Happy Thanksgiving, friends! This was a quiet holiday for me today, as I spent my day at home, cuddling on my couch with some tea and a good book. I spent my day baking brownies, editing images and listening to podcasts that inspired me as I embark on my entrepreneurship journey. As for what I ate? An array of Indian dishes that I picked up from my local Indian restaurant in town.

Thanksgiving, to most Americans, is a day focused on family. While my family is very small (being only my mother 3,000 miles away in my hometown of San Diego, California), for me, Thanksgiving was always a day to contemplate, ruminate, and to connect with my higher spirit. Being a vegan, I don’t eat traditional Thanksgiving food, and for many years as a teenager, my mother and I would often eat Indian food together to celebrate. It’s a tradition I still keep to this day, even on those days when I am alone.

Thanksgiving is primarily a day to express gratitude and being thankful for what one has. Expressing gratitude is a ritual I practice every morning in my gratitude journal upon starting my day, so I thought I’d share some of the things I am grateful for particularly this year.

  1. Upon sitting down to reflect in my gratitude journal, the first thing that always comes to mind, the one things that calms me when faced with conflict or struggle, is my partner, Alex. My boyfriend is the best pal I’ve had in my 23 years of life. He’s my confidante, my biggest fan, my cheerleader, my team mate. He is always helpful, always handy and always a shoulder for me to cry on. What I would do if I didn’t have him during this period of my life, I don’t know. There is something so pure, so warm and so filled with light when you have a person alongside you that loves you and accepts you unconditionally. 2018 is going to be a miraculous year, and I am beyond lucky that timing has always worked out for us.
  2. The other item that always comes to mind is my health and immune system. I am forever counting my blessings on the luck that the two people that created me gave me very strong immune systems. I am able to use my two legs and arms and body and my quick mind, and that is something I never take for granted. Always aware of time and growing old, I am enjoying my youth while I have it.
  3. Living in quaint Old Town Alexandria allows me to bike everywhere. From my day jobs to the local post office, art gallery and countless restaurants, I am always thankful for my local Trader Joes a mere 5 minute bike ride from my home. I can never get enough of Trader Joes truffle mushroom ravioli (the one that comes in the yellow box).
  4. My travels this year were gold. Paris, California, Indonesia, China, Iceland, and Disney World…this was a year for my travel books, and it’s only going to go up in 2018. I am grateful to my travel rewards credit cards who make expensive airfare possible, my frugal-ness and budget conscious mind learned from my five years living in New York City. My Fidelity IRA Roth Retirement fund for always backing me up and keeping me calm. It’s never too early to start saving for short-term and long-term travel, friends.
  5. One thing that I just got into earlier this year was podcasts. I discovered the Minimalists last New Year’s Eve after watching their Netflix documentary and have spent this entire year learning from online pod casters and entrepreneurs. The free resources and education community online is massive, and I am so grateful to all the entrepreneurs, coaches and leaders who are sharing their knowledge.
  6. Besame Lipstick. Because when I’m feeling like crap in the morning and don’t put any makeup on, these vibrant vintage colors make me feel confident and ready to tackle on the world.
  7. My mouse, Mickey, and my foster friends. I’ve always felt so connected to animals, and being able to foster cats and dogs from the local Animal League shelter in my town brings me joy beyond words.
  8. Music, of course. It lifts my spirits and is the quickest way to bring me in a positive state of alignment. Whether I’m listening to music on my bike or dancing to music while getting dressed, it starts me on a high.
  9. I am grateful for the simple fact that everything is wide open ready for me to explore. My partner is preparing to take a job living around the world, and they are paying me to come with him. (!!!) It’s an incredible opportunity for us to kickstart our next decade of living around the world and chasing our chosen professions. Everything is wide open and within reach, and I thankful thankful thankful.



Friends, what if you took 60 seconds of your day, each and every day, to express gratitude? Not just once a year on Thanksgiving, but every morning when you arise. Imagine how your state of mind will affect the rest of your day. As I mentioned earlier, I spend 5 minutes every morning writing a short list of things I’m grateful for in my life. What would your list look like and how would it impact your day?

Have a wonderful day, today and everyday.

A Moment of Expressing Gratitude

November 24, 2017


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I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical moments through my lens and my pen. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I'm inspired to share the light around me. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

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Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.