Attitude of Gratitude

As we close out 2014 and enter a new year, everyone’s minds jump to New Year’s resolutions. There are things that we all want or wish for 2015 to bring and parts of 2014 that we may be ready to leave behind. But what about the best moments of 2014? That ordinary day that you spent the evening laughing with friends. Or the day that you had a great phone date with a loved one. Or the day that the killer migraine you’d been fighting finally went away. In our assessment of the year, these aren’t times that we reflect on. Instead we focus on the bigger moments. The day that you graduated or got a promotion at work or the day he first said I love you. But when we breeze through the year and only look at these moments, we miss the small, wonderful ones in between.

For about a year now, at the end of every day, I spend a minute or two and write down five things that I am grateful for that day. Some days, it’s easy to think of the five and some days, it’s a little bit harder. And then there are the days that can only be classified as “bad” and it feels difficult at all to see the good. But no matter what, I find things to write about. Because in the end, you have something to be grateful for, regardless of what is going on in your life. You have a warm place to sleep or you have food in your pantry or you have clean water to drink. And on the really bad days, those are still really great blessings.

I’ve found that by writing these things down at the end of the day, I’ve learned to approach the day with an attitude of gratitude. Focusing on the good things not only makes you a more positive person, but it brings a lightness to you and takes the stress away a bit, even if it’s just for a moment. In fact, it’s scientifically proven that grateful people are happier, get sick less often, sleep better and have more energy. And aren’t those all things that you’d like to have in 2015? So I encourage you this coming year, to take the minute or two before you go to sleep and write down your list. Not only will it be fun to look back on in the future, but it could very well change your attitude, and in turn, your life.

Question:

-Have you ever done a gratitude journal?

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Hair Donation Q&A

If you follow me on Instagram then you may have seen that I recently underwent a major haircut! I’d been growing out my hair for a while with the express purpose that I wanted to donate it. There are so many people out there who are battling cancer and sometimes it feels like there aren’t too many things outsiders can do to help. But when I thought about donating my hair, I realized that it was something I could do and felt that if my hair can help even one woman who’s struggling, then I am more than happy to do it. I thought that some of you might have questions about hair donation, so I decided to do a Q&A rather than my traditional blog post format.

What company did you donate to and why?

The hair donation company that everyone thinks of is Locks of Love, but I decided to donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. I chose Pantene because I really liked that they donate their wigs free of cost, which isn’t the case with every organization. I also like that Pantene is geared towards women with all types of cancer and is very inclusive.

How many inches did you donate?

I’ll admit that I went in thinking I was going to donate the minimum, which is 8 inches. However, once I was in the chair, my stylist and I decided to just go for it, and I donated 15 inches of hair!

How long did it take for you to grow your hair out?

My hair grows really fast and grew over a foot in just over a year. To keep it healthy and growing, I tried to really limit heat products and if I used them, always used heat protector. For more info on how I got my hair to grow, check out this post with my top 5 tips.

Pre-chop

Can I donate if I have colored hair?

The last time I colored my hair was more than a year ago, but the length was obviously still included. I think most people think that if you have colored hair, then you can’t donate but that isn’t actually the case. The restrictions are for bleach and permanent hair color, and unless you are covering gray, most hair stylists use semi-permanent color on hair, which is what I had in the past.

How do you donate the hair?

It’s actually really simple! You just have your hairdresser make a ponytail and cut above the hair tie. Then you take your dry ponytail and send it in a padded envelope to the address Pantene provides.

How did you feel when the chop happened?

I was really excited but of course, a little nervous too! Prior to going in, everyone was telling me how much they loved my long hair which made me feel a little conflicted but I remembered why I was donating and stuck to that! When my hair stylist cut the first part of the ponytail it felt kind of odd and much lighter… I also knew at that point that there was no going back!

How short do you have to go?

Your haircut can be any length, as long as the ponytail you are donating is 8 inches of length, not including layers. When my stylist cut my ponytail, my hair naturally fell in an a-line shape and we both loved it immediately so we decided to go for that!

Post-hair donation

How are you adjusting to the short hair?

When I first came home from the salon, I absolutely loved it! I was so happy with the finished product and excited for something new. That lasted until the next morning when I woke up and looked in the mirror and realized just how short my hair really was! There was about 36 hours where I wasn’t sure of my decision, but after that I started loving it! It’s been a really long time since I have had short hair and I love how swingy it is! It’s also super healthy, looks thicker and makes me feel sassy! Also, because it’s not long enough to pull into a bun or braid (it can fit in a small ponytail) I’ve started finding new ways to style it which has been really fun!

I hope that I answered any questions that you might have about hair donation! If you have any others you can email me or comment below and I will update this post with them! If your hair is long enough, I highly recommend donating it to such a worthy cause. It takes at least 6 donations to make a wig, so every donation counts!

I’m Back

So I’m back after almost a year away from my little corner of the internet. Honestly, I can’t believe that so much time has passed and that I’ve left you hanging for so long. I’ve been wanting to start blogging again for a little while now, but to be honest, have really struggled with this initial post. I wasn’t sure how to explain what the past year has been like and what it means going forward. I also haven’t wanted to dwell on the past and instead move on to the future of my blog and some exciting changes and plans that I have. Yet it wouldn’t feel right to skip over what has been a really difficult year and pretend that everything is the same. Truth is, I’m not the same. I’ve grown so much in the past year and have learned so much about myself that I really feel like I’ve come out of it stronger and more sure of the woman I am and the woman I want to be more than ever before.

But let’s back up. When I signed off on the blog last May, I had no idea it was going to be for so long. I have documented my health struggles fairly openly on the blog and if you’ve been a long time reader you were hearing a lot of “Well I was really sick this week” or you were hearing radio silence. It got to a point where it was just too difficult to blog and I kind of dropped off the face of the Earth for a long time. I don’t feel comfortable sharing all the details publicly, nor do I want this blog to become about those issues, but I will say that I was diagnosed with a serious autoimmune illness and was very, very sick. It is not something I am over and is something I am still struggling with daily. In some ways, it may seem surprising that I’m back at all, and for a long time I didn’t think that I would be.  But I found that I really missed writing. I missed connecting with readers and bloggers and the amazing blog community. I missed the joy that blogging gave me. So although I’m still struggling with this illness, I have decided to come back.

So what does this mean going forward? Well, a lot of things! For one, it means a re-branding of sorts, which you will see on the page. I’ll do another post about the type of diet I follow, but one thing is that I no longer eat oats… so granola doesn’t really seem fitting to be part of my blog name anymore. Also, although my blog started as a healthy living blog, it kind of turned into a lifestyle blog, full of weekend recaps and events around SF. My life is a little different now, and over the past year I’ve found a new passion… cooking! So expect to see lots of recipe posts, posts on living gluten-free in a gluten-filled world and so much more. I have so many ideas that I’m so excited to start posting about. Of course, I still love fashion and beauty so you can expect to see those types of posts as well. My posting schedule may be a bit erratic but I’ve learned that pushing my body is a no-go, so I’ll be posting when I feel up to it and removing any pressure to post when I’m not. This is a new era for this blog and I so hope that you’ll join me. And since this was a fairly wordy catch-up post, maybe my next will be some of my year in pictures!