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Oh, Saint Valentine

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For this particular post I was just looking up images of “love” on a tumblr that I enjoy incorporating into my blog. I searched pages and pages, and while i found wonderful and beautiful pictures of love, none seemed just right. After all, today is a day to celebrate the one most important thing we have in life: l.o.v.e. Real, honest-to-God, and true love. No wonder I couldn’t find it on a tumblr— I was looking in the wrong place! If i want “real love,” I need to find real people in real life situation. People I know, people.I.love. People that understand it won’t always be easy and that sometimes things get confusing. But people that also understand, it is all worth it.

Let’s take a moment and be honest if we’re already chatting about “true love.” Today , it doesn’t matter if you are in a relationship or not. Anyone and everyone can celebrate the oh-so-frequently-despised Valentine’s Day. We all have experienced some sort of love (I genuinely hope so). Everyone deserves to know what love is. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter if your love is a love for a friend or a love for a parent or love for anyone else… it’s all considered love. That is what I love about love! They’re are sooo many different kinds of love in the world. I think we can all agree that the most important love we should have is love for our self. I am not going to rant and rave about the things I love about myself because well, that’s slightly egotistical and who wants to read about that? I certainly don’t want to write about it. However, i do think it needs to be recognized. Without question, we are our biggest critics and I think it is a valuable quality to be able to step back from mirror, look at the big picture, and realize, “everything is okay and i am happy.” Haven’t you ever realized that when you feel good about yourself or you get a compliment from a stranger or you’re involved in some random act of kindness… you just feel happy!? It’s the universe’s way of patting you on the back to let you know,  you can do it.

My guy and I aren’t for celebrating big but an exchange of cards is a must. I may or may not have hinted at flowers to accompany the card so hopefully he got the hint. He hasn’t seemed to fail me yet. I feel so blessed to have such an amazing man in my life. However, if we are going on this whole “let’s be honest” rampage, I have to admit, my dad will always be my first and favorite valentine. Is that dumb? I am a twenty-something daddy’s girl. Nope, I don’t think so. My dad is my most favorite man in the world and will always be my first love, I suppose he deserves some credit. I love you, Dad. Happy Valentine’s Day!

May your day be filled with love, chocolate and wine. All things you can gift yourself… or others :)

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All my love,

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 on Thursday

Lately I’ve been reading a book about a blogger who focuses primarily on living a healthy life. This includes nutrition, exercise, and the basic need-to-know things going on in one’s life. I bought this book on Monday and I am already almost done.  In college I was never a big reader. I would pick up a book every once in awhile (definitely not school-related) and read it cover-to-cover in a short amount of time. Why is it that when I am curious or interested in a book I can read it in days but other topics it takes weeks? With my current book, Carrots ‘N” Cake, I dove right in and never looked back.

For me, nutrition and health have always been a big part of my life. From a young age I was playing every sport possible. You name it, I attempted it at one point or another. With two older brothers, I wanted to do everything that they did. They played soccer, so did i. They played lacrosse, so did i. Thank goodness they never played football. In addition, my dad is an avid runner and has been for years. He is the best shape of his life, and without a doubt, in better shape than me. Needless to say, exercise has been instilled in my mind since day one.

However, when it came to my early years of college, exercise and nutrition were put on the back burner in return for beer and late night Whataburger. They became two things that I rarely focused on. It was a difficult time for me because I wasn’t happiest with myself but I figured that this was college and it happened to the best of us. I think this was also a difficult time because I had no idea what I wanted out of life. Where do I want to go after college? Who do I want to become? What will I be happy doing? These were questions I was constantly struggling with on a day-to-day basis. Coming to Texas for college was an easy decision for me. I jumped on a plane with 11 boxes already shipped and I was off. So why are all of these big questions always looming over my head and remaining unanswered?

By now, a few of these questions have been answered seeing as I am happily living in Dallas post-college. But i still ask myself these questions. The difference between now and few years ago is that it is no longer an internal battle with myself to find the answers. I still am clueless as to what I want to do with my life long-term but this blog has actually helped to clarify things I have a strong passion for rather than a simple interest. I think life has a funny way of figuring itself out like that. You keep asking yourself these questions and praying for certain things to happen or to be guided in the right direction. But before you know it, your questions have been answered and everything is on the right track. At that point, you look back and wonder how everything fell into place.

The picture above says… “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to become” and it’s true on all fronts. The lines are still blurry as to what my future will entail and where I will go from here but I suppose such is life. I will have to rely on the fact that if I work hard, dedicate myself, remain loyal to loved ones and just have faith then everything has the opportunity to work itself out. For now I might at well sit back and enjoy the ride while I can…

Happy Thursday!!

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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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