A Critique: Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin – Yawn

I was less than impressed with Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have ever picked it up if it hadn’t been lent to me by a neighbour. Alas, I finish what I start.

Rubin describes herself as a non-fiction writer. True, but her writing leads the reader to believe she’s aiming more for the self-help style. Rubin herself denies this genre in the book though. If it weren’t for her precise mention of this, I would have remained convinced that Happier at Home was indeed a rough attempt at the self-help genre.

For me, it was:

  • at best – entertaining for a chapter or two
  • at worst – infuriating and frustrating
  • most commonly – a complete yawn

Still, I’d rate it 2 stars, out of 5. Why? Because when you’re finally following one of Rubin’s thoughts, she yanks you out of your focus to tell you about yet another quote. She herself says near the end of the book that she’s obsessed with quotes. My thought: Captain Obvious, sweetheart. Every reader who has made it this far through your book KNOWS you’re obsessed with quotes. They’re a powerful tool when used appropriately, but overuse is distracting, detracts from your overarching goals, and becomes a complete nuisance.

I wanted to like this book. Truly.

At its heart, Happier at Home exemplifies Rubin’s respectable goal to study and experiment with increasing one’s happiness. She chooses a theme on which to focus for each of nine months. Themes include: possessions, marriage, parenthood, interior design, time, body, family, neighbourhood, and now.

The writing is brave, without a doubt. Rubin puts her heart on her sleeve and shares her trials, tribulations, and goals with the reader. I found her writing that centred on relationships and choosing how to think about happiness more worthwhile than the rest, but that comparison doesn’t mean much in this instance because the writing was so completely wishy-washy and self-centred.

I would absolutely not recommend this book. I rate it 2 stars, rather than 1, because Rubin does have a voice, personality and way with her words, but it honestly felt like a memoir of too-often whinging.

To learn more about Gretchen Rubin and her work, visit her website.


Rating: 2 of 5 stars

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A Path Toward Gratitude

We visited this lovely temple on New Year’s Day with some of our closest friends. It’s meant to be a path toward gratitude. It was a lovely walk ending with the ringing of one of the largest bells you’ve ever seen.

On another note, we started a new tradition this year. During the last few months, we wrote a few happy notes down each week. Basically, when something wonderful happened, or even something ordinary and kind, we would write down that memory and place it in a jar on our mantel. Then on New Year’s Eve, we unfolded each note and took turns reading them aloud and reflecting on the past year: where we’ve been, how far we’ve come and the happiness we’ve shared.

Those same notes are now in an envelope, marked with the year, on our book shelf as a token to the past and future. This too has been a path to gratitude.

Come With Me

This canvas, entitled “Come With Me”, started as an original photo I took in August of 2012. These stairs can be found in the Royal National Park of New South Wales, Australia. Beyond that description though, you’ll be hard pressed to find the locale. Those woods were the largest and deepest I’d ever entered.

I printed, enlarged and transferred that photo to this canvas. I love the worn and aged look. I climbed these stairs with one of my very best friends. The journey was an important one for us. This canvas is currently hanging in our home, waiting for a home that needs some inspiration.

It’s grey scale and therefore quite versatile.

Size — 11 x 14 inch (and half an inch deep)

From Camera to Canvas


Welcome to the newest art in my home!

Initially these five canvases were going to be a gift for my other half, but after seeing how they were coming out and knowing that any feasible holiday was still months away… I caved and surprised him. In no time, they were up in our living room. They fit in perfectly.

What you’re looking at are five small panel style canvases. Each canvas started as an original photo I took sometime in the last year. I wanted to make something very “us” and I definitely achieved that.

I love the aged, distressed look. The black, white and grey tones fit into the decor of our living room simply and easily.

From camera to canvas–from my home to yours! If you like what you see, by all means let me know. I’d love to make you something similar. I’ve been experimenting with transfers quite a bit lately and have a few more, larger, pieces in the works.