THEORY OF HAPPINESS

When I get asked questions like “what are your goals for this year” or “what are you hoping to achieve this year“, my answer always leads back to that one word I LOVE referring back to; my favourite word to use and describe all things in life, my answer to everything positive and good: H A P P I N E S S !

My goal is to be HAPPY; everything positive and inspirational in my life I attribute to that one powerful word: Happiness. I want to achieve Happiness; because all good things fall under that category.

H A P P I N E S S ! My goal is to be HAPPY; everything positive and inspirational in my life I attribute to that one powerful word: Happiness. I want to achieve Happiness; because all good things fall under that category.

“Happiness to me is something more than just a feeling; it’s a state of mind”

If you’ve been reading my posts and following my social media sites, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I try to thrive on this concept of Happiness. I feel that over the last few years there have been so many ups and downs; truly high highs and very low lows, and this word has been the one concept I’ve been able to grasp onto for that motivation to stay true to myself; what I want in life; and what I will work towards to build that positive and determined future for myself.

Happiness to me is something more than just a feeling; it’s a state of mind – a state I like to believe I’m in, and I’m working towards fully converting myself into. Happiness encompasses all things in life; the moments, the feelings, the situation, actions and reactions. Happiness is just one word which opens up an entire world of positive aspects. Happiness is defined as all things good, positive, healthy, inspirational, etc.

PUTTING IT ALL INTO PERSPECTIVE

Imagine an organizational chart; the hierarchy of a business. The EVP sitting on top, the next level down, the SVP, and the next level down, the VP’s. Now take this visualization and place HAPPINESS into the EVP position. This is how my mind builds this THEORY OF HAPPINESS for me. The SVP and VP positions can now be whatever you want them to be – anything that makes you happy, put a smile on your face, keeps you motivated, and builds + maintains that positive momentum.

If you’re interested in in creating a THEORY OF HAPPINESS Organizational Chart of your own and need some more guidance; let me know to help you to get you started. Feel free to make it your own; add blocks, colour, or anything else you feel will help you build this concept and make it successful for you. By all means, maybe your “SVP” isn’t happiness but something else; maybe it’s SUCCESS or MOTIVATION; it can be anything you want it to be. But, make sure it’s something you can build on. The main idea of this is to grow on a personal level + progress towards the kind of person you want to be, the life you want to live, and the direction you want to move towards.

Finally, I’d LOVE to see your Organizational Charts! I find so much inspiration and motivation from others; it’s a great way to build up your own goals + concepts. If you’re comfortable with it, send me your charts – I’d love to connect and share inspiration!

XX

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HELLO 2019

Time flies – I can’t believe it’s already 2019. I honestly feel like it was just Christmas 2017 and we were on our Louisiana/Tennessee adventure. I can still smell the pulled pork at Jack’s Bar-B-Que in Nashville! YUM!

Now is the time to look back on this last year; smile at all of the memories, grow in the changes, and evolve from our weaknesses.

To sum it up, 2018 was an absolutely crazy year for us; so many things happened and so many big things changed. I remember, sitting in a hotel in Nashville when I decided that it was going to be the year of “The Prettier Life”. I was going to make things happen, move ahead on a few ongoing projects, and rebuild and strengthen my happiness. That was the overall goal for myself.  I think I has been pretty effective with my goal and I’ve accomplished many of the things that were on my list. We definitely got our fair share of travelling in, and we made a huge life change by moving to a new city and literally starting a new life.

2018 at a Glance

Travel : We added a few new destinations to our map, but also got to visit a few favourites again! Birmingham, Alabama; New Orleans, Louisiana; Nashville, Tennessee; Cancun, Mexico; Scottsdale, Arizona; London, UK  – 3X; Wroclaw, Poland – 2X; Paslek, Poland – 2X; Sopot, Poland – 2X; Gdansk, Poland – 2X; Warsaw, Poland ; Lisbon, Portugal; Montreal, Quebec.

Lifestyle: First we bought some land, and then we bought a house project… but THEN we moved to a different City altogether. Unfortunately, all of that time spent on searching for the best land and then the house project will now be no good to us, as we have no plans on moving back to London to live in this house. On the other hand, Ottawa has been an absolute blast and we have completely fallen in love with this City. I can comfortably and proudly say that Ottawa is my home and I am beyond happy that we live here.

This move to Ottawa has also brought on a new mindset for me; a clear and fresh vision for a brighter future. During the first few months here, we were able to literally have a mini vacation from life; I was just starting to look for a new job, and my husband was going through training in his new role. This gave us the opportunity to really spend more real time together; cooking, exploring, and truly just living life to the fullest. I don’t remember a time before this where we actually had nothing going on and had that time for one another. It was actually the most perfect 5 months of my life. All of this, anticipating the fact that this would most likely be the one and only time we would have like this, so we of course used it to the fullest. Now we are both working non-stop full time, and it’s back to that “regular-programing” schedule. Which we are fine with; it’s what keeps us motivated and growing.

Overall, the year has been one like no other – we enjoyed every minute of it, and I feel so thankful for each and every day and moment. Everything that happened this year, both good, bad, scary, exciting, has all taught me something – which I am grateful for.

We already have a few exciting plans for 2019; a few projects, trips, and general plans – I can’t wait to see what this new year brings!

I wish you all a wonderful new year; a fresh start and outlook. May you all come one step closer to achieving your dearest and most magical dreams!

XOXO

THE POWER OF PRODUCTIVITY

#theSUNDAYcollective

I truly love Sundays basically because they give me the time I need to think; to reflect on the week; and to look forward on what is to come for the next week {or even weeks ahead}. Being able to have that personal time; one on one with yourself; allows you to reflect on your actions in a deeper way, than you would in that given moment.

By actions I mean, for example, if you were in a stressful situation – why was it so stressful to you? Maybe it didn’t have to be that stressful? Did you bring on more stress than necessary? Was it your fault that the situation occurred? What could you have done differently? What WILL you do differently next time to avoid the stress?

It’s important to bring attention to our habits; good or bad, and try to work them out in order to create the best possible YOU! Without even noticing, we may be doing something that brings more negativity than positivity; but it could be something we could easily change. BAM! There’s one thing you overturned already to create the next week better.

In my eyes; this is one of the definitions of PRODUCTIVITY. For me, productivity goes hand in hand with REFLECTING. The first step in being a more productive person means being able to reflect and build on events; ideas; thoughts; and impacts!

Productivity can be defined as many different things for many different people, so the first step is figuring out what exactly it will mean/ or means, to you.

Some say that being productive definitively means turning the motor on and pushing ahead with that go-go-go mentality of “got to keep going”. If that’s what keeps YOU motivated, healthy + happy, then by all means go for it!

For others, such as myself, productivity starts with being of a sound body + mind; mental and physical well being are such a high priority for me. In order to be productive I have to take time for myself, this happens in the form of writing, reading, watching a favorite movie or show, and/or going for a walk in the fresh air.

Each of these things bring me back to my core; mind + body + soul.

One of my favorite reflection writing techniques involves the Moorea Seal #52Lists journals. Each of these journals focus on a different aspect of life – projects, togetherness, and happiness. One question from each journal for the week and you’re off to a great start in your reflecting! {more on these journals in a later post – because I really think they deserve a post of their own}.

Every single day we are surrounded by a world of differences; ideas; characteristics… all GREAT things but also things that impact ourselves; our behaviors; and our thoughts. All things which {sometimes may} push us further away from ourselves; our actual TRUE SELVES!

In taking time to reflect on the past week; month; year – we are giving ourselves the opportunity to dig deeper into our own minds and figure out who and what we truly are trying to become. At this time, steering away from the negative impacts which we may have

These actions in turn will make us more productive and efficient in the next days; weeks; months; years!!

THANKFUL + BLESSED

Hello LONG WEEKEND!

It’s that time again; we’ve made it to another long weekend here in Canada and this time, it’s my FAVOURITE one! THANKSGIVING! Not only is it Autumn (my favourite season) but also the holiday where turkey and sweet potatoes overtake our dinner plates! YUM!

Looking past our plates and weather; Thanksgiving is all about being thankful and grateful for what we have; truly. Although, we should be thankful and grateful for all we have all of the time; this special weekend gives us the opportunity to really dig deep into the topic.

On most days, I trust we can all make long lists of things and reasons why we feel blessed, but I’m sure when you’re put on the spot there are only a few larger category items which come to mind.

Aha; I got you – now you’re thinking of all of the things you are thankful and grateful for to prove me wrong? Either way, here is a list of questions you can ask yourself to dig deeper into your soul to reflect on bringing more GRATITUDE into your thoughts:

  • What relationships am I thankful for?
  • What insights have gained that I am grateful for?
  • How can I be thankful for the challenges I have been faced with?
  • Who/what makes me smile and happy?
  • What’s improved in your life from this time last year?
  • What’s the most beautiful thing I’ve seen today?
  • What’s something enjoyable you get to experience every day that you’ve come to take for granted?
  • What’s something you witnessed recently that reminded you that people are good?
  • How has technology enhanced your life and your connections recently?
  • What’s one kind or thoughtful thing that someone did for you recently?

DESIGNER DIARY SERIES: ALEXANDER MCQUEEN OVERSIZED SNEAKERS

It’s been a while since I’ve written a “Designer Diary Series” post. It’s been quite the busy month and I haven’t really had a moment to sit down and really pour some thought into a post, so I thought it was a good time to post this one; that a wrote a while back. It’s all fully relevant, as it’s a continuation of my designer purchase journey!

*****

It all started like any other designer item. I see a specific piece, fall in love with it, do extensive research on it, and then make my purchase. Although this one started off like any other, it developed into something much bigger.

I first laid eyes on the Alexander McQueen Oversized Sneakers, like many other things, on Instagram. I follow many different accounts of individuals all over the country, as I like to gather my style inspiration from the global perspective – I find this to be most impactful and influential. I believe they caught my eye at first, simply because they looked much different than your average white sneaker – and I was on a mission to find the perfect white sneaker, without falling in line with everyone else. What can I say, I don’t like to follow trends, I like to fall in love with trends which I can relate to and wear over and over again.

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After doing my research on these shoes on social media; I wanted to get a true and natural view of what they looked like in real life first, not just on the brands website, I ventured off to the brand itself. This is where I was able to get a better look into the make, design, quality, and of course, the brand’s story behind them. Obviously, I fell more and more in love with them with every page I opened and browsed. Next, the time came to actually go into a store and physically try them on and analyze them – clearly the most important step. I usually like to save this one for last, because I think I’m scared I’ll try it on first and convince myself I need the item, when in fact, background research will prove that I in fact don’t, and it’s not that great or worth it.

Anyways, I walked in to the store, asked for a 38.5 and 39 of the lace up white with light blue suede model. Both pairs were brought out, I started with the 38.5, and as soon as I had slipped on the first shoe, I knew we were meant to be. I followed with the second, and walked over to the mirror – SOLD, I NEED THEM. I WILL NEVER TAKE THEM OFF. I was stunned at how comfortable and cute they were, clearly all the research was worth it and I had not wasted my time! I put them back in the box, thanked the sales associate, and walked out of the store with a smile. JACKPOT. Now, it was time to find them for the best price possible – it just feels better when you can buy an item with some sort of sale or discount. I searched far and wide, and made up my mind that I would purchase them in England, where I would save 20% on VAT on my departure. This trip was planned for  May 2018, it was at this point, June 2017. I’ll wait it out, it’ll feel great, I convinced myself.

In September 2017, my husband and I travelled to California for a family reunion on the west coast. One lovely sunny Californian afternoon in Los Angeles, my husband decided we should go for a drive…so here we are, driving down the enticing Melrose Ave, we drive by the Alexander McQueen store, my heart starts beating faster, he turn the corner and into a private parking lot, and parks the car. My mind is racing, “have we just parked in the Alexander McQueen parking lot? What are we doing here?” What a silly question that was. I have the best husband in the world of course! We walked into the store, and naturally walked over to the footwear section right away. I died for a second and went to heaven; I can’t recall my exact emotions because I was literally on cloud nine the entire time; champagne included. Needless to say, I walked out of the store with my FIRST PAIR OF ALEXANDER MCQUEEN OVERSIZED SNEAKERS! Since the store carried every single colour possible, my colour options were unlimited (unlike department stores I visited before), and I chose the white with grey suede! I still get butterflies with I think back to this moment! Unfortunately to my theories, I didn’t get them on sale or with any other discount, but I think this makes them even more special – plus, they will always remind me of that California trip!

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It might not be a big deal; it’s just a pair of sneakers really, why all the excitement, but to me, it’s HUGE. It’s something I have been researching and thinking about for months. I don’t take my designer splurges lightly, and I want to be conscious of my purchases on various levels.

So, why am I sharing this story, well simply because HAPPINESS should be shared; it motivates and inspires. I love designer items, like many others, but the manner in which I go about purchasing them has become a sort of practice or theory – I’m not spoiled and I work for my designer items, so when spending my hard earned funds, I need to be 100% certain that I will LOVE my items and be fully satisfied with my purchase. It’s an art, as my husband calls it. I fully agree.

It’s the best feeling in the world.

 

HELLO SEPTEMBER!

Welcome SEPTEMBER!

I always get so excited for this month, basically because this is the  start of the Fall season for me. Every September, for as long as I can remember, I would review my clothes, shoes, accessories, etc, and start thinking about Fall and Winter wear and outfits.  AUTUMN is my absolute favourite time of the year – everything from the golden leaves on trees, to the fashion, and of course the food!

Of course Autumn officially begins on September 22, which is basically the end of the month, I still love to make my Summer to Fall transition at the beginning of the month. The more opportunity to wear and shop sweaters and booties, the better.

This month on The Prettier Life you’ll be able to find posts on Style and Shopping Guides, Autumn City Guide Activities, a Book Review, and of course, some motivational words straight from my honest heart.

Here’s a sneak peek of some topics I’ll be sharing with you this month:

  • Autumn Scents – Shopping Guide to Fall Candles
  • Booties and Boots – My favourite’s for the upcoming Season
  • My Beloved Wool Fedora Collection
  • Apple Picking – Where to go and what to do with the apples afterwards.
  • International Coffee Day!  

 

52 LISTS OF HAPPINESS VS. FIVE MINUTE JOURNAL

Reflection journaling has become ALL THE HYPE these days – everywhere I turn I see someone either writing in one, or talking about it. Honestly, I’m loving this because I think they are such a great way to [first of all] reflect on your daily actions and feelings, and to gain some insight into what’s really happening in your mind.

Often, our day to day thoughts don’t touch on the specific topics which these journals push us to discover. Once you are “forced” to sit down and think about a specific event or feeling, indicated by the journal, many other bursts of information may come up. So, you want to get started with one of these but have no idea where to start or which one to choose?  Let me help you get started.

Although there are many options for these types of reflection journals these days, there are two specific ones that I personally love and would recommend. Here’s a quick comparison of the two of them to give you a better idea on which one you want to dive into first:

52 LISTS OF HAPPINESS

5 MINUTE JOURNAL

One question/prompt a week. This gives you seven days to think about and reflect on the question asked. The following week a new one is posed.

Attempts to discover various topics such as reflect; acknowledge, invest, and transform.

Colorful and very pretty internal and external design (lots of floral)

$16.95 CAD

The same questions are asked in the morning and the evening; every single day for as long as you continue the journal. A different quote is offered on each page.

Questions focused on the days feelings and/or events; gratitude and affirmations.

Classic beige external design and black and white interior design.

$26.95 CAD

Personally, I have enjoyed the 52 Lists of Happiness journal because I enjoy being challenged with a new question each week, and I like having those 7 days to think about and add to my respone.

It’s all personal preference though!

 

MY OWN SPACE: OFFICIAL DOMAIN

It’s been a long time coming for this and it finally happened. I’ve FINALLY created my own blog domain; no more Blogger or WordPress endings. We are now operating fully on our own domain and it feels so good!

I’ve had some time recently to reevaluate my goals + passions and it has led me to this. I always tell people to follow their dreams and to just go for it with something they feel passionate about. I’ve finally taken my own advice {with the support of a few good friends + of course my husband} and decided it was time to branch off into my own online space (domain, technically).

The minute I received the confirmation email with the domain registration I got butterflies in my stomach – this is your place in the online world, like, did I just buy a house or something? Now what. All of a sudden a thousand different ideas crossed my mind – where do I start now; the template, the posts, the social media? Luckily, being the organized control freak that I am, I knew exactly where to start. The notebook obviously.

So, it’s all coming together slowly, and I m  beyond thrilled for this new outlet and experience. As always, I’m happy to continue to inspire those who follow my posts – there really aren’t many other things that bring me as much happiness, as those that I discuss + share on my blog.

Thank you for all the support as we continue to grow + build The Prettier Life!

BE PRESENT + ENJOY LIFE

How many hours a day do you spend on your phone/tablet/computer? Do you spend more time “living” on an electronic device than you do in the “real world”. I must’ve admit that I have been guilty of this type of lifestyle. When you’re chasing your dreams and working hard, it’s hard not to spend hours on your electronic devices writing posts and coming up with content for your social media accounts. I’d transition from being on a computer all day at work, to spending my evenings on my phone or laptop working on content and researching inspiration.

About a year ago, I decided it was time to take control of this precious time and rethink my social media strategy vs. being aware and present regularly. On a side note; it’s actually not healthy at all to be facing a screen for that many hours – so that can be a motivator on its own.

It wasn’t as easy as I had thought it would be. Although I own many journals, it was always easier to jot things down on my phone. For starters, my phone was always by my side. Luckily, there was an easy fix for this. I bought myself a small journal which I was able to fit into the majority of my handbags. I make sure to pack a journal with me now wherever I go, and to pull it out to jot down notes even for the smaller things.

Another time when I realized I was too focused and engaged with my phone than my actual surroundings was during our travels. I was always so anxcious to take photos, share my experiences, and connect with others during my vacations; this actually left me minimum time to actually live in the moment and breathe in the experiences. On our most recent trip to Europe I decided I would take this measure further; I grabbed my phone only to take photos. After taking the photos, I wouldn’t post them right away. I used social media minimally and was able to be present and take in all the experiences on the trip fully! By seeing the trip through my own two eyes rather than my camera lens I felt that I truly had a vacation.

Now, please don’t take this post literally to the point where you don’t use your social media at all. PLEASE use social media! It’s one of the most powerful and inspiring tools we have in this world. But, use it wisely! What’s most important in life is your presence and your memories – that is to be cherished.