Sunday, May 1


Hey everyone!

I'm so excited to announce that my NEW blog launches today!

Please visit La Fille Américaine!

Add it to your bookmarks, and subscribe to email updates if you like it! Either way, I am DYING to hear your opinions. Enjoy!

Monday, April 25

I am...

One week until I launch my new website!!

I'm dying to see this documentary...

Saturday, April 23

Getting off the bandwagon of practicality...

A personal contemplation on true happiness...

Happiness is the ultimate goal for every human being.

“The great end of all human industry is the attainment of happiness. For this were arts invented, sciences cultivated, laws ordained, and societies modeled.”
-British philosopher David Hume
Courtesy of Gabriella Camerotti

We’re always looking for more and better things to acquire because we believe they will make us happy. Ultimately, though, money, fame, and success never satisfy us. We are always left wanting more.

I refuse to live my life wanting a different one. I refuse to make happiness a pursuit. I know that a job will not make me happy, that money will not make me happy, and that living how someone else wants me to live will certainly not make me (or anyone else for that matter) happy.

I enjoy feeling inspired by my surroundings. Nothing has done that more for me than living abroad in Nice and Paris. I’m a dreamer, but I choose to make my dreams a reality. I choose to stop wanting and start living again.

There's the constant war between your head and your heart. The head being the practical one and the heart being "impulsive". The heart tells you what you really want and the head tells you what society expects you to do to fit in. It tells you to act logically and rationally.

I always tried to balance the two, but with time I'm slowly deciding to do away with the "head" altogether. My heart never tells me to do something completely unrealistic... it only speaks the truth. In hindsight, I have only been truly happy when listening to my heart and truly miserable when listening to my head.

Thursday, April 21

What's inspired me this week:

Seth Godin on

Oprah on Wednesday, featuring director Tom Shadyac.

The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler M.D.

Food Inc, available on Netflix Instant.

Wednesday, April 20

Photos: Snow on April 18, 2011

I'm still in disbelief that it snowed so much on Monday! This winter weather has lasted for six months! I've had enough! There's nothing to do but move far far away. (Hadn't I already done that? How did I end up right back here?!)
At least the pictures are nice...

Sunday, April 17

Big News for America

Sunday is a great day for an announcement, no?

Well dears, I am moving back to Paris next month!


Ok, so it's not really a big secret because I have already spilled the beans to too many people, but I wanted to make an official announcement to the blog world!

But, wait? Where does this leave this America the Strange blog?

Well, that's the second (but equally exciting) part of the news.

For the past month I have been working hard on my new website-- one that really encompasses everything that I believe in and that will remain with me through big life changes (because that's what it's about after all). My website will include personal antidotes, but in a way that will benefit my readers better. I'm working towards taking my writing to the next level. I hope you will join me!

I will launch my new website on May 1st, and I will post the link here and on my facebook page.

I'm so very excited to share with you everything that I have been working on!

Have a wonderful Sunday :)

Thursday, April 14

my beautiful work

Ok, so we didn't get a whole lot of creative freedom in my Photoshop class.... though at the end we did have a chance to mess around with what was available.

This is what I created:

Tuesday, April 12

The Magical Photoshop World

I spent the day in a class learning about the magical photo editing program that is Photoshop.

On Thursday I plan to invest in a brand new computer equipped with Photoshop. It's a program I have been dying to learn, but that has always intimidated me by both its price and interface.

But today I learned otherwise...

Photoshop isn't so scary after all. As someone who loves editing photos with free software (even creating a few graphics with the Paint program), learning the basics of Photoshop was a lot of fun!

I don't have any images to share with you at the moment because I don't own the program yet, but you will be the first to know when I do.

Otherwise, I have some big announcements coming up in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 10

My "New" Typewriter

On Saturday I visited my grandparents in East Lansing and got lots of goodies to bring home!

I've been lusting after typewriters lately, and they happened to have one to give me:

I'm new to the typewriter world, but I'm really excited to get it all oiled and set up to write.

My mom was telling me how annoying it was to use typewriters to write college papers because you weren't allowed to make any errors. I'm really glad that I have a computer to use for formal purposes, and the typewriter to use for fun.

How about you? Do you like using typewriters in the twenty-first century? Why or why not?

Sunday, March 27

Calm down. It's been a rough week.

It's been a rough week.

On Sunday I noticed that my heart was beating quicker than usual-- pounding through my chest as if I had just finished running.

While I hadn't been running physically, I had been running a mental marathon by working several jobs (teaching, tutoring French, writing, and evaluating online advertisements) as well as working on my personal website, and trying to keep up with the online media world all at once.

I worked myself into a tizzy trying to earn enough money to save for all of the expensive things that I want to do in the next couple of months, and noted that my heart problem was a symptom of this over working, so I spent the rest of Sunday reading books and doing yoga to relax.

On Monday morning, the problem had not abated-- actually becoming worse while working in the morning. On my lunch break I called the doctor to make an appointment, and discussed the problem with a nurse. "If this gets any worse you need to go to the ER," she said.

It immediately got worse.

My mom came home from work and drove me to the ER, where the nurses told me that I had suffered a panic attack. As I sat in the hospital bed with several wires stuck to my skin I realized something: For no amount of money am I willing to sacrifice my health. I felt inspired to make a change in my life-- to work less and play more.

But how? The inspiration subsided on my way home from the hospital and I suddenly felt discouraged and depressed. How had I let myself get to this point? What changes do I have to make in my life? How will I ever afford all of the things I want if I work less and play more? These thoughts numbed me for a few days, causing numerous crying spells. I felt like utter crap.

On Wednesday I made a decision with some help from my mom. I decided to quit one of my jobs in order to make more time for myself (the meaning of which I'm still trying to understand). I felt like a failure for not being able to handle my own circumstances, but a sudden realization in the shower (the most inspiring of places) made me feel calm: I don't have to be the best at everything. I don't have to compete with everyone else. I don't have to compare myself to everyone else. What a relief!

So here I am on this Sunday feeling better than ever because I finally feel like I have time to do the things I want to do without worrying about what everyone else is doing.

Saturday, March 26

Best Authors of All Time

I'm working on a project and I could really use some of your help.

Who are your top three favorite fiction authors of all time?

You don't necessarily have to tell me why, but if you'd like to I would love to hear it!

My favorites (at the moment):

1. Marcel Proust

2. Oscar Wilde

3. Ernest Hemingway (I'm reading A Moveable Feast right now)

Saturday, March 19

The black hole of multitasking

Right now I am doing way too many things all at once.

  1. I have 8 tabs opened on my browser
  2. I am working
  3. I am reading blogs
  4. I am reading the New York Times
  5. I am writing this blog entry
Moreover, my mind is in a million places reflecting on how I will spend my time for the rest of the day. I feel that I have so many things that I could be doing that I try to do them all at once. This means that I'm not doing any of them well.

This behavior goes against my basic principle of quality over quantity, and it makes me feel as though time is passing and I'm not really engaging in what I am doing. So, I have closed all but 3 tabs on my browser, and once I finish this post I am going to try to focus wholeheartedly on my work.

Here is a New York Times article titled "Shortcuts--Multitasking Can Make You Lose...Um...Focus"

Here is a post from Zen Habits on "The Magical Power of Focus"

Friday, March 18

Natalie Portman is the new Miss Dior

It looks like no one can get enough of miss Natalie Portman! I love this new Miss Dior ad.

Thursday, March 17

Spring? Is that you?

Yesterday I enjoyed a blazing 55 degrees!

Messing around with my mom's camera (learning about shutter speeds and whatnot), I decided to venture outside and take some pictures of this most beautiful day!

I am obsessed with this picture of the tomato plant (see the remnants of last year's fruits?)
So sunny! I love it!!!

Kona's sick of having his picture taken, but he looks adorable!

How are you spending these first days of spring weather?

Tuesday, March 15

Inappropriate Winter Footwear

Last Tuesday, I roamed the hallways of the local mall in my long coat, knit scarf, and leather boots. This winter has been a brutal one, for sure-- which is why I was shocked to see a posse of teenage girls wearing flip-flops during their winter shopping trip.

While I must admit that I am sick of wearing the same leather boots every day, I know one thing for certain-- it is still much too cold to wear flip flops.

Sadly, when I was in high school I know that I did the same thing. I remember my mom telling me I was crazy as I walked out the door with minimal foot protection. The sandals made me feel rebellious and free. I scoffed at my mom's opinions on my footwear.

The thing is, flip-flop fashion is a uniquely American thing. While living in Paris in the fall of 2009, an American friend spoke of her bewilderment at how French people seemed to know she was American just by looking at her.

"French people don't wear flip flops" I told her bluntly. She stared down at her feet in confusion and then looked at everyone's footwear around us. She knew that I was right.

In the French opinion, flip flops are beach footwear-- not appropriate for daily life, and especially not appropriate for cold, snowy weather. So please, American teenagers, I know that it's difficult, but please hold on for just a couple of months before bringing those multicolored, plastic contraptions out of your closet. Your feet  will thank you!

Sunday, March 13

Sunday's Preparation for the Week Ahead

Here are some of my favorite sites that will inspire you to prepare for the week that is to come:

1. Zen Habits by Leo Babauta. As I mentioned in my last post, this is one of my favorite blogs. I'm somewhat obsessed with it. I recommend beginning at his start page, which advises readers on what to read first.

2. Marc and Angel Hack Life, with tons of articles on ways to reflect and make the most out of your life. This post discusses "20 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Every Sunday".

3. The For the Love of Blogs Sunday blog hop. It's so great to get feedback from other bloggers on Sundays!

After consulting my favorite sites, I am going to work a little, read some of my current book, The Story of French by Jean-Benoît Nadeau et Julie Barlow, and hopefully find some time to RELAX (it is Sunday after all).

How do you like to spend your Sunday?

Friday, March 11

Prayers for Japan and some Zen Habits

More than any other recent natural disaster, the devastation in Japan has really affected me.

Disasters really make you think about the shortness of life, and how important it is to live fully.

Quality over quantity.

One way to find out how to live better is to read the Zen Habits blog by Leo Babauta. His posts are powerful and simple. I've been reading it for a year now, and find it absolutely fabulous.

 Have a good weekend,


Thursday, March 10

Enough, already!

This weather is horrendous! Snow, rain, wind-- we've had it all today.

I'm ready to move on to spring. Who's with me?

Here's a photo from one of my favorite blogs, Les Composants. Here's to the sunny mornings that are soon to come!

Tuesday, March 8

MacBook Pro or MacBook Air? A Worthy Debate

My life must be pretty hard that my most pressing concern is weather to purchase a Macbook Pro or a MacBook Air, both of which have their pros and cons. I figured I should use my blog to ask you, the people, your opinion on the matter.

So, let the battle begin!

Sunday, March 6

My First Freelance Article Submission

Today I submitted my first freelance article to a print magazine. I know that the chances of being published are slim to none, and that many writers submit hundreds of articles before being published, but this is an exciting moment for me indeed.

The publication is called Skirt! and you can find them at their website.

Here is a picture from their current issue titled "What if?" Let's just say that it hit a chord with me.

"Could you move, master a foreign language, marry a foreigner?
What's really stopping you?

The world or your will?"

Friday, March 4

Authentic Happiness Inventory

The University of Pennsylvania's Authentic Happiness Test Center is looking for online participants for it's authentic happiness questionnaires. They're quick and easy, and at the end you get a happiness score (between 1 and 5). While the research has not yet concluded the absolute value of the score, at the end of the questionnaire, you will recieve a percentile score rating your level of happiness to that of other participants. Fill out the questionnaire at the Authentic Happiness website to help positive psychology research!

Because of comments I have decided to reveal my number: 4.54

Thursday, March 3

Live the language - Paris!

I've watched this video about 10 times already and you should, too!

Tuesday, March 1

Bonheur in the month of mars

Here is a quotation from Mireille Guiliano's bestselling book French Women for All Seasons that I definitely live by:
“French women know happiness is not a matter of luck; it’s what you make of your life. This word for happiness is literally ‘good time.’ The French way of connecting feeling with time is telling. It suggests something to be cultivated in the course of our hours and days and months and years, how we live in relation to them. The English word happy comes from the archaic word hap, which means ‘luck.’ Interesting distinction.”

Monday, February 28

Barcelona in Pictures

I began writing this blog entry in my composition notebook on the plane ride over the Atlantic Ocean.

I spent a most enjoyable eleven days traveling and visiting with friends who are really more like family. I spent the first four days of my trip in Barcelona with Momo. It was especially wonderful to get away from the snowpocalypse that has sucked the life out of my home state.

Barcelona in pictures:
The "Arc de Triumf" near our Hostal. Much smaller yet prettier than the Parisian version.

Self-explanatory: a sailboat and myself

La Sagrada Famiglia. Construction began in 1885 and won't be finished until 2026!

The "W" Hotel is shaped like a sail.

FC Barcelona Stadium

Out on a sunny day overlooking Barcelona...

On the cable car above Barcelona

Enjoying the view and the beautiful, yet windy, weather.

My favorite things about Barcelona:
  • The people didn't make me feel (too) bad about speaking English.
  • Eating dinner at 10:00pm and being a part of the "early crowd".
  • Parc Guell with the excellent view of the city and architecture by Gaudi.
  • Sunshine in February! (Rain, too, is better than snow with temps above 50 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Barcelona is a walkable city with a clean metro system. Au contraire, Paris is a semi-walkable city with a famous métro system containing bacteria never found anywhere else in the world.

While I spent almost half of my trip in Paris, I really didn't take any pictures. I think I had worn myself out from the hundreds I seem to have taken in Spain.

Sunday, February 27

Wednesday, February 23


Fear controls you.

"The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time." [Mark Twain]

It doesn't matter if you live out of fear of checking your bank account, traveling to a new place, speaking up, losing friends, being alone, or deciding to make a big change in your life.

Many of us even fear admitting what our fears actually are, but no one is excluded from having fears, and your fears can limit you from living the life you deserve.

I double dog dare you to write as a comment to this post one of your fears. It can be big or small, and you absolutely have the right to remain anonymous.

I'll start.

I'm afraid of being rejected as a writer.

I'm afraid of taking the wrong path to happiness.

I'm also afraid that no one will comment on my blog.

Now it's your turn... don't let fear prevent you from commenting!

Friday, February 11

Mubarak Steps Down

A very exciting day, indeed! I am off to Europe in a few hours and what's even more triumphant is that President Mubarak of Egypt has resigned, giving a chance at democracy to the Egyptian people. I'd say that those protesters understand the quotation I posted yesterday from Mark Twain.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

...and I would add, fight for what you believe in.

Thursday, February 10

Advice from Mark Twain

This morning I find inspiration to seize the moments in the words of a legendary American humorist, writer, and lecturer.

"The fear of death follows from the fear of life.  A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time."

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Monday, February 7

Happy Monday

In just one week I will be in Barcelona! The weather there has been in the 60s lately which is really exciting! It's that time of year when winter becomes utterly unbearable in Michigan and I can't wait to catch a break. 
Here is a picture from the New York Time's Frugal Traveler blog about Barcelona

Tuesday, February 1

Happiness on a Monday

Yesterday happiness came to me in the form of making little tomato and chèvre tarts, like the one that I made in a previous post. I cut up the pie crust and made tiny tarts by putting them into a muffin pan. Scrumptious!

I also discovered a bottle of red wine from 2005 in the kitchen. What a good find! 
Overall I'd say it was a pretty great Monday!

Sunday, January 30

Sunshine on a January afternoon

Sometimes the weather in January surprises me.

Sunshine made me happy today:

 I sat at a café reading before the library opened and the sun came out really strong! We're supposed to get 8-12 inches of snow on Tuesday night, so I figured I'd soak it up while I still can.

Wednesday, January 26



I attended one meeting for the Public Relations club on my campus while earning my undergraduate degree. 
The only thing I remember about that meeting was noting how many hundreds of times the members talked about networking as a means to success. Since then, I have accepted how important networking is in the business world, and have also realized how important networking is in every aspect of life. Humans are social creatures after all, and everything we do and say makes an impression on the people around us.

Last year, while living in Paris I remember realizing how much the actions of others affected my lives. I wouldn't have been living in the apartment in which I lived if my roommate hadn't met her future husband while living across the hall from him while she studied abroad. She wouldn't have met her future husband if she hadn't moved into the apartment across the hall, which only happened because she had an awful host-stay experience. She only had an awful host-stay experience because of where she was placed (the action of whoever placed her).

So really, the entire basis of my experience in France was decided by people who I never met, and have no knowledge of my existence.

How my friends affect my every move
During brunch last weekend, my friend Julie and I discussed how much of an effect the people around us-- be they close friends, friends of friends, or even people we dislike but can't seem to break free from-- have on our lives. It's a quite sobering subject to consider, as it is impossible to isolate oneself from the influence of others. The subject of interconnectedness remained on my mind as I browsed books yesterday.

A bright orange book titled Connected: How your friends' friends' friends affect everything you feel, think, and do jumped out at me. I bought the book and have barely put it down since, reading 120 pages in one sitting (even interrupting my plans to watch Obama's State of the Union speech).

The book discusses the influence that our social networks have on our behavior. It turns out that my observation that people we will never meet influence our lives is true. Individuals separated three degrees from us (i.e. the friend of a friend of a friend) have an influence on our behavior.Their happiness and even their eating habits have a significant effect on yours.

Can you think of a time when someone two or three degrees separated from you had an effect on your life?

Tuesday, January 25

Lap Desk

My thighs sighed with relief when I bought this lap desk. No more hot computer on my lap! Could it encourage more frequent blogging? Stay tuned...
Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 17

Monday Reflections

In college I stumbled upon the Marc and Angel Hack Life blog and spent hours reading their numerous lists on ways to live a more productive life. One list, entitled "20 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Every Sunday" stuck out to me.

For a few months in 2010 I succeeded in writing down responses to all of these questions every week, though I can't say I always completed the exercise on Sunday. My weekly responses to the following questions helped me to realize where I prioritized my time, what I learned during the week, and how to make the upcoming week more successful. Consequentially, I highly recommend trying this out for a few weeks. You never know what you'll learn about yourself when you actually take some time to reflect.

Here is the list from
  1. What did I learn last week? – If you have trouble answering this question, it’s time for a change.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, you should learn something new every week.
  2. What was my greatest accomplishment over the past week? – Reflecting on your accomplishments is a healthy way to raise self confidence and contentment.  It’s also an effective way to track your progress.
  3. Which moment from last week was the most memorable and why? – It may open up your mind to new passions and goals, or simple pastimes worth revisiting.
  4. What’s the #1 thing I need to accomplish this week? – Everything else is secondary, and should be treated as such.  Nevertheless, this question will also shine light on other noteworthy tasks.
  5. What can I do right now to make the week less stressful? – Set reminders in your calendar, get your laundry done, fill the car with gas… organize yourself.
  6. What have I struggled with in the past that might also affect the upcoming week? – The idea here is to learn from your struggles and better equip yourself for future encounters.
  7. What was last week’s biggest time sink? – Steer clear of this in the future.  Setup physical barriers against distractions if you have to.
  8. Am I carrying any excess baggage into the week that can be dropped? – Physical clutter, mental clutter… eliminate the unnecessary so the necessary may shine bright.
  9. What have I been avoiding that needs to get done? – Pencil in a time to get these things done.  For any 2-minute or less tasks, consider scheduling them first thing Monday morning.
  10. What opportunities are still on the table? – If it’s still available and you want it, make a concrete plan to go after it this week.
  11. Is there anyone I’ve been meaning to talk to? – Regular communication can solve problems before they fester.  Always keep an open line of communication to those around you.
  12. Is there anyone that deserves a big ‘Thank You’? – Take time each week to thank the people who have helped you.  Your kind gesture will not go unnoticed.
  13. How can I help someone else this coming week? – The easiest way to get what you want is to help others get what they want.  If you help them, they will remember you when you need help.
  14. What are my top 3 goals for the next 3 years? – You’ll never make any progress in life if you don’t setup realistic goals for yourself.
  15. Have any of my recent actions moved me closer to my goals? – If the answer is no, something needs to change.
  16. What’s the next step for each goal? – Knowing the next step is the key to accomplishing the whole.
  17. What am I looking forward to during the upcoming week? – The answer can act as a great source of motivation.  If nothing exists, schedule something to look forward to.
  18. What are my fears? – Consciously address your fears each week and slowly work on resolving them.  It’s all about taking baby steps.
  19. What am I most grateful for? – It’s a smart way to keep things in perspective, and something you should never lose sight of.
  20. If I knew I only had one week to live, who would I spend my time with? – Another helpful reminder… Life is short.  Spend more time with the people you care about.

Saturday, January 15

Panera's Life Lessons

Writing My Memoir at Panera Bread Co.

I went to Panera today to grab some food and work on my memoir. In part due to having just finished "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Ruben, I was in an extremely good mood during my time at Panera. I was also very aware of my surroundings.

Many writers believe that locking oneself in a windowless space for hours on end is the best way to force words onto a page. Marcel Proust, whose infinitely long A la récherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time)  is considered by many as the best literary work of the twentieth century, spent much of his life writing "from midnight to dawn in a cork-lined room", completely isolated from the world.

While I admire Proust's work, having read it in both French and English several times, the man himself was a little cooky, and I'd like to maintain semi-normal social habits even if my passion does promote loneliness.

I was therefore thrilled to learn that many writers, including JK Rowling,  believe that working from cafés, where one can eat, drink coffee, and be in public, is the best place to write. This approach seems much more attractive to me, and has even lead me to discover at least one new café in my area (with help from the Yelp application on my iPhone, of course).

Learning About Negativity at Panera Bread Co.

The last chapter of Ruban's memoir discusses eliminating negative comments and criticisms when we talk with other people. Her book offers a substantial amount of research on how much these gossipy comments affect one's attitude.

Consequentially, I spent much of my time at Panera this morning observing others. I even opened a separate Word document to type my observations. This served to (a) help me to realize how often I become distracted, and (b) to become more aware of my surroundings.

My conclusion? The main conversation topic amongst lunch-goers and coffee-drinkers was gossip about other people. The second most popular subject-- how difficult of a week they had or how tired they were. I was stunned to see how much negativity existed around me.

After a couple of successful hours of writing, I packed up my things to go home. On my way out the door I followed a couple, both of which were probably around my age. The girl was wearing a sweatshirt, sweat pants, and Uggs. Her bottled blonde ironed straight hair was pulled into a messy ponytail and was decorated with a sparkly headband.

To put it diplomatically, this is one of my least favorite styles, but because of my good mood I actually succeeded in not labeling her or casting a judgment about her based on her look. In fact, other than taking note of her in my subconscious, I didn't really think twice about her.

The boy held the door open for me as he listened to his girlfriend complain about something on Facebook. I quietly thanked him, and his girlfriend proceeded with their conversation, making the following statement:

"I guess that's how ugly people find dates now, with Facebook."

I was shocked. Even without any context as to what she was talking about, I found her comment to be negative, rude, and highly inappropriate-- especially in public. 

I fought every cell in my body to not say something to her. As I climbed into my car, I thought of about a million comments I could have made, like "Excuse me, but would you take one look at your outfit before making that statement", or "So I'm guessing that's what you did, too"; but I ultimately decided to keep my comments to myself and write a blog about it when I got home.

My question to you: Have you ever stopped to think about your own negative comments? I'm definitely going to try to do so this coming week.

Article referenced: Where Are the Best Places to Write from

Wednesday, January 12


Here I have it, my very own copy of "The Happiness Project". It set me back about $27, but It was calling to me and my love of all things self-help-meets-adventure.

Now, more than ever, seems like the ideal time in my life to live vicariously through the adventures of others, be they real or fictional characters. I always planned on reading more books after graduating college, but never really got around to making it happen. I'm off to a great start having already finished a couple of books this year, and am always on the look out for recommendations! Please leave a comment if you've read a great book recently!

Tuesday, January 11

The Happiness Project

Two magazines came to our house yesterday: Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping. I bet you can't guess which one I was more geeked to peruse!

Happiness and java, anyone?

Ok, I'll be honest, I looked at both of them while on the treadmill today, but it's a pretty strange day when you switch from articles entitled "Rock Your Man's World" to things like "The natural way to lower blood pressure."

The opening editor's letter discusses a New York Time's Bestseller book, "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin,about one woman's year-long journey to finding happiness in everyday activities.

Given my natural inclination towards all things happiness related, I assume that I will read her column regularly and plan on buying her book as well. For now, though happiness searchers can visit The Happiness Project Blog.

Sunday, January 9

America is Still Strange!

Thank you to everyone who has made a comment to me in the past month or so about how they miss my updates. It's extremely encouraging to write knowing that someone may have benefited from reading my ramblings, especially at a time when I feel that my current life situation lacks dramatic intrigue.

Here I am, my fifth attempt at writing a new blog in the past week or so. It wasn't so much a spout of writer's block that stopped me, if anything I have been writing more than usual, even making it a habit to wake up early and write for thirty minutes before starting my day. It's more that I have been at a loss as to the direction in which I would like to take this blog. Fifth time's a charm!

I've been living at home in Michigan for over four months now, with a two week trip to France in November to keep me sane. It may or may not have worked. That's for you to judge. This four month mark has been the most difficult so far. The ants in my pants to get on with the next big thing life has to offer seem to be procreating at an ungodly rate, but at the same time I feel that I am starting to accept my circumstances more with each day. I did choose them, after all.

My passions are starting to make themselves clearer, and some recent purging of garbage bags full of my unused belongings has cleared up some much needed plots in my brain for creativity to build it's masterpieces... at least I hope so. If anything, I've spent a lot of time observing the people around me, listening to the things they have to say, and I've had several revelations while hearing the comments my friends have to make about their life situations.

While I understand that every generation has struggles, I can only speak for my own age group, and I notice a serious lack of conversation between gen-y-ers, twentysomethings, post-graduates or whatever you want to call us, about the struggles that we are going through and how to find what we're looking for. We are now facing a forest of unknowns instead of a well paved path, and from what I've gathered, we're all freaking out.

On my free time I have been writing about my experiences since graduating college, half of which occurred on foreign soil, and how they have helped to teach me many lessons that I believe I wouldn't have learned otherwise. I hope that by  putting these experiences into words they will serve to help overwhelmed and frightened counterparts of mine to realize that in life, there is actually nothing of which to be afraid, only discoveries to be made. (Didn't mean for that to rhyme, actually).

So voilà, there you have it. I am no better off than anyone else my age, I merely have a desire to help to motivate young people to find what they are looking for, and will use this blog as a tool.