Choosing Happiness

They say happiness is a choice but today I feel……..

Do you ever get down on yourself? Do you beat yourself up or ruminate over past mistakes or failures? I am generally a happy and positive person, however there was a time in my life when I struggled with mild depression after losing my job in my career and being in between jobs. It made me feel hopeless and insecure about my future. It also led to feelings of inadequacy in my relationships. I was angry with myself and I felt like a failure.

I saw a therapist, talked to my family and friends and read some online articles which helped a little. All I wanted was to find a way out of this funk I was in, to be at peace with myself and to learn how to let go of the past……


Aha! That’s when I realized that I’ve got to be the one to take control of my thoughts and feelings. I have to forgive and love myself – flaws, mistakes, failures and all. I was tired of feeling bad and constantly beating up on myself.

I stumbled upon a couple of books at called:

The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle and “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louisa Hay.

I downloaded the “The Power of Now” into my iPod and listened to it in the car on my commutes, on my lunch break, and during my runs or on a long bike ride. Sometimes I would repeat the same chapter over and over until I felt it sink in. I learned that a lot of the stress and unhappiness we feel is all created in our minds and we don’t have to give those thoughts any importance. And the same goes for any painful and unresolved past events or experiences. We can choose to let them go….(that was a hard concept for me as I realize that I have a hard time letting things go).

I also read the Louisa Hay book called, “You Can Heal Your Life.” It’s filled with inspiring and positive affirmations that help you learn to forgive others and most importantly, yourself. If you are struggling with loving and accepting yourself, flaws and all, I highly recommend this book. I read it over and over again anytime I need to refer to it for a problem I’m having with work or family or just my inner self.

Life isn’t always lemon drops, rainbows and puppies and kitties in baskets. It can also have its ups and downs and moments of light and dark; but to me, that’s what makes it so beautiful. I love this quote by Vivian Greene,  “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning to dance in the rain.

We can’t let other people or events or happenings determine our happiness. Life is full of trials and tribulations and frustrations and stress but you CANNOT let that get you down. You’ve got to snap yourself out of it!!

When I start to get upset or my mind starts to wander into a negative zone, I talk to my fiance or my Mom, I exercise, meditate or journal or write in my blog! It also helps to keep a list of all the things you are grateful for and remember it!  And if all else fails….take a nap. Sometimes our bodies and minds are just tired and we need to rest. And always keep in mind that “this too shall pass“.

Have you ever felt unhappy or unsatisfied with your life or your current situation? It’s pretty common to feel that way at some point in your life. Below are some great websites I have found that are very helpful with getting you out of your funk. Hope this helps!!

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/40-ways-to-let-go-and-feel-less-pain/
http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/04/05/keep-you-motivated-after-a-mistake/
http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/05/01/20-things-life-is-too-short-to-tolerate/

Good-Bye Coffee…for now

Dear Coffee,

You’ve been a faithful friend to me these past 15 years and we’ve had some pretty fun times together. You’ve gotten me through many mornings, evenings, car rides, shopping trips, hangovers, college exams, work days as well as long phone, back porch and kitchen table conversations. Through good times and bad times you’ve always been there for me and it’s been so nice knowing that I could always count on you to be by my side.

Oh coffee, how I’ve adored thee!

Which is why I am sorry to say, it’s time we part ways. Although you have been good to me and I have thoroughly enjoyed your company, it is time to say good-bye – or at least take a break. It makes me really sad to do this but you are just no longer good for me. At first I thought it was just me but now I realize that it’s you. We are just no longer agreeable anymore. I can feel it in my stomach, in my head and now my heart.

I’m sorry, coffee. I doubt I will ever replace you but I am going to have to try and find a way to move on. I know its going to be difficult but it’s for the best.

Who knows? Maybe one day, our paths will cross again? Until then…….adios old friend. It’s been fun.

Good-bye Coffee!!!

Green Monster Smoothie

It’s Sunday and it’s another rainy day. For the past few months, my Sundays have been spent getting together with friends to train for the upcoming Tropical Triathlon which is only five weeks away. However, mother nature had other plans for us this weekend so unfortunately we had to postpone our outdoor training. However, my friend Angela and I did the next best thing and went shopping for our triathlon gear instead 🙂 

Last night, Oscar and I went to a birthday dinner with some friends at Gol! The Taste of Brazil and stuffed ourselves with tender juicy cuts of meat, chicken and shrimp rodizio. We sampled everything from Picanha to churrascaria and just when you thought you had enough, the waiters would come by with bacon wrapped filet mignon….yes please!! We went home feeling stuffed!

Dinner with friends at Gol! A Taste of Brazil

I was still feeling pretty full when I woke up this morning but wanted to have something light that I could also take with me on our shopping trip so I made this delicious Green Monster Smoothie that I found on: http://www.iowagirleats.com. See recipe and nutrition info below.

Green Monster Smoothie

I thought it was pretty good and didn’t taste spinach-y at all. Instead it had a smooth, creamy, banana and peanut buttery taste that was very satisfying. It was the perfect breakfast to have after a heavy meal and contributed highly to my productive morning and afternoon. Thank you Iowa Girl Eats!!!

I am happy to say that Ange and I were able to find what we needed, made our purchases and started back home before the storm hit. We discussed other smoothie ideas in the car and she told me about some other recipes using greek yogurt that I will definitely be sharing with you in my upcoming blogs. Stay tuned….

 

 

Ingredients:

1 frozen sliced banana

1 Tablespoon peanut butter

1/2 cup of fat-free plain Greek yogurt

1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze (or any other kind of milk)

4 cups baby spinach (or more, or less)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Nutritional stats:

350 calories, 10g fiber, 21g protein

 

Rainy Saturday

I had a really hard time getting out of bed this morning. It was raining and there was a loud thunderstorm throughout the night that woke me up and kept me awake into the wee hours of the morning. I finally made it back to sleep but when it was time to wake up again, I wanted nothing more than to stay in bed and cuddle up with my babe.

However, no matter how many excuses I thought of in my mind, I knew I would feel like crap the whole day if I didn’t go to my Saturday morning spin class.  I’ve been going every Saturday for months and I feel great when I go. Its only for an hour and its a 5 minute walk from my apt. so I really have no excuse. And besides, the employee appreciation lunch and happy hour food I encountered yesterday wasn’t going to work off itself.

So I mustered up the energy to get out of bed, brushed my teeth, got dressed, put on my rain coat, grabbed my umbrella and made it to my work-out 🙂 When I got home, I showered immediately (since I am a sweaty beast after my work-outs) and my honey had a delicious smoothie waiting for me when I got out. Then we made ourselves a healthy and yummy breakfast.

Today’s Breakfast:
Dippy eggs, berries and toast with laughing cow light cheese:

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Now the question is, what am I going to do for the rest of my day? What are your favorite things to do on a rainy day?

Sleepless in WPB

Have you ever had one those nights where you just couldn’t fall asleep and then woke up super early feeling wide awake the next morning?  Those nights have occurred with me way too often and since last night was one of them, I was inspired to write this post.

Maybe it was pent up creative energy or maybe it was the margarita I had last night with dinner. I don’t know. But for some reason, last night had me feeling restless.

I knew that I needed to have a nutritious, well-balanced breakfast and some caffiene if I was going to make it through the day or at least until lunch time. So I made myself some coffee – of course and tried not to focus too much on the fact that this was going to be a loooooong day. Instead, I  focused on the fact that its Wednesday and that the weekend is halfway here. Yayyy!!
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Breakfast:
Coconut Oatmeal with peanut butter mmmm….

With the following ingrediants:

  • Quaker Steel Cut Oats (or instant)
  • 1 TBP of Peanut Butter
  • 1 TBP of honey
  • 1/2 cup of soy or almond milk
  • Sprinkles of sweetened coconut flakes

And now you we have a power breakfast.  A bowl of cooked steel-cut oatmeal is an excellent way to start any morning as it is full of protein and fiber. I like the steel cut oats because they are less processed and therefore have more nutrients than the regular instant rolled oats but there is nothing wrong  with using the instant kind either. I love oatmeal along with the added flavors of yummy nutty peanut butter, soy milk and coconut. Mmm….Now lets get this day started!! 🙂

For the rest of the day, I made sure to drink plenty of water. It kept me hydrated and also kept me active with all of my trips back and forth to the bathroom. I also took a short walk outside in the sun just to get a little boost. Then I had another power food for my mid-morning snack which was a hard-boiled egg. More protein for me…yayy!!

Lunch:
Healthy Choice soup – Thai Style Chicken with Brown Rice along with veggie crackers and a slice of light swiss cheese. I like the healthy choice soup because not only is it tasty but its also low sodium : )


For a snack, I had a fresh peach and then later on I split a Kit-Kat bar with a co-worker – GUILTY I know!!

Around 2pm it started to rain cats and dogs!! C’mon!!! 😦 It was making me very sleepy but I turned down the offer for an espresso (we have a machine at work) and powered through until 5pm. Woot woot! Now its time to go home and relax!! 🙂

Just to re-cap, here are my tips along with some additional techniques for staying sane and getting through work with less sleep:

  • Drink caffeine!
  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced breakfast and lunch
  • Get up and walk around
  • Try to go outside briefly to get some sun or sit by the window
  • Take a 20 minute power nap if you can
  • Be nice to your co-workers and try and take it easy on yourself!
  • Don’t overload yourself with caffeine and sugar. Otherwise you will crash later and might have trouble falling sleep again.

Question of the day:
Have you ever had a restless night that led to a crappy day at work that you want to share? If so, what are your tips?

Couples Night

Once a month, Oscar and I go to a couples get- together for some good home-cooked food, hilarious conversations, play some games  and have some fun. Each couple takes a turn hosting the dinner and each couple brings a dish from a country of origin.  We started couples dinners back in February and have even hosted a couple at our place.

I love couple’s night. Don’t get me wrong, I love our date nights too, but its also fun to hang out with our other couples who are also our really good friends. I like bonding with the girls and cutting up with the guys. We have hilarious conversations and share funny stories about each other. And of course, there’s the food…….

Below are some photos from our British couples night. All of the dishes shown below were homemade (except for the Spotted Dick)  and very tasty!

Left: Riders on Horse Back, Bubbles and Squeak, Center: Spotted Dick for dessert and Right: Toads in a Hole!

Here’s how it works:

Each couple brings a bottle of wine or beer and your favorite dish from that country of origin. Whoever is hosting the dinner can pick the county or theme.

Have each couple sign up for a dish so everyone knows who is bringing what and so that you have a couple of main dishes, a couple of appetizers, and a couple of desserts.

#1, bring dish, #2, bring booze or drinks, & #3, Get ready for some good times!Do you and your friends host couples dinners? Do you have any fun themes or ideas you would like to share? If so, please post cause I’m also looking for suggestions!!

Our 3rd Anniversary

On Sunday, August 5th, Oscar and I celebrated our 3rd year anniversary!!! 3 years of dating!!! Whooppeeee!!

The night before was spent celebrating my oldest and bestest friend Jaime and her now husband Scott’s wedding which was at the Four Seasons in Palm Beach.  After their nuptials, we sang, ate and danced the night away in honor the newly weds. It was definitely a night for celebrating love.

Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Scott Malone!!

Since we knew the night of the wedding would also coincide with our anniversary, we reserved a room at the Omphoy Ocean Resort which is located next to the Four Seasons and is right on the beach. The wedding ended in the wee hours of the night so when we checked into our room it was very late and my feet were on fire from cutting it up all night.  I love to dance and I also feel that’s its my duty as a bridesmaid to be the first and last one on the dance floor 😉

We showered and crashed immediately but when we woke up we felt  refreshed and ready to celebrate our day. We were very impressed with the Omphoy Hotel. It had a very contemporary, Japanese design (which Oscar and I both love), the staff was knowledgeable and friendly and the room was quite comfy – especially the pillows. See photos of the Omphoy below:

Check-out time was at noon so we took our time getting out of bed and getting ready. After we  checked-out, we had the concierge hold our bags so we could spend the rest of the day taking advantage of the amenities and have ourselves a little stay-cation. They had a fabulous brunch spread so we dined on the beach. I had french toast with fruit, Oscar had Cinnamon Toast Crunch and we both had our own omelettes created for us at the omelette station.

After breakfast, we went down to the beach and spent the rest of the day lounging under a cabana. The weather was sunny and gorgeous but it was also very hot so Oscar and I took a couple of dips in the ocean and rode the waves together like kids.

Rough day, huh? Not pictured: my delicious $14 strawberry mojito 😉

As soon as we had our fill of the ocean and the beach, we packed up our things, headed home and spent the rest of  our day relaxing. We were going to go out to our favorite sushi restaurant but I was too exhausted from all of the wedding activities so we ordered some Chinese take-out, stayed home, snuggled together on the couch and and watched our Sunday shows.

I was so impressed with Oscar that whole weekend. Not only was he his sweet and charming natural self, but he forwent his usual weekend golf game on Saturday, stayed home during the day and took care of all of the laundry and the household chores while I was busy with my bridesmaid duties. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that. I usually do the laundry at home and I don’t mind, but it was nice to enjoy my weekend and know that I wasn’t going to have to come home to a huge pile of chores.

That’s one of the many special things about Oscar that I truly admire and cherish. He does a lot of thoughtful things for me that seem little to him but are such a big deal to me. Like the time he made me homemade chicken noodle soup when I was sick and bought me a special oriental tea when I was having trouble sleeping. Whether he’s holding my hand or holding me close to him at night, its those simple things he does that make me feel so secure and loved. This may sound silly and a little corny but there is no fancy gift or grand gesture that could ever come close to making me feel the way he does. So here’s to you, bebe! 

Do you have any memorable anniversary outings or stories that you want to share? If so, please feel free to leave a comment 🙂