Versatile Style by Tracey

Happiness Tools

I decided to copy all of the Happiness Tools Series and Put It On One Page, so here it is!

Tools For Happiness- Gratitude and Planning a Vacation

Posted by:  on: October 13, 2013

  • With Days and Days of Rain and cloudy, grey skies,  people have a tendency to fight the blues….

As someone who has made a conscious effort to choose happiness, I rely heavily on tools like

the Gratiude Journal I share daily on my blog. 

I researched other ways and one really struck me….

It suggested planning a vacation or trip even if it’s just a small one has a tremendous boost for happiness levels.  

I guess that means I’ll continue to be on Cloud 9 for the entire year between now and the lifetime dream of going to Ireland!  


Dinner out with Friends…. 

I love the beginning of season and weather changing that allows for me to debut new items that I’ve has since July and August…


Debuting the grey faux leather I picked up at the Wislon Outlet store  and the new scarf from ebay. 

I started this outfit with the grey and black , knowing I would pop a color with it and chose the green .

I could do this same outfit changing out the accessories for cobalt, oraange, red, yellow, pink or purple… 


I hope you don’t get sick of my anticpation of the Ireland trip

and how my thinking is revolving around it so much these days….

I mention this because thinking of all the color ways I could mix this outfit up is preplanning

for how to pack for that two week trip. 

Dear Readers, I really like this tool for happiness and know the power of it as I’ve taken several trips in recent years and even one a short drive away to the North Carolina created  months of joyful anticipation for all of us. I’ve seen it in my  two oldest children .My son  recently took a trip to California and my daughter took a small trip to her alma matter.  Just wondering if you my dear readers recognize how this has done the same for you?   If  you have no vacation planned or limited funds, I think the anticipation of even a one day drive to an interesting location in your neck of the woods could have the same results. In fact research showed that planning and not going still had great results. I disagree with that idea as  last months fiasco with my husband’s job meant a huge dent in the possibility of us going on our first ever cruise and that felt terrble and sent me into a real funk!  Ireland trumps the cruise any day, but vacations with my husband’s coworkers are always delightful….

I’ll be including other tools for happiness this next week so stay tuned! 


I am grateful for a weekend of time with friends!  I had two girls days and then a couple night out and it was wonderful!

I am grateful for couple friends where we genuinely love both parts of the couple as in times past we have tolerated one partner but not truly loved them both…LIfe in your 40′s is Amazing!!!

I am grateful that I scored the best hiking boots while thrifting for my Ireland trip- pictures will be posted on Friday! 

I am grateful that my husband is eating healhier and we are both caring about our health and getting our bodies in shape, he’s lost two inches this year and is maintaining it! 

I am gratefuol for Pinterest and homeschooling bloggers who provided exciting new information and helpful insights! 

Tools for Happiness- Exercize, Meditation and Sleep

  • Increasing our own happiness really can be done if we take control and make it a priority! 

Yesterday,  i  mentioned Gratitude and Planning a Vacation as the first tools. 


A crsip Cool Day calls for a comfy , cozy sweater bought from Ebay.

We’ve all heard by now that exercize increases happiness and can stave off depression, but the article I found mentioned  that just 7 minutes a day can give the desired results.  I know this is true because on busy days when all I find time for is resistance bands and squats or other days when it’s just  a few Yoga poses and stretches, I do get great benefits. I must say I see  a significant difference than on days when I opt out all together. 


For Petite women, please note with a long sweater I opted for the lower cowboy boots

rather than knee high riding boots.

Another great tool is meditation which reportedly rewires the brain for happiness..,. It just so happens that I started a guided meditaion ( the only kind I can do for my ADD brain), two weeks ago and have had remarkable results.  The one I found was geared to weight loss, as I have yet to kick myself into gear to stop gaining and losing the same 3 pounds and move onto my final 10 goal.   Just ten minutes a day is what I am doing at night , right before going to bed. 


This was the perfect at home look for homeschooling and an afternoon of grocery shopping…

Dear Readers, Today’s third suggestion of a tool for happingess is Sleep,  Something I value immensley and have in fact disagreed with my husband for 20  years on the value of a good night’s rest.  My meditation has resulted in an amazing phenomenon regarding sleep… When my husband’s morning alarm goes off, I’m awake and there is no going back to sleep for this ADD brain, once it fires up it’s working very hard….I’ve had several days  recently where I heard the alarm and then have passed back out so soundly that I don’t feel my husband get out of the bed or hear him getting ready to leave.  I am a light sleeper and would wake up to the slightest movement or noise!  Instead, I have passed out literally waking up three to four hours later…..

Sleep has been studied extensively and 6.5 to 7.5 hours are what is needed. Getting enough sleep supposedly allows us to be less sensitive to negative emotions .  It’s also been proven that managers who regulary get enough sleep usually get more production from their employees. 

More Tools for Happiness tomorow,! 


I am grateful for a good night’s sleep!

I am grateful for a stoppage in the endless days of rain! 

I am grateful for a wonderful conversation with my oldest son!

I  am grateful for Pinterest and finding the blog on Sequential Spellingwhich is the final thing I needed to undo the damgage due to the school’s lack of teaching phonetic based reading and sequential based spelling!

I am futher grateful for discovering that I can complete four years of the program in just one year and will be done wtih the entire program in two!!!!

I am also grateful that my wonderful son embraced the first lessons today and went above and beyone the expectations, which I love about this child as he never chooses the easy way out! 

Happiness Tools- Social Time and Going Outside.

Posted by:  on: October 16, 2013

  • After a week of Rainy days , I felt inspired to write Tools for Happiness series because

I realize that winter is coming and the lack of sunlight and cold in certain regions can lead to depression.  


After 6 weeks of skipping my Weight Watcher meetings due to migraines, sinus headachses and starteing up homeschooling again, I went back today and lost 3lbs.

Social time is definitely an important tool for happiness.  I’ve always said that balance is important and taught my children to work hard and play hard.  I worry that my daughter worked so hard in college, but didn’t balance the social time.  I think this tool alone is among the most importantof them all. Stay at home parents and those who work from home or elderly who are homebound need this more than others , yet are at most risk of not getting enough of it.   Social time makes us better people and is better for marriages and work productivity. It doesn’t have to be expensive, my husband and I have more fun going to a friend’s house and sitting around their fire pit chatting late into the night.

So, Call up a friend you haven’t seen in awhle and make a lunch date or take an elderly parent or friend to a movie. It’s Football Season,  so invite  friends and family to watch a game together or anything else you love to do! 


This corduroy jacket is one I’ve had forever and really love, It has a good amount of stretch in it and is so comfortable!   The dress is by Max Studio and the empire seaming and A-line shape are perfect.  Dooney and Bourke purse was a gift from a dear friend!

The next Tool for Happiness is for you to Go Outside!  Twenty minutes a day in the outdoors is the recommended amount.  I say if you work where smoker’s get breaks, go outside away from them and  breathe in some fresh air.  I read awhile ago that standing barefoot in grass for 10 to 15 minutes a day helps boost your mood, so if your game go ahead and try that!!!  I vividly remember the winter we lived in MA when I came home for Christmas and threw off my coat and went for an hour walk to just soak up some sun. If you are living where winters are tough taking extra care to add in happiness is key. Going outdoors in freezing temps is not the tool for you, but one o fthose special lights to mimic the sun could be very effective replacement. I love that I live so close to some stores and it’s nothing for me to make an excuse to take a short walk for something at the grocery store and it really does feel good.  As a homeschooling mohter, some days this is our salvation!  We like each other better and work more effectively if things weren’t working out. 


Dear Readers , so far we’ve talked about, Gratitude,  Plannning a Vacation, exercise, meditation, sleep, social time and going outside as tools to increase happiness.  Out of those choices how many do you find yourself incorporating in your life.  Or is there one you would like to make a better effort and incorporating.  I must say that out of those I am in pretty good shape since the meditation helped my sleeping.

 Dear Readers, blow up my comments for the day with any suggestions you have for Social Time so others can read and benefit from all the ideas I know you have! 

Tomorrow is Pinterest Inspiration Day and more Happiness Tools so don’t forget to stop by! 


I am grateful that I committed to making it to my WW meeting today.

I am grateful to the boost my WW meeeting gives me- (social time) 

I am grateful for time with my friend after the meeting for thrifitng and a trip to TJ  Maxx.

I am grateful that my son had enough Papa John’s points for a free pizza, so no cooking tonight! 

I am grateful that I am writing these tools for happiness as it is thought provoking to take care of myself! 

  • I began the Happiness Tools posts to inspire others, but the more I write the more i recognize how much of these are part of my life and may be why I can still report happiness when life gets difficult.  Some of these were conscious choices as I know they bring me joy and others were just happy accidents! 


Loving this Navy Chevron dress I picked up from No More Rack

Leggings from F21

Today’s first happiness tool is Helping Others,  Studies show 100 hours a year is ideal. While I have never thought about how many hours a year i find this tool helpful to my goal to have a balance in Mind, Body and Spirit,  I know it is a major one for me.    Just yesterday, at my WW meeting a young mom found out I had a blog and asked me for help in finding a style for herself, after years of wering a military unifrom she felt lost.   I loved that conversation and steering her in the right direction and look forward to helping her even more.  It doesn’t have to be about spending money, it just has to be giving of yourself and your time.  There are givers in this world and takers and I for one am a Giver and I get so much more than I give. Try just complimenting someone today1  If you are the boss , trying compimenting your employees for a week and see how it goes!

The stripes are here to stay! Cute, cute, cute.

I added a sweater for warmth to the original inspiration, which is from

Sweet Laundry. 

Giving in terms of money and things is also a part of my everyday life.  I had so much time over the summer thrifitng for my niece.   I also help a single mother friend by thrifting for her and her daughter.  I buy things all year to make their Christmas special as well.   Each purchase throughout the year makes my heart sing as I know the joy it will bring.  I will never forget the year we gave friends $500 at Christmas when they were struggling to pay their water bill.  I even liked on our St. Maarten trip that we delivered coupons to our group that were from the owner of the company to enjoy one actvity on him.  Just going from hotel room to hotel room sliding those under each door made us both giddy and the best thing was that it was the last thing we did on our Anniversary night before calling it a night!  

A lot of us Give during the holidays, but I challenge you to find ways to Help Others through out the rest of the year and see how much joy it brings you! 


Dear Readers, Today’s second Happiness Tool is to Practice Smiling. Research showed that customer service workers  who fake smiled actually worsened their moods , while those who visualized a happy place to smile increased their mood. I recommend if you are a mangager to try smiling at your team as they are working and see what happens.  I believe so much in this tool and want to share a dream I had a few years ago.  I found Laughter Yoga and wanted to become a laughter Yogo Instructor and go around to businesses and start their day off with a session, I know it would be of value and increase productivity. I did this with my two youngest before they went off to school each morning and they loved it!  

A Full Belly Laugh each day is good for the Soul!



I am grateful to my daughter for coming and apologizing to me today, something that is very hard for her to do!!! 

I am grateful that my husband had a break in his work day and  grabbed the three youngest for hair cuts , leaving me home alone to write this post!

I am grateful that as I typed this my intense sinus pressure headache went away! 

I am grateful for this report card of how I am doing to create happiness in my life that is coming out of sharing these posts this week.  

I am grateful that the Spelling program for Connor is really what’s been missing and that he is embracing it fully! 

Happiness Tools- My 3 Personal Ones

Posted by:  on: October 20, 2013

  • I spent last week writing about Happiness Tools, 

things you can do to create more joy in your life.

I was motivated by the coming of winter when so many are faced with less sun and colder temps , that can lead to higher rates of depression. 



Movie Date Night – My 17 year old said, “Looks like Fall!” I hugged him and told him that was a perfect compliment!

To complete the Happiness Tools Series I would like to mention three more that have been a huge part of my toolbox for most of my life.   They are Music with Dancing, Loving Myself,  and the God Grant Me the Serentiy Prayer.

Music and Dancing has been one I use whenever I need a pick me up.  My kids just laugh at me,but they love seeing me happy, so sometimes join in.  After my mother died I was in a lot of pain and turned to spiritual music of Claudia Carawan who I was lucky enough to meet and see my friend put together a music video for More Than You Know.  The woman at the gate and tiniest ballerina are my best friend and her daughter ( now 7).   

My husband and I use to do dance party nights with our children and it was always so much fun! I like this tool as it is one to use whenever needed and gives immediate results.  Whether alone or with others,it still works.


There is a fine line in fashion between Bookending and being too Matchy-Match

Others may think my boots and jacket crossover to be too matching, but I really have to say that I like matching!

My Next Happiness Tool is Loving Myself and this was my father’s legacy! He took me for walks and talked to me so much about wanting me to have that in my life. Loving myself is all about accepting all the parts of me and if I make a mistake to not beat myself up, but to forgive myself and move forward.  They say people who talk negatively to themselves do so a hundred times a day.  I can’t even imagine how painful that must be although I do see others doing so.  Being as kind to ourselves as we are to others is a huge key to happiness!  

We can get off track and forget this sometimes if we carry the burden of something others have said with us. I don’t let what others say bother me much and use the phrase, “Consider the Source”  meaning would I seek their opinion.  There will always be people who because of their own journey try to dump on you, Steeling yourself from this is key to being happy. 

If I teach my children only one thing this would be my desire!


Dear Readers, My Last Tool for Happiness would be to remember the God Grant me the Serentiy Prayer. Remembering to control what I can control and releasing everything else is the greatest gift my mother gave me. There is another great gift from her, but it doesn’t fit this discussion so will save for later.   Letting go of things not in your control and accepting that there are those things that aren’t really is a huge tool that I wanted to share last with you , as like the dancing one it can be used with immediate results.   

I hope you enjoyed this series as I have enjoyed writing it !  

Here is a Link to the Article I used for the previous tools I listed


I am grateful that my husband had a successful work week with three deals and is trying hard to make up for last month and get back into earning us our first ever Cruise Vacation.

I am grateful that my husband texted me Saturday and told me to dress up for a movie night.

I am grateful that as soon as our movie ended and we were in the car, we listened to the radio of when the World Series play off game took a turn and the Red Socksscored four runs taking the score to 2-5 and the joy as my Husband’s team made it to the World Series.   it was incredible to hear that crowd! 

I am grateful that it’s football Season and my husband and I spent the day watching game of our rival teams! (next week we will be on opposite couches as our teams play each other!) 


4 Responses to "Happiness Tools"

Enjoyed skimming this. Have you read Gretchen Rubin’s books and blog on happiness?

These are good suggestions and I apply many of these to practice taking care of myself.

I have also learned that part of the reason that happiness seems so elusive is because it is dependent on our circumstances. I have discovered that joy is something much deeper that transcends life’s ups and downs. Jesus gives me joy and contentment that I cannot get from the world or others. He is a solid foundation through life’s storms.

Thank you for your article.


Recognizing that the light comes from the inside of us, that we are the light is key…

Yes, Jesus said that we are the light of the world. Amen

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