Self-Care During the Summer

On Friday on the Happiness Box Project’s Instagram page, I posted about summer SAD. I  have seasonal affective disorder in the summer and the summer tends to make me depressed. Usually, in the summer I take extra special care so I don’t overspend (like I did this week) and so I don’t stress out about how I feel.

I talk to friends and loved ones, of course, but I also have been scrapbooking Happiness Box 2017. I just finished June 2017; I only have 5.5 months left to complete and I hope to have it done by September or October. I’m not going to rush it, though, it’ll get done when it gets done.

Today I also received a letter from one of my British friends. I am thankful to have friends all over the world.


Thankful Thursday 31 May 2018

I can’t believe tomorrow will be the first of June already! It feels like yesterday we were welcoming in the new year. It seems like the years fly by each year.

Tomorrow will also be two months since I created this blog. I am thankful for its growth and I am thankful for the Happiness Box initiative’s growth as well. I know I’ve been feeling more cheerful and I know others have been as well. Knowing that makes me a happy Jessica.

I am thankful for people from both jobs. Yesterday, Brijae made me a shirt and Kathleen brought me back a pair of toy clogs from the Netherlands. My heart overflows with gratitude. Today, the library gave me some candy; Mrs. Miraglia and Donna were both appreciative of the postcards I brought them from Atlantic City. Donna was really surprised and seeing her reaction made me so happy. 🙂

What are you thankful for today?

Memories, Stuff, and Finding Balance

As you might remember from last Thursday, I mentioned the memorial for Elaine Baer. I was intrigued how her niece told us that when she was cleaning out her aunt’s house, she found a world map with pins on each place she visited. She also had albums and albums full of photos. They would keep them, but they were looking for a place to store them and how to divide them up (I remember this from Nan – however, since dad was an only child, it was easier).

I could relate to this. I am the princess of travel/concert memorabilia and I’m trying to get myself out of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my memorabilia, but I am finding I just don’t have space for it. I’ve been off for the past two days and think I cleaned out? Nope. Yesterday,  I had lunch with Christina, today I only worked the library and had lunch with Ronald. I try to clean out every few months because each time I donate (or get rid of) new things. Sometimes it pains me to get rid of things and some things I won’t get rid of because it’s sentimental.

Christina and I were chatting about this yesterday. She wants to buy a van and live out of a van. She collects memorabilia too and has been trying to get rid of some of it to make space. We both agreed that it’s a balance – I think memories are more important than stuff. I rather make memories from the experiences than collect stuff. HOWEVER, I do take photos and I do like making scrapbooks. We both agreed that it was important, especially in the future when things go 100% digital and it could be lost forever, where a book would not. A book or album is more than a file. This is where balance comes in. I think it’s great to have scrapbooks and albums, but don’t go overboard.

I am in this process with my Happiness Box slips. I am currently scrapbooking 2017, will scrapbook 2016’s after 2017, and will scrapbook 2018 next year and will be thinking of the space issue as I move forward. I definitely want these slips to look back on these memories and feel good moments, but I will definitely get rid of some things I do not need. I definitely want to include this in my Happiness Box project book.


Today, I had lunch with Ronald. It was nice to catch up and share some laughs. Here is the selfie we took in December; it’s in Happiness Box 2017. I think next time we meet up, I might get a picture with Ronald for Happiness Box 2018. Would it be weird?


I also visited the Connors today. The Connors were Nan’s neighbours and we still keep in touch. Mary and Flo are sisters and today when I visited, Mary was out. I had the chance to catch up with Flo and we took some photos together. The laughs! She enjoyed that!

Memorial Day with Christina

It was a damp and dreary day in Pennsylvania yesterday, not really the type of weather for the pool or ocean. My parents went to Rehobeth Beach and while they texted me that the weather broke in Delaware, Pennsylvania had no such luck.

I travelled to West Chester and spent the afternoon with Christina. It had been six months since we last saw one another and thought Memorial Day would be a great day to catch up. Her birthday is on 3 June; mom and I are seeing Depeche Mode and I won’t be able to see Christina for her birthday. I gave her a card with a Whole Food gift card. I ordered her Machine Gun Kelly’s Bloom from Amazon and fortunately, it was delivered right before I arrived at her house. She opened the gift when I arrived. She loved everything.

Since I had to go gluten-free (and lactose intolerant) and Christina is vegan, we had a “BBQ” at the Couch Tomato. I had a gluten-free pizza with spinach and roasted shitake mushrooms, Christina had a Sparta salad with falafel, chickpeas and a bunch of other veggies. It looked delicious and we both enjoyed our meal.

We spent the rest of the time at Everhart Park and it was a serene way to catch up. It was wonderful spending Memorial Day with a friend.


Atlantic City | Memorial Day Weekend | 26 May 2018

As I was coming home last night from Atlantic City, I was reflecting on 26 May 2017. A year ago from yesterday, I was in the final four days from accepting the invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residency. I was freaking out because I read the invitation last minute since I made the $10,000 I needed and realized I needed letters from my employers. I also needed an upfront physical. I was worried because I didn’t have the physical done and I knew I couldn’t get it before 31 May 2017. Janie, Leigh, and a bunch of others calmed me down. Unfortunately, four months later I was refused because, of my full-time job. I couldn’t get the physical because I didn’t have the invite. Maybe it was a good thing because I am currently working on lowering my liver numbers. In the future, when I reapply, I know what to expect, and I never want to go through that type of panic again.

Between last year and this year, it has been light and day.  Since going gluten-free, I’ve been in a better mood. It has been a pain trying to eat out, and I cook a lot of my own food now. I brought my own food to Atlantic City yesterday, and I was happy that the gluten-free PB&J sandwiches, fruits, beets, gluten-free cookies, and crackers held me over while I was on the beach. The fruits and beets were refreshing since the water was choppy and cold.

I had a blast and the day was beautiful. It was warm, but the sea breeze made it tolerable. It was supposed to rain, but I am glad Adam Joseph and the Weather Channel blew that forecast. There was not a cloud in the sky yesterday. I kept reapplying my sunscreen as well.

I met some friendly people yesterday and took selfies with them. I explained my project and they loved the idea. They were also honoured to be part of it – unanimously, we need more kindness and laughter in this world. Kindness begets kindness, and it was fun sharing laughs with people yesterday. The swimming always makes the trip, but meeting some others adds to the trip too. I took a selfie with a little boy, Randy, since he took video of me playing in the waves. Then I went up to his mother and asked for a selfie with her. She loved the idea, and it was so lovely chatting with them both, though Randy was more interested in the waves. I don’t blame him, I am that way too.

I then met Jason, his twin brother, and their friend. We swam for a little bit, and I was chatting with them until they pointed out that one of my piercings was bleeding. A wave hit me and knocked my goggles down a bit. The piercings were okay, but since I was pierced a few weeks ago, it started to bleed. I cleaned it up, then walked over to the guys and thanked them. We chatted some more, and they loved the idea of the selfies. They joked they could take selfies all day. I smiled and said maybe I’ll catch them later. I, unfortunately, didn’t catch up with them later. I spent the rest of the day swimming.


I had to charge my phone, and at 4 PM, I decided I had enough of the beach, and I would just change. I ended up sitting at Starbucks for 2 hours, and my phone didn’t even charge fully! While I was charging my phone, a middle-aged man was doing the same. We chatted the entire time, and it felt like I was catching up with an old friend. That definitely made the time fly. His name was Dylan.


Before I left to go home, I decided to go to Rain Forest Cafe since Google said it was gluten-free. As I walked in, I saw a young family and asked them if this was the restaurant since it looked like an arcade. It was, and I asked the young mother if she knew if this place was gluten-free. She confirmed since she can’t have gluten either. When we heard it was a two-hour wait, she included me in their decision for gluten-free restaurants; she showed me the gluten-free app and pulled up a bunch of restaurants. She gave me a big hug, wished me luck and safe travels before I left. She was so kind, and it felt great. The boardwalk was crowded, and I ended up going. I ate when I arrived home.

I had a fun time in Atlantic City. I love spending the day in the water. I love being by the water. I am exhausted and spent my time recharging today. I am an introvert, but I do love meeting small groups of people. I just need my time to restore afterwards.



Thankful Thursday 24 May 2018

Yesterday, my interview about the Happiness Box Project appeared in the Spiritual newsletter on I am thankful Sonali asked to interview me and I was happy to spread the word about my Happiness Box.


On Sunday, our book discussion group has a memorial for one of our members. She died in March and we were all shocked by her sudden death. Ms. Eileen was a huge part of our group and her contributions were invaluable. I knew she was a Spanish teacher and world traveller; we often talked about travels when I saw her at the library, but I never knew how extensive her travels were and that she knew six other languages. No wonder why she took an interest in my language studies and asked if I would be travelling anytime soon! Hearing stories about Eileen’s personality, I aspire to her wanderlust. I have my whole life to try to accomplish it. Sunday definitely inspired me.

I took photos and one of the members e-mailed me thanking me for the beautiful, thoughtful photos and she was sure Eileen’s family would appreciate it. She also thanked me for my contributions and wished me a happy summer. I felt thankful for that nice e-mail.

I am also thankful for friends and family. What are you thankful for today?

Scrapbook Creations

I’m slowly working on the scrapbook of Happiness Box 2017. It’s not an everyday project because I don’t have time to complete it each day, though I want to start trying because I want to tidy up my room again. I have the slips and photos in three different bags. I went overboard and sometimes buying refills is expensive.

Maybe buying a stack of white 12×12 paper, then empty refills later on might be the cheaper option, but the way paper prices are going, I highly doubt it. I just complete it slowly and wait for sales. It’ll get done when it gets done, but I might just stick the slips and photos into the book. I just couldn’t bring the book everywhere in that state since I don’t want anything to fall out, but the book is too heavy to carry anyway. I think that is a plan.

Last Friday, I went to the Art Museum and worked on my scrapbook pages a little bit. I am working to place slips; I won’t actually decorate until all of the sheets are set.

Though I started subscribing to Pipsticks and May’s stickers came in. The stickers are amazing this month and really match my personality! I can’t wait to use them.

On Thursday, I worked on two pages and placed some of the Pipsticks. They look amazing, but I still want to wait until all of the slips are set before I decorate. Sometimes I change my mind, and I will admit the sheets aren’t in order by date, but by where they fit. I might move some things around, and I want the stickers to match somewhat.

I swear I’m not anal! I am just excited about this scrapbook.