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The Beginning…Again

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I’ve been “ignoring” my blog— it’s not really ignoring when I think about it daily— for about 1.5-2 weeks now. I wish i could say I had an excuse (does getting the flu count?) but regardless, I’ve been denying my blog the attention it deserves. Lately, I just haven’t been motivated to write but with 2013 now in full effect, I realized that it is time I make an educated decision about Tasteful {ness}. I am going to try and make a commitment of blogging 3-4 times a week. I want to be able to post every day but I just don’t think I have the time or the material right now. So here is to a brand new start in 2013. Full of good food, lots of fun, and a bunch of tasteful things in the future!! Thanks for sticking around :)

 

xx, MEB


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Tasteful Advice: The Happiness Project

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Has anyone read The Happiness Project? My best friend recommended that I read it because she knew it was something I would immediately dive into with full force. Clearly she is aware of my reading habits, as discussed in in last week’s post. Well, I started reading it on the way back from Atlanta and within one chapter it already had me thinking.

The Happiness Project is about a New Yorker who despite her fortunate life, wonderful husband, two beautiful daughters, and  a published writer amongst other things, she found herself to not be as happy as she thought she could be. There was potential for more. It wasn’t that she was unhappy, she’s just thought she could be more happy. She knew she had a amazing life but when she took a step back from everything she found herself not appreciating all the blessings in her life. The woman decides to set out on a journey to create a happiness project. A twelve-month-long project that is devoted to making her more happy. However, as much as this decision was made on a whim, after the fact there was much research. She had read a number of books from authors like Henry David Thoreau and biographies of Benjamin Franklin in addition to books on psychology and philosophy. She looked into several options and did extensive research. After all, everything important we know about happiness has already been discovered and documented by the great men that have come before us. She took a part of her newly developed project from a biography on Benjamin Franklin. His theory for happiness was to create a chart of twelve things that he could improve in his life that would make him happier. The key is to focus on each task every day. The author of “The Happiness Project,” Gretchen Rubin, decided that she would take the twelve aspects and apply them to each month in one year. Each month focuses on one aspect and then the next month adds another task that she felt needed attention. By the end of the year she will have accumulated twelve aspects that will provide her, hopefully, with a closer grasp on happiness.

Sounds like a good plan, right?! I mean who wouldn’t want to be happier. This whole theory really got me to thinking on the plane ride on Friday. I have found myself at a similar point in my life. It’s not a matter of being unhappy. I love my life and am so fortunate to live the life I lead. I am blessed beyond words. However, I feel that I could be even happier. I have so many things to be thankful for but at the same time i feel like i don’t appreciate them to their full capacity. Not to mention, i feel like my life is flying by and i haven’t taken the time to truly live it. I am twenty-two but somehow feel so young and so old all at the same time. Am I alone on this? Maybe you need to read the book to understand it?

I started to think about what my twelve things to focus on would be on over a year long happiness project. Yes, I’ve asked myself multiple questions about this. One major question being: can I even do it? Do I want to do it? I mean, who are we kidding. I am A.D.D. and go through phases all the time. Is this just another phase? What will my friends and family think? Will my boyfriend think I’m crazy for doing this? How will I define success- if I am happy at the end? Or if I am happier on daily basis? And the inevitable…what if it doesn’t work?

As I sat on the plane I thought about all the questions before enduring on a happiness project and I turned to my iPod for inspiration. I immediately knew what song to turn on repeat: “Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes. It’s a “happy place song” for me. Maybe because home is a such a happy place for me. Although, this got me to thinking, as well. Over the years my “home” has changed quite a bit. Up until five years ago home was Boston, MA. But now, whether my mother wants to accept this or not, my home is in Texas. When traveling, people ask me where I am from. Lately, I have found myself saying Texas. And not just with a casual reply, I am talking with such pride you wouldn’t’ believe. Now, to clarify… if people ask me if I am originally from Texas or where I grew up, I obviously say Massachusetts. I know this sounds weird but freshman year of college whenever I was asked where I was from, I replied, “Boston.” This was either followed by one of two things: 1. If in a bar, “oh you’re from Austin! Awesome, what high school did you go to?” Or 2. Boston, what the heck are you doing here? (As if people from other states weren’t allowed in Texas). Regardless, I said Boston and corrected every single person that ever thought I was from Austin. I was so incredibly proud to be from Boston. After all, I was the only person I knew from Boston at TCU. Not going to lie, I felt pretty freaking unique to say the least. Now, my home is in Texas and I couldn’t be more excited to say this is where I live. I am proud to be an official Texan now! I was just recently told by someone that I had a Texas accent. This made my day! How could it not? I finally belonged. For the last five years I have been in a place that I always seemed to fit into and now the feelings are mutual.

So what does this and my plane ride thought process have to do with my potential happiness project? Maybe nothing. But it has helped to clarify and remind me of a few things:

– Home is truly where the heart is
– You can in fact have more than one home
– My family will always be my number one priority
– Contrary to my initial thoughts, Texans do not go to school on horses
– Accidents happen and people make mistakes
– Don’t be afraid to fall in love with as many things as possible
– Be kind to everyone
– Don’t think about the “what ifs” as much
– Never lose your sense of faith
– Dogs are the best healers
– Money doesn’t buy happiness
– Don’t be afraid to fail
– You are the only one who can measure your personal success
– Let it go. Just let it go.
– Love conquers all.
– Always believe that the best is yet to come

With that being said, if I was to start a happiness project I think I know the twelve things I would focus on.

1. God- have faith and create a stronger relationship with God.
2. Family- always the number one priority- keep it that way
3. Love- work each day to make this a better relationship and more amazing than it already is. Learn new things about him and love him more each day
4. Friends- make an effort to spend more time with friends
5. Mindfulness- learn to be mindful of not only others but also, myself. One of the most important relationships is the one you have with yourself
6. Patience- a flaw that I know I need to work on. Be patient and kind. Apparently it’s a virtue…
7. Work- be happy where I work. It’s something I do every day. I deserve to like what I am doing
8. Contribution- give back to others
9. Financial organization- I want to be more aware of the money I’m spending and the money I’m saving. Being financially- savvy never hurt anyone
10. Self-educate- there is always more to be learned
11. Explore- see what the world has to offer. Explore new options, hobbies, interests, destinations, recipes and whatever else I want
12. Willingness- be willing to try new things. Be willing to fail. Be willing to be spontaneous. Be willing… To try.

So what do you all think? Am I crazy? Have any of you ever tried or completed a happiness project?! I’d love to hear your input!!

Have a happy Wednesday!!


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Tasteful Advice: Give Thanks

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I whole-heartedly believe that there is always something to be thankful for each and every day. Here are some staggering statistics:

  • The average monthly salary for someone living in Afghanistan is only $14 a month.
  • 37 million Americans live below the National poverty line. That’s 1 in every 8 Americans living in poverty.
  • 3.5% of U.S. households (that’s people within a home) experience hunger every day. That’s 9.6 million people each and every day.
  • An estimated 750,000 people in America experience homelessness and out of those people only 56 percent find shelter at night for sleeping while the other 44 percent end up sleeping on the streets.

Do you have a home and somewhere to eat dinner this holiday? Then i know a few things you can be grateful for right now. We often take for granted the things we are accustomed to. I was incredibly fortunate to grow up in a home where having dinner on the table was an assumed and reoccurring event and not something that we had to worry about. I am incredibly grateful and thankful of the life and amenities my parents have been able to provide for me. Now do not be confused, when I say amenities I am not referring to the materialistic things. Although, I am extremely appreciative of those, as well. I am referring to the experiences that we have been able to have as a family. Whether that be traveling or vacations or simply a night out for dinner to catch up. It is the time I get to spend with my family, wherever it may be, that I am grateful for today.

Giving Thanks:

– I am thankful to have parents who are amazing, humble and kind beyond words

– I am thankful to have both sets of my grandparents alive and well

– I am thankful to have two older brothers who will always call me the “baby” and let me know when I’m acting crazy

– I am thankful to have a wonderful man in my life that loves me unconditionally

– I am thankful to have a full-time job

– I am thankful to have a  roof over my head and a bed to sleep in

– I am thankful that I have wonderful friends who are selfless and hilarious all while 100% loyal

– I am thankful to have graduated from TCU and experienced the best four years of my life

– I am thankful to be happy.

The list of things I am thankful for is endless. In my eyes, I was blessed with much more than I deserve and a day does not go by that I am not grateful for those blessings. Don’t forget to give back this holiday season if you are able!! Search for soup kitchens or toy drives going on in your local area! It’s amazing the feelings that come over you when you know you’ve made a difference in someone else’s life.

Mom & Dad, in case I don’t say thank you enough, I want you to know how much I appreciate everything you do for me on a daily basis. Whether that is coming to visit me in Texas or giving me random but helpful advice. You are the most amazing parents and I think its clear that I would not be the person I am today without your constant guidance. Thank you for letting me move 1,871 miles (but who’s counting?) away to “try something new.” Thank you for always trusting me and always believing in me. I love you!

Have a great Wednesday! Remember, be thankful and grateful for the life you lead- it’s a good one!

xx, MEB


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Friday: Tasteful Advice

I am so happy it is Friday— ps. can we talk about how frightening it is that we are already in November?! This weekend is going to be filled with quality time with the boyfriend, which I am very much looking forward to, snuggling with the pup, good food, relaxation and TCU football; some of my favorite things in life. All of these make me a very happy girl :)

Hope you have a fantastic and happy weekend!

xx, MEB


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Happy (belated) Halloween!

| Pictures via Foodgawker |

I know Halloween was yesterday but in lieu of everything going on in the U.S., I decided to take a break. Today we will return to normal blogging.

This was probably one of my favorite holidays (aside from Christmas, of course). Pumpkins! Pumpkins! More Pumpkins! Now that I live in a big-girl-apartment my cooking has upgraded. Due to this recent upgrade, I have been wanting to experiment more in the kitchen. More specifically, with pumpkins! In weeks to come I think you’ll find that with the fall season finally arriving in Dallas I have found more reasons to bake with pumpkins/pumpkin flavoring. On another tasty note, Halloween gives me an excuse to buy candy for trick-or-treaters that will inevitably not come to my door. This always ends well for me because I have an abundance of candy left over…that happens to be all my favorite kinds. How convenient! On a side note: what did everyone dress up as last night? Please share your costume ideas!
Have a great Thursday!

xx, MEB


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Hurricane Sandy

As I’m sure most of you know Hurricane Sandy has been hitting the Northeast pretty hard these past couple of days. I’ll be taking a break from blogging today due to the fact that fashion, cooking,  Halloween costumes, and things of that nature don’t seem very sensible to be discussing when something so disastrous has occurred. With billions of dollars in damages being estimated, The Red Cross is going to need all the donations and help they can get. If you’re interested, you can donate online or  text REDCROSS to 90999. All friends and family in the Northeast: please stay safe!

Have a safe and great Wednesday!

xx, MEB


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Don’t Worry, Be Happy….But Really.

As I’ve gotten older it’s not uncommon to find myself worrying. A lot. It’s almost unhealthy. The worst part…. I worry about things that are out of my control. A worry at the top of my list more often than not– the future. Lately, I’ve been finding at myself at a crossroad of what I want to be doing and what I should be doing. In my early twenties I am supposed to be finding myself and becoming the woman I want to be in the future. Pardon my french, but how the hell am I supposed to figure that out? I mean, there is no road map or flashing arrow pointing me in the direction I am supposed to go. Are the decisions that I make today forming my future and I don’t even realize it? I am a firm believer in the fact that “everything happens for a reason.” I can honestly say that everything that has happened in my life, good, bad, and ugly, has made me stronger or smarter and has helped to evolve me into the person I am today. I know worrying isn’t going to help me solve any of the problems or questions I have. Yes, people may say “you worry because you care” which essentially is true but its also bigger than that sometimes. As stated before, I am in my twenties. I shouldn’t be worrying, I should be living! I have the rest of my life to worry; children, finances- not to say I should be frivolous now, and many other things thirty-something(+) people worry about.  Maybe I just need to take a step back and take a deep breath? Whatever is meant to be will find it’s way…right? I hope you’re nodding your head right now. So with whatever the future brings I can only hope that with it comes good times with friends and loved ones, a healthy family, and hopefully many pups. I mean, isn’t that what life is about- the people (& pets) we share it with?

Have a great worry-free Wednesday… unless you’re in that thirty-something(+) range ;)! Enjoy your day!

xx, Megan