If you’re happy and you know it eat a cupcake…

Just like everybody seemed to love Eat, Pray, Love and I did not…everyone seems to love the book The Happiness Project. I finally got it from the library and meh.

I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being happy but there is a common thread among the book (and movie) Eat, Pray, Love and the Happiness Project. Which is if you are unhappy with things take a risk and give it all up and go find yourself and do what you love. Well awesome. Except all these people that write these books had the money to go do this.

In reading the book she focuses on the fact that if something say like laundry really makes you unhappy…hire out. Oh great idea. Or if you hate cleaning your house and it takes up your time hire a house keeper. Again, wow, why didn’t I think of that? Oh wait…I’m broke. That’s right. She does other exciting things were she learns how to file papers in file boxes instead of stacks and tries to come up with a hobby because she thinks she should have one. She likes to come off as your everyday woman but in real life her husband makes serious bank. Serious bank.

And then there is the whole be happy in everything you do including making the bed and what not. Ugh. This is beyond lame. All the happiness people tell you that. I have no problem finding happiness in the simple pleasures of life but folding laundry isn’t one of them. Scrubbing the toilet, while being thankful that I have the arms to do it, is not a happy moment. Cleaning up dog puke that you step in first thing in the morning, while happy the dog is alive, is not a happy moment.

Want to be happy? Here is my happiness project:

1. Stop caring about what others think of you. If you like the $600 Coach Purse and have the money to buy it, then buy it (just make sure ALL the other bills are covered). But don’t buy it because all of your friends have one. If you like the $24.99 purse from Target but don’t want to buy it because you worry what will your friends think if you have a Target purse…buy the purse. Lose the friends.

2. Really work on being happy with what you have. Have you ever been to a garage sell or been at a friend’s house when they are giving away their unused toys to charity? 99.972% of the time the kids who’s those toys belong to are playing with those toys like crazy. Why? Because they forgot they had them. We get so much stuff that we forget what we have. This is why when we clean things out we get so distracted because we find stuff we used to love. It got tossed to the side and forgotten about. Clothing is like that too. I used to have friends come over and rearrange my closet and make outfits. It’s interesting to see what people will make into an outfit that you never thought about. It’s a cheap way to shop your closet and a great excuse to sit around and drink wine with friends. :P

3. Be happy with the weight you are at now. This is so hard for people. Love yourself at the size you are now while you work on being the size you want to be. Be confident in who you are and what you have to offer and that is what the opposite sex find attractive. If you want to be smaller for health then be healthy…but don’t be annoying (aka don’t tell people what they are eating is bad for them or tell them how many calories you burned at your Zumba-a-thon…most people care about as much as learning about your child’s bowel movements).
4. Gather good people in your life and do things to let them know they are appreciated and you want them in your life. For me it’s usually cards. Cards are relatively cheap and I stock up on ones when I go to the card store. It’s an inexpensive way to say I’m thinking of you and it’s way more exciting to get that in the mail than a bill.

5. Accept that you cannot change people only yourself. Life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how you react to it.

6. Don’t expect anything in return. I don’t always give gifts. If someone’s birthday comes along and I just can’t find a thing I don’t give a thing. They get a card. But I have no problem later on in the year when I find something for them that is perfect, getting it for them. Now certain things like important birthdays (like say turning 40 :D , or weddings, etc…then yes give gift). Whenever I give anything to anyone I never expect anything in return. That should not be the intent of a gift. So if you give a gift, just give a gift. If you do a favor…just do a favor, don’t keep tabs (though don’t let people walk all over you either).
7. Get a dog. Seriously. If you are not a dog person, then a pet in general. Surely they are costly, time consuming at times, but you will never have such pure unconditional love in your life. And while your children will grow up and have lots of other avenues for love and friendship, to your pet you are their everything. Remember that.

8. Don’t push things to happen. I read a quote on yes Pinterest that “Love is like a fart, if you have to force it, it’s probably sh!t” ….yep. You must learn to trust that if it’s meant to be it will be. Now that doesn’t mean if you think a girl/guy is cute that you should wait around until they come say hi to you…just means you shouldn’t walk up and say “Hi, I’m Sue, nice to meet you. I’ve decided I will name our children Dan and Amy”. :P

9. Give three genuine compliments to complete strangers every day. I started this about 10 years ago and it’s one of the things that makes my day because I love that I made someone happy. You know how when a complete stranger tells you they like your hair, scarf, boots, whatever and you have an extra skip in your step? Why not pay it forward. The key is to make sure you mean it though. Don’t tell someone you like their skirt if you really don’t. If you can’t find strangers because you don’t interact with anyone…there is always a nice wall post on FB to brighten someone’s day.
10. Eat more cupcakes.


Pink Ombre Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Rose Colored Gel Food Coloring

Strawberry Buttercream (recipe here)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy about 3 minutes.

Add the eggs and egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.

Separate batter into four smaller bowls, divide out equally. I did this by doing one ice cream scoop per bowl until I ran out of batter. Add a small amount of food coloring to the first bowl and mix. Do this to each bowl and gradually get brighter as you go.

Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners starting with the lightest layer and then working your way up, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Cupcake recipe adapted from More From Magnolia: Recipes from the World Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey’s Home Kitchen

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  1. Yeah, no. “Eat, Pray, Love” was one of the worst books I’ve ever read. The Italy chapter was good, because I love food. The rest was tripe.

    Also, it kind of killed it for me when I read she was given a big chunk of money to take these little adventures and write about them. Fail.

  2. denise says:

    so cute, and i like your happiness project guidelines (i wouldn’t call them rules). so many of these seem to resonate with conversations i’ve had with friends recently

    as a follow up, have you read any good books lately? i’m always looking for suggestions (i’ve never read Eat, Pray Love and i’ve considered Happiness project a few times)

  3. Peabody says:

    @Denise- I am reading Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson…

    and am loving it. Sooo funny.

  4. Great post! I agree with you.

    Those cupcakes look so pretty and delicious.



  5. bonnie says:

    i love this post! i haven’t baked in a while, but i’m going to start again today. thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Victoria says:

    I tried reading Eat Pray Love and couldn’t get through it. I got sooo bored.

    I love your Happiness Project! Especially #1 since I have a $24.99 purse from Target. And I love it!! :)

  7. Jennifer says:

    Eat, Pray, Love was pure crap because it isn’t about being happy its about being selfish. She didn’t care about her family & friends or even most of the people she met. All she talked about is what she got from others and not what she gave of herself.

  8. Martha says:

    Totally agree with this post. And I am so relieved to know that other people don’t like Eat, Pray, Love. I’d rather Bake, Read (good books) and walk my dogs…..

  9. I worked in jewelery. Where the ladies and husbands all made bank – and you know what? Very rarely where they happy. You are right in your points (especially about the dog) but mostly about just being happy with who and what you are. And more cupcakes always helps.
    Love the compliment idea too. I may have to try that.

  10. Committed was FAR worse than Eat Pray Love. Too bad about the Happiness Project, though!

  11. hated Eat Pray Love….
    Totally love your blog Peabody! This one rocked out!

  12. FANTASTIC list Peabody. You always speak truth.

  13. Lovely cupcakes, fantastic post! I haven’t read either of those books but plan to steer clear of them. Money can help people avoid some of the unpleasant things in life and provide distractions, but it doesn’t do much to make them genuinely happy people.
    And yes to more cupcakes! :)

  14. Great post. I like to think my animals rescued me as much as I may have rescued them.

  15. The person who worte The Happiness Project sounds annoying. If someone came up to me and told me to be happy all the time because I have to legs to sand on, to arms with do things with, and two eyes that can see I would want to….do…I dunno something. But I like your Happiness Project. I think I already do/beleive in most of those things (except number 10. I’d rather eat cookies ;))

    Nice looking cupcakes too. The pink is pretty :)

  16. I have avoided the book and movie. Your list sounds about right. I have such a hard time accepting my weight, but am trying to be happy with me as ME, not as a weight number. I wish people just knew this at a younger age. I am so sharing this post!

  17. Stephanie says:

    I really liked some of the advice in the Happiness Project but I found that I couldn’t really relate to the author. I found the most helpful thing of the book was the idea that sometimes you have to do the stuff you don’t like to be happy i.e. healthier people tend to be happier so workout…a tidier house makes for less stress so clean up. I also think that remembering to live in the moment and be grateful for what you have. So if you didn’t finish reading the book you may want to grit your teeth and try and get through the rest of it. It does have some thought provoking points that will resonate with you long after the book is gone. And reading your blog makes me extrememly happy! Thanks for the cupcake recipe.

  18. Great post! And the cupcakes looked good, too!

  19. Ah…what an excellent post!

  20. Great post!I disliked both books and am happy I was not alone.
    My job makes me happy and thankful. I work with Veterans and daily give random compliments in the hallway. It brightens their day and mine and is a great ice breaker.

  21. Love love love this post. I also hated Eat, Pray, Love and had to stop reading after the 2 or 3 chapter I found her whiney & annoying.

    Okay and I love your messages. We do need to live for ourselves & again you nailed it. We all need to think of others more, comment less and in general just treat everyone, ourselves included the way we expect others to treat us.

  22. You continue to amaze me with how inspiring you are — both with your food and words!

  23. Peabody, you should write a book, and at least yours would make good sense, just like these happiness points do. I did not read/see Eat pray love, but it sounded very stupid and very selfish, and usually too much hype on a book, movie etc. will me me turn the other way and refuse to see it/read it….I never saw Titanic and never will! Have a great weekend.

  24. Another great post. I have not yet read Eat, Pray, Love because I was skeptical if I would like it or not, and now I am even more skeptical ;-)

  25. Destinie says:

    Yes! Great post! I love #9.. oh and obviously #10. :) Cheers!

  26. Love your list; such a pick-me-up! (and a reality check, in way that makes you happy about reality)

    And obviously the cupcakes look DELICIOUS!

  27. love it! Good guidelines for happiness.

  28. Never got the whole “Eat, Pray, Love” thing, and was really irritated at the movie. Your thoughts were mine. “Waah, I can’t find myself, so I’m just going to take my hunk of money here and buy a house in Bali after traveling the world comfortably,” might not have much meaning for people who actually have to WORK and don’t have the luxury of just ‘deciding’ to be happy whilst being a tourist. It’s not practical. In real life, you find your own damn happiness, from the love derived from relationships (family and friends usually)and self. Traveling the world won’t reveal what we need out of life; it’s normally right in front of us.

  29. I *really* liked your post. And your cupcakes are pretty awesome too.:)

  30. Rebecca says:

    So many of my single female friends loved Eat, Pray, Love, and raved about it to me… they seemed to see as being about a woman who has chosen not to do the whole marriage kids thing.
    I read it and thought that I wanted to punch that woman for being so insufferably smug and self-centred.
    Glad to hear that I am *not* the only one!!!
    Thanks for keeping up the good recipes Peabody… baking yummy things for other people keeps me happy, and you help with that!!

  31. so I’m intrigued, how did you get the icing to look like that? is it a special nozzle?

  32. Peabody says:

    @Thalia- yes, it is a piping tip

  33. I absolutely agree – the author behind “Eat, Pray, Love” had such a WHINY voice, and the only chapter I enjoyed was the one on Italy.

    I love your list! So true. Excellent points :)

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