Saturday, March 15, 2014

One of these days ...

This week was a big birthday week in our family.  My daughter, my daughter-in-law, and my husband all celebrated their big days.  Later this month, we will celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday ... she will be an incredible 92 years old!

Birthdays cause me to reflect on life, how far we've come, and what is yet to be.  I don't dwell on getting old, but the older I get, the more I realize how short and sweet life really is.  Do you find yourself putting things off until "one of these days"?  Have you said "one of these days, I will (fill in the blank)?  I have said those words ... many times.  One of these days I will get my passport and travel.  One of these days I will own my dream car, a mustang.  One of these days, I will work less and spend more time with my family.  One of these days, I will spend more time reading, or exercising, or cooking, or gardening, or having sex, or riding my bicycle, and so and so on.

Or how about, "one of these days when I lose weight, I will buy new clothes, or take dance lessons".  Who says you have to be skinny to shop or dance?  Or here's one for you ... have you ever found yourself saying, "One of these days when I make more money, I will be happier"?  Well, I've got news for you, money will not make you happier (I'm sure some of you are saying, yea right).

What if "one of these days" never comes?  How many times have you known or heard of someone who finally reached retirement but didn't get to enjoy the golden years because of illness or even an untimely death?  Come on people, we need to start living now ...we do not know what tomorrow will bring.  Find what makes you happy and just do it.  But be careful, don't go looking for happiness in a shopping mall, or on a cruise ship.  Yes, those things may bring happiness at that moment in time, but they are not the foundation of happiness.  Oh, and do not wait for others to make you happy.  You are responsible for your own happiness, not your significant other, not your boss, not your parents, not your friends.  IT'S UP TO YOU.  Find your purpose, find your spirituality, find a way to help others, and make a promise to yourself to the best you you can be every day.   And do not confuse "best" with "perfect".

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or worn. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace & gratitude.”Denis Waitley, Author

The shopping and cruise ship are just icing on the cake.

I saw this video earlier this week, and it is so contagious, I have to share.  Turn up your volume, watch it over and over again, dance to it, sing to it, and spread that positive energy to others.

24 Hours of Happy

Oh, and speaking of cake ... Birthday Cake Martini

1 oz. Cake Batter Vodka
3/4 oz. Amaretto
1 oz. Crème de Cacao
1 oz. half & half

Dip rim of martini glass in honey and then dip in sprinkles.  Pour ingredients into shaker with ice.  Shake about 30 seconds and strain into martini glass.  (p.s. I was out of half & half and used skim milk ... not the same ... half and half will make a whiter, frothier, creamier, yummier, drink.)

Cheers!  Or as the Irish would say ... Slainte!  (Pronounced Slawn-cha)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Seeing RED

Are you seeing Red?  Well, February is not only the month of valentines and red roses, but it is also American Hearth Month.  Yesterday, February 7, was National Go Red Day to raise awareness of heart disease in women.
Heart disease does not only affect men.  In fact, heart disease is the number one killer in women, killing more women than all forms of cancer combined!  Scary!  So what are you going to do about it?  Do you know your numbers?  If not, you should.  Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, HDL, LDL, Triglycerides, and Glucose can all lead to heart disease if not controlled.   There is nothing in my mind that can improve happiness more than good health.  Promise yourself you will take the time in the month of February to know your numbers, and to encourage the people you love to do the same.

A great resource for information on heart disease is this website ... American Heart Association.

Many times, the signs and symptoms of a heart attack are ignored, especially in younger women.   If you experience anything like what is depicted in this short video, get medical attention immediately!

In honor of Go Red month, I am happy to say that I know my numbers and they are under control.  For a little fun, I also added some red to my hair color and I thought this drink would be perfect for the occasion (and may even put some red in your cheeks)!


2 oz. Bourbon (I used Makers Mark)
2 oz.. Cranberry Juice (or more to taste)

1 oz. sprite (or club soda if you don't want it as sweet) 
Fill rocks glass with ice
Add ingredients and stir

Not only does the cranberry juice have health benefits, but according to Dr. Oz , whiskey (in moderation) is good for your heart.  It is high in antioxidants, and women who drink no more than one drink per day and men who drink no more than two drinks per day can help to reduce their risk of Cardiovascular Disease. 

To your health!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cabin Fever

As I write this, it is 40 degrees warmer in Anchorage, Alaska than it is in central Pennsylvania.  I do not remember a winter when we have had so many below-freezing (and below-zero) temperatures.

And if you think it's cold in PA, you should spend some time in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I traveled last week for work.  Brrrr.   

I don't know about you, but I have a serious case of cabin fever

If you are not a lover of frigid weather, how do you find happiness this time of year?   Happiness is relative.  We all have different likes and dislikes, preferences, moods, experiences, etc., and if we asked 100 people how to define happiness, we would probably get 100 different answers.  But I believe there are many things we can all do to enrich our lives, no matter what the season.  So what did I do recently to enrich my life?

I indulged in some "down time", even though I could have easily said I don't have time for down time.

This past week, I had dinner after work with a friend and former co-worker who I haven't seen in several years.  It was snowing and I could have easily gone straight home, but I'm so glad I didn't.  Instead, we caught up over a nice dinner, reminisced, and had some good laughs.   

Although I didn't have much down time in Cedar Rapids, I did treat myself to a glass of Gekkeikan Plum Wine at a Chinese restaurant one evening.  It was a little sweet for me, and had a heavier body than other wines, but was very interesting and paired very well with spicy sesame chicken.

A few days later, on Saturday evening, my husband, daughter, and I had a delicious home cooked dinner with our wonderful neighbors, the ultimate hosts ...  Homemade spaghetti (including the noodles), and an excellent Bordeaux wine (which I can't remember the name of, but it was delightful).  Speaking of wine ... in case anyone is concerned that I imbibe more than I should ... the results of my routine lab work this week showed that my cholesterol is at an all time low.  My doctor asked what I have been doing differently, and I told him I was drinking more red wine.

The following day, I spent the afternoon being crafty with my Mom, Sister, Aunts, and Cousin in my mom's garage (which has been converted into her own Hobby Lobby).  As you can see, we had quite a variety of projects in the works.

My crochet project - a spiral scarf

My Cousin's knitting project - a baby sweater

My Aunt's rag quilt project

My Mom's mystery quilt project

My Sister's mystery quilt project

My Sister's mystery quilt project

Do you have any down time planned?  If not, here's some homework for you.

"Take some time to make a happiness list."

Curl up in a comfy chair with a warm blanket and a cup of tea, and reflect on the things that make you smile ... the things that comfort you ... the things that you are thankful for ... the things that you know will make you feel better.  NOW WRITE THEM DOWN!  You can scribble them on a random piece of paper, but better yet, pick up a nice notebook or journal for a few bucks and make it your happiness journal.  After creating your initial list, keep it handy so you can add to it as you experience things that make you feel warm and fuzzy.  You don't have to use full sentences or proper grammar ... just jot down your thoughts.  When you are suffering from cabin fever, go back and look at this journal for reflection.  Here is my list (so far) in no particular order:

1)  Lighten up and don't take myself too seriously - I do not have to be perfect
2)  Move!  Walk, dance, do jumping jacks, stretch ... anything to keep the blood flowing
3)  Eat Healthy - this does not mean I can't have dessert ... everything in moderation
4)  Listen to music everyday
5)  Get more sleep!
6)  Pray
7)  Stretch out of my comfort zone
8)  Smile ... even if I don't feel like it
9)  Never stop learning
10) Tell my family I love them every chance I get
11) Count my blessings
12) Think outward, not inward - Everything isn't about me
13) Even though everything isn't about me, find time for me 

14)  Oh yea, and have a cocktail!


1 Mug of your favorite hot chocolate
1 oz. Bailey's Original Irish Cream
1 oz. Creme de Cacao
(you can use Creme de Menthe instead of Creme de Cacao if you like mint in your hot chocolate)

Mix well and top with whipped topping



Monday, January 6, 2014

The Seven Dwarfs


What did you do this week that brought you happiness?  Please share - I would love to hear from my readers!

My happiness this week came from creating this blog, continuing to read The Happiness Project, and starting a journal of ideas for future posts.

I have some unfinished business, though, from my last post ...  I guess I assumed everyone knows how to make a Mimosa, but just in case...

Ingredients:  Equal parts chilled Champagne or Sparkling Wine and chilled Orange Juice (pulp free is best in my opinion).  Optional, add a splash of Triple Sec.  Add sparkling wine to the glass first, then follow with the orange juice.  Sip and enjoy!

From ... For cocktail techies, the drink made with just OJ and sparkling wine is called a "Buck's Fizz," when you add triple sec it becomes a mimosa. However, most people think of a basic mimosa simply as OJ and a sparkling wine. 

Oh, and for the gardening enthusiasts ... From ...

Definition of Mimosa
  • an Australian acacia tree with delicate fernlike leaves and yellow flowers that are used by florists. 

So what's up with the title of this post?

This past week, my home was invaded by the Seven Dwarfs ... well, I guess only six showed up.  First it started with Happy - feeling good, had a great holiday, time for a new year and new beginnings.  Then Sneezy showed up, followed by Grumpy, Sleepy, Doc, and then Dopy.  Bashful, however, was nowhere to be found. 

Doc (that would be Jules) ordered the following medicine, and although it gave me a warm and cozy feeling, it didn't cure the sneezing.  Maybe I just need a few more doses.

Hot Apple Cider Toddy

Hot Apple Cider (I used a Green Mountain K-Cup with my Keurig)
Honey (about 1 Tablespoon)
3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
Oh yea ... and BRANDY (2 ounces)

Brew, stir, sip.  If you have had any trouble getting warm lately in this cold weather, I promise this will warm you up.  Possible side affect could be "Dopy".


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year ... New Blog

Hello 2014!

Have you made your New Year's Resolutions?  I have resolved to NOT make any resolutions.  Rather I have decided to start a fun blog in 2014.  Not a resolution ... but a project.  Some of you may remember my blog from a few years ago ...  That blog was an attempt to document the wild and fun journey my sister and I took on bicycles.  I'm not sure why I stopped blogging about that adventure since we still ride.  Maybe I will update it one of these days.

This blog, however, will be different.

A few years ago, I purchased a book about happiness (one of many books in my collection that I just had to have, vowed to read immediately, and then allowed to collect dust for a year or more before picking it up again).  I am finally reading this book ... The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and am feeling the need to do something, anything, to follow in her footsteps in the pursuit of happiness.  

But why?  I am happy.  I think.  I have a wonderful family, a good job, a nice home, and have many things to be thankful for.  But is this all there is?  Am I selfish to want more?  The challenge is figuring out what "more" is.

I am still trying to define this blog ... .

One ... we will talk about happiness ... find something every single week that will make you happy for an hour (or more).  Anything.

Two ... we will share our happy hour with a cocktail.  Today's beverage of choice is a mimosa.  What better way to celebrate the New Year than with some bubbly ... and thanks to a lovely bug that has bitten me the past few days, I decided I needed a boost of Vitamin C.

More to come, be sure to check back!