Awesome Humans: Josh Malone and Bunch O Balloons

awesome-humans-bunch-o-ballonsThere are new inventions every single day, and some of them are life-changing, and some of them are useless, and some just plain make us smile.

Maybe water balloons aren’t going to cure cancer, but our hats are off to Josh Malone after reading this story about his Bunch O Balloons creation—leave it to a father of eight to streamline the water balloon process! If you love it as much as we do, you can check out his Kickstarter campaign and get some for yourself. What’s not to love about being able to fill 100 water balloons in under a minute??

Thanks for being awesome, Josh. Consider this an open invitation to come on over to Happier HQ for a water balloon fight! (Could you make us some in orange…?)

Happier Jump-Starts: The Joy of Text

happier-challenge-text-complimentHappy Monday! Here’s hoping you had a fantastic weekend and you’re ready for the week ahead. What better way to kick off your week the right way than to pick up your phone and spread some joy? Here’s this week’s Happier Challenge:

Text a friend and tell them they’re awesome.

(It’s not just a nice thing to do; research shows texting makes you both happier!)

Need a little more inspiration for your week? We’ve got you covered:

Have an awesome week, and we hope to you’ll come share some happy moments about it, too!

Happier Starts: Tips for Better Summer Beverages

happier-starts-beveragesI’m less of a Pinterest person and more of a Pinterest Fail kind of person. I realize it’s something of a sacrilege to admit that, but I am just… not crafty. I tell you this by way of preface; if you want recipes for cucumber-watermelon-limeade with a twist of mint or a DIY on making your own goblets, I’m sure that stuff exists on Pinterest. I’m sure it’s great, too. But that’s not really my sort of thing.

My sort of thing is more like… how can I do something foolproof, cheap, and low-effort that will make me or my family/guests smile? And right now we’re smack in the middle of a typical southern summer, at my house, which means the temperatures are soaring and everything from lazy evenings to fancy social events start with an icy glass of something. Here’s a few simple no-crafty-skills-required ideas for keeping your drinks fabulous.

1) Amp up your ice cubes! I’m all for just plain ice, of course, but the possibilities for going one step further are nearly endless. Doing water for a large group? Freeze berries in your cubes to add a hint of flavor and make the drinks prettier. Love ice coffee or ice tea? Coffee cubes—or even half-n-half cubes, if you like yours light—avert the dreaded water-down, and tea cubes or lemonade cubes for tea are awesome. Want your kids to drink more water, but they want juice? Make juice cubes for their water (and go with a variety of colors).

2) Find a vessel that makes you happy. You’ll drink more if have something to drink out of that you really love. (Hmmm… seems like I’ve heard that before….) Stay hydrated on hot days by figuring out what sort of bottle or cup will keep you reaching for it.

3) Play mad scientist. Someone gave me an infusion bottle as a gift (you know, a water bottle with a sort of cage in the center to allow you to lower solids into the water without them getting in the way of the straw). I put lemon and lime slices into it for weeks before it occurred to me that I had an entire garden of possibilities to try. Mint! Lemon verbena! (Okay, Pinterest, you win, I did cucumbers and they were refreshing, fine.) Kids will love this one, and if adult beverages are more your thing, c’mon now, how do you think they invented sangria…?

4) Go for the stunning visual. Sugary beverages are a rare treat around my house, but for a special occasion, doing a layered drink would be all kinds of fun. All you have to remember is that sugar in a liquid makes it heavy, but here’s a quick Instructable on the process, too. (This works for adult beverages as well, of course; higher alcohol content liquids are lighter than their lower-proof counterparts.)

5) DIY beats fancy drink labels. I’ve seen all sorts of fancy drink charms and sleeves and what have you all over Pinterest. “Make your next party perfect!” You know what partygoers really love? I mean, assuming it’s an outdoor, relaxed affair? A stack of Solo cups and an array of permanent markers. Sure, the first few people will dutifully write their names on their cups. Then will come a few fake names, and maybe a few scribbles. But then the real art begins. It’s fun and easy and I’ve yet to meet the kid or adult who doesn’t end up sort of getting into it.

Cheers!

Android, meet Happier!

Well, first, Happier, meet Tony, who is one of our awesome developers and who has some pretty great news to share today:

This is Tony. Like all of us at Happier he loves giraffes. A lot.

Hi Happier community!

Today marks the first day that you can officially download Happier from the Play Store, and boy does it feel good!

While you may not be able to take your favorite course on the go yet, you can collect and share your happy moments and stay connected with our awesome community that makes Happier what it is! We’ve spent a good deal of time making sure all of the basics are there, so you’ll be able to do things like keep up to date with your friends, browse featured moments, and smile and comment at the things that made your day just that much brighter.

 Of course, with all new apps, there are going to be some small issues that have slipped through the testing cracks, but we’ll be keeping a close ear to the ground and make sure that the Happier for Android becomes the app that we would all want it to be! (We are always really excited to hear from you — yes, even when it’s to report a bug — so keep your feedback coming to team@happier.com.)

So what’s up next then? I’ll be working on search and notifications. Because these are quite big tasks, I can’t give you a shipping date yet but I promise they’ll be out soon! Once that’s done and we’ve added some of the community features our users love, I can start tackling courses and make sure that you can really get the full experience of Happier on Android!

Thanks everyone for being so patient with us on this and I’d love to give a big, huuuge thanks to everyone who joined as early beta testers. You guys were a great help and were absolutely fantastic at pointing out every little bug that I’d missed during the early stages of development.

Until next release!

Tony (and the rest of the very excited Happier team)

Living Happier with Nataly: The awesome of travel

Relaxing has never been one of my strengths. In fact, not being able to relax is one of my weaknesses: left to my own devices, I usually work myself into exhaustion. There’s plenty of science that proves taking vacations, even short ones, has huge health benefits, both physical and emotional, but even that hasn’t always been enough to get me out of the office and on the way to a relaxing vacation. As funny as it may sound, I’ve had to think of ways to make taking time off easier.

One of the things I love about Happier is that I get to share the small simple lessons I’ve learned in my own life with you, so here’s how I made my recent off-the-grid vacation one of the most stress-free and positive breaks I’ve ever had:

  • Say it out loud.  I told my friends, family, and the team that I needed a break. Like, really needed a break. Going public and being open about it was awesome. Everyone encouraged me not to feel guilty about taking time off and helped me cover all the bases while I was gone. Making it a group effort helped me worry less and disconnect more. Which made me way happier.
  • Commit to unplugging. To really relax and get the full benefit of being away, I knew   I’d have to completely unplug this time. That meant getting myself removed from all work emails beforehand and staying off all social media (though I was allowed to post moments in Happier :) ….but just a few…). Instead of making up an excuse to justify my absence to others, I wrote an honest out-of-office email that said I was away because I needed a break and that I wouldn’t be checking emails on vacation. I also asked anyone trying to reach me to shoot me an email right after I was back if what they needed was time sensitive (which made me feel less panicked about missing something critical).
  • New routines. I changed my vacation-routine completely — including no super-early morning walks, trying different foods, taking time to read actual books which is a luxury — all to maximize “brain chill-out.” Doing as many different things as possible is the best way for me to disconnect from regular life because it helps me get into a whole new mind space.  As I hoped, it worked wonders this time.

When I came back, I felt more refreshed and organized — and happier — than I had in a long time. I wasn’t surprised that my vacation would be great for me, but what did surprise me was how great it was for my family and my team at Happier to have me return so calm and rested (you can email team@happier.com and ask:).

natalyvacationIf you need a break, take one. It’s not selfish. It’s a way to nurture yourself and give the best version of yourself to everyone around you.

 

Happier Hearts: Getting organized in style

Staying organized makes me happier — and keeps me sane! — so I wanted to share my 3 absolute favorite organizing products with you:

Cord Control….

Built Cargo Travel Organizer

Like sherpas to Mt. Everest, most of us carry everything we need for work everywhere we go. We tote laptops and tablets and smartphones — and all the cords that go with them — on planes, trains, and automobiles. Keep your mobile office together with this perfect pouch that holds all your electronics’ accessories in one place.

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Everything but the kitchen drawer…

MadeSmart Drawer Organizers

A well-organized kitchen drawer means cooking remains a pleasure instead of turning into a frantic and frustrating hunt for a lost measuring spoon. (Or garlic press.) (Or vegetable peeler.)

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The (rubber) grass is always greener…

Umbra Grassy Organizer

You can make a tooth-brushing lawn with this organizer, but I use it for pens on my desk. It’s a fun way to organize them while adding some color (other than orange) to the office. (Added bonus: it always makes me want to take my shoes off and run barefoot through real grass.)

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Being organized reduces stress and creates more time to do the things you love. Like looking for fun cool organizing products!

Happier Jump-Starts: Learn, baby, learn!

happier-jump-start-7-21-14Did you have a great weekend? I know we’re all supposed to grumble about Mondays, but… once I’ve gotten up and had my coffee, I kind of dig ‘em. If I had a great break from work, I’m ready to get back to it. If I had a stressful weekend, I’m ready to start a new week. I feel you, Monday.

Monday is also cool with me because it’s time for this week’s Happier Challenge. Ready?

This week, think about something new that you learned recently.

This one is super easy because unless you’ve been hibernating, chances are excellent that you’re learning new stuff all the time. It turns out that learning new things is proven to make us happier, so if you can’t think of anything, consider exploring something about which you’ve always wanted to know more!

Here, I’ve even help you cheat—surely some of the following reading/viewing will be new to you. You might learn something, and it’s a great way to make your week even more awesome. Check these out:

Have a happier week, and don’t forget to report back on the Happier Challenge!