The Sunny Set

Bye Bye Bucket List

You’ve heard of a Bucket List before. But here’s my problem with it: it’s a list of things to do before you die. But what about a list of things to achieve during your lifetime? That’s what a Sunny Set is for. Rather than focusing on the destination, a Sunny Set emphasizes the journey.
I wrote my first Sunny Set two years ago and I am constantly adding new goals to it. The list not only encourages you to set goals for yourself, it also inspires you to reach outside of your comfort zone. It gives you that initial burst of inspiration that you need to see the Great Wall of China or to go skydiving (the classic). It challenges you to not only identify your dreams but to go out and actually pursue them.
Why is such a Set so motivating? Because you write it down. It’s great to think about where you want to go and what you want to do, but when you actually take the time to write it down for yourself, it becomes your first step in a plan of action. It can be hard to admit to ourselves what our dreams are because we may see them as unfathomable or unrealistic. But writing down our goals is essential: we are allowing ourselves to believe in ourselves. It takes courage and faith to make our dreams a reality.
Furthermore, as time passes, and as your see more of the goals on your Sunny Set come to fruition, it is an extremely rewarding feeling. To know that you have set out to do something and have actually done it is immensely gratifying.
You won’t achieve every goal that you set out to do. What matters is that you try. When fear holds us back from achieving our dreams, we are withholding happiness from ourselves. We should constantly strive to learn, to challenge, and to prevail so that we can become stronger, smarter, and happier people. We owe it to ourselves. I think a key way to do this is to define what we want to do with our life and then attempt to do it. The details of success or failure don’t always matter, what matters is that we did it in the first place.
You may be wondering what you should write on your Sunny Set. The possibilities are endless but here are some of mine to help you get started:
1. Tra1vel everywhere in 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz. (A great book!)
2. Hatch and raise a chick. (Tried and failed twice but I’ll keep trying!)
3. Eat gelato in Italy.
4. Work for Disney.
5. Compete in a ballroom dance competition.
6. Meet Julie Andrews.
7. Climb Mount Whitney.
8. Hold a baby tiger.
9. Get my SCUBA degree.
10. Write my first book. (On the shelves this summer hopefully!)
There is no goal too big or too small—write down whatever your heart desires. And share your goals with your family and friends—it’s so much more fun to achieve your goals with the people you love.
Keep shining,
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook 
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

The Sunny Set: #253

I’ve got Bruin pride in my blood. Both my grandparents went to UCLA and I grew up hearing stories about the good ol’ days when my grandma studied in dress design (yes, that was a major back then) and my grandpa was in a fraternity that no longer exists on campus—Teke anyone? But even as the years go by, and now that I’m a Bruin, there are many lasting traditions that are still as strong as ever.
My grandma would get coffee in Kerckoff just like hundreds of students still do today. And even though she proudly claims that she never stepped foot in the library while she was a student, Powell was ringing its bell in the 1950’s just like it does now. And while I am a Chi Omega, my grandma lived right next door in the same house that belongs to Pi Phi. She showed me her yearbook from college and both of our houses look the same back then as they do now. All of these stories show that there is so much history and longevity to be had on college campuses. And that is why I am hoping to fulfill:
Sunny Set Goal #253: To be a UCLA Campus Tour Guide
I believe in leaving a legacy. My grandparents left a legacy here at UCLA and now I hope that I can help other potential students leave a legacy at this remarkable campus. I’m so happy to be a student at this university and I think it would be a privilege, and even a responsibility, to share that happiness with others by showing them this great school.
I realize that this goal is not completely in my hands but I have faith that everything happens for a reason. If it is meant to be then it will be. And if it is meant to be, then I will be so excited to share this amazing campus with anyone and everyone who wants to see it. Go Bruins!
Keep shining,
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Ho Hum…Staying Happy when Christmas is Over

They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year! But the most wonderful time of year is technically over so does that mean that the rest of the year is terrible? Of course not! But the day after Christmas can be a bit of a letdown after we’ve enjoyed a wonderful day with our family, feasting, and opening presents. But rather than miss our Christmas memories, let us be glad that we had them and may we carry them on through the New Year!
So here are some ways to keep that Christmas joy in your heart after the 25th:
1. Enjoy your gifts: You may not have Barbie dolls or Hot Wheels to play with, but it is fun to look at your gifts and put everything in its place. I actually make a little display and take a picture to remember all the wonderful things I received.
2. Write thank you notes: It’s as much of a Christmas tradition for me as opening the presents themselves. You may think it’s outdated or unnecessary, but there is no better way to make your family and friends feel like their gift to you was meaningful.
3. Approach the scale with caution: Believe me, from personal experience, it wasn’t a pretty picture.
4. Give yourself time: It’s okay to make the holiday season last a little longer. It can be a harsh shock to the system if you go on a crash diet and three hour gym session the day after Christmas. You’ll start dreading the holiday knowing what comes after it. Be easy on yourself.
5. Make future plans: Christmas shouldn’t be our only excuse to be with the people we love. This year we used part of Christmas to make plans for later in the year. Studies show that you are happier when you have something to look forward to—so Boulder, Colorado (to celebrate Grandma’s 80th birthday), here we come!
I hope you had a fantastic Christmas filled with holiday cheer and your favorite people!
Keep shining,
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook
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