Happiness

Happy New Year!

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2016 is here! Woo-hoo!

I (like many other people in the world) am awful at New Year’s resolutions, which is funny because I love lists and I love improving myself and my life. Maybe it’s because I write goals so often and make lists regularly — new year’s resolutions just start to feel like this “big deal” version of things I already do pretty consistently. And then I end up building them up so much that it only leads to disaster.

So here is my anti-resolution list: things I do regularly or have been meaning to do. It’s basically a compilation of all the goals I’ve set or started or planned to start throughout the year. Let’s not call them resolutions, though.

  1. Meditate daily
  2. Exercise at least three times a week (which is three times more than I currently do)
  3. Keep a work log
  4. Learn Italian
  5. Take a class for fun
  6. Pray often
  7. Consistently write in my five minute journal
  8. Say thank you every day
  9. Cook a slow cooker meal at least once per month
  10. Learn a new recipe every other week
  11. Always be reading a book
  12. Simplify the amount of stuff I have and buy
  13. Don’t complain
  14. Speak up
  15. Read every day
  16. Blog regularly
  17. Say I love you often
  18. Play ukulele every week
  19. Listen to podcasts daily
  20. Never leave dishes in the sink overnight
  21. Text my parents every day
  22. Say yes to family
  23. Keep in touch
  24. Volunteer
  25. Don’t be afraid of adventure

 

New Year’s Traditions

2015 flewwww by. And it was a good one.

I love the idea of a new year for a lot of reasons: I like the number one. I like fresh starts. I like new beginnings. I like reflecting. This has somehow become one of my favorite holidays, and I think it’s primarily because a few year-end traditions I’ve come up with. And no, they do not involve getting drunk and blacking out. Here are my favorite new year’s traditions that I’ve done for the past couple of years.

1. Eat at a Michelin rated restaurant.
This tradition started as an accident, but now I always look forward to it. A few years ago when I lived in Chicago, I saw an article for next year’s Michelin starred restaurants and spontaneously made a reservation at Blackbird. It was a couple of days before the new year started, and the boyfriend (now husband) and I had the most amazing meal. And so began an annual tradition. I love the thought of saving the best meal of the year for the very end. It’s just the perfect way to cap off another year because you can never go wrong with good food.

We went to Longman & Eagle last night so the tradition lives on!

2. Do laundry. All laundry.
One of many things in my life that I got from my mama. I always remember my mom frantically loading and unloading the washer and dryer in the days leading up to the new year (including new year’s eve, of course). Now that I’m out on my own, I’ve decided to follow in my mom’s footsteps and wash anything and everything that can be washed before the clock strikes midnight. Dryer noises are murmuring in the background as we speak. 2016 can’t start without fresh sheets.

3. Write a letter to myself.
This is my favorite tradition for the new year, maybe even out of all holiday traditions I’ve ever had. I started doing this awhile ago, but I’d have to some serious digging to figure out exactly when. Every year on December 31, I write a letter to myself. It can be about anything and everything, and often is. It’s a reflection about the year and who I am in that moment of time, and it’s probably the most honest I ever am with myself. Then I seal it in an envelope, not to be opened until January 1st of the following year (not the next day…). It is always a surprising, humbling, and inspiring experience for me to read those letters on the first day of each year. I’m excited to see what’s in store tomorrow as I read last year’s letter.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year, full of adventure and love and everything good in life.

 

21 Day Challenge: Phone Down

I’m almost embarrassed to share this, but it must be done. I’ve been using the Moment app to track my phone usage for awhile, but I’ve been ignoring it recently because well…

  
Oops.

The Moment app is such a simple but effective concept: it tracks your iPhone usage. I downloaded it earlier this year and noticed I was spending a ridiculous amount of time on my phone. Then I tucked that thought in the back of my mind and consciously forgot about it. Until today. Then I saw above. And thought… new challenge!

So begins Day 1 of my 21 Day Challenge: Phone Down. Less than an hour on my iPhone per day for 21 days. Can it be done?

Well, Day 1 is obviously a fail. See you tomorrow for Day 2.

The Brightside

Mondays are rough. Mondays after a long a weekend are extra rough. So here’s my bright side on this extra rough Cyber Monday:

Christmas decorations are up! Everywhere I go — my apartment, the park I drive past on my way to work, the office — I am surrounded by the holiday spirit. Can’t help but smile with all the good cheer! 

The REAL First Post


A few months ago I wrote this post about what I really wanted out of this blog and how much I wanted to stick with it. And while I still want all of those things — honesty, authenticity, reality — you can tell that the sticking part didn’t work out so well.

Fast forward to this past weekend when I sat myself down for the billionth time and really thought about my intentions and why it’s so important to me to become a consistent, if not serious, blogger. I knew I wanted to write and I knew I wanted to document my life, but big picture, what was I really looking for? I realized all roads lead to one path: I want to live a happy and fulfilling life.

This has been the basis of everything I’ve ever done, and while I’m sure almost everyone can say the same, it is also something I have thought about tirelessly and researched constantly. This is the purpose I was looking for, and the answer to the big (with a) “why” I am blogging: to share my own experience finding happiness (and hope that it helps others in return).

So…how am I going to do this? I decided I am going to focus on a few key things:

  1. Be – I want to be the best version of myself. I want to be present,  to be honest, to be real, to be me.
  2. Do – I want to do what I love and let it be that simple.
  3. Explore – I want to explore new ideas, new places, new interests, and anything else that I possibly can.

All of my posts from now on will fall into one, two, or all of these categories. This is a fresh start for me and I am really excited for what’s to come. So with that I say…

hello again.

Half Full Mentality

 
The other day, I caught up with some friends I haven’t seen in awhile and the inevitable question that seems to haunt our adult lives came up: “How’s work?” The responses were typical — “busy”, “sucks”, “same old” — until I heard myself saying aloud, “I like my job.” Whaaat? This was met by some laughter and disbelief, and I’ll admit, if you had asked me the same question just a few months ago, I wouldn’t have had that answer. But I realized nothing had really changed in my job, and it got me thinking: how did I get here?

The “here” I’m referring to is my current state — this state of content, and (most days) pure happiness. I am currently at a place where everything in life is just good and right, and even when it’s not, I’m able to help myself get to that place. It hasn’t been easy to get here, and I definitely still fall into a rut some days, but I think I’m here now, or at least, closer to “here” than I’ve ever been before.

I’m planning to write in more detail about the things that have changed my perspective on life, but here’s the “short” list in the meantime:

meditation | mindfulness | prayer | Blogilates | eating healthy | reading | staying organized | having a routine | Five Minute Journal | my 21 Day Early Bird Challenge | lists | Thrive by Arianna Huffington | family & friends | the Moment app | drinking water | sleep | really prioritizing | living in the present | nice weather | Happier podcast | anticipation | goals | The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo | blogs | decorating | self-care | … and much, much more.

Anyways, this is just a sign of all the fun to come! 

Wedding Wednesday: The First Step

So, you’re engaged. Congratulations!!! Now what? 

Some people set the date or start searching for their perfect dress or dream venue right away, but I think the very first step for me was to put everything into perspective and decide what’s important. The proposal was not a huge shock for me — we already had seven years of dating under our belt + months (okay, maybe even a year) of me dropping not-so-subtle hints that I was ready for marriage, so there wasn’t even an inkling of doubt that I wouldn’t say yes. But still, there was this “whoa” moment shortly after it happened. Like, whoa: This is really happening. This is not a drill.

After the excitement and celebration dies down, you get a moment to breathe and realize what saying “yes” really means. It means starting a whole new chapter in your life and making this commitment to one person for all eternity. It means changing “me” to “us”and “I” to “we”, and there seems to be substantial shift where you realize your life really isn’t just about you anymore. And even though you’ve said those things and felt that way before, they start to feel deeper, like they’re more real. There was a moment when all of these things hit me at once, and it was emotional, exciting, and honestly, a bit terrifying, but more than anything, it felt right.

I think it was that moment that set the tone for the rest of the wedding planning process. Once I took into account the “why” of the situation — why I’m getting married, why I want to spend my life with this man, why this is the right time — the “how” was the easy part. How are we going to start our lives together? It only made sense that the “how” would involve the two most important things to us: our faith and our families. Those are the things that matter the most to us in our everyday lives, and it should be no different on our wedding day. That has been the basis for every single wedding decision, and when planning doesn’t quite go the way I’ve envisioned, I always remind myself that those are the only two things that are really important. As long as we say our vows before God and our families, and I am married to my best friend at the end of the day, our wedding will be perfect.

A reminder

Hello, welcome to another lazy Sunday. I just wanted to share this quote I read the other day. I am someone who is prone to refreshing my Instagram feed to see my “likes” go up and feels that twinge of jealousy while scrolling through Facebook statuses. This helps put things into perspective. Be happy and grateful always 🙂

 

The original Instagram user that posted this is on there, but I found it from this article — a great read and something I definitely should try to remember more often.