Week Eleven of my #100HappyDays challenge was full of happy discoveries in the everyday stuff. (If you’re curious, here are Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8 , Week 9 and Week 10).
<<June 13, Fri – Introducing Wally to his new buddy Yoda>>
Can't believe it's already Week Ten of my #100HappyDays challenge! Writing this post every week really lets me appreciate these moments all over again. (If you’re curious, here are Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8 and Week 9).
Week Nine of my #100HappyDays challenge and going strong! This week was full of new discoveries and old comforts. (If you’re curious, here are Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7 and Week 8).
<<June 2, Mon – A plastic cup full of wine and the sunset at my sister's downtown LA loft>>
Here's Week Eight of my #100HappyDays challenge! This week, I indulged in some of my favorite comforts and saw inspiring design while out and about. (If you’re curious, here are Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6 and Week 7).
Almost halfway through the #100HappyDays challenge! This week I watched two very different, but both brilliantly skilled, musicians and got inspired to to get creative. (If you’re curious, here are Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4 and Week 5).
Time for week five of #100HappyDays – a challenge to find one thing that makes me happy each day for 100 days. This week was full of celebrations with loved ones and peaceful solitary moments. (If you’re curious, here are Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4).
<<May 3, Saturday – An afternoon of nerdy board games, wine and cheese>>
<<May 4, Sunday – Celebrating my dad's birthday with amazing food and family>>
<<April 23, Wednesday - Finding cute crafting supplies at the hardware store>>
<<April 24, Thursday - A trip to Ikea: blissfully empty and an unbelievably cheap lunch>>
<<April 25, Friday - Wood-fired pizza and a wicked jazz show>>
<<April 26, Saturday - Luminous clouds after the rain>>
<<April 27, Sunday - Playing like a kid again at Two-Bit Circus>>
<<April 28, Monday - Red Velvet cake for breakfast>>
Week three, or about 20% of the way through the 100 Happy Days Challenge! There was so much to choose from this week. Just putting this post together and remembering each day puts a smile on my face. (Check out Week 1 and Week 2!)
Time for week two of my 100 Happy Days challenge (read about the challenge and week one here). I have to admit, there were a couple days when I felt sluggish and uninspired, but writing down my happy thing was a positive way to end even those harder days. Which I guess is the point, so... onward! =)
I know meditating is good for me. I know it in my gut. And there are countless studies that show it does your brain good on a chemical, science-y level (one great article here). Unfortunately, all those studies also show that you have to practice meditation for it to do you all this good and I just never end up finding time in my day to do it. And that sounds ridiculous to me even as I type it. I can't find TEN MINUTES? Everything I do is so enormously important that I can't spare even a moment? No, let's just call that what it is - a flimsy excuse. The reality is that it takes 21 to 30 days for something to become a habit and we humans love instant gratification, not something that builds little by little.
So here's something I've been trying for the past few days. When I eat lunch, I eat lunch AND NOTHING ELSE. No TV, no internet browsing, no magazine reading. I just stare at my food and eat and think. And I really notice my food and how good it tastes. Ideas and connections pop into my head. I feel full faster. A lot of the time the same inane thoughts go spinning around and I sometimes feel flashes of impatience. But it's also the only moment of the day that I'm not multitasking - multiple browser windows, knitting while watching TV, cooking to music, eating dinner and chatting with my roommate. It's just me. And I'm starting to look forward to it. Here's hoping it sticks.
Have you heard of the 100 Happy Days challenge? It doesn't ask you to be happy all day every day for 100 days - that would be a real set up for failure. What it does ask you to do is make note, each day, of one thing that makes you happy. It sounds stupid and obvious until you read all the studies showing that it's not just good things that make you happy, it's noticing those positive things as much as you can. Gratitude for your life, whatever that life may be, makes you feel happier. So I'm trying it and sharing my results here, one week at a time.
<<April 4, Friday - Watching The Muppets movie for the first time - charming and funny.>>
What happy things will next week bring?
Over the years, I've been lucky enough to have access to good ingredients and time and loved ones to feed and, most importantly, Food Network. So I've gotten pretty good at sensing food, knowing how much salt and pepper are needed, what flavors go well together, how long to let things simmer - basically I can cook without a recipe. It's not always a success but, honestly, I don't remember the failures. They settle deep in the mind as lessons that eventually manifest as cooking intuition. Unless they're spectacular failures, in which case they become funny stories to tell at a party. Like the time I spawned a fearsome creature of the deep while trying to make caramels.
And then turned from my monstrosity to realize six bees had gotten in, drawn by the smell of cooking sugar. I am irrationally afraid of bees so six angry, confused ones zooming around my tiny apartment induced a minor panic attack. I immediately went to go hide in my bed then realized after ten minutes that no one was going to come save me. I lived alone and I had things to do and I couldn't hide forever. By then, the bees had congregated near a window and I was able to kill them pretty easily, one by one, with a rolled up magazine.
It was sad - honeybees clearly aren't houseflies, they don't expect to be smashed from behind and I could see them wiggling and touching each other, probably trying to figure out how to get themselves out of this dodgy situation. But I didn't know what else to do and I didn't want to get stung. I still feel slightly guilty about it...
All this to say, you should try it some time! Try cooking something you've made a few times before, glance at the recipe to remind yourself of the ingredients, then put the recipe away and see if you can cook without it. Add seasonings slowly, tasting as you go. The more you practice, the better you get. And eventually you get in a zone, where you're really in tune with your food and your gut and your senses instead of glancing at instructions every two minutes. You may come to enjoy cooking more, who knows?
This ABSOLUTELY does not work with baking, by the way, that's all about science and chemical reactions. I always meticulously measure and follow the rules with baking, which is probably why I don't enjoy it as much as I do cooking. Too bad I enjoy the results of baking so much...
I brought my knitting to my parents' house today, 30 minutes away from central Los Angeles, in the deep San Fernando Valley where there are lush, green backyards as far as the eye can see. Instead of the incessant chatter of TV, there were birds.. flitting about and chirping about whatever birdly business they were up to. There were actually butterflies, multiple butterflies, fluttering around and a lone dragonfly hovering shimmering still in the air. The sun beat upon me gently and insistently and thousands of leaves sighed and chattered as they brushed up against each other. Occasionally, the wind chimes would play their high, sweet notes as they danced. Above this all was the click and sweep of my knitting needles and my work grew steadily and it felt like I had been in this sunny snow globe for ages and then I looked at my watch - 6 minutes.
These four little words puzzle me. I realize that "Do What You Love" is not a choice that everyone has. Does my pursuit of a selfishly idealized life come at the expense of others somehow? Am I just being a spoiled American brat? My parents moved to a country where they knew no one and gave up their dreams to make sure I got an education and would never know poverty. And I quit my secure well-paying corporate law firm gig to "find myself"?
I'm still struggling with those questions. But I do know that, uncomfortable though it may be, I want to take a hard look at my life and myself. Because a happy me doing what I love has got to be better for the universe than a sad, depressed me. Or, more likely, the universe doesn't give a damn and in that case, my puny struggles are moot =)
So for now, I'll settle for this:
BTW: You can buy this little 5x7 original watercolor with hand-drawn calligraphy at my Etsy shop for just $10!