A spoonful of sugar…

Helps the medicine go down.

Bert

This weekend I decided to take a trip down memory lane and listen to  Julie Andrews belt out songs from The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins- two of my favorite childhood movies. Its funny how we can so easily forget the little hints to happiness that we learned as children. A spoonful of sugar DOES help the medicine go down. Listening to music while doing the dishes always makes the task more enjoyable. Writing my blog during my lunch break makes the more mundane tasks of my job more fun (though most of my job is fun, I’m lucky regarding that). The song I want to really focus on today is My Favorite Things. I’ve been a little anxious about my aging mother, and even just hearing this song made me feel more relaxed. I want to take a moment to create a list of my favorite things, so when the dog bites, or the bee stings, or I’m feeling sad I can simply remember this list and not feel so bad. 😉

  1. Puppy fur. This is the softest thing on earth. Not only that, but its attached to the most adorable thing on earth. A positively surefire way to melt your heart and relax the mind.

    Stanley
    This is my boo Stanley when he was just a pup. His ears are still super soft. He and his sister are the love of my life- other than MSM of course.
  2. Dog faces. So cute and unconditionally loving, a kiss from a four legged friend- another key to “yay”.
  3. Ballet– not watching it, but dancing it. I think its the combo of movement and the music that makes Ballet so Zen for me. Definitely on the top of the list.
  4. Pointe Shoes on my feet. These represent to me utter beauty, elegance, and grace. And the fact that I have finally gotten to put them on and dance in them, takes it to another level. They make me feel proud, excited, and give me a sense of accomplishment but also a sense of the ability to grow. A healthy future.
  5. The coast and the sound of the surf. No explanation necessary.beach
  6. Aqua blue and teal resplendent waters lapping over soft, clean, white sand.
  7. The feeling of bare feet on cool fresh green grass. This is hard to find in LA, but when I can find it….reunited, it feels so good…..
  8. Peonies, Ranunculus, Green Button Mums, and Chocolate Cosmos. These may sound like cocktails, but they are actually flowers. I adore flowers and hope to one day have a garden FULL of them. Until then, I can close my eyes and imagine.BloomFleur
  9. France. The gardens. The wine. The food. The people. The fashion. The hikes. I love it all. Just France.
  10. Learning a new language. I was learning ASL and desperately wish I could practice it with someone. So if anyone knows anyone that speaks it….let me know.
  11. Music Al Fresco. There’s something magical about the way sound travels outside. Its as if the music fills the air, stirs itself into the trees, permeates the ground, and homogenizes the world around us into one big ball of love and joy. It feels so liberating when I hear a symphony outside. The vibrations of the music literally sooth my soul and calm my nerves.

    ParisRooftops
    Some of the many things I love about France? Parisian rooftops, architecture, and of course the Eiffel Tower!
  12. Drive-In and/or Al Fresco movie theaters. Just so much fun.
  13. Riding in a convertible on a country road- or at least away from traffic. Wind in the hair and nothing but open road means freedom, exploration, and personal growth. Its the antithesis of stifling.
  14. Baking. There’s something so zen about the activity of baking. I love to really put my heart into it, and to add my own little touches to the recipes. Its so much fun and always delicious.

    bakeSHop
    Obviously I didn’t bake these, but a brownie topped with a marshmallow….gives me some ideas for my own concoctions….
  15. Birds chirping.
  16. The beautiful glow of Fireflies and the chatter of Crickets and frogs at night (as mimicked on the Pirates of the Carribean ride :)). This should have definitely been higher on the list.

    Fireflies-620x413
    These magical beetles are one of my favorite things in the world. They light up the earth and are the secret ingredient of summer magic. Photo: Fireflies.
  17. Miniature golf. To bring out our inner child.
  18. Discovering new places with MSM/Traveling on new adventures.

    SanFran
    The Farmers Market at the Embarcadero in San Francisco is where we discovered the best cream cheese and smoked locks I’ve ever had.
  19. Trying new food.
  20. A great glass of Wine or Bubbly.

    bubbles
    I love being a little tipsy in the afternoon. Its like having a secret ;).
  21. Grease. I love that movie.
  22. Guppy kisses.
  23. Real kisses.

    puppyfaces
    I also love getting kisses from my fur babies. Look at these faces!! (refer to #2 above).
  24. A hot bubble bath.
  25. A Mani/Pedi. What girl doesn’t love these?
  26. Relaxation massage during a spa day.
  27. Disneyland/Disney World. I can’t go here without being instantly energized and happy. Another surefire way to make this girl feel young and alive.

    Disneyland
    I loved getting lost in the The Alice In Wonderland Maze at Disneyland Paris. 
  28. Malted milk shakes.
  29. Pizza.
  30. Penguins (see above).
  31. Cheesy pop music like this:

What are some of YOUR favorite things? Leave a comment and let me know!

xoxo

QJ

QJ

Joy.

cassis
I just love to travel and experience new cultures and people. I also love to sail, another special hobby I shared with my father.  With the wind in my hair and adventure on the horizon, I feel so free. This photo was taken in Cassis, France. That trip was definitely Joy. 

I had the privilege of seeing the pre-screener of the movie Joy. It was pretty amazing. Yes the acting was great, and the cinematography intriguing and blah blah blah industry stuff. What I really want to talk about is the true story behind the film.

Since I’m not allowed to divulge too much information regarding the subject matter of this film (it hasn’t been released to the public yet), I will tell the story another way. Well, at least what I got out of that story anyways.

A Wise Professor:

9 years ago I had a college professor who was supposed to teach a class titled “computer applications.” Instead he started the first day of class explaining  “ya’ll can learn basic computer skills on your own, instead I will be teaching you secrets of a happy life.”

balloons
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.” -Helen Keller Photo:Town&Country

First and foremost my teacher re-iterated story upon story the significance of doing what you love; of  letting your passions drive you, not your greed. You know the cliche- “do what you love and you won’t work a day in your life”. I vaguely got the gist of most of what he shared with us. The other night though, when I saw Joy, something clicked and I finally get it. Its a bit esoteric because one could easily say “I love money” or “I love the idea of a rich life” and then will be driven just to make money however it takes. But thats not really living. According to my professor, first we must follow our passions, then the money will come.

If we take a peep at people who have had the courage to do and try what they love,  somehow the money to live the life they want HAS  always come. And more importantly, so has peace, stability, and security. Ghandi, John Lennon (I mean it didn’t end well, but his life was wonderful and fulfilling as he lived it), Sylvester Stalone (look up his story told by Tony Robbins. Its pretty incredible). These people weren’t in it for the money. They lived/are living the life they truly want(ed). I remember when my professor first said “if you do what you love the money will come” we all laughed “If you build it, they will come.” But I’m starting to see the validity in it.

sunset.jpg
Never loose faith in who you are, and never let go of your dreams. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” -Mahatma Gandhi. 

Later, towards the end of the semester, after hearing dozens upon dozens of anecdotes about his life  (he was one of the first to work as an Imagineer at Disney!), we collectively discovered that said professor had throat cancer and would not live past the semester. I will never forget this man. His zest for life, his fearlessness, and the fervor in his voice as he passed on his life lessons. He was an omniscient and sage man who gifted us students with secrets so few could know at our age. Our final assignment was “Live your life in Joy. Think about what this means, and then do it.” Sadly he did not make it to the last class, and this final appointment was never graded. Obviously he did this on purpose. For the rest of my life I will be working on my “A” in computer applications.

 

The Four Pillars of Security:

Money does not buy you happiness, BUT it DOES buy you security. So I asked a therapist friend how he advises clients to find balance regarding that- how to do what you love but still feel safe and secure. Hypnotherapist Dr. James Borrelli explained there are four investments that will lead to happiness. Here they are, in order of importance:

  1. Invest in your health. Without your health, you “can’t do anything”. So here is where your money and time should go first.
  2. Invest in your expertise. Grow and learn. Become the best at whatever it is you love to do. Here’s where your passion fits in. With expertise (and good health) you will always be able to take care of yourself (ie have enough skill to work and therefor have what you need financially to live a stable fulfilling life).
  3. Invest in a budget. Take the time to work one out. Its ok to push yourself to the limit, but with that being said, stay within your means. Life without debt is a happy one.
  4. Invest in finances. Learn how to protect and grow your money.

**Dr. Borrelli explained that 1 and 2 are INTERNAL. That by focusing and strengthening whats inside of us, we will never have to worry about external things abandoning us. And thus, we will have security. Makes sense.

Believe In Youself

The antagonist in the film makes choices based on her passion because she believes in it. It has nothing to do with wanting to become rich. Its about getting her ideas heard because she feels her ideas will, in their own small way, contribute to making the world a better place. If she succeeds and makes money, that is a bonus prize. First and foremost, she is focused on seeing her idea through successful fruition. She is driven by faith in herself and in her beliefs.

I’m wondering, what if we all followed our passions rather than our greed? What would happen? What are some things you feel passionately about that bring you joy?

friendship
I love my dogs and I love my friends. Love and friendship are both significant ingredients to a life full of Joy and laughter.

Throughout the years I have met some incredible people who seem touched with exuberance. When allowed the opportunity, I’ve asked them “what is the secret to your happiness.” I’m starting to notice a reoccurring theme in their answers. Olympic gymnast Nadia Comăneci summed it up best; “Never give up on your dreams. Be courageous and do your do diligence, then follow them to fruition. This is a happy life.”

(yes I met her and yes it was AMAZING because she was my childhood idol).

Blessings for Peace and Joy to you all  this holiday season – and for all the days thereafter!

 

xoxo

QJ

QJ