How I’ll Find Happiness in 2011: Expressing Gratitude in January

Well, that month flew by! As we’re on the last day of January, it’s time for a recap of my first month exploring The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky as a part of my journey on finding happiness in 2011:

(picture from

The month of January was dedicated to the act of expressing gratitude: counting your blessing for what you have or conveying your gratitude and appreciation to one or more individuals whom you’ve never properly thanked. Let’s review how I did just that:

1) As suggested by the book, I did my best to journal the things I was grateful for each day. The book does suggest finding something that works for you but to not over-practice it:

For example, if you count your blessings every single day – in the exact same way, in a non-varying routine  – you may become bored with the routine and may cease to extract much meaning from it.

Unfortunately, this fell a bit by the wayside as journaling usually does for me. Funny how I can write a blog consistently but picking up a pen can be torture some days! This exercise did give me a chance to reflect on the happier parts of each day, which was a nice way to stay positive in preparing for the next day.

2) I showed my gratitude to my blog readers by holding some fun giveaways. As another strategy, the book suggested introducing a visitor to the things, people and places that you love.  During the month, I shared my love for some products and companies that I’ve recently enjoyed, including:

Congrats again to Heather, Karen and Jimi, and thank you all for entering! It was a fun way to show you all just how thankful I am to have you read my silly blog on a regular basis!

3)  I made granola. I FINALLY got around to making my Joints in Motion granola this weekend! Those who kindly donated $20 to my half-marathon fundraising goal between December 7th and 24th will receive this personal thank you gift from me. The packages go in the mail today – better late than never!

4) I expressed gratitude directly to another. One last suggestion from the book was to express your appreciation in concrete terms by writing a loved one a letter detailing what that person did for me and exactly how it affected my life. This was my last task for the month and I chose to select a few individuals that have really helped me recently. It may have been expressed via snail mail with a thank you card, a Facebook message or by a much needed face to face chat. Some of them knew already how much they meant to me. Others, not so  much. In the end, it meant a lot to me to show them that they are doing good in their every day lives.

LONG STORY SHORT: In expressing gratitude over the past month, my eyes have been opened to the little things that I over look on a daily basis:

  • I might complain about my commute on I-480 during the work week, when I should be thankful for having a job in the first place, let alone a career that I enjoy.
  • When feeling lazy and tired, I struggle to get moving, when I should be grateful for the benefits that regular exercise gives me.
  • I stress about fitting everything into a hectic schedule, when I rather thank my lucky stars to have the relationships in my life that keep me so busy.

What does the month of February have in store? It’s time to cultivate optimism. From the book, this can be done by keeping a journal in which you imagine and write about the best future for yourself or practicing to look at the bright side of every situation.

I’m not giving up on journaling just quite yet! I’m really looking forward to exploring the strategies in the book and sharing them with you over the course of the next month. So stay tuned: it seems like there’s even more to look forward to in PIP land!

event recap: Red & White on Thursday Night

Last night at the John S. Knight Center in Akron, over 700 guests braved the cold to support the Arthritis Foundation, Northeastern Ohio Chapter at its 14th annual Red & White on Thursday Night, presented by Akron General:

From their website: Red & White on Thursday Night is a strolling wine and food event featuring raffles, silent and live auctions, a chance to win a trip to Napa Valley, and much more.  The event benefits the Arthritis Foundation, Northeastern Ohio Chapter.

Red & White is the first in a series of three food & wine events the Arthritis Foundation holds throughout the year. With 24 local restaurants represented, there was plenty of tasty food…

…including stuff I couldn’t eat, but made my intern try instead…

…plus plenty of food for this crazy gluten-free girl to dive into!

I was apparently too busy eating Saffron Patch’s chicken tikka masala and VegiTerranean’s chickpeas to take a picture!

Here’s a listing of the restaurants that participated:

  • Amato’s Restaurant
  • Banquets & Catering at the University of Akron
  • Bistro on Main
  • Bricco
  • Cabot Cheese
  • Cilantro Thai & Sushi Restaurant
  • Crave
  • Eclectic Edibles
  • The Galaxy Restaurant & Wine Bar
  • Hook Line & Drinkers
  • Hudson’s Restaurant
  • The Lockview
  • Moe’s Restaurant
  • The Olde Harbor Inn
  • Piatto NoVo
  • Saffron Patch
  • Stancato’s
  • Tavern of Richfield
  • Totally Cooked
  • Vaccaro’s Trattoria
  • VegiTerranean
  • The West Side Bakery

And what’s a food and wine event without the vino?!

If you couldn’t find a wine you enjoyed in this room, you weren’t going to enjoy anything! The variety was quite impressive and I congratulate the planning committee for bringing together some fabulous wine distributors, including:

  • Bowling Green Beverage, Inc.
  • Heidelberg Distributing
  • Esber Beverage Company
  • Superior Beverage Group
  • Europa Import / Export Ltd.
  • Traderman Distributing
  • Glazer’s of Ohio Distributors
  • Wine Trends
  • Gregory Graham Winery

In addition to the array of food and wine, the event featured some neat auction items – including a ride on the Goodyear Blimp! – fun VIP features and beautiful floral arrangements courtesy of The Greenhouse in Hudson.

With a busy crowd, lots of food, even more wine, plenty of interesting auction packages and VIP perks, Red & White on Thursday night was a great kickoff to the local chapter’s roster of events. If this is any indication, 2011 is going to be a fabulous year!

What’s your favorite annually held local event to attend?

Full disclosure: As an employee of the Foundation, I had access to the event as I worked my assigned shifts for the evening. The thoughts and opinions in this recap are my own.

The mission of the Arthritis Foundation is to improve lives through leadership in the prevention, control and cure of arthritis and related diseases. The Northeastern Ohio Chapter serves 22 counties in our region. For more information, please visit the NEO website today.

Expressing Gratitude: RB design Custom Scrabble Bracelet Winner

It’s time to announce our RB design winner!

Who won the custom made Scrabble tile bracelet?


CONGRATS @clevelandpoet from From the cheap seats! Please email me at poiseinparma (at) gmail (dot) com to redeem your prize!

As for me: here’s the word I selected:


My entire mantra for 2011 wouldn’t fit, so I picked “thrive”, as its definition – to make steady progress – is my secret to success in many of my endeavors. I love having it on me as a constant reminder of what I’m striving for this year.

Speaking of: on Monday, I’ll give a recap how my first month of “How I’ll Find Happiness in 2011” went. SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO!

Thanks again RB design for making this giveaway possible! Make sure to check out Reagan’s fabulous pieces at her Etsy shop and “like” her on Facebook!

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