Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I'm worried about my cat... It's going to sound odd, but bear with me for just a few moments why I explain my cat's nature and then why I'm worried.

Lucky was found abandoned on a busy highway in the neighboring town. She was old enough to walk, but her eyes weren't open yet. A lady saw her stumbling around and thought she was a mouse at first, but realized she was a cat and rescued her. The lady fed her with an eye dropper and took care of her until she was about six weeks old. Since she was already separated from her mom, the lady didn't feel bad putting her up for adoption so early. Matt saw a newspaper article and adopted her right away. I say adopted, but really it was just going to pick her up as the lady said that she could go for free to any good home.

She has a lot of problems... I think it is because she was separated from her mother way too early. I think she doesn't really know how to be a cat. She is very anti-social and very aggressive. She does not like to be petted much at all... and only on her terms when she does want to be petted. She hates people and barely likes me, but she does like Matt. She normally sleeps on the chairs in the living room or on top of the chifferobe. Those are her favorite places.

This is where it's going to sound weird, but I'm worried because after nine years of her being anti-social and aggressive, she is acting (sort of) like a normal cat. She's a strictly indoor cat and has only ventured outside under supervision in the backyard a handful of times. On Saturday night she went outside with Matt, ran off, and was gone for 8 hours. Now she's sleeping in places she normally doesn't like in the bathtub, inside our clothes hamper, with us, on the back of the chairs directly behind us, on us while we're on the couch, inside my clean clothes basket (annoying), on top of our hanging clothes (she somehow gets up on the sides of the hangers in our closet and sits on top of the clothes)... She's also very needy and wants to be touching someone all the time which is very unlike her... She seems to be eating normally and I haven't seen her acting like she has a UTI. She used to have those a lot in our old house, so I know what to look for... Oh she's also shedding a lot more than normal...

Any ideas if something is wrong with her?

The consensus on my Facebook page is that she missed us while she was gone. I'm hoping that's all that it was, but she is acting incredibly weird for her and it's starting to bother me. The most reasonable answer I've gotten on Facebook is from my mom's friend who has been in the pet grooming business for probably 30 years. Here's her comment:
It was more [than] likely she was frightened and stressed out being outside with so many [unfamiliar] sounds and objects. The shedding is called blowing coat and is caused from being scared or stressed. Nothing to worry about.
I'm hoping that's the case. Oh the joys of being a pet owner!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Friend Makin' Monday: Ten Things That Make Me Happy

friend makin mondays

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: Please invite your blog readers to add their links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Ten Things That Make Me Happy

1. My furbaby, Rusty.

2. My niece, Hailey
...and her love of Rusty.
I bought her the "Rusty" purse in the bottom pic.

3. My parents...
They were and are great parents.

4. Television shows...
and meeting some of the stars from my favorite show Supernatural
(and getting hugs AND even a KISS from them)

Misha Collins and Jim Beaver

Kim Rhodes

Jensen Ackles

Jared Padalecki

Rick Worthy

5. Chicago-style stuffed pizza
Well, pizza in general, but this is my favorite for sure!

6. Flowers
These were for our anniversary...

7. My bestie, Pamela
I love her to death! :)

8. S'mores
I made this at my other best friend Megan's house.
Om nom nom!

9. Manicures and Pedicures
Done before Pam's wedding in April

10. Matthew
I guess I should probably include him, right?
I love him... forever and ever. :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

MyOatmeal Review

A little bit ago, I saw a review on Frickin' Fabulous at 40's blog for I was super excited with what I read. I was even more excited when she posted that she got her bag of oatmeal for free (kind of) because she agreed to do a review. You basically get a coupon for up to $12 for the bag of oatmeal and then you pay shipping which is around $6. I love trying products and writing reviews so I went and signed up for the same deal!

Over the last week I've been making some decisions to be more healthy. I've had some episodes which were really close to binges and it scared me that I was falling back into old habits so I decided to take control... Oatmeal is healthy and filling and one of my favorite things!

When you get to the MyOatmeal site, you can build your own blend of oatmeal. First you let them know how much you'd like: 1 lb, 2.25 lbs, or 4 lbs. Then you choose your kind of oats: quick rolled instant oats, 5 grain rolled oats and flax, steel cut whole oats, signature smash blend, or gluten free rolled oats. Then you can choose to add some flavoring! They have flavors like apple brown sugar, banana bread, butter pecan, cake batter, cookie dough, mint chip, old fashioned donut, peanut butter, red velvet, strawberry shortcake, sugar cookie, vanilla frosting, and white cake. After you make the impossible decision of what flavor you'd like, you pick what fruits you would like to add: apples, banana chips, light and dark raisins, coconut, ginger, currants, dates, prunes, figs, etc... You can also choose some premium fruits: blueberries, cherries, peaches, pears, or strawberries. If you added some flavor, they recommend that you pick a sweetener to add to your blend: brown cane sugar, white cane juice crystals, or sucralose (Splenda). Your last choice is whether you want to add some nuts, seeds, or anything else: cashews, walnuts, pecans, chia seeds, PB Lean, etc... Finally you get to name your creation.

I went through about fifteen combinations before I decided on one I deemed "Apple Cinnamon Roll". It had quick rolled instant oats, cinnamon roll flavoring, extra apples, dark and golden raisins, brown cane sugar, and walnuts. I placed my order, paid for the shipping and anxiously awaited the arrival of my oats.

It didn't take long! I placed my order on Saturday afternoon and it arrived Wednesday. I opened my package and was impressed with the bag the oatmeal came in. I checked it out and then anxiously waited until I got off work to have some oatmeal for dinner. I opened the bag and was amazed with the amount of fruits and nuts in the bag. I mean, if you check out the pic below you can see a huge chunk of apple right on top! It was super easy to make in the microwave with some water. Once it was finished, I couldn't wait to dig in!!! The bag said to let it cool off, but I ate my oatmeal hot and it was delicious that way!

If you're interested in trying some, you should check out their site and their Facebook page. You never know when they'll be running their review promo. Probably the coolest part of the site is that as you're building your oatmeal, it tallies up the calories and the price for you on the right side of the screen. Amazing stuff!

Thursday, July 25, 2013


I got a lot of responses regarding my Weight Watchers entry. I posted it in three different places and I'm actually surprised by the amount of responses I received. After reading them all and thinking about it, I think that I'm going to wait to join WW. I'm feeling good right now about my willpower. I really am. I think for now, I'm just going to stick with MyFitnessPal and the support of my friends and family. If that doesn't work after a couple of months, I'll try Weight Watchers.

I really need to figure out how to force myself to workout. I hate doing it. I'm not good at it. I would rather spend my time doing something fun. I know some people might say there's fun ways of working out, but I haven't thoroughly enjoyed any type of workout. When I walked, I enjoyed it somewhat, but not much. I was always glad to be finished. I did enjoy Zumba, but I'm not good at it. I'm one of the most awkward dancers ever born. I just need to do something. I workout best away from home after work. I think I could workout in the mornings, but I'm afraid the treadmill would wake Matt up. I should talk to him about that...

Does anyone want to volunteer to be my nag? Haha. I need someone to check out my food and exercise diary on MFP and give me motivation to keep going... I need to lose this weight. I need to... I feel like a broken record and I don't want to be a broken record anymore... I want to accomplish all of my goals and feel good about myself. I want more self-confidence and I think that getting healthy would do just that... If you're interested in motivating me, giving me feedback and helping me reach my goals, let me know. You can also follow me on MFP by clicking the link below the MFP logo... I haven't figured out how to turn a picture into a link on here yet... But yeah... I'm open to help however I can get it and it's better to try to get it free than to waste some more money on something I can maybe do on my own. I'm rambling. Haha.
Follow Me on MyFitnessPal
Your Thoughts:
--- What is your favorite form of exercise that can be done at home (no gym memberships currently)?
--- Do you know of any good ways to motivate yourself to workout?
--- Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Weight Watchers?

After thinking about the Weight Management Program at my hospital, I'm pretty much against it. I mean, it would be great to lose 60 pounds in three months, but while it's doctor supervised, it still doesn't sound like a good plan to me overall. My cousin and his wife did the same or a very similar program and lost a ton of weight, but within a year they both had gained back everything they lost but plus some. I also talked everything over with my mom and I've decided to try other options first... and if they fail, maybe I can try at the beginning of the year.

I go back and forth from wanting to try Weight Watchers and not wanting to try it. I've done WW online before and was successful, but I feel that was more because, at the time (about 5 years ago), I had more willpower than I have now. Back then I looked at doing the meetings in my town but found out through the grapevine that it was ran by older women (like 60s) and not worth it.

There is a Facebook group called "[My Town] Weight Watchers". I requested to join it. Through the Weight Watchers website, I figured out that the Meeting Leader of the weekly meeting I would have to attend is named Ingrid. Through the Facebook group, I found Ingrid and she's young! Like my age! That gives me hope that this might work. I hope they allow me to join the Facebook group without being a member of WW so I can decide if it would be a good fit for me or not!!!

I looked into the pricing. Here is the chart that I found:

I would like to figure out if there's a possible way for me to afford the Monthly Pass membership. I think that is what would be best for me at this time. The reason I think that is because I know that I need someone to hold me accountable. I need to go stand on a scale in front of someone once a week. If all else fails, I'll do the online one again, but I really want to try out.

Your Thoughts:
--- Have you ever tried Weight Watchers?
--- Do you recommend attending the meetings?
--- Did the online-only program work for you?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Weight Management Program

Last night I met up with the people from the Weight Management Program (WMP) at my local hospital. When I went for my yearly gynecological appointment this year, my doctor suggested I try out the WMP. I signed up for a free orientation which took place last night at the hospital... I thought I was just meeting up with a nutritionist, but that's not the case... Here's what I learned about the WMP.

The WMP is actually connected to Health Management Resources (HMR). This is an extremely low-calorie doctor supervised diet. By extremely low-calorie, I mean that you would only consume about 600-800 calories per day. You see the doctor once per week though while on this program. There are two options through the hospital and then two options for at-home. The one that I think would benefit me the most is the Decision-Free Diet. Here is some information on that:
  • Rapid weight loss
    • Average weight loss: 57 pounds in 14 weeks
    • Men: average 3-5 pounds per week
    • Women: average 2-4 pounds per week.
  • All HMR Meals
    • Minimum of 5 HMR meals per day (non-negotiable)
      • Minimum: 5 shakes OR
      • Minimum: 3 shakes + 2 entrees
    • No other grocery store food
  • Two quarts (eight glasses) of non-caloric fluid daily (no alcohol)
  • Two HMR vitamins per day
  • Ongoing medical supervision
If I could afford this program, I would jump on it immediately. I mean, it sounds super beneficial to people like me (prone to eating disorders, compulsive overeating) because it's physician supervised the entire time. But here's the money breakdown and why I'm probably not going to be able to do the program:

Phase 1 - Initial Medical Visit
  • Billed to Insurance*
    • Complete physical exam with NP
    • Lab testing
    • EKG
    • $686-883 dependent on needs
  • Patient Responsibility
    • Nutritional assessment
    • Health Risk Appraisal
    • Educational materials
    • $75 out of pocket one time expense
Weekly Classes
  • Billed to Insurance*
    • Medical visit with MD or NP
    • Periodic lab testing
    • $150-540 dependent on needs
  • Patient Responsibility
    • Monthly service fee ($25/week)
    • Billed $100 monthly
* any co-insurance, copays, denials, deductibles and balance due from insurance are patient responsibility

Meal Replacement Weekly Prescription
  • Patient Responsibility
    • 2 HMR boxes weekly
      • Choose from HMR500, 800, 70+, cereal, soup
    • $78 due weekly
Phase 2 - Weight Loss Maintenance classes
  • Patient Responsibility
    • Weekly health education class
    • Midweek phone call coaching with health educator
    • 15% discount for payment in full for one year ($135 value)
    • Payment every 3 months = $225
    • $900/year
Okay, so minimum payments for Phase 1 is almost $1500 for three months (12 weeks). If you haven't reached your goal weight, you do another round of Phase 1... If you have, you go on to Phase 2 which is a minimum of 18 months and an approximate amount of $1350. So the total MINIMUM amount for this is about $3000... And if your insurance doesn't cover all of those doctor visits or you have a copay that goes up a lot more... So, definitely out of my budget. *sigh* It'd be nice to almost meet my goal weight in three months though.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Friend Makin' Monday: Let's Talk About TV

friend makin mondays

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s questions on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Let’s Talk About TV
  1. Share your current “Must-See” TV shows.  I watch so many TV shows it's ridiculous. LOL Right now, I like to watch Dexter, Drop Dead Diva, Switched at Birth, The Fosters, Pretty Little Liars, and Twisted as soon as they air. Those are my must watch shows, I guess. :) 
  2. Do you prefer reality shows or sitcoms?  I prefer dramas. LOL I watch a lot of drama shows. The only reality show I watch is So You Think You Can Dance and I don't watch many sitcoms... I think that means like half an hour comedies... 
  3. Who is your favorite talk show host? Ellen DeGeneres for sure... I don't get to watch Ellen much anymore because of my work schedule, but I love her. She's definitely my favorite! 
  4. Which network(s) do you turn to for news?  I normally watch just my local news... If something big is happening I'll watch CNN or Fox News, but usually it's just my local news.
  5. Do you have Tivo or DVR?  If so, which programs do you have set to record? LOL This is a ridiculous question for me. I have a DVR and it's currently set to record about 85 different series. Not all of them are mine, but I'd guess about 80% of them are. TV is my vice. I love television!!! 
  6. Have you ever started watching a show simply because you heard so much about it on social media?  If so, which one did you watch? I started watching Pretty Little Liars and Army Wives because there was so much hooplah about the finales... same with Grey's Anatomy (but that was a long time ago)... 
  7. List any TV series that you own on DVD.  Dexter - seasons one to five, Breaking Bad - seasons one to four, The Office - seasons one to four or five, Oz - season one, Fringe - season one, Game of Thrones - season one, Sherlock - season one, Supernatural - seasons one to six... I'm thinking that's all of the series that I own... 
  8. Do you have a subscription to Netflix, Hulu, etc? Yes... I currently have a subscription to Netflix (only instant streaming)... I used to have subscriptions to Hulu and RedBox Instant, but I no longer have those... 
  9. If you could star in a TV show that already exists, which one would you choose? Probably Dexter (I love Michael C. Hall) or Vampire Diaries (Ian Somerhalder is pure gorgeousness). :)
  10. If you could bring back one TV show that is no longer on the air, which one would you choose? Oh wow... Chuck maybe... or Private Practice... Haha. No idea...
Your turn!!! Take the time to answer these questions on your own blog and join the link up!

Question: I'm going to start watching a show via Netflix while I walk on the treadmill, here is my current list of possible TV shows, which would you suggest???

24, Alias, Alphas, Angel, Being Human (U.K.), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Damages, Dawson's Creek, Desperate Housewives, Firefly, Freaks and Geeks, Friday Night Lights, Harper's Island, House of Cards, In Plain Sight, Jericho, Longmire, Lost Girl, Luther, Medium, One Tree Hill, Orange is the New Black, Quantum Leap, Rescue Me, Roswell, Saved by the Bell, Saving Grace, Sister Wives, Skins (U.K.), Terra Nova, The Dead Zone, The Gates, The L Word, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, The West Wing, The Wonder Years, The X-Files, Torchwood, Ugly Betty, United States of Tara, Warehouse 13

Friday, July 19, 2013

Remembering My First Love

I have been feeling very nostalgic for some reason... I have been thinking back to my late teen years and my life then. I have been thinking a great deal about my first real love. This doesn't mean that I don't love Matt because I do, but remembering my first love has been... wonderful to my spirit and my heart... as well as heartbreaking.

Let me start with a bit of a back story before I tell you about my first real love... I was always an awkward child and teen. I am still rather awkward as an adult. I think a lot of it has to due with my anxiety issues. I'm not 100% sure, but I would guess that is why. I never had any self-esteem and never felt like the boys my age liked me. I also was always super nervous when it came to talking to or spending time with anyone to whom I was attracted. When I was about 12, I took my first computer course. I loved it. I thrived in the anonymity of the internet. I made a relationship with one of my best friends throughout the remainder of my school years via a Yahoo! Personals ad before they were used for dating. I could be myself and not be afraid of what other people would think of me. That is when I became a computer nerd for life...

I had a ton of internet "boyfriends" throughout middle school and my first year of high school. I didn't think I was attractive enough for boys from my school to like me. When I was a freshman, I dropped 60+ pounds and started getting some attention from boys at my school. My first huge crush was on this guy named Heath my freshman year. He was a senior and a bad boy and I was totally attracted to him. We would chat online and I was one way, and he really liked me, but when I saw him in person, I was a totally different person. Because of this, he told me I was too young for him to date and he apologized. It broke my heart when I found out he was dating a girl who was actually younger than me. I didn't comprehend at the time that he meant I didn't have dating maturity... it had nothing to do with my age. 

My first boyfriend was named Nick when I was 15. He was a guy I had a huge crush on in middle school. He asked me out on a date at the beginning of my sophomore year. My parents made his friend and my younger sister go with us as chaperones. We had a great time and ended up dating for ten months. I didn't know it at the time, but he was very mentally abusive and controlling. My best friend was a girl named Patty and we were very close. We would hold hands and kiss each other on the cheek. It was totally and completely innocent, but Nick accused us of being lesbians and so I stopped spending as much time with her... My favorite pants were this pair of dark blue athletic pants with a white stripe down the leg. I wore them to school one day with a snug white top and he told me I couldn't wear the top anymore because he could see my bra through it. My parents warned me about him, but I thought I was in love. I gave him my virginity. Something that I semi-regret, but I can't change the past. I thought he was my first love, but looking back it was more like lust, infatuation, and a desire to be loved. I don't believe I ever truly loved him...

Before I tell you about my first REAL love, let me say that, to me, age has always been just a number. Because of my childhood, I have always been more mature than others my age... on some subjects. I realize that my emotional relationship was probably wrong on some level, but that doesn't mean it was any less real. Even ten years later, I still love Ryan. I will always love Ryan and I owe him the greatest gratitude that anyone could ever owe another person. I met Ryan via a Yahoo! Chat Room when I was 18... He was 34. Yes, 16 years older than me. At first, we were just really good internet friends. We had so much in common. We would chat about everything from music to poetry to novels to our goals in life. After a while we started talking on the phone. I see those movies where girls are targeted by pedophiles that only want sex, but that is not how it was with Ryan. I know this 100% for certain and I will get there in a bit, but I just wanted to get that out there. He never lied to me about anything. He was always up-front with me about everything. He was always 16 years older than me. He was always divorced. He always wanted children. He always had twin sisters who were quite a bit younger than him (like 20 years younger). We would talk for hours on the phone and there would never be a dull moment. I talked to him every day and told him everything there was to know about me and my life. When I told him that I was falling in love with him, he told me he had already fallen for me. My heart would race any time we talked and I looked forward to it every day. I couldn't wait to tell him everything. I truly loved him with all of my heart...

He lived about two hours north of me at that time working as a recruiter for some computer firm in Eureka. He said he wanted to meet me and I was definitely hesitant. I didn't know how things would turn out once we met in real life, but I decided that I needed to figure it out. He made a reservation at a hotel in my town and drove down for an overnight trip. He text me when he got to town with his room number and I made some excuse to my parents about where I was going. On the drive across town to the hotel where he was staying, I returned to the awkward girl who didn't know what to say. When I arrived, he greeted me equally as awkwardly. We went in his room and... nothing. We didn't really talk. We didn't touch. We didn't hold hands. Nothing happened. We watched TV and that is it. When I decided to leave a few hours later, I could tell that he was crushed that I was leaving, but he finally broke the barrier and gave me a big hug. Had he hugged me like that when I came in, my future could have been very different...

Looking back after ten years, I realize that I was being very selfish. He wasn't completely 100% attractive like the boys my age were, but he was attractive in his own way. He always treated me like I was this perfect girl... We could have been happy... He was devastated when I told him that the age difference had gotten to me... which is only slightly true. I was naive in thinking that we could remain friends after I told him I didn't want to be with him anymore. He stopped speaking to me and my heart broke. He told me not to call. He stopped chatting with me. He wouldn't respond to my emails or texts. I was miserable without talking to him...

We had a mutual friend named Phil. Phil was also an online friend to me, but he was like a brother to Ryan. I told Phil all of this... about how I was devastated that Ryan wouldn't talk to me... that more than anything else, I wanted to be his friend... that I still loved him, but I just couldn't be with him. Phil told me that Ryan had put me on this pedestal. Ryan felt like I was his soul mate and there was no getting over that. No other girl or woman compared to me... or ever would. Phil told me I had to honor Ryan's decision of not talking to him. [Granted all of this is coming from Phil so I'm not sure if it's 100% accurate.] It was the worst time in my life at that point... I wrote a poem right after everything happened... It describes exactly how I felt at that moment in time.

Tough times
Bad thoughts
Worse memories
Rough days
Broken dreams
Shattered hearts
Cruddy moments
Damaging words
Harmful actions
Unwanted advice
Delirious people
Slanderous evidence
Dark mood
Shady personality
Obscure ideas
Undesired attention
Useless feelings
Offensive offers
Murderous looks
Unacceptable life

Since this poem, I haven't written another. I don't know why, but I just haven't. Thinking of my relationship with Ryan, I realize that he taught me so much about myself. He taught me that I could be loved for me. I didn't need to change. I was perfect in my own way and I could be fully and completely loved. I could be someone's soul mate. I could be me... I love him for that... Moreso than I ever have, I love him for giving me that gift. I still miss his friendship... He added me on Facebook a few years back, but he still couldn't handle talking to me and deleted me after about a month. I would give anything to have his friendship again... I would love to be able to tell him all of this myself, but I can't find him anywhere online. Last night I think I found Phil on Facebook so I sent a message asking if it was the Phil I knew... if so, I'll see if he's spoken to Ryan lately and maybe he can pass on the message... 

I want to reiterate what I said in the beginning of this very long entry... Because I still love Ryan doesn't mean that I don't want to be with Matt... or that I don't love him, because I do. There is a big difference between loving someone and being in love with someone. I am not in love with Ryan, but I will forever love him...

EDIT: I feel like I should point out that I may not have ALL of the details 100% correct. I mean, it was 10 years ago and a lot has happened in 10 years, but I feel like all of the important parts are correct.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'm alive...

I've really been MIA lately. I don't like it. I'm a writer and I love getting my emotions and the day-to-day of my life out... *sigh* Life just has other plans...

I normally write from work (which is where I am now), but my work computer crapped out on me on a week ago. I was moving right along with my daily tasks and it just shut down... then I smelled an electrical burning smell. I immediately text our IT guy Mike and told him what had happened. He called and said he assumed it would be my power source had fried, but there was a possibility that it was something worse and he'd come in and check it out. When he got here, it wasn't just the power source. My motherboard had fried. Ugh... We played musical computer towers and by Thursday I was finally set up with a "new" tower. My tower is probably less than a year old and used to be at out counter, but I need a computer. I cannot do my work without one... It took me until Friday evening to get all of my programs installed, my email hooked back up, and all of that. I'm so happy that I have a working computer and it's way nicer than the one I had before. SCORE!

My dieting and weight loss front is horrible... horrible. I need willpower. That is my biggest problem. I've been weaning myself off of my Prozac since July 1st and I've had some side effects of that. The main ones being insomnia, lack of appetite (which has gone away), and stomach issues (diarrhea and constipation both). I feel like everything is finally leveling back out which is amazing, but now I've just gotta get in control of my eating situation. I was supposed to have a meeting with my hospitals Weight Management Program yesterday, but it got rescheduled for next Monday... thankfully. I didn't really want to go anyway because I have a sunburn and I'm a wimp. I wanted to go home and relax which is what I did. I can't wait to go to the meeting this coming Monday though. I'm excited to learn what they have to say. That reminds me that I need to make sure I have paper and an ink pen with me so I can take notes...

One of my best friends is unexpectedly pregnant. I'm not going to say who because I don't want to spoil the news for those she hasn't told herself. She wasn't trying, but wasn't trying not to and yeah... I'm so excited for her. She's happy about it and I'm super excited about it. Haha. :)

Okay. I have to go. I'm busy at work, but I hope to not disappear again.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happify: The Science of Happy

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from an online company called Happify. They were asking if I would be interested in joining their site as a Happify Pioneer. I agreed and signed up for an account right away. Currently you have to be invited by a current Pioneer or be emailed by the site personally in order to sign up. Being as I am a valued member of the Happify community, I received five invites that I am open to sharing with anyone who thinks they could benefit from this website... Before you decide, I am going to do a short review of what I've found on the site so far.

A description from the Happify site:
Can we really train ourselves to become happier? Science says yes. Sonja Lyubomirsky, professor of psychology at the University of CA-Riverside, is among several researchers who've determined the role genetics plays in one's well-being. Although each of us has a certain genetic set point in the way we do for weight, genetics only determines 50% of our happiness levels. We determine most of the remainder by choosing our behaviors, actions, and thoughts. 

When we have new experiences or look at something in a different way, neurons carve out new pathways in our brain to process that fresh information. By practicing certain techniques, we can create stronger neural connections in the regions of our brain associated with attention, motivation and empathy. And we're just beginning to identify what behavioral and mental techniques work best to increase our well-being. 

Recent research into the kind of “interventions” (i.e. “exercises”) designed to promote positive emotional qualities, such as kindness and mindfulness, suggests that such qualities may be the product of skills we can learn through training—in the same way that practice improves our musical or athletic abilities.
When you first sign up for the site, you're asked to take a short survey to determine your happiness. When I first took the survey, I was somewhere in the lower to middle 50s. I don't remember the exact number. Then you're asked to pick a track. These can be anything from Cope Better with Stress (my current track) or Set and Achieve Important Goals or Build Self-Confidence or Find More "Me" Time... Whatever track you think would make you happier.

In my track (Cope Better with Stress), I have been given a few small activities to complete within a few days. For example, one activity is to find six hidden objects in an image while you explore and enjoy the view of the photograph. Another one was describing why I think I am a good friend. Or describing three things that make me happy. Or giving a potential friend a small gift (i.e. buying the coffee for the person behind you in the coffee shop)... Etc... After one week worth of my track, I was asked to take the happiness survey again... This time I scored  70. My score has definitely gone up and the tasks that I've done have been fun and have lifted my spirits.

Today when I logged in, I discovered that I had been upgraded to a free Happify Plus lifetime membership and have been made a Pioneer Plus. This also was a little unexpected good news to better my happiness. I cannot say with absolute certainty that this site works. What I can say is that it has made a positive impact in my happiness in the short time that I've been using it.

If you think you could benefit from this site, please let me know. I will be honored to invite five people to the site upon my discretion.