really liked it. How sad is it that it makes me happy when he compliments my food?

15 minutes of exercise?
Check — if you count the mile-long walk to Trader Joe’s. There and back makes 2 miles, so I’m counting it.

Happiness Advantage Challenge: Day 2

3 Things I’m Grateful For:

  • Tristan giving me a ride home from work every single day (or pretty close to it). That’ll change starting next week, but for a good reason — he got a new job!
  • My company paying for my iPhone. This is top of mind because an IT guy told me that I went over my data limit this month, so I better “watch it” next month. At first, I was upset about this (why don’t they give me more data, damnt?) and then I came to my senses (i.e Tristan slapped me with the truth) — I don’t have a phone bill. That’s pretty awesome
  • Free laundry. Okay, technically it’s part of our HOA fees, but being able to do laundry without going to 7/11 or the bank for a bucket of quarters is a wonderful convenience. I’ve been living in my condo for a year now, and yet every time I do laundry, I think about this. It’s fantastic.

Positive Experience
We’ve been trying to save a bit of money — since Tristan is taking a week and a half off between jobs — and have resorted to eating eggs for dinner 3 (maybe 4?) days this week. Last night, we really really wanted to just go get chips and margaritas instead of eating dinner…but ultimately made the cheaper choice — eggs and chorizo (and a Limearita for Tristan).

15 minutes of exercise?
Check. Went for a walk after dinner. Being busy at work Monday – Wednesday + crappy weather + lame excuses have kept me from running and going to the gym this week. But, at least we’ve been going for some walks. I’m working from home today, so I”ll definitely run, at the very least.

Happiness Advantage Challenge: Day 1

3 Things I’m Grateful For:

  • Not getting murdered at Panera today. I was sipping coffee and reading a magazine, when a guy decided to sit down right next to me—despite there being several empty tables. Honestly, I got really spooked, thinking this psychopath will surely stab me, so I decided to get up and leave. As I put on my jacket, he said, “I hope I didn’t chase you off.” We then proceeded to briefly chat about the weather, before I carried on my way. He likely was not a psychopath—and probably just needed the outlet for his laptop—so I’m very very thankful for that. As a sidenote: No, I’m not saying all this to be dramatic or funny. These are the thoughts that go through my head on a daily basis lately. I blame the Today show.
  • My dad’s willingness to help. I called him today to ask a question about finances to which he promptly replied, “Are you doing okay with money? Let me know if you need help.” It’s nice to know that, if I did actually need help, he and the mama are there.
  • Our conference is over. Finally. I’ve spent the last 6 or so months handling all the communications for this damn thing, and I’m just so so happy it’s over.

Positive Experience
This one’s easy. Today’s positive experience was listening to Shawn Achor—after all, that speech is the whole reason I’m doing this challenge in the first place.

15 minutes of exercise?
Check. 20 or so minute walk + driving range

happy dog

If You’re Happy and You Know It…Good for You

My company is hosting a conference this week, and this morning I had the pleasure of listening to our neat-o guest speaker. His name is Shawn Achor, and he’s all about the psychology behind happiness and success. After his presentation, I walked away with two questions:

  • Why didn’t I think to study happiness for a living?
  • Am I happy?

The answer to the first question is easy: because I’m an idiot.

As for the second…well, I think that’s a bit more complex. Overall, yes, I’m very happy.  Maybe I watch too much TV and follow too many random people on Tumblr, but judging by what I’ve heard/seen over the past several years, it seems to me that I’m a lucky gal to have never ever suffered through depression (*knock on wood*). I mean, even this Shawn Achor fellow—someone who literally studies happiness for a living and knows all the tricks of the trade—said he went through a pretty serious bout of depression back when he is in college…again, where he literally studied happiness.

Yet, not being depressed doesn’t make me really truly happy, does it? I mean, am I really living my life in the happiest way possible?

Of course not. But who is? Professional jet skiers? Dogs? That’s about it.

I can, however, get better.

So, following the guidance of Mr. Achor, I’m going to embark on a 21-day challenge, completing the following task every. single. day. for three weeks.

  • Exercise for at least 15 minutes per day.
  • Write down 3 things I’m thankful for each and every day. The hitch? No repeats. That means, over the next few weeks, y’all are gonna be seeing 63 unique things I’m grateful for—and TV will only be listed once.
  • Record one positive experience every day—no matter how small.

Nothing about these tasks seems particularly ground breaking, I know. But still, seems like a good exercise for the mind and soul.

First post soon to come.

*Full disclosure: this isn’t the full “Happiness Advantage Challenge.” I need to take baby steps, so I picked the tasks I’m confident I can accomplish every day for 21 days – otherwise, I’d say forget it and not do any of it. For reference, you can find the full challenge here.