Let’s celebrate: International Day of Happiness

I recently learned that March 20th marks the International Day of Happiness. It was initiated by the United Nations recognizing happiness as one of humans life goals and was first celebrated in 2013.

While I appreciate that happiness is taking a front seat in global politics I am a bit baffled that it has only been acknowledged four years ago.

However there is a whole movement behind it and you can sign up here for a free happiness guide, a kids pack and a study on world happiness. And there are ten posters to print out.

In the end of 2015 I realized that the happy moments in my life are there but I do tend to ignore or forget them. So since January 2016 I write a daily happiness journal. It made me realize that there are much more happy moments, that they are usually small, that I am still not mindful enough to catch them all…

International day of happiness grass

Today I want to share some of those moments with you:

  • Early morning sunshine in my living room
  • The smell of fresh coffee
  • The smell of fresh air
  • The smell of snowflakes in crisp winter air
  • Dancing snowflakes
  • The sound of leaves in the wind
  • A day without migraines
  • A cup of my favorite blend of tea
  • The joy of reading a book
  • Being in the flow while doing something e.g. those easter eggs or taking photographs
  • Absolut quietness
  • A good nights sleep
  • No back pain
  • A call from the godchild
  • A fun letter in the mail
  • The joy of like minded people (is anyone going to a blogging event? I am thinking about The Hive in May?!)
  • A yummy piece of cake
  • Beautiful flowers
  • Something I made
  • Laughter
  • Goofing around with Mr. ♥
  • Summer BBQ with friends
  • Learning something new in a class/workshop
  • The joy of traveling
  • Sitting by the water

International day of happiness water

If you start thinking about those little things you can go on and on and on. Fun thing is that after I wrote my list I check out the mentioned research and I listed quite a few things that the study defined in finding happiness.

But now I am interested: what would you would put in the list? Let me know in the comments.

Happy International Day of Happiness,

Tobia

Planner Love :: The hunt for the perfect companion

When I was in school I used to have a planner. But it was more than a planner. It was a diary, planner, timer – all in one. I remember that I loved leafing through it in boring classes, that I drew doodles, that I glued quotes into my planner and that I really really didn’t like anyone touching it or going through it. I mean it was personal. But I also remember that everyone wanted to have a look.

I kept all those planners. They are all up on a shelf unter my desk – the one I am currently sitting typing those lines.

Planner Love since 2000

After school I downgraded my planners and for a couple years I used a tiny one from moleskin. I always asked St. Nicholas to bring me one so I had enough time setting everything up.

But then I realized I actually don’t use it anymore and put everything in my phone anyway. So the planners got smaller and they are almost unused.

Last year however I felt like I need one of those diary planners back in my life and bought a “Ein guter Plan” through crowdfunding. I only used it to journal my three happy things that happened and about three sentences about the day. I liked the mindfulness chart for every day and drew up a few more bullet journal inspired charts.

While I liked the planner I feel like it is not quite what I need. First I thought I will start a bullet journal but lets be honest: I probably won’t make it far.

So I am looking for a planner that is my perfect companion. One that has pre-printed most of the things I need but enough space to individualize it.

Planner Love

I am currently looking at the following planners*:

Klarheit – Life Coach and Planner

Facts:
Size: A5
Color: white and black
Price: 34,90 €

What I love:
– Coaching section with 32 pages for reflections, goals, action steps
– unfold-able 12 month timeline to plan out goals – would work hand in hand with the goal setting from the “Unravel your year 2017” book
monthly review to stay on track and reflect on successes
weekly goal setting
– after 6 month there is a section to reflect and regroup
– 40 blank pages
– the company blog shows how to use the pages and gives ideas

What I am missing:
– the book cover looks a bit boring and seems not of as high quality as similar products

What I don’t need:
– I don’t care that I can number/date the weeks on my own. I guess if you only use it in weeks you work the 52 weeks last longer than a year and might be helpful for some people.

Starryday Planner

Facts:
Size: A5
Color: black, mint, pink
Pages: 224
Price: 16,90 €

What I love:
– weeks start with a “dump list” for all tasks
– entire page per day with top 3 tasks to get done, timeline and task manager for ABC prioritizing as well as a section for notes and a habit tracker
– seven extra habit tracker page

What I am missing:
– the planner only has 26 weeks… I am a bit confused by that so I guess you need two to get through the year.
– I am not really impressed with the used font/layout. It’s just not my style and a bit cheesy in my opinion.

Business Planner by weekview

Facts:
Size: A5
Color: white and black
Paper: 90 g/m
Price: 24,90 €

What I love:
– lots of lists for goals, projects, tasks with overview pages
– monthly overview pages for project planning with ABC tasks
– habit tracker per month
– quarter project overview
– ABC prioritizing for the week, timeline, upcoming week preview, note area
– goal setting pages
– lots of sticker, labels etc. available

What I am missing:
– I am not impressed with the layout. It seems bold and uninspiring.

What I don’t need:
– the goal setting pages are set for 2023 – too far for me

Planner / Workbook Pink Edition by Jo & Judy

Facts:
Size: A5
Color: rose/gold
Pages: 256
Paper: 80 g/m
Price: 28,90 €

What I love: 
– the project section for every week
– clean and feminine layout and colors

What I am missing:
– lists, trackers, coaching…

What I don’t need:
– The address book pages – its all in my phone so no need for that.
– The budget page that is next to the project page. I have my finance in order and I usually have a pretty good overview so this wouldn’t help me much.

While the design of Jo & Judy is the most impressive the structure of the planner just doesn’t work for me. The business planner might be a bit too much for what I plan to use it for. And the starryday planner is only half a year (I really can’t wrap my mind around it).

So I guess the Klarheit Planner is my best choice. But I am open for suggestions so please share if you have a better option!

Happy weekend,

Tobia

*Some links in this article are affiliate links. Meaning if you buy through this link I get a small provision. This would help me cover some of the costs for this blog. Thank you, I really appreciate it.

 

My favorite books 2016

This post is unbelievable. Unbelievable? Yes. I always loved reading. I remember a time when I went to the library weekly and left with a  huge stash of books. But then adult life came around and there were years where I didn’t pick up a book at all. Ever since I got my Kindle I started reading more. My reading challenge this year was 6 books. I ended up reading 45 so far. Still don’t know how I managed. But now I can make a pick of my favorite books 2016. And thats unbelievable for me.

I have to admit I only managed to read so many books because there was lots of low involvement and cheesy literature involved but then – I read. And reading is all about winding down, escaping reality and dreaming about life. I hardly ever read stuff that makes me sad or is unsettling. Ingnorant? Maybe. Or just plain self-preservation. There is enough dark, ugly, mean stuff out there why should I choose to spent my me time with it?

my favorite books 2016

Anyhow let’s get my list on my favorite books 2016. I included the links* in case you also want to read.

1. “Dem Horizont so nah” by Jessica Koch

To contradict myself this was a sad book. And some real life stuff. And it still captured me, made me cry and deeply moved me.

The author writes about her boyfriend – a troubled and abused young man. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t go into detail. But it talks about the individual struggles, glimpses of a life so different, disease, death and how it grows you as a human. It made me think about all the things in life I take for granted and how easily I do judge people. Definitely a recommendation!

There are two follow up books but I haven’t had the nerve to read yet.

My rating: Dem Horizont so nah ***** eBook; paperback

2. In Times Like These – Time Traveler Series by Nathan Van Coops

Yeah for finding this book between all the free ones on Amazon.

Just awesome. I loved the entire story setting and the development of the backstory of time traveling. What I didn’t know when first reading it is that Nathan actually incorporated some of the physical theories about time travel that scientists discuss and try to prove. (My dad (he studied Physics in college) told me that after I was telling him about the book.) Anyhow Nathan creates a whole new world for me.

The second book didn’t express me too much as I found too many parallels to the hunger games. I also didn’t really like the journey to the “aliens”. However it was still one of the best books I read this year and I would recommend to read it because it is part of the series.

The third book was pretty great again. It is a bit darker than the first two but than it does show what happens to time travelers when messing with time streams. It does get a bit confusing with all the versions of one character but also really fun.

Anyhow I am looking forward to the next one in this series.
If you like science fiction/fantasy this is a book you should really read. It was my first time traveler book and I never though I could get hooked on this genre. I even got Mr. ♥ to read the first one and he only reads crime & thriller.

My rating:
#1 In Times Like These ***** free eBook; paperback;
#2 The Chronothon **** eBook; paperback;
#3 The Day After Never *****  paperback
#1-3 In Times Like These Bundle***** eBooks

3. The Girl In Between – Series by Laekan Zea Kemp

I found myself a new author to follow. I like her style, it is unique and it is refreshing different to all the mainstream stuff out there. Definitely a surprise I didn’t expect from a book I got for free.

Book 1: A unique story setting and I love when there are actually more story within one story.
1. Real life: 17 year old Bryn has KLS and we follow her struggles in everyday life, school, friends, love, parents… but not really teenage drama.
2. Dream story: all fiction… or maybe not… very interesting sometimes maybe a bit jumpy but then who’s thoughts/memories aren’t.
3. Story of her disease and a girl 30 years ago with identical symptoms. This storyline is only teasered though and I am hoping it will be developed in the following books.

Book 2: The story does take an unexpected turn and develops in a different direction than I would have imagined. I like this kind of fantasy/fiction. However I thought the setting (in Cologne, Germany) was a bit absurd because everyone travels there from the U.S. but then it’s a book and everything is possible. I am intrigued what will happen next.

My rating:
# 1 The Girl in Between***** free eBook
# 2 The Boy in My Dreams ***** eBook
# 3 The Children of the Moon eBook
# 4 The Daughter of the Night  eBook

4. Ravensblood – Mystery Detective Series by Shawna Reppert

Well, I do have a thing for fantasy. A pretty big thing.

Here is another story about magic, mages, good and evil. BUT it is not the cheesy romantic unicorn kinda thing. Magic is regulated by law and there is a “police force” and a council of the different people living together. The story is about second chances, love, forgiveness, prejudices and conscience. It is a pretty dark story at times. I liked it as it was a bit different. However towards the end of the series I found it a bit flattening.

My rating:
#1 Ravensblood **** eBook
#2 Raven’s Wing **** eBook
#3 Raven’s Heart *** eBook
#1-3 Ravensblood Boxed Set **** eBooks

reading at the ocean

5. Hidden Academy Series by Jon Rosenberg

Another fantasy with lots of magic, unknown realms of fairies, unicorns and dark demons. And then there is the Hidden Academy an institution to keep order in the world as we know it. What I liked about this series is, that it focuses on different mythology in every book. I think my favorite character was the sidekick elf.

My rating:
#1 The Unicorn Crisis **** eBook
#2 The Digital Wolf *** eBook
#3 Pantheon of the Dead *** eBook
#4 When in Rome *** eBook

6. Winterliebe am Little Lake by Katrin Jäger

I really didn’t know what to expect from this book and I only picked it up because it was playing in Canada. I have to admit the beginning wasn’t strong and annoyed me a bit but then I really enjoyed it. There is a lot of life experience and wisdom weaved into this book and made me think about how serious we take life. I really liked the characters in the book and would have loved to sit with them for a cup of coffee.

My rating:
Winterliebe am Little Lake **** eBook; paperback

7. Stormy Cove by Bernadette Calonego

I usually don’t like reading crime stories. I get easily scared. This one wasn’t too bad. Mainly I was intrigued with the setting of the story. A freelance photographer from Vancouver is paid to spent an entire year in a desolate fisher community. I like how small town life is described, all the advantages and struggles. There might be a bit of a love story included and lots of mysteries. It was an easy and fun read to wind down.

My rating:
Stormy Cove **** eBook; paperback

Now I am interested: Has anyone read one of the books too? Is there a book you would love to read? And can you recommend some books to me? The holiday season is upon us and I plan on reading lots.

Happy book browsing,

Tobia

*If you buy a book through one of the Amazon links I will receive a small  provision. This would help me keep this blog alive and cover a few of the administrative costs. Thank you. Or maybe I just buy a new book, who knows…

Challenging myself and being creative #100daysofcraftaliciouspatterns

Do you follow me on Instagram? If so, you might have seen I challenged myself for the last months and drew a little pattern for the last 100 days. Here you can check them out #100daysofcraftaliciouspattern.

I followed Elise on her endeavor of doing 100 pep talks and it was just so inspiring. Then I listened to her podcast about her journey. Immediately I knew I needed to start my own project. I could feel it in my gut that it would be right and somehow I also kinda knew I will manage to write the #100 on one of my paper slips.

And I am so glad I started my 100 day challenge. It was tough at times. I made a tiny list of my take aways. Because who doesn’t love lists…

  1. 100 different patterns is tough. I felt like I was drawn to paint similar patterns more than once.
  2. Circles, dots and triangles reappeared often.
  3. I like the bold pens better than the really fine ones.
  4. The drawing took place mostly right before bed. However that was more because toward the end it became a chore…
  5. The best patterns were created when I didn’t pressure myself (surprise right here, no?) and when I wasn’t tired and wanted to head to bed.
  6. Sometimes I felt like I didn’t give it my all.
  7. When I didn’t come up with an idea/inspiration I leaved through a magazine or looked around my craft lab.
  8. Sometimes inspiration hit me totally unprepared. Like my migraine inspired pattern – one of my faves.
  9. I came across a ton of interesting Instagram accounts during this challenge. Separate post to follow.

So here are my top ten patterns.

100 day challenge my top 10

And apparently those top three were the most loved on Instagram.

100 day challenge top 3 instagram

What is your fave? And have you ever done a challenge like this?

Happy day to you,

Tobia

PS: I just realized I must have messed up the count because I only got 98 pictures uploaded on Instagram and missing #15 and #58. Mhm… so did I really do the project or did I fail?!

PPS: And since this is another DIY and pattern project I will link up with Muster Mittwoch, Wow me Wednesday and creadienstag.

EVERY DAY LIFE ON A RANDOM DAY in 2016

In 2015 I wrote down my routine for a random day in my life. I figured why not go ahead and do the same for 2016. It will be fun to go back and compare the years in a little while.

Nowhere to run nowhere to hide

So here it is:

7.10 somehow I am already awake even though I could sleep a bit longer. So I grab my phone and surf through Instagram, Facebook and Co., check some emails and just waste time.

7.30 the alarm goes off. Now I wanna stay in bed.

7.35/40 getting up, hitting the bathroom.

8.00 Making coffee, grabbing my journal and taking 10 minutes on the balcony to reflect yesterday.

8.10 chores, hanging laundry, unloading the dish washer, tidying up the living room or sometime doing quick emails or some online shopping.

8.25 high time to get going.

8.35 leaving the house, grabbing trash or a package on the way out.

8.38 biking to work – something I really start to appreciate.

9.00 hello work, hello colleagues, but first tea/water.

9.10 check emails and social media accounts, make a to-do list and plan the day.

9.45 uhhh now coffee and maybe a quick meeting with my boss about what’s gonna happen today.

10-12.30 work on projects, last minute stuff or whatever. Currently I’m working on lots of brand strategy and communication strategies for a coffee brand. Fun!

12.30 thinking and discussing lunch options, maybe having a quick dance party or a chat with our care taker who stops by to bring us goodies from is garden (strawberries anyone?).

12.45 caught up in some more work.

13.30 didn’t we plan on lunch? Grabbing a salat and sitting on the hospital campus or hitting one of the many cute bistros/cafés around the neighborhood.

Charité Campus Berlin

14.30 project work, discussions, phone calls … Just work.

17.00 it’s getting a bit more relaxed at work and we listen and sing and sometimes dance.

17.30 just getting this one thing done.

18.15 oh look work is over, clean up office kitchen and off I go.

18.30 grocery shopping.

19.00 relax on the balcony, meet friends or watch soccer (like right now, it’s European Soccer Championship!).

20.30 dinner time.

22.30 tired, better get ready for bed.

23.00 in bed, scrolling social media and maybe reading.

23.30 asleep.

Compared to last year life has slowed down considerably. My commute time is basically gone. I ride my bike to work and it takes me 15 min one way. That’s basically nothing. On the other hand you can tell that those 2 hours in the train were effective time as I used to write my blog posts there. Has been quite here lately. So I guess a new routine needs to be established.

Anyhow. I feel better with it.

Will you share a day in your life? I would love to read about your routines.

Happy living,

Tobia