Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Committing to Happiness

I am huge book nerd. Seriously, I have many, many bookshelves in my house and they are stuffed to the gills with books ranging from serious and impressive (to be read with your nose in the air and with a stick shoved you know where), education ones (books from Masters degree and now my Ph.D. books!), chick lit (use to be slightly ashamed but now I embrace my pink covers), how to books/cookbooks (lots and lots and lots of cookbooks) and finally my newest section: improving life quality. Improving life quality has been a big thing for me this year. This year was my first time not working or going to school so I had a lot of free time on my hands. At first I used that time to sit around, watch tv and think about how bored and alone I am in Connecticut. Finally, I got sick of myself and the constant "poor me" mentality so I did something about it...I fell back on my favorite pastime for answers: books.
My first book was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.
Yes, the writer is a rich white girl and thus has rich white girl problems but I still liked the book. I am all about to-do lists and the author used a ton of those. She wrote about making simple changes-for example, committing to make dinner 3 times a week, to reading a new book every month, to gardening every weekend, to taking a trip somewhere new once a month etc- basically focusing on what makes you happy and actually doing those things.

With my huge amount of free time I decided to try new things and so I turned to gardening. I am still really, really bad at gardening (I kind of hate it. The weeds just keep coming back over and over again!) Therefore, may I present the awesome beginners guide: Learn to Garden
I browsed through several gardening books before buying this one. I really liked it because it kept in mind that as a beginning you probably aren't too interested in working with really complicated, fussy plants. It also gave straight forward advice about yards, planting a flower meadow, trees, flowers, herbs etc.

As a stay-at-home wife (at least for 2 more months) I do almost all the cooking. I usually just throw things together and I tend to not cook with recipes. However, this year I focused on trying new recipes, baking new and unique things and cooking seasonally. I loved these:
Cooking Light: Cooking Through the Seasons
Logan and I gave up meat for Lent so Cooking Light: Vegetarian was a lifesaver!
and finally, when I was in desperate need of a cupcake (which is kind of everyday) I turned to Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
and if cupcakes don't fit the bill, there is the culinary bible which gave me my favorite chewy chocolate gingersnap cookies (ridiculously delicious and the ones on the cover-they are that special) aka Martha Stewart Cookies

My newest hobby is running. Running and I have a love-hate relationship (it loves to make my body hurt really badly and I hate it with a fiery passion until I finish the run and feel awesome. Endorphins? I am still waiting for them to arrive). After running my first 5 miles the other day I started thinking about how far I want to take I want to do a marathon? Hahahahaha....NO! 26 miles? huge no thank you. I am intrigued by the idea of a half marathon...13 miles seems much more do-able so I am thinking about training for one. I haven't made up my mind but to help me do that I ordered Half-Marathon by Jeff Galloway-guru of the run/walk method.
I don't know what it is about running but it makes me happy-the exhilarated and exhausted feeling when I reach my car (finally) when my run is done, the bright tomato red face that refuses to go away for hours and just the feeling that I did something that my body didn't want to do and survived. I may hate running but somehow it makes me happy.

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