Monday, March 2, 2015

The 7 Ways You Can Become a Naturally Optimistic Person

In recent years, many studies have been done looking at the relationship between positive thoughts and overall health. Research has been able to show that those who identify as optimists are subject to many health benefits including fewer colds, lower blood pressure, a reduced risk of heart disease, and even a slightly longer life. 

Author of Contagious Optimism, David Messapelle, has been studying this phenomenon for over five years. He says that some people have a more optimistic nature than others, but he strongly believes that having a positive, optimistic baseline is something that everyone can work on and improve upon. Mezzapelle is also quick to add that being an optimistic doesn’t mean having a sunshine and rainbows outlook on everything, but it is having the ability to change your perspective on a situation through your thoughts and combine optimism with acceptance of that situation. 

But even for those who have a naturally optimistic outlook, optimism and positive thinking is something that needs to be practiced- every day. Mezzapelle and CEO of MindBodyGreen.com, Jason Wachob, have put together a list of seven traits that most optimistic people seem to have in common. They both strongly believe if someone puts in a deliberate effort to acquire these traits, they too will adopt an optimistic baseline and eventually will find themselves living their daily life with a positive outlook, no matter how “naturally” pessimistic they previously were. 

1. Optimistic people express gratitude 
Mezzapelle says one of his most important findings of naturally optimistic people are that they express gratitude each and every day, even for the smallest things in life. “The sun coming up in the morning, your child or dog excited to see you- being thankful about the littlest thing makes the bigger things that much better,” he says. Another important characteristic is not just finding gratitude in the small, easy things, but finding the good within hardships. This will give people the strength and resilience they need to lead an overall positive life. 
2. Optimistic people are interested in others
“When people hear stories of how others persevere, it fosters optimism,” says Mezzapelle. For people to maintain hope and optimism during their hardships, it is important for them to know that they are not alone in their struggles. Even small things such as reading inspirational stories online can help. Or even if you are not going through something, reading about others’ struggles can help you feel grateful and appreciative of the good things in your own life.
3. Optimistic people donate their time and energy
Giving back is a very important element of feeling happiness and fulfillment in your own life. If you spend time with those less fortunate and help them out, it not only makes you feel grateful for what you have but also good about yourself for helping someone else in their time of need. 
4. Optimistic people forgive others
One of the easiest ways for people to slip into a pessimistic mindset is to hold on to grudges. This causes people to live in the past and not be grateful or happy in the present. While Mezzapelle says this is easier said than done, it is an important skill to learn in order to maintain an optimistic lifestyle. 
5. Optimistic people surround themselves with other optimistic people
This is one of the most important characteristics of the seven. If you surround yourself with negativity and negative people, then it will become very difficult for you to feel positive about your own life and the world around you. Optimists and pessimists both put out energy into the world, and that energy is easily absorbed by the people around them. So surround yourself with happy, optimistic people and you’ll absorb that positive energy and start being able to make it a part of your own daily life. 
6. Optimistic people don’t listen to naysayers
A critical part of being able to maintain an optimistic outlook is to be able to not let others’ negative opinions or outlooks bring you down or upset you. “What other people do or say is a reflection of their own reality, not yours,” says Mezzapelle, “Optimistic people don’t take the opinions of others too seriously when they don’t agree. You can disagree with other opinions- that’s the beauty of life. Don’t look at it any other way and don’t let it affect you. It’s their reality, not yours.”
7. Optimistic people smile- a lot
Research has shown that optimistic behaviors can be the fuel for optimistic thoughts, even simply smiling can have a positive affect on one’s mindset. Plus, Mezzapelle adds, it creates a happy environment that attracts other happy people to you
For someone who considers themselves a naturally pessimistic person, or has slipped into a general negative mindset over time- challenge yourself to change that mindset by paying close attention to and replicating these seven traits in your own life. Start by simply writing down 5 things you are grateful for and 5 good things that happened that day every night before you go to bed. Then work towards surrounding yourself with happy people and cutting out the negativity. Then, simply practice smiling more and you are on your way to becoming a more naturally optimistic person! 

Friday, February 27, 2015

7 Ways Moms Can Plan an Awesome Staycation This Spring Break

Kids count down the weeks till their end of February or spring break, but for moms it usually means a full week of keeping the kids occupied, and sometimes that can prove to be a challenge, especially if you are living in a cold climate. Some families take this week to plan a trip, but not all parents can get that time off. So if you are planning a Staycation for you and your kids, there are still some fun activities for the whole family to enjoy to make spring break a fun time for everyone (yes, even you!).  
1. Video Game Olympics 
If your family has a game console and your children like video games then you can turn this into a really fun activity for the whole family. Pick a game that everyone can easily learn (like Mario Kart or Wii Bowling) and host an olympics to get everyone involved. Pick teams or play individually- it’s up to you! To motivate all the players, give a little prize to the winner of each category. You can even set up snack stations with gatorade, protein bars and fruit to make it feel more real! 
2. A Themed Movie Marathon
Pick a theme for the day like animated movies, alien movies, or super hero movies and then have everyone vote on the ones they want to watch. Then, deck out the TV room to look like the best movie theater ever- blankets, pillows, dim lighting, popcorn, juice, and maybe even some candy. And of course, all the attendees can wear their comfiest pajama set.
3. Organize a Scavenger Hunt
Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt? No matter how old your kids are, it is sure to bring out their competitive side! You and your spouse or your other mom friends can work together to make clues, maps, and put together some treats for them to find. Let your creative side come out when you’re writing the clues, they can be puzzles, riddles, or even poems. If you want to make a learning experience out of it, you could even make them simple math problems or history questions. 
4. Family Cook-Off
If your kids have shown an interest in cooking, or would like to learn, spring break is a great time to start. Have every member of the family choose a dinner or dessert item they would like to prepare. Then give each person a budget and go grocery shopping as a family to pick everything out. To make it even more fun, let the kids pick out a fun apron of chef hat to wear while they prepare their masterpieces. After all the cooking is done, sit down as a family to enjoy everyone’s creations.
5. Go Camping in Your Own Backyard
If the weather permits, pitch a tent in your backyard and have a camp night. To make it feel more real, roast marshmallows and sit in a circle telling ghost stories. If the weather is still too cold, just take the camping to your living room.
6. Turn Your Home into a Foreign Country or City
This requires some planning ahead of time, but if you can’t travel anywhere for spring break this year- bring the destination to your own home! Have the family vote on a city they would like to go to, like Paris or Tokyo, and then transform your home into that city for a day. Put up some fun decorations, read stories from or about that particular place, watch movies that take place there, and make your meals with traditional meals from that culture. Maybe even learn a few words in their language. This activity is not only a ton of fun, but it can also become a great way to teach your children more about other cultures. 
7. Play Tourist in Your Own Town
Take this week to visit all of the places in your town or city that you have been meaning to but have never had the time for, like that cute little museum, art gallery, or neighborhood park you have never gotten the chance to take the kids to. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

3 Moms Make a Parody of Taylor Swift's 'Blank Space' and the Results are Amazing

The women of What's Up Moms turned Taylor Swift's hit "Blank Space" into a hilarious parody just for moms. With their new lyrics they preach about lack of sleep, play dates, watching Frozen for the millionth time, chores, their Starbucks addictions and more but all with a humor that every mom can relate to. The women behind the video, Brooke, Meg, and Elle, are real-life moms who write, direct, and produce their own weekly web series celebrating and laughing through the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood. Whether you are a stay at home or working mom, you'll be able to laugh at and relate to this Mom-ified take on T. Swift's hit.

Click below to watch What's Up Moms Parody of Blank Space:


Thursday, February 19, 2015

15 Hilariously Adorable Examples of Dads Doing Fatherhood the Right Way

No parent is perfect, and everyone knows that parenthood is not easy- but these dads sure do make it look cute! One of the key components of being a great parent (and for staying sane) is to keep your sense of humor, and these fathers have definitely got that down pat. Below are 15 examples of guys who are "winning at fatherhood".

#1. The Dad who turned his child's wheelchair into the best Halloween costume ever


#2.The Dad who knows every Superhero needs her sidekick

#3.The Dad who knows not to move when the baby is finally asleep

#4. The Dad who knows what it takes for the perfect shot

#5. The Dad who knows how serious tea time is


#6. This Dad.

#7. The Dad who brings Mario Kart to life

#8. The Dad who knows how to relax

#9. The Dad kids look up to

#10. The Dad who lets her be the wolf

#11. The Dad who brings her along

#12. The Dad who doesn't mind a pedicure

#13.The Dad who makes lunch a superhero adventure

#14.The Dad who lets her be his stylist for the day


#15. The Dad who knows how to drop a not-so-subtle hint

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Even In Death, Man's Gesture to His Wife Shows Us True Meaning of Valentine's Day

It becomes very difficult to feel negatively about Valentine’s Day after hearing this beautiful story. Even in death, a Wyoming man shows the world the true spirit and meaning of the holiday. 

Shelly Golay of Casper, Wyoming was shocked to received a large bouquet of flowers two days before Valentine’s Day this year. She assumed they were from her children, seeing as her husband, Jim Golay, passed away this past July. But then when she saw the note attached to the flowers she became very emotional and contacted the flower shop to tell them there had been a mistake. 

Shelly was stunned when the manager of the flower shop informed her that no mistake had been made, but before his death Jim had arranged for a bouquet of flowers to be delivered to Shelly every year for Valentine’s Day for the rest of her life.

Jim was diagnosed with a brain tumor last winter and tragically passed away in July. His heartwarming and moving gesture demonstrates love in its truest form and what Valentine’s Day is all about.

The note read: “Stay strong! Yours forever, Love Jim”

Click below to hear the full story and watch the emotional clip:


Monday, February 9, 2015

Why Valentine’s Day Is Not Just a Holiday For Couples

Ever since February rolled around, every social media platform I am on (especially Facebook) has been filled with negativity and complaints about the upcoming holiday- Valentine’s Day. My newsfeed has been flooded with statuses about how much February 14th sucks and how the holiday just serves to remind people of how single they are. 

So first things first, no holiday should be given the power to make you feel “alone forever”! Your identity and worth is not measured by your relationship status. Secondly, I think it is important that we take a step back from all the cheese that can come with this “day of romance” and focus on what the holiday is actually all about- love. And need I remind you, there are forms of love other than the romantic love that comes with a relationship. Love is something you share with your parents, siblings, extended family, and close friends! Valentine's Day is a day for ALL of your relationships, not just any romantic ones.The purpose of Valentine’s Day is to show the important people in your life just how much they mean to you, and that is something that everyone can be a part of. 

In recent years, Valentine’s Day has been swallowed up by all the of the media and commercialization- advertising all the gifts you should buy, places you should go, and money you should spend on this day to make it special- adding pressure to couples to not disappoint and expectations they feel they need to meet. This reality has made it so even many people in a relationship have come to hate the holiday too. But despite what the Jewelry store commercial on TV is telling you, there are a lot of ways you can make this day fun and special without emptying your wallet OR disappointing your significant other. Save cramming a reservation in at a fancy restaurant and make a nice dinner for two at home, for example. To avoid any disappointments, just communicate with your significant other about how much celebrating you’re wanting or expecting. If you’re a couple who likes to go all out and indulge in the cheesier aspects of the holiday- go for it! If you prefer a simple acknowledgement and maybe a card, that’s fine too. Just make sure you’re vocal about it, remember your partner isn’t a mind reader!


And for our singles out there, stop being so pessimistic! Being a complainer on Valentine’s Day is almost as bad as being a flaunter. If you are between relationships or just looking for the right person, your time will come. Valentine’s Day happens every year, so if you aren’t getting roses this year, there is always next year, or the year after that. Not being in a committed relationship of some sort on this one particular day shouldn’t make you feel torturously alone in the world. Contrary to popular belief, Valentine’s Day wasn’t made to hate on the singles! Historically, it has actually been FOR singles, to participate in various traditions to increase their chances of finding love in the near future. So get a bottle of wine, order a pizza, rent some cool movies and call up all your friends. Personally, those are some of the best Valentine’s Days I’ve had. 

By Aidan Metzger


Sunday, February 8, 2015

10 Gifts Your Significant Other Actually Wants This Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is a day dedicated to showing the people you love how much they mean to you, but after a few years getting creative can get tough. Bouquets of flowers and boxes of chocolate are nice and all but sometimes mixing it up is the best way to say “I love you” to that special someone. So after asking around and doing a little research, ONCEKids has come up with a list of 10 gift ideas that people ACTUALLY want this Valentine’s Day. So if you are struggling to come up with some last minute ideas other than the go to chocolate and flowers, look no further! 

1. A homemade dinner
Skip the reservations and long waits this year and keep dinner close to home. A candle lit dinner is romantic no matter how many Valentine’s days you and your significant other have celebrated together, but add the effort and comfort of a home cooked meal and it will be sure to be a memorable night.
2. A Handmade Card
Hallmark has some fantastic cards, don’t get me wrong, and what card you pick out does say a lot- but to some what might say more is a card made exclusively by you with a handpicked poem and message in your words, not someone else’s. Even if you aren’t good with your words, in this case it is definitely the thought that counts.
3. Wine
One of the best ways to wine someone’s heart (or keep it) is with a bottle of their favorite wine. Cause who doesn’t love wine? Especially for our mothers out there. 
4. A Mixtape or CD
Yes, it is 2015, a time of iTunes and Pandora, but there is still something romantic about the old school mixtape or CD filled with their favorite tunes or songs that remind you of them. 
5. A Spa Day
If your loved one has been super stressed out lately, giving them a gift certificate to a day at the spa or a professional massage will make their week (maybe even their month). 
6. A Day of Outdoor Fun
Depending on the weather in your area, this can mean a day hitting the slopes or a hiking adventure. There is nothing to get the romance going like a day among nature, free from technology and distractions.
 7. A Movie Night
If you or your significant other are not huge fans of the outdoors, or its just too darn cold, spend this Valentine’s Day indoors by a fire with popcorn, pajamas, and your favorite movies. 
8. A collection of books in their favorite genre
One of life’s greatest pleasures is to curl up with a great novel, it is also a great way to relax, so this gift is definitely one for the books (pun intended).
9. A Super Comfy Pajama set
One of the great things about the winter season is being able to stay warm with some super comfy pajamas, so give the special person in your life the ultimate winter treat with a nice, flannel pajama set to keep them warm during the cold winter nights.
10. Movie tickets
With all of the amazing movies coming out lately, there has to be at least one you and your partner have been dying to see. So cross one off your list this Valentine’s day by surprising them with a movie night out to the movie they can’t stop talking about.
Do something a little different this year to make the one you love feel special without breaking the bank!