Monday Mantra and a Guest Post

Happy Monday everyone! The ‘r’ key is not working on my keyboard so I have to copy and paste it into every word with an r–I never realized how many words have an r in them! Since it’s a kind of slow process, I decided it would be a good day for a guest post on a heart healthy diet from NorthShore University HealthSystem

But first, a fitting quote for this week’s mantra:
Have a healthy, happy week!

A Heart Healthy Diet

A healthy heart can lead to a healthy life. If you take small steps, like eating a well-balanced diet and getting consistent exercise, you can help yourself not only stay in shape, but keep your heart healthy. By incorporating these small steps into your daily life, you may even be able to help prevent and reverse heart and circulatory conditions.

A healthy diet can eliminate many of the risk factors that lead to heart disease. These factors include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and fatty deposits in the arteries. Physical activity can also reduce many of these same factors, such as stress, cholesterol levels, hypertension and obesity. Exercise can also improve the capacity of blood vessels to dilate, which combats loss of elasticity.

The ideal heart healthy diet is full of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, and lean proteins. Consider the following tips, which will help you get started on your way to a healthy heart:

  • Set a goal to eat fruits and vegetables that range in color. The wider the range in color of these foods, the more healthy nutrients you will be getting for your body.
    • Dark green, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are the densest in nutrients. By adding lots of healthy produce to your diet, you’ll be eating nutritious, water dense foods that are also high in fiber. Fruits and vegetables are a great way to maintain healthy body fat levels.
    • Focus on increasing your fiber and nutrient intake by choosing whole grains.
      • New studies suggest that 20-35 grams of fiber can aid in preventing heart disease.
      • Eat lean proteins that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines.
        • Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the risk of death due to heart disease, as they are thought to lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation throughout the body. They have also been shown to decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure and boost your immunity.
        • Try to avoid cholesterol and saturated-fat based foods to maintain optimal cholesterol and body-fat levels.
        • Limit your sodium intake to around one teaspoon per day while watching for hidden sodium in food. Limiting your salt level allows you to control your blood pressure levels.
        • Limit your sugar levels to help your body stay at a healthy body composition.

Changing your diet does not have to be a difficult process and making small incremental changes is a great way to start. Switch out white bread for whole-grain bread, opt for egg-white omelets instead of full-egg omelets, and use more spices and less salt. Along with dietary changes, kick your new healthy routine into a higher gear by getting more exercise. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car farther from the door and even get up for a short walk during your lunch break.

Gradual changes are key to heart disease prevention  and a combination of a mindful diet and physical activity can lead to a longer, healthier life.

NorthShore University HealthSystem is a comprehensive, fully integrated, healthcare delivery system that serves the Chicago region. With leading hospitals in Chicago and the surrounding area, NorthShore provides patients with the care they need to maintain a heart healthy diet.


Thankful Thursday: San Diego Edition

Morning lovelies! So really it’s been a few weeks since I was in San Diego, but since technical problems kept me from posting, I thought I would share a little vacation recap for my Thankful Thursday post this week. 

Things I am thankful for:

Morning bowls of oatmeal with a good book




Amazing, healthy, delicious food (pictured here: wild Alaskan salmon tacos and the best veggie pizza ever. Apparently San Diego is rated the top place to get pizza in the country–who knew??)

Wine by the beach

Sunsets on the beach

Aaaand of course, my family! They are the best.

Question: what are you thankful for today?


Monday Mantra: Finding Balance Between Yin and Yang

Okay this time me being absent from my blog was NOT MY FAULT. For over a week every time I tried to access it it said it was being transferred to another domain host, an ‘automatic process that should only take about 5 minutes to complete.’ Thanks a lot, Blog.com. But hopefully they have fixed/done whatever they were trying to do and there will not be any more problems!

What I had wanted to post was a recap of my lovely family trip to San Diego, and perhaps later I will still do so. But today I want to try a new thing: Monday Mantras. I was reminded of the idea while teaching my yoga class tonight; I like to incorporate a little philosophy into each class, and when I started this blog I used to write a weekly yoga teaching post, but then I just kept forgetting. So I am restarting that by posting weekly Monday quotes that give you something to consider this week. Or at least for the 2.5 minutes that you spend reading this.

For those of you who might not know, mantra is a Sanskrit word for a sound/word/group of words that are considered capable of “creating transformation” through their repetition. The most well-known mantra is simply ‘om’. Or ‘aum’ if you spell it that way. (In case you are wondering, om is believed to be the sound of the universe). Ommmmmmm.

On to this week’s mantra:

I have been feeling out of balance lately, and I know it’s partly because it’s summer and my routine is always changing, and partly it’s because I have to decide what I want to do post graduation and I have NO idea. But also it’s just that I have been disconnected from myself, living on auto pilot without really examining if I want to do everything that I am doing.

In yoga and in life, everything has an opposite and to find harmony, those opposites must be balanced. This is known as the yin and the yang. Fast, fiery, intense things form the yang energy, while cool, calm, and slow things are yin.  

We live in a very yang-focused society; everyone is always rushing to do the next thing, always distracted or trying to do a million things at once, and there is a constant push to do more and to do it faster. The problem is that when we are jumping from one thing to the next so quickly, it is very hard to focus on where we are in the moment. A lot of us live as human doings, rather than as human beings

So my suggestion to you this week is to notice areas of your life where you could focus more on yin energy. Maybe it’s spending five minutes meditating–or even just breathing deeply. Maybe it’s waking up an extra 15 minutes earlier, or prepping things the night before, so that you are not rushing to work in the morning. Maybe it’s your interactions with other people, whether strangers or loved ones–try really listening to what they are saying, rather than planning a response before they have finished. Maybe  it’s taking a moment to appreciate your food before you eat it, and then eating mindfully–without checking your phone or the TV. Take more notice of the present moment, and really appreciate and experience it for what it is. 

Mantra for the week:

“We are not meant to be perfect, we are meant to be whole.”


Marvelous Monday #2: Vegan Saag Recipe

I forgot how fast summer session goes–last Monday I had a midterm, and now I already have my final coming up this Wednesday!

But I guess the marvelous thing about that is that by next Monday I will be done, and relaxing in So Cal with my family :) I can’t wait to get to the ocean!

Marvelous is . . .

My internship. We spent alllll day on Friday (left at 7 am, got home after 10 pm) doing 24 hour diet recall interviews with families in a little town outside of Fresno. The internship is a multi-year initiative to reduce obesity rates in Hispanic children by teaching them about ways they can make healthier eating choices and be more active. Hardly any of the families there speak English, so I get to practice a lot of Spanish! Although the day was exhausting, it was such a cool experience and I loved getting to know and work with the community.

We also did carotenoid scans of the kids’ skin. Carotenoids are molecules found in colorful fruit and vegetables that are chock full of good stuff (like antioxidants), and your body stores them in your skin. So by scanning the carotenoid levels in the skin of your palm, this machine can assess roughly how many fruits and vegetables you eat per day. Pretty cool eh?

And afterward we stopped by the feria (the fair) to look at the rides and eat some pupusas (tortilla-like bread stuffed with meat and cheese. Not my favorite Mexican dish I’ve tried, but my TA was pretty excited about them).

Marvelous is . . . The farmers market. It’s always packed on Saturday mornings where I live, and full of the most amazing food and produce. I got a pretty good haul last time I went!

Marvelous is . . . Homemade Indian food.

Why do a big portion of my favorite foods resemble some form of unappetizing bodily excretion? Oatmeal, pudding, chocolate covered things, curries . . . and now saag. Despite its appearance, saag, a sauce made from pureed greens and spices, is incredible and by far one of my favorite (or maybe my very favorite) Indian dish. I have been looking for a good saag recipe (saag is a sauce made of pureed greens and spices) and I finally found one that is delicious and pretty easy to make!

Find the original recipe here, or look at the directions below, and then go make this. Right now. If you’re not a tofu person, garbanzo beans or chicken work equally well.

Vegan Saag Paneer

Serves 8


  • 4 to 5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons ginger root, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons salt (separated into 1 tsp and ½ tsp)
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can light coconut milk
  • 2 16-ounce bags frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 6-ounce bag baby spinach leaves
  • 2 packages savory marinated tofu (I like the Trader Joe’s Organic), cut into cubes
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish (optional)
  • cooked brown rice/other grain for serving 


  1. Add all ingredients EXCEPT for fresh spinach, tofu, peas and ½ teaspoon of salt to slow cooker 
  2. When fresh spinach is wilted, puree entire mixture with a handheld immersion blender until creamy. 
  3. Next fold in tofu cubes, frozen peas and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt 
  4. Set to low and cook for 4 hours.
  5. At about 3 hours and 30 minutes, add in fresh spinach and stir 
  6. Put lid back on slow cooker and let tofu and peas warm up.
  7. Serve over brown rice and chopped cilantro.
  8. Keeps well in the fridge for leftovers and freezes great!

Yum, yum, yum. I have been eating this for a week (8 servings all for meeee!), and I am still LOVING it. I may just make another batch. It is just that marvelous ;)

Thankful Thursday #2

Marvelous Monday, Thankful Thursday. . . I’d say so far my quest to work on my positivity is going pretty well!

Things I am thankful for today:

Microbiology Lab.

Testing E. coli and Enterobacter

If you had told me a month ago that I would like microbiology, I probably would have scoffed at you. I have always hated micro science—electrons, atoms, DNA, you name it; if it’s too small to see I just don’t get it. But this class is pretty interesting; my professor is so entertaining and I actually listen to all the stories he tells in lecture (gasp!) Plus we get to do all sorts of hands-on tests with bacteria in lab, which is a lot more interesting than titrating, as those of you that have suffered through many chem labs probably know.

. . .But mostly I am thankful that I got out of lab an hour early today ;)

Subbing my first class at FITHouse! It was a small class but I think it went pretty well! I’ve never taught in a studio before (just the gym on campus), and I really liked it!

Transform Your Life. I downloaded an app on my phone that gives you a daily Buddhism quote/thought to reflect on. The title is a bit more intense sounding than the app actually is, but it’s a great meditative way to start my day!

Bai. I have a real weakness for tea/coffee/flavored beverages. Plain water here just is not very tasty. The newest drink I’ve tried is bai, a low-sugar, antioxidant-packed drink that makes for an awesome afternoon pick-me-up.  I probably won’t make a habit of drinking them though–my wallet would not be thankful for that.

Summer. It’s always been my favorite season. I love the sun, pools, all the fruit that’s in season, the lazy, carefree atmosphere it creates, warm nights, how it stays light for so long, barbecues. . . ahh it’s all just so good!

Not so thankfully, I have a midterm Monday that I should get to studying for, so that’s all for now. Your turn! Tell me something you are thankful for today!



Hai Guys, 

Betcha thought this blog was done with huh? To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to blog again. Blogging takes a lot of time, and with the end of the school year and all the glorious summer weather, I had other things with which to fill my free time. And also I was just kinda burned out on food. I wasn’t trying any new recipes or really cooking at all. A lot of my meals involved cereal or eating peanut butter out of the jar. Delicious, but really not very interesting.

Buuuut now here I am, chilling in Davis for the summer, working and taking microbiology. Definitely not as exciting as my abroad experiences last summer, but it has its benefits. I’ve seen some other blogs doing this Marvelous Mondays trend, and I’ve been trying to restart my appreciation journal so I thought that would be a perfect way to jump back into mi blog!

Marvelous is…. 

Celebrating my great-grandma’s 95th birthday in Nebraska.

Moonshine, hunting, and buds. All my favorites in one place!

Nahhhht. But bus ride tours of the town and all, it was so great to see and spend time with all of my relatives. I had not been to Nebraska for ten years! My great-grandma teared up when she first saw me and my sister. It was so cute :’)

Marvelous is…. 

Celebrating 21st birthdays with all my friends! The best part of having an earlier 21st birthday than your friends is that you get to go out and celebrate with them on their birthdays! From classy wine tasting parties to getting free birthday drinks at the bars, they are always fun and full of good stories.

Practicing our mature, 21-year-old look. Nailed it.

Marvelous is…. 

Yoga! I just got hired as a sub for FITHouse, a studio/gym downtown, and I’ve been doing hot yoga several days a week. It always makes me feel so light and in love with life, in a way that no other form of exercise can. I guess that’s because it’s so much more than just exercise.

Also a guy came to take pictures of all of our classes at the ARC a while ago, and I just got a chance to see the shots he took! They turned out pretty cool  :)

Marvelous is…

Getting interviewed for a video about Fit for Fire, a small group exercise class of firefighting drills, which they are going to present at the International Association of Fire Chiefs Conference. They attached a microphone and everything and asked me a bunch of questions about the class. It was exciting! Not sure if I actually want to see what I sound like in the video though haha.

I also got some free fire department shirts from the fire chief for helping out, which was awesome!

Marvelous is…. 

Vegan food! After a long hiatus, I’m back to a (mostly) vegan diet. I don’t want to limit myself to rules/eating a certain way all the time anymore, but with more free time in summer it’s easier to prepare healthy, delicious vegan meals at home. Stayed tuned for recipes :)

Saag with tofu

Question: What marvelous things have you been up to lately??


Immunophen Review

Hey everyone! Wow I haven’t been on here in forever. . . I needed a break from blogging so that I could focus on school, work, and enjoying the last of my junior year. And I was just getting kind of tired of it. But I have some product reviews that I have been needing to post for wayy too long, so I am back to do those!

Back when I was having all of my sinus/candida/allergy issues, I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of Immunophen, which is liquid Pine Cone extract

Yeah, I drank this stuff. And yeah, it tastes about as good as you would expect pine cone extract to taste.

But according to Immunophen’s website, pine cone extract offers some pretty impressive health benefits:

(Taken from the Immunophen Site)

  • Immunophen™ contains Ligna-Plex™ an all-natural botanical extract derived from organic Scotch pine cones designed to build and maintain a healthy immune system.
  • Immunophen™ balances and boosts your immune system so your body can better defend itself against colds, flu, viruses and bacteria
  • Pine cone extract has been documented in many scientific studies to have anti-viral, anti-tumour and anti-bacterial properties
  • Immunophen™ is an advanced immune stimulant that contains Ligna-Plex™ a botanical pine cone extract shown by independent university research scientists to boost the immune system to fight illness and disease.
  • 100 mg of IMMUNOPHEN™ can be safely taken daily to help lower allergy symptoms and inflammation while improving your immune response to yeast, mold and much more…
When I first started taking it, my allergies actually got worse, but then I introduced it into my diet more slowly and I definitely noticed it helping my allergy symptoms! And you know what? I haven’t gotten sick since I started taking it. Granted, I tend to not get sick often when the weather is warmer, but still! For those of you who are interested in natural/holistic ways to reduce allergy symptoms or immune responses to yeast, Immunophen is definitely worth looking into. 
You can find out more about their product here: www.immunphen.com

I’ll try to post again soon with some other reviews/updates on my life. Hope you all have a beautiful weekend! :)

*this review was solely my opinion; I was not compensated for it


Guest Post from LiveHealthy-MD

Hey everyone! I know it’s been a while, but I still haven’t figured out how to get rid of the “slow down, you’re posting too fast!” error, and blog.com doesn’t seem to want to respond to me. So if any of your know how to fix it, please send me an email!

I was asked a while ago to post a guest post from FitnessWatch-MD, a weight loss and diet help website. When I explained that this is not a weight loss blog, they said they could do a post on some healthy eating/living tips (which, quite often, lead to weight loss naturally).

So here are some tips for healthy ways to maintain a type II diabetes diet, but most of the advice (such as increasing fruit and vegetable intake) would probably benefit anyone! Check out http://fitnesswatch-md.com/ for more weight loss and diet ideas.

Have a great week!

Seven Tips for Maintaining Type II Diabetes Diet

Being diagnosed with type II diabetes requires alterations to one’s lifestyle. These changes can be frustrating, but are necessary for people with diabetes to live a healthy life. There can be a period of adjustment when following a diet to treat type II diabetes, but new research published in the Journal of the American Diabetic Association centered on diabetics who are obese and overweight showed that diabetics, in many instances, fail to follow nutritional recommendations.

Ninety-three percent of the people participating in the study ingested a higher number of fat calories than is optimal. Ninety-two percent consumed an excess of sodium; 85% consumed an excess of saturated fat. In the study, the diets of the participants were compared to the Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intakes and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. According to the guidelines, people should not eat over 30% of their daily calories from fat, of which saturated fat should be no more than 10%.

Experts warn that all type II diabetes patients must be vigilant

Wake Forest University School of Medicine associate professor Mara Vitolins states that there will be a displacement of healthy food choices by eating high-fat foods. This research functions as a warning to people who have type II diabetes. It applies to both people who have recently been diagnosed and those who have lived with type II diabetes for an extended period. While newer patients with type II diabetes are in some cases struggling to alter their diets, the study discovered that individuals with diabetes for a longer time weren’t maintaining a healthy diet either.

Tips for formulating and sticking to a diabetes diet

Regardless of when you received your diagnosis, here are seven ways to stick to a type II diabetes diet; read about other helpful tips at http://livehealthy-md.com/

1.      Keep track of what you eat

You can’t make healthy changes if you don’t know what it is you’re trying to change. Make a log of what you eat on a daily basis and analyze your diet. The American Diabetes Association’s president for healthcare and education, Sue McLaughlin, suggests that people select the foods on their diet that are the most fat-laden and in their stead, insert vegetables and fruit. A person who does this will decrease the fat and calories and also raise their consumption of vitamins, minerals and fiber. This will improve levels of cholesterol, blood pressure and overall health. The ADA has a useful tool called My Food Advisor that can assist in determining what nutrients are missing in your diet.

2.      Increase your intake of vegetables and fruit

Vitolins says that two servings each of fruits and dairy products, six healthy grain servings, and three vegetable servings each day will constitute a greatly improved diet. Dairy products should be of the low-fat variety. The research indicated that fewer than one-half of the participants in the study consumed the minimum amount of grains, dairy, vegetables, and fruit.

3.      Have a meal plan

If you know what you’re supposed to eat and when, it reduces the potential of eating mindlessly. Vitolins advises that healthy adults consume between 45% and 65% of their daily caloric intake from carbohydrates, between 10% and 35% of calories through protein, and 20-30% from fat sources.

Certain methods like plate divisions from create-your-plate and counting carbohydrates are a great help in formulating a meal plan. Create-your-plate divides the foods on the plate into sections, separating starches, non-starchy veggies, and proteins.

4.      Be willing to listen and learn

If you have had diabetes for an extended period of time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you know everything there is to know about a diabetes II diet. Vitolins asserts that people who are suffering from type II diabetes might fail to get the proper education in nutrition to craft a proper diet.

She believes that type II diabetes sufferers should have be constantly re-evaluating the foods they eat. If you require assistance, speak to your physician about finding a nutritionist or dietician to provide guidance.

5.      Support can do wonders

McLaughlin refers to someone can support the patient as a “champion.” Even the smallest amount of encouragement or just someone to talk to can be a great boon to sticking to a diabetes type II diet and embarking on an exercise program.

6.      There’s nothing wrong with fussy eating

Since diabetes II is such a serious condition, there’s nothing wrong with being discriminating when eating out. Finding restaurants that allow substitutions and provide nutritional information will allow you to eat out without worries as to what you’re putting into your body.

7.      Seek advice from reputable online sources

The National Diabetes Education Program has a wealth of information and advice. My Food Advisor from the ADA is a favorite of McLaughlin as it helps with carb and calorie-counting. The website, MyPyramid.gov is the website of the American Dietetic Association and also has quality information.

Physical activity is a must

Changing one’s diet won’t be as effective without incorporating some form of exercise. McLaughlin suggests five days per week of movement of the large muscles of the body (the arms and the legs). Studies have shown that the restriction of caloric intake without exercise will yield a reduction in body fat and muscle mass. The loss of muscle mass is not desirable; therefore a diet program combined with exercise will result in the maintenance of muscle mass and the reduction of body fat.


WIAW and Blog Woes

Hello hello! Long time no post. It was brought to my attention by several readers that no one has been able to comment on my blog for a while. An error message pops up that tells them to slow down, they are commenting to fast!

No I am not kidding. I even tried posting a comment on my own post and it happened to me too! I emailed the blog.com support staff, but have yet to receive a response. I don’t want to dis my blog host platform but . . . anyone know how to switch your blog over to a different domain? If so, leave a comment telling me how!

Har har. Hope you caught that.

On to WIAW, featuring the only meals I have taken pictures of this week (the new/old phone doesn’t take quite as nice of pictures, sorry bout it).

My breakfasts have been a mixture of sweet and savory. On the sweet side, we have carrot cake oats: oats, shredded, nuts, and shredded coconut.

Who knew veggies for breakfast could be so delightful? I want to open up a healthy little new-agey cafe where they serve things like carrot and pumpkin oatmeal. All the food bloggers could hang out there together. And everyone else could make fun of them for all their weird food creations.

For savory, my new favorite creation is toast topped with mashed avocado

Then eggs and veggies. And of course ketchup. I used to put ketchup on everythinggg, and it is a habit I still haven’t really outgrown. Love that stuff. 

P.S. I promise this is a lot more appetizing than it looks. 

And lunches and dinners have been a random assortment of things–salads, frozen veggie burgers, eggs, yogurt and fruit, you name it. I haven’t felt like cooking any new recipes for a while. One of my favorite creations though is this quesadilla, made with chopped chicken, spinach, cheese, and apple slices!

The apple slices give it a sweet crunch that is so much more interesting than the reg’lar old quesadilla (or, kwe-suh-dill-uh, if you like to pronounce it that way). Seriously, go try it out! I bet pears would be good too.

Alright that’s it. I’ll be back when I hopefully have a solution to my comment problem. Until then, you can try leaving some love (the error message is sort of worth getting, since it’s so weird) or email me if you really have something to say! Have a great week!


Rain clouds and Sunshine

I think one of the easiest ways to bring more happiness into one’s life is to focus on the positive. Bad stuff is inevitable in life, but if you keep your head up and remind yourself to see the brighter side of the situation, things turn out okay.

Some stuff that has come up for me recently?

1. I went to the doctor last week for pain in the top of my right foot that’s lasted for over a month. She felt around my little foot bones and then decided to take an X-ray because she thought I might have a stress fracture. But it turned out that my foot bones were fine, and what probably is causing the pain is extensor tendinitis, which you get from not having enough arch support or doing a lot of running (and considering I have very high arches and very flat shoes, it makes a lot of sense that I would get this).

I’m glad that it’s tendinitis and not a tress fracture, because instead of having to passively recover for 6 weeks, I can take active recovery steps: putting arch supports in my shoes, alternating hot/cold packs on my foot, and I’m even trying new low-impact forms of exercise. I took my first spin class yesterday (and pretty much died, it was hard!) and I’m planning on going with the lap pool with a friend to practice swimming (I told him we would have to go during off hours so that I had few witnesses to my sad attempts to swim. I’m definitely more of a runner).

Our cycle studio (click for image source)

2. On Friday I went with my roommates to a dance party put on by the entertainment council of our school. Usually I pack a little purse that goes across the body with my phone, I.D., and keys (something I learned studying abroad: always wear a purse that goes across your body so that it’s harder for someone to pull off), but since it was such a last minute decision to go, I just stuck my I.D. and phone in my back pocket. We had been at the party for maybe 5 minutes when I put my hand on my pocket and realized my phone was gone. 

I panicked and tried to push through the thick crowd of dancers, getting all teary and yelling at  strangers that my phone was gone. Some of them helped me look or comforted me, which was sweet.

I never found my phone, and I imagine someone took it. But a friend of mine very generously offered to let me borrow his old iPhone for free–and when I plugged his phone into my computer, it had saved most of the data from my phone (apps, contacts, etc.) and restored them!

Technology and nice people amaze me :)

3. I interviewed for the Apple Wellness intern position last week, and I think it went pretty well, despite my nerves and lack of interview skills, but I still haven’t heard back from them. So I’m trying to remind myself that no news can be good news, right? Keep your fingers crossed for me! ;)

Hope you all have a great week! 

Question: Do you have a favorite positive mantra or way to keep your spirits up when rain clouds come up in life?