Category Archives: Causes

Mindful Monday: What’s Beautiful About You?

My sisters and I had a skype conversation last week. They had just been on a hike and, in talking to each other about what they want to do with their lives, they both became very inspired. They called me for some advice, “we want to help people (women especially) with their confidence issues, how should we do it?” They already had a bunch of great ideas and we worked over a few details. They will, hopefully, be starting work on their campaign in the next couple months.

Around the same time, I got an email from my mom. She sent me a link to this video. It made me cry, of course. Watch it. It’s three minutes you won’t regret using. Continue reading

Tasty Tuesday: Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Side note: I will have a recipe today, so as not to satisfy a terrorists hunger to be the center of attention. But, please see the bottom of this post for my thoughts…

And now, on to the frosting! Mike is out of town for a couple of weeks 😦 so I have been ultra productive in his absence. It’s amazing how a lack of company will get me motivated. So I made a chocolate fudge cake and had no idea what to use as frosting. The packaged stuff is so full of sugar that it makes me nauseas. So I made my own! And holy bajolies it is delicious.

When warm, it’s melt on your tongue chocolatey goodness. When cold, it hardens into pure chocolate bliss on top of your cake. Also, because I use coconut sugar, it doesn’t spike your blood sugar. Sweet!

ChocolateFrosting-published Continue reading

Thursday Book Review: The Happiness Project

It’s time for me to give this book the space it deserves. I have written about it in two posts already (April Goals and Healthful, Happy, and Loving Project) so my regular readers know how much I love it, but let me give you some details.

BookCover

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, is for every person of every type of life. If you think you can get more happiness out of your everyday routine, or if you’re just looking for a bit of motivation, read it!

Basically it chronicles a lawyer turned author’s year-long quest to make a happier life for herself. What I love about it is that she decided she already loved the pieces of her life: her kids, her hubby, her location, etc, but she wasn’t as thankful for them and she knew she should be. How many of us are guilty of that? It’s probably why you read this blog (and any other blog) in the first place. You are trying to improve your life without seriously changing it.

And we have all tried. Goodness have we tried. Personally, I set goals pretty frequently but rarely do they make an impact on my life. That’s because they aren’t tangible resolutions. That’s a key phrase: tangible resolution. It has to be a resolution not a goal because goals only exist until you reach them, resolutions are forever. And you have to lay out tangible steps to make these resolutions a reality. Otherwise they will never stick.

Commandments^ Here’s my list of rules for my Happiness Project.

And here’s and example of my resolution: I want to lower my overall stress and anxiety level throughout the day.

My tangible steps to reach that goal: I will build in a walk or breathing meditation, some quiet time, in the middle of everyday so that I have a few spare minutes to reset my stress-meter. And it’s working!

Basically, this book is an inspiration. Rubin spent an entire year figuring out how to make her happiness a reality. She researched and then she experimented. She laid out a plan and then went for it. The sheer determination and will power it took to keep those resolutions was massive, I’m sure.

I have recommended it to several patients and now I’m recommending it to you. Any self-analytical and driven person should read this book. Check it out from the library, buy it here, or just follow Rubin’s blog! And no, I’m not getting paid for this, there are just things in life that deserve attention.

And if you read my blog with any regularity, you’ll see me implementing these resolutions myself. Mine need some work but I’m on the right path! I’ll keep you all updated. In the meantime, have a stellar Thursday 🙂

Love and a big smile. – Ash

 

Mindful Monday: Online Dating

I’m in a relationship. A fantastic one that brings me happiness every single day. But I was one of the lucky ones who found a partner in college. What if you’re not that lucky?

Mike and I talk a lot about how different it must be to be in a relationship in 2013 than it was in 1980. There are more opportunities to meet people from far away, communication is made so much easier through technology, and there are less barriers for women to be successful.

But when it all comes down to it, a relationship only works in the long run if you live in the same city, share common interests, and are a shooting for common goals. No matter what year it is, that’s a tough set of requirements.

That problem poses the technological solution: online dating. The stigma around it is slowly disintegrating. It’s now common place for singles of all life situations, from young professionals to older retirees, to join the many programs out there. Anyway! A blog I regularly read (Once a Month for Ladies) just posted the story of one such program. It’s a short but interesting read and reflects the harrows and successes of completely blind dates.

Grouper: The date. Not the fish.

– Once a Month for Ladies

I hope you’re all having awesome days. Love and a sweet smile. – Ash

The Healthful, Happy, and Loving Project …

BullEye

March Goals:

  • Take a 5-minute walk down the block, every morning between shower and work. SLOWLY.
  • When I’m sad, stop thinking of the future. Just smile and try to make that moment happier.
  • Chose a day of the week to talk to each parent and sibling. Like I do with Gran.
  • Read this list every day.
  • Remember to be happy when I succeed.

These seem like some pretty specific goals right? How did I arrive at them? Well …

HappinessProject

There’s a really awesome book a friend sent me. It’s called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Instead of being all preachy and general, she chronicles the details of finding her way to happiness. She lays out a list of what she wants to improve and then divides that list into manageable parts. It’s basically a book about baby steps.

I’m finding it very inspirational so I’ve decided to do the same. Every month I’ll lay out my goals for you all to see. I’m not doing this because I’m particularly unhappy. I just have so much awesomeness in my life and I think I could appreciate it better. If I’m not 100% content when everything is hunky-dory, what will happen when life isn’t so nice? I want my happiness to be strong enough to withstand even the hardest challenges.

The questions I’m asking myself:

  • What makes me feel good?
  • What makes me feel bad?
  • Is there any way in which I don’t feel right about my life?
  • Do I live in a way that encourages growth?

My answers to solve these questions – 2013 Goals:

  • Stop being so concerned with the future (haha, does the list of goals act against that?).
  • Learn to switch off work and relax.
  • Be outdoors more.
  • Wake up more energized.
  • Pay off my credit card bills.
  • Invest in quality cooking and cleaning tools – then use them to their full potential.
  • Communicate more regularly with friends and family.
  • Improve our nutrition (eat more raw, nutrient-dense food and cut out all dinnertime grains and sugars).
  • Remove toxins from our food, personal hygiene, cleaning products, etc.
  • Learn to enjoy riding my bike again.
  • Stop putting so much pressure on myself.
  • Remember to be happy when I succeed at these goals.

Things I don’t want to change:

  • My commitment to exercise.
  • My love of healthy cooking.
  • The strength of Mike and My relationship.
  • The strength of my ties to my family.
  • My plans for travel.
  • My thankful heart.
  • My cleanliness and organization.

Happy

My Commandments:

  • Just because it’s fun for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s fun for me.
  • Me is the perfect person for me to be.
  • It’s NOT “doing nothing,” it IS “active relaxation.”
  • Life is play, not an endless stream of work.
  • A true smile and laugh can change a whole conversation.
  • Want what I already have.
  • I don’t have to be good at everything.

To that end, I will let you know, each month what my focus goals are for that month. I’ll pick as many or as few as I think I can handle. Some of them may be focused on for multiple months, some may be much easier than that. Since March is 1/3 of the way in, this month’s list is relatively short. But there’s no better time to start than today!

Does anyone want to join me in this? It can be as big or small of a project as you like. Let me know!

Love and a big smile. – Ash

 

Mindful Monday: Never Enough

This morning’s repost is from a very smart man. His name is Seth Godin. He wrote an awesome book on entrepreneurship in today’s world (The Purple Cow). The type of world where ads on TV and small, incremental product improvements are not enough. Where business starters have to have not only a unique idea but myriad ways to get people to actually buy it. It’s a great book. A quick read full of awesome information, I recommend it.

 

He also writes a blog. Short posts dense with recommendations for leading a successful life. I thought his post today was perfect. Especially for a Monday morning. Just read it:

SethGodin

Never Enough

-Seth Godin

“There’s never enough time to be as patient as we need to be … investing now, when it’s difficult, is the single best moment.”

So don’t save for tomorrow what you know you need to do today. Even if it was extra hard to wake up this morning. Happy Monday everyone! Love and a toothy smile. – Ash

 

Mold Your Mind Monday: Do we need a women’s movement?

And of course, in my haste and excitement I completely forgot that today is Mold Your Mind Monday! (< still experimenting with names) As I mentioned last week, I read some really great posts from bloggers all over the world. Today’s is from one my first and favorite followers: Ruth Rainwater.

She posted yesterday on the evolution and necessity of the Women’s Movement. It’s anecdotal and gives a great look at the dark place our society came from. Just read it.

Do We Still Need A Women’s Movement?

– Ruth Rainwater