Rachel Discovers Happiness

my life and road to happiness

Archive for the category “Books”

Good and Evil

I receive an inordinate amount of email. If I were to read every single email I get on all my accounts and reply to all the ones requesting responses I would never stop emailing.

That being said, I also opt to get many of these emails by signing up for automated email services. That’s how I receive a lot of news, stories about my clients, shopping deals and information about books I want to read when I have time (which is never).

One of my favorite emails every day is from Goodreads – a website for rating books and finding other books you’ve never heard of based on your favorite genres. I receive the Goodreads Quote of the Day email which generally includes quotes from famous authors who either have a birthday, death day, book-aversary or some other connection with the date.

I absolutely loved today’s quote so I figured I’d share it with you – I think it provides a lot of great food for thought:

He felt that there is a loose balance of good and evil, and that the art of living consists in getting the greatest good out of the greatest evil.

-Machado de Assis

The note from Goodreads: The Brazilian poet and author of Dom Casmurro was born on this day in 1839.

Interesting, huh? Do you agree with Machado de Assis? Have you had some great evil that you had to create some good from?


I also liked today’s (Friday) quote:

In order to rise
From its own ashes
A phoenix

-Octavia E. Butler

Now that I’m starting…

I just finished The Happiness Project (literally 2 minutes ago) and am so excited to get started on my own project. I still have a lot of research to do about how I want to set mine up, what my resolutions are going to be, and much more. I need to decide if I’m going to do a major resolution a month, or if I am going to try to improve things at a steady pace throughout the year.

No matter which path I choose, I have a few things that can’t wait for upcoming months. Those things include:

  • Continue to refrain from biting my nails (I’m doing so well right now and I’m very proud of myself)
  • Eat healthier
  • Exercise on a regular basis
  • Take one photo a day (so far so good)
  • Start year 1 in the Q & A a day: 5 Year Journal I got as Christmas presents for myself and my three sisters

Even if I don’t do a resolution a month, I still want to start focusing on my finances more. That is where I am starting this year. I think it makes a lot of sense to start taking better control of my finances starting in January, but then again, I can rationalize starting any of the resolutions I have floating around y head in January.

Just to clarify – this blog is not just a “Happiness Project Blog.” It is not just focused on my path to happiness, but it will definitely include many posts about that journey. In addition, it will include my thoughts on life, different experiences I have, etc. One thing that I am going to try my very best to do, however, is not complain in this blog. I want to keep it upbeat and positive, thus fulfilling one of my resolutions to be more optimistic about the things in my life.

Sorry this post was kind of lame, I have so many thoughts running through my head about what to write about. I wish I had a filing/organizational system up there to help me rearrange and remember my thoughts. I can’t type fast enough to write down everything I think is important to say, but I will do my best.

On that note, how was your New Year’s? What are your resolutions/goals for 2012? How will you be accomplishing them?

Happy New Year!

Welcome to Happiness


Some of you already know me from my other blog – Rachel Helen: Thoughts on Life and the World I Live In (wow, I must come up with a more catchy title for that blog). Anyway, I’m Rachel.

Me and my niece, Madison (I'm the one who is old enough to drive)

Recently I read a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. My older sister, Caitlin, and her friend Ayesha recommended it to me. The book is Rubin’s account of her year “trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read Aristotle, and generally have more fun.”

Because this is my first post, I won’t get into all the details of the book (which you should buy and read without me telling you the details). Basically, Rubin was inspired to start her Happiness Project because she wasn’t depressed, she wasn’t sad, she wasn’t even unhappy, but she thought that there might be a way to make herself more happy.

That’s kind of my mentality behind starting my own version of a Happiness Project (although I have suffered from some of the aforementioned issues). She has a sort of template to use, but I will probably create my own template which integrates certain aspects of hers as well. But, once again, I will get into that later.

Basically, I just wanted to introduce you to my blog and announce my goals for 2012 (I hate the term “resolution” because I feel as though it sets you up for inevitable failure… especially New Year’s resolutions… and, of course, that will be a post for later).

My main goal for 2012 is simple: find things that make me happier, figure out how to incorporate them in my daily life, and blog about them.

I will introduce my other goals as I continue this blog (and as they come to me).

This blog, just like me, is a work in progress.

I’m sure, just like me, it will change and evolve over time. (I know, evolve isn’t technically the correct word to use here, but it sounded good, didn’t it?)

Anyway, that’s the quick introduction. I hope you stick around and read more of what I have to say. I can’t promise I will post every day, but I can promise that I will try to be informative and entertaining when I do.

Proof of the List Master

Just in case you needed proof that I am a List Master, further than my list page, this story should convince you of my habits:

Today, as I was heading into The City with my mom and step dad to go see a museum exhibition at the Legion of Honor, I saw a poster on the side of a public bus advertising the most recent One City One Book: San Francisco Reads book. Of course, I don’t remember what the name of the book was, but before you chastise me for not being observant enough listen to why I don’t remember.

When I saw the book advertised on the side of the bus, I went to type the title and author into my “Books” list in my notes on my iPhone, but when I did, a list popped up that I didn’t remember writing. Want to know why I didn’t remember writing it? It’s because I have a habit of texting in my sleep. That’s right, If you text me after I’ve already fallen asleep for the night, there is a good chance that you will get a text back from me, however that text might not make any sense.

Now, don’t ask me what I was dreaming about last night, but this is the list that I created. I seem to recall sort of slightly becoming conscious in the middle of the list and trying to read it, but deciding that I couldn’t understand what it said for some reason so I put it away. Hmmmm, I wonder why…

My Dream Induced List

I wonder what I was dreaming about? And what the heck is “potad wed” … maybe potato wedges? Haha oh well. I hope this cheered up your day. My mom laughed at me. S’more and Raul laughed at me. Honestly, I laughed at myself. Who does that?!

More time, please

Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day?

Okay, that’s a rhetorical question. But still, the reason I ask is because that’s how I felt yesterday. Actually, that’s how I feel this week. I know it’s the holidays and that means that everybody is a little bit more stressed than usual, but it just seems like this holiday season snuck up on me and there aren’t enough days before Christmas (which, in my divorced family, is never a calm and relaxing day with family). Perhaps it’s because it’s the first time ever that I don’t have a winter break because I am no longer a student. Granted, my boss is giving me the week between Christmas and New Year’s off, but honestly I think I’d rather have the week before Christmas off… more time for shopping, wrapping, and relaxing.

Anyway, I’m not going to get into that right now. The purpose of this post is actually to tell you about one of the things I wish I had more time to do: reading. I’m not talking about the Freshly Pressed blog posts on WordPress (although I do love those, nor am I talking about articles I get from my daily news sites, Twitter accounts that I follow, or friends’ Facebook posts.

I’m talking about real-live, turn the pages (or click the “next page” button on my Kindle), smell the ink, crack the spine because you’ve read it so much, highlight the quotes, underline the passages that speak to you, absorb the stories, get lost in someone else’s world, books.

When I was younger I used to read all the time. In fact, my step mom, in an effort to get KB to read, decided she would pay us to read during the summers so that we would have money to spend on our family vacations every August. Well, it didn’t quite help KB (although in her recent adventures in Copenhagen she has developed a taste for reading, especially the Hunger Games series which I highly, highly recommend), but it was fun for the rest of us because Caitlin, Pookie, and I read so much that we each got about $100 by the end of the summer. (No, I don’t remember what the calculation for the money was.. maybe $1/hr?) But I digress.

The point is, I loved, and still love, to read.

I have an entire bookshelf of books that I haven’t read. I even had to get rid of a bunch of books on my shelf to make room for the books that I had stacked all over my room and in my closet that were taking up space and driving my step mom crazy.

I get books at every holiday. I get book recommendations from friends. I get lost in the book aisle in Target, or in the line at the grocery store. Every time I walk into a book store, used or new – it doesn’t matter, I find at least 5 new books that I want to read (well, 5 on the “new paperback” table…) And it doesn’t help that Caitlin, my step mom, and Caitlin’s friend Ayesha all have such wonderful book recommendations! Ayesha even has a book blog called Bound By Books (you should really check it out)!

Because I love reading so much but don’t get to do it very much anymore, I am making a vow to myself (not a New Year’s resolution, because really, when do those ever work?!) that I will set aside time each day to unplug from my computer, disconnect from the internet, put down the iPhone, and simply relax and read.

I really miss doing that.

Oh yeah, and you can view my list of books to read by checking out my list here: Books I Want to Read

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