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10% happier

i absolutely love to read but finding time makes for a rare occurrence, so when i do i usually head for john grisham or the late dominick dunne who is hands down my favorite writer. makes sense, love page turners. so called “self-help” books are a bit too “pie in the sky” for me. i like a book that doesn’t have me work too hard. then i saw it, a book called 10% happier by dan harris.  with my curiosity peaked and nothing to do while waiting for a flight, the title stopped me in my tracks but what really got my attention were the words following the title, “how i tamed the voice in my head, reduced stress without losing my edge, and found self-help that actually works.” i bought it.
backing up… mid-year 2004 the news anchor, dan harris, had an on-air panic attack in front of over five million people on the set of good morning america that sent him on a years-long journey of exploration into meditation and alternative religions. having been told for years that i really need to start meditating, i decided this was something i needed to give a shot. two main reasons stopped me from meditating. my fears were allayed knowing there were quite a few people with the same concerns, specifically dan harris. you may lose your edge, and wasn't this just for gurus and yogis?  that would be a big “no!" then I found out people from athletes to c.e.o.s have been using meditation to help with concentration, productivity, and most importantly to respond as opposed to react; to stop the voice that never stops. “i need to go to the market,” “remember to pick up cleaning...”  you know the drill. it’s called the monkey mind. fits perfectly!

i’ve always sped a little too much and i’ve always thought that it gave me an edge. turns out it doesn’t. i’ve always found myself racing to the next “thing.” or worse, living in the past. either way i’m missing what’s most important: now.

don’t get me wrong, i’m not unhappy, but to be 10% happier? sounds good to me. and realistic. so it goes that news anchor dan harris came to write this book for those of us that want to be 10% happier!

as i write this i realize i’m back in my monkey mind...doesn’t take me long. skipping from one paragraph to the next editing, adding, deleting. this is going to take some practice!




i grew up with a father that was fascinated by the “supernatural” and all things metaphysical. not in a creepy dark way, just very in tune and incredibly ahead of his time. turns out i am my father’s daughter. when one of our phones would ring the caller almost always got it right with a “hi dad” or “hi gaye.” when we did get it wrong, rare occurrence, the slight embarrassment was nothing in comparison to getting it right the other times. you can dismiss it as garbage all you want, but i’ve had some pretty unexplainable things happen. as an example, driving a deserted road late one night, my family encountered a u.f.o. full of adventure and a little trepidation we made a quick stop to watch the large extremely bright spacecraft hover over us for more than a couple minutes then take off like a bat out of hell. my dad owned a large machine shop filled with brilliant engineers. they refurbished parts for jet engines ranging from commercial airlines to the military, even the space shuttle. in other words, he knew his stuff and said in no uncertain terms that what we were seeing was a flying object. my point is i believe in karma, the paranormal, and the afterlife just like my dad. to be clear, i consider myself to be a fairly reasonable person. on the other hand i’m certain this blog makes me sound like a fruit loop but try to hang in there with me. 
more than a little superstitious, i’m constantly looking for wood to knock, do my best to avoid black cats and never ever put my purse on the floor! it certainly can’t hurt to take extra precautions but that has nothing to do with my recent experience. when launching a new product, i’m extremely cautious not to get overly excited. the fact is i’ve dealt with the original kai scent for so long, and it was truly an accident, in other words, no expectations, no pressure. after kai grew its own legs i began to have faith in it and the products that sprung from it. then again, there was no pressure. coming out with our second scent, kai*rose, was a whole new ball game. no matter who told me they loved the scent it wasn’t until i saw an intuitive that i started feeling my mettle as she finished my reading. on her way out and what seemed as an afterthought she said “don’t worry about anything, everything is coming up roses for you!” how often do you hear that saying anymore?  kai*rose…… exactly. i gave my husband a quick look of what i can only imagine as shock. it was a sign, no doubt. i’ve had those heavy hearted days when it’s one foot in front of the other and i can’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel. that’s when i start looking for my signs. i rely on them for hope when i can’t imagine it. for strength when things are unbearable, and a bit of insight when things are uncertain. i’m not saying this is an answer to your prayers, but give your signs a chance to show themselves. just maybe you’ll see one that all your dreams come true......
the day after my reading peter and i had some errands to run. passing a store with its name on a sandwich board of sorts i saw another sign. the store was called coco rose. coco is peters nick name for me and we were in the final stages of the kai*rose launch. if those aren’t signs i don’t know what is. it’s a small thing to hang your hat on but it gives me confidence that i’m on the path i’m meant to be.



walking streets - gig harbor, wa

i love the pacific northwest. there’s just something romantic about it, whether it’s the weather or just the vibe. i know the rain must be weary but i know two very happy people who hail from this small village. i'll let marcy give you the low down.

a trip to gig harbor, washington in the summertime will guarantee you three things: a newfound appreciation for trees, probably a sunburn, and a yearning to come back again and again. located just an hour south of seattle, gig harbor, washington is a town of fascinating maritime history and an up-and-coming destination for food, shopping, weekend travel, and year-round living. just recently, coastal living named gig harbor "one of the 10 best harbors in america," praising its preservation of quaint rustic roots and bounty modern of activities.
gig harbor has many layers. at first glance lies "harbor life" with boats, fishing, seafood -- everything one can imagine a small town being like. however, below the surface there is a lot more going on in "the gig" that meets the eye. beyond the historic downtown, gig harbor boasts neighborhoods, golf courses, shopping, hikes... the list goes on and on.

in full confession, i grew up in this town so i am slightly bias on gig harbor's greatness. although i've since moved away, i keep finding myself coming back to enjoy everything it has to offer. here are a few of my all-time favorite destinations for shopping, eating, and doing while visiting gig harbor.

what to do 
rent kayaks or paddle boards ~ there's no better way to see the harbor! explore tiny inlets of the protected bay or if you're feeling brave, travel beyond the lighthouse into the puget sound to really get a feel for the pacific northwest.

catch an outdoor movie or concert in the park ~ almost every summer weekend there's an event happening downtown. bring a blanket to sit outside for live music or snuggle up in the park for weekly outdoor movies.

visit the beach at sunset ~ it may not be california, but the rocky beaches of gig harbor are great for watching a sunset and spotting the occasional whale during the right season. drive down to narrows park for a great vantage point of the twin bridges or venture across to point ruston for a view of the sound.

where to eat
photo courtesy of netshed no. 9, markee coffee, and the harbor general store via instagram
for a morning coffee
markee coffee ~ a local hangout both morning and night, markee has great coffee, snacks, and live entertainment.

for a quick bite
the harbor general store ~ my favorite place to go for a quick snack, cold drink, and the only place in town with acai bowls!

for a hearty breakfast
netshed no. 9 ~ if you're more of a foodie, netshed no. 9 is a great place for brunch. be sure to try the tomato jelly!

kelly's ~ a longtime harbor staple, kelly's is known for its old-school american breakfast. come hungry and plan to leave very full.

for a casual lunch
the tides tavern ~ did you really go to gig harbor if you didn't go to the tides?

moctezuma's ~ the absolute best mexican food and happy hour.

for a classy dinner
brix 25 ~ small and intimate, brix is great for special occasions or finishing off your trip in style.

green house ~ my personal favorite, green house does "northwest" food justice with delicious local fish and year-round comfort food.

for a real drink
7 seas brewery ~ 7 seas has made quite a name for itself with its local brews and gig harbor is home to its exclusive taproom. come here in the afternoon to enjoy the outdoor patio and a cold drink.

heritage distilling company ~ with seasonal creations and clever labels celebrating the pacific northwest, these spirits make for great souvenirs. come to taste a sip or take home a bottle.

where to shop 
bloom boutique ~ bloom brings socal vibes to the rainy pacific northwest with its great selection of comfy casuals and brand name jeans, jewelry, and home accessories. (i actually first discovered kai here several years ago before moving to malibu!)
dolly mama boutique & dolly mama too ~ whether you're just browsing, looking for a gift, or searching for a complete new outfit, dolly mama boutique and it's newest counterpart, dolly mama too, has everything in stock to make for a successful shopping trip. browse their unique mix of both local and brand-name designers along with canvas art from gig harbor's most popular artists.