Clippings (11/17/14): This Week’s Articles of Interest

Cross-country Cooking: This has been making the rounds, but is worth checking out. A NYT compilation of regional Thanksgiving dishes, one to represent each state, plus DC and Puerto Rico. Grape salad outrage aside, it is great recipe-reading to prepare for my favorite holiday!  http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/11/18/dining/thanksgiving-recipes-across-the-united-states.html?_r=0

JohnSteinbeck_TheGrapesOfWrath

Apples to Apples: If you’re a fan of cider and you’re looking for some new options for holiday drinks, here you go: http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/2014/11/6/12-excellent-hard-ciders-to-drink-this-fall?adbid=10152383340442026&adbpl=fb&adbpr=17786732025&xid=blog_20141112_35361567

Selfie-Esteem: Interesting article about how we view our own selfies – and how social media is impacting our self-esteem. Check out the slideshow: women were asked to choose their favorite snapshot (of themselves) from a photoshoot, explain why, and then comment on the photographers’ favorite. Fascinating, but difficult and somewhat sad, to see how we critique ourselves so harshly, and dislike things about ourselves that no one else even notices. Hopefully, if you have selfie-concerns, this article will help you to see yourself in a more flattering light.  http://www.elle.com/beauty/makeup-skin-care/how-instagram-is-ruining-our-self-esteem

A selfie?
A somewhat-selfie?

A Day in the Life: Cool video with tips and tricks to be “your most productive self” tomorrow. Hint: select tomorrow’s outfit tonight, make time for meditation, and plan on a cocktail in the evening. http://www.fastcompany.com/3038737/secrets-of-the-most-productive-people/a-day-in-the-life-of-your-most-productive-self

Remembering when…: New research from the University of Southampton on “collective nostalgia” and the impact that a “sentimental longing for the past” can have on group loyalty. As the articles notes, “rather than being without function, it appears that nostalgia is an organizing emotion, strengthening group membership, and developing collective identities.” Especially interesting to consider in terms of Gottman’s studies on nostalgia within romantic relationships, and his theory that the more positively we recount our relationship milestones (especially the early ones), the higher the chance that a relationship will be strong and will survive. http://digest.bps.org.uk/2014/11/want-to-inspire-group-loyalty-try-some.html

#thankoutloud midpoint: gratitude and growth

As many of you know, starting on November 1, we began the first #thankoutloud project. Over the last two weeks, it has been wonderful to see so many people sharing their gratitude for others “out loud,” sometimes in person (and then reported via social media), but usually through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We even had some people thanking colleagues via LinkedIn!

For me, the best part has been reading about the reactions of those who have been thanked. One person reported back her their dry cleaner was pleased to have been recognized for his hard work and attention to detail; another person shared that her Mom cried when she was thanked for providing such a good example of how to balance professional and personal obligations. And some of those being thanked have chosen to comment directly on the post in which they are cited. It’s fantastic to read those (pleasantly) surprised and (extremely) appreciative comments, as well.

We started the #thankoutloud project somewhat organically – by just beginning to post our own person-focused gratitude each night. We let some people in on the purpose of the project, and they joined us. We put up a post about it, and others started sharing thanks each night. We kept posting, and were thrilled to see people joining in without having been solicited – they just saw the impact of the project and wanted to participate.

My own experience with the project has been rewarding and has strengthened the bonds I have with the amazing people in my life. I’ve been varying my “thanking venues” – some days, Facebook, other days, Instagram. Sometimes the “venue” is based on whatever network the person I’m thanking is a part of, but no matter where I post the thanks, spending a few moments a day crafting a thank you note has had an amazing impact on me. I feel a stronger, more specific sense of gratitude each day for those who impact my life in ways big and small. And this month, I’ve felt a strong sense of gratitude for all of those participating in our little pay-it-forward, gratitude-boot-camp experiment.

Thank you for sharing thanks and for increasing the amount of smiles shared each day. And if you haven’t started to #thankoutloud yet – join us! Research shows that you’ll be grateful you did!

If you have joined the project, who did you feel most appreciated your #thankoutloud?! How did they react? I’d love to hear about it!

x Jessica

Food for (Positive) Thought: Breakfast out of Bed

I am not a morning person. In fact, I am so not a morning person that, if I had my druthers, I’d sleep through the whole thing and only wake up once the clock hit 12:00PM. The problem with not being a morning person, however, is that the world keeps turning, even if I stay under the covers.

For this reason, I am teaching myself to not only wake up earlier, but to eat breakfast, as well. As we all know by now, breakfast jumpstarts our bodies,helps our metabolism get going for the day, and provides us with energy to make it through the morning.

It took me awhile, but I’ve found a few good A.M. dining options that are easy to make and I thought I’d share them with you. If a bleary-eyed, morning-hater like me can make them with enough time to still hit the snooze button once (okay, thrice), so can you.

  •  Scooped-out Bagel with Light Cream Cheese, Sliced Tomato, and a Chiffonade of Basil
    • Sounds labor-intensive and sorta fancy; is really easy and… sorta fancy. How could you not feel like getting the day going with those lovely little ribbons of fresh basil!? Chiffonade is not just for the evening, my friends.

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  • Frozen Waffle with Peanut Butter
    • I like Van’s organic waffles – and Skippy (non organic) peanut butter. I realize that as a regular Whole Foods shopper I should probably have organic, but I just can’t take stirring that oil around the jar. Especially so early in the day.
    • Fruit on Hand?: Add some sliced banana or some berries
    • Note for those on-the-go: this is a good portable breakfast, too. I take it along while I walk my dog.

vansskippy

  • Oatmeal with dried cranberries and brown sugar
    • If you want to be lazy: make a big batch and reheat it for breakfast the next two mornings. Just stir in a little milk before microwaving.
    • If you want to be indulgent: stir in half and half, not milk.
  •  Protein Smoothie
    • I usually wait to have this until after I workout, but sometimes I split it in half, and have some before and some after. I’m crazy like that. (If you use a Contigo metal coffee cup, your protein shake will stay frozen through your whole workout. Just make the shake before you head to the gym.)
    • If you make one for me: I like ½ a banana, chocolate protein powder, peanut butter, ice, and some milk (as you can see from the picture below).
    • If you make one for you: try out some of these delicious-looking options: http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-recipes/20-super-healthy-smoothie. Let me know which one you like best!

IMG_6382

So, dear readers: Are you morning people? What do you like to eat for your first meal of the day?

Clippings: This Week’s Articles of Interest (Week of 11/10)

PIN-terest: I love this article on a Baltimore hairdresser, Janet Stevens… who spends her evenings studying and replicating ancient hairstyles… and disproving long-held assumptions from archaeological scholars on how Greek and Roman women styled their hair. It’s amazing what can happen when people combine their skills and passions. As Ms. Stevens, says, “Whatever you’re most passionate about when you’re five is what you should do for the rest of your life.”  http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324900204578286272195339456?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424127887324900204578286272195339456.html

golis

What we (should) talk about when we talk about Buzzfeed: Interesting thoughts on the future of Buzzfeed and the power of FacebookWorld from good friend and brilliant media expert, Andrew Golis. https://medium.com/@agolis/this-is-what-we-should-fight-about-when-we-fight-about-buzzfeed-93cc6538657c

Do something today that could make this list: While we’re on the subject of Buzzfeed and their C circle (see above article), here is a list of photos to brighten your day.  http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/see-the-world-differently#11fdyj9

nyt cooking

Dinner and a (cooking guide) movie: I’ve always loved Mark Bittman’s cooking videos, and I’m happy to find that I also enjoy Melissa Clark’s videos, as well. The NYT recipe pages are quickly becoming my go-to how-to guides and Clark’s mini-lessons are simple, short, and amusing. My brother sent this recipe along to me (a not-so-subtle request for his next visit?): http://www.nytimes.com/video/dining/100000003105258/pasta-with-caramelized-lemons.html?WT.mc_id=D-NYT-MKTG-MOD-71835-10-04-HD&WT.mc_ev=click&WT.mc_c= – and I’m planning to use this ice cream how-to this weekend: http://www.nytimes.com/video/dining/100000002967947/ice-cream-basics.html?playlistId=100000001606605

fredrickson book cover

How you doin’?: Visit Barbara Fredrickson’s website to take her Positive Self Test. The quick online test looks at your strongest emotions from the past 24 hours to provide a snapshot of your positive : negative ratio. If you sign up through the site, you can also track your results over time. Fredrickson has found that a 3:1 ratio is needed for one to truly flourish. Not seeing the results you want? Look for assistance (a friend, family member, counselor, or trusted person) and take steps to improve your happiness and well-being! For suggestions, keep reading our page! http://www.positivityratio.com/single.php

Ollie, Dog Genius: Or How to Make Your Dog Smarter

Ollie GM!
Ollie GM!

Recently, we adopted little Ollie from a rescue organization. Ollie is adorable and mischievous. He has limitless energy and is as curious as a little pup can be. Given his propensity to constantly stay next to me, I recently wondered if we should have named him Shadow instead. In truth, I did more than wonder; I asked him. Out loud. It went like this: just after walking into the kitchen and turning around, surprised to find that a previously sleeping Ollie was now sitting next to my left ankle, I mused aloud. “Ollie! What are you doing here, sleepy boy? Should we have named you Shadow!?” He looked at me. We started walking into the living room. My phone rang. He cocked his head to the side, unsure of this new sound. “That’s my phone ringing. It’s okay,” I told him, as I sat down at the coffee table. He laid down next to me and fell asleep.

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Ollie GM, super-listener

This is my new M.O. – constant narration. I find myself narrating all of my actions. In part, I do this because I don’t see Ollie as “just a dog,” in the way that some people view dogs as being as important a part of the room as the coffee table itself. They wouldn’t narrate their afternoon to a table, of course, so they don’t narrate it to their dog. Unfortunately, for both these people and their dogs, they are doing little to help their pups become smarter.

According to research from Stan Coren, “you improve the IQ of your dog, the same way you improve the IQ of your kids. And that is, you talk to them all the time. And you give them as many different experiences as you can. You see, the more the dog has to think about, the more the dog has to do, the brighter the dog becomes.” Coren goes on to explain that while you can’t change the natural level of intelligence of your pup, their “native smarts,” you can change their crystallized intelligence (the sum of what they have learned) by simply teaching them more things. Even more interesting is his disclosure that the more dogs learn, the more they want to – and can – learn.

Ollie has a particular interest in American history... and things that move or make loud sounds...
Ollie has a particular interest in American history… and things that move or make loud sounds…

Essentially, we can prime dogs to learn more easily, teach them more things, and ultimately improve their overall intelligence, simply by exposing them to new situations and talking to them about anything and everything. People often say that they talk to their dogs because the dogs listen – and they don’t talk back. But just because they don’t talk back doesn’t mean that they do not understand.

While I enjoyed reading about the research on improving canine IQ, it did not come as a surprise. The first day that Ollie came to live with us, my Mom told me on the phone that I was to “talk to him, all the time, and never stop.” So began my active narration of every day life. “Good morning, my Ollie!” “Let’s walk to the elevator.” “Mommy is making breakfast for Ollie!” “Please do not eat squirrels.” I talk to Ollie so much that I recently told my fiancé that I would only be half-surprised if one day, he just answered me back. “Well,” I can imagine him saying, “if you’re making lunch for yourself, can you at least toss me a treat?”

While it is unlikely that Ollie will ever burst out in conversation (or in song, but how remarkable that would be!), I take comfort knowing that my all-day play-by-play is helping him to learn and become more intelligent. People are surprised that he knows so much already, and I know it is only getting better. After all, the average dog is as intelligent as a two-year-old child and has a vocabulary of 165 – 250 words, and in my unbiased opinion, Ollie is way beyond average.

Ollie seems to think toddlers are his best puppy friends
Ollie seems to think toddlers are his best puppy friends

If you’re looking to increase the intelligence of your pup, try describing the process of making them dinner. If you put them in the crate before heading out for the night, tell them that they are a very good pup, that you love them, and that you will be back very soon. Talk – a lot – and help expose your little pooch to as much as possible, socially and verbally.

As I always say, there are no dumb dogs, only silent owners. Woof.

Being so smart is exhausting...
Being so smart is exhausting…

Join the #thankoutloud project!!!

Too often, we let gratitude go unsaid. This November, let’s change that with the ‪#‎glazertalks‬ ‪#‎thankoutloud‬ project. Each day this month, thank the people who impact your life in ways large and small.

Research shows that thanking people not only makes the recipients happy, it boosts our own happiness as well.

Thank someone by name (tag if you can) and share the reason you’re grateful for them (be specific!). And don’t forget the #thankoutloud hashtag.

Choose a new person – and reason – to #thankoutloud each day through November, and kick off the holiday season with gratitude.

Who will you #ThankOutLoud this November?!
Who will you #ThankOutLoud this November?!

Happy November!