43 Books: A Short Guide to A Happy Life by Anna Quindlen

As part of my 43 Before 43, I’m reading 43 books.

A Short Guide to A Happy Life is a very quick read that gave me pause.

Let me start with what I liked about the book:

  • The title. So many key elements for wanting to read this book: short, guide and happy.
  • It mostly felt fresh and heartfelt.
  • She talks about being in sole custody of your life. – In my mind both daunting and exhilarating.
  • She talks about living a full life beyond work, school, achievements and developing your soul. – I couldn’t agree more. There is so much more to life than working.
  • I read it in less than half an hour – (plus I could add another read to my list!) – and it left enough of an impression I wanted to tell others about it.

An excerpt and my favorite part: 

But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul.

A couple of things that weren’t my favorite:

  • In some places it felt a bit dated (published in 2000). Post 9/11 writing has a different feeling.
  • The quotes definitely have been used a lot since publication – example:  “No man ever said on his deathbed I wish I had spent more time at the office.” – Paul Tsongas

The all important question – would I want to be friends with the author?

Yes. She seems to have a lot to teach (and so many books for me to catch up on).

Should you read A Short Guide to a Happy Life?

Yes. I think most of us could use a bit more happiness in our lives and development of our souls.

Have you read A Short Guide to a Happy Life? What did you think?

43 Before 43: Actually Make Something I’ve Pinned From Pinterest

In the spirit of not being such a holiday Scrooge for Ruby’s sake, I’ve decided we’re going to decorate our house for the winter holidays.

This is a huge step for us. The first year we were in our house we cut down and decorated Christmas tree with lights and bows and then never did it again because we always spend it with family out-of-town. Plus the whole undecorating part was so not fun.

This year is different – the Ru is home and since I’ve always felt the holidays were for kids, we’ve finally got a reason to decorate.

Enter the Life/Birthday List and I found the inspiration from my favorite hobby obsession Pinterest:

For tutorials on making this and other alternative “trees” – click the photo.

Here is my actual “tree” – I’m looking forward to seeing it lit up at night.

I’m so excited I am able to already cross something off my list.  If you are interested in other ideas I have found for the home – check out my list on Pinterest.

Are you all inspiration (like me) or do you make time to be creative and actually make things?

43 Things Before 43


For months I’ve been reading about other people’s Life Lists and wondering if I could ever make one without driving myself crazy with all the achieving and in-my-head competition.

Would my list be cool enough?

Would I really do everything I said I would?

What huge adventures await?

Inspired by Rosie’s birthday list, Sarah’s try new things before her birthday list and Amy’s Life List, I’ve decided to put together a list of things I would like to do before I turn 43.

Why 43 instead of 42?

My birthday is in 4 months and I don’t want to hurt myself getting it all done before then. My list is l-o-n-g, makes me think I needed to start this  thing in my 20s.

My intention with this list is to remind myself to have more fun, take care of myself and to do things out of the ordinary.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

The List:

1. Take my birthday (March 20th) off – no work, no obligations – just fun.

2. Take an anti-gravity yoga class.

3. Road trip to Portland with Ruby.

4. Take Ruby to see live music.

5. Read 43 books.

6. Put my feet in the ocean with Ruby.

7. Pick berries.

8. Go on retreat.

9. Teach an active yoga class.

10. Go to the movies by myself. {Yep, I’ve never done this. I have, however, gone to a rock show on my own so don’t feel too sorry for me.}

11. Attend a service at a Universal Unitarian church.

12. Explore the Taiwanese culture in Sacramento.

13. Learn 10 words/phrases in Mandarin.

14. Run a 5K.

15. Write a fan letter.

16. Rent a house at the coast or in the mountains.

17. Teach a class on social media and blogging to teachers.

18. Sleep outside.

19. Do a swim workout.

20. Watch my first students graduate from high school.

21. Spend a week away from the Internet.

22. See a play.

23. Go to a sing along at the Crest.

24. Take a photography class.

25. Take a cooking class.

26. Take a private yoga class.

27. Actually make something I’ve pinned on Pinterest.

28. Go to the ballet.

29. Have a family portrait taken.

30. Watch a movie outside in the backyard.

31. Take Ruby on a hike.

32. Help a friend start a blog.

33. Build an outdoor shower.

34. Make a wall of bookshelves in the dining room.

35. Redesign the entryway and make it pretty and useful.

36. Start a mom/play group in Midtown.

37. Teach a class at my gym.

38. Organize the pantry.

39. Get rid of all the shoes I don’t wear because they are uncomfortable.

40. Take a nap in a hammock.

41. Host a baby shower.

42. Take a photo every day.

43. Make the Book of Me into a book.


Do you make yearly plans? A Life List? Would you like to?

I’d love to hear about yours.

And I’d love for you to join me in making my list a reality. Please let me know if you’d like to do any of my 43 with me.