Personal Projects

He writes the songs you love to hate, hate to know, and make you run for a barf bag. He’s the king of schmaltz and over-orchestrated key changes. His Velveeta factor is off the charts. He’s a rather — ummm — shall we say “ironic” choice for a sex god. But uncool as it may be, he makes me smile big. He brings me back to the happy, simple place of life as a 12-year-old girl. He was my first — and as of this moment my most recent — concert.

Ladies and gentlemen: Mr. Barry Manilow!

C’mon, be honest. You have a guilty musical pleasure too. A weak spot for some dork whose songs and voice give people hives, but…


One of my favorite quotes is by the wonderful Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Nothing captures more aptly what I think of Ken Clauser, my high school Spanish teacher for three years. When I think back to Wheeler School, what I remember most dearly is Señor Clauser. From the classroom to the stage (he brilliantly portrayed the King of Siam in our school production of The King & I), his passion and compassion was genuinely inspiring and memorable. 

In a testament to his superb teaching, I never studied Spanish beyond high school, yet I can speak the language with my kids as they have learned it,…


Nothing signals summer in Rhode Island quite like that first cup of Del’s. And while the rest of you are wondering what the heck Del’s is, I ask my fellow Rhode Islanders: Is there really any other choice for my favorite summer drink?

Del’s is slushy frozen lemonade that was first sold from a small seasonal stand in my hometown, Cranston, Rhode Island, way before I was around. Growing up, there was nothing so exciting as the beeber-beep! of an approaching Del’s truck on a hot summer night, winding its way through the streets of Garden City, the driver scooping the sweet, snowy treat into little cups for a whole neighborhood at a time. At the faintest indication of a nearby truck, we’d toss our…


My name is Andrea and I am a sitcom junkie. Give me a playlist of I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, Cheers, Taxi, The Cosby Show, Seinfeld, Will & Grace, Frasier, The King of Queens, Everybody Loves Raymond, Still Standing, Mad About You, Yes Dear, Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Big Bang Theory, The Jeffersons, 30 Rock, M*A*S*H, Happy Days, NewsRadio — I could go on and on — and I’m one happy camper.

But when I’m up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep or I throw on the TV while I’m ironing or folding clothes, my go-to is Friends. When the series debuted in 1994, I was the same age…


To kick off my #50FavesTo50 project, I’m remembering one of my favorite books from childhood. Like so many girls growing up in the 70s, I adored Judy Blume’s young adult novels. She created relatable and likable characters, explored relevant themes, and her writing was thoughtful and fun. As you can see, I’ve never been able to part with my well-loved, tattered collection!

While I truly enjoyed each one, my favorite has always been my first: “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.” As a firstborn myself, I recognized in Peter Hatcher so many innate oldest child qualities, and I got a kick out of his impish little brother, Fudge, in all his mischievous charm. And as a suburban girl, I thought it was so cool that they lived…


Today is my last birthday of my 40s. While most of my 30s was consumed with the non-stop pandemonium of four babies growing into toddlers growing into school-age boys, my 40s have given me more time for personal growth and even a little reflection. I’ve probably learned more about life in my 40s than at any other time. So what wisdom and observations do I wish I could give to my younger self? Here are 47 things:

1. It’s okay to say no as long as you learn the art of doing it graciously.

2. Don’t waste time worrying and moaning about stuff you have no control over. Let it go.

3. Everything you see depends on how you look at it.

4. The morning after is rarely,…


Dear Friends and Readers:

I’ve been feeling guilty for the last few weeks, and it’s time for me to come clean.

See, I started the year with tons of energy and a vision for growing our happiness community in a bunch of cool ways. I’m taking a fantastic 31-week coaching course and learning invaluable new skills to help others reach their goals. I started putting together some kick-ass programs that will help people bring happiness and gratitude into their lives in very practical ways. I even began a redesign of my website and created a new logo:

(Whaddaya think? If you know me, you know how very me it is!)

Everything was chugging along in the right direction and I was so excited to get to…


This week’s Angel Word is inspiration, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to look back and see which quotes inspired you most this year. The daily quotes I created and posted on Facebook were seen by almost 2.5 million people in the past six months alone, and it’s always interesting to find out which messages touched and inspired readers most deeply. So without further ado, here we go:

10.”I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou

To honor the passing of brilliant author and poet Maya Angelou, I selected three of her most beautiful quotes to share. This was the most…


During this Thanksgiving week, our focus was on gratitude (including this week’s Angel Word), and the enthusiastic community on Facebook really embraced the meaning of this message.

First of all, a post from last weekend caught fire during the week and traveled far and wide (to almost 150,000 people!) on Facebook. It was an idea inspired by Thanksgiving, but it’s something we can do all throughout the year to remind family and friends that we’re thankful for them and all they do. It’s not too late to do it now if you haven’t already!

  Most Popular Inspiring Quote Also in the spirit of Thanksgiving, one of my favorite inspiring quotes was the most popular of the week — and…


I often write about the benefits of keeping a weekly gratitude journal, including the fact that it can help you through tough times and it’s a secret cure for a case of the “crankies.” But there’s also lots of evidence that writing down what you’re grateful for once a week can make you happier—and the more details you include in your gratitude journal, the better.

According to gratitude expert Robert Emmons, there’s a nice benefit to being more descriptive: you get to relive the things you’re grateful for not only when you’re writing about them—but when you reread them months and years down the road. The more details you can add, the more vivid a picture you’re creating, and that can result in a…