April 19, 2016

Happiness


I've been thinking a lot about happiness lately. I recently read this article that I really enjoyed. It's awfully easy to be happy when things are going well but I think when you are feeling a bit beat up by life or when you are feeling stressed and have a hard time looking past whatever is challenging you, then it takes more effort to seek out the happiness. But it's always worth the effort.


I think we sometimes have a tendency to think life starts after. After I lose 15 pounds, after that project is finished, after I find the perfect partner, or job or home or... But what if we focused on what is and on being happy today, just as things are? What if small changes in our day to day life could add up to big changes in our mood and quality of life? Sometimes for me it's as easy as taking some time to focus on doing small things that make me happy like baking, crafting, nesting, yoga or gardening. Sometimes it's as simple as taking a break from the sameness of every day life and going on a little adventure.


I know personally that I am at my happiest when I am:
-Being grateful
-Thinking positive thoughts about myself and others
-Making time to do the things I enjoy
-Not procrastinating
-Living in a healthy balanced way
-Being Mindful


The first one really is the most important for me. If I am not focused on being thankful for all that I have, but am instead focused on whatever I don't have (and this can be material possessions but can really be anything), it is impossible to see the beauty in my right now. And I truly believe that no matter what, there is beauty to be seen in every moment. It is so much about how we train ourselves to think. It is easy to fall into a pattern with your thoughts and you can either choose to fall into a positive pattern or a negative one. My mom was a very negative person. I don't think she was always like that but it was so pronounced in her later years that it was honestly hard to be around her. The positive is that it gave me an awareness of such things that I might not have had otherwise, so that I could choose to not live like that.


So today I am taking a look around me and seeing how very much there is to be thankful for. The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, there are freshly baked cookies, my book is waiting to be finished, I'm starting to feel better from the virus I caught last week, dinner on the front porch tonight with my big girl, a walk with the dog and scheduling a little beach getaway for this summer. So many things to fill me with gratitude.

April 14, 2016

Spring Cleaning


This post really should be called: That Time Spring Cleaning My Dining Room Snowballed into Buying New Dishes because there is apparently nothing like cleaning your baseboards to make you want to change things up! You see I've been having a bit of a decorating crisis lately. That is, if you can call something so trivial a crisis. And I believe you can.


While I love color and pattern, sometimes it makes me a little crazy to be surrounded by it all at once all the time. The problem is that I have virtually no hidden storage in my kitchen and dining room. My kitchen cabinets are not usable. That will not always be the case but for now it is my reality. This means that most every thing I need handy is in plain view. Go ahead and imagine having to put all of the stuff hiding in your cabinets out on a shelf or behind a glass door. Not. Good. Right?


I combatted this problem by finding all the pretty stuff. As you can imagine, I had no difficulty finding pretty things to use in my kitchen and dining room but for about the past year, all of that cobbled together color and pattern was just feeling too much for me.


I had originally bought these plates to hang with a vintage plate on the wall before realizing it may be possible for one to have too many plates hanging on one's walls and since I am already in possession of a set of plates decorating my front porch and a set of plates decorating the wall above my tv, quite possibly one more collection of plates might qualify me for some sort of 12 step program. So instead of hanging them up, I ordered several more of each and now I am excited to set a table like a grown woman.


During the process of cleaning up and organizing I became acutely aware that all of that visible color, pattern and general higgledy piggledy-ness of my belongings was starting to get on my nerves. So the paring down began and while it is quite possible I could never be one of those people who has all white dishes, this feels so much better to me. It is exactly how I want it. Until I next change my mind.


Did I mention that I have my own personal chalkboard artist on the payroll now? Yes. And by payroll,  I mean we let her stay the night occasionally and eat our food. It works out very well for both of us I think.


During my cleaning fit I also managed to contain the chaos that had become my cookbook shelf. Every day of my life the two sides of my brain are at war. It can be hard work to make them both happy.


Am I the only one who gains a sense of peace from the use of baskets? These hold paper napkins, straws, coasters and napkin rings.


Not even my cookbook collection escaped unscathed. Although, I must confess, I have an inordinate number of baking cookbooks that I can't seem to part with. It's a wonder I get a real meal on the table ever.


Being organized just makes my life better. It's a sanity saver for me and since we just started a bathroom renovation and there is currently a bathroom vanity in my bedroom, I'm taking my peace wherever I can find it!


Now that everything is happily tucked into it's rightful place I feel compelled to grab a couple of cookbooks off the shelf and explore the possibilities.


 And this? This is just because I have no manners and I wanted to a.) torture you with the yumminess and b.) show you just how versatile my new canapé/dessert plates are.