The Happiness Project and Duluth Lovin'

I just got done reading a book named The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin.


The book is about Gretchen's quest to live a happier life. While she wasn't necessarily UNhappy in the first place, she found that there were a lot of opportunities for enhancing her happiness in her daily life, because she wasn't quite reaching her ultimate happiness potential. It's humorous and enlightening read, and it's especially helpful for perfectionists; I noticed that Gretchen has many of the same tendencies and personality traits as myself. Anyone who is looking to increase their happiness or at the very least learn about some interesting research and people who have written about happiness should check it out. Gretchen also has a web site/blog that she started while she was doing her project in 2010, and she still updates it on a regular basis. The web site is full of ideas, tools, and conversations about happiness. All very interesting stuff!

I'm going to be starting a Happiness Project of my own (though on a much more miniature scale than Gretchen's) in the next couple of weeks as I make the transition to Los Angeles; what better time to start a project than in the midst of a fresh start in a new place? I'll be blogging about it, so stay tuned for that!
I went to Duluth this past weekend for one last North Shore hoorah before I leave for the West Shore, and it was just as I wanted it to be: relaxing, sunny, lakey, and full of good food and good people. My family has been going to Duluth every summer for eighteen years for the Bayfront Blues Festival, so this weekend was full of memories for me. Our friends the Webers generously open their house to us and our close friends the Stark-Nelsons every year, and while the kids (now all young adults) take over the basement, the adults get their Blues Fest on down near the water. The tradition has gone through phases over the years: I will never forget playing with Park Dolls in the dusty heat of the Fest when I was younger; the years of watching Grease and Annie while we made our babysitter stay upstairs dressed as Miss Hannigan until we called for her to come down, only to scream and hide from her when she finally did; followed by the years when the older kids were of age to babysit the younger ones and we wandered the streets of the neighborhood, renting movies and buying candy at the gas station, setting up all of our make-up and nail polish on the coffee tables to do makeovers (which never actually happened); followed by the years of the older kids getting our licenses and driving to the mall and movie theaters all on our own; and then the college years, when our attendance got more sketchy, but at least a few of us managed to make it every year, and we finally got to enjoy all that the night life of Duluth has to offer.

It was fun for me to bring some new faces to the weekend and to be nostalgic about times past but at the same time appreciate all that has happened. I hope to someday give my kids the same kinds of memorable traditions.

I also got to explore some new areas in Duluth that I had never been to before! If you've never been to Fitgers, go. There are restaurants, shops, and a boardwalk out front right on the shore, with train tracks behind it and a great view of downtown Duluth.

Some photos from the weekend:

Off-handed throwing contest, Superior style

Things I'm diggin' right now:
-This woman and her story of her journey to a good food job inspired me

-An article about maintaining long distance relationships - all my girlfrands, keep these ideas in mind!

-Did you know that cooking with olive oil can be toxic if you heat it at too high a temperature? Good to  know, since I use olive oil to cook everything. Apparently you're supposed to use avocado oil or coconut oil instead. Read on.

-This article from The Onion that made me laugh out loud multiple times. Poor Obama.

Happy Tuesday!