Minute by minute

my thoughts on making the most out of all of life's minutes…

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I saw Gretchen Rubin – in person!

We all know how much I love Gretchen Rubin!  I have both her books and now I have two copies of her latest book – Happier at Home.

When she came to Seattle about a year and a half ago, promoting Happier at Home, I missed the opportunity to see her.

When I heard she was coming to Portland to promote the paperback version of Happier at Home – I didn’t want to miss her a second time.

So I packed some snacks, checked out the audio book Wicked from the library.  It is a little over three hours to drive to Portland.  So this past Tuesday I drove six and a half hours for an hour to listen to Gretchen and an hour to stand in line waiting to get her signature on my book.

But it was worth it!  And why not!  I didn’t have anything pressing at work or at home.  My husband took care of dinner and swim lessons for the night.  And Wicked – well, it’s wickedly long and a tiny bit boring so far – but I’m only five CD’s into the 20 CD collection.  (Maybe I should skip it and just go see the play next time it is in town).

Here’s what I got out of my experience.

I love Gretchen Rubin!

We knew that, but I still do.  She is so genuine and real.  I get that from her writing and her blog and the videos that she publishes.  But in person – she seems the same.  I love that.

She’s also classy.  This part I really loved about her  – when a question was asked from the audience, she repeated it so the rest of the audience could know what she was answering.  I loved that!!!  Don’t you hate it when the speaker doesn’t repeat the question?

One more thing – she’s a tiny little thing.  And so is this picture, but she the one in the aqua sweater – facing forward.

GR Speaking in Portland

Overall her speech wasn’t anything new.  I mean – I’ve read her books and like I said I follow her blog and her Facebook page – so really, there wasn’t much I hadn’t heard.  But that’s what I love about her books and her mission – it is worth repeating.  Things that she says might resonate with me differently at different times.  Her books are probably ones that I’ll revisit from time to time and try different things at different points in my life.

Here’s some of my takeaways from her talk:

  • You can’t make anyone else happy.  You can only change yourself and your perceptions and your reactions.  Trying to change your family or  your co-workers isn’t going to work but hopefully, they will react positively to your changes.
  • If you want to change one thing, but not sure where to start  – ask yourself – “what are you lying about?”  Take that one thing and either own or change it.  I used to feel very guilty that I took a power nap every afternoon, never admitting it to anyone other than my family.  Then one day I decided – “who cares? I can do what I need to do to feel better without being ashamed.”   And now I owe it!  I take a power nap almost everyday!
  • Some people view “being happy” and acknowledging it as being selfish.  Side note – why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we live in a world where it is acceptable to be miserable and shameful to be happy?  Anyway – Gretchen explains that studies show that happy people are actually more apt to volunteer and help people more than unhappy people.  Probably because unhappy people are too caught up in thinking about how unhappy they are to think about anyone else.  So in a sense “being happy is actually unselfish” . (that got a chuckle out of the audience)
  • Just because you are happy doesn’t mean you won’t have unhappy moments.  In fact, projects like her Happiness Project might teach you how to deal with challenging and stressful situations.  She gave the example of how maybe you are dealing with an ailing parent.  No doubt that is a stressful situation.  But there is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself like going to see a movie or going for a walk to take a break and refresh yourself during that challenging time.

There was much more that she spoke about, and I would suggest reading her books or even just joining her Facebook page and maybe signing up to get her blog.  She is also working on her next project – habits.  I can’t wait!

The only drawback to the evening was when I turned into a boob when I finally got to her table.  I froze!  My mind went totally blank and I couldn’t think of one thing to say to her when I was waiting for her to sign my book. UGH!

Happier at home - signature

But – in her true classiness – she asked me a question!  I still fumbled it – – but I did  manage to ask to get a picture with her.

Amy and GR

Hope ya’ll have a great weekend!



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Not Me Monday – No more overwhelmed feelings

Happy Monday!

Ahhh…the start of another week.  I hope your weekend was super and you were able to relax, get some things done and spend some time with family and friends.

This week’s edition of “Not Me Monday” is brought to you by Gretchen Rubin.  I’ve shared her blog on here at least once before, because I love her.  She has really good tips for leading a happy life.  I don’t read her stuff everyday, but every time I do read it, I find value in it.

This article is titled  Overwhelmed? 9 Quick Tips for Keeping Your Home Feeling Serene and Organized.

Gretchen’s list is simple yet offers nine really good tips that will keep you from feeling overwhelmed.  And these are tips that will help prevent that feeling – so you combat the issue before it ever actually happens.

Check it out, it is a super quick read.

My question for you….do you make your bed everyday?

Happy Day!



Resolutions and More – Happy Almost 2012

It is almost New Year’s Eve – the countdown has begun.  I am actually looking forward to the calendar turning, starting fresh and new in the New Year.


Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions?  Care to share them with me?

Last year my resolution was to return all the grocery carts back to the safe zone or walk it back to the entrance instead of leaving it by my car.  My mom was astonished that I did that at all, seeing that my sister was a bagger at a local grocery store while she was in high school and college.  She would tell stories about how she would get  stuck outside for hours of her shift chasing down grocery carts and bringing them back to the store.

I’m happy to say, I did really well on my goal for last year.  I don’t think I missed one time of not putting the cart back in the correct spot.

This year, I’m a little more reluctant to take on the goal that has planted itself in my head.  Put all the clean clothes away on laundry day and stop living out of the baskets all week-long.  This one is going to take some real determination and will power for sure.  Remember when I wrote about it –Laundry Tips– – maybe I should implement my own tips.

I think the way to keep your resolutions is simple:

  • Create goals that are challenging yet doable.
  • Create a system to make them happen.  What is that Albert Einstein saying  -“insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  Resolutions are about change – but nothing changes on purpose without a plan.
  • Find a way to keep yourself accountable.




I follow Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project and she wrote about the same thing a couple of days ago.  I thought I’d share her blog here – Making New Year’s Resolutions?  Ask Yourself 6 Questions.    I found it quite helpful and right on.



I do have some other things planned and in the works for 2012 for both this blog and some other projects.  I’ve been taking this week lighter and will share all those with you next week.

Until then – thanks so much for reading this year.  I hope you’ve found my thoughts and tips helpful.  I’ve enjoyed writing them and hearing from you too.

Happy New Year!