During the pandemic, I thought we needed to add a little happiness to our lives. That’s why I created the Happy Moments Instagram Live series. No matter the topic – decluttering, writing, cooking, and many more – the Happy Moments guests will inspire us to live better and to appreciate the happy moments. Click below to watch. It’s like listening to a podcast, but you get to see us on your screen.
Happy Moments IGTV Episodes
Happy endings with Katherine Center, bestselling author of 8 novels, including WHAT YOU WISH FOR, THINGS YOU SAVE IN A FIRE, HOW TO WALK AWAY, and THE LOST HUSBAND. Katherine Center offers invaluable advice for new writers. If you’re looking for happiness tips, Katherine Center has those, too. Novels that make you feel like you’re stuffing your face into a chocolate cake? Korean TV shows that will help you leave your troubles behind? Katherine Center knows happiness.
Thank you to everyone who tuned into Happy Moments during the pandemic and to all the inspiring guests. You made a dark time much brighter and for that I will always be grateful! Keep collecting those Happy Moments.
Boarding school and decluttering with award-winning author and essayist, Jeanne Blasberg. Jeanne discusses her book, THE NINE, and boarding school secret societies. We talk about Jeanne’s essay, “The Life-Changing Magic of Letting Go”, in the Zibby Owens book MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO: A Quarantine Anthology. Jeanne is currently decluttering her home for an upcoming move. Ali discovers Jeanne has a little Ali on her shoulder whispering, “Get rid of it”.
Writing and parenting tips from New York Times bestselling author, KJ Dell’Antonia. KJ is the author of the instant New York Times bestseller The Chicken Sisters, a Reese Witherspoon book club pick, and of How to Be a Happier Parent (Raising a Family, Having a Life and Loving (Almost) Every Minute. She is the former editor of the New York Times’ Motherlode blog, the co-host of the #AmWriting podcast, a passionate bookstagrammer (@kjda). KJ offers invaluable advice on the writing process and shares tips on how to be a happier parent as we transition into our new normal after the pandemic.
Happy Moments IGTV episodes
Writing, podcasting, and haunted houses with Mandy Jackson-Beverly. Mandy-Jackson Beverly is the author of the vampire thriller series, THE CREATIVE SERIES, and host of THE BOOKSHOP PODCAST, which highlights independent bookstores. Mandy offers wonderful advice about connecting art and writing, and using the power of observation to improve our writing skills.
Move for Hunger with Adam Lowy. Wearing my favorite sweatshirt to hear about the incredible work that Adam Lowy and Move for Hunger are doing to fight hunger. How you can help:
❤️ Find a mover through the Move for Hunger website. At no cost to you, the movers will take your unwanted food to your local food bank.
❤️ If you are making a DIY move, ask your apartment complex about Move for Hunger and they’ll pick up your food for you.
❤️ Host a food drive. Check the Move for Hunger website for creative food drive ideas or use Move for Hunger for your annual food drive at work or school.
❤️ Start a fundraiser. Whether it’s a lemonade stand or a large campaign, help Move for Hunger’s mission with a financial donation.
❤️ Spread the word. Food insecurity affects so many of us. During the pandemic, it has become even harder for our communities. Please help by increasing awareness about food insecurity.
Every time I speak with Adam, I am inspired by what a difference one person can make. Our actions impact the world around us. Let’s help one another.
DOWNSIZING YOUR HOME AND YOUR BOOKSTORE (!). BrocheAroe Fabian is the owner of River Dog Book Co., a locationally-independent, independent bookstore focused on global, diverse, inclusive, and representative books. BrocheAroe’s enthusiasm and optimism will make anyone feel better about their upcoming move. We talk about what it’s like to move cross-country during a pandemic, what it’s like to move with dogs, and how to downsize your home and your bookstore.
FAMILY GUY with Alex Carter. Alex Carter, Co-Executive Producer of Family Guy, shares insights into what it’s like to work in the writing room and how to become a TV writer (whether you live in LA or not). For anyone who has ever wanted to be a Hollywood writer, you’ll want to check out this Happy Moments episode.
ALL IS NOT LOST with Shannon Kenny Carbonell. Shannon Kenny Carbonell shares her journey from Australia to Los Angeles, as she pursues her Hollywood career. After many years in the industry as an actress, Shannon makes the decision to focus on full-time motherhood. ALL IS NOT LOST is about her family’s year in Hawaii as Shannon’s husband, Nestor Carbonell, works on the TV show LOST. Shannon herself feels lost as she struggles with her loss of identity. Shannon offers invaluable advice for any moms who are going through that struggle right now.
DOWNSIZING with Christine Kraft, author of Unpacked: An Old Soul’s Guide to Relocation. Christine Kraft shares insight into what it’s like to be an “accompanying spouse” when you move and how to make friends at 50. We talk about building a community and how important these relationships are during life’s challenging moments.
MINIMALIST MOMS with Diane Boden, author of Minimalist Moms: Living and Parenting with Simplicity and host of the Minimalist Moms Podcast. Diane shares her journey to becoming a minimalist. We talk about how to parent with simplicity and how to curb the influx of toys with the “Rule of Four.”
GRAMMY Winner for Best Children’s Album, ALL THE LADIES, with Joanie Leeds. Joanie Leeds and I chat about ALL THE LADIES, which was created by an entirely female team on the creative and technical side. Joanie offers invaluable advice to musical artists (don’t give away your craft for free) and she shares how we can support our favorite musical artists.
New York Times Bestselling Author, Jennifer A. Nielsen, on Rescue. I loved having my daughter, Charlotte, as my first co-host for Happy Moments. Charlotte was thrilled to interview her FAVORITE author. Jennifer A. Nielsen is the author of The Ascendance series, The Traitor’s Game Series, the Mark of the Thief trilogy, and several historical thrillers. Jennifer shares tips on writing and coming up with character names. We talk about secret codes and why her golden retriever won’t fetch (even though it’s in his job title).
LITTLE PIECES OF ME with author Alison Hammer and founder of “Every Damn Day Writers” Facebook group. Alison’s debut book, YOU AND ME AND US, came out in April 2020, right when the world shut down. Her second novel, LITTLE PIECES OF ME, comes out on April 13, 2021. Alison offers great advice for authors with books coming out in this virtual environment. It’s all about finding the silver lining.
MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO with Zibby Owens, Creator and Host of the award-winning podcast, Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books and author of Moms Don’t Have Time To: A Quarantine Anthology. Zibby’s book – true to Zibby – is about connecting readers and authors, especially during this difficult time. The anthology, written by 60+ of your favorite authors, reminds us that we’re all in this together. All proceeds from Zibby’s book go to the Susan Felice Owens Program for COVID-19 Vaccine Research at Mount Sinai Health Systems.
THE KINDEST LIE with author Nancy Johnson. Selected by Oprah Magazine, Book of the Month Club, Amazon, Real Simple, and many more as THE book to read right now. The Kindest Lie is about racial and class inequality and the lives we tell ourselves and others. Nancy Johnson and I delve into these important topics while also talking about family, friendships, and sacrifice.
THE DAUGHTERS OF YALTA with Catherine Grace Katz. Writer and historian, Catherine Grace Katz, describes the process of writing her first book. The Daughters of Yalta was chosen as “Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2020”, “The Telegraph Best History Books of 2020”, and “People Magazine Best New Books.” Catherine gives great advice for both fiction and non-fiction writers.
HUMBLE DESIGN – Helping people exiting homelessness. Julie Dickinson, Director of Humble Design Chicago, shares joyful stories about families who have settled into their new homes after transitioning from homelessness. Hear stories of hope and ways we can help.
GRATITUDE JOURNALING AND SELF-PUBLISHING with Melanie Hooyenga, award-winning YA author and creator of the Book of Good Journal. Discover the ins and outs of the independent publishing process. Practice gratitude by writing down 3 reasons you are grateful. Melanie’s Book of Good journals can help you get into the daily habit of being thankful for your own joys and the joys of others.
HOME ORGANIZATION TIPS with Laurie Palau, author of Hot Mess: A Practical Guide to Getting Organized and host of the popular weekly podcast, This ORGANIZED Life. Does the idea of decluttering stress you out or you don’t know where to start? Laurie Palau explains why some of us may feel more anxious about the decluttering process and how we can overcome organizing challenges.
GET FIT, FEEL AMAZING, ENJOY LIFE. Missy Vacala is the Founder of Missy V. Fitness and Health Coaching. Although Happy Moments is usually a 15-minute show, Missy & I chatted for 45 minutes because I couldn’t help myself from learning more. If you want to skip to certain sections of the interview, it’s divided into 3 parts. How to improve our mood (get up earlier than the rest of your household), our food (add more greens, and our groove (do what you love to keep you moving).
“WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD” with Tim Joyce from The Old Town School of Folk Music. Tim and I chat about music and community. Then, Tim helps us celebrate the end of 2020 with a beautiful rendition of “What a Wonderful World.”
TOP HOLIDAY BOOK PICS from Stephanie Hochschild, owner of The Book Stall. Join us on a tour of The Book Stall, as we see behind-the-scenes of a bookstore during a pandemic. Stephanie shares her top book recommendations for 2020.
TOMATO SOUP RECIPE with Eat Purely chefs. Sarah & Brent Lee, the culinary masterminds behind Eat Purely, share this easy, all-natural tomato soup recipe. Discover their favorite cookbooks – perfect gift ideas for the holidays. Eat Purely is a Chicago-based meal delivery service. They use fresh, locally-sourced ingredients for all their meals.
HOME DESIGN TIPS to maximize your health and happiness with Jamie Gold, author of WELLNESS BY DESIGN: A Room-by-Room Guide to Optimizing Your Home for Health, Fitness, and Happiness. Discover the most overlooked space in your home and how to improve it. Learn ways to make cooking over the holidays more enjoyable by making a few, simple changes to your space.
FROM ACTOR TO WRITER TO DIRECTOR with Julio Vincent Gambuto, director of TEAM MARCO. Julie shares his journey and we celebrate his first feature film that debuts on Nov. 20. TEAM MARCO is the story of a boy who lives on his tablet until his grandfather shows him there’s more to life than what’s on a screen. This is the family-friendly moving we are all craving right now.
SELF-MASSAGE TECHNIQUES with Rachel Beider, author of PRESS HERE! MASSAGE FOR BEGINNERS and the CEO of PRESS Modern Massage Group. Rachel walks us through self-massage techniques to help us release our stress and fight those screen-induced headaches. She also offers tips on how to create ergonomic home work spaces.
FINDING YOUR PASSION with Lisa Barr, award-winning author of THE UNBREAKABLES and the historical thriller FUGITIVE COLORS. Lisa served as an editor for The Jerusalem Post, managing editor of Today’s Chicago Woman, managing editor of Moment magazine, and an editor/reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. She is also the creator of the popular parenting blog GIRLilla Warfare and has been featured on Good Morning America and TODAY for her work as an author/journalist/blogger.
WRITING STRATEGIES with Rachel Barenbaum, author of A BEND IN THE STARS. Set in 1914 Russia, Rachel’s book is a story of a scientist racing Einstein to prove relativity. It is also a beautiful love story named a New York Times Reading Selection and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection. Join us as we talk Einstein, writing with the help of Excel spreadsheets, and starting a writer’s band. Also, celebrate debut authors with Rachel on THE DEBUT SPOTLIGHT.
DECLUTTERING YOUR MIND with Mike Byster, known as a human calculator with “one of the fastest mathematical brains in the world.” Mike will teach us how to declutter our minds from the things that don’t matter, and how to exercise our brain muscles. Plus, he’ll give us tips on how to help our kids with math. If you want Mike to Zoom into your kid’s classroom, contact him at Mike Byster and mention “Happy Moments”.
ORGANIZING YOUR LIFE with Autumn Nyby, Founder of Space for Living Organizing and Host of the A to B Podcast. We talk about prioritizing tasks, setting time limits, and creating an organized home. Autumn provides down-to-earth, budget-friendly, and helpful organizing tips.
WRITING AND PUBLISHING TIPS with Summer Rachel Short. I loved talking with Summer about her debut middle grade book, The Mutant Mushroom Takeover. We chat about Pitch Wars, launching a book during a pandemic, and entertaining fungus documentaries. Who knew?
BAKING AND HEALTHY LIVING TIPS from Leah Bostrom, Founder of Chia Lean Clean Treats. Chia Leah shows us how to bake her delicious and nutritious autumn pumpkin egg muffins. Perfect for fall.