Being Happy and Happier . . .

Gretchen Rubin

One of the books that I’ve been meaning to read for a long time is The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun .  I’ve seen it around for a few years and have dabbled around in looking at Gretchen Rubin’s website because I like the daily happy quotes she sends out but I just haven’t gotten the book.

Finally, I heard she was coming to Portland and decided NOW was the time.  But not only would I have to read her first book, she was touring around about her second book, Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life.

So I bought both books and read them.  And was super inspired!  Then I went and heard her speak on Tuesday night with some friends.  Well you know how you go to hear some authors speak and are just bored out of your skull?  Not the case with Gretchen Rubin!  She was a great speaker and really took the time to speak to people’s thoughts and concerns.

She talked about what she felt are her five biggest things to accomplishment:

1.  Get enough sleep!  Even if this means setting an alarm to fall asleep.

2.  Get some exercise–even just a bit every day can help.

3.  Cultivate a sense of smells-smells are a quick pick me up without all the calories!

4.  Cultivate shrines–create little areas in your house that are dedicated to things you are passionate about.

5.  Outer order contributes to inner calm.

Her big saying was from Samuel Johnson (I believe):
“The days are long but the years are short”

This is an expression similar to what we said at camp when I was Associate Director:
“The days go by like weeks and the weeks go by like days”

I’ve started doing some of what she’s talked about in her books: keeping track of my goals, giving myself gold stars (literal ones, I bought old school foil stars!) and trying to discover my passions.


I would love to actually do a happiness project and perhaps meet with a group to accomplish that.

What are some things that make you happy?  Have you ever done a happiness project?



Literary Junkies

Pink Heels Pink Truck

Woohoo!  A favorite post of mine!  ***Contains Affiliate Links***

This Month’s Questions:
1. What are you reading right now? Tell us about it.

I am reading Forever Faithful by Karen Kingsbury, so far it’s an easy and good read.

2. Out of the 16 books that will be turned into a movie adaptation, which one are you most looking forward to seeing this year? (Article Link)

I’m going to go with Gone Girl.  Amazing book that I couldn’t put down!
3. What was the worst book you’ve ever read?

I’m not sure. . . . I try to find some good in everything or I forget right away!
4. What foods or beverages have you spilled on a book while reading? Anything good? Probably a lot of coffee!
5. Do you pictures characters as popular film or tv actors? Or do you create a whole new person in your head?

I create a whole new person in my head every time!
6. Out of all the authors you’ve read books by, who’s brain would you want to pick the most?

Oh man, this is a hard one.  I think any author would work for now.  I would love to write a novel or book at some point so I would love to talk to a real live published author!

Books ‘n’ Bloggers Take 2


I am so excited to once again be participating in another amazing Chaotic Goddess Swap!  This one is a Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap.  It’s a great way to get to know a fellow reading loving blogger and get some new books out of it as well!

So signups are still open and I encourage any book lover to sign up!

Important Dates to Remember

  • Sign-Ups Close on January 14th, 2014
  • Partners Assigned on January 15th, 2014
  • Packages Ship between January 31st and February 1st, 2014
  • Swap Show-Off Post/Linky goes life on February 5th, 2014

Eggnog Matcha Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial. <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”><img style=”display: none” src=”” /></a>

For anyone who knows me, they know that I live for eggnog latte season.  I was extremely happy to find a place this year that started serving the beginning of October and I am always looking for a way to continue the season.  I actually think I might have found a away with the eggnog matcha from Red Leaf Tea.

I received a sample of this and immediately had to make it.

Eggnot Matcha

They were kind enough to send me a sample with enough for five cups worth.  I used the fancy milk frother my mother has and whipped myself up a cup during the deep freeze here in Portland and it was a great way to stay warm!  It was vanilla-y and custardy tasting and very mild on the eggnog/matcha flavor.  I felt like  I was drinking steamed milk with some flavoring which is comforting when it’s freezing outside.

Eggnog Matcha

Definitely the perfect cold weather treat!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”></a>. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Online Dating Epic Fail

Online Dating

So this is somewhat of a sad story but if I don’t share it and laugh about it, what else am I going to do?

As I mentioned, I am on a few different dating websites.  Two of the three I’ve had luck on and gone out on dates/had a relationship from one of them  The third one I joined over the summer and haven’t been super impressed (but also haven’t put a lot of effort into it).

So I was excited when I got a message and started chatting with someone about two weeks ago.  He’s about my age and just moved to Portland as well.  We started talking and eventually started trading emails via personal email accounts.

He had been born in Portland but had moved to Africa with an aunt when he was small because his mother had died and father was quite busy.  He had attended British schools there and went to university in England.  He had recently moved to Portland because his father had passed away and he was taking over his father’s business.  Oh and he was in Africa at the moment because his aunt, with whom he was very close, was sick.

OK, sad story but we all have sad stories.  We had been emailing twice a day for about two weeks when he said he was going to be coming back to the states and would I like to chat via phone.  I said great, let me know when you get back to Portland and I will send you my number.  The next email I got was that he was trying to book his ticket back which he was under pressure to do because of something with his father’s business but that because of the holidays, ticket prices were quite high.  Oh and would I mind lending him some money for the plane ticket.

Uh, what?!  The crazier part of this is I was sitting with some friends and telling them about talking with this guy and my friend made a comment that he was probably some African scammer trying to get money.  I laughed and went to check to see if he had written.  Yeah, he had been asking me for money while she made the comment!

So I responded immediately: so it was nice talking to you but I think it’s better if we no longer communicate.  Yes, I should have just deleted it but I felt the need for closure.  He responded immediately saying: So that is what you want now?  Just because I need your help or what?  I responded with: Not into playing games and really not into giving money to people I’ve never met.

His final email: “Oh I’m really sorry about that . I asked for your help because I am free and comfortable talking to you about anything. I have been 100% honest and open to you about my family and everything so don’t think less and negative of me now just because I need your help.

Just because you know someone doesn’t mean you can help them and just because you don’t know someone doesn’t mean you can’t help them. You can help a complete stranger if God planned that route for you. So open your heart to strangers more often, you never know when God will throw that pass at you.
I thought we had something good going but if you really don’t want to talk to me anymore then it’s fine. I wont bother you again”
Well I think God did not plan for me to be a sucker!
I immediately went online and flagged his profile as inappropriate and happen to have a friend who works at this dating site and I forwarded the email chain.  She also flagged it internally.
So. . . there’s my dating fail of the week!

Snacks Abound!

Graze Box


So I have discovered the most awesome snackie snack delivery system.  I read about it on a blog–I’m not going to lie. . . I can’t remember which blog it was. . . but it was a free snack box so I thought I’d give it a try.  It’s super yummy!

Graze Box


So it comes in a little box with four different snack items:

Pizza Graze a pizza graze

flapjack a fruit and seed flapjack graze

jelly donut a jelly doughnut graze

Cookies and Cream a cookies and cream graze

So far I’ve only tried the jelly doughnut and it was super yummy with raspberry fruit leather bits in it.  Originally I was just going to do the sample box and then get rid of it but for now I think I am going to keep getting them every two weeks for now.

Here’s a code to try it out:

You will get your first box free and if you stick with it, you will also get the fifth one free!

NOTE: I am paying for this and just thought it was super cool so I wanted to share.

Literary Junkies Linkup


Literary Junkies

Being that I’m a huge reader, it seems silly for me NOT to do this!

This month’s questions:
1. If you could write a book, what would it be about?

I would write a love story for today, about what people like me in their early thirties are going through trying to find love in a crazy world.

2. If you had to read one book or trilogy for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Definitely Special Edition Harry Potter Paperback Box Set!  I am not a fantasy person but I loved the series and I get a ton out of it every time!

3. Who is your current favorite book character and why?

Oh so many but I loved reading Me Before You and I thought Louise was an amazingly written character with so much to say.

4. Is there a book you read every year during the holiday season? If so, what is it and why?

Nope, hasn’t been.
5. Do you have any books on your Christmas list? Name a few.

I don’t have a Christmas wish list but I do have a books wish list including:
Adé: A Love Story

The Secret Lives of Married Women (Hard Case Crime)

Just One Day

Just to name a few!
6. What is a book you read and loved that you didn’t expect to?

Definitely Collateral: A Novel by Ellen Hopkins.  I wasn’t sure that I was going to like that it was written in almost a poetic style but I could not put the darned book down!

Local Living: Google City Experts Cooking Class

So I found recently if you write 50 or more reviews on Google then you become a Google City Expert.  AND if you are a Google City Expert you get to go to super cool events!  Last Tuesday was one of these events.  The first 25 people who responded to the email had the amazing opportunity (with a guest!) to take a cooking class at Portland’s Culinary Workshop.  I took my mom as my plus one and we learned all sorts of awesome recipes and got to eat a great meal with some pretty cool peeps I am now friends with on Google+ (which I still don’t totally understand but am attempting to understand better!)

The menu for the evening was stuffed pork loin (stuffed chicken for us non pork eaters) kale salad with a lemony dressing, duchess potatoes (pronounced doochay-who knew!) and an apple-pear-cranberry crumble.

Google City Experts


The very first thing we learned was how to actually use a knife.  I’ve cut a fair amount of things in my day but turns out I was cutting all wrong!  Your pointer finger should actually be guiding the knife on top and you should get a callous on the side of your middle finger.

We prepped the inside part of the pork/chicken by sautéing onions, garlic and mushrooms and then mixing that with hazelnuts and blue cheese–yum.  The trick to good kale is massaging that kale down down down.  Duchess potatoes?  Use a pastry bag to squeeze them onto the cookie sheet!  I didn’t do so hot with that but my mom rocked it. . . and crumble, butter and nuts and sugar, oh my!

Duchess Potatoes


I am definitely heading back there for another cooking/eating session!

And on the topic of eating. . . check out the blog that I am co-posting with a bunch of bloggy friends: Blog to Taste.  You’ll get awesome recipes and some good old-fashioned Portland, Oregon charm!


Hey all. . . I hope you had a great weekend!  I spent the weekend staffing a youth group event at a camp two hours from Portland and had a blast!

I wanted to let you know I’m participating in a giveaway!

Make sure to check it out!

I have a BirchBox/Ipsy post coming up but am having some issues with the iCloud and can’t get my pictures from my phone to my computer–ugh.  Hopefully I’ll have that up for you soon.

Swaps ‘n’ Such: Cara Box


I participated in Cara Box in August for the first time after seeing a ton of people post about it.  I had a great experience and was paired with two awesome people.  I was actually paired with the same two people in reverse this time!  I sent my package to Melissa of Melissa’s Happenings who sent me an awesome box last time.

I received my box from Victoria of Lost in Boston who I got to send to this time.  Another great experience and one I will definitely participate in again!

I received a very fun box from Victoria:

October Cara Box

Everything decorated in super fun fall colors!

October Cara Box

I managed to hang onto these chocolate for a few days before devouring them, yum peanut butter and chocolate!

October Cara Box

I love pumpkin everything and this candle is the perfect scent for my room right now!

October Cara Box  October Cara Box

The Lara bar is gone already :) and the pumpkin spice thing is hanging in my car.  I haven’t yet had the coffee but I am looking for to it and breaking out the almond spray!

Thanks, Victoria, for an awesome fall box!  The next round starts in December and I am definitely looking forward to it!