urban happiness

What role does geography play in our happiness?  Can we increase our happiness by changing our zip code?  The journalist Charles Montgomery studies how urban design affects human happiness, and he believes that we can manufacture joy through the urban landscape.   Specifically, he believes that we can “redesign our cities, our minds, and our own behaviors”…  “to build a city that is more convivial, more fair, more fun, and more happy.”

Montgomery offers a number of ways to make the city more fun, and my favorite suggestion is starting conversations in elevators.   He recognizes our inclination for personal space,  but he believes that the benefits of a good conversation outweigh the potential awkwardness : “Even a casual conversation with strangers has the potential to flood your system with feel-good hormones. Go ahead. Talk about the weather.”

I decided to encourage chatter by hanging conversation starters in elevators.  I’m not sure that anyone will answer the questions, per se, but perhaps they will chat about why someone hung silly paper all over the place.  Either way, mission accomplished. ImageImageImageImageImageImageSpeaking of urban happiness, I’m planning another rah rah rah project with my friends Kaitlyn and Sarah (TheDuck&TheOwl), and we want you to join us.  Are you up for it?

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The plan is to spread happiness to the public heroes that make our lives better every single day.  Grateful for the librarians that keep the bookshelves stocked?  Thankful for the firemen that continuously defend the city?  Let’s show our appreciation by giving them goodie bags filled with sweet treats and thank you notes.

I plan to spread happiness in Minneapolis, and Kaitlyn and Sarah will bring smiles to Milwaukee.   We’re both planning to blog about the project on Monday, and we’d love to read about how other bloggers got involved.  If you choose to participate, send us a link (in the comment section of the post) so that everyone can read about your random act of happiness.  Ready, set, RAH!

rolling around in ice cream

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People often ask how life changed when I got married.  The question fills my head with pictures of me&Jon pulling the car over to run through sprinklers, getting in trouble for popcorn fights at the movies, and staying up all night (on a Tuesday) to watch every episode of Breaking Bad. 

It seems that people expect me to lament over all the cooking and cleaning, but the apartment only takes 30 minutes to clean (it’s as tiny as a treehouse), and I love cooking meals and hosting dinner parties.

There seems to be a stigma that being married makes you grown-up.  Dear reader, I’m here to upend that nonsense.  I may have a ring on my finger, but my childhood definitely isn’t over. No way, no how. I decided long ago that I would prolong childhood as long as possible, and I’m still reaping the benefits of that glorious decision.  So bring on the puddle stomping, the pillow fights, and the opportunities to play with my food.
ImageYayLabs! supported my love for playing with food by sending me an ice cream ball.  If you know me, then you’re realizing that not many things would make me much happier. I love ice cream (and cookies, brownies, fudge, candy – I have very sweet teeth), games, and any excuse try something new.

The ice cream ball only works when shared with others. Literally. After you pour in the 3 or 4 ingredients needed for your dream concoction (flavors range from chocolate covered cherry to toasted coconut fudge), you need to roll the ball around for approximately 20 minutes.  Perfect for a rah rah rah experiment, right?

You’re already probably guessing what came next, and you’re right: I took the gadget to the lake and made ice cream with strangers:
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ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageIf you’re thinking that the pictures in this post look better than usual, that’s because Justina Louise spent the day with me again.  It’s somewhat like heaven to have a friend that works as a wedding photographer but enjoys photographing goofy experiments.  It’s also awesome that Apricot Lane keeps making me look so fly in all the photographs.  Thanks for making playtime so much fun y’all 🙂