Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happymaking in Cairo

Last week I was in Egypt, Cairo for a few days to work on comms activities for two very young global delivery centers. Won't talk about work about this was by far the nicest IBM community I have ever seen:-) but show you a small video with places I've seen, friends I made and of course food I ate. Absolutely fantastic! So in case you haven't been to Africa's largest city yet I surely advise you to do it. Once you start getting along with the awful traffic you'll discover a nice mix of religions, people, spices, music, myths and fragrances.

Will surely remember Cairo and its nice people and will do come back in 2010...especially as the Lara Croft in me still has to explore some more pyramids at Aswan or check the city of Alexandria and the beach in Sharm el Sheik....and of course get more mango (manga) juice.

Shokran (thanks) to my dear host Heba Aly:-)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

About career, success and happiness

A very nice video I found on Take a look and learn how not judging people, not believing in a meritocratic society and feeling that we are the masters of our faith and our success can make us feel happier. Also a good overview on how this evolved during centuries.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Getting nuts in Bulgaria

Literally. Back from my short business trip in Sofia. And I got the perfect happymaking post for the squirrels (check here if you forgot what a squirrel person is). Everywhere you go you can find these nice kiosks where they sell all kind of nuts and dried fruits. And not only all kind but also "all kind of kinds" :-) - meaning the sweet or salty versions of all kinds :-)
So you can only imagine what I ate for 3 days :-) Absolutely delicious and ...brilliant! Instead of selling chips and popcorn we should really sell these on the streets! Nutritious&delicious snacks :-)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happymaking for 200 kids

Three years ago I went to Valea Plopului and met the 200 lonely kids. I said to myself that others should hear about them also so I made this web page: You can find there all the details. Ever since I visited them and tried to help them out :-) I think about 2 months ago I made them a Facebook fan page and then connecting to volunteers became pretty easy. This Saturday we went there with 10 cars, bought food, supplies and spent some time with the kids. Although it was not easy organizing this and collecting things or money I still feel we didn't achieve too much: they still need houses, appliances, furniture and of course people around them.

However here is a small video I made for them. Unfortunately priest Tanase was not around so you won't see him in this video. Hope this way, more and more people will learn about them and give a hand. If you want to donate or be a volunteer you can find all the contact details on the web page or ask me. See you around :-)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happymaking & Unemployment

Another post dedicated to the crisis :-) Won't start by saying how wrong we calculate unemployment today (not including experts in lower performing jobs who are always ready to switch or people who although employed look for another job) or by arguing IF there is a crisis (you can check Peter Schiff for this). But will dedicate some thoughts to the unemployed people, to those who got fired these months or those who graduated and can't find any jobs.

We all know the bad things for being unemployed: no money, no professional activity to add to your CV, etc. But let's try finding some good points also:
  • you get SOME money
  • more time to spend with the family, help kids around with homework a.o.
  • more time to do some sport, run, gym, dance (activities you didn't have the time for- assuming they are free)
  • a chance to think about what you want to do- maybe you were trapped in a boring job anyway so this would be a good time to think about what kind of job would suit you better. I know it may sound strange but some people won't ever quit a job unless they are getting fired. So think about what you want from life now!
  • more time to build the skills you would need for the job you picked above :-) Eg. you decided you would like to switch from consultancy to programming> then start learning and programming, this way you can show your future employer you have some background. Same if you want to switch from HR to Marketing...just take some time and read some book so that you at least know what the 4Ps are :-)
  • time to learn a new foreign language. It never hurts, really :-)
  • more time for your existing hobbies or new ones: painting, music, watching movies, etc. Would name traveling also but this can be expensive :-) unless you have been fired from a manager position and have some savings.
  • enjoy the time off- there are never enough days off and some of us never take vacation because of demanding jobs so consider this a longer vacation :-)
  • help others: remember there are people doing worse, so if you got the time anyway give them a hand.
  • eat regularly in case you weren't doing this while @work
And last but not least DON'T be a shame! Being unemployed is something that could happen to ANYONE right now! And don't worry that someone will ask you WHY: even if people get fired because or low performance or something, the crisis is the perfect excuse for anyone and I guess employers somehow will get bored asking for reasons.

Be happy and keep looking for a job ;-)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Skip Beat

Who would have ever thought that anime would be an inspiration for my happymaking blog? :-)
Of course not all types of anime but happy ones, with teenagers, funny conversations and not horror, SF, etc. And not all anime. But only ONE. One series of anime has the deep purpose of making people LOVE, share love, understand love (that's even deeper than my happymaking :-( )

The series is called SKIP BEAT and tells the story of Kyoko Mogami (the Japanses Happymaker), a wistful yet cheery sixteen year-old girl who loves her childhood friend, Shotaro, but is cruelly betrayed and thus seeks revenge against him. Her plan is to join the LME talent academy and become more famous than Sho. But the president of LME sees the good and deep side of her and challenges Kyoko to join the LOVE Section (wearing a pink uniform) having as sole purpose to make people love and to share love. The series covers many situations and images of selfish people, lonely people, sad or angry people who are tactfully being thought to love, be friendly and driven by other reasons than the desire of being rich&famous.
And of course it also shares the love story of Kyoko and Ren Tsuruga (kawaii ^..^) which I find very very romantic. So in case you are looking for direct actions on how to make people happy & also having the cultural Japanese touch then go ahead and watch Skip Beat! You can watch the full episodes on crunchyroll (for free). Enjoy

PS: My all time favorite anime series remains NANA :-)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Lazas

It's a short post but a long video :-) Wishing a happy marriage, a long lasting love and a true friendship to my dear friends Andrei&Cristina Laza. Thank you for a beautiful wedding at the seaside and for inviting us to be part of it! That was real happymaking :-)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Autumn Happiness

Hello dear readers,

and so we landed in September. I am somehow sad that summer is making its way out, but also happy about what it's coming. For those of you who are still suffering from loosing the beach weekends and can't imagine themselves under the Christmas tree yet, I will gladly present THE AUTUMN :-)
As this is my first autumn at home I am definitely planning to make the most out of it ;-) So here are my tips:
  • take long walks in the parks
  • spend my weekends at grandma's house and run through the forest, jump in leaves and collect whatever fruits I'll still find (guess there are some blueberries left)
  • work in the garden: autumn is my favorite time for doing that as it's CROP TIME:-) So just prepare some huge baskets and fill them in with all the goodies you'll find: tomatoes, plums, cucumbers, sweet pears, carrots and so on.
  • won't forget to prepare some marmalade, tomato juice and other things I like to eat this winter. As I like cooking these are perfect activities :-)
  • collect leaves, seeds and pumpkins and make some nice decorations for my house or for my friends
  • also saving some seeds to bake bread ;-)
  • buy some cacao and tea and start having "hot chocolate evenings" :-)
  • bring out all my comfortable and soft sweaters and stash my t-shirts
  • oversleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep during rainy weekends
  • and last but not least take lots of photos with the beautifully colored landscape that fall is always offering. You'll see them soon on my FB page ;-)
That was it, happy autumn folks!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Happymaker is back!

Howdy, my dear happymakees! In case you were wondering if I somehow vanished on my way back from Germany, then you must know that I was pretty busy finding a place to live in Bucharest, working on my new role, catching up with my family and focusing my happymaking on them as we are facing some rough moments now.

But despite all these I do feel extremely energetic and excited so will tell you more about a dream coming true :-) When I was very young, like 8 or so I was dreaming about becoming an ambassador (maybe I already mentioned that?) anyway this came true once I became a BLUEIQ Ambassador and supporter of social media at IBM :-). Now the dream is reaching a new edge and I will be working for IBM's Global Services business unit in making employees from the European and African delivery centers more and more happy.
YES, a MASS HAPPYMAKING with people from more than 10 countries and all coming from different cultures. Totally exciting and full of opportunities. So in the last couple of weeks I felt my head exploding from many many many ideas on activities and events my team could run with the employees, stories and great facts to be taught about IBM, careers&culture, showing them the fun world of Second Life and bringing them closer to social software. You can even notice the perfect match of my favorite "hobbies":
new job=people+IBM+communications+happymaking

Looking forward to working with many of you IBMers out there and hope that my new journey will motivate many friends from outside and inspire them to never give up on their dreams, work hard on them and be convinced that productive and good ideas which will improve people's lives are worth fighting for ;-)

greetings from the green happymaker!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Happy Bye Germany!

As I'll be leaving my second home country next week I decided to write a few sentences on that :-) Especially as I loved being again in Germany and loved meeting new people both from IBM and from outside. So what I will miss most:
  • the location of my lovely house in Hanover, in the old city (= Altstadt, music everywhere, old buildings, tourists, restaurants...gorgeous)
  • the house itself with the British fridge (especially as I never had such a big house before and probably won't have one in the next 10 years)
  • speaking and hearing German (maybe that's the most painful of all as I really love this language :-(....well)
  • the fruits...some of them are more expensive at home and some not available at all (eg litchi, sharons, etc)
  • the spelt (=Dinkel) cookies and cakes (as I don't eat normal flour). But now I've been practicing and will be able to bake them at home ;-)
  • the Asian shops and all the ingredients which are so easy to find here
  • great Sushi
  • the great IT fair> CeBIT
  • cheap clothes (however not the shoes, they are cheaper in RO)
  • the great infrastructure both for subway and train
  • Hanover as a the greenest city in Germany with lots of parks and a great forest. Also the museums, bars and all the cultural activities
  • the geographical closeness to other nice cities and being able to be somewhere else over weekend
  • some friends I made here, people I got to know at the Romanian church here
  • the food at the IBM cafeteria (no cafeteria in Romania :( so will start bringing in my lunch again)
  • the sport facilities: affordable swimming pools everywhere and so on
  • Glühwein, German Christmas Market
  • Irish pub (I know it's not German but still great and located 50m away from my house)
  • the Salsa evenings especially last year
  • the North Sea, sea lions and white dunes
  • the zoo, one of the most beautiful in Germany
  • the BlueIQ team meeting in Berlin, by far the coolest IBM event while in Germany :-)
  • Eierspältze ...some gnocchi made with eggs and flour:-) and drinking Apfelschörle
  • buying books...they are very affordable here :-)
  • the open air events, music, carnivals and fireworks...great organization and lovely ideas...hope to see that in the next 10 years in Romania
  • the customer service...way better than in Romania
  • and last but not least people minding their own business. you see that less from where I come from but well...there are other things to love about my country :-)
I am sure I forgot many things. Will try remembering them and do them once more before I leave although the time is starting to fly by faster and faster.

Anyway not getting melancholic now, great things and family waiting for me at home :-) Will start with a nice birthday weekend, followed by a relaxing vacation in the country side, helping grandma out with her garden and hiking through my childhood's woods, attending a wedding, visiting my dear mountains and checking in for my new and exciting job...loaded with full #happymaking ammo :-)

So Happy Bye Germany! Schön hier zu sein!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Happy Fairies

Last night I was at a lovely carnival called "Kleines Fest im grossen Garten" (translation-small party in big garden). Although I don't usually write about events I am participating at here, this one was an incredible happymaking time. Imagine fairies running around, giants smiling at you, elephants driving around and talking, acrobats,jugglers, dancers, music, exotic food in Arabian tents, mimes, comedy, flying angels and of course lovely fireworks accompanied by a divine music. Definitely a night to remember in Hannover's loveliest location: the Herrenhauser Gardens.

So in case you are from Hannover (Germany) don't hesitate to go this week or the next one. Perfect happymaking provided by 110 artists from 17 countries. Just to give you a clue here are some photos ;-)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

And the Happiest Nation in the world is...

COSTA RICA :-) - via CNN
According to an independent research group in Britain which ranks nations using the "Happy Planet Index," Costa Rica has the most happy people. In addition to happiness, the index by the New Economics Foundation considers the ecological footprint and life expectancy of countries.

"Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction in the world and have the second-highest average life expectancy of the new world (second to Canada)," the organization said in a statement. They "also have an ecological footprint that means that the country only narrowly fails to achieve the goal of ... consuming its fair share of the Earth's natural resources."

This year's survey, which looked at 143 countries, featured Latin American nations in nine of the Top 10 spots.The runner-up was the Dominican Republic, followed by Jamaica, Guatemala and Vietnam.

Most developed nations lagged in the study.While Britain ranked 74th, the United States snagged the 114th spot, because of its hefty consumption and massive ecological footprint.

The United States was greener and happier 20 years ago than it is today, the report said.Other populous nations, such as China and India, had a lower index brought on by their vigorous pursuit of growth-based models, the survey suggested.

"As the world faces the triple crunch of deep financial crisis, accelerating climate change and the looming peak in oil production, we desperately need a new compass to guide us," said Nic Marks, founder of the foundation's center for well-being. Marks urged nations to make a collective global change before "our high-consuming lifestyles plunge us into the chaos of irreversible climate change."

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Blogger

What does a Happy Blogger need? Of course to be happy and second a happy blog template :-) Assuming you all are happy we can proceed to the second part and talk about the happiest blog templates you can get.

First let me share 2 links (via my friend Marius Grunca- @marius101) with some nice templates containing the MANDATORY SMILEY :) :

Then you would need to use some user-friendly colors, fonts and stick to not too long posts to make your blog look pretty. Add your favorite links and some pics and ready.

Please don't forget to turn off any audio files you posted there: I close any page that starts to sing or yell before it loads completely, and we wouldn't want people to leave the happy blog before checking it out :-)

Have a nice weekend ;-) #happymaking

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy Emoticons

loved this video, maybe also cause I chat so much lately (or better said since I am in Germany). Very simple, sweet and perfect for happymaking

XXX, yours Q<=

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Nighty Night

This post is dedicated to all the sleepless friends and colleagues :-) Let's start with WHY: I am a very well scheduled person and I always go to bed around 10-11pm in order to get my 8h sleep. It's not a because I am a boring person -as some do think- but because the best time to sleep is between 11pm-1am. After this you'll only rest more or less. Also a good sleep is the key to ever lasting health and beauty (got you :-0). The other reason for me to do that is that when doing diffrent my body highly suffers. Now I don't refer to a party once in a while but to an experiment I lived some years ago. It was my first job in Germany and I was supposed to work at McDonald's for 3 months, night shift (7pm-4am), no vacation (guess that's what foreign students get :-0). Unnecessarly to mention that sleeping from 10am-3pm didn't help as there was so much light and noise and my body couldn't accomodate. Also feeding myself during night time led to 10kg more. Some grey hair also showed up and from that time I decided to never do that again. Of course after coming back home my body recovered and I was happy again:-)

Now that was just an example of why I cherish sleep and even try to take a nap during weekends :-) But what if you want to sleep and can't? Research suggests our sleep patterns are determined by our genes; about 10% of us are morning larks (like ME :-)) and 10% night owls, with the rest of us somewhere in between. You have as much chance of changing this as you would changing your eye color.

We wake naturally many times during the night, as each sleep cycle of about two hours ends. Plus, our body clocks aren’t programmed to make us feel sleepy and alert only twice in each sleep cycle. Animals — and human babies — often naturally sleep and wake many times in a day; and in hot countries, it’s normal to sleep for five hours at night and three in the afternoon as a siesta.At night, the body normally shifts from deep sleep to the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of light pre-waking sleep from 3am onwards. REM sleep prompts the body to wake up, so it is normal to have up to 60% of REM sleep in the second half of the night.

Once we’re in the pre-waking phase, signals in the environment can also easily disturb sleep — a boyfriend snoring (not mine :-)), the cat jumping on the bed, needing the loo, early summer dawn breaking or being too hot (for instance, during menstruation, a woman’s body temperature rises and she is more likely to wake).

Assuming we now understood some phisical causes of waking up during the night and not being able to fall a sleep, I would like to present you now some tips on sleeping better :

  1. Worries and concerns with life, finances, work, family or relationships all wrestle for attention in the brain and prevent the physiological and chemical changes necessary for sleep to occur. Try switching off!
  2. Most people seek and are sedated by entertainment and then are forced to deal with the issues in their lives once the only voice that can be heard is their own in the quiet of the bedroom.So shut down the TV, clean your thoughts and then go to bed!
  3. Right atmosphere: light in the room, noise and comfort. If a person is not comfortable, they are too hot, too cold, or can feel the springs in the matress then sleep will be difficult.
  4. Medical conditions, alcohol or medications also have their influence on how readily the body can prepare itself for slumber.
  5. Go to bed when you're sleepy-tired, not when it's time to go to bed by habit.
  6. Wind down during the second half of the evening before bedtime. More specifically, 90 minutes before bed, don't get involved in any kind of anxiety provoking activities or thoughts. Don't open your mail, email or watch the evening news. Those events are not always anxiety producing, but you never know when they will be.
  7. Practice breathing with your abdomen, using low slow evenly spaced breathes that make your belly move more than your chest. Focus on tightening then relaxing major muscle groups, starting with your toes and ending with your forehead.
  8. Your bed is for sleeping, if you can't sleep after 15-20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing.
  9. Set your room temperature to be cool rather than warm.
  10. Don't count sheep; counting is stimulating.
  11. Exercise in the afternoon or early evening, but no later than 3 hours before bedtime.
  12. Don't over-eat; and eat 2-3 hours before bedtime. And don't eat meat in the evening! Meet needs much longer to be digested. Milk &Honey> Yes it works ;-) with almonds also. Or tea.
  13. If you awake in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep within 30 minutes, get up and do something else. BUT: Avoid turning on the lights or working at a computer. Light entering your eyes will stimulate your brain's day/night balance and keep you awake.
  14. Avoid all coffee, alcohol and cigarettes 2-3 hours before bedtime.
  15. If you have disturbing dreams or nightmares, use your mind's eye to "add" and ending that you prefer. It sounds a bit weird, but force yourself to imagine a whole different ending scene. Write the replacement ending in a notebook if you can't hold onto it. Or say a prayer and switch off again!
  16. Listen to calming music reading something nice before sleeping.
  17. Take a shower before going to bed. Water massage will relax your muscles.
And of course, if sleep problems persist, contact your physician as it may be from some drugs you are taking or who knows why :-) Hope you'll sleep better tonight. Nighty Night!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Virtual Happymaking with Friends

Love hurts! says the song and now I think it means any kind of love...not just romantic relationships, but friendships also. I also think I lost a friend yesterday but well we won't study this particular issue :-) especially as I also consider nothing gets lost and people telling you suddenly they will no longer talk to you will sooner or later feel sorry about it and come back to you.

So this post it's about friendship and long distance relationships with friends and NO no virtual worlds and no Second Life although I named it "virtual" :-) Just plane emails, chat and whatever we use to connect with friends living far away. I could think about some advices regarding long distance friendship and how to make it work so here they are:
  • YOU keep in touch: don't always expect to be contacted and be just the "Reply to" person. After all it's not a dating game and you don't really appear to be lame if you make the first move.
  • Answer back: we spend so much time answering all kind of emails and always postpone answering emails from friends asking us how we are doing cause we sort of imagine they would expect some 1000 characters email. They are not and a "I am doing fine, nice to hear from you" wouldn't hurt more than no answer at all. And yes, we are all busy so being busy DOESN'T make you special or excuses you :-)
  • Avoid contradictory chat (touche :-) ) yeap, don't discuss things you wouldn't talk about with your mother over chat. If she wouldn't understand it nobody will. Ask for a Skype call or just a call if possible (another reason for using skype or something else- do ask your friends to make an account). People tend to make very FINAL decisions if they are not talking to you, like: Never ever, Forget me, and so on. I guess cause it's easier for them to write them instead of saying them. So if you really want to avoid premature goodbyes just CALL!
  • Leadership lesson no 5 in the book I am reading: Think Twice before you Act and especially Overreact! That being said again no "funny" emails and ever lasting break ups over email (and that's happening in some cultures more frequently..unfortunately) Get serious people! Count till 50 and hold that thought before clicking on SEND.
  • Try being there: if you asked a questions once, even not to the same person expect to be asked also. After all friendship it's all about helping each other, that being said for people thinking about it as if this would make friendship a less sacre thing.
Well then the big news is FRIENDSHIP is a common thing and it's a feeling we all should have. Being helpful, careful and nice shouldn't just be towards preferred persons. I know we do that more or less also cause sometimes friends feel like they are less special if they are not the best friend or so. In this regard I must also say that I don't have BEST friends: I do have many friends, they all are special to me and have their own place in my heart but wouldn't treat one differently just because I keep them 2 inches lower from the center of my heart :-) (won't get into advanced discussions on freidnship in our times as this is for awake people and I am somehow in a sleepy mode so maybe I couldn't make you understand me now :-)) So just be good to everyone and don't do anything you would regret later on!

That being said: GOOD Morning, my friends! 4.28am now in Hannover ;-) Back to bed!
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What Animal Are You?

After having an "intelligent" discussion I realized foreigners don't know what a VEVE is (VEVE comes from the Romanian Veverita = squirrel= Eichhörnchen in German :-)). And I don't mean they didn't know what veve as word means but why we call people squirrels and why so frequently, cause everyone has in his circle of friends a squirrel (veve, wewe, weawea...or something). Will come back to what defines a squirrel person later :-)

Now second observation: we DO use lots of animals to classify people in my country :-) For example there is the:
  • wolf- bad boy, eats meat frequently when going out, lonely, etc
  • miercat - curious and just looks like that
  • marmot - now marmots are nice :-) they are serious, work hard are creative and can make chocolate and wrap it nicely like in the Milka ad (which by the way is called Paul, nice name for a marmot :-))
  • groundhog - tries to keep everything for himself, collects things, hides them, funny person usually
  • frog, cow, dog, kitty and bunny which are pretty much self explanatory :-)
And of course there is the squirrel: again collecting things, suspicious, eats lots of peanuts, fluffy hair, usually not very tall :-), funny, friendly, loves mountains, has very small feet (size 35 or 36 for Europe) and of course eyes and eye lashes resembling to a squirrel :-). Now what would be such a lesson without an example :-)

So here we have Corina, my favorite veve and loving friend who voluntarily requested to be included in this happymaking session. So to prove why she has such a "squirrelish" behaviour here are some pics:

1. YES, squirrels are convinced they know best :-)...or is it cause she was in her natural environment and playing in the snow?
2. after all they are wild animals and party like you see below :-)3. they hide their food and drinks from hungry some beers (and their repository never gets full..wonder why :-))
4. they always think about something, I would say FOOD 80% of the time :-)
5. and last but not least they consider themselves special and there is NO squirrel resembling to another. So if you have a squirrel around make sure SHE know she is the MOST special one. Ours is pink and is very proud with her pink attitude :
That was it :-) Hope this can help you understand our fun with identifying people as certain animals and maybe identify some yourself :-) #happymaking

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What makes teenagers happy?

High school wasn't that long ago for me :-) so I never really asked myself what makes teenagers happy these days. I noticed however they all tweet, have an ipod, dress pretty Gothic and get drunk too much. But as I can't judge them only from what I see on the streets, I decided to run a small check. So I ended up reading this nice article on what makes teenagers happy:
So you’re between the ages of 13 and 24. What makes you happy? A worried, weary parent might imagine the answer to sound something like this: Sex, drugs, a little rock ‘n’ roll. Maybe some cash, or at least the car keys.

Turns out the real answer is quite different. Spending time with family was the top answer to that open-ended question, according to an extensive survey — more than 100 questions asked of 1,280 people ages 13-24 — conducted by The Associated Press and MTV on the nature of happiness among America’s young people.

Next was spending time with friends, followed by time with a significant other. And even better for parents: Nearly three-quarters of young people say their relationship with their parents makes them happy.

Alcohol users are slightly less happy than those who don’t drink. The differences are more remarkable among 13-17 year olds; just 40 percent of those who drank in the last seven days reported being happy with life, versus 68 percent of those who didn’t. And 49 percent of illegal drug users reported being happy with life, compared with 66 percent of those who didn’t use drugs.

You might think money would be clearly tied to a general sense of happiness. But almost no one said “money” when asked what makes them happy, though people with the highest family incomes are generally happier with life. However, having highly educated parents is a stronger predictor of happiness than income.

Soul: Close to half say religion and spirituality are very important. And more than half say they believe there is a higher power that has an influence over things that make them happy. Beyond religion, simply belonging to an organized religious group makes people happier.

Also confirming existing research, Twenge says, is the finding that children of divorced parents are somewhat less likely to be happy. Among 13-17 year olds, 64 percent of those with parents still together said they wake up happy, compared to 47 percent of those with divorced parents.

And parents, here’s some more for you: Most young people in school say it makes them happy. Overwhelmingly, young people think marriage would make them happy and want to be married some day. Most also want to have kids.

Finally, when asked to name their heroes, nearly half of respondents mentioned one or both of their parents. The winner, by a nose: Mom.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Who's happier, men or women?

We used to joke on that when we were kids and argued about why should we wear a skirt and not pants. We said that we would have liked to be boys (we=girls) and that this would have made our life easier. Years after we decided we wouldn't have changed this for anything and would have had a laugh remembering how we used to disguise ourselves in boys in order to be allowed to play football :-)

I was reading a nice article today, about American women but some of the traits depicted there are also valid in the European culture. So after years of fighting for their rights are women less happy than men? Is this because the times changed and what seemed to be a reason to be happy years ago is now just a regular possession?

I think the study reflects again that happiness has nothing to do with the rights we have, with the money and status one can get, with the societal development we are witnessing. Sometimes I wonder how many studies will they make in order to discover that happiness doesn' t proportionally vary with all these factors (Not to mention splitting this between men and my opinion men don't tend to over analyze questions and that's why they give pretty balanced and fair answers).
However there are some interesting results in the study that help us understand what was considered to make women happy in the '70 and what is now.

Check the abstract below :-)
By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women's happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men. The paradox of women's declining relative well-being is found across various datasets, measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups and industrialized countries. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically reported higher subjective well-being than did men. These declines have continued and a new gender gap is emerging -- one with higher subjective well-being for men.

So, what do you think? Who's happier? Happymakers excluded :-)

PS: They don't call women "Drama Queens" for nothing :-)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

HappyMaker Wanted!

I heard making people happy is a premium skill these days : hard to find and companies would pay lots of $$$$$$ or £££££ or whatever you please for it :-)
So in case you've always wanted to do that and consider yourself super good at doing it, here are some tips on where to find these employment opportunities. Be a HappyMaker!

(click on the pic to enlarge it)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Happiness isn't about "ME"

The June issue of The Atlantic has an article about a 72-year-long study at Harvard about how different experiences affect the health and happiness of people. Video abelow, full text of article here.

Is there a formula—some mix of love, work, and psychological adaptation—for a good life? For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been examining this question, following 268 men who entered college in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age. Here, for the first time, a journalist gains access to the archive of one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history. Its contents, as much literature as science, offer profound insight into the human condition—and into the brilliant, complex mind of the study’s longtime director, George Vaillant.

Happymaking FAVICON

I know it's pretty late but better later than never ;-) So I "just" realized that my dear blog has no favicon (for those who don't know what that is, that's the little favorite+icon displayed next to your blog's name in the browser).

And of course I've chosen the nice green smiley you can see below. Hope this is a nice representation for happymaking & my eco-bio-green way of being :-)
Now, in case you want to have a favicon also and you have a blogger/blogspot account like me, here is how you can do it. And remember, it must be a pic that looks good at a 16/16 fancy art or details ;-)

@silviaemilia #happymaking for my blog :-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Happy Virtual Culture

Last Friday some IBMers organized a great culture festival @Almaden in Second Life. We had guests both from IBM and also friends or family joining us. There was a great effort in preparing areas representing Eastern Europe, Brazil, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, China, Germany and the Native American region but the event was a real success! I personally learned so much about native Americans, Chinese arts, Italian best places to see and Swiss way of doing business. We had live virtual flute concerts, drank cappuccino, ate and drank chocolate at the Swiss house, ran a quiz in the Chinese area and much much more.

You can see the video of the event here (we streamed it live via and tagged it with #ibmvcf in twitter)

After 2 sessions I can say that I was pretty exhausted but also very excited and happy. It was a great happymaking for people who wanted to learn more about these cultures, make new friends, grow their IBM network, experience around Second Life and of course have funnnnn :-)

The funniest moment? As I was presenting Germany's region I had the chance to stream some live German music :-)) as there was the Pots Festival in Hannover and a men choir was singing loudly right under my window!

Many thanks to Maria-Izabel, Chris B, Amy, Mihail, Chris C, Wayne, Dario and many more! Let's have another happymaking session soon ;-)

Anthi Arida

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Hairs

Ok after the "Happy Teeth" post this one will not be about how to take care of your hair and make it happy as mine is pretty happy all the time :-) it's own curly and rebel life :-)
So I only got this pic from Bremerhaven (Germany). Happy Hair and Happy Weekend ;-)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happy Teeth

After a very complicated "visiting the dentist" process in Germany and still playing around with my medical insurer from the US I decided to write a post about happy teeth. Although one can not avoid visiting a dentist as teeth preserve themselves only after we actually die (funny huh?!) I decided to write some nice tips about TEETH HAPPYMAKING :-)
  • Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner :-) This takes just a few minutes a day. Use a correct toothbrush, and brush and floss correctly.
  • Eat a balanced diet for good overall health, selecting a variety of foods from the five main food groups (bread, cereals, and other grain products; fruits; vegetables; meat, poultry, fish and alternatives; milk, cheese, and yogurt), and limit snacks.
  • See your dentist regularly for a dental examination and professional cleaning - a key to helping prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Don't use tobacco products; they can increase your risk of gum disease and cancer of the mouth and throat.
  • Don't chew on hard objects that could crack a tooth.
  • Don't ignore gums that bleed when you brush or floss or changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
  • Wear a mouth guard when playing active sports.
  • Eating sweetened cereals dry is bad for teeth, always add milk.
  • Drinking frequent cups of tea or coffee with sugar added will increase the risk of teeth decay.
  • When less saliva is available on very hot days, one should not consume foods containing sugars that stick in the teeth.
  • Chewable vitamin C tablets with or without sugar are acidic and are a hazard for not only children’s teeth but also to adults' teeth. Do not use lemon juice for whitening because vitamin C will cause the teeth to lose calcium damaging teeth quicker than anything else.
  • You think that honey or fruit sugar cause less caries than regular sugar? False. It's all about of being sweet. If it's sweet then your teeth will suffer (e.g. apple juice, one of the sweetest)
  • And it's all about the TIME. Eating a piece of chocolate in 3 min can be less damaging than drinking a lemonade in 30 minutes. The more the sugar stays in your mouth the worse it gets (don't give up on chewing your food now :-))
  • Chocolate doesn't harm your teeth, but the sugar in it. Try eating more dark chocolate.
  • Not only sweets and drinks can damage your teeth. Fruits also. Of course less but still. So brush your teeth ;-)
  • Yes, chewing gum really helps. Of course your teeth, as the chemicals in eat can cause you diseases in other areas if consumed intensively.
  • Red wine, tea or coffee can color your teeth.
  • Try to avoid Soda and Cola like drinks. As the Cola drinks contain acids like Citric acid, and phosphoric acid. They slowly react with the teeth and dissolve them. These drinks have corrosive effect on the teeth.
  • Don't hesitate to brush your teeth at work! After all you can keep a brush close to you and do your thing after lunch ;-)
  • Don't brush your teeth after eating especially for children. According to the experts although this matter was contrary from an advice we get since childhood. The acid substance we get from food and drink made the teeth layer soften and brush the teeth will damaging this soft layer.
if I'll find more will let you know :-) Going to brush my teeth now!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happymaking - The Groove?

Found this video today :-) well I know who did it but won't tell :-) You have to guess who's this happymaker wannabe ;-)

Paris Paris

Ok one last post before Easter :-) Especially as I forgot to add PARIS (France) to the best places for happymaking! And indeed it has all the ingredients: happy faces, great architecture, delicious food, unbelievable desserts, music everywhere, museums, stories, painters, boutiques, nice streets, pitoresque bridges and so so so much more :-) could go on forever without even mentioning the Tour Eiffel which despite what so many people are saying is absolutely magnifique :-). And the feelings you get invaded by once you put your right foot on French land!!!

So in case you need to pick the place for a vacation just go to Paris! Even if you been there I am sure there are thousand of things you can still discover and love :-)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Easter time!

This week we'll celebrate Easter, by we I mean the Orthodox community. And this year I am pretty happy as I am also going home (to Pitesti) this week to spend some days with my family :-) Now this post is not about happymaking with others, giving presents, cooking together with your mums, preparing our unique Easter eggs and eating goodies. It's also not about chocolate bunnies and happymaking around a barbeque...
It's about what Easter really is and how we need to prepare for it, about happymaking with yourself, about giving up on being selfish, envious, carrying about silly things, talking behind people's back and so many many things we do more or less consciously. About going to church and confessing, about forgiving and spreading love around us. It may sound old fashioned or unrealistic but indeed that's Easter about. Try escaping for a few days from the madness we live in, from the running around and ghosts chasing. Be the person you need and want to be!

Merry Easter! Hope I'll get to wish some of my Romanian friends HRISTOS A INVIAT soon!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happymaking in the Forbidden City

Bringing a mysterious city to life and exploring the forbidden city was one of my dreams as a child..maybe right before starting to play Tomb Raider and getting distracted with Egyptian pyramids and artifacts from Latin America ;-) However the Chinese history and stories remain some of my interests. And today I get the chance to have some happymaking in the Forbidden City of Beijing. How cool can that be? A place I could never visit, a place closed to visitors and not available in any virtual games that could make an explorer and treasure hunter happy.

And as a lucky combination or maybe faith?! IBM made that happen:-) Yes, my IBM made a Virtual Forbidden City (check the video below).

Some interesting facts about the Forbidden City:
  • the construction lasted 15 years, and required more than a million workers
  • The common English name, "the Forbidden City," is a translation of the Chinese name Zijin Cheng ( literally "Purple Forbidden City"). Zi, or "Purple", refers to the North Star, which in ancient China was called the Ziwei Star, and in traditional Chinese astrology was the abode of the Celestial Emperor. The surrounding celestial region, the Ziwei Enclosure (Chinese: ), was the realm of the Celestial Emperor and his family. The Forbidden City, as the residence of the terrestrial emperor, was its earthly counterpart. Jin, or "Forbidden", referred to the fact that no-one could enter or leave the palace without the emperor's permission. Cheng means a walled city.

  • Yellow is the colour of the Emperor. Thus almost all roofs in the Forbidden City bear yellow glazed tiles. There are only two exceptions. The library at the Pavilion of Literary Profundity () had black tiles because black was associated with water, and thus fire-prevention. Similarly, the Crown Prince's residences have green tiles because green was associated with wood, and thus growth
  • The central gateway is part of the Imperial Way, a stone flagged path that forms the central axis of the Forbidden City and the ancient city of Beijing itself, and leads all the way from the Gate of China in the south to Jingshan in the north. Only the Emperor may walk or ride on the Imperial Way, except for the Empress on the occasion of her wedding, and successful students after the Imperial Examination (now imagine yourself walking around like an emperor ;-))
Planning to take a tour? Then check the next event in the VFC:
On 28 and 29 April, IBM is offering a select group of IT specialists the opportunity to participate in an exclusive SOA tour being held using its acclaimed virtual world, The Forbidden City: Beyond Space and Time <>.

Dressed in character as an Imperial Servant, John Tolva, Program Manager for Cultural Strategy and Programs @IBM will lead a tour of the most advanced of all custom-built virtual worlds in existence today. The virtual world tour is designed to provide an insight into how SOA can solve architectural challenges, adding immediate value and business flexibility.
Attendees will be able to discuss SOA with IBM’s leading architects and strategists and learn first-hand how to shape the future of business communication.
Limited space is available on each virtual world tour. Registration to participate in this exciting virtual world event closes on Friday 17th April

See you around ;-) Treasure Hunter Happymakees!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tale of a Red Jacket

This story is about two girls, shopping, two-three countries, randomly chosen so that you can't identify the girls and a red jacket. If you're not interested in any of the above mentioned items then you can stop reading and just go to the previous post about sushi :-).

Background: for this story we have 2 girls: a happymaker and a happymakee. Both of them come from a country where clothing is pretty expensive so whenever they are abroad they try to shop for various stuff. Now both of them are abroad and as spring is knocking at their doors, our girls decide to buy some new spring jackets.Compared to their home country one of them is in a country with pretty affordable clothes (Guatemala) and the other one in a very expensive one (Malawi).

The Happymaking: now the G (the girl in Guatemala) finds some cool jackets, half price at the...Happy&Making store. Excited she buys them both. G tells her friend M (from Malawi) about it and M decides to visit the same store in her city. And there it was, the perfect RED JACKET. Now M is very small, so small that she couldn't find the jacket to fit her size (34). M goes home and tries to purchase it online but the Happy&Making store doesn't sell online in her country...although Malawi is such a big country (remember Malawi is not the true country).
The Solving of our Tale: M asks G to purchase it online from Guatemala and to have it shipped it was the p-e-r-f-e-c-t red jacket. They try using their lovely credit cards but no chance, while shopping in Guatemala the store only allows you to pay with a national credit card. So after even trying credit cards from relatives the bad online shop told the girls they should stop trying and take a walk (of course in a very PRish way). But the girls didn't stop. So in the next evening G was visiting all 3 Happy&Making stores in her city looking for a jacket in size 34 (now imagine running from shop to shop, girls in the store asking each other what is size 34 in Malawi, calling the other stores to check if they have the right size, etc etc). No Jacket. Result: "please come by tomorrow, we receive them daily but can't tell in which size".

It didn't seem that complicated (although it was....OMG :-((( ) so G took another trip to the stores the next day. Of course, no luck.Day #4 and no jacket yet. G&M decided to pay the ultimate price and have the jacket delivered at G's home and pay cash for it (10Euro more...yeah yeah no Euro in Guatemala but again it's just an e-x-a-m-p-l-e :-)).

G didn't get the jacket yet (operation in progress) but we hope for a nice closing in which G is delivering the jacket by post to Malawi in maximum 2 weeks so that M can wear the Red Jacket during her spring vacation in....Tanzania?! :-))))

Remember: happymaking is not easy. even small things can get complicated but if they mean something to your happymakee don't give up. we live in an absurd world after all, so have patience;-)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Happy Sushi

As you can see this weekend we made some nice Sushi (at least I think so :-)) and did my best with the Japanese omelet Tamagoyaki which didn't look as pretty as the sushi but was eatable and made me decide to buy a tamagoyaki pan ;-) for my future attempts (learned that cooking the perfect omelet is the real challenge a Japanese chef has).

This post however is not about cooking sushi as there are so many recipes and videos about it and really it's not that hard once you have the right ingredients and the freshest fish. It's about what sushi is and stands for. So maybe next time you'll eat it you'll have another feeling about it rather than seeing it as dead fish or fish&rice only. HAPPYMAKING Sushi!

The Beginnings
Sushi has been around for a surprisingly long period of time, although not in its present form. The history of sushi is an interesting tale of the evolution of a simple dish. What was to become sushi was first mentioned in China in the second century A.D. Originally, sushi arose out of a way of preserving food. Fish was placed in rice and allowed to ferment, which allowed an individual to keep the fish edible for some time. The rice was thrown away and the fish was eaten when needed or wanted.

The method spread throughout China and by the seventh century, had made its way to Japan, where seafood has historically been a staple. The Japanese, however, took the concept further and began to eat the rice with the fish. Originally, the dish was prepared in much the same manner. In the early 17th century, however, Matsumoto Yoshiichi of Edo (now Tokyo) starting seasoning the rice with rice wine vinegar while making his ‘sushi’ for sale. This allowed the dish to be eaten immediately, instead of waiting the months it might normally take to prepare the ‘sushi.’

The Evolution of Sushi: In the early 19th century, a man by the name of Hanaya Yohei conceived a major change in the production and presentation of his sushi. No longer wrapping the fish in rice, he placed a piece of fresh fish on top of an oblong shaped piece of seasoned rice. Today, we call this style ‘nigiri sushi’ (finger sushi) or “edomae sushi” (from Edo, the name of Tokyo at the time) and is now the common way of eating Japanese sushi. At that time, sushi was served from sushi stalls on the street and was meant to be a snack or quick bite to eat on the go. Served from his stall, this was not only the first of the real ‘fast food’ sushi, but quickly became wildly popular. From his home in Edo, this style of serving sushi rapidly spread throughout Japan, aided by the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923, as many people lost their homes and businesses and moved from Tokyo.

After World War Two, the sushi stalls were shut down and moved indoors, to more sanitary conditions. More formal seating was later provided (the first iterations were merely an indoor version of the sushi stalls) and sushi changed from ‘fast food’ to a true dining experience. Sushi spread around the globe, and with the advent of the promotion of seafood, this unusual style of serving fish was quickly adopted by western cultures, always eager for something new, especially something that had grown as sophisticated and unique as sushi.

Modern Sushi: Sushi, the artful dining experience once uniquely Japanese, has now evolved to another level beyond the traditional Japanese methods. Western influences have given rise to new styles of sushi, such as California rolls and the many elaborate ‘fusion’ creations at upscale sushi restaurants. The history of sushi is a long one, at least 1,800 years in fact, but the current iteration is popular around the world, and rightly so. It is not often that something so singly cultural can not only take the world by storm, but also influence the direction of food in other cultures. Demand for sushi is only increasing and seems to be continuing to evolve. Traditional sushi restaurants sit alongside ‘fusion’ restaurants and both are popular for their own reasons.

Hungry? ;-)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happymaking Channel LIVE!

So in order to prepare myself for a project I decided to learn more about webcammax and mogulus today (was using camstudio and only watched mogulus without doing any broadcasting until now). And they are pretty cool...there are so many videos on youtube showing how you can put up together a news channel just by using mogulus and stream live and for free from any cafe, hotel, room or whatever conference you may attend. Nice? Indeed. Of course you can also upload videos and ask mogulus to play them on your new channel.

Webcammax is not for free but you get a free trial which is ok :-) Has plenty effects to play with, easy to use and feeds mogulus perfectly (may I say like a mum to her child ^..^).

And as I had no idea what to play with I did some happymaking....the HAPPYMAKING Channel...coming live with happymaking news :-) Now must figure out which will the next news be and if I want you to see me rather than just writing to you :-).

Anyway, stay tuned!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Happymaking Challenge

Last week I was pretty challenged as two persons asked me for help and were not really fitting the profile I am usually have for happymaking. I must say I felt pretty reluctant to helping them out of their trouble as I had all the time a feeling that they may try cheating me or something worse, but I kept telling myself it was the right thing to do.

So now my question: do we really help only people we like and trust? I mean who wouldn't help some little angels like these here or some old ladies or our families and closest friends, or people we already know or are known by some of our contacts. But would we take home a person crying in the train station cause she/he has no more money to travel to their home country and no contacts in your country? Would you give her money to go back even if she doesn't look trustworthy or you keep blaming her for ending up in this situation and not planning this better? Or would you think this is a set up? Would you help a girlfriend who messed out with wrong man and got hurt? Or just say it was all her fault and forget about it?

All thoughts have their own right to exist in our mind, but which one will win? Will we do the right thing even if knowing there is a chance to be fooled and tricked? I would, I did, hardly but did it...I guess there are some good reasons for doing this:
  • We are good by nature and try to see the good part first
  • Our conscience tells us we need to do something about it
  • We know that if we didn't help someone asking for our kindness we would probably ask ourselves for a long time what happened to that person...and think we could have helped him but we didn't :-(
  • We would want to find people able to help us also, if we were in the same situation
  • We try to see beyond appearances and are aware that misjudging people can have very negative results..mainly cause we experienced it more than once
  • We know this doesn't happen on a daily basis, we don't meet these people all the time, so we can afford investing some time, money and feelings in a higher amount...
I know you may say that's a nonsense or that this can only have with religion to do, but it's not. It's out human kind, our way of being that got locked under our daily routine, under our desire to prove that we are better, we can plan things and avoid bad events and that everyone is getting what they deserve. Well it's not like that and in one moment you can be on the other think twice before not giving a hand and reaching out!

Challenge yourself to help people who are different, who are in different situations, who weren't worthy of having your attention until now! People you never tried to help!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Birthday to Andy Piper!

Do you know this Andy Piper who calls himself a social bridgebuilder? Or the guy who writes this blog? Who takes these photos and podcasts your tags with a... dog?

YES. I knew so ;-) cause he's just great and fortunately to be found everywhere!

And as mister Piper is such a great supporter of #happymaking and asks himself now and then when will he be the one and only happymakee of the day I decided to make him the HAPPYMAKEE of the WEEK (sounds nice, doesn't it? ^..^) ...especially as this week he has his 33rd birthday (hope I got it right this time :-)). So feel free to wish him nice things like cars, money, nice vacations (coupons accepted but please contact him for the delivery address), send him sweets and cool gadgets...and of course sing him Happy Birthday!!!...or Birth Week?