Hi friends, the year is already flying by and I’ve been enjoying catching up with you all here on the blog.
I’ve been deep in flower world lately and noticing that every time I try to come up with a new blog post, it always has something to do with flowers – ha! Working with flowers has added so much more joy, connection and meaning to my life and I really want to share that magic with all of you.
I know that not all of you are very interested in flower talk, so I’ve decided to blog on my other website: https://www.floweremedy.co/ for the time-being. I still hope to pop back here every now and again, but it just won’t be every week.
Here’s what I’m planning to share on The Flower Remedy blog:
Research on how being around flowers can add more joy and happiness to our lives
Easy ways to incorporate flowers, plants, and nature into our everyday routines to enhance our well-being
How we can connect with ourselves and the earth through nature and gardening
Behind-the-scenes of my garden and the flower giveaways I’m doing
Flower meanings and which flowers are best to give for each occasion
My best tips for growing flowers, giving flowers, pressing/drying flowers, and arranging flowers
I don’t know about you, but over the last 2 years I’ve had to get very creative with how to keep in touch with friends from a distance. There’s nothing I love more than sitting down face to face with my best friends and chatting about life, so it’s been a bit of a challenge for me to maintain a connection during the times where I haven’t had that ability. Below is a list that I originally created for myself when I was brainstorming different ideas for how to connect with my BFF’s. I know we’re able to see each other more now than in 2020, but I still find that I’m seeing people much less than I used to. I hope you find it helpful!
20 Ways to Connect with Friends During a Pandemic
1. Monthly goals
Choose one goal each month and check in with each other once a week to see how you’re doing with that goal via text or with a weekly phone call. It creates such great accountability and it helps you connect, while also doing moving towards an objective. I usually choose different goals than my friends, but you can also choose the same one. Anything goes!
Choose one recipe each week to cook with a friend. Cook the dishes in your own kitchens, then send each other pictures and rate how each dish was. You can also take it to the next level by cooking together on Facetime or a regular phone call. I’ve heard great things about Cook This Book: Techniques That Teach and Recipes to Repeat and you can never go wrong with a Barefoot Contessa cookbook.
4. Work out
Sign up for the same work out class (online) and do it together. A few popular online workout subscriptions right now are Melissa Wood Health, The Class, Sculpt Society, and Yoga with Adriene. Chat about how your workout went afterwards when you’re hydrating!
5. Bake something and give it to friends
Bake something delicious and deliver it to friends. This is a great way to connect with local pals by showing your love and will inevitably lead to more connection afterwards. Two of my favorite things to bake are these amazing chocolate chip cookies and these banana chocolate chip muffins. They are a hit every time!
6. Pen pals
Send each other snail mail. A great place to look for cute “mail tag” ideas is on Pinterest.
7. Share what’s in your garden
Have extra flowers, veggies or fruit? Surprise your friends by writing a cute note and dropping the goodies off at their house.
8. Learn something new together
There are so many courses on sites like brit.co and udemy.com that are inexpensive and fun. Ask a friend if she wants to take one at the same time and compare notes. One of my favorite courses is the free Science of Happiness course.
9. Volunteer online together
There are a lot of volunteer opportunities you can do online. You may not be interacting with each other while volunteering, but you can always call your friends afterwards to connect about how it went. One of my favorite foundations to support is https://www.7cups.com/, where you can volunteer to listen to people who need someone to talk to. If you want more ideas for where to volunteer, try visiting volunteermatch.com.
10. Do Happsters Weekly 3 together
Try out the Weekly 3 and send your entries to each other every week. I did this with my friend Gina for about 2 years and it was the best!
11. Tarot Tuesdays
If you’re both into tarot, choose a spread each week and send each other the cards you pulled. Chat about how you think it relates to what’s going on in your life right now. If you’re looking for a tarot deck, you can search for one you like here.
12. Daily breathwork or meditation
Ask your friends if they want to do breathwork or meditation with you (virtually) every day for a month. There are tons of free meditations on the apps Insight Timer and Calm. I also love the breathwork app Breathwrk (I use the free version). Text each other throughout the week to see how it’s going.
13. Book club
Start a book club and meet virtually every month to talk about the book. You can also mix it up and each read your own self help books and then get on the phone to discuss what you took away from your respective books. Here are 15 of the best online book clubs to join in 2022.
14. Watch party
Choose a series to watch and turn it on at the same time each week. Text throughout the show with your thoughts. If you’re watching on Netflix, try Netflix Party.
15. Sharing circle
If you have a larger group of friends, consider hosting a virtual sharing circle where you lead everyone in asking 2-3 questions like “What’s something you’ve enjoyed about 2022 so far?” and “What’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t gotten around to yet?” Pose one question at a time and have everyone go around and answer without interrupting, then move onto the next question. Then at the end of the sharing circle, chat about life updates and/or follow-up questions you have from everyone’s shares.
16. Weeds & seeds of the week
Get on the phone each Sunday and journal together about the things you need to get done in the coming week (weeds) and the things that would be fun to do/would bring you joy this week (seeds). Journal about it while on the phone and then share with each other your weeds and seeds. Check in throughout the week to see how you’re both doing.
If you and your friend(s) own businesses or have side hustles, start a mastermind where you get on a call every month to discuss your business goals, get advice on new ideas, and support each other.
18. Create one thing every day for a month
If you and your friend love to get creative, challenge each other to do one creative thing every day (they can be different from each other) and send each other a picture of what you made every day.
19. Sunday check-in texts
Send each other a text on a designated day each week asking “what was the best part of your week?” to help each other focus on the bright side.
I’m so excited to have my first guest post of the year share a little bit about her experience with social media. Amy Weinland Daughters is an author who is coming out with a book on May 17, 2022 called “Dear Dana: That Time I Went Crazy and Wrote All 580 of my Facebook Friends a Handwritten Letter.” When I first heard about this book, the first thing I said to my husband was “that sounds like my kind of book!” Many of you know how much I love handwritten letters, so I can’t wait to read Amy’s book! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy her post about how social media can connect and disconnect us below.
In 2004 Myspace reached one million active users, a watershed moment that signaled the dawn of the age of social media. Speed forward a mere 18 years later, and Facebook has 2.89 billion monthly active users across the globe. That’s roughly 35 percent of the world population.
To say it’s transformed the culture of human interaction would be a gross understatement.
While the advent of the telegraph (1844), telephone (1876) and texting (1992) enabled individuals to communicate one-on-one in real time – social media allows us to be connected without deliberately being a part of a conversation.
Though we can choose to participate via posting, sharing, commenting, and liking for all to see, we can also play the role of bystander – an individual on the sidelines who observes the interaction without contributing.
The reality is, most people who engage in social media – which is most of us whether we admit it or not – fall somewhere between these two extremes, we are active participants and silent bystanders.
The result is an alternate universe that seems like reality, but it can’t be. Not because it’s inherently “bad”, but because even though it can feel, taste and smell like actual human interaction – like real relationship – it just isn’t.
Before proceeding with the bashing of social media, let’s take a step back and acknowledge the absolute value it offers us as human beings who crave the company of other human beings.
The Connecting Points
The truth is social media allows us to do something that without it would be impossible – interacting with hundreds, even thousands, of people at the same time.
With it, we can keep in touch. We can know things that otherwise we wouldn’t.
Armed with this knowledge we can support and encourage one another. While we might not be there “in person” we can be there in a way that has the potential to make a meaningful difference.
Beyond that we can entertain one another, providing a much-needed distraction from the reality of our world. Then there’s the sharing of information – though often fraught – social media does have value for getting the word out, especially when we can agree on a defined truth.
It all adds up to a sense of actual, genuine, community that wouldn’t be without Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, etc.
Don’t think so?
Consider the essential outlet social media has provided throughout the pandemic. Despite all its inherent flaws, it’s made people feel less alone when the potent danger of loneliness is as prevalent as it’s been in our lifetimes.
The other truth is – we can’t be in real relationship with hundreds of people. It’s not that we don’t like – or even love – our on-line community, it’s that we can’t be there – in a real, in-person, way.
Social media doesn’t require us to personally invest in relationships – to sacrifice or to risk something of value to form a closer bond with another person. Instead, it allows us, by its very nature, to dip in and dip out. To show up when we want to. The rules of engagement don’t require us to be deliberate.
The blueprint of social media – the technological marvel that allows us to share our message with the entire world immediately, is fraught. It doesn’t work for human beings because of who we are.
Not only do we expect to be responded to, we also desperately need to know we’re listened to. It’s the only way to confirm that another human being cares enough, and that we matter enough, to be heard. And when we’re not, we question ourselves and our message. And since social media doesn’t require us to reply promptly if at all – as a one-on-one phone call would – when we don’t hear back from those who we assumed have read our message, we can feel isolated, unimportant, and alone.
It’s a scenario that seems almost counterintuitive given we’re using a medium that connects us with hundreds of people at the same time.
No number of likes or comments is ever enough – because someone, or something, is always missing. It’s the sense that somebody, anybody, is here – just for us – individually.
The good news is while we can’t be in real relationship with hundreds of people, we do have a capacity to solidly show up for, and make a difference to, a select number of friends. And they can do the same for us. The result is having the capacity to care and therefore be cared for. To support and be supported. To love and be loved. Not only is that something, it’s everything
While social media absolutely has substantial value in keeping us connected, it’s crucial that we separate our online relationships from those we do in “real life.” While we care about our virtual community, we also need to cultivate our in-person relationships, not only for our own well-being, but for the well-being of others.
Amy Weinland Daughters is a freelance sportswriter and author. Her second book “Dear Dana: That Time I Went Crazy and Wrote All 580 of my Facebook Friends a Handwritten Letter” (She Writes Press) is due to be released May 17, 2022. Currently a resident of Tomball, Texas (a suburb of Houston), Amy and her family have also lived in Blackwell, England and Dayton, Ohio.
There’s nothing like picking a rose, artichoke, or carrot from your own garden. Fruits and veggies somehow taste sweeter than what you pick up at the store. Instead of eating on the run, you tend to stop everything when you bite into a juicy strawberry that you grew yourself. You study the range of colors you can see in just a single dahlia. There’s a sense of awe knowing that it came from right outside!
Once I started gardening more often in 2020 (hello, pandemic!), I quickly realized that I had more food and flowers than my husband and I knew what to do with. I thought back to the year before when one of my favorite things to do was host surprise flower giveaways for people in my community. There’s a magic about flowers that connects people, brings a genuine smile to their face, and really just lights them up. That was when the idea was born to create a “Giving Garden” called “The Flower Remedy.”
Right now, I use 3 garden beds to grow all kinds of flowers including cosmos, amaranth, dahlias, ranunculus, anemones, sweet peas, snapdragons and more to create bouquets to give away. I’m adding 4 more beds to the backyard very soon and can’t wait to have more space to grow.
The goal is to give away 1 million flowers. Many of the flowers I give are from my own garden, but I also work with other local gardeners and a market that is kind enough to offer me their leftover flowers that haven’t sold.
We give flowers to a variety of different local community members including:
We work with local senior living homes and seniors centers to give flowers to their residents and members. Recently, we gave 50 flower bouquets to seniors who tested positive for COVID.
Those who are grieving a loved one
We give flower bouquets to locals who have recently lost a loved one. We have a sign-up form on the Flower Remedy website so that their family/friends can nominate them to receive a bouquet.
We deliver flowers to hospitals for patients going through a hard time.
I’m lucky to have an amazing group of two types of volunteers for the project. The first type of volunteers are gardeners who offer up their extra flowers to create bouquets. The second type of volunteers are community members who love flowers and want to give back. They help with putting together flower bouquets and delivering them.
Are you interested in giving flowers to your local community? Here are some tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way:
Use old jars as vases. Some of my favorite vases are old coconut water glass bottles, pasta sauce jars, and salsa jars.
Join your local “Buy Nothing” Facebook group and post in the group asking your community if anyone has any old vases or jars that they don’t want anymore. I’ve received probably 90% of my vases from this group!
If you don’t have enough flowers to give away in your garden, ask a local grocery store if they ever give away their flowers that they can’t sell anymore. Usually independent grocery stores are open to giving away their flowers that are slightly past their prime. Just take out the flowers that aren’t in perfect condition and re-work them into bouquets using the best-looking flowers of the bunch.
Decide who you want to give to and reach out to a local organization who works with that demographic. They are usually thrilled to receive the flowers and can help with coordinating to make sure the flowers go to the appropriate people.
Add a tag on the vase with a nice note that will help brighten their day even more!
Are you a gardener or are you interested in gardening? Comment below with any questions you have about gardening or gifting flowers!
A few years ago, I started posting cute dogs on my Instagram feed on Fridays because who couldn’t use a little puppy pick-me-up?! Today, I thought it would be fun to do Puppy Friday here too. Enjoy!
1. “He saw us feeding the ducks so he pretended to be one.”
2. “Oh to be a yellow lab napping on a windowsill overlooking a canal in Bruges.”
3. “Every time I’m in the shower my dog stares at me, worried, and he must assume I’m upset in here (because he hates baths) so he thinks if he drops his toy in that I’ll feel better.”
4. “I bought a mini toy laptop for my dog. So he can at least look like he’s helping support this family.”
5. “We were taking pictures of my dad for his birthday and then my dog did this. Truly man’s best friend.”
And now onto some amazing dog stories that were recently shared with me!
First up is Shala’s smart pup about her extra smart (phone) dog!
“My last service dog knew how to find my phone. I only ever asked him to [do] this in the house. One day me and a friend walked our dogs in this 3 acre field. We get back late and then I realize I don’t have my phone. It’s 9PM and about to rain. My dog is dead tired because he ran the entire time. He gets up, trots along with me as I search the house, no phone. I decided to check this pitch black field with no light. We got there and on a whim I said go find my phone. He went straight to it and picked it up. I went to the store and bought him a steak.”
Now onto Erica’s story about her dog, the fierce protector:
“My parents live on a dead end road. My sisters and the 2 kids my mom babysat at the time were outside riding scooters in the road between our house and our grandma’s next door. All of a sudden, my mom and I hear what sounded like thunder, but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Then we see 2 scared horses and a donkey coming towards us. My mom yells for me and my sister to get in the woods that were right on the other side of the road, she ran [to] grab the little kids and told them to get in our grandma’s house real quick and then came back to check on me and my sister. So I’m standing in the woods and I look and Chandler (the dog) is standing in front of them stopping them from coming at us and he just looks back at us to make sure we’re OK and then barks and runs them in the opposite direction of us…He was such a good boy.”
Next are Karina’s two pups on a walk:
“When I was a teenager (many years ago) I took both my dog’s out for a walk. They both somehow got loose and took off running with their leashes dragging behind them. One dog caught up to the other dog, grabbed the leash with its mouth and walked back to me with his brother in tow.”
Finally, here’s Lisa’s story about her mom and their German Shephard:
“My mom told me that before I was born her and my dad lived in a small house by a creek. My mom went on a walk with our German Sherphard, Moses, around the property after some really heavy rain. The creek has flooded pretty severely. Well apparently [my mom] had gotten too close and fell in. Our Moses was able to help drag her out of the water. She sears that he saved her life. Otherwise there was no way she could’ve gotten out. It was in the country and my dad was at work. I great up with that dog and he lived to be 17 years old. He was the best.”
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Puppy Friday! Let me know in the comments if you have your own pup and if she’s ever done anything heroic!
Today marks the start of a series called “Happsters Happy Questions,” where I feature incredibly inspiring women once a week. In these interviews, we’ll dive deep into how these women got where they are today, what drives them and get their advice on how to lead happy, healthy lives.
I’m delighted to start this series with Katie Brauer. Katie happens to live just down the street from me, so I got the chance to sit down and connect with her in person for the interview.
Katie has a calming energy and I immediately felt at home as we chatted. She is an entrepreneur, educator and personal transformation expert and I was extremely impressed by her ability to eloquently tell me her fascinating life story with ease. Enjoy ♥♥♥
1. Tell us a little bit about your background.
I have always been fascinated by the body and human potential. I started out as a professional snowboarder and suffered a lot of injuries throughout my 7 year career, which provided me the opportunity to study a whole lot of things that I was interested in. The first time I blew my ACL out and needed a full reconstruction, I went to massage school and fell in love with bodywork, during my next bout of down time from injury, I did a 2 year program in classical Pilates. Pilates was a huge part of my rehab and became complimentary to snowboarding. When I had to have my second ACL reconstruction, the rehab wasn’t working and my swelling hadn’t gone down, so I decided to try to understand what was going on the inside. I went to the Vail library and started reading books on chakras, the energy body and emotional wounding and experimented with visualization and meditation. While I previously didn’t love yoga, once I started doing these things, I began seeing yoga as a mind body practice as opposed to just a physical practice. I’ve been down the mindfulness and yoga rabbit hole ever since.
Eventually I combined everything I learned from yoga, Bio Dynamic Craniosacral Therapy, classical Pilates, functional movement, Therapeutic Massage, Somatic Experiencing, trips to India and personal experiences to create my own teacher training program and worked to build out my yoga programming and approach. I’ve trained thousands of teachers over the last decade, have owned my own yoga studio and served on the Executive Team of the fastest growing boutique yoga company, Yoga Six.
Over the years, what kept coming back to me was that I needed to follow what I love to do instead of just doing what I’m good at. I figured out that:
1) I love connecting with and supporting people
2) I love educating
3) I love providing people with tools and resources to feel more aligned and alive
My career has followed a very natural evolution and I have no idea what is around the next corner, currently I am focused on two major areas of my business: I just launched The Yoga Professional™ and provide education, inspiration + a modern approach to supporting the evolution of Yoga Teachers to rise as Professionals that sets them up for long term career and financial success. While I was training yoga instructors, I learned that every yoga teacher I came into contact with wasn’t making the money they desired and didn’t know what steps to take to get there. Now I help yoga instructors with the business component of their careers with group coaching and masterminds.
The other leg of my business is focused on educating and supporting women in living an empowered life and teaching them how to skillfully ride the highs and lows through modern mindfulness techniques.
Editor’s note: See the last question to get more details on how Katie empowers women through her online program starting soon!
2. You’ve accomplished A LOT in your life. What do you believe is your greatest accomplishment both professionally and personally?
Personally, it would be my relationship with my mom because it wasn’t good for a long time and there was a lot of wounding on my part (I’m a highly sensitive person). I just can’t believe where we were and where we are now. I think that is a testament to how important the internal work is and our responsibility as individuals to pick up the carpet, look underneath it, and deal with what’s there.
Professionally, I’m proud of the fact that I make a multiple six figure salary doing something that I love. When I tell people I’m a yoga teacher and coach, many people “poo poo” it and it just makes me smile. It’s been interesting to observe the change in my identity along the way. From the identity of being a pro snowboarder to feeling pressure to moving on after my injuries to get a real job with a title to where I am now. There have been many different identities along the way as my jobs have changed, but what I have learned is the title doesn’t matter, but what you are doing, the impact you are having and the contribution you are making does.
3. Do you have a morning routine?
The first thing I do when I wake up is lie there for a few moments to check in with my body and notice how I am feeling. I notice how I’m feeling physically, energy-wise and emotionally. I ask myself “what do I need right now?” and do what I feel in that moment instead of doing the same exact routine every day.
My husband is in the military, so a lot of times he’s gone and I generally spend about 30 minutes hanging out with my daughter in bed. She’s starting to talk and that time with her is so amazing. Then I usually drink a big glass of lemon water and coffee, make my daughter breakfast, and we go hang out in the backyard together.
My old routine was wake up and get up right away. There was no pause and transition time, but now that I have my daughter in my life, my mornings are very spacious and not rushed.
4. Has being a mom changed how you’ve run your business?
It has heightened my awareness around the impact that my actions have on others. My daughter is almost 2 now and she’s modeling after me the same way that I modeled after my mom. I have a lot of incredible traits that my mom has, but I also have a lot of patterning that I learned from her like a “just get it done” and “keep going no matter what” mentality. Now after having my daughter, I think about how I show up for everything I do and how my actions impact other people.
5. What do you know now that you wish you could have told yourself 10 years ago?
Less is more. I know now how important rest is and that I need space for creativity. I know that by giving myself space, I’m able to tap into my best work. That’s a key piece instead of “go-go-go” all the time. I feel like something huge is on the horizon because I’m finally understanding that piece. I’m realizing that doing nothing doesn’t mean you’re doing nothing.
6. I heard you have a great program for empowered living starting soon. Can you explain what it is?
Absolutely. My Flourish Program for Empowered Living starts Wednesday the 10th of May. I run the program every spring and it takes place over 10 weeks. The program is online with an incredible group of women who come together each year. It takes them from where they now in their life in every category – spiritually, health, financially, relationships, socially, career – so that they have a snapshot of where they are now. I introduce them to my philosophy on life and help them get where they want to be in the categories where they don’t feel like they are a 10 out of 10. We’ll talk about how to enjoy the highest highs and navigate the lows. Every module I give them new tools and resources to use from the breath to conscious communication to mindfulness techniques. They complete the program being able to recognize patterns in their life that are not serving them, having the tools to change them and feeling more empowered. I like to call it a system software update for your life.
You can learn more about the program and sign up here: http://bit.ly/kbflourish. Get $50 off your registration with code “50OFF”.
Thanks so much to Katie for the inspiring interview! You can also follow Katie on Instagram at @katiebrauertransform.
This interview is part of Happsters Happy Questions, an ongoing series of interviews that take a peek inside the lives of inspiring women around the world.
Snapchat is my new obsession. I cannot get enough of the behind-the-scenes looks at peoples’ lives. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that it isn’t easy to find inspirational accounts to follow so I wanted to solve that problem! Here are 5 motivational and inspirational Snapchat accounts you should follow.
Katie is a southern California fitness professional and blogger who kills it on Snapchat. I love watching her days whether she’s filming a new YouTube video or just showing what her grocery haul is and chatting about her favorite products. Love her! Add her at: LoveSweatandFit
Michelle Obama recently just got her own Snapchat account. I love her personality and have found it incredibly inspirational to peek into her life and see all the good she’s accomplishing in the world on a daily basis. Add her at: MichelleObama
I’m a fan of Sophia Bush from her days on “One Tree Hill” and her Snapchat does not disappoint. She snaps lots of photos and videos on set of her TV show and highlights causes that she’s an activist for. Add her at: SophiaBushSnaps
Rachel Brathen is also known as “Yoga_Girl” on Instagram with 1.9 million followers. She gives a glimpse into her life being a yogini in Aruba with her husband and adorable dog. What you see is what you get with her and I love her down-to-earth real vibe. Add her at: Rachel_Brathen
This is my Happsters Snapchat account! I post happiness Snapchat challenges, happiness tips and a peek into my daily life (which lately has a lot of art, my fiancé, friends, beach time, and neighborhood walks). Add me at: KelliDav
P.S. I just realized all of these inspiring Snapchat accounts happen to be women – girl power!
Ever since I started the Happsters 2+ years ago, I’ve wanted a way to connect members of the community. I recently came up with an idea to create a way for you to meet other Happsters in the most fun way possible! It’s a pen pal program for happy people! Basically I am going to match up Happsters based on similar hobbies, ages, etc. so that you can exchange letters and happy mail just like good old-fashioned pen pals!
I first came up with this idea when I saw @paperedthoughts on Instagram (see her pen pal mail above). She sends the cutest letters to people and uses hashtags like “#penpalswanted” and “#snailmailrevival”. I was blown away by how many people send these types of letters to pen pals all over the world. If you search “#snailmailrevolution”, it has over 100,000 photos tagged!
As you probably know, a large part of happiness comes from forming friendships and social connections. And what better way to do this than by connecting with the happiest people around the world through happy mail?