Love it!!

1000 Awesome Things

Today’s the greatest day you’ve ever lived.

Today’s the only day you’ve ever lived.

The past is gone, the future is far, nothing else matters, except where you are.

AWESOME!

Wow! The Book of (Even More) Awesome debuts at #1 in paperback! 

Live in Toronto? Join me on Wednesday!

Thank you to the talented Misty Harris for a great tribute to 1000 Awesome Things.

 

Photo from: here

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Plan. Create. Live. Smile.

I’m a pretty firm believer of making your life something you can enjoy. I want to live every day thinking, ‘what can I do to make this day a little more awesome?’ Usually I try to meet up or at least chat with a friend (in person, on phone, via chat on Gmail, Facebook, etc.) to gain my comfort in socializing, but I also like to try to find a new topic or activity to explore. One of the many reasons I enjoy working at the library is that there are always surprises to be found, whether it’s a new book to consider reading at a later date (because I’m such a slow reader anymore) or something a co-worker talks about or new projects that I get to take over (…. or continuing with the projects I still have to finish, haha). I love the different types of people that come in every day, the interactions I get to have with them (conversation topics range all over the place, I  never know what to expect), and the things I get to see. Since it’s essentially a non-profit community center, there’s always events and activities for people of all ages to partake in; a lot of them which I get to participate myself.

When I’m not at work, I always crave an adventure. Even if it’s just taking a walk in a different direction I never gone before… what’s down at that end of the street? Maybe it’s a store I never seen before or maybe it leads to a nice view? Do you know? No? Why not check it out, right? However, I can understand the busy life a lot of people have. My weekends typically invovle working from 9 am to midnight for two jobs, which means I don’t have a weekend. And for that, I spend a lot of my free time during the week catching up on errands, laundry, bills, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc etc etc. Despite all that, I still like to make time to have a moment of enjoyment because I think I deserve. Actually, I think we all deserve moments of happiness in the midst of our busy lives.

In order to get myself a little more motivated (as well as giving myself a reason to write stuff down with the horribly poor memory I have), I bought this awesome little gem of a planner at Barnes & Noble:

Motivation! Yeah!

It’s a planner (monthly and weekly), contact list, notepad and sketchpad with inspiring little quotes thrown in it at random. I would say this is one of the best random purchases I’ve made in a long time. When I have this out, it makes me want to actually do something worthwhile to write in it. (Also gives me a reason to write, period. I love to write, but I can’t get myself to sit and do it, haha!) For example, say I decide to meet up with a friend for lunch, why not try a new place we haven’t been to? If I decide I want to take a walk on a nice day, why not try finding a park, walking path, or just another neighborhood to browse through? There’s one area I love going to on a really nice day because it has such a pretty view of the city across the river:

Pretty City across the river 🙂

Either way, the planner has been a great motivational tool in the past few months. Every time I look at it, I constantly think ‘What can I do this week that would be as well as sound really awesome?’ Heck, just hanging out with a friend and doing a puzzle is more than enough to make me happy and find it worthwhile to remember. What do you guys do to motivate yourself to enjoy the little things in life?

Keep On Smiling

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and evaluating how people perceive happiness as well as what ways they go about achieving it. I firmly believe that you truly enjoy what you’re doing with life and can be satisfied with the decisions you choose to make, then your happiness is real and well-deserved. However, if you don’t like something and choose to make no actions to change it, then you deserve the unhappiness that comes with it. Everything in life comes through with some form of effort on your part, more if you are intending on making it relevant to yourself. If you find yourself in an unhappy situation, think about what you could do to change it. Certainly, there may be risks involved; nonetheless, if you think there would a brighter end, then by all means, go for it. The following things should be considered:

– Make sure that you are doing things because YOU want to do it, not because someone asked you to do it

– Don’t forget about the little things in life. Stop rushing for a few minutes and take a good look around you.

– Be the person you always wanted to be. You are who you are and you need to truly accept that.

– If you are dissatisfied with something, put in the effort to make that change. If you do, then it’s worth the satisfaction in the end.

– Be sure that the people you spend time with are the people who support and inspire you. The ones who appreciate you as much as you appreciate them. Every relationship should have an equal balance of love and support.

This website, 30 Things to Start Doing for Yourself, gives out really great advice. I only hope for everyone to find their own form of happiness.

Post Secret surprise

I found this while at work at the library. I stopped to flip through a Post Secret book (love them) and found this note inside. It will be okay, Kelly, you can make Reality as wonderful as your Dreams.

Looks like a must have item.

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Featuring 31 tiny stories and a wide range of illustrations, The Tiny Book Of Tiny Stories are little bits and pieces of funny and thought provoking liners by Zooey Deschanel’s perfect partner in my opinion, Joseph Gordon Levitt. And the cover design is just so adorable.

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Walk, Talk, and Chow

In my little city, there’s an event called the ‘Burgh Food Tour’, which is essentially a tourist type attraction that takes into a neighborhood of your choice and the guides discuss a bit about the history of the area, why the area is known for whatever it is known for, and, of course, the food deemed the best. It’s a roundabout two hours tour that involves walking, talking, and eating. Of the six that are currently offered, I’ve been to two of them, one last year and one this past weekend.

Obviously, since I’ve done it again, I clearly enjoy it. What’s actually kind of funny about it, aside from the random people from nowhere in the US, most people who participate in the tours are typically from somewhere within the city area (such as myself). Did I feel like a tourist? Not at all. Well, perhaps a little with my iPhone out to take pictures and the blatant obviousness of our group taking up all the space in the buildings we go in to listen to the shop owners talk, but really, it’s a social event.

That explained and rambled, the recent tour I took (with my mother and sister) was in a place considered as “Little Italy“. I think you can figure out why it was given such a name (I’m craving ravioli again). While the first food tour the previous year has a special place in my heart for popping my tourism cherry in this city, I can’t deny the fact that this one was pretty fun.

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There were five main stops (to eat stuff) and then a couple random places that we paused by to gawk awkwardly at the buildings, strain to hear the guide talk over the street traffic behind us, and wonder how many locals were hating on us for taking up sidewalk space. Strangely though, the “tour” kind of all took place within two city blocks, as the guide was trying to do this constant-crossing-the-streets-to-stare-at-this-church-then-run-back-to-point-out-an-empty-store’s-ceiling-and-retrace-our-steps-a-block-to-discuss-a-women’s-boutique sort of business, which would’ve been fine if he didn’t keep stopping in the middle of everything. He was a nice enough guy, he just seemed a little scattered.

Two of the stops were Italian grocery stores: Groceria Italiana and Donatelli’s. It’s not like we were searching for the lost art of Da Vinci or anything, with everyone’s names being something of the Italian/Sicilian nature. Food samples: Shells with marinara and biscotti, Pasta shells with homemade, as same with the biscottis.

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Have I mentioned I have a slight obsession with biscottis? Nothing compared to a well-made biscotti with a fresh cup of joe in the morning. When that happens, nothing can fail. Nothing.

I also greatly enjoy the fact that the shop owners/managers genuinely enjoy their craft. They liked explaining everything they do at their stores, how things are made, how their business came to be. The gentleman from Donatelli’s gave us the lowdown of all his pasta making machinery in the back station, which made me desire a ravioli maker for my kitchen. Could you imagine? Any filling you want, just stamp those pasta pockets out!! I was completely enthralled with the idea, disregarding the fact that one of those bad boys would probably burn a nice-sized hole in my change pocket.

Another stop: Grasso Roberto, to sample gelato. The interior of the store was small and cute, with many things on display to check out. The manager was pretty amicable although she stayed behind the counter and watched us do our tourist-y thing. There was a pretty standard list of flavors (I ended up getting Honey Vanilla), but it was smooth and creamy, so I can’t complain.

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Of course, no Italian food tour would be complete without the inclusion of pizza, no matter how Americanized the food has become. However, our pizza place (Angelo’s Pizza) that was selected was a little ghetto and the pizza was pretty unmemorable. Who knows, maybe pizza has become such a norm in the American way that we can’t really differentiate between good and bad pizza? Granted, I had my long range of various pizzas in my college days; you know, that one place that makes $1 slices for those crazy inebriated kids wandering around after dark, and then that other place down the alleyway that nobody really knows about but their pizza is crazy good.

The final stop of the tour was, at first, the inside of a gift shop, Merante Gifts, which was Italian-based home decorations and decors. However, the cool part was going upstairs through the doorway outside, right next to the store. We walked up some very steep steps and encountered the first room:

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Very pretty, the picture doesn’t do much justice, as the front room continued on back with the same style, along with various other pieces of art to look at. The upper floor extended back down the hallway to another room, and then finally the center of the show: Maria’s Kitchen!

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Her choice of food sampling: Chocolate cake with rich chocolate butter-cream, a side of whipped cream and strawberry, and a sample cup of espresso (We are in ‘Italy’, not Spain). Can you tell which stop was probably my favorite? Maria was very outgoing and friendly, and clearly seems to love what she does. She offers cooking class in this kitchen once a week, where the students learn different variation styles of cooking, types of food, travel to purchase ingredients and even take a trip to Italy! I am definitely considering checking this out if the cost of the class is within my price range (AKA cheap), but I imagined it’s only classy people that go. All in all, the tour was fun, my mother and sister had fun, I got to buy some artichoke and gorgonzola stuffed ravioli and biscotti mix (vanilla, almond, and wine & almond).

P.S. Did you notice the light fixture in Maria’s Kitchen?

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I smell a nice DIY project in the near future, if I find the right tools.

Thanks for reading and please share with me any tours you might have done in your own towns!

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