I'm not fashionable. Really. If you make me put together an outfit that involves more than yoga pants or a dress, I will use all my brain power and still come up with nothing.
One day last year, I was over it. I was tired of feeling overwhelmed in my own closet. So I threw my clothes out. Ok, not all of them, but more than half. Gone. And boy did it help me get a grip on my style.
One memorable day as Miss Ohio, I was meeting with some of my advisers for breakfast before an appearance. I thought I looked awesome. I was wearing this new faux snake skin printed dress. Very fashion forward. Vogue would be calling me any moment. Ummm... that dress never saw the outside of the hotel. I was told I should change.
Talk about quickly developing a thick skin for constructive criticism on how I looked. Truth is, that advisor was right.
When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you do good." - Ami Boley
Three years ago during the Winter Olympics, NBC ran a story on Alex Bilodeau, a Canadian freestyle skier. From the beginning of the piece, Alex talks about his brother, Frédéric.
My brother, he’s my ground. His everyday life brings me to reality.” Alex Bilodeau
Ten thousand tear drops later, I finished the clip. And then replayed it. Again and again. For the first time, someone put into words what I had been trying to say for years. Alex shared that same source of motivation that fires me every single day.
That source? Our siblings.
Frédéric's spirit and happiness in life reminded me of my oldest sister, Christina.
Last year, my co-worker asked if I would be willing to share Christina's story with our viewers. Before we shot a frame of video, I sent her Alex and Frédéric's story. (If you haven't seen my sister's story, here's the link.)
Everyone goes towards Frédéric and says how Frédéric inspired them. The story inspired them way more than the performance of the medal.” - Alex Bilodeau
For those of us who grew up with siblings with disabilities, we are a direct result of their influence on us. At our most influential ages, our brothers and sisters wove life's most important lessons straight into our DNA.
I believe in the end everything we accomplish becomes a tribute to them. Our stories start with their story.
Nothing causes me more discomfort than having the following conversation.
Why do I hope a conversation like this never comes up between you and me? A: After six years, I'm still in denial that I'm a vegetarian. And B: If I think it's strange I don't eat meat, then I just assume you do too.
Plus, this conversation always happens at the worst time. Like when you've made dinner for me and then suddenly learn I'm only going to eat the bread and pickle off the sandwich.
In fact, I keep this fact about me so quiet that my uncle only realized this fall that I don't eat meat. Meanwhile, we've eaten dozens of meals together over the last six years.
Well, that was all I needed to hear. I pushed my kid's basket of shrimp to the middle of the table and was done with popcorn shrimp for the rest of my life.
Secondly, I blame my Grandma Rose (whom I love dearly).
Grandma Rose grew up on a farm and saw how the sausage was made. Literally. Growing up, I ate dinner at my grandparents house almost every Wednesday from first grade until I graduated high school. Every meal included a story from grandma about how that chicken/turkey/bacon/etc came to sit on our plates. Every bloody detail.
Do I wish I ate meat? Sure do. My goodness, I'm from a small farming community in Ohio. My friends and their parents need you to eat meat for their livelihood.
But where you see a perfectly grilled steak, my mind pictures the raw insides of a cow. Where you see BBQ chicken wings, I see the chickens on my grandma's farm frantically running around after losing their heads.
Ok, good. We've made it to the end of this post. Now maybe I will never have the dreaded "Yes, I Don't like Meat" conversation again. Ok, fine. The "Yes, I'm a Vegetarian" conversation.
As a traffic anchor in Washington D.C., I can vouch for all of the studies that rank our city as one of the worst traffic cities in the country. Even on a good morning, drivers creep along the Beltway.
And don't even get our Metro riders started. Two words: Safetrack Surges. Enough said.
I mean, take a look at my drive (below!). All of my fingers and toes can't count up how many important places I pass every day.
And if gratitude doesn't stop me from getting testy in traffic down the road (pun intended)...
I'll just remind myself at least it's not inauguration week - when it is easier to kayak across the Potomac River than find a bridge open for drivers.
Book of the Week: The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee
"Ellen, I love how you're always singing and so happy," our studio camera technician told me last week as we did our live cut-in for CBS This Morning.
While I'll take that compliment, it's not completely accurate. I'm not always happy. I definitely have bad days when I can't kick my own grumpiness. Come on! Life is messy and I'm a perfectionist - those two factors don't mix so well.
But I can see why my co-workers believe I'm harboring some secret to happiness because I admit - I'm a glass half full kind of gal. An eternal optimist who believes in happily ever afters.
And you know why? Because I choose to be happy.
You are as happy as you make up your mind to be." - Abraham Lincoln
So why would someone who seems genetically programed to be happy read a book about achieving additional happiness? Because I'm a perfectionist. Did you miss that part up above?
And here's the thing, reading The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee helped me understand that what makes me happy might not be what makes you happy.
But I'm not you. And what makes me happy might not make you happy.
Yes, some general practices apply like choosing happiness and being grateful for even the smallest joys in your life (i.e. blasting country music on your drive to work or eating a Kit-Kat in the middle of a newscast).
But you might not get the same thrill from organizing your bathroom cabinets that I do.
So find your own happiness. Don't settle for a mundane life. Figure out your happiness style and embrace it. (Here's a link to the author's happiness style assessment.)
You have passions, you have talents, and you have something to contribute to this world. We need your contributions. Don't let your discontentment with life today stop you from finding your happily ever after.
Hello, my name is Ellen Bryan.
You might call me that girl on TV in the morning.
Some people still call me Miss Ohio.
My mom calls me Ellen Marie.
But for as long as I can remember, my sisters have called me Elle. Just Elle.
So I've learned to cherish the fact that only two of the most important people in my life call me Elle. And they both know me at my core.
They know I don't just sing in the shower but all. day. long.
They know I consider sugar a primary food group.
They know I wish I could wear a baseball cap all day instead of doing my hair.
They know I prefer to spend Friday nights on the couch with a biography.
They know I cry when I'm happy.