Tag Archives: Friday favorites

Trying new things is good

31 Jan

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What a whirlwind week it has been! I’ve heard that shaking up your routine can be a major mood booster and after kicking the weekend off with friends over dinner (and delightful, whole-fruit margaritas), followed by brunch and exploring the Bunker Hill monument over in Charlestown with my siblings, well… the week that followed can only be described as one that was wholly, wonderfully, “shaken.”

From trying out a new yoga teacher’s class in the the middle of the day,  to taking advantage of half-price ticket night at a local theater, to finally see “Dallas Buyers Club,” to meeting for mid-week tacos with friends (followed by ice cream at a local spot), I can vouch for its truth. I feel energized and so blissfully happy.

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So why is trying new things so good for us? I did a little digging and thought I’d share:

  • We feel happier.
    Psychologist Rich Walker of Winston-Salem State University found that “…people who engage in a variety of experiences are more likely to retain positive emotions and minimize negative ones than people who have fewer experiences.” (time.com)

 

  • Our perception of time is slowed.
    When familiar information is processed, it doesn’t take much time at all. New information, however, is a bit slower and makes time feel elongated. Neuroscientist David Eagleman, who has extensively studied the effects of our brain’s perception of time, believes this effect makes time fly by faster as we age. (lifehacker.com)

 

  • We avoid boredom and gain new perspective.
    At yoga this week, I learned that a particular pose called “Padahastasana,” which I’ve done hundreds of times and have always found  uncomfortable, can be wonderfully relaxing if you let your toes massage the inside of your wrists. Mind Blown! All because one teacher includes this suggestion in his teaching, my perception has totally changed. (psychologytoday.com)

 

  • We can improve our memory and learning capacity.
    Neurobiologists Nico Bunzeck and Emrah Düzel found that novelty, demonstrated via images, increases our motivation to seek out reward. In other words, the brain’s ability to create new connections between neurons “was increased by the influence of novelty—both during the process of exploring a novel environment or stimuli and for 15–30 minutes afterwards.” Honestly, without ever having read this study, I could have probably guessed at this based on the massive dopamine-release I experience every time I log onto Pinterest for a hit of daily inspiration. In case you’re not up to speed on your neurotransmitters, dopamine is released in high amounts during gratifying activities such as eating, sex, exercise, dancing and other enjoyable experiences. (Of which Pinterest probably ranks highest if I’m being honest. And my exposure to completely new imagery is endless.) Are you listening, Pinterest? There is something to this and I think you should jump on it. Call me. I want to be involved. (sciencedaily.com) (lifehacker.com)

Anyways, hope you enjoyed my nerdy foray into neurology.  In case you were wondering, yes. As a kid I went to science camp and built rockets and shit. I got microscopes for Christmas. I also had a massive crush on my science teacher.

This is definitely a side of myself that I’ve  previously devoted to learning and writing about the science of beauty and beauty products over here, but as I’m becoming more and more interested in things like the connection between diet and preventing Alzheimer’s, my focus is definitely shifting.

Here’s to shaking up “the usual” more often! Have a great weekend!

Friday Favorites

17 Jan

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I’ve been trying to clean out and de-clutter since the fall in anticipation of eventually moving but I just can’t quit is my mug habit. In the last 6 months I’ve gifted away MANY pretty, but unnecessary Starbucks mugs I’ve purchased over the years and Brian even smashed one of my newer favorites—I like to think it was accidental. But in a household where only one of us drinks coffee and tea regularly, there is no justification for my enormous collection.

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I’ve started to re-purpose a few of them in the office to wrangle my endless supply of sharpies, highlighters, and gel pens and use a few others, like the photo mug my friend Lauren made me years ago that I treasure (but is too scandalous to share here, unfortunately), to store makeup brushes and eye liner. I bought this “Big Apple” mug at Starbucks the night Brian proposed to me in NYC in 2010. It’s one of my all-time favorites as a result so I was heartbroken when I broke its handle recently while washing it. Brian sweetly super-glued it back on, but it’s out of commission as far as “usable drinkware” goes. I love to see it on my desk everyday though as a reminder of one of the happiest days of my life.

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I picked up Mr. Scary Face on our honeymoon in Hawaii in 2012. This particular mug depicts the Tiki God of prosperity or money. Not wanting to be completely superficial, I also picked up this little keychain of Akua, the Tiki God of protection. I swear, I chose the mug based on color. I think it would be fun to use as a mini flower vase or planter someday too.

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This is a fairly recent purchase and to say I’m in love with would be a massive understatement. As soon as my eyes locked on it in the clearance section of Marshall’s, it was love. The delicate bone china. The dainty saucer. The gold monogram. It was the only one and it had my initial! I couldn’t believe it. Every time I drink a cup of tea from this I feel happy. Delighting in the small things is what it’s all about and this beautiful little piece of china reminds me of that daily.

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Then I found this beauty at a thrift shop near Central Park in NYC just after Christmas. We’d gone into the city to see the tree at Rockefeller Center and re-visit the spot on Poet’s walk were we got engaged. The china section is usually one of my favorites to browse since I love to collect random pieces to create my own sets for a unique look, but when I spotted this I practically threw myself at the shelf to snatch it before anyone else realized it was brand new, from Anthropologie. I’d pined for (and pinned) this non-stop all Christmas, but decided I just didn’t need another mug. Luckily, fate intervened and now I have a beautiful tea cup with my first initial on it as well as this gorgeous beauty with my shiny new married lady last initial. Perfection!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday Favorites

6 Dec

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I’m so excited that the weekend is finally here! I’m anxious to decorate our tree and have to finish up Christmas shopping. Hope you have a fun and relaxing weekend!

20131206-132456.jpgKicked off the holidays with my sister at the Nutcracker in Boston

20131206-132431.jpgChristmassy florals from the husband to celebrate our December 4th engagement anniversary20131206-132333.jpgTime to update our wrapping station with Christmas supplies