happy ladies

A few things--like chocolate, chick flicks, and clean sheets--are almost guaranteed to boost your mood. But when it comes to …

  • Life is hard. But you don't have to let it bring you down.

    Why does everything have to be so hard? You might ask yourself this question all the time, after your latest trip to the car mechanic or when you receive yet another bill that is due all too soon.

    Although it's easy to tell yourself that life is too hard, you have a much better alternative: Embrace the difficulty and find the positivity in it. Below are three ways to see the upside of life's downsides.

    MORE: Stop the Vicious Stress-Eat Cycle

    1. Daily challenges can make you stronger and more resilient.
    For many people, chronic stress and anxiety do not stem from one major traumatic event. Instead, it can be the little daily annoyances that chip away at your sanity, piece by piece. However, you can choose to believe that life's daily challenges make you stronger.

    By proving every day that you are capable of handling numerous bite-sized stresses, you give yourself reason to be confident in your ability to handle things in the future, no matter what comes your way. You may wish that eve

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  • Aaron Ritcher/FITNESS Magazine

    Aaron Ritcher/FITNESS Magazine

    By Rachael Moeller Gorman

    In slow-pitch softball I couldn't buy a hit. I would stand at bat, waiting, planning, and preparing for the ball. And that was the problem. My brain and all its relentless thinking sabotaged my instinct.

    I'm hardly the only one who overthinks things. We all do it. In fact, research shows that our brains constantly try to forecast the future, to anticipate what will come next. In caveman times, that meant a fast prediction that a lion was probably following the herd of running antelopes, so stay away. Today it means mulling the healthfulness of every item on a four-page restaurant menu before picking the one that's least likely to pack on pounds, or agonizing over just the right witty words to post on Facebook in anticipation of judgment by hundreds of people.

    We also fret about our past experiences and decisions. But while some self-reflection helps us survive and thrive, too much can make us feel trapped and overwhelmed. "When you're overthinking, you're going r

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  • Welcome fall with these new ideas for parties.

    Autumn is a great time to celebrate with your friends and family. The cooler weather and change of seasons encourages outdoor excursions, but it's also a fantastic excuse to get together with your favorite people. Think beyond the hay ride or annual costume party. This year, adjust your party paradigm a bit with these new ideas for gatherings.

    Fall Photo Field Trip
    This one's great for families with young children, but teens and adults can enjoy this, too. Make sure everyone has a camera (a camera phone works, too), and go someplace where the sights, sounds, and even the tastes of the season call out to you. Focus in on the little details at a local pumpkin patch, or a walk in the woods, even a cornfield maze. You'll be surprised what you find by slowing down and taking a close look at the textures and colors. Create a hashtag on social media sites to share the photos with everyone in your group.

    Autumn "Crafternoon"
    Ask everyone to bring an inexpensive woven grapevine wreath, a hot

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  • danes
    The September 30, 2013 issue of the New Yorker had an interesting piece, John Lahr's Varieties of Disturbance, about actor Claire Danes.

    Though I've never watched My So-Called Life (yes, I know this is unacceptable, and it's on my to-do list), I do love Homeland, so I was interested to read the profile.

    Danes was quoted saying something that really caught my attention.

    "One of the lessons of her adulthood, Danes has said, was 'that there is real honor in being a total goofball.'"

    This struck me, because I've really worked hard, myself, to embrace my inner goofball. Not to worry about seeming dignified, or sophisticated, or knowledgeable, but to Be Gretchen.

    In this respect, one of my patron saints is Julia Child, and of all the posts I've ever written, one of my favorites is my encomium to her. She was goofy yet masterly, light-hearted yet authoritative.

    Enthusiasm is a form of social courage.

    Realizing this was part of my embrace of my love for children's literature. And therefore

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  • Why Michelle Obama Wants You to Drink More Water

    Why Michelle Obama Wants You to Drink More Water

    First Lady Michelle Obama has planted a garden at the White House, shown us that she can do a mean set of push-ups (hence those incredibly toned arms), and now she is on a mission to get us all to Drink Up.

    Water is vital to our body's health, since every system in your body depends on water. Among other duties, water carries nutrients to the cells, lubricates the joints, and helps us release toxins.

    How much water our bodies need every day actually depends on a variety of factors, such as our age, our activity level, the weather where we live, and our health. We have always heard that eight glasses of water daily is the standard, but how many of us are actually doing that?

    I don't know about you, but I have had many days where I have looked up at the clock, only to realize that I have been sitting at a desk for the last eight hours without having anything to drink. We may have swapped the sugary drinks for water in my home, but you still have to actually drink the water to get its benefi

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