zondag 31 januari 2016

Happystepz.com launch

It is finally time to turn this caterpillar into a butterfly, to let the wind blow and take us to more beautiful places. In December this little blog of ours had its very first birthday. Time really does fly when you are having fun. As we have mentioned a while back we have big plans for our little one. We always say may your dreams be big and your manifestations even bigger. Therefore, with a little hard work behind the scenes and determination, we are now ready to present you our next adventure. The happystepz blog is all about stepping forward by focussing on the joy in life. We would like to share as many of these moments with you as possible. Today we proudly present our own website Happystepz.com.

This is a place where you can get your daily happiness boost. Where you can escape to when you need some much needed LOLs. Happystepz.com is more than just a blog. It is a platform filled with happiness where we will continue to share our thoughts and stories, but also give you daily doses of must needed joy. Happystepz.com launches on february 1st. YES, that's tomorrow!

Need some inspiration to get you through the day? Check out our quote of the day. Need a break? Look no further and join us at our coffee corner for a relaxing moment.  Feeling a bit under the weather, maybe our picture of the day will make you feel better. We hope to see you soon at Happystepz.com

Be happy and with love, 

Ilona &Ana

woensdag 13 januari 2016

Explore your hometown.

How well do you know your city or hometown? We all have our favorite hangout places. If anyone asks for directions we usually know the way, but how much do you really know about the place you live in? When visiting other countries we are spending time looking, tasting and discovering the beauty of that place. We are checking latest reviews and to-do lists, but when it comes to our home town we are generally very clueless about what it has to offer. Let's change all that! 

After December's hustle and bustle, January usually gives little excitement in our lives. Its the perfect moment to do things we usually don't have time for. Here are a few ideas to help you to discover all there is to know, see and do in your place of residence. 

1. Let’s start with an easy one. Visit three new potential hangout places. Look for unusual coffeehouses or new cafes where you can lounge for days on end. 

2. Time for some fresh air. Instead of taking the same route to the store or to visit your friends take the 'sightseeing' route. Better yet, partake in an official walking tour with a tourist organization. Many cities offer free walking tours. Who knows what you will learn while taking a walk through town.

3. Today is all about looking up and around. Have you noticed all the interesting architectural structures? Get your camera ready and let’s go find remarkable graffiti, historical buildings or beautiful landmarks.

4. Check out your local paper for interesting events or upcoming concerts by local bands. Have you heard or read a review of museums or galleries but haven't got the chance to visit yet? This is the moment to do it.

5. We all notice statues and monuments when we visit an unknown place. What about the statue you pass by a dozen times on your way to the shops? Do you know who that bronze figure is? Any clue why it's there? Google it or ask someone who might know. You may be surprised to learn something new.

6. Speaking of learning, why not read up on your towns’ history? Go to the library or Google to your heart’s content. Learn more about the origin of your town, the historical figures whom lived in your region and so on.

7. Every place has an iconic landmark, city skyline, monument or traditional dish. Every tourist wants a picture of this particular place or meal. Now it's your turn to take that over the top cheesy selfie. Go ahead. You know you want to.

8. It is time to find those hidden gems. Ask your neighbors, friends, relative or coworkers what their favorite secret places are. The places the other tourists haven't discovered yet. A secret park, a little bistro with traditional foods, art house or shop that you can add to your own list of little hidden gems.

9. If anyone asks you where to go in your city you probably have a list of places you would recommend. How many of these places have you actually visited yourself? The mandatory fieldtrips in high school do NOT count. So what are you waiting for? Go check them out!

10. What is your favorite outdoor place in the city? Get yourself a warm beverage to go and spend an hour or two simply enjoying the atmosphere. 

Have fun exploring your home base, send us your cheesy pictures or leave a comment below, we would love to hear about your adventures. 

With love, Ana

vrijdag 8 januari 2016

What if negative feelings take over

Let's be honest. We can't always float around in a happy bubble pretending the world is nothing but one happy place. Oh dear, wouldn’t that be lovely, but then there is daily life. It's called reality. In reality there is a combination of emotions that can be found. It's the contradictions that make life, isn't it? As there are highs, there are lows and as there is happiness there is sadness. If your life is well balanced, those ups and downs are perfectly fine. You will never be able to experience joy to its maximum if you haven't known sadness. 

Sometimes life is not as balanced as hoped. Things are causing you stress, worry or anxiety and getting back to a happy state of mind is more difficult than you would want it to be. You'll be knocking on the door of your happy bubble screaming to get in while staring at a door sign that says "sorry we are closed for today". Or worse, when you are truly out of balance there is the scenario where the happy bubble is taking off to the next station without you. Leaving you in stress, worry or anxiety for an awful long time. 

The last time that happened to me I tried to fight it with calming music, contrary thoughts, petting my cat. You name it, I did it and if not, I invented it. I am aware of thoughts creating reality. Stress, worry and anxiety will attract more of the same feelings. That's the reason I always try to fight these negative thoughts. However it's the fighting that causes the ongoing cycle of the same feelings. It's only when you have come to terms with your feelings and you observe them with ease, that they will dissolve by themselves.  Negative feelings arise out of negative thoughts, just let them be. Don't give them undeserving attention. You are not your mind. Detach from your mind and its clutter. As a result the negativity will lose its meaning. 

I always find Teal Swans videos on Youtube very helpful. If you really can't detach yourself from your negativity watch her video called How to stop worrying. I hope it works as well for you as it did for me. 

Be happy, 


maandag 4 januari 2016

Starting 2016 with a splash. Tales of surviving the New Year’s dive.

First of all, happy New Year to all you happiness frontiers out there. Hope you've had a wonderful New Year's Eve and a smashing beginning of 2016. How did you spend the first day of 2016? Do you have a tradition how to spend the first blank page of your 365 page book? This leap year gives us an extra page to write wonderful new adventures. Most of us spend New Year’s Day recuperating from the night before, barely making it out of bed. Some visit family members, others make New Year’s resolutions mostly containing the resolution never to drink again. Then there are a few traditions that are a bit out of the ordinary.
We Dutchies have a little crazy tradition on New Year’s Day. On January 1st at precisely 12 PM we jump into the North Sea. Obviously not everyone does this. Only the ones who are brave enough and a tad insane dare to face the freezing cold. This may sound absurd. Why would anyone in their right mind get into their swimsuit and dive voluntary into freezing water? The benefit out ways the cold downside to this event and it is actually a great way to start the New Year. The dive into the North Sea started in 1965 when only seven people dared to participate. Today tens of thousands of people venture into the sea. Running at full speed and taking a dive into the sea gives  a fulfilling and proud feeling that will last all day long. It is both refreshing and adrenaline pumping. All those endorphins jumping through your body making sure you receive a wonderful happiness boost to start the year. It feels like a new beginning while washing away any remnant of bad memories.

If this isn't reason enough for you to join the other crazy Dutchies, for only three euros entrance fee you also get a lovely goodie bag filled with a orange beanie, a can pea soup, and a  ribbon. One euro out of every three is donated to a good cause. There is no better way to start the year. Just remember to bring warm socks for your frozen feet to wear afterwards. Maybe next year your can start writing your 365 page book with a splash as well and join us with a dive into the North Sea.

With love, Ana

donderdag 31 december 2015

One year of happiness blogging

We have been bad parents. How can we’ve possibly let December pass without celebrating our blog child's first birthday! Exactly one year ago, and a few days perhaps, our Happystepz child was born. We could not have been more proud! Our blog baby, ready to be born and raised. Ready to be nurtured and loved. After her first hesitant steps, she went full speed ahead towards her future. Skipping on the happiness road, while sniffing on some delicate flowers along the way. We can’t be happiness bloggers without adding some cheesiness to the story of course ;).

Like any other parents we have big plans for our child. Maybe she can write a book someday, or become a famous Vlogger. Whatever the plans, we have always educated her that some things are more important. If you talk to people inspire them. If you make a plan, go through with it. If you have some thoughts share it with the world. Joy will always be our base to start. It has been this past year and it will be this upcoming year. We would like to encourage you to do the same. If you want to achieve something today or attract your desires into your life don't wait. Good things come to those who take action.
Taking action will be our theme this upcoming year. Join hands and take those steps forward with us! Thank you for your support us this past year and lets make 2016 a party we will never forget!
Happy New Year!
Ilona and Ana

woensdag 9 december 2015

Ode to December

Dear December,

Thank you for all the lights during these dark days and for all the songs that get stuck on repeat.
Thank you for giving us delicious treats and a smile to keep.
Thank you for keeping us warm and fuzzy on the inside during these cold winter nights.
Thank you for teaching us that sharing and giving is a precious gift.

These are just a few reasons why all the other months are jealous of you.
December you truly are beautiful.

With love, Ana

vrijdag 4 december 2015

How to deal with feedback attack

Feedback comes in many ways, but not often in a way we like to perceive it. Even positively intended, it can hit you like an unexpected punch, right in your face, knocking you out, leaving you unconscious. By the time you regain consciousness the time for a proper reaction has passed. Maybe you can take the hit better in round two. It does make you wonder, why do we always feel the need to defend ourselves when under "attack"?

I personally admit I can feel offended by feedback when I didn't ask for it. Feedback is like looking in the mirror on days you know you have a bad hairdo and you don't want to be reminded. Unwanted feedback is a happy state destroyer. Let's face it, the delivery of a message either negative or positive is an art form not mastered by many. I want to look into that mirror by choice, on days when I feel like it. When I don't like what I see and change is needed, I decide when I take matters into my own hand. Unfortunately, I also have to wake up and smell the coffee sometimes. If you have never taken a hit, you wouldn't ever have known how strong you can be.

So how do I take feedback? I use the what I call filter system. Perceive the things that seem useful even if I don't like to hear it, and toss all the things that I think are useless over my shoulder. This is a skill that can be mastered by everybody, but it has to be trained. When the feedback that is given goes over and over in your mind, write it down in key words. Subsequently divide those key words in two groups. One group that matches your personal process and that you'll find useful. The second group that matches your shuffle it up your ass standards and that you find useless. Write the keywords on two separate piece of papers, tear the useless (shuffle it up your ass) paper up, toss it over your shoulder and let it go. From this point on stop thinking about it. Life is about whatever brings you joy and brain racking insecurities will never make that work for you.

Be happy,