Becoming Happier or #YouDoYou

Happier. Happy. These are words that are injected all the time into our vocab as Americans. Are you happy? What makes you happy? How can I be as happy as possible?airplaneoxygenmasks-1161

I was almost ready to throw this concept out the window. Not that I thought I couldn’t find it, true happiness, but as a society we are far too busy defining what it is. Instead, I began adopting a philosophy first taught to me by my friend. #YouDoYou. The hashtag is undoubtedly elemental to the expression.

#YouDoYou is a way of life. You choose your own path, pick your own toppings for your pizza, and take care of yourself before helping others, just like they tell you on the airplane. And, by taking care of yourself first, you can take care of others.

The friend that imparted this philosophy on me, we’ll call her Birdie, is one of those amazing, radiant people that makes you ask the question: “How does she do it?” Of course, Birdie has her own struggles too, but she always seems to be able to find the positive in every situation.

For a while, I longed to be that way. I thought I could train myself to be bubbly and outgoing and “on” all the time. But, it’s just not how I’m built. To find that positivity, I had to take a slightly different route. That’s where #YouDoYou comes in. I think I had been striving towards this way of life before, I just didn’t quite have a name for it.

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of digging, returning again to the happiness trap. We all get trapped from time to time. We think that happiness is a golden goose that we will eventually find, when it’s actually a prize that’s individual to each and every one of us.

So what’s in the golden egg, what’s my secret? Like most of you, I’m still figuring it out. But, recently there have been a few things that have helped.

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1. New hobbies: A little over a year ago, I had an “a-ha” moment. I needed to take better care of my body. I dabbled in Pure Barre, running, eating “clean”, lifting weights, and trying to forget about the existence of carbs. A combination of which helped me lose 20 pounds. Along the way, I gained a new hobby and a sense of community. In real life (and through social media) I met people who have a goal like mine, to live a healthy life. I’m no Ironwoman, but I know that this hobby is here to stay and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

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2. Personal development: Some people hear this phrase and automatically get spooked or think “Lame!”. Personal development is so important. For me, I felt a need for personal development after graduating from graduate school. For the first 24 years of my life, I’d done nothing but school, school, school. When you are a kid, you’re constantly having new information thrown at you. There is no time to pause, let alone breathe. When the noise fades, there is a need to learn that is no longer automatically filled. I’ve started simple, trying to read a “soul” book or listen to an inspiring podcast every couple of months. Over the past year some of my favorites have been: Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Dave Ramsey Show, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (along with her podcast), AnnaMariaLocke.com and A Blog About Love.

3. Habits: This is a practice I’ve gotten better at from both my new healthy lifestyle and observing others (from famous authors to friends). Habits bring stability to our lives, while also benefiting us. Granted, they must be healthy habits. Some habits I’ve incorporated into my (adult) life so far: Hot baths when I’m feeling down, drinking water like a mad woman, *not* watching scary T.V. before bed (buh-bye Scandal!), getting away from screens (a work in progress), and walking my dogs. These are a good start. A big habit that I want to shape is spending an hour or two a day being an entrepreneur. Sometimes, I forget that small steps make big ones and  I become paralyzed. I don’t take any steps at all. Stay tuned for that work in progress.

These are just three of the things have made me “happy” lately. My happiness equation is not balanced, but I feel good knowing I’m getting there. So now, most hypocritically I ask, what makes you happy? Or rather, how are you doing you?

#YouDoYou,

Grace

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Pasta for Lazy People

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Ok, so here’s an update for you spaghetti-challenged Americans that are ruining the gene pool. This is how you make spaghetti.

1. You open the box.

2. You stick it into a pot of boiling water.

3. Yes, it may protrude more than slightly from the top of the pot.

4. But, it will eventually sink down and boil into delicious goodness within about 10 minutes.

If you need to buy this spaghetti that “changes things forever,” well, I can’t help you.

The Dogalog

Just a few recent pics of my catalog-worthy pooches. They’re only slightly cuter than that drawing of turkey giblets that’s been dominating the top of the fold for far too many days.

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Santa’s watching and so is Kelly.
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Sam and her emo glitter tear.
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The best way to sleep.
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And on Wednesdays, we wear pink.

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Paint meh like wun of ur French girlz.
Paint meh like wun of ur French girlz.
My iPad, Ma!
My iPad, Ma!

That Time When I Decided to Make Turkey Soup

When I was younger, my Gami took all the innards of the turkey and produced a magical, wonderful turkey soup that we would have for days afterwards. This year, I thought I could put all the giblets in a pot and do the same thing.

Making Turkey Soup

 

I googled “Easy Turkey Soup”. I looked at the bowl of innards, googled some more, looked at the bowl of innards and threw them in the trash. Couldn’t handle it. My broth will be coming in a box for the time being.

Black Friday: An Investigative Report

“Take that money watch it burn, sink in the river the lessons I’ve learned.”

– One Republic Counting Stars

Today is Thanksgiving. And, chained to our retail jobs, the BF and I stayed in town. When he took off at 2:30 for work I began to wander around the house looking for entertainment. I ate a piece of pie first and then I ate a sandwich. I watched Jimmy Fallon and then half of Kimmel. Fallon is the funnier of the James’. Then, I began to get restless.

The BF is on the management team at the local Wally World so I decided it was high-time I experienced the madness. So, I channeled my pie-eating loneliness into something better, an investigative report (sounds fancy, right?).

I fed the dogs and headed out around 5:42 P.M. Gretta the Jetta and I found safe haven in the Home Depot parking lot, about two football fields away from the manse that is the local Walmart (Observation: No one says Super Walmart anymore because they are all “Super,” a.k.a. with groceries).

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Walmart in the distance.

Our first observation: CAMPERS. Yes, shoppers have moved on from the tent to the heated and semi-plumbed contraptions. I counted 5 (in view).

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One of the campers and some crafty soccer moms that saddled up beside it in their van to get a closer parking spot.

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Observation #2: Cops

Well, dear citizens, if you need a cop tonight you are out of luck.

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Eight here. More elsewhere.

Tired of seeing the parking lot? Me too. I headed inside and was given a map detailing where all the sales would be in the store. The most hilarious had to be the produce section turned toy store. At second five the clock strikes 6 to begin the first sale. Listen for the “Oh, boy!” Dying. 

The toy area was to be avoided as were the areas clogged from lines for the big ticket items like flat screens and video game consoles. I decided to do a loop to see if there were any smaller items worth waiting in the checkout line for (nope) and see what other people watching I could do.

Here are the crazy craft ladies… Turns out they were after bath towels and 700-thread count sheets.

IMG_1506Most items were a free for all, as you can see above. Giant pallets had been rolled out earlier and unceremoniously ripped open by the first customer that could squeeze past an employee at 6. Being a 24 hour Walmart, there was no line up or infamous rushing in of hot bodies.

Next it was time to check out the lines. Certain high demand items required a lime green wrist band, obtained from a Walmart-er wearing a yellow vest (god, bless them). The 32″ TV was a huge hit and people were getting very territorial and accusing each other of cutting like it was the first grade. Below we see John Doe getting his wristband taken in exchange for his TV. The smug man in black in the cop in charge of this line. The guy in orange is the Walmart employee who decided to go casual for the evening.

John Doe getting de-wristbanded and given a TV.
John Doe getting de-wristbanded and given a TV.

Then we have the view from the other side. Those specks are the people above and those are the TV’s waiting for their homes…

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The best part of the extravaganza had to be the prayer circles formed around items not going on sale until 8. There were employees there to make sure they weren’t taken. But, I definitely saw a few contraband items in carts.

This particular prayer circle was for the 50 dollar tablet.
This particular prayer circle was for the 50 dollar tablet.

“Make new friends, and keep the old, one is silver, and the other you meet at Walmart on Black Friday Thanksgiving.”

I’m not sure if the guy in the bottom right was laughing at me but I definitely got a few laughs as I was taking this picture, especially from people hugging TVs and tablets. Maybe they realized how silly they are? Maybe they hugged their tablet a little tighter?