“Forget Your Troubles and Dance” – NotesFromFriends


unnamedLife can become very overwhelming at times, especially as you get older and take on more responsibilities. We over stress ourselves about things like money, love, and our health. I’ve fallen victim to this stress at many points in my life, but there has always been one thing that helped me maintain my sanity and happiness: DANCING!

In the words of Bob Marley, “forget your troubles and dance!” During high school, when I felt overwhelmed by the amount of homework my teachers assigned or I wanted to cry because my crush didn’t call me back, I would go to my hip hop dance class and all would be forgotten. My brain would shake itself of any stress that plagued it and focus solely on the beat of the music and the choreography of my dance teacher. In that two hour dance class, I’d clear my head and engage deeply with the present moment as I swayed my hips, bobbed my head, and tapped my feet. Dancing became my medicine; my relief.

Throughout college, I discovered that the best cure for a broken heart was a night out dancing with my girlfriends. They’d drag me off the couch away from my crumpled up tissues and sappy movies, force me to change out of my pjs, and bring me to a party or club to dance. Within the first few minutes, I’d release all the tension in my heart and embrace the music that hugged me like an old friend. We’d laugh, grin widely, and shake off our stress on the dance floor. Nothing in the world can compare to the happiness that overcomes me when I’m dancing.

The stress of Graduate school was still no match for the happy feet I experienced every Tuesday night at my Salsa class. After ten hours of thesis writing, the only cure was a night in the arms of my dance partners spinning on the dance floor. There’s no room for negative thoughts when you are tuning into the rhythm and beat of a song blasting overhead. Your brain forces out all thoughts, while your body responds to the music: shaking, swaying, tapping, snapping, spinning.

Not everyone loves dancing, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find this same euphoric happiness doing other physical activities. Research has shown that physical activity releases serotonin in the brain, which is directly correlated with happiness. So if you enjoy running, working out at the gym, biking, or playing sports, make time for those activities in your life. No matter how busy I get, I make time for dancing. If I don’t dance for a few weeks, I start feeling down. Then I finally go dancing and immediately feel that jolt of happiness and am reminded why I love it so much.

Life is too short to stress all the time and only dedicate ourselves to working. We need to do more things that make us happy. Taking a half hour each day to do some sort of physical activity, can greatly improve our happiness. For me, turning on Pandora and dancing around my house or office can give me that much needed boost of endorphins and happiness. So take the time each day to go for a run, a bike ride, work out, or dance alone like no one is watching, because your happiness depends on it!

By: Melissa Gittelman, author of “Sisters, Sunsets, and Self Discovery”


100 Ways to be Happy- #4: Magnetize Optimism


After having some time to digest those first three #100ways I hope you are ready for more! Sometimes it takes a few tries to get into new habits, especially if they mean changing your mental outlook. But if you have been following along and trying any or all of the #100ways so far in your every day life, then #4 should be easy for you.

Magnetize Optimism. 

It’s easy to walk around life being consumed with the worries and what-if scenarios that plague our subconscious, and it’s okay to acknowledge and give them a moment to live, but the important skill is knowing how to let them go. 

Have you ever walked into a room and sensed the intensity of a fight, someone crying or having just been frustrated, and you just know before a word has ever been spoken? That’s because all of our emotions have energetic properties to them that exist and range outside of our own bodies.

We can all think of a person we have met at one point or another that we were drawn to, wanted to be like, or felt a comfort or stability with seconds after the introduction. Think about the demeanor of that person. They most likely were fun to be around, happy, and most of all Optimistic. Placing optimistic energy into the universe will magnetize more happiness and optimism to your life. 

There are only so many words that can explain the change and effect this will have on your life, so instead of challenging me while reading this post, TRY IT YOURSELF. The task itself is simple. Take time today to walk into a meeting feeling good about the information you have to offer, find the silver lining in the misfortunes of your day, write down ten things that get you out of bed every morning, and use those forces to drive you and emit your own optimism. Changing that energy around you will be a gift that you can then pass on to others. And for some it may not be as easy to do, but nothing worth changing for ever is.

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude”. – Oprah Winfrey




nOURISH: Fuel Thin Mint Smoothie



Smoothies have become a simple pre workout breakfast option for me over the last year. I am always looking for new recipes and interesting twists to making vegetables delicious! Moving to Los Angeles was a revolutionary step in understanding how my body could get the nutrition it needed in the most delicious ways possible and I am proud to call myself a bit of a Foodie. But what I love is being able to enjoy something with both my mind (what says yum), my body (what feels good after the yum) and my soul (what makes me go back for more). Plus anything with the words THIN MINT in the title perks me up!


The Perfect (Fuel) Thin Mint Smoothie 

(This recipe brought to you by ClassPass!)


  • 1 square of Perfect Fuel Chocolate
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 10-15 mint leaves
  • A few drops of vanilla extract
  • 1 to 1.5 cups vanilla almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1-2 dates (optional, for added sweetness)
  • 2 ice cubes



Reiki: A Massage for the Soul


Invented by 19th century Buddhist, Mikao Usui, the term Reiki derives from two Japanese words, Rei being the higher intelligence that guides us and Ki the non-physical energy that animates all living creatures. After doing my research on the healing powers of Reiki, I finally took the plunge and had a couple of sessions. Now I feel it is my duty to spread the good word on this holistic treatment for anyone seeking a remedy to their physical, mental, or emotional imbalance. For those of you who are skeptics, trust in the knowledge that energy healing is a practice dating back thousands of years and is just as applicable in today’s modern society!

I’ve heard the name but what is Reiki?

 Reiki is a form of natural healing to balance, shift or replenish energy throughout the body. Similar to a massage, Reiki requires you to lie (fully clothed) on a table while the healer uses the light placing of hands on or over areas of the body, specifically the different chakras to channel that energy.

Okay so how does it work?

 Our thoughts and emotions are connected to the world through energy. When those thoughts and emotions are negative, that negativity creates an actual blockage on our cells and organs. Reiki works by clearing out the negative blockage of energy within our bodies and gives them a positive recharge. It raises the vibrations in and around the physical body to relieve us of negative thoughts or feelings. Reiki disables our fight or flight mechanism and enables a relaxation mechanism, which allows our bodies to heal (just as sleep heals a head cold, etc.).

How can Reiki help me personally?

Reiki can be used for all types of healing. I personally have gotten Reiki to become more in tuned with my creativity and to balance and understand myself. Reiki can also be used for stress reduction, anxiety, trauma, pre or post surgery, improving immunity, reducing side effects of medication, and the list goes on.

What should I expect to experience?

 Although I am fairly new to Reiki, I had a similar experience both times during my session. It is easy to fall into a meditative state during Reiki, which allows for a really transcendental experience. During the session, I experienced very vivid memories I had until then forgotten about, mostly of my childhood. I also experienced very lucid daydreams or visions, all things that led to a feeling of infinite peace and tranquility within my own body and mind. Many of these visions struck a chord with me emotionally and would give me overwhelming feelings of happiness or relief that came close to tears. After the session, I felt patient and effortlessly joyful. Conquering my day was inspiring and I found challenges to be rewarding and enjoyable rather than frustrating or exhausting. I was actively being the person I aspire to be.

Do I have to believe it in to receive it?

 No! This is something I struggled with at first when pitching the idea to friends and family. The beautiful thing about Reiki is it can be done on you without you even knowing (in a non-violating way). Many Reiki practitioners offer remote healing for people unable to travel or be with the practitioner. Reiki can also be done on animals to prolong their well-being and relieve pain. Give it a shot, or learn how to do it on yourself!

If you are in the Los Angeles area or beyond and are interested in receiving or learning more about Reiki check out: http://www.reikiforcreativeminds.com/



100 Ways to be Happy- #3: Meditate Into Something You Love



Meditation. An anomaly for many people, but as Buddhism, Hinduism, Yoga and other spiritual practices become increasingly mainstream, we find it being suggested to us more and more.

Many people have a hard time sitting in a dark room with their eyes closed trying to clear their mind from all thoughts. What will I eat for dinner? What am I going to wear to work tomorrow? Did I feed my cat earlier?

Getting rid of these thoughts and just being inside of your shell can be a really difficult (but beneficial!) practice for the modern soul. We are so used to the immediacy of connection and communication in our lives that it is often hard for us to turn that off and just be with our bodies.

SO, if you are the kind of person who just CANT find a way to quiet your mind for twenty minutes, thats fine!! A friend once told me during a discussion about meditation that he suffers from the same problem, but found a solution. This was an revelatory piece of advice that stuck with me:


Instead of sitting quietly inside yourself, be in the moment and MEDITATE into a delicious desert, a hug from a friend, a good book at lunch, a workout you like to do. Find something that you really appreciate in your life and MEDITATE into that moment. Enjoy and be one with that experience. Adding up all of these little things and taking even a minute to acknowledge and appreciate the experiences we have, IS A MEDITATION.

The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large. – Confucius





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100 Ways to be Happy- #2: Accepting Compliments



Day 2 of experimenting with the things that make us happy. After having a wonderful Reiki session this morning, I feel vitalized, balanced and open to accepting the gifts the universe has in store for me.

Keep in mind this is a practice I am actively participating in as well. So lets recap yesterdays lesson real quick: “Trusting The Universe”:

I often have a hard time giving up control of a situation and like to plan things far in advance. I like knowing what will come next in the moment, day, week or year. When I feel I don’t have a good sensibility of what is going to happen I worry that it will be something bad or undesirable since I did not push myself down a particular course. Over the last 24 hours I have let that go as much as possible and guess what, I’m still alive! This trust will be something I actively continue to practice along with the 99 other things that we will add to this list over time.

SO, with that being said Day 2 is a piece of advice that came from a yogi friend of mine, and has stuck with me ever since I first took her class.



Often times we are given compliments and write them off because we feel we are unworthy or undeserved of them. Make that active change today. When someone tells you that they like your new dress, don’t reply with, “Oh this, I’ve had it forever its a piece of crap”. Instead EMBRACE the compliment, take it for what it is worth and ACCEPT the gift the other party has given you. When we reject a compliment we are also rejecting the person who is giving it to us. In a way its an insult!


So allow someone to compliment you today, accept it with gratitude and appreciation for the intention behind it. Give a genuine compliment back to a stranger, a friend, a loved one or even yourself. Live your life like Mark Twain who once said:

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.”





Your Feel-Good Summer Reading List

Flashback to a post I had last summer up on QLC. Reading inspires and enlightens the soul, and some of my most favorite pieces are A. Science Fiction (you’ll come to learn this more and more) and B. Anything Non-Fiction. If you are looking for something to both enlighten and motivate your creativity, check out this summer reading list that I find to be timeless.


One of the best parts of summer is sprawling out near a body of water and indulging in a juicy piece of literature. Here are five titles that you will wish had been on your high school summer required-reading list – one option each for Fiction, Non-Fiction, Travel Memoir, Spiritual, and Autobiography.

The Map of Time, by Felix J. Palma (fiction)

The infamous H.G. Wells is our main protagonist in this three part time travel journey, taking place on the cusp of the 20th century. The book, broken into three parts, uses Wells as a common denominator between all of the characters we meet and the bold adventures they embark upon through time to search for truth in the future and to erase the mistakes of the past. It’s a great period piece that explores the concepts of time travel before the element of modern day technology. It’s a…

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100 Ways to be Happy- #1: Trusting the Universe


Today kicks off the first of 100 posts on not WHAT makes us happy but WHY. This is #100ways

I join you all to participate in both exploring the themes I post here as well as sharing your own tips and tricks for finding happiness in the simplest things in life. Not your Versace sunglasses, or your tickets to the Beyonce concert, but instead what inside of YOU makes YOU happy, and then projecting that outward to share with others.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all seek happiness in everything we do, and almost always our intent behind our actions is to make ourselves HAPPY. So my first suggestion for a way to be happy is TRUSTING THE UNIVERSE.

There is a famous quote from Brazilian author Fernando Sabino that goes “No fim, tudo dá certo. Se não deu, ainda não chegou ao fim.”

Translated: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay then it’s not the end.”

This phrase is only relatable when we can trust and give the power to the universe around us. Everything is on a path to correcting itself and as long as we trust and believe that the universe (the place where we as a miracle exist!) has the proper plan for us in store, then we shall receive that rightful place.

Everything happens for a reason and every challenge and trial we face (even if it is not ideal) is something that makes us stronger and prepares us for other tribulations down the road. It gives us character, writes our story, shapes our souls and makes us compassionate.

As an impatient person myself, I constantly struggle with giving control up to the universe and letting fate take its course. But the more we fight it, the harder it is to end up where we were supposed to be all along. Fighting the path will not make it change course, it will only steepen the road.

…. so today, take a moment and allow the universe to make a choice for you. Let fate take its course on your life. Don’t plan every little detail of your day out, offer room for surprises and opportunity. Succumb to the unique charms of what YOU are meant to do. You have a story in the stars written for you, there’s nothing you can do to change it but instead trust that everything will be okay in the end, or else it isn’t the end 🙂





JAM ALERT: “Bummer its Summer- What No Way!” (Playlist)


Just because fourth of July has come and gone before we could even eat four cheeseburgers, DOES NOT MEAN SUMMER IS OVER. It’s only just begun my friends. School is out, Swim is in. Here is a playlist for a drive with your top down and top off (wink).




10 Ways to Get Involved in Your Community

Last year I wrote an article for my mother site called “10 Ways To Get Involved In Your Community”. These are still all very applicable ways to get off the couch and really give back to the world that gives us so much. Of course volunteering is something we do to make ourselves feel good but its also knowing that we are helping to set an example amongst those around us. No matter what your intentions are behind volunteering, know that you are a conquistador of love and inspiration for others.


Joplin, Missouri Marks One Year Anniversary Of Deadly Tornado

Volunteering is a glimmer of a thought for most, mainly because we don’t even know where to begin. There is such an overwhelming amount of opportunities that we often give up on the idea before we have even done a google search.

So, I’ve narrowed down the top ten ways for you to get involved, with the hopes that each of us will seize the day and do our part to better our community:

Volunteer at a Community Theater

  1. Unlike professional theater companies, community theater relies on volunteers to run every aspect of the production. From box office to props, direction to lighting, volunteers are the blood that runs through the veins of community theater. No matter what your skill, there is an opportunity to be found at a theater in your community.

Help the Global Community through Kiva.org

  1. Interested in helping others in need, but don’t have the time…

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