Happy National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day (Oct.21) – Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients


2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

  • 
1/2 cup white sugar
  • 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 
2 eggs
  • 
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
  • 
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 
1 pinch ground cloves
  • 
1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 
1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • PREP
30 mins
  • COOK
40 mins
  • READY IN
4 hrs 10 mins

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Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  • In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
  • Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

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Poetry Mondays – The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

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Wizardpaths

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

 

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

 

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

The Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems, Complete and Unabridged

The Decomposition Of McDonald’s Burgers And Fries (Science is Awesome) – *Warning Scary Video

Giving Up Junk-Food Relationships: Recipes for Healthy Choices

Be Like Bacon (Francis Bacon) – Legacy

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Happy Sunday Funday – Brad Pitt & Jimmy Fallon (Breakdance Conversation)

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Fight Club Blu Ray Limited Edition Steelbook Metal Pack

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy – Ways to Live a Happier Life (Repost)

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o-HAPPINESS-facebook

1) PRACTICE GRATITUDE

No matter where they are or what they are doing, happy people recognize that they always have something to be grateful for. Research in the field of Positive Psychology has shown that people who practice gratitude are happier, less stressed and less depressed!(2) Happy people can easily find gratitude in the world around them, whether they are looking at the cracks in the pavement in the concrete jungle or the sun setting over the ocean. It is possible to find gratitude even in smallest of things, like a delicious meal, a good book, a challenging yoga class, or a smile from a stranger on the street.

Each of us has a choice on how we focus our attention. Choosing to focus on gratitude for the beauty and uniqueness of life instead the stressors and problems will make you feel happier and more relaxed.

2) FIND A PLACE OF FLOW

In Positive Psychology, the concept of “Flow” is defined as the “complete immersion in activity for it’s own sake.”(3) When we are in flow, such as when we are running a race, writing a song, or reading a great book, our self-awareness dissipates, time seems to stop, and we become focused, peaceful, and attentive to the task at hand.  People who frequently experience flow tend to be happy, productive, creative and focused.

You can reach a state of flow by putting special attention to tasks that you find intrinsically rewarding and enjoyable. In other words, carve out some time to do what you LOVE! For more information about how to find your flow, explore Dr. Mikhal Csíkszentmihályi’s book, Finding Flow.(4)

3) SMILE MORE

If you are feeling down or having a rough day, it is possible to cheer yourself up by simply thinking of a person, place or situation that makes you smile! Indeed, research in psychology has shown that the physical act of smiling will make you feel happier, even if you are just flexing the muscles of your mouth and not intentionally smiling!(5)

While scientists are not yet completely certain why the simple of act of smiling makes you feel happy, it has been suggested that smiling contracts the facial muscles, leading to more blood flow to the brain’s frontal lobes, which in turn triggers release of dopamine, one of the pleasure chemicals in the brain.(6) So bust out the comedies and get your giggle on (or maybe let someone tickle you a little bit)!

4) EMBRACE YOUR MISTAKES

We are all perfectly imperfect in this human form, and it is only natural that we make mistakes (sometimes very often!) Living in denial about your mistakes or getting wrapped up in your ego will only you make you miserable and block you from learning valuable lessons that will help you grow and improve.

By embracing your mistakes, you will be able to forgive yourself, and the bonus is that other people might actually like you more! According to Dr. Eliot Aronson’s “Pratfall effect” in Social Psychology, making mistakes makes competent people seem more attractive, and more human to others.(7) Happy people seem to intuitively know this, embracing mistakes as learning experiences and not judging themselves too harshly.

5) MAINTAIN AN OPTIMISTIC ATTITUDE

Happy people tend to respond to negative events in a more optimistic manner than unhappy people. Positive psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman defines optimism as “reacting to problems with confidence and high personal ability,” specifically, recognizing that negative events are temporary and limited in scope.(2) Research has linked optimism with a plethora of positive outcomes including longevity, recovery from illness, overall physical health, enhanced coping skills and problem solving in difficult situations.

Overall, optimism is a central component of staying happy and healthy, so when in doubt, look on the bright side.

6) SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE

Even though this life can sometimes feel like an individual journey, we need other people around us in order to feel happy. In fact, recent research has indicated that social relationships are the strongest predictors of happiness, much stronger than income or wealth.(1) For example, according to Robert Putnam’s groundbreaking study, making a good friend causes an increase of happiness equal to tripling ones salary, belonging to a social club is equivalent to doubling one’s salary, and so on.

The take home message here is that social support is a huge indicator of happiness and wellbeing. People with perceived positive social relationships even live longer!8 So be social, surround yourself with people who make you feel good, and release those who make you feel bad.

7) LEARN WHEN TO SAY “NO”

As psychologist Dr. Thema Davis so beautifully puts it“saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to things and people that stress you out.”(9) Happy people know that they must say NO to people, ideas, and behaviors that do not serve their highest good. Saying yes to everyone and everything can lead you to feel overwhelmed, increase your stress, and leave you less time and resources to take care of yourself! This is especially true when you agree to do things that do not resonate with you, or allow yourself to be pressured into situations you are uncomfortable with.

The stress that results from feeling overwhelmed can severely dampen one’s happiness and wellbeing. Before you commit to anything or anyone, ask yourself, does this serve my highest good? If the answers is no, then learn to say NO. 

8) UNPLUG & SPEND MORE TIME IN NATURE

Although it may feel natural after a lifetime of conditioning, human beings were not designed to spend our day hunched over a desk with electronics plugged into our ears and eyes. No, we are meant to be spending time outside, away from the buzz of technology, the radiation from cell-phones and the blaring of screens. Happy people understand that it is their human birthright to give themselves quiet time to reflect and find serenity. According to the July 2010 Harvard Health Letter, time outdoors in nature has been linked to happiness because light elevates people’s moods, as does vitamin D, a byproduct of spending time outside.(10)

If you really want to maximize the benefits of outdoor time, spend time in green nature – even five minutes of “green exercise” can lead to improvements in mood and self-esteem, according to researchers at the University of Essex.(10) Even better, combine your outside time with meditation, yoga, or other therapeutic movement arts. There is a plethora of research demonstrating that all of these will further enhance your mood and overall wellbeing. 

9) PRACTICE FORGIVENESS

This one can be challenging for the many of us who have been wronged and/or who have experienced traumas perpetrated by other people in our lives. But as my life partner, sound healer Jimmy Ohm always says“forgiveness does not mean that what happened was ok, it just means you no longer want to carry the pain.”(11) When we hold on to anger, resentment and fear towards people, they are actually occupying a space inside of us, blocking us from feeling truly happy and fulfilled.

Dr. Fred Luskin of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project has found that forgiveness is a huge predictor of happiness and wellbeing, explaining how “forgiveness is the experience of peacefulness in the present moment.”(12) For more on his research, visit his website, Forgive For Good.(13)

10) TRY NEW THINGS

Happy people are not afraid to push their boundaries and try new things. Research by psychologist Dr. Rich Walker has shown that people who engage in a variety of experiences are more likely to retain positive emotions than people who have fewer experiences.(14) Sure it might seem scary at first, but what’s the worst that could happen? By going beyond your comfort zone, you might actually surprise yourself and exceed your own expectations for what you are capable of accomplishing. And hey if it doesn’t go as planned, at least you still tried, didn’t you?

As Dr. Alex Lickerman M.D. writes in Happiness in this World, trying something new requires courage, it opens up the possibility for you to enjoy something new, it keeps you from becoming bored, and perhaps most importantly, it forces you to grow.(15) So what have you always wanted to try but you didn’t think you had the guts? What are you waiting for? 

11) LOOK IN THE MIRROR EVERY MORNING AND SAY “I LOVE YOU!”

For many of us, self-love is the greatest challenge and blockage to happiness. Years of being told by family, educators and especially the media that we are not good enough, not successful enough, not attractive enough, not capable enough and so on has left many of us feeling beaten down and unworthy. The truth is that no matter who you are and what has happened in your life, YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE! Say it out loud to yourself until you believe it.

Psychologists have long known that self-esteem is intrinsically connected to happiness, but how does one build self-esteem? I believe we build self-esteem through practicing self-love and self-acceptance. One of the simplest things you can do is to look in the mirror every morning and say, “I love you!” For some, this may come easy, and for others, it may be extremely challenging. I know that at first I tried and tried to do this and I would break down in tears because I felt so unworthy. Eventually through practicing daily mantras of self-love and self-acceptance, I was able to learn to love myself. And while the path to unconditional self-love is a life-long journey and not a destination, today I feel happier than I have ever felt. ☺ I hope that these happiness tips will help guide you on your journey as much as they have helped me on mine. Namaste.

Credit: Mind Unleashed

THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE: THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY THAT FUEL SUCCESS AND PERFORMANCE AT WORK

Survival of the Fittest – Why You Should Never Cut Across Lanes Right Before An Exit

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According to Belgium website Jalopnik, 25-year-old Jasmien Claeys was the driver of this unfortunate car.  Her Ford Focus slammed into the back of a truck and then was nearly shattered by a second truck — which had the dashcam we saw. Amazingly, Jasmien survived, but was in a coma for days, with a shattered hand and two broken vertebrae — VERY lucky to be alive.

Have you ever seen people do this in front of you? Please share this video with anyone you think could use the wake up call.

Car Auto Trash Can

Happy National Chocolate Cupcake Day!!! – Quick Double Chocolate Cupcakes

National-Chocolate-Cupcake-Day

Quick Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 box devil’s food cake mix, such as Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

2 to 3 cups White Faux Buttercream, recipe follows, colored or swirled with your favorite color

Cupcake Toppings:

Licorice whips

Crushed peppermint candies

Crushed lemon drops

Multicolored jimmies or nonpareils

Mini white and dark chocolate chips

Small chocolate candies

Colored decorating sugars

Cereals such as corn pops, fruit rings or graham cracker cereal squares

White Faux Buttercream:

3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Food coloring, such as yellow, blue and red, or your favorite, if desired

NYC May 09 2 189

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two 12-cup standard muffin tins with paper cupcake liners and set aside.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, mix the cake mix, 1 1/3 cups water, oil and eggs on medium speed until moistened and smooth. Stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, stirring it occasionally to redistribute the chocolate chips. The batter will nearly fill each liner to the top. Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips over the tops of the cupcakes. Bake until the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

When cool, put the White Faux Buttercream out with spoons or small spatulas along with bowls of the cupcake toppings for the kids to decorate their own cupcakes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, whip the butter on high speed until very soft. Meanwhile, place a large sheet of parchment paper on a work surface. Using a large sifter, sift the confectioners’ sugar onto the parchment. This helps prevent clumping and makes the mixing easier. Lower the speed of the mixer and, using the parchment as a funnel, pour half the sugar into the bowl and mix slowly until combined. Add the milk and mix until combined. Once combined, add the remaining sugar with the vanilla and mix. Once it is combined, turn the mixer speed up and beat the icing until very light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. If desired, divide the icing into smaller batches and color with food coloring.

Spread the icing on cooled cupcakes while at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftover icing, but be sure to let it come back to room temperature before using. Re-whip the icing to make it fluffy again. Makes 4 cups (enough for 24 cupcakes).

Yield: about 8 cups, enough for at least 6 dozen cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ease of preparation: easy

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Weekend Inspiration – You have to be a little Obessed to be GREAT… – Obession (CT Fletcher)

Spreadshirt Men’s CT FLETCHER I Don’t Care if your… Hoodie, black, L

Artsy Fartsy – There Is Always Hope (2007) – Banksy

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There_is_Always_Hope_by_jackhollow

Banksy’s Girl With Balloon is one of the more talked about pieces in his career. The original work depicts a young girl losing a heart-shaped balloon to the wind. There is also a small quote etched into the staircase that reads, “There is always hope.” The girl is seen standing in front of a gust of wind in black and white. Her balloon is painted in bright red.

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The heart-shape represents love, hope, innocence, childhood, and even self-confidence. It is not clear if the piece is supposed to represent a loss of hope or that what you desire is within your reach. The quote seems to suggest the latter.

iCanvasART There is Always Hope Balloon Girl by Banksy Canvas Art Print, 40 by 26-Inch