Happier

Things that make me happy?  Hiking, dog smiles, and dog hugs!

Things that make me happy? Hiking, dog smiles, and dog hugs!

Have you heard about Happier?  It’s a social media website that focuses on positivity – not a bunch of ads, political rants, or inflammatory comments.  Like any other social media site, you can create a profile, and then post about moments that make you happy.  You can also read happy moments shared by other users and “smile” at them (as opposed to Facebook “likes”).

I joined a few months ago, and I love it.  I definitely don’t use it as often as I would like, but I’m trying to change that.  When I’m stressed, a dose of positivity from other people can really help.  Plus, research has shown that focusing on small happy moments instead of chasing after an ideal of happiness can actually improve overall mood and life satisfaction.

I’m not affiliated with the site at all – I just love the idea of focusing on positive thoughts.  One of my favorite features of the site (and the iPhone app) is that it reminds me to be grateful for the little things.  Since I’m feeling so busy/overwhelmed right now, taking a few minutes each day to use the app gives me just the pick-me-up that I need!  Check it out!

A day at the aquarium

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I can’t believe my vacation is halfway over!  Sigh…  As much as I love my program, I’m not sure that one week is long enough to give my brain a true rest!  Ah well.  I’m making the most of things this week, trying to balance some work with some fun stuff.

One of my fun activities this week was a trip to the Mystic Aquarium!  I’ve wanted to go there for years, but it’s about 2 hours away and the New England Aquarium in Boston (much closer!) is usually enough to satisfy my need to periodically see penguins, rays, and colorful fish!

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Let me tell you – it was worth the trip!  Since it was a weekday, the crowds were minimal (in fact, we were often able to enjoy the exhibits alone or with only 1-2 other people).  The facility was clean and the staff seemed eager to share their knowledge about the various animals/exhibits.  The exhibits are mature enough for adults to enjoy, but they are also very kid-friendly.  Some have crawl spaces under the tanks for kids to climb inside (for a unique view!).  There are also some tanks close to the ground, and all of the tanks extend down nearly to floor level – the kiddos can get a great view without help!  The only downside to our trip was that we didn’t realize how much of the aquarium was actually outside – there’s a large area with Beluga whales, sea lions, and penguins.  While I loved getting to see those animals, I felt like I didn’t get to enjoy them as much as I would have liked since I left my coat in the car.  Whoops.  As the weather gets warmer, I’d like to go again and spend a little more time at the outdoor exhibits.

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Like most aquariums, the Mystic Aquarium is clearly focused on conservation and species survival.  There are signs throughout the facility that explain some of the aquarium’s conservation efforts, and the staff seemed enthusiastic about these types of causes.

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Jeb and I will definitely return to the aquarium – especially as the weather warms up, and definitely with Talia!  I tried to take some photos, but, as you can see, it is hard to get clear shots through thick acrylic!  Ah well.  🙂

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Miller State Park

Last weekend, we decided to head out for our first big hike of the season!  We went to Miller State Park in New Hampshire to hike Pack Monadnock.  We chose this hike for a couple of reasons:

  1. It is dog-friendly!  We love to hike with our dogs (shocking, I know).  The regular (and more famous) Mount Monadnock does not allow dogs.
  2. Since it is close to a really popular mountain in the area (Mount Monadnock), Miller State Park (and Pack Monadnock) do not generally have the same kinds of crowds.
  3. It is relatively close to home (about 45 minutes away), but not so close that it is a hike we tackle often.
  4. It is a long and challenging hike (there is even some scrambling involved… well, if you’re short like me!)

 

We had a great day!  The dogs had a blast, and Jeb and I had a great workout.  The trails were nice and quiet, and the views were spectacular.  There is a fire tower at the summit, and I love to climb up to the top and take photos.  The only downside, really, was the mud.  It had rained for a solid week here, and the trails were a bit muddy.  Not only did the mud attract LOTS of mayflies, but I also slipped and fell while scrambling up some rocks.  I’m fine, but I do have a nasty bruise on my thigh.  Whoops.

I missed out on a lot of hiking last summer because of my injury.  This year, I plan to try lots of new trails! 🙂  Here are some pictures from our day.

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A Nomination!

For the first time ever, I’ve been nominated for a blog award!!  🙂  The girls over at We Shall Have Pie nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!  This put a smile on my face, especially because I find We Shall Have Pie very inspiring and look forward to their posts!  (BTW, I’ve been complaining about the blustery weather here – it’s NOTHING compared to what these girls are dealing with on their runs!)  So, thanks! 

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Since this is my first blog award ever, I don’t really know the protocol for this.  BUT, I can’t pass up the opportunity to nominate some of my favorite (and most inspiring) blogs.  Check them out!

In no particular order:

Hungry Runner Girl
Running in the City
Meals and Miles
Girls Gone Strong
80/20 Sund
Fit For a Year