I’ve been meaning to start a gratitude journal for a while now, and figured what better time to start than over a holiday weekend dedicated to (you guessed it), gratitude. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of a gratitude journal, the process entails a quick reflection, typically at the start or end of each day, where you jot down a few of the things you’re most grateful for. These can range from small things, like the favorable weather that day, or the fact that you got a good night of sleep, to more significant things, like your health and relationships. The point is to shift your attention towards the things that you do have, instead of focusing on the things that you don’t have. Studies have shown that creating a habit of reflecting on the positive things in your life can have a significant impact on your overall happiness. And while nobody’s life is perfect, we can all find a few things to be grateful for every day if we just take a moment to think about them. So, in honor of Thanksgiving, I’m sharing five of the things I’ve been feeling most grateful for lately:
1. Living in Los Angeles (and the U.S.) – Even after 7 years of living in LA, there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t feel grateful to live where I do. Between the beautiful weather, coastal scenery, laid-back lifestyle, and access to some of the best food, beaches, wineries, museums, music venues (the list goes on), living here truly feels like a vacation most days, and I’m constantly in awe of all of the beautiful things there are to discover. Even through some of my loneliest, most challenging days, this city always offers a sense of comfort and home.
Outside of this city, I’m grateful to live in this country; a country that’s founded on values like freedom and democracy. Despite a tense political climate, and some very unfortunate events over the past year, it’s important to acknowledge the progress we’ve made in other areas. We certainly have a long way to go, but I’m hopeful for a more positive future and appreciative to live in a country that so many people would give anything to call home.
2. Travel – The past year and a half has been filled with lots of travel – from trips abroad to Thailand, London and Africa (which I’ll be sharing a post on soon!), to more local domestic trips to some of my favorite places, like Florida, Hawaii, and most recently, New York. It’s been such a treat to explore different parts of the world and connect with people and cultures outside of my comfort zone.
3. Health – I may get more head colds than anyone I know, but aside from brief illnesses here and there, I’m thankful for my overall health and the health of my family and friends. Speaking of physical health, I’m looking forward to being more consistent about working out this year now that I’ve finally found a workout I actually enjoy (have those of you in LA tried Cardio Barre? If not, I highly recommend it!).
4. A supportive community – This includes everyone from my immediate friends and family, to those of you reading this post! The world (both online and offline) can be filled with unnecessary negativity, and I’m grateful to be surrounded by a community of positive people who lift me up. I used to struggle with what other people thought of me (and still do on occasion), but the older I get, the more I understand the importance of pursuing a life that makes you happy. For example, I held off on starting this blog for years due to fear and embarrassment, and I can’t tell you how much I regret not starting it sooner. As somebody who’s somewhat introverted, putting myself out there did not come naturally to me. I worried that people would question my expertise, or think I was self-absorbed and superficial, but anybody who really knows me knows that isn’t the case. It’s easy to get caught up in societal expectations or the opinions or judgment of others, but you’ve only got one life to live, and living it in a way that feels authentic to you is what’s most important. As Taylor Swift so wisely said, “haters gonna hate,” so you just gotta do you at the end of the day.
5. Friends & Family – One of my girlfriend’s from college recently asked me if I’ve had a difficult time finding genuine, grounded people in LA. While LA certainly has some superficial elements to it, I haven’t found that to be the case when it comes to my immediate social circle and the people I’ve encountered while living here. I lucked out with a special group of girlfriends that I met through my first job after college, and between them and some childhood friends who happen to live in the city, I’m lucky to have a group of friends that are truly some of the best people I know. This extends outside of my social circle in Los Angeles, too. Even though some of my best friends from high school and college live in other cities and states, I’m grateful for those bonds that have stood the test of distance and time.
Family – I know this one is cliché, but it’s true. I feel very lucky to be part of a loving family with such compatible personalities and values – to have a dad who is full of wisdom and humor, a mom who may as well be my sister, and an older brother who I’ll forever look up to. And although he’s not technically family, I’m grateful to have such a wonderful boyfriend, who not only supports me from afar, but who actively stands in as my fashion photographer, web developer and unofficial business partner when it comes to this blog.
Now without further ado, here are some of my favorite Black Friday sales happening right now:
Black Friday Sales
- Madewell – 25% off your entire purchase with code: DONTSTRESS
- Abercrombie – 50% off your entire purchase + free shipping
- Banana Republic – 50% off regular priced items
- Shopbop – Get up to 30% off with code MORE17
- Anthropologie – 30% off everything
- Revolve – Up to 60% off
- Ann Taylor – 50% off everything with code: THANKFUL
- Nordstrom – Take an extra 20% off select sale items + free shipping
- J. Crew – 40% off your entire purchase + free shipping with code: THANKU
- J. Crew Factory – 50 – 60% off everything with code: FRIYAY
- Bloomingdales – 20% off + free shipping when you spend $200 or more
- ASOS – 30% off everything with code: EPIC30
- Urban Outfitters – Buy one, get one 50% off everything