the saddest post i've ever written

Every little girl should have a dog.
In heaven, there is a little baby girl, our daughter named Grayson and tonight she gets her wish.
Our sweet, funny, kind, loving Emerson, our dog, our girl, tonight left this earthly plane. She had a great heart, unfortunately too big, too enlarged. We would have done everything to save her, I would have run into a burning building to rescue her. Larry would have battled great white sharks and bopped them on the nose. I would have fought anyone who tried to harm this innocent sweet soul who just wanted to love, who would lay under my desk during the day with her face draped over the top of my feet. At night she slept on my pillow and I often woke up with her eyes carefully studying my face.
She has been my best friend, my constant north star for the past 16 years. Today, she was suffering. She was gasping to breathe, she batted my hand away but still I loved her. So, I cuddled with her laying against my chest peacefully (while Larry held us) our breaths in tune with each other. The first drug came and she closed her eyes to sleep, hearing my heart beat against hers. The second drug lifted her away. I closed my eyes, kissed her head and told her “Run to Grayson, Emma, run as fast as your little legs can carry you. You will recognize each other. She has been waiting so long for you. I love you I love you I love you. It was heaven here with you. We will see you again.” Then it was over.
I look forward to seeing those fast little Westie legs running towards me someday when I leave and I will say “Emma, I will lift you up, bury my face in your neck and love you for all eternity.”

how to be happy #290: dream big

I have a vision board. It's something I look at every day and it helps center me when I'm in my office space.  When I get easily distracted by pandas sneezing, one glance at my vision board is a solid reminder to refocus my energy towards what will help me achieve my goals.

Sometimes goals can seem so out of reach, so beyond what I can accomplish. I like immediate gratification (Hello, Kraft Mac & Cheese) and waiting months or maybe years for a payoff can be hard to imagine. I came across this quote this morning that helped me refocus. I'm adding this to my vision board.

One of my goals, for example, is to lose weight, to get healthy, to gain strength and make my muscles do what they yearn to do. However, when I look at what I need to lose, I get discouraged. Reading this quote, though, helps me to remember that every journey begins with a single step. One pound becomes five becomes ten and so on. One mile of walking with stops for a breather up our hills becomes one miles without stops, becomes running one mile. Big things often have small beginnings, humble beginnings.

There are other things on my vision board. Some of these I have wanted for as long as I can remember. It's so easy to get discouraged and say "Why even bother? It's too much work. I'll never make that happen. . ." This is true as long as I take ZERO steps to making it happen. So, one day I take a few tentative steps and then I reassess. Do I still want that goal? Yes. Great, then take two steps forward. One day, one very perfect, wonderful day, that goal is there right in front of you. The most important thing I have learned is to keep going, push through, focus on the goal. Don't listen to anyone who makes you doubt your goal, regardless of how lofty that is. Dream big. Your beginning may be small, tentative but oh, how amazing that day is when you achieve what you set your mind to do. You have the power to do this. You do.

So, here's to goals and small beginnings!

how to be happy #289: your smile lights up a room

There are those people who change a room just by being in it. They walk into a room with a big, genuine smile and all you can think is "I need to get to know her." That's you. You have no idea the power that your smile has to delight/enchant/disarm anyone in your radius. It's easy. The corners of your mouth turn up, your eyes crinkle and sparkle. And here's the thing. It's just a mindset. Regardless of what your Monday looks like, of what meetings you're dreading or what person just rubs you the wrong way, you can change the way you approach your day with deciding to smile.

A true smile makes you look confident and radiant. You know those moments when you just feel "on"? It's a hard feeling to describe. It's as if you have the world in your hand. You know what to do to take care of any situation. You are in control. You can manage whatever is about to be thrown your way. A smile doesn't mean you are weak or pleasing. A smile that comes straight up from your chest says you own this and no one, nothing can knock you off your path.

A smile is also as contagious as a yawn. Have you ever looked at someone who was scowling and smiled at them (again, a genuine smile, not a sarcastic smirk) and it literally stops him and more often than not, he will smile back. It may a weak "OK, I realize I was shooting daggers out of my eyes for no reason. Sorry about that" smile but you changed someone path. It's hard not to smile at someone who is smiling at you. Think about a baby or a dog (yes, you know dogs smile) who has just been handed their favorite toy. It's impossible not to smile at their genuine delight.

And just so you know, that smile looks really good on you!

Happy Monday!

happy things: The Dress Shop at Disney Springs

One of my favorite places is Walt Disney World. Of all the places in all of the world, this is the one that makes me happy just knowing that it exists. I'm looking forward to my next trip there in May.

If you love Disney too and you're a girl who loves a little whimsy in her life, lucky you. A new dress shop, called (coincidentally) The Dress Shop, has opened at Disney Springs in Orlando, Florida. Perhaps you love "Alice in Wonderland" or Minnie Mouse's polka dotted dresses, then you might want to book that trip to Walt Disney World sooner rather than later. This shop is going to be a must-stop-in for every girl who loves dressing up. (My eye is on the light blue Cinderella Castle skirt and the It's a Small World Dress.)

Take a look at the video below. If you've ever wanted to dress like your favorite character or a cast member at your favorite Walt Disney World attraction, your world is about to get a lot happier!

Dress sizes range from XS-XXXL with dress prices between $80-$160. The Dress Shop also carries accessories with items like Dooney & Bourke handbags, headbands and jewelry. The Tower of Terror headband is genius.

how to be happy #347: don't judge someone's story

2009 was not my year. 

It was a very bad, awful, no good year. Almost every part of my life was upside down. I was trying to figure out life and how to handle things that weren't going my way. I was grouchy/difficult/angry. I felt claustrophobic and in general "prickly." I was basically a two year-old having a tantrum meltdown in a grocery store. I had emotionally thrown myself on the floor in defiance. I couldn't stand to be with myself and I'm pretty sure my husband would have been very happy setting me off on an ice floe, happily waving goodbye and saying "See ya, sweetie!" I was a terrible version of myself.  

Looking back I feel sorry for L, my husband, who had to deal with his prickly wife but also for anyone new who entered my life during this period. They didn't know who I had been. They didn't know the Taylor from before everything went wrong during Annus Horriblis. Before everything went to hell, I felt in control of a very cool, happy life. When things dissolved, I felt like I had zero control. The only thing I could do was react and I'm afraid I didn't do that very well. I was stuck in the "I didn't deserve this! Why me?" phase. It was easier to not take ownership for the failures in my life than to examine my own life and come to the realization that I was not blame-free in the situations. I had contributed to the way things had played out. Perhaps, everything wasn't entirely my fault but still, I had to shoulder some of the responsibility for my own life. Once I realized this- that I owned this situation, then I could take the next steps and make solid plans to change the things that were wrong in my life. 

It was a challenging time in my life. It is SO much harder to take actual steps to changing your life, than it is to wallow in the wrongness of it all. It would have been easier to stay in, seclude myself, eat mac & cheese and scowl at anyone who tried to enter my fortress of solitude. So, I made a plan. I am a logical girl. I went to Catholic school which means I like structure. I created a master plan for what I wanted my life to be, including the steps needed like finding a nutritionist and a trainer, going back to school, focusing on fostering my relationship with L, who had so deftly handled his wife's temper tantrum.

During this difficult time, I hated who I was. I feel sorry for anyone who met me during this period (and the period leading up to 2009. Things just didn't boil over overnight.) The only story they knew was the chapter they walked in on, which would be the one where the heroine is in her darkest hour before she finds the strength to turn her life around. 

I try to remember this when I meet someone who is "prickly." A couple of weeks ago, one of my closest guy friends was being a jerk, or perhaps more kindly, not the best version of himself. I said "So, you're being kind of prickly. What's going on?" In typical fashion, he said "Nothing. I'm fine. What's wrong with you?" I replied "OK. Well, I'm here if you want to talk but dude, seriously, your sharp spines are out. Can you reel them in a little bit?" The thing is, because he is one my closest friends, I know his heart. I know he's a great guy who is kind. Had I met him now, I wouldn't want to go past saying "hello" once he barked at me like he did. I know he has things going on in his life that he's working on. All I can do is say "I'm here" and be thankful that I've read all the chapters prior to this one and I like his book. 

If you have someone in your life who is prickly at the moment, keep turning the page. This is just the chapter where the hero evolves. Spoiler alert: the book is worth reading. Keep going. It's aways OK in the end. If it's not OK, then it's not the end.