A Unique Way of Giving: RedditGifts

This is the card I received when participating in the RedditGifts Card Exchange

Yay! I finally started Season 3 of my Carpe Diem Connections Podcast! This season I’m focusing on the 10 Keys to Happiness as outlined on the Action for Happiness Website.

The first of those 10 keys is Giving. This worked out perfectly because the first guest I wanted to have on Season 3, Kelly Guyon, was someone I “met” because she gave me a beautiful and special Christmas card.

In this episode, we talk about the Reddit Gift Exchange which is a unique way of giving and receiving from someone you don’t know (yet!)

There are a few things that really make this Secret-Santa-like exchange more fun and reliable than what you’d imagine. First, you can find out about your recipient’s tastes through their profile. Second, Reddit steps you through the process including how you can post a photo once you receive your gift. This allows you to publicly thank your thoughtful Secret Santa.

This was the Thank You from the “wine and cheese ornament” that I sent to “Really_Cool_Noodle”
My Glittery Card from Kelly, who is my guest on my Carpe Diem Connections Podcast!

If you want to participate, you don’t have to wait all the way until next Christmas. RedditGifts has a variety of Gift Exchanges throughout the year!

If social media or gift exchanges is not your thing, though, there are lots of ways to give, which has been proven to increase happiness, both for the giver and the receiver!

Smiling, texting, leaving a positive comment, a phone call, or any little acts of kindness will boost happiness.

My full conversation with Kelly is on YouTube or you can listen to it on this podcast episode.

Do you have any stories about a unique gift you gave or received? Come join the discussion on the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group.

Joy and Technology

Technology (Zoom) let my Mom see all her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren on Easter, 2020.

It’s the end of the year and time to wrap up Season 2 of Carpe Diem Connections and the Joy Makeover. This week Becky Burns and I talk about the Love/Hate Relationship many people have with technology.

Though technology can be frustrating, I’m grateful that it allowed us to have virtual family gatherings throughout the Pandemic.

Ingrid Fetell Lee talks about 6 ways to use technology to cultivate joy and refers to her interview with Pamela Pavliscak, a futurist and designer who embraces a philosophy called positive technology.

With the New Year around the corner, you might want to check out Pamela’s suggestions for a year of positive technology with different themes each month.

The Joyspotters Society Facebook group is another great opportunity to experience social media at its finest. The posts are joyful, kind, and inspiring. So rather than “doomscrolling” why not do some “gleefreshing”? (For other new 2020 words, check out this quiz!)

We wrap up our podcast episode talking about the wonderful communities that are available that spread happiness, including ActionForHappiness.org.

This and other Websites that spread positivity can be found on the home page of this site, CarpeDiemDay.com.

Do you have a favorite Website, social media group, or app? Are there others you’d like featured on CarpeDiemDay.com? Join the discussion on the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group!

Finding Joy During the Holidays

Let’s face it, this holiday season is tough for many people this year. Even in “normal” years, holidays can be tough because we all want to create this magical feeling – we want to create and experience joy. When we can’t celebrate with the people we’re missing or practice our traditional rituals, we can get frustrated, sad, or just spiral into depression.

In this week’s podcast, Becky Burns and I talk about our holiday experiences and how we hope to find joy during this season.

For those who are grieving:

We recognize that many are experiencing grief.. I mentioned being interviewed by Dr. Patti Ashley in November about grief.

I also want to mention this Webinar about combatting holiday loneliness.

Creating new traditions or celebrating in new ways:

In the podcast, Becky talks about Kwanzaa being celebrated from Dec.26-Jan.1 and how each day represents a theme that we can use as a prompt to take action and find joy and meaning in our lives.

I also mentioned how my friend, Shalini shared her Rangoli art in her Covid-safe celebration of Diwali on the Quiet Value Women forum.

I love learning about new traditions and celebrations and hearing how people are finding joy in creatively celebrating.

Ideas for celebrating:

We usually end our podcast episode with suggestions of how our listeners can find more joy. This week, I’m pulling from Pamela Gail Johnson’s Society of Happy People (SOHP) newsletter:

  • Count your blessings if your healthy enough to breath, eat, and get out of bed — because that’s loving yourself. 
  • Ask someone how they are REALLY doing in a private conversation? Sometimes people are hurting but don’t post it on social media or tell you if you don’t ask. We simply assume they are okay because they appear content or show a happy face.
  • Say kind words to someone — we could all use a little more kindness right now.
  • Watch your religious services online.
  • Spend time in meditation or prayer so you can personally connect with God or your idea of the universal power that’s bigger than you.
  • Be a Secret Santa — bake cookies for a neighbor, drop off a plant, or send someone a card.
  • If you can afford it — donate to a food bank, toy drive, or give a gift card to someone you know is financially challenged.
  • Share one of your signature holiday recipes with those who won’t get to eat that dish at one of your annual gathers so they can still enjoy it. Food is love that nourishes the body and soul. 
  • Look the people in your physical bubble in the eye and TELL them how much you love them. And call or zoom with your family and friends to do the same. One day those will be words they’ll rehear when they need to hear your voice–and there’s no better message than letting someone you love know you love them. 

Making Room for Joy

How do you make room in your home for Joy? Listen to this week’s episode of Carpe Diem Connections where we are talking about decluttering to make space for the things that bring us the most joy.

On this week’s episode of Carpe Diem Connections, Becky Burns and I continue exploring the link between Joy and our “stuff.”

Last week, we talked about finding more joy in experiences than things. This week in The Joy Makeover , Ingrid Fetell Lee talks to Gretchen Rubin, author of Outer Order, Inner Calm, about decluttering and how that can help us make more space for joy.

Tune in to hear our thoughts about clutter and how we plan to make more space in our homes. Then chime in with some of your own ideas on the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group page.

Spending Money for Joy

Our topic this week on the Carpe Diem Connections Podcast is about Joy and Money. We’re doing a deeper dive on the topics found from Ingrid Fetell Lee’s Joy Makeover.

The material from the Joy Makeover includes an informative interview with Elizabeth Dunn, author of Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending.

In this season of gift-giving, we’re all hit with decisions about how we’re going to be spending our money.

Tune in to this week’s podcast about Joy and Money to hear some thoughts from my co-host, Becky Burns and me, as we explore our own history with money and spending.

Join us in the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group and share your own thoughts! Are you a spender or a saver? Experiences or things? What were some of your favorite gifts – both those you gave and those you received?

Finding Joy in Relationships During the Holidays Despite Covid19

Ideas for making the holidays fun with creativity in finding Joy in Connections during the holiday season.

In this week’s Carpe Diem Connections podcast Becky and I continue exploring the Joy Makeover and the topic is Joy and Relationships. We talk specifically about ways to connect with others during this 2020 holiday season when stress levels are high. Many of us are doing Thanksgiving a little differently this year due to Covid 19 restrictions.

Here’s an article I read just yesterday with some creative suggestions for new Thanksgiving traditions.

One new activity that I’ve been doing a lot more of during the pandemic is writing cards the old fashioned way! I had sealing wax as a kid and I wanted to give that a try again and discovered now the sealing wax comes in all these different colors that you can mix together! I also ordered a “Carpe Diem” stamp, ordered up beautiful postage stamps and other goodies, and now I look forward to my monthly cards and letters tradition!

This month, I sent out Thanksgiving cards to my family. Even though I won’t be able to be with them personally, it’s fun to send the cards, and do online games.

Wanna go above and beyond?

You can participate in sending cards to isolated seniors, check out: https://loveforourelders.org/letters.

Another nonprofit that is sending cards and letters to those in need is http://www.moreloveletters.com/

Do you make time for joy?

Do you prioritize joy?

The second episode in Season 2 of Carpe Diem Connections focuses on Time and Joy. Join Becky Burns and me as we do a deeper dive into The Joy Makeover.

Ingrid talks with Time Management guru, Laura Vanderkam in her Joy Makeover video series. Laura gives suggestions about how we can all make some intentional time for joy each day.

The Joy Workbook asks us:

“What would you do if you had an extra hour each week just for yourself?”

I had to laugh a little at this because at this stage of my life, I have so much (dare I say it… too much?) time for myself! I’m an empty-nester and retired from the corporate world and I’ve been isolating (for the most part) for months! I definitely have had more than my share of “me-time”!

I remember the days of being a busy working mother of three, though, and feeling like I never had enough time for myself.

It really is such a JOY to have complete control over my time, but now I’m recognizing that joy is usually much better when shared with someone else.

Tune in to listen to the podcast and let us know how you feel by chiming in on the Facebook Carpe Diem Connections Group page.

Red, Blue or Purple – The Election Brought Anxiety to All

Wow! This was a stressful week. And while, personally, I’m deeply relieved by the outcome, the results were much closer than I’d expected. My news feeds and social circle would have me believe that Biden would be an easy win..in fact, I had thought it would be a landslide. But the results open my eyes to the fact that half the nation feels differently than I do.

I have never felt so divided! This has been especially difficult for me because I like to speak up, debate, and hear all viewpoints… but in this political climate, it’s felt like liberals and conservatives have been at war.

I consider myself a centrist. Beyond wanting to hear and understand all viewpoints, I want us to be kind, caring, and understanding of one another.

In the new season of Carpe Diem Connections, I’m going to be following The Joy Makeover, and talking about Joy. For the first episode of Season 2 of Carpe Diem Connections, my co-host, Becky Burns and I, talk about the anxiety we all were feeling as we were waiting for the results of this close race.

The Joy Makeover Spinoffs – Season 2 of Carpe Diem Connections

Season 2: The Joy Spinoffs


I’m loving participating in the Joy Makeover and I bet you would, too! In Season 2 of Carpe Diem Connections we’ll be doing our own deep dive into finding Joy, starting with finding Joy in the election season! 


About 12 weeks ago I started a podcast, Carpe Diem Connections. I’d procrastinated because I knew nothing about podcasting and was worried that I’d be embarrassed by how amateurish it might sound.

However, with any kind of new hobby, if you go into it realizing that you have a lot to learn, and not having high expectations, you find the learning process and the improvement is usually fun!

When I’d gotten laid off in 2009, a suggestion at a lead’s group was to host a blog and interview people who I admired.  This turned out to be awesome advice and it was how I ultimately got a job as a Site Editor at TechTarget and was able to network with a lot of my industry’s thought-leaders. Ultimately, I ended up with a successful consulting career and a wonderful network of mentors, friends, and colleagues in the world of Agile Leadership and Quality Assurance.

Chapter 3 of Life

Now, I’d like to do something similar in the field of Positive Psychology, particularly as I’m entering a new stage of life.  I’m hesitant to call it “Retirement” or “The 60’s”..   Maybe “Chapter 3”? 

“Chapter 1” was childhood and college, “Chapter 2” was career and raising children. Now, in “Chapter 3,” I’m a 60-year-old empty-nester, grateful for the opportunity to discover and experiment with what it means to live life fully. 

I left my full-time contract at USAA in November, 2018, shortly after getting some bad news about degenerative back conditions. After a review of my finances and lifestyle, I came to the conclusion that, thanks to my ultra-frugal ways (and paying house-mates), I could afford to “retire.”  (I wasn’t sure I really wanted to retire since I loved my job but..  I also wanted more time to travel, visit friends, and be as active as possible while I still felt healthy, energetic, and pain-free.

I had an awesome 60-weeks-until-60 set of celebrations, full of traveling, adventure, and new experiences. My kids and family surprised and honored me on my 60th birthday, Feb.26, 2020, by gifting me with “Carpe Diem Day,” officially proclaimed in the National Archive of Days! 

Carpe Diem Connections – Season 1 – Interviews with Happiness and Connection Experts

As the proud recipient of Carpe Diem Day, I promptly bought CarpeDiemDay.com and have experimented with social media and activities related to”seizing the day.”  I also started a Carpe Diem Connections Facebook GroupCarpe Diem – Single Snowbirds Facebook Group– and, again, 12 weeks ago, the new podcast.

During this past 12 weeks, I used the same strategy I’d used in 2009…  I looked for guests who I admired and were living life fully.  Most were coaches or somehow involved in the field of Positive Psychology. I’m very excited and grateful to those who I met and interviewed! It’s been enlightening to hear their thoughts on what it means to them to live life fully and foster deep meaningful connections, particularly in the midst of the pandemic.

Carpe Diem Connections – Season 2 – The Joy Makeover Spinoffs

On Tuesday (Election Day!) I flew back to Sarasota, Florida, for “Snowbird Season.” I’m so lucky to be staying, once again, with wise and witty Becky Burns!  It seemed the perfect time to also start a new season on my podcast, hopefully, with continued learning and improving over Season 1.

Becky has agreed to be my co-host as we talk about Finding Joy.  I’ve become enamored with Ingrid Fetell Lee and her recent Joy Makeover workshop. She offers a workbook and a very interesting set of interviews, digging deeper with topics about things such as how our joy is affected with 11 different topics starting with time, money, and relationships.

Becky and I are going to do our own deep dive into these topics and add a few more that are particularly relevant for the times or for us.  For example, this week, we’ll talk about Joy and Politics since the election is causing so much anxiety for so many people.  As I write this, the vote is still undecided. I find it interesting that the uncertainty is causing so much anxiety, both with Covid and the election..  Uncertainty and its affect on Joy might also be part of that first podcast of the season.

Getting Feedback

In order to learn and improve, we need feedback! One of the few things I don’t like about podcasting, is that it’s difficult to get feedback.  We base results on how many people listen or subscribe, so, of course, it’s helpful to see those numbers go up.  However, what I really want is listener comments and feedback!!

I know that many of us listen to our podcasts when we’re out and about, so it’s not a very convenient medium for giving feedback.  

However, I would appreciate any feedback you’d like to send my way by email: yvette.francino@gmail.com,  by using the “message” button from the podcast Website, or by commenting or IM’ing me on Facebook.

Rick Davis talks about, “The Furnace of Leadership Development”

Integrity is key to strong leadership!

Rick Davis talks about the importance of integrity in the first chapter of his book, The Furnace of Leadership Development.

Rick is the latest guest on my podcast, Carpe Diem Connections. I feel lucky to have met him at a Global Happiness Summit that we both attended recently.

Rick Davis is a retired battalion chief from the Loveland Fire Rescue Authority (LFRA) in Colorado. He still is finding ways to serve and contribute his skills and in fact, is quite passionate about giving back to society.

At about 17:24 into the YouTube video, you hear Rick say: “I don’t want the typical western idea of retirement. You go off and hunt, fish, go off to the ball games. NO! I have a duty to give back!” His message to retirees: “Go out and look for someone you can help.

As someone who is also in a transitional semi-retired time of life, I agree that helping and giving back is a big part of finding happiness and purpose in life. I was talking to a friend recently feeling a little purposeless now that my kids are grown and I’m no longer working in a traditional type of job.

He was surprised I felt this way and reminded me that even talking about living life fully (which I admit, I do quite a bit!) was bettering the world. Even smiling at someone can start a chain of positivity! I really hadn’t thought much about that, but it did motivate me to carry on with my Carpe Diem efforts!

How about you? What are ways you can give back?