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Grab Bag Get Some Satisfaction:

This brilliant psychologist packs a rapid-fire punch in his 15 minutes on TED. Be prepared…. Shawn squeezes a lot into his time slot…. a faster, yet more entertaining, speaker I have yet to hear. Be sure to go Full Screen to keep up with Shawn.

Shawn Achor is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures on positive psychology in the most popular class at Harvard.

He is the CEO of Good Think Inc., a Cambridge-based consulting firm which researches positive outliers — people who are well above average — to understand where human potential, success and happiness intersect. Based on his research and 12 years of experience at Harvard, he clearly and humorously describes to organizations how to increase happiness and meaning, raise success rates and profitability, and create positive transformations that ripple into more successful cultures. He is also the author of The Happiness Advantage.

Take away:

To re-wire our brains for happiness and success, Shawn prescribes these 5 habits:

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 4.05.48 PM

1. Write down 3 things you are grateful for every day for 21 days in a row. Research shows that by 21 days, we will have re-wired our brains to search for life’s positive aspects.

2. Journal about one positive experience you have experienced in the last 24 hours. Doing so allows your brain to re-live it.

3. Exercise. It teaches your brain that your behavior matters.

4. Meditate. It encourages your brain to focus and stop jumping from task to task, which is all too often expected or required in our society.

5. Random acts of kindness. Something as simple as writing an unsolicited email of thanks to someone, or as large as buying a bike for a child who can’t afford one… these efforts put happiness and success in perspective, allowing us to acheive more of both.

Grab Bag Siri Suggestions:

For those with an iPhone, I will share that I am slowly using Siri more and it tickles my senses to interact with her and have her accomplish things for me. I use her most while driving. She is really good at making reminders, setting appointments, reading emails and text messages to me, sending emails and text messages for me,  telling me what the weather is in any given city, telling me all kinds of stuff.

Here are some examples of what she can answer or do:

  • What day of the week was November 28, 1980?
  • Remind me to order iTunes gift cards two days before Christmas.
  • How many days until New Year’s?
  • Make an appointment named ‘Post Holiday Call’ for three days after Christmas at 10am with Jason Snell.
  • Reschedule my meeting with Jason Snell to January 8 at 2 p.m.
  • When is my next meeting?
  • What time is it in Dubai?
  • What time is sunset in Tucson, Arizona?
  • Mail my wife about Dinner tonight and say Would you like me to bring home Chinese?
  • Add “The Snuggie Sutra” to my ‘Books to buy’ note.
  • Remind me to pick up milk when I leave here.
  • What’s the current outside temperature?
  • How high did AAPL get today?
  • What did the market do today?

In my car I use Siri through my Plantronics K100 bluetooth speaker, which clips to the sun visor in my car. I’ve shared it before here, but it still is such a slick system, it bears repeating. And it is now selling for about $40 (I paid $70 two years ago)

plantronics-k100

Once you have initially “paired” your phone with the K100, you’re set. Get in the car with your phone (you can even leave it in your pocket or purse), power up the K100, and it will say “Power On”, and when it scans for and senses your phone, it will say, “Connected”.  If the K100 is already on, when you get your phone close to it (probably ~50ft. or so) it will say “Connected” (be aware… best to turn the K100 off every time you leave the car… if left on, it has been known to steal my calls when I unknowingly get too close to the car, and all of a sudden my caller is speaking to an empty car and I don’t know what the hell happened 🙂 ).

To operate Siri through the K100, just hold in the round button on the K100 until you hear the Siri “double-beep” activation sound. Then ask Siri to do all kinds of useful stuff for you, completely hands-free.

And what WOULD Siri look like? Here’s one artist’s vision of her:

Siri-look-2

Grab Bag Sexy Time:

Why is sex such a problem?

WHY IS SEX SUCH A PROBLEM?

Grab Bag Stain Solver:

From HomemakerChic.com….

I have a few spots I am going to try this on, but want to hear your feedback, too. If you try this, did it work for you or not?

Here’s a REALLY easy way to get stains out of your carpet. This works for organic stains like dirt and food. Be careful if you’re trying this with dyes or ink as the vinegar can make things worse. For stains you’re unsure about it is always best to call in a professional. (Or pretend you are one if you’re like me).

I have no idea where these stains come from, seriously. My husband must be sloshing drinks out of his glass or something because I have no messy kids and hardly any guests. I tried scrubbing and using Resolve carpet cleaner but neither worked. But this handy little tip worked like a charm.

All you need is White Vinegar, Water, a Spray Bottle, A Rag, and an Iron.

Spray the spot with a solution of 1 part vinegar with 2 parts water.

Lay a damp rag over the spot.

Iron on the steam setting for about 30 seconds. If the stain is really stubborn, repeat the steps, but I promise it will work!

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Not a game so much as a quiz and an exercise, from Mind Motivations:

Are You Left or Right Brain Predominant?

Look at the picture below for about 30 seconds and have a think about what you see. Then read below to evaluate the results of what you saw and find out if you are left or right brain orientated.

spinning-lady-brain-test

If you see the lady turning clockwise you are using your right brain

If you see the lady turning counter-clockwise you are using your left brain

 Some people do see both ways, but most people see it only one way. See if you can make her go one way and then the other by shifting the brain’s current. BOTH DIRECTIONS CAN BE SEEN. If you look away, she may switch from one direction to the other. We find that if you just look at her feet or relax and look at the floor where the reflection shows, she will switch direction!

Experimentation has shown that the two different sides, or hemispheres, of the brain are responsible for different manners of thinking.

Differences Between the Left & Right Brain

Left Brain Right Brain
Logical Intuitive
Sequential Random
Analytical Holistic
Rational Synthesizing
Objective Subjective
Looks at part Looks at whole

Most individuals have a distinct preference for one of these styles of thinking. Some, however, are more whole-brained and equally adept at both modes. In general, schools tend to favor left-brain modes of thinking, while downplaying the right-brain activities.

Left-brain scholastic subjects focus on logical thinking, analysis, and accuracy.

Right-brained subjects, on the other hand, focus on aesthetics, feeling, and creativity.

Additional Information

There is a lot of research showing meditation, hypnosis and brainwave entrainment audios can help create unity between the left and right sides of your brain. This can be quite useful to ‘exercise your mind’ so to speak. Promoting unity of thought can help create more clarity in your decision making processes. This means you will neither ‘over-think’ about things too much with your left brain – or – be ‘too creative’ with decisions that require logical analysis with your right brain.

Note from LK: This exercise can be found on MindMotivations.com, which offers hypnosis recordings in CD and download. If you are interested in training your brain hemispheres in unity, I can also give a personal recommendation for Hemi Sync. I was introduced to them years ago when I needed surgery, and used their surgical recordings before, during and after my surgery, with what I felt to be good results. They have loads of task-specific recordings. While I’m not versed in it enough to really appreciate the differences in the recordings they offer, I can say that listening to these tracks does seem to make you feel different. Check out Brain Sync as well.

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

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Grab Bag Health Boosters:

These 9 tips contain a broad spectrum of really effective habits. I have added my own thoughts and suggestions on #3. Be sure to hit the full screen button in the lower right hand corner of the player.

Grab Bag Soul Searching:

Here is an AMAZING and eye-opening talk about the research behind love and happiness and connectedness. There is something here for everyone to take away. It touches on self-worth, vulnerability, and the attempts to numb our disappointments. Watch for yourself, your loved ones, and for the parenting aspect of all of us… (these principles apply to how we interact with adult children, too).

Here is how this talk is introduced on TED:

Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.

Here’s a teaser on the section about parenting:

We perfect, most dangerously, our children…… They are hard-wired for struggle when they get here. When we hold these perfect babies in our hands, our job is NOT to say,  “Look at her, she’s perfect”, and make sure she makes the tennis team by 7 and Yale by 18….. Our job is to say, “You know what? You’re imperfect and wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging”. That’s our job. Show me a generation of kids raised like that and we’ll end the problems we see today.

She makes such a good point. I think so many of us feel as if it is our job as parents to keep the “perfect child” that was born to us on a path of least resistance, and to optimize her perfection and save her from exposure to any faults or challenges. On the contrary… we would do well to spend less energy “smoothing the road to success” and better serve our kids by making sure they feel loved and connected and worthy in the face of their imperfections, struggles and failures.

But don’t assume this is a lesson on how to parent….. it’s a lesson on how to live:

Truly immerse yourself in this wisdom… go with the Full Screen option in the lower right corner.

Many thanks to Austin H. and Nancy H. for sharing this with me.

Grab Bag Jurassic Spark:

National_Geographic_Logo2

In the current issue of National Geographic magazine is a truly provoking article about where we stand with current science technology to resurrect extinct species.

That’s right. I said RESURRECT EXTINCT SPECIES. À la Jurrasic Park.

Kind of.

I’m not going to give away the punchline. I suggest you read

this article,

because the bottom line iswe are there. And we need to go into this with 6,973,738,433 (current pop. of the world…. did I miss anybody?)  pairs of eyes wide open.

And to quote a line from the song “The Way We Were”….

“Could we? …..Should we?”

You won’t get all the fabulous photos I’m seeing in the magazine with this online article, so I’ll give you a few substitutes here:

Mammoth 6894sabre-tooth_tiger

Grab Bag App Applause:

Did not even have time to try this app, called RePix, but the reviews are great, it’s on Apple’s “Hot” list, and it looks incredible.

RePix

Take your photos and turn them into art like this:

RePix Screenshots

Repix - Remix & Paint Photos - Sumoing Ltd

Grab Bag Sweater Better:

Thought these were so cute:

Sweater Makeover

Sweater Embellishments: Take an old sweater. Cut a slit in along the shoulder down about 7″. Fold over raw edge and sew in place. Sew a piece of ribbon about 15″ long to one side of neckline and another ribbon to the other side of the neckline. Tie together!

Lace Insets

Cut a section of a long sleeve shirt or sweater and use fabric glue to hold lace in place. Stitch the lace into place, and wash inside out, hang to dry.

Grab Bag Brian Game:

Looks like a simple kids’ game, but is a fun puzzle strategy session:

Trizzle

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

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And this one has a HILARIOUS story behind it that is worth reading (click on the photo) … the caption to this photo reads, “Knock, Knock, mother f*****”:

chicken6

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Grab Bag Trivia Test:


Q. Half of all 
Americans live within 50 miles of what?

Q. Most boat owners name their boats. What is the most popular boat name requested?

Q. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter ‘a’?

Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers and laser printers have in common?

Q. What is the only 
food that doesn’t spoil?

Q. Which day are
 there more collect calls than any other day of the year?

Answers can be found at the bottom of this post.

Grab Bag Poll:

What is/are your favorite product(s) that you have purchased from a TV commercial or infomercial… the ones that actually WORK? I have a couple I will be sharing, but I want to gather your favs as well.

Here’s just a sample of some of the “Hall-of-Famers” in this category:


Please share your TV-driven guilty pleasures in the Comment section at the bottom of this page. I will post some or all of the products in an episode to come.

Grab Bag Photoshop School:

I’ve had Adobe Photoshop, in various iterations, on my computers for years and years. I probably use about 2% of it’s capabilities, not because I don’t want to, but because the program is SO flipping complicated.

But I’ve found some websites that offer free tutorials. I have been gazing over them, and trying some that offer methods that will be most useful for me. Here are some examples and the sites that offer them. Each of these tutorial sites offer far more than just the examples I show here.

Click on the PHOTO to link to that specific tutorial, or the WEBSITE NAME to link to their tutorial listings.

 

PSD TUTS+

This specific tutorial might be very useful for those who love their photos, just not the other people in them. 😆

Remove a Person from a Photo

 

 

ALFOART

 

 

 

 

DESIGNIOUS TIMES

 

 

(Check out the original images that were used to make the one above.)

 

 

CREATIVE FAN

 

 

 

PHOTOSHOP TUTORIALS

 

 

WEGRAPHICS

Grab Bag Giddy Grub:


Hmmm… Do certain kinds of food make us happier?? Seems there may be more reasons to reduce our intake of animal protein than dietary and cardiovascular concerns.

Personal statement… I am not a vegetarian. However, in the last few years, I have reduced my intake of red meat to once a month or so, and I have increased my non-animal meals to several a week. I think this is a good thing.

I’ll let the good boys (Drs. Oz and Roizen) at RealAge tell you what’s up:

These dinner sides don’t just make your waistline little. They put a serious smile on your face, too.

We’re talking about carrots and eggplant, squash and lima beans, and just about any other vegetable you can get your hands on. Research confirms that people who eat the most vegetables have the brightest moods.

Load Me Up
In a study, the people who loaded up their diets with vegetables and skipped meat altogether had happier moods compared with the people who included any form of animal protein (fish, chicken, or beef) in their diets. Which was a surprise to the researchers who assumed the brain-friendly fats in fish would be key to emotional well-being. But it turns out that vegetables — as well as plant-based proteins like nuts — have a mood booster of their own called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is a plant-based fatty acid that helps keep a lid on an inflammatory compound linked with depression. (Do this for 20 minutes today and you’ll feel happy for 12 hours.)

Plant Joy
Yep, eating lots of vegetables and no meat had lots of emotional upsides in the study — including less anxiety, less depression, and less hostile feelings. But if you’re not ready to go vegetarian, don’t fear. There are plenty of other ways to get some extra happy into your day, like exercising more, stressing less (deep breathing exercises work wonders), and spending extra time doing the things you love. (One more trick: Spend more time with your good-natured pals. Here’s why.)


Grab Bag Remember December:

Back on December 26th of last year, I shared some info on how the little caps at the end of our chromosomes, called telomeres, can dictate the signs of aging (and by that, I mean visible signs, like more  wrinkles, gray hair, as well as brittle bones, heart disease and cancer, just to name a few delights and highlights of the aging process). That post mentioned stress, lack of exercise and a poor diet as the great “telomere guillotines“.

Now, new research shares some very interesting results showing a distinct telomere benefit to those with higher levels of omega-3 consumption… high omega-3 fish or supplements (my choice is Krill Oil). According to a post on RealAge.com;

Telomeres guard DNA the way plastic shoelace tips stop your sneaker laces from fraying…. Scientists suspect that the omega-3s in fish dinners (or lunches, or supplements) activate the body’s antioxidant defenses against telomere-munching free radicals. These healthy omega-3 fats may also boost activity of a telomere-pampering enzyme called telomerase. Which probably helps explain why the volunteers in a recent study — who all had heart disease and were in their 50s, 60s, and 70s — showed such dramatically different telomere length. During the 5-year study, telomeres appeared to shorten three times faster in the people with the lowest blood levels of omega-3s, compared with people with the highest levels.

And here’s a telomere fun concept I found, reported from research at King’s College in London:

King’s College London examined more than twelve hundred non-alike female twins aged between eighteen and eighty years and found those with more than one hundred moles were half as likely to grow osteoporosis as those with less than twenty-five. People with abundance of moles are known to generate white blood cells having long telomeres.

So….. don’t hate your moles, bulk up on salmon and/or omega-3 supplements, and your telomeres should look like this:

Grab Bag Trivia Answers:


Q. Half of all 
Americans live within 50 miles of what? 



A. Their birthplace

Q. Most boat owners name their boats. What is the most popular boat name 
requested? 



A. 
Obsession

Q. If you were to 
spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you 
would find the letter ‘A’? 


A. One thousand.

Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers and laser printers have in common? 



A. All were invented 
by women.

Q. What is the only 
food that doesn’t spoil? 


A. Honey Q. Which day are
there more collect calls than any other day of the year? A. Father’s 
Day

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Yahtzee… without all the noise (there IS bad music, but you can hit MUTE for that) 🙂

Ya! Dice

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

It’s the 21st Century and….

1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.

2. You haven’t 
played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list 
of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 
three.

4. You e-mail the 
person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for 
not staying in touch with friends and family is that they 
don’t have e-mail addresses.

6. You pull up in 
your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is 
home to help you carry in the groceries.

7. Every commercial 
on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.

8. Leaving the house 
without your cell phone, which you didn’t even have the first 
20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

9. You get up in 
the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.

10. You start 
tilting your head sideways to smile. : )

11. You’re reading 
this and nodding and laughing.

12. Even worse, you 
know exactly to whom you are going to forward this 
message.

and a Video Funny Stuff following up on “The King’s Speech”:

Thanks to Soheir K. for this!

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