Guide to Gratitude

May this how-to bring you clarity on a cloudy day

We often hear people uttering the importance of gratitude but when was the last time you felt truly grateful?

To be honest, I often feel a disconnect between knowing when to be thankful and actually feeling it. It is always easier to focus on the things that are not working instead of the things that are. In fact, I really believe society has conditioned us to assume that more is simply better.

Now that Thanksgiving weekend is upon us, however, I’d like to encourage you all to reset, get excited about life, and rightfully take in ALL the love and joy that surrounds you!

Here’s how!

1. Keep a Journal!

It is essential you take the time to really “practice” gratitude. The easiest way to begin is by journaling. Before putting my pen to paper, I like to start by picking out a cute notebook—anything water color or marble-printed. It helps with my creative process!

Regardless of where you are in life, you have something to be thankful for, however small. The contents of my list, for example, vary from superficial possessions to deeply-felt and emotionally-charged experiences. Both are completely valid!

I am grateful for –

  • Unconditional love from my family
  • Having an afternoon tea date with my grandmother
  • The opportunity to move up in the company

I am grateful for –

  • Zac Efron’s body
  • Perfectly shaped eyebrows
  • New Acne boots

Despite the difference in scale and magnitude, the feeling of  gratitude remains the same.

2. Make it a Habit!

8f5b4ae3b588b4df1d4883e49db41da4Because gratitude does not come naturally for a lot of many people, myself included, the constant practice of it makes for a more grateful heart. I usually experience three days of bubbling positivity before coming across a bad one that  makes me feel as though I have to restart my mission to gratitude. Don’t worry if you’re not immediately successful. Expecting an overnight shift is perspective is a little farfetched especially when it takes 21 takes to form a habit.

Ease into the process by committing  ten or so minutes to journaling. Being disciplined and trusting of this process will allow you to shift your current downcasted feelings towards a more light and love-focused one. As the habit form over time, they’ll natural become instinctual!

3. Spread the Love!

Once you reach a state of continuous gratitude, the positive change will be felt by others. Not only will you find yourself surrounded by like-minded individuals, but you will also attract an abundance of love and life experiences. Think of it this way: themore love, gratitude, and positivity you create, the more those effervescent vibes find their way back to you.

Gratitude makes everything grow.

It is remarkable what can come when you allow yourself to experience all that life has to offer. These three tips can enable you to elevate your mind to a place of light and love.  Feeling grateful and following these tips is the only way I pull myself out of a bad day. Give it a try! The long weekend is a great start because laughter, food and drinks will already be flowing. First thing to be grateful for? Pants with elastic waistbands! More food please!



Try This Easy Recipe for Joy!

Give Your Guilty Pleasures the Green Light

Have you ever wished for a simple way to increase your happiness and sustain your smile? Well, wish no further! I have the perfect how-to for you!

  1. Start by creating a list of 10 guilty pleasures that bring you joy.
  2. Focus on doing at least three of those things every day.
  3. Share your new habit with your friends and encourage them to do the same.
  4. Note: the list can be ever-evolving! Life happens, things change.
Curious to see mine? Well then, keep reading!


The sugary sweetness is a serious addiction for me. I recently had to dump hot sauce into my Nutella jar to stop myself from devouring the entire containter!

Collecting Pennies

Anytime I see a penny (heads up), I will stop everything I’m doing and go grab it regardless where the penny is. If you share my crazy habit, be careful! I once almost got hit by a yellow cab because I chose to run back across the street to grab the coin. Sorry, Mom! But hey, I believe in good luck!

Dry Red Wine

Nothing like a glass of red wine to mellow out the evening. In fact, the dryer the better! It’s paired best with…

Reality TV

I’m somewhat embarrassed to share this, but I love me some Keeping Up with the Kardashians. See? The red wine goes well with this one!

food-photography-maren-caruso-3Country Music

Growing up, my dad and I always had country music playing in the background as we drove the backroads of upstate New York. Back then, I was never really a big fan of the genre, but now that I live away from my family, listening to country music always reminds me of home.

Legally Blonde

Yes, the movie.

She is one badass boss chick.

Note: this also goes well with red wine.

Eating while watching Food Network

Why? I have no idea. I love eating my dinner while watching TV. My other half likes to eat with only music on in the background.  He can’t focus on TV and his food—lol! Luckily, I sometimes get my way when I need to hit my daily quota for joyful pleasures.

Making up dances

Zach and I listen to a LOT of music so we are constantly breaking it down to new songs. You’ll have to see some of our moves sometime. food-photography-maren-caruso-9

Face Masks

Something about face masks helps me clear my mind. I almost feel lost without them. They’re a nice way to force yourself to take a break and relax.

Helping others succeed

This is always on my to-do list. The feeling that I get inside when others let me know that I have helped them through a bad day or a tough time always gives me goosebumps!

Spread the joy and enjoy life!

Peace & Love,

Emily Burkhardt



Images via Maren Caruso.