Good For You

Twenty Things That’ll Make You Happy… And Cost Less Than $1

1. Making sun tea on a lazy afternoon.
2. Growing a plant from a seed.
3. Ironing your sheets and pillowcases (makes them soft).
4. Drinking a Monaco on your back deck (to make a Monaco: a dollop of grenadine syrup in a glass, pour cold beer on top).
5. Sending an old fashioned letter (a real one that you mail) to a friend.
6. Swap a favorite summer read with someone… or get one from the library.
7. Paint your toenails. (Those mini bottles mean little commitment. Might as well go bright orange!)
8. Giving yourself a pore-cleansing mask. (You can make them yourself, or buy a little package at the drugstore).
9. Help a friend do a project.
10. Scan an old photograph (like you putting pink curlers in your grandfather's hair) and make it your desktop background.
11. Borrow a dance video from the library and learn some new moves.
12. Eat a corndog (as I found today, they are ridiculously cheap!).
13. Get one or two of those huge gumballs from a gumball machine and blow ginormous bubbles.
14. Going for a run (exercise endophins and healthy!).
15. Put a lemon in your water glass.
16. Call your grandmother, even if for a couple of minutes.
17. Write a thank you note to someone who helped you out… and send it!
18. Get $1 worth of penny candy and sit somewhere scenic to eat it.
19. Buy your local paper and get caught up on the local news and activities.
20. Pick some wildflowers.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Have You Joined The June Blood Drive?

Worldbloodday There are still a couple of weeks to get in on the June Blood Drive Giveaway.

Apparently, I psychicly predicted that this month is National Blood Donors Day (which was June 14). Trent at The Simple Dollar has also encouraged people to give blood as a frugal and concrete way to help the flood victims in this country. And if you enter my blood drive on this blog, you could win a book. It's a win-win. So comment on this post after giveing blood (honor system folks!) and you'll be entered to win.

I'm coodinating a shared ride to the blood donation place next week so I'll be practicing what I preach real soon. So do enter the June Blood Drive Giveaway!

See where your closest Red Cross is here..
Read a story about blood donations making a difference here…

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

The Guest-House

A thoughtful poem given to me by my friend Kate. Because it's Sunday, because I'm a little tired, and because it is true.

 

The Guest-House

 

This being is a guest-house

Every morning a new arrival.

 

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

 

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture.

 

Still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you

out for some new delight.

 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

 

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

 

-Say I Am You poems of Rumi

Translated by John Moyne and Coleman Barks

Maypop 1994

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

May Movie Giveaway Winner

Congradulations to Randy Devost who won the May Movie Giveaway contest. Here are some of Randy's favorite forms of cheap entertainment, both on and offline:

Cheap Online Entertainment

  • Subscribing to YouTube vlogs (for some) is in many ways better than TV. Cable and Satellite subscriptions are SO EXPENSIVE! Some YouTube favorites of mine are: What the Buck Show, ThoseLilRabbits, Rocketboom, Leslie Hall, etc. I’m interested primarily by shows that make me laugh and inform me on what’s going on in popular culture. You can also watch regular TV programming for free using services like: Joost, Hulu, etc.
  • For those who seek the latest dance trends, there are those sharing new dance styles online. Here are a few that are fun to learn and alter upon: Sydney Shuffle, Tektonic, C-walk, Le Tabarnak, etc. Upload your own!
  • Using Flickr to create photo slideshows of goals you feel like are impossible and then sending them off to your most critical friends may help add viability to your convoluted fantasies. My last, “Shack on a Wharf,” is about how I dream of converting a fishing shack into my home.” What’s nice is that letting yourself dream helps you stay happy and keeps you motivated for the future. “Life is never bland with dreams at hand.”  -Randy Devost

Cheap Real World Entertainment:

  • Learning a new card game with friends
  • Running, swimming, hiking, biking, fishing, etc.
  • Inviting friends for a night of board games. Have everyone bring a new or strange board game found in grandma’s attic or from a yard sale!
  • Sewing parties for guys and girls!
  • People watching (malls, public transportation, public squares, etc.)
  • Playing “makeover” and letting your friends dress you up.
  • Internet cafés or finding new WIFI zones. jiwire.commay be of help.

Thanks to those who participated and thanks to Randy for fun suggestions. Next time you're bored, try a few off that list!

In June, I'm launching another contest. The prize this time: the book "Nickeled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America. I'll make a page for it later today. It'll be a random drawing and it will involve blood. Stay tuned!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Movie Contest Winding Down!

It's officially the last week to submit your favorite form of cheap entertainment and why (250 words or less, kind of like a what-I-did-on-my-summer-vacation essay in grade school). Email it to me and you'll be entered to win free movies and a loving link to your blog or website!

Because who doesn't love free stuff, especially free cool stuff? Looking forward to reading your entry!

Click here for additional contest info.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love (Well, So Far)

You Too Can Petition The Universe

EatprayloveI really dragged out attempting to read "Eat, Pray, Love". Sarah sent it to me when she sent "Helping Me Help Myself" but I could get psyched up for it. 1) New York Times Bestseller means it’s too popular. I mean, do I only read things because other people say it’s good? 2) Author photo, pretty and blonde, what is this "everything" she needs to search for in life? and 3) The title, the minimalist cover, the spiritual journey, all felt too Oprah to me. (And by too Oprah, I mean in a kind of preachy, commercially spiritual kind of way. I don’t actively dislike Oprah but she’s not exactly my favorite, probably in part because she’s insanely popular).

It was either read or do yard work this afternoon so I picked up "Eat, Pray, Love" and an hour later, I already love it.

First of all, painful divorce then torrid affair that ends in heart break. I can kind of relate. Throwing up every morning because something in your life isn’t right? I’ve been there. And her little stories, funny, warm, and completely relatable. And since I’ve been passively seeking to improve my spiritual life for the last few months, and since the book is seeming to start with the "pray" part, I feel something translatable to my life. 

One part I wanted to share was where our author is in a car traveling with a friend. She is wishing she could write a petition to God for something specific to happen in her life (here: her husband signing the divorce papers so she doesn’t have to spend a year in court). She says she feels like she can’t do this because she feels she should just have faith in God that it all works out.

"Where did you get the idea you aren’t allowed to petition the universe with prayer? You are part of this universe, Liz. You’re a constituent- you have every entitlement to participate in the actions of the universe, and to let your feelings be known. So put your opinion out there. Make your case. Believe me- it will at least be taken into consideration."

"Really?" All this was news to me.

So she writes her petition. Dear God, please do this, here are some reasons you should, thanks.

I read it to Iva, and she nodded her approval.

"I would sign that," she said.

I handed the petition over to her with a pen but she was too busy driving so she said, "No let’s say that I did just sign it. I signed it with my heart."

"Thank you, Iva. I appreciate your support."

"No, who else would sign it?" she asked.

"My family. My mother and father. My sister."

"OK, they just did. Consider their names added. I actually felt them sign it. They’re on the list now. OK- who else would sign it? Start naming names."

So they go on to list people who would sign it. People living and dead who hate conflict, friends, relatives, movie stars, politicians, historical figures. They come up with quite a list.

It makes you realize your desires not only effect you but many other people as well. (Your desires, attitude, financial state can also be thought of this way.) Prayer doesn’t have to be this passive activity but something you can actively feel you are doing by defining what you want as well as why you want it to the universe. You can also think of who would support you and why. As someone who does not like to feel like I’m letting too many things happen to me, this kind of prayer feels oddly empowering.

So petition away. Maybe God can help you reach a spiritual, emotional, or even financial goal if you petition him.  And if spirituality is something that interests you, give "Eat, Pray, Love" a try.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.
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