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.
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 , 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”.
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