Category: life advice

Tell Them

A few weeks ago, a close friend lost her father to cancer.

Familial relationships aren’t always easy. If we’re really, really fortunate, we luck into family that loves and supports us and ‘gets’ us in a way that others might not. We might even like our family members in addition to loving them out of genetic obligation!And even into the best relationships, a little rain must fall. Certainly, we’ve all had yelling matches about why can’t I wear that belly shirt to church! Stop stifling me! You can’t choose your family, but you can choose how you interact with them and how you express your love for them.

At the risk of going all existential on you, your parents aren’t going to be around forever. And neither are you. The world is rife with speeding trains and cancer-causing fumes and open manholes. Accidents happen. Don’t be the person who regrets a fractured, tenuous relationship, when a well-placed email or phone call could mend those bridges.Tell your family you love them.

Dear Mom,

I like you so hard. If we were co-workers instead of family members, I’d still want to hang out with you. It might take me a while to look past your cargo shorts and see your dry sense of humor, adventurous spirit and love for books – but once I got past those thematic earrings? We’d be sitting in the break room talking about Arrested Development every.blessed.lunchbreak.I am so, so lucky to share DNA with you. I want to be you when I grow up. Except for the Larson jawline. But you know how I feel about that. I love you.

Dear Dad,
I have so much respect for your love of nature and your commitment to family. I love that you’re so proud of us and all we’ve accomplished. I can’t thank you enough for teaching me the value of a dollar, showing me how to stack wood and change my oil and how to skin a squirrel – though I hope to never do the latter ever, ever again.
You’ve passed on a great last name, a love of travel and two crooked pinkies. I love you.

Dear Little Sister,

I have so much admiration for your determination to make it on your own. You take care of everyone around you, you give thoughtful gifts and you’ve got some of the best hair I’ve ever seen. You put up with all the dance recitals and plays that I forced you into and built fort after fort with me.I wish we lived in the same time zone, but it gives me comfort to know that you’re living life on your own terms someplace warm with someone you love. I love you.

You guys. Do it. Now! Gogogogo! Make that phone call/send that email/write that letter.

9 Fun Activities That Also Happen To Be Exercise

Looking for fun exercise ideas? The best exercise tip out there is "do something you actually enjoy.' Click through for 9 fun exercise suggestions! #exercise #movement #bodypositivity #haes
Confession: I don’t particularly enjoy trundling along on the stair climber at the Y or grunting my way through lunges while avoiding eye contact with frat boys.
However. I also don’t particularly enjoy grunting my way through zipping up my pants. You don’t either? Weird! Now that it’s summer I enjoy a good frolic much more than an aerobics class. There are heaps of things to do that are fun and – what luck! – a good work out.

Tree climbing

How long has it been since you’ve done this? Too long, I reckon. It’s a great upper body workout, oddly calming and fun and you can drop pine cones at passers-by-if you’re a jerk like me.


Of course. Of course! Current (terrible, embarrassing, irresistible) dance favorites of mine include: Break Your Heart, Your Love is My Drug, Sexy Chick. It’s so, so easy to create a playlist and engage in a one-person dance party for twenty minutes.
Bonus points if you try to incorporate The Roger Rabbit, The Cabbage Patch or, um, marching.If you’re feeling reeeeaaally kicky, why not try to learn the Thriller dance?

Hula Hooping

This probably falls under the heading of ‘old news,’ but hula hooping is great for your abs and butt and, I suspect, it generally makes you a sexier person. See? It’s cheap to get started and you can do it in your living room. Much to the amusement of your cat.


No, not roller blading, roller skating. I find old-fashioned, slightly clunky roller skates so undeniably cute I want to smother every skater I see in hugs. Roller skating is fun, easy and a great work out for your legs and butt. And again? Oddly sexy.

Playing Tag

No props required, no complicated rules, lots of great cardio. Yes!

Doin’ it

Apparently you can burn about 150 calories from a 30 minute roll in the hay. Significantly more fun that half on hour on the elliptical next to that sweaty guy who always sings along with his Ipod, eh?

Playing with kiddos

Picking them up, swinging them around, wrestling them into their jeans? All of that activity adds up. I also imagine that hunting for special blankies, wiping snotty noses and breaking up hair-pulling-matches burns a lot of calories, too.


I envy those of you in the southern hemisphere who can still find a hill to slide down. The sliding part isn’t much exercise, but trundling back up in all your boots and gear certainly is, isn’t it? Also? Yelling your head off as you careen down the hill probably burns calories, too.

Picking fruit

Climbing ladders, yoinking apples off branches, bending over in strawberry bushes – all a good work out. And isn’t it lovely to get outside, meet new people, and say hello to your food before you eat it?

What are you doing to stay active this summer? What are your favorite fun workouts?
photo by Leo Rivas-Micoud // cc

Why you need a ‘smile file’

Need some help cheering up? In a bad mood? You need a smile file! Click through to find out what that is and how to make your own!
Does the title of this post make you cringe a little bit? Are you quietly rolling your eyes? Because I certainly am.

I very nearly renamed this post something clever/witty/slightly snarky but then the rhyming overcame my sense of self awareness and well, here we are.

One of the benefits to being a teacher (I mean, besides all the dry erase markers and luxurious salary of $2) is that occasionally students make things for me. Drawings of other students picking their noses. Really misshapen pictures of horses that look like clouds. Notes thanking me for helping bring over their husbands.
And being a blogger and nearly professional internet surfer has its benefits as well – the occasional kind email from you guys, tear-jerking videos about Christian the Lion and awesome pictures of hedgehogs.
Yesterday, after my fifth failed attempt to teach the difference between “fifty” and ‘”fifteen,” I dug through my emails to find one of the above mentioned kind messages to get me through the rest of the day.
And it occurred to me that perhaps I needed to create a file of all these feel good things – the kind emails, the letters from students, my favorite writing clippings, the postcard from my grandma telling me how proud she is. Maybe this would change my mood faster than processed carbs and butter?
You can't necessarily keep happiness on tap, but you can certainly make it easier to access. Click To Tweet

What would go in your smile file – college acceptance letters? foreign currency? the invoice from your first freelance job? The ticket stub from your first date?

P.S. How to figure out what makes you happy so you can add more of it to your life!

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

How To Make Friends As An Adult

How do you make friends as an adult? It's a little awkward but you can totally do it! Click through for tips on how to make friends + how to maintain friendships

Making friends as an adult can be a tricky business, can’t it?

You see a cool girl in the bookshop, wearing a concert t-shirt from your favorite band and perusing the hiiii-larious new David Sedaris book. How do you talk to her without her thinking you’re trying to pick her up?

And how do you ask your super funny, single (male) co-worker to go rock climbing without prefacing the whole thing with “butivegotaboyfriendihopeyouknow!”

Here’s my oddly thorough guide to making friends as an adult

Consider What You Want In A Friend

I, personally, want friends that inspire me in some form. Maybe they do great things at their job as an inner city social worker (Hi, Tara!). Perhaps they’re impressively zen, balanced and non-judgmental (I’m looking at you, Kathryn and Meghan).

Or they might just make me laugh so hard I choke on my Diet Coke (Darcie/Tamara/Winona/Ashley/Emily/Steph). Regardless, they all bring something to the table that I gladly gobble up.

So have a good think about the things that are important to you and what you’d like more of in your life. Do you need someone who will kick your ass (metaphorically, of course) when you don’t follow up on that job lead?

Do you want a friend who will joyfully trade parenting war stories with you? Or a girl that will join you when you want to dance on top of the bar? All good friends to have!

Go do cool things 

I’m sure this will come as a huge surprise to you, but you won’t actually make new friends sitting at home by yourself, dressing your cat in vests. You have to go out and meet people!

It’s not unlike dating, guys. Put yourself in situations that are likely to present interesting, like-minded people. Volunteer. Go to the rock climbing wall. Take a community ed class. Join a church or temple if you’re religious.

Places I’ve met friends? A party hosted by my ex-boyfriend’s co-worker. Italy. A bachelorette party. An internet message board. The gene pool of my ex-boyfriend.

Take initiative with friendships

Okay, so now you’ve met someone awesome. Make it happen, dude. Find them on Facebook and friend them. Tell them you had a great time discussing obscure Russian artists with them. Invite them to something that you know would interest them. What’s the worst that could happen?

As a side note: when I meet someone I want to befriend, I have zero qualms about announcing to them “You’re awesome. We’re going to friends now, I hope you know.” You’d be amazed how effective this is!

Know that awesome people beget more awesome people

If you’ve got one awesome friend, chances are pretty good that she knows other awesome people. I picked up Laura at a Halloween party (we bonded over mini butterfingers and our shared desire to conquer the world) and recently met her fantastic friend Elizabeth at a Valentine-making party. Elizabeth and I are now knee-deep in plans for manicures and margaritas. Operation New Friendship accomplished!

Be a do-er

Having an active social life doesn’t just happen. We’re all busy folks with jobs and families and classes and that bacon isn’t going to eat itself!

We all fall off the social wagon from time and time and before you know it, you haven’t been to a party or gotten a non-telemarketer phone call in ages. It’s easy to get a bit paranoid, wonder what you’re missing and convince yourself that your friends aren’t that into you. Don’t.

Be the do-er. Get a group together to try that new Korean karaoke joint. Or to go to the races. Throw a miracle berry party. Sociability begets more sociability.

Make your Friendships A Priority

Not unlike long-term romantic relationships, we might take long-term friendships for granted. Make the effort to stay in touch if you’re not in the same city. Remember their birthday. Tell them how much you appreciate them. Cultivate the inside joke.

Hold Up Your End of The Friendship Deal

Pick them up at the airport at 3 am. Help them paint their apartment. Listen to them rail against that awful co-worker. Go with them to the Heidi Montag concert. Tell them when the skirt looks better with a different top. They’d do the same for you. And if they wouldn’t? Maybe they’re not your friend.

Don’t Be Afraid to Toss Out The Bad Eggs

Of course, there are going to be friendships that cease to work. People and circumstances change. Don’t be afraid to objectively evaluate your friendships and consider if they’re still working for you.

If you emerge from an interaction with a friend feeling drained, negative or insecure, you know that they’re no good for you. If it’s just one specific behavior that’s getting under your skin, try to (diplomatically, kindly) discuss it with your friend.

And if nothing seems to work? Stop calling. There’s a good chance that that person has been feeling the disconnect as well. If they’re still intent on hanging out, limit it to group interactions or the occasional coffee after which you have a (real or imagined) appointment that limits the interaction to an hour or so.

What’s your friend circle like? How do you meet new people?

P.S. Talking to new people and reaching out to them is a habit you can develop – like a muscle! This might help.

Photo by Juan Cruz Mountford on Unsplash