Teaching the Happiness Box Initiative

Since making my Happiness Box Project Initiative public in May 2018, I’ve received a few e-mails asking me questions about how I came up with the project, and some ask me if I could teach them. Some have been teachers in foreign, war-torn countries inquiring, about ways to help their trouble students overcome PTSD.  My project began in response to PTSD, and I was happy that after a few years working on this project privately it was reaching others who had a need; the stories tore at my heartstrings, of course, I would work with them via e-mail or Skype.

Happiness Box 2018 (So Far) and Scrapbook of Happiness Box 2017 (So Far)

I’m making good progress so far with Happiness Box 2018! My goal was to make it not as overwhelming as 2017’s box and so far I’m keeping that goal. Where the box is now is where the box was at in April 2017. I’m thinking if I keep to a note and/or photo each day, I will be able to hold out until December without using the boxtop like last year!


19 August 2018



12 June 2017. I sadly didn’t take photos of the Happiness Box each month last year, but you can see June last year was bursting. I didn’t fill the bottom half until 9 August 2017.

Tonight I am going to scrapbook for the first time in a month. I’ll be honest with you, I’m over scrapbooking 2017’s because it’s overwhelming. I’m hoping I can expand the scrapbook and I joined the Scrapbooking.com forum to get advice. If worse comes to worse, I’ll create volume 1 and 2. Volume 1 will be the scrapbook, then volume 2 will be whatever couldn’t fit into the album, held together with metal rings. The goal is to get it done by 31 December 2018. I might just throw the notes in.

Thankful Thursday 16 August 2018

We are half way through another month – it’ll be 2019 before we know It!  However, I’m savouring each day as they come.

This thankful Thursday I’m thankful for both jobs I have. While they aren’t my absolute favourite, they not only provide income, but I have many amazing coworkers at both. I am thankful for their friendships and honestly ,I feel blessed to have earned it.

What are you thankful for?

Academy of Natural Science’s Bug Fest 2018

All I can say is that I’m thankful that this year they had gluten-free options for the bug treats. I could still eat most insects – they had nacho chips made with ground cricket flour and it was amazing with the mealworm salsa. Instead of Chef Zach from Louisiana, the Academy had local candy makers make us bug desserts, that were naturally gluten-free as well.

Bug Fest was super fun and I am glad I am a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences.

Kittydelphia 2018 in Photos

On Saturday, 28 July, after I returned home from Asbury Park and Long Branch, I went to Kittydelphia. Kittydelphia was a fundraising event for Philadelphia’s PAWS, an organization that saves animals in the city. I heard of the event through one of my Celibricat friends, Sophie the Model Cat, since she was in attendance. I had the chance to meet her and George, another Celibricat.



I had a lot of fun and I was so happy to finally meet Sophie. I love her Instagram page and her antics always put a smile on my face. I added the Polaroid with her (and the Polaroid I had taken with George) to my Happiness Box.

Jessica’s Asbury Park, Long Branch, NYC Trip 2018 | Day 3: Asbury Park | 27 July 2018

On Friday, 27 July, I decided to spend the entire day in Asbury Park. I hopped on the train and again noticed the Little Free Library when I hopped off. I really wish I remembered the books I wanted to give – especially since that Free Library was empty. I took a few photos and ordered Lyft to take me to Toast. Toast had gluten-free breakfast options and I wanted to check it out.

Toast was amazing. I sat at the counter and started chatting with the middle-aged man sitting next to me. He was friendly and kind; I enjoyed chatting about the area. After he was done reading the New York Times, he handed me the paper since I was reading the sports section. We chatted about the Blue Jays; NYT wrote an article about the trades that took place and I fretted about their season this year. We commiserated together about sports. Anyway, Toast had almond milk and I could enjoy coffee! The gluten-free waffles I had were delicious but heavy. I ate 3/4 of the plate, but since it was hot and I was going to the beach later, I didn’t want to overeat. Toast was also reasonably priced and I would recommend the restaurant.


I made reservations for Catsbury Park Cat Café for noon; I had an hour-and-a-half to kill. The beach was a fifteen-minute walk and since Toast was close to Catsbury Park, it was logical to stay in the area and go to the beach after the appointment. I walked into some stores and went to this one thrift store. I’m surprised I didn’t buy anything, but the decor and selection they had were interesting. I ended up taking some photos.


I then walked to the mall and visited the mom and pop stores they had inside the mall. I went to this one hippie store and took a photo with the Grateful Dead bear. The shop’s owner took the photo for me and she was a joy to chat with. I told her where I was from, she exclaimed that the shop’s headquarters are in New Hope; I should visit some time. We also chatted about art, photography, and writing – she is an illustrator, she showed me the children’s book she wrote and illustrated, then handed me her card. Professional Hippie, what a cool business card. I bought tie-dye shirts for my co-worker’s daughters (which they loved, according to my co-worker). I went to another shop for the postcards and again, had a friendly experience. The shop’s owner asked where I was visiting from, I told her, she exclaimed and told me her ex-husband used to own this one restaurant on the Main Line. The restaurant was my parents’ favourite back in the 70s. I swear it’s such a small world.

By the time I was finished at the mall, it was time for my appointment at Catsbury Park, which was across the street from the mall. I loved Catsbury Park! I played with the cats. A few took a liking to me and one cuddled on my lap.

I went to the beach after and I prefer Asbury Park’s beach to Long Branch’s beach because Asbury Park’s sands do not have pebbles mixed in – just smooth sand. My feet were happy and the waves were not rough; Friday was a beautiful day and it made a great day for swimming in the ocean.

That night I was supposed to meet up with Jared, but plans changed since he overplanned. He was hoping to have a great big party for Wayne, who was moving to Chicago for a year. I met Wayne at Jams on the Sand and he was pretty cool. However, when I mentioned Jared’s plan, Joe and Wayne said they weren’t aware of them and I knew things were going to change. However, he was all over the place with them. Wayne’s family planned a dinner and we were going to meet up after dinner. Jared said the dinner was at 6 and when I received a text from him at 8 that he was sitting down, I thought he meant where we planned to go later. I went to Asbury Park, realized he was sitting down to eat, it was later than he thought. I had to leave early and by 10:30, I just said next time. Sometimes when I’m hungry, I don’t comprehend, but I sent the conversation to Christina and she said it didn’t make sense in general, she said she was confused too. I guess it wasn’t me, but maybe someone who wanted to do it all and couldn’t. The dinner I had at the Anchor’s Bend also made me feel queasy, it was rainy, and I went back to the air bnb.

Before I headed back, I saw some tattoo artists standing outside of the Convention Hall. Asbury Park was having a tattoo convention that weekend and I asked one of the artists if he could take a photo with me. He agreed, he asked if I wanted a tattoo tomorrow, I said I had to go home tomorrow, I asked him where he was located and he is based in the Philadelphia Area. I said I was from there and I would check him out. He handed me his card. Mom’s rule is no tattoos while I’m living here, but I’m not sure. I’m pierced, but I can remove my piercings if I tire of them; a tattoo I can’t easily remove. I find getting pierced to be relaxing, I know getting a tattoo is painful.


(Yep, these went into my Happiness Box)

At least it wasn’t a totally bad experience. When I arrived at the Wonder Bar, I sat with two young women and their male friend, we had drinks (they had alcohol, I had water) and we chatted. I am glad they let me sit with them; I asked if I could sit with them before I did, and they were friendly enough to let me join. It was raining by this point, but we just sat under an umbrella and laughed about the absurdities of the business world. Although I couldn’t meet up with Jared, I met others and had a blast. I also heard some of the Bob Marley cover-band and they were awesome. I couldn’t eat at the Wonder Bar and that’s how I ended up at the Anchor’s Bend.


I had a great trip and I love Asbury Park. I’m going to plan a trip for next year, but I am going to book earlier so I can get an air bnb in Asbury Park or at least closer. Long Branch was nice, but it’s more of a business-oriented town. There is much more to do in Asbury Park and there are more food options. The people I stayed with were wonderful and their dog, Mary, was friendly. She loved hanging out with me and in between the beach and travelling, she helped me wind down.

Thankful Thursday 9 August 2018

The weeks seem to be flying and I can’t believe next Wednesday we will be half way through August! I hope time slows down a bit, however, it’s Thankful Thursday!

On Monday when I came home, I had a small package waiting for me. As I ripped the cardboard envelope opened, to my pleasant surprise there was a signed CD from Juice waiting inside! Juice is one of the band’s I saw during Jams on the Sand, I loved them so much that I decided to order their CD. I love supporting young artists and they signed a CD for me. I was gushing a bit (a few coworkers I told the next day said I was glowing too) and extremely thankful for the nice gesture.


Yesterday, someone from my full time job came back from Miami and Brijae gave me three dresses, two blouses that she couldn’t fit into. I am thankful for both young women, as with some other coworkers, and my library coworkers.



My Irish relatives visited last night and it was so much fun. We actually have a lot in common and there is no denying I am related to them. Many of my cousins are also writers, so we chatted about writing projects and current events. It was great seeing them after 10 years. I was telling them about Andrew and they said if I ever visit Andrew in the UK, I should stop by to visit them. I definitely will.

When I woke up yesterday morning, I was feeling strange in a good way. I woke up positive and thought, “you know, my parents and I may not always see eye to eye, but they are accepting of me and they have not thrown me out of the house because of choices I’ve made.” For the most part, my family (beyond mom and dad) have been accepting of me and have tried to accommodate my food restrictions.

Aunt Kathy brought a gluten-free snack for me  and mom made me gluten-free brownies. Aunt Kathy also said, “I brought scones, and next time I will bring almond flour ones for you to eat.” While I may not be where I want to be yet, I am grateful for what I have.


What are you thankful for today?