Andy Proctor || Choosing More Happiness

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"There are things you can do to rewire your brain.  It’s not going to be fun, it’s not going to be easy.  But can you choose to do them?  Yes.  And will they make your life better even in the midst of depression?  Absolutely."

Andy is a "happiness nerd" who loves to share what he's studied and put into practice.  His specialty is positive psychology, which researches the science of happy people and ways we can apply what they do and how they think.

In the first half of our interview, Andy shares some of his favorite things he's learned about positive psychology and ways we can apply these lessons in our own lives.  In the second half, Andy shares how his research has impacted his personal life through very difficult times where he needed all the tools he could get; those times included: divorce, remarriage, his wife's traumatic onset of mental illness two years into their marriage, and the following unraveling of the foundation of their lives, including the development of Andy's panic disorder.

Andy is a relatable friend and teacher, and he inspires hope for all those who will hear him out, that we are all capable of more happiness in our lives, even in the midst of inner turmoil.

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!

Show Notes:
Andy's Website (where you can learn more about his classes and read his fantastic blog)
Andy's Instagram
Andy's Youtube channel 
Andy's book
Referenced theories and books (some affiliate links): 
   Broaden and Build Theory
   Learned Optimism
   Meditation site
   When Panic Attacks
   Via Strengths Survey
   The How of Happiness
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
Free Audiobook through Audible! (Affiliate link)
More Podcasts from About Progress

Fake It 'Til You Make It

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you.  If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you." ~Gospel of Thomas

I heard this quote a few weekends ago from Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife's workshop I attended.  I had already been working on this podcast and it gave me that serendipitous lightbulb moment I so love.  (Sidenote: each special themed podcast that I create, inspiration for that very theme is suddenly all around me.  It's pretty nuts!)

If you deny what is within you--your hopes, your dreams, your gifts, your capabilities, even your self-love--you're going to lose yourself.  Ain't that the truth?

For me, in order to find those things and dare to reach for them, I've had to use the mantra, "Fake It 'Till You Make It."

"Faking" to me doesn't mean lying--it means TRYING.  It means proving to myself that I can be better, that I can be stronger; it's about proving myself wrong (and sometimes, someone else:).

Let me tell you the most important lesson in this: the destination truly doesn't matter to me as much as that trying.  Even if you don't "make it," you are making YOU.

Even trying increases my confidence, my capabilities, and sets my life further along the path I'm hoping for.  So, celebrate what you've attempted, what you've learned, and how you've grown.  You might not get to the end goal that you want.  But that's not the point.

The point is how you're bringing out what is within you.

I share more on this topic in my podcast, including examples from my own life as well as stories from listeners who chimed in to share their own stories.

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!

Show Notes:
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
Free Audiobook through Audible! (Affiliate link)
Link to Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife's online course
RadioLab on lying (can't remember which!): here or here
Past Podcast mentioned with Courtney Rich
Past Podcast mentioned with Amber Brueseke
Past Podcast mentioned with Meg Miles
More Podcasts from About Progress

Summer Plans

Monday, May 22, 2017

Last year, I posted about how I was going to plan my summer with my kids so none of us went crazy. I stole the idea from my friend Lisa, and she didn't steer me wrong.  That past post has more details, but here's a quick sum:

This whole thing takes about ten minutes.  I start by brainstorming a bucket list of the activities we'd like to do, with input from Brad and the kids.  I also brainstorm a list of potential weekly themes.

Then I print out my summer calendar (just from my Mac), divvy up the themes, then plan some field trips that match the weekly theme, as well as some Saturday activities for our family that also match up.

Additionally, I also think about how I want to spend our days.  Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays will be devoted to more at-home stuff including "Mommy School," going to our local parks and library, and our afternoon lessons (soccer, gymnastics, swim, art), and Tuesday/Thursdays will be our adventure days!  I wrote a little schedule up for me, as well as a list for what "Mommy School" can entail, including mini-lessons that relate to the weekly themes.  With all of this sketched out, I feel like our summer will be more productive, fun, and interesting!

Here are our themes for this year:
San Francisco

Last thing: this is designed to be flexible.  Last year, I probably stuck to my plans about 60-80% of the time.  So my calendar served its purpose, in my mind!  We do better with a structure, but we also do well with some built-in wiggle room.  Each day, we can still mix in some ways to get outside, go exploring, and have some educational fun alongside of LOTS of free play for the kids.  Because what is summer without some lazy days and lots of popsicles?

Need some more ideas?  Other moms are sharing their summer plans with their kids.  You can sign up to participate in similar series on Kiana and Madeline's blogs.

Kiana at Glitter&Donuts // Madeline at CaseyLand
Alexis at Witt Family Happenings // Erica at Good Job Momma

Celeste Davis: Owning Our Struggles

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

"Something I’ve really internalized is that it’s never to late to create the kind of life that you want, or to uncreate the life you’re not cool with . . . It’s never too late to enjoy your life, it’s never to late to feel like you have more control over something, even if it’s just as simple as changing the way you think about it."

By the age of 19, Celeste had already abandoned her modeling career and experienced the ending her first marriage.  After these low-lows, Celeste decided that instead of wallowing in her sorrows, she wanted to pick up her life, own her struggles, and move onward and upward.  And she did just that.

Celeste shares how owning her struggles helped her find the strength to forgive her ex AND herself through grace, and move forward to finding a new man who helped her learn to trust again.  This strength also pushed her through the hard times her life still brought, including her husband's battles with mental health and her own fight with postpartum depression.

Celeste's surprise cure to her depression?  She joined a beauty pageant.  (No one was more shocked about this move than herself!) You'll love hearing about how the pageant helped her regain her confidence, changed the way she viewed herself, and formed lifelong friendships, but it also taught her the great importance of finding something that was just for her and that provided that self-care she learned was necessary to being the woman she wants to be.

You'll also love to hear how Celeste found natural childbirth helped empower her, what helped her get through two back-to-back miscarriages, what she does for self-care, and the power of good girlfriends.

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!

Show Notes:
Celeste's Instagram
Podcast Episode with Matt Davis (Celeste's husband)
Free Audiobook through Audible! (Affiliate link)
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
Do Something Highlight: Shan'tel's Article and Blog
More on Do Something
Past Podcast mentioned with Matt Davis
More Podcasts

Jessica Dahlquist: Shifting Thinking towards Greater Fulfillment

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

“Realizing that I am in control of the life I want to live, really allowed me to be the happiest I can be because I’m doing the things that I truly LOVE in life.”

Jessica Dahlquist is the brains behind the Extraordinary Moms Podcast (which I can't recommend enough), but this is her first time being on the other side of the interview.  She does not disappoint!

Jessica talks about how her own transition to motherhood manifested an internal voice she didn't like, one riddled with anxiety and self-criticism.  With a lot of work, she learned the power of altering her expectations on herself and letting go of what others think.   Once she shifted the internal narrative behind her work as a mother and beyond, it changed everything and led to a greater happiness.

Whether or not you are a parent, Jessica teaches that once you've shifted your mentality to "I should . . ." to "I choose . . . " your life might look the same, but it will feel completely different.

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!

Show Notes:
Jessica's Podcast, Facebook, and Instagram
Free Audiobook through Audible! (Affiliate link)
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
Do Something Highlight: Shan'tel's Article and Blog
More on Do Something
Past Podcast mentioned with Matt Davis
More Podcasts

My New Love for Dresses

Monday, May 8, 2017

Something weird is happening to me: I am loving dresses.

I've never been a huge dress gal.  I've had a few, but I've always favored jeans and t-shirts on weekdays and skirts/blouses for Sundays.  But the past few years, I've gradually collected more and more dresses and now that is what I primarily reach for on Sundays.  (Also, I'm wearing dresses on weekdays when it's HOT around here, because we don't have air conditioning. This is very new for me and making me so much happier, and (literally) cooler!)

For my casual dresses, I tend to do the opposite of form-fitting.  I like things as loose as possible.  But some Sundays, I reach for something like this dress from Harper and Bay--a dress that's a little more form-fitting, still comfy, but classic too.  And the color is a fun departure for me as well!

(Side note about this dress: Learn from me and never shop at 2 AM while you're nursing your baby . .   . I bought it (along with two others--face palm!) when the company was on Kickstarter and looking for dresses that I could nurse in, as my baby was a few months old.  This dress isn't being sold now, and I paid about half what it ended up going for.  To be honest, I'd love it a TON if the fabric hadn't immediately piled under that necklace, which I wore with it my first time. The fabric on this dress tended to get marked up easily.  Because of that, I've only worn it a few times since I basically have to style it the exact same each time.  I'm sure they've fixed things like that by now and I am tempted by a lot of the newer dresses. I still love this dress, though!  And I'd size up if you're thinking about the baseball dresses.  My Mediums fit like smalls.)   

You'll be seeing me wear a lot of dresses the next few hot months, and I'll be sure to share the good ones when I do!  I'm also going to make some because even those online boutique ones (where the same dresses are on different sites) are pricey and not well-made.  Looks like I made myself a goal!

Other ladies are sharing their Sunday outfits as of late--so check them out below!  And if you'd like to participate in this series, sign up either on Madeline or Kiana's blogs.

Kiana at Glitter&Donuts // Madeline at CaseyLand
Alexis at Witt Family Happenings // Rachel at Tutus and Heels

Kayti Oldham || Finding Joy in the Real "You"

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Kayti Oldham is your best gal who always manages to bring the fun, willingly shares all her makeup knowledge, and makes you feel like a million bucks.

But Kayti's gifts don't start and end with her makeup artistry.  In today's podcast, we learn more about her past with the performing arts, how she learned from a young age to follow her passions, and how putting on red lipstick not only helped her through terrible post partum depression, but inspired her passion for makeup that led her to mission today.

And that mission?  To inspire women to love the face, body, soul they were gifted, encapsulated in Kayti's urging, "Be YOU!"

Kayti shares all this, and more including how her opinion can't be bought, what she has learned from her struggles with acne, how coming from a broken home inspired the tradition of laughter in her own, and so much more.

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!

Show Notes:
Kayti's Blog, Consultations, and Instagram
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
Lisa's Podcast Episode
More Podcasts
More on Do Something

Short Getaway to the Lone Star State

Monday, May 1, 2017

A lot of people were surprised that my husband and I's first vacation together in almost five years was to Texas.  I was just as surprised that they thought that was weird.  Texas is awesome!

I've been wanting to visit Texas for years and years, especially Austin, which draws me in because it's a small-big city full of weirdoes, hippies, and good food.

Before I share a mountain of photos, I just want to give a little shout out to getaways.  My parents have gone on annual vacations sans kids for as long as I can remember.  They've done big trips, but mostly small ones--where they drive around and hike a bunch.  A trip for me and Brad was long overdue--we put it off over and over.  Spending money on something like this is exceptionally difficult for Brad, so it took a bit of convincing.  But I made my case, including some good ticket prices and an affordable airbnb I discovered!  So once I bought the tickets and reserved the place there was no turning back!  By the time we were getting ready to go, I was freaking out over leaving our kids for five days, especially our youngest who is VERY very attached to me.  (He doesn't even make it one minute in nursery.)

But once we were in Texas and hearing about the kids having fun (thanks to our great babysitters and my parents, for splitting it up!), then we had a blast.  Brad and I learned that we're going to be jusssst fine when the kids leave in about 30 years.... As long as we keep cultivating our relationship, that is!  We decided at the end of this trip that it is going to be a top priority from now on for us to go on a little trip each year, even if that means we just drive two towns away for a day or so.  Our marriage is better for it, our kids are better for it, and that's the whole point.

So if you're thinking about going, worrying over the expense, or the kids--just do it.  We did this whole trip on a dime, and it was worth every hard-earned cent.

Now, on to some photos from our trip!  This isn't going to be a travelogue.  All I did was look on Pinterest a few days before we left and made a short list of things we could check out while in Austin, and we mostly planned as we went.  Our time in Dallas was to focus on our friends, so we didn't plan anything for there.

I LOVE Austin's skyline!

We got to our airbnb in the late afternoon on Thursday (in the Congress neighborhood!), but we still managed to walk 8 miles in a few hours, exploring murals, eating some truck food, and walking all over downtown.  We had the best donut of our lives (Gourdough's), only to try it again that night with much anticipation and then have the worst donut of our lives (it was like they dumped out a jar of syrup one the whole thing).

We mostly explored our hearts away!  Thank goodness for Smart phones--there wasn't much need to plan that far in advanced.  We didn't even know about the city bikes until we got there, and we ended up renting them our second day--that was a game changer!  (We didn't rent a car until our third day for our drive up to Dallas, which was a great money-saver.  We were really glad we hadn't rented one until then.)
Brad is wondering why on earth this mural is famous.  
We made it to the capitol at dusk.  SO gorgeous.  And giant.  Texas does things right.

The next day, we rode our bikes around the outdoor parks, explored the capitol, went all over UT's campus, ate Torchy's twice (tacos!), had ice cream from Amy's twice, and made it home by 7 PM, we were so wiped.  13 miles walked that day, and I don't know how many miles we biked!

I'm going for "tourist chic" here.

I bought this hat the first morning we were there, even though Brad was embarrassed I have to tuck my ears in.  Sorry, Brad--but, I'm not sorry.

The next morning, we drove all over Austin and beyond to see where the Friday Night Lights homes were filmed--Tim Riggin's, Coach's, and Matt's.  Then we went to the field and Brad jumped over the fence.  (All of those photos are on Brad's phone, and I'm too lazy to get them.)

On to Waco!  We didn't map out where to go exactly ahead of time, so we drove mostly around Woodway and ogled at giant houses.  (Also, got the best sandwiches of our lives there!  Not kidding.)  After we went to the Silos on one of the most crowded days of the year (still worth it, and I bought earrings!), we tried to see houses in Waco but we could only find neighborhoods that were literally on the wrong side of the tracks, and looked it.  We also saw Baylor University!  So pretty there!  Then we drove the rest of the way north of Dallas and hung out with our friends, the Fujikawas for a few days.

The Fujikawas are always the best hosts--we've stayed with them at each home they've lived the past ten years (except two--they've moved a lot!), including Italy!  They are handling their three-kids-under-two-years like champs and we SO enjoyed cuddling their babies and playing with their toddler.  We had too much fun and didn't take out our cameras at all, until the last few hours when we went to the JFK museum downtown, a gift shop, and then hit up The Shake Shack before flying home.

Texas, I love you.  Thank you for being worth the wait!
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